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.