Psalm 23

This worship song is a reworking of Psalm 23, which we all know:
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord. Forever.”

In times of loneliness, let us remember that the Lord is indeed our shephard and ever present help, our comforter in times of distress. He is with us forever and His Holy Spirit has been sent to dwell with us here on earth always. We can find peace in the knowledge that God is always with us and we have a reason to sing hallelujah to our Father who art in Heaven, but never leaves us alone. He is our comfort, He always holds us close. Hallelujah!

Photo provided by unsplash-logoBiegun Wschodni

Changed

“Old things are passed away
All things are new
I’m not the same
Yes I’ve been changed, Yeah
It’s true I found my life in you
All things are new
I’m not the same
Yes, I’ve been changed.”

In Tuesday Night Bible Study, we’ve been reading Acts and Romans, discussing the importance of the birth of new church after Jesus Christ’s resurrection and ascension to heaven, where He poured out His spirit to guide the believers in the spreading of the Gospel.

We discuss the importance and necessity of the Holy Spirit operating in a true Christian’s life. What are the signs that you have the Holy Spirit? Is it a feeling? Or is it something more? One clear evidence that should be visible in the life of a believer who is guided by the Holy Spirit is a change in character and temperant. Christian should be going through a process to become bearers of the fruit of the Spirit. Our worship should reflect the transformation in our minds and the dying to our flesh every day.

This song is a declaration that yes, you have been changed. You are not the same and that is only made possible by the Holy Spirit!

Photo provided by Ross Findon

Again and Again and Again

First, take a minute to LISTEN TO THIS ENTIRE SONG!

When has God never been there for you? Even when you think you are alone, God is there! And He will solve all your problems. He will heal all your pain. He has the PERFECT plan for your life. When are you going to praise God like you REALLY trust Him? When are you going to truly give up on trying to things on your own and allow God to be GOD in your life? I mean, when are you going to let Him be first and foremost, let Him guide you and take care of you and let the endless depth of His love pour over you? Stop worrying and praise the King of kings! He is the Lord of lords! He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

Psalm 113 “Praise ye the Lord. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.
3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high,
6 Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
7 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
8 That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.”

AND IF HE DID IT BEFORE, HE WILL DO IT AGAIN! That difficult thing you are going through? GIVE IT UP TO GOD!! LET HIM HANDLE IT! Be empowered! Get up and praise Him now! Selah.

He’s faithful God
He’s an on-time God
He’s a healing God
You will come through once again!
Just in the nick of time!
Satan is defeated!
You WILL come through once again!

He’s a wonder, He’s a wonder! He’s a mighty God!

Photo provided by unsplash-logoJessica Felicio

The Day of Pentecost

Welcome to Summer! In Bible study we have been discussing the book of Acts. Today we discuss the Day of Pentecost. What happened at Pentecost in the Bible? How does it relate to Christians today? Read Acts II.

Starting in Acts II, we read an account of the Holy Spirit coming upon the believers at Pentecost. This is in Jerusalem after Jesus has ascended to Heaven to be with God post-crucifixion and after the disciples are reaffirmed in their mission for the Kingdom of God. The Day of Pentecost signifies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and we see Peter acknowledge the fulfillment of prophecy from Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.

Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He spoke to the believers about being baptized in the Holy Spirit and the significance. This spectacular event not only signified the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and followers of Christ Jesus, but it signified the birth of the new church. Peter spoke a sermon over a crowd of thousands in Jerusalem, converting 3,000 people to Christianity from many nations and backgrounds. From that day on, the revived church began and the good news of the Gospel of Salvation was being spread.

Acts II: 42-47The Fellowship of the Believers: 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

God used the Day of Pentecost as a revival for the Kingdom of God after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Ever since that day, believers have been working in as servants of God to spread the message of the gospel to all who have ears to hear with a mission of saving as many people as possible. They met daily fellowship and talk about the goodness of God to those who had yet to hear.

God’s promise is that all people will have heard the good news of Salvation before the second coming of Jesus Christ, and the Day of Pentecost signifies a call to action for all believers to spread to gospel of Jesus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. The mission began at Pentecost and continues with all of us who have given our lives to God today. It is our calling and the will of God that we use our gifts and the direction of the Holy Spirit to spread the message of love and salvation to all who are lost.

Prayer: Father, allow me to be used by You to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ. Allow the love, grace, and mercy that You have shown me give me the ability to show a lost soul the way to Jesus Christ. Transform my heart and fill my heart with the compassion of the disciples and believers at Pentecost. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead me to those who need to hear about You, and give me the boldness and confidence to share Your gift with the world. Amen.

Photo provided by unsplash-logoSunyu

Man of Faith: Abraham

Happy Father’s Day! Today we discuss Abraham, the father of all nations and a true man of faith.

Abraham is the man who took his son Isaac on a mountain as a sacrifice to God.
Abraham is a man who started out as Abram, who believed in God but was still unsure of his calling.

We are the descendants of Abraham, the father of all nations. We’ll look at Abraham’s life and learn from what God spoke to him. Today we’re going to talk about TRUST.

God’s call is a call to trust.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Abram’s journey to becoming Abraham in the Bible reveals a man who was obedient but struggling with depending completely on God. It is fascinating to think that the same man who lied to protect himself would end up taking his only son to serve as a sacrifice to the Lord. Abraham’s overall growth is a journey we all face, to lean not on our own understanding but to depend completely on the direction of God and the Holy Spirit.

Abraham’s growth reveals man who learned to trust along with his obedience.

God established his covenant with Abram, changing his identity to align with the calling that is on his life which is signified by the change in his name from ‘exalted father’ to ‘father of many’ (Abraham).

Genesis 12:2-3 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 

God uses people He calls to fulfill His promise.

God’s promise was fulfilled through the birth of Abraham’s eight sons, and nations would be forthcoming that would lead to the birth of Jesus Christ. God accomplished this through His servant Abram who He called, just like He has called and chosen each one of us to fulfill a promise and purpose in our own lives that will impact the Kingdom of God.

Prayer: Father, let my faith be made strong in mt weakness and just as You established Your covenant with Abraham who struggled with trust, establish Your will with me that I may fulfill the purpose You have designed for my life. Teach me to trust in You and learn to lean not on my own understanding, but instead follow Your guidance and direction, and be obedient to Your word. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Photo provided by unsplash-logoAaron Burden

The Truth Be Told…

The word is in your mouth. God spoke His Word out into the dead world, giving it life and fulfilling His will.

Words are spirit; and when spoken, a word will search for a body to be established, because it cannot return. The preacher has to establish the word in himself; until the word is established in a body, the word remains spirit.

When we speak a word that comes from God, it is intentional – there is someone with a certain situation who is meant to hear and receive. That’s why it’s dangerous to listen to gossip, and listen to garbage; it will influence what we preach – it weakens discernment. It is also very important to function under the unction of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore the speaker becomes the carrier of the Word, which is the Holy Spirit established in us (The life I live not I that live but Christ that lives in us), if we are given the authority to speak the Word, then we are also given the authority to unlock any barrier to the establishment of the word. Until the word is established it remains unfulfilled.

The word needs to become flesh. If our hearts are not right, the word will not germinate and produce. The word is not the problem, the ground of our hearts is; until we fix our hearts to receive, we will remain a un-fertile ground. The word is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, it will accomplished the task it sets out in the lives of whoever has prepared themselves to receive.

What soil are you?

The Truth Be Told…

The truth be told: A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)
We often wonder why we have to deal with so many challenging situations. Why do I have to deal with so many problems? I am a good person and yet I have this weight carrying. That’s what’s wrong, the weight I am carrying. A problem is defined as an unintended deviation from a plan or objective. Without complete trust in the leadership of the Blessed Holy Spirit, it is very difficult to identify and appropriately deal with the devil’s traps. His traps are specifically and meticulously designed to cause problems for US. The devil’s goal is that we end up living in our deviation not or destiny.
So, brothers and sisters, I implore us all to put the weight down, without which we will never be able to objectively run this race to a successful conclusion.

The Truth Be Told…

The truth be told:  A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)
Leaven : (A pervasive influence that modifies something, or transforms it for the better)
This is a wonderful use of metaphor. There are things (Especially ones we consider small and harmless) in our lives that are modifying and transforming God’s plans for our growth and development (blessing) and causes us to focus on our ability to acquire (prosperity). These can be people, habits, misguided desires, works of the flesh (Gal 5), and poor choices.  The scriptures teach us to lay aside every weight and sin. Today we are talking about weight, and how God will not take away any weight we don’t first lay down.(Heb 12:1)

Photo provided by: unsplash-logoArtur Rutkowski

Mercy.

Proverbs 14:11 “The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
    but the tent of the upright will flourish.”

I came across this scripture, and it made me think about the immigration situation, particularly in the United States.

It takes at truly selfless person to understand the plight of an immigrant, especially a refugee. But to concern yourself with the oppression of others is not only a selfless thing to do, but it is one of the most Christ like. Jesus loved us so much that He took on our oppression as a price for our freedom – and all we have to do is accept Him.

We don’t have to pass a test or go through an obstacle course to get to Jesus, all we have to do is say yes. We don’t have to fill out any papers or pass some background check. He has already done all the work. He has been standing at the door, waiting to let us in. All we need to do is knock.

This Proverb stood out to me because it says the house of the wicked and then refers to the tent of the upright; and the tent made me think about refugee camps. The camps where refugees live in tents, watching as their homes are destroyed or dealing with the separation from their families. Not sure where their next meal will come from or what their next move should be.

In Matthew 25, Jesus directly identifies himself with the downtrodden: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”

This is the measure of the final judgement before God. Sit back and think on your life: What have I don’t to people? What am I doing to aid those who are suffering? This was so important to God that Jesus repeats himself in order for there to be no confusion: Help People. That’s it. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done. Because it is not about them or you. It is about God’s Kingdom and pouring out the love of Jesus.

Matthew 25:40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[c] you were doing it to me!’

Matthew 25:45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

We can only be like Christ when we learn to identify with those He also identified with. Jesus knew that he was a King, the Son of the Most High God. He knew he wasn’t merely an ordinary man by any standard, but those were His people. Jesus loved them all, and it is this unexplainable love that led Him to lay down His life in the hopes that people would be free. So why do we continue to accept excuses for oppression when we are in a place to offer freedom? Lord, I pray:

Titus 3:5 “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”

Spiritual.

There is a battle between the spirit of love and the spirit of evil.

Its in the small things. It encroaches on our peace and turns the tide quicker than the moon.

Romans 14:17 says: “for the Kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

In life we learn to prioritize certain things, especially those that edify our bodies. As children, parents work to make sure we are well dressed, clean and healthy. To the best of their ability, they work to ensure that we learn basic skills such as ready and writing and math; they send us to school to further enhance those skills – thinking that this will lead to our success. As we grow, we learn to take pride in ourselves and our presentation, developing our style along with our personality – so that when people see us, they know who we are. And its true; certain success is statistically more attainable when these standards are in place. There many factors to ensure success in the world.

Yet, the Bible is constantly getting us to shift our focus from the temporary success in the world to spiritual edification [the instruction or improvement of a person morally or intellectually]. Why? Because the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, is a spiritual place. It is our ultimate goal in life, it is our eternal destiny – if we are so willing. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but spiritual principalities and powers. Romans 8: 6 tells us that a carnal mind leads to death but a spiritual mind is life and peace.

So why do we focus so much on eating and drinking, neglecting the opportunities to be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit?

One of the reasons I believe is because of what I stated earlier: its in the small things. Its in the tiniest details of our life, but is those details that make up our life. What I mean is, it is natural and normal for us to take care of our bodies – and the Bible says that we should honor the temple God has given us. But what we tend to forget is that our natural state is not only our most familiar, but it is at odds with the Holy Spirit. Our natural desires conflict with the will of God.

Salvation reconciles us with God, and baptism fills us with the Holy Spirit – and we are commanded to walk a spiritual life. Condemning our flesh should be a daily occurance.

Remember Luke 9:23-24: “23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost.”

Sin separates us from God. That is the entire purpose of sin, and separation from God is death. Our flesh is cursed by sin to death, but Jesus overcame the power of that death and separation by walking blamelessly on the earth. He did it so that there would be a path to  God, to righteousness, so that salvation can happen to our souls despite the unchangeable condition of our flesh.

In Christ, we are new creatures – we are spiritual beings. Before salvlations, we were zombies. We would edify our flesh by being consumed with desires that had nothing to do with the kingdom of God. We were walking around feeding and cleaning and clothing dead, rotten flesh. But Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to that we could live our life filled with the Holy Spirit and surrounded by the kingdom of heaven.

As humans, we can’t escape the condition of our bodies on earth – but we OVERCOME it with the power of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is left up to us to ensure that we are constantly reading our Bible – hiding it in our hearts and staying in prayer – developing and strengthening our relationship with God.

It is up to us to live a life that is spiritual. Amen.