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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Harvard Study: From 1930s-2004, NY Times called waterboarding torture in 81.5% of articles, LA Times in 96.3%. Yet from 2002‐2008, NYT did so in only 1.4% and LA Times in 4.8%. The WSJ? 1.6% (1 of 63 articles) and USA Today never called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture. [PDF]
Bible translators hope to have every language covered in 15 years
The Cross in Our Bodies

This is a pretty neat story and an interesting thing that few of us know. It's brief, so please read. (FROM A DOCTOR)

A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio... And I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned.

He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is... How He spoke the universe into being... Etc. Etc. Then He went on to speak of how this universe-creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) . And I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking..'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???'

Tthe God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart...how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.

And then I lost my breath. And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either!!!

It was because he started talking about laminin. I knew about laminin.. Here is how Wikipedia describes them: 'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue' You see.... Laminins are what hold us together... LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already. But what I didn't know is what they LOOKED LIKE..

But now I do. And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already)....Here is what the structure of laminin looks like... AND THIS IS NOT a 'Christian portrayal' of it.... If you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature,

Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!! Amazing. The glue that holds us together.... ALL of us..... Is in the shape of the cross. Immediately Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.

He is before all things, and in him All things HOLD TOGETHER.'
Colossians 1:17

. Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, P aul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint,we are held together... One cell to another.... By the cross.

You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything o ther than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin 'glue' would look like!!
'God particle' sounds like coins in a wine glass
telegraph.co.uk — Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) say they have replicated the noise that may be created when the Higgs Boson particle is made - the sound of coins spinning in a wine glass.
Larry Arthur and David Sloane

Karen T and David Sloane possibly early 1973.

Monday, June 28, 2010

1 Thessalonians 1:5-7 "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia."...

What a beautiful clip of scripture this is! Once again Paul is telling his converts plainly, honestly and humbly, that he had from the beginning presented the gospel to them as it is always meant to be presented- "not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost." Now, 'in power' and 'in the Holy Ghost' are really the same thing. The Holy Spirit always comes to us 'in power', be it for salvation, comfort, Word of Wisdom or Knowledge, rebuke, chastizement, or whatever- because He is, as are the Father and the Son, Almighty God. Paul adds, 'and in much assurance'. This assurance that he speaks about comes from the knowledge that the Spirit of God is backing them up, as He always will as we faithfully and accurately give out His Word.

Paul also presented the Word 'in much assurance' because, as we've seen in previous studies, he had received his commission from Christ Himself, and he KNEW the Gospel! He wasn't presenting worldly programs, graphs, charts, schemes or promises of health and wealth. Remember, back when our Lord apprehended Paul and forever changed his life on the road to Damascus, the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, hadn't revealed Himself to Paul as an idea or a philosophy or as a system of do's and don't's- He simply revealed Himself, and that's exactly what the world desperately needs this very hour- the pure revelation of Christ! The Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us, and He wants us to know and realize the state that we are in (all of us, as individuals helplessly lost in sin) so that we will cry out to Him and receive both the forgiveness of all our sins, and from that moment on- uninterrupted eternal life.....

Paul also mentions the way he had behaved before them, and how as a result they became followers of him, and of the Lord, and 'receiving the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost', they actually became examples to other believers. Despite of their very rough circumstances, they stood true. Beloved, this is contagious Christianity! Nothing less than the Holy Ghost backed preaching and presenting the resurrected Savior will do. Paul knew this, and his followers knew it.....

May the worldwide Body of Christ in this hour also know it.

En Agape,
I want to add a brief P.S. to pastor David Sloane's "Money Grows On Trees" message http://shekinahfellowship.blogspot.com/2008/07/money-grows-on-trees.html
from a while back. There's a certain teaching that I remember as a young Christian back in 1975 that troubled me, even as a very young believer. Well, time has moved on, and this 'teaching' has infiltrated a good portion of the Body of Christ by now, and the saddest part of this whole subject is that once again, the pure glorious Gospel of the salvation message- the message that, for over 2000 years has, by the power of the Holy Spirit been drawing millions of lost souls to the Savior for the forgiveness of sins, and the impartation of eternal life (the only kind of life, by the way, that God gives) has yet again been compromised by a number of slick 'preachers and teachers'........

In the past it was the judiazers, the gnostics, direct demonic attack in various forms (attacks which continue to this very day), cultic influence and the like, but today there is a not so subtle mutation of the Gospel called the 'prosperity doctrine', also known by genuine believers as the 'name it- claim it' or 'blab it and grab it' teaching......

The idea is in truth occultic in essence, yet many people follow it as if it were a genuine biblical doctrine. Sad- very sad. The deception makes me want to cry when I see once Christ-adoring believers fall for the enemy's prosperity lie, but God didn't call me to cry and be depressed, He called me to call out this garbage and point to it's error. Pastor Sloane already gave a beautiful denunciation of it, and so I'll just add a small bit here.....

Matthew 10:38&39 says, "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it." The 'prosperity' crowd claims that, as believers, we have a right to live like 'king's kids'! Now, where do you find that in scripture? The passage that I just referred to stands in direct opposition to that line of thinking, doesn't it? This kind of heresy is what people will fall for when their love of Christ grows cold. Hebrews 13:5 says, "Let your conversation (behavior, manner of living) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee' ".

You see? We must continue to pursue and cultivate our love for Christ Himself, or our love and devotion to Him will wax cold and we will cease to love Him out of a pure heart. When that happens, we will begin to look to other things for our satisfaction- things that will never satisfy our soul- never! Because only Christ can truly do that.....

Do you see why the 'prosperity' teaching must be forcefully refuted and denounced by all honest believers? Listen to what 1 Timothy 6:5&6 say- "Perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain." Beloved, do not be fooled- look to Jesus for all things, and avoid the covetous attitude that is encouraged by these people.....

Perhaps the scariest thing about this teaching is the fact that it's followers are told that faith is a force, and that your words are carriers of that force, so that you basically create your own reality- good or bad- with your words. Therefore, according to these false teachers, if you 'confess' positive things, then positive things will happen in your life, and if you confess negative things- well, I think you get the picture. This teaching is pure occult, sprinkled with Christian jargon.....

Christian, believe the Gospel, love Jesus with all your heart, trust Him only, and He will keep you and protect you from such aberrant teaching, which comes from the pit and smells like smoke.

En Agape,
Pastor Jim Ewing

A comment from the late Dr. Walter Martin"You can always tell a wolf by his diet." "A Wolf Eats Sheep"
Quench not-the Spirit being a holy fire: "where the Spirit is, He burns" [Bengel]
To quench is to extinguish or put out a fire. God implies the holy spirit in us is as a fire and should not be dampened.
Matthew 3:11:I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Hebrews 12:29:For our God is a consuming fire.

It is interesting to note that on the day of Pentecost the apostles saw a vision of "tongues as of fire." They then manifested forth the new spirit within by speaking in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).

We have been given so much ability to exercise the power of God. Our freedom of will determines how much of that power we will bring forth.

We have the powerful Word of God at our disposal as well as the spirit of God within us. People hear a lot of words spoken but rarely do they see the genuine power of God unless a believer is manifesting it. God wants us to use it not quench it.
I Corinthians 2:4 and 5:And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

The connection in which the exhortation, "Quench not the Spirit" occurs, shows to what it refers. The next sentence is, "Despise not prophesyings." It has to do with the gifts of the Spirit and their exercise in the holy liberty and power of the Spirit.

"Quench not the Spirit" would go further, and warns us against any attempt to shut out, or impose limits on the free action of the Holy Spirit in the gifts He has entrusted to the saints. The word quench means to suppress or stifle. "Quench not"--as if it were a candle flame,--a fire, which might be extinguished.
Don’t throw cold water on someone else who is operating under the power and fire of God!
Do not throw water on yourself from doing the same thing by resisting the move of the Spirit and smothering it out.
The Pharisees restrict the flow of spiritual experiences until religion becomes a purely intellectual and theological exercise, and the Spirit is quenched. Pharisaism was heretical in spite of its theological correctness.The Pharisee's real problem was that they drastically overvalued the role of theology in spiritual life and made theological correctness the chief religious virtue. They had a man~given confidence in their theology. Their faith became intellectualized. Their center of faith moved from the heart to the head. A sign of this was the way that they bombarded Jesus with theological questions.
The Pharisee's self~evaluation was that they were on the forefront of what God was doing for Israel. Jesus judgement of them was different:
Matthew 23:29-33 (King James Version)
29Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
30And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Although they believed themselves to be the protectors of orthodoxy, the Pharisees were really the opponents of the Holy Spirit. All Pharisaism contains tragic elements of missed opportunities.They stood in the way of the person of the Holy Spirit at work.
They are "witch hunters" who like to point out errors and win their case.
On the other hand, well meaning workers in ministry want to help individuals from being presumptuous. When Christians begin to appropriate specific promises in Scripture as being applicable to themselves and nothing happens they can become very confused and disillusioned. Yes the Holy Spirit can and does speak to individuals, and it is often through Scripture. But one must use discernment, is it really the voice of God or is it presumption?
We want to encourage and to inspire others to move out in the power of the Holy Spirit while helping them to avoid presumption. A very fine line, if we are not careful we could 'throw the baby out with the bath water.'
Many people were upset with Jesus because He claimed to know the mind and heart of God, to speak directly for God, to reveal God's mind and heart towards an individual or group of individuals. Therefore they threw Him out with the bathwater! They missed Jesus Christ, Almighty God the Master Creator because of their resistance to what He was and what He was saying. They clung tightly to their orthodoxy and their drastically overvalued theology and therefore they missed Jesus for who He truly is.
Are we upset at those who attempt to have an active faith idealism?
Ephesians 3:20 (New King James Version)
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.
I like that, "ask or think." What are the implications of this scripture? Can we have faith with a vision? Can we think while using our minds eye to see our thoughts realized. Can we see ourselves ministering to others before it happens? Lonnie Frisbee did and look what he accomplished in his short life time.
Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
God does call us to serve Him. He does give us a hope for a future. If you know that you know, that He has called you to a task. And you hold that vision dear, what will be the result?
There will be opposition from those who hold to rigid legalistic rules with tight boundaries. "You can't do that! Your a dreamer!"
Genesis 37:5And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
And yet Joseph was the deliverance for all of his brothers and their kin.
Do you have a vision a dream? Are you willing to suffer the contempt of others as you pursue your dream, your vision? Will you hold true to your vision and your dream through the years knowing that our God cannot lie?
Titus 1:2In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
You know that you know, that God has planted a vision and a dream within you. A passion! Circumstances matter nothing whatsoever in the light of what God has placed within you. You know your God. You know what He has done and what He is capable of doing.
Sight is a function of the eyes; vision is a function of the heart. You don't see anything happening at all and yet you know that you know that God will perform that which He has promised. You see what will be.
You know what will be!
"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
King Solomon Proverbs 29:18
Do you have a vision? Jesus had a vision and He knew it.
"For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth."
John 18:37
It is important for you to know your vision. To know what you are meant to do. What has God prepared you for?
Don't bury your dreams. Don't give up on your God given vision. You have a reason and a purpose for your life and you know it.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."
Ecclesiastes 9:10
Your purpose is your passion. It gives you hope and keeps you going because you know that what God has given to you to accomplish cannot be stopped by anyone! You are immortal here on earth until God's will in your life has been accomplished.
But you have to fight for it, you have to believe in it, you have to put your whole might behind it. You have to stay in the race and see it to completion.
You have to believe in the gift or gifts that God has placed within you. "A man's gift...brings him before great men." Proverbs 18:16.
"For this reason I remind you to fan to a flame the gift of God, which is in you." 2 Timothy 1:6
You have a human responsibility to fan to a flame your gift. Stir up the gift of God. No one can activate your gift but you. You have to do it yourself.
You do this by reason of usage, just as a bodybuilder does with weight resistance to accomplish growth. Stir up your own gift and don't seek other people's gifting. You are created uniquely to be what you are to better to do God's will. You are an original, not an imitator.
Be who you are and God's.
i believe that the Lord would say to you:
"Today there are few, among the millions our Father has sent to the earth~world, who give themselves and their lives with total dedication to Me. There are many dedicated ones who say, "Take my whole life", and then proceed to live it according to their own idea of My will. Thank you, My workers, for wanting above all other things to work with Me for My will.
Do nothing that is not My will. This is the secret of not hurrying. Do what is My will in My time, leaving the weight of responsibility to be carried by Me."
David Sloane
I was born again in January of 1975. The church I attended was of the full-gospel variety, and I was baptized in the Holy Ghost three weeks after the Lord had apprehended me from the world.

I had no difficulty believing in the gifts of the Spirit as described in 1 Corinthians 12, and the Lord even used me at times in manifesting some of them. However, after a few years, I began to listen to some of the well known radio preachers who believed that those gifts were not for today, and that they weren't really in operation after the apostles died off.

They would explain that we don't need the "sign gifts" today, as we now have the Bible- God's Word. I began to go along with that line of thinking. I even got a study bible with comments from one of those respected teachers.

This point of view, combined with the fact that I'd seen some pretty bizarre abuses of some of the gifts, and noticing that most of the false teachings t hat I'd seen in the church were brought in by Pentecostals, had me walking away from some of the most precious experiences I'd ever had with the Lord.

After a few years of "laying low' concerning spiritual gifts, I noticed that my walk with the Lord was lacking in the intensity that I'd once enjoyed. At first I thought it was because I was no longer a new believer, and that my walk with Jesus was now less emotional and more mature.

The teachers that I mentioned, although very knowledgable and well read, were lacking something that I was desperately seeking. While I was still getting into the Word a lot, there was a distance from God that I couldn't rationalize away...

I began to wonder why God would take the wonderful moving of His Spirit in the form of gifts away from His Church. Well, why would He? Had the Church matured so much that God figured that we no longer need His Spirit moving in and through us? How ridiculous to even think such a thing! I slowly began to move away from that "God doesn't do that anymore" belief, because no matter how much I got into His Word, I found that I missed the depth of His presence which often accompanies these gifts.

Oh, abuses still exist- let's not be naive about t- but I realized that you can't "throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater", and I decided that I wanted as much of God that I could possibly have- no matter what that entailed.

Well, my passion has returned, and I'm now a believer in the moving of God and in the gifts of the Spirit TODAY. I know that God wants to move freely among His people now more than at any time in history, and I want to be involved in ALL that He has for me- Accepting His forgiveness and grace, walking passionately with Him, and being willing to be used of Him as HE chooses to use me.

How about you? Do you want God to freely move in and through your life? Are you willing to let Him use yo u to minister to the lost- in HIS power? Will you allow Him to use you to minister to other believers in a supernatural way, if that's how He chooses to move? He's already given us all we need.

May God richly bless you-
pastor Jim Ewing

Coercion is the practice of compelling a person to behave in an involuntary way (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. Coercion may typically involve the actual infliction of physical or psychological harm in order to enhance the credibility of a threat. The threat of further harm may then lead to the cooperation or obedience of the person being coerced.
The term is often associated with circumstances which involve the unethical use of threats or harm to achieve some objective.
Definitely NOT the way of our Lord Jesus Christ!
No torture, no coercion, just human kindness...
Check it out...
Here you see a mugger treated with the 'Jesus Principle.' With great results...
Luke 6:29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
Matthew 5:40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
We need to take a long look at what Almighty God (Jesus Christ) expects of us. Especially in light of our top 'Christian' representative to the world making allowances and condoning waterboarding.
With the help of the church that Barnabus originally planted, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, let's look at the Sermon on the Mount:
The Sermon on the Mount begins with the utterance of "moving lyrical strains of the Beatitudes." They constitute "the string of pearls" which adorn the crowning of Christian ethics. The Beatitudes are independent exhortations of blessedness to mold the character of the Christian believer.

Blessed is the translation of the original Greek word, makarios, which means much more than happy or fortunate. "Blessedness implies a feeling of being highly favored, especially by the Supreme Being, and often a deep joy arising from the present domestic, benevolent or religious affection"
The Beatitudes provide the specifications for the architecture of Christian character. Accepted as a whole, they provide the ingredients for the upright Christian character:

Blessed is the man who is poor in spirit, that is, one who feels so-the humble one, because humbleness is the gate which leads to the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the mourners, who long to enter the kingdom of God, but who face many difficulties, such as sin and other impediments which block the way to the kingdom of God. Our merciful God will comfort them.

Blessed are the meek, the people who are not disturbed by their own desires, but trust in the Lord . Their attitude will be rewarded with the inheritance of the earth, which means through their convictions and trust in God they will inherit the age to come.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. They feel the impulse and desire to fulfill the Will of God by their worship of and obedience to God.

Blessed are the merciful not only for giving alms, but especially for giving of themselves in helping others, who in turn obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, the upright, the sincere, the honest in every thought and activity (Ps. 24:4). They will feel the abiding companionship of God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, between neighbors and between nations, who have a peaceful mind to resolve human discrepancies. They should be the treasurers of divine peace from above in order to provide this peace for others who shall be sons of God.

Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness' sake. People who are armed with virtues of the previous beatitudes are well shielded to face persecutions for the establishment of divine principles of life. The kingdom of God is expanded to their hearts.

Blessed are ye (my Disciples) who resist evil and undergo persecutions by words and acts for My sake.

The blessedness of God is the source of men's rejoicing and gladness not only in themselves but also for the reward in heaven, as it happened to the persecuted prophets.
Salt and Light, 5:13-16
"Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Four terms are used to illustrate the Christian character: salt, light, lamp, and lamp-stand. Salt was used by the Jewish people to sprinkle on oil to give brightness to the lamps. Salt also was used to purify and preserve food. Jesus Christ used these illustrations to show the function of the Christian character, to give brightness to life and to preserve society from the forces of decay. The lamp and lamp-stand were used as an illustration for everyday life of the Jewish people. The significance is that the disciples of Christ and all Christians are obliged to present the light of the Gospel to the world. Jesus named Himself the Light to illuminate the Apostles and disciples as they present the Light of the Gospel to the world, shining before man to show God's good works and to guide man in glorifying the True God.
The Fulfillment of the Ancient Law,
The Attitude of Jesus Toward the Law,
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

The law of the Old Testament was inspired by God through the prophets in order to guide the people to accomplish the Will of God. Jesus Christ was not to abolish the old law, but to fulfill it and to give it the right interpretation. The fulfillment of the law was attained not only through the new interpretation of the intention of the believers, but especially through the Person of Jesus Christ as Savior in all ages. The old law - the Old Testament in general - is the "custodian" to Christ. What the Old Testament needs is a new interpretation in the light of the teaching of the New Testament and in the function of Jesus for the attainment of salvation. The disciples of Christ should teach the law and practice it in order to be worthy of their mission. It is necessary to add the Christian view to the righteousness of scribes and pharisees, showing that they should sacrifice much of their pleasures and riches in order to win believers in Christ. The new interpretation of the Law is "destined to set Christianity free from Judaism" (F. C. Grant).
The Law On Murder,

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, 'Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement.' But I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement; and whosoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca', shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, 'Thou fool', shall be in danger of hell-fire."

The new interpretation of the law is not merely to correct the wrongdoer, but more to prevent him even from thinking of doing wrong. It is the evil thought and intention which is sin, and which needs cure. It is not only the killer who violates the law, but the person who intends to kill, or who is angry with his brother also violates the new meaning given the law by Jesus Christ. Even words which insult another person are considered a violation of the new interpretation of the Gospel.
Reconciliation With Friends, and Enemies,

"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother halt aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him, lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou has paid the uttermost farthing."

Throughout the New Testament, the right relation of one man to another is stressed and guided not only in its external function but especially from within the heart and mind of the Christian. Any degree of hostility, any hidden thought of envy would be the great separator between the believer and God. The Christian should learn that with the grace of God he should build more bridges of communication with his neighbor, rather than construct fences of protection. A Christian is not expected to be a saint without mar of sin, but he is one who is struggling with himself to avoid the violations of God's Will and striving to overflow with the quality of Christian love which is attainable by sacrifice of pleasures, pride and riches. The Christian has no enemies; does not seek revenge; does not stop praying for people whose hearts are not yet cultivated and watered by the grace of God.
Law On Adultery,

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' But I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a women to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."

Adultery was a weakness of the people of the past and still remains as such among the people of the Christian era. In the past, customs and laws legalized adultery and fornication through polygamy. Solomon with many "wives" was not committing adultery. Jesus stated that adultery is sinful, not only through the actual sexual act, but even through the thought of lust.
Jesus condemns adultery in the heart. The illustration of plucking the eye is not to be taken literally; neither the illustration of cutting off the right hand. These illustrations suggest the uprooting of evil thoughts from one's heart. In Christian ethics, the only legal and sacred relation between man and women is their union in wedlock. Every other sex relation and practice is against the principles of the Gospel.
The Law On Divorce,
"It hath been said, 'Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.' But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife, saying for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced cometh of evil."

Jewish men at the beginning of the Christian era had the right to divorce their wives and marry again. Jesus Christ forbids divorce save for the cause of fornication.
Law On Oaths,

"Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, 'Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths.' But I say unto you, Swear not at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by the head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, 'Yea, yea'; Nay, nay'; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."

Jesus stresses that truthfulness of speech is indispensable for the maintenance of a healthy community. James 5:12 reads,"Let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay". The Christian. has no right to swear either by heaven or "by your head". Jesus Christ commands, "Swear not at all" (5:34) in private life and enterprises. An oath is required in a court of law. But an individual who takes the oath to tell the truth invokes God to help him to state the truth and aid the court to pronounce justice.
Law On Revenge,

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' "But I say unto you that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

Revenge is forbidden because it multiplies evils a hundredfold. The Christian should "overcome evil with good". Jesus condemns the legalized Jewish custom of "an eye for an eye" (which probably means only an eye for an eye), and commands the Christian to tolerate the insult if his enemy smites his right cheek. The Christian should tolerate such humiliation because of his firm faith in God's command; he sacrifices his ego and pride with the intention of winning his enemy to Christ, making him his friend and creating in him a belief in Christ on whose commandment he is a servant.
Love For One's Enemies,

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.' "But I say unto you, 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and them which despitefully use you, persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.' For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do no even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

Christian love is unique in the Gospel. Its root is absolute dedication to God's Will, from which the believer receives the power and grace not to forget his enemy but to forgive him and remember hope that some day he will win his enemy to Christ. This needs a deep understanding of sacrifice enriched and nourished ceaselessly by the grace of God. In fact, it is not the faithful one alone who forgives and loves his enemy, but also God Almighty Who has shielded His servant to convey His love and sacrifice for his enemy. Love of intimate friends and relatives is commonplace. What God expects from His believers is love for people who are either opposed to them or who are without qualities of attraction.
Pious Works and Their Practice,

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to he seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

The Christian who has been taught the principles is ready to serve the Will of God toward his fellow man. The Christian is confronted with the difficulty of choosing the proper way to help his fellow man. Jesus admonishes the Christian that everything should be done "not before men to be seen of them". The Christian is urged to put to work his faith. His good works should not be done before men to gain him recognition, but in such a kind and gentle way as to make more steadfast their hope in the providence of God. The Christian should not practice good works for the sake of good works, but in the name of Jesus Christ; he is His steward of the riches and blessings of God. Almsgiving, prayer and fasting are included in the good works which apply, respectively, to one's neighbor, to God and to one's self.

"Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

The practice of giving alms was mentioned to guide the intentions of the giver and to sanctify his offering in the name of God. Secrecy in giving alms is imperative to eliminate the arrogance of the giver and to make him only God's steward and servant. The true meaning of the art of almsgiving is not the anonymous gift, but the humble gesture of the donor through the deep feeling of serving God's will. The Christian donor should not advertise his generosity to immortalize his name, but should pray for God's blessing to be in a position to further contribute to a good cause in God's name.

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. But not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knowest what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

Prayer also should be offered in privacy; but does not eliminate corporate worship. Prayer should be sincere, concise, ritualistic or extemporaneous, constituting a sacred conversation with Almighty God and offered in repentance and obedience.
The Lord's Prayer,

"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

The Lord's Prayer was taught to the disciples by Jesus Christ not as the only prayer, but as an example for other prayers in various circumstances and needs to reach communion with God. In the Lord's Prayer the Christian invokes God the Father for his tenderness and mercy, and at the same time he confesses the brotherhood of mankind in order to sanctify His Name, to obey His Will and to thank God for his daily bread. The Christian pledges to forgive his debtors and invokes God to deliver him from evil.

"Moreover when ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head and was thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."

Fasting in itself is not a virtue, but it helps the pious Christian behave himself, to give alms and to pray. Fasting once was the practice of abstention from everything but bread and water. For the Christian today fasting is instead a certain selection of foods. Spiritual fasting is the abstention from sin, exemplifying love and charity for the needy and accomplishing God's Will toward one's neighbor.
Treasures In Heaven,

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Riches and treasures on earth are corrupted by moth and worm in the hands of an owner who has made them his goal on earth. In their desires to gather wealth for the sake of wealth, as an objective of life, many men have made wealth an idol. Treasures and riches can be handled by a Christian as a steward, as an instrument for progress and work, for charity and help, transferring earthly wealth into treasures in heaven. The human heart belongs either to earthly wealth or to treasures in heaven.
Clear Sight,

"The light of the body is the eye. If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

What the lamp is to the house, the eye is to the body. If the eye is sound and healthy, it provides happiness; if the eye is diseased (evil), it is blind and brings darkness to human life. By obeying the principles of the Gospel, the Christian clarifies his sight and insight in order to serve his mission in bringing the Light to the world.
True Loyalty,

"No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

There is no neutral position for the Christian. He is exhorted to oust evil from his heart and at the same time act ceaselessly for the development of his Christian character. God and mammon (wealth, property, possessions, etc.) should not be placed on the same level by compromising and exchanging their influence. Mammon should always serve God's Will so the Christian may keep his loyalty to God undefiled.
Faith In God - Against Anxiety,

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? "Therefore take no thought, saying, 'What shall we eat? or, 'What shall we drink? or, 'What withal shall we be clothed?' For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father Knoweth that ye have need of all these things. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Verses 6:25 to 34 (cf. Lk. 12:22-31) are an analysis of verse 24, which deals with the overwhelming feeling of anxiety. Men of every generation, regardless of the progress of civilization, feel anxiety if they are not careful to trust in God. The desire for security for the future is very strong, not only in the underprivileged one, but to anyone, regardless of wealth.
The only way to overcome anxiety ("anguish or fear coupled with uncertainty, or of the anticipation of impending misfortune, disaster or the like") is to dedicate oneself without any reservation to the providence of God and His loving care. Here our Lord Jesus Christ presents God acting and caring for the individual believer and for the betterment of mankind. God shapes the history of human activities for the benefit and salvation of the individual and the world.
The Christian is urged to have confidence in himself, working and acting according to the principles of the Gospel, and to entrust his future to Almighty and Loving God, Whom he praises and worships. The opening sentence of this paragraph starts with the admonition, "Take no thought for your life" (v. 25), and ends, "Take therefore no thought for the morrow". Our Lord summarized His utterances saying, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Whoever shall seek it "first" will search for it, and only it - the Kingdom of God.
Judgement Of Others,

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, 'Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye,' and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

The devout Christian is aware of the final judgment which will take place at the second coming of the Lord. This judgment will consider the activities of the Christian, especially in relation to his neighbor. "Judge not", is both a warning for the Christian not to exercise judgment against his neighbor and also an indication that by not judging others he may not be severely judged by God. The Christian is urged not to compromise evil doings with the moral principles of the Gospel; he as a Christian is appointed a guardian of the Christian moral code to function in the everyday life of his society.

The Christian has no right to condemn his neighbor; on the contrary, he should show kindness and sympathy. But he does have the right to judge the wrong activity in itself. He does not have the right to judge the thief, but has the right to pronounce stealing a crime against society and a sin toward God's Will. By judging the wrong activity as such, the Christian includes himself, because he is responsible for the poor education of the people which afflicts the members of society at large. The Christian is advised to "cast out the beam from thine own eye", which means to provide means for greater education and sound guidance for all peoples, young and old, so that all people respect the law and follow the sphere of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

The christian is an ambassador of the Will of God and the Gospel; his mission is to present the Message of Christ wherever he is and with whatever he has at his disposal. His example, his manner, his words and sympathy, according to his position and responsibilities, are to be used for the expansion of the kingdom of God. The Christian should be careful of how to approach people who are disrespectful and impure; he is advised to use his friendship and acquaintance in order to encourage these people to follow the Christian way of life and then to show them the holiness of God and the pearls of His Gospel.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him"'

Ask, seek, knock. These words emphasize the persistence that a faithful Christian should use to invoke God's mercy and enlightenment. God knows what the faithful man needs, but the persistence of the faithful one to invoke God's mercy is for his own benefit, making him vigilant and bringing him nearer to God by keeping the channel of communion open and clear. The Christian is urged to watch and pray ceaselessly with the immutable confidence and conviction that God Almighty, his Father, will answer those petitions which are for his benefit, not only for this life but also for the eternal life.

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."

Provided that faith in the true God is firm and life-giving, the Christian must apply the fruits of his faith toward the benefit of his neighbor. If, for instance, his neighbor is crippled, the Christian should do those things for him which he himself would need were he the crippled one. In these plain and practical words our Lord summarized the commandments of the "law and the prophets". The technology of today provides ways to cultivate the vast energy of the earth and the universe, and has the potential to provide goods for everyone on earth to enjoy a decent life. Technology is a blessing in the hands of men and nations who are inspired to produce and share the goods of life for all people on earth and to establish brotherhood under the blessings of God, the Father. This deep conception of responsibility is the only ground on which to establish peace on earth, which is the goal of the Golden Rule of Christ.
The Narrow Way,

"Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; "because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

The Christian faithful should bear in mind that the undertaking of Christianity should be exemplified through Jesus Christ as an inspired member of the Church in love and sacrifice. The gate of the kingdom of God is straight and narrow leading to salvation, unlike the gate of destruction, which is broad. The privilege of choice should be evaluated for the Christian to select rather the narrow gate which demands sacrifice and humility, kindness and sympathy to enter "unto life". The picture of the two roads and ways of life was known and exemplified by the pre-Christian world, as well as the Christian.
The Test Of Goodness,

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

"False prophets" of Christianity are dressed with the mantle of hypocrisy and cleverness; they seek to exploit the simplicity of kind people and replace the Gospel of Christ and Christ Himself with temporary manifestations of glory and human accomplishment. They are false prophets who endeavor to forge with shrewdness untruth from the true message of Christ. We should beware of them. The Orthodox Church is the guide to the true meaning of the Gospel and the true mission of Christ by preaching the same Gospel and the same Lord from the dawn of Christianity to today, without deviation or innovation. The believer is urged to be firmly the member of the sacred body of Christ - the Church - to gain nourishment and sanctification. To distinguish the true prophet from the false, Christians should be well informed and alert, learning the meaning of the Gospel, worshipping the True God and helping each other in faith in the realm of the Church Whose Head is Christ.
Judgement And Its Criterion,

"Not every one that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?' And then will I profess unto them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Hypocrisy and false prophecy can be hidden from the eye of the believer by pretending to exercise good works and "casting out demons" in the name of the Lord. False prophets can deceive their fellow man; but they cannot deceive the judgment of God. Who will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you evil-doers".
Arrogance, hypocrisy and false-witness of God are the weaknesses of humans. Therefore, the believer without a strong foundation of Christian knowledge and humility, may become the prey of evil ones. External gestures and words are not always the sign of the inner spiritual condition and intention. Therefore, the Christian is urged to look into himself with the light of the Gospel to illuminate his conscience in order to pave the wax of obedience and humbleness which leads to communion with God.
Hearers and Doers of the Sayings,

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house, upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."

The believer faces in life many difficulties, disappointments, misfortunes. Therefore, he should be armed with courage and faith in God to overcome the sorrowful moments of his life, as well as the moments of reluctant faith. The Christian witnesses the rain fall, the floods come and the winds blow; his house-his heart and faith-will overcome their destructive power if his house is built upon the rock, upon a solid and unshakeable rock of knowledge and true worship of God. The wise man lays such a foundation and cornerstone as a strong protector against all destructive and evil powers that threaten him, his house, his faith, his virtuous life. The foolish man builds his house on sand, following the easy-going life without foundation, without solid faith. His house cannot stand the power of destructive forces. The Christian is called to build his house of faith and moral life on the rock which is Christ and His Gospel. His house is a fortress for protection and defense, and for the expansion of the kingdom of God.

"And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine, "for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

On top of the blessed hill, surrounded by trees and birds, in the tranquility of the environment which mother nature provided for this moment, the disciples of Christ breathlessly listened to the Lord. They accepted His words as precious pearls, from beginning to end. They "were astonished at His teaching", and exclaimed, "that he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes". With this treasure in their hearts, the disciples armed themselves with convictions and courage to immortalize Christ and His Gospel throughout the world so that we today share this inheritance which has shaped the destiny of civilization. The Sermon on the Mount, an advanced companion of the Ten Commandments, is perpetuated in the hearts and activities of inspired and dedicated people who bold the banner of Christ's kingship from generation to generation, heralding the living message of Christ to a living society.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

These Christian missionaries were exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion, but apparently the Constitution carries little weight in Dearborn, where the Muslim population seems to dominate the political apparatus...You could be next.

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

And if not...

It is hard for most people to believe in angels and demons.

If it can't be weighed measured and touched, it is not real. Our world has become extremly materialistic, we are skeptical of any experience that cannot be measured, weighed and verified by everyone else (consensis orthodoxy).

Therefore there is an ignorance about the spiritual world and the reality of demonic forces. We often assume that only the rational exists. We feel that things need to be understood inorder to be real. Our assumptions and preconceived notions about miracles need to be set aside. There is a kind of reationalism which kills miracles before they can begin. When miracles are dead, miraclous things cease to happen. We would receive more miracles, if we stopped insisting that miracles do not happen, and began EXPECTING them to happen.

Demons hate miracles. As we read through the Gospels we cannot help but be struck by the extraordinary numbers of refrences to Jesus confronting Satan and the realm of demons. A major theme in the New Testament is the clash between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan.

God's Word tells us:

Ephesians 6:12

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Spirit beings, thousands of years old with a highly organized military hierachy authority are constantly waging war against all of us. Even if we chose to ignore this fact it is still the truth.

The truth of God's Word.

Our rationalism tells us there is no presence of the activity of evil spirit beings. Most of us like to live a flat 2 dimensional reality. We want to believe there is no reality beyond the natural, material universe, thusly ruling out the world of angels and demons.

When we read the Good news of Jesus Christ in the gospels we see Jesus interacting with these spirit beings, casting out evil spirits in full dimensional reality.

Jesus first act of ministry in Mark was casting out an unclean spirit from a man he met in the synagogue. This spirit "shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek." The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching- and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him."

Mark 1:26-28

This was a teaching, then, and not just an action to free a suffering man. The teaching was that the kingdom of evil, which up to this point had held sway over the human race was being destroyed and that the Kingdom of God was at hand.

Nevertheless, despite the clarity of this passage, many theologians and preachers profess a profound skepticism as to whether we should take accounts of people being tormented by Satan and other evil spirits in a literal way.

There are target assignments against Christian ministries by demonic forces. They do everything in their power to promote division and factions in the ministry.
In waging war the demons bring down the leadership first and the troops will scatter. This is a basic principle in the art of war.

Zechariah 13:7...smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered...
Matthew 26:31... smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Shekinah Fellowship was very effective at bringing miracles to the people.
Brant Baker the Shepherd was targeted by the demonic hords and brought down through temptation of the flesh. And the sheep scattered. No more Shekinah Fellowship. The enemy goal against Shekinah Fellowship was accomplished.

The name Satan means the adversary, the enemy. He has many fallen angels in his army. This is a mysterious world of rebellious fallen angels and demons. Some feel demons are the offspring of that strange event that took place in Genesis chapter 6.

"When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal ; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. "
Fallen angels and demons war against Christians constantly. Some warfare is based on deception.

Hence the demonic strategy:

"When able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand."

The enemy fosters unbelief everywhere they go. Recall one of the saddest text in the bible.

"And He (Jesus) did not many miracles there because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13:58

The root word for unbelief in this verse is "apistia," meaning literally "distrust."

Mark in 6:6 of his gospel acount tells us:

"And He (Jesus) marvelled because of their unbelief, "apistia."
Jesus used this same word when His disciples asked why they could not cast out demons:
"And Jesus said unto them, because of your unbelief..."
Matthew 17:20

Paul the apostle used the same word in Hebrews 3:12.
"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an EVIL heart of unbelief..."
Paul says the Children of Israel could not enter in to God's rest because of their unbelief (apistia).
Hebrews 3:19

So you can see, a lack of faith and having distrust can and will rob us of God moving in our lives with His miracles and s regarded as evil by Him. Remember Hebrews 3:12.
We are not seeing New Testament miracles in this our day and age because of our apistia. We should turn off our cultural limits and biases and be open to the greatness and power of the Supreme in all power and authority.

The bible is telling the truth when we read about all the miracles that Jesus performed in the Gospels and in the book of Acts. You would not know that by looking closely at the church of today. We do not seem to allow Jesus to heal and perform miracles in our midst.
Jesus has not changed any since the writing of the bible. He is the same today, yesterday and forever. Then why is He not doing the same today as He did in the bible days? It has got to be us that are preventing Him!

Why do we not expect miracles? What is preventing us from believing?

Start to trust Jesus and believe Him for miracles in your life today. You can start by saying:

Dear Jesus I give You permission to work miracles in my life today. I believe in miracles and I expect them because everywhere you go and are, you work them. I do trust You.

The people of the New Testament lived in an age which expected miracles.
I believe in the miracle of the original sheep of Shekinah Fellowship coming back together here and sharing their stories of the miracles they have seen. Helping others to believe in miracles. They scattered because the enemy had taken down their Shepherd Brant Baker. I believe the Lord has brought you to this place to assemble with others and tell the story of Shekinah Fellowship and the miracles to others that they may also believe in miracles.

The enemy strategy was to take down your Shepherd and to cause bitterness and hurt to keep you scattered. Brant Baker was ultimately not the problem. The enemy targeted him with his weakness in the flesh and took him out. You still remain...

Now I ask you:
What are you going to do about it?

Some of us have gotten into textualism in our relationship and lost the zeal for God we once had when we first came to Him. Sometimes we think that we know all about the things of God and think there can be no new thing. But there can and will be!

God is good and kind.
Psalms 121:1-2, 123:1-2

He shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with FIRE...
Matthew 3:11

When we gather together we fan to a flame that which is inside of us for Jesus.
When we fail to meet together that flame goes out until only a small pilot light remains. Maybe your spiritual fire has been extinguished from neglect of the things of God. It is a very dangerous place to be. Remember Jesus says:

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:15-16

You want to be excited for God but feel cold inside. Be of good cheer. It only takes a spark to get a fire going. Jesus turns up the heat.

When water sits with no outflow it will always get stagnant. Give out what you have, share the love of God. Then you will be restored, it's that simple.

I started this site to help bring the people of Shekinah Fellowship back together with one another. Give them a place to come together and share their stories with others.
God is calling out to you, will you respond to His voice? If not here and now, then when and where?

He changed the name to Brant Baker Ministries and then disappeared. After the show was over and everyone went home, he wanted it all back. I remember wondering where I could go to see him ministering again, but he was nowhere to be found.

Years later I was fasting for seven days with a friend of mine and passing out “The Big Question” tracts by Arthur Blessed in Long Beach. We met an old man that told us about an anointing that someone had, and he said it was so intense that we should not miss seeing it. He invited us to attend a special meeting that afternoon at a nearby school. His invitation had a sense of urgency about it, and he made it sound as if it were important that we be there.

When he talked about this guy with the anointing, he called him Brant Baker. But something was strange, he didn’t seem to know anything about Shekinah, or any of Brant’s prior success in the ministry. The service would start in a couple of hours, so my friend and I decided to attend.

It turned out to be a guy that I did not recognize until he began ministering. The anointing and voice was Brant Baker but it took awhile before I could bring myself to accept that this was really Brant. The Brant that I knew was good looking and had very nice looking thick brown hair. This guy had short bleached hair and looked like a transvestite.

When he called for people to come to the front for a touch from God, I got in line with a handful of others to be blessed. They were falling as he laid hands on them and prayed for them, but when he came to me, he said, “Lord it’s got to be real” and then he passed me by. Years earlier when he laid hands on me I fell to the floor and he told me that my ministry would come to pass in the last days.

Brant was right. It’s got to be real...

'Keepin it real'
Pastor Tilson Shumate

'''Rev Brant Baker of Shekinah Fellowship'''
Brant Baker was a Christian man with an anointing from God similiar to Kathryn Kuhlman's in the early seventies on the West Coast of America. His meetings could be called a sensational healing revival. He came into the spot~light in a strip mall located on 7th Street in Long Beach CA. His fellowship was best known for the healing meetings on Saturday nights at Pastor Billy Adams' First Foursquare Church in Long Beach CA.Pastor Billy Adams and his wife can be seen here:

Shekinah Fellowship eventually acquired the old West Coast Theater across the street from the Convention Center on Ocean Boulevard . Some say that the Marquee out front had Brant's name in large letters above the name of Jesus Christ in smaller letters. It read, "Rev Brant Baker appearing with Jesus Christ."

This somehow reflected the slow decline of his ministry as he was falling back into his past at that time. http://www.cinematreasures.org/theater/1971/

Brant's life has been ex·punged from the records by Christiandom possibly because he died in 1985 of aids. Brant was introduced to Jesus Christ by Lonnie Frisbee who also died from aids.

A documentary of Lonnie's life has been put together by David Di Sabatino http://www.Lonniefrisbee.com
This is not verified but some say that in the late sixties Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel fame would hold bible studies in Brant's mother's home in Newport Beach before taking the helm of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa located on Church Street in Costa Mesa CA.
Brant had a clothing store located on 17th Street in Costa Mesa across from The Builders Emporium hardware store. Brant gave away all the clothing to the Jesus People who were living in some of the communal homes of Calvary Chapel before going into the ministry. His Bible studies became noted for the moving of the Holy Spirit in powerful ways. As the study continued to grow it became known as Shekinah Fellowship.
Brant told in testimony of how he was involved in the Hollywood scene before his salvation experience. He told of how he hung with the rich and famous of that crowd during the many parties that he would attend. He experienced the emptyness and the futility of that life. He told of the darkness and the allurement that he experienced during this period of his life.
Brant would attend every meeting at the Shrine Auditorium in LA that Kathryn Kuhlman had there.
After those meetings he would sit outside on the steps and plead with God for the same type of an anointing upon his ministry. He would cry for hours afterward, saying, "God I have got to have that anointing or I will die!". One day as Brant was praying for people God started to heal them. And as word got out that God was moving at Shekinah Fellowship through Brant, people started coming from all walks of life.
As Shekinah grew in reputation Brant shaped and molded the ministry after Kathryn's. He had catcher's who stood behind people as he prayed over them because just like in Kathryn's meetings they would fall over backwards under the power of the Holy Spirit as he lightly touched them on the neck. He had a magnificient choir and several musicians in the fellowship. Brant had "workers" who moved in the word of knowledge who would be scattered throughout the crowd to prompt people who were healed during the meetings to go up and share the story of their healing. Today at Benny Hinns meetings you can observe somewhat the same format.
As Brant continued to pattern his ministry after Kathryn's he rented out the Long Beach Municiple Auditorium. It was full of people who had come to see God work. Brant continued to rent adutoriums in CA, holding healing type meetings where people were getting healed of all types of afflictions. His popularity continued to grow and churches started inviting his ministry to visit them.
Shekinah Fellowship got the attention of TBN the Christian television station. Paul and Jan Crouch invited Shekinah to their program. So Brant started to garner more followers as viewers became aware of his ministry. Brant was on his way to filling the space vacated by Kathryn...But such was not to be. Today no one at TBN will hardly mention Brant's name. Even Benny Hinn who eventually became Kathryns apparent replacement has not been told about Brant by TBN... not until Pastor Schumate of Shekinah Fellowship told the Brant Baker story to Benny Hinn at a Christmas party recently (Christmas 2005).
Just like Lonnie Frisbee who passed through the land like a modernday John the Baptist, Brant passed through the land like Jesus the healer. But strange as it may seem, no one wants to talk about Brant. Why? Because just like Lonnie, Brant died in 1985 from aids which can possibly be an embrassment to the fundamental evangelical mind set.
Brant's life radiated the love of Jesus Christ for a few bright fleeting moments before dimming out in his unexpected death. People were stunned and devastated! Many of the workers in his ministry backslide or just wandered away in deep dissapointment. Some who recovered still hold fond memories of those magnificient times in the Lord when the ministry functioned like a well oiled machine.
Brant's story is just as inspiring as other generals of the faith. He forged new territory when everyone else was involved in "cookie~cutter~christianity." As other churches were stressing correct theological and doctrinal foundations to the neglect of the supernatural side of God, Brant presented a Jesus Christ who loved everyone and demonstrated that love by healing the afflicted and making His presence known.
Brant's sermons always presented the person of Jesus Christ. Brant's Christ's presence transcended words in a sense. In his first letter, apostle John expanded on that, saying that He was the Word of life that they heard and saw and touched. It was Christ's physical presence that sealed it for them and for us all. Those who followed Him experienced Him. They heard, saw and handled the word of life in human flesh as Brant presented Jesus to the people in a powerful "preaching" way. Brant never read from notes as he spoke. His voice would go from being soft and intimate to loud and authorative during the course of his sermons. It was an identifyable moment when the Holy Spirit would come in and take over the service as Brant was preaching. At that point Brant would start to call out the healings taking place around him.
The lights were dimmed when Brant would speak. There would be a bright spotlight on him. He was dramatic to watch, almost like watching a stage performance. Brant Baker had the anointing upon him. If you stood face to face with him. you became aware of the childlike innocence he projected during ministry. There was that glowing sensation of the presence of the Holy Spirit that surrounded him. He was young, good looking,tall and thin, and always well dressed. He won over many people just by his likeable presence. Shekinah's choir could have been rated with some of the finest around.
Towards the end of Brant's life he had dyed his hair blond and did not seem to care that anyone was aware of his return to some of his past short comings.Anyone who had the privelege of sitting under Brant's ministry would tell you that of a certainty God had anointed this young man of God inspite of his personal struggles. The Jesus People would bring the hippies from the streets to Brant's meetings where they would receive salvation. Some would come in vans full of hippies from as far away as Laguna Beach CA.
Over time other churches started speaking against Brant's ministry and would publicly do so from their pulpits. This was hard on Brant who was very emotionally sensitive to what was being said. Like most sensitive people Brant often needed to be by himself to recenter his focus.There are those who are still struggling to recover to this day because of the way that Brant died from aids.
Anyone with a Brant Baker Video, audio tape, testimony or pictures of Brant or Shekinah Fellowship who would like to share in the telling of Brant's story...Please contac us at:
david.surfer51 AT gmail.com
Here is a sermon video of Brant at Google:
We at Shekinah Fellowship are currently attempting to put together the story of Brant Baker. We call it "The Brant Baker Project." Brant's story will not be told unless you help. Pastor Tilson and assistant Pastor David located Joe Ellen Baker, Brant's mother in the Palm Springs desert in the early nineties. Joe Ellen had all the video tapes and the audio tapes of Brant stored in an outside storage locker. She refused to release any of the material for a documentary about Brant. It has been reported that Ann Hume now has the archives. We do not know her or how to reach her so...
Perhaps now that the story of Lonnie Frisbee has been told by David Di Sabbatino, others will reconsider allowing Brant's story to be freely told by us...no profit motive...just restoration of the historical record.
For a short period of time Joe Ellen Baker tried to continue the ministry that her son had started in Long Beach CA. Dr. Michelle Corral came out of this fellowship. Here is her site:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Does God Really Desire From His People?

... John 15:15 (NKJV)- "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."

This verse of Holy Scripture reveals something so wonderful about our Lord- Do you feel how personal it is? Read it over a few times, and you get a sense of just how deeply Jesus Christ- our very Life- loves His disciples, and all who would subsequently follow after Him throughout history. It really moves me to press in on what He desires from me, and that is RELATIONSHIP.

Think about it- He had every right to call his disciples servants, for that is what they were. The Apostle Paul, in his epistles, constantly referred to himself as "the servant (slave) of Christ", yet Jesus' love is written all over Paul's every action".... I sometimes hear people talking about how they're "serving the Lord", and yet, you can serve somebody in many ways, and still not have a heart felt relationship with that one.....

We ARE Christ's servants, no doubt about it, but He wants something so much sweeter than that from us, doesn't He? Every single genuine believer who reads this will know what I mean here. The Holy Spirit bears witness with the fact that God DRAWS us to Him in the deepest, most personal way. He knows that He- and only He- can bring you true joy, satisfaction, peace. He designed us that way, and He loves it when we pursue Him as He intended for us to.

"I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you". He's not holding anything back from His beloved children, He WANTS this precious intimacy with us! Every time I think about this, and then I see people living in, and functioning from mere doctrine, it saddens me, because I can't help but feel Christians often cheat themselves and their Lord of this beautiful love relationship, simply because they are afraid to really enter into it.

It's easier to quote scripture to someone, to show them how much you know, to study the things of God for hours upon end, to work hard and sacrifice- than to come, by faith in Who He is, and What He has done for us, right into His Holy Presence and to simply 'be there' and enjoy Him.

Intimacy withholds nothing. He is fully aware of your ways, and with all that, He loves you. What ought you withhold from Him? Do your sins, your fears, your doubts keep you from coming to Him and being completely honest with Him? ...

A 17th century French philosopher named Fenelon beautifully explained prayer as he saw it, "Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them, talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insecure, how pride disguises you to yourself and others...

If you pour out all your weaknesses, needs, and troubles there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration they say what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved, conversation with God." ....

Beloved, do we dare to approach our God with this intent? It is just what He desires!

En Agape, Jim Ewing