The Day of Salvation

My name is Delfit and I used to live in what you would consider your average US city in the middle of the country. My town was not known for anything in particular. We had our schools and businesses, and typically, life was smooth sailing. We had the same issues every other city had. Not everyone got along, and there were certain people and areas you would rather avoid. Nothing out of the extraordinary, a city with good and bad. But then there was also my community. What kind of community we were exactly I am not sure, but we sure loved each other. There might have been a hundred or so of us, young and old, and everything in between. We usually spent a lot of time together.

One day I met this guy. I do not remember his name. Matter of fact, I do not think he ever told me his real name, but I met him at the local Perkins, a favorite breakfast restaurant in town. He looked kind of my age, was usually wearing a hat, blue jeans and would typically leave his jeans shirt opened, revealing a plain white shirt underneath. Really nothing special about him. But he was a very nice guy and we became friends, really good friends. But that was the strangest of friendships, because I do not remember what we would usually talk about. In addition, from the very first time we met, I had always sensed that there was something odd about him. Really odd. I always felt that he was hiding something from me. Well, first, I kind of knew that he was not from town, and I did not know where he was from, or even what he was doing in town.

And the more time we spent together, the more that I felt it. Where was he from? I became fixated with that question. One day I brought him to my group, and introduced him. Everyone was nice toward him, but no one sensed the same thing I was sensing. They treated him well, just like any other person, but no one ever felt the same feeling I had. That was very strange. He was MY friend, but I was the one having a strange feeling about him, not my group. He would not typically come to my group but I would usually seek him out. Over time, as I could not contain that feeling anymore, I started to bring it up, day after day among my friends, to the point they had become annoyed with me, and him especially. Why was I fixated on him anyway, they would ask me? I actually started to think that I may be I was going a little crazy.

Then one day things got even worse. I went to meet him at Perkins as we usually did. But within two minutes of me seating down, I saw what I believe was a mom and two young girls. They seemed to be about 5 or 6 years old, the same age as Elvea, my best friend in my group. I loved Elvea! A sweet little girl, we could easily spend hours together. I am not sure whether I knew her parents because in our community that did not really matter much. Everyone took care of everyone, you know, what you might call a real community in its truest sense. Except for the fact that now I had increasingly become the odd one of the group, the one with the fixation on the strange friend.

Anyway, back to the restaurant.

Within two minutes of me seating down with my friends, I had this overwhelming feeling that I was being watched from some distance. And as I turn, I saw the mom, or at least I think she was the mom, with the two young girls. As the girls look at me with the softest yet most curious look, their mom almost rushed out of the restaurant with them, as if she did not want her girls to keep looking at me or to interact with me. Well, things could I have just ended there, except for the fact of what I felt. This time, although I did not even get the chance to speak with the lady, or to even see who she was, I felt exactly what I had been feeling about my friend from the first day we met. In fact, I cannot explain it but somehow, I knew that they knew each other. I just knew it. But no matter how hard I would push my friend, he just wouldn’t say much. Yet, he would always be there, and it was obvious that he too enjoyed my company as I enjoyed his.

Call me crazy but by now I had formulated my own theory. My friend came from somewhere. I don’t know, somewhere. May be from space I don’t know, but he just wasn’t a normal guy, and meeting that woman with the two girls convinced me even more of that. Them too were from somewhere. Who knows, another planet, space, I don’t know. But I loved them! I really, really love them, yes, even the woman and the two girls I had not even spoken with. I loved these people and I wanted to be with them! Who were they, were did they come from? Could I be with them? These people sure weren’t from my town, or from this country, but now I was convinced, not even from earth. Well, that theory did not go too well with my friends back at the camp. I was officially crazy, and from that point, everyone was just about tired to hear about him.

But then came the day that change our town forever. Some kind of disaster struck our town. It did not really feel like it was of natural cause although it looked like it. The sky was lit in bright orange with the raging fire just on the outskirt of town. The town was now in a permanent darkness, because the dark, thick smoke had completely covered the sun. Then, everything stopped working. Everything was broken, it became very dangerous to venture outside at any time of the day, and there was hardly any water. I remember going into town and those bad guys had made camp right in front of the grocery store. With the orange sky and the smell of smoke feeling the air, it felt like overnight we were in the wild west, but a very scary wild west.

What I did not tell you is that Elvea, myself and the rest of the group we were always meeting in this building, with one story. Actually, two stories. I think the ground floor had a few shops and a parking garage. The second floor, where we usually met, was essentially just a plain big open area. Like an office space before it has been partitioned. We were always there, because that is where we usually met. And I remember that there was one section of the roof that had a few panels missing. No one really cared for that section except that if you took a pick in that hole, it was dark with an impossible number of copper pipes, all intertwined. Although they were made out of copper, they were all dark. I am not sure if they were dirty or if they were simply dark, but there was a lot of them! I mean, there was basically no way anyone could go through them, say, for servicing, so small the gap between them was. And for whatever reason, you just had the feeling that they went on for miles and miles high, deep into the roof. Very strange. In any case, there was something really eerie about that roof section.

Now that room had become our refuge. We did not really know what was coming, but everyone knew something was coming, and everyone knew there was no way out. Everyone was afraid, but no one knew what to do. We were like sitting ducks, waiting for our fate, whatever that fate was. But somehow, somehow as we all looked at each other in the eyes, there was this sense that this was it, we were all going to suffer and die. Everyone, all of us!

Then my Perkins friend showed up. Except for those few times in the very beginning when he came, he never really came to that building, to us. We would just meet at Perkins. But here he was. He came, and held me tightly by the upper hard, as if to secure me. Then all of the sudden we ran me through the open space and he carried me into that opening in the roof. All of the sudden him and I were inside and he did not stop. We kept running vertically, passing among all the pipes. I do not know how we did it, but here we were, running vertically. Actually, I almost felt like we were flying, but we were moving our feet frantically (at least I was), although they barely touched anything, I was tightly attached to him and we were moving fast! Really fast! I think I must have passed out at some point. But here we were. And that feeling I had about how deep that rooftop was turned out to be true. It was deep, really deep, with no end in sight! But like someone who knew exactly where he was going, my friend was just passing through those pipes, in that dark expansive place. No one could go through those pipes. I mean, I remember how there was hardly any space between them, and how eerie it felt. But here we were my friend and I, him carrying me at a frantic speed.

Then I must have lost consciousness because I do not remember how it ended. But eventually it felt like I regained consciousness, lifted my head and opened my eyes. I was in this room, a very bright and white room. The room was not big and there at the other side was my friend, seating on a desk, as if he had just been waiting for me to wake up. I do not know how long I had been unconscious but here he was, and I immediately knew where I was. This was his place, this is where he lived.

This was a different world entirely, inaccessible from my world, from where I came from. I mean, who could fly for miles through that dark roof among those tightly knit pipes? This was his place, on the other side. I stood up and there was this door by the stairs. I went to it, and opened it. And there they were. The two girls. I remember their look. Oh how can I forget what I felt when I saw them at the restaurant? How my heart burnt with love for them. But not only them, the adult woman was there too, and many, many other kids and adults were there with them.

But this time, this time they did not run away, but run toward me, hugged me and I knew that I would be with them forever. The moment had arrived. This had become my home, my home for eternity. But then, in a flash I was back in that building with my friends, back on earth, back in my town! My friend from the other world was also there with me, but no one could see him. Elvea! Where is Elvea, my sweet girl, my sweet friend? Here she came running to me, her sweet voice marred by fears. She knew something was about to happen, and would not let me go. “Where were you? Where were you Delfit? I want to come with you, take me with you?” My heart was broken. I was on my knees, holding her tighly in my arms, her little chest so pressed against mine I could feel her heart beat. I began to cry. “Take me with you Delfit, I want to go with you Delfit. Why can’t I go with you. Take me with you Delfit, I want to come with you. Please do not leave Delfit, please, please, don’t go”. “Elvea…I can’t” tears pouring down my cheeks. I started to cry uncontrollably holding her tighter and tighter against my chest. I knew what I had just happened. I was leaving, and my little Elvea was staying.

Dead Churches: Can The Bones Live?

My fellow brethren;

May the God of all comfort be with you in the name of our Lord Jesus, the Christ. Allow me to exhort you to standup for your “home” church, especially if it is evident that it has gone astray.

Whether you attend a megachurch, a small church of only 50 members or a home church of only 6, there is a bond which exists between you and that community. It is the environment you at one point, may have regarded as your place of spiritual nourishment, your spiritual oasis. But as with many, you might have found out that little of that has materialized. You attend a sermon but still leave empty. You are hungry, and yet not fed. You look around you and the conversations hardly point to Christ and the edification of one another in the body.

If you are among those who are hungry for the Word of God, you may resort to reading some other pastors, or visiting their YouTube channel. To you, Children of the Kingdom who are hungry, to you Brothers and Sisters who are disappointed with your church or your Pastors, allow me to share an exhortation around this question: Can the Bones Live?

God asked this question to Ezekiel, after placing him right in the midst of a valley that was full of dried bones.

Ezekiel 37:1-3The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

Later on, God explains to Ezekiel what this all meant. The bones in that context represented the whole house of Israel, dead and in the grave, without hope

Ezekiel 37:11Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’

But before giving the meaning, God told Ezekiel to prophesy unto the bones that they may live!

Ezekiel 37: 3-6And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

And so Ezekiel did as commanded, and life was brought back to the bones…as only the Word of God can! (Ezekiel 37:7-10). The sequence of events is particularly noteworthy: First the bones joined together, each bone to its bone, then the sinews and the flesh came, then the skin. At this point, we had gone from dried bones, to complete human bodies, but still dead. After that, Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy again to the wind, so that those bodies could have breath.

In many respect, those dried bones could be your church, your small home group. Spiritually lifeless! But may I bring to your attention that if you have been granted by God to recognize the true state of your Church, then Grace has been poured on you, and you are called to react. You may look at your church and answer God like Ezekiel…Lord, You know those bones can’t live…my Church is dead and there is no hope!

But my friend, I exhort you to stand before God and choose to intercede for your church, as Ezekiel prophesied to the bones! Can the bones live, God Asked! The answer is YES, YES the bones can live! By the WORD OF GOD and power of the HOLY SPIRIT will the bones live. By them your church will be resurrected, if you will only stand before God!

Ezekiel 37:14I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live

My friend, the life of a church is through the Holy Spirit. Without it, the church is dead. But is there a man or woman in that church who has been granted grace to see the true state of that church, so that he or she may intercede to the Father that that Church may live!

The Lord Jesus, in the Book of Revelation, declared the Church in Sardis DEAD!

Revelation 3:1“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

Yet, look at the promise He gave them…they can be alive again, as if they were NEVER DEAD!

Revelation 3:5The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

That is the mercy, the power, the love and the grace of our Lord Jesus, and of His Father. Can the bones live!? Can they live? YES! YES! They can! But Who…WHO shall stand for his people!? WHO will stand for his brethren? WHO will call on the Holy Spirit to return just like Ezekiel prophesied unto the wind? Who will ask for forgiveness for his people? I hope my brethren that you will be one of them!

The Father of light takes no pleasure in His people perishing! You church may be ransacked by demons, spiritually blind, deaf and simply dead. Satan has clearly gotten victory over it and your brethren, to the point that your church has become his favorite playground. But will you, man or woman of God stand like Ezekiel that the Holy Spirit returns and takes back that which is His. Will you stand that God will grant unto your pastor, your friends, your brethren, a repentant heart as in Sardis, that life may be brought back? I pray the Father in Heaven in the Lord Jesus that you will.

CAN THE BONES LIVE?…YES, FATHER, BY YOU, BY YOUR WORD, THEY WILL!

In the name of our Lord Jesus, may His Word stand.

AMEN.

The Word of God as a Daily Fix

Dear friends;

May the grace and peace of God be with you in our Lord Jesus-Christ.

In a time where the Bible is more accessible than it has ever been, where there are hundredths of online devotionals and Bible readying plans, the paradox is that there is very little evidence that our understanding of God’s Will has grown, and that our lives have changed.

Evil is more rampant than it has ever been. Greed has reached fever pitch and there are studies which show a troubling phenomenon: there is no statistical difference in behavior between Christians and non-Christians.

Very strange!

Look at how the Book of Psalms opens:

Psalms 1:1,2 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

I submit to you that one of the biggest mistake we make is when we treat the Word of God as a daily fix! Just like a cup of coffee. And unfortunately, the many Christians radios, the Bible plans that ever devise new ways to learn the Bible in ways that will suit YOU, are contributing to this problem.

We read and listen to devotionals, we go through Bible plans, we listen to our favorite Christian radio station, but we do not MEDITATE on those Words! The Word is just a daily fix.

But the blessing comes to those who MEDITATE, those who pause, those who reflect, those who pray before and after reading and hearing, those who ask for spiritual discernment to judge what they read and hear.

And so we found ourselves in a perplexed state…God has made His Word abundantly available…and yet man continues to sink in darkness.

My friend, I exhort you to meditate on the Word of God. Meditate. The Word of God is not your daily fix, for God will not allow His name to be mocked. Do not sing for the sake of singing, read for the sake of reading or listen for the sake of listening. MEDITATE. MEDITATE.

God’s grace has much to offer…today is the time for you and me to seize it.

In the Lord Jesus’ Name.

AMEN

Why Does Grace Save Through Faith?

To my brethren who have been called to be saints;

May the Grace, mercy and peace from God, our Father, and from Christ-Jesus our Lord be with you. We live in a time where there seems to be a sudden reawakening of the churches to the unmerited, divine favor of God, otherwise known as Grace.

Grace is everywhere now. Every congregation would like to be known as being in the Grace of God. They rename themselves to reflect it, revise their mission statements to highlight the unmerited, divine favor of God. Grace is like our newfound friend, we cannot get enough of it. Every day it seems, a new song is released to celebrate that Grace of God. A Youth conference here, a concert there, and yet another T-Shirt. Oh that God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son to die for me! It is not about what I have done, or will ever do, but about what He (Jesus) has done. Who can resist Grace? Looking around, it seems that we love it, and cannot get enough of it. Grace seems to have no limit, able to save even the worst of sinners, promising them glory with Jesus, for God knows their name. We have a place in heaven, by God’s side, and that is all thanks to His Grace.

But the very same cornerstone verse that speaks of the saving power of that Grace of God throws in…a wrench…

Ephesians 2:8,9For by Grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

In all its portrayed all-encompassing power and glory, Grace seems to have a seriously limiting factor in its ability to save us…it can only save us through faith. Why? Why didn’t the passage say… “For by Grace you have been saved”, period! No, it says… “For by Grace you have been saved through faith”. It seems clear that unless faith is there, the Grace we have fallen so much in love with simply can’t save us. But why? Why is it so?

The Grace of God saves through Faith because Jesus HAS TO BE Glorified

We understand that the faith in question is faith in Jesus-Christ.

Acts 20:20-22I [Paul] did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

It seems therefore that it is by God’s Own design that His unmerited favor (His Grace) can only be accessed (for salvation) by those who have faith in His Son. The love of the Father for His Son is such that unless one honors His Him (the Son), one cannot experience His saving Grace. Having faith in Jesus is how we honor Him (Acts 4:12). Having faith in Jesus is how we submit to His Lordship (Luke 6:36, James 2:1). Elsewhere (Hebrews 11:6), God also makes it clear that it is impossible to please Him without faith. Unless one honors the Son, one cannot benefit from the saving power of that Grace.

Yet, there is also a very practical aspect to why Grace only saves through faith, and what it means to have faith in Jesus. The answer lies (at least in part) into HOW Grace saves through faith.

Grace saves us through what it teaches

Titus 2:11For the Grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age

The Grace of God does not manifest itself through some kind of feel-good sensation or divinely appointed fragrance that God has poured over the earth. No! The Grace of God manifests itself through a specific message that not only informs us, but also teaches us to renounce our current lifestyle. And when we read Titus 2:11 carefully, we see that what Grace trains us in, is in nothing else than living the very lifestyle that Jesus Himself taught us to live.

Faith in Jesus therefore, in the context of salvation, is believing and accepting the message and training of Grace. One must believe in the message of Grace to be saved by it. In other words, one must believe that he must renounce ungodliness and worldly passions. One must believe that he should live self-controlled, upright and godly lives today! AND one must believe that Grace HAS the ability to train him to become such a person!

Recognizing that by their own effort, they could never be saved, the disciples asked Jesus in despair…

“Who then can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25). How did Jesus respond? “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” What did He mean? Well, if we look at Titus 2 again…He meant that we will have the best teacher to get us there…we will be taught how to be holy, and we should believe in that teaching! And if we do, we will see the results that are otherwise impossible for man to achieve. The question is…do we believe Jesus when He says it? Who can transform us but God Himself? Do we believe that if we follow the training of Grace, it will produce the intended results? This is what it means to believe in Jesus, without which, even Grace can’t save us, for we would not believe its message, let alone follow its training.

My friend. I exhort you to pray, and to pray in earnest. If you feel that you have been missing on this training from Grace, either because of not understanding the scriptures, not being properly taught at your church or whatever other reason, pray…pray my friend! God, your Father, will hear you. He will hear your imperfect, but honest and sincere prayer. And He knows how to give good gifts (Matthew 7:11). He will not ignore such a request.

May the Lord Jesus be glorified in our lives. AMEN.

When God Empowers Your Enemies

Children of the Kingdom;

May the grace, mercy and peace from God, our Father, and from Jesus-Christ, our Lord and Savior, be with you. May the Lord, by His grace, give us a Spirit of discernment, that we may recognize the times when God empowers our enemies.

I would like to submit to you that it is imperative that we recognize that at times, according to His own wisdom, God will purposefully empower our enemies, for them to rule over us, at least, for a period of time. And in those cases, WE SHOULD NOT FIGHT BACK! Instead, we should submit, humbling ourselves before the great God, and hang onto our faith. Unfortunately, this is often hard to do.

It is a feeling you might have experienced, or are currently experiencing, such as an evil boss or a dictatorial regime.

Consider what Jesus said to Pilate, when He was brought before Him

John 19:10, 11 – …Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above…

We see here that not only Jesus recognized Pilate’s authority over Him, but He also knew perfectly that it was none other than God Himself, His Father, who had given Pilate that authority. Therefore, rather than fighting back, we see Jesus instead submitting to Pilate.

Several times in the Old Testament was Israel either defeated in battle or enslaved. There too, God often declared plainly that He was the One who had given those enemies that kind of power and authority over them. As a prime example, consider this stunning declaration from God to Jeremiah, regarding what He had just done, which would be become soon evident to the people.

Jeremiah 27:15-17, 21, 22 – You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes by proclaiming liberty, each to his neighbor, and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name, 16 but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves.

17 “Therefore, thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed me by proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and to his neighbor; behold, I proclaim to you liberty to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine, declares the Lord. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth…21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you. 22 Behold, I will command, declares the Lord, and will bring them back to this city. And they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.”

Often, God will also specifically instruct the people not to resist what would happen to them (e.g. Jeremiah 27:1-11).

Today, Christians often experience various levels of oppression and injustice, and at least in some respects, just like any other groups. For instance, you may feel unfairly treated at work, your boss having seemingly full control about your professional future. Or you may be oppressed by the current political regime of your country, with no obvious way out.

Whether due to no fault of your own, as in the case of Jesus in front of Pilate, or as a direct consequence of your own disobedience (as in the case of Israel), God will sometimes empower your enemy, to rule over you. Recognizing therefore this fact is critical as it will dictate our response: DO NOT FIGHT BACK for you will be fighting against GOD. Instead recognize, as Jesus did, that this power was given to your enemy by God Himself, for He is sovereign. Colossians 3 carries the same essence, that we should submit to our authorities, for it is ultimately the Lord Himself that we truly serve.

Colossians 3:22 – Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

It is in the same Spirit that we do not read about the early churches fighting back those who were oppressing them. They were persecuted, and sometimes martyred, yet, it served them well to recognize that ultimately, God had had to grant such treatment (as in the case of Job).

Paul gave a list of some of the perils Christians face and will continue to face. Yet He also recognized that God always has a plan that works for the good of His people.

Romans 8:35,36 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

The pain that comes with the Christian walk may often feel hard to bear. To stay silent when we want to respond, to hold our composure when we want to fight back, to humble ourselves when we want to rebel. There is indeed a fight that every Christian is called to engage in, but the ones described in this letter are not it! These are the times to stand still, and let God work in us, to transform us and conform us to the image of His Son.

Let us fight THE Good Fight, not the wrong ones!

In the name of Jesus. Amen.