Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 End of a Great Year

We have seen a number of things happen in our world as the 21st Century continues to progress. And what word has been on my heart as the year winds down?

I have the feeling that the church needs to wake up. There are things we have gotten preoccupied with:

  • Building big churches
  • Pursuing political agendas
  • Materialism
And yet, there are some vital things that we have forgotten:
  • Justice
  • Mercy
  • Walking humbly before our God
I read that the attacks of 9/11 were a wakeup call... and yet the church continues snoozing. Now, the world is on the brink of economic collapse as entire industries go bankrupt. And all we hear from the churches is the sawing of logs.

I hope that we can wake up during 2009 and pray for the peace of Jerusalem... pray for laborers to go out to the harvest... pray that Jesus will come quickly.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

I was listening to Pastor Mike Macintosh today talking about the situation in the Middle East with hundreds of rockets aimed at and/or fired at Israel... and retaliatory strikes by the Israeli armed forces. This has been going on for days... and yet we are just hearing about it now...

Mike related these events to Biblical prophecy... and it is eye opening when we consider how the nations of the world are bankrupt... the ongoing Jihad is putting pressure on Israel and who knows what they are plotting against the USA...

I guess the bottom line is... do your best to enjoy life... love everybody... and seek to walk humbly before the Lord while you can. Who knows what tomorrow brings?

Who is Jesus?

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:15-17)

Peter acknowledges that Jesus is the promised Messiah... the Anointed One... the Son of the Living God.

Not a dead god. Not some idol. No... Jesus is the Son of The Most High God. There is no one else like him!

Jesus is not simply a noble man to be admired, a good teacher to learn from, or a prophet sent by God, but Jesus is the Messiah that God promised to send and He is the Son of the One and only true God.

Recognize who Jesus is today, and let this world know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

(special thanks to Mike Macintosh)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

In Him Was Life

“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 (NKJV)

“Word,” as used in the English translation of verses one and fourteen of John’s gospel is translated from the Greek word “Logos.” In verse one of chapter one (quoted above) we see “Logos” (The Word) as being the person of God. The meaning of “word” is simply a statement of or an expression of thought. We prefer the Greek “Logos” because it not only signifies thought, a word spoken and speech, but it extends to include eloquence, doctrine, reason, or the faculty of reasoning and is very properly applied to Him, who is the fountain of life and the true light to every man who comes into the world, (John 1:9).

“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
John 1:3 (NKJV)

Though everything He made had a principle of life in it, whether vegetable, animal, or intellectual, that life was not the light of men; not that light which could guide them to eternal life; for “the world through its wisdom did not come to know God.” (1st Corinthians 1:21 NASU)

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

The life of the “Living God” is defined as “absolute life:” He is indestructible life (Hebrews 7:16), having no beginning or end of days.

“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;.”
John 5:26 (NASU)

God as “Logos” or “Word” (John 1:1) is also indestructible life and is the source of all life forms (John 1:3; John 4:26; John 14:6; Colossians 3:4; 1st John 1:1-2; 5:20).

The Apostle John had just affirmed (John 1:3) that the “Logos” or “Word” created the world. One part of that creation consisted in “breathing into man the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7). God is declared to be “life,” or the “living” God, because He is the source or fountain of life (Psalm 36:9). The Apostle John here ascribes this attribute to the “Logos” or the “Word of God.” The Word did not only create the material worlds, but He also gave “life.” He was the agent by which all that lives has life; and by which man became a living soul, or was endowed with immortality.

The ability to give life is a “higher” proof that the “Word is God” than the creation of the material worlds; but there is another sense in which He is “life.” The “new birth” or “new creation,” the renovation of man and his restoration from a state of chaos due to sin, is often compared with the six day creation taught in the book of Genesis; and as the incarnate Logos (John 1:14; 5:26) is the source of “life” then, so, in a similar but higher sense, He is the source of “life” and “immortality” to the soul dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).

Therefore, the expression, “in Him was life,” is not to be understood as natural life, but eternal life which He, as the “light” revealed to the world (2nd Timothy 1:10), to which He taught the way (John 14:6), which He promised to believers (John 10:28), which He purchased for them (John 6:51,53-54), which He is appointed to give them (John 17:9), and to which He will raise them up (John 1:29), because He has “the life” in Himself (John 1:26).

Eternal life is the highest quality of life and means more than eternal existence; it refers to eternal fellowship with God. Jesus, the Living Word of God, defined eternal life as fellowship with the Father through the Son. “This is eternal life,” He declared, “that they may KNOW You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3 NASU).

To KNOW God is more than a mere speculative acquaintance with the character and perfections of God. To know God is to know Him through the One who is “Life” and “light,” Jesus Christ the Righteous (John 1:18). To know God includes, of course, love, reverence, obedience, honor, gratitude, supreme affection; all wrought by the Spirit of God whom He has given us. To know God as he is---is to know and regard Him as a lawgiver, a sovereign, a parent and a friend. It is to yield ones whole being to Him, and strive to obey His law from a heart motivated by a deep sincere love for Him and empowered by His Spirit.

To know His Son, Jesus Christ, is by revelation from the Father (Matthew 16:17). Revelation by the Spirit is to have a just, practical view of Him in all His perfections as God and man. To know Him is to know that in Him the cherubim and the flaming sword are removed and men once again have access to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:24). To know Him is to possess Him as a mediator and intercessor, as a prophet, a priest, and a king. It is to feel our need of such a Savior, to see that we are unable to save ourselves and that we have a need to yield the whole being to Him, knowing that He is a Savior suited to fill our needs, and that in His hands our souls are safe.

According to the apostle Paul, to know Him is freedom from sin; and eternal life consist of holiness, and a positive relationship with God the Father. This is in contrast to spiritual death, which results from a life of sin (Romans 6:21-23).

Therefore, Christianity is not a religion, and salvation is not about doctrines taught by men, nor ritualistic practices or observances of rules and regulations imposed by men, but it is eternal life through a loving relationship with God the Father through the Redeemer Jesus Christ.

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
John 1:5 (NASU)

Just as light is symbolic of wisdom, knowledge and eternal life, darkness, in the Bible, commonly denotes ignorance, guilt, or misery and spiritual death (See Isaiah 4:6; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:8,11; Romans 13:12). It refers here to a deceived, wicked and ignorant people residing in spiritual death. When it is said, “the light shines in darkness,” it is meant that the Lord Jesus came to bring wisdom, knowledge and life to an ignorant people whose souls were dwelling in darkness and being destroyed or dying in a wicked world. This has always been the case. It was so when He sent His prophets, so during His own ministry and so in every age since. His efforts to enlighten and save men of ignorance have been like light struggling to penetrate a thick, dense cloud of smog in the middle of the darkest night; and though a few rays may pierce the gloom, yet the great mass is still an impenetrable darkness.

The word translated “comprehend” here means did not “admit,” or did not “receive.” The word “comprehend,” used in modern day terms means to “understand.” This is not the meaning of the word used in the original. The proper meaning is: the darkness did not “receive” or “admit” the light; the shades of darkness were so thick that the light could not penetrate them; or, to drop the figure, men were so ignorant, guilty, debased, deceived and so caught up in the traditions of men and their own religiosity that they did not appreciate the value of His knowledge and wisdom; they despised and rejected Him. And so it is still. The great mass of men steeped in sensuality and sunk in the fleshly pleasures of sin will not receive His teachings, and be enlightened and saved by Him. Sin always blinds the mind to the beauty and excellency of the character of the Lord Jesus. The fleshly pleasures of sin make the mind unwilling or unable to receive His instructions, just as “darkness has no fellowship with “light;” (2nd Corinthians 6:14) and if the one exists, the other must be displaced.

Jesus often spoke of Himself as being “the light of the world.”

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’”
John 8:12 (NASU)

Biblically speaking, life and light are synonymous. Life gives light and light leads to life. Light is words of wisdom and knowledge. Jesus said,

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
John 6:63 (NASU)
“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
John 12:46 (NASU)
“But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:
‘Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Ephesians 5:13-14 (NKJV)
“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
John 12:36 (NASU)

Those who come to the “light” have “life” and the “life” is light unto men. Now Jesus shares His title, “The Light of the World,” with those who believe in Him. He says,

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:14 (NASU)

The apostles, ministers, all the “born again,” all who have the “life” are lights of the world, because they, by their teachings and examples, show what God requires, what is the condition of man, what is the way of their devotion to faith, peace, happiness and the way that leads to eternal life.

“Nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
Matthew 5:15 (NASU)

The meaning here is the sons of light do not subdue or hide the light by timidity, unbecoming conduct, such as sensuality or sin, but through holy conduct give light to all who observe him.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 (NASU)
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.”
Philippians 2:14-16f (NASU)
“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
1st John 3:9 (NASU)
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.”
Proverbs 11:30 (NASU)

The bottom line to this teaching is, the “born again” are to be as He was in the world. Selah.

James C Sanford

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We have seen a plethora of on-line web sites, blogs, and etcetera from people who say they are former Christians who have realized that what they thought they believed doesn’t work for them any longer. Of course, there are people who embrace atheism. And there are people like Bill Maher who were raised in the church but never really came to a personal knowledge or understanding of the truth. But what about those who claim that they were devoted Christians who made a spiritual U-Turn and now say that they are atheists or agnostics... and they feel their former belief system was a mistake.

I have known people who reacted to hypocrisy that they see in churches by leaving the church or becoming a member of some other religion. Yes, there is hypocrisy and all sorts of things that exist under the guise of Christianity. I remember having my car smashed by a guy who was pastor of a church. Although his vehicle sustained no damage, he said he wanted money and hounded me (and my insurance company) relentlessly even though there wasn’t any discernible dent or damage to his vehicle. And I kept wondering, why would a “man of God” not even ask if my passenger or I were okay, or even pray for us?

Well... that guy (and many others like him) may be a lousy example of a Christian... but does the existence of counterfeit bills make money worthless? Recession notwithstanding, of course. But seriously, though... if someone has truly experienced the reality of Jesus... the unction of the Holy Spirit... seeing the hand of God moving in his or her life... can that person suddenly turn and become an ex-Christian?

One such person whom we at the Powerhouse have corresponded with is a blogger who says that he was formerly a minister of the gospel who became enlightened and has since come to embrace atheism. Our response to that is...


How can someone lose their faith? Could it be, perhaps, that they never had faith to begin with? Could such a person be one of those individuals about whom the Lord spoke in Matthew chapter seven?

22 Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? 23 And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]. 24 So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock.

Matthew 7:22-24 (Amplified Bible)

In the above scripture, Jesus addresses those who did seemingly spiritual things. In fact, the acts they claimed to have done are more grandiose than what most churchgoers can lay claim to. However, Jesus tells these individuals that they are guilty of wicked behavior. They are guilty of disregarding His commands. And what is the greatest commandment from the Lord?

30 And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. 31 The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. 32 And the scribe said to Him, Excellently and fitly and admirably answered, Teacher! You have said truly that He is One, and there is no other but Him;

Mark 12:30-32 (Amplified Bible)

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The second and companion to that is to love our fellow man as much as we love ourselves. The love walk, as some refer to it, is the cornerstone of a true Christian lifestyle. Those who pray for souls, who give to the poor, who intercede for others... those are the ones who are doing the work of the gospel. Those who show preference to others... who fail to hurt or harm others... who don’t cheat or defraud or stomp all over others... they are exhibiting the behavior of children of God.

As the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans, “Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law.” Yet, how many people go to church and go through the motions, yet never show any concern for their brothers and sisters in Christ? In fact, they would just as soon run you over in the parking lot than to say “Good morning” to you. They are too busy getting to their assigned spot (or, looking for their clique to hang with) than to smile or say hello... or to see if you are alright. If we are not walking the love walk... is there any evidence of being His child?

1 THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. 2 And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance. 3 But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people).

Ephesians 5:1-3 (Amplified Bible)

I remember as a youngster being amazed at the fact that my Dad and I had the same birthmark... a spot on our ankles. As I got older, I began to display many of my Dad’s traits. Even after my parents broke up and my Mom had me away from Dad for several years, she would complain about how my posture and other behaviors reminded me of him. One of my uncles told me I held the steering wheel the way that Dad did while driving.

Later, Dad and I got together and had a great relationship. I’m talking, a Courtship of Eddie’s Father relationship. After Dad went to be with Jesus, I visited my aunt and her children, most of whom I had never met. After being around my cousins for just a few minutes, they remarked to my aunt, “He reminds me of Uncle Sonny.” I was born into this world with my Dad’s DNA and probably some of his spirit. Who else would I be like?

If we are born again, then we have God’s spiritual DNA and the Holy Spirit within us. When people are around us, we should remind them of Jesus. After all, those who saw Jesus saw the Father (see John 14:8-10). Those who see us should, through our actions and our behavior, see Jesus.

For a long while, I used to be upset, because people didn’t acknowledge seeing Jesus in me. That made me doubt my faith... because so many accused me of behavior that I was largely innocent of. Yes, I am a flawed human being. However, these folks tried to make me sound like some kind of bacchanalian hedonist or something... even though I was pursuing the Christian life.

I wondered if maybe they were saying that because I was only fooling myself about being a Christian. I commiserated over that until the Lord reminded me of something. In Matthew 11:19, Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a wine drinker... and, a friend of especially wicked sinners. The reality was the opposite. And so, I realized that when people tell lies against me, they are just following the behavior of their father, the devil (see John 8:44). Satan is just trying to steal from me... but Jesus brings overflowing life in abundance (see John 10:10). Let’s continue with our topic... about those who are ex-Christians.

How does someone lose their faith?

Could it be they never had faith to begin with?

There are people who may go through religious motions. They put on nice clothes and go to church... they may serve on a board or usher or sing. Still, this is just Christianism, not true Christianity. Again, if one is a child, they take on traits of their parents.

I had the privilege of listening to Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, the former United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence during a service at Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, California. The General recounted a time when he was in such despair that he cried out, “There is no God.” Did he lose his faith? No.. .because the Holy Spirit reminded him in that moment of emotional turmoil, “If there is no God... then there is no hope.”

Know Jesus... know hope.
No Jesus... no hope.

On a side note, the General did a second session at Horizon that you might want to view on-line.

But, like General Boykin... we may experience moments when we feel that God is not there. But like Mary Stevenson’s poem about the footprints in the sand, we know that in those moments when we felt that God was not there... those were actually moments when He was carrying us in His everlasting arms.

If you have true faith, you will never lose it. You will never call yourself an ex-Christian or a former Christian.

I had fallings-out with my Dad when he was on the earth... but I was still his son. Are you truly God’s son? God’s daughter? Do you truly have that relationship with Him, or are you simply parroting the words “Lord, Lord” in vain futility? God loves us and wants us to have eternal life. God sent Jesus to die for our sins. 2nd Peter 3:8-10 tells us that it is not God’s will for any man to perish. He wants all of us to come to repentance. However, the choice is left up to each individual to make. You can choose to serve Him, or reject Him. It is up to you.

If you have never done so, ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Savior and Lord. You can pray words like these...

“Lord Jesus, I come to you with the knowledge and understanding that without You, I cannot live the Christian life. I cannot love my neighbor as myself... and I can’t love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and have done wicked things. I understand that you died on the cross to take the punishment that I deserve... and to give me what I do not deserve, abundant life on this earth, and eternal life in Your kingdom.

Jesus, please be Lord and Savior over my life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I might have the power to love God, and to love others the way that You love all humanity. I don’t want to be one who wickedly disobeys you. I want to fulfill Your plan and purpose for my life.

Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer... and I look forward to living a great life with You in charge.”


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Judge Mental

Father, thank You for giving me Your grace to overcome the temptation to judge others.

Jesus, You said, “Don’t judge other people, or you will be judged. You will be judged in the same way that you judge others.”

Father, I do not want to be judged harshly. Help me remember that I can’t know what is inside of a person unless that person tells me.

I pray that I will be humble, gentle, and patient, accepting others in love. I ask for wisdom that I may avoid reacting to what others say or do. Give me words filled with grace, and help me respond in a manner that will help others become stronger in the Name of Jesus.


DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.
Matthew 7:1-2 (AMP)
For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man's thoughts except the man's own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1st Corinthians 2:11 (AMP)
Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.
Ephesians 4:2 (AMP)
Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it.
Ephesians 4:29 (AMP)


Thanks to Judy Soupart-Cress.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Straight and Narrow

I was listening to some oldies from the 1980’s... Bruce Hibbard was singing tunes from his Never Turning Back album. One track that I particularly remembered (although it was tough making out the lyrics on the old AM Christian station of my childhood... Philadelphia’s 990 WZZD) was “Straight and Narrow.”

There’s a way called
Straight and Narrow
And few there be that enter in...

Set your heart straight
As an arrow
Count the cost
Would you think again

I was contemplating so many questions:

  • How aggressive should we be in sharing the gospel?
    • Should we be so fiery and adamant that we possibly risk turning people off?
    • Should we lighten up to the point where people listen but could possibly not get the message?
  • How do we react to the prevalence of sin in our society?
    • When do we slam the rod of righteousness down?
    • When do we pour out the salve of mercy?
  • How do we reconcile so many aspects of our Father?
    • The love of God
    • The wrath of God
    • The mercy of God
    • The kindness of God
    • The Holiness of God

I guess there are extremes of aestheticism, and extremes of spiritual laziness. On one side a person can fall off into the leaven of the Pharisees. On the other, one can fall over into spiritual error.

Some may seem to slip into heaven by the skin of their teeth.

Some may be told by the Lord, “Depart from Me... I never knew you.”

Wow. That is a lot to contemplate. But the bottom line is that I want to be like Jesus. So, perhaps I need to spend more time studying what He did when He walked this earth, and what He commanded in His word.

Bottom line... my choice is to seek His face and pursue a close daily walk with Him. Seems a good choice, ne pas? Maybe that explains Bruce Hibbard’s oft-covered tune (with those familiar Maranatha! music keyboards and the twanging guitar), “All of Me.”

All of me
Not just a fraction of my heart
But all of me
Not withholding any part
But all of me
Lord, I’ve given You my best
All of me
All of me

How much do we trust our imperfect human attempts at pleasing God? When do we just give up on our efforts and just turn everything over to Jesus? After all, we can trust Him to complete that good work that He began in our lives. The Bible says so...

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

Philippians 1:6 (Amplified Bible)

That also explains the track of the LP, “Love Will Always Make a Way.” Loving the Lord your God with all your heart... all your soul... all your mind... and all your strength may answer all of those questions. How far can I stray from Him if He is my first and true love?

Finally, back to Straight and Narrow, Bruce reminds us in the verse that if we wish to follow Him, we must walk the way that He planned. If we don’t learn our lessons well and do what the Master says, we will reap the seeds we sowed... and there will be trouble ahead.

Let’s keep ourselves motivated to walk the Straight and Narrow. And, when we are overwhelmed with questions and begin to feel confused, trust Him to lead us in the way that we should go.

Bruce’s album is out of print, but it is available at the Jesus Music server. And have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday (in the U.S.A., at least).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baptizing A Drunk

A man is stumbling through the woods totally drunk when he comes upon a preacher baptizing people in the river. The drunk walks into the water and subsequently bumps into the preacher. The preacher turns around and is almost overcome by the smell of booze. Whereupon he asks the drunk, “Are you ready to find Jesus?”

“Yes I am,” replies the drunk, so the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the river.

He pulls him up and asks the drunk, “Brother have you found Jesus?”

The drunk replies, “No, I haven't.”

The preacher, shocked at the answer, dunks him into the water again, but for a bit longer this time.

He pulls him out of the water and asks again, “Have you found Jesus, my brother?”

The drunk again answers, “No, I have not found Jesus.”

By this time the preacher is at his wits end so he dunks the drunk in the water again, but this time he holds him down for about 30 seconds.

When the drunk begins kicking his arms and legs, the preacher pulls him up.

The Preacher asks the drunk again, “For the love of God, have you found Jesus?”

The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the preacher, “Are you sure this is where he fell in?”

We do what we know. When we know better, we do better.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Give Until it Feels Good

Remember that old saying, “Give until it hurts” in fund raising campaigns? A lot of churches picked up on that and seemed to make “pounding” a giving spirit into parishioners the status quo. Isn’t it sad that most churchgoers have to be “motivated” through some sort of special program or by constant begging in order for them to give into the work of the gospel?

It seems that, for many Christians, religious practices (such as tithes and offerings) are carried out in a spirit of obligation, rather than a spirit of love or worship. In this study, I would like to look at one specific (and often overlooked) aspect of Christian giving. That is... our attitude.

Have you ever paused to check your motivation for the things that you do? For example... why do you come to church? Do you attend to worship in the presence of the Lord, enjoying fellowship with the saints, or do you come because you’re afraid that God will get mad at you if you don’t. Do you come because you heard that a good husband or wife could be found amongst the ranks of churchgoers? Do you come because your parents threaten to whip you if you don’t? Do you come because it’s the “traditional” thing to do?

Giving seems to be one of the most sensitive issues in today’s Christian church. In many churches, elaborate schemes have to be devised to keep levels of giving up, otherwise the church would collapse under the weight of such expenses as utilities and staff salaries. While the financial support of the gospel ministry is important, how far should church leaders have to go to get their parishioners to give. It would seem logical to assume that most believers recognize the value of giving. The question is, have we somehow missed the true joy in giving.
While there are several scriptures in the Old and New Testaments that are appropriate to the subject of giving, I would like to concentrate on one in particular. In the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 26, we see God’s instructions to the children of Israel regarding their tithes. An understanding of this passage can help illuminate our attitudes toward giving.

Keep in mind that these instructions were given to the Israelites for implementation upon entering the land of promise. You may be wondering, “How does this apply to me?” As a New Testament (or, New Covenant) believer, we can look at the precepts given in the Old Testament from the vantage point of the dispensation of grace and find the doorway to great blessing.

In verse one, the Lord says:

1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;

The children of Israel came into their land thousands of years ago. So, how does this verse apply to us? If you were to read Colossians 1:12-13, you would see that God (through Jesus) has made us meet (fit or qualified) to be partakers of the inheritance. What inheritance? The blessings that He promised to Abraham. Those blessings were passed on to both Abraham’s natural seed (Israel) and to his spiritual seed (the body of Christ).
The blessings are capsulized in Genesis 12:2-3, where God says that Abraham will not only be blessed, but that he would also be a blessing to all nations. As we take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and sheltering the homeless - in addition to meeting their other spiritual, physical and emotional needs - we are fulfilling this promise. As a result of our obedience, God will give us additional seed to sow into the lives of others, leaving us with more than enough to have our needs met (see 2nd Corinthians 9:6-10).

Additional insight into the blessings that pertain to us can be found in Deuteronomy 28:1-14. We inherit all of the blessings, but none of the curses of the law (such as those in verses 15-68 of Deut. 28). Why? Because when Jesus made us partakers of the inheritance, He also redeemed us from the curse (see Galatians 3:13-14 and Ephesians 3:6).

Keeping all of the above in mind, you can see how we can assume the blessings in Deuteronomy 26 since we (through Christ) have come into the promised land (spiritually speaking). If you’re still not completely clear on this, take a look at Ephesians 1:5-14 and Colossians 3:1-4.

Let’s move on in Deuteronomy 26:

2 That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place His name there.

When this scripture was written, tithes consisted largely of the harvest of animals and/or produce. In today’s society, we deal primarily in money. Therefore, our “harvest” (in this application) would be our weekly paycheck.

Moving on in our main text:

3 And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us.

During those days, the people brought their tithes before the priest. When we bring our tithes and offerings into the church, we are bringing them before our High Priest. No, I’m not referring to the Pastor. Jesus is our High Priest. He sits on the right hand of God the Father and makes intercession for us (see Romans 8:34). Also reference the following scriptures in the book of Hebrews:

Hebrews 2:17-18
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Hebrews 3:1
1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 4:14-16
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

When you bring your tithes and offerings on Sunday morning, you’re not just bringing a money to the church. You are actually bringing a holy offering before Jesus, your High Priest. When you form that picture in your mind, your attitude about giving changes dramatically.

Now, let’s continue on with our main text:

4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God.
5 And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
7 And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labor, and our oppression:
8 And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
9 And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.

When the children of Israel brought their offerings, they paused to think about how far their forefathers (specifically, Jacob) had come and where the Lord had brought them. When you bring your tithes into the house of the Lord, pause to think about how far God has brought you. You didn’t always have the money to buy the type of home you own... the type of car you drive. Think back to when you first started with your company. Or, when you did your National Service and went through basic training, how you thought you would never get out of there alive!

The point being, don’t take your present level of blessings for granted. Even if you are waiting on the Lord to improve your situation in a certain area, you’re probably a lot better off now than you were several years ago.
Maybe your parents never had the educational opportunities that you’ve enjoyed. Whatever the situation, it pays to think back over how far God has brought you. As you recognize His hand in your life, begin to worship Him for His faithfulness. Praise Him for how He always keeps His promises. Then, trust Him to take you even further.

In Psalm 22:3, we see that God inhabits our praises. When you bring your tithes and offerings before God in a spirit of worship and praise, you are allowing God to get into your finances. There, He can bless you and give you the wisdom to glorify Him in your financial dealings.

10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God:
11 And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
13 Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, and the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:

Verse 13 shows us that the tithe is a hallowed (holy) thing. It should be sanctified (set apart) from the rest of your funds. It shouldn’t sit in your bank account. Don’t use it for paying bills, buying lottery tickets, or eating at McDonalds. Hurry to get it into God’s house where it may be used to bless others.

14 I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away aught thereof for any unclean use, nor given aught thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.

In Verse 14, we see that the tithes weren’t to be used during a period of mourning. Perhaps you may at one point in your life face an “emergency” situation where finances get tight. You may attempt to rationalize that since it’s an emergency, “God will understand that I cannot couldn’t give tithes.”

The truth is, when an emergency hits and your ability to pay the bills is in question, that’s the best time to bring your tithes to the Lord. What you want to do is to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness... trusting that the other things will come in their time (see Matthew 6:33).

15 Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
16 This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgements: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
17 Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgements, and to hearken unto His voice.
18 And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments;
19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as He hath spoken.

In closing, we should remember that tithing shouldn’t be an obligation that we obey grudgingly or out of fear. Nor should it become a meaningless ritual that we perform out of force or habit... Sunday after Sunday.
The tithe should be a time to give diligently (see Proverbs 10:4), to give cheerfully or hilariously (see 2nd Corinthians 9:7), to give with praise, thanksgiving and rejoicing. Why? Because God has promised us many blessings! Read 2nd Corinthians 9:6, Proverbs 19:17 and Luke 6:38. And remember, God always keeps His promises (see Numbers 23:19, I Samuel 15:29, John 14:2 and Hebrews 6:18).

The next time you bring tithes before the Lord, don’t give grudgingly, feeling that if you don’t give, God will punish you. Don’t give only because you expect to get something in return. Let your giving be an act of love, worship, devotion and praise. Trust God to do what He has already promised!

Deuteronomy Chapter 14
22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; [or] if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
25 Then shalt thou turn [it] into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, {desireth: Heb. asketh of thee}
27 And the Levite that [is] within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay [it] up within thy gates:
29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which [are] within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Obama: The End of the World As We Know It?

During the long and painful political campaign in the United States, much negative mud-slinging was directed towards Senator Barack Obama.

He was called an Arab.

He was called a Muslim.

He was called a terrorist.

He was accused of hating America.

People called him a snake.

And then... they really got nasty...

Many voters had the presence of mind to bypass the mudslinging and accusations and look into the heart of the matter. They did not allow the negativity to permeate their thinking. Even Senator John McCain, when confronted with this mindset among his supporters, made the wise choice of advising them to back away from the overly negative mindsets (reported on CNN). Sadly, some of these individuals felt that holding onto their hatred was far more important to obeying their party’s leader.

Some still do.

The worst part, in our opinion, was when people jumped upon this political bandwagon... and did such in the name of Christianity!

It was bad having pastors thumbing their noses at the IRS rules against non-profit churches endorsing candidates by advising their congregations to not vote for Barack Hussein Obama. Like the Frankenstein monster, such paranoid hysteria has taken a life of its own. Prophecies of gloom and doom are spreading all over the internet -- and some Christians have shared some of these web posts and e-mails with us, informing us that they are genuinely afraid of what the future may hold under an Obama presidency.


We remember back in 1984 when a religious group claimed to have incontrovertible evidence that the world would end that year. They purchased full-page newspaper ads that initially acknowledged that Jesus said that no man would know the day of His returning. However, they added the word “but” and went on to explain that they had knowledge that even Jesus did not claim to possess. Yikes! Many people were worried... they genuinely believed the world would end.

Well, 1984 came and went.

A decade later, 1994 came and went.

Another decade passed and 2004 came and went.

Yet, the Lord still tarries.

Do you think maybe He is waiting for us to stop playing silly political games and be about His business?

So then, why are people getting confused and upset over the escalating swirl of verkakte proclamations that the election of the Democratic candidate will result in earthquakes... tidal waves... floods... human sacrifice... dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria... ???

The editor of Charisma Magazine, a popular Christian publication, wrote in the Strang Report blog that “life as we know it” would end if Barack Obama is elected. Well, Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States of America. Will life as we know it change? Would that be a bad thing?

Certainly, we would like to see the economy improve.

Many want the wars (that are being funded with borrowed money) to end.

And we would like to see our borders better protected from the influx of sociopaths and killers who are currently entering the country.

We would like to see unity as Americans and not as red- and blue-states.

Is this what Strang was referring to, the world becoming a better place? Nay. I suppose you can read his blogs and come to your own conclusion. One point from Strang’s blog struck us as a wee bit interesting. The following is a quote from that on-line publication:

There will also be a “take from the rich, give to the poor” type of socialistic mind-set throughout the nation.

The interesting thing there is that this is not a socialistic mind-set. It is a Christian mind-set. We saw in the Book of Acts that the early believers who had wealth sold their possessions so that they could support those who were poor.

Now the company of believers was of one heart and soul, and not one of them claimed that anything which he possessed was [exclusively] his own, but everything they had was in common and for the use of all.

Acts 4:32 (Amplified Bible)

It, then, is baffling how an idea taken directly from the Bible (and by a guy named Hussein, no less) could be derisively referred to as socialistic. Certainly, it goes against Republican doctrine to redistribute wealth to the poor and needy. Well, unless, of course, you count the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) signed by Republican President Ronald Reagan on October 22, 1986. But it certainly does not transcend Bible doctrine... at least, not according to Acts 4:32.

It is very clear, however, that this mindset reflects the tendency of religious folks to react to knee-jerk issues without considering the big-picture of what God has called us to do upon this earth. Does God prosper His people to drive bigger cars than sinners... or to help supply the needs of po’ folks?

Of course, what many other religious folks are harping on (we will refrain from listing their names, or links to their sites) is the belief that President Obama would (in the words of one correspondent) kill his own grandchild -- in the hypothetical instance that one of his daughters would become pregnant out of wedlock. Is it really fair to take a sound-bite and twist it into a battle cry? Do we want to interpret a willingness to allow a person to choose as the intention to personally run a sword through the bellies of pregnant women?

Come on!

Granted, we at the Powerhouse do not endorse abortion. We do understand, however, that God gives man the right to choose... even when the results may be disastrous. Adam was allowed to choose to eat the forbidden fruit... even though all of his descendents were cursed. Abraham was allowed to choose to impregnate Hagar... even though the war between Ishmael and Isaac continues to this day. People who are offered salvation through Christ have the freedom to reject it and choose hell. It is a bad choice... but God gives one the free will to make that choice.

What Christians can (and should) do, then, is present people with the ability to make the best informed choice.

This strategy is embodied in the words of the Apostle Paul in Titus 2:1-7. The older men and women must educate the young men and women regarding the conduct of their lives. This should decrease the incidence of unwanted pregnancy. However, if a woman still finds herself in that situation, the church should make itself into a place where she is encouraged to run into to find comfort – emotionally, financially, logistically, and most importantly: spiritually.

In reality, however, this is often not the case. An unwed pregnant girl is often met by religious folks with derision. It is de rigueur for many churchgoers to roll their eyes and gossip about someone caught in sin. Often, a young woman who is pregnant out of wedlock is shunned and may even be asked to leave the church. I have never seen people reach out to counsel the youth as in Titus 2, nor have I seen people rally around a young woman to care for her child and offer her support so that she would be dissuaded from making the wrong choice of aborting that child. Wayne Kirkpatrick and Susan Ashton’s song “Started With a Whisper” delineates what happens in many churches where “holier than thou” circumvents Christ-like compassion.

I remember when I was a youth worker barely out of my teens. We approached the pastor with a plan to address the escalating number of teen pregnancies in the congregation. The pastor was outraged that we wanted to discuss the subject of (gasp) sex with the youth – even from a biblical perspective.

Isn’t it sad when we are so unwilling to address topics that may make us uncomfortable? Or, to invite people into our church who don’t have nice clothes. Or, who may look and/or smell funny? But we feel comfortable at casting that first stone... especially when we can do so from the relative anonymity of the internet.


The subject of abortion (along with that of homosexuality) has been the guaranteed vote-getter for the Republicans in past elections. How many parents didn’t vote for John Kerry because they didn’t want their kids to turn gay. A lot. How many parents fell for the robo-calls during the 2004 election? A lot. But this year... voters seemed to become a bit more sagacious. Of course, some Christian web sites would say they were deceived or misled.


One thing that the pundits have been tossing around is the need for more caring on a social level. Again, we would like to see the unborn given an opportunity to live. But what is the church’s position on those who are born?

Will the church step in to help if they become homeless following a foreclosure?

Will the church step in to help if food is beyond their economic reach?

Will the church step in to help if they are recruited into violent gangs and forced to do a 187 (murder somebody)?

Will the church step in to help if they are forced into the multi-billion-dollar international sex trade?

Will the church step in to help if they contract HIV?

Regardless of what laws may or may not be passed... regardless of what Supreme Court rulings may or may not be repealed... (and nobody really knows, at this early stage in the game, if any of the aforementioned may even be on the political docket) -- if the Body of Christ sets itself with the agenda of reaching out to those people who might find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, perhaps abortion won’t even be a question.

Abortion isn’t a problem if nobody wants one.

Drugs aren’t a problem if nobody takes them.

Liquor isn’t a problem if nobody drinks it.

Let our focus be on getting the gospel of Jesus Christ into people’s lives and hearts. If we can do that, the battle is already won.

Still, we know (from personal experience) the dangers of desire. Not only fleshly desire... but religious desire.

Surely the apostles thought they were doing the right thing when they chose Matthias to be the replacement for Judas Iscariot. Matthias may have been a good guy. He might have been handsome. He might have been eloquent. Maybe he skillfully played the stringed instrument during worship services. Who knows, he may have done great works for the Lord. However...

the first and last mention of Matthias
in the Bible
occurred within the same passage of scripture.

God never chose Matthias. He chose the man whom the apostles would never have dreamt of. In fact, when Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul, it took some major league convincing to get the others to accept him.

The Bible confirms that God is sovereign in the affairs of man.

He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding!

Daniel 2:21 (Amplified Bible)

The question remains, will you join those who are praying for our elected leader, or will you continue to stir up a hornet’s nest of rage and opposition? Towards that end, I would like to ask you this question:

What if those religious folk
who spend so much time and energy
spinning their political wheels
to support a specific agenda
would put that SAME energy
towards doing the work
of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

What if we used that energy to tell people that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives?

What if we took the funds spent on political pursuits and purchased supplies to provide poor families with provisions so that they might enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners?

What if instead of spending time Google-ing hearsay about political candidates, we spent that time studying the scriptures so that we might develop more spiritual fruits in our lives?

What if we went to our knees and prayed for our elected President instead of speaking evil about him?

1FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, 2For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. 3For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, 4Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth.

1st Timothy 2:1-4 (Amplified Bible)

Even Senator John McCain, in his concession speech, repudiated the negative sentiments expressed during the campaign and urged Americans to come together under a spirit of cooperation. Of course, we recall that people in the crowd vocalized their disagreement. They refused to lay down their hate. What would Jesus do?

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (New International Version)

We understand that many folks have their opinions and may disagree with what we are saying. However, don’t expect an on-going argument. In the words of Forrest Gump, that is all I have to say about that. We just wanted to address the plethora of “stuff” floating around the bowl of the internet (much of which keeps landing in our e-mail box) by giving it a solid flush...

Pun intended.

May God bless the United States of America.

Here is a little video clip that came to our attention... it addresses one of the points that was made:

If ye Have Love One to Another

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

Often I think of the blood that you shed

The blood that you shed so that I may live

The love that you showed me that day on the cross

The love that continues to grow in my heart

Why me I wonder?

What did I do?

Me, who is so far from perfect

The idea is skewed

It's like that for all of us

We come to him broken

Ashamed of our past

And yet His arms are wide open.

That kind of love

Is the love we should have

The love we should always show our fellow man

So the question is this?

How do we love?

Others as Jesus continues to love us?

The answer is simple

The answer is this:

Love one another as Jesus loves us!

Simply put. If God can forgive you who are we to hold a grudge?

If God can open His arms wide after all that we have done. What prevents us from doing the same?

We are human and yet we are blessed beyond all measure with the spirit of God

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pray For Our President Elect

The Presidential Prayer Team congratulates Barack Obama
Sign up now to pray for President-Elect Barack
Obama and the new administration

The Presidential Prayer Team is pleased to commit itself and it’s nearly 500,000 members to pray for the newly elected President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

Calling in his acceptance speech for a new spirit of patriotism, service and sacrifice from the American people, President-Elect Obama swept to victory over Republican John McCain as the first African-American to hold the nation’s highest political office.

“We are and always will be the United States of America,” President-Elect Obama said from Grant Park in Chicago, IL. “A government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the face of the earth. This victory is for you.”

While saying a new dawn of American leadership is at hand, President-Elect Obama recognized that the road ahead may be tough and the climb steep in meeting the many challenges facing the nation, but that “we as a people will get there,” a sentiment followed by chants of “Yes We Can” from the huge Chicago crowd. He also called Republican presidential candidate John McCain a “brave and selfless leader” and said he looks forward to working with him and Governor Sarah Palin in the months to come.

Our faithful prayers for President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden are desperately needed. Their new administration faces the challenges of a struggling economy, active wars against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, and energy and environmental concerns - all perhaps unprecedented in a generation. With I Timothy 2:1-2 as our biblical mandate, The Presidential Prayer Team is dedicated to praying for our new president’s wisdom, protection and success as he faces these issues, and many more, over the next four years

Today, we are launching a countdown in prayer from Election to Inauguration for President-Elect Obama! It’s called 77 Days of Prayer for our New President, and I encourage you to please sign up for this prayer initiative now using the link below.

We’ll send you an email every morning that includes a specific prayer point, Scripture and words you can pray - first in worship of our Holy God and then in intercession for the specified prayer point. There’s also an appropriate photo to inspire and direct your heart as you pray.

You can view a sample page HERE.
You can tell a friend about 77 Days HERE—or by just forwarding this email message.

This is an incredible time in the history of our nation. Join all of us at The Presidential Prayer Team in congratulating Barack Obama and Joe Biden and in committing to pray for their administration and all of our leaders, our nation and our Armed Forces. Thank you so much!

John Lind

Contact The Presidential Prayer Team


Monday, November 3, 2008

Week of Prayer and Fasting

Our friend and pastor Mike Macintosh is having a week of prayer and fasting at Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego -- with churches all over participating.

Visit for more details!

And pray for the salvation of souls around the world...

The Bible: Your Financial Handbook

Interesting video...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Flesh of My Flesh

The body of man is nourished in the following manner. He sits before a plate of food he has chosen with fork in hand; he begins by loading the fork with whatever is on his plate. He places the food in his mouth and begins to chew. If the food suits his taste he will continue to chew and the digestion process begins; he chews until the food is manageable to swallow. As it is swallowed it enters his stomach and the digestion process is completed and then it is assimilated to the body; and if it is the proper diet, with exercise, it adds strength and growth to the body; resulting in maturity and extended life. If he insists on eating an improper diet it will result in stunted growth and early death. If he does not like the taste of the food, most of the time he will expel it in some manner.

We nourish our soul in like manner. When we chose that which is pleasant to the eyes and ears and we began to look upon and hear, metaphorically speaking, we are “eating” or “digesting and assimilating,” that is to say, we are “seeing, listening and believing,” thus feeding the inner man. That by which we have nourished the soul is absorbed and becomes part of our “being;” and if it is the proper diet, with exercise, it adds strength and healthy growth to the soul, resulting in maturity and eternal life. If we have chosen an improper diet it results in an unhealthy soul that ends in death. If we do not like what we see and hear we reject it by turning away.

Many times the appearance of and the taste for food that consists of a healthy diet for the body must be cultivated. The same is true for the soul of man. He must have a hunger for the beauty and truth of God (Matthew 5:6); and only the Holy Spirit can develop and cultivate that hunger (John 6:44).

There are many types, symbols, metaphors, shadows, foreshadows, parables and etc. in the Holy Bible. Yeshua often spoke in parables and also made use of metaphors in His teachings. We wrote the above metaphor to help us understand the following Scripture. . Though it may not be stated in the exact science we trust it will serve to the readers benefit. It will also further help to understand if we are reminded that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14 NASU) and they called Him Yeshua. Though the following words of our Lord seems to be a disagreeable expression to our delicate senses, especially our hearing---here “you must eat” means to “listen” and “believe” and imbibe or absorb His words and become one with Him.

“Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, ‘How can this man give us His flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever’.”

(John 6:52-58 NASU)

When Yeshua said, “you must eat of my flesh and drink of my blood” (John 1:14) he is speaking a metaphor, for He also said,

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

(John 6:63d NASU)

Therefore, translating the metaphor, He is speaking thus; you must be brought into life again in the following manner or you have no life in you. To have eternal life you must listen to my words and believe and the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (Luke 1:35); as you believe you will absorb or assimilate my words into your being and by the power of the Holy Spirit, they will create you a new creature; you will become like me; you will put on my nature and characteristics. As you listen to and receive my words you are drinking My blood also, that is to say, My life and spirit; as you drink, my life and spirit will enter into your veins and flow through them until My life and spirit is imbued in every fiber and element of your being as clothe receives the dye. You will be My bride, “flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone” (Genesis 2:23); you will be My glory and My body in the earth. Selah.

The Apostles understood these things. The Apostle Peter wrote:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY’.”

(1st Peter 1:14-16 NASU)

This command “you shall be holy, for I am holy” was first addressed to the Israelites, but Peter equally applies it to believers in Christ. The foundation of the command is, that we profess to belong to Him, and by belonging to Him we are to be like Him.

In the letter of 1st John we find these words:

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

(1st John 3:9 NASU)

The Apostle speaks here of the “new creature” who is brought into life of the “seed,” which is the Living Word of God, thus he cannot sin. It is the old sin nature of the flesh that sins; the flesh wars against the spirit or the new creature, thus he must be crucified.

The Apostle Paul spoke these words to the Galatians,

“My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you —”

(Galatians 4:19 NASU)

When he says, “until Christ is formed in you” he is saying, I must continue to labor with you until you absorb the gospel of Yeshua and become wholly imbued with His spirit---that you may become as He is---the living word of God in the earth.

He wrote these words to the church at Rome:

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

(Romans 13:14 NASU)

The phrase to “put on” a person, seems to be a harsh expression; here it means to “listen” and “believe” and imbibe or absorb His word, and “make no provisions for the flesh in regard to its lusts” in order that the old sin nature die that it may not hinder the “new creature” who is created in the image of God.

Again, in the book of Galatians we find these words:

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

(Galatians 3:27 NASU)

For those of you who were baptized into Christ, that is, you have absorbed, you have been totally submerged in the “Living Word” by the Holy Spirit, “have clothed yourselves with Christ.” This is typed by the water baptism; you were buried a sinner and raised up a “new creature” clothed in Christ.

Now returning to the Gospel according to John:

“These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?’ But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, ‘Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father’.”

(John 6:59-65 NASU)

Our Lord does not deny that these teachings seemed difficult, and hence he indicated that if any man believed it was proof that God had opened his mind. It was not expected that by their intellect they would understand and embrace His words. Again, if any man believed, it would be from revelation by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:17).

“As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God’.”

(John 6:66-69 NASU)

Will you continue to walk with Him or will you find these things too difficult and turn away in unbelief?

James C Sanford

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Letter from Hell

Some of you may have seen the Chick Tract called The Letter with a similar theme to the video below:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sneak Preview: Christ Died 4U

Our latest podcast presents seven minutes of wisdom entitled “Christ Died For You.” The core scripture for this teaching is Romans 5:6-10:

While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [resurrection] life.

What does this scripture mean to you?  What should it mean?  Listen to this seven-minute podcast to find out!  This podcast is available by clicking the icon below (or, right-click to download the MP3).

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Word About the Gifts of the Spirit

We begin with this foreword:

The word of God is the Tree of Life; and this Tree of Life is in the church today in the person of the Holy Spirit. He was given to the church on the Day of Pentecost to complete the divine order of the church of our Lord. His work is to glorify Christ, the Living Word of God and the Corner Stone of the church; to convict men of sin and to reconcile them unto God through His chosen vessels; to teach truth; to intercede for the saints with groanings too deep for words; to give strength; to aid and comfort---to manifest the attributes of our Heavenly Father in the Body of Christ; and to give gifts to men for the edifying of the same Body. Therefore there is nothing of more importance in the church than the doctrine of the influences and special gifts of the Holy Spirit. These doctrines should be received and regarded with the utmost respect.

From our studies we have learned that there was division in the church at Corinth; they were not of one mind and one accord. Usually at the root of division are a people of exaggerated self-importance---ego; and its first cousin, arrogance, most often accompanies this ego. Where such people are seated in the congregation or in the pulpit there is division; and division brings with it many, many other problems. After addressing the problems of quarrels, immorality, and the error in their communion services and etc. the Apostle Paul begins to address the abuse of the gifts of the Spirit. He had no doubt been consulted in regard to them by some of the members of the church at Corinth, and probably various questions had been proposed, which he now proceeded to answer.

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.”

____________________(1st Corinthians 12:1 NASU)

The whole discussion here shows that he refers to the various endowments, gifts, or graces that had supposedly been bestowed in different degrees on the members of the church at Corinth ---including the distinctions in graces, and in degrees of office and rank, which had been made in the church in general, as well as the extraordinary endowments of the gift of tongues which was presumed to have been bestowed upon many (1st Corinthians 14).

We use the words “supposedly” and “presumed” because of the abuses. Among carnal minded members of the church the gifts had become a status symbol. Therefore many were claiming to have that which they had not received. No doubt there were many that their gifts were genuine. But the abuses had caused many to stumble.

Therefore the subject is of so much importance that it demands particular attention and special care. The Apostle Paul states that he would not have them ignorant (KJV) in regard to the nature of those special gifts of the Spirit; he instructs them on the attitude with which they should be received; and of the rules to which they who are thus favored should be subjected; and the feelings and views which should be cherished in all the members of the church in regard to them.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.”

____________________(1st Corinthians 12:4 NASU)

There are different endowments conferred on the members of the Body of Christ. Produced by the same Spirit---the Holy Spirit of God. The reason he refers to these various endowments is evidently to show those whom he addressed, that since they are all produced by the same Holy Spirit, have all the same divine origin, and are all intended to serve some important purpose and goal in the Body of Christ, the church, that therefore, none are to be despised; nor is a man to regard himself as elevated to a lofty position that would authorized him to treat another with contempt. The Spirit of God has divided and conferred those gifts according to His sovereign will; and His arrangements should be regarded with submission, and the favors of these gifts, which He confers, should be received with thankfulness and a willingness to serve.

“And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.”

____________________(1st Corinthians 12:5 NASU)

The phrase “varieties ministries” properly denotes that there are different positions of service that are to be regarded with special respect in the ministries that Christ has appointed. Those ministries are specified in 1st Corinthians 12:9-10,28.

9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

____________________(1st Corinthians 12:9-10,28)

The statement “and the same Lord” refers to the Lord Jesus, by whom these various orders of ministers were appointed, and under whose control they are. The reason for this statement is to show that all these offices had their appointment from Him; and that since all were His appointment, and all were necessary, no one should be proud and think of himself as being in an elevated station; and no one should be depressed, or feel degraded because he has been designated to, what seems to be to the carnal minded, a more lowly office. All who have been endowed with special gifts of the Spirit should feel honored to be chosen of the Lord, but at the same time they should view themselves as humble servants of the people, for that is their calling.

“There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”

____________________(1st Corinthians 12:6 NASU)

There are different operations on the mind and heart, and different powers given to man, in building up the Body of Christ. Or it may be, possibly, that the Apostle Paul refers to the works of God mainly for “illustration,” and by the word “effects” means the works that God has performed in creation. His works are various. They are not all alike, though they come from the same power. The sun, the moon, the stars, the earth are different; the trees of the forest, the animal wild life, the birds of the air, the inhabitants of the sea are different; the flowers, and shrubs, and herbs are different from each other; yet, as much they may vary, they are formed by the same hand; are the productions of the same God, are to be regarded as proofs of the same wisdom and power. The same variety or multiplicity should be expected in the people of His church; and we should expect that the endowments would be various also.

As stated before, the same God produces all these operations. They should not, therefore, be undervalued or despised; nor should anyone be unduly elated, or pride himself on what has been conferred on him; in other words, they definitely should not be viewed as a status symbol.

God’s work is seen everywhere. It is seen in the delicate insect’s wing the same as in the mighty limbs of the elephant; it is seen in the lowly violet the same as in the loftiest tree of the forest. All God’s children therefore, should regard themselves as under God’s direction, and should submit to His arrangements. If God’s people regard their endowments as gifts from Him they will be thankful for them, and they will not be inclined to despise or attempt to look down upon others who have been placed in, what seems to be to some, a more humble position in the church.

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

____________________(1st Corinthians 12:7 NASU)

The word “manifestation” means properly that which makes manifest, conspicuous, or plain; that which illustrates, or makes any thing seen or known. Thus, conduct manifests the condition or state of the inner man; and the actions are a manifestation, or “showing forth” of the inner character and feelings. The idea the Apostle confers upon the reader here is, that there is given to God’s children, such gifts, endowments, or graces as shall “manifest’ or “make known” the work and nature of the Holy Spirit’s operations on the mind and heart; through such endowments the Spirit makes known the attributes of God to the peoples who have eyes to see and ears to hear (Galatians 5:22-23). All that He produces in the mind and heart is a manifestation of His character and work, in the same way as the works of God in the visible creation are a manifestation of His perfections.

The Apostle is speaking only of those who are the church of the Living God, and His declaration should be confined to them alone. Whatever may be true of the Holy Spirit’s work on the hearts and minds of peoples of the world, this statement should be confined wholly to God’s children, the Spirit of God gives to each child of His such graces and endowments as He pleases; that He distributes His gifts to all, not equally, but in a manner which He shall choose; and that the purpose of this is, that all that belong to Christ should use His endowments for the common good of the Body of Christ.

James C Sanford