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 http://www.weekofprayerandfasting.org/ 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