Monday, December 31, 2007

A Thought For The New Year

God whispers in your soul and speaks to your mind.

Sometimes when you don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at you.

It's your choice: Listen to the whisper, or wait for the brick.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bhutto Assassinated... Middle East Turmoil... What is Going on?

We have a new recording by Brotha DC about the latest turmoil in the world and what the word of God has to say to us in that regard. This 30 minute message is available by clicking the icon below (or, right-click to download the MP3).

You can also download this message (and other resources) from our download site,

Saturday, December 29, 2007

R.I.P. Roby Duke

I was just listening to one of my favorite albums, “Not The Same.” Roby Duke has quite a comprehensive collection of music, including his 2004 release, “Ghost.”

Then, I hear from a colleague that Roby suddenly and unexpectedly exited the planet. Immediately I went into disbelief. There was nothing on Google or anything.

Then, finally, I got the following from Bob Bennett and Terry Clark:

Roby Duke - Sudden Departure

10:46 PM PST
Paso Robles, CA

I’m away from home until Sunday afternoon. This morning I got sad word
that my friend Roby Duke died suddenly (details are forthcoming, but it
appears it may have happened on Wednesday and discovered late Thursday
night). I've been excitedly telling folks for weeks the plans Roby and I
had to collaborate on a Christmas album for Fall 2008. I have always had
great admiration and love for him ... for his music and as a fellow
traveler. In times like these, I am most afraid of saying something
stupid, something shopworn, some pseudo-spiritual platitude tossed out
carelessly. It might be a spot of pride on my part, but also the notion
that I don't want to cheapen or minimize the difficulty of such a sudden
and, by human horizontal-view standards, a tragic loss as this. I will
only say again that I dearly loved this man. If you have heard him or
ever met him, chances are very good you feel the same. Shortly after I
found out, it was my difficult task (self-appointed, but necessary) to
call Terry Clark about this ... later in the day he and his wife Nancy
wrote a much more lucid and God-in-view response than I can manage here:

Dear Catalyst Family,

Our dear friend, Roby Duke, has preceded us into the presence of our
Savior, after a sudden heart attack yesterday, December 27, 2007.

We want to honor Roby and thank God for the life of sacrifice and
service that was itself a treasure given to those who knew him and
thousands of people who heard his music. He deeply impacted our lives
and we are eternally grateful.

Since 1993, Roby’s genius has been responsible for the production of U
Gada No, Love Heals, This Christmas, Only Believe and The PRIZE. During
those years we have become brothers.

We were so blessed to have been with him for his birthday earlier this
month, then again last Sunday as we played together at Calvary Chapel in
Thousand Oaks, CA. He kept glancing over at me as he sang his final
song, “I Shall See God,”" as if to assure me that he fully believed what
he was singing like never before. It was such a sweet and powerful
moment as the whole congregation echoed over and over, "I shall see Him,
touch His face."

Our prayers are with Brantley, Roby’s son; Anne Baldwin, his assistant
and the whole Duke family.

Thanks, Lord, for loaning Roby to us for a little while. It was way too
short, it seemed we had so much more to do. But we are absolutely sure
You know how to perfectly satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
You've welcomed him personally to do exactly what he has been singing
about for as long as we've known him.

So long, Roby. We'll see you soon.


Terry & Nancy Clark
Catalyst Ministries
We’ve found additional information at and information on Roby’s funeral and memorial services at

Name it, Claim it? Blab it, Grab it?

(AP) -- The message flickered into Cindy Fleenor’s living room each night: Be faithful in how you live and how you give, the television preachers said, and God will shower you with material riches.

Photo: Evangelist Benny Hinn at a service in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2002.

And so the 53-year-old accountant from the Tampa, Florida, area pledged $500 a year to Joyce Meyer, the evangelist whose frank talk about recovering from childhood sexual abuse was so inspirational. She wrote checks to flamboyant faith healer Benny Hinn and a local preacher-made-good, Paula White.

Only the blessings didn’t come. Fleenor ended up borrowing money from friends and payday loan companies just to buy groceries. At first she believed the explanation given on television: Her faith wasn’t strong enough.

“I wanted to believe God wanted to do something great with me like he was doing with them," she said. "I’m angry and bitter about it. Right now, I don’t watch anyone on TV hardly.”

All three of the groups Fleenor supported are among six major Christian television ministries under scrutiny by a senator who is asking questions about the evangelists’ lavish spending and possible abuses of their tax-exempt status.

The probe by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has brought new scrutiny to the underlying belief that brings in millions of dollars and fills churches from Atlanta to Los Angeles -- the “Gospel of Prosperity,” or the notion that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches.

All six ministries under investigation preach the prosperity gospel to varying degrees.

Proponents call it a biblically sound message of hope. Others say it is a distortion that makes evangelists rich and preys on the vulnerable. They say it has evolved from “it’s all right to make money”" to it’s all right for the pastor to drive a Bentley, live in an oceanside home and travel by private jet.

“More and more people are desperate and grasping at straws and want something that will alleviate their pain or financial crisis,” said Michael Palmer, dean of the divinity school at Regent University, founded by Pat Robertson. “It’s a growing problem.”

The modern-day prosperity movement can largely be traced back to evangelist Oral Roberts’ teachings. Roberts’ disciples have spread his theology and vocabulary (Roberts and other evangelists, such as Meyer, call their donors “partners.”) And several popular prosperity preachers, including some now under investigation, have served on the Oral Roberts University board.

Grassley is asking the ministries for financial records on salaries, spending practices, private jets and other perks. The investigation, coupled with a financial scandal at ORU that forced out Roberts’ son and heir, Richard, has some wondering whether the prosperity gospel is facing a day of reckoning.

While few expect the movement to disappear, the scrutiny could force greater financial transparency and oversight in a movement known for secrecy.

Most scholars trace the origins of prosperity theology to E.W. Kenyon, an evangelical pastor from the first half of the 20th century.

But it wasn’t until the postwar era -- and a pair of evangelists from Tulsa, Oklahoma -- that “health and wealth” theology became a fixture in Pentecostal and charismatic churches.

Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin -- and later, Kenneth Copeland -- trained tens of thousands of evangelists with a message that resonated with an emerging middle class, said David Edwin Harrell Jr., a Roberts biographer. Copeland is among those now being investigated.

“What Oral did was develop a theology that made it OK to prosper,” Harrell said. “He let Pentecostals be faithful to the old-time truths their grandparents embraced and be part of the modern world, where they could have good jobs and make money.”

The teachings took on various names -- “Name It and Claim It,“ “Word of Faith,” the prosperity gospel.

Prosperity preachers say that it isn’t all about money -- that God’s blessings extend to health, relationships and being well-off enough to help others.

They have Bible verses at the ready to make their case. One oft-cited verse, in Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, reads: “Yet for your sakes he became poor, that you by his poverty might become rich.”

Critics acknowledge the idea that God wants to bless his followers has a Biblical basis, but say prosperity preachers take verses out of context. The prosperity crowd also fails to acknowledge Biblical accounts that show God doesn’t always reward faithful believers, Palmer said.

The Book of Job is a case study in piety unrewarded, and a chapter in the Book of Hebrews includes a litany of believers who were tortured and martyred, Palmer said.

Yet the prosperity gospel continues to draw crowds, particularly lower- and middle-income people who, critics say, have the greatest motivation and the most to lose. The prosperity message is spreading to black churches, attracting elderly people with disposable incomes, and reaching huge churches in Africa and other developing parts of the world.

One of the teaching’s attractions is that it doesn’t dwell on traditional Christian themes of heaven and hell but on answering pressing concerns of the here and now, said Brian McLaren, a liberal evangelical author and pastor.

But the prosperity gospel, McLaren said, not only preys on the hope of the vulnerable, it puts too much emphasis on individual success and happiness.

“We’ve pretty much ignored what the Bible says about systemic injustice,” he said.

The checks and balances central to Christian denominations are largely lacking in prosperity churches. One of the pastors in the Grassley probe, Bishop Eddie Long of suburban Atlanta, has written that God told him to get rid of the “ungodly governmental structure” of a deacon board.

Some ministers hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works. Atlanta-area pastor Creflo Dollar, who is fighting Grassley’s inquiry, owns a Rolls Royce and multimillion-dollar homes and travels in a church-owned Learjet.

In a letter to Grassley, Dollar’s attorney calls the prosperity gospel a “deeply held religious belief” grounded in Scripture and therefore a protected religious freedom. Grassley has said his probe is not about theology.

But even some prosperity gospel critics -- like the Rev. Adam Hamilton of 15,000-member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in suburban Kansas City, Missouri -- say that the investigation is entering a minefield.

“How do you determine how much money a minister like this is able to make when the basic theology is that wealth is OK?” said Hamilton, an Oral Roberts graduate who later left the charismatic movement. “That gets into theological questions.”

There is evidence of change. Joyce Meyer Ministries, for one, enacted financial reforms in recent years, including making audited financial statements public.

Meyer, who has promised to cooperate fully with Grassley, issued a statement emphasizing that a prosperity gospel “that solely equates blessing with financial gain is out of balance and could damage a person’s walk with God.”


“Boast not yourself of tomorrow; for you know not what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1

Psychologist William Morriston, reported that 94% of the 3,000 persons he surveyed were enduring today in order to get to tomorrow.

Do you know anyone like that?

Perhaps you are one of those.

Tomorrow, you’re going on vacation.
Tomorrow, you’re going to get the house cleaned.
Tomorrow, you’re going to start your diet.
Tomorrow, you’re going to balance your checkbook.

Tomorrow... tomorrow... tomorrow...

The only problem is tomorrow never arrives! When it gets here, it is today.

And today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. It is always today.

What are you worrying about?

It’s time to ask His forgiveness and give Him your concern.

He is more than able to handle it.

Worry is pulling tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.

Worry about nothing!
Pray about every thing!!

Worried about what 2008 will bring?

- knows your future!
- holds your future!!
- and is your future!!!

Enter the New Year with Him!
Goodness and mercy shall follow you!!

From My Manna

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Faith and Works

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:5-8 NASU)

[But Noah found favor (grace)]

Looking at Noah’s ancestors we are inclined to believe Noah was called of God early in life; initiated into the worship of his Creator; delighted in His word and was dedicated to His service. We further believe his mind was set and his ears attentive to the voice of the Lord, not being influenced by the naysayers, the religious, the self righteous, and never tossed about by “every wind of doctrine,” or lured by lust into the things of the world. Noah had a constant and certain confidence and trust in God’s love and in His ability and power to order and sustain all things. Therefore in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation Noah had “set his mind” to walk with the One who had called him to righteousness, hence he found grace in the “eyes of the Lord” and over came the world through faith (1st John 5:4).

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Hebrews 11:7 NASU)

Because of God’s love for mankind He had mercy; and mercy brought forth the favor of God to warn Noah about the impending flood that would destroy all flesh. Noah, not out of fear of death, but out of fear (reverence) of God, never doubting, obeyed Him in all that He commanded him to do.

By grace through faith Noah became the heir of righteousness. But what is faith? Now I know must of you will quote Hebrews 11:1 and say to me, that is faith; but what constitutes faith? And, where does one get faith? As we examine the Scriptures we find that God spoke with Noah warning him of things to come. Now Noah, having a loving, trusting relationship with God, believed God and began to do the things God commanded him to do (Genesis 6:22).

Now let us just suppose that Noah had heard God but did not do the things God commanded him to do in a timely manner. I highly suspect that Noah would have perished with the rest of the world. Although it does not seem possible to love God apart from obedience, nevertheless we conclude that just loving, hearing and believing God does not totally constitute faith. Faith must include obedience!!Is not obedience an expression of love for God?

But isn’t obedience works?

Yes, of course it is. But works alone did not justify Noah; his love, believing and obedience to the words spoken to him by God---faith, justified him.

And then there is Abraham, living in Mesopotamia in his father’s house serving other Gods (Joshua 24:2) and God spoke to Him (Acts 7:2). Unlike Noah, Abraham was not in a relationship with God when He called him. Because of God’s love for mankind He had mercy and choose Abraham to be a father of faith. When God spoke to Abraham His word made alive the ears of Abraham and caused him to hear effecting faith in him (Romans 10:17). When Abraham heard God he believed; this was God’s gracious gift to Abraham.

Again let us just suppose that Abraham had heard God and believed but said to God, “I believe you God but I think I will stay here in Ur.” Would Abraham have received the blessings that God promised Him? Of course not!! He had to obey God’s commands. Then we conclude from the Scriptures that Abraham heard God, believed, and because God first loved him, he love God in returned and expressed that love through obedience; thus his faith was perfected (James 2:22).

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8 NASU)

The Holy Scriptures teaches us that both Noah and Abraham were men of faith. Now for the answer to our question we examine what these two men have in common. Both were chosen of God, heard, believed, obeyed Him and because God first loved them they both loved God; thus effecting faith in their hearts. Therefore we conclude that the foundation of faith is the love of God in the heart of man, the cornerstone is the word of God believed, and the completion of faith is obedience.

Now we have the answer to what constitutes or establishes faith: hearing God (Romans 10:17), believing and obeying Him from a heart of love. Jesus said,

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15 NASU)

Would not keeping our Lord’s commandments be works of faith through love? Sure, I agree, it is by grace through faith that a person is saved and not of works, but isn’t God’s favor granted to those who when God calls, motivated by love they obey Him. Noah and Abraham both were justified and saved by grace through their obedience to God’s purpose in calling them.

Many have written that the Apostles Paul and James were in disagreement concerning works. I contend that both Apostles were taught and led by the same Spirit and they did not disagree on anything. Men, trying to understand Gods Holy word by the intellect, have grossly misunderstood the messages of these two men.

Paul states that works does not justify man; and He of course is right. Now we confess and agree with Paul, there is no way man can work his way into salvation by obedience to the Law or any other works of the flesh; it is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that one is saved. And the Apostle James says that works justifies man (James 2:21), and of course he is right also. Without contradiction we agree with James because we understand the messages of these two men.

The Apostle Paul is speaking of works apart from hearing, believing and loving God. He is speaking of men who know of God and His promises but are trying to work out their salvation by their own methods rather than following God’s plan; such works are corrupted by the sin nature of man and is not acceptable to God; and also, there has never been a law given that could impart life.

The Apostle Paul is speaking of men seeking righteous through the “works of the Law” and James is speaking of a love that leads to obedience—“works of faith”---diligently following God’s plan.

The Apostle Paul writes,

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” (Romans 3:28 NASU)

Now we will repeat the same Scripture but inserting the elements of faith in italics rather than the word “faith.”

For we maintain that a man is justified by hearing God, believing Him, and obeying from a heart of love apart from the works of the Law.

For example let us say that Noah possessed a stone with God’s handwriting giving the Ten Commandments of the Moral Law. And he also had God’s warning of a flood and instructions to build an ark. But let us suppose that out of fear of death Noah kept all Ten Commandments to the letter but ignored the instructions to build an ark, could “the works of the Law” save him? Of course not!

Or again let us suppose that in as effort to survive the flood he set out to build a boat without following God’s plan; and we will assume that he got his boat ready by the time the flood came. Don’t you know that the storm would have completely destroyed his little boat. Thus his works would have not saved him from death. He would have been like Nimrod, who never knew God, trying to build his tower into heaven, which God destroyed.

The Apostle James writes,

“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14 NASU)

The Apostle James is speaking here of a faith that is lacking the element of obedience to the word of God.

Again for example let us say that Noah heard God when He warned of a flood that would destroy all flesh. And He believed Him as He gave him instructions to build an ark; but he never lifted a hand to pick up his tools to build the ark. Would his hearing and believing God save him? Of course not!

Apart from works of obedience his hearing and believing is worthless (James 2:17, 20). God’s saving grace was poured out upon Noah because he participated in his salvation through obedience to the word of God from a pure heart of love.

Out of God’s love for mankind He has mercy and extends His invitation of salvation to man through His Son Jesus. We love God because He first loved us and through this love of His He inspires faith, a faith that includes obedience (works).

James C Sanford

Thursday, December 20, 2007


It is all over the news media... Britney Spears’ kid sister, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears, has announced that she is pregnant.

While the pundits are wagging their chins on the matter, we thought we would provide seven minutes of wisdom on the matter.

Click (or Right-Click) here to listen or download the podcast

Pray for her!

Monday, December 17, 2007

God Loves me as much as He Loves Jesus

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom.
(Luke 12:32)

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
(Psalm 128:2)

Show me a sign of [Your evident] goodwill and favor, that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because You, Lord, [will show Your approval of me when You] help and comfort me.
(Psalm 86:17 AMP)

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 NIV)

I shall not die but live, and shall declare the works and recount the illustrious acts of the Lord.
(Psalm 118:17 AMP)

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.
(Luke 10:19 AMP)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Holy Spirit and Jesus

13 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’ 15 But Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased’.” (Matthew 3:13-17 NASU)

It seems evident that the Holy Spirit coming in the complete bodily form of a dove indicates Jesus receiving the fullness of the Spirit as opposed to being in part. Therefore He also received the fullness of power. Thus it appears that John, and the others with him, witness God the Father anointing His Son Jesus with the fullness of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of His ministry.

In the book of Acts we read the following.

“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38 NASU)

Hence the Holy Scriptures bear witness also that following the baptism with water He was also baptized or anointed with the Holy Spirit.

The question is often raised, why Jesus should have needed the Holy Spirit for His ministry?

The explanation is:

  • When God breathed the breath of life into man He put His Spirit in him.

  • Thus man is dependant on the Spirit of God for life and for his daily performance of his true functions (Genesis 2:7).

  • Apart from God’s Spirit man malfunctions and fails to accomplish his true destiny.

  • In becoming a man The Word of God (John 1:1-2) emptied Himself of His godly nature and put on the human nature (Philippians 2:8; John 1:14);

  • Thus, he required the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit, notwithstanding that He was sinless, thus full of life and having a divine nature; setting him apart from sinful man who He came to save.

The gift of the Spirit in fullness to Jesus at His baptism was no doubt His formal and public anointing for His Messianic work. The baptism of Jesus could not have the same significance with that of sinful men; for the symbolic cleansing from sin had no meaning for the One who was sinless. Yet as an act of formal public consecration it was appropriate for Him, for in doing so He began to establish baptism by water as a sign of the New Covenant. It also signified the close of His private life and marked the beginning of His ministry of salvation of mankind.

It is likely that there is a connection of the anointing of the Spirit with that of water baptism, as seen in the Book of Acts, is traceable to the anointing of the Spirit of Jesus at His own water baptism. But we note that baptism in the Spirit did not supersede water baptism.

The anointing of Jesus with the Holy Spirit qualified Him in two particulars for His ministry. The Holy Spirit was the source of His own endowments of power for the endurance of temptation, for teaching, for casting out demons, causing the lame to walk, the blind to see and the healing the sick, for His sufferings and death, for His resurrection and ascension.

The Holy Spirit’s coming upon Jesus in fullness also qualified Him to bestow the Holy Spirit upon His disciples. John the Baptist proclaimed that it is He who shall baptize in the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; see also John 20:22; Acts 15:1). It was especially true of the King of the kingdom of God that He be anointed for His office, and the term Messiah (Mashiach, equivalent to the Greek ho Christos), meaning the Anointed One, points to this fact.

In the book Matthew Chapter 4, verse 1 we are told that after Jesus was baptized and received the Spirit that He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. In the book of Mark, chapter 1, verse 12 declares that after the baptism “straightway the Spirit driveth him forth into the wilderness (KJV).” In the book of Luke, chapter 4, verse1 more fully declares that Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit,” and that He was “led in the Spirit in the wilderness during 40 days (KJV).” The impression that the narratives of the temptation give is of energetic spiritual conflict. The spirit of Satan warring against the Holy Spirit of God as Satan makes his attack upon “The Word of God” in human form. Therefore as Jesus entered into His ministry He was subject to the ordinary conditions of other men in an evil world.

One should not entertain the thought that the temptations of Jesus ended at the close of the forty days. Later in His ministry, He refers to the disciples as those who had been with Him in His temptations (trials) (Luke 22:28-29). Jesus did not walk the earth as God, but as human and a part of the world that He must overcome, so while it is true that He came into the world sinless and righteous, it can also be said of Him that He achieved righteousness.

James C Sanford

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Exciting News from Powerhouse Ministry

Through our recent acquisition of, we now have the ability to provide you with free download access to all of Powerhouse Ministry books (in Adobe PDF format) and our podcasts and teaching CD’s (in MP3 format).

Download e-BooksDownload PodcastsDownload CDs

If you need Adobe Reader for our e-Books, click the link below:

Get Adobe Reader

Note: Many of these files are LARGE and may required broadband and/or a download assistant such as GetRight.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Conveying the Love of Christ

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:5-6 NASU).

Wisdom: (a) Understanding what is true, right or everlasting. (b) Having the ability to apply knowledge to the greater benefit. (c) Good judgment.

Here we understand that we are instructed by God’s Holy Scripture to conduct ourselves toward those who are not of the faith with an understanding of God’s truth; and also seeking to possess the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater benefit of the unbeliever; using good judgment “making the most of the opportunity” in proclaiming the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Grace, like salt, purifies and preserves; thus our speech should always be of the nature of grace, never harsh, abrasive or abusive, but always reflecting and conveying the love of Christ. As salt destroys impurities and thus preserves, let our speech be such, to oppose the corruption of sin, leading to the preserving of the soul. Let our conversations be with such sound judgment, that we may discern how to treat the prejudices and meet the objections of all who are without faith in our Lord Jesus. Selah.

James C Sanford

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Sons of Zebedee

“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to Him, ‘Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left’.” (Matthew 20:20-21 NASU)

Although it seems like an innocent request that this loving mother was making on behalf of her two sons, her motives were from a heart of flesh. Perhaps she was thinking that the kingdom of God would be set up along the same order as the Sanhedrin court which governed Israel under the Roman Empire. She desired that her sons be exalted above the others that they might be served rather than be servants. It is of the flesh nature of man to desire to have authority or to “lord it” over one another; to demand to be served rather than to serve.

22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.”

How strange is the infatuation of men which leads them to desire ecclesiastical honors; he must be in love with his Lord who wishes to be a minister of the Gospel. If he is called of God in the work of the Gospel his life will be a life of toil and suffering, he will at least sip, if not fully drink of the cup of Christ.

If any man accepts the call to the ministry of the Gospel he accepts unto himself to answer for the souls that are put under his care.

For a man who is not called of God it would be better that he beg for bread than to take upon himself a ministry which God has not called him into; and in which he will not only ruin his own soul, but he becomes a false prophet that leads others down the broad way to destruction; for if God has not sent him he will not profit the people at all.

The mother did not know that authority with power in the Kingdom of God comes through serving, and in serving there would be suffering.

“He said to them, ‘My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.’” (Matthew 20:23 NASU)

Jesus confirms their calling; indeed they would humbly serve, and in their service to the kingdom of God they would suffer, as He himself suffers.

In their Christ-likeness they gave their lives preaching the gospel in the cause of Christ that many might be ransomed. James was martyred by Herod and John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos. As to their place in glory; these things, He says, “is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”

24 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:20-28 NASU)

James, John and their mother’s ambition for them to be exalted lead to murmurings and animosities. Such selfish ambition leads to disruption that could prove to be the ruin of the disciple’s ministry. Christ immediately intervened. He explained, the order in which they were to follow would be far different than that of the Gentiles. Their relationships would be founded in service with humility and brotherly love.

In Christ likeness God’s sons are not called to be served, but to serve. Authority with power belongs to those who humbly serve. Thus in God's “economy” we give up ourselves to God and the result is serving others and glorifying God.

James C Sanford

Monday, December 10, 2007

Daryl Coley

By Mona Austin /

As many in the gospel community have been made aware, Daryl Coley is currently battling diabetes and has been for the past 17 years.

Consequently, the disease has caused traumatic and extreme damage to his health in other areas, namely, his kidneys. He is currently undergoing weekly dialysis and only has 17% functionality of his kidneys. Moreover, doctors have advised that he is in need of an immediate kidney transplant in order to preserve his health and save his life.

The cost of the kidney transplant has been earmarked at $250,000. This is for the procedure alone!! This is not inclusive of hospital costs; medication needed pre- and post- operation, finances to sustain his overhead during his recuperation time or any other financial obligations he might incur during this process.

Therefore, we are reaching out to YOU, our gospel community, friends, and supporters. We are asking you to assist us in costs relative to this surgery. We are asking each church congregation to give a love donation of $1,000 to aide in these exorbitant costs; however, any and all contributions will be appreciated. We are also asking our individual friends and supporters to assist us financially in whatever ways possible.

Please contact Clyde Williams at 619-822-0407 or for directives on forwarding all donations.

Donations may be sent to
Heart of Hope
Attn: Clyde Williams
8355 Station Village Ln, Unit 4111
San Diego, CA 92108

"Yet I Worship," Daryl Coley's thirteenth solo project will begin production immediately following his recuperation and has been targeted for completion in Spring 2008. We are hosting a writer's contest to select songs which will be included on the upcoming project. So, we are reaching out to our aspiring gospel writers to dig deep and reveal your stored treasures.

Kellie Copeland on "The Golden Compass"

What’s Wrong with The Golden Compass?

With holiday movie releases just around the corner, we need to be careful what we watch, and what we allow our children to watch. The Golden Compass, set to release this weekend, is being marketed heavily and is gaining a lot of buzz among the general public. When lines between faith and fiction are blurred and when fantasy paints a dark picture—should Christians watch such movies? And more importantly, how might watching these movies affect our children?

Kellie Copeland, daughter of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland and children’s minister at Eagle Mountain International Church, explores this topic in her article titled, The Golden Compass—Pointing Children in the Wrong Direction. Take a few minutes to read what God placed in her heart about what we should and should not consider entertainment. Click here for the full article.

God bless you, and remember…JESUS IS LORD!


I am not against any author, director, actress or anyone else responsible for bringing this movie or these series of books to children. We should pray, asking God to help them, as the Word directs us. We give thanks for them, so that our lives can be marked by godliness. “This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4, New Living Translation). “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1st Timothy 1:15, New Living Translation).

What’s Wrong with The Golden Compass?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Loose Lips Sink Ships

It is interesting that many of us are quick to speak and slow to hear... the opposite of what God wants from us. We thought about how people can be so willing to blab-blab-blab that they forget that whatever you say may be used against you.

Our latest podcast provides you with seven minutes of wisdom about guarding your mouth.

Click Here to Listen or Right-Click to Download

For more free downloads, keep checking -- we will be launching our new media server soon!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Atheist Holiday

In Florida , an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.

The case was brought before a judge.

After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel and declared...

“Case dismissed!” The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, “Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah...yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!”

The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, “Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate, his own atheists holiday!” The lawyer pompously said, “Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists. Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?”

The judge said, “Well it comes every year on exactly the same date---April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as ‘April Fools Day,’ consider that Psalm 14:1 states, ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God.’ Thus, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture, he is a fool, and April 1st is his holiday!”

“Now, have a good day and get out of my courtroom!!”

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Birth of Jesus

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1)

In the book of Matthew, chapter 1, verses 1 through 16 is found the genealogy from Abraham to the birth of Jesus who is the promised Seed of whom God spoke to Abraham.

“Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘and to seeds,’ in referring to many, but rather to one, ‘and to your seed,’ that is Christ” (Galatians 3:16)

In the Gospel of Luke is found the record of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and announcing the coming birth of Jesus. Mary is a virgin woman chosen of God to be the mother of His Son. Being a virgin speaks much about the pureness of the person and character of this woman chosen of God.

First of all, it tells us that her father and mother were faithful to teach Mary God’s word. Apparently she was submissive and obedient to her father’s teaching; an act of love and faith. But the sinless nature of the child to be born of her was not due to the sinless nature of His mother, but is to the credit of the Divine origin of His human nature, the word and the Spirit of God.

As we read the words spoken to her by Gabriel we will learn how the conception and the birth of the Child of God took place. We will also learn why it was necessary that He be born of virgin woman.

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:26-38)

Mary never questioned what her life would be like in the future, she trusted God. Now God’s word is His seed and as the angel spoke the word of God to Mary she listened intently and believed, His seed had fallen upon fertile ground. The moment she said, “Behold the bondslave of the Lord; be it done according to your word,” the power of the Most High, the Holy Spirit, caused God’s seed to spring forth in her body, or in other words, she conceived. Mary was blessed more than all women; she was to bear the Savior of the world!! Mary is an example of God’s blessings upon those who are in His perfect will.

In the book of Matthew we find the account of God’s revelations to Joseph preparing him for the birth of Jesus.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a son; and you shall call His name Jesus (meaning Savior), for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’” (Matthew 1:18-21)

And again God’s seed had fallen upon fertile ground,

“And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)

In the natural the re-generation of mankind is as follows. The seed of the woman is the egg within her. The man’s seed is the source of fertility for the egg or seed of the woman. Without the fertility of the seed of the man there is no offspring. Without the seed of the woman, likewise, there is no offspring for from the seed of the woman grows the flesh and blood body of the offspring. Thus the statement,

“---neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.” (1st Corinthians 11:11)

Adam was the beginning of man. According to God’s perfect order the male was created first and then the female. Adam was created from the dust of the earth. Woman was created from man; she is not from the seed of man. Therefore man is the progenitor of the human race, by God’s choice he is the seed. In God’s perfect order they are "blessed male and female."

Why then the virgin Birth? When Adam sinned He became sin in the flesh; all mankind was in Adam’s loins when he sinned and every descendant born of his seed is born of sin and into sin and is the sin nature of Adam. Jesus could not be and was not born of the seed of a man because of sin.

“And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, supposedly, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,---.” (Luke 3:23 NAS)

Note the Scripture does not say Jesus was the son of Joseph but says: “being supposedly, the son of Joseph, ---.”

Therefore we conclude that Jesus, the Living Word of God, was grafted into the holy root of humanity (Adam, before he sinned) through the “seed” of the woman. Thus through the woman He is called the Son of Man. He was in the “likeness of sinful flesh” but knew no sin (see Romans 8:3).

His birth was not of a natural birth, but super-natural. He was the seed of God brought forth by the power of the Most High exactly as God had spoken. Thus He is also called the Son of God. He is the seed spoken of in Genesis 3:16: and He is the seed God promised Abraham. He is the seed of God’s righteous glory in the earth. He is the manifestation of God’s moral beauty, power and honor; He is the expression of God’s greatness and authority; He is the last Adam (1st Corinthians 15:45).

Through the apostle John God reveals to us that,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2)
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,--- ” (John 1:14f).

Thus we have come to understand that Jesus is the Son of God and the Word of God. He is born perfect, that is to say He is born without sin. He is the pureness of God, the image and glory of God. He is God created in the image or likeness of man and He is man created in the image of God. The Spirit of Life, God, was in Him; He is the open door to God’s presence and He is man’s new Eden. In the environment of His presence man can once again be a reflection of God’s righteousness, His glory, in the earth.

James C Sanford

Monday, December 3, 2007

Observe the Potter

Observe the potter who takes clay from the ground and begins to apply pure water to the clay. The potter is adding water to the clay to soften it so it will yield to his hands. Water is also used to wash the clay as his hands are shaping it into the vessel he desires. The water removes everything that is not pure clay, such as sand, debris and just plain ole dirt.

After it is washed and shaped as the potter desires, it is placed in a oven under very high temperature, 500 degrees or more, until it is hardened. If the clay retained impurities in its chemical composition, the impurities would cause it not to cure properly; it will crack or have faulty spots. After it has hardened, it can no longer be molded and is of no use to the potter; it is tossed away. If it was pure clay, its chemical composition and physical characteristics changes and hardens into a useful vessel.

God’s children are clay in the Potters hands. The water is His word by which we are baptized in the removal of all worldliness. His hands are symbolic of His Holy Spirit in which we are baptized in the shaping of our life in the spirit.

The oven is the baptismal by fire, the testing of our faith, His finishing work. If the clay yields to the Potter, He will make the vessel into what He desires of it and set it into service according to His good pleasure. God’s purpose for mankind has never changed; if the clay yields, He will make a vessel in His image and the vessel will manifest His glory in the earth whether it is male or female.

James C Sanford

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Holy Spirit and the Anointing

Much was made of the anointing oil under the law, and that which it represents is of primary importance under the gospel. Anointing in the gospel message refers to the anointing with the Holy Spirit by Jesus, which brings understanding to the saints of God.

The Apostle John wrote:

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” (1st John 2:20-21 NASU)

And again he wrote:

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” (1st John 2:27 NASU)

This anointing is for everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). The anointing occurs physically with a substance such as oil, myrrh, or balsam, which is done symbolically of the Holy Spirit (James 5:14). Therefore it is a spiritual anointing; whereby the Holy Spirit fills a person's heart and mind with the love and truth of God thus healing from within and throughout the entire being of man.

The Holy Spirit also calls and qualifies ministers for their work (Acts 13:1-2), the Holy Spirit said, “Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” He makes them “overseers over the flock (Acts 20:28).” He “hears,” “speaks,” “teaches,” “guides into all truth,” “glorifies Christ,” “receives of Christ's things,” namely, from the Father and Son, “and shows them,” “brings all Christ's words to His people's remembrance,” “shows things to come,” “knows the things of God,” “searches all things, even the deep things of God,” and “reveals them” to those who have “ears to hear” (1st Corinthinans 2:9-15; Revelation 2:17, 29; 3:13, 22); therefore He is divine.

The Holy Spirit, with whom saints are anointed for holy services, is indispensable to ministers if they are to serve the Lord acceptably. To enter into the ministry without the anointing of the Spirit would be sins rather than service to God. Whenever ministry from the pulpit is without unction from the Holy Spirit, it is of the intellect of man and serves no good purpose for God!

Further, without His aid the intended worship services are but a noisy religion and a vain oblations, and the inward experience is dead. The prayers, praise and meditations, and efforts of the congregation are void of any spiritual value. A holy anointing is the soul and life of reverence and devotion to service, and the absence of this anointing is not only grievous but also disastrous.

James C Sanford