Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Fear Extinguishers – Part 2

Awesome Places

Romans 1:29-32 “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Continuing Michaels message, he writes: Christians, as lights, are called to stand against the darkness of this world. There’s a stark contrast between the sinful works for the flesh and the godly fruit of the Spirit. Those whom God has called and are born again of His Spirit have been given spiritual enablements. One of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit is “discerning of spirits”. The invisible enemy underlying the pandemic is the spiritual realm: the prince of the power of the air who now worketh in the children of disobedience.  

Pastor Dave Hess ministers to people from diverse ethnicities. Some members of his congregation still experience slavery in their countries of origin. The gospel of salvation is the only hope for true freedom. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” 
Things are far worse around the world than in the United States. Pastor Dave has witnessed atrocities in the Middle East, where “ethnic cleansing” practices have resulted in innocent populations being raped, pillaged, plundered, and killed in the name of so-called ethnic purity. These are symptoms of the acute spiritual warfare of our times.

However, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual to the pulling down of spiritual strongholds.For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness from on high. According to Ephesians 6:14-18To stand against the schemes of the devil we must put on the whole armor of God: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”

In the spiritual battle, the offensive weapons are the sword of the Spirit , which is the word of God and prayer. We have nothing to fear, for if God be for us who can be against us? The question is not whether God is on our side, but whether we are on God’s side. On God’s side, be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good....

According to 2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus, and makes manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.” ... that we may be fear extinguishers and ever live to the praise of the glory of His grace!

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Fear Extinguishers – Part 1

This week, Michael Low writes: Dave Hess is a missionary to the Middle East and has a unique perspective on the spread of the Gospel of salvation around the world. The whole world is hunkered down for fear of spreading the Corona Virus. However, as Christians, we have not been called as disease vectors (paths), but as vectors to spread God’s healing wholeness of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Many world leaders have proposed solutions to the global pandemic. However, the solution from God’s perspective is Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation. Sometimes, God allows that which can be shaken to be shaken. We have the choice either to voluntarily go to our knees in prayer or he will allow circumstances to bring us to our knees.

Despite the dark doom and gloom of our times, the gospel of salvation is exploding in the Middle East. Many Muslims are being converted to Christianity during this pandemic. On-Line messages, conference calls, and video meetings have proliferated throughout the Arab world. The light of “the word of truth” is a stark contrast to the darkness of the pandemic of this moment in world history. God brings deliverance. There can be no victory without a battle. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation. Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

In World War II, President Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.” According to 2 Timothy 1:7God has not given us a spirt of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” As able ministers of the New Testament, in this world that is seemingly on fire with pestilence and pandemic, God has not called us to be fire extinguishers, but “fear extinguishers.” For there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear for fear has torment. He who fears is not made perfect in love.

God works in mysterious ways. As high as the heavens are higher than the earth, so much higher his thoughts above our thoughts and his ways above our ways. We don’t know the end from the beginning, but he does. From God’s perspective, this “invisible enemy” of Covid-19 has an underlying cause. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness from on high.

According to Romans 1:29-32 “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Let’s continue Michael’s on spreading God’s healing wholeness of salvation in the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Trinity and Time

Ricketts Glen State Park - amazing waterfall hike in Pennsylvania

The late Pastor D. James Kennedy once gave a sermon where he explained for our understanding in an analogy of the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in terms of time. He asked, of what does time consist? Obviously, it consists of the past, the present, and the future, those three. Any “time” we have ever known in this universe always consists of those three. Usually, we have the idea that we come out of the past, and that really is first, because that is where we came from. The fact of the matter is, time comes from the future, and we meet it head on. 

For example, today, yesterday was called tomorrow. Now it’s today. A week ago, it was called next week, and now it is today. A year ago, it was called next year. So as time approaches us and we move through it, that is what always happens. Anything is first in the future and then in the present and then it disappears into the past. That is the way time always works. That in itself is an amazing story when you examine it carefully. 

Dr. Nathan Wood gives a fascinating quote that is so remarkable I would like to read it to you. Now I realize when I do this, it is going to stretch your cranial capacity almost to the utmost. However, I would challenge you to try to see if you can follow his drift here. 
He is going to give a long paragraph. Then he is going to give it again, only this time he is simply going to change four words. The four words are “time,” “future,” “present,” and “past.” They are going to be changed into “God,” “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit.” You are going to find something some of you never knew before—that time, which you live by, which you look at constantly in the way of clocks, watches or cell phones, and which you make your lives run by, is an incredible illustration of the divine Trinity. Listen carefully: 

The Future is the source. The Future is unseen, unknown, except as it continually embodies itself and makes itself visible in the Present. The Present is what we see, and hear, and know. It is ceaselessly embodying the Future, day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment. It is perpetually revealing the Future, hitherto invisible. The Future is logically first, but not chronologically. For the Present exists as long as Time exists, and was in the absolute beginning of Time. The Present has existed as long as Time has existed. Time acts through and in the Present. It makes itself visible only in the Present. The Future acts, and reveals itself, through the Present. It is through the Present that Time, that the Future, enters into union with human life. Time and humanity meet and unite in the Present. It is in the Present that Time, that the Future, becomes a part of human life, and so is born and lives and dies in human life. 

The Past in turn comes from the Present. We cannot say that it embodies the Present. On the contrary, Time, in issuing from the Present into the Past, becomes invisible again. The Past does not embody the Present. Rather it proceeds silently, endlessly, invisibly from it. The Present therefore comes out from the invisible Future. The Present perpetually and ever- newly embodies the Future in visible, audible, livable form; and returns again into invisible Time in the Past. The Past acts invisibly. It continually influences us with regard to the Present. It casts light upon the Present. That is its great function. It helps us to live in the Present which we know, and with reference to the Future which we expect to see. 

That is an exact description of the way time operates. It is a perfect analogy. I’m using “analogy” not in the common sense of the word that something is like something or a simile or a metaphor, but in the mathematical meaning, which means it is an exact replica as far as every line, every angle, every corner is concerned. 

Now let us replace the words. “Time” is replaced by “God,” the “Future” by the “Father,” the “Present” by the “Son,” and the “Past” by the “Holy Spirit” (Every word the same but these four). You will see that perfect analogy, and you will see the divine Trinity that you have been swimming in all of your life. 

The Father is the source. The Father is unseen except as He continually embodies Himself and makes Himself visible in the Son. The Son is what we see, and hear, and know. He is ceaselessly embodying the Father, day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment. He is perpetually revealing the Father, hitherto invisible. The Father is logically first, but not chronologically. For the Son exists as long as God exists, and was in the absolute beginning of God. The Son has existed as long as God has existed. 

God acts through and in the Son. He makes Himself visible only in the Son. The Father acts, and reveals Himself, through the Son. It is through the Son that God, that the Father, enters into union with human life. God and humanity meet and unite in the Son. It is in the Son that God, that the Father, becomes a part of human life, and so is born and lives and dies in human life. 

The Spirit in turn comes from the Son. We cannot say that He embodies the Son. On the contrary, God, in issuing from the Son into the Spirit becomes invisible again. The Spirit does not embody the Son. Rather He proceeds silently, endlessly, invisibly from Him. The Son therefore comes out from the invisible Father. The Son perpetually and ever-newly embodies the Father in visible, audible, livable form; and returns into invisible God in the Spirit. The Spirit acts invisibly. He continually influences us with regard to the Son. He casts light upon the Son. That is His great function. He helps us to live in the Son whom we know, and with reference to the Father whom we expect to see. 

That, my friends, is an exact mathematical analogy that each of the portions of the Triunity of the universe are in themselves triune. 

Pastor D. James Kennedy

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Free to Love – Part 2

Continuing Pastor Kyle's message, In verses 4-6 of 1 Peter 4, we see the Apostle explain that we are going to see people judging Christians because they live life differently in a spiritually free lifestyle in obedience to God. The Apostle Peter encourages us not to worry about them because those people will one day have to give an account of their life to God, their sovereign Maker. That is why the Lord Jesus preached to unbelievers about the kingdom of God.  In verse 7, the Apostle says that “the end of all things is at hand”. Whether we are living in the last days right now or not, we are living in our last days. We are one breath closer to eternity and the Apostle wanted us to understand that there is an urgency that Christian needs to have in being obedient to Christ when it comes to living a spiritually free life. Too many Christian lose their sense of spiritual urgency. 

What should Christians be urgent about? (1) We are free to be self-controlled and sober-minded. Anyone who has an addiction background knows that every single day of the self-control expressed through their sobriety is vital in their life. People are powerless over their addiction and always one day away from falling back into it. The moment that they lose their self-control, they are back in the bondage of that addiction again. It is true with sin also. Many they in this world would associate freedom with being wild and untamed, doing whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it, with whoever you want to do it with, wherever you want to do it. But, that is not freedom; that is actually slavery to your sinful self. True spiritual freedom is about sober-mindedness and self-control is doing what God wants you to do, whenever and wherever God wants you to do it. If you want to have freedom in your life, that is where you are going to find it. Jesus set us free, so are we exercising our spiritual freedom through sober-mindedness and self-control, or are we letting something other than God’s freedom rule in your life right now? This is a heart check on how much of God’s peace are we allowing into our life these days and how much of the God-rejecting secular world distractions are getting into our hearts. It is a daily struggle to stay out of a place of anxiety and in a place of peace. God has made true sober-minded self-control, freedom and peace available to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

In the second half of verse 7, the Apostle says that “for the sake of your prayers”. The implication is that if we are not living in true spiritual freedom, then it has a direct effect on how God hears and answers our prayers. This is consistent with what we hear in the rest of the Bible. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” The point is that we live out spiritual freedom by self-control and sober-mindedness, the more God hears our prayers. 

1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

If there is one thing to remember above all else, it is that we are free to love. Don’t give up on love, love one another earnestly. We are to be genuine in our love towards each other. To love one another includes forgiving one another. We like and appreciate when other people forgive us for our offenses against them, but find it harder to forgive others ourselves. Matthew 18:21-22, this same Apostle Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” The point that the Lord Jesus was getting at was that we need to just keep loving and forgiving one another. Immediately, following in Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus tell a parable about a man that borrowed ten thousand talents ($7 billion by today’s standards) and couldn’t pay it back when due. He pleaded for patience to the master and out of pity released and forgave his debt. But, that same man went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii ($12 thousand by today’s standards) and couldn’t pay him. The fellow servant pleaded for patience, but he refused and had him thrown into prison. Others saw this and reported it to the master, who in him and said: ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart. What is the lesson of the parable? Our sin debt against God is (like $7 billion dollars) unable to pay off and yet He forgives our sin debt. The debt that others owe us in life is next to nothing compared to the sin debt we owe God. Should not we have had mercy on your fellow man, as God had mercy on us? Forgive others!

At some point in every human relationship, we will come across an offense that has to be covered. The way to cover an offense is not to just “sweep it under the rug”, pretending it never happened, but cover it with loving forgiveness. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting or that we do not establish new boundaries as trust is rebuilt. Yet, the Believer’s default is not to hang onto the offense and replay it over and over. The default is to “let it go” through loving forgiveness as love covers a multitude of sins. The principle is: the more that we extend love and forgiveness to others when we are offended, then the more likely they are to extend love and forgiveness to us when we offend them. Is there someone you need to forgive right now? Is there someone you need to apologize to and seek forgiveness from right now? 

1 Peter 4:9 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

All of us are witnessing social division unlike anything we have ever seen in our lifetime. Everyone is a little extra on-edge and anxious these days with what is going on in our nation and the world. Much has been taken away, civil unrest and disobedience creates chaos and fear, and not much to look forward to on the horizon these days. We are all struggling for stability and normalcy in our daily routine of life. But, remember that you have been freed to love and know that love covers a multitude of sin. Seek unity, love your neighbor as yourself, see people as God sees them and practice the Golden Rule of doing to others as you would have them do to you. We have been freed to leave certain situations in God’s hands. We have been freed to love as Jesus loved. God says in 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We need to accept the consequences for our actions, but seek God’s love, mercy grace continually. May we align our thoughts, words and actions with the Lord’s as the Holy Spirit leads daily. We are free to love.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Free to Love – Part 1

“Thx to @Jackthelad1947 @netminnow @savekidstoxo @AsiaReportcom @Pcamachobotero @davepickell @siva087 @drkkevorkian” 

1 Peter 4:1-9 “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”

This last Sunday, Pastor Kyle continued in our church’s sermon series through the book of First Peter, asking: how would you personally define freedom in your own life?. There is always the dictionary definition of the word, then there is how a person would explain it. The freedoms we enjoy in America and the other places in the world that do not enjoy the freedoms that we have in this country, like being free of religious persecution. How America was founded on the truth that all men and women created equal in the eyes of God, our Creator. We can think about how far we have come as a civilization, but also the reality of how far we still need to go in terms of finding freedom. Maybe, the Exodus story of the Israelite’s freedom from 400+ years of bondage in Egypt and setting foot in the Promised Land. When we think about freedom, we can think about Jesus Christ, who freed the world from the bondage of Sin. 

Some people define the word freedom as “being able to live like you want to live and do what you want to do”.  Jesus definition of freedom was to live in perfect submission to the way that His Father God wanted. You think about spiritual freedom, you have to think about the cost that Jesus Christ had to pay so that we could enjoy that freedom ourselves. Think about the punishment before and on the cross for our sin that our Savior endured unto death that we would be saved and free. The shame and the pain of the Cross should have been ultimately upon you and I. Those who repent and believe are “born again” of the Spirit, transformed and eternally free because of the price that Jesus paid for us. Our Heavenly Father sent Jesus to die for our sins so that, not only so we could be saved from eternal damnation if Hell and have eternal life in Heaven with Him, but also so that we could live with freedom here and now on earth. We are free. Do you remember the day that you accepted Christ as Savior and Lord of your life, and found true spiritual freedom in your life?

Freedom comes at the cost of someone else’s sacrifice. The only way for a society to be truly free is for individuals within that society to be willing to sacrifice for that freedom to be possible. The same thing is true spiritually. To provide true spiritual freedom, Jesus had to pay the ultimate price. We’ve talked about how Jesus Christ suffered, died and rose again so that we could be forgiven and free. One of the first thing that we learn after becoming a Christian is that we are forgiven. Where many Christians struggle is to find freedom from our past sins and shortcomings of falling short of the glory of God. The Apostle Peter talks about what freedom looks like in all of our lives, and one of the things that we are going to see is that freedom is a set of actions that we choose as a response to Jesus’ sacrifice for us. And, if our lives are not changed as a result of Jesus’ removing our spiritual chains, then we are very much still in bondage. You see, freedom is a reality that we get to experience and it is also a daily choice that everyone has to make. Because of what He has done, we get to live out that true freedom.

In the first two verses of 1 Peter 4, we see the Apostle discuss how Christ suffered and died to defeat Sin on the Cross, once and for all, so we could choose God’s Will over human passions and desire of the sinful flesh. In other words, we all used to live one (sinful) way and now Jesus tells us that we need to live in a different (godly) way. There comes into all of our lives, when have to choose to take up our Cross daily and follow the Lord, meaning abandon our individual throne and reign over life and choose to have God sit on our throne, let Him reign and rule over our lives and willingly follow in obedient dedication, devotion as our desire for His honor and glory to His praise. We have to choose to live for the things of the Lord rather than whatever it is that we want to do. Jesus suffered so that we could choose God and choose His Will over human ways. Jesus lived the “free” life that we are now enabled to live by the Holy Spirit.  

In the third verse of 1 Peter 4, we read the Apostle share about everything that we typically associated with sinful behavior. Concerning the bondage and slavery to sin that we commit in thought, word and deed which was the death of our spirit and separated us from our just and holy God, this is the behaviors that we have been freed from. All sin is against God and shall be judged. Romans 2:12-16 tells us, “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when [pagan] Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. God’s Law is written on every human heart and seared into their conscious so they know the difference between “right” and “wrong”. When a person becomes a born again Christian, God activates their conscience and gives their spiritual discernment , which gives them the ability to choose the “right” thing in a way the pleases God. 

In cases where someone says that they do not feel that what they are doing is wrong and it’s not an issue with them, we have the Word of God found in the holy Scripture of the Bible to say that no matter how anyone feels about a behavior, this is what God says about it. People can ignore their conscience. Sin is sin and wrong is “wrong in the eyes of the Lord” and people need to hear it, so say it.  Isaiah 30:21 instructs us, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” There are people in the world that deny the existence of a conscience. Deep down they are fooling themselves, becoming numb to their conscience telling them what they do not want to hear. In their heart, they know it’s wrong. What is needed is conviction of their sin that leads to repentance, forgiveness and freedom from sin and the associated wrath of God.

Never avoid the issue of sin in the world and our lives. It is the root cause of all problems in the world. As light expels darkness and exposes everything, be the light of the world that exposes sin and points to the foot of the Cross for redemption and reconciliation. We want people to walk towards repentance and freedom from the bondage of sin. Focusing on sin communicated or exhibited won’t get sinners out of that behavior but exposes the sinfulness of sin against a just and holy Creator God, which leads to conviction of sin and repentance. They need spiritual freedom to change their life direction that God wants everyone to go, not someone making them feel go in their sin on the wide road to Hell. Heaven is where God wants us choose to live.

Let's continue Pastor Kyle's message on "freedom to love" in the next post.
Happy Independence Day America, and Happy Dependence on God Day everyone. 
In Christ, Brian

Friday, July 3, 2020

How Shall We Then Live? – Part 2

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Stop by YellowStone National Park while you're there!

Continuing Michael's message, he writes that the Bible says, don’t put new wine into old wine skins. You have to put new wine into new wine skins, otherwise the old wine skins will burst. The record in Acts 10:23 says that “Then (Peter) called them (Cornelius’ servants) in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.” This was unheard of for someone brought up in the Jewish religion. Jews did not associate with “heathen unbelievers.” Peter was starting a new process and a new norm, i.e., a new wine skin. The new process was ministering to non-Jews and meeting in the home instead of the temple or the synagogue.  

Cornelius invited Peter into his home. When you’re around people who think that you’re special because you have done things on behalf of God, Peter had to correct their theology and said, “I’m just a man like you.” Jews did not interact with non-Jews. This old wine skin kept Peter from wanting to minister to a “heathen.” However, Peter said, “when I was called I came without objection”. Verse 31 tells about how God revealed to him that he should go see Cornelius. Actually, Cornelius, the unbeliever, was more willing to act on God’s revelation than many Christians. Christians often think they should pray about God’s instructions rather than simply acting by believing faith on God’s revelation.  

Cornelius said, “we (our whole household) have gathered together in the presence of God to hear everything that the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” They wanted to know the truth of the Word of God. They weren’t afraid to understand God’s righteousness, judgement, and holiness. They wanted to be set free from everything that was imprisoning them. They did not want a watered-down message of “easy believism.” Jesus had said to his disciples, “Go into all the world....teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.” According to Corinthians, we are not as those who water down (corrupt) the Word of God.  

In Acts 10: 34-43, Peter preached to Cornelius and his household the gospel message of deliverance from the bondage of this world and salvation through Jesus Christ.
According to Romans 12, the Bible says, “recompense to no man evil for evil, provide all things honest in the sight of all men. Be not overcome of evil but overcome evil with good.” While Peter was preaching, the Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his household and the Jews who were with Peter were all amazed. The gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on Cornelius and his Gentile household just as it had fallen Peter and the Jews who were with him. 

The emphasis is to meet with people during this time of social distancing with the Word of God. We need to become a church of house groups. We’re living connected together despite the storms of life so that there is a healthy connection of believers within our own households. The church in the home was one of the hallmarks of the first century church in the book of Acts. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. One of the harvest fields is in the homes of people who need to have an encounter with the risen Lord. New means new. The new is completely different from the old normal. This is a time of renewal to change what was wrong with our lives pre-Covid19. 

The devil works through distraction. Now is the time to set our affections on “things above” and not on the things of this world. The time is ripe for the harvest. As Christian believers, God is opening the minds of those He’s calling to receive the seed of the Word of Truth. We’ve been called to plant, to water, and to bring in the harvest in the mission field of the hearts he’s prepared for us that He alone may be glorified and that we may be to the praise of the glory of His grace.

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Thursday, July 2, 2020

How Shall We Then Live? – Part 1

Fototapete »Mirror Lake«, 4-teilig

This week, Michael writes that the late Christian Theologian Francis Shaffer wrote a book entitled “How Shall We Then Live?” This is an appropriate question for such a time as this. Chris Tomlin’s song “Is He Worthy”, based on Revelation 5:9, says: “From every people and tribe every nation and tongue He has made us a kingdom and priests to God to reign with the Son. Is He worthy? Is He worthy of all blessing and honor and glory? Is He worthy? Is He worthy? Is He worthy of this? He is!”

The solution to the problems of this world is the gospel message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The worldwide media thinks that the United States has been overrun with rioting, looting, and active violation of human rights by the police. They think that the US is the global center of chaos and confusion and the epicenter of the global pandemic. The current crises in America has been precipitated by the passage in Hebrews 12:27 “God will shake that which can be shaken.” As the Jerry Lee Lewis song says, “there’s a whole lot of shaking going on.” However, the world is not focused on the root cause of the shaking. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against rulers of the darkness in high places, against spiritual wickedness from on high. – Ephesians 6:12

Either people will voluntarily kneel in prayer or God will bring the world to its knees. Because of the trials and tribulation of this world, the world is open to a message of deliverance. Jesus said in the great commission: Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations ...teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

In Acts 10, God has given us a key to reach out with his message of deliverance. This is the record of “houses of fire” and of “Putting new wine into new wine skins.” In this record, God called the Apostle Peter to minister unto the gentiles. This was unheard of before in the Bible since the Word of God was originally given only to Israel. Cornelius was an unbeliever who had a vision from God in answer to his prayer. He feared God meaning that he had an awe, reverence, and respect for God along with everyone in his own house. Similarly, in this time of social distancing, God is interacting with His church in the homes. The question in Acts 10:1-5 is “who is calling whom?” It’s actually the lost who are calling the Christian believers to minister to them.

In Acts 10, The “unbeliever” Cornelius, who had not been saved, had a one-time encounter with God. He responded to God’s vision with immediate obedience. He followed God’s instruction and sent his servant to go get Peter. Meanwhile, Peter went up on his housetop to pray. He also had a vision and in verse 16, Peter saw the vision three times. God had to remind him over and over, but Peter was inwardly perplexed about the meaning of God’s visual revelation. Then the Spirit said explicitly, “three men are looking for you and I have sent them.

In the Muslim world, many who come to Christ have had a dream or an encounter with Jesus Christ via a personal revelation. The role of the supernatural is huge in the Muslim world. It’s common for Persians to have a Divine vision from God. They see miraculous healings. Peter was one of Jesus’s three personal best friends. However, he needed to see the vision from God three times and he still didn’t understand the meaning of the vision.  

Let's continue Michael's message on bringing the Gospel message to the world in the next post.

In Christ, Brian