Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear.

In the art shown here you can see Jesus standing at the bow of the boat taking command of situation (the storm), which caused the disciples to fear for their lives.  Jesus took control of the storm by speaking directly to the storm saying, "Peace, be Still!" and the storm obeyed His command.  Notice He said, "Peace", which He was speaking to the circumstance and the  desired result in the circumstance, and then He spoke to the cause of the circumstance, the storm.  He told the storm to "Be Still."  I like this because it reminds me of how I spoke to my sons, when they were little, and they were squirming during church.

What I find remarkable is the when the storm arose the disciples became afraid for their lives, but Jesus had so much perfect peace that He was asleep during the storm.  Jesus was in the back of the boat, known as the stern, sleeping on a pillow and He did not have any fear because He had perfect love as we studied in 1 John 4:18.

The disciples woke Him with words of fear as they could not understand why He was not afraid.  They felt as if He did not care for them.  They knew Jesus had supernatural powers which would take care of the storm, but, to them, Jesus seemed apathetic towards the situation.

Was Jesus apathetic?  No!  Well why didn't Jesus jump up and calm the storm before now?  You see the storm was a test for the disciples.  The disciples had been with Jesus for a long time now and they had set under His teachings and watched Him as He healed many people of various diseases, and cast out evil spirits.  The storm was a test giving them an opportunity to use what they had learned, to use their faith.  Notice what Jesus said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"

The disciples failed this test, but the good news they will get a chance to retake again later.  As a believer we too are tested to see if we have learned anything or not.  We will get a chance to exercise faith or will we fail the test by exercising our fear, which is the opposite of faith.  How we handle the faith tests in our lives helps us to grow and every we pass a test we move up to the next level of faith.  Whenever we fail a test we do not get to move up to the next level until we retake the test and pass the test.

The test for each one of us today is to examine our own hearts and think back to how we have handled different circumstances.  Did we stand in faith or wallow in fear?

In our next lesson we will study faith and how to know if we are living by faith or not.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Humble And The Meek

In my last article I told you about an attitude of some people which I titled "The Proud and The Arrogant".  Today we will talk about the opposite attitude of "The Proud and The Arrogant".  This opposite attitude is called:

"The Humble and The Meek"

I love the art shown here as you see Jesus enjoying His relationship with children of different skin colors.  You see Jesus does not love any one particular skin color.  It is the enemy that deliberately causes pride and arrogance among the different skin colors for the purpose of division among skin colors.

During my many years of work experience I have had the pleasure of working with people of different skin colors and different cultural back grounds.  I have found I have made some wonderful, lifetime friends with people of all the skin colors, different religions, and different cultures.

The truth is there is only one race and that is the human race.  God created the human race with different skin colors and with different cultures for His good pleasure.  If this true why is there so much pride and arrogance towards people that are of different skin colors than our own?  The tool the enemy uses to divide people is fear.  The slave owners were afraid of their slaves.  Why?  Because they thought themselves to be superior to the slaves, pride and arrogance, but yet they feared them because the slave owners feared the slave may get free and become better than themselves.  Fear of man causes one to control, contain, and manipulate others in order to keep them under control and stop them from becoming more than what they are.  But, Proverbs 29:25 says when a man lives under a fear of man he sets a trap for himself, which he subjects himself to bondage.  The opposite of fear of man is a man that trusts in the Lord and is safe from the bondage of fear.

The bad news still today there are groups of people that are in bondage to fear man and they are full of pride and arrogance against other skin colors.  They enjoy the division among skin colors and desire to keep the division going to serve their agenda.  They purposefully cause the peoples of their own skin color to despise the people of other skin colors (pride and arrogance).  Some of these people are so-called Christian pastors and leaders of non-Christian religions.  They preach a doctrine racism, a doctrine of hate, which is a doctrine of demons.  You've seen them on TV News programs and you know who I'm referring to.

In the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5, Jesus taught His kind of attitude called The Beatitudes.  I like to think of it as He Attitudes or rather His attitudes.  In this sermon, Jesus taught us His attitude as an attitude for all believers of all skin colors to embrace.  I call it the attitude of Being Like Him.  Was Jesus ever prideful or arrogant?  No!  Was He ever disrespectful or rude to anyone?  No!  Now I would like for you to read The Beatitudes in the Amplified version for a more detailed understanding of this teaching.

If only all people had the B-attitude or an attitude of Being in Him.  I call it the He-attitude where there is not any fear of man.  Where there is no fear there is love.  Where there is love there is peace and safety.  You see the "Me" attitude is afraid of man and is in a trap or bondage.  When we change from the "ME" attitude to the "HE" attitude we are free of selfishness bondage to a selfless freedom where there is peace and safety.

The Consummation of Love

"17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:17-19 NKJV

The church attenders, and others that I've talked about, have the bondage, an evil spirit, of "Pride and Arrogance".  They are the way they are because they are afraid of what man thinks of them, which is caused by an evil spirit.  They mask their fear through their attitude of superiority known as "Pride and Arrogance".

I love the scripture above and especially the phrase "perfect love casts out fear".  If we are in bondage to the fear of man then perfect loves can cast it out.  How is it cast out?  By perfect love from Jesus.  Why?  "Because He first loved us".  If you are secure in your relationship with Jesus and His love for you then you are set free from the fear of man and what man can do to you.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:28 to fear not what man can do to our bodies, but rather fear Him that can destroy both the body and the soul in hell.  As a believer we put our trust in Him because in Him, even though our bodies will someday die, our spirit man will live forever with Him once we depart from this earthly body.

Notice in the scripture above 1 John 4:17-19 " . . . because as He is, so are we in this world". Where is Jesus?  Seated at the right hand of the Father!  If Jesus is with the Father in heaven and we are as He is in Heaven, while we are still on earth, then our attitude is the same as His attitude.  Is He prideful and arrogant?  Is he conceited and selfish?  No!  Then we as a believer are not to be that way either.  Please go back and re-read the Beatitudes in the Amplified version.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Proud and The Arrogant

Jesus Rebukes Satan
The title "The Proud and The Arrogant" sounds like the title for a soap opera doesn't it?  I feel like the Lord has been wanting me to write about this subject for some time now.  I'm not sure why, but perhaps it is because this is something that someone needs.

Maybe I shouldn't be shocked by the proud and arrogant acting people I've been exposed to, but I am especially shocked when I meet church attenders that are this way.  A few years ago I was in between full-time jobs and worked part-time for a major company in the church directory business as a photographer taking portrait shots.  I was impressed with some of the churches I worked in because the church members were very friendly and fun to work with.

Then too, there were some other churches I worked in where I was very disturbed by the attitudes of haughtiness, arrogance, and pride of the members.  I could not understand how, or why, church people would behaved this way.  I had never seen this in a church before.

During my forty plus years of working I have had many different jobs and one day I asked the Lord why have I had some many different jobs.  I felt Him say in my spirit that there was a purpose for every job that I've had because He wanted me to be exposed to different kinds of people and all the different attitudes people have.  I asked the Lord why He wanted me to experience this and He said that He wanted me to understand what He experiences in dealing with people.  I really did not understand why He needed me to experience this, but I kept an open mind.

As I thought about these things I began to realize there is a war going on and the battlefield is in all our minds.  People act the way they do based on how their minds are programmed, their values, and what they treasure in life.  Whatever your treasure is, this is where your heart is.  

"4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 
casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,"  2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV)

Notice verse 5 says, "casting down arguments . . . " - I prefer the the King James version as it says "casting down imaginations . . .".  I think what we imagine about ourselves is where our attitude about ourselves comes from.  Do we imagine ourselves to be above others?  Do the think of ourselves as more or less than others?  Read how the Amplified version says it.

Not too long ago I went for a job interview in a different department of the same company that I work for now.  If I had gotten the job it would have been a lateral move and not necessarily a major advance in position.  I thought it would be a simple, cut and dry, yes or no interview.  My appointment was with the sales manager of this particular department, but when I arrived his boss decided the interview would be in his office and the sales manager could listen in.  I'm not sure what the reason for this switch was, but I left the room when the interview was over feeling beaten up and bloody.  The man tore my Resume apart and ridiculed me for even coming to the interview with a resume whereas I had had so many different jobs. At the end of the interview the manager leaned over towards the sales manager and in a stern voice he said, "We do not have any opening in your department, DO WE!"  The sales manager had no other option but to say, "No Sir!"  

My questions is if there were not any openings why was I invited for the interview?  I have had many interviews over the years and had a good feeling as to whether the interviewer was interested or not.   All of the other interviewers were professional and courteous even when they were not interested in my potential.  Why was this one so different?

Needless to say I was very disturbed by the way this man acted.  I asked the Lord about this and He helped me to realize that this man had some personal issues going on within himself, and also had an issue with the sales manager.  The Lord helped me to realize this man's attack on me was not against me personally.  It had to do with the man's own inner struggles with self worth and control of his department.   The Lord had me forgive this man even though I didn't feel he deserved it.  The Lord said to me, "Do you deserve my forgiveness?"  I changed me attitude quickly.

Why do we struggle with our attitudes, thoughts, imaginations, and strongholds?  The key lies in the battle for the mind.  The enemy comes against us with thoughts and accusations in order to destroy our witness for Christ.

Notice in the picture above Jesus rebuked Satan.  The enemy comes against every believer with thoughts to make them ineffective for Christ.  As a believer we should have the attitude of Christ at church and at work.  How do we do that?  Paul says, " . . . bringing every thought into the captivity of the obedience of Christ."  As Christians we are to have the same attitude as Jesus does.  A good check-up from the neck up for the believer is "Do we have the attitude of Christ?"  Do people see Jesus when they see us, or do they see the opposite of Jesus?

Friday, October 25, 2013

For We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

"For We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight"  2 Corintians 5:7 NKJV

Read all of 2 Corinthians 5 Please read the entire chapter for the full scope of verse 7.

Most of the art surrounding Peter's experience with Christ walking on the water shows Jesus rescuing Peter when he was sinking beneath the waves.  I like this picture because it shows Peter with his eyes fixed on Jesus and he was doing a supernatural thing - "Walking on Water".

At this point Peter changed his focus from himself and the storm to faith in Jesus.  Peter requested that Jesus command him to come to Him on the water,  Jesus told him to "Come".  Matthew 14:27-29 NKJV

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

Notice in verse 27 Jesus said, " . . . It is I . . . "  The disciples were afraid of the image they saw walking on the water because they thought He was a ghost.  The fishermen of that day feared ghosts of dead fishermen because their tradition caused them to fear that ghosts will  kill them too.  The actual translation of what Jesus said is, "I Am!"  He is saying to not be afraid because I AM is here.  Who is I AM?  He's the great I AM.  He's the one that said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM".

So, how was Peter able to do the supernatural thing of walking on water.  Peter did not have supernatural capabilities, but Jesus did.  All Peter had to do was follow Jesus' command, "Come" by faith in Jesus' word.  By faith Peter stepped out of the boat and rest in faith that he could do what Jesus had told him to do.  By Peter obeying Jesus' command Jesus was able to do the supernatural of walking on water for Peter.

The lesson here is whatever Jesus calls us to do we are to step out in faith and just do it even we think to ourselves that we do not have the ability to do what Jesus commanded.  We mistakenly think we should do what Jesus tells us based on our own ability.  Whatever Jesus commands you to do it is His supernatural ability to make it happen through you.  Our ability has nothing to do with it.  All Jesus wants from us is to step out in faith and let Him work through us to accomplish what He has called us to do.

Peter stepped out of the boat with his focus totally on Jesus and Jesus supernaturally caused Peter to walk on water towards Him.  You know the rest of the story.  Peter became distracted from his focus by taking his focus away from his faith in Jesus to fear caused by the cares of this world.  When Peter did this the supernatural power that was hold him up faded away because his focus changed from faith to fear.  There is no power for the believer in fear (doubt caused by looking at our circumstances).

Peter sank beneath the waves and cried out to Jesus, "Save me Lord", and Jesus reached out His hand and lifted him up.  What happened then?  Both Jesus and Peter walked on water back to the boat.  Peter walked on water twice, but neither time by his own ability.  It was Christ's ability that kept them both walking on top of the water.  Peter had nothing invested in this supernatural event except for his faith in Jesus.

Notice Jesus's words to Peter after He pulled Peter up the safety.  He said, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt."  Whatever Jesus has called you to do you can do it because of your faith in His supernatural power to make it happen.  We mistakenly believe that Jesus has called us to do supernatural things on this earth and then we become discouraged when we realize we do not have any supernatural powers.  The mistake is we are trusting in our strength or ability.  The power comes from trusting Jesus to use His supernatural power though us.  We can only operate our calling, our ministry, by faith in Him and not of ourselves.

What has Jesus called you to do?  Whatever Jesus has called you to do Jesus either will reveal it to you, or perhaps He has already revealed it to you.  Just relax and do what He has told you to do by faith in Him and His ability to accomplish His will for you and through you.  Get to know Him and His will by studying His words and doing whatever He says and then you will find the supernatural working in your life.

I AM is always with you.  Do not be afraid not matter what the storms of life are going on around you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Come See Me

One of my favorite Gaither songs is "Come See Me" by Johnny Minick.  The words to this song are important because, to me, it describes my ministry, my calling if you will, as a believer In Christ.  If you are a believer it's your ministry too.

Our ministry is to make disciples.  How do we do that?  You invite people to Come See You in order for YOU to tell them about Jesus.

As I was meditating on the words of this song while driving to work yesterday I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my spirit whenever I invite people to "Come See Me" I am inviting them to come see Him, Jesus.  He said, "invite them to hear your story and He, the Holy Spirit, will do the rest.

Notice in the picture above you see Jesus with His arms stretched out inviting all to come to Him as He will give them rest.  We open our arms and invite others to hear about Jesus and then He goes to work changing the hearts of those we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with.

I pray that you will watch the video clip below even if you do not like Southern Gospel music.  What is important is to pay attention to the words of the song as it relates to our ministry as believers.  

If you are not a believer and would know more about Jesus then "Come See Me", or send me an e-mail with your phone number as I would love to tell you about my Jesus.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Feeling At Home In the Presence of Jesus

I love this picture because it shows just how safe and secure the little lamb feels in Jesus's lap.  We have a little lap dog, Lucy, that loves to sit in our laps just like the lamb in this picture.  Lucy feels such peace and safety in our presence.

That's the way Jesus expects the believer to feel in His presence.  Unfortunately there are leaders and teachers in the church that desire to entangle the believers " . . . with a yoke of bandage."  What is this yoke of bondage?  These teachers mix grace with the ministry of death, the law, which you cannot mix the two together.  They mix grace and works together.  We are saved by grace and not of ourselves (our works).  Believers that follow this type of teaching of grace plus works will live in a constant state of fear because they know their works will never be good enough.  Saved by grace means we are save by Jesus work on the cross and His good works as we cannot save ourselves by our own good works.  We are saved by the blood of Jesus which means we are covered from head to toe in His blood.  When God looks at us individually He sees we are righteous in Him because of the blood that covers us.

As a believer in Christ Jesus we are live free of fear and guilt.  We are born again to new life and our sins, past, present and future are covered by the blood of Jesus.  As a believer our job is to only have faith that we now have liberty in Christ Jesus and not be so easily ensnared again " . . . with the yoke of bondage." 

Galations 5:1-26 NKJV

Christian Liberty

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Love Fulfills the Law

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

Walking in the Spirit

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Check out the lyrics to the song "Feeling At Home In The Presence of Jesus"

Feeling at home in the presence of Jesus
Hearing Him call me His own
Feeling at home
Feeling at home
Putting my feet right under His table
Knowing I won't be alone
Just feeling at home
Feeling at home

You couldn't of told me I'd find what I found
Contentment and peace from above
Feeling at home in the presence of Jesus
Laying way back in His love

Warming myself by the fires of His spirit
Standing right next to the throne
Just feeling at home
Feeling at home

Music Channel: Modulation

Feeling at home in the presence of Jesus
Feeling happy and free
Feeling at home
Feeling at home
Feeling accepted. loved and forgiven
A part of His great family
Just feeling at home
Just feeling at home

You couldn't of told me I'd find what I found
Contentment and peace from above
Feeling at home in the presence of Jesus
Laying way back in His love

Hard Modulation
Warming myself by the fires of His spirit
Standing right next to the throne
Just feeling at home
Feeling at home

[TAG ]
I’m feeling at home
Feeling at home….
I’m feeling at home
Just Feeling at home

My prayer is that you too will accept His love and learn to relax and enjoy "Feeling At Home In The Presence of Jesus".  Amen

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Is Salvation A Transaction

In August 28, 2012 I published an article titled "Once Saved Always Saved."  Please click on the link to read the article and also read Gary's reply below the article.  

Before I get into meat of my reply to Gary I want to say that the dialog in this article is the very reason there are so many different denominations (religions) within the Christian faith.  My articles are designed to help undo some of the confusion.  Many of my articles are written as a response to the things people have told me their particular denominations teach.  One lady, who was a former co-worker, told me was she was so confused and didn't know what to believe because he pastor teaches that her denomination is the only denomination that will go to heaven, and all the other denominations are going to hell.

One day I was having lunch with my youngest son and he was telling me that a person that he worked with, who was of a certain denomination, wanted him to come to his church.  My son told me that he was so confused by what the man was saying because what he was saying his church believed did not sound right to him.  I told my son that before he gets involved with any denomination he would need to make sure they believe what the word actually says and not what a man made doctrine says.  Unfortunately the enemy is very much involved in denominational thinking among the churches to keep the believers confused.  This is reason the churches lack appeal to the unsaved is because of the battle between denominations as to who is right and who is wrong.  The numbers of church members are shrinking because of distrust of church people.  More on that at a later time.  I promise you God is not author of this confusion.  

My Reply To Gary

You stated the evangelical used the word "Transaction".  The word means the following:

: a business deal : an occurrence in which goods, services, or money are passed from one person, account, etc., to another
: the act or process of doing business with another person, company, etc. : the act or process of transacting business

Unfortunately the word transaction is not an accurate word to describe what happens at the point of salvation.  The only transaction that was made was what Jesus did on that cross where He paid for the sins of the whole world once and forever.  A sinner coming to Christ does not make a transaction or purchase to receive salvation.  When a person makes a decision to accept the free gift of salvation his spirit man is reborn or born again.  The old man is dead and the new man is alive forever.

On another day I was talking with co-worker, a non-evangelical believer, about heaven.  She stated to me, "I hope I'm good enough to make it in!"  She was bound by fear because she instinctively knew her works were not good enough to earn her salvation.  You see she lived in a constant state of fear because she always felt condemned.  She had never heard the statement "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus . . ." Romans 8:1-2 NKJV.  Her denomination did not teach the scriptures.  The believers go to heaven based on Jesus' good works and not on the believer's good works.  Jesus will reward the believer though for his good works when He comes again.

Some teach that the believer can lose their salvation because of their sins.  If this were true Jesus would have to go to the cross again and again to pay for our sins.  No, He paid for all our sins once and for all.  But, how can I be saved if I still sin?  You see the day you were born you were born with a sin consciousness.  This sin consciousness in your flesh makes you aware when you have sinned.  We really don't have to have the Ten Commandments to remind us of that, our flesh already knows when we sinned.  When we sin is our name erased out of the Lamb's book of life?  No!  We do, however, have an Advocate with the Father so that we can confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.  Some teach that if you forget to confess even one little sin you will go to hell.  This doctrine only keeps the believer in fear because subconsciously we know we have sinned in some ways we have forgotten to confess.  There is no way you can remember every sin you have committed daily either by thought, word, or deed.  It's impossible!  The good news is all our sins are covered by the blood, past, present, and future.  We do not need to walk around in fear of the future any longer.

The biggest tools the enemy uses against the believers is to convince the believers God does not mean what He says.  He used this trick on Adam and Eve and he is actively using this tool to keep the denominations confused.  Denominations are religions within the term Christianity.  To be a Christian is not a membership of some religion.  A Christian is a born again believer that has a personal relationship with Jesus.  The Christian may attend a church, which we are encouraged to do, but the believer does not live in fear as to whether his works are good enough to save him.  Only Jesus was every good enough!

Relax and trust in Jesus and His works.  You see when you trust in your works to are making yourself you god.  Your good works will never be good enough to save you.  Rest in His good works and His righteousness.  Enjoy the abundantly life that Jesus came to give you.  When you are no longer living under the guilt of sin you will not longer be sin conscious.  Enjoy the joy and peace that only comes though knowing that your sins are forgiven, go now and sin no more.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Lord Is My Shepherd

23rd Psalm - A Psalm of David

"The Lord is my Shepherd - That's Relationship!  I know His voice and I follow Him where ever He leads me.  I trust Him to protect me because He loves me.

I shall not want - That's Supply!   I do not lack for anything as He provides for all my needs.  I do not lust for things as He satisfies all of my hearts desires.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. - That's Rest!  He provides for my protection which allows me to rest without fear.

He leadeth me beside the still waters. - That's Refreshment!  He provides for my income, which supplies my daily needs of food, water and shelter.  He also provides for my spiritual needs through the washing of His words.  My mind is cleansed daily by the washing of His words into my heart.

He restoreth my soul - That's Healing!  He provides healing for my body and also for my soul, which is my mind will and emotions.  His words give me peace and comfort no matter what is happening in the world around me.

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.  - That's Guidance!  His words are the light that lead me to follow His path and His righteousness.  My only righteousness is my righteousness in Him and not of my own.

For His name sakeThat's Purpose!  - I am His name sake as He paid the ultimate price to redeem me from the curse of death.  I am His and I belong to Him.  In Him I trust my life to Him even though I am hated for His name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  - That's Testing!  Even though I experience times of tribulations and persecutions I will not lose faith in Him because I know He is always with me no matter what life may bring against me.

I will fear no evil. - That's Protection!  I will not fear what man or the enemy can do to me in this life as I am only a temporary traveler on earth in this current body.  What happens on earth now is only temporal and will pass away.  My life after this temporary body will be in a body that lives forever and will not ever know fear.

For Thou art with me - That's Faithfulness!  I have confidence that no matter what circumstances are happening around me I do not have any need to fear as He is always with me.  He has endured all things in His flesh and knows everything I could possible go through in this life.  I relax in the fact that I do not face anything in this life by myself as He is always with me and He knows what I feel.

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me, - That's Discipline and protection!  He gently pulls me back into the fold, should I stray, with the curve of His staff.  He uses the rod end of His staff to protect me from the enemy by beating back my enemy's attacks because I stay close to Him at all times.  I am comforted in knowing He is my protector.  He fights the enemy on my behalf.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. - That's Hope!  He prepares for my daily needs while my enemies are jealous of my relationship with Him.  The enemy looks on yet seeks for an opportunity to destroy me.  

Thou anointest my head with oil, - That's Consecration!  He smears the oil of protection over my head which keeps those pests off of me that intend to kill me.

My cup runneth over. - That's Abundance!  He exceeds my needs by providing more than enough to meet my needs.  He gives me the desires of my heart even when I have not asked for them.  The Good Shepherd gives good gifts to me because He love me. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. - That's Blessing!  Goodness and mercy follow me today and for the rest of my life because I have put my total trust in Him because of His gift of grace towards me.  

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord. - That's Security!  My spirit man currently  lives in my body and my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Because the Holy Spirit lives in my temple I live in the protection of the Lord.  ". . . but as far as me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:14-16 NKJV

Forever." - That's Eternity!  I will live forever with Him because I live In Him and He lives in me.

Face it, the Lord and I think you are special. I thought this was pretty special, just like YOU!!! What is most valuable, is not what we have in our lives; but WHO we have in our lives.

Lord, I worship You and praise You for who You are and what You are doing in my life.  I pray that others will be blessed by my expressions of praise and worship.  In Jesus Name - Amen

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Feed My Sheep

A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, "Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like." The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, "You have seen Hell."

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, "I don't understand." " It is simple" said the Lord, "it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves."

Feed My Sheep - in John 21 Jesus appeared to the disciples a third time during the forty days after His resurrection.  I believe this particular appearing was for Peter's benefit because the once outspoken and presumptions Peter is now broken spirited because He has not been able to get over denying Christ three times.  Jesus appeared to Peter on the third time and ask Peter three times, "Do you love me?"  Jesus asked Peter if he loved him with the Agape (Greek word translated love) kind of love which means to love deeply and without any reservations, but Peter could only answer with the Phileo (Greek word translated love) kind of love which means to have affection and high regard.  Instead of saying, "Lord I love or Agape you" he could only say, "Lord I like you!", which Jesus replied each time "Feed My Sheep"  Jesus knew Peter's heart was no longer arrogant and prideful and accepted his Phileo kind of love because He knew Peter's love would grow to the Agape kind of love.

There is another Greek word that is translated love and it is Philautos - this word means loving oneself, selfish - lovers of own selves.  This would be an accurate description of the people mentioned in paragraph two above.

Did you know there is a test to know what kind of love you have?  It's found in the second commandment that Jesus gave us in Matthew 22:36-40 - meaning "You shall love your neighbor as much a you love yourself."  The story above is like a sample parable that is used to explain the meaning of love.   Jesus also gives another illustration to help us understand how our true love is expressed by our actions, i.e.,  " . . . I was hungry and you gave me food . . ." Matthew 25:35  (NKJV).  In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus explains the full context of what it means to have the Agape kind of love.  This Agape kind of love cares more for others than for themselves.  Jesus will rewards us openly for those things we do to help one another -  Revelation 22:11-13

Please read all of Matthew 25 in order to avoid reading out of context.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Important Lessons

Five Important Lessons
Author Unknown

First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Second Important Lesson -

Pickup in the Rain One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached . . . It read:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away . . . God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Third Important Lesson

Always remember those who serve. In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies . . . You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Fourth Important Lesson

The obstacle in Our Path. In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts . . .

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare &serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away". Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her. Now you have 2 choices. 1 Ignore this article, or 2. Share this story with those you care about, I hope that you will choose No. 2 and remember. Most importantly . . . "Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody's watching." NOW more than ever

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Do Not Be Afraid - I've Got You

One of the biggest fear among believers is based the false teaching stating that Christians can lose their salvation. These false teachers use some very convincing scriptures, but they are taken out of context to prove their point. This false teaching is mixing fear, though ministry of death which is the law, and the ministry of grace, which is through Jesus Christ.

One of the best explanations of the truth I've ever seen is found

Question: "Can a Christian lose salvation?"

Answer: Before this question is answered, the term “Christian” must be defined. A “Christian” is not a person who has said a prayer, or walked down an aisle, or been raised in a Christian family. While each of these things can be a part of the Christian experience, they are not what “makes” a Christian. A Christian is a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9).

So, with this definition in mind, can a Christian lose salvation? Perhaps the best way to answer this crucially important question is to examine what the Bible says occurs at salvation, and to study what losing salvation would therefore entail. Here are a few examples:

A Christian is a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This verse speaks of a person becoming an entirely new creature as a result of being “in Christ.” For a Christian to lose salvation, the new creation would have to be canceled and reversed.

A Christian is redeemed. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19). The word “redeemed” refers to a purchase being made, a price being paid. For a Christian to lose salvation, God Himself would have to revoke His purchase that He paid for with the precious blood of Christ.

A Christian is justified. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). To “justify” means to “declare righteous.” All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared.

A Christian is promised eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Eternal life is a promise of eternity (forever) in heaven with God. God promises, “Believe and you will have eternal life.” For a Christian to lose salvation, eternal life would have to be taken away. If a Christian is promised to live forever, how then can God break this promise by taking away eternal life?

A Christian is guaranteed glorification. “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). As we learned in Romans 5:1, justification is declared at the moment of faith. According to Romans 8:30, glorification is guaranteed for all those whom God justifies. Glorification refers to a Christian receiving a perfect resurrection body in heaven. If a Christian can lose salvation, then Romans 8:30 is in error, because God could not guarantee glorification for all those whom He predestines, calls, and justifies.

Many more illustrations of what occurs at salvation could be shared. Even these few make it abundantly clear that a Christian cannot lose salvation. Most, if not all, of what the Bible says happens to us when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior would be invalidated if salvation could be lost. Salvation cannot be reversed. A Christian cannot be un-newly created. Redemption cannot be undone. Eternal life cannot be lost and still be considered eternal. If a Christian can lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and change His mind—two things that Scripture tells us God never does.

The most frequent objections to the belief that a Christian cannot lose salvation are 1) What about those who are Christians and continually live an immoral lifestyle? 2) What about those who are Christians but later reject the faith and deny Christ? The problem with these two objections is the phrase “who are Christians.” The Bible declares that a true Christian will not live a continually immoral lifestyle (1 John 3:6). The Bible declares that anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that he never truly was a Christian (1 John 2:19). Therefore, neither objection is valid. Christians do not continually live immoral lifestyles, nor do they reject the faith and deny Christ. Such actions are proof that they were never redeemed. 

No, a Christian cannot lose salvation. Nothing can separate a Christian from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing can remove a Christian from God’s hand (John 10:28-29). God is both willing and able to guarantee and maintain the salvation He has given us. Jude 24-25, “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

Recommended Resource: Eternal Security by Charles Stanley.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Fighting for the Presence of God

I received the following e-mail from Todd McIntyre and I felt I must share this article with you, my because it clears up some confusion we have about battles we as believer face every day.  As you can tell by the articles I write my mission is to help the body of Christ, the church, understand our true calling as followers of Christ.

Fighting for the Presence of God

Growing up, I lived in a small town where fitting in with the other boys often meant confronting them with more than just words. There were many after-school fights, P.E. scuffles and face-offs that would define your place in the schoolyard hierarchy. In some, I had the upper hand and in others I had many hands laid on me. It seemed like if I wasn’t in the fight, one of my friends was and I’d have to stick up for them. To be honest, I was never confident in my ability to fight, but backing down was never an option.

Now, I realize I’m still in street fights all the time—except now they aren’t against flesh and blood. I’m fighting against a world that is hell-bent on taking me out as I try to live out my Christian faith. Honestly, for years, I was not very confident in this fight either. I used schoolyard tactics to fight a well-trained Enemy who seemed to make sport of my life as he kicked me to the curb.

A few years back, God asked me if I was ready to hand the fight over to Him so He could fight the battle for me. Of course, like any well-respected loser, I was ready to get someone bigger on my team to help me defeat the Enemy. The problem was the more I thought I was giving the fight to God the harder I seemed to be getting hit. I got to the point where I started to ask God if He was ever going to join me in the fight.

Finally, after much failure, I had a revelation. I’d been fighting to stop sinning and to stay away from the evils of this world. But the fight has nothing to do with that; it has everything to do with getting in the presence of God. In 2 Corinthians 3:17 it says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” All of the sudden, my battle tactics began to change. Instead of fighting to clean up my behavior, I started fighting to stay in the presence of God. I realized the Enemy had been doing everything to get me off my game and distract me from God’s presence. He had been getting me to watch, listen to and think about things that took my mind off of God. As long as I was focused on myself, I seemed to get pummeled. But the more I focused on God, the more the temptations would disappear. Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” When I focused on Him, I was putting the fight in His hands and allowing Him to destroy the Enemy’s power over my life. It feels so much better now to walk in the playground of life knowing that if the Enemy wants to pick a fight with me, He’ll have to take on my best friend, Jesus. And He’s a lot more skillful in taking him out than I am!

At Gateway Men, we always “Seek God First!”

Todd McIntyre
Pastor, Gateway Men

Friday, October 04, 2013

Do Not Worry

Do Not Worry, Everything Will Be Alright

If you are a subscriber to this BLOG then you have heard me tell about the dream I had when I was about twenty one years old.  To recap the dream I was asleep in bed and the time was around 5 a.m.  The dawn's daylight was just filling the bedroom with light when  I opened my eyes and I saw someone standing by my bed, but I was not frightened.  Instead I was calm and did not have any thoughts of fear at all.  As I looked at the person standing there I could tell it was a man, but I could not see His face.  I could see He was wearing a long garment that shimmered with beautiful pastel colors as if the garment itself was alive.

He spoke to my saying, "Do not worry, everything will be alright".  As He said that I drifted back to sleep again.  As soon as I went back to sleep I woke up and the lighting in the room was exactly the same, but He was no longer standing there.

I believe the person in the dream was Jesus Himself.  Some people have said that this wasn't Jesus, but rather an angel.  It is true that angels have said similar words to people, but the reason I believe it was Jesus is because I could not see His face.  Some have said to me that this cannot be Jesus as He is in heaven and seated at the right hand of The Father.  It is true Jesus is in heaven, but He is not limited to stay in heaven.  He is everywhere and can go where ever He choses.   Remember He left heaven long enough to talk to Saul of Tarsus on his way to Damascus.  People mistakenly put too many limits as to what Jesus can do through misconceptions about Jesus.

Jesus loves the world as God loves the world John 3:16.  Jesus came to give life and to give it more abundantly John 10:9-11.  Jesus loves each one of us individually and wants to best for each of us.  Many people, even some believers, are not secure in the fact that Jesus cares for them and wants to help them no matter what circumstances they are going through.  Look at the picture above and you will see Jesus caring for that individual that is hurting and afraid.  That is a picture representation of how much Jesus loves you.  He is saying to you, just as He said to me, "Do not worry, everything will be alright". Replace your worry by turning your eyes upon Jesus and trust your worries and concerns to Him and He will deliver you and give you rest.

Do Not Worry

Jesus gives us instructions to hear and do what He says to do.  When you search Jesus' words you will find things He says to do and also He says things to not do, and one of those is "Do Not Worry".  Why did He tell us not to worry when it comes so natural to worry.  The reason He says to not worry is because; number one it does not change what may or may not happen; and number two worry opens the door for the enemy to put sickness and disease in the mind and body.  Here are a few scripture references to study on this subject: