Saturday, April 30, 2011

God’s Love, Acceptance and Favor is Yours

As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].
Psalm 103:13 [MESSAGE]

Start Your Day With This... (You Are Special)
by Judy Ann

Father, I come before You rejoicing, for this is the day that You have made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

To obey is better than sacrifice, so I am making a decision to submit to Your will today, that my plans and purposes may be conducted in a manner that will bring honor and glory to You.

Cause me to be spiritually and mentally alert in this time of meditation and prayer, in the name of Jesus.


21-25 Thank you for responding to me;
      you've truly become my salvation!
   The stone the masons discarded as flawed
      is now the capstone!
   This is God's work.
      We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
   This is the very day God acted—
      let's celebrate and be festive!
   Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
      Oh yes, God—a free and full life!
Psalm 118:24 [MESSAGE]

Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22 [AMP]

Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 [AMP]

Good morning, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank you for this day -- the day You have made. I love You with my entire being -- spirit, soul and body. You knew me before I was formed within my mother’s womb; before I was born You sanctified me and appointed me as Your witness to the world. I was created for a specific and very special purpose. Thank You Holy Spirit for revealing the things of Jesus unto me, for showing me things to come, and helping me fulfill my destiny to the glory of the Father. Amen.

This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 [AMP]

Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Jeremiah 1:5 [AMP]

Approved by God
by Judy Ann

Heavenly Father, You knit me together in my mother’s womb, knew me, and approved of me even before I was born. Wonderful are Your works, and I hold fast to this knowledge. I will not keep silent, but bring the Good News of relief and deliverance to others who do not know You. I was born for such a time as this to fulfill my destiny in the Kingdom of God. I take my place a member of the Body of Christ. Thank You for loving me, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Jeremiah 1:5 [AMP]

13For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother's womb.
14I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.
15My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16 [AMP]

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?
Esther 4:14 [AMP]

Accepted by God
by Judy Ann

Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing the work of my hands. I can walk confidently fulfilling my destiny because You love, accept and approve of me. I am strong even though I feel weak, and my works shall be rewarded. I am steadfast, never giving up in the face of adversity. Because I am Your child and a partaker of Your divine nature, I will stand firm until Your will prevails and satan’s plans have been demolished. In the name of Jesus, I affirm Your love for me. Amen

The Lord shall open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
Deuteronomy 28:12 [AMP]

Be strong, therefore, and let not your hands be weak and slack, for your work shall be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7 [AMP]

13Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].
14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God
Ephesians 6:13-14 [AMP]

by Judy Ann

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray that I will have favor with You and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense.

In everything I do, I put You first, and You will direct me and crown my efforts with success.

I trust and reverence You LORD, and turn my back on evil.

When I do this, You give renewed health and vitality to me.

I honor You Lord by giving You the first part of all my income, in the name of Jesus.


4So shall you find favor, good understanding, and high esteem in the sight [or judgment] of God and man.
5Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
6In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
7Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.
8It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones.
9Honor the Lord with your capital and sufficiency [from righteous labors] and with the firstfruits of all your income;
10So shall your storage places be filled with plenty, and your vats shall be overflowing with new wine.
Proverbs 3:4-10 [AMP]

Prayer of Jabez
by Judy Ann

God of Israel, I pray that You would bless me and bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!

In the name of Jesus, I ask and I shall receive, I seek and I shall find, I knock and the door shall be opened. In my life be glorified.


Jabez cried to the God of Israel, saying, Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and You would keep me from evil so it might not hurt me! And God granted his request.
1 Chronicles 4:10 [AMP]

7Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.
8For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 [AMP]

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Resurrection Day

Resurrection Day
by Brotha DC

I saw Pastor Joe at McLean Bible Church and he greeted me with “Happy Easter.” I replied in Greek, “Christós Anésti” (Christ is Risen!)... and he replied in Greek.

The Apostle Paul, instructing the believers in the Greek church at Corinth, gave some definitive teaching on the truth of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I remember discussing the death, burial and resurrection of Christ with a young man who chose atheism as his belief system.

His response to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ was, “Why should I care?” Another replied in kind... stating that he had little concern over needing propitiation for his quote-unquote sins. But the Easter season is not just about boiled eggs, chocolates and marshmallow candy treats. It is about our ability to boldly come into the presence of a Holy God and embrace Him as our Father.

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
Hebrews 4:14-16 [MESSAGE]

As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].
Psalm 103:13 [AMP]

I suppose that if I said that somebody made it possible for you to move into Bill Gates’s house and could have unrestricted access to Bill’s bank account... that might have excited the atheistic young man. But what Jesus did through His sacrificial death on the cross was greater than giving us a bunch of money. All that God has we inherit because of the relationship created through what Jesus did on the cross.

Why couldn’t we have it without Jesus dying and rising from the dead? Because our sin separates us from God.

We Long for Light but Sink into Darkness
 1-8Look! Listen! God's arm is not amputated—he can still save.
   God's ears are not stopped up—he can still hear.
There's nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you.
   Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God.
   Your sins got between you so that he doesn't hear.
Your hands are drenched in blood,
   your fingers dripping with guilt,
Your lips smeared with lies,
   your tongue swollen from muttering obscenities.
No one speaks up for the right,
   no one deals fairly.
They trust in illusion, they tell lies,
   they get pregnant with mischief and have sin-babies.
They hatch snake eggs and weave spider webs.
   Eat an egg and die; break an egg and get a snake!
The spider webs are no good for shirts or shawls.
   No one can wear these weavings!
They weave wickedness,
   they hatch violence.
They compete in the race to do evil
   and run to be the first to murder.
They plan and plot evil, think and breathe evil,
   and leave a trail of wrecked lives behind them.
They know nothing about peace
   and less than nothing about justice.
They make tortuously twisted roads.
   No peace for the wretch who walks down those roads!
Isaiah 59:1-8 [MESSAGE]

It is your sin... your shortcomings... your missing the mark that separates you from God. It is the lies, the lust, the pride, the hatred... all of those works of the flesh that hide His face from you. None of us are innocent. We are all guilty.

God's Way of Accepting People
Now we see how God does make us acceptable to Him. The Law and the Prophets tell how we become acceptable, and it isn't by obeying the Law of Moses. God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered His life's blood, so that by faith in Him we could come to God. And God did this to show that in the past He was right to be patient and forgive sinners. This also shows that God is right when He accepts people who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-25 [CEV]

The words Christ has risen are good news. Because He lives... we can have eternal life. And that sure beats eternal death. Right?

1-2Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time— this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved. (I'm assuming, now, that your belief was the real thing and not a passing fancy, that you're in this for good and holding fast.)
3-9The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says; that he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have since died); that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him; and that he finally presented himself alive to me. It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don't deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God's church right out of existence.
10-11But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I'm not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven't I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn't amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it. So whether you heard it from me or from those others, it's all the same: We spoke God's truth and you entrusted your lives.
12-15Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there's no resurrection, there's no living Christ. And face it—if there's no resurrection for Christ, everything we've told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you've staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there's no resurrection.
16-20If corpses can't be raised, then Christ wasn't, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren't raised, then all you're doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It's even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they're already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we're a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.
21-28There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man. Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ. But we have to wait our turn: Christ is first, then those with him at his Coming, the grand consummation when, after crushing the opposition, he hands over his kingdom to God the Father. He won't let up until the last enemy is down—and the very last enemy is death! As the psalmist said, "He laid them low, one and all; he walked all over them." When Scripture says that "he walked all over them," it's obvious that he couldn't at the same time be walked on. When everything and everyone is finally under God's rule, the Son will step down, taking his place with everyone else, showing that God's rule is absolutely comprehensive—a perfect ending!
29Why do you think people offer themselves to be baptized for those already in the grave? If there's no chance of resurrection for a corpse, if God's power stops at the cemetery gates, why do we keep doing things that suggest he's going to clean the place out someday, pulling everyone up on their feet alive?
30-33And why do you think I keep risking my neck in this dangerous work? I look death in the face practically every day I live. Do you think I'd do this if I wasn't convinced of your resurrection and mine as guaranteed by the resurrected Messiah Jesus? Do you think I was just trying to act heroic when I fought the wild beasts at Ephesus, hoping it wouldn't be the end of me? Not on your life! It's resurrection, resurrection, always resurrection, that undergirds what I do and say, the way I live. If there's no resurrection, "We eat, we drink, the next day we die," and that's all there is to it. But don't fool yourselves. Don't let yourselves be poisoned by this anti-resurrection loose talk. "Bad company ruins good manners."
34Think straight. Awaken to the holiness of life. No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts. Ignorance of God is a luxury you can't afford in times like these. Aren't you embarrassed that you've let this kind of thing go on as long as you have?
35-38Some skeptic is sure to ask, "Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this 'resurrection body' look like?" If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a "dead" seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don't look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.
39-41You will notice that the variety of bodies is stunning. Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form. You get a hint at the diversity of resurrection glory by looking at the diversity of bodies not only on earth but in the skies—sun, moon, stars—all these varieties of beauty and brightness. And we're only looking at pre-resurrection "seeds"—who can imagine what the resurrection "plants" will be like!
42-44This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we're raised, we're raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that's planted is no beauty, but when it's raised, it's glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!
45-49We follow this sequence in Scripture: The First Adam received life, the Last Adam is a life-giving Spirit. Physical life comes first, then spiritual—a firm base shaped from the earth, a final completion coming out of heaven. The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly. In the same way that we've worked from our earthy origins, let's embrace our heavenly ends.
50I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives don't in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very "nature" is to die, so how could they "naturally" end up in the Life kingdom?
51-57But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:
   Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
   Who got the last word, oh, Death?
   Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
58With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.
1 Corinthians 15 [MESSAGE]

If you have never trusted in Jesus as Savior and Lord... this is perhaps the best day to do so!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First Things First by James Carroll Sanford

In the games men play, such as football, basketball, hockey and etc. there is the element of time, a time allotted in which the game is to be played.  Every coach of a team has a game plan for defeating his opponent.  He chooses conditions and teaches the game plan to his players and expects them to adhere to his plan in order for them to win the game.  While time is an important element in the game, it is not the most important.
  1. Complete trust in the coach and his plan,
  2. Working together as a team,
  3. Staying focused on the game,
  4. Sticking to and executing the game plan,
  5. Taking advantage of every opportunity to score points,
  6. While at the same time, with wisdom, defending against the schemes of the opponent is the common goal of every player. 
  7. Being aware of the clock is important.  Knowing that the clock is running, good players take advantage of ever moment, not distracted by looking back at past mistakes or by looking ahead to the end, but knowing that the signs on the clock indicate that time is passing, serves to encourage every player to work even harder as the end draws near. After all, victory over the opponent is the goal of playing the game; the rewards are for a job well done. This is the plan of victory.
In light of the current events in today’s world, it is tempting for a Christian to get caught up in speculations of the outcome of these events as they relate to the coming of the Lord Jesus.  The signs of the times are important to us, but we must realize these signs and their significance are not the most important.
The Holy Scriptures teach us that “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, ---- {Deut. 29:29f NAS}.”

Thus, our searching for truth must be confined to what is to be revealed.  The thing our Lord has chosen not to reveal belongs to Him and we must not be found guilty of conjecture in even speculating about those things lest we drift into error.   If we become occupied with God’s “secret things,” we will be found to be one who neglects the study of the things which God would have us to know and to do.  Some of the things hidden are the day of our Lord’s return, the end of the age, the end of time and the beginnings of the new heaven and earth.

In answer to questions concerning these things our Lord Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Matt. 24:36 NASU).”

We are taught to know the signs of the coming of these things, but only God knows the exact time that He will bring about these events and He will reveal them to us in due season.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 28, beginning with verse 18 we read, “Then Jesus came to them (His disciples) and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20 NASU)

Here our coach, Jesus, has given us the game plan.
  1. We must believe in our Coach and His game plan.
  2. We must work together as a team. 
  3. To do this we must be “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith , one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:2-6 NASU).”
  4. And we must stay focused on our commission, that is, our game plan. 
  5. This means sticking to and carrying out the game plan, not drifting off into fruitless speculations about things that are still hidden.  We are to preach the gospel, that is, the good news pertaining to salvation through faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. 
  6. Before ascending into heaven our Lord spoke these words to His chosen, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8 NASU).
He told them to begin where they receive the Holy Spirit, Jerusalem.  And then go to the surrounding area, Judea.  Normally the Jews did not associate with the Samaritans, there was enmity between them.  But Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the gospel to them also, and thought out the world.

The following may be seen as our system of scoring points; being filled with the power that the Holy Spirit brings, preaching with boldness, as the apostles did on the Day of Pentecost, leading lost souls to Jesus through the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16), baptizing them in His name and teaching them in the ways of righteousness, on every opportunity.  We start where we first received the Holy Spirit, then in the surrounding community, and then among those that we would not normally associate with, and then, though out the world.
The Apostle John writes, “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God”  (1 John 5:3-5 NASU).

(6)  Our Lord, through the Apostle Paul, gives us the perfect plan of offence and defense, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Eph. 6:10-18NASU).”
(7) Study the prophets, study the book of Revelations, read chapter 24 of the book of Matthew, and other Scripture concerning the end of the age,  know that our redemption is near, but do not neglect the preaching of the gospel.  After all, leading lost souls to Christ for salvation, snatching them out of Satan’s grasp, is our goal in defeating him.  The rewards that await us are for a job well done.  Selah

James C Sanford

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Did Jesus Suffer Beyond the Cross? by James Carroll Sanford

As horrible as the cross ordeal was for our Lord, what He suffered immediately upon His death was far worse than that of the cross; for at the moment of His death His soul was then cast into hell.  Many Christians do not know or believe that Christ Jesus also suffered in hell on mankind’s behalf.  Therefore we present the following Scriptural evidence.

We begin with the law that was given by God to Adam as He placed him in the Garden of Eden.

16The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Genesis 2:16-17 [NAS]

The Apostle James explains the Law of sin and death in this way,

13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
James 1:13-15 [NAS]

Sin is the transgression of God’s law, lawlessness (1 John 3:4), thus it is the manifestation of evil.  God hates sin.  Sin is His enemy because it morally corrupts and converts to evil that which He created and gave life to through love.  Because God is just, there is perfect balance in His temperament; He loves to the equivalent measure of His hate, and He hates to the equivalent measure of His love. Therefore His wrath is poured out in the form of death upon the evil body and soul of the un-repented sinner to the equivalent measure of His life giving love.  And He also gives death in the same measure that He gives life; it is eternal.

To begin to understand the work of our Lord Jesus and His sufferings we must have some understanding of the term “death.”  Death is a term which, when applied to the lower orders of living things such as plants and animals, means the end of life. With reference to the souls of men, however, the term death takes on a different meaning. The Bible teaches that because of the nature of his creation man is more than a physical creature; he is also an eternal spirit being (Genesis 2:7). For man, therefore, the lifeless state of his physical body does not mean the end of existence but signifies the transition of his soul, which is spirit, to another dimension in which his conscious existence continues.

In the Genesis account of the fall of man we find that physical, spiritual and eternal death comes as a result of sin (Romans 5:12-21). Because of the sin of the first man Adam, all men are born in the flesh spiritually dead-- separated from God who is the Source of life (Romans 3:23).  Then it must be that death for man is threefold: spiritual, physical and eternal. As the body of man lives there is hope of redemption of his soul from spiritual death through a new spiritual birth in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:17); the reversal of death unto life for those who believe.

And so when a born again person’s soul departs his body, his body enters a state of lifelessness and goes to the grave to undergo decay, this is the physical, or the first death; but his soul enters into God’s rest that has been prepared for him in Christ Jesus; thus his soul does not suffer the ‘second death’ (Revelation 2:11; 20:6).

But everyone who has not been redeemed by Christ is spiritually dead (Luke 15:32; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 2:13).  Thus, when his unredeemed soul departs his body, his body enters a state of lifelessness and goes to the grave to undergo decay also; but the soul of the lost person enters into death.  This is called the eternal death.  Eternal death is a state of never-ending decomposition and destruction of the soul of the wicked person.  The Bible also speaks of “the second death” (Revelation 2:11), which is eternal death, the everlasting separation of the lost soul from God in HELL. The “second death” is equated with “the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14), “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone... is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

The eternal death, the second death and hell are synonymous, that is to say they are equivalent or one and the same.  Whatever hell consists of is the eternal death. The Bible exhausts human language in describing death and hell; it is no doubt more terrible than words of man can express. The eternal death is the ultimate penalty and punishment for sin (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).

Jesus came to save men from the sufferings of a never-ending decomposition and destruction of their souls in the eternal state of existence known as death.  At His trial, Jesus was accused, beaten and mocked. On the cross, He became a curse that He might bear the curse for all mankind.  Yet, during the time of His ordeal, He never denied who He was; but He never defended, or denied the things of which the Sanhedrin and others accused Him (see 1 Peter 2:22-23).  If He was to take on the sins of mankind, he could not declare His innocence.  In this way, He took on mankind’s sins, although He himself had never sinned (see 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; Galatians 1:4).

During the time of the sufferings of the Christ, He became sin both in body and soul. God the Father withdrew His life giving Spirit from Jesus.  God had given His Son as a sacrifice for man’s sins (John 3:16).

At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” which is translated, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Mark 15:34 [NAS]

Our Lord was now separated from the Father in the likeness of sinful Adam; His soul was in the state of spiritual death as His body also suffered the penalty of sin.

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!ö And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
John 19:30 [NAS]

His soul had now departed into death and His body was left lifeless as God’s wrath continued upon His soul.
Isaiah prophesied of Him saying, “But the Lord (God the Father) was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring (the church), He will prolong His days (raise Him from the dead), and the pleasure of the Lord (God) will prosper in His hand”  (Isaiah 53:10).
Because Jesus became sin on our behalf He was counted among the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12).  Then it must be also that in our stead He suffers the penalty of the eternal death that was ultimately due us.  If the “rich man” is suffering punishment in the state of death or hell (Luke 16:19-31) and Jesus did not go and suffer on our behalf with him then God is not a just God.   But God is a just God and Jesus did suffer the punishment of hell on our behalf.  The innocent for the guilty, such as typed by the release of a robber named Barabbas, while Jesus is held and ultimately crucified the guilty went free (Matthew 27:16-26).

The following is Scriptural evidence that Jesus suffered such a fate as death; that is to say, He suffered hell on our behalf.

“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ .” (Matthew 12:38-40 NAS)

As Jesus refers to Jonah, he speaks of him as a prophet and saying, “for just as,” meaning, in the same manner as; and then continues, saying, “so shall the Son of Man be---.”   Therefore I believe that Jesus was saying that He would suffer “three days and three nights” in a like manner as Jonah suffered.
Reading the book of Jonah we learn Jonah was very tormented and he cried out as a prophet saying, “----I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice (Jonah 2:2 KJV).”  Therefore, Jonah being a prophet spoke prophetic utterances concerning the sufferings of the Christ.

The word “heart” used throughout the Holy Scriptures and applied here in verse forty, usually referred to the inner most parts of the subject.  The tomb in which the body of Jesus was laid was virtually on the surface of the earth, thus it must be that His soul was in the “heart of the earth” just as Jesus stated.
The Apostle Paul writes, “But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)’” (Romans 10:7 NAS).

Now we know Christ is in heaven, then why would the Apostle even mention descending “into the abyss” if our Lord had not, at some time, been there also?  Thus I believe Jesus was in the abyss, signified by Jesus as the “heart of the earth,” that is to say, the bottomless pit or the chaotic deep.”

Further evidence is given by Luke, in recording the Acts of the Apostles, he writes of Peter as he speaks thus:

22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Acts 2:22-32 [KJV]

God spoke through Isaiah the prophet saying,  “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you.  And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations.  To open blind eyes. To bring out prisoners from the dungeon.  And those who dwell in darkness from the prison” (Isaiah 42:5-7).

The Apostle Peter also tells us that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:19) that “they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the sprit (1 Peter 4:6).”

The Apostle Paul writes, “(Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?  He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things)”  (Ephesians 4:9-10 NAS).

Now how could Jesus preach to spirits in prison except that He descend into the lower parts of the earth and enter by way of death into the prison of death?  There, while imprisoned by death, God saw the toilsome labor of His soul and was satisfied that the law of sin and death had been fulfilled and that man’s sin debt had been paid in full for all who believe (Isaiah 53:11).

At this time, I believe that because of our Lord’s faith, God reached into the pits of hell and by His Holy Spirit reversed the process of eternal death by restoring eternal life to His Son and He “became the first born of the dead” (Colossians 1:18) or the first to be born-again, that He might have first place in everything and be the head and “corner stone” of His church.  Thus it is written, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, ---” (Ephesians 4:8ff).

52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
53and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
Matthew 27:52-53 [NAS]

Now this is the summation of my convictions.  I believe that from the time of my Lord’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, until He was born-again in the pits of hell, He suffered the wrath of God being poured out upon sin (Matthew 10:28).  Thus He fulfilled the Law of sin and death on my behalf and all who believe; He suffered the punishment that was due me.  Through faith He conquered the enemy of death and was resurrected on my behalf also, that I might through faith have eternal life with Him.  He is filled with the love of the Father and He pours it out upon me, thus I have made a vow of faith to be faithful to Him and to love Him with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and all my strength and to share His precious love with all mankind.

James C Sanford

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Sower Sows The Word

I find it interesting how many activities preoccupy churches in America. People focus on musical extravaganzas... fund raising efforts... even insane activities like burning copies of the Quran. But is that really what followers of Jesus are supposed to be doing? We were privileged to hear Lon Solomon explain that the prime directive of the Body of Christ is the Great Commission:

18Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them, All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
19Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be).
Matthew 28:18-20 [AMP]

How often do we go days... weeks... months... years without sharing the good news that God loves us? As the late Keith Green famously said, “This generation of believers - you and me - are responsible for this generation of souls!”

This week’s blog features wisdom from Judypie about... well, isn’t it obvious?

Freedom to Choose
by Judy Ann

God sets before you life or death – the choice is yours. How do you choose life? By choosing to be spiritually minded, which is life and peace; to be carnally minded is death (Romans 8:6). You can choose to think like the world (carnally minded), or you can become God-inside-minded. Read and meditate on God's Word, memorize and personalize Scripture, pray Scriptural prayers. Put God's Word first. Choose life!

Father, You have set before me life and death, blessing and cursing. I come before You choosing life that I—and my children might live. I choose to love You, Lord my God, to obey You and to cling to You, for You are my life and the length of my days. Thank You for blessing me with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I turn away from everything wrong, whether of body or spirit, and purify myself, living in the wholesome fear of God, and give myself to You alone. In the name of Jesus, I give Your Word first place in my daily life. Amen.

19I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live
20And may love the Lord your God, obey His voice, and cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 [AMP]

May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!
Ephesians 1:3 [AMP]

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let's make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let's make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 [MESSAGE]

My desire Lord is for people to see You in me..may I reflect your love and grace and mercy..may I be more like You Lord everyday with a heart of compassion ..You are the reason I live and breathe..

I Will Do Good
by Judy Ann

Father, you have called me and separated me unto the Gospel. I utterly abandon my dreams and plans to Your Will. In the name of Jesus, I bind my will, plans and purposes to Your will, plans and purposes for my life as I wait for your Guidance, I listen for your Voice. When I lose my life, then I shall find it. Amen.

I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ on assignment, authorized as an apostle to proclaim God's words and acts. I write this letter to all the believers in Rome, God's friends.
Romans 1:1 [MESSAGE]

Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].
Matthew 10:39 [AMP]

My desire Lord is for people to see You in me..may I reflect your love and grace and mercy..may I be more like You Lord everyday with a heart of compassion ..You are the reason I live and breathe.

Jesus is our example of living a life that is pleasing to the Father. He went about doing good, healing all those who were oppressed by the devil. When Jesus walked the shores of Galilee He was the light of the world. Today you are that light shining forth in a crooked and perverse generation. Never repay anyone with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody.

See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 [AMP]

Father, I will look for occasions to bring healing, to strengthen and bless others. I purpose to do good every time it is possible. I will not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of my hand to do so. If my enemy is hungry, I will feed him; if he is thirsty, I will give him a drink. In the name of Jesus, I will overcome evil with good. Amen.

Withhold not good from those to whom it is due [its rightful owners], when it is in the power of your hand to do it.
Proverbs 3:27 [AMP]

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
Romans 12:20-21 [MESSAGE]

Father, in the name of Jesus, I shall go to all to whom You send me, and whatever You command me, I shall speak. I will not be afraid of their faces, for You are with me to deliver me. Whenever I feel afraid, I will trust in You. I will praise Your Word, in You I have put my trust; I will not fear, what can man do to me? You have spoken, and my faith is in You. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. Amen.

6Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth.
7But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.
Jeremiah 1:6-8 [AMP]

3What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You.
4By [the help of] God I will praise His word; on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4 [AMP]

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].
Philippians 4:13 [AMP]

Overcoming Fear of Rejection
by Judy Ann

Father, even though others may reject me, I am totally accepted by You. Once I was alienated from You, my God, and I was an enemy in my mind because of my evil behavior. But now You have reconciled me by Christ's physical body through death to present me holy...without blemish and free from accusation. You are awesome and altogether lovely. In the name of Jesus, I resist the temptation to receive the rejection of others by remembering that You have accepted and approved of me. Amen.

Prayer for the Nations
by Judy Ann

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.... There is a river whose streams shall make glad the people of God. God is in our midst and we shall not be moved; God will help us. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. We proclaim that God will be exalted among the nations; He will be exalted in the earth. In Jesus name. Amen

1GOD IS our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas,
3Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
4There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning].
6The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
8Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth.
9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.
10Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!
11The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
Psalm 46 [AMP]

A Call to PRAY for Japan
by Germaine, Word Ministries Inc.

We are asking everyone to take a minute of your time and say a prayer for the Japanese people. Pray for God to give them the wisdom that they need to bring the reactor under control. Remember the words of Jesus:

No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.
John 15:13 [AMP]

Pray for a great spiritual awaking in Japan releasing the wave of the Holy Spirit to flow across this Nation. Also, pray for those who are there on the ground laying down their lives for their friends. There is power in the Scriptural prayer of agreement.

Peace of Jerusalem
by Judy Ann

Father, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Thank You for bringing the people of Israel into unity with each other and for bringing Your Church into oneness – one new man. I thank You for the peace treaties with Israel’s former enemies, and ask You to give them wisdom as they work out present peace treaties. Use these pacts for good to make way for the good news of the Gospel as we prepare for the coming of our Messiah. Amen

6-9 Pray for Jerusalem's peace!
       Prosperity to all you Jerusalem-lovers!
    Friendly insiders, get along!
       Hostile outsiders, keep your distance!
    For the sake of my family and friends,
       I say it again: live in peace!
    For the sake of the house of our God, God,
       I'll do my very best for you.
Psalm 122:6-9 [MESSAGE]

14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we're now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
Ephesians 2:14-15 [MESSAGE]

My desire Lord is for people to see You in me..may I reflect your love and grace and mercy..may I be more like You Lord everyday with a heart of compassion ..You are the reason I live and breathe.