"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Of all the things that are uncertain in this world, the future would be what I consider the most uncertain of all. The scriptures tell us that we know not the day nor the hour (Matthew 24:36) in which Christ shall return. There are signs and wonders to look out for, but no specific warning regarding exact timing of the end of days. Many of the early prophecies have already come to past, not leaving much more time for those days. Although we do not know for certain how much time shall pass before the rapture, what we should focus on is continuing to prepare for our Lord’s return anyway. Like the hopeful ten virgins (Matthew 25) who set out in hopes of meeting their groom, we do not want to get caught off-guard by not preparing our own generations and the next for the coming of the Lord. One of the most over-looked parts of this process is staying in tune with the Word of God. By staying in God’s Word ourselves, we also model a vital component of our faith to the coming generations. Without the Word of God, Christians just as non-believers lack direction and instruction. Have you ever heard an old saying and could not immediately pin a source with it? The odds are that it originated with the Word of God. Whoever would have thought that a term we used on a regular basis such as “scape goat or eye for an eye” was Biblical? The Jews would actually use a scape goat which was just a goat set aside for the purpose of carrying the sins of the people and would send him off in the desert thus naming him the “scape goat”. Therefore when and excuse or issue is pinned on an innocent or disposable bystander, we refer to this person as a “scape goat”. It is another common day proof of the foundation of our forefathers and where they stood spiritually. They were grounded in their Word daily. They understood it so well that even common day scenarios were made real through the scripture for them. It should be the same for us today. The Word contains many directions and an abundance of wisdom/knowledge on how we should think, act, feel, prepare, and live for God. When there is an absence of this infinite source of wisdom, our relationship with God suffers. We have a longing for communion and relationship with God. Therefore when it is cut short or non-existent, by default we try to substitute it. This may be through many various means, but always fails sending us down a road of self-destruction. The scripture tells us that the Christ would be the “cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-22).It also tells us in John 1:1 that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. Therefore, Gods Word is my rock and my foundation and should be for all Christians. It sets the direction of my feet. It inspires, leads, and it guides correcting us all along the way. Take away our Word and you take away our faith. This is why the foundation of our early Holy text was so vital for God in the early days of man. He knew that we would require instructions and direction. If you look at how destructive mankind has been with that guidance, it would be quite unimaginable to think of a world without it. The enemy attempts daily to destroy and wipe out all evidence of the Word today. It began with the hearts of men, spread to our government facilities, and now even our churches.
The problem lies within the first category I mentioned which was, “in the hearts of men”. We contribute to this issue daily. How do we reject the Word of God you may ask? We do this simply by ignoring it. I don’t mean by covering your eyes every time you come across a book even resembling the Holy Bible, but rather the failure to notice that you haven’t picked it up in a while and not making the effort to do so. It is a lot easier than most believe to go from a hungry, on-fire Christian to a cold state spiritually over a matter of a few weeks. As followers of Christ we will go through cycles and seasons, but we should not endure those times without the comforts of God’s Word and the Spirit easing the pain along the way. As we go through these seasons and struggles of life it is easy to get carried away with the distractions of the world. We are all guilty to some degree, but binge watching Netflix or spending hours on end every night you get off work on your wireless device is probably not the most spiritually efficient way to spend your time. To reap the high-dividend eternal rewards that await us, we must be willing to sacrifice some pleasure now for comfort later. Spending time learning about our great God should honestly be all the pleasure that we should need in the first place.
Maybe the Word-less lifestyle that I am referring to sounds a lot like yourself or someone you know. The good news is that today is a new day. We can start from right where we are. God is always waiting, hoping, and pursuing our hearts. Because He seeks us with such unconditional love, it isn’t ever very difficult to find Him. All we have to do is first seek God in our hearts. Secondly, we need to allow Him to instruct and guide us by His Word. It is no wonder why many Christians struggle in their walk with the severity that they do when God’s Word is nearly eliminated from their life. Hearing it at church, Bible study, or from some evangelist on the radio is simply not enough. We must dive into the treasure of God’s knowledge from the Word ourselves and see what he has to say about us individually. It is there that we will find the answers to the questions we seek and it is there where we will grow the closest to knowing who God really is at the most intimate level. Wouldn’t a good bride want to know all that is possible about her groom before the wedding? Should we not know everything there is to know from God’s Word so that when He comes for His bride the church, we will already be knowledgeable regarding His heart? The answer is yes, so what are we waiting for? Let us begin a new walk with our Lord today and dive into His Word. You just might learn something you didn’t know before.
Matthew 24:36 (KJV)
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[a] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[b] the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (KJV)
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Growing up in the Bible belt of South Eastern United States everyone always understood that when you first met someone, one of the first things you would try to find out is where they went to church. The name of the church would also most likely signify which denomination you belonged to also. About 70% of the time the answer to that question would most likely be a Baptist church. The division of Baptist would tend to vary, but the most popular was by far Baptist. The remaining portion would normally vary from Methodist, Episcopal, Catholic to Pentecostal-Holiness. When we last made a post, the topic was the soon arrival of a new spiritual awakening/revival awaiting God’s people to pray. Along with that spiritual renewal there will be another transition within the local church, which is the unification of the major denominations in this country. This God-inspired movement did not start over night, but has been crafted by the master for some many years now. Let us take a look into how and why it is happening.
Denominations used to tell a story about who a parishioner may be spiritually as well as personally. All you have to do is ask one of the more seasoned Christian members in a mainstream denominational church. Ask why they chose the denomination they did and you will get some very colorful responses. The older generations are proud of the conferences that they belong, they hold on tightly to the traditions and structure. Not long ago you could tell someone you were Southern Baptist and most would know that your church was likely a good place to hear good teaching of the Gospel. If you mentioned that you were Episcopalian, people would assume you were passionate about the traditions and customs of old-time Christianity in our country. If Pentecostal was mentioned you would observe a range of responses from eye-rolls, to offers of prayer and support. However, they always knew that if a need was urgent that they could call the Pentecostal members and count on it being prayed for. Many wanted to avoid the “strict” and “loud” services, but they also knew the Holiness church was one that God moved through. I pray that today the church in general would become such a praying group, that miracles and faith-confessions would once again become the normal in weekly services. I am glad that some things have changed. As time and people’s relationship with God (or lack of) have progressed, so has the view of the local church. Even the doctrines and identities of the denominations have changed over time.
One Common factor I have observed in the unification of the church is worship styles. Some call the common style I now see “charismatic” worship, some “free” worship, but I call it “Spirit-led” worship. It has been a staple in the Pentecostal church since it’s foundation and has taken many of the Baptist, Methodists, and others by storm. Even much older denominations are turning towards this style of connecting with God through the music. While some do not understand the “feeling” that may result from the worship style, Holiness churches are no strangers to it. For us it is about more than a feel-good experience, it is a presence of the Holy Ghost we seek. The Spirit can be felt through free and anointed worship, where it was once hindered by structure/tradition. There are those who give credit to the popularity of new contemporary worship artists, but I give all the honor and glory to God who is the real architect. It doesn’t really matter how this commonality among the worship came about, but rather the fact that the worship is happening. When God is worshipped, praised, glorified, and raised up in His house, He will dwell in that place of worship with his people.
Another factor bringing denominations together with others is the presence of sin, persecution, and disregard for God all around us. It is true that many once solid organizations have compromised their stance on sin, but those who are resisting by sticking with God’s standards are showing a stance of unity. There have been many meetings and rallies in our local area where all the local church members are coming together to combat common threats, especially in recent years concerning factors such as same sex marriage and transgender restroom policies. Many other issues have come us recently as well that have much larger impacts such as the parameters of abortion and substance use. While the enemy is trying to bring down the world with him, God is using it for the good of His people by bringing them together.
According to the scriptures regarding the end-times, we still have some events left to be unfolded to bring about the destruction of the world. While it could happen at the blink of an eye, it is still good to see God’s people coming together to worship His holy name. May we continue to unify and align ourselves together under the cause of Jesus Christ. I pray we always strive to once again operate in “one accord”. Until next time, may God bless you and keep you, Amen.
Psalm 133:1 (KJV)
133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
1 Corinthians 12:27 (ESV)
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
By: Pastor J.W.
It is time for a great revival in our nation. We urgently need a turn-around from our wicked ways. This past November, America was given another chance to get right. For the last several decades, the American government has continuously degraded its moral system in the name of acceptance. This was not limited to just the President, but rather includes all three branches of government. While the President voices his concerns and pushes legislature to take action, they must agree and comply. The judicial branch reinforces the ideals of the other two branches by either ruling a concern as legal or not, according to their interpretation of the constitution. It is easy to get off course once the power aligns with all three branches of authority in agreement. The results can and have been catastrophic.
Gay marriage is now legal. You can be sued for not performing business services that accommodate same-sex marriage, and now transgender can even use the bathroom of their choice. Unfortunately for us, this set of circumstances regarding sexuality and gender were not the beginning of our slow fade into sin. I would attribute today’s circumstances the result of decades of backsliding by the church. The hardest hit to the morality of our country would most likely be the ruling of Roe vs. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973), where legal grounds were made for the choice of women to abort unborn babies. Since this landmark decision, the morality of our country has been in rapid decay as millions of legalized murders are committed thanks to this decision. If it were about Pro-choice, the men would have options as well. The trans-gender populations now have options on which bathrooms to use and homosexuals receive marriage recognition, but now the pedophiles/sexual predators want the same rights. The problem is that a moral landslide, much like a mudslide can’t be stopped once it gets going until it reaches level ground. Our level ground will be the destruction of every day morals as common place. Congratulations, our federal government which is led by the ideals of the most immoral people of this nation has provided this new level ground.
While these circumstances certainly don’t call for a celebration, there is no need to panic. We should just continue to hit our knees. It is obvious by the strategic patterns of victories in the 2016 elections that God’s people have certainly been praying and seek change for our country. The people have spoken and God’s voice has been heard. While no one man or branch of government is the answer to all of our nation’s problems, it helps to have the right people in the right places to bring about God’s will. The United States is now in prime position to experience a spiritual awakening like never before seen. The Word tells us, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).” God will hear our cry and come to help his children by bringing us back into communion with Him again as a nation. While remaining in constant prayer and repentance, we must also live our lives closely aligned with the Word of God. Over the last several decades our rapid moral decline has seeped its ways into the everyday lives of God’s people as well. You can expect sin the life of a sinner who has not repented, but to see professing Christians who testify to the blood of Christ, claim to be filled with the Holy Ghost, and speak in tongues living in sexual immorality amongst other sins is an insult to the Word itself. Our repentance and prayer will begin to change the direction of our people. It will allow God to show His mercy and favor upon our great nation once more. The testimonies of great revivals across all denominations are already beginning to pour in. God is just waiting for us to move.
As I mentioned before, we need to seek God’s face and pray fervently. We need to not just cry crocodile tears, but truly humble ourselves before God and weep for the revival of His people and will. Let us pray not only for the revival of ourselves and families, but also for the leadership of our country. You may live in another country other than the U.S., but that shouldn’t matter. If you are reading this post, the moral and spiritual condition of our country impacts yours as well. Just as America has been in a spiritual decline, the rest of the Western world has followed in suit. Even the Middle Eastern regions have been destabilized as a result of the lack of firm leadership. This is not a political rant, so we won’t go into grave detail of how our leadership affects other regions. I simply want to point out that it does so. In the history of great revivals, they are usually not restrained to any one country or region. There have been many instances where great Evangelists such as Billy Graham and D.L. Moody have brought the spirit of revival with them while in places such as Europe and Asia.
Once we experience revival, we must remain in obedience to God and in His will. Once we fail to remain in his presence, we begin the spiritual decline that has been experienced now many years. Behind prayer, focusing on obedience of God’s Word and fellowshipping with people who do the same should be our top priorities. When we act in obedience we begin to develop discipleship, witnessing the Good News Gospel to others. In doing this, we strengthen our own faith while growing the body of Christ around us. This advances the Kingdom of God here on earth and greatly pleases the Father. I pray that this post helps you become better equipped on how to be a part of the coming great revival that awaits this great nation and allows you to be prepared to walk with your Savior, Jesus Christ. If you do not know Him as your Savior today, find out how on our page titled: What is the Gospel?
Acts 2:1-4 (ESV)
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.