Archive | May 2012

Anticipating the Bridegroom difference between salvation and sanctification

 

This video gives the parable of the 5 foolish virgins and the 5 wise virgins, and what it is meant by salvation and sanctification.  Salvation is the process of walking towards Christ, and sanctification is the process of walking with Christ.  Salvation happens when you believe, and sanctification happens when you act on that belief.  We are called to be sanctified and that process will happen for the rest of our lives.

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The difficult task of knowing when not to speak

In the Bible the book of James talks about how we are to bridle our tongues.  It says how can blessings and cursings come out of the same mouth and that the tongue is uncontrollable.  Jesus said to have our speech be seasoned with salt.

There was an experience that happened with my relative a while back.  I said something where I basically just stuck my foot in my mouth, which is just an expression for saying the wrong thing, and she gave me the silent treatment for a long time.  She was an unbeliever so she had not grasped the concepts of forgiveness, but in the process she taught me a very important lesson, which as of late I seemed to have forgotten.  In the process she taught me how to respect her and to be sensitive what I say to her.  I loved my relative and I did not want her to be mad at me and hoped that she would eventually forgive me and she did.  God is the same way and His anger can be kindled so much more, but sometimes we don’t realize that.  We kind of take Him for granted and not give Him the respect that He deserves.  Sometimes we don’t give God the same respect we give to other people, and even when we are mad at other people, we don’t give them the respect not to talk about them behind their back.  I know my relative can have a bad temper at times, but God can have a temper too.  I knew my relative loved me, but she was just angry with me for awhile.  God is the same way.

Isaiah 54 says,

“With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer.

I know we should never do anything to make God mad at us, and we should never never never do that, but if in the current moment we may think that God is mad at us, it is ok, because He still loves us, and it says that He chastens those He loves.  If He loves you He chastens you.  He is not going to stay angry forever.  He may just distance Himself from you for awhile for one to see how much you will go after Him, and how much you will realize the way you hurt him, and how He feels about the situation.  We are so caught up in how we feel about what’s going on in our lives.  We are so concerned with all the circumstances, and our reactions to it, that we forget that God has a heart too, and we need to be sensitive to it, and not try to dishonor it.  I’m not saying we’ll be perfect all the time, but through life we’ll learn lessons, and learn how to trust Him, and how to depend on Him, so that we can learn how to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.  So even during these times if it seems like your walking through darkness, or that it may seem like there are no answers, God is still there, and He’s still waiting for you to turn around.  He’s waiting to pick up all the pieces of your broken life.  He’s there to restore the damage that’s been made out of your life and to give you beauty for ashes.

Sometimes when we speak out of anger or frustration or because we just don’t know how to handle the situation we are facing, and we haven’t exactly learned how to keep our tongue under control, there will be times when we’ll be reminded of what God feels like.  We don’t like it when people are frustrated and angry with us, so then when shouldn’t be angry or frustrated with God for all the things going on.  He’s in control, and so many times in our lives we’ve tried to take control and not to submit to authority, and not to discipline ourselves in various areas.  I am not even saying that I have mastered anything in application in my life, but it’s only through the grace of God that I am able to share with you all on this journey.  We need to stop beating ourselves up for our mistakes and even the things we may say out of our mouths, but before we do that we need to take time to think and make decisions on how we are going to try to work on improving our attitudes.  We get so caught up in religious activities that we don’t actually take time to think and see how we are going to apply all that we have learned in the Bible.  We have to pray, and read the Word of God, but on days when it may be even hard to get out of bed in the morning then we need to know what kind of power we have waiting inside of us to make life for us, and how we can take Biblical examples of guarding our mouth, and ask us to show us His heart.  How many days would you like to go without God speaking to you?  Not very long I’d suppose.  So in that time more than really praise or worship or any other thing that we’ve tried to seek God with, we need to ask God, and to think how we can change our mindset.  It’s one thing to read the Word of God as just words, stories, and narratives, but it’s another thing to make it an application.  Start with one thing and then see what else you can improve on.  Some people that have an issue with their mouth, like gossiping have an issue with forgiveness, which is an area where we ALL need to work on.  If you have mastered the area of forgiveness then you are miles high then most of us Christians.  Most Christians are biting each other’s heads off all the time, and it’s so sad in the Church.  There are times when we’ve had people we respected lie to us, and we forget that we’ve lied ourselves, so that needs forgiveness.  We’ve had people come and say the  wrong thing at the wrong time and not shown compassion towards us, but then we fail to see how we’ve not been compassionate toward them in their hour of need.  There was a song by Mariah Carey called, Love takes time, which I don’t usually condone of secular music, but there are songs out there that really speak to me.  It goes something like “Love takes time to heal when you’re hurting so much”  Depending on what has happened in your life and how you’ve gone through life, I’m sure you’ve had to learn how to forgive and may be still learning when not to speak.

Sometimes when we at our weakest moments, we just say things, and we can all learn a lesson from Jesus when He was on trial he just was silent, and they didn’t like it, because they wanted Him to say something to convict Himself.

There was a story of a television show where there was a man who was in jail and when he was in jail, they would question him, and all he did when they questioned him he kept silent.  I think there was a Biblical principle behind that somewhere.

There’s always wisdom in knowing when not to speak and to speak.  So we should learn the principle of when to keep silent.  There’s another secular song called “Enjoy the Silence”.  We must choose words carefully, and when we are not perfect, then we should keep things to ourselves.

 

Praying in the Spirit by Perry Stone

Praying in the Spirit by Perry Stone

Since many of the blogs that I’ve been following have debated over the issue of praying in the Spirit as an essential doctrine, I found this Perry Stone video which explains why praying in the Spirit is all about.  We need this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives so I encourage you to look at this video and see what you can learn about praying in the Holy Spirit.  May 27, 2012  is Pentecost and wouldn’t it be great if we could spread this message out about praying in the Spirit on that day.

 

 

 

 

 

A little bit of the book of Jonah in all of us

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been finding a little bit of Jonah in myself.  I think sometimes we Christians can behave a lot like Jonah given our circumstances.

Jonah’s Disobedience

1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Interestingly enough, I found this passage title to be “Disobedience”.  That is the beginning of all of our problems.  When God initially tells us not to do something, and we don’t listen.  Unforgiveness is an area where we can be disobedient to the Lord.  Also doing all the little things He tells us not to do can be considered being disobedient to the Lord.  Some Christians know they are not supposed to do things like drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, go to nightclubs, watch soap operas, but they do it anyway because something inside our carnal nature just wants to rebel.  It’s in all of us.  The amazing thing about Jonah is that he had the Presence of the Lord with him, and then he decided to leave and turn away.  Some of us may be experiencing great things in the Presence of the Lord in our church and when times get tough we may be tempted to pull away.

The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to [a]break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the [b]cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it [c]for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”

Doesn’t this story sound familiar?  This is exactly what happened with Jesus on the boat.  The storm was raging and He was still asleep.  There must be something about security in the Lord that allows you to fall asleep during the worst of circumstances.  I remember when Hurricane Ike hit Houston.  It was pummeling the roofs, and it was one of the worst ones we’ve had that caused a lot of damage, but it wasn’t as bad as Katrina.  Well I was rattled by the storm, and my dad, who was and is an unbeliever slept through it.  If an unbeliever can do that, how much more can we who have faith sleep through the literal storms, and the symbolic storms in our life.  It’s easy when things are going well.  But when things are hard it’s hard to have that faith that everything is going to turn out for good.  Jonah was even out of the Presence of the Lord, which is why he was getting them into trouble.  Sometimes when we are disobedient, we can cause the ship of local church to be in turmoil.  It is also a reminder that if you’re considering switching churches, then, what can happen, when you do.

Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may [d]learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “ Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” He said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, “[e]How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm [f]for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm [g]for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.” 13 However, the men [h]rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. 14 Then they called on the Lord and said, “We earnestly pray, O Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O Lord, have done as You have pleased.”

15 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

So here Jonah makes his declaration that he is the reason that they are in the boat because he fled from the Presence of the Lord.  This is what Adam and Eve did as well.  When we have that Presence of the Lord upon our lives (which comes through living a repentant life and worship and the Truth of God’s Word) we shouldn’t leave it at any cost.  We shouldn’t let our unforgiveness be an issue and we should choose to let our anger, bitterness, resentment, and all the things in our heart that are keeping us away from God, not be an issue in our lives anymore.

17 [i]And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

This is the stomach of the fish that Jonah was in.  Jonah was in the fish three days and three nights.  Jesus was in the tomb three days and three nights and then He was and is risen.  Sometimes we feel like we are dead and stuck, and we are in the same place.  We don’t think that we are going to get out of it, and then a miracle happens. But during those times we cry out in distress and in pain so that we can see a deliverance from our problems.

[a]Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said,

“I called out of my distress to the Lord,

And He answered me.

I cried for help from the [b]depth of Sheol;

You heard my voice.

“For You had cast me into the deep,

Into the heart of the seas,

And the current [c]engulfed me.

All Your breakers and billows passed over me.

“So I said, ‘I have been expelled from [d]Your sight.

Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’

“ Water encompassed me to the [e]point of death.

The great deep [f]engulfed me,

Weeds were wrapped around my head.

“I descended to the roots of the mountains.

The earth with its bars was around me forever,

But You have brought up my life from [g]the pit, O Lord my God.

“While [h]I was fainting away,

I remembered the Lord,

And my prayer came to You,

Into Your holy temple.

“Those who regard [i]vain idols

Forsake their faithfulness,

But I will sacrifice to You

With the voice of thanksgiving.

That which I have vowed I will pay.

Salvation is from the Lord.”

10 Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

Look at the prayer that Jonah made.  He said what misery that he was in and he knew the Lord’s power.  That’s a key to answered prayer.  To recognize and be truthful about your situation.  He also offered up thanksgiving, which some people say should be at the beginning but it actually takes place at the end. I am not sure if Nineveh or Tarshish is the place that Jonah is talking about in his prayers but I am assuming it is Nineveh.  This place that Jonah hated so much was full of idols according to him.  Sometimes we get caught up in a place that is full of idols.  We just want to see them leave and we get so bitter and angry even in our prayers, that we don’t see that God still loves them. Sometimes we ourselves get caught up in our own idols

Nineveh Repents

3 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was [a]an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk. Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”

Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the [b]ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let [c]men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in [d]his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”

10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would [e]bring upon them. And He did not do it.

Sometimes we are so on top of the world and that we have achieved to new levels and new heights and we think we are great and may have taken God for granted not realizing how much we need Him and how much we have drifted away and that is when we become overthrown.  Then we begin to believe in God, and we may go through periods where even food is not as important as God and we cry out.  If you’ve never lived a day where you are so hungry, then you really don’t know what it is like to be fasting.  The king said, “Do not let beast, herd, or flock taste a thing.  Do not let them eat or drink water.”    Can you imagine that – not being able to eat or drink water.  It’s almost like having the stomach flu, but this didn’t happen by chance, it was voluntary.  Can you imagine the suffering. They repented by fasting and turning from their wicked way, which God changed His mind about them.

Jonah’s Displeasure Rebuked

4 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please Lord, was not this [a]what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore [b]in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my [c]life from me, for death is better to me than life.” The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”

So then Jonah, was like – “I had to go through all that for nothing – for no good reason.  I had known as much to begin with, and I had to go through all that.  It wasn’t worth it.  It’s better off if I died”  God was not pleased with Jonah’s attitude.  God was looking for a good reason to be angry.  In his mind he was thinking what he went through would have been better off if they hadn’t repented.  If they had just stayed the way they were.

Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of [d]it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city. So the Lord God appointed a [e]plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was [f]extremely happy about the [g]plant. But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “ Death is better to me than life.”

Sometimes we get so stressed out by different things and different things come our way and we just don’t know how to handle it.  Sometimes we find little satisfaction in temporal things for comfort but when they are not working we get discouraged.  Sometimes we like our car so much and it gives us joy and freedom and then it gets totalled then we get so discouraged.   Sometimes God provides shade, but then He removes it too.  Don’t you think Jonah would have gotten out of his predicament if He said a prayer like “Thank You Lord for the awesome sun who shines upon the heat during the day.  Great is the Lord who created the sun, and deliver me from this heat.”  We might tend to think that it is like the Amalekites, or the devil that attacks us at our weakest, but sometimes it could be God trying to teach us a lesson.  We don’t rely upon God and his goodness and what he has done for us.  Jonah had been rescued out of the fish.  That was a big deal!!!  Imagine just all no air and you can’t breathe, but then you get delivered and don’t you believe that the God who did before can do it again.  We too often become like Jonah.  God used this reminder to show Jonah to sympathize with what the Ninevites were going thorugh.

Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” 10 Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which [h]came up overnight and perished [i]overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

The lesson that God was trying to teach Jonah and all of us is compassion.  There are so many lessons in this book of Jonah.  When a city comes to repentance, God spares the city.  When we come into repentance God spares our lives.  This shows the mercy of God and His immense compassion.  We often see God in the Old Testament as wrathful and strict and showing Judgment, but in this example it shows us that He is still merciful and kind and loving.  That He loves us immensely, and He wants to show us compassion.  Sometimes when we are angry with someone and we can’t seem to see the big picture and the whole situation God uses circumstances and speaks to us regarding certain issues so that we can live out the characters He wants to see us develop.

 

 

Initial Error of Balaam

If you’ve never heard the story of Balak and Balaam which God talks about in Revelation and in Numbers, and it is a pretty interesting one and in many ways, some of us believers are acting like Balaam, without even realizing it.

Numbers 22:

22  Then the sons of Israel journeyed, and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho.

Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel. Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this [a]horde will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, at Pethor, which is near the [b]River, in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too [c]mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to [d]defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and [e]repeated Balak’s words to him. He said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you as the Lord may speak to me.” And the leaders of Moab stayed with Balaam. Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10 Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent word to me, 11 ‘Behold, there is a people who came out of Egypt and they cover the surface of the land; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I may be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam arose in the morning and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 The leaders of Moab arose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”

15 Then Balak again sent leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than [f]the former. 16 They came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Let nothing, I beg you, hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will indeed honor you richly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Please come then, curse this people for me.’” 18 Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “ Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the [g]command of the Lord my God. 19 Now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what else the Lord will speak to me.” 20 God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise up and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you shall you do.”

21  So Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his donkey and went with the leaders of Moab.22 But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as an adversary against him.

Notice how it says God first says to Balaam not to go, and then the implication says it is ok for him to go.  Then God gets angry with him.  Why is that?  That is because He is testing him if he will do the right thing.  But God knows that the heart of mankind is decietfully wicked so He knew He wasn’t going to do it.

Now I’ve had a sermon on this preached to me before in my Church and the sermon was called “Obedience Like A Donkey”.  I’ve only had one other time that the Lord reminded me of this verse and I quickly repented, but I don’t know if I changed what I did.

Here’s my story, using a personal example.  I was idolizing a television pastor, who was used to “ease my conscience” when I sinned, and I had the Lord tell me in an indirect way, several times, there was a conviction in the spirit, that maybe I shouldn’t be watching this preacher, and even though what they were teaching was Biblical, the theological doctrine was corrupted.  I had my spiritual mentor in the Church, tell me not to watch this person, because they will only bring me down, and because I was trying to pursue Jesus, this person became an idol for me, and I did not want to give up watching their television show because it made me feel better.  Instead of reading the Word of God for myself, which all teachers and preachers of the Word of God tell you to do, I decided to get spoon fed, and it was like a staircase model, where I was on the top of a staircase and this person who was at a lower level, and had less skill and training and personal experience, brought me down.  There were other issues going on for a while, and when I needed to have my conscience clear and my faith strengthened, everything around me began to fall, and I had literally been brainwashed into thinking what all these television preachers were saying and getting confused with corrupt teachings, until I finally came to repentance and said “enough is enough”  but by then it was too late, I had passed my three day limit of not reading the Word of God for myself, and my life began to spiral downward.  There was still growth, and I know God has a plan and purpose for everything and He can make good out of bad.  So I learned, “When God says ‘NO!!’ He means ‘NO!!”.  During this time I was still writing on my blog and doing things, but I realized, that my spiritual life had to get back on track because of my conscience.  At that point, I had difficulty receiving from the Holy Spirit.

This is the same thing I learned when I posted “Obedience is more important than Grace.”  God has been teaching me how to hear His voice, and after many sleepless and tearful nights, I decided to change my priorities, but now I have to climb back up to where I used to be and maybe that’s the toughest part of sanctification process is that if you don’t accept it, you can be thrown out of the purging process and out of God’s revealed will for your life and it can be very destructive.  But a new season is coming for all of us.  God has not changed, what has worked in the past will work again, and there is nothing new under the sun.  Let the reader understand.  I hope you guys learn from the mistake of Balaam and be obedient to the Lord the first time, especially when you  are debating in your mind, “I want to do this, but then I also don’t want to do this.  I don’t know what to do.”  As you become mature you will learn.  A good question to ask, is how is this going to benefit anyone other than me?  Does this appeal to my senses, or make me feel like I can get “away with it” if I do it.  Idols are very destructive, and they can lead you to a downward spiral, and especially when people seem to let you think that disobedience is ok, when it is not ok, then you should be warned not to repeat it. Television preachers sometimes make themselves a target for idolization, even if it is not their intention, but is usually the case with the media industry.  So message for today is “beware of idols”  – and “beware of disobedience” there is also a sermon on my Church’s website called, “Idols in Your Backseat”.  Although in this passage the first instruction that God has is usually the best, and if you put yourself in the middle God can answer you to your own desires even if it is not his will.