Monday, July 29, 2013

The Prodigal Son

The Parable of the Prodigal Son and a Loving Father

Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’ “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn't long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father. “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ “But the father wasn't listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time. “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’ “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’ “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”

 And just like the Prodigal son, we too are welcomed back into the family of Christ. Too many times we find ourselves looking at what has been or what could be in the world. The most valuable possession we can have is that which is found in Christ! "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

 One great thing about our God is that, "He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs" (Psalm 103:10). Because His mercies renew every morning, we always have a chance to line back up with Him and His unchanging word (Lamentations 3:22-23). Although we serve a merciful God, He is no fool. God isn't surprised at your slips, trips and hiccups. He wants to see more progression and less recession.  "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).  

There is always an opportunity for change and advancement in God. He purposely made us the head and not the tail. There is nothing we can do that can surprise Him, however, there can be a time where we may be unpleasant and spewed out. "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16).

   And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15). Make sure the family you choose to represent through your lifestyle is one that will have your best interest at hand. Jesus has already made His choice for you when He have up His life so that your life can be full of abundance.
 The choice is yours.

     Let us not allow the biggest love sign of all be taken for granted. We have a chance to come back to Christ and if you've never left, here is your chance to bring yourself and others closer than ever before.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:12-13).

Authored by:
Sis. Joy Jones

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Book of Life


The Book of Life is mentioned throughout the scriptures: Ex.32:32; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:10; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; 20:15; etc. These passages tell us very interesting and important  facts.

This Book Belongs to Jesus- Revelation describes the book of life as "the book of life of the Lamb..."in chapter 13 verse 8. The Lamb of course, is Christ. (John 1:36). Our salvation depends on him. Through his suffering, he was perfected as the author of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10). Until his death on the cross, we were "helpless" (Romans 5:6). The book of life belongs to Christ. Therefore, those whose name are found in it will have been included on his terms. 

You Can Have Your Name Added Now- At the judgement, the book of life will be opened (Revelation 20:12). There is no mention of names being added at this time. The reason is because the time for names to be added is NOW. Paul spoke of ones "whose names are in the book of life" (Phil 4:3). They were not waiting for their names to be added. They were already in the book at this time.

How Can You Have Your Name Added?- We now know that this book belongs to Jesus Christ. Who will be added to this book? The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus is to "all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation" (Hebrews 5:9). So we  must follow the commandments of Jesus in order to have our name in the book of life, including the instruction to REPENT, BE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF JESUS, AND RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST(Acts2:38)-evidenced by speaking in other tongues (Acts 2:4) 

You Can Have Your Name Erased- This is an  important point. The scriptures do not teach that once you are saved, salvation is forever guaranteed. Jesus told the few of the church in Sardis "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life" (Revelation 3:5). So this implies that if you do not overcome, but become unfaithful, then Jesus will erase your name from his book. 

If Your Name is Missing, You Will Be Condemned- In Revelation, at the scene of judgement we are shown the fate of those whose names are absent from the book. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire". ( Rev 20:15). Jesus described this as "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels". (Matthew 25:41). It is also called a place of "outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth". (Matthew 25:30) "away from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). "This is the second death" (Rev. 20:14). The consequences for not obeying the Lord are severe.

If Your Name is There, You Will Be Rewarded- In Revelation, John reveals that heaven is only for "those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:27). In heaven, you will be free from tears, death, and pain (Rev. 21:4) and  have access to the tree of life! (Rev. 22:2). In heaven, you will remain in the  presence of God. This is a reward that all who are saved are striving for. 

You now notice the importance of having your name in the book of life, as well as the horrible consequence if your name is missing. You have also seen what you must do to have you're name added. So ask yourself: "Is my name written in the book of life"?

Jesus said, "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Rev. 22:7). behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be". ( Rev. 22:12). Jesus' return is also compared to a thief that comes in the night (1 Thess. 5:2) The Lords' coming will be UNEXPECTED and UNANNOUNCED, we must remain in a constant state of readiness. 

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely". (Rev. 22:17) 

If you want your name to be added to the book of life, then obey the Lord NOW while you still have the opportunity to except His invitation.  HE'S WAITING.

Authored by:
Sis. Brittany Jenkins 

Monday, July 15, 2013

God Hates Sin

Would a loving God Judge Me?

How many times have I heard individuals ask, “Would a loving God really send someone to Hell?” Actually, as I have heard some minister answer, it is more like “God allows them to choose that destiny.” It really is about personal choice, with which God has empowered all humankind. Hell is a real, eternal destination; and many people will choose to go there by choosing to live sinful lives on earth, separation from God’s will and purpose. Still, to suggest that God’s love and His judgment are incompatible aspects of His nature is simply untrue. God loves us all dearly, even those who choose to exclude Him from their lives and thereby choose Hell as their final destiny.
       In his article “Would a loving God judge me?” author Davis Wilson writes, “So what is God like? Well, most people today would happily declare that God is love, and this is indeed a biblical description of God … But that is not the whole story. The Bible tells us that God is holy … When Isaiah … heard the angels crying ‘Holy, holy, holy,’ he responded by saying, ‘Woe is me, for I am undone …’ (Isaiah 6:5).
       “The Bible also tells us that God is just … Unfortunately, this creates a major problems … because if God judges us according to His righteous standard, we would all be destroyed … The only way God can be just and forgives us our sins is if the penalty we deserve is borne by someone else …"
        Jesus Christ has paid the price for the judgment of our sins, but we must accept His gift and embrace the salvation He has provided.

By Richard M. Davis

God loves the sinner, but will not tolerate the sin. If anyone goes to Hell, it is because they earned their way there. Hell is their reward for living a sinful life while they were alive on earth.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


God's Character
  • God is jealous over His deity (no other gods before him). He is the only God that should be 
  • worshiped. There are no other gods beside him.
  • God is jealous over His sovereignty (no other power above him). God is the creator of all things. There is no problem that he cannot solve.
  • God is jealous over His own people. (We are His people). God wants us to love and trust him. He wants us to fully rely and trust in Him.

With God’s help
  • All our sins are forgiven. When we ask God to forgive our sins they are forgotten, gone, removed, done away with and therefore nonexistence
  • God gives us power to tread upon our enemies. God will fight every battle with us. During the battles He will never leave us. We will have the victory at the end. 
  • Death cannot keep us from God's presence. The reward for sin is death. The FREE gift from God is everlasting life.

God’s ways are equal

Ezekiel 18:21-23 “But suppose a wicked person turns away from all the sins that he has done. He obeys all my laws and does what is fair and right. He will certainly live. He will not die. All the rebellious things that he did will not be remembered. He will live because of the right things that he did. I don’t want wicked people to die.” declares the Almighty Lord. “I want them to turn from their evil ways and live.

God does not want anyone to die in their sins, but He wants everyone to freely turn to Him for everlasting life. 

Matthew 24:14 “This Good News about the kingdom will be spread throughout the world as a testimony to all nations. Then the end will come.

Everyone will have the opportunity to turn to God at least one point in their life! Life is short, but eternity if forever! Where will you spend eternity?

Created by: Jocelyn Jones

References: Davis, Richard. Lessons from History for Christian Living. Summer 2013. Hazelwood: Word Aflame Publications, 2013. 48-52. Print.

Monday, July 8, 2013

In A Moment

In A Moment
There has been much said and talked about in regards to the event know as "The Rapture". The three main views are pre-tribulation rapture, mid-tribulation rapture, and post-tribulation rapture. Our focus here is not so much these aspects currently, but more so what it is and how to be a part of it. So let's go on a brief scriptural walkthrough.

We begin with what it is, in short "The Rapture" is the event that faithful believers are currently looking forward to in which Jesus Christ will come back to gather His faithful and steadfast children and remove them from this world, which will trigger the last seven years of human rule of this earth known as "The Great Tribulation". The purpose is to remove the faithful so that they don't have to suffer the same consequence as the disobedient. Perhaps we will get to some of these other topics in the future.

In the Epistle written by the Apostle Paul to the Church in Corinth we read:

"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1Corin15:50-55).

In simple terms the rapture, in one aspect, is the event that takes a faithful disciple of Christ and changes him or her fully into what they have been striving to become during their Born Again life on Earth, perfect. They are freed from the bonds and pulls of the sin that lies within all of humanity’s fallen nature, courtesy of the first human’s Adam and Eve. Believer’s go from mortal, that is capable of dying physically in this life, which man has been trying to reverse for ages, to immortal, immune to death and disease. But how will this happen? The Apostle Paul once again opens up our knowledge on the subject:

 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:9-11)

It is those who have been Born Again of water and Spirit (Jn 3:1-8, Acts 2:37-39) that will be caught up, but it is specifically by the working and power of the Holy Spirit that this is accomplished, for with God, all things are possible. (Matt 19:26)

Now we get to our last two portions of scripture, the first from the Apostle John. In his first epistle we read:

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1Jn3:1-3)

Jesus is coming back for a group of people who have, by His teaching, leading, and guiding through His Church and appointed leadership, purified there lives and have been cleansed of any and all things possible as not to defile heaven. (Rev 21:27)

Finally we have an admonishment and instruction from the Lord Jesus Himself. In Chapter 21 of the Gospel of Luke, the Lord prophesied and taught His disciple’s, as well as us the signs that would accompany the Last Days of human rule upon this world before the Great Tribulation began. Following the teaching comes this admonishment:

“ And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

The Lord wants us prepared for what’s to come, to be prepared as part of the Bride that He is coming back for so that we don’t have to go through what is to follow. Will you be ready for THAT MOMENT?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:4-8)

Authored by:
Min. Christopher Bateman 

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Promise

"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear" Acts 2:33

In this dispensation of grace, believers in Jesus Christ started to receive the Holy Ghost in the inner man for the purpose of salvation, adoption, and ownership which comes by Jesus Christ. While you read this study, lets seek to be more than a "seer" or a "hearer" of this great promise but let us seek to be the very ones to experience the promise. 

The beginning
It is important to know that the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts is the inauguration of the church age. God personally christened his church (body of believers) with his very own Spirit. It was the beginning of his beautiful church. The Apostle Peter recounted this great event to the brethren in Jerusalem, affirming that it was "the beginning" or the start of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
"And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?"
Acts 11:15-17

It is evident that even the Apostle Peter acknowledges that the Pentecost experience was the beginning, mankind had never experienced such a phenomenon until then. The church, the body of Christ was no longer and empty shell, we can now be filled with his Holy Spirit. What a marvelous experience it is to not only be born of the water, but to be born of the Spirit as well, just as Jesus said in John 3:3-8.

Can we withstand God?
God is the coordinator of this biblical event called the baptism of the Spirit. The called out Apostles could not withstand what God was doing in those days, neither can we withstand what he is doing now. Jesus orchestrated it, he gave the Apostles instruction to tarry (wait) in the city of Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father (The Holy Ghost).
"And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me." Acts 1:4

It was Jesus who stood on the mount of olives and told his Apostles that they would be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days after his ascension and that they would receive power.
"For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Acts 1:5 

The Promises of God are sure! Ten days later they were all filled with the Holy Ghost speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4

This is that!
The birth of the church was so significant that even the prophet Joel prophesied about it. The Apostle Peter, seeing and experiencing this spiritual birth, understood what was happening and said...
"..this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" Acts 2:16-17.

A promised experience!
Jesus promised his disciples before he was crucified that another comforter would be sent in his name. This comforter would abide with his disciples forever. After Jesus made this statement he let them in on a secret "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you" John 14:18. Yes, Jesus himself would be that comforter in Spirit form.   

This same promise was reiterated several times during Jesus' earthly ministry, in one account he explains that the Holy Ghost would not come unless he departs John 16:7. He also taught his disciples that believing on him as the scripture says that "out of his belly shall flow rivers on living water" John 7:38. The proceeding verse sheds significant light on this saying. "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified" John 7:39.

More good news!
This promise is for everyone that believes in Jesus Christ, Jesus said "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" John 7:37. Paul passing through the upper coasts of Ephesus seeing certain disciples asked "have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? This my friends, I ask you today, have you received the Holy Ghost in the same manner as they did in "the beginning"? Acts 11:15

Authored by: