Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Monday, April 7, 2008

Problems With The Church Today

Over the years I have heard many Protestants criticize the Papal system and all of its pomp and arrogance. But if you spend any amount of time around some of our Bishops and Overseers in the various Protestant denominations you would think you were in the presence of a Pope. Some of our preachers are so pompous and aloof you would think you were in the Vatican. Many preachers today have become celebrities and idols. So often I hear Christians speak of their pastors and bishops with adoration that should be reserved for Jesus Christ. I believe we should respect and support our pastors and clergyman, but they are men! Men are fallible and are prone to make mistakes. We must remember that God uses fallible men to preach an infallible Word! We condemn the Roman Catholics because of their term “Papal infallibility”, yet we will get fighting mad if someone criticizes our favorite celebrity preacher! A good example of this is Kenneth Copeland, many noted and respected Bible scholars and teachers have exposed much of Copeland’s teachings as heretical, yet many Christian blindly and loyally continue to act like he is an “anointed” teacher. It is never popular to criticize or expose false teachers and prophets that are “celebrities”, why? Because we are just as bad as the Catholics, when it comes to how we treat our clergy. I am an ordained Elder in the Church of God in Christ. I love my church, but it is not perfect either. I listen to many of the members of my denomination and it is a sad commentary to hear people that have been saved for years, yet their knowledge of Bible doctrine is very minimal. Many will say “Well I believe what my pastor teaches” or “That may be in the Bible but my church teaches it this way”; The Bible IS ALWAYS the last word! I am appalled at the number of clergy that struggle with basic Bible doctrines that the average Christian should be well acquainted with.

According to 1 Corinthians 3:1 all Christians can be divided into the two groups, spiritual and carnal. A spiritual Christian allows the Holy Spirit to guide and govern him to do the perfect will of the Father. A carnal Christian has been born again but has not overcome the sinful nature of his flesh. Instead of being governed by the Spirit he is ruled by feelings, emotions, desires, greed, good or bad intentions, intellectual interpretation etc. etc. Our churches are filled with carnal believers that don’t depend on the Word for their daily guidance. By rejecting the Word they also reject the Holy Spirit that speaks the Word to our spirit and mind.

The Catholic Church doesn’t encourage it’s congregates to study for themselves because the priest is the source of revelatory knowledge, but the Bible (John 14:26 and John 15:26) and the Holy Spirit are all the help we need. Yes we need teachers (Spirit-filled teachers) to help us, but we are still responsible to study to show ourselves approved unto God.

Pastors and teachers have to take the church from MILK to MEAT, I would be horrified to see an adult wearing a diaper in church, but spiritually many saints are wearing diapers in the house of God. The reason we treat our pastors like gods is that we are babies and we are letting them carry us like babies! They should be taking us from milk to MEAT! We have to grow up so we can assist in the ministry and stop being a burden to the church. So many pastors quit because of burnout, but most of the time it is their fault! Imagine a woman trying to care for 20 to 30 babies at one time, she would eventually crack under pressure! We have to GROW UP SPIRITUALLY! We have to pray and study 7 days a week, not just on Sunday in the presence of your pastor. Martin Luther was a great man but we need MORE men and women like him today! Men and women committed to the truth of scripture over tradition, hype, and fluff! I leave this scary verse with you to meditate on.

Isaiah 2:6 (NIV) You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans.

Chaplain Stevens

Sunday, April 6, 2008

What is God's Name?

Isa 30:27 (NIV) See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire.

What's In A Name?

Gen 17:5 (NIV) No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

# Bible Knowledge Commentary (BKC): "In Bible times a person's name stood for the person--and represented him and his characteristics."

1 Sam 25:25 (NIV) May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name--his name is Fool, and folly goes with him.

Gen 27:36 (NIV) Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times."

God's Word

Mat 1:21 (NIV) "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus [Yeshua, Hebrew for 'salvation'], because he will save his people from their sins."

Acts 4:12 (NIV) "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Rev 19:13 (NIV) He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

Phil 2:9-11 (NIV) ... God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

Ps 138:2 (NIV) I will bow down... and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

# NIV Study Notes: "God's name... is a symbol of [His] nature, character, and person... The name of the Lord is the manifestation of His character... it is synonymous with the Lord Himself."

# In this study we will focus on what "the name" means in this sense. This may be a new insight to many present-day Christians, but was second nature to first century Jews--and even Pagans.

# As a means to get the most out of this study, substitute nature, character, or spirit when you come across the name, and the meaning should come into better focus. The name is not mere syllables, words, or sounds, but is God's nature, Spirit, and presence.

John 12:13 (NIV) They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"...

Where God Is

2 Chr 6:6 (NIV) But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there...

1 Kings 8:29 (NIV) "May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, 'My Name shall be there,' so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place."

2 Chr 7:16 (NIV) "I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there."

Heb 1:3-4 (NIV) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

# NIV Study Notes: "To Jews a name stood for the full character of a person in all he was and did."

The Name In Us

Col 1:27 (NIV) ... God has chosen to make known this mystery, which is Christ in you...

1 Cor 6:11 (NIV) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Acts 2:21 (NIV) "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

John 14:26 (NIV) "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

1 Cor 6:19 (NIV) Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?...

In The Name, In The Spirit, In The Nature Of Jesus?

Isa 11:2-3 (NIV) The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of council and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord--and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eye, or decide by what he hears with his ears.

John 14:13-14 (NIV) "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

John 16:23-26 (NIV) "In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete... In that day you will ask in my name..."

# Oswald Chambers: "'... In my name,' i.e., in My nature. Not--'You shall use my name as a magic word,' but--'You will be so intimate with Me that you will be one with Me.' 'That day' is not a day hereafter, but a day meant for here and now."

Inner Reality Consistent With Outer Form

John 15:16 (NIV) "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

Luke 10:17 (NIV) ..."Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."

Acts 3:6,16 (NIV) Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." ... "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see."

Ps 20:7 (NIV) Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord...

John 17:11-12 (NIV) "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled."

Mat 18:20 (NIV) "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Recognition Of The Name

John 5:43 (NIV) [Jesus] "I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him."

Acts 5:41 (NIV) The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

John 15:21 (NIV) "They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me."

1 Pet 4:14 ,16 (NIV) If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

# In our society, we aren't jailed, beaten, or killed (at least presently) for having the nature of Christ "in us", even though our brethren in other parts of the world are experiencing these physical tortures (Heb 13:3). But every Christian is destined to suffer because of the struggle that the Name--in us--creates against the flesh (1 Thes 3:3, 1 Pet 4:1, Heb 12:4, Rom 8:22-23). The lower nature will not submit to God and must be whipped, jailed, and put to death. The painful tension we experience as we struggle to avoid sin and follow Christ is no less "for the sake of the Name" than the physical suffering that we may also yet endure.

Col 3:17 (NIV) And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Just Using The Words?

2 Cor 10:7 (NIV) "You are looking only at the surface of things."

John 7:24 (Phi) "You must not judge by the appearance of things but by the reality!"

# It is a shame to do something in the name--with the inner character and power of Jesus--and not give Him outward credit for it. But even worse is to adhere to the outward form when the inner reality is missing: to give God credit he doesn't want!

Acts 19:13-17 (NIV) Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. [One day] the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.

# BKC: "The words 'in my name' are not a magical formula which enable the user to get his will done."

Using The Lord's Name "In Vain"

Ex 20:7 (NRS) [The third commandment:] "You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name."

Deut 18:20 (NIV) "But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say... must be put to death."

# If "the name of Jesus" is spoken flippantly--not in the nature, character, or Spirit of Christ, submission, understanding, and fear of God--then the name of the Lord Jesus is used "in vain".

Deut 5:11 (NIV) "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

Misuse Of The Lord's Name Will Get Worse

Jer 23:25,27 (NIV) "I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, 'I had a dream! I had a dream!'... They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship."

Mat 7:22 (NIV) "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'"

Ps 139:20 (NIV) ...your adversaries misuse your name.

Mat 24:5 (NIV) "For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many."

Rev 13:6 (NIV) He [the Beast] opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

Luke 21:8 (NIV) He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them."

Bless The Name (Baruch Ha Shem)

Mat 6:9 (NIV) "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name...'"

1 Chr 16:10,29 (NIV) Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice... Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Prov 18:10 (NIV) The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Ps 5:11 (NIV) But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

2 Tim 2:19 (NIV) ... God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

John 20:31 (NIV) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

How Do We Fight Spiritually?

Spiritually Dressed For Success

Pr 20:18 (NIV) Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.

# The purpose of this Bible Study is to consider and meditate on the Scriptural meaning of each piece of the armor of God, so that we might stand firm in the battles of life.

Eph 6:10-17 (NIV) ...Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Why Spiritual Armor?

Rom 13:12 (NIV) The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Jer 46:3-4 (NIV) "Prepare your shields, both large and small, and march out for battle! Harness the horses, mount the steeds! Take your positions with helmets on! Polish your spears, put on your armour!"

1 Cor 14:8 (GLT) For if a trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will get himself ready for war?


Luke 21:36 (NIV) "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

Mal 3:2 (NAS) But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?..

1 Cor 10:12-13 (NIV) So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Jude 1:24 (Wey) But to Him who is able to keep you safe from stumbling, and cause you to stand in the presence of His glory free from blemish and full of exultant joy...

Jas 4:7 (NAS) Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

The Belt of Truth

Eph 6:14 (NRS) ...fasten the belt of truth around your waist...

Isa 11:5 (NIV) Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash round his waist.

Ex 12:11 (NIV) This is how you are to eat it [the passover lamb]: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand...

1 Kings 18:46 (NIV) The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Eph 4:25 (NKJ) Therefore, put away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor."

# Ray Stedman: "No Christian has the right to a private life. Our lives are to be lived openly before all men, transparent, a spectacle unto all the world. We have no private lives and we must not expect to have. This is basically and fundamentally wrong. Christians are to be demonstrations of the truth."

John 4:24 (NIV) "God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Col 3:8-10 (NIV) But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

2 Th 2:10 (NIV) ...They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Php 3:9 (NRS) ...Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.

Isa 59:16-17 (NAS) ...Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head...

Ex 28:15 (NIV) "Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions... Make it like the ephod..."

1Ki 3:9 (NIV) So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.

Ps 94:15 (NIV) Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Pr 2:7-8 (NIV) He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair--every good path.

Standing on The Gospel

Eph 6:15 (NIV) ...your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Eph 6:15 (Wey) well as the shoes of the Good News of peace--a firm foundation for your feet.

Rom 10:15 (KJV) ...As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

# Imagine yourself standing barefooted in a rocky climate, like in the Middle East. You could move--ever so carefully--but without shoes you would be useless in battle. The weight of the other pieces of armor would only make your feet more sensitive if you had no protection. You would be a "push-over" for the enemy, as you would have no agility and be wincing in pain every time you attempted to move. This is why it is essential to have our "feet shod with the gospel of peace".

1 Cor 15:1-4 (Wey) But let me recall to you, brethren, the Good News [Gospel] which I brought you, which you accepted, and on which you are standing, through which also you are obtaining salvation, if you bear in mind the words in which I proclaimed it--unless indeed your faith has been unreal from the very first...-- that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that He was buried; that He rose to life again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

# This is the gospel as we have received it. It is foolishness to many, but life and light to those who believe in it and are willing to follow and be "included in" Christ's death. In practice, the Gospel means we are dead to our self-life with all of its lusts and instincts, and alive with new life in Christ. The good news is that by considering ourselves "dead men" in Christ, we can be put at peace with God in Christ. If we have truly died to self, then over time our instincts will be "dead" to the rocks and glass and thorns of this world which used to move us. Those standing on the gospel will not react in the flesh. Instead, we will move by God's Spirit with a protected disregard for such "fleshly" considerations, being "readied" by the "shoes" of the "death, burial, and resurrection of Christ", which is the Gospel that brings peace.

1 Pet 2:11 (NAS) Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

Gal 5:16-17 (NAS) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Rom 8:5-13 (NAS) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. ...the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God... But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Isa 52:6-7 (NIV) "Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation [Yeshua, Jesus!] who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"

The Helmet Of Salvation [Jesus]

Isa 59:16-17 (KJV) And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation [Yeshua] upon his head...

1 Th 5:8 (NAS) But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love; and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

Ps 140:7 (NAS) "O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation [Yeshua], You have covered my head in the day of battle."

# Jesus--Yeshua in Hebrew--means "Salvation". Salvation is Jesus Christ.

Col 1:18 (NKJ) And He is the head of the body, the church...

1 Cor 2:16 (NIV) "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

Php 2:5 (NKJ) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...

1 Pet 4:1 (NKJ) Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

2 Cor 10:3-5 (NRS) Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Eph 4:14-16 (NKJ) ...We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The Sword of The Spirit - The Word of God

Isa 49:2 (NAS) He has made My mouth like a sharp sword, In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me; And He has also made Me a select arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver.

# Matthew Henry: "To the Christian armed for defense in battle, the apostle recommends only one weapon of attack; but it is enough, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary."

Heb 4:12-13 (NKJ) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

2 Cor 6:7 (NIV) truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left...

Ps 149:4-6 (NIV) For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honour and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands.

The Shield of Faith

Eph 6:16 (Wey) ...take the great shield of faith, on which you will be able to quench all the flaming darts of the Wicked one.

Ps 35:1-3,9 (NIV) Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, "I am your salvation."... Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation [yes, Yeshua again].

Ps 3:2-3 (GLT) Many are saying of my soul, There is no salvation for him in God. Selah. But You, O Jehovah, are a shield around me; [you are] my glory and He who lifts up my head.

1 Pet 1:5 (NAS) ...who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Ps 33:20 (NIV) We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

1 Tim 6:12 (NIV) Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 John 5:4-5 (Wey) For every child of God overcomes the world; and the victorious principle which has overcome the world is our faith. Who but the man that believes that Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world?

Pr 30:5 (NIV) "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him."

Be Strong In The Lord, By the Power of Grace

1 Cor 16:13 (NIV) Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

2 Tim 2:1 (GLT) ...Be empowered by grace in Christ Jesus.

Eph 3:7 (GLT) ...I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me, according to the working of His power.

2 Cor 9:8 (NIV) And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Col 1:11 (Wey) Since His power is so glorious, may you be strengthened with strength of every kind, and be prepared...

Php 4:13 (NAS) I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The Battle is The Lord's

1 Sam 17:47 (NKJ) [David, speaking to Goliath] "Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."

Deut 20:3-4 (NIV) ..."Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be faint-hearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."

Ps 18:32-35 (NIV) It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.

Zec 4:6 (NIV) ..."'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty."

Rom 11:36 (GLT) Because of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

Why is Martin Luther so Important in Christendom?

When Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the church, he did so not to create a denomination, as some believe. Martin Luther wanted to correct anti-biblical practices being promoted in the church. The main theme revolved around the practice of “selling indulgences”. What the church was doing was convincing people that they could “pay” their family members out of purgatory. The church did this primarily to finance the Popes greed and desire to finance the Cistene Chapel in Rome. Now we Protestants read this stuff in Church History books and we gasp, yet how many of us “enlightened” Spirit-filled Protestants that know of Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers in our Protestant churches that “sell blessings” today.

We have condemned Catholics for centuries, yet we have the same skeletons in our closets. From Reverend Ike, Robert Tildon, or to the pastor in the storefront in the inner city, we too have been guilty of “selling blessings”. Every Protestant denomination (and non-denomination) has had it share of “Greedy Popes”. I really admired Martin Luther’s guts, but where are the Martin Luther’s of today? When Oral Roberts said he would die unless he got 80 million dollars in donations, where was the outrage from Christians? Of course the world ridiculed his nonsense, but there was no moral outrage from any Christian leaders. Why? Well I’ll tell you why! It is a very lonely position when you stand on the truth of scripture. We are quick to condemn Catholics trust in traditions and church doctrine, but we are equally guilty! How often have you seen and heard things done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in your church, but in your gut (spirit) you knew it was against the Bible? And why didn’t you say something is the more disturbing question.

Jim Jones was able to take hundreds of lives in Guyana because someone refused to listen to their gut (spirit). I firmly believe in supporting the local church and helping pastors, I want to make that clear. However there is a real epidemic of spiritually stupid “saints” that don’t study their Bibles and try every spirit by the Spirit. We were given the ability to discern so we WON’T end up giving our money to crooks and drinking poison Kool-Aid! Many of today’s most prominent preachers would be labeled heretics hundreds of years ago because MOST clergymen were devout Theologians and serious students of scripture. Today ordination papers and licenses are given to anyone that say’s they are called to preach. I agree that being Spirit-filled and called is the first priority of being a preacher, but ALSO there has to be training…SERIOUS TRAINING! A lack of understanding of just the basic Bible doctrines of the faith can lead to the types of abuses I am talking about. Martin Luther was able to stand up to the lies of Rome because he was filled with the knowledge of the truth. I am a Pentecostal preacher, I believe in the Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we must have a scholarly approach to the scriptures and its teachings.

I have heard PREACHERS say stupid things like, “I don’t know the Bible that well but I am filled-with the Holy Ghost and fire!” This person is a prime candidate for deception and a good whipping from the devil! The Bible say’s in 1st Timothy 4:4 “In the last days some shall DEPART from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and DOCTRINES of devils.” The Devil will fill your head with HIS doctrine (teaching) if your head isn’t filled with sound Bible doctrine. Martin Luther unlike other priest actually studied the Bible for truth and not to support a man made lie. We must as individual believers have reformer’s courage to stand up to the church when it strays from the truth of scripture. I know it sounds crazy to say stand up AGAINST the church, I am of course talking about organized denominational/non-denominational institutions that profess to be of Jesus Christ, yet stray away from the truth of Jesus Christ. I have seen enough heresy in the church in the last 25 years of my life to make ones head spin and the majority of it went unchallenged.

We allow “preachers” to say anything in our pulpits and we say AMEN! We are afraid to be attacked for standing up for the truth. In 1980 I was stationed at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. While there I heard a Baptist preacher (Who was also a Freemason) tell a group in Bible study that “all roads lead to Rome” meaning every religion can get you to heaven. I was a new believer, but I knew this was wrong! I challenged him, because NO ONE else would say a word. He was a popular preacher and I was a new convert so you can imagine whose side everyone lined up on. My point is this, when you hear false preaching or teaching SAY SOMETHING! The Apostle Paul was the new kid on the block (Read Galatians) yet he challenged and corrected the Chief Apostle Peter for treating the Gentile believers wrong.

Ministers are NOT infallible, only the Word of God is! No matter how popular or how powerful a preacher is, they are NOT above reproach!

But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4 Amp)

What if I Become Sick?

If you are a Christian and you are suffering with an illness (Mental or Physical) of some kind be encouraged. God has not forsaken you. I know it may feel like it but He hasn’t. I have received great comfort from Psalm 13, a Psalm of David. This Psalm has taught me that one of the major problems with suffering is dealing with anger and bitter feelings towards God Himself. We have been taught the new wave message of “positive confession”, but what God really desires from us is an honest confession. Out of all the books in the Bible, the one that has delivered me the most is the Psalms. To many believers Psalms is just a collection of praise song. Many theologians look at Psalms, Proverbs, and especially Ecclesiastes as books without much doctrinal weight or value. How wrong they are! Through all of my trials and tribulations, I have been able to find a point of contact and understanding by reading Psalms. My favorite Psalm is Psalm 13.

After you read it you may wonder, “How can this depressing psalm be someone’s favorite?” This is the most honest prayer in the scriptures. David asked God a question, “How long will you forget me Lord?” This honesty in prayer helped me realize that God wants to hear everything we have to say, the good and the bad. David felt abandoned by God. I can identify with this feeling. For the last three years I have been battling sickness. I have been poked, prodded, and examined. I have had Scarlet Fever. I have been misdiagnosed with Osteomylitis (bone infection). I was on an IV for 8 weeks; my lungs were scanned and X-rayed to find growths. I have granulomas (lesions) in different parts of my body that causes severe pain in my joints and my eyes, and the cause of all of this is an incurable illness called Sarcoidosis. I began to recite Psalm 13 as though I wrote it. The good news is found in the 5th and 6th verses. David obviously recalled how the Lord had been merciful and kind to him in the past. David’s was to continue to trust in the mercy of God and hope in the loving-kindness of the Lord. I feel that many of our prayers go unanswered because we are not honest with God. However David felt, that what he expressed to the Master. This is one of the keys to being a man after God’s own heart.”

13:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? (David felt like the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had forsaken him. At times if we are honest, we feel the same way.)
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? (David was going through extreme emotional distress. Chronic illness can cause this kind of emotional trauma in ones life.)
3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; (David is not afraid to let the Lord know how distraught he is, and at the same time he makes his supplications known to God. I believe God honors an honest confession more than a positive one.)
4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. (David was able to trust in the Lord’s mercy because he had a relationship with Him. David although discouraged was able to rebound because of his love for the Lord)
2 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (One of the keys to getting through a stressful season is to give God praise through it all)

This Psalm has helped me get through my most painful moments because it reminds me that God has and will continue to deliver me. We must trust in God’s sovereignty as well as His power. Trusting in His ability to know what is best for us takes more faith than running around “naming and claiming” everything. I was at a revival and someone asked me, “Have I claimed my healing yet?” I was really disturbed at this question; I realized that this person really did not know the Lord or me very well. If they knew me they would know I love the Lord with all my heart and whether I am healed or not I still love Him. If they really knew me they would know that I believe in the healing power of God but I also trust in His timetable and sovereignty. Don’t be discouraged saints of God; the Lord is on your case. The grace of God can keep us through all of our trials and tribulations no matter how severe they might be. One of the beautiful things about the Bible is that the characters were just like us. Men and women in the Bible suffered sickness, loss of life, and abuses. I believe God allowed every story in the Bible to be graphic and uncut because we need to see the hand of God in every situation, both good and bad. I love the rawness of the Old Testament, people were not all good and everyone wasn’t blessed all the time. People that were good suffered and people that were bad received mercy. God is sovereign and in control even when it looks like He isn’t.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (II Cor.12)

About five years I visited a woman from my church in the hospital, she suffered from Lupus and Cancer. Just one of these diseases is enough to destroy someone’s life. I asked her how she was feeling and the usual small talk. Before I left she looked at me and said something that made me well up with tears. She said, “The thing that hurts to most is that the saints of God think I did something wrong because of my condition.” This is what I call the “Spirit of Job’s Friends”; it is wrecking havoc in the Body of Christ. It is causing those that need love, a hug, and understanding to be shunned by the ones that should minister to them. The only time Job’s friends did any good was when they silently sat with him while he suffered. As soon as they opened their mouth, they hurt him. Telling someone that is sick things like, “You need faith!”, “Repent”, or “Stop claiming the sickness” is cold and insensitive. There are times when God renders His judgment on sinful ways, but in many cases the illness has nothing to do with sin. Let’s examine the Word.

15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
12 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. (Luke 18)

This woman was identified as a daughter of Abraham, meaning she was a believer! Jesus did not mention any of her sins. Was she sinless? Is anyone? Of course not, Jesus healed this woman for two reasons, 1. She was a daughter of Abraham 2. That He might be glorified. What does this mean? If you are a child of God suffering, Jesus sees your pain and will do something about it. Jesus understands pain because he felt it too!

2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
3 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9)

The disciples were just as dense as we are today! They ask the question, “Who sinned?” Well if he was born blind, what sin did he commit? Did he kick his mother in the womb? Truthfully all of us are born sinners! (Psalm 51). Why would God punish him for his parent’s sin? I’m glad Jesus answered their question. Jesus said “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents.” I am a firm believer that many today are not healed because those that minister forget that the glory belongs to the Lord of Host. If you watch the so-called great men and women of God today, they act like they are the healers and not Christ alone. God was very angry with Job’s friends! Why? Because they falsely accused Job and misrepresented God, They were also self-righteous as they bombarded Job with innuendo and accusation. The best thing you can do for someone that suffering is pray for them and keep you mouth shut. A hug goes a lot further in most cases than a lecture.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. (Romans 12)

These two verses say it all! But focus on verse 16, “condescend to men of low estate.” This means stay meek and humble in your character, because the same calamity could happen to you.

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
22 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (Heb.10)

6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
“Even Jesus got depressed!”