Monthly Archives: October 2017

Halloween Thought – One Christian’s Perspective

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Halloween Thought – One Christian’s Perspective

Just a thought…
At the end of the Great Tribulation, Jesus will return to earth. Jesus’ feet will stand on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. He will defeat the antichrist and throw Satan into a bottomless pit for 1000 years. During this time Jesus will reign over the earth.

Do you think that they will celebrate Halloween during the millennial reign? If you answer no, then why are people who profess to be followers of Christ celebrating it today?

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AGENDAS

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AGENDAS

Agenda can be described as a list or outline of things to be considered or done. It can also be described as an underlying plan or program. God had a plan and agenda for the church long before it was ever formed.

* Man has his own agendas, and they usually conflict with God’s agenda. Often today we see churches where the leaders and the people are concerned more about their own agendas than God’s. There are even churches that have a scheduled order of service that is so strict it schedules a move of the Holy Spirit right out of it.

* Are churches more interested in being a social club or a house of prayer? God’s agenda is not for churches to try to be the biggest and best church around. Many look more like a social club or civic organization than they do a house of God.

* There are some leaders in the church that use the church for personal advancement – both monetarily advancement and position / power. Their plans are implemented according to their own desires and in such a way that it is a positive addition to their resume or their portfolio.

* Within the church man’s agenda is often dictated by worldly viewpoints, secular influences and unsanctified lifestyles, not by prayer.

* Often times churches are more interested in making attendees rather than disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”

* During services many churches spend more time on announcements and greeting each other than they do greeting God, welcoming the Holy Spirit, praying or worshipping God. God calls His people together to worship Him, not to worship church.

A house of prayer
According to Jesus the church was to be a house of prayer. Jesus was very interested in the sanctification (set apart for God) and purity of the temple. Twice in His ministry Jesus was enraged at what He saw going on in the temple.

At the beginning of His ministry.

 

John 2:13-16 NKJV
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

At the end of His ministry.

Matthew 21:11-13 NKJV
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

Mark 11:15-19 NKJV
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

Jesus said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” A thief can be described as someone that takes something that doesn’t belong to them. While we don’t have people sitting around in our foyers today selling things in a fraudulent manner, we could be described as a den of thieves in a way. Some churches have stolen God’s agenda and replaced it with their own. Instead of God being honored, worshipped and glorified, man is.

When the church is a house of prayer, one that is pure and set apart for God, it will be the voice that boldly proclaims the good news with power that totally changes people. Just maybe it is time to go through the church, and its agendas, with the Word of God. When the church seeks God’s agenda and lines up their services, ministries and outreaches accordingly great things will happen, the kingdom of God will increase, and disciples will be made.

CONVICTION

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CONVICTION

Could it be that churches and believers have left the Holy Spirit out of their lives and churches by being more concerned in pleasing man than in pleasing God?
Within the churches have they been more interested in making friends (social clubs) than making disciples?
Have churches quenched and grieved the Spirit for so long that they don’t even realize it?

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin. He desires to minister in our churches but we must allow Him to. We can grieve and quench the Holy Spirit by refusing to follow His leading – by disobeying Him. Another way to grieve and quench the Holy Spirit is by planning and scheduling Him completely out of the service. When people enter into our churches they need to have an encounter with God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, not an encounter with man.

There is something very wrong when backslidden and unsaved people feel very comfortable sitting in churches listening to sermons and not feeling the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. They come, they listen and they leave unchanged. Will God hold us accountable for this?

Ezekiel 3:18-21 NKJV
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

If the church really believed that they are God’s watchman in this world would they do whatever it takes to welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit to dwell in their midst? It is the Holy Spirit that convicts a person of sin, wrong and bad habits. Without His presence in our midst we are hopelessly lost.

Everyone needs the Holy Spirit …
We need His convicting power and presence in our churches.
We need His convicting power and presence in our individual lives.
The backslidden and the prodigals need His convicting power.
Those that have never accepted salvation need His convicting power in their lives.

PRIDE – A HINDRANCE TO REVIVAL

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Pride is a great hindrance to revival because it keeps people from seeking God. It can keep the unsaved from coming to Christ for salvation, it can keep the sick from coming to God for healing, it can keep the bound from coming to God for freedom……

Pride is an infectious and dangerous attitude that has crept into many churches today. It effects the decisions a person (leaders, members and attendees) make therefore, it can infect and effect an entire church.

Mark 7:20-23 NKJV
“And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Pride comes from inside a person – from their heart. Within the body of Christ, pride manifests itself in various ways. Some are: division, critical spirits, gossip, mockery, self-satisfaction, quarrels, compliancy, and condemnation of other believers who do not believe as they do.

In some churches the leaders are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God. While they may not express that attitude with their lips, they do with their actions. Everything they do is about their will, their plans, and their dreams, not God’s. They are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts and desires are far from God.

Psalm 10:4 NKJV
“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

What is pride?
Pride can be defined as:
excessive confidence or glorification in one’s self, possessions
giving ourselves the credit for something that God has accomplished.
taking the glory that belongs to God.
self-worship.
the opposite of humility.
an attempt to replace God.
a form of self-righteousness.

 

What does God think about pride?
God is very clear in His Word that pride is a sin. Pride is a sin and sin cannot enter into the presence of God, both here and in heaven.

Proverbs 8:13 NKJV
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.”

Psalm 10:3-4 NKJV
“For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

Proverbs 16:5 NKJV
“Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”

Proverbs 16:18 NKJV
“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

 

What are the consequences of pride?
Destruction ( in the church and in individual lives)
A spiritual fall
Oppression
Not allowed in the presence of God.
Disregard, disrespect and disobedience to God.
It places stumbling blocks in front of people.
It keeps people from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.
It will send a person to hell.

 

Guard against pride.

Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

 

Everyone must guard their heart against pride because pride will…
* keep someone from helping others because they think the other person doesn’t deserve help.
* keep someone from asking God ( or others) for forgiveness because they don’t feel that they were wrong.
* cause a person to boast or brag about what they have or what they have done.
* cause a person to take the credit ( or glory) for something that God has done.
* cause a person to think more of themselves than they should.
* will cause a person to become their own god. They begin to replace God with themselves.
* cause a person to do what they want (their own will) instead of what God wants.
* keep a person from rejoicing with others over blessings / promotions because they will feel like they deserved it more.
* keep a person from seeking God for answers, wisdom or knowledge because they think they have all the answers.
* keep a person from studying God’s Word because they think they know it all already.

 

 

 

Glorious Bride

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Glorious Bride

Why did Jesus say “Go and sin no more”?

Maybe it was because He is coming back for a bride that has made herself ready for Him – a spotless bride with out stains or blemishes.

Many times when people Ephesians 5:22-23 they usually do so trying to prove a point about a woman submitting to her husband. However, they miss the point that God was trying to convey. Jesus is the Bridegroom (husband) and true believers are the bride (wife).

The bride (church) and groom (Jesus) are to become one – when you see the church you should see Christ.

True believers are to submit to Jesus.
The church (the bride) is subject to Christ.
The bride (the true believers) are not to be a harlot or adulteress.
The bride (the true believers) must give themselves fully to the Lord.
The bride is to sanctify and cleanse herself with the washing of water by the word.
The bride are members of Jesus’ body, of His flesh and of His bones.
The bride is to leave her past when she is joined to Christ.
The bride (church) should respect Christ.
The bride is to love her groom.
The bride is to be a glorious church.
The bride is to be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
The bride is to be holy and without blemish.

Jesus is the head of the wife (head of the church).
Jesus is the bride’s Savior.
Jesus loves the church (bride) and gave Himself for her.
Jesus gave everything He had, even His very life.

Ephesians 5:22-33 NKJV
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

HURTS

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HURTS

Hurts within the church happen everyday. People hurt pastors…pastors hurt people…people hurt people…pastors hurt pastors….that’s just a fact of life. Hurts can lead to unforgiveness and unforgiveness effects everyone in a church – either directly or indirectly. Because of that we must guard against an unforgiving spirit. Unforgiveness HURTS you more than the other person – forgiveness HELPS you more than the other person.

Forgive means to:
* to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong)
* to stop blaming (someone)
* to stop feeling anger about (something)
* to forgive someone for (something wrong)
* to stop requiring payment of
* to give up resentment (a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury) of
* to give up claim to requital (something given in return, compensation, or retaliation)
* to cease to feel resentment against

Forgiveness is described as the act of forgiving someone or something and the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people. It can be defined as letting go of anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. It is not a feeling, but a decision to let go of anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. It is purposely deciding (a mental decision) not to hold others sins/wrongs against them. Forgiveness is extending loving mercy to those who have hurt us. God has instructed us to forgive throughout the Bible. A few examples are:

Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV
“ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13 NKJV
“bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Some hindrances to forgiving are thinking that you have to forget in order to forgive, thinking that trust and forgiveness are the same thing, and thinking that forgiveness eliminates the consequences of what has been done.

Forgiving and Forgetting
When you forgive someone it doesn’t mean that you will forget. You don’t have to forget the hurt in order to forgive the person. There is a difference between a scar and a scab. When a wound is completely healed a scar is sometimes left behind. A scab on the other hand is a wound that is still in the healing process. When you have a scar many times you don’t even notice it, but from time to time you eye may catch a glimpse of it and remember the wound that was there. So it is with forgiving. You may never truly forget what happened, and from time to time those memories will try to creep in, but you can choose to forgive and move on with your life. FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE NOT A FEELING.

Trust and Forgiveness
Trust and forgiveness are not the same thing. When a person is hurt many times it will cause them to loose their trust in the person who hurt them. Trust is a fragile thing. Once trust has been broken, it takes time to be restored. Sometimes it takes many years to rebuild the trust between people and sometimes it never will be. For some people they will have to forgive and move on without attempting to restore trust. Just because you do not trust someone doesn’t mean that you can’t wish them blessings. Sometimes you must do this from a distance. You don’t have to trust everyone. NOT TRUSTING A PERSON IS NOT A SIN.

Forgiveness and Consequences
Forgiveness doesn’t eliminate the consequences of what has been done. There will still be consequences even when forgiveness is given. However, we must leave the consequences up to God and not take matters into our own hands.

Luke 17:1 NKJV
“Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”

Jesus Himself said that it was impossible for there to be no offenses. He did not say for us to get even with the offenders ourselves. He said woe to him through whom they (offenses) do come. The word woe in the Greek is ouai and is more than just an expression of a feeling – it is a judgment. It is not our place to try to get back at someone because of an offense. God will take care of it, that’s not our job. GOD IS THE JUDGE, NOT US.

Luke 6:37 NKJV
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

 

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Dear Father,
I choose this day to forgive everyone who has, or who I think has, wronged me or my family. I choose not to hold on to anger, hurt, resentment, or bitterness. I choose to walk in love and forgiveness. I pray blessings on each of these people. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to have a godly mindset.
In Jesus’ name, Amen