I John 1:1-4

Some Brief Historical Background

Historically and for our purposes this letter was written by the Apostle John. An interesting note is that this letter is not evangelistic in nature, meaning it was not written to the unsaved, rather it was written to fellow Christians, and most notably Christians who were well grounded in the faith, as noted in this statement, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:13*.

John has always been considered the Apostle of Love, and it is evident in this letter that was written to fellow believers. He truly considered those who believed with him, as his children. John truly had a pastor’s heart. This letter was written before his exile to Patmos, most probably while he was still ministering in Ephesus. It was believed to have been written between A.D. 85 and A.D. 90. What makes this so significant is the fact that John was probably one, if not the very last of the Apostles who had been an eyewitness to the events in Jesus life and had actually walked with the Savior. He was allowing this new generation a glimpse into the life of Christ and the assurance of their standing in Christ by faith.

Just as time and man have a tendency to pervert the truths that were told, John was living in a time when several false doctrines were creeping into the church. Gnostic heresy taught that matter is inherently evil, and therefore, a divine being such as Jesus claimed to be could not take on human flesh. Gnostics also believed that hidden knowledge made them superior than the common man. The other doctrine which was similar, Docetism, claimed that Christ only seemed to have a human body. Both of these doctrines denied the fact of the Incarnation. So we see that even in the very new and early church, false teachings and lies were being spread to water down the true Gospel of Christ. In the light of that, should we be surprised that there is so much doctrinal controversy today?

This is why I so firmly believe in the importance of reading and “studying to show yourself approved,” (2 Timothy 2:15) in this day and age in which we are living. As I stated in the I John Introduction & Overview, keep your heart and mind open to the Holy Spirit and you will glean a treasure of inspiration and assurance.

*As with all of my articles, Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 John Chapter 1:1-4

1 John 1:1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—”

John is stating with authority and as a matter of established fact, that he is talking from experience and not just what he has heard, but also that he was witness to the events that followed Jesus Christ, the Living Word. Also, Jesus Christ was real to the touch, He could be handled. John may have been remembering the Last Supper when he laid his head upon the Savior’s bosom. Remember also the instance when Thomas, later known as the “Doubter,” was instructed by the risen Jesus to, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” – John 20:27.

John does not falter in claiming that Jesus truly IS, the Word of Life, as he wrote in his Gospel; John 1:1-4, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

He was in the beginning. That word “was” denotes in the Greek, always being, never having been created. God is eternal. He has no beginning nor ending. Man, on the other hand is also eternal; but the difference is that man was created, and did have a beginning, although he will never experience an ending. Jesus being God, always was and forever will be; Jesus being man, in the flesh knew a beginning. This has caused a lot of confusion through the years as some who study the writings of John especially, stumble over semantics concerning the Godhead.

Today, we have denominations that call themselves, Trinitarians (not to be confused with the Catholic order under that name), trying to explain the Godhead as three Gods-in-One. On the other hand and in direct conflict with them, we have denominations who espouse themselves as Oneness, who delight in debate with other denominations just to prove their point that they are right above all others. I won’t at this time add to the debate, for I have first-hand experience with both sides, but I do firmly believe it is more a case of semantics as I have stated than actual doctrine. John is stating in clear terms that “the Word was with God and the Word WAS God!” (Added emphasis mine).

Notice also that John doesn’t just write the term, Word of God, but rather in this instance, the Word of Life. In his Gospel, he is talking to mankind as a whole, as an evangelist, sharing with them the Good News, the Way of Redemption and Salvation. Here in this letter, he is sharing with established believers already walking in that lifestyle. Jesus Christ IS the Word of Life, the Good News taken to the next highest step; the Word that brings Life into the believers heart and being. When we mature, beyond the baby steps of Christianity, that Word in our lives should demonstrate to all around us the Life that resides within us.

1 John 1:2, “the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—”

John says “the life was manifested,” that life being the Word, who was Jesus, was shown so as to be seen by all men. He was not a figment of some man’s imagination, He was not an apparition, but He was real with real material substance. His life among us was real, something to be witnessed and observed, it was not a façade so that He could just “pass” as a man. John reasserts that he himself was a witness in actuality to that Life. John’s mission, or his calling was to bear witness and proclaim that very fact.

So much is the character of John, his humility, his modesty, that he reaffirms his calling or appointment as an apostle without really saying it. The Apostle’s calling, then and today is to bear witness and proclaim or declare, to show the truth of that Life that is Christ Jesus’. We know, even by historical records that Jesus was a man who lived among us. It is the Apostle’s calling to reaffirm that fact, but not just as an historical figure but as the “eternal life, which was with the Father.”

I found this statement from an unknown author in my background research of this letter:
**”I am glad that my knowledge of eternal life is not built on the speculations of philosophers or even theologians but on the unimpeachable testimony of those who heard, saw, gazed at, and handled Him in whom it was incarnate. It is not merely a lovely dream, but solid fact, carefully observed and an accurately recorded fact.”

When I first read this, so many years ago, it stuck with me AND struck with me of the simplicity of the wisdom behind it!! Our belief, nay, as the writer says, our KNOWLEDGE of eternal life does not have to be a fantasy or some form of wish fulfilment, but rather based on honest-to-goodness, historical fact!

So to sum up so far, in this second verse, John is answering the first, and reiterating the fact that Jesus and the Father ARE One and have always BEEN One, (see John 10:30). Jesus was manifested or shown to us through the unwavering testimony of His disciples and Apostles, and so because of their witness, so through them also we can, without hesitation, bear witness to Jesus, and thus, we can bear witness to the Father’s presence among ourselves as well!

1 John 1:3, “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

Again John is reiterating with authority and a strong pronouncement that what they have witnessed personally he is not just holding to himself as some guarded secret or treasure, but rather is proclaiming and declaring it to all who would hear and listen. Notice that John says we, so as to lend authority to the statement that it was not just himself who witnessed the events of the Word of Life among them, but that it was the company of them, ALL of the disciples who were in the presence of Jesus. John was not standing alone and he was not expecting his hearers to believe it was only him who was witness to those events.

One of the underlying reasons for the writing of this letter is stated right here also. John is saying that by him proclaiming or sharing these things, the knowledge it gives a person allows those hearing and listening the ability to have fellowship also with him as a disciple. Thus, since his fellowship is with the Father, and Jesus Christ the Son, we can also have fellowship with them. In other words, it is the same as if my being friends or associated with you, allows me to be associated with all of your friends, and vice-versa.

Do not be misled by the now common usage of the word fellowship. That word “fellowship” is not just a connotation of friendship, but rather it goes much deeper than that. The Greek word used is the word, “koinonia” which means a partnership, or an intimate communion. When we enter into the fellowship of believers, we are not just entering into a social communion, an unbreakable band of brothers/sisters, so to speak, but we are entering into something much deeper and more abiding. After all, it is based in the intimate relationship of the Creator of all that is, ever was or ever will be, both in the natural AND the spiritual, and the Word of Life Who brings it and us all together in spiritual unity.

We have a bond that is unlike anything that has ever been on this earth, except with possibly Adam and Eve (or Enoch) who actually “walked” and communed with the Living God. It is an intimacy that the world cannot, nor ever will really understand. We need to be very careful that we do not attempt to understand our relationship with the Heavenly Father in the light of the world’s standards.

The beloved Apostle ends this sentence with, “His Son Jesus Christ.” There is a whole lot of doctrine packed into just those four words! Many of you who have been following my writings, not just on this blog of a few years, but who have known me well before I started this blog, have known me to be very “generous” in using the term, “Christ Jesus” in my writings. It would be hard to explain how important this acknowledgement of Christ’s deity is to me and why I feel compelled to express it so much.

First, I can tell you it comes from my personal relationship with Christ Jesus. Jesus and Christ are One and the same. They are not two distinct personalities AND they are NOT the first and last name of Jesus either! Believe me when I tell you there have been some through the years that have sincerely asked that question!

Jesus, is the name given to Him at His birth and denotes His real humanity. He was born into a natural body just like any other baby and He grew into a man, just like any other man, at least in the natural. Christ is the name that denotes that He IS God’s Anointed One, the Messiah. The word Christ means, the Anointed One. Thus, Jesus, the Anointed One. Proclaiming His humanity AND His deity in One Person!

When I write or when I am preaching/teaching, I often times say, Christ Jesus, because at this period in our history, “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God,. . .” – Acts 2:32-33a. Jesus has fulfilled His mission as a man and Christ continues in His mission at the right hand of the Father. The Anointed One is continuing His work amongst us through the power of His Holy Spirit, whom the Father had promised. “and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” – Acts 2:33b. Thus, to me, and this is my opinion and lifestyle, the Anointed One, Who IS Jesus is being exalted above all men! So, whether you proclaim, Jesus Christ, or Christ Jesus, we are proclaiming, exalting AND magnifying the Son of God, whose Name is above every name!!

1 John 1:4, “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”

John sums up not only the previous three verses, but also all that is to follow in his letter, for the main reason or purpose of writing the letter. That our joy may be complete. Now I want to take a moment to clear something up. The KJV and the NKJV and some other versions of the Bible say that “your” joy may be complete or “full.” Others say, “our” joy may be complete. Some people look at that as contradiction in translations or text, but rather it is updating the original language to modern language or idioms. Remember as I have stated countless times before, it is the spirit of the Word that we attain too and not just the letter.

John is including himself for the reason that he is writing the letter. It gives joy, not only to the reader, but to whom-ever will take to heart the message. Such was his humility that he is counting himself with us. Remember, in the previous verses he was talking about the fellowship we have with one another. We in essence, become one with each other, just as we become one with the Father and Son. So, your joy is his (John’s), his joy is ours. It is made complete or full when we take his testimony and witness to heart.

That brings up the issue of joy itself. In the world today, even in the church world, there is a lot of mistaking joy for happiness. Joy is the second quality that is listed as a “fruit of the Spirit.” See Galatians 5:22. Joy is God’s will for the believer, ALL believers in Him. It is a spiritual quality or characteristic and not a carnal or natural one, therefore, it is not dependent upon our outward natural circumstances. Rather, joy is a characteristic that is independent of outward circumstances and totally dependent upon our relationship with the Father, through Christ Jesus and empowered by His Holy Spirit. Do not confuse joy with happiness which IS totally dependent upon outward circumstances.

Lack or loss of joy came about due to the result of sin and our estrangement from our Heavenly Father. Where sin is forgiven through the Redemption of Christ Jesus, our Savior, joy abounds. This fullness or completeness of joy is mentioned approximately six times by the Apostle, in his Gospel as well as his Epistles:

Joy associated with consecration—–John 3:29
Joy associated with obedience——–John 15:10-11
Joy associated with prayer————-John 16:24
Joy associated with protection——–John 17:13
Joy associated with fellowship——–I John 1:4
Joy associated with brotherly love—II John 12

Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 1 verse 5.

**Believer’s Bible Commentary Copyright © 1995, 1992, 1990, 1989 by William MacDonald. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Posted in Expository Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I John Introduction & Overview

To me personally the Epistle of 1 John is by far one of the greatest books or letters in the Bible. You may be asking yourself how I can come to that conclusion, after all, it is only five short chapters long. The truth is, in those five chapters you will find the answers to who we are in Christ, our relationship with the Father, our condition in regards to sin, our assurances concerning eternity and the contrasts of good and bad, light and dark, truth and falsehood.

Like nowhere else in the Bible, you will find your reason for being, pretty much given specifically. It is almost as if God, our Father and Creator, centered the rest of His Word around this one little book. Now, I know that everyone who reads their Bible on a daily basis has derived favorites, chapters or passages that are especially endearing to them. The truth of the matter is, we need the WHOLE Word of God to be able to gain an insight and understanding into the character and nature of our truly loving Father, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we do and can have favorites.

For verse by verse, line upon line teaching, this Epistle is a good jumping off point, and by the time you are through it, I hope that you will agree with me that this IS just one of the greatest letters ever written. My goal in presenting this teaching format will be to give you an understanding of the Word of God, not just in bits and pieces, but as a whole picture. You have heard the old adage that says “You can’t see the forest for the trees, and/or you can’t see the trees for the forest.” Sometimes this is the problem that we encounter as we try and study God’s Holy Word. Our eyesight tends to be focused on maybe just a few scriptures here and there thus we don’t see them in context with the rest of the written word, thereby losing a necessary balance in our lives, or, our focus is on the word as a whole and we forget the little things that lend precise direction in our everyday lives.

I stated in my previous article, Expository Introduction, that one of the reasons I took to this epistle so completely was the apparent “grandfatherly” way in which the beloved Apostle wrote this letter. When read it appears very casual and informal and yet at the heart, exposes the very in-depth reasons for our walking in a Christian lifestyle. It truly exemplifies the Apostle’s pastoral heart and the Apostle John doesn’t pull any punches when talking about Jesus Christ being our One and True example of Godly living.

Now notice, I specifically ended the last sentence with “Godly living.” It, is an action, for to truly live, is to be doing; it is NOT a passive lifestyle as so many in the modern religious world would have you to believe, wrapped up with “religious” feelings and emotions to denote your true place in Christendom. Rather, John shows us that to be a true Christian, it can only be demonstrated by how we act and what we do!

Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT stating or putting forth the prospective that it is by our works that we come to Christ or are redeemed. On the contrary, it is BECAUSE of our redemption and our place IN Christ that our true love of God and others can be demonstrated by our works!

The Apostle James stated it this way; “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” – James 2:15-18.

The world would say it this way; we are supposed to FEEL love first and when we do then we will be motivated to do something for others (for how can we do without feeling motivated first to do something?). BUT, Jesus’ form of love says to DO something for others FIRST and unconditionally to demonstrate our love and the feeling may or may not come upon the heels of the action. Our motivation is the love that is within us, because of Christ within, and not whether we “feel” love for the other or not. Jesus’ way is the way of faith, but the world would make it seem only logical and right to do it their way. So it is that the Apostle John lays it out to follow the example “as He” does, or “even as He” does, meaning to follow the example of Christ. This John laces throughout the five chapters of his Epistle. John definitely backs up the premise that the Apostle James was proposing in his Epistle.

One of the key themes to this Epistle is “fellowship, with God and with one another” and it is what ties all of the writing within this letter together. John, in detail outlines just what this fellowship with our Heavenly Father accomplishes in the believer and what awaits those who reject this fellowship.

It has been known in theological circles and thus taught when I was approaching my later teenage years that John proposed three tests to determine, or measure, our “fellowship healthiness” as it were, and this so impressed me as a young man that there could even BE a measurement, that I have never forgotten the “markers.”

We will go into these a little deeper as we get into the expository teaching, but as a summation, I will put them here:
Marker or test number one can be found in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” First marker, have we confessed all our known sins so that we might be cleansed, thus being ABLE to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16.

Marker or test number two can be found in 1 John 2:5, “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” Notice this does not state that OUR love for God is perfected (realized in practice); but rather, God’s love is realized as a truth/fact within us! Do we know His Word(s) so that we MAY even be able to keep them? Are we walking in obedience to God? Walking is another action, not a passive, indicator of our status of fellowship with God!

Marker or test number three can be found in 1 John 2:10, “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” Are we demonstrating, by actions, a love for our brethren in an ongoing, practical way? Are we in “fellowship” with them as we are with our Heavenly Father? As the writer of Hebrews states/commands, “Let brotherly love continue.” – Hebrews 13:1.

Fellowship with God and with our brethren should not be an abstract or vague thing. As we read/study 1 John, we will see some key themes that are applied to the main theme of “fellowship.”

The beloved Apostle is very specific in his message concerning, our fullness of joy, our power over sin and assurance of our salvation, all of which he writes to foster our ability to protect holiness and righteousness (2:1), to prevent heresy and false teaching (2:26), AND to provide assurance and hope (5:13).

Again, as we study this Epistle together, keep an open heart and mind, don’t let the casualness of the writing style make you think this letter is of any less important than any of the other writings inspired by the Holy Spirit and do not let some of the underlying deep concepts hinder your acceptance of simplicity of what the Apostle is trying to get across. When you study and read, do so with Holy Spirit as your ultimate Counsel, for even though we need one another for encouragement, strength and edification, it is His job to teach you what He would have you glean from this work.

From John’s own words, “These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” – 1 John 2:26-27.

Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 1.

Posted in Expository Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Abraham Lincoln

Thought this was interesting and intriguing. Words of Wisdom from a
Godly man who made a difference with the leading of the Lord!

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Expository Introduction

Isaiah 28:9-13, “Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.” For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, To whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was to them, “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little,” That they might go and fall backward, and be broken And snared and caught.”

Isaiah 28:10 — “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”

Many of my Calvary Chapel peers and friends will recognize these verses for they are the foundation of the teaching style of many Pastors within the Calvary Chapel churches. AND, before you think I might be critical or criticizing, I am NOT criticizing this style of teaching/preaching! This actually encompasses some of my favorite teaching style and led me to truly recognize and understand the importance of keeping the Scriptures in context. My years in ministry within the Calvary Chapel *“organization” helped me to develop my own style of teaching.

If you think about it, the Scriptures were written in an orderly fashion (as inspired by the Holy Spirit) to portray a specific line of thought. It only stands to reason that to “expose” or analyze that line of thought, you read it, study it in the way and order that it was written.

I have many peers in the blogosphere who teach by exposition in their writing and posts and their teaching and writing is excellent AND inspiring. When I was actively preaching, I tended to use expository teaching more actively from the pulpit and even when I resorted to thematic teaching, it was the expository study of the Scriptures that allowed me to teach the theme I was covering within the context of the written Word.

The one thing about the above Scripture though and the context with which it is given, is that rather than “dictating” an inspired style of teaching “approved” by God, it is actually a treatise of the Lord mocking a grumbling and disobedient people at a particular time in Israel’s history. You can read most of Isaiah 28 and see that the Lord is criticizing His people who are criticizing the teaching and the way it is done. In today’s parlance, you might say the people are reacting the way of teaching by repeating, “blah, blah blah, blah blah, blah blah!” More or less snubbing the teachers of the time.

Still, because this WAS the way the Scriptures to that time had been taught, it was a very reasonable and practical way of teaching. This is not to say that thematic preaching/teaching (expounding on a theme, such as sin, or love, for instance) is not an effective way to preach or teach, it is just that thematic teaching or even studying a theme has its pitfalls if the student is not careful.

Today, we have many religious fads and false teachings that have crept into the church due to preachers and teachers taking OUT of context, Scriptures that fit a theory or idea, and once that germ of a thought has taken root, a preacher or teacher will do all within their power to make the Scriptures fit their theory! Whatever the motive, no matter how it makes the listener feel, it is still false teaching because it is TWISTING the Scriptures to fit a person’s theory, rather than making a person’s theory fit the contextual Scriptures!

This is one of the reasons why I hold so dearly (and yes, use it quite often) the Scripture that the Apostle Paul wrote, stating, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5-6. It is the Spirit of the Word, the Bible, that gives it life, the inspired meaning behind the words and not the words themselves. I have said it many times before and written in my articles that the Scriptures can be made to say just about anything a person wants them to say. This is one of the reasons we have so many cults cropping up from time to time and the false teachings that have infiltrated the church. Does that make the Scriptures flawed? Undoubtedly, it is the user and his ideas that are flawed. The Scriptures will remarkably confirm themselves when dealt with in the right spirit and context!

Plus, we need to be reminded that it is not just the preacher or teachers faults wholly, for individually we are responsible on what we accept as “gospel” and truth. When we stand before our Redeemer at the final judgment, He is NOT going to accept the excuse, “well, that is what my preacher/teacher taught or told me!”

Another of my favorite Scriptures was written by the Author of Acts when describing the exploits of Paul and Silas, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.” – Acts 17:10-12.

I want you to focus on verse 11 where it says, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica,” some translations use the word “noble” in place of fair-minded. WHY were they this way? Because, “they received the word with all readiness,” first and foremost, their hearts were open, then, and here is the main reason, “and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” They didn’t search the Scriptures to find fault with Paul and Silas, because their hearts where already open to the Word, BUT, and it is a big BUT, they wanted to make sure that what they received was the TRUTH!!! They held themselves, individually accountable for what they received in their hearts and minds!!!

If we, almost two thousand years later, would do the same thing when it comes to the Scriptures and the Living Word of God, our churches and most likely our societies wouldn’t be in the mess that it is today. But rather than be like the noble Bereans, we have become more like the grumbling and complaining Israelites in the days of Isaiah! This goes to prove a point I have stated time and time again; human nature just does not change despite our knowledge of history! There is only ONE way for which our natures can change from the grumbling, complaining and deceitful to the fair-minded and noble and that is by the very BLOOD of Christ Jesus and our willingness to be spiritually bathed or washed in it!

When we surrender our very nature, our very willfulness to the Holy Spirit who leads us directly to the Cross of Christ and we accept that sacrifice for the penalty of our sinfulness, then and only then does the Holy Spirit take up residence with our spirit to guide, to teach and to convict (convince) us of spiritual truth. Then and only then can our minds and spirit be reawakened as children and heirs of God Almighty, our Heavenly Father and it is then that the spiritual gift of discernment becomes active and allows us to see the spirit of the Word of God and not just the letter. We then step into the realm that the Apostle Paul wrote about to the Corinthians, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-14.

Anyway, I wanted to give you this introduction, so to speak, because I want to start some expository teaching on one of my favorite Books of the Bible, the Epistle of 1 John. It will be predominantly, verse by verse, line upon line teaching; thus the explanation given to this point.

Ever since I became born-again, just before my seventeenth birthday and started reading a Bible gifted to me, I quickly found that 1 John was to become an exceedingly favorite portion of the Bible. I think, for me, it was because of what I presumed to be the “grandfatherly” way in which John, the Apostle wrote it. It quickly touched my heart and spirit as a youth and was a big step to encouraging me to truly get in and read the Bible as a whole! I have been in love with the Bible ever since.

I hope and pray that 1 John will awaken/reawaken the love for God’s Word in you as it has me.

In closing, however you teach, or if you are a preacher, a minister (servant) of the Word, I hope and pray that you take to heart the importance of precept upon precept, line upon line in your study of the Word and especially as a guide for keeping the Scriptures in context. We WILL be accountable and answerable to Christ Jesus our Lord AND Master, for the words we speak towards the goal of instructing others; so, let not our words of instruction be in vain.

God bless and may the Spirit of the Living Word encompass your hearts, minds and spirits, always!

*Calvary Chapels for the most part do not want to associate their churches within the framework of a denomination and even though there are thousands throughout the world as an “organization” they consider themselves to be “undenominational.” This is given just as some informational background to my readers.
Posted in Expository Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Cure – Speaking Truth

WOW! Just posted article, went to Facebook and saw this Illustrated Message! Amazing how the Holy Spirit confirms when we try to be obedient! WOW!
Picture was posted courtesy of “The Christian Conservative” Facebook page.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Cure

Romans 16:17, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.”

Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

1 Timothy 1:3-4, “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia–remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”

1 Timothy 5-11, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”

2 Timothy 4:2-4, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

Jude 1:16-19, “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.”

Okay, starting off, I’m going to admit a weakness or a fault of mine that I have been experiencing for several months now. If hearing a teacher or preacher claiming faults or weaknesses is disconcerting to you, then you have my permission to “disengage” right now and go no further.

I have been heartsick! There I said it. A Christian teacher and preacher who admits to being heartsick for several months!!! Unheard of, right? Well, I’d rather be honest and truthful with you upfront, than lead you on into believing I am perfect without a care in the world!

It has nothing to do with my battle with physical pain, though that can be a hindrance, but rather it has to do with something beyond emotional pain, a spiritual pain as it were. Honestly! I am hurting in my spirit, greatly.

Now before you lecture (or scold) me, that I should be praying more, reading the Word more, “giving it all to God” more, etc., etc., let me tell you that those parts of my life, though they can always be improved, have not been the cause of any spiritual deficiency leading to my being “heartsick!”

No, in truth, the only thing that might clear my mind and spirit of this condition would be for me to become a total, dedicated hermit, or for the Lord to come and take me home! I know, I know, both these solutions seem to be incredibly drastic, but my mind has strayed that way for months now.

You see, I try to avoid the news outlets, the world goes on right outside my door. I try to avoid social media so I don’t see what is going on from the perspective of internet commentary and I have to go to the store, or the doctor’s office or any other countless, mundane routines of someone who is retired from public, let alone any other kind of service. I still see the world going by on its merry way as if they have an eternity of time to accomplish their own personal “bucket lists” before they have to depart, leaving behind “their” indelible marks on the remaining world!

I realize that I am speaking in the midst of some great heroic and unselfish deeds coming out of the natural disaster named hurricane “Harvey” hitting the state of Texas, predominantly, but effecting people in the other states adjacent to Texas as well. But, “Harvey” is recent (I am beginning to write this 9-3-2017), and I am looking back several months as my “spiritual” melancholy began to set in.

Riots in our streets, the breakdown of civil obedience, the assassination of our police officers, a backward spiral of race relations, a progressive, liberal media that doesn’t count on the truth to further its journalism endeavors, corruption beyond measure in an outgoing government being taken place by alleged (but not proven) corruption in an incoming new government, further wars and rumors of wars, etc., etc., so on and so forth!! This is just in the WORLD as a whole!

Then take into consideration, seeing corruption and crime firsthand in a small town that shouldn’t even be touched by such things, watching as the police time and again, trying to apprehend a neighbor/neighbors that time after time, demonstrate by their actions that the law doesn’t apply to them. Going to the neighborhood chain store, or grocery store and watch as people plow down the aisles without a look-see before entering the main aisle (I’m pretty much relegated to a wheel chair as my knees don’t support me more than a minute or two) as if they are in some sort of ultra-reality, crash-cart derby! I mean, most stores, grocery or department are laid out just like the lanes and throughways of a city traffic grid; you have your main lanes and then your cross lanes. If people drove out in their cities like they do in the stores, it would solve the population crisis real simply, and quite fast!

Okay, maybe, just maybe you are thinking I’m exaggerating just a little. Maybe I am, and my perspective has just become a little hypersensitive, but this much I will tell you, I have seen mankind in general, locally by people’s actions and on a world-scale by the news I have seen becoming more and more self-occupied and a lot more self-centered. Whether it be spending all their time on their cell phones (whether in traffic or not), or just doing whatever they can to get to their destinations, by whatever means necessary.

This has led me to another aspect of the human-nature condition that I have been a student of most of my life; human nature does not seem to change through the generations or, in fact, the centuries! It truly reminds me of that saying that everyone is familiar with, “those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it!”

The truth of this can be found throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, the Living Word of God. The children of Israel were created to be the heirs and children of God Almighty. All He asked of them was to follow Him in all their ways, His commands and directions. It just seems that at every turn, no matter the many heroic actions and incidents of their history, they also seemed to have an ongoing history of disobedience and willfulness. By the way, willfulness could be construed as self-centeredness as well!

So if you are reading this, tell me, in all of mankind’s history from the very beginning, other than the environment and the circumstances, WHAT HAS CHANGED?

Now I know, you are probably thinking, Pastor Roland, you are very pessimistic! It may appear that way, but in fact, I am very OPTIMISTIC! It’s just that my optimism isn’t in mankind’s ability to correct itself, but rather in the fact that God, our Heavenly Father, through the Redeeming quality of Christ Jesus is the only hope we have for mankind and that in Him AND only in Him will we ever find the “cure” to human-nature!

Then why the melancholy, the “heart-sickness,” you may be asking? The truth of the matter is that it is not just the world that I am witnessing this self-centeredness, but in many of my “peers” and friends in the “religious” arena. I have known for years what the Bible has prophesied and if the truth be told, for some reason, whatever the reason, I didn’t think I would be around to actually see some of what I am seeing take place! I am trying to be very transparent and yet at the same time, kind of put out there in the “blogosphere” a warning call, or an alarm call that all is not right in the organized “church-world!”

You see, we have been given an awesome gift, a roadmap as it were, a foundation for life that has been placed in our little hands for our benefit, individually, as well as corporately, for the betterment of those around us. The truth is, not everyone sees this as a benefit, and some go so far as to believe it is a recipe of “suggestions,” for the creation of a “happy” lifestyle. Some believe that it is a mythology for Utopia, a mystical magical formula that is only for some and not for all.

The Bible isn’t a “book of suggestions” but rather a key, a link, to what is missing in a life separated from its Creator, and the Way to get back that which has been missing. It’s not magic, it’s not mystical, but rather it is SPIRITUAL and it only works when the inner spirit has been reawakened and is sincerely curious as to what more there is to this mystery we call LIFE.

It is the answer to the question, “is this (this natural, physical, existence) all there is to life? In its inspired (inspired by the Holy Spirit) writings we see that this natural existence is only the finite stepping-stone to our REAL Life!

Sadly, we have people, who claim to be “from God” who do some of the very things the writers of the verses I gave at the beginning prophesied would happen. They have become more concerned with what the MAJORITY of people will think about them, than giving, out of a heart and spirit of love, the TRUTH which is only found in the whole Word of God! That, is the definition and demonstration of not love, but self-centeredness!

Jesus told some of the Jews that believed in Him, that “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32. But the Jews were confused or unsure and Jesus had to give the explanation to clarify His statement by saying, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” – John 8:34-36.

Jesus demonstrated His love to those believing in Him and even those confused or unsure, not by skirting the issue of sin, but by explaining the hold living in sin has on mankind, AND by pointing out the fact that the Son is the way to overcome that hold! It would not have done the Jewish converts any good to avoid the issue of sin, for they would not have understood then the hold it had and the NEED they had to be released from it!

But today, it is neither fashionable nor expedient to point out sin, or the hold it has on people and thus the way to escape it, because if the subject DOES surface, it would not be “loving” towards those who are living in it!!

We have “religious” organizations that are literally changing, NOT TRANSLATING, but changing the words of the Bible so that they won’t appear to be so offensive to certain groups of people for fear that those groups might make a public spectacle and cause embarrassment to the “church!” OR, to garner more memberships, (so as to keep their coffers full) or to maintain their power structure within these organizations, they refuse to acknowledge outright sin, using the philosophy that to do so is NOT loving to the people living a lifestyle of sin!

Just to make it clear, I am NOT just speaking about a lifestyle of homosexuality either, though it is the one thing that is in the public eye right now. I am talking about any lifestyle that is actively engaged in sinful activity and is enabled by ignoring it, out of “love” for the person involved. To give you an example, many years ago, we attended a church for a very short time in Arizona, where the Pastor’s son was leading the Praise and Worship service while he (the son) was also having an adulterous relationship with a woman in the church. The Pastor was well aware that his son was living in active, ongoing sin, yet didn’t feel that it had any influence on the Praise and Worship, the very tool that is used to try and garner the manifest presence of the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, into the midst of the congregation!! The son still “loved” the Lord, but he also “loved” another man’s wife as well, so the “Love covered the sin!” —- (“By the way, the woman was separated, but still married to her husband.”)

Do I need you to guess whether the Spirit of the Lord rested upon that congregation or not? Some said it was always a great time of Praise and Worship. He was a very skilled musician, but I have seen the results first-hand of the Holy Spirit washing over an open and transparent congregation and this congregation didn’t exemplify that. The Holy Spirit, the Lord, will not manifest His presence upon a congregation that does not recognize, but rather enables continued, open sin within their congregation! You can have a wonderful time of music, you may experience great emotional exuberance, but the lasting, healing and redemptive quality of the Holy Spirit’s manifestation will not be present while sin reigns in the camp! The emotions die out soon after the service, the touch of the Holy Spirit lasts through many trials and tribulations!

I don’t need to reiterate the Scriptures I gave you in the beginning. If you read them, the Holy Spirit will illuminate the truth of them to you. You truly don’t need me to relay to you what is truth and what is falsehood. If you truly are a child of the Lord’s, you already have the Holy Spirit Whose mission it is to convict (meaning to convince) you of what His Word truly says.

I will end on this though; if you truly want to Love others as Christ Jesus loves, as our Heavenly Father commands, then don’t twist or run and hide from the truth when it needs to be revealed. To do so, is not love, but self-centeredness, because you are fearful of how someone feels or will react to you. If however, you want to truly love, give them the possibility of freedom, give them the Son, the Truth, the Light, the Life and the Way. If we determine to do this, as opportunities present themselves (not forcing it on others) then the love will take care of the sin.

My concern right now, more than anything else in the spiritual realm is that those teaching the Word of God, will teach/preach ALL of the Living Word of God and not just the parts that are pleasing to their role as “minister” etc. My concern is that we don’t become like the shepherds of the Prophet Jeremiah’s teaching and scatter the sheep, or bruise the sheep. The things that the Lord told the Prophet Jeremiah to prophesy about the religious leaders of his day, are repeating themselves in this age in which we are living and the Apostle Jude has told us this is a sign of the last days! All I can say to that is what the Apostle John ended with in the Book of Revelation, “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” – Revelation 22:20.

Posted in Pastor's Desk | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

When You Pray, Pray This Way – Part III

Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Let’s continue on from Part II to look at the SPIRIT of “The Lord’s Prayer”:

And Forgive us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors —– In other words, forgive us from those things, those circumstances, those instances where we have actually indebted ourselves to others because of transgressions, mistakes and outright sin. Our overall forgiveness comes from our faith in the Redemptive payment through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus and the Grace that pours forth in our acceptance, individually and personally for our own accountability.

But – what Jesus is saying here, are the day to day circumstances that demonstrate our individual transgressions toward others that we come into contact with or have influence over. We become indebted to others when we allow our will and desires to take selfish precedent over others needs and concerns. We need to DAILY ask the Lord to forgive us of these transgressions, but with one very important proviso; that while we are asking for our own forgiveness from these transgressions, we also hold no one else in debt to us for their transgressions. We hold no bitterness or accountability, but release their “indebted to us” back to the Lord!

The condition of our forgiveness depends on our ability to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter the circumstance!! I bring the importance of this up because years ago (and it still crops up its head from time to time) my wife and I were actively involved in a teaching/preaching ministry at a church in Globe, Arizona. The pastor there actually got to a point, where he started teaching from behind the pulpit and the Sunday School lectern that you DO NOT have to forgive another, unless they come to you and personally ask forgiveness!

They completely ignored the Biblical teachings of Jesus directly, as well as so many other Scriptures that the writers of the Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit, instructed us to follow concerning the NECESSITY to our spiritual well-being for forgiving others, no matter what!! For those wondering, no, we didn’t stay much longer after this, though we tried so hard to correct their teaching. I am not exaggerating when I tell you today that this particular church has no more than a handful of people attending today. So sad.

The one thing that has been impressed upon my spirit time and time again is this; if we are truly forgiven ourselves, washed in the Saving Blood of Christ Jesus, our hearts and spirits are reborn to the point where we couldn’t hold back forgiveness from another if we wanted too!! I will ALWAYS remember the instance in the Bible where the sinful woman anointed the feet of Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee and this is what Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” – Luke 7:47.

We have all sinned, and we all still transgress daily, whether it is through deed or thought and we ALL have to ask the Lord to forgive us as we forgive others. Yes our sins ARE forgiven, but we are not yet perfect and won’t be until He Who IS perfect comes for us to take us home and we must NEVER forget that fact!

Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

And Do Not Lead Us Into Temptation, —– This is NOT speaking of the same types of temptations that James speaks about his Epistle: “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” – James 1:13. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to not just read your Bible, but to study it, to meditate on what it says. The Bible DOES NOT contradict itself, despite what some may say, but rather it is in our interpretation and/or understanding of it that causes conflict. When these situations arise, ASK the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you and HE most assuredly will!!

This part of our daily prayer is simply this; just as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as stated earlier, asking His Father to remove the “cup of suffering” from Him, we ask the Lord to remove the tests and trials of our daily lives as well. BUT – remember this; we ALWAYS qualify it with, “nevertheless, not my will, but THINE (Yours, Heavenly Father) be done!”

Why do we even pray this way? It is a further acknowledgment of our total and complete dependence upon our Heavenly Father as well as the total and complete surrender of our will to His! We recognize our own weaknesses in coping with the day to day trials that come our way. A person who does not recognize God Almighty as their Heavenly Father does not understand the humility in recognizing our limitations. We need to remember that this all ties back to the Father’s “will on earth as it is in Heaven”; meaning specifically His will be accomplished in our individual lives, just as His will is accomplished completely in Heaven, this very moment!

There is a part of the “Christian” church that today does not believe that God “tests” us so that we may recognize our limitations and weaknesses. The truth of the matter is that the Lord does ALLOW testing in our lives even if He is not the One actually “testing” us for the Bible tells us that “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4.

This falls into line with this part of our daily prayer. James was truly reiterating what the Savior was teaching to the disciples gathered around, and — this leads us into the second part of that prayer guideline:

But Deliver Us From the Evil One. —– We can ask for relief from daily testing and trials, but even though we may not avoid them, we can further ask, out of acknowledged weakness and limitations that our Heavenly Father, AS A FATHER, provide us with protection and strength from the very one, the devil, who is the very enemy of not just our soul but of our very existence. There is and there should be NO shame in crying out on a daily basis for protection from the very same adversary that TRIED to tempt Jesus in the wilderness!

When we ARE tested with trials and tribulations in our daily routine of life, the Father’s purpose in allowing it, is to make us stronger in spirit, a well-grounded heir to His Kingdom. But through the trials and such, it can and often does take a toll on our physical being, our natural self. It is during this time of weariness when the enemy tries to take advantage. It is for this very reason why we pray for deliverance from the evil one and this has the added advantage of also protecting us from falling into the trap of wronging others and becoming indebted to them as stated earlier.

For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever. Amen. —– Again, we are acknowledging the fact that our Heavenly Father is the Ruler, the King of a vast Kingdom and that in the natural scheme of things it surpasses and dominates anything that our minds can fathom! We acknowledge once again through the power of PRAISE that all that we have “prayed” and asked for to this point is in recognition of His Majesty, Power, Glory and Bountiful, Eternal Love!

This ending is not found in some of the older manuscripts and is omitted in SOME Protestant and the Catholic Bible and yet, here again, while we are looking at the SPIRIT of the Living Word and not just the text, it is fitting that while we start our prayer to our Heavenly Father in praise and adoration, we should, after asking all from Him, end with the same, giving Him praise and adoration!

We can remember through the structured guideline of this prayer “form” that He truly is the Alpha and Omega of our lives! Remember what John wrote in his Gospel, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24.

Our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS seeking those who WILL worship Him. He desires and WANTS communion with His creation for it was by His Eternal, Unconditional Love that we were created and it was FOR that Love that He has made a way in which we can, once again, walk daily, with Him until that time when He calls us to our TRUE Home!

Jesus gave us further guidelines as found in Matthew and Luke. True intimacy isn’t in the constant repetition, it isn’t in the loud, boisterous proclamations that draw attention to oneself, but rather it is the simple, private, personal and individual communication that takes place between two Loved ones!

Remember, this prayer guideline, often referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer,” was not meant to be just repeated, but rather to be used as what I have often referred to as a guide, a pattern in which we can direct our innermost thoughts. True intimacy, true adoration, worship and love happens not just in the darkened recesses of our homes, but constantly, throughout our day; no matter what our activity, once our spirit has been reawakened, reignited anew, Christ Jesus draws us to the Father through Him, empowered by His Holy Spirit and we begin to realize that our real lives are not seen (for they are spiritual) and not of this natural world, but are ready to be lived in something much more precious, something much more grand!!!

This is all because God Almighty, the Creator of all that is, all that ever was and all that ever will be, chose us to be His children, and we have a home that is beyond explaining, with a Heavenly Father who loves us beyond condition!

Posted in Prayer and Praise | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When You Pray, Pray This Way – Part II

Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Let’s continue on from Part I to look at the SPIRIT of “The Lord’s Prayer”:

Your Kingdom Come —– Your Kingdom Come, denotes the place where You have personal rule and have supreme domain, the place where Your Law, Your edicts, Your plans, Your Will not just reside, but emanate from. This is the place where You and You alone as God Almighty are the ultimate Ruler, ultimate King, without question having total and absolute authority! Let them advance or proceed from Your Throne where You govern, and allow them to advance to/towards us. By remembering this, we acknowledge His rule, His Lordship, but we also remember in this acknowledgment that we are a part of that very Kingdom, for in truth, His Kingdom is everywhere that He resides and He DOES reside everywhere! Therefore, His absolute authority is everywhere and we are subject to that authority. He IS our authority as Father, but even though we are His children, we are his subjects as well.

Your Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven —– When we ask the Lord, out of our Love for Him and not out of obligation, as future heirs and present-day children of God Almighty, to let His Will be done where we now reside, in the natural realm, because we KNOW that is how His Will operates in Heaven, in the Eternal, we are SURRENDERING our wills, desires, plans, wishes, etc., to the One that we KNOW is more loving, more intelligent, more wise and we acknowledge that He has our best interest in mind, because He IS our Heavenly Father!

For too long man’s will has taken precedent over the Lord’s will and we are just shy of completely destroying this island we call earth! Man’s will has not advanced our position in the Eternal even momentarily. It is only by totally surrendering our will and acknowledging that our Heavenly Father, God Almighty is wiser and has our BEST interests at heart that we actually can become the “heirs to the Kingdom” that our Heavenly Father wants for each of us!

It has been stated in many articles recently that when we ask the Lord to “let His will be done,” in relation to prayer and communion, that it is because we lack faith, or we do not know His plans or “will” for our future or His desires concerning certain events taking place in our lives.

But here is the thing; we can and should be communing with our Heavenly Father on a daily basis already, but just because we are, doesn’t mean that He will be divulging all His plans for us in specific detail, or that if we don’t know what tomorrow holds for us, it is a lack of faith. The very fact that we still need to TRUST in Him for tomorrow and the very fact that we can still say in our prayers, “thy will be done,” is the act of faith that the writer of Hebrews states allows us to “please God,” for as it is written, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6.

This is speaking directly about communing with God Almighty in that it states those who “diligently seek Him.” We do that in communication and ESPECIALLY when we believe that our answers, (whether yea or nay) and our rewards come FROM Him and that He is indeed God, and they (the answers and rewards) are His will and His will alone! If you take away our reliance upon what He holds for us in the future, and the TRUST needed to believe that He has our best ETERNAL consequences at heart, then we can NO LONGER please Him because faith would not and is not any longer needed.

When God appeared to Abraham and told him that his wife Sarah would bear children, God divulged to Abraham his general plan for his life. BUT – God did NOT divulge specifics because if He had, Abraham would not have to “practice” faith in God’s Word, all he would have to do would mark off the calendar until the specific time arrived! We see in the news today, just what happens when we don’t move in the direction of “thy will be done,” but take it upon ourselves because we THINK we know God’s plan for the moments still in front of us. Abraham’s rush to fulfill God’s promise out of God’s time has created a centuries old feud that will NOT disappear until Christ Jesus returns!!!

Jesus Christ Himself put His very own words into practice at the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked His Father to take away the “cup” that He would soon partake of. Jesus KNEW His mission, (His job, to put it crudely) and KNEW that He HAD to go voluntarily to the Cross until the very end, yet, because as a man, He wanted to avoid the suffering and pain, etc., He asked if it were at all possible, crying out to His Father “saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” – Luke 22:42.

He had faith in His Father’s ability to remove the pain and suffering, yet He subjected His own will as the suffering man to that of His Heavenly Father’s will! IF IT IS YOUR WILL!!! He knew it was the Father’s will for He had been about His Father’s business since He could BE about His Father’s business!

So, when you pray, you are making a statement of faith concerning your acknowledgement of God’s greater will over yours, you are asserting His Kingdom to be accomplished here on earth, and you are subjecting yourself under Him as your Father and you are letting Him take the reins of your life trusting that He WILL fulfill His promises and that He WILL illuminate your footsteps and direction!

Do NOT get trapped in these New Age fads that turn simple, God pleasing faith into some “magic” formula where you will receive what YOU want despite God’s Wise and Eternal Will! This type of religious fad has infiltrated the organized church establishment and has only led to confusion, heartache and disbelief; ALL tools of the enemy of your soul! Not everything that SEEMS or sounds right, IS right, and you NEED to discern the truth from the lie and deception and especially in the age we live in right now!


Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread —– We have a right, as acknowledged heirs, of our Heavenly Father Who created us and also created the means for our survival and existence, to ask individually and personally for those necessities that determine that very existence and survival for the here and now and to do so on a day by day basis. Jesus shows us this is not selfishness, but rather this also is another expression of our faith, for what child would ask something of their Father and NOT expect to receive? This is another area in which we are pleasing our Heavenly Father, because we are asking in faith, not just believing, but KNOWING that His promises include our daily sustenance, etc.

Luke 11:11, “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?”

Notice also that Jesus is not telling us to ask for tomorrow’s bread! The following is Jesus actually explaining further to the disciples WHY we do not have to worry about what we ask of the Father in His (Jesus’) own words:

Matthew 6:25-33, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”


Posted in Prayer and Praise | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When You Pray, Pray This Way – Part I

1 Corinthians 3:1-4, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?”

Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

There has been so much talk lately on social media and in the news (yes in the news!) about prayer, and so many articles written about different ways to pray and prayers that will bring miracle answers, and miraculous healings and so forth and so on that it has caused a “restlessness” in my spirit!

Last night, the Lord kept speaking to me over and over again in my mind and spirit about HIS Word, what has HE said, what has HE instructed! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against “praying” the Scriptures, reciting those things from long dead Prophets of God, especially when there are living truths in their recorded words as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

BUT ——- in all the things written about prayer and how to pray and what to pray and what you should and shouldn’t say in your prayers, teaching on WHY we pray to begin with has gone by the wayside and with that lack of teaching, HOW to pray and WHO to pray too has also suffered! This is the Churches fault; those like myself that have been called to SERVE others through teaching and exhortation, etc., gifts given from the Holy Spirit for ministry (service) to the very Church we are called to hold up and strengthen!

We have become so split in our organizations that our doctrines and theocracy and what we believe has become more central and more important than what the BIBLE, the Living Word of God, tells us to do! We need to remember that when our Heavenly Father, God Almighty commands His Son to return for His children and when Christ Jesus, Himself breaks through the clouds, He is only coming for one Body, one Bride, one CHURCH!!!!

Do you not remember the implication (see Genesis 3) found in the beginning of the Book of Genesis, that God WALKED with Adam and Eve and communed with them intimately. Why did He do that, if not for His love of His creation and the desire for their love in return? Do you think that their sin stopped the Father’s willingness to continue in communion, for wasn’t it after their initial sin that the implication of God’s willingness to continue to commune with them is stated in the examples given? God CONTINUED to speak to mankind in a way that man COULD hear and understand Him for a long while after that initial fall into sin!

The whole point of the first chapters of Genesis is to show our Heavenly Father’s undying love AND desire to continue to commune with mankind. Our Heavenly Father, God Almighty, the Creator of everything that is and ever was, WANTS an intimate relationship with His Creation and it always came through communion or communication!!!

Remember that when you read man’s journey from his first sin until redemption that it was NEVER God who stopped talking to man, but rather it was man’s shame because of his sin that caused man to stop communing with God, his Heavenly Father! This is what prayer is all about, communion and communication with the ONE Who created us to be a part of Himself!!!

So why make “prayer” so hard? Why turn it into something that is so extravagant, so convoluted that even a person with average intelligence is afraid to tackle it or explain it, let alone a little child? Have you ever watched a little child truly pray? In their innocence and simplicity, it is one of the most precious events you can ever be privy too! Yet that is exactly what the Lord wants from us and Jesus Himself taught us through His disciples!

When we pray, when we “TALK” to our Heavenly Father, we approach Him like we truly are, HIS CHILDREN! Jesus taught it very simply, very straight-forward this way as found in the Gospel of Matthew, as well as the Gospel of Luke:

Matthew 6:7-8, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” —- Matthew 6:9-13.

NOW — let’s break down this prayer into the components that are important and why Jesus taught us to pray following this guideline. Remember also, this IS a guideline and not just some words to memorize. It comes back to what I repeat from the Scriptures again and again concerning HOW I should look at the Word of God:

2 Corinthians 3:6, “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Let’s now look at the SPIRIT of this prayer:

Our Father in Heaven —– Jesus immediately starts off with WHO we are to pray too! Why is there so much confusion today? I don’t get it or understand it and especially so for those that say they read their Bibles daily! Jesus makes it perfectly clear that we are to pray to our FATHER in Heaven! It is God, our Father Who created us, it is God our Father from the very beginning that desired (and still desires) communion with us. Jesus came to pave the way so that the spiritual connection that was broken could be reignited!

John 14:4-11, “And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

Our Father in Heaven denotes a personal, intimate relationship with the ONE Who looks upon each of us as more than a mere creation, but looks upon us as an individual, personal child of His! It denotes a belonging and an heir to the One Who loved us enough to bring us into existence. He IS a Father, but not just that, when we pray, we recognize Him as OUR Father. We recognize immediately that He is NOT as our or other earthly Fathers, but has a home in a spiritual realm that will one day, by virtue of our being His child and heir, be our home also. We are NOT orphaned, or abandoned, but rather are away “at school” as-it-were, to learn and to grow into the heirs that He wants us to be, for when we DO return Home!

Hallowed be Your Name —– Hallowed be Your Name meaning that not just You as our Heavenly Father, not just the Person that You are, but your very NAME is to be honored as holy, exalted, revered, praised as divine, worshipped and adored. It is not just Him as our Father, for truly He IS God Almighty and HE IS Holy and to be praised, etc., but His very Name is Holy for His Name cannot be separated from Who He IS! His Name also identifies who we are to Him and who IS His by the very fact that we ARE His progeny, His children having and identity with Him spiritually!

1 Peter 1:14-16, “as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

When we commune or communicate with our Heavenly Father Who Is God Almighty, we must remember that we are communing with a Loving Father, but a Father who is also Holy, Just, Perfect, Eternal, etc., and Who deserves by the very virtue of His Existence to be praised and exalted, magnified and LOVED above all other things! These are not things that should be done out of obligation, but rather out of the Love that SHOULD be reawakened in us spiritually by the very fact of His Spirit drawing us to Him!!


Posted in Prayer and Praise | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Those Who Mourn

Great thought from a dear Brother in the Lord; please visit for much, much more insight and inspiration!

The Life Project

Most of the time, we don’t associate blessing with mourning; maybe we should rethink this… Matthew didn’t actually say what those blessed ones are mourning; it could be the loss of a loved one, it could be the loss of their home or possessions, or it could be the sinful and rebellious state of this world. Maybe it doesn’t matter…

I think it is safe to say that for a person to truly mourn they first had to love; certainly this would be true in the loss of a loved one. It would also be true if a person is mourning the loss of possessions, for if they didn’t love the possession(s) lost, would they actually mourn?

It wouldn’t seem so.

If the person was mourning for the wickedness of this world, wouldn’t that show they loved God a whole lot?

Consider for a moment those who do not…

View original post 94 more words

Posted in Body of Christ - Reblogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,