Monday, June 24, 2013

Restoration of the Rebel


Restore the Fallen

     A pastor we will call Sam fell into sin. His moment of weakness hurt his wife and family, who worked with him through his repentance and forgave him. After moving away from the community where he had suffered a tarnished reputation, he determined to live for God. Within a short time, the call of God stirred him to reach the lost again. He began bringing people too the church in the town where he now lived, baptizing them in Jesus' name, and seeing the Spirit fill them. In a few years he won dozens to the Lord.
     He accepted his pastor's gracious invitation too serve as the church's staff evangelist. Over the years hundreds of souls have been added to the Kingdom by his tireless desire too teach Bible studies and do outreach. One day, a visitor who knew Sam's dishonorable past remarked, "How could your pastor have him as a staff member?" Once told of the minister's devotion to the Lord and his labors in the harvest, the voice of the accuser had nothing more to say. Perhaps we would have a stronger army if we shot fewer of our wounded and helped them get back into the fight instead.
     Jesus said His mission was to bring back the straying sheep. One He restored was Peter. How many heroes could come back if we let them? Sam got a grip on his purpose again and is still tearing down strongholds.
by Daniel J. Koren

Restoration of the Rebel
     In order to receive salvation, one must be made clean before God. The Bible gives many examples of how God restores those who seek his forgiveness wholeheartedly and the importance of repentance.
"And Samson called unto the Lord, and said O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes." Judges 16:28

     Many times we feel we are trapped in our shortcomings because
the enemy tries to makes it clear to us that we are not worth being
restored.  Did you know that God has better plans for you? "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:33

      There must be an effort made in order to reach out to God when we are out of the body of Christ. If the effort is not made, we are blatantly breaking our covenant with Christ and denying the power to withstand temptation. How could the Lord be so patient and gracious? How could a holy God restore such a seemingly unholy rebel? "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. 9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works." Psalms 145:8-9

When sin receives the victory during our trials there are three things we lose from God:

  1. Loss of Strength "And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, Ii will go out as at other times before and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him." Judges 16:20
  2. Loss of Freedom "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." II Corinthians 3:17
  3. Loss of Vision "But the Philistines took him, and putout his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house." Judges 16:21
     However, the mercy of God overpowers this all when we are restored:
  • Struggle for Restoration
    • God can grant repentance and remove the scales from our eyes if we do not falter in our commitment to live for God.
  • Strength Returns
    • God can feel a divine stirring in our hearts when all we can do is look to him for forgiveness and decide to leave what we've done against him behind.
  • Final Victory
    • The Lord will remember us during this time of restoration and returning of strength. 

Make it a point to repent and move on. There is no need to carry around what God already let go for you! He wants your heart and he has a place for you to dwell with him for all eternity.

Authored by:
Sis. Joy Jones

References: Davis, Richard. Lessons from History for Christian Living. Spring 2013. Hazelwood: Word Aflame Publications, 2013. 22-24. Print.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Calling all to be Holy

     The Bible calls followers of Christ to a life of holiness, and stresses just how essential holiness is. 
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14 
 The new birth or being born again is the initial experience of salvation, but the process of salvation doesn't end there. There is also the work of sanctification-a process of becoming progressively more and more like Christ, this process takes place as we submit daily to the leadership and control of the Holy Spirit.
"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." 
2 Thessalonians 2:13

    Just as sure as we must be born again to see the kingdom of God, as stated in the book of John 3:3-5, so we must pursue holiness, or sanctification, in order to see the Lord. The new birth will have no eternal value unless the born again person continues to walk by faith and live after the new nature of the Spirit, and allows God to complete the process that started with being born again.

      Holiness is not an option: it is a command that we are to put into operation in all aspects of our lives.  "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16

What is Holiness?

   Holiness is the principal aspect of His nature, so in reference to God, it means absolute purity and honest nature. In reference to us as humans it means, conformity to the character and will of God, it  means thinking as God thinks, loving what He loves, hating what He hates, and acting as Jesus would, ultimately, having the mind of Christ. 

   It also means that we are not to love this ungodly world system, neither identify with it,  become attached to the things in it, or take part in the world's sinful pleasures and activities.
"know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4

Why live Holy?

      One reason for living holy is to please God, because we belong to God in two respects:
  1. Creation
  2. Redemption through the Cross
So as His people we do not have a right to live any other way, than by His design. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."  1 Corinthians 6:19-20
 God created us for His glory:
  "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." Isaiah 43:7
   He intended for us to love, worship, and commune with Him, but sin separated us from Him. So through the Cross He provided a way for redemption so that we can be restored back to our position in Him. 

   However, if we continue to live unholy and in sin, than we will continue to separate ourselves from His presence. Only by living holy can we fulfill the  purpose of  creation and redemption.  "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." 1 Peter 2:9 
   Another reason for holiness is to communicate Christ to others. People will believe our declaration that Jesus saves from sin only if they can see the saving power operating in our lives. Also people who are no longer satisfied with their worldly life, and the ones who are seeking salvation, will only be attracted to a people and a church that is clearly distinct from the world they are desperately trying to escape.
 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."Matthew 5:16
  The life of holiness brings great benefits in this life: physically, mentally, spiritually, and it leads to eternal life. It has always been  God's design for us to live by holiness standards, and when those standards are violated, significant harm results, for example:
  sexual immorality, rage, and bitterness can actually cause physical harm or illness. 

  Those who live godly and walk in holiness enjoy divine love, joy, peace, and hope. They truly have abundant life, now and in the life to come.

Authored by:
Sis. Brittany Jenkins
Recommended Reading:
 Essentials of Holiness 
  by David K. Bernard

In Search of Holiness
by David K. Bernard

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Oneness of God

"Hear O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord" Deuteronomy 6:4

The key to having a proper relationship with God is to know his identity. Moses expressed to the children of Israel that the God whom they serve is one God in number. Meaning he is a singular God. 

This revelation of the identity of God is the very foundation of the Jewish faith, and is called the "Shema" which is recited even until this day. It is traditionally known that Moses is the author of the first five books of the bible, the Torah. Moses as well as all of his Jewish counterparts who have labored in writing the books that make up the Old Testament were highly monotheistic believers. This is a key concept in understanding who God is; we must understand that he is one Lord. 

          The prophet Isaiah declared...
 "Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God". Isaiah 44:6

The book of Isaiah holds some of the strongest declarations that the God of the Bible is one God. The Lord used the prophet Isaiah to emphatically proclaim his absolute oneness to such an extent, that he could not make this concept any simpler. The cries of Isaiah serve as a memorial for us today that beside God there is no other, he formed the earth all by himself.  

"Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God: I know not any". Isaiah 44:8

There is one thing that God does not know, and that is another God.

And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment”. Mark 12:29-30
Jesus made it plain, quoting Deuteronomy 6:4 he lets us know that loving the one true God of the bible is the greatest commandment. Jesus Christ was completing his earthly ministry in telling the scribes this because he was in fact pointing the world unto himself, for the very God who gave Moses this commandment was resident in his body. 

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself...2 Cor 5:19

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory”. 1 Tim 3:16

Lets us understand, with all wisdom what the word of God declares concerning the identity of God. For the mighty God of the Old Testament prophets was manifest in the flesh and bruised for our iniquities to redeem us unto himself, and not another.

Authored by:
Min. John W. Jenkins