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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

THINK Before You Give

Panhandlers making $110,000 per year in Edmonton, Canada Okay, this is ridiculous: police revealed today that some panhandlers make as much as $400 CDN/day in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. That means an average of $2800/ week or $11,200/month or...$134,400/year! According to today's market, $134,400 Canadian dollars means $110,000 USD.http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/328421_beggar21.html

Monday, January 26, 2009

Let's Allow Him to Move in our Midst.....

Psalm 139:7- "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your Presence?" Proverbs 20:7- "The Lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; It searches out his inmost being." Luke 24:49- "I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.".....

Who is the Holy Spirit? He is nothing less than God Almighty. We see from these verses that He is everywhere at all times and that we can never escape His Presence, that He searches the spirit of man and knows us to the very core, and that He desires that His people wait upon Him. He knows that we absolutely require His constant Presence and makes Himself known to us, but do we allow Him to move as He would in every detail in our lives? We believe Him, yes- but do we allow Him to be what He intends to be in our lives? Remember that He always points to Christ, always testifies of Christ, always draws people, by His power, to Christ (John 15:26). He enables believers to be passionate witnesses for our Savior- and the power is HIS. Why then, do we act as if we we're ashamed of Him? Many of God's own children treat the Holy Spirit like the proverbial 'ugly stepchild'. We want to intellectualize everything spiritual and make the Holy Spirit fit into our nice, 'tidy', 'respectable' idea of our own churchianity- and then we have the gall to wonder why He doesn't move in and through us as we know He desires to!....

God have mercy on us, we must stop trying to be 'gate keepers' for the Spirit of God! We cannot use Him (remember, He is God)- rather, we have the incredible privilege of being open, willing, yielded vessels through whom He can move, yet we want to relegate Him to the back room for fear that He may do something among us which brings us out of our comfort zone- after all, what would we do if lives were actually touched and changed? What do we do if He steps out of the 'box' that we try to put Him into?....

Let's look directly into the mirror and ask ourselves, "How much of God do I really want in my life? Do I desire 'rivers of Living Water' gushing through my soul, as God would love to pour into me, or am I satisfied with an intermittent drip? We're the ones who limit Him- it is He who would do so much more in and through us, if we were only willing! Remember that as we receive, we also give out. We are the Body of Christ, and we were never meant to be stingy, either in receiving, or in giving out- that's simply not God's way of doing things. He is always robust, always so generous in His love, mercy and life changing power, and He would have us be the same- after all, we are HIS children!....

I urge every believer who senses a 'dryness' in his or her life to begin seeking- earnestly- the very heart of God. Allow His Spirit to move in you, first individually, then as a body, in a totally yielded and open manner, and ask Him to do all of the wonderful things in and through your life that He would. He will not lead you into anything silly or ridiculous, and He will never violate His Word. He WILL begin to move POWERFULLY in you, and He WILL give you a new-found adoration of Him, though. Are you up for it?

En Agape,
Pastor Jim Ewing

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Idolatry- What is OUR Golden Calf? ....

John 4:24- "God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth."
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Now, here is a verse that we all know and can easily quote, but so few believers seem to know just what it means. I want to cut to the chase on the subject of idolatry, not because it is a characteristic of a lost and dying world, but because the Church herself is presently so involved in it.
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I do not want you think that I like 'picking' at faults among the Body of Christ, because I don't, and I do not believe in seeking out problems just to have something to write about. The fact is, though, that many, many of today's Christians have such misconceptions of the nature of God, that they do not realize that we require the leading of the Holy Spirit- even in terms of how to worship our Lord. Because of these misconceptions, believers (and non-believers as well) will often reach for 'tangible' objects to worship in place of our Holy God. Sometimes this is done with the best of intentions, but it is idolatry nonetheless, and must be thoroughly avoided.
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There is absolutely no substitute for the living God in the lives of believers, and we must see that. Not our own ideas of God, not 'images' of Him, but Almighty God Himself- as He IS, not as we would have Him.....

The Israelites had such a tough time just being without Moses for a few days that they managed to convince Aaron to "make us gods, which will go before us" (Exodus 32:1-6). A golden calf was the pathetic result. What an insult to our Holy, Righteous God! You would think we'd have learned over the years that only God could satisfy our spiritual hunger, yet history is replete with examples and stories of people attempting to reach God in their 'own way', completely ignoring the fact that "God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth".

I believe that the Lord has hidden the arc of the covenant purposely, for He knew that if it had been found, generations of people would have worshipped IT instead of HIM...

The shroud of Turin is a prime example of believers worshipping something other than Christ. So what if it is genuine? He's not there! He's not in the empty tomb either, and there's nothing sacred about a tomb, no matter who was laid in it.....

Did you know that Adolf Hitler searched for years for the spear that pierced Jesus' side? Why? Did he think that it would somehow bless or protect him? It was a stinkin' spear, for goodness sakes! ...

Do you remember the big movie, "The Robe"? If not, you can probably guess what it was about. But the robe that Jesus wore had no power- HE had power. Why has that always been so difficult for the Church to understand? I'm so glad that there were no cameras in the days when Jesus walked the earth, for if t here had been, then photos of the Savior would have been worshipped, sold, looked to for help, and put in peoples' tunics for good luck- and you know that!

I've previously mentioned that there are people in certain countries who actually whip and even allow themselves to be nailed to a cross for a while during 'special' times of the year in order to get closer to the Lord. What a ridiculous display of unbelief! Why is it so hard to believe that HE took our punishment, and that none of our own efforts are of any value whatsoever? We believe the Gospel, yet we feel that we must add this or that to it, don't we? It's so difficult and so cutting to our pride to simply believe and receive what our blessed Savior has done for us, so we look to other things to make us 'spiritual' IN ADDITION to the cross and resurrection. How can you truly adore Him when you can't even believe Him?....

2 Corinthians 5:19 "...God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Now, what does He desire that our response be? The next verse tells us- "Be ye reconciled to God." So simple, right? Then why do we insist on adding to His wonderful work? When you attempt to add to the cross and resurrection, you take away from them. When you try adding to God's grace (and there are so many ways that we try), then you take away His grace, because you refuse to see that HIS work is complete and quite sufficient to have dealt with your sin FOREVER. That refusal, beloved, is IDOLATRY, and it is a stench in the nostrils of God! Stop trying- start believing. Seek HIS face. Worship HIM in Spirit and in truth. Adore Him and only Him.......

I'm going to leave you with a beautiful scripture from the psalms. "When thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." (Psalm 27:8)...Make that your prayer as you worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

God bless you,
Pastor Jim Ewing

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Moving in Christ- Dynamic vs. Static....

Luke 9:62- "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Sobering words, aren't they? But our Savior has brought us into new life, and He intends for us to walk continuously IN that life, from the moment that He wonderfully apprehends us, to the very last breath that we take. The believer was never meant to be static in this faith that God has so graciously given us- rather, we are to constantly press forward, as the apostle Paul said- "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).

Notice that I often quote Paul? It is because he realized that he was 'plucked from the fire', as it were, by the Lord- and he didn't want to waste one moment of the new life that God had given him. He was always grateful to Jesus Christ for having saved him, and it was so apparent in everythin g that he wrote, from the first of his epistles to the last. He actually desired to 'depart and be with Christ', rather than to go on living in this world (Philippians 1:23&24), thou he knew that it was more beneficial to the young body of believers in Philippi (and no doubt to the rest of the early Church) if he remained for awhile......

There is nothing more unattractive than a static believer, especially when God has given us so much to do! There are Divine appointments that God places in every believer's life, yet some of us live as though we think that we were called to sit back, relax, sing hymns, and wait for the Lord to 'rapture' us out of our Cadillac on the way to the church picnic! How sad. Where is the passion? Where is the 'fire' that seems to characterize so few of us, when it is the same Savior who calls ALL of His people from EVERY age and time to an INTIMATE relationship with Him? Well, the blame certainly d oes not fall on Christ! He has not changed (Hebrews 13:8- "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.") He still constantly woos us by His Spirit, but we must respond. Please RESPOND!.....

Now this is going to be a crude illustration, but it'll help get my point across. Back in the summer of '76, I worked in some wheat fields in eastern Washington. The farm that this man lives on had a bunch of chickens inside a short fence. One of my co-workers showed me something that amazed me- he climbed over the fence and grabbed one of the chickens, putting it's left wing over it's head (covering it's eyes), and moved that chicken in a circular, clockwise motion for just a few seconds- that's all it took. The chicken fell fast asleep, and when my friend put it back on the ground, it just lay there in a slumber. I was shown this a number of times, and even did it myself, grabbing one of the chickens, and putting it to sleep. The most fascinating about it though, was that every single time a slumbering chicken was placed back on the ground, one of the other chickens would see that it was sleeping, run over to it and 'peck' it awake! It was as if the other chickens were saying, "Hey, wake up! It's not evening- what do you think you're doing? It is daytime. You need to be awake!" ....

Well, I warned you that it would be a crude illustration, but I tell ya'- Sometimes I want to go and 'peck' certain believers awake, "Hey, wake up! It's still daytime- the night has not yet arrived...God has work for you to do! You still have breath in you- use it to pant after the Lord and to reach others while there's still time! Persue this dynamic relationship that Christ draws you to, NOW! C'mon- wake up! For the love of our Savior, WAKE UP!"

Pastor Jim Ewing

Shekinah Fellowship and Brant Baker in the Philippines part 2

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

RESISTING THE DEVIL

James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Unless a person truly submits to God, they cannot truly resist the devil. Ephesians 4:27 says, "Neither give place to the devil." When we as Christians fail to submit some area of our lives to God, we are giving place to the devil. Ecclesiastes 10:8 warns, "He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him." When there is a breach in the wall of God’s protection, all hell can break loose. It puts us on the run from the devil, instead of him being on the run from us. Rather than standing strong as the children of light, we become subject to the unfruitful works of darkness. "…Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). We reap what we sow, and if we sow to the flesh we will most certainly reap corruption.

Romans 6:16 "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness." We all sin, all the time, every day. No one is without sin, Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." We have a sin nature and so by nature we will sin. But there is a difference in the inherent sin that we resist and yet fail, as opposed to living in habitual sin. In the Old Testament, Amalek, founded a people who would later trouble Isreal, the Amalekites. They were symbolic of the flesh nature and so God commanded his people to wipe them out. The same is true today, make no covenant with the flesh, it will only bring you trouble. We are to cast down, crucify, and utterly destroy the works of the flesh. 1 Samuel 15:18 "And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed." Not merely resist, but fight against. As Christians we not only resist the devil, we crucify the flesh realm in which he dwells. "And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Galatians 5:24). "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).

When sin overtakes a saint, Satan moves in for the kill. If the person does not repent and get right with the Lord, eventually God will "…deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1 Corinthians 5:5). Sinning saints who live without resisting the devil pay an awful price, but they cannot become demon possessed, nor do they go to hell. Such a one will suffer loss, but their soul will be saved. 1 Corinthians 3:15-17 "If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." Context – Sin, loss, destroyed but saved.
A Christian cannot be demon possessed and he cannot be born again, again. Eternal life begins with accepting Christ as your personal Lord and savior and it lasts forever.

We are all very much aware of the fact that in this life we will encounter many temptations, some of which we succumb to and some of which we resist and overcome. Hebrews 12:4 says, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Most of us have not yet suffered deadly persecutions and yet we give way to sin. What would happen if the pressure was really on?

God’s grace is sufficient; His strength is made perfect in weakness. No one is perfect. Paul the apostle who wrote two thirds of the New Testament said, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (1 Corinthians 8:18). "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin" (1 Corinthians 8:24-25).

When Jesus resisted the devil on the Mount of Temptation, in Luke 4:13 it says, "And when the devil had ended all the temptations, he departed from him for a season." For a season means he came back. When we resist the devil he will flee from us temporarily but we must be ready with the shield of faith when he returns. Ephesians 6:16 instructs us to, "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

When the devil is cast out of an unbeliever, he will return to see if he can possess that same person. If he finds that house empty (void of the Holy Spirit) the Bible says he will bring seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they will enter him, Mt.12, and Luke 11. Whether we resist, bind, or cast out demons, there is no guarantee they will not regroup and return. The admonition is - we must be ready. Not by looking for the devil but by resisting him. He is a worthy adversary and we are not ignorant of his devices. When we walk in the Spirit, the battle belongs to the Lord.

Resisting for your own good is much different than binding for the good of others. I can’t think of a single case where someone demon possessed resisted the devil for themselves. It was always the authority of other believers binding the demon and spoiling his house. In Mark 3:27 Jesus taught that we must first bind the strong man, and then we will spoil his house.

In Acts 19, the seven sons of Sceva took it upon themselves to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over them which had evil spirits saying, we adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. And the evil spirits said Jesus I know and Paul I know; but who are you? Then the demon possessed man leaped on them and overcame them. The seven sons of Sceva may have had a proper understanding of the name Jesus but they lacked a personal relation with him, therefore they had no power over the devil. Technique without power means nothing, even when quoting scripture. It takes the anointing of the Holy Spirit in a believers life to bind the devil and cast him out.

The devil was bound on the Passover in Egypt to not enter any house that had the blood of the Passover lamb applied to the lintel and the two side posts of the door. There was no way the devil could violate the blood and enter that house; he was bound. The devil cannot enter a Christian because to be a Christian you must have the blood of the lamb applied to your life. We overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, Rev.12:11. In Matthew 16:18 when Jesus was speaking to Peter about himself being the rock of our salvation he said, "And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The church has the power to bind the devils activities and to destroy his works. The church is the salt of the earth; a preserving influence and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. If the devil was free to do as he pleased we would all be dead. Thank God he is bound to the limitations God has set. Jesus gave us power and authority over all the power of the enemy and then he assured us that nothing shall by any means hurt us Lk.10:19. The same authority that Jesus gave his immediate circle of disciples was later extended to all that believe. Mark 16:17 "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues."

The children of Israel never did posses all the land that God gave to them. They were comfortable on the other side of Jordan to just stay put and resist only if need be. But God commanded them to enter the Promised Land and aggressively posses it. Jesus said, Mathew 11:12, "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." The New International version reads, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." Under the Old Dispensation even John the Baptist, though so near the kingdom, was not within it. Today, more than ever before in history, repentant sinners are crowding into the Kingdom of God. Their eagerness to enter may be compared to soldiers attempting to storm a city. The New Covenant is not fading as the Old Covenant did, it is increasing. The kingdom of God is not passively resisting the devil on the wrong side of the Jordan; it is aggressively advancing towards the promises of God. The church is not winding down, but rather gaining in momentum and that will continue until the coming of the Lord. The early church was born in the power of Pentecost but will mature in the revelation of God’s word to a greater degree even than those who wrote it. The Bible is layer upon layer of truth most of which has never been tapped. I don’t believe there will ever be a 151st Psalm but until Jesus who is perfect comes I believe there is an enhanced revelation for the people of God. It is not new revelation; it is within the revelation already given. The revelation given to Paul when he was caught up to the third heaven remains a mystery. John the revelator was forbidden to write what he heard when the seven thunders uttered their voice. He was commanded to seal it up and write it not until the time of the end. Speaking of the last of the last days, Daniel 12:4 states, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Knowledge shall be increased in every way. God’s progressive revelation will ultimately lead to a vivid unveiling of his Son. When Paul was caught up to the third heaven he had only a glimpse of what he now knows and what we are about to see. Haggai 2:6-9 declares, "For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." The latter glory will be greater than that of the former.

"Ask ye the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain…" (Zechariah 10:1). Jesus said, " The harvest truly is plenteous , but the labourers are few "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will sent forth labourers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38). Harvest is always a result of rain. No matter how dark and sinful the world becomes, God still sends his workers into it. The darker it gets, the brighter we shine. We resist and bind the work of the devil so the outpouring will come, then we move in on the harvest and advance the kingdom. Isaiah 60:2 "But behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee." The latter day rain will be greater than that of the former rain because where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. Romans 5:20 "…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." In the darkest hour, great grace will be upon us and upon the people we reach. By the grace of God, we resist the devil in our own lives and by the grace of God we bind and break his curse in the lives of others. God equips us for the battle and then blesses us with the spoils of war. Some call it, ‘plundering hell to populate heaven.’ Bind the enemy and free the people. Daniel 12:3 says, "And they that be wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."

If ever there has been a time to push back the power of the devil for revival, its now. The harvest is ripe. "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered…(Joel 2:31-32).

Pastor Tilson
Shekinah Fellowship

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BINDING AND LOOSING

In Matthew 18:18 Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
In an article on "Binding and loosing," by Christian Research Institute, founded by Dr. Walter Martin the power to bind or loose was reduced to the hiring or firing of people. The article argued that Mt. 18:18 was limited only to the subject of church discipline and that Christians are in no way authorized anywhere in Scripture to bind demons. The article claims that we as Christians can only resist the devil in our own personal lives.

I see major problems with that concept of spiritual warfare. Any Christian that is active in anyway with intercessory prayer for the loosing of loved ones from the grip of Satan will understand my position. We do not merely resist the devil, we overcome him. Revelation 12:11 proclaims, "And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." Not only did they resist the devil in their own lives, but they aggressively overcame him for the lives of others.

The CRI article made heavy reference to ‘context - context – context’ claiming the context of Mt 18:18 deals with binding or loosing people, not demons. A careful examination of the verse will reveal that Jesus said whatsoever, not whosoever - "Whatsoever ye bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Mark 3:27 "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house." In context, the strong man is Satan. There are several verses in Mathew 12 and Mark chapter three where Jesus himself teaches on binding and casting out Satan.

We must put everything to the test of Holy Scripture. Do as the Bereans in Acts 17:11, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Don’t believe any person or even an angel of light that tries telling you that you have no power over the devil. Jude 1:3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

I exhort you in the Lord to be mighty through God, 2 Corinthians 10:4 "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds." In Luke 10, Jesus gave the disciples power over unclean spirits to cast them out, and in Mark 16 he gave that same power to all who believe. Luke 10:19 "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." Mark 16:17 "And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues." Notice, ‘in my name’. That is the key to understanding Jude 1:9 when Michael the archangel was contending with the devil. He did not rebuke the devil by his own power, but said," The Lord rebuke thee." It is only by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony that we can also say, ‘The Lord rebuke thee Satan’. Always keep in mind that the battle belongs to the Lord, apart from Him we can do nothing. It is in His name that we bind the work of the enemy. Philippians 4:13 promises, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Pastor Tilson

Spirit Test

January 12, 2009
TEST YOUR SPIRIT
What percent will you score?

Are tongues for everybody? No! Jesus said they are for those who believe (Mk. 16:17).
Why are tongues so important, and have you ever personally sought the gift?
If someone becomes hung up on what has been called ‘the least of the gifts’, how can they be free to receive the greater gifts?

To conduct this test of faith, simply print a copy of this document and circle the number on each list that corresponds with what you believe to be valid for today. Add up the ones you accept and your score will reflect the percentage of faith you have in each biblical statement. Then lay your score before the Lord in earnest prayer and ask for more love, more power, and more of him in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than 100%.

BEGIN TEST:
Section one:
Mark 16:17, 18 lists five signs that follow them that believe.
#1 Cast out devils.
#2 Speak with new tongues.
#3 Take up serpents (authority over demons).
#4 Drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them (hearing deceit, toxic opinions, ect).
#5 Lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.

Section two:
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 lists nine gifts of the Spirit.
#1 Word of wisdom
#2 Word of knowledge
#3 Faith
#4 Gifts of healing
#5 Miracles
#6 Prophecy
#7 Discerning of spirits
#8 Divers kinds of tongues
#9 Interpretation of tongues

Section three:
1 Corinthians 13:8 lists three criteria for the time when perfection will come and spiritual gifts will no longer be needed.
#1 Prophecies shall fail
#2 Tongues shall cease
#3 Knowledge shall vanish

Section four:
Ephesians 4:11 lists five ministry callings.
#1 Apostles
#2 Prophets
#3 Evangelists
#4 Pastors
#5 Teachers

The Bible is not partially inspired; every word of God is pure. The New Testament gifts and callings of God are as valid for today as the New Testament itself. There is nothing wrong with seeking spiritual gifts. For instance, wisdom is the first spiritual gift on the list of nine in 1 Corinthians 12. Thank God this gift is not limited to one special person in some rare case somewhere far away. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without finding fault) and it shall be given him." According to the entire Bible, wisdom is a wise gift to pursue.

1 Corinthians 14:1 exhorts, "Follow after charity and desire spiritual gifts…"
As New Testament believers we should always seek, search and desire more of God’s Holy Spirit. Every Christian should hunger to be filled with the Holy Ghost. You receive the Holy Spirit by grace when you are saved, but you can only be filled with the Holy Ghost as you yield. Jesus, in his humanity, is the only man in history that has ever been completely filled with the Spirit without measure. Unlike us, he was a totally yielded vessel. John 3:34-35 "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the son, and hath given all things into his hand." Jesus was filled without measure.

Concerning section one:
To receive from God, you must first believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. The devil has always challenged the authenticity of God’s word by casting questions of doubt upon it. Genesis is the seed bed of all truth. In the Garden of Eden the serpent said to Eve, "…Yea, hath God said…" (Genesis 3:1). When it comes to signs, wonders and miracles the serpent often uses that same lie - ‘Did God really say that?’ to deceive the church. He has managed to cast widespread doubt on the existence of Mark 16:9-20.

On the Mount of Temptation the devil offered Jesus the world, Satan’s seat of authority. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 the devil is referred to as "…the god of this world." Egypt is a type of the world. The city of Alexandria in Egypt is where the Alexandrinus manuscripts, the Codex Sineaticus and the Codex Vaticanus came from. The so called ‘older therefore more reliable manuscripts.’ They omit the latter portion of Mark 16, eliminating the appearing of Jesus, the great commission and the signs that follow the believer. The serpent ends Mark 16 at verse 8 "And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulcher; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid." They said nothing and they were afraid; period, end of story. Once again the serpent is saying, "Yea, hath God said?"

There is in existence today a Syriac translation of the Bible called the Pechitto. It predates the Alexandrian manuscripts by a couple of hundred years, 175 AD. It contains the latter portion of Mark 16. Even earlier than that in 150 AD, Iraneus, an early church father, quoted the later portion of Mk16 in his commentary, some 200 years before the Code Sineaticus. Also Hipalatus writes in the second century, the latter portion of Mark.

The manuscripts used for the King James Cannon of Scripture are known as the ‘Textus Receptus’, also called the ‘Received Text.’ They came from a city in Israel called Antioch, where believers were first called Christians and the Apostle Paul considered it to be his own home church. There are over 5,255 ancient manuscripts, 80% of these are in agreement with the Textus Receptus which includes Mark 16:9-20 as the authoritative word of God.

In another case of the serpents lie, "Yea, hath God said" read section three.

Concerning section two:
Spiritual gifts are spiritual not natural. You cannot find your gift by finding what you are good at. Chances are the gifts that God has called you to minister in are the opposite of what you are naturally inclined to be good at. Your natural talent may very well be a gift from God, but gifts of the Spirit are not natural, they are supernatural. Can anyone with the gift of miracles claim to be good at it? Can anyone with gifts of healing say they just have a knack for it?

Take the gift of the Word of Knowledge for example. Is it to read, learn and become knowledgeable? No! It is a supernatural knowledge; an impartation of information from the Holy Spirit; a secret or divinely inspired revelation of truth. It is something shared with you from God, it does not come from you nor did it originate with you. Much like the gift of tongues, it is by the Spirit that we pray with our spirit not our understanding. Some have said, "I don’t see what good it does." That is because they cannot see beyond their own limited natural ability to understand. Natural laws of gravity and logic have no place in the commencing of miracles.

Not everyone has the ministry gift of tongues that need to be interpreted, but all can participate in a simple prayer and praise language. Singing in the Spirit is certainly something that every believer can enjoy without the need for an interpreter. The whole congregation can sing in an unknown tongue all at the same time. ‘Worship’ has a uniquely different order to it than ‘teaching’ does. Each participant offers praise to God corporately in a private and personal way. Paul the apostle said, "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (1Corinthians 14:15). He prayed and sang with his spirit by the Holy Spirit that was within him. We are told in
1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing and in Jude 20 to build up ourselves on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. When our spirit prays, we are praying in the Spirit, as Jude 20 proclaims, ‘in the Holy Ghost’. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit…(Romans 8:16). To pray in the Spirit is most likely prayer in its purest form. We by faith speak forth the wonderful works of God. A prayer language in an unknown tongue is just as much a gift for every believer today as the gift of wisdom or faith.

Concerning section three:
Genesis 3:1 "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" The serpent rearranged what God had said and then tempted Eve with knowledge and told her that her eyes would be opened. This is an amazing parallel with how he has twisted 1 Corinthians 13 to declare ‘that which is perfect’ is the Bible and that it has replaced spiritual gifts. His lie purports that perfection has come, we have all knowledge, and we no longer see through a glass darkly. He leads people to believe their vision is no longer obscured and they know even as they are known. In short, they have arrived, their eyes are opened and they are like gods.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 must be kept in context. When Jesus comes we will see him face to face. Until then we only know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect has come (Jesus) then that which is in part (gifts) shall be done away. In context, three out of three things must occur; all three criteria are in the same verse. Prophecies shall fail, tongues will cease, and knowledge will vanish. You cannot pick and choose one over the other, all three happen simultaneously. If you despise the gift of prophecy and say that it has failed or forbid to speak with tongues and say they have ceased, what do you do with the rest of the verse, ‘knowledge shall vanish.’ The Old Testament predicts that in the last days knowledge will increase (Daniel 12:4). God’s progressive revelation to man will continue until the revelation of Jesus Christ is complete, not when the Bible was completed. The Bible is the inspired record of God’s gradual revelation of Himself.

The Bible is not one book, but many. The term ‘Cannon’ came to be used in connection with the books of the Bible in about the fourth century. The word ‘Cannon’ is Greek, and denoted originally a measuring rod or line. Later it came to mean a standard of measurement, and last of all the space covered by such a measure. The perfection or completeness of the Cannon of Scripture is the 66 books that were marked off from all other books. This collection of books occupied a special place; a standard of measure or space covered by such a measure. The Cannon of Scripture is complete but the final unveiling of Christ is yet future. When Jesus who is perfect has come, every eye will see him. We will be transformed at his coming. Then we shall be like him. This corruption will put on incorruption and we will no longer see through a glass darkly, for we shall see him face to face.

Concerning section four:
The five fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11 says what it means and means what it says. Apostolic authority and the prophetic ministry are in the realm of the supernatural therefore the religious mind of man has in modern times rejected them. Reason and logic have replaced the anointing. The five fold ministry has been reduced by many denominations to three: Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.

Apostles are sent ones with an anointing to start church’s. The original twelve apostles of the Lamb never at any time spoke disparagingly of the gifts and callings of God. The apostle Paul advised Timothy to "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (1 Timothy 4:14). And then he exhorts him to "…do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." Not everyone is called to specifically be an evangelist, but we are all called to evangelize, it’s the great commission. Not everyone is called to specifically be a prophet but 1 Corinthians 14:31 says, "For ye may all prophecy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted." Not everyone is called to the office of a prophet as a seer, however, all may have a measure of prophetic insight and inspiration. If you are saved, you have the testimony of your conversion. That alone involves the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10 says, "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

God has always had prophets, Old Testament prophets and New Testament prophets. Acts 3:21 says speaking of Jesus, "Whom the heavens must receive until the restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by his holy prophets since the world began." Notice, ‘since the world began.’ Amos 3:7 states, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

Peter quoted the prophet Joel as saying that in the last days your sons and daughters shall prophesy (Acts 2:17). If the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was a one time event limited to only the single day, the prophet Joel would not have said ‘Days.’ The best spokesman concerning The Day of Pentecost, which was the beginning of spiritual gifts to the church, would be Peter himself, the speaker that day. He declared in Acts 2:17 what the prophet Joel had prophesied and then in verse 39 he expounded on who and when this outpouring would occur, "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." The outpouring of Pentecost extends to all that are afar off (future generations) who call upon the name of the Lord; your sons and daughters and their children’s children. The same power of the Holy Ghost that was present at the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost will last for the life of the church throughout the ages to come (during the church age). "And it shall come to pass in the last days saith God, "I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 2:17). It would seem very difficult to me to say that prophecy is not a valid gift for the last days when God said by the mouth of Joel that it would be, ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days SAITH GOD’.

When we read in the Word of God ‘thus saith the Lord’, or ‘these things are the commandments of the Lord’ we had better shelf our opinions and listen. I Corinthians 14:37-40 "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order." Paul did not say to eliminate these things to keep decency and order, he said, "Let all things (these things) be done decently and in order."

Do you covet to prophesy (earnestly desire and set your hearts on prophesying)? If not, why? Do you accept the Apostle Paul’s teachings as the commandments of the Lord and take his advice? If so, you will be eager to prophesy and you will follow his teaching as the commandment of the Lord which clearly states, do not forbid speaking in tongues. Do the words of Paul taken straight from the Bible stir your heart to desire all the gifts of the Spirit including prophesy, unknown tongues and the interpretation of tongues, or are they repulsive to you?

The purpose of this test is to confront you with the scriptures that will in turn cause you to confront yourself. Why do most Christians forbid speaking in tongues when Paul clearly cautioned them not to?

In Revelation 2:19 Jesus said, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Have you developed a deaf ear?

Can you receive and personally acknowledge that the things Paul taught concerning the gifts and callings of God are true? Again, I quote the words of Paul, I Corinthians 14:37 "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write are the commandments of the Lord."

By reading 1 Corinthians, chapters 12-14 regarding spiritual gifts, you can see that Paul was dealing with a lot of controversy and hostile opinions. Chapter 12 begins with, "Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I would not have you ignorant." Chapter 14 ends with, "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant."

Seek, search and desire the Holy Ghost and may the Lord richly bless you in your search,

Pastor Tilson

Friday, January 09, 2009


Smith once broke down and admitted he was a fraud

Testimony of Smith family neighbor and friend of Joseph Smith:
“In the month of August, 1827, I was hired by Joseph Smith, Jr. to go to Pennsylvania, to move his wife’s household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife then was.”
“When we arrived at Mr. Hale’s, in Harmony, Pa. from which place he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself, truly affecting. His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: “You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for money — pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.”"

Ahh the maze of Mormonism...

Related:

Unity?


Picture of what I imagine some ministries must look like to Jesus Christ. 


The picture says to me,"We are a separate entity of the body of Christ and not truly a part of the whole. We are not on the same team as you, therefore you should beware of us because we will hurt you...bad!"

Who are they actually serving? Are they serving themselves or are they honestly serving the Lord? Who bleeds from this unChrist like behavior?

Romans 16:17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

1 Corinthians 1:10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 3:3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

1 Corinthians 11:18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

Denominations are not scriptural and can never be supported anywhere in the scriptures. There is only one Body of Christ and many local churches within the one body of believers in reality.

How truly sad it is when one portion of the Body of Christ works against another portion. 

We recently got to see this in action here...it was heart breaking.
All of us are still here upon this earth after accepting the salvation that Jesus Christ purchased by His blood on the cross. We are all still here for one purpose, to fulfill the great commission. We are all to work in unity to accomplish the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mark 16:15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
When a church or ministry like the one pictured above threatens another for doing it's best to obey the injunction to spread the Gospel, what then? What have we become? Where is the fruit?
All of us are in service of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of us should be doing our best to work as a team in unity to preach the Gospel.
Are we doing that? Or are we building our own little kingdoms and protecting those kingdoms from others?
Just exactly who are we serving? Ourselves or the Lord?
Search our hearts Lord. Psalm 51:7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Have mercy on us, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out our transgressions.

Wash away all our iniquity and cleanse us from our sin.


Dear Lord help us to walk in unity in Christ. May we be bearers of Your presence to those who know You not. Let our light shine as we seek to be Your representatives to the world around us. May we walk in forgiveness and grace towards our fellow man and woman.

We know that forgiveness expresses our trust in God's right to judge according to His perfection and goodness.

In Matthew 18, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a king who decided to settle his accounts. A servant who owed a staggering amount of money pleaded for mercy.

Soon after the king canceled his dept, that servant tracked down a man who owed him far less than what he'd owed the king.

When word got back to the king, the wicked servant was imprisoned because of his own unforgiving spirit.

Chosing to forgive doesn't condone sin, excuse the wrongs done to us, or minimize our hurts.

Offering forgiveness simply frees us to enjoy God's undeserved gift of mercy, as we invite Him to accomplish beautiful works of peace-restoring grace in our lives and our relationships.

Perhaps you who are reading this have become aware of an area of your life that you have harbored unforgiveness. 

You have set up your battlements and charged your cannons.

The Lord would have you to lay down your swords and repent.

For you have only assured your own judgment before the King.

" Lord help us give our grievances to You so that You may turn them into something good. Make us ready to forgive completely and earnestly.

Give us your spirit of unity."

Amen






Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Holy Spirit...

I have had a number of interesting conversations over the years with other Christians concerning the Holy Spirit. All believers that I have spoken with have agreed on the need to depend upon Him, that He leads us as we make ourselves available to Him, and that without Him, no one can come to Christ in true faith. Yet as we get into the details, I've found that born again Christians have some very different ideas, even among themselves, about the third Person of the Trinity, largely formed by what they had been taught by church leadership at the beginning of their walk with Christ.

The most prevalent view that I've come across over the years is that the Holy Spirit moves very differently now than He did in bible times, and that it is because we now have the completed canon of scripture and that the gifts of the Spirit in particular are no longer needed for that reason. Now, I confess that I actually fell into that line of thinking for a number of years after having become disgusted with some of the fleshly displays and attitudes that I'd witnessed in some Pentecostal churches and in some circles of believers. That protracted experience though, actually worked to cause a deeper hunger in my spirit for the moving of God's Spirit in my own life, and for the wonderful Presence of the Living God that I had previously known. I thank God to this day for continuing to draw and woo me as He did through those lean times.

Now, I want to be clear here- The years that I had abandoned my belief in the need for the gifts of the Spirit in this day and age were lean, lonely times... I began seeking the Presence of the Lord more earnestly and started to cultivate the gift of tongues once again, and I could sense that God was freer to use me in any way He wanted to- which brought me face to face with the questions, How could it be that the gifts are no longer necessary? Is moving in the gifts of the Spirit something that was once needed only because the Bible was not yet complete? Do we not need physical as well as spiritual healing today? How about discerning of spirits? Faith? Word of wisdom? Word of knowledge? Do we forget about casting out demons because it's now the 21st century, or did they cease to exist as soon as the canon of scripture became complete?....

Let's be real- we're engaged in a life and death battle here. We must allow God to use us as He wills, and we must begin now! Pray in the Spirit. Seek His face with all your heart. Read through the New Testament and see how freely the Spirit of God moved in and through His people- then tell me that God doesn't do that anymore! Tell me we don't need that today!

Read the biographies of great men and women of God in the past, and you'll soon long for that closeness, that intimacy, that passion for the Lord that these people had, and that YOU TOO can have. They didn't worry about being 'respectable' or 'poised and composed' or 'intelligent'. They wanted Christ, and they wanted Him with every fiber of their beings! Not socially acceptable? They couldn't have cared less- the Holy Spirit had a grip on them that they would never let go of, and we would do well to imitate their examples!...

Seek His face. Let Him move in and through you...
Be willing to be used of God to the fullest!
.
En Agape,
Pastor Jim Ewing

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

bored

friends

Shocking

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/world/africa/01pirates.html?_r=1

Pat Robertson Does It Again

Mormon Cult

What I found made my life come crashing down around me. I found that the Masonic and the LDS temple ceremonies, were VERY similar. TOO much alike. This really bothered me. Then I found that Joseph Smith was first initiated into the Masonic rite on March 15, 1842. (History of the Church vol 4, pg 550-552) The following May 1842, Joseph revealed the LDS temple endowment ceremony. The coincidence was just too much. I kept asking the question about why didn't God give him the ceremony BEFORE he had gone to the masons?

A True Mission Field

Japan Suicide Hotline Gets 700,000 Calls Per Year
theaustralian.news.com.au — Japan's hotline for people considering killing themselves is stretched to its limit, with the economic crisis feared to be worsening the country's suicide problem, its director says. A national suicide hotline run by the Telephone Lifeline association is struggling to meet demand, with 7,000 volunteers handling some 700,000 calls a year.

Finally a 'chain' email that is worthy

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Nehemiah 8:10....

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength. Now, I'm not going to tell you anything here that you don't already know, but we all need to be reminded, especially when things in our lives seem the roughest and there is no way out, that no matter what- The joy of the Lord is your strength.
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Our circumstances must never be our strength, because they can change so quickly, as can our surroundings, our moods, our desires. The world depends on superficial and transitory things for strength because those things are all that they have, or else they imagine something bigger than themselves, but usually something quite general (non-specific) that may see them through, but the believer has as his or her Protector the One Who spoke the universe (and everything in it) into existence, and His reality is not simply imagined.

God never promised us a rose-covered pathway (I know that from experience, and so do you!), but He does promise us that He will never leave us or forsake us- EVER. We must always remember that... As believers, we need to keep in mind that He is ALWAYS with us- every moment that we live, and then the very moment that we breathe our last- He takes our hand and brings us to Himself, for all eternity...Yes, we are in very good Hands, indeed!......
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The biggest problem that we have concerning this truth is that we don't spend enough time contemplating His Presence. You notice I didn't say that we don't spend enough time IN His Presence, for we are ALWAYS in His Presence, but we need to ponder this fact, and trust that He knows our estate, that nothing that happens in our life escapes His Knowledge and attention....
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Easy to say when things are going smoothly, isn't it? But it is true in the most absolute sense, regardless of our present circumstances. Is there a secret to always knowing His Presence and care? Well, the very Son of God didn't simply rest in the fact that He knew who He was, He sought the Father EARLY, before the crowds came. He coveted the Presence of His Father! Do we covet the Presence of our heavenly Father?
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How about King David, "O God. thou art my God; EARLY will I seek Thee, my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." (Psalm 63:1)......

Do we pant after Him like the deer panteth after the water (psalm 42:1)? Do you feel it as you read it? Now, tell me- is there a 'secret' to always knowing God's Presence and care- to always trusting God, no matter what? Read what the scripture tells us, and ponder the depths of His wonderful Word. His Spirit is bearing witness with what you have read. Seek Him early, and with all your heart....

En Agape,
Pastor Jim Ewing

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Music4us.com

For years I could find nothing related to Brant Baker or Shekinah Fellowship until I came upon Susan's mention of Shekinah.

Susan Dixon's website highlighted.

Today's webpage for Shekinah Fellowship:
Shekinah Fellowship Long Beach, California 1975-1981
This webpage is dedicated to the Lord and for all the faithful people that participated in Shekinah Fellowship.http://www.music4us.com/shekinah.htm

Susan's first webpage appeared on or around Dec 5th 1998 http://web.archive.org/web/19981205112653/http://www.music4us.com/

Jan 25th 1999
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://Music4us.comRandy and I have been involved in two healing ministries: "Shekinah Fellowship" from 1975-1981 which was based in Long Beach, California. We started out seeking a healing for my illness. I had thrombophlebitis (blood clots) in my legs and had been hospitalized. The Lord healed me during one of their services. Through that life changing experience, we became choir members and eventually had the wonderful opportunity to pray for people in the congregation. I also became Rev. Brant Baker's personal secretary for a duration of two years. Also we were in "Life In The Spirit Ministries" with Rev. Patti Damus for one year and traveled with her to various outreach ministries. From 1981 to 1991 we attended Toluca Lake Trinity Church in Burbank, California of which we were choir members; on the prayer team during church services; I was head of the Tuesday night Prayer meetings for about a year and we were also Deacon and Deaconess for two years. Our pastor, Rev. Walter Wentworth retired and we also moved that same year, so it became very difficult to attend the same church. Since then, we have visited various churches in the San Fernando Valley and February 22, 1998 we settled down at Valley Foursquare Church in Northridge, California. We also just started visiting LAIC, (Los Angeles International Church) a dynamic growing and on fire church for the Lord in the heart of Los Angeles reaching the homeless and people in the inner city. Randy and I don't know where God is leading us right now, but we are blessed by both churches in great and mighty ways.

Oct 16 2000
First actual Shekinah Fellowship page
http://web.archive.org/web/20011122133556/music4us.com/shekinah.htm

We bless this woman of God and pray that she will prosper in the coming new year.

Look What Religion Built



Although the Soviets worked hard to remove new crosses, and bulldozed the site at least three times, the new crossess continued to appear and by 1985 the authorities had given up.
Related:
CLICK IMAGE

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Could you live like Jesus for a year? This pastor tried

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-01-01-jesus-year_N.htm

Good Quality Vid



Related:

The Gospel Of John Part Five


John 1:13
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.(KJV)

We are in the family of God as a free gift from God. He sought after us when we knew Him not. He sent His messengers after us with the Gospel. He never gives up on us. We are ultimately His fruit. He gets all the glory and all the credit. It is God's will for us to be in His family. He has adopted us. And we now have many brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers in this vast family of God. We are born again.

The "Personal Kingdom Builders" (of which there are many that you would not even suspect) do not want you to go to other churches. They want you to stay within the confines of their belief structure in "their" church. They are fearful that you might go and stay somewhere else. Which would mean possibly a loss of tithe income for their kingdom. But if they were truly serving God there would be no reason to keep you from exploring our wonderful family the Body of Christ.

I like to visit other churches to see how that part of my family worships and conducts itself. I like to meet other brothers and sisters in Christ. We are one Body, no matter where we meet together. Too often, where a Christian fellowships is over emphasized.

And there seems to be an unspoken message that if you do not fellowship where I fellowship then somehow we can not fellowship together. But there is only one family of Believers, and many meeting places. We have to remember that each and everyone of the meeting places got their start from some doctrinal viewpoint and will reflect that viewpoint. We must be open to one another as the body of Christ. It is not what we know about Jesus that brings us together. It is that we know Jesus that brings us together.

Rom 12:4-54 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office.5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.(KJV)

1 Cor 6:1717 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.(KJV)

1 Cor 10:1717 For we being many are one bread, and one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread.(KJV)

1 Cor 12:12-27]
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.(KJV)

Eph 2:16-22
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
(KJV)

Col 3:15
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be thankful.(KJV)

1 John 1:77
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Jesus is the light. Are you walking in Him? Then you can have fellowship with anyone in the Body of Christ no matter where they fellowship. I believe that you will fellowship where you are getting spiritually fed. I know that I will not stay where I am not getting fed spiritually.
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We are a part of the greatest family of all time. Act like it and visit your family openly and freely. Enjoy each other for you will be together for all eternity. Some would discourage visiting the other members of the Body of Christ by calling you names like "Lone ranger" or a "spiritual nomad", ignore them. For they are only interested in building their own little kingdom with their own Christian 'brand name' and not truly participating in the One Body Of Christ.
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I believe that it is very healthy for you to explore the Body of Christ. I always encourage it! You can still fellowship where you are getting fed. And you should give your tithe and support where you are getting fed. I am not saying God wants you to not belong to one particular church. What I am saying is that it is acceptable to celebrate our diverse family while attending our church of choice.

I pray that God would tear down all churches that would capture portions of the Body of Christ and deliberately keep them from interacting and dialoguing with the full family of God. One of the main signs of a cult is that you are made to think that you are superior and separate from the rest of the Body of Christ. Watch out for this. It is a party spirit. Do not allow it to happen to you. Visit your Christian Family. Always have an open heart for all believers in Christ Jesus!

This next verse says it like it is. The churches of Christ salute you the reader, a member of God's great family. And beware of personal kingdom builders who would seek to separate you from the rest of the Body of Christ.

Rom 16:16-18
16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (KJV)

1 Cor 3:4-9
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.(KJV)

"When one comes from one church to another, often they do not agree with the vision and goals of the new church. Sadly, they do not understand that even though different ministries and churches have different goals, different visions, different emphases does not make one right and another wrong. God has placed differences in His body so that we can meet different needs and complement one another, not compete with one another. Just as there are different callings on individuals, churches also have special callings. One ministry might emphasize deep worship, healing, and pastoral care; another might be more directed toward teaching and mission outreach; another might specialize in prophecy, the end times, and restoration. It is important for every Christian to be a part of a church body that has a similar calling and spirit to his."

(Dr. Gary L. Greenwald "The Spiritual Dynamics of Relationships" pg 47.)

All communities have their own needs and the local churches of these communities are tailored to meet those numerous needs. So there will be differences in the local mission and vision of these churches. Jesus Christ shows His glory through each church. Our Almighty Father desires that His church be the light set upon a hill in these days of uncertainty and darkness.

It never has been His plan for government to meet every need. He desires that all humankind would turn to Him, the one true God and His people in this crucial hour we find ourselves in. The ultimate bailout is Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Be servants with servant hearts. Serve the Body Of Christ with the gifts He has given to you. This is the end time harvest that we are in. Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.

Find a local church where you can be fed. The relationships we all have to one another benefits when we grow to love and appreciate the uniqueness of the different parts of the Body Of Christ. Our interaction with one another cross pollinates and keeps all of us spiritually healthy. Christ character shines in His church when we are in unity.

Truly the Gospel is the only hope for a dying world. All of us only have one life time to give. We will never again have the opportunity to share Jesus Christ with the lost. When we are on the cutting edge of the church in evangelism we are in complete compliance to Christ desire to save the world.

Isaiah 43:10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
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Isaiah 43:12I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.
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Isaiah 44:8Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
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Matthew 22:9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
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Matthew 28:19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
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Matthew 28:19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
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Pastor David Sloane

Friday, January 02, 2009

A picture illustrating the oft-mentioned 600 mile radius around the Yellowstone Caldera that'll get the Pompeii treatment when it goes off.

The Gospel Of John Part Four

John 1:99
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.(KJV)
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Christ was the true light. Not John. Not us. Christ is the source of light. There are many around who claim that they are the light. Meditators, chanters, channeled spirits, and a host of others will claim to be the light. But they are not the light. Christ makes our hearts pump, not us.
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John 1:1010
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.(KJV)
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The ultimate tragedy is spiritual blindness. It can rob us of salvation through Jesus Christ. The maker of the world shows up, the light of the world, and this polluted world can't even see Him. Even a dog knows his master. The creator of the earth walked in the midst of the people He created and they could not see Him. They were not aware that He created them.
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John 1:11
11 He came unto his own and his own received him not.(KJV)
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The people around Jesus Christ in these scripture verses were not aware that He was actually God the Master Creator walking in their midst. They missed out on a walk with God. They were essentially blinded to reality. They had no awareness of the truth of what was real around them. You could say that their focus was off.We who are the people of the Lord are to be aware of His presence and His hand at work in our lives. We have got to get our focus on the Lord and magnify Him. (Psalms 34:3)
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Develop an awareness of the Lord in your life.There are many things competing for your focus, trying to draw you away from the Lord. Are you aware of them or are you aware of the Lord? Are you determined to keep your eyes on Him? Do you know him? When you bow the knees of your heart in prayer do you have an encounter with the Risen Living Christ? Some well intentioned churches are seeking after the "blessing" of God and not fully after the one who blesses.
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John 12:21
21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

Song of Solomon 2:9

9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. (KJV)

We look through the lattice for Jesus, not at the lattice, or we will miss Him. These men wanted to see Jesus, they were not going to miss Him in their midst. There has to be an absolute resolve within your heart that says, "I would see Jesus. I want to know your presence Lord. I want to really know you. I do not want to miss out on what you are doing around me. Open my eyes that I might see. I am determined to keep my focus on the Lord and the things of God. I will turn away from those things that draw me away from the Lord. I will walk with God".

John 1:1212 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:(KJV)

Here we have the ones who are aware that Jesus is Lord. They welcome Him with open and accepting hearts. The result is that He gives them the authority to be God's children. It is not enough to say I know His name. We have to believe on His name. Which means trusting in Him and relying on Him. Looking to Him in all things and for all things. Standing next to a ladder and saying, "I know that this is a ladder", is not the same as standing on that ladder and committing your entire weight to it and having it hold you up. Saying that bungee jumping is safe is one thing. And actually jumping out into the air, trusting the large rubber band to hold your weight is another.

Is Christ holding you up? Are you trusting Him, are you resting in Him?

You are a child of God not because of the church you go to, not because of the organization you belong to, not because of your traditions, not because of the religious things that you do. Only by receiving and believing in Jesus can we become children of God. We on our own accept Christ. We on our own walk with Christ and we on our own will stand before Christ at the end of this life. We alone are responsible for what we do with Christ. Let Christ be your Savior. Let Christ be your redeemer. Let Christ be the Lord of your life. Trust Christ fully and you will find Him Faithful in all things.