Is God’s Kingdom Already Here? Part 4


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I end this article series with this thought; the heart of what should be our focus before we even get into the trying to reach out to the lost. Acts 2:42 tells us,

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (NKJV)

         What good is going to do to bring people into our local churches if we are not in order? 1) We must be diligent in the study of the apostle’s doctrine. We can’t continue to bring the lost and the young into our theological ignorance and flat-out heresies. We need to study, show ourselves approve and stop embarrassing ourselves with motivational sermons that have nothing to do with God’s Word.[1] Honestly, some preachers desperately need to find a good college or seminary where their little theology can be challenge. 2) We must become a real family through fellowship. How many of our brothers and sisters in the church are a part of our lives? Are we eating in each other’s houses? Are we a part of birthday celebrations, special holidays or family cookouts? Our relationship with one another is not real, but we insist in taking on the world and bringing them into our hypocrisy. 3) We MUST pray! As a mater of fact, this is the key ingredient in our fellowship. We have fun, we play games, we eat, we laugh, but we pray as we gather together around our Heavenly Daddy.

         What else we, as leaders in the church, should be doing? We should be equipping people for the work of the ministry.[2] We can’t continue throwing people out there without training in the name of, the -Holy Ghost will take care of it-. God is a God of order and in His Word there is no contradiction. This idea that we don’t need training, that we don’t need to study and we don’t need to put in effort in anything, is a lie from the pit of hell.

         In conclusion, 1) We focus on God, the study of the apostles doctrine. 2) We love one another in true fellowship. 3) We pray together; many of us talk too much, complaint excessively, but pray too little. 4) We equip the saints to do the work of the ministry; and 5) We go into the world trusting God and, fill with the Holy Ghost… we give them JESUS!

 

 

 

[1] 2 Timothy 2:15

[2] Ephesians 4:12

Is God’s Kingdom Already Here? Part 3


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I know that my prosperity Gospel brothers and sisters will not agree with this, but these are the days where we will endure suffering. We must prepare God’s people to suffer so that they not lose hope when hard times come. Paul explained this way in 2 Timothy 2:12,

“If we endure,

We shall also reign with Him.

If we deny Him,

He also will deny us.” (NKJV)

         The challenge or, the clear question is, what do we do now? Do we just seat on our butts and wait for the return of the Lord? Surely not, but we need to know how we are suppose to relate and engage the world.

         We can’t ignore the fact that God loves the lost.[1] We can’t ignore the fact that Jesus told us to go and preach the Gospel.[2] So, we know that we are not called to ignore the world; we have a responsibility to preach the gospel to them; that is indeed our main responsibility as it relates to the world. Jesus is passionate about the lost and the hurting. In Matthew 25:35-36 He states,  “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” (NKJV)

         Every church MUST actively be involved in these five key ministries: 1) Feed the hungry. 2) A homeless ministry. 3) A clothing ministry. 4) A ministry to the sick; and 5) A prison ministry. We are anointed by God to do these good works.[3] If we do not actively engage on these good works our faith is dead.[4]

         Shall we be fighting to change this world system? Is this world system with any hope? I believe that attempting to change the world is not biblical; I believe this world system will get worst.[5] However, the Bible tells us that God will destroy this system in one hour;[6] it will not take Him long at all. We are not in the business of changing the world; we are in the business of snatching folks out of the world and into the family of God.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

[1] John 3:16

[2] Mark 16:15

[3] Luke 4:18

[4] James 2:17

[5] 2 Timothy 3:1

[6] Revelation 18:10

Is God’s Kingdom Already Here? Part 2


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Before going any further, let me take something out of the way, right away. If someone feels that the kingdom of God is already here in its full manifestation, I should ask, are you saying that we are in the millennium already? Did the rapture already take place?

         I do not argue that God’s kingdom is already on this earth through us; the kingdom of God is in us already. Nevertheless, I do not see any biblical evidence that His kingdom has been already established on this earth.

         We will undoubtedly rule and reign with Jesus on this dimension of life for one thousand years; but I will strongly and passionately argue, that is a futuristic event. Revelation 20:1-6 gives us a good description of the millennium.

20 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (NKJV)

         There is a specific time and place when we will rule and reign with Jesus; this is not it! The millennium has very clear biblical characteristics; just to name a few: 1) During the millennium Satan will be bound. (Revelation 20:2) 2) There will be a worldwide acknowledgment and adoration of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4) 3) There will be peace between man and animals. I always say that I will be able to play with bears during the millennium with no fear. (Isaiah 11:6-9 and Isaiah 66:25) These characteristics are just touching the surface of what the millennium will be all about.

         For a deeper study on the millennium I recommend that you read the following article, “Characteristics of the Millennium, the 1000-Year Reign of Jesus Christ upon Earth” by James T. Bartsch.

To be continued…

 

Is God’s Kingdom Already Here?


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         The topic of the Kingdom of God was the focus of a great message on my local church by my dear brother and fellow elder, Professor Eric Nichols. His message provoked and challenged me to come home and study further.

         I believe that when you preach or teach a message that provokes you to study, that is a successful sermon or teaching; so I want to first acknowledge and thank God for my brother Eric.

     When speaking about the kingdom, we are faced with having to explain what our relationship with this world is. They have a kingdom, the kingdom of darkness and we, as Christians, are a part of a different kingdom, the kingdom of God.[1]

         Are we already in position to rule and reign over this world? The Bible tells us that we are living in the days of the gentiles. Luke 21:23-24 paints a very painful picture.

“But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (KJV)

        The times of the gentiles indicates that these are not favorable times for God’s people; it indicates that this planet is run by the kingdom of darkness, not by the kingdom of God. How else can you explain this bathroom controversy? Do I really have to work hard in trying to convince you that this world is going crazier? Do you not get the sense that the good is being called bad and the bad is being called good?[2]

         We already know who the god of this world system is, Satan.[3] We also know his job description of killing, stealing and destruction.[4] Jesus clearly states that we are not of this world.[5] Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 not to be conform to the pattern of this world. Furthermore, James tells us that if we become friends of the world, we become enemies of God.[6]

        So are we to live our lives as if we are allergic to the world? Are we to totally disconnect from them and never reach out to anybody outside of our family in Christ?

To be continued…

 

 

[1] Colossians 1:13

[2] Isaiah 5:20

[3] 2 Corinthians 4:4

[4] John 10:10

[5] John 17:16

[6] James 4:4

Leviticus? Yes, Leviticus


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How many of you guys have set goals to read the Bible in a year and got stuck in the Book of Leviticus? I have taking the time to read the Bible in a year a few times, but going through Leviticus has mess up my one-year-reading-plan more than once. It is hard to go through that book!

The great British Bible scholar and author David Pawson offered three reasons why the book of Leviticus is so difficult. 1) It is boring; 2) It is totally unfamiliar to our culture. 3) It seems to be irrelevant.

I am one who will stop in a verse and stay there as long as I feel I am receiving revelation from the Lord. This year, however, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go through the whole Bible in a year. Using a Chronological Bible my dear wife bought for me, I started my plan.

Sure enough, I started very excited, but I saw the book of Leviticus approaching and I said to myself, here we go again! In my almost 18 years of preaching the Gospel, I must admit, that I have never preached anything out of the book of Leviticus.

Even before going into Leviticus, I asked the Lord to show me mysteries out of this book, to make it interesting and to make it fun. I know this book is part of the Bible, therefor there most be something for me to learn. I am now beyond Leviticus on my personal one-year-reading-plan. However, I am engaging in an exciting personal study of this book that is just blowing my mind. The Lord answered my prayer!

I hope you visit our blog during this time and enjoy the study of Leviticus as much as we are.

To be continued…

God Or Pornography V


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We have established that the issue is not the need for deliverance. The issue is not that there is not enough power to overcome sexual sin. Even when you place yourself in a situation where you can’t overcome that temptation, God promises to give us a way out. (First Corinthians 10:13) In many cases all we need is a little wisdom or a little common sense to avoid certain things.

         Honestly, I can’t say that I fell into sexual immorality; I must fully admit that I did it because I wanted to. The Word was there, God’s wisdom was there and plenty of exits were there also, but I did it anyway. Again, there is nothing wrong with God’s system; the issue is the sinful nature in us.

         But what is at the heart of our failures concerning this issue of sexual immorality? It is an issue of love. It is the greatest evidence that we don’t love God enough. John 14:15 put it like this,

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (NKJV)

         In other words, if we love God we will obey what He say. The more we make decisions to please God, the more we express our love for Him. The more we make unwise decisions the more we make evident our lack of love for God. See, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). On the other hand, our love for Him is what keeps us pursuing Holiness.

         When I was in that hotel room in Indianapolis I was really looking forward to having an encounter with God. This time my desire to spend time with God was greater than my desire to satisfy the flesh. I say, “this time” because I have not always being successful. It is that love for God that establishes our inner struggles. Galatians 5:17 tells us,

17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (NKJV)

 

         If we are openly sinning, doing what we want and focusing on us, we are showing our lack of love for God. I have seen a very famous comedian claiming that he is a Christian, but he openly uses profanity in his shows stating that, “God is not through with me yet”. Never mind that somebody, maybe he, wrote the stand up routine. So it is not like he was provoked to use profanity, he chooses to do so. In his case there is no struggle, it is just a massive display of the lack of love for God and for people as he, obviously doesn’t care about making others stumble over his foolishness. In Romans 7:25 Paul describe the nature of this battle as he says,

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

         What makes the battle so intense is our love for God and our sincere desire to not sin. So I do not deny that we will have our moments where we will do the evil that we don’t want to do in thought and action. That is because we are not perfect. However, it can’t ever be a life style of embracing sin; that is impossible for the person that truly loves God and is pursuing the first commandment. The Apostle John explained this issue the following way,

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10 (NKJV)

         Let me make it clear that we will sin; the tendency to sin is already in us. We are indeed a work in progress. However, the issue here is this false teaching of accepting a life style of sin under the umbrella of our imperfection. When we embrace a lifestyle of sin we are then walking in darkness. It is no longer a struggle; it is our giving up.

         We are called to walk in the light; walking in the light does not equal perfection, but it does equal people that are serious about living holy lives. People who live in the light, not only love the Lord, but their love for God is made evident because of their love for people. First John 2:9-10 tells us,

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. (NKJV)

         See, God took the Ten Commandments and hundreds of laws and reduced them into two commandments, love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31) I would like to end this series not with my words, but with words that come directly out of the Bible,

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. First John 2:3-5 (NKJV)

 

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. First John 2:15-16 (NKJV)

 

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. First John 4:16-21

 

God Or Pornography IV


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God’s system works and is one hundred percent effective when applied. So what is the problem? After all these years, after all this knowledge of God, after all the worship songs, the Bible Studies and the awesome moments, why is it that that I am still inclined to go after sexual immorality?

         Essentially, many are asking, where is my deliverance? Subsequently, when deliverance does not come, many feel as if God has abandoned them. They don’t feel God’s love and they can’t sense His presence.

         It gets worse when they sit under those super powerful preachers that “struggle with nothing.” They teach that they are sanctified, filled with perfection and that sin is no longer and issue in their lives. It gets even worst when individuals who are struggling with sexual issues are prayed for and told they are actually delivered, only to find out that those sexual desires are still there.

         I believe in deliverance, don’t get me wrong. However, when it comes down to sexual desires it gets very complicated. That is because, unless you have the gift of self-control, you will always have those desires. It is like hunger or thirst, it is indeed a part of you as a human being.

         I know that many of you will not like this, but one of the reasons for marriage is so that we may satisfy those desires. First Corinthians 7:9 tells us,

but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (NKJV)

         I remember a pastor telling me to wait a couple of years before getting married. That was easy for him to say! He was married, but I was burning up! I will never justify fornication, it is indeed a terrible sin, but I will never justify waiting to get married after you already know that’s the one. The less you wait, the better.

         But I should also add that just because you are married, that does not necessarily mean that you are off the hook from sexual immorality. See beloved, sexual immorality is any sexual activity outside of marriage. All sexual activities are reserved for the sanctity of marriage. It should be fun and exciting. Just don’t limit yourself to the bed room; do it in the laundry room, do it in the car, do it in the bathroom, in the living room, in your own backyard if you can, just make sure you don’t go to jail over it or have others watch you, but be creative with the love of your life. In First Corinthians 7:5 we, the married folks, receive specific instructions from Paul,

Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (NKJV)

 

         Every time you, man of God or you, woman of God, decide that you are not giving yourself sexually to your spouse, you are in direct violation of God’s Word. You are directly contributing to the destruction of your own marriage by allowing Satan to come in. Satan comes in to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) your marriage. Sexual desires are no joke!

         The point that I want to make here is this; as it refers to deliverance, it is not coming! You will never be delivered from something God put on you. I know many of you claim to be super spiritual, but sexual desire is a normal and powerful thing. Those sexual desires will always be there.

         So then, many of you may be telling yourselves, if I am not going to be delivered from this thing, then, is it ok for me to watch pornography and masturbate? Is it ok for me to sleep around? After all, I can’t be delivered, right? No, that is not what I am saying and that is not the heart of God regarding this matter. Remember what First Corinthians 10:13 tells us,

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (NKJV)

 

         Temptations will come our way; Jesus himself was tempted in all things according to Hebrews 4:15. Satan is an expert on how to effectively tempt us. Our job, when faced with temptations, especially the sexual temptations, is to flee from it (I Corinthians 6:18). The reason we constantly fall in this area is because we don’t flee from it. We either continued to put ourselves in the position to be tempted or when God, in His mercy, shows us the exit, we simply don’t take it. Why don’t we take that exit? The answer to this question is the root of the issue; the answer to this question will surprise many of you.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

God Or Pornography III


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Even as I obeyed the Lord and called the front desk to block HBO out my hotel room, I was kind of disappointed. After all, I am a man of God, why was I not able to control myself on my own? Better yet, why did God not send an angel to give me the strength to resist such temptation?

         I really wish I could be a super spiritual man, but the reality is that I am not. I am weak, however, it is important to establish that my weakness is not an excuse to surrender to sin. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 tells us,

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NKJV)

         In moments when we are faced with temptations the power of God is indeed available. God is telling us “…His grace is sufficient…” In other words, God’s grace is all we need to have victory over nights like the one I had in that hotel room in Indianapolis. God gave us an amazing truth concerning temptations in James 1:13-14,

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (NKJV)

         I was not looking for anything pornographic as I was flipping channels. The naked woman on HBO was a temptation set by satanic forces. However, the moment I identified the temptation, it was up to me to choose God or pornography. In First Corinthians 10:13 we find a powerful promise,

 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (NKJV)

         The first thing we need to establish is that there are temptations that are very common. We all face them in one way or another, that is, if we are honest.

         The promise here is that God will not allow us to face a temptation stronger than the spiritual level we find ourselves in, at the moment of the temptation. Further, God promised that if we find ourselves facing a temptation that is indeed too strong for us, He would still provide an exit. The problem is that many times we refuse to take that exit and those are the times we really get in trouble. At the end, it is our doing, not Satan; and definitely, not God.

TO BE CONTINUED…

God Or Pornography II


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I heard a man of God saying that every time big Christian men conferences take pace in cities around the United States, the orders of pornographic movies greatly increase in hotels. I guess the number is large enough for them to notice.

         I was weak away from my lovely wife. I was alone and I was tired. My spirit wanted to have a life-changing encounter with Christ in that Hotel, but my flesh had other plans. I knew that whatever I chose to do in that moment was going to determine the spiritual outcome of my trip.

         Very quickly I heard the voice of God telling me, “Call the front desk and ask them to block HBO.” I called and they replied that they were not able to block HBO, but they were able to place a parental control on the whole TV, I told them that was wonderful. That night, I did nothing embarrassing; I wished I would have not look at that naked woman for the three seconds I did look, but that night, I did not engage in pornography. That night my desire to have an encounter with God was greater than my desire to gratify myself through pornographic images; with this in mind, the Lord was about to release a life-changing message into my spirit.

TO BE CONTINUED…

God Or Pornography


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If you are perfect and have always done the right thing when it comes down to your sexuality, this series of articles are not for you. If you are the husband of one wife, stayed sexually pure until marriage and don’t remember what it feels like to be single, this series is not for you either.

         However, if you know that, independently of your social status and reputation, you are constantly giving your secret place to sexual perversion, this series is Holy Ghost inspired to help you.

         I am going to be honest, transparent, but also Biblical. This series is written in love and with great compassion to help men all over the world understand this brutal battle and know how to have victory in this area.

         I was in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 2014 Christian Martial Arts Union Annual Conference. I was far away from my wife, my children and from our home in Fairbanks, Alaska. I felt so exhausted from such a long trip. I must say that either I am getting fatter or the airplanes are getting smaller; my body was surely hurting, my flesh was surely weak.

         As I arrived in my hotel room, all by myself, I prayed a short prayer thanking God for bringing me to Indianapolis safely. I then turned on the TV and started flipping channels. Very quickly I landed on HBO and less than 15 minutes after arriving in that luxurious room at the Hyatt’s Hotel, I had a beautiful, sensual and naked woman on my giant screen TV. She got my attention as I momentarily stopped flipping the channels. After a few seconds I did flip the channel again and refused to keep looking, but the reality is that I did look.

         I want you guys to understand that, not only was I in Indianapolis for this conference, but above all, I wanted to spend time alone with God. I wanted for God to speak to me in that hotel room, I wanted to feel His presence, I wanted for HIM to renew my strength and I wanted revival to start in my own heart. But now, I needed to chose; God or Pornography?

TO BE CONTINUED…