Monday, February 27, 2006
Here it is!! Thanks to Neil Ferris for working on these pictures. More to come!!
We had a full house yesterday in worship!! Plus a handful of those who returned to be with God. The Lord's Supper was awesome. We spent the whole 1 hour and a half communing with God remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ!
A couple of comments I got from others in worship:
From the first sketch to the last, I communed with God a number of time.
It was awesome watching Cindi do the artwork. When she started on the cross, it was wonderful but when she started using the red showing the blood of the Lamb, it touched my heart!
This drawing will always be in my mind and heart! So when we come together every Sunday to worship and the Lord's Supper, this sketch will always be in my heart as I remember His death for our sins.
While Cindi was doing the artwork, during each art, I communed with God three times. It is so much better than doing a mere 5 to 15 minute communion with God. While Cindi drew Jesus in the garden, we held on to the bread representing the body of Christ being offered as a sacrifical Lamb. We held on to it for more than 15 to 20 minutes before eating them after a prayer. Then we held on to the wine while Cindi worked on the crucifixion art. Again, it was awesome!!
Below is a sketch of Jesus praying in the garden. Dennis Cesone commented that, after seeing Jesus weeping and praying to God for the cup to pass, he felt like he wanted to wrap his arm around Him to be there for Him.
Thank You, Lord, for this wonderful day! It is my prayer that the eyes and hearts are opened to You and see all the goodness You've done! Thank You for forgiving us of our sins through your precious Son, Jesus Christ!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
The passage for the , 'ONENESS" theme is Ephesians 4:1-6: "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
Christ in his death and resurrection destroyed the dividing wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles (that is to say, all races), creating one new humanity. We ARE one. We must be ONE in CHRIST! The church IS one united body. We have the same calling, the same Savior, the same Spirit, the same hope, the same faith, the same victory, the same identity.
Yet we are human and so our communities face struggles and divisions; we fail to live up to our calling. And so in 4:1-6, Paul calls us to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. This is not a passive calling, but an active one, asking us not only to prevent divisions but to seek reconciliation with other believers, to demonstrate the perfect unity Christ created on the cross.
We have a lot of work to do, and it is only by the spirit (humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and love) and power of the Spirit that we can be one.
God help us. Really!! God help us!!
Another key verse is Galatians 3:26-29: "You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, [AND WE CAN ADD: BLACK NOR WHITE] for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
How's your oneness with your brother in Christ, your sister in Christ, your leaders: ministers, ministry leaders, deacons and elders? Notice the picture above, is your face in the "ONE" along with others, together???
I saw this picture years ago, probably around when I first started working for Fairfax. I totally forgot all about this wonderful picture. Why? Because, currently, I have burned 953.8 megabytes of information from my "My Documents" file onto two cds!!! No! I am not kidding!! Read my print, "NINE-HUNDRED-FIFTY-THREE-POINT-EIGHT" MB of files!!! Of course, alot of them are pictures that I have saved over the years..
This picture is really awesome!! You, not only see the believer(s) baptizing a soul, see the soul being buried in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ! What else do you see here in this picture? They are both so full of joy with all smiles! This is always the most exciting event that each and every soul on earth ought to experience. Of course, one must believe that Jesus is the Lord and Christ and that everyone living in this world have sinned, not one is perfect and without sin, not one!! Allow me to share you the Word of God that tells us the baptism is a command of God, not that we are baptized to "earn" the salvation in Christ!
"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." Galatians 3:27 (nas) Q: If you were not baptized into Christ, where's Christ's clothes around you? Your sin remains!
"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,.." Matthew 28:18-19 (nas) Q: If you're not baptizing anyone, have you neglected Christ's authority?
"Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38 (nas) Q: If you say baptism isn't for forgiveness of your sins, then is Peter a liar?
"He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned." Mark 16:16 (nas) Q: How else are we saved apart from baptism? Even the demons believe and shudder! (James 2:19)
Examples of baptism in the book of Acts:
"But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike." Acts 8:12 (nas)
"Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip,.."Acts 8:13 (nas) Q: Is belief and baptism done simultaneously?
"As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized? And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him." Acts 8:36, 38 (nas) Q: They went down "into" the water? What does this tell you? (i.e. immersion)
"And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;.." Acts 9:18 (nas) Q: Did Saul see Jesus three days ago? Did he believe what he saw then went to the city of Damascus? After believing, he was still blind (having scales on his eyes) and had to do one more thing, meet Ananias and be baptized!
"`Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'" Acts 22:16 (nas) Q: If baptism is not necessary, then where's the "washing away of our sins?"
"And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household." Acts 16:13 (nas)
"Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized." Acts 18:8 (nas) Q: Isn't this similar to Mark 16:16?
To the church (believers) in Rome:
"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" Romans 6:3 (nas) Q: If there's no baptism, where is the "death of self" into Christ? See also, Galatians 2:20..
"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4 (nas) Q: Where is the "resurrection from the old life" if there's no burial into Christ's death (baptism)?
To the church (believers) in Colossae:
"..having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." Colossians 2:12 (nas)
"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,.." Titus 3:5 (nas)
"Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,.." 1 Peter 3:21 (nas)
Believing, ALONE, is not enough! Consider the case of Cornelius...
"At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly." Acts 10:1-2 (niv) Read the rest of the Scripture from verse 3 through 46..
"Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. " Acts 10:47-48 (niv)
Have you heard the good news about Jesus? If you have heard (HEAR), believe in Him, repent of your sins (change from your evil ways), confess that Jesus is the Lord, baptize for the forgiveness of your sins (also added to the body of Christ - Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 12:13), then live for Jesus for the rest of your life (1 John 1:7)!
On August 31, 1994, :
- I was crucified with Christ for I no longer live - Galatians 2:20
- I was added to His number (ekklessia) which is the church - Acts 2:41
- My heart was circumcised - Colossians 2:11-13
- I was buried into His death and raised in Christ - Romans 6:1-4
- I received the gift of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:38
- I Am 4given - Acts 2:38
- I am clothed in Christ - Galatians 3:26-27
- I am Regenerated and Renewed - Titus 3:5
- I am a real Jew - Romans 2:28-29
- I am constantly walking in the newness of life - Romans 6:4
- I am sealed with the Holy Spirit - Ephesians 4:30
- My name is written in the Book of Life - Revelation 20:15
- I have HOPE - Ephesians 4:4
- I am in complete joy, like-minded, full of love, one in Spirit and purpose - Philippians 2:2
- I am the priesthood of all believers - 1 Peter 2:9
- I am the righteousness of God - 2 Corinthians 5:21
- I am the recipient of eternal life - Romans 6:22
What about you?A Spiritual Checklist for you. Where in the Scripture can you find this process?
- If you believed and were saved then later baptized, what does this mean?
- If you believed but never baptized, you might want to think about this (i.e. Saul & Cornelius)
- If you believed and were saved. But never baptized, what does this mean to you?
- If you were baptized then believed and saved, is there something wrong with this picture?
- If you do not believe and have not been baptized, do you know where you're going?
- If you're unsure of all this (perhaps confused with different doctrinal teachings, let us help you!
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Here it is!! This Sunday, pray that our hearts will be totally soaked into the message about "The Communion Of The Body Of Christ".. It may be the same "manna" to you like the Israel of the Old and the forefathers whom ate the manna in the desert but Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
Then how can we say, "I'm tired of this same "manna" I receive from those who minister the Word of God to His people??" We may be like Israel who grumbled at Moses and the leaders of Israel because they're tired of the same old food that God has given. Instead, we ought to be thankful for the opportunity to come before God for having the same Savior and Lord Jesus Christ whom is our Bread of Life! So, every Sunday, it's never the same to me! Always delicious to eat something old and something new!
Again, as always, eager for Sunday to come, Lord willing!! :)
Happy Tuesday, Bloggers!! I want to tell you something... I am really excited about this coming Sunday's worship service. It's about our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. It's about Him eating and drinking with His Disciples in the upper room. It's about the blood He shed to forgive the sins of the world. It's about reconciling the world to God. It's about remembering all He had done for us. It's about Him becoming the Sacrificial Lamb. It's about Jesus forgiving us, even if we mocked Him like when the Golgotha crowd did. It's about His cry, "It's finished." Take a look at the picture. Keep your eyes fixed on the nail that was driven into His hand. As you look at this picture, also read this Scripture:
"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:4-5 (niv)
"This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 1 Corinthians 11:24 (niv)
"..which is for you.." is very special to me. It's a gift Jesus gave us which is His body, the perfect lamb of God! Every Sunday is the day that is "sacred", "precious", "refreshing", and "divine"! I think it's ridiculous to miss this God-given day when some other plans comes up! This is the day above all others (priorities). If we're not present to "remember our Lord Jesus through our communion with God and with others", then we failed to "..proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.." (1 Cor. 11:26).
Not only will this Sunday be a special day for us all, every Sunday is!! And I know this Sunday will be a little different but we're basically doing the same thing, "..the first day of the week we came together to break bread." (Acts 20:7)
To close this, I know Ray Boltz's song, "Watch the Lamb", as you read this, picture yourselves as Simon of Cyrene.. How would you feel?:
Watch the Lamb, my children, watch the Lamb!...Ohhh, in the midst of angry men. Ahhh, Crucify Him! Ohhh, could not get away, did not wish to play, why were men condemned to die? Ohhh, even now they come, Ohhh, arrogant and loud, Ohhh, you!!! (Simon of Cyrene in Luke 23:26) Carry His cross! You! Carry His cross!!! Ohhhh!!! Watch the Lamb! Watch the Lamb!!!!
Monday, February 20, 2006
What a marvelous day it was, yesterday. Our new dear sister in Christ, Cynthia Dyson, buried her old life in the Lord into His death in baptism according to Romans 6:2-4 and is now a new creation in Christ according to 2 Corinthians 5:17.
All this happened was after the sermon, "Sweet Aroma of Prayer" where the Word of our Lord heavily pierced her heart leading her to the throne room of God!
Praise the Lord and may I ask that you please pray for Cynthia, as she began her new walk with Jesus yesterday, that she will continue to walk with Jesus through eternity! May God bless her soul!
In addition to this, a very special thanks for all those, at Fairfax, whom have shown Jesus to her. Our dear sister in Christ, Bev Young, has spent alot of time with Cynthia teaching her the Old Testament history and answering alot of her questions regarding spiritual matters. If it wasn't for Bev and the rest of us, she wouldn't be clothed in Christ (Galatians 3:27).
Last night, we had a "small groups" meeting and discussed various things regarding the Bible. At the close of the small group meeting, I led them into reading Colossians 2:11-12 since the Lord pierced Cynthia's heart leading her to "die to self and rise in Christ". "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."
We talked about how God has chosen Moses to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt. But before this was to happen, God was ready to kill Moses because Moses didn't keep his covenant with God. In other words, Moses didn't obey God.
"At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met [Moses] and was about to kill him." Exodus 4:24 (niv)
Zipporah knew what was going on so she had to do the inevitable!!
"But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched [Moses'] feet with it. "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me," she said." Exodus 4:25 (niv)
In relation to "circumcision, circumcised", God instructed Abraham to do circumcision on an eight day old child as a "sign" of entering and maintaining covenant relationship with God. Then the rest of Israel (Hebrews) are to follow this command to enter the covenant relationship with Him.
"You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you." Genesis 17:11 (niv)
"Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs." Acts 7:8 (niv)
"Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised." Romans 2:25 (niv)
Come to think of this verse, since Paul wrote to the church in Colossae about "circumcision done by Christ in baptism". What, then, if we're not baptism, or in other words, "circumcised in heart" tells us? Does this mean we're not observing the command of God? Did we break the command of God for not being baptized? It is as if Moses believed in God yet didn't follow His command passed on from Abraham that he [Moses] could die because of his disobedience. Zipporah came to his rescue by circumcising their son, Gershom. Today, people think baptism is "works" as if we have to "earn" our salvation. What, then, is confession of our sins and believing in Him to be saved? Isn't that also "works"? They are both [baptism & confession] action verb!!
"A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." Romans 2:27-28 (niv)
Then how are we "circumcised of the heart"? Read Colossians 2:11-12 again! All glory and praise is due to God for Cynthia has obeyed the form of teaching taught from His Word! She has freely surrendered her will and life to the Lord. Did she earn it by working her way to get salvation? I think not! God has freely given her the gift of life [grace]!!
Friday, February 17, 2006
This wasn't the first time but the second time. The first time, I couldn't get my pager out in time to take the picture. A couple days later, I drove through the same place where the bird first played with our passenger mirror. Lo and behold, the bird came back again and play with the mirror!! This time, I was able to get my pager out and do a "freeze-frame" of this beautiful bird.
What's interesting about this is I was driving in my red Chevrolet 300M. My guess would be that this bird fell in love with this red 300M! I have never experience anything like this before. A bird that comes to our car, twice and on a different day!! Awesome!! Or perhaps, this bird was trying to tell us something as if it is a prophet! Perhaps, we're doing something we're not supposed to do?? ;)
This reminds me of Balaam's Donkey in Numbers 22-26.. An interesting history in the Old Testament where Balaam was on his way to see Balak, king of Moab. God had already told Balaam not to accept anything from Balak because God has already blessed Israel abundantly. God is on Israel's side, not Balak's. Balak wants to put a curse on Israel so he summoned Balaam, the prophet of God. Balak had done just about everything he could to get Balaam to place a curse on Israel by bribing him with gold, silver. Balaam couldn't do anything but the Lord had already commanded him that he is to do nothing! This drove Balak mad!
Later, Balaam got on a donkey and went on his way to see Balak again. As the Balaam and the donkey rode on, an angel of the Lord stood in front of the donkey. Only the donkey can see the angel, not Balaam. Balaam began beating the donkey three times to make it move but the donkey stood still in fear of the angel. Balaam kept on beating the donkey and the Lord opened the donkey's mouth and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" Balaam answered, "You made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now." The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?" The donkey was trying to help Balaam get out of the "evil way" and get back into the "right way".. But, unfortunately, Balaam doesn't see these things.
Well.. Now, that's interesting. I know this raises eyebrows to those reading for the first time. A talking donkey? I am sure you some of you probably watched a donkey movie, "Ed" in the 60's or 70's. Unrealistic!! Special effects, of course!.. If God can create the world in 6 days, if God opened the Red Sea allowing Israel through from death to life, if God helped Elisha make a heavy axhead float on water, if God can make the sun stand still during one of Israel's battle, if God raises the dead, give sight to the blind, caused a mute and deaf man to talk and hear, then He can make an animal talk!
Balaam did the right thing but later on he did something else on his own. He caused Israel to sin against God. History was recorded. Not a great story but it's a lesson for us all.
"Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality." Revelation 2:14 (niv)
John, whom wrote the book of Revelation after seeing a vision from God, explained about one of the seven churches in Asia. One of the seven churches was blessed by God. The other six were on the verge of losing their blessings from God because of their sins: "first love forsaken in the Ephesian church, the church in Pergamum following the way and teachings of Balaam, the church in Thyatira following the way of Jezebel by misleading God's servants into sexual immorality and eating sacrificed foods, the church in Sardis whom think they are alive in Christ but are spiritually dead, and the church in Laodicea for they are "lukewarm" and Jesus is about to spit them out of His mouth!
"They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey - a beast without speech - who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness." 2 Peter 3:15-16 (niv)
It's unusual for the same bird to come twice and to the same location (passenger side mirror) within a couple of days. Well, "Red Bird", what are you trying to warn me about? It's good to have a warning signs!! They help keep us on the right path!
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
He is the Bread of Life Who only can really satisfy your soul!
He is the Comforter Who can comfort you in every heartache of your life!
He is the Deliverer Who can free you from the bondage of all sin!
He is the Everlasting Lord Who can give you eternal life!
He is the Faithful One Who will never leave you or forsake you!
He is the Giver of everything good!
He is the Hope of Glory Who can give your life direction and purpose like nothing else!
He is the Invincible and Immortal Lord Who wants to save you from wasting your life!
He is Just and therefore, knew sin must be paid for and He died to pay for your sin!
He is the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS Who is truly worthy to trust with your life!
He is the Lord of Love Who loves you more than you can ever comprehend!
He is the Messiah, the Most High God Who can sure do a lot better job with your life than you can!
He is indescribable—there is None like Him!
He is Open to receive you right now!
He is the Prince of Peace and until you have Jesus you will search for what is missing in your life!
He is Quick to forgive and wants you to know freedom from guilt and the joy of forgiveness!
He is the Rock of our salvation, the Redeemer of all mankind, and the Resurrection and the life!
He is the Savior of the world and wants to be your Savior!
He is the Truth Who can set your life free from living a lie!
He Understands you like you don’t even understand yourself and loves you!
He is Victory and wants to be your victory!
He is Wisdom and can save you from making a lot of bad choices!
Most eXcellent is His name in all the earth!
He Yearns that you would..
- Hear (see) that He came to die for your sins!
- Believe that He is the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
- Repent of your sins and mine!
- Confess that Jesus is Lord!
- Be Baptized for the forgiveness of your sins!
- And keep Him (live) as your Lord and Savior!
It's been a weird winter and many of us are anxious for Spring. The good news is there's only 34 more days before the Spring equinox (around March 21st)!! And this year's Daylight Saving Time (DST), a.k.a. Spring Forward is on April 2nd!! That means we will get more sunlight in the evening!! It's only 45 more days before DST!!
Speaking of all the changes in weather, we experience all kinds of changes that comes against our faith. Let's read the book of James (Phillips):
"When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God - who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty - and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God's help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn." James 1:2-8
Powerful Scripture, don't you think!! And this is very true for many of us today and everyday! What is interesting about this verse is we ought to welcome the temptations and trials as friends, not enemies!! All of us should have kept the "armor of God" according to Ephesians 6 to fight against whatever comes our way. Though, elsewhere in the Scripture, God tells us to "flee from the evil desires of our youth". There are two different cases in our struggle against temptations/trials.
One: we may not know how to defend ourselves against it prompting us to "temporarily" flee from it to "re-position ourselves" (re-training) for the next encounter.
Two: we stay with the temptation like Christ stayed with His but never falling into the trap and wallowing in the mud of our trials..
There's always a change in our affection and commitment with God. It all depends on how your day goes and how the world influences you. We're under daily pressures with time and energy. We expend them all in secular arenas and very little remains for God. Then we say, "Tomorrow, Lord.. I will: read and study the Bible, pray, and re-prioritize my life making you always on top." I wouldn't be surprised when, once again, tomorrow comes, time and energy has already been spent in the secular arena! Then you return to God, "Yeah, I know! I know! Okay, tomorrow." Then we're drifting farther and farther away from God. Like gaining 20 lbs in 2-3 weeks, it will take months to get yourselves back into shape! The farther we drift away from God (lack of commitment to bible studies, worship, personal bible study and prayer), the harder it is to get back with God!
We must be sincere in our faith with God in order to become mature saints in the world today. You may have the trust in the Lord but in the back of your head, you may think it's impossible to make the change. Then God will simply leave you alone because you didn't think He could change everything that's happening in your life. Such a person has "divided loyalty". I wouldn't want a teammate that has "divided loyalty" on my team! If you have read Revelation 3:16 where it talks about Christians who are neither hot or cold, but lukewarm, Jesus is about to spew him/her out of His mouth! He hates those who live their lives of "divided loyalty"! Not only this teammate ruins the chances of the team winning games, this teammate will dampen the enthusiasm of other teammates who are set to win games! How, then, will those "wishy-washy Christians" affect those whom have fought and served so hard to become mature and faithful Christians?
The changes in life that is putting a dent on your faith with God resulted on the choices you have made or are making. The blame isn't on God (Jas. 1:13) but is on you. Otherwise, if we stand strong against the changes in life and remain faithful and true to God, we'll be tremendously blessed!
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12 (niv)
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Top ten reason "Why I Still Love Her After 16 years"(3 dating/13 married and still to death..)
10. Love is never lost..
9. Because she's athletic..
8. She lends her listening eyes (ears)..
7. Wonderful preacher's wife..
6. Adoring mother to our children..
5. Because we're "one" together and let man not separate!
4. For she is a blonde!! ;)
3. Because she loves God..
2. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a teardrop..
1. Because God is love!
Monday, February 13, 2006
Fan Da Flame!! No.. I am not talking about making flamb'e souffle or trying to start a fire in your fireplace. I am talking about each of "you" believers! While eating at Quiznos, I decided to read the second letter to Timothy. Apostle Paul (he's my man!!) wrote to a young preacher named, Timothy, a letter of encouragement/exhortation. Here's the quote from the Scriptures:
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands." 2 Timothy 1:6 (niv)
Was there a dying Spirit? Was there lack of faith in action? Was something wrong with young Timothy? Apparently, something happened where Timothy was. How did Paul know? It could be that a word was sent to Paul while he was in chains (prison) in Rome that Timothy may have been overwhelmed with the work there. Paul didn't want anything to happen to Timothy for many reasons: 1. Timothy was young. 2. He may have been disrespected by those who are older and perhaps more wiser. 3. Timothy is an outsider coming into a church where no one knows who he really is.
As I read this passage, this does remind me of alot of churches in the world today. In other letters of Paul, there are Christians who have left the faith, who opposed the truth, caused quite a stir among the brethren, evil and lazy. God has entrusted the marvelous task to those who are hungry to spread His gospel! Here are a couple of Paul's points in his letter to Timothy:
1. God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power (love and self-discipline) (1:7)
2. ..join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. (1:8)
3. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed.. (1:11-12)
4. What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. (1:13)
5. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you - guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (1:14)
6. ..entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. (2:2)
7. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2:3)
I love these verses! While we're in Christ, we have the power! We're disciplined to be ever committed to God! We're suffering for the gospel of Christ Jesus! How sound is our teaching to others about Jesus Christ? We're not compromising by blending the truth with culture? God has trusted us to carefully pass around the good news. The question is, are we qualified to teach others? We're warned not to vaguely give the truth but tell the truth with confidence.
Here's an interesting point Paul makes with Timothy about others within His body, the church:
"Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen." 2 Timothy 2:14 (niv)
1. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.. (2:17)
2. ..who have wandered away from the truth.. (2:18)
3. ..they destroy the faith of some.. (2:18)
4. Flee the evil desires of youth,.. (2:22)
5. Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.. (2:23)
I have said this many times but some of us are so naive about these things. Jesus approached many religious leaders during His day. Many of them were believers of God but their faith and example did not match God's will for their lives. We can be a very pious Christians but never completely following the Lord's will (Bible). I am not saying that we're a perfect church. Of course, there's no such thing as a perfect church but a church that closely follows the Lord's will.
Many of us will, every now and then, experience what I am going to call, "FLAME-BUSTERS". Our lack of commitment, daily Bible reading and prayer, and fellowship will sway us away from the Way & the Truth & the Life!
"..who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth." 2 Timothy 3:6-7 (niv)
In order to fan into flame the gift of God, we must ever be learning and growing in the knowledge of the truth:
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:14-15 (niv)
So fan da flame the gift of God in you. Don't let Satan douse away the fire you have for God!! It's very easy to do just about nothing with God and hard to get back into the Way of the Lord!! And, hey!!! It's Valentine's Day!! Remember your first love with God (Revelation 2:4). When God first touched your heart His great love for you through His Son, Jesus, you gave your life and heart to Him. And that, don't forsake this "first love"!!
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Here are some pics of yesterday's and last night's NOReaster storm!! Beautiful!! The kids are still outside enjoying the snow. They'll be in soon as it is getting a bit dark now. And they'll be all tired and ready to go to bed.
So wherever you are, stay warm!! Don't forget! Spring is just around the corner!! :)
Friday, February 10, 2006
Sometimes the conflict is with congregational powers - they want their own throne. It really doesn’t matter all that much because the effects are mostly the same: high anger levels, family stress, fatigue, discouragement, and feelings of inadequacy.
Most church fights fail to produce anything constructive because they’re not being fought according to a "holy battle plan." We tend to fight from a reactive point-of-view, using whatever tactics and weapons we have available to preserve our position. Sound familiar to you?
Yet, faith in God calls us to stop using "weapons of the flesh" and to start using God’s plan (tactics) for resolving conflict. I would like to offer these essentials to godly conflict resolution:
1. Let mercy lead (Proverbs 3:3-6)
We must abandon the concept of "fairness". The way of God has nothing to do with "fair". Do you think it's fair that Christ had to die on the cross? Is it fair that He had to be scorned with whiplashes and poked with crown of thorns? It is humanely easy to point fingers and spot them for being "unfair". But God calls us to lovingly and kindly meet them where they stand and pour out mercy on them.
2. Let truth be your guide
Your feelings cannot be your final word. Your thoughts alone is not and cannot determine the ultimate truth. God alone has the authority and gives the best perspective of any given situation.
3. The battle belongs to the Lord
Satan's primary target: encouraging you to thing that the battle is "against you." This can be done with you're feeling fatigued. It's the devil's way of driving a deceptive wedge between you and God. Consider the same of Apostle Peter and his use of blustery words, swords, curses and lies were all desperate attempts, in the heat of battle, to take care of himself apart from God. By believing that the battle is the Lord’s, you cast your all and your concerns on him, and leave it up to him to fight the battle.
4. Depend on the Bible (the mind of our Lord)
I have been teaching the book of Proverbs and we’re told not to lean on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5). It’s only human nature to make your understanding the standard by which you judge others. But it makes perfect sense because "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Prov. 16:25, NIV)
If you argue about your situation with the best of your abilities, knowledge; you may even win the argument, but if your intelligence or logic is fueled by self-preservation – by what’s best for you , by what you understand - then you’ve gained nothing from God’s point of view because the flesh profits nothing. Right? Where the Old Testament tells us to "lean not,” the New Testament says rely on the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). This is the holy logic that prefers the interests of others above your own. This changes your perspective on the mess in front of you. In other words, you have just got to change your thinking into Christ's thinking!
5. Your struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12)
- Satan wants you to create, in mind & heart, a list of enemies:
- The minister who opposes your vision.
- A fellow member who sabotages your dreams.
- The spouse you sleep with.
- The teenager you argue with daily.
In one of my book readings, the author explained, "God teaches your battle is with "unseen spiritual forces of wickedness.” Therefore, "flesh and blood” weapons – such as manipulation, argument, gossip, slander – are of no use whatsoever. In fact, they only serve to make matters worse. Until you fully believe that you’re wrestling against unseen spiritual powers, you’ll never actually get to the root of the problem. This is one of the reasons that churches keep repeating the same cycle of conflict over and over again." Very true!! We're gnawing at the same, bad ole' bone!
6. When you have faith, you don't use the weapons of the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Any device we use to get our own needs met apart from God is a weapon of the flesh. Weapons like these that are commonly used in church conflicts include:
- Unholy alliances with individuals or groups in power.
Church power struggles rely heavily on:
- Blame and gossip
- Manipulation and blessings withheld.
If you're the kind of person that uses the weapons of the flesh and if you think you've won some battles, really, you have lost them all! WEAPONS OF THE FLESH ONLY WORK FOR THE SHORT TERM! With enough intimidation, we may overpower a foe. Withhold that blessing, and we may get our way. Nag long enough, and we might get what we want. But while we’re experiencing short-term gains, we’re piling up long-term losses. Remember, it's Satan - the liar, the accuser, the murderer – that conceives carnal weapons.
7. When you have faith, you ought to be using weapons of the Spirit
Prayer is one of the most overlooked spiritual weapons available. It’s prayer that re-centers us, reminding us who God is and who we are as his children. It’s prayer that draws us up into the eternal perspective so we’re no longer locked in a temporal point of view. It’s prayer that gives us God’s interpretation, revealing to us his story on the conflict.
Forgiveness is another powerful Spirit weapon that releases everyone involved. Remember that the forgiver Himself lives in you, so God may call you to make the first move toward genuine healing by asking you to embrace his grace, and die to your rights and privileges.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Sorry, bloggers!! I had to implode, explode, annihilate, zap, vaporize the "Detox-De-sin" blog! For anyone who makes an "anonymous comment" without a "name" will be read then I will make a decision to either keep or delete such comments. All comments will be approved by me.
Secondly, it is recommended that you go to www.blogger.com and sign up for your own blogname so when you post a comment, we will know who is making such comments. Each of us need to be honest, open and straightforward. We want to work with you, to love you, to admonish you, to encourage you in the Lord's Kingdom, the church.
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom hhis whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19 (niv)
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Last Monday morning, I took my dog, Hope, for our morning walk. We decided to go roam around in a different place near our home. It's a relatively very, very quiet place. While Hope was busy sniffing the grass and shrubs, I decided to look up into the half-dark, half-bright sky to talk with God. Then I saw, probably for the 50th time in my life, a shooting star (or a falling star)!! Man! I love looking at them falling. The color was awesome. And how it passes through the atmosphere and then diminishes without touching earth is amazing..
Just thought I throw in this verse and see what if you understand what God, through Isaiah, was trying to say:
"How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!" Isaiah 14:12 (niv)
Lord, thank You for allowing me to see one of your 50+ falling stars in my life! How I loved each one of them! Your Creation, the works of Your hands, amazes me still!!
Friday, February 03, 2006
First of all, let's see the words of God:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart." (Psalm 139:23)
Packrats...do you know any? No, they are not little furry creatures that are often seen with suitcases, they are actually people just like you and me. Packrats are people who have the habit creating clutters or have a set of compartmentilization in their lives. Their personal space has been taken over by a galaxy of untidiness. Galaxy!? Look in your garage or utility room. How many boxes of items are there that have not been touched since graduation from high school, Converse shoes that will never be worn again, boxes of unread books dating back circa 1980's, and galaxies of junk.
Why do people allow a disarray of debris to invade their personal space? A couple of traits:
Lack of time
Or perhaps, you have blended all three together in your life? Household clutter takes over way too much space, diminishes energy, and creates frustration. Have you been there? Are you still there? Many of us are!
Have you ever wondered if you might be a spiritual packrat? Remember one thing: Jesus lives in us believers. If you're not a believer, consider your time, discipline and desire to talk with a minister about this. In other words, your heart is the home of Jesus Christ.
In the physical realm, packrats muddle their homes with unneeded items. Sure, we're the ones who allowed the stuff in our house in the first place, but it's important to regularly 'dejunk' our space; sort of like a Spring and Fall cleaning. But Spiritual packrats are much the same—they allow Christ's home to get crowded by unneeded items. Do you have unresolved conflicts that pile up in the corner your emotions; or unconfessed sins fill up all the closet space of your heart; and unspoken prayers litter our minds. It is crucial that we regularly 'dejunk' our spiritual lives.
If you are a spiritual packrat, maybe it's time to give Jesus a little more room in your heart. It wouldn't be pleasurable seeing mile-high stacks of books at the entrance of a home, dirty dishes left in the sink, dust-bunnies in every corner of the floor, and trash cans full to the rim. I don't think Jesus would want to reside in a room full of cobwebs and stagnant heart due to lack of faith in action. If you're a little rusty on how to 'declutter' your house (heart), here's some speed cleaning advice from God's Word.
Take note of God's Word here,
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault." (Mt. 18:15).
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." (Mt. 5:23-24)
We are responsible for resolving conflict (if we caused it or experienced it), regardless of whether or not you were the one offended. If you were hurt, go to the person; if you hurt someone else, go to the person. Simple as that!
"If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened" (Psa. 66:18)
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (1 Jn. 1:9)
When sin is left unconfessed, it's like a dirty pile of socks (ewww) that makes the room smell worse with every passing hour. Keep short accounts with God.
"Let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6)
When we fail to go to the Father with our prayers, we fall prey to worry (we talked about that last Wednesday (02/01/06) so if you missed the class on how to "Wallop Over Worry", you missed it - which then fills our lives with unnecessary stress.
David's prayer in Psalm 139:23-24 can be a wonderful beginning to a clean spiritual home in your heart as we ask God to search us, point out our wicked ways, our lukewarmness (Rev. 3:16), our lack of faith in action, and lead us in His will.
It's very tough for Christ to use you to reach your friends if He can't even find His way through your heart! Ask yourself: Does my heart need a serious cleaning? Why or why not? Which of the three areas of spiritual clutter affects me the most?