Your Most Prized Possession

Children of the Kingdom:

Peace, mercy and grace in abundance to you, from God, the Creator of the universe, and from Jesus-Christ, whom He sent to save the world. I pray that by His grace and mercy, I may write unto you regarding your most prized possession, the one you must cherish and guard even with your own life: The Words that we have all received from our Lord Jesus-Christ.

Matthew 4:4Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

This passage – certainly familiar to many – speaks in no uncertain terms about the necessity of the Words that God has given us. One does not need to agree with, believe in, or even love the fact that one must eat to stay alive, to make it true. It is simply true because our Creator, God made it true. You must eat to sustain yourself, or else you will die.

By the same token, in Matthew 4:4, Jesus declares that we all must feed on every word that God has pronounced or we will die. The Words that God has pronounced give to our Spiritual self, life, just like natural food gives life to our natural self. It is not a matter of preference or choice my friends. It is a matter of truth and principle. It is what it is.

YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORDS OF JESUS ARE THE MOST PRECIOUS THINGS YOU HAVE

The Words that God has given you are your most prized possession. You must protect those words, you must protect what your Spiritual life depends on, at all cost. For rest assured, that it is the One thing the devil seeks to steal – and is often successful at doing – so that you will starve and die.

John 10:10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Jesus came to give us the Words whereby we should live, and the thief (i.e. Satan) has no other purpose than to steal those words and attempt to kill and destroy whatever those words have started to produce in us.

When Jesus gave what is known as the parable of the Sower, he later explained that the Sower [Himself] sows the seed [the Word of God], and that in 3 of the 4 possible outcomes, the Word is either stolen by Satan, forgotten or neglected by the recipient, rendering the Seed completely unfruitful [Mark 4:14-19].

THE FIGHT OF THE APOSTLES FOR THE PEOPLE WAS ABOUT PROTECTING THOSE WORDS THEY HAD RECEIVED

One of the ways we can – in this context – summarize the charge Jesus gave to His Apostles was…“give my sheep these Words and charge them not to lose them at any cost, for it is their livelihood”.

JUDE saw how Satan has now gone full force to steal the Words we have received

Jude 3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

PETER saw it necessary to do everything possible even until His death to make sure that the people will not forget, but fearlessly protect the Words they were given

2 Peter 1:13-15I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

JOHN is very direct…the one who does not keep those words can’t be in God.

1 john 2: 4,5Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.

And just as direct, PAUL says that keeping those Words is directly linked to our Salvation

1 Corinthians 15:1,2Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

My friends. Do not be ignorant or passive about your lifeline…the Words that Jesus received from God and gave to us. There is someone, by means of countless of agents actively seeking to steal as much as those Words as possible from you.

You must be active. You must be vigilant to guard what you have been given. It is your lifeline. And you must feed, and continually feed on those Words you have been given.

It is not a matter of whether you agree (although I hope you do) with it or not. It is not a matter of fairness or injustice either. It is a matter of life and death. Protect, cherish and eat and you will live. Do not be fools.

Today, the Lord can still be found.

In His name, may you receive these words.

AMEN

Does our righteousness exceed theirs?

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ;

In the days we have left, we must examine ourselves with more resolve, as the day of our Lord draws near. I pray that by God’s grace, I can exhort you to vigilance and self-examination, through the words of our Lord recorded below.

Matthew 5:19,20Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in NO CASE enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven is what we all look forward to, and these words are a solemn warning given to us regarding our righteousness. The context should make it clear – I believe – that the righteousness referred to here is not the imputed righteousness of Jesus (i.e. our new identity), but rather our attitude toward God’s commandments (i.e. our walk of faith).

The Scribes and Pharisees of our day

To enter the kingdom, our righteousness – our observance of God’s commandments which is done by faith – must exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes and Pharisees of our days are none other than many amongst our own selves. We know the scriptures and God’s commandments. We believe in the redeeming power of Jesus’ blood and in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within ourselves. Yet people of other faith – Muslims, Buddists and the likes – and even Atheists and Agnostics often are manifestly more in tune with the commandments of God than us His very Children.

How would we be able to answer for ourselves on that day? While it is true that them, being ignorant of Christ, are relying on their flesh (or idols) for good works, the fact remains that their lifestyles are often a better reflection of what a Christ-centered life should be.

Yes, their righteousness often exceeds ours. What a tragedy! We, who know better. We, who have been redeemed, should be the beacons of this world, the moral compass, the voice of voiceless, the hands of the handicapped, the bearer of the good news, those who points to the Way of Salvation by shinning bright by our lifestyle the very Light of Christ which has been placed in us.

Us, who have been preached the more excellent way, the Way of Faith, should be the bearer of God’s righteous decrees, the embodiment of what it means to love God and our neighbors.

But you see…the Children of Israel were in part guilty of the same…

Romans 2:13-15For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts…

The charge is that many Gentiles, who had not received the law of God were doing the things contained in the law, while Israel, who had received the law and was taught on it, was not.

Let it not be so today my brothers and sisters. For it is the doers, not just the hearers of the truth who will be justified. Your righteousness must exceed the one of your brothers and sisters who hardly display the characters of Christ.

Else, how will you respond on that day, and how will your brethren, the scribes or pharisees, who are in error change their ways?

Matthew 5:16…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

May our Father speak to our hearts. May He use the multitude of His mercies and patience toward us in Jesus-Christ.

The Lord be with you and me.

AMEN.

Examining Ourselves

Dear Readers;

May God, in the multitude of His mercies, and in His love and patience, bless you in abundance, giving you knowledge and discretion concerning His Son Jesus, the One He has appointed to be the mediator between Him and us, that we may have a hope which shall be made evident after this life.

The knowledge of Jesus that God gives, is not a knowledge “about” Jesus”, but the knowledge of Jesus Himself. It is not knowing about Jesus that transforms us, but instead it is knowing Jesus Himself that transforms us. One may know about Jesus and yet be as evil as evil a man can be. But cannot know Jesus and not be progressively changed into the image of Christ Himself.

Yet in the fast-paced, self-help, and self-centered world in which we live, we longer spend time to examine ourselves.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

But, as we see from the verse above, it is through self-examination that one may discover in which camp he falls regarding the faith. Do we know Jesus and are being transformed, or do we know about Jesus and are being deceived, hardly experiencing the transformative change that knowing Him personally affords?

Ephesians 5:15-17Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The verse above from Ephesians echoes the one in Corinthians, that we have to examine ourselves. And its words have never been truer than they are now…that the days are evil!

All forms of social media, self-help books and seminars, platforms of all kinds where everyone is given center stage to proclaim their wisdom, these are harming us. For God has appointed 24 hours in a day, and more won’t be given.

It is as if we have made camp at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, eating of it and corrupting our minds further in the process. We earnestly seek to learn how the world works so we can thrive in it…and those who have figured out the “secret” of the successful life are held as heroes, being showcased to everyone’s admiration and envy. Yet God said…

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Such wisdom, dear friend – the one that seeks to understand how the world works so one can thrive in life – is not the wisdom of God, but the wisdom of the world. It is sensual and devilish.

We ought to pause and examine ourselves.

Where am I in my faith? How is my relationship with Jesus? What does God want from me? As a son, am I doing what I am supposed to be doing to honor my Father? Am I behaving in ways that demonstrates that I am my Father’s son? What does Jesus tell me? Where He is encouraging me? Where is He rebuking me? Am I listening? How often am I talking to Him? And what am I telling Him?

I counsel you in the name of the Lord Jesus, to slow down and examine yourselves; not as the world counsels you to do the same, but as God counsels. That you examine yourselves to see whether you are “in” the faith, knowing Jesus.   

May the Lord be with you and protect you. In Jesus name.

AMEN

Forbidden Fruit

Dear Children of the Kingdom;

Oh that the grace of God and His mercy may be upon me at this time, that Christ may act in me mightily, that I may serve as His instrument to instruct you His people, serving you His Word, for the days in which we live are truly evil. But the fools and the uninstructed, not able to discern good from evil, keep moving forward and suffer dearly.

Proverbs 22:3The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

The prudent sees danger and hides himself just as Joseph ran out of his master’s house when the master’s wife was determined to sleep with him.

Genesis 39:6-12Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 10 And as she spoke to Joseph DAY AFTER DAY, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. 11 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, 12 she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.

Look at Joseph’s primary concern: “There is no greater person in this house after my master than I. He has place everything in my hand, except you his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?

Sinning against God was Joseph’s preoccupation! He recognized everything he had, everything he was free to have…and that was precisely the reason he could not venture into committing such a great sin against God by going after the one thing He was not permitted to touch!

One can see the similarity between this account and Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, to whom God gave absolutely everything that belonged to Him here on Earth, save His tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. But as opposed to Joseph, they DID go after what was forbidden when tempted by Satan, and committed a great sin against God.

YOU TOO, ARE FREE

Much freedom my friend, has been granted to you too, when you were purchased and washed with Jesus blood. You have been made free! For with God, free is how His creatures, us, should be!

Galatians 5:1For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

But to you and me who have been given much freedom, much power, Satan is after the one thing that God has forbidden us to do: To disobey Him.

But sometimes, perhaps blinded by our freedom and power, or yielding to the lies of Satan, we act as fools, not recognizing the danger when we see it, or simply making light of it given who we are in Christ, free. As opposed to Joseph, we may think that because God has blessed us so much, we may afford to be careless here and there. We believe we may afford to disobey and enjoy sin, going after the one thing we have been forbidden. Hence, we do not see the danger for what it is and hide, but instead press on, only ensuring that we will reap the consequences.

Galatians 5:13For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

My friend, you are God’s child,  and you love the Lord. Perhaps you are great at praying with your family, or studying the scriptures, reading devotionals and hearing sermons. Perhaps you are growing in your understanding of the freedom and power given to you.

Continue my friend on this path, and do not let Satan lie to you. Do not either be a fool, but strive to stay away from the one forbidden fruit: Disobedience. Every day, Satan or your own flesh will seek to derail you, just like the master’s wife who kept going after Joseph…DAY…AFTER…DAY! 

But RESIST…RESIST…and you will conquer!

Lord, my Lord, may you be exalted in me, and in my friend, to the glory of your Father, our God in Heaven.

AMEN

The Diversity of Our Trials

Dear family, children of the Kingdom;

May the grace, peace and mercy of God be with you. I pray that the Lord Jesus grants me to share with you a few words regarding the suffering of the saints, in the hope that you will be encouraged to stay the course, not being ignorant of the schemes that Satan uses.

From several places in the scriptures, we know that the saints should expect suffering for the sake of Christ.

Philippians 1:29For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.

However – as a disclaimer – it should be noted that one could be suffering, not because of his allegiance to Christ and his continued resolve to honor Him, but because of his continued fellowship with sin. In such case, one should not appropriate to himself the verse above, but should instead meditate on the ones below.

1 Peter 2:20…what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure?

This said, when one suffers for Christ’s sake, how does the persecution look like? You could be thinking of a missionary being imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, or for Christians being beaten for assembling themselves in someone’s house to fellowship. You could also be thinking of being forbidden to speak about God or pray in the school setting.

These cases certainly qualify as suffering for Christ’s sake. But allow me to submit to you that suffering for the sake of Christ comes in a much richer multitude of forms, many of them not falling into the “traditional” context of preaching the Gospel.

Consider what the Apostle Peter said… 

1 Peter 2:19,20Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust [Greek (4646): skolios]. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

Peter was exhorting servants (or employees) to be subject to their masters (or their employers), even if they were morally twisted, perverse or unjust (according the definition of the Greek word “skolios”). In other words, the worst kind. The employee is a child of God, and probably NOT “preaching” the scripture in the workplace. But he is a God-fearing person, and therefore he does good, he is honorable, with integrity because he recognizes that he must honor His God, and Him He should fear.

And this is enough to be persecuted for Christ’s sake.

You, who continuously endeavor to honor God in your life, you are being transformed into the very image of Christ. It is this fact – the fact that your character is displaying the attributes of God – that triggers the persecution. The employer, in this case, is nothing more than an instrument of Satan, and may never even refer to your faith. He or she will just persecute you.

HOW Satan persecutes you (and for how long) is not nearly as important as the simple fact that he is able to persecute you. The objective is simple: To cause you to stray away from Christ, even renounce your faith, which will manifest itself by Christ’s attributes progressively decaying in you.

Earlier in his letter, the Apostle Peter highlighted the fact that persecutions come in many different forms.

1 Peter 1:3-6Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various [Greek (4164): poikílos] trials.

The Greek word poikílos translated various properly means, of various kinds, diversified (“manifold”). In other words, the trials that we are subjected to have a variety of forms, they are very rich in their diversity.

Physical or mental persecutions, it really does not matter. The objective is simple: Lose your bearings, start sinning, take matters into your own hands, stop listening to Christ and hopefully simply give up that which you were given by Christ and charged to hold fast (the Gospel of Truth) and not lose.

My friends, you who endeavor to subject yourself to Christ that He may have His Way in you; stay strong and persevere. Persecutions come and will come in its many forms, sometimes not even suggesting that it is because you are holding onto Christ. But rest assured, He who is in you, is greater than He who is in the world. Hold fast, and you will conquer.

1 John 5:4 – And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Praise, Honor and Glory be given to our Lord, Jesus, the Christ.

AMEN.

Communing with Jesus

To the Saints in Jesus-Christ, grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus, our Lord. I desire to commune with Jesus in greater measure. I desire to discern His voice as clearly as I discern yours. But far too often, His voice seems faint, and sometimes, not even there. I desire to experience Him deeper, beyond simply my imagination or understanding of the scripture. Him I desire as a person, to converse with Him. Him I desire as my Master, my Guide, and the One who invited me and equipped me to work alongside Him.

But it is as if He hardly speaks. It is as if I do not recognize Him, understand Him or even hear Him.

Oh my dear friends, do you too, wish you were close to Jesus? Do you wish His experience in your life was more tangible than it is now? Do you wish He was more real than the One spoken of at Church? Do you wish, like me, that you could feel in greater measure, His presence?

I believe the reason for this very limited experience I have of Him has nothing to do with His love for me, and everything to do with my lukewarm love for Him. Yes, my tongue has run out of words to express how much I love Him, but there also lies my frustration. For it has become abundantly clear that if words are the only thing I have to express my burning love for Him, then long ago have I reached the limit of my love. I have long ago exhausted my vocabulary, and I now painfully realize that if this is all I can give Him, then I am the most miserable among men. For words, unless they are Words of the Holy Spirit Himself, have no value.

There must be more…I want to feel Jesus…there must be more! There has to be more. What is the issue? What is the problem? Why can’t I experience Him that much?

I counsel you to carefully consider the case the Apostle Paul brought before the Corinthians, in the form of two questions

2 Corinthians 6:15-18 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God

Here lies the problem. Christ has no agreement with the devil. None whatsoever. A believer shares nothing with an unbeliever. None whatsoever. The temple of God cannot be used for idols.

YET, we ARE the temple of God. YET, we ARE guilty of placing idols in that temple. We ARE guilty of making deals with Satan while belonging to Christ. When interacting with unbelievers, we are not recognizable as Christians, so much we resemble them.

If you are honest with yourself, you know that at least some of this applies to you. Too comfortable you are with the enemy. We are comfortable with the enemy! But we also desire to experience Christ in greater measure.

This cannot be my friend. This cannot be. And unless we do something about it, our experience of Christ has little hope to go any deeper. We will have to satisfy ourselves with songs, teachings, and far too sporadic and rare experiences of Him, like shooting stars that disappear as fast as they appear.

The solution

2 Corinthians 6:16-18…as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 – Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

The promise is there…the Father says, I will welcome you, I will be a father to you. You will be sons and daughters to me. Now you may say, “I am already a son”, “I am already a daughter”. That is very true! But are you experiencing that relationship to its full extent? Do you feel and experience the closeness of Jesus, or of the Father, as a daughter does with her father? If you are like me, I think not. You may be a son, but you do not know your Father, for you have no relationship with Him.

Let us cleanse ourselves my friend, from everything that defile our body, and from everything that defile our spirit. What do we meditate on, what do we watch, what are our dreams, what activities do we partake in, what are our hobbies?

Unless we are serious about cleansing ourselves, there is no hope of a deeper experience of Jesus. You will not commune with Him. You will not recognize Him. You will not understand Him. You will run out of vocabulary to express your love for Him, and those words will be as empty as words can ever be.

He will not be swayed by our lukewarm love. He will not be swayed by our half-hearted consecration to Him. He will not be fooled when we prostitute ourselves in the dark of night.

2 Timothy 2:12-14 –
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

Dear Father. Forgive me. Yes, you have given me great and exceeding promises. I know that words are just words unless your Spirit utters them through my mouth. Give me your grace and fly to my rescue. For I have sinned, being too comfortable with the one who seeks to slay me, my enemy, Your enemy! Give me strength, give me strength in the Lord Jesus, to cleanse myself of all these things that I still take pleasure in, but which hurt my experience of Him. In the name of Jesus, I pray, not only for myself, but also my fellow readers. AMEN.

The Miracle of the New Birth: Am I Born Again?

Friends;

I pray to God in the name of the Lord Jesus, that the grace of His Son may be upon me to write unto you these few words on the miracle of the new birth. The miracle of being born again.

Many of us certainly believe that we are born again (or, born from above, or, born of the Spirit), for without this new birth one cannot be identified with Christ and has no hope of a future with God. But are you?

John 3:3,5,7Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”…5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”…7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

IT STARTS WITH “OUR” VIOLENT DEATH

The new birth is a miraculous act performed by God, whereby He first kills us, and buries us, and then bring us back to life.

Romans 6:3,4Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death…

The death by crucifixion that Jesus-Christ experienced is the best image given to show us how our new birth starts. It is an extremely violent act, whereby our whole being, our identity, who we are, is killed by crucifixion, with the same violence that Jesus experienced when He was crucified.

Romans 6:6…our old man is crucified with him…

The necessity of such a death results from the fact that we are utterly corrupted by sin, and therefore impossible to repair. Everything about us is corrupted, the most important of which being our minds, where everything about us originates.

Romans 6:6 – …Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

We are utterly corrupted by sin, having completely forgotten the reason we were created in the first place: To have a perpetual, vibrant and loving relationship with God, being in communion with Him, partaking into His activities, and enjoying everything He created for us. Therefore, we should be killed, so that a completely new “us” will be created: A man with a new mind, uncorrupted, untainted by sin. A man, who once again understands why he exists, why he was created.

THEN THE RESURRECTION COMES…

The miracle of the instantaneous yet violent death we are subjected to when God begins the process of our new birth, is only matched and surpassed by the miracle of our resurrection, where a new identity, which shares absolutely nothing with our former self is created.

2 Corinthians 5:17 …if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

Yet, in Romans 6, instead of equating the resurrection of Jesus to the fact that when He returns, in the future, we too will be resurrected, God instead ties Jesus’s resurrection to a much closer, present and very practical reality.

Romans 6:4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, JUST AS CHRIST WAS RAISED from the dead by the glory of the Father, WE TOO MIGHT WALK in newness of life.

To be born again is not a future, but a very present reality. And we are born again now so that now we can walk now completely differently than we did in the past.

The Christian walk, which only those who have experienced the death of Christ in their own selves can experience, is nothing short of a miracle, equivalent to nothing less than the fact that Christ was resurrected by the Spirit of God.

If you think Christ coming back to life was a miracle, then so is the Christian walk. It is nothing short of a miracle. The same Spirit that raised Jesus is the same Spirit that enables us to walk like Christ. It is a miracle than one can walk like Christ, and THIS IS PRECISELY what God is after when He creates you at the new birth.

My friend, when you confess that you are born again, I pray that you will understand what was done in you. You have been killed, re-created, and been given a new identity, and a new ability: To live by faith, freed from sin, fully able to live a miraculous life, one that testifies in the most solemn way, not only to your family, friends and coworkers, but also to all the spiritual powers, both angelic and demonic, that BEHOLD, A SON OF GOD IS BORN.

May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

AMEN

Remembering Who Owns the Churches

Dear Friends;

May the grace, mercy and peace of God, our Father, and of Jesus, our Lord, be with you. Allow me to submit to you by the Lord Jesus that for a church (a community of believers) to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and therefore be healthy, it must not only remember, but also understand that it is Jesus, the AMEN, exalted on the right hand of God, who owns it.

Revelation 1:20As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

In the Book of Revelation, as He spoke to seven of its churches, Jesus reminded them of this very fact, in at least two distinct ways: By declaring that the churches (and its leaders) are in His hand (Rev. 1:20), and by demonstrating in excruciating details just how much He knows about the life of each church. He knows not only the state of your church, but also where it comes from. He knows every single activity that is taking place inside your group, whether in public or in secret. He knows how your church has progressed (or digressed), where it is heading, and what your group must do given its current state.

In fact, NO ONE KNOWS BETTER about the state of a church than His Majesty, our God, and Jesus, our Lord.

Not only remembering, but understanding this fact (that Jesus owns the churches) gives us the most essential ingredient in the life of a church. A CHURCH MUST BE CONNECTED TO JESUS OR IT WILL WITHER.

John 15:4As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

AND TO BE CONNECTED, ITS LEADERS MUST BE EXCLUSIVELY DEDICATED TO PRAYING AND SERVING THE WORD.

In the Book of Acts we find this very practical truth in action. The early church was growing, and growing rapidly. And among the many ministries the church was performing, one of them was to ensure that everyone, among themselves, especially those in need of help like the widows, would receive food, daily. An issue arose as the greek-speaking Jews started to complain that their widows were being neglected.

Please note that the very fact that this church was performing this ministry among themselves speaks volume about the life and love that must have been present among the members! A beauty to behold indeed!

Nevertheless, note how the Apostles handled this matter.

Acts 6:2-42 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

The twelve Apostles did not say that this ministry was not important. Matter of fact, the instructions they gave to the people to choose seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirt and full of wisdom speaks highly of their position regarding the importance of this matter.

But what was even more important than daily food was the need for them to be continually in prayer and to continually serve the people, the spiritual food, the Word of God. The Apostles understood that NOTHING should come in the way of spending any less time with Jesus. As leaders, they should continually be in prayer. They must devote themselves at the feet of the One who OWNS THAT CHURCH, to receive daily grace, life, and blessings so that they will continuously feed the flock entrusted to them. They must not distract themselves, even with valid matters of the church.

Oh that you will appreciate the wisdom given to the Apostles, for they did not neglect the matter brought before them. But something more important, more valuable, they were instructed never to neglect, no matter the cost, for in them did the very life of the church hanged: Prayer and ministry of the Word.

And perhaps here lies the greatest failure of many of our churches. Our leaders do not understand their most solemn duty, the one duty they must preserve at all cost, to be in prayer, so that they may receive the daily grace they need for themselves and for the people.

If you are a leader, and recognize that these words are TRUE, then repent and assume your duty, as a servant of the LORD who desires to be called faithful.

For those of you who might aspire to be a leader. You desire a good work, but may this letter serve to caution you of your most important, and only duty.

And to all, abide in the Vine, the Lord Jesus in prayer, that His life may flow in you in abundance.

In Jesus Name. AMEN.

The Fear of the Lord

To my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, who, like me, have received the forgiveness of sins, having been washed in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus, the Christ, and our Lord. My friends, there is a subtle, but dangerous sin that has infiltrated the church, that, by the Grace of God, I would like to bring your attention to, so that you may not fall into that snare of the devil. And it has to do with how you see God, and how you see Jesus.

The great evil and foolishness that has infiltrated the church is that we are seeing God less and less as our God, and more and more as our friend. Even more so with Jesus, since He is the One who came down to earth, and took the form of a man. We see Jesus and refer to Him less and less as our Lord and Master, and more and more as our friend.

Now, it is true that a friendship seems more genuine, more loving, and even more affectionate than a God-to-creature or a Master-to-slave relationship. However, allow me to counsel you that this is an extremely slippery slope which often leads to a great sin. It is the reason why NONE of the Apostles ever addressed our Lord Jesus that way, although He, Himself, called them His friends. No! Instead, they always referred to Him as Lord and Master and to themselves as servants or His slaves. And yet, they loved Him deeply! So love and a Master-to-servant relationship are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Matter of fact, this combination is precisely what Christianity is all about.

To be called by a superior a friend is a great honor. But to ever refer to that superior as your friend is pure foolishness and often arrogance. “The President is my friend!” Doesn’t that sound arrogant? Yes it does…because even if it is true, he is first and foremost your President. And your relationship with him is first dictated by that fact…that he is your President. And if you ever forget that fact, you will be reminded of it, whether gently or forcefully!

Now consider that fearing God, having the highest reverence toward God is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge. Not SOME of it! The fear of the Lord is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge, and it is God Himself, who gives those things.

Proverbs 1:7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 2:6…the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Why would we therefore replace that relationship with friendship and miss on wisdom and knowledge, and be called fools? Reverence does not characterize a friendship relationship. Though friendship emphasizes closeness, it also refers to equality. Reverence is not the hallmark of a friendship. No, quite the opposite! A friendship is a relationship that is often casual, and devoid of protocols. A friendship is where we see each other as equal and therefore the other does not deserve any more respect, any more consideration than I do. Failing to honor your engagement in a friendship relationship does not carry the same severity as failing to do it in a Master-slave or God-creature relationship. Passages like the one below are all over the scriptures to remind us of this most solemn truth. He is OUR God! And Jesus is OUR Lord!

Ecclesiastes 5:1-3Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

It is a grave sin not to render to God and Jesus the reverence that is due to them.

Matthew 22:21…render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

Matthew 22:37,38You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.

Ecclesiastes 5:4,5When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than you should vow and not pay.

As in many things we do which often appear to honor Jesus and yet dishonor Him, so it is when we consider Him less and less as Lord and more and more as friend.

Please dear brethren, let us no longer be guilty of such great a sin. JESUS IS LORD in heaven, and before Him, as men and women who count it the highest honor to be called his faithful servants, we bow.

LORD JESUS, may You receive our worship, and forgive us of this sin. For You are worthy of all Honor, for so it seemed good in the sight of Your Father, OUR God, that You be honored as He is.

In JESUS name. AMEN.