DIMINISHING GOD

I have been reading the book of Deuteronomy and it has brought some new insight that I would like to share. First the book of Deuteronomy was a re-giving of the divine law of God and the reason for this is that the previous generation that had first received the law had all but passed away and an entirely new generation was getting ready to step into the promise land. It was high on the priority list of God to remind this generation of His Word and to give them stern commandment regarding the dangers of diminishing His Word. Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “…neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Why such a stern command? God operates and works according to His Word. What God speaks and what God promises God obligates Himself to fulfill. Although the Hebrew nation never knew Abraham they were about to be blessed according to the prophecy (promise) that God had given their father Abraham hundreds of years earlier. What this means is that God can fulfill what He has promised if we obey His Word. It’s like I told the church on Sunday, “He will get you there, wherever there is, if you can obey.”

What does this have to do with diminishing the Word? It’s was not only God’s intention to get Israel to the promise land but it was His intention to ensure that they were blessed and succeeded while they possessed the land, therefore the Word of God had to have preeminence in the nation of Israel to ensure they had great success.

The bible teaches us that the Word of God is prophecy (1 Peter 1:19-21). God works according to what He has spoken. Here is the point in all this, God knew that when Israel entered into the promise land they would face knew challenges and new influences, things that could diminish the Word of God in their lives. That is how the enemy operates; he understands that he cannot change prophecy but if he can diminish the Word of God and if he can diminish the Word of God he can hinder the prophecy or promise over your life.

The enemy will create a diminishing pattern in your life to try to stop the power of God from being manifested in you. He begins by diminishing (making less significant) the Word of God, which in turns diminishes God’s authority in your life, which in turns diminishes God’s power in your life, which in turns diminishes the prophecy over your life,

What we must understand is that to diminish the Word of God is to literally diminish the voice of God in your life. If the enemy can do this he can completely rob you of your potential to become everything God has intended you to be. The truth is the Apostolic child of God must live his/her life according to the promise/prophecy which God has spoken over them. Paul told Timothy, “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; (1 Timothy 1:18 KJV)”. Wow! What a revelation, Timothy was commanded to war in the kingdom of God according to the prophecies which were given unto him.

When we live in obedience to the Word of God we live according to prophecy, according to the Spirit. Because we live in the Spirit the flesh is diminished and the Spirit of God begins to increase in us. We begin to grow in grace, in wisdom, in knowledge and in revelation. Is this not the Spirit of prophecy…living in the power of revelation. The nation of Israel was birthed out of prophetic utterance, the churched was birthed out of prophetic utterance, and the Holy Ghost was birthed out of prophetic utterance.

It maybe that the reason the church is not giving birth to revival is because it has lost its ability to discern and to live in the power of prophecy. Maybe many of us as individuals are not giving birth to spiritual promises because we are not operating in the power of prophecy. Martin Luther said, “your thought of God are to human.”

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3 Dimensions of the Spirit (Part One)

“…becuause thou knewest not the time of thy visititatioin” Luke 19:44

 

The bible teaches us that there are three ways in which God revals himself to man. He visits man, he manifest himself to man and he inhabits man and in each varying degree there is a deeper revelation, understanding and commitment to God. I have often wondered why God would chose to reveal himself to man in varying degrees of revelation. I beleive that the reason God does this is to test the faith, commitment and desire that we have to really know him. We can see throughout scripture that many different men and women  were given the opportunitty to know God but many of them becuase of the degree of their commitment fell short of what God had truly intended and purposed for their lives. If we truly want to become everything God has intended us to be we cannot neglect our time of visitation.

VISITATION

Sadly like in the days of Jesus there are many who never knew that God had visitied them and that God what was willing and ready to pour out his mercy, love and blessings upon them. So many people  and more specifically so many Christians are so caught up with this world, with success and with their  finances that often time they fail to see that God is in the midst of their dilema, that God is willing, ready and able to do a great work in them. I would like to say that I have learned in my time walking with God that he is not as concerned about some of things we concern ourselves with but what God is truly concerned about is his ultimate purpose for our lives. The reality is that God often times is waiting for us to recognize him in our dilemna, to recognize him in our everyday lives, to recognize that he is truly in the midst of us if we would only open our eyes. I am reminded of the Apostle Pauls conversation with the Athenians in Acts chapter 17, in speaking to them about their religion and superstitions he reveals to them that God was there all along despite their blindness, “His purpose in all of this was that  the nations should seek after God and feel their way toward him and find him, though he is not far from anyone of us” (NLT). Recognizing that God is in your midst and that he is worthy of your attention is the first step in moving deeper into what God has truly intended for your life. This is where many fall short, they recognize that God was in their midst, they recognize that God had visited them but they failed to embrace and give attention to this visitation of God. They fail to realize that this visitation from God was meant to be a launching pad for the rest of their lives, this visitation was meant to reveal the power of God in your life and in your dilemnas, this visitation was intended to take you from the ordinary to the extadordinary. How sad it will be when you come to the end of your life and you realize that God had visited you and you did not fully embrace this opportunity of supernatural change, direction and provisison for your life. So many will never go to the next level with God because they fall into one of these two categories, they have had a visitation and did not embrace this visitiationor the failed to ever recognize that God was visiting them. There have been many who have had a visistation of the divine but that will be the extent of their experience with God. If we fail to embrace and commit to the moment of divine visitation we will never see the supernatural manifestation of  God in our lives. Living for God should be a expereince of glory to glory, in other words one experience with God should lead to a deeper experience with God or in this case divine visitation should lead to supernatural manifestation.

God Bless,

© 2011 Apostolic Messenger

 

 

Personal Private Suffering II

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“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” James 1:12

I just read a blog I posted some time back. Man it hit me so hard. I have been going through one of the hardest trials in my life and have forgotten how to practice enduring until God has done what He needs to do to get His glory out of the trial.

BLESSED

Consider the very fact that you are in a trial is the very evidence that you are divinely positioned in the will of God. Often times we look for signs and prophetic words to give us evidence that we are in the will of God. I believe that God does give signs and uses men and women in a prophetic manner but often times the most powerful evidence we have  that we are divinely positioned in the perfect will of God is that all hell is breaking loose against us. The very evidence of trial and affliction is the evidence that God is divinely at work in our lives. The apostle James considered the man who was in the midst of affliction and trials as a man that is blessed and loved by God. I guess at this point in my life I am extremely blessed and loved by God.

ENDURETH

The dictionary defines the word endure as, “To undergo (as hardship) especially without giving in: to suffer without giving in.” It is one thing to understand the definition of endure and another thing to understand God’s spiritual purpose for allowing affliction and hardship in our lives. The revelation is this, “God allows us to endure things that are often to hard to bear so that He would bring glory out of our tribulation”. God will literally strip us and chastise us to prove to us that He is the one in control, that He is the one that blesses, that He is the provision, that He is the source of our joy, our peace, our strength and if anything ever gets in the way of that and begins to take credit for who He is and what He does He will strip us of it.

ENDURING

Enduring isn’t a pleasant thing to undergo in our christian lives but it is God’s divine tool for forming us and chastising us. It is the very evidence that God is at work in us. The funny thing about enduring is that you cannot run from it and the reality is that if you do try to run from it you can often times extend the timeframe for which you must endure. It is hard to endure, it is hard to undergo God’s chastening, ” No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT). Enduring is painful, it hurts, it often times is confusing because we have so many questions which go unanswered by God during the time of affliction. But regardless it is the divine evidence that you are in the perfect will of God. We must all stubbornly or peaceably learn to endure while God is at work in our lives.

HE SHALL RECEIVE

What a promise! James says that the man that endureth shall receive. We might not receive what what we want but we shall recieve what God had intended. There is not a man or woman alive who can stop the perfect will of God in your life when you come into a place of complete surrender and trust to God. Someone told me recently, ” You cant reason with God” that is so true. We often times in the affliction try to reason, to bargain or deal with God. We give Him the big “IF” if I endure this will you give me what I desire, if I stick around will you bless me with what I want, that is not trusting God during your time of affliction. To trust God is to say, God I hope yet I dont hope, I want yet I dont want, I wish yet I dont wish. In other words whatever the outcome of this enduring my heart will be content with your perfect provision in my life. To trust God is to honestly say, “God I leave it all in your hands whether it seems to work in my favor or not, I will trust that your provision is perfect and far better than what I could have planned or desired for myself. The promise is clear that once you have endured you shall receive Gods intended provision for your life.

PRAISE HIM IN THE PAIN

Praise Him in the pain, because one day the pain will end but the praise will have been stored up in heaven as treasure. Praise Him in the confusion because one day the confusion will end. Praise Him when you have no answer because one day He will give you an answer. Praise Him in the discipline because one day the discipline will end. Praise Him because you shall receive. Praise Him because the prophet said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

MY FAVORITE QUOTE

“It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through” Wintley Phipps

© 2009 Apostolic Messenger

Biblical Illiteracy

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ARTICLE BY  DOUG MORRELL

 Crisis In The Church: Biblical Illiteracy

Remember the frog that landed in a pan of water and stayed until it boiled? Had the pan been hot, the frog would have noticed and hopped out. But the water felt cool at first, and the frog sensed no danger. It simply relaxed and conformed to the gradual change. Subdued by the rising heat, it grew too sluggish to act. By the time the water boiled, the frog was dead.

I want to share the burden of my heart with you concerning the alarming trend of Biblical illiteracy and state of discipleship in today’s church. I want to encourage you by saying that with every problem there is an opportunity and to envision the church as the Lord sees it. The following statistics reveal a crisis in the church.

Regarding Biblical illiteracy and discipleship, Christian researcher and author George Barna reports:
* Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels.
* Many professing Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.
* 60 percent of Americans cannot name even five of the Ten Commandments.
* 82 percent of Americans believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
* 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.
* A survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
* A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that Billy Graham preached the Sermon on the Mount.
* Six out of ten Americans reject the existence of Satan.
* Four out of ten Americans believe that when Jesus Christ was on earth He committed sins.
* Five out of ten believe that anyone who is generally good or does enough good things for others during their life will earn a place in Heaven.
* Four out of ten believe that the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths.
* Seven out of ten born again Christians said they do not believe in moral absolutes.
* Only one out of ten Christians base their moral decision-making on the principles taught in the Bible.
* 54 percent believe truth can be discovered only through logic, human reasoning and personal experience.

These statistics indicate a gradual change of temperature over time. In general, Biblical illiteracy is a growing trend and church discipleship is ineffective.

John Stott wrote, “The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict half-built towers. The ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called nominal Christianity. In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent but thin veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.”

I would suggest that many Christian churches have abandoned serious Bible exposition and theological teaching. Historical exegesis is becoming a lost art in the pulpit. The church should be intentional about teaching the background of the being and attributes of God, His sovereignty, His majesty and holiness. Preachers should stress the fact that the righteousness of God has been outraged by human sin and that apart from Divine, unmerited grace, man’s deadly guilt (Romans 3:19) will bring upon him the wrath of God (Romans 1:18), the deserved judgment of the Lord (Romans 2:2), and ensuing death (Romans 6:23).

However, as Gary Burge writes, “Rather than explaining the historical setting of a passage, texts become springboards for devotional reflection,” he notes. “Biblical passages are taken out of context as the preacher searches for those stories that evoke the responses or attitudes desired.” As a result, “The heart of a ‘good’ sermon is fast becoming the ‘emotional work’ that can be done in 20 minutes preaching time.”

Perhaps we are where we are because there is an overemphasis on personal experience to the exclusion of serious Christian education or that spirituality is being built on private emotional attachments or because of the tremendous influence unbiblical philosophies and worldviews are having on churchgoers. Albert Mohler writes, “Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Bible teaching now often accounts for only a diminishing fraction of the local congregation’s time and attention. The move to small group ministry has certainly increased opportunities for fellowship, but many of these groups never get beyond superficial Bible study. Youth ministries are asked to fix problems, provide entertainment, and keep kids busy. How many local-church youth programs actually produce substantial Bible knowledge in young people? Even the pulpit has been sidelined in many congregations. Preaching has taken a back seat to other concerns in corporate worship. The centrality of biblical preaching to the formation of disciples is lost, and Christian ignorance leads to Christian indolence and worse.”

As Barna reports, “Christians have increasingly been adopting spiritual views that come from Islam, Wicca, secular humanism, the eastern religions and other sources. Because we remain a largely Bible-illiterate society, few are alarmed or even aware of the slide toward syncretism – a belief system that blindly combines beliefs from many different faith perspectives.”

SYNCRETISM

This is a growing trend in what many consider mainstream Christianity. We can see it everywhere. We are living in a time where the church is doing its best to be relevant to everyone. I read an article about a baptist pastor who was using new age techniques to help drug addicts and alcoholics he was qouted as saying, “they don’t have to know what technique I am using the only thing they need to be concerned about is the results and if it works then that’s all that matters to me”. I believe any honest God fearing Christian could see the inherit danger in using new age occult practices in a church that proclaims to be the truth. Here is a great analogy I once heard a great preacher use. What if one day I came into the church and I addressed the congregation and I told the congregation that we are still going to believe like we have always believed, we are still going to preach Jesus, we are still going to preach the divine birth, the sinless life, the death and the glory of His resurrection. Only now we are going to remove all the pews from the church, we will now sit on the ground with our legs crossed, we will all shave our heads, we will now wear orange robes and use little tambourines between our fingers. What do you think would happen to this church? There still preaching Jesus, there still believing the same, they are just changing the way they go about it. I tell what would happen you would have the spirit of hare-krishna you would have a church that has allowed itself to be infiltrated by a demonic doctrine. This is what is happening in the church today and when I say the church I am speaking about the body of Christ. They have allowed doctrines, teachings and false prophets to infiltrate the minds of the believers and in doing so they cripple the church, they cripple the believers and they make the doctrine of Christ to have no affect. I believe Paul said, “Come ye out from among them and touch not the unclean thing…” be ye separate that has been the cry of the prophets, be ye separate that has been the cry of the New Testament writings and teachings. The Apostle John said it perfectly, “Love not the world neither the things that are in the world” how can we even consider allowing devilish doctrines and pagan philosophies to be part of the foundation on which we stand? The answer is we cannot!

SAINTS BE CAREFUL

And so here it is again the spirit of the world active in the church, active in the teachings of God’s ministers, active in life of the saints. We are so spiritually blind and biblically illiterate that we cannot discern the spirit that is working to derail our most holy faith. The spirit of the world is the unseen powers, principalities, teaching and doctrines that govern and operate in the world that we see today, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” We must be more careful than ever as to what we accept as being part of our Christian faith. We must stand guard at the door of our hearts as to not let any ungodly belief or teaching infiltrate our hearts.

BIBLICAL WARNING

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” 1 Timothy 4:1-2 KJV

“Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 3,4 NLT

Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. 2 John 1:8-11 NASB

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

God Bless,

Who Can Glory?

“Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in holy array.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The LORD is over many waters.”

Psalm 29:1-3 NASB 

This past year at our district convention I heard a young man preach (Steve Montenegro) one of the most powerful messages I have heard this past year. What I remember most about the message was him speaking about the glory of God and how the glory of God is so great that their is none that can glory in His presence neither here in he terrestial nor above in the celestial. He read a list of different comparisons and begin to ascribe glory to God, I cannot remember them all but today I feel inspired to do my best to re-comprise the list and add to it also:

ASCRIBE GOD GLORY

Can the writer glory before the God who wrote on two tablets of stone with His finger and gave us His holy word?

Can the sculpter glory before the God who formed man from the dust of the ground?

Can the mathmatician glory before the God who numbered the stars and knows them by name?

Can the preacher glory before the God who spoke the world into creation?

Can the electrician glory before the God who can rain down lightining from the heavens?

Can the scientist glory before the God who created the very atoms of the universe?

Can the doctor glory before the God who raised the dead, healed the whithered hand and opened the eyes of the blind?

Can the plumber glory before the God who controls the waters of the deep?

Can the sailor glory before the God who commands every wave of the ocean and at His word can still the storms of the deep?

Can the tailor glory before the God who clothes us with honor and glory?

Can the oceanographer glory before the God who maps the mountains of the great deep?

Can the politician glory before the God who set goverment and order in the universe?

Can the painter glory before the God who paints a new sky every morning and evening?

Can the baker glory before the God who sent morning manna from heaven?

Can the watchmaker glory before the God who keeps time in the palm of His hands and  dwells in eternity?

Can the gardener glory before the God who makes the flower to open every morning?

Can the maintenance man glory before the God who holds everything together? (Bro. Johnny)

Can the stylist or barber glory before the God who can number every hair on our head?

Can the teacher glory before the God who taught the sun to rise in the morning, the clouds to make rain and the wind to blow? (Odale)

Can the singer glory before the God who put the morning song into the birds?

Can the billionaire glory before the God who’s riches cannot be counted?

Who can glory in His presence? None no one can glory in his presence! What an awesome God we serve!

Is their anything that you can add to this list leave me a comment and I will add it to the list.

God Bless

Another Generation

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“…After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

FORGETTING THEIR GOD 

It is amazing at how quickly after the death of Joshua that the people of Israel had forgotten about the Lord, how quickly they turned away from their faith and took after the pagan religions of the nations around them. What could cause such a great nation a holy people to turn so quickly from the ways of the Lord. The bible teaches us that as long as Joshua lived the people served the Lord and continued to worship Him and offer sacrifices. But when Joshua and the Elders died the new generation no longer knew the Lord, they no longer understood the law nor served the God of their fathers, “they did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord”. How could a generation so easily lose touch with their faith, so easily turn from the God of their forefathers, so easily follow the ways of the pagan nations.

A GENERATIONS FAILURE

The generation the entered into the promise land with Joshua was the generation of faith. It is important to understand that many that entered into the promise land were born in the time of Israels wilderness wanderings. They were eyewitnesses of God’s glory and power. They knew Moses and had witnessed many miracles in the desert, they had personally experienced the divine provision of God. They knew the law, they understood the priesthood and the sacrifices, they in the desert had learn to worship and serve God. They had direct revelation of the divine! This generation served God with all their hearts and they rendered unto God the reverence and the worship that was due unto him – but in all of this they still had a great failure. This is what the  book of Deuteronomy teaches the Hebrew nation concerning God and His law, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Dt 6:7-12 NASB). The command was to teach diligenty the next generation so that they would not forget. This was the great failure of Joshua’s generation their failure to teach their children about God, about His laws, about the beauty of their faith. This generation failed to bring their children into a love relationship with God, not a relationship of just biblical rules and regulations but a relationship that abounded with Holy love for God. This generation after Joshua did not remember the Lord, they did not remember that God had brought out their forefathers form Egypt, they did not understand the bondage their forefathers had been in and they had no sense or understanding of the great deliverance God had done for their forefathers. It was simply a generation that forgot!

ANOTHER GENERATION’S FAILURE

Their is another great failure that must be noted. Not only did Joshua’s generation fail but the generations after Joshua failed. They failed in the aspect that whatever was taught about God was rejected in favor for the pagan religions that surrounded them. This generation wanted to be free, free from the faith of their fathers, free to experiment and try new religions and philosophies, they failed to realize that the more they wrapped themselves with the ideas of paganism and liberalism the more they became bound to the system of the world. This generation was inexcusable, they could not blame their sins and idolatry on their forefathers because the bible teaches us that in times of distress God would raise up men and women Judges who would remind them and teach them about God, they themselves would see the provision and power of God, this is what the Word of God says, “Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do as their fathers. When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways” (Judges 2:16-19 NASB). Inexcusable was this generation and thats how God is He will hold each and everyone of us accountable to His Word. Whether mother or father, daughter or son each one of us is accountable to God on an individual basis their is none that will have an excuse before God both rich and poor, small and great will have to give account to the same God. The Apostle Paul said it more profoundly than all I think because he said, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

BREAK THE CYCLE

One of the deepest spiritual truths that the book of Judges reveals is this sinful cycle that man lives in. One of the phrases that you will continually run into when reading the book of Judges is “And the children of Israel again did evil the sight of the Lord” they were in continual cycle:

1. They would find themselves oppressed and in need of God

2. They would call on God

3. God would hear, raise a Judge and deliver them

4. The Judge would die and they would return to their wicked ways

This was sinful cycle that the Israelites were constantly in. They only called on God when they had need and they would serve Him for a short while but would always return to their wicked way (how this must hurt God). This is the same cycle we see in many believer today, the same cycle we see in much of the young generation. I think of 911 and other times of great tragedy do you remember how full the churches were, do you remember even presidents and great leaders praying and crying out to God. I remember brothers and sisters young and old seeking God for protection, deliverance and guidance but after a short while those that were so moved returned to their old ways. How easily we forget, how easily we let go; when will we break the cycle? The cycle will be broken when we become like Ezra and Nehemiah when men and women have a burden for the Word when men and women both young and old seek God daily and do not just call on Him in time of tragedy. The cycle will break when our hearts burn with a Holy love for God. When we become like the two men on the road to Emmaus, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked to us by the way, and while he opened to the Scriptures?” Will our hearts ever come to that place where we don’t need tragedy and great deliverance for us to be moved in His kingdom. Will we ever just be in that place where our hearts burn because He speaks to us. This cycle, this tragedy of our generations growing up without faith in God will end when our hearts begin to burn in us, when we we are consumed by a holy passion for God. When excuses are laid to the side and we get to that place where our hearts will burn for His presence, His anointing, His glory in our lives. Before we give the next generation our Godly standards and before they can embrace the spirtiual precepts of God Word we must be sure that their hearts first burn for God. Rules and regulations will not keep them; but a burning in the heart for Him, for His word, for His holiness this will keep them, this will keep us.

God Bless,

© 2007 Apostolic Messenger Minister Daniel Bracamonte

Christian Halloween?

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ARTICLE BY ART BRAIDIC AND DENNIS FISCHER FROM BLOW THE TRUMPET

Every year, millions of children throughout the world celebrate the custom of Halloween. During this celebration, they dress up in costumes, parade through neighborhoods knocking on doors, and declare the words “trick or treat,” expecting to receive candy or some sort of gift. But is Halloween something Christians should celebrate? Is this the kind of festival Jesus Christ would want us to observe?

First, understand that although Halloween professes to be a Christian holiday, it is anything but Christian. This custom was celebrated by the pagan world centuries before the New Testament Church was ever founded and it was not introduced into the professing Christian world until centuries after the deaths of the apostles. In fact, if you search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, you will not find a single line advocating the observance of this holiday or anything like it. On the contrary, God condemns such practices throughout the scriptures.

A Strange Superstition
Halloween is one of the strangest holidays mankind celebrates. It is an amazing paradox, an unusual mixture of Christian terms and ancient pagan religious rites. Moreover, despite the technological and intellectual advancements our society has made, it still clings to ignorance of the past. As a result, we celebrate ancient superstitions by partaking in pagan rites, dressing up as witches, goblins, ghosts, skeletons, and demons.
What is this holiday? Where did it come from and why is it celebrated? It certainly did not come from the Bible or the early Christian Church raised up by Jesus Christ and the apostles (Mt. 16:13-17). Consider what authorities say regarding the origin and practice of Halloween.

Ralph Linton, on page four of his book, Halloween Through Twenty Centuries, explains the connection between the current practice of Halloween and a pagan rite practiced by the ancient Druids.

The American celebration rests upon Scottish and Irish folk customs which can be traced in direct line from pre-Christian times. Although Halloween has become a night of rollicking fun, superstitious spells, and eerie games that people take only half seriously, its beginnings were quite otherwise. The earliest Halloween celebrations were held by the Druids in honor of Samhain, Lord of the Dead, whose festival fell on November 1.

Furthermore, the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, Volume 12 says:

It was a Druidic belief that on the eve of this festival, Saman, lord of death, called together the wicked souls that within the past 12 months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals… (pp. 847-858)

The Yearbook of English Festivals by Dorothy Gladys Spicer adds the following:

All Hallows’ Eve or All Hallow E’en, with its tradition of witches, ghosts, hobgoblins and spirits, its games and incantations, still is a gay time for pranks and parties in many North country homes. Fun-loving Americans have borrowed from their British ancestors many Hallow E’en games such as apple-bobbing, nut roasting and tossing of apple parings. Transplanted to the New World soil, the old practices have become revitalized, and currently are observed with more enthusiasm than in the country of their birth.

To ancient Druids, the end of October commemorated the festival of the waning year, when the sun began his downward course and ripened grain was garnered from the fields.” “Samhain, or ‘Summer’s End,’ as this feast to the dying sun was called, was celebrated with human sacrifice, augury and prayers; for at this season spirits walked, and evil had power over souls of men.

Not until the fourth century did the pagan vigil for the god of light give way to All Hallows, the mass for Christian saints; and not until the tenth, did the Druids’ death feast become All Souls’ the day of prayer for souls that had entered rest. Cakes for the dead were substituted for human sacrifice, fortune-telling for heathen augury, lighted candles for the old Baal fires.

Far from being Christian, Halloween is an old pagan holiday masquerading as though it were one of the customs of the Church. Despite this, professing Christians encourage their children to get into the spirit of this pagan custom! The celebration of Halloween is clearly a relic of pagan times and superstitious tradition. Notice what the authoritative Encyclopedia Britannica says about this holiday. It long antedates Christianity. The two chief characteristics of ancient Halloween were the lighting of bonfires and the belief that this is the one night in the year during which ghosts and witches are most likely to wander about. History shows that the main celebrations of Halloween were purely ‘Druidical,’ and this is further proved by the fact that in parts of Ireland October 31 is still known as Oidhch Shamhna, ‘Vigil of Saman.

Saman or Samhain was the pagan lord of the dead among the Druids. However, this pagan holiday was not celebrated among the Druids alone. It has been and is currently celebrated around the world in different forms, but always with the same general pattern and meaning.

Halloween was also a Roman festival. Consider the words of the Encyclopedia Britannica regarding this celebration.

On the Druidic ceremonies were grafted some of the characteristics of the Roman festival in honor of Pomona held about November 1, in which nuts and apples, representing the winter store of fruits, played an important part.

Halloween can be identified in various forms all around the world. It is found in both Christian and non-Christian countries. This is because its origins predate Christianity. Marie Trevelyan, in her book Folk Stories of Wales, writes the following.

In Wales it was firmly believed that on All Hallows’ Eve the spirit of a departed person was to be seen at midnight on every crossroad and every stile. (p. 254)

The practices involved in Halloween are also found in Mexico. In the book Adonis by Frazer, the practice of Halloween is clearly identified, not only by its date, but also by its symbolism and rituals.

The Miztecs of Mexico believed that the dead came back in the twelfth month of the year, which corresponded to our November. On this day of All Souls the houses were decked out to welcome the spirits. Jars of food and drink were set on a table in the principal room, and the family went out with the torches to meet the ghosts and invite them to enter. Then, returning to the house they knelt around the table, and with their eyes bent on the ground, prayed the souls to accept the offerings. (p. 244)
The elements of this holiday are also found in Cambodia. According to E. Aymonier in the work Notice sur le Cambodge, people would chant,

O all your ancestors, who are departed, deign to come and eat what we have prepared for you, and to bless your posterity and to make it happy. (p. 59)

It is clear that the trappings of Halloween have covered nations around the world. It is equally clear that the practices embraced by this holiday are not Christian at all.

Its Symbols and Superstitions

Understand the shocking truth from history as to why this holiday was celebrated! Ruth Kelly, a recognized authority on Halloween, wrote that because the Druids believed in the immortality of the soul, they concluded that a person’s spirit would pass from them at death and seek out another body in which to reside.

[The pagan Druid priests] . . . taught the immortality of the soul, that it passed from one body to another at death . . . They believed that on the last night of the old year the lord of death gathered together the souls of all those who had died in the passing year and had been condemned to live in the bodies of animals, to decree what forms they should inhabit for the next twelve months. He could be coaxed to give the lighter sentence by gifts and prayers. (The Book of Halloween, p. 10)

Many Druids believed that black cats were in fact reincarnated human beings, and that the Priest had the ability to divine the future through them. If any crossed your path, however, it would mean they might posses you, a very bad omen. Halloween was celebrated to preserve in the minds of the people the false doctrine that the soul is immortal and that the dead are not really dead. The Celtic peoples believed that the souls of good men went to paradise while the souls of those who did evil were reincarnated in the form of animals for a year. The only chance these disembodied souls had for a decent afterlife was to return on this day of Samhain, and find a human body to possess. It is important to understand that November was regarded by the Celtic people as the beginning of the New Year. Therefore, it was a perfect time for their priests to remember and celebrate the dead.

All Saints Day

Today, Halloween is celebrated on the evening of All Hallows or All Saints Day. Because days were customarily reckoned as beginning at sunset, Halloween was celebrated in anticipation of November 1, which was dedicated to the Lord of the Dead. Halloween is founded on a fear of the spirits of the dead possessing those who are alive. This fear is driven by a belief that man has an immortal soul. It is important to understand that the Bible clearly declares that only God has immortality at this time. The apostle Paul, when writing to Timothy about Jesus Christ, said,

Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Tim. 6:16)

The clear teaching in the Bible is that the soul is mortal and that it is appointed unto all men once to die (see Hebrews 9:27). The book of Ecclesiastes actually states that the same fate befalls both man and beast.

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast; for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. (Eccl. 3:19-20)

God’s Word repeatedly explains that the dead are in their graves awaiting a resurrection. The dead have no contact with the living. However, because almost all heathen nations have no knowledge of the true God, they have created times and superstitions that honor their dead.

Who is the Lord of the Dead?

Shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus was questioned by the Sadducees about the concept of a resurrection. In order to demonstrate that there will be a future resurrection from the dead, Jesus told them:

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Mt. 22:31-32)

It is important to understand what Jesus meant by these profound words “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” The Sadducees to whom Jesus was speaking did not believe in a resurrection. They also accepted only the Torah as holy scripture. With this in mind, Jesus quoted the Torah (Ex. 3:6) to prove that a resurrection would one day occur. He did this by illustrating that long after the death of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God continued to refer to Himself as their God: “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” not “I was the God…”
The point Jesus was making was that although these patriarchs were dead (Heb. 11:13), they will live again in the resurrection, as will all of God’s people (Dan. 12:2; Lk 14:14; Jn 5:28; Rev. 20:4-6). Although these men were dead, they were as good as alive at that moment because God’s promise of a resurrection is immutable (Rom. 4:17). With this understanding, Jesus’ words take on greater meaning. The God of the Bible is the GOD OF THE LIVING, not the God of the dead! To worship the true God, we should not celebrate rites dedicated to the dead. However, among the heathen Druids, Samhain or Saman, is the lord of the dead and that lord is none other than Satan himself! Therefore, when people celebrate the dead, they unknowingly honor the devil!

Is Ignorance an Excuse?

What if people don’t know who it is they serve when they celebrate Halloween? Is it alright to keep this holiday if you do not know what it represents? The resounding answer to this question is NO! When writing to the Church at Galatia, the apostle Paul indicated it was possible to worship something that didn’t even exist.

Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. (Galatians 4:8).

The heathen who thought they were worshiping the true God were actually serving demons. Young people today who dress up in weird costumes and demand “trick or treat” are not serving the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Rather, they are unwittingly serving the god of this world who has blinded them (2 Cor. 4:4). Do you want to serve the lord of the dead? Halloween is a holiday dedicated to worshiping the lord of the dead. The true God is the God of the living

Trick Or Treat

Do you know where the practice of children knocking on doors and shouting “trick or treat” originated? At this special time of the year, it was believed that there was a very thin line between the living and the dead. During the time of Samhain, people believed ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living. It was feared that the dead would come back in search of bodies to possess the next year. This was the only means for these spirits to have an after-life. Fearing possession, the townsfolk did many things to trick the spirits or scare them away.
At this time, Druid priests wore masks so they would not be recognized and attacked by evil spirits. Some believed that the spirits would leave you alone if you tricked them by dressing up to look like them. Others thought the wearing of frightening costumes would scare the evil spirits away. Many people even carved demonic faces in turnips or potatoes and put candles inside them, an early Jack-o-lantern, to frighten the spirits.
The “treat” part of this holiday came from attempts by some to “buy off” these evil spirits by giving them gifts. Some believed these spirits imprisoned the bodies of animals and could be released by giving gifts or tribute to the lord of the dead. James Napier, in his book Folklore, wrote about this practice.

There was a prevailing belief among all nations that at death the souls of good men were taken possession of by good spirits and carried to paradise, but the souls of the wicked men were left to wander in the space between the earth and moon, or consigned to the unseen world. These wandering spirits were in the habit of haunting the living… But there were means by which these ghosts might be exorcized. (p. 11)

The idea that spirits possessed animals was just one belief. Others believed that the souls of the dead returned to their original homes and were to be entertained there with food and drink. If they were not given the things they desired, these spirits would cast spells and cause absolute havoc to the inhabitants of the home. Alexander MacGregor, in his book Highland Superstitions, writes,

It was the night for the universal walking about of all sorts of spirits, fairies, and ghosts, all of whom had liberty on that night. (p. 44)

In an effort to exorcize these ghosts, people were encouraged to set out food as a form of treat. If the demons were satisfied, they would leave the individual in peace. If not, they would leave an evil spell.
Ralph Linton (Halloween Through Twenty Centuries) concludes that the practice of leaving gifts for spirits is the origin of today’s practice of trick or treat when he states “…certainly it comes from pagan times.” In Ireland up to the turn of the century, it was customary to have a procession “led by a man in a white robe wearing a horse-head mask… The horse was sacred to the Sun God,” says Linton, which indicated that this custom was a survival of a Druid rite. “The procession levied a contribution from the farmers in the perverted name of what probably was an old Druid god. Unless the procession was “treated liberally with gifts,” the farmers were “tricked” with the threat of a curse that would ruin next year’s crops! The present day practice of “trick or treat” is nothing less than a continuation of these degenerate and absurd customs which came out of paganism.

How Did Halloween Become Christian?

The first of November, celebrated among pagans in honor of Samhain, is celebrated today in thousands of Christian churches around the world. The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the purpose of this day is to “honor all the saints, known and unknown.” Additionally, according to Pope Urban IV, this day was designed to address “any deficiencies in the faithful’s celebration of saints’ feasts during the year.”
But how did the veneration of saints, supposedly alive in heaven, come to be celebrated on the same day used by pagans to honor evil spirits? According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Church believed that every martyr should be honored and it appointed a common day for all of them.

At this point, It is important to understand that the general practice of the Christianized Roman Empire was to convert pagans as quickly as possible. From the time of Constantine who made Christianity the state religion, the pagan religion and practices were appropriated for use in order to encourage conversion by those who were deeply tied to paganism. To do this, the names of pagan gods were changed to those of Christ, Mary, and the saints.
The book, The Mysteries of All Nations by Grant, records the story of how the pagan celebration we call Halloween became a Christian practice. Grant explains that the Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the Pantheon about 100 A.D. and dedicated it to the goddess Cybele and other Roman gods. The Pantheon became the central edifice for worship. However, before the sixth century, Rome was invaded and controlled by barbaric tribes. After the defeat of the Barbarians by Emperor Phocas, the Pantheon was retaken and given to Pope Boniface IV as a gift. As a result, this great temple now became “holy” and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all the saints. It became a shrine where Christians could pay homage to Mary and others who had died in the faith. An annual holiday was commemorated to this end. May 13 was first chosen and this day became known as “All Saints Day.” Later, the date was changed to November 1 and the name changed to “All Hallows,” and ultimately to “Halloween.” The book, Strange Stories, Amazing Facts, by the Readers Digest Association explains how pagan practices became a part of Christian worship:

Although Christianity has swept the world in a relatively short time, as the histories of great religions go, the early missionaries faced an up-hill task. The pagans were reluctant to give up their false gods and ancient practices. So the missionaries, unable to convert them easily to an entirely new code of worship, did the next best thing. They took the pagan festivals as they were, and gradually grafted the observances of the new faith onto these festivals and rites and customs surrounding them.

Like Christmas and Easter, the festival of Halloween originated in a pagan celebration, even though its name is derived from the Christian festival of Al Hallows’ or All Saints’ Eve.

It was introduced in the seventh century to commemorate all those saints and martyrs who had no special day to themselves and was held on May 13th. But in the eighth century, All Hallows’ day was moved to November 1, to counteract the pagan celebrations held on that date. Only since the late 18th and early 19th centuries has Halloween developed into a festive time for children, with costumes, lanterns, and games. Before then it was regarded as a night of fear, and wise men, respectful of hobgoblins and wandering demons, stayed indoors.

On page 6 of his book, Ralph Linton explains how All Saints’ Day became a Christian practice.

All Saints Day was introduced into the church calendar because the year was not long enough to make it possible to dedicate a special day for each spirit of the Catholic Church.. The day chosen was one already associated in the popular mind with a thronging of spirits of the dead, which was quite in line with church policy of incorporating harmless pagan folk ideas… Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the basilica of St. Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary [honoring them] on November 1. (Halloween Through Twenty Centuries)

Notice what once was a memorial for each martyr on different days became a general day in honor of the dead who were believed to be alive in heaven. Protestants have continued the celebration of Halloween in part because “it was on this day in 1517, that Martin Luther posted his epoch-making ninety-five theses on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg” which started the Protestant Reformation. “He chose Halloween night because he knew that the townsfolk would be coming to the church that night.” (Halloween Through Twenty Centuries, Ralph Linton, pp 9-10).

Because the leaders of the Reformation did not believe in Saints, there could be no “All Saints Day.” No “All Saints Day” meant no “Halloween.” Therefore, to please those who still wanted to celebrate these festivities, the Halloween revelries were moved to November fifth and renamed “Guy Fawkes Day.” Guy Fawkes was one of a group who plotted to blow up the Protestant English Parliament. Guy Fawkes Day celebrated the failure of this plot. Still it was Halloween in spirit; bon fires were lit, lanterns were carved in turnips, and children went begging for money. Halloween survived the Protestant reformation to live on with all its ancient and pagan traditions.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

When the average person thinks of Halloween, there are visions of jack-o-lanterns with candles inside to make the jeering faces look even more eerie. There are thoughts of skeletons and ghosts, goblins and devils. Black is a favorite color of Halloween and rooms are made to be dark and scary.

Consider for a moment the symbolism of Halloween. What has that symbolism to do with the true God or Christianity? The symbols of Halloween are blackness and darkness. These are symbols of Satan. God is light and there is no darkness in Him (I John 1:5). Does the symbolism surrounding this holiday reflect what God would appreciate? Does this holiday, with it’s dark symbolism, seem like something God would accept from us? Would Jesus Christ celebrate Halloween, considering its symbolism and images?

What about the whole concept of “trick or treat”? In principle, this is no less than simple extortion. Halloween encourages wrong by suggesting that if you don’t get what you demand, you are justified in causing harm or damage. Such a belief goes totally contrary to the scriptures.

Halloween is the very antithesis of Christianity. Jesus Christ tells us in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” God further tells us, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
There is nothing connected to Halloween that is even remotely Christian. Its images are of death, demons, the spirit world, ghosts, goblins and mysticism. All this is totally contrary to God’s word. Halloween is pagan in origin and it’s symbols and practices are not of God. Halloween is about the dead. God is the God of the living.
Furthermore, we need to understand that Halloween is not just an ancient pagan festival of the past. It is still celebrated by the occult in our land today. One practicing witch writes the following in the Leaves Of Wonder Website.

Samhain… is the most important of the Wiccan Sabbats… The deities are in their darkest, most fearsome aspects… Though fearsome, he [the Lord of Death] is also comforter and teacher of the dead, preparing them for the next lifetime.

Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, God admonished Israel to refrain from learning pagan practices and indicated that there would be severe consequences for failing to obey.

Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. (Jer. 10:1-2)

But the Lord is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting king: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens… (Jer. 10:10-11)

God’s word is clear. Pagan practices, including Halloween, are to be rejected by His children. He not only forbids inquiring after false gods and practicing their ways, but He outlines the consequences for violating His command.

God’s Holy Days

But God does want us to worship Him and that worship must be in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24). In order for us to properly honor God, He has created specific festivals. These festivals outline His plan of salvation and identify who He is and how He will accomplish His purpose for all mankind. These Holy Days, which are commanded assemblies, include the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. These great feasts, which were designed personally by God, were kept by the champions of faith in the Old Testament as well as Jesus Christ and the apostles in the New Testament. The book of Acts indicates that the early Church celebrated these Holy Days (Acts 18:21; 20:6; 27:9). The great prophet Zechariah indicated that the time would come when the entire world, under Christ’s millennial rule, will keep His feasts (Zech. 14).

A Final Thought

Understand the truth about Halloween: it is a spiritual counterfeit! It is a pagan holiday. It is based on the worship of the dead. In short, Halloween is the trick, not the treat. It is the trick that has been played on an unsuspecting world. Fortunately, the Bible declares that the time will come when Jesus Christ will rule the entire world and the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:9). In that day, people will honor God’s Sabbaths and His Holy Days. Once people begin to celebrate God’s true Holy Days, Halloween will begin to look “hollow” instead of “hallow.”

 To see this article in it orginal content click www.blowthetrumpet.org Bro. Noe thanks for the link to this great article.

God Bless,

Incomparable Christ

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THE POEM

More than nineteen hundred years ago there was a man born contrary to the laws of life. This man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He received no formal education and never possessed wealth or wide-spread influence. He never traveled extensively. He only once crossed the boundary of the country in which He lived. But this man’s life has changed the course of history. In infancy He startled a king; in childhood he puzzled doctors; in man hood He ruled the course of nature, walked upon the waves, and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services. He never wrote a book. Yet His life has inspired more books than any other man. He never wrote a song. Yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters combined. He never founded a college. But all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students. He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun. Yet no leader ever had more rebels surrender to Him without a shot fired. He never practiced psychiatry. Yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near. Once each week the wheels of commerce cease their turning, and multitudes gather to pay homage and respect to Him. Though time has spread nineteen hundred years between the people of this generation and His birth, He still lives. His enemies could not destroy Him, and the grave could not hold Him. This man stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by His people, and feared by devils, as the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

-Author Unknown

A Devotion’s Question?

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A DEVOTIONAL FROM THE POCKET TESTAMENT

LISTENING TO THE INHERIT PROMISE

Acts 3:21-26

[Peter continues to speak] “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

Peter is preaching on the porch of the temple, referencing Genesis, Deuteronomy, and 1 Samuel. How is it possible that Peter can speak with such force, confidence and clarity? He was certainly empowered by the Spirit, but he also knew the Scriptures and had paid careful attention to what Jesus said and did. In these verses, Peter is providing his listeners with an Old Testament prophecy road map to Jesus, the Messiah.

What do you think Moses meant when he said, “You must listen to everything he tells you,” and “Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people”? Jesus gives us the answer to these questions in John 15:5-6 when He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

Peter is telling his audience that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise, He is Abraham’s “seed” or “offspring” through which “all people on earth will be blessed.” Peter’s message is simple: all scripture was fulfilled in Jesus — so you better pay attention to what He said. That promise and instruction extends to you and me.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER:

Are you guilty of listening to some things in Scripture, yet disagreeing or ignoring other Scripture? What needs to change? Are you paying careful attention? How can you pay more careful attention?

God Bless,

Praying for Ministers

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“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

A SAINTS QUESTION?

“Preachers often ask for “prayer” of the saints and I’ve wondered the following: what kind of request should be brought before the Lord when the preacher is so ‘in touch’ with Him already? Should it be for a blessing? Or for a more open mind and heart to receive what the saints need to hear?” This is a question that was sent to me by email after I had asked a good friend and saint of God to keep me in her prayers. I thought it was a wonderful question to ask so I thought I would speak a little bit about that from the perspective of the minister-leader.

LEADERS ARE HUMAN

We can often times forget that our preachers, pastors and leaders are human and have the same struggles as everyone else. I like to believe that their really is no such thing as spiritual superman. Like Paul we all carry a thorn in our flesh an area of weakness where we must rely on God to give us strength. Thank God, “His strength is made perfect in our weakness”. What makes the minister different is simply the calling God has placed on his life. He is carrying a gift that has been given to him by the Lord and along with the gift he is carrying the responsibility to use the gift God has given him for the purpose of building and edifying God’s Kingdom. The truth is the the minister-leader needs much prayer because of the gift and the responsibility that has been placed on his life. We need to take in account here that the minister did not choose his gift and the calling; the minister was chosen for a specific pre-ordained calling and gift. A minister that has truly been called by God understands that he was created for the very purpose of preaching and teaching the full counsel of God’s word. The minister understands that he was created for the gift and purpose of God, not vice-versa. Sometimes what many fail to understand is that at times it can feel like a terrible burden to carry this weight and responsibility in the Kingdom of God; often times the minister feels like he just is not worthy to carry such a calling in his life. Truly the minister is in need of Gods grace and power to fulfill His commission.

sATAN AND THE MINISTER

The ministers primary responsibility in his life is to have close, right relationship with God because he must completely rely on God for his message. It is this very reason that the minister needs prayer so that his relationship his very closeness to God would be protected from the enemy and whatever other hindrances may exist. If their is one thing satan understands it is the vey power of God’s word, the power of the Gospel to change to transform lives. And satan understands that God uses his ministers as a flame of fire to deliver this message of life transformation. It is the gift to deliver this kind of message under the anointing of God that places the minister under constant attack from the enemy. The enemy is trying at all costs to keep the message of God from being delivered. Its not so much that satan fears the messenger but what he truly fears is the power of the message. Therefore satan will do everything in his power to hinder the message from being delivered.

sATAN HINDERS

There are essentially two ways that satan can hinder the message of God from being delivered to His people. One is to hinder the messenger and two is to hinder the hearers of the message. No wonder Paul exhortsthe church in this portion of scripture to pray for two things:

1. That the Word of the Lord may have free course

2. That we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men

Paul says when you pray for me pray that the message I am carrying would have free course in other words that the message would go forth unhindered. Paul understood that the enemy would try to hinder the message but he also understood that if the saints prayed for him and the message it would be delivered in God’s full power and anointing. He also understood that the enemy would try to hinder him directly through the work of wickedness and evil men. Paul was often attacked directly of satan because of the message God had given him. And so it is the same today for every minister who has a message that God has deposited in their hearts. Often times satan will attack the minister for the very purpose of influencing the heart of the minister and bringing it into a condition where the minister cannot recieve the message. If satan cannot hinder the messenger and he cannot hinder the people he will attempt to directly intercept the message in heavens in order to keep it from reaching the heart of God’s messenger, remember the prophet Daniel, “Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling. Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels,came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come” (Daniel 10:10-14 NLT). This is why our ministers, our pastors, our leaders both great and small need constant, consistent effectual prayer.

PRAY FOR ME

The next time your hear a minister say pray for me understand that this is the greatest thing you can do for him. The minister understands the enemy will put many obstacles in his path to keep him from delivering God’s word but he also understands the power of prayer, especially the power that the saints exert in the Kingdom of God when they pray for their ministers-leaders. Prayer has more value to the minister than the money you may give him in an offering, prayer has more value than the dinner you may buy him. Not that these things have no value – but even the minister understands that the greatest thing you can do for him is PRAY. Pray for his ministry, pray for his message and most of all pray that God would place a covering a protection over his relationship with Jesus Christ. To all those who pray for me I cannot thank you enough – truly your prayers help me to accomplish God’s will.

God Bless,

© 2007 Apostolic Messenger Minister Daniel Bracamonte