Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life in the Light. . .

As long as we use the behavior of other people as the yardstick, with which to judge our own conduct there will be no motivation for us to change. No matter the bad things I was doing. . . no matter the lies I told. . . no matter the promises I broke. . . no matter the immoral acts I committed, I could always find someone, who in my mind was doing worse things things than I. . .I would remember good things I had done and be satisfied that they somehow cancelled out the bad. . .


There were always reasons for my short comings. . . there was always rationalization and justification for my acts. . . which though I knew deep in my heart to be wrong, but still I could justify them. . . until that day when I met the Lord Jesus, and He revealed himself to me. . . Then He became my yardstick. If you’ve never seen anything white, you can fool yourself into thinking any shade of gray is almost white. . . When I found Jesus, I saw purity and unblemished holiness. . . I saw for the first time in my life, something purely white and then. . . and only then, when I took my eyes off of the actions of other people and looked upon Jesus, was the true blackness of my soul revealed for what it was. . . .only then did I realized the true corruptness of my soul. . . only then did I realized that I had to change. . .The conviction was so strong upon me. . . the shame for my past foolishness was so strong. . .but. . . but!. . . BUT!!!!! His love and forgiveness and grace was even stronger. . .


He has given me the power to change those things in me which I could never have changed on my own. . . He has given me a new nature. . . He has given me a new heart and soul. . .I have been reborn. . . a new creature in Christ. Yes, the same flesh hangs upon my bones. . . Yes, I am still capable of sin, but sin is no longer my nature. . . sin is the exception rather than the rule of my life. If I stumble. . . I brush myself off. . . I ask God to forgive me, and go right back to living for God.


There is no way for me to put into words that will fully explain to you, the peace. . . the joy. . . the power of having a close relationship with God. You are so close to having that for your own life. It’s not like you have to slay a dragon or perform some heroic and difficult task in order to justify yourself. . . Jesus has already done that on the cross. . . He did that which no man could do. . . He paid the price which no man could pay. . .


I am praying for you. . . I was so foolish for so long. I well know the blinding message of the world to the power of God. We are scorned and ridiculed as simple minded fools. . . But. . . I once was blind and now I see. . . I once was in the darkness and now I can truly see the light. . . and life in the light is so completely superior to living in darkness. . . I pray for you to open your heart. . . Let Him in and find a life of love and light. . . . .

Monday, August 29, 2011

In Search of Holiness. . .

Hebrews 12:14
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

Beginning to reread this morning as my devotional, the third book of David Bernards Pentecostal Theology series. The book is titled: "In Search of Holiness". The above verse is the caption for the beginning page of the first chapter.

Holiness, as all things having to do with God and religion, if taken with the wrong spirit. . . without love. . . can be damaging. . . having a destructive effect.

We shouldn't strive for holiness, with the goal in mind of demonstrating our righteousness. . . We shouldn't strive for holiness motivated solely in the hopes of being judged worthy of entering into heaven. . . Our Lord desires us to be holy and to live holy and sanctified lives. . . Be ye holy for I am holy He said. . . and loving the Lord with all our heart, mind. . . body. . . strength. . . we should hunger to do those things which are pleasing to Him and to avoid those things displeasing to Him. . .With this as our motivation we can avoid legalism and becoming Pharisee's. . .avoiding self-righteousness and pride in ourselves.

I seek holiness, not because of my righteousness. . ., not for my strength, but due to my weakness, and I need to be as close to the Lord as possible to avoid temptation and falling away from Him. . .

Surely an old saying with wisdom, is that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. . .a spiritual journey can be one of moving toward the Lord and likewise it can be a journey of moving away from the Lord. Few if any who fall away from God do so in one giant move. . .Most generally it is a journey of many small steps. Maintaining vigilance upon the small things in your walk with God, will largely inoculate you from the danger of facing a day where you wake up a great distance from Him. . .

Strive for holiness in every aspect of your life. . .

Thank you my God. . .You are holy. . . therefore I desire to be holy. . .

Saturday, August 27, 2011

From Such Turn Away. . .

Last evening Jackie and I put the movie, "Paul the Apostle" in the DVD player in anticipation of watching a 3 hour movie on the life of Paul.


A few minutes into the move, it portrays the day of Pentecost. It shows Jesus telling them to wait for the Holy Spirit, then the scene changes to the upper room, where many are shown praying, then there was a great sound of a mighty rushing wind in the room. . . the flames of the lights brighten apparently in reference to the tongues of fire, but there is absolutely no speaking in tongues when the 120 were filled with the God’s Holy Spirit. . .

Here is the Scripture:

Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

It showed no gathering of people around, wondering why they were miraculously speaking in languages, which as uneducated Galilaeans, they should have not known. . .

Again here the Scripture:

Acts 2:5-7 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. (6) Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. (7) And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

It then didn’t really show Peter strongly preaching the first message of the New Testament, but it did show him rather quietly saying. . . something like, “You need to repent and be baptized so that your sins are forgiven. . .”

Again the movie absolutely gutted the scripture:

Acts 2:38-39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

At that point Jackie and I shut the movie off and I took it out of the DVD player an threw it in the garbage can. . . not even being fit for donation back to Good Will where I bought it. . .

Why would I sit and listen to a movie which distorts. . . even distorts by omission the Word of God.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus said: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

They would have POWER after the Holy Ghost came upon them. . . the sign at the day of Pentecost and at other instances where the baptism of the Holy Ghost took place was the speaking in tongues. . . that cannot be ignored. . . Peter said that baptism should be done in the name of Jesus. . . that cannot be ignored. . . there is power in the Holy Spirit. . . there is power in the name of Jesus:

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

I will not listen to a movie. . . I will not listen to preaching which denies the promised power of God available to us through the receiving of His Spirit, as evidenced by speaking in tongues and confuses men about the necessity of taking the name of Jesus at baptism. . .

Paul warned of such times as these:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

. . . Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:. . . from such turn away. . .

Turn away. . . Turn away. . . Turn away from such. . .

The very image of repentance. . . I beg of you turn away. . .

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We are not bad because we sin. . . but rather we sin because we are bad. . .

We are not bad because we sin. . . but rather we sin because we are bad. . .


Sin is a symptom, and not a root cause. Our nature itself is one of selfish, and prideful hungers. No matter how idyllic our childhood. . . no matter how abundant our lives. . . no matter how fine an education we have. . .no matter the advantages and blessings which befall us, if we are left to our own devices, we will eventually express the blackness which inherently resides inside of us.


Sin is the rule and not the exception. Without God, the only difference between the scarred and tattooed thug sitting in a prison cell and the little white haired grandmotherly lady with her apron and her hair done up in a bun, is the battle ground on which they fight their battles. . . be it meth or crack cocaine or peaking at cards at gin rummy. . . sin is sin is sin. . . and it befalls all of us.


Externally applied righteousness is no righteousness. The Law of Moses was given to show, that rules written on tablets of stone, were not if themselves able to confer righteous behavior. Moses could only convey the rules of God. The people requested that God not speak directly to them:


Exodus 20:18-19
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. (19) And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.


He could not convey the relationship he had with God. He could only pass along the rules and commandments of God. . .rules without relationship = failure. This is as true today as it was 4,000 years ago and yet most who call themselves Christians today, continue to strive for righteousness and holiness without the power of the direct relationship with God available to all people today.


The final words before Jesus ascended into heaven:


Acts 1:4-8
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (5) For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (6) When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (7) And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. (8) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.


In Acts chapter 2, the Holy Spirit fell upon the waiting disciples and they were baptized with the Spirit of God as evidenced by their speaking with an unknown tongue:


Acts 2:1-4
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


It is this power given to us by the Holy Spirit of God residing within us, which make a way for us to overcome our sinful nature. It is estimated that there are some 2 billion Christians in the world today. Of those only about 500 million are spirit filled. . . some 75% of all Christians do not have the Spirit of God within them. They love God. . .they seek after God, but they have been misled into believing that the Spirit of God come to them automatically at the time of baptism or at the time when they “accepted” Christ even though the Bible clearly shows this not to be the case.


Up until Acts chapter 10, the entire Bible is concerned with salvation of the Jews only, but Peter after being given a vision from God, was called to the home of a gentile to preach and when he did:


(Acts 10:44-45) While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.


How did they know that they were filled with the Holy Ghost?


(Acts 10:46) For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,


Did this filling of the Holy Spirit of God come at the same time as their belief? Did it come when automatically when they were baptized?


(Acts 10:47-48) Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.


No, it did not. . .


Did this filling of the Holy Spirit of God come at the same time as their belief? Did it come when automatically when they were baptized?


(Acts 19:2-6) He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.


No, it did not. . .


(2 Corinthians 13:1)
. . . In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.


Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the Bible? Then I suggest to you, that you need to model your faith and actions on what is recorded in the Bible. . .