Saturday, September 29, 2007

Either you forgive or you don't…

My mom sent me this email, and it touched me deeply because if you haven’t lived a perfect life you often find your actions under scrutiny. Even though God has forgiven our sins others find it necessary to bring it up again and again.

The Blood of Jesus

One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart.

She responded to God’s call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution.

But, the change in her was evident. As time went on she became a faithful member of the church.

She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children.

It was not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the pastor’s son.

The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans.

This is when the problems began.

You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor’s son.

The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So they decided to have a meeting.

As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand.

The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past. As she began to cry the pastor’s son stood to speak. He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be.

He began to speak and his statement was this:

My fiancée’s past is not what is on trial here.

What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin.
Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?

The whole church began to weep as they realized that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters.

Forgiveness is a very foundational part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely then it cannot cleanse us completely. If that is the case, then we are all in a lot of trouble.

What can wash away my sins?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:23

If God can forgive me who are you to judge?

Not one is perfect none, not one.

Jesus became our perfect lamb. He led a perfect life so that we could be washed free of our past.

And what a feeling it is to find yourself finally white as snow. Who can do that for us but Jesus?

I pray constantly to be like Jesus and how I fall short. But I continue to pray in hope that over

Time I will become like him. Able to really forgive, able to really love. Jesus love was gentle, he didn’t threaten

And scream at people His actions spoke more of His life than anything.

What do your actions say about you?

Isaiah 43:25

“I—yes, I alone—am the one who blots out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.”

Friday, September 28, 2007

Worship Together This Week


Free Sheet Music
O, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
The Glory Of It All
Everything Glorious

New Song Cafe
O, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing with David Crowder

Now Playing in the New Song Jukebox
Every song on David Crowder Band's new CD, Remedy!

Featured Bible Study
Our Love Is Loud by David Crowder

Featured Article
My Pastor Doesn't Understand Me

Featured Worship Leader
David Crowder*Band

David Crowder*Band is back with their next collection of music! The new CD, Remedy, is full of great new songs that your church can sing. This week you can listen to the entire Remedy album plus get a free MP3 Download of "Everything Glorious"! So sit back, open up the New Song Jukebox and enjoy the new music. You'll be blessed and refreshed!

Right-click here or on the image above and choose "save target as" or "save link as" to easily download the FREE MP3 file!

This songbook includes Piano/Vocal/Guitar Sheet Music, Lyric Chord Charts and Overhead Masters for every song on David Crowder Band's new album Remedy including The Glory Of It All, O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing, Everything Glorious, Rain Down and more! Buy it now!

There's no doubt about it. It's the most common single issue that crops up among the many worship teams I've talked to: conflict between worship team and church leadership. It gets expressed in a variety of ways: “the vicar insists on choosing all the hymns... our pastor doesn't believe in worship leaders... the leadership team never give us any direction... we're never given space to try out new things”. These and many other comments are the staple of worship team discussions up and down the land. So if you can identify with this, don't feel it's unique to your church! Why is the relationship between worship teams and church leadership so often fraught with tension? More...

David Crowder*Band took us on a musical journey with their last project A Collision. That journey leads us right to their next release Remedy, an album that is filled with singable eclectic worship songs - songs of hope, encouragement and challenge as evidenced by the radio single Everything Glorious, the title track Remedy and the memorable Never Let Go. More...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Worship Together This Week


Free Sheet Music
Hallelujah, What A Savior - Vicky Beeching
Join The Song - Vicky Beeching
Everything Glorious - David Crowder

New Song Cafe
Hallelujah, What A Savior with Vicky Beeching

Now Playing in the New Song Jukebox
O, For A Thousand Tounges To Sing - David Crowder*Band
Remedy - David Crowder*Band
Hallelujah, What A Savior - Vicky Beeching
Great Is Your Glory - Vicky Beeching
Everything Glorious - David Crowder*Band
Join The Song - Vicky Beeching

Featured Bible Study
The Greatest Gift

Featured Article
Remedy Is Coming - Listen To 2 Brand New Songs

Featured Worship Leader
Vick Beeching

We've been listening to David Crowder*Band's new album Remedy and couldn't wait to let you all hear it so we're letting you listen to 2 of the new songs - "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing" and the title track "Remedy" - this week before the album comes out next Tuesday. Make sure check out the site next week for brand new content from Crowder!

Listen to these great new songs in the !

About two weeks ago we identified an error occuring with the printing function for some of the Scorch purchased sheet music. Sibelius has corrected this issue and released a new version of the software, version 5.0.4 build 4.We strongly encourage that you upgrade to this new version. When you use Scorch to get the free sheet music download or to purchase sheet music you will be prompted to upgrade to this new version.

Download the new version of Scorch HERE!

If you have ordered sheet music in the past few weeks and have had trouble printing, the links that you have been experiencing trouble with should print after you install the new version of Scorch. If you have any questions or are still experiencing trouble with your sheet music please contact

The Musicademy Song Learner Series for Worship Guitar - teaching contemporary worship songs in the context of a 12-20 minute lesson which enables you to master appropriate strumming patterns, find easy shapes for complex sounding chords, cheats for quick chord changes plus hints, tips and techniques which will further your playing beyond learning the song itself.

Each lesson is significantly more than a quick run through of how to play the song. As experienced educators, we at Musicademy realise that students new to a musical principle need to have the information broken down, repeated slowly and then consolidated in the context of a song. The DVDs therefore show each new section of a song, play it through a few times before each element is bolted together in a step-by-step way. Using this methodology not only does the student understand the technique and how to apply to other songs, but also gets each sequence into muscle memory. More...

Nobody's Perfect

Our latest MP3, seven minutes of wisdom, is entitled Nobody’s Perfect.

Click here to listen!

Monday, September 24, 2007

We Are The Class of ‘54

We are the class of ’54 looking back to the days of our youth, the days of our morning sun. To the days that followed the “Great Depression,” to the days when this nation’s “Greatest Generation” was rejoicing with the coming home of our troops from WWII; in those days our parents struggled to recover from the pain of the economic depression and the heartbreak of war. We are the children that were born in the mid-thirties reflecting of the days when the front door was always open, back before locked cabinets or childproof lids were on the medicine bottles, the days when Castor Oil was a cure all---to the days when chicken was caught off the yard and cooked and served as a delicacy on Sunday---but only when the preacher or other company came. In those days the little boys played cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers using their fingers as simulated guns and the little girls played with imaginary dolls; in those days the Sears and Roebuck catalogue was truly a “wish” book. In those days we who lived in rural areas studied by lamp light while awaiting the arrival of electricity---TV was yet future as we set around the battery radio to listen to the “Grand Ole Opry” on Saturday night.

In those days most all of us were poor, but never hungry, challenged but never deprived and the skill of innovation was learned out of necessity. We were blessed with parents and teachers who were experienced in the struggle against the pain of heartbreak and the misery of hardship; and it was they who taught us hard work, loyalty to good causes and dedication to our commitments, along with honesty in all our dealings. These were complimented with teachings of integrity, courage, toughness and tenacity that prepared us to reach to the next rung of the latter; giving up was not an option. They taught us to be responsible and they held us accountable for our own actions. Promotions to the next grade level and rewards were given only when earned; there were no free rides. Humility was a virtue and boastful pride was viewed as a flaw in character. The word “NO” was an answer that did not require an explanation and “time out” was a term used only in sports.

Yes, they, our parents and teachers, also knew how to love; they knew the strength, gentleness and the toughness of love. And by example they taught us respect for others and how to pray and to love God, country, family and each other. They knew as we approached our day that the cool morning would give way to the heat of the noonday sun and they did their best to prepare us.

The heat of the noonday came and our strength was severely tested. We too faced wars, recessions and other problems of our time. There was sweat, tears, pain, anguish and just plain ole heartache; we were knocked down, but not defeated. Like our parents before us we never counted that the world owed us anything, not even an apology. We felt the pain of loss but we never lost the will to succeed. We got up, brushed ourselves off and tried again---eventually we met with the sweetness of success. Hard times gave way to laughter and joy. Oh no! Our success is not measured in money and material things, but in the accomplishment of things that were for the common good of everyone around us. As we look back we see an accumulation of many friends, and children have been added also. And soon, in the mid-afternoon hours, there are grandchildren and later in the day the exciting expectation of great grandchildren.

Yes! Oh yes! It is a lovely day filled with the greatest treasures one can possess in this life. And now is our time to encourage the younger generation with the smile of wisdom in the early morning of their day. Now is our time to give love and compassion to our children and their children, to listen, to comfort, to brush away tears, embrace and give a helping hand in the heat of their noonday sun. And now it is our time to settle back and enjoy the fruit of our labors as we watch our treasure grow.

Yes, every day has its sunset and most of our parents and teachers and even some of our classmates have already seen the closing of their day. The time of the setting of the sun on our day will come as well, and we, the class of ’54, will behold it with a sigh and welcome its peaceful beauty as it closes our day. The evening hour will find us joining our loved ones in a restful sleep, waiting the dawning of that bright eternal day---God is so good.

James C Sanford

Sunday, September 23, 2007

In the Midst of the Storm

“Traditions of men” are customs, guidelines, principles or beliefs viewed as a consistent standard of practice. Such precepts, doctrines and traditions are usually passed along orally and/or by practice influencing the present; and may vary somewhat from one generation to the next. Even such traditions passed down with written instructions are subjected to each generation’s interpretation and scrutiny and will vary somewhat because of their understanding.

If there were ever any foundational truths in such traditionalism it is lost in the evolving process. Following the tradition of men, or even “traditional thinking,” is described biblically as a state of “hard heartedness. ”In modern day language we might would say that a person has become “set in his ways” or that he is “hard headed. ”Such a condition causes a person not to see, hear, understand, believe or even effectively remember the things of God {Mark 8:15-21}.

Quite often the word of God is “neglected” or “set aside” {Mark 7:8-9} or made of “no effect” {Mark 8:13} in ones life by the insistence upon following the “tradition of men. ”Sometimes it takes a storm in our life to shake us loose from traditionalism that we may experience the truths of God. To effectively learn the things of God we must be freed from the tradition of men and turn to our Heavenly Father for Him to open our minds to His ways and teachings.

We begin with an account of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Immediately after Jesus had fed the five thousand men, plus the women and children {Matthew 14:15-21}, He commanded the disciples to get into the boat. The Scripture reads as follows,

“And immediately He made the disciples get into the boat, and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away” (Matthew 14:22 NAS).

Another account tells us that He commanded them to “go to the other side to Bethsaida” (Mark 6:45).

Note that the NAS bible says, “He made them.” The KJV bible says, “He constrained them. ”The word “constrain” means to demand, compel or to make. Now our question is, why was it necessary for Jesus to demand, compel or have to make the disciples get into the boat and go to the other side to Bethsaida? Scripture does not tell us in print why; but the Scripture does tell us of the frequent storms on the Sea of Galilee. It also tells us that all of the disciples, except Judas Iscariot, were born and reared around the Sea of Galilee. Most were fishermen who spent a lot of time on the sea earning their living. They knew that the sea, at certain times, could become a treacherous and deadly place to be because of the sudden violent storms. Traditional wisdom of men taught that a person just did not go out on the dangerous Sea of Galilee with night approaching and risk their lives to go to a unrepentant “cursed city” (Matthew 11:20-21). Therefore, the Holy Spirit is indicating that they were leaning to their own traditional wisdom and knowledge (Mark 7:8).

As a result of their traditional thinking they apparently resisted or opposed Jesus, the Word of God, and made it necessary for Him to compel them. They had been amazed and astonished at the miracle of the five loves and two fishes. But it meant little more than a magic show for they did not really comprehend in depth His love, mercy and grace and the power and authority that belonged to Him. Pre-conditioned or traditional thinking, biblically known as “hardness of heart,” had caused them to attempt to “set aside” the words of the Lord Jesus. They must be shaken loose from their traditionalism and learn to lean upon and trust in Him. By now they should have known that if they obeyed His command to “get into the boat and go to the other side” that absolutely nothing could stop them from completing their journey.

“And after He had sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already many stadia away from the land (in the midst of the sea), battered (or tormented) by the waves; for the wind was contrary (opposing them). And in the fourth watch (between 3 and 6 AM) of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, ‘It is a ghost! ’ And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid’. ” (Matthew 14:23-27 NAS)

Quiet often, after a day of ministering, Jesus would go to be alone to pray and fellowship with His Father. While the disciples were in the boat without Him their worst fears came upon them; the dreaded storm began raging against the boat in the midst of the sea while Jesus was on the mountain praying. Traditional wisdom of men would tell them that they were doomed! !

This brings us to our next question. Why would Jesus send the disciples out to sea knowing they were going to encounter a violent and potentially deadly storm?

Experience is a great teacher! One does not quickly forget the things he has experienced under extreme circumstances. Their experience with the storm would test and build their faith. Jesus knew He would soon suffer and die on the cross leaving them in the midst of another violent storm. Traditionalism would be a hindrance in the cross experience; it would take a strong faith in God to see them through. Like a coach conditioning his players for the competition that lies ahead Jesus is preparing His disciples for the struggle that they unwittingly face.

They had been struggling against the storm for some time when Jesus came to them walking on the sea. When they first saw Him they did not recognize Him. They thought Him to be a ghost, considering the fact He was walking on the sea, and they became even more frighten. Jesus greeted them saying, “be of good cheer” (KJV) or “take courage” (NAS); “it is I; do not be afraid. ”The lesson He is teaching, to them and to us, is the storms will come because of the enemy; but we are to resist the storm and take courage or be of good cheer (stand fast in faith) knowing that if we are where He has commanded us to be--He will not abandon us---He, the Master of the sea, will come to us in the midst of the storm

As we continue the account of the storm we find Peter calling out to the Lord saying, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. ’And He said, "Come! " And Peter made his way down out of the boat and began to walk toward Jesus as the storm continued to rage. But Peter, taking His eyes off of Jesus, looked upon the storm and fear and doubt overcame him; immediately he began to sink. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me! ”And Jesus, being filled with love, mercy and grace stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him,

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt? ” (Matthew 14:28-31)

It took faith, trust and courage for Peter to leave the boat to walk on stormy water toward Jesus. If he had continued in faith he would have made it to Jesus walking on the sea in the midst of the storm. We all, like Peter, have our moments of faith and trust; to continue in faith and trust we must not look upon our adverse circumstances but continue to look upon (Hebrews 12:2f) the One who has beckoned us to “come” to Him.

As Jesus lifted Peter from the water they walked to the boat as the storm continued. When Jesus and Peter were both in the boat the sea became calm. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying,

“You are certainly God’s Son! ” (Matthew 14:32-33).

Their personal experience with Christ in the midst of a storm made them realize that He is the Son of God. His miracles were no longer just something that amazes them but they were now seen as loving acts of God bringing about His will in caring for His people.

In the presence of Christ there is an atmosphere of serenity. The sea became calm and peaceful and the disciples began to worship and praise Him as the Son of God. Something else of interest followed. Remember that Jesus had commanded them to cross over to the cursed city of Bethsaida? The events of the storm had changed their course and they were being taken toward Gennesaret, the place known as “the land of miracles;” there they would be gladly received.

“And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; and they began to entreat Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured” (Matthew 14:34-36 NAS).

The people of Gennesaret recognized the great love, mercy and grace that the Son of God has for His people and they came bringing their sick expecting life saving miracles.

All of God’s people face trials and troubles, or what we are calling storms in this lesson. Storms come in many different forms; sickness, financial difficulties, losses of different types, religious persecutions and etc. Temptations to do evil are not storms! ! God allows storms to come upon us but He never tempts anyone with evil. If we respond correctly to storms we will have a personal relationship with Christ like we never had before. In the midst of the storm He teaches us that we can trust, lean or depend on and draw nearer to Him. We learn how and desire to talk to Him more. In other words, our prayer life greatly improves. Our love for our Savior grows and our love and respect for others is greatly increased. We learn who we are in Him and how to exercise the authority that He gives us in His name (Matthew 16:19).

The Apostle James writes,

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4 NAS).

The testing of faith produces endurance and the perfect results of endurance is fortitude, determination, strength, courage and staying power; a state of perfection and completeness in Christ lacking in nothing. The purpose of such conditioning is for standing firm against the powers of the devil when we are tempted with his evil (Ephesians 6:10-19).

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NAS)

The following words were written by the apostle Paul who laid aside the traditions of men (Philippians 3:8-12) and weathered the storms, following the example of his Savior, and now he has gained the prize he so faithfully sought (Ephesians 2:6).

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 NAS).

James C Sanford

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

the Judge

Sadly, we are critiqued,
By the people that we know.
By title or occupation,
And by the possessions that we show.

We judge by skin color,
Or by awards received.
By church denomination
And by what we believe.

We're judged by what we spend,
Or by what we give.
We're judged by age and gender,
And by where we live.

We're judged by our past,
And by our education,
By the language that we speak,
Or by our nation.

We evaluate cosmetically.
We judge both fat and small.
We judge by ones appearance.
Fact is, we judge it all!

Some judge because they're paid to.
Some judge intentionally.
Some judge to build self worth,
Some unwillingly.

BEWARE, for there is only One,
Who evaluates every stain and smudge.
Good luck amateur critics of humanity,
When you face that Judge!
by: B.G. Wetherby

2 Corinthians 5
(14) We are ruled by the love of Christ, now that we recognize that one man died for everyone, which means that they all share in his death.
(15) He died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but only for him who died and was raised to life for their sake.
(16) No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so.

Galatians 2
(6) ...God does not judge by outward appearances...

Galatians 5
(4) Those of you who try to be put right [or teach others to be put right] with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God's grace.
(5) As for us, our hope [thru His Son] is that God will put us right with him; and this is what we wait for by the power of God's Spirit working through our faith.
(6) For when we are in union with Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor the lack [the laws] of it makes any difference at all; what matters is faith that works through love.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why Go to Church?

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I've gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”

This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this... They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

When you are DOWN to nothing.... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Hebrew Covenant

The Biblical meaning of the word “covenant” appears to indicate “a special bond”, which emphasizes the relationship of faith and trust that is the basic of all covenants. A divine covenant is not like a contract, which involves a person or person’s special skills or talents and has a time limit. A divine covenant involves the whole being of the parties involved and is eternal, ---everlasting. A covenant is oneness; meaning in harmony, in full and complete agreement; the two parties are one. It is a covenant of promise; and of faith, hope and love.

To understand a divine covenant it is helpful to have at least some knowledge of the Hebrew laws and customs given to them by God. The believer’s relationship with our heavenly Father is based upon a divine covenant between God and His Son and a covenant between God’s Son and the believer. When the believer has knowledge of a divine covenant it gives understanding of many of the doctrines of God’s Holy Scriptures.

A covenant is always made between a greater and a lesser person. The one is greater in love, faith, knowledge, wisdom, authority, and etc. To study the covenant ceremony we will break it into eight parts. The ceremony is full of meaning both to those making the covenant and to the witnesses of the covenant. We chose to study the covenant in eight parts because the number eight (8) is a symbol of infinity or everlasting and eternal. As we study we will carefully examine each part of the covenant to broaden our understanding of our own covenant relationship with God through Jesus, His Son.

Part one in making covenant was the exchanging of robes. Once the decision was made to make a covenant the two parties met, usually in an open field, in the presence of witnesses. Mount Calvary would be an example of such a place. The first step was the exchange of robes. A likeness is seen in the covenant made between Jonathan and David that is recorded in 1st Samuel beginning in chapter 18.

In verse 1 we read that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.” Jonathan’s soul had become one with the soul of David and he loved him. Jonathan recognized David’s love and faith toward God and saw that through his acts of faith he had become the savior of Israel. (read 1st Samuel chapter 17). Even though Jonathan was the king’s son he saw David as being the greater person and desired to become one with him. He wanted to have the same love and faith toward God that he saw in David.

“Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Then Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David,----. (1st Samuel 18:3-4f)”

The exchanging of the robes symbolized the putting on of one another. It meant that one person took on the identity of the other and vice versa.

When, by revelation we receive the gift of faith (see Romans 10:17), we recognize Jesus as the Son of Man and the great love He has for His heavenly Father and for man, we see and understand the great faith He exercised in the defeating of the enemy and becoming the Savior of the world. Our souls become knit with the soul of Jesus and we love Him as we love ourselves. When this happens we desire to become like Him and enter into covenant with Him. To make covenant with Him we must, by faith working through love (see Galatians 5:6), meet Him in the open place of Mount Calvary outside the camp where the sacrifice has been made. By faith working through love, on the cross with Christ we give Him our cloak of flesh, which is a cloak of sin. By faith working through love, we become one with His death and we die to sin. In exchange for our cloak of sinful flesh He gives us His cloak of righteousness, His heavenly nature, His divine image; He gives us a cloak of eternal life and fellowship with the Father.

The Apostle Paul writes,

”I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

The second part is the exchanging of the belts or girdles. The belt is a symbol of strength. After giving David his robe Jonathan gave David his belt. The exchanging of the belts is symbolic of the strength of the lesser being exchanged for the strength of the greater.

In our covenant with Christ by faith we exchange the sickness and disease of the flesh, our weaknesses, faults and failures for His strength. Where our love for the Father is weak, His is strong. Where our love for one another is weak, His is strong. Where our faith in the Father is weak, His is strong. When we give Him our weaknesses, in exchange He gives us His faith, hope and love; the same faith, hope and love that gave Him strength to overcome sickness, disease, death, hell and the grave. Jesus takes our sin, our failure, and our total inability to please the Father and in exchange gives us His total right standing before God. He takes our sin and gives us His righteousness. He takes our dead spirit and gives us the Spirit of life. He takes our defeat and gives us His victory. He takes our slavery and gives us His throne (see Col. 1:13-14, Ephesians 2:6).

Part three is the exchanging of armor and weapons. Jonathan also gave David his armor and weapons. Again, the lesser recognizes the greater superior armor and weapons. The exchange also symbolizes the fact that they have a common enemy. The enemies of one are the enemies of the other. If one of the covenant members is attacked the other is obligated to come to his aide.

“--- Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Since our struggle is not against flesh and blood, by the power of the Holy Spirit we must exchange the weakness of the flesh for the armor of Christ; having our loins girded with the belt of His strength which is His truth and putting on the breastplate of His righteousness, we shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace and take His shield of faith with which we will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. Also we put on the helmet of His salvation and arm ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We pray and petition at all times in the Spirit, that is the prayer of faith. These are the weapons and the full armor of God. For all who have been baptized in Christ have been clothed with Christ (see Galatians 3:27).

Part four is the killing of the sacrificial animal, usually a lamb, goat or a calf. The animal was killed and cut into two parts and laid aside; one half to the left and the other to the right. The purpose of the animal sacrifice was symbolic of dying to ones self and living for the other. The animal was the substitute for the actual death of the covenant partner. Apart from dying to ones self there was no covenant. The animal’s blood was the witness of the death and the sign of the covenant. As long as the covenant was not broken the death of the animal was sufficient as a substitute. If the covenant was broken there remained no longer a substitute sacrifice for death.

Christ Jesus is the believers covenant sacrifice. When we make covenant with Him and by faith die unto our self, Jesus is our substitute death. His blood is the testimony or witness of His death that He died for us and is the sign of the covenant. The Holy Spirit and the word of God agree and bear witness of His death.

“For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water (the word of God) and the blood (the testimony of His death), and the three are in agreement (1st John 5:8). ”

Part five was called walking into death or the path of blood. Actually it was the oath part of the covenant. The individuals making covenant would call upon God to witness the covenant as they walked around and through the two halves of the sacrifice making the figure 8 as they recited the agreement of the covenant. An oath was taken that went something like this---“May it be done to me as unto this animal if I break this covenant.” Or they might have said, “Lord, I swear to keep this covenant with my friend, and if I fail to do so, may the judgment that fell upon this animal fall upon me.” Or, again, it may have been a marriage vow---“I promise to love and be faithful unto death.” The covenant was so binding that to break it would warrant the transgressor’s death.

Adam broke faith with God and through his sin came death to all mankind. Because Adam allowed lust to enter His flesh the flesh became an enemy to God, therefore, it was a veil between God and man. Jesus is the sacrificial offering for man’s sins and in Him the veil is removed. He died in our stead and through the shedding of His blood we have forgiveness of sin.

At the cross where Jesus died we make our profession of faith,

“-------‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,’--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved, for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed’ (Romans 10:8-11). ”
“-----and no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit.” (1st Corinthians 12:3ff)

The Spirit of God knows the heart of man and bears witness of the proclamation.

Jesus makes the death walk with us through the sacrifice, which is His body, as we proclaim our oath of faith. The death walk is symbolic of our crucifixion with Him. Jesus gave His life for us, and according to the covenant, we must give our life for Him. Jesus was raised up for us and we are raised up with Him if indeed we die with Him.

Jesus was the veil of flesh that was torn that through Him we have entrance into the Holy of Hollies.

“Therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

The animal sacrifice being cut in halves is in likeness of the torn veil of flesh. The temple veil being torn when Christ was crucified was a sign of the veil being removed in Christ.

The sixth part of making a covenant was the cutting of the wrist, known as “the striking of the hands.” The individuals would cut their wrists just short of the palms of the hand, and each would allow the blood to flow. Then they would grasp each the others hand allowing the wounds to be bound one to the other. The mingling of the blood from the wounds was symbolic of each one’s life flowing into the other. Both bore the scars of the covenant. As they greeted others they would wave with an open hand. The person being greeted would see the scar and know that he was in covenant and the works he did was for the best interest of his covenant partner. The custom of waving or shaking hands in greetings, making peace agreements or even contracts is derived from “the striking of hands.”

By faith we believe we ”strike hands” with Jesus on the cross. By faith we believe when one comes to Christ he, by the Spirit, is crucified with Him. Not beside Him, above Him or even below Him, but with Him. By faith we believe that by the Spirit we hang on the cross with Him. By faith we believe that the nails driven into His hands are driven into our hands also; our hands touching His, wound to wound. This is the “striking of the hands.” By faith we believe His blood mingles with our blood. Our life flows into Him and His life flows into us. Also, by faith we believe that by the power of the Spirit we die with Him, are buried with Him, and the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead raised us up with Him. The life we now live in the Spirit we live for Christ and it is by the same Spirit that His life is manifested in us.

Man’s hands are often symbols of his works. The Holy Scripture teaches us to lift holy hands unto God. If by faith we believe we have been crucified with Christ our hands are indeed holy. They no longer do the works of Satan but now work for God. When holy hands are lifted toward God, by faith we believe that God sees nail scared hands that identify the worshiper as one whose sin nature has been crucified with His Son. The worshipers are identified with Christ and their works and praise are accepted as being a holy sacrifice unto Him.

Part seven is the blessings and cursing. Every covenant ceremony contains an oath of blessings and cursing. The people who are making the covenant stand before witnesses and read out a list of possessions. The purpose of this was to say, “All that is mine is now yours.” The second part of the oath was made up of blessings and curses.

In Deuteronomy, chapter 28, we find a good example of the blessings and cursing. These are a part of the “old covenant” God had with His people. The blessings are contained in verses 1-14 and the curses are found in verses 15-68. There are blessings for total commitment by faith to the covenant and penalties for breaking the covenant. This is even true of any agreement between men. If we keep our agreement it has its reward. If we break our agreement we not only lose our reward but we are faced with penalties.

Consider the blessings of the “new covenant,”

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:16-17)

And also consider Phil. 4:19,

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Then there is Galatians 3:26-29, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all who are baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

And how much severer are the penalties!!!When we commit sin against the new covenant in Christ Jesus it also has its penalties. Jesus is our High Priest and is seated at the right hand of the Father continually making intersession for our failures and shortcomings, our sins. When we sin the Holy Spirit convicts us and then we are judged. If we judge ourselves and sorrowfully repent provision for our forgiveness has been prepared for us through Christ Jesus. If we do not judge ourselves and repent then this is willfully sinning and we place ourselves in jeopardy of “certain terrifying expectation of judgment” by God Himself.

It is written,

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. But a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace. For we know Him who has said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay. ' And again, 'The Lord will judge His people'. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God ” (Hebrews 10:26-31).

And the Apostle Peter writes,

“For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb,‘ A dog returns to its own vomit.’ and, ‘A sow. after washing, returns to the mire’ (2nd Peter 20-22). ”
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that WHEN YOU HAVE DONE THE WILL OF GOD, you may receive what was promised. ‘For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. ’But, My righteous one shall live by faith, and IF HE SHRINKS BACK MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.’ But we are not of those who shrink back to DESTRUCTION, but of those who have FAITH TO THE PRESERVING of the SOUL.” (Hebrews 10:35-39)

It is a sad mistake for anyone to depend upon a false doctrine for salvation while continuing to willfully sin. Salvation comes only by grace through a PRESERVING FAITH in the LORD JESUS CHRIST. Jesus is our intercessor and the Holy Spirit is given as our helper, there is no excuse for failing!!God is on our side. (For an example of persevering faith study the life of Jesus and read Hebrews, chapter 11).

The eighth and final part of the covenant was the meal. Bread and wine was part of the meal. One would break a piece of bread and dip it into the wine and place it in the others mouth. Then the other person would do the same. The bread represents the body and the wine represents the blood, the soul or life of a person. The dipping of the bread into the wine was symbolic of the giving of both body and soul to the other. Each one feeding the other was symbolic of becoming one through the giving of each one’s total life to the other.

Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is the believers covenant meal. It is a time when we meditate upon the covenant and the meaning of our Lord’s death. Of how His body was bruised and His blood was poured out for us. It is a time for reflecting on how He “finished” His course of faith in the covenant with His Father (John 19:30); a time to remember the completion of His part of the covenant with us; a time to remember His great gift to us and to reaffirm our oath to be faithful to Him; a time of thanksgiving and a time of praise.

Jesus gives us the bread and the wine that is symbolic of Him giving His body and soul (or life) to us. But we do not have any bread and wine worthy to give to Him. One day our course of faith will be finished and the Passover covenant will be fulfilled in us; then we will be face to face with Him and be perfect as He is perfect (Luke 22:15-16). Then He will sit down and complete the covenant meal with us and we can share with Him the bread and the wine that He has given us (see Luke 22:15-18, Matt. 26:29 & Mark 14:25). Then it will be known as the marriage supper. If we are ever mindful of these things how could we break our sacred vow of faithfulness to Him??

James C Sanford

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Let There Be Light

God and God’s word are frequently spoken of as lights or lamps to enlighten and guide the believer.

“And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all:.” (1st John 1:5)

A person that does not know, or rather is not known by God, is said to be in darkness. It is the word of God that enlightens and restores the soul of man in God’s light.

It is written,

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalms 119:105)

The use of the word light in this manner is a figure of speech containing an implied comparison. Since light is used in such descriptive and symbolic terms concerning God and His word we may find it beneficial to study the origin and purpose of light.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines light as the form of electromagnetic radiation that acts upon the retina of the eye, optic nerve, and etc., making sight possible. This energy is transmitted in a vacuum at a velocity of 186,000 miles per second. To sum up Webster, light is a form of energy flow that travels in a vacuum at a very high rate of speed. When the energy rays make contact with the eye it activates sight.

In likeness to light activating the physical sight, the word of God activates the spiritual sight. Darkness is a type of blindness, for one cannot see where there is no light. The same is true concerning spiritual darkness. Man in spiritual darkness cannot see, know and understand the great attributes of God; he is in a state of darkness and death.

The Psalmist cried out,

“O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling places.” (Psalms 43:3)

The Apostle John writes,

“In Him was life, and life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

It is the Spirit of life in the Word of God that enlightens the souls of those in darkness and gives the light that illuminates the way unto life. The Word of God is the light of God and is in perfect harmony with God; for He is the Son of God.

Nelson’s Bible Dictionary describes light as illumination; the opposite of darkness. From Webster’s and Nelson’s definitions and the Holy Scriptures we understand light to be radiant power; moving, active energy originating with God and is from God.

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

When God spoke the command, “Let there be light,” by His word He created and released a dynamic energy flow that He called light. His “light” is the great beauty and blessing to all that exist in the universe. Light, generated by the word of God, is a beautiful flow of energy, power and authority that makes known God’s magnificent presence and manifest His radiant glory. Light, in likeness to its parent, is pure, righteous, eternal, and unchangeable and knows no boundaries. Light is in opposition to and takes authority over darkness; where light is there is no darkness. Light is a teacher, for it removes darkness and reveals that which was hidden in darkness and gives knowledge of that which was previously unknown.

Light purifies and restores and supports life but light cannot create or impart life; this quality is reserved for The Word from whence it came. Truly light is a reflection of the word and has many qualities of the Spirit who gave it.

“And God saw that the light was good---- .” (Genesis 1:4f)

The light was in harmony with the word of God and is just as God willed and appointed it to be. This harmony is why light is used in such descriptive and symbolic terms throughout the Holy Scriptures.

God is a Spirit, He did not need light nor darkness. Then the question arises; Why did God create light? Light itself is a manifestation of God’s glory and would also aid in displaying His marvelous works. God, being a spirit, was invisible. But all His great attributes would clearly be seen in all that He created under His pure light.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood by what has been made---.” (Rom. 1:20f)

His light would serve as a supporter, a guide and a teacher to all that He created. God, through light, would take a world of darkness and chaos and turn it into a Kingdom of Light. Light, and all of God’s creations would aid in His redemptive work and over power the evil that lurks in darkness. He would fill the earth with His wonderful light and radiant glory.

Why was light created in the beginning of the first day? Light was God’s grand entrance and announced His presence. God did not give the earth light from the sun, the moon and the stars until the fourth day. For the first three full days the command of His word was the only light given for the world. He wanted it clearly understood that He is the source of light. As great as light, the sun, the moon, the stars and all things created by Him may be, man was to see the great value of The Creator and worship Him, ---not the things created.

“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and morning, a fourth day.” (Genesis 1:14-19)

All that God created He gave for a specific purpose according to His perfect order and plan. The sun is not greater than its Creator, and the moon is not greater than the sun that gives the moon its light; and the stars are not greater than the sun and moon. But each has its place in God’s perfect order and each has its own radiant beauty and glory from God. In the same manner in the God Head there is perfect order; it is the Father who is the authority and He loves and honors the Son; The Son, The Word of God, is obedient to and glorifies the Father and He loves and honors the Father; and the Spirit embodies the Father and the Son and it the Father who gives His Spirit through the work of the Son and the Spirit speaks in the name of the Son and works to glorify the Son and the Father.

Each member of God’s house embraces and upholds the other. Therefore, perfect harmony and unity in love is the order of Gods house. All things, the universe, the earth and all that is in it, including mankind, are designed after the order of His house that all may be in harmony as one and embrace and uphold the other. There is no selfishness in God’s house; that is of darkness.

James C Sanford

Friday, September 7, 2007

Worship Together This Week


Free Sheet Music
Everlasting God - Brenton Brown
You Are My God - Brenton Brown
Song Of Hope - Robbie Seay Band

New Song Cafe
Everlasting God with Brenton Brown
(New version hosted by Chris Tomlin!)

Now Playing in the New Song Jukebox
Everlasting God - Brenton Brown
You Are My God - Brenton Brown
Song Of Hope - Robbie Seay Band
Eternal One - Robbie Seay Band

Featured Bible Study
The Everlasting God by Brenton Brown

Featured Article
Band Dynamics by Brenton Brown

Featured Worship Leader
Brenton Brown

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young'. As God reminds Israel, He reminds us, the spiritual Israel today, that He is aware of us. He is aware of our needs. He knows exactly who we are and what each one of us is struggling with. And He gives us this hope. That those who wait on Him, those who entwine themselves in Him, like a cord is entwined with other cords and is strengthened, will be strengthened by the God who does not grow weary or weak. The everlasting God. - From this week's featured Bible study

Download the Free Sheet Music and watch the New Song Cafe video!

Buy the Everlasting God CD for $10 - This week only!

Christian Musician Summit
The Christian Musician Summit conferences are a two-day event geared toward musicians, worship leaders, audio/video/media techs, songwriters, and indie artists. They are designed to provide a wide variety of workshop options and exhibits for Christian Musicians involved in congregational ministry or performance ministry. REGISTER ONLINE!

Watch the conference promo video!

Songwriter Bootcamp
The Songwriter Boot Camp is a single day conference designed for the serious songwriter, as well as the hobbyist who desires to improve their craft by learning from the best in the Christian Music industry. Our boot camps have featured the likes of Charlie Peacock, Nathan Nockels, Paul Baloche, Brian Doerksen, Scott Krippayne, Rick Cua, Steve Merkel, Scott & Christine Dente, Roby Duke, Bob Kilpatrick... as well as decision makers from EMI Christian Music Publishing, Integrity Music, Word/Myrrh Publishing, Brentwood-Benson Publishing, and Maranatha Music.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

New Powerhouse CD: Healing Scriptures

We are excited to announce the latest audio CD produced by The Powerhouse Ministry:

Healing Scriptures

Click here to learn more about this and to listen to samples of all the tracks including the TWO BONUS TRACKS on the CD.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Satan's Meeting


Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said,

“We can’t keep Christians from going to church.”

“We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth.”

“We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Savior.”

“Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.”

“So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ...”

“This is what I want you to do,” said the devil:

“Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.

“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered.

“Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow.”

“Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles.”

“Keep them from spending time with their children.”

“As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!”

“Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice.”

“Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive.” To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly.”

“This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.”

“Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers.”

“Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day.”

“Invade their driving moments with billboards.”

“Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes....”

“Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives. ”

“Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night.”

“Give them headaches too!”

“If they don’t give their husbands the love they need, they begin to look elsewhere.”

“That will fragment their families quickly!”

“Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas.”

“Give them an Easter bunny so they won’t talk about his resurrection and power over sin and death.”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive.”

“Have them return from their recreation exhausted.”

“Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead.”

“Keep them busy, busy, busy!”

“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences.”

“Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus.”

“Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

“It will work!”

“It will work!”

It was quite a plan!

The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there. Having little time for their God or their families. Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives. I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes? You be the judge!!!!!

Does ”BUSY” mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan’s Y-oke?