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

 

 

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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,

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