Rejoice in Other’s Blessings and Envy Not

envyAre you angry at God for blessing your neighbor differently than he has blessed you? Has your envy of their blessing so clouded your judgement that you can’t see the blessings that God has bestowed, and is still bestowing upon you?

This evening I was telling my two girls, “girls, when I was at Walmart I saw a really good deal on some shirts, but I could only find them in AJ’s size, so I got a couple.”… Then my oldest interrupted before I could even finish the entire story. She angrly demanded to know why I did not get her something. She didn’t know that I had actually picked her a new pair of cute new headphones, but I never had a chance to bring that part up,  given the anger in the moment and the cloud of envy hovering overhead about the shirts AJ had gotten.

So given it was the drive home, God put it on my heart to use this as an opportunity to teach them something about these things. Not revealing to KayeLee (my oldest) about her blessing, the new headphones, yet. So I spoke to them on this and told them, “You can’t be angry at your neighbor for the blessings they’ve been given, just because you were not blessed in the same way. AJ is your neighbor, your blessings are not always going to be given at the same time or in the same way, but when you truly love your neighbor, you will automatically be blessed when you see them blessed. Don’t let the devil shift your focus, his only goal is to bring envy and division. Be happy for your neighbors blessings, and remember that God blesses you in different ways, so thank Him for those and be happy for their’s. Your love for them aught to make you happy for their blessings.”

They understood the lesson, apologies were given, and forgiveness extended. When we got home, I asked KayeLee if she understood everything and learned from the lesson how to respond when AJ is blessed differently then her, she said yes. I then gave her the headphones I had purchased for her that she did not even know I bought, because she had been so focused on steaming about AJ receiving the shirts, that she had not given thought to the possibility that I had gotten her something else. She assumed she had gotten nothing and this was a false assumption, all because it was not the same as her sister had received.

She was happy about her gift, and regretted pitching a fit about what she thought was “her missing out” on a gift when AJ received hers, only because they were different.
Our blessings are not the same as our neighbor, and they are not always granted at the same time as our neighbor. We can trust the timing of our blessings and even be grateful when they are different from our neighbor. Love them, and be glad of their blessings, don’t forget all of the ways God has uniquely blessed you too. Trust God that He knows what you need WHEN you need it, and when the devil aims to tempt you with the lie that your neighbor’s blessing is better than yours, hoping to make envy rise up in you and create division, remember that he is a liar, and instead be glad of every blessing your neighbor receives. Envy is a distraction from our own blessings from God. In His unique love to us as individuals among his children, He often blesses us differently from one another.

“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – Hebrews 13:5

Submitted by Amelia Barr

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Be Faithful in That Which is Least

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” – Luke‬ ‭16:10-11‬ ‭

This parable expresses a great biblical truth that no one really wants to hear. Before God will ever trust you with the most precious gifts in His kingdom, you must first prove yourself faithful in the simple things of this one. This parable uses two things to relay this, the first is money, and the second is stewardship.

Money is an easy one, simply stated, if we are faithful with the little that He gives us, to use it wisely, unwastefully, and charitably then He will trust to give us more that we might use the more for His Glory also. This principal is echoed in the promises of tithes and offerings given in Malachi chapter 2.  

However, this goes way deeper then just money. The second element in this parable is that of “stewardship” and that is quite encompassing. When we look up the word translated to “steward” in the original Greek, we find it to have a very interesting and profound meaning. The word is “oikonómos” in the Greek, and it means “manager“, it also means “pastor“. This is derived from the fact that the word “pastor” actually came from the Old Testament word “pasturer“, or someone who managed a flock in a particular pasture for it’s true Shepherd. Therefor, since Christ is the true Shepherd, pastor’s (or pasturers) are merely managers under Him, over His flocks of which they have been given stewardship in their perspective pastures. 

Yet the definition goes even deeper still. The word oikonómos encompasses within it the understanding that this person was once a slave, who had been freed, and given this position of authority to whom the Master entrusted the managing of the affairs of His house. Therefor is it a perfect picture of the minister of the Gospel! 

I see the greatest downfall of many ministers is their refusal to be faithful stewards over the little, that they might prove to God that He can trust them with the more precious gifts of His kingdom. So often I see men and women called, they answer the call, then the Master gives them stewardship over the little and watches. Yet soon they begin to set their eyes on their neighbors pasture or vineyard and a seed of envy takes root and they want more then what they have been entrusted with. So they ask the master for more and He says, “no“, still waiting for them to prove themselves faithful in the little. So then the Spirit of Jezebel comes and says, “you want your neighbors vineyard? I’ll get it for you“. So they give place to this evil counterfeit to work in their stead and seal or unauthorized decisions with the Kings ring. Taking matters into her own hands she makes it happen and makes it look like it was a decree from the king, but it wasn’t and it only brought death and left this desiring envious steward with blood on his hands.

Oh if more men and women called and positioned of God would just be faithful in the little, then God would in time make them ruler over more and intrust them with the real gifts of the Kingdom that break the yokes and bring life! Of all the great and powerful men and women of Faith who have truly walked in the yoke breaking power of the anointing of God backed up by the life giving authority of deliverance, the power of healing, and the validation of the gospel through signs, wonders, and miracles, every single one had small beginings. They chose the lowest seat, humbled themselves before the mighty hand of God, and made themselves an obedient servant being faithful in the little things so that God saw that He could trust them with the real treasures of heaven. Therefor, being tested, tried, and purified in the fires of humility, did He exalt them in due time. 

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all..” – Mark‬ ‭9:35‬ ‭

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” – Matthew‬ ‭23:12‬ ‭

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” – 1 Peter‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭

“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” – Zechariah‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭

“Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” – Job‬ ‭8:7‬ ‭

Do You Really Believe?

I am intensely saddened at the number of people who call themselves “Christian“, yet are not and do not know that they are not, for they do not even know what it rightly means to be so. In just a short conversation you come to realize that they do not really believe the bible. Yes they believe that Jesus was real, they believe some aspects of the bible, but they do not really believe what Jesus said and here is how I know. 

From a quick examination of their fruits (words, character, and actions) it is easy to determine that some choose not to fully believe in creation as recorded in the bible, tending towards evolution. Some choose to believe that hell and all its torments aren’t real, or that demons aren’t real. Some choose to believe that pet sins or ok when the bible says that all those who commit them will be cast into the fire. They think, “sure murderers might go to hell, but not liars, fornicators, homosexuals, drunkards, partiers, drug users,” and so on, when the bible counts them all equal with the murder and all are clear sins that prohibit entrance into heaven. 

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (homosexual), nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:9-10‬ ‭

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft (which includes the use of drugs), hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:19-21‬ ‭

Some choose to believe that pride is a good thing. Some choose to justify their idols. Some choose not to believe that repentance is a requirement of salvation. Some choose not to believe in the gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit. Some choose not to believe that we have been given overcoming power and authority over the devil and all his vises so that we need not live in defeat or bondage to sin or the master of it. Yet still, some choose not to believe that Jesus is coming back soon to judge us all, just to name a few. Yet all these things are true according to scripture, as they are all clearly and simply laid out in the Word.

Now this is what astonishes me. The word “Christian” means “Christlike“. Therefore are many claiming to be like Christ when they don’t even believe Christ. If you don’t believe what He said then how can you claim to be striving to be like Him? Here’s the thing, Christ Himself said that every single word of the bible is absolute truth. Not man’s interpretation or subjections of what might be true, but pure final truth.

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:18-19‬ ‭

How could Jesus say that every single word of scripture is true? Well, because you determine “authenticity” by finding the greatest “authority” on the text, and the greatest “authority” will always be the “author“. So you see, because Jesus was both “the Word made flesh” and “God in the flesh“, that means He was the “author” and therefor He is also the absolute “authority” on it’s “authenticity.” 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John‬ ‭1:14‬ 

Furthermore, because Jesus was the Word made flesh and we know that to truly be saved we must believe in Jesus, then must we also believe in the word. For they are one in the same. We cannot say that we believe in Jesus but not in His words. If we reject ANY part of God’s word then we reject Him and will parish because of our unbelief. 

Finally, for all who have chosen to believe things contrary to scripture, Jesus gives this very clear warning. It doesn’t matter what you claim to believe, what you call yourself, or what you call Him, one day you will stand before Him and He will open “the book” and you will be judged by the words of the book itself. There will be no excuse, it was right there all along and if you had truly believed it, you would have picked it up, read it, and lived it.

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” – John‬ ‭12:48‬

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” – Revelation‬ ‭20:12‬ ‭

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21‬ ‭

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” – Romans‬ ‭1:18-22‬ 

The Promise Must Die

Every promise in God’s word comes with a condition of faith, but what is faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that Faith is “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen“, for if we can see it then there is no faith. That is to say, if we can see how it can be done or achieved then our faith will be in “how” and not in “who“. Therefore does God allow every promise He gives to die so that you might truly plant your faith in Him to resurrect it. We might say that we have faith, but until the promise dies we will never actually have the opportunity to use and to prove faith, that God (and God alone) might be accredited and glorified for all that it does.

We see this throughout all of scripture. We see it in Joseph who was promised as a child that his family would bow to him, yet as soon as he received the promise it died as his own family sold him into slavery and was imprisoned in a foreign land. Yet not until the promise was fully dead with no hope of being achieved by any earthly means, did God step in and resurrect it through divine means that all of history would know that God alone had done this.

We see it in the story of the Tishbite woman who God had promised and given a child, then the child of promise died. This was the moment that she was able to administer true faith as she held her lifeless promise in her arms and spoke those powerful words that have echo through the ages, “it is well“. She stood in faith that God had promised this, therefore would He resurrect it to see His promise fulfilled unto His glory and faithfulness.

We see it in Abraham and Sarah who were promised a child with legacy, yet was the womb of promise dead. Therefor was the condition for true faith met that they might be able to believe in something that they could see no way of achieving but by the power of God.

We see it in David who was promised the Kingship of Israel, then was cast out of the palace and pursued with the cruel hand of death as Saul sought mercilessly to kill him.

We see it in Jairus who sought healing from the Lord, yet as soon as he found Him he received word that his daughter had died.

We see it in Lazarus who walked and talked with the Promise and was called friend by Him. Yet when he needed him most it seemed he was so far away as he died and was laid in darkness for a season.

Yet in all these was not the end of the promise, but the beginning of the opportunity for faith to be placed in it. For if it can be done by natural means then is it dead to faith, but when it becomes dead to any natural means does it become alive to faith. In other words, the supernatural cannot truly prove itself possible until the natural has first proven itself impossible. Therefore, it is when all natural hope is lost that faith can finally take the stage. So when God gives you a promise and it straightaway seems to die, don’t be dismayed. For the promise MUST die before it can truly live. It must die to any hope of being accomplished by human means in order to prove that it was accomplish by God’s means.

After all, do we not see this in Jesus Himself? The greatest promise God has ever given had to die, that his power, glory, and kingship never be attributed to any natural means because of all that we might think of our own power, we know that only God can raise that which is dead to newness of life. Therefor, He had to let the promise die, and then resurrect it so that all would forever know that this promise wasn’t achieved by a natural “how“, but by a supernatural “who“. You see, a faith that lies in “how” is a faith in knowledge (man’s sin), but a faith that lies in “who” is a faith in God (man’s redemption). Therefor does God always first have to kill the “how” before you will glorify the, “who“. To do this, the promise must die.

“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” – John‬ ‭12:23-24‬ ‭

My friend, faith is a seed. It starts out small and then grows and grows until it reaches out and starts providing life, strength, hope, deliverance, and power to others around it as faith stirs faith. However, no seed of faith will ever grow until it first dies. So when your promise seems lost, cast away, and buried, this is when you need to apply faith and wait for things to change because when you least expect it, God sends the rain to totally change that seed and bring that dead thing to life!

When you stand in faith on God’s words in the face of the impossible and God resurrects that dead promise, oh how your faith begins to grow. So if God has given you the faith of a tiny little mustard seed, don’t let it stay a tiny dead seed. Plant that thing deep in your heart and when it starts to die, praise God all the more for the awesome resurrected promise and growing faith that is going to come from it and the fruit it will produce to bless not only you, but all those around you! If you will but only believe.

“And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.” – Mark‬ ‭4:30-32‬ ‭

What’s Hindering Your Destiny? 

 “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” – Jonah‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭

What a simple and profound truth. When you listen to the vane lies your soul (emotions) are speaking to you of how you deserve to complain, murmur, hate, disobey God, cling to pride, hold offense, or whatever your particular case at a particular time may be, you forsake your own mercy. By choosing to focus on, listen to, and be led by your emotions (soul/flesh) that is so easily influenced by the devil and your own pride, you are choosing not to listen to and be led by the Spirit of God. When you choose to listen to the soul (emotions), which are always self centered around what you think, what you want, and what you feel, it is causing you to stand in opposition to what God wants, what God feels, and what God knows to be the best for all involved. This serves only to prevent the goodness of God’s plan from manifesting in our lives and His mercies from doing their perfect work both in us and through us as we allow the lies of our vain emotions to keep us in a place of torment, pride, rebellion, or unforgiveness. 

This was the place that Jonah was in. This was his “belly of the fish”. I think that most all of us have spent some time in the belly of that fish. You see, Jonah ran from his call to bring a message of salvation to the Ninevites because he didn’t like them. Jonah had logical reasons not to like them, they were a vile, filthy, violent, selfish, and all out wicked people. Therefor, Jonah had no heart for the Ninevites and when God told him to go minister to them, he ran in the other direction. He listened to his flesh, his emotions, his soul which spoke to him only of bitterness, brokenness, wickedness, hurt, and fear. It justified how right he thought he was by telling him how wrong he knew they were. Yet God, through the Spirit was speaking to him of forgiveness, hope, redemption, healing, and love, but Jonah chose to listen to the soul instead of the Spirit and it caused him to reject the very mercy of the deliverance that God was ready and waiting to give him and the Ninevites alike. He was stubbornly choosing to sit in the torment of his own pride and bitterness that was holding him back from all that God had for him. 

The more Jonah listened to his emotion the worse things got for him because your emotions (being so easily influenced by the enemy) will always take you in a direction that is opposite of the word, will, and wisdom of God. However, God knows best what is best and running from the wisdom of God toward the logic of your emotions will always separate you from the presence of God which is always a dark and tormenting place to be. So things just got worse and worse for him. He went through storms, he got cast out of his boat, he was swallowed by a fish, he was drug to the depths of the sea, he wallowed in darkness, distress, and emotional torment until he realized the thing he missed the most was the Lord, the presence of the Lord. The moment he let his soul (self/flesh/ego/emotions) die and he put his heart, thoughts, and trust back in the Lord, His will, His words, His wisdom, and His love, immediately he was delivered from all his torment and finally he could feel God’s presence, hear His voice, rest in His peace, and see the light of day again. The soul (influenced by Satan) will always tend towards fear and self preservation, but the Spirit (influenced by God) will always tend towards love and the salvation and preservation of others. Choose today to crucify the flesh, and follow the Spirit into the destiny the God has for you.

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” – Jonah‬ ‭2:7-10‬ ‭

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:24-25‬ ‭

“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. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” – Romans‬ ‭8:13-15‬ ‭

The Whole Truth About Harlotry

“Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither (to the house of a harlot): and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” – Proverbs‬ ‭9:16-18‬ ‭

Proverbs is a book of wisdom full of deep revelation, avenues of understanding, and instruction in moral character. In proverbs chapter 9, warning is given against the entrapment of harlotry, including both premarital and extra marital sexual encounters. It warns the weary soul to steer clear of those that entice in such ways at all cost. Yet when we look closer at the original wording used here it brings the revelation of the warning being given so much deeper.

Now let me preface this by saying that both men and women can be guilty of harlotry since any act of premarital or extra marital sex makes you a harlot in God’s eyes. Having said that, we see in our opening verse the harlot’s enticing words that stolen water taste better and bread eaten mischievously is more exciting. These are obviously polite ways of saying that fornication and adultery with her is more exciting because you know it’s wrong. However if you look closer at the word for “eaten”, which implies the partaking of, we see that in the Hebrew this actually meant “to partake in sorceries”. Why would the writer of proverbs be telling us that a harlot is actually a sorcerer causing his or her consorts to partake in acts of sorcery?

For the answer we need only to read the next verse. She tells him how much more exciting this will be but “he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell”. At first glance we might assume this to mean that she will cause you to be sent to hell because of the sin she is drawing you into. While that is most definitely true, that is not actually what it’s saying. First let’s look at the word translated to “dead“, in the Hebrew this word was “Rapha” and it meant “ghost“, “evil spirit“, or “demon“. Next let’s look at the word “guest“, this word was “qara“, which meant “to summon” or “invite in“. So what this passage is really revealing is that the excitement is coming from the influence of demonic sources. It is literally saying that her house (and actually her herself) is full of demons that her sinful acts have summoned from the depths of hell and is enticing you to partake of them (or take them in) unknowingly. 

Paul warns the church of Corinth of the same thing, while explaining it further when he says:

“What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:16-19‬

In this is Paul warning of not just a physical house, but your spiritual house. That is to say, the Temple of the Holy Ghost, which is your body. When you are joined to a harlot, you become “one flesh“, or “one temple“. Therefore, every “guest” she has welcomed becomes your guest also. In other words, every demon and evil spirit in her (or his) temple is now in yours, for they have become one temple. Whatever was in her (or him) is now in you. Their temple is defiled by the welcoming (or summoning) of the demonic through their sinful and rebellious actions, and now yours is also because you joined your temple with theirs, made it one temple, and invited in all their “guest” from the depths of hell.

“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭

Just as was warned of in proverbs, the enticed didn’t know the devil’s agenda in it all, but it happened all the same because of his foolishness not to obey God’s words which are never given as mere advice or even for the sake of dictatorial control, but as a commandment for the sake of salvation and your own protection from the plots and plans of the enemy against your soul.

“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭5:29‬

You see, these sexual sins seem exciting because the harlot’s demons are enticing you externally, but once you fall into the snare of acting on it, you have then welcome them in internally. You have given them your temple. You have given place to the devil, and since God will not share His glory with an other, the Holy Spirit is grieved and departs and the devil gains an other foolish victim. If this vise has been used against you, then repent, turn away from the wickedness, call on God to cleans your temple, evict the enemy, and return the joy of your salvation before it’s too late. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the appointed time. Call upon the Name of the Lord while He may be found. No one is promised tomorrow, you might not get an other chance. 

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” – Ephesians‬ ‭5:3-7‬ ‭

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” – Luke‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭

Are Your Ministers Jealous For God, or Jealous Of God? 

“These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” – John‬ ‭9:22‬ ‭

A man who had been born blind had been healed and received his sight! Jesus had preformed a miracle! The power of God had entered the church of the day (a synagogue) and changed a life forever! Oh what glory, honor, and rejoicing should have gone forth toward God for His great act of kindness and mercy! But it didn’t. This “church” built in the name of God had already decided that God wasn’t welcome there. You see, they were more concerned with building their own kingdom then God’s and where they had control there was no room to welcome a higher authority then their own.

How sad a situation is this? How often have we seen the same? How often are people shunned and ridiculed for experiencing and testifying of real life changing acts of God within church’s claiming to be built in His Name, yet led by those not willing to surrender glory to Him. I tell you that these ministers are jealous of God, His power, and anyone who gets close enough to Him to experience it. 

In the above mentioned story Jesus had healed a man born blind but now through the power of God, he could see! However, when the man’s parents were asked what happened they were afraid to testify to the great things that God had done for fear of being shunned, ridiculed, slandered, and put out of the synagogue. How this must grieve the heart of God who is entitled to all the praise we can give him. Jesus’s anger was kindled against the Pharisees for putting God’s people in this position and robbing God of the glory He so rightfully deserved for fear of loosing some glory of their own.

Next the Pharisees questioned the man who was healed. While staring into the face of the miracle itself, they still demanded that the very one who had experienced it, deny it as they did. They professed how they followed the teachings of the man Moses therefore, they should not be led directly by this Jesus. How often do we still see this in the church also? Those who reject the real Jesus, His direct leading, and His teachings in their entirety as laid out in Scripture, for the teaching of a man, usually in the guise of a minister, denominational leader, or doctrinal founder. If this being done under Moses who was far greater then any man or denomination of our time displeased God, how much greater does it displease Him now? Greatly. Yet the healed mans response to them must have equally blessed the heart of God. The healed man steadfastly replied to the accusations that by following Jesus directly he may be serving the devil with very simple and anointed words of faith. This humble man made bold by His encounter with Jesus states to the leaders of the church, in a word , “it is incredible that you can’t tell what is of God and of the devil when the evidence of His great power is standing right before you”. You see, when people are jealous of God’s power superseding their own, they are often more willing to give credit to the devil for the great impossible works of God, then to God Himself that men might fear what is meant to save them. O what a work of the devil on the minds of the prideful who simply won’t believe in something greater then themselves. 

“Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” – John‬ ‭9:28-31‬ ‭

How willing are men to say, “the devil can do that, but God cannot”. What blasphemy, what pride, what unbelief. For the crime of believing God, was this man who had been personally ministered to by God, cast out of his congregation, yet for his faithfulness to stand true to what he had heard and experienced by way of his personal communion with Jesus, was he excepted into God’s congregation. To truly be part of God’s kingdom, you can expect to be rejected of man’s because one thing is sure, neither will share glory with the other. 

“If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” – John‬ ‭9:33-38‬ ‭

The Greatest Gift of All

nativity_lightened“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” – Luke 2: 10-14

December 25th is a birthday like no other.
For 160 countries and billions of Christians the world over, Christmas Day is more than a holiday from work or school, it is the day set aside on the Christian calendar to remember and celebrate the miraculous birth of a True Savior.

Here in the western world, we honor this unforgettable event in human history, by coming together in the spirit of giving, love and hope for mankind. Though in modern times, the celebration has become highly commercialized, it has remained in the hearts of many believers, a day to share in the gifts of charity and good-will.

Scriptures tell us that this very special nativity of the Son of God among men had been prophesied repeatedly through the ages and though His birth and destiny had been foretold, the world was not prepared for His coming.

Since the days of His walk on this earth, believers have come to better understand that great gift. The truth that God had prepared a way for mankind’s redemption through the birth and sacrifice of His only son.

In the coming year, we will take time to celebrate and remember the birthday of our loved ones as well as our own. When is your birthday? What did you do to prepare for your own birth?

The truth is, you didn’t. There was not one single thing you did to afford you the opportunity to be born. Your own birthday is an event beyond your own devise.
Through no plotting or action of your own design, you were awarded the greatest gift anyone could receive. The gift of life. Jesus sought to use this truth to explain to Nicodemus the gift of salvation in John 3:1-6

“[Nicodemus] came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”

In all his learning, Nicodemus missed the analogy Jesus illustrated in this passage. It is made clear he failed to grasp the parallels when in the next passage Jesus says, “Marvel not, that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Nicodemus seems to have been a very literal man and his interpretation fails to comprehend Jesus’ analogy. In His profound teaching, Jesus was consoling a confused Nicodemus by saying in effect…Don’t over think it. When we are “born of water” as Jesus explains it, we are beautifully and powerfully removed from the only world we ever knew – our mother’s womb. A world of darkness and seclusion.

In utero, we are for all intents and purposes a hidden thing; separated from a much larger world. Through no design or action of our own, we are gifted life and delivered into a great new world. A world in which we are nursed and cared for and grow. But Jesus talked with Nicodemus of a second birth. He explained that to see the kingdom of God, one must be “born of the spirit” – that is, to be “born again”. But this second birth, is not unlike the first.

While Nicodemus marveled at the idea of a second physical birthday, Jesus was illustrating a spiritual birthday. One in which the spirit is beautifully and powerfully delivered out of darkness and isolation and into a greater awakening. No longer hidden from the spiritual world but delivered into it, with new power and authority. And just as you were “born of water” and received the gift of life, so to do you receive a gift of life when you are “born of the spirit”. The gift of eternal life.
As it says in Romans 6:22-23

“But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The gift of eternal life, deliverance from sin, and the kingdom of God is a free gift to any who would receive it. Just as your own physical birth was a free, unearned gift, so is salvation.

A physical birth is, in its own way a transformation, not a transaction you can pay of your own ability. There is no price to be paid to obtain the gift of physical life. Only deliverance (usually, though not always) through the help of others. Being born again is in every way the same. The price for your redemption has been paid, so that it maybe a free gift to you.

Some 2,000 years ago, a great mystery walked this earth. But before he was a teacher or a prophet he was a new born baby birthed in a manger. A child of God, destined to be a sacrificial lamb for the redemption of all mankind.

“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” – John 3:15-17

Of all the gifts anyone could receive, the gift of eternal life is the greatest of all. Share the good news with others. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and God Bless you all in 2018.

Submitted by Christy Peers

Where Are The Spiritual Mother’s and Father’s?

“Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:11-15‬ ‭

This was true in Paul’s time and it is still true today. There are many “instructors” in the faith but not many spiritual mothers and fathers because while all want the glam of having students and followers, very few are willing to selflessly sacrifice to parent someone in the faith. That is to say, to truly invest into bringing others into the faith, disciple, teach them through their growing process until they are able to stand and walk this walk of faith, and help to equip them to venture out into their callings and to be good disciplers themselves. 

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” – 1 Peter‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭

This has always been the true call of every Christian. Jesus never said, “go out and make converts“, or “go out and get people to join your church or denomination“. He said, “go out and make disciples”. In the early church it was every single person who got saved’s job to first willingly be discipled, then to willingly disciple others. This is actually where the term “God parents” comes from. When someone was “born again” they were considered babes in Christ, therefor someone more mature in the faith would be assigned to take them in as spiritual parents and raise them up in the faith until matured. These were their “God parents“. If the young believer failed, the babe in Christ was not looked poorly upon, their God parents were for not doing their job as a parent and neglecting or not looking after or tending to the new member of the family of God. For a baby is not at fault for falling down, yet it’s parents are if they do not pick it back up and teach it to walk. 

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me (new believer/babe in Christ), it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew‬ ‭18:6‬ ‭

Simply instructing others from a stage, camera, or from a distance is glamorous, simply coming to church and warming a pew is easy, but being a spiritual mother or father to someone is laboring, selfless, and sacrificial. Therefor has it always been the least done but the most needed, for though it is the least glamorous, it is the most effective. Choose to step up and fill the void and see lives, homes, families, and even whole communities changed by the power of God. Most of all, see yourself changed as you begin to move in true faith doing what Jesus said to do and seeing Him back up His own commandment with His own power. 

Yes as any natural parent can tell you, it will not be easy. You will get attached and they will rebel at times, you will be selfless and they will be selfish at times, you will give and they will take, you will be over worked and under appreciated just as every parent is. Yet good parents endure in the bonds of love and hope that one day the lessons and wisdom you sowed into them and the example you set before them will produce good fruits in them once they have grown up in the faith and matured. You see, because of your willingness to be a vessel of the Holy Spirit of God sowing these good seeds into their lives, they will (not right away but eventually) stand and begin to raise up disciples of their own one day, at which point they will finally understand and be grateful for all that you endured to raise up and disciple them. This is the way of parenting, both physical and spiritual, and because of your steadfastness, will they be steadfast also. This is the way God designed and intended for ministry to be. This is the way it works, the way it really works, the only way it really works.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old (mature), he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭

“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.” – Isaiah‬ ‭54:1‬ ‭

The Two “R’s”

“And that repentanceANDremission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” -Luke 24:47

As a pastor now, having grown thus far from a child raised in God’s Word, there has been much maturing in the 34 years of my spiritual walk and even lessons gained from the “lack thereof” when I ran like that prodigal son from my Father’s house. For that (the maturing process), I am very grateful.

When I read the scriptures today, because of what I recognize was and is the Holy Spirit growing me in grace & mercy, I see the scriptures quite black and white. Specifically? The issue of sin. It’s because of this issue, that is it’s literally the whole reason the scribes of old were directed of the Holy Spirit to write which became the Holy Bible. Out of the entirety of the Bible, the whole of all scriptures comes down to teaching us these two undeniable principles:

Simply put…

1.) Sin is bad. -Romans 6:23

2.) Godliness is gain. -1 Tim. 6:6

I intentionally refer to sin as an “issue” realizing that sin is not only the cancer that plagues the world, but today unfortunately, even the modern church by in large willfully retains sin under the excuse of their humanity. Humanity should simply be the platform for desperation of God, the Lord Jesus, our Savior… Not the “ball and chain” that binds us to evil vices.

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” -Romans 6:22

The POWER of God’s grace not only forgives sin, removes our sin, but overcomes the power of sin’s enticement by His saving and equipping grace! Grace isn’t the ability to excuse our sin, but the power to overcome!

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? -Romans 6:1-2

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; … Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” -Titus 2:11-12, 14

From our opening verse:

The Two “R’s”

1. Remission

2. Repentance

Remission is God removing and forgiving us of our sin.

Repentance is us turning away from our sin (also done by the empowering work of God’s grace given at salvation)

It is literally heartbreaking that when I talk to “the churched” about simply living for God by obeying His Word, I get accused of teaching a “works salvation.” Of course we can’t earn our salvation; it’s free, however once saved by grace through faith, we live for God, and not for any sinful desires.

Let’s look at what the Bible says:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:8-10

Did we catch that in verse 10? The popular quote is verses 8-9, but verse 10 completes the picture: “Created unto good works” The whole of salvation is not only FORGIVENESS of sin, but removal and abandonment of sin.

The woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), is a regularly referred passage by people who attacked anyone who calls out sin for what it is. Yes we are not to “cast stones” of condemnation, but offer the love of God that leads to repentance. (Ephesians 4:32) But let’s not forget the end of that passage…

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” -John 8:10-11

Even though the Pharisees were out of line in their approach, we have to still realize that adultery was still sin, and sin needs addressing. Jesus addressed it; not excused it.

He forgave her:

“Neither do I condemn thee”

Then He exhorted her unto righteousness:

“Go and sin no more”

The messages taught today that it’s Jesus that saves us by faith alone without or not needing any choice on our part to repent (abandon) our sins once forgiven and having been saved, is a very dangerous one.

The word “Repentance” is so much more than a “change of mind,” but also, a “change of lifestyle.” If you change your mind on something, naturally your change of actions will back up your change of mind. Example: If I change my mind about the order of my desk, I’ll actually change it! Changes of thought are always preceded by changes of action. Remission AND Repentance.

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:32

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” -James 5:19-20

“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” -Jonah 3:10

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” -Isaiah 55:7

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:” -Matthew 11:20

Remission of sin isn’t much good if you leave the door of your heart wide open for you’re old master, sin. You cannot serve two masters. You will either love one and hate the other. (Matthew 6:24)

Choose today!

I choose Jesus!

I choose remission AND repentance!