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Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Every Trial There is a Blessing (Part 3)

Excerpt from Victoria Boyson:
Yielded to Christ - In Every Trial There is a Blessing
Elijah List Publications, Nov 30, 2011

God Will Bless You

If you feel you have been the victim of soulish prayers or witchcraft you may at times feel a heaviness or an ominous sense of failure. You may have an increase of strife in your relationships, experience confusion or an overwhelming feeling of self-loathing. But take heart, half the battle is knowing what is attacking you.

Like it or not, you will need to pray for those who have prayed against you. Pray that their words against you will be powerless and that they will stop praying out of the will of God. Ask God to bless them with His peace, love and mercy.

Above all else, we must forgive them because they really do not realize what they are doing. They are victims of this unclean spirit as much as we are. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood" (Ephesians 6:12), meaning: We do not fight each other, but we "wrestle" satan and his demons. The enemy is our enemy. And we do not wrestle in the natural but in the supernatural realm.

Repent of any unforgiveness you may be harboring against them or others and ask God to give you His unconditional love for them. And, if possible, be an encouragement to them – it will be very difficult for them to continue to hate you if you respond to them in love. Note: It may take time for the spiritual atmosphere around you to be cleared of all their prayers, so continue to cover yourself in prayer often.

Finally, be sure to watch how God will bless you through this, because in every trial we face, there is a blessing in it for us if we yield to God. If the enemy has targeted you, be encouraged by it because he must know of something very powerful in your future or he wouldn't bother harassing you.

Victoria Boyson - Speaking Life Ministries

Email: victoria@boyson.org
Victoria Boyson met Jesus at the age of seven. At 13, she started ministering using music as a platform to tell others about Jesus and sang as often as anyone wanted to hear. After high school, she received a music scholarship to attend Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota where she met her husband, Steve Boyson. Shortly after their marriage in 1988, they started ministering together at various churches and functions, again using the platform of music. In 1992, they became youth pastors, and through the following years ministered in various churches. In 1999, the Lord told them to move to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to work for Francis Frangipane, who was extremely influential in their development as Christians and as ministers. Francis recognized Victoria's gift in writing and encouraged her pursuing its development. Steve and Victoria Boyson have four children: Cassandra, Cody, Cole and CailieEllen.

In Every Trial There is a Blessing (Part 2)

Excerpt from Victoria Boyson:
Yielded to Christ - In Every Trial There is a Blessing
Elijah List Publications, Nov 30, 2011

Soulish Prayers

Prayers that are prayed outside of God's will and in accordance with the selfish desires of our own hearts are called soulish prayers. And when we pray against others, we cause the powers of darkness to be released on them. This can cause horrific warfare for them. This is witchcraft, and if we dabble in it, we open up our own lives for these destructive spirits to come back on us and wreak havoc in our own lives.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37

"...For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38

It is very dangerous to assume that we know God's will for others and then pray for that to happen. We may find ourselves fighting against the will of God for their lives. We should always confirm what we feel we have heard in the spirit with the peace of God. If we do not have peace about the word we have received, if it does not come from a heart full of genuine love for our brother, then we should disregard it.

The Religious Spirit

The religious spirit is the same spirit that drove Paul to persecute the first Church. As he harassed a small group called the Nazarenes, he honestly felt that he was working for God. He killed and imprisoned hundreds of the followers of Christ and felt right in doing so. He was convinced in his heart that he was fulfilling the will of God.

Paul was positive that he knew what was right and that these Christians were evil. Furthermore, he believed they must be destroyed and felt commissioned by God to do so.

But when the Lord revealed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus, He showed Paul that he was not fighting for truth, but for the realms of darkness.

What agony Paul must have experienced when he learned the truth of his actions. He did so much want to fight for God, and yet he found himself fighting against Him. How he must have agonized over his sin; his grief must have been immeasurable. However, Paul repented and turned from being the greatest persecutor of the early Church to being its greatest defender.

We too can turn away from praying for God's punishment to come on those we do not approve of, and start praying for God's will and mercy to be evident in their lives. We can be led by the Spirit of Truth found in God's Word that says, "The wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness" (James 3:17-18).

It is essential that we all seek to guard our hearts with the love of God because "love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). The Lord has warned us in Matthew 24:12 that the love of many will grow cold because of the increase of lawlessness, "but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (v. 13). The only way of guarding our hearts is for our hearts to be bound to the Lord. Any places in our hearts that are not yielded to the Lord are areas of vulnerability to the enemy.

We must not pray for others out of a sense of frustration or anger. The greatest and safest prayer we can pray for ourselves and others is "THY will be done!" Not their will or our will, but pray earnestly for God's will to be accomplished in their life.

To be continued...

Victoria Boyson - Speaking Life Ministries

Email: victoria@boyson.org
Victoria Boyson met Jesus at the age of seven. At 13, she started ministering using music as a platform to tell others about Jesus and sang as often as anyone wanted to hear. After high school, she received a music scholarship to attend Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota where she met her husband, Steve Boyson. Shortly after their marriage in 1988, they started ministering together at various churches and functions, again using the platform of music. In 1992, they became youth pastors, and through the following years ministered in various churches. In 1999, the Lord told them to move to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to work for Francis Frangipane, who was extremely influential in their development as Christians and as ministers. Francis recognized Victoria's gift in writing and encouraged her pursuing its development. Steve and Victoria Boyson have four children: Cassandra, Cody, Cole and CailieEllen.

In Every Trial There Is A Blessing (Part 1)

Excerpt from Victoria Boyson:
Yielded to Christ - In Every Trial There is a Blessing
Elijah List Publications, Nov 30, 2011

Prophetic Revelation

There is an unclean spirit whose sole purpose is to convince us that he is God. He comes sounding very much like God and plays on our weaknesses and on our sinful thoughts and desires. It is sent to deceive those who have a strong gift of intercession, and it seeks to gain access to our hearts and minds to use our prayers to bring harm to the Body of Christ. One of its goals is to cause our mouths to come into agreement with the realms of darkness.

This demon may present himself as a gift of discernment or even a prophetic revelation. It may begin by flattering you and try and convince you that you are one of the few who really hear God's voice and speak for Him. It seeks to elevate your opinion of yourself to raise you above those who would be your teachers, thereby making you unteachable. These are only a few of the ways this spirit operates.

This demon is known as the religious spirit.

But don't let his name fool you – he is subtle, but destructive. He wants to gain access to your mouth to release Hell's destructive powers on the earth. And he seeks to gain access to your heart through any areas of your heart and mind that are not yet yielded to Christ, or any part of your heart that has been hardened by the presence of cold love.

I have seen this spirit deceive many sincere, godly people and use them to divide and destroy the Church. They feel they have been given a "message from God" that others in the Body of Christ are not right spiritually or have "secret sins."

They may have had a disagreement with a church or an individual, but instead of walking in true forgiveness, they become resentful toward them. Instead of praying for them, they begin to pray against them, asking God to bring judgment on them. They may even feel that they "know" what God's judgment against them will be, and pray according to what they feel it should be.

Believing that they are warring against principalities, they war against their brother or sister in the Lord. But in actuality, they are fighting against Christ Himself.

I have heard people say to me that "God" has told them that He is going to destroy such and such a church, ministry or person. But instead of them being genuinely terrified of that happening and praying against it, I have gotten the sense that they would love nothing better than to see that organization or individual destroyed.

Without realizing it, these people have come into agreement with the powers of darkness. Instead of standing in the gap for their brother or sister, they view them as being out of God's reach. They have unconsciously put them in the category of the "unredeemable." They may even feel that these people are standing in God's way of really displaying His power in the Church, and in an attempt to "help" God, they pray for their removal.

Instead of believing for God's mercy to prevail in their brother's life, they feel that he is not as "spiritual" as he should be, so they determine in their heart that God must want to wipe him out. THIS IS NOT THE HEART OF GOD!

To be continued...

Victoria Boyson - Speaking Life Ministries
Email: victoria@boyson.org

Victoria Boyson met Jesus at the age of seven. At 13, she started ministering using music as a platform to tell others about Jesus and sang as often as anyone wanted to hear. After high school, she received a music scholarship to attend Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota where she met her husband, Steve Boyson. Shortly after their marriage in 1988, they started ministering together at various churches and functions, again using the platform of music. In 1992, they became youth pastors, and through the following years ministered in various churches. In 1999, the Lord told them to move to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to work for Francis Frangipane, who was extremely influential in their development as Christians and as ministers. Francis recognized Victoria's gift in writing and encouraged her pursuing its development. Steve and Victoria Boyson have four children: Cassandra, Cody, Cole and CailieEllen.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Everything Has A Purpose

I received this story today in my email inbox. I believe the story is so instructive that I must share it with you. It began by saying that "Nothing is random and everything has a purpose."

A king who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances, said: My king, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes!

One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His slave managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent his majesty losing a finger.

Furious and without showing his gratitude for being saved, the nobleman said "Is God good? If He was good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger."

The slave replied only "My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and he knows the "why" of all these things.What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!"

Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

Later, he left for another hunt and was captured by savages who made human sacrifices. In the altar, ready to sacrifice the noble savage had found that the victim had not one of his fingers, was released. According to them: it was not so complete to be offered to the gods.

Upon his return to the palace, he authorized the release of his slave that he received very affectionately. "My dear, God was really good to me! I was almost killed by the wild men, but for lack of a single finger, I was let go!

But I have a question the king said: If God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?" "My King, if I had gone with you in this hunt, I 'would have been sacrificed for you, because I have no missing finger.

Therefore, remember: everything God does is perfect. IT is never wrong.

Often we complain about life and things that happen to us apparently negative, forgetting that nothing is random and that everything has a purpose.

Every morning, offer your day to God.

Ask God to inspire your thoughts, guide your actions, to ease your feelings. And do not be afraid. God is never wrong!

You know why this message is for you? I do not know, but God knows, because he never makes mistakes.......

The path of God and his word is perfect, without impurities. It is the way of all those who trust in him, as he says in 2 Samuel 22: 31

Surely the message arrived at the right moment. May God put in your heart the desire to share this with someone. Do not be afraid to send it to the first person that comes to mind; God knows, and He knows why.

God is never wrong! Have a blessed day...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bind the Strongman

Since God doesn’t save anyone against their will, does it really do any good to pray for people who consciously refuse to receive Jesus as Lord?

Yes, it does! You see in spite of the fact that almost all unbelievers who have purposely refuse to receive Jesus as Lord think they’ve made that decision of their own free will, the truth is, they haven’t. The word of God says they’ve been blinded by satan.

This is what the word of God said, “satan who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God (2Cor.4:4). Therefore, he’s blocking their perception of the truth. So their decision hasn’t been freely made at all.

That’s important for us to grasp, because through the prayer of intercession, we can pull down strongholds and free our loved ones from the clutches of the enemy. We can change circumstances in their lives through prayer and help them be responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit which will guide them to make decisions that will bring them into contact with the Lord.

Let’s pray with confidence that God will hear and answer our prayer, because as James 5:16 tell us “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Jesus said in Matthew 12:29 that we must first “bind the strongman” before we enter his house and spoil his goods.

So, let’s do just that, “You spirit that is blinding the eyes of _________, I take authority over you right now and bind you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I command you right now to release and stop hindering _______ from receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Also, in Matthew 9:38 Jesus said that we should pray to “the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into the harvest.”

Therefore, let us pray “Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask you to send someone with the word of God to_______. You know who he will listen to and the time and place where he will be receptive to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I claim _________ for the kingdom of God and believe that he is saved in Jesus name, amen.

This prayer will bring results, so use it for your loved ones and believe when you pray that God hears and answer your prayer. As your loved ones receive salvation, remember to leave a testimony in the comment section of this article, God bless you.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Quiet and Peaceable Life

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
 
Have you ever wondered where God is when you’re going through hard trials and nothing that you’ve tried seemed to workout just right? Well, let me just share something with you. God loves you and He's “a very present help” (Ps 46:1); He's the answer to a hurting people.
 
He said, “if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (2Chron. 7:14).
 
Let’s face it, all that God requires of us is that we:
  1. Humble ourselves
  2. Pray and seek His face
  3. Turn from our wicked ways
It’s a matter of our Faith working for us and God’s Grace and Mercy doing the rest. God said that if we do our part then it’s up to Him to do the rest. He will:
  1. Hear from heaven
  2. Forgive our sins and
  3. Restore our land
It’s that simple, our country urgently needs restoring. It needs restoration Politically, Economically, Socially and Spiritually. The Lord says that His eyes will be open and His ears attentive to every prayer (2Chron. 7:15).
 
So, why are we not getting results? Why are our youths slain in the streets or being incarcerated in juvenile detention? Why are so many people held captivates by drugs? Why are there so many broken families? It’s because of sin. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6) living in sin.

Many in our country today have forgotten this fundamental truth, “Sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). God will not exalt a nation that is steeped in sin! Time and again Israel, in the Bible, would turn from God and turn to sin, and God would allow reproach to come against them. How dare we think that it will be any different with us? God will not bless sin. The word of God tells us, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

As a nation, “we’ve become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and in our time of plenty” (Deut. 8: 11-14), we’ve shut God out of our lives, our homes, our schools, government, work and even some of our churches. We’re on the very verge of becoming a secular society, one that forgets God.
 
The nation that forgets God, forgets itself when it turns away from the ideals and foundation on which it was built. What right then has it to be a people, if it doesn’t have its origin and hope in God?
 
A nation that forgets God will not prosper (Deut. 8:1-2); but God hasn’t cast us off. He’s pleading for us to repent and return to Him, so that He can begin the process of restoration.
 
God has called us to intercede. He has commanded us to pray for leaders and those in authority, instead of joining unbelievers to speak disrespectfully about them. He has given us His word, His power, His name, His authority, His faith. We have all the tools necessary to pray an “effectual fervent prayer” (Jam. 5:16) for our government and its leaders.
 
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings,
and for all that are in authority;
that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1Timothy 2:1-2).
 
That verse is clear, isn’t it? The instruction is plain. Yet even in these tumultuous days when our nation is so desperately in need of God’s guidance, most people doesn’t do what that verse commands.
 
Why not? I believe it’s because most of us are overwhelmed by the problems we see around us. “How could my prayers make a dent in the national debt?” we think. “How could my faith affect foreign policy?”
 
In other words, we fail to pray because we fail to realize just how powerfully our prayers can affect this country. We fail to realize that faith can move mountains. We fail to realize that there is nothing that is too hard or difficult for our God.
 
It’s time we caught hold of that fact. It’s time we realized that if we’d just be obedient to 1Timothy 2:1-2, there’s no council of any kind on earth, no king, no president, no congress, nothing that could stop, hinder or overthrow God’s purpose for His people.
 
Church, I urge you to intercede. It’s our responsibility as believers to get involved in the affairs of our country. God wants to bless this great nation of ours, and the only way He’s going to get it, is through you and me.
 
Let us endeavor to pray for this nation everyday, and never again underestimate the world-changing power of our prayers. So, let the healing begins!
 
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen (Eph. 3:20).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Laying Claim to Our Inheritance

Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1John 3:1 AKJV)
 
Consider the incredible love wherewith the Father has favored us to be called "sons of God," and it’s not just what we are called, but what we are.
 
As a result of the “new birth” we’ve been born into a royal family. The King of kings has adopted us into His family, and now we enjoy all the rights and privileges associated with royalty. We have received a royal inheritance having being predestined “that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Eph. 1:12).
 
Our inheritance as children of God, and believers in Jesus Christ and His word is a treasure of extensive value. Interestingly, not only is our inheritance a treasure, but we’ve been set apart as holy to the LORD our God, and He has chosen us to be His own special treasure from all the nations of the earth (Deut. 14:2).
 
Indeed, God has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings (abundant life, victory over the enemy, hope, faith, peace, joy, the Holy Spirit) in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). What a promise! It has already happened. We’re already blessed, and each of God’s promises is a particular treasure in the inheritance we’ve received from Him.
 
In his letter to the Church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul made this statement “the love of Christ constraints us” (2Cor. 5:14). The love which we have in our hearts restrains us from doing ungodly things which otherwise we might do. We refrain from doing those things not because we’re afraid to do them, but because we love Christ too much to do them.
 
This love that constrains us isn’t our love for Christ, but rather, it’s Christ's love for us. We’re restrained from doing evil things, because of that unspeakable love which Christ manifested when He died for us on the cross at Calvary.
 
Therefore, “what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2Pet. 3:11). In 1 Corinthians 6:9-20, Paul admonishes believers to avoid Sexual Sin. He said, “Don't you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who:
  1. Indulge in sexual sin, or
  2. Worship idols, or
  3. Commit adultery, or
  4. Are male prostitutes, or
  5. Practice homosexuality, or
  6. Are thieves, or
  7. Greedy people, or
  8. Drunkards, or
  9. Are abusive, or
  10. Cheat people
None of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that (Paul said); but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you...
 
Our bodies were not made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14And God will raise our bodies from the dead by His marvelous power, just as He raised our Lord from the dead.
 
15Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16And don't you know that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, "The two are united into one." 17But the person who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
 
18Run away from sexual sin! No other sin, as clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
 
“But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it” (1Cor. 10:13 NLT).
 
Therefore, now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and expletives (dirty language). Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds and have put on the new nature, which is in Christ Jesus (Col. 3:8-9 paraphrased).
 
Since God chose us to be the holy people He loves, we must clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; making allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends us. Remember, the Lord forgave us, so we must forgive others. Above all, let us clothe ourselves with love, which binds us all together in Christ with cords that cannot be broken.
 
Our salvation was purchased at Calvary with the precious blood of Jesus. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1Pet. 1:18-20).
 
There’s nothing that satan, sin or sickness can bring against us that the blood of Jesus hasn’t already made provision for. When satan tempts us to do wrong we can plea the blood against him. Our redemption is in the blood!
 
The blood is God's answer to, and our covering against, everything that satan throws at us. We can be confident, God has made certain, that the blood of Jesus has enough authority and power to meet all mankind's needs, and defeat the enemy of our souls.
 
So, whenever we go in the presence of God to present our need, we can take comfort in the fact that the blood of Jesus is the answer. Therefore, let us as sons of God, lay claim on our inheritance in Christ through the blood.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Danger of Criticism

As Christians we’re instructed by the word of God to always “pray for each another” (Jam. 5:16), “support the weak” (1Thes.5:14), and “encourage one another” (1Thes. 5:11) in the faith. But ever so often we hear of strife amongst believers, as if we’re enemies, and believers taking each other to the courts.

A Matter of Unforgiveness
The Apostle Paul in his writing to the Corinthians admonished believers to discontinue these practices (1Cor. 6:1-8). He stated that Christians should forgive each other and reconcile their differences, rather than taking their problems through the secular court system.

The church has divine authority (1Cor. 6:3) to judge these matters, which are manifestations of the flesh warring against the spirit in the lives of carnal Christians (Rom. 8:5-8). Therefore, we must be willing to forgive because if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matt. 6:15).

Jesus, recognizing the destructive power of strife said, “Every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25). In other-words, a kingdom or family can prosper only by living in harmony; for “where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (Jam. 3:16).

A Matter Concerning Choice of Food
Yet again, the Apostle Paul in his writing to the Romans made it very clear in chapter 14, that we should accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. Such as, one person believes it’s alright to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables.

Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t; and those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them, because they gave thanks to God before eating.

If we would take some time to examine our actions and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we would find it easier to follow the Holy Spirit’s bidding as He alerts us when we’re criticizing to the point of condemning someone for whom Christ died.

Nevertheless, who are we to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let Him judge whether they are right or wrong. Jesus warns us against judging (Luke 6:37), and encourages us to forgive others because He wants us to build healthy, enduring relationships that honors God.

A Matter Concerning Honor
Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor God. Therefore, while we live, our lifestyle should be to honor the Lord; but if we die, our lives should nevertheless honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again, for this very purpose, to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.  
  • So why do Christians condemn another believer?
  • Why do they look down on another believer?
 It is because the enemy’s plan is to Steal, Kill and Destroy (John 10:10); to prey on the weak by sowing seeds of discord among the believers to have them preoccupied with putting out fires.

The devil does this simply by creating internal conflict between believers through spreading rumors, gossips, and false accusations. His aim is to weaken the witness of the believers and the effectiveness of the church in the community. But the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18). The devil is already defeated! Jesus defeated him at Calvary, Hallelujah.

A Matter Concerning the Kingdom
Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. The Scriptures say, “As surely as I live,” says the LORD,”every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God” (Rom. 14:11).

Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s forgive and stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that we’ll not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

“The Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). If we serve Christ with this attitude, we’ll please God, and others will approve of us, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and endeavor to build each other up.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sheep and Wolves

“Enter ye in at the strait gate… Beware of false Prophets…
Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man…
the people were astonished at his doctrine” (Matt. 7:13-28).

 
The entire Sermon on the Mount is addressed to believers and presupposes faith in Jesus as the Messiah. However, in Matthew chapter 7 the Sermon on the Mount presents two choices in a series of two contrasts:
  • Two ways (vv. 13-14);
  • Two Professions (vv. 21-23);
  • Two trees (vv. 15-20); and
  • Two Foundations (vv. 24-29).
To enter in at the “Strait Gate” means that one should go through the “Narrow Gate” in order to reach the path that leads to eternal life. The gate that leads to life is narrow, that only a few will ever find it. While in contrast the “Broad Way” accommodates the crowd but it ends in eternal separation from God. The Bible teaches that Jesus himself is both the Gate and the Way that leads to everlasting life (Matt. 7:14) and we must seek for it in order to find it.

Another contrast in this passage was presented in the form of a warning to beware of “False Prophets” whose ambition is obviously to lead people astray by their teaching and pronouncements. False prophets appear in sheep’s clothing, but are in reality ravening wolves whose intent is to destroy the sheep (Matt. 7:15).

This is a perfect description of some believers today who are styled as Prophets, Apostles or preachers who have denied the faith or distorted the truth of God’s word because of their desire for fame, and fortune; they exploit the church to satisfy their own ends.

Yes, they dress like sheep, but they act like wolves. The Bible tells us to identify them by their “Fruits” (v 16). The prediction of a “True Prophet” of the Lord does come to pass (Num. 12:6). A true test of a prophet, however was the conformity of his teachings to the Scriptures (1Cor. 14:37; Deut. 13:1-5). Their fruits refer not only to actions of their lives, but also to the doctrines they teach.

The two trees are contrasted in relation to the fruit they produced. Every “Good Tree” brings forth fruit consistently, while a “Corrupt Tree” brings forth evil fruit continually. Therefore, the normal and consistent production of fruit whether good or evil in a person’s life will bear evidence whether or not that life is of God. The unfruitful life of the ungenerated that is cast into the fire is a picture of eternal punishment in hell.

In the last day many will present their case to Jesus and say,
  • Have we not prophesied in thy name?
  • And in thy name have cast out devils?
  • And in thy name done many wonderful works?
But Jesus will say “I never knew you, depart from me, ye workers of iniquity" (Matt. 7: 22-23). Sadly, not everyone professing Christ is genuinely saved. Even the outward verbal acknowledgement of His Lordship is in itself not enough to save the unbeliever apart from true repentance and faith. A genuinely saved person is one that “does the will of my father,” Jesus said.

In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus concluded His Sermon with an illustration of “Two Foundations.” He stated that all who hear and do His sayings shall be saved. As a great master counselor, Jesus emphasized the fact that listening to his messages alone will not change their lives; they must both hear and do what He said. Jesus draws his illustration from nature itself as an object lesson:
  • The Rock
  • The Rain
  • The Winds,
to teach the importance of total reliance on Him (1Cor. 3:11):

The man whose house collapsed was at fault, not because he failed to labor, but because he did not lay the proper foundation. The “Shifting Sand” represents human opinion and the doctrine of men as opposed to “these Sayings” (v. 28).

The works done by the believer is not based on himself but on the “Rock” (v.24), who ultimately is Christ Himself (1Cor. 10:14). He is the personal embodiment of all His teachings. Thus when He was finished the people were astonished.

Therefore, what does God expect of His children? The Prophet Micah gives us a clear answer to this question: “He hath shewed the, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8). Faith in God’s word enables us to comply with these expectations of our heavenly Father, and when we do so, we will be sure to please Him in all respect.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters don't let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith. Always excel in the work you do for the Lord because the hard work you do for the Lord is not pointless. At the Lord’s return He will say to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21). May the grace and peace of God abide with you (1Cor. 1:3).

 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Let Peace Rule

"The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out" (Prov. 17:14).

Have you ever prayed that God would let you know whether a certain action you want to take is agreeable to His will or not? If you have, let this peace of Christ be your guide. Let it help you settle the issue. Well, if you already started to take action and you realize you don't have peace about it, don't do it.

The primary way God speaks to us is by what the Bible calls an inward witness. Remember, though, that this inner leading of the Holy Spirit, this subtle sense of uneasiness or peace He gives us, is something we have to watch and listen to carefully. 

So, we have to listen. We can't be so busy about the things of the world that we don't have time to listen. We have to give Him time and attention. Also, we have to watch out for strife. If we're irritated and upset easily about things in our life, it will be very hard to receive that quiet guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Throughout the scripture, God warns us about the danger of strife. Yet, it's still one of the most common problems among believers. We let it get into our social activities, our place of employment, our churches and our homes.

Interestingly, we don't purposely let it in. So, we have to take a big stand against those little opportunities for strife. If we have a tendency to let things irritate us, we have to decide to overcome that tendency. We have to arm ourselves against them with the awareness that this world isn't perfect, that there're people in it that aren't going to be nice to us. There're people who're going to stir up an argument and annoy us, on purpose or by accident.

Therefore, we must make up our mind, by the power of God, that we're not going to let them get our peace. That peace is so important to our wel-being. It will keep our body healthy. It will keep our relationships strong. It will put us in a place where God can guide our steps and save us from some very grave mistakes.

If you spend a lifetime getting your feathers ruffled over every little thing, it may take a while for you to break that habit. You may have to work at it a moment at a time. But you can do it.

If you come from a family of worriers, that you worry without even thinking. when you understand that worrying goes contrary to the word of God , you'll have no alternative but to give it up. With the help of the Holy Spirit, every time a worried thought comes to your mind, overcome it with the word of God; taking "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2Cor. 10:5). Then you'll be able to brake that worrying habit for good.

You can do the same thing with strife. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you, and being obedient to the word of God, every time you start to get upset about something, rebuke it. Say right out loud,  "I am walking in the Peace of God today and I'm not going to let anyone steal my joy." You'll be surprised how much more wonderful living can be.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

God Made You to Have Access

In the beginning "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Gen. 1:27).

God’s plan for all mankind is to have a relationship with Him. With the fall of man, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, there was a divide, a chasm if you may, created between man and God because of sin.

This gap had to be bridged by someone, and it could only be bridged by a person who would pay the price for our sin, or the penalty for humanity, someone who was fully man and yet fully God (as God in the flesh, Jesus Christ).

The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and impregnated her with God’s perfect, divine seed. Thus, the infinite God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14).

So, did you know that Jesus secured our salvation when He offered Himself as a sacrifice for us on the cross at Calvary? The word of God tells us that In fact, "the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrew 9:22).

The blood of Jesus was shed for us as a sacrifice for our sins; this is what gives us access to God. Without Jesus' sacrifice, we would be unable to have a relationship with Him.

Though Romans 6:23 tell us that the wages of sin is death, it also assures us that the gift of God is eternal life. This gift is through Jesus Christ our Lord. Christ purchased it, prepared it, prepares us for it, preserves us to it; he is the All in all in our salvation.

Although believers by nature, are far from God, and children of wrath, even as others, yet it is amazing to think how nigh we are brought to Him again by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, when Jesus prayed for His disciples He looked up to heaven and said, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one; as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

So you see Jesus wants us to have peace and experience unity of purpose to lead the world to Him. He wants us to be Holy as He is Holy. He gave himself as a holy sacrifice for us so that we can be made holy by God's truth.

What more could we ask for? He gave His life for us. What will we sacrifice for Him? Jesus said "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Lk. 9:23).

Therefore, if you're going through some difficulty in life, remember that God has you covered; Jesus prayed for you, you will not fail, you will overcome. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?

Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Yet, I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

No power in the sky above or in the earth below, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.



1 John 4:7-12 admonishes us, "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Call to Repentance

"Yet even now," declares the LORD, "Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." (Joel 2:12)

As our nation faces great distress, challenges and uncertainty, let us blow the Trumpet in America, as Joel did in Israel several years ago; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; and gather the people. Let us consecrate the congregation; assemble the leaders; gather the families, even young children.

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, "Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, and a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"

We need to pray in faith believing that God will hear us. Faith-filled words are the only words that will get God’s attention and bring about change.  
  • They’ll move mountains out of our way.
  • They’ll turn sickness into health.
  • They’ll turn a sinner into a saint.
  • They’ll turn financial crisis into prosperity.
  • They’ll cause a barren land to bloom again.
  • They’ll also take a sin-ridden nation and turn it into God’s own country.

That’s right, if we believers would back up the prayers we’ve been praying for this nation with words of faith instead of doubt and discouragement, we would soon begin to see spiritual resurrection and revival in the United States.

God promised us that if we, His people, would humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He would hear us and heal our land.

However, we don’t hear many people saying that God is healing our land; instead we hear voices of fear gripping the hearts of people everywhere. We hear them talk about what the news network say that the terrorist is doing.

We need to stop repeating what the terrorists are doing and start telling each other what God is doing. Let us start prophesying God’s word over our nation and to each other; words of faith from God’s word, instead of promoting doubt and fear. The Bible says that fear has torment, but the perfect love that comes from God drives out fear. Do you have God’s love?

So whose report should we believe? There should be a resounding response that we will believe the report of the Lord. His report says that we’re healed, His report says we’re free, His report says we have the victory.
When we trust God’s word and speak them in faith over our situation the Good News refreshes our souls and gives more power than all that the enemy can muster. The Bible tells us that one will chase a thousand but two will put ten thousand enemies to flight.
It’s time for us as a nation to take a stand to bring about change in this country. Let us do this as we pray together, as one voice, that God will hear and heal our land.

Lord, we approach you throne with contrite hearts; hear our prayer as we call unto you today. Convict and forgive us of sin; inflame within us a passion to always pray for our land and its people.

Grant our leaders an awareness of their desperate need of salvation and your wisdom to guide their decisions. Help us to love each other, to repent and to see sin as exceeding sinful, until sin becomes a reproach to all and righteousness exalts this nation.

Protect and defend us against our enemies; and may the cause of Christ always prevail in our land, schools, courts, homes, and churches.

Lord God, thank you for hearing us; send a spirit of revival and may it begin in our own hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and He relents over disaster” (Joel 2:13). God bless you.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Prayer for Help

A Psalm of David

Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies; what I did not steal, I then have to restore. 



O God, it is You who knows my folly, and my wrongs are not hidden from You. May those who wait for You not be ashamed through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; may those who seek You not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel, because for Your sake I have borne reproach; dishonor has covered my face. I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother's sons. 

The zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. When I wept in my soul with fasting, It became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. Those who sit in the gate talk about me, and I am the song of the drunkards. 

But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness, answer me with Your saving truth. Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink; May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters. May the flood of water not overflow me nor the deep swallow me up, nor the pit shut its mouth on me. 

Answer me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; according to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me, and do not hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in distress; answer me quickly. Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it. Ransom me because of my enemies! 



Scripture Passage: Psalm 69:1-18

Song: "The Prayer" by Andrea Bocelli & Heather Headly

Saturday, March 5, 2011

God's Masterpiece

We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Eph. 2:10 NLT)

THEY MADE IT!
I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I asked Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must have made a mistake.'

'And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.' 
Contributed: Author unknown

JUDGE NOT!! If you pass your days mumbling, “I’ll never make a difference; I’m not worth anything,’ guess what? You will be sentencing yourself to a life of gloom without parole. Even more, you are disagreeing with God. Questioning His judgment and second-guessing His purpose for your life.

Remember what the Apostle John recorded? He said, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9). Yes, that’s true, Jesus forgive sins! So, just going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.
  • Every saint has a PAST... - God will forgive our sins and wipe our record clean. (Jer. 31:34)
  • Every sinner has a FUTURE! - A future is promised to them that overcome. (Rev. 2:7)
Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil... It has no point! Now it's Time to Believe God's promise and establish a personal relationship with Christ.



Father, I ask You to bless those who are reading this article right now, my friends, relatives, and those for whom I care deeply. 

Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Lord, I ask You to let Your Holy Spirit minister to their spirit at this moment; where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Where there is lack, I ask You to supply their need. 

Bless their homes, families, finances, their going out and their coming in from this time forth and forever; in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Streams of Water

My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!

So, as the deer longs for Streams of Water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for You my God, the living God. 
When can I go and stand before You? Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?”
  • Why am I discouraged? 
  • Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God! I will praise You again my Savior and my God!

Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.

I hear the tumult of the raging seas as Your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day my Lord You pour out Your unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing Your songs, praying to God who gives me life.


“O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have You forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
  • Why am I discouraged? 
  • Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God! I will praise You again my Savior and my God!




I really love the harmony of that song "As the deer Panteth;" it's a beautiful rendition, one of the sweetest I've ever heard!!!  This is really what our LORD and Savior JESUS Christ is like. He'll lift us from our burdens and fills our heart with joy and gladness!!!


It's reassuring to know that, the one who does not walk in-step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on His law day and night is blessed. 


That person is like a tree planted by Streams of Water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither and whatever they do prospers.


For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. Therefore, I trust in You my Lord and my God.



Taken from Psalm 1 & 42

Finance Tip of the Day