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Holy Spirit as Unifier

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Back in 2008 when I was a missionary in China that nation suffered an earthquake which took over 1/4 million lives. When I returned to the States I learned that a well-known California family had lost their adopted Chinese child through a freak accident around that same time. The Lord showed me (more accurately the Holy Spirit showed me) – that this child was now reunited with her original Chinese family – a great home-going for them all.

How exciting. But of course the grieving Californians could not know what I’d been told. I have no contact with these people so I completely forgot my revelation.

Then I moved to Texas where I joined a modern charismatic church. The pastor one morning told the congregation that this Chinese child’s father was his personal friend. Later I told him what the Lord had revealed to me. Would he would please tell the grieving father, even though now it is 2 years later? Then I completely forgot about it.

Many months later I asked if he had talked to the father? Had he told him about what God had told me? NO, he had not. The Holy Spirit is called The Comforter, but his friend offered him no comfort.

Frankly it shocked me that this pastor would not care enough for his friend to ease his pain with this revelation. In fact, I was so put off by it I left the church entirely. Then I moved to another town and the entire thing was lost to my mind once more.

Eventually the impact of this earthquake came up again so I asked God – Why didn’t he tell his friend, the father? The Lord made it clear to  “Her father already knows!” So God gave the revelation of what had happened to his child, perhaps directly, perhaps through another person. God is more than willing to tell us why He is doing things, or what has happened to our family beyond the grave. And it relieved my mind too, knowing that a family of Chinese were happily in heaven after I’d spent so much of my time trying to reach my Chinese students for the gospel.

This is what God wants for his church. He wants us to minister revelation and truth to each other. When that happens, the Real Church happens. Look at Acts 2. They are all in an upper room, in one accord. Out of this upper room came a massive 5,000 souls revival including a large number of foreigners (that is they were all speaking diverse languages) were taken into the church in one day. A crusade followed when many were sent out, miracles were common. Out of that original unity came the greatest single move of God up until that time.

And that is what God wants now.

No – He is not giving revelation to just anyone. Non-believers, mockers and the hostile are not included in the revelation of truth. But if God’s people will come together they’ll find themselves being effective beyond their wildest dreams. And prophecy is not just about the future – but also present reality and confirmation that when we are obedient we can receive assurance that we are on the right track.

Right now, angels are gathering people together – people who believe the word of God, in addition to people known as “tares” – those who pretend to be believers but who don’t believe. This is before the final harvest.

Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

If someone in your church does not agree, let them go.

If you no longer agree with what is being done in your church, you go. God has new barns and will deal with the nay-sayers.

We lost that unity and still don’t have it back, but the call of God and the potential is still there. When we are all on one page God will show up and do mighty things.  It requires us all to be in total agreement with the word and the will of God.

Can any two walk together lest they be agreed? Amos 3:3

If you are tempted to, don’t ask God to rifle through piles of tares to drag them out and into the Kingdom. Not all people are going to be saved. Only those who do God’s business God’s way! We are to pray that those who have not made up their minds will be sought by God, but as for the rest – Let them go. His business and yours is the Kingdom.

That event in my life demonstrated to me one of the major duties the Holy Spirit has in this world – that of bringing believers together and empowering them to minister to each other.

#unbelievers #prophecy #Chinaearthquake

How to Handle Contentious People

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You probably didn’t know the Bible had an appropriate passage about this type of person. You know them. You sit down with a group of friends and talk about your recent conversation with someone and she reminds you that she already had a previous talk with her. You say you had a nice trip to San Antonio and she spends 10 minutes telling how she lived there and was such a glorious addition to the community. You note that life has been better and she says, not a bit. Whatever you can do, she can do better or differently.

It is called contradiction which comes from two words, “contra”, against and “dict,” to speak. Contentious people want you to argue and fight. Dealing with contentious people is a test of one’s character and unfortunately you are being tested. Jesus had to contend with people like this.

Hebrews 12:3 For consider Him that endured such contradiction from sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds

Or how about this version:

Amplified Hebrews 12:3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

Or this.

ERV Hebrews 12:3 Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying.

Please note that Jesus calls these people sinners and considering how they oppose you, you are not going to be the one who reaches them in your own strength. Next we note that Jesus did not speak against these folks. He endured them. That is another word for perseverance as noted in this passage.

Endurance is a virtue and one step in a process of gaining wisdom and holiness.

2 Peter 1:5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

There are many occasions when our only response is to say nothing, and do nothing but endure. Since these people want to argue your refusal to argue puts them out of business.  No argument – no problem.

Personally I had this same situation and I stopped talking to this woman on the phone.  She sent some snarky emails calling me names, positive that those attacks would get me back into her battlefield, but I ignored them for a year. Now when she calls I occasionally answer, but not always.  I am simply not available to listen to her kvetching.

When Jesus was questioned by King Herod He said not a word.  Jesus knew, and perhaps Herod also knew, that his was illegitimate authority. Herod ascended to his throne by murdering his relatives, and just about anyone else he found in his way.

Jesus, and you, do not need to answer to wrong authority, or those who are picking a fight with you. Jesus did not answer and so can we.

Why Evangelism to Orientals fails (and how to succeed)

Print Friendly and PDF<ga.js>When Christians claim to know who’s in heaven and who’s not they get into trouble. This is the reason the Baptists do so poorly in China. If they suggest to the Chinese that their ancestors are in hell, the Chinese laugh and leave. That is condemnation. Jesus came into the world to save it not condemn it.

In fact, most children love their grandparents so I would not suggest a comment like that for any other group, but that message is implicit in saying, you must know the name of Jesus to go to heaven.

The Bible says, many who do know that Name are not accepted by Him.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The Name of Jesus means the Authority behind the name

Clarifying point: To know the name is simply not to have heard and repeated it. That makes the name of Jesus into a manta. The “name” indicated in Biblical Law the authority and power of that name. Knowing Jesus’ name then means a familiarity with all that He did and can do, the recognition of the divine in Him. Therefore by no other name (authority) can we be saved.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Getting to know the authority of Jesus takes some effort.  And if you live in a territory where the literal name Jesus has never been spoken, don’t you imagine God is big enough and smart enough to reveal Himself to that person?

God can reveal Himself whenever He feels like it

Years ago a Jewish fellow I knew decided to commit suicide.  He planned to walk down the superhighway and then step out in front of a car.  As he was walking he looked up and saw Jesus walking towards him.  The event led to his salvation – as you might expect.  Religious people have this bad habit of saying God isn’t going to do something.  Really?

Meanwhile, the missionaries who are accepting people where they are and working with them one-on-one do much better. I know how Orientals think. The Chinese are materialists and you cannot prove their ancestors are anywhere at all – much less in hell.

You can’t even prove your ancestors are in heaven. But the Word and the Spirit can go anywhere and locate the heart of anyone. The word of God is mighty, and the word is not bound. (2 Timothy 2:9)

It can and does go anywhere. The spirit acts upon the word and hearts are convicted and lo and behold, you have a convert-in-process It takes more time in a foreign culture. They have no cultural norms on which to base our western ideas of freedom of choice.

And in China the government tells them they know everything and they have everything. Without experience in other countries which are largely off limits, how can they get out of the box of ignorance.

They also have a lessened sense of accountability because the government has taken most of that away. The glory of Chinese capitalism is that as it creeps across the land accountability comes with it and a heightened sense of responsibility for one’s own life.

When the ax of truth falls against the rotten tree of the sinner himself, you can actually see people’s hearts and minds change. Of course they won’t tell you that because they are Chinese and they keep everything close to their chests, but I have seen it. You can see something in the face when the truth of conviction hits a heart.

Real change is a changed life

A missionary friend of mine to Africa says that when conviction of sin hits the women they automatically cover their naked breasts. (Well, we won’t see that much in the USA I dare say.) But chorus girls who get saved frequently give up that lifestyle. The only way an evangelist has sure proof that someone is saved is by a changed life.

Ah Yes- God has spoken to his heart and he knows now that his self-will and sin are on the line – and I have not spoken one condemnatory word. How good God is on follow up.

#Godisnotbound #salvationisnotbound #gospelinChina #religion #spirituality

To read more on China: https://understandingchina.wordpress.com/

Will Solomon Kill the Methodist Baby?

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King Solomon was asked to decide what to do about two prostitutes who were arguing over a baby. One of them had rolled over in the middle of the night and killed the child. Solomon, not knowing which was the genuine mother, suggested that he slice the living baby in half. The real mother quickly said, “No let her have the whole baby.”

Two Methodist Groups talk split

The news tells us that the Methodist church is facing a division. Falsely reported as a disagreement over equality, it is actually a long coming argument over the core of the church, the scriptures – are they the infallible guide to life and practice or just “good ideas” and “nice suggestions.” Is God’s word going to rule, or man’s?

Jesus predicted this

He said, ”  And so your tradition empties the commandment of God of all its meaning. You hypocrites! Isaiah describes you beautifully when he said: ‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’.” Matthew 15:6

Methodists lost 50 million members in the 20th century because the charismatic movement took hold. Old time members thought this would drain the church of members if they tolerated this new move; but the reverse happened, the charismatics were the ones with the money and they left.

So today we have the divisions remaining – whether Methodist is Biblical or Secular in its core. One wants the Bible to rule rather than the word of Man; the other wants the word of man to rule. And the LGBT community has no DNA to endorse that their idea that homosexuality is given at birth so it cannot find verification in science which both groups would accept as a valid premise.

The Bible is unequivocal about sin

Meanwhile, the Bible is clear on this subject; all sexual deviance is sin. Sin is a given in man’s condition, but the whole purpose of salvation is to compensate for the sin in man and provide him a way to enter heaven. It does not guarantee a sinless life; only a saved one. But it does mean you, not he, will change, or will decide to change. God doesn’t zap people from heaven to change their future; each of us must make a decision and follow a process.

The other half has promoted a “big tent” for years and has for the most part rejected the absolute nature of the scriptures as the mind of God, until now. The issue has been roiling below the surface for years.

God is not into the Status Quo

This is what happens when you won’t move on. God does not endorse the status quo with churches any more than life in general. “I am the Lord,” He says, “I change not.” Which means that if you want progress, revelation and the blessings that progress brings you, not He, will change. That goes for people, churches, institutions, colleges, politicians, and businesses. The secular world knows this; the church is coming late to the game.

God’s word applies right now

I woke up this morning remembering an event from 1969. I was substitute teaching at a high school when a girl complained that a boy had taken her pencil. She wanted it back. I took the pencil and suggested I break it in half so each could have a piece. She said quickly, “Oh, let him have it.”

I returned the pencil to her and turned back to my desk. No one who owns something of value wants it split in two, even a lowly pencil. I wondered if that pair, today, 50 years later ever realized I had patterned that event after a Bible story. Those students would be in their middle 60s now. Do they remember?

God put His word out there for us to remember when the time comes that He does not change, either Himself or His word. God’s words are condemned as being old, but look how it applied in real life as it does over and over. When He said, “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God abides forever,” He meant it.

If you want to be a Change Agent in someone’s life, consider this group. https://cfdreamcenter.org/about

#Methodistsplit #LGBT

Stumbling on Doctrine

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Paul said I preach Christ and Him crucified.

I am always wary when people focus on doctrine rather than the person and work of Christ. Doctrines are supposed to clarify what we teach and believe not obfuscate it. If you look up Christianity on the Internet you are soon ankle deep in a miasma of doctrinal positions – amillennialism, pre-post-mid tribulation, etc. When I saw this chart on the internet I was relieved that I had already been through seminary and did not need to repeat it.

This is not readable which is fine with me

Leave this for the scholars because the meat and potatoes of Christian life is in applying what we know about God to daily life and continuing in our study of His Word, not necessarily man’s word. Each of us has a Call and a life Plan, written out in heaven and waiting for our application and focus. Thankfully, more and more pastors are preaching this.

Ministry has moved into the wider world

Gone are the days – one could hope – when the spiritually minded young man was told by well meaning church members, you should be a minister. The ministry is now out in the world – the entire world – in offices, banks, insurance agencies, manufacturing warehouses, construction sites, beauty parlors, shoe stores and IT centers. God got tired of being confined to buildings which were inhabited once or twice a week.

We walk by faith not justification of our faith.

We do not need to have all the answers to various questions and doctrines which the unbeliever throws at us, although it would be nice if we knew them. And some do. When the scripture says you should be able to give an answer for your faith, you can simply point to an incident in your life when God broke through the natural world and made His presence real to you.

Your testimony is your power point

For me it was the divine healing of my feet. All four arches were flat as a pancake and painful. I wore leather arches in all my shoes. At a Christian retreat I asked God to fix my feet. But I did make one condition for myself;

I promised not to question or examine the issue again.

If I was to have real faith I needed not to obsess over the answer but just wait and then one day find that my feet no longer demanded inserts. I did this because I had seen so many people disappointed about their healing.

“Well God didn’t heal me. I guess He never does.”

The Bible says that someone who thinks this way never gets anything from God; they’ve slammed that door shut with their un-faith. That sort of thing. That washes away every scrap of faith you have as a new believer which makes no sense. If you are going to have faith in God you need to allow Him to do things on His schedule.

Don’t give God deadlines

About six months later I noticed that the leather inserts were not comfortable. My feet were totally healed. Many decades have gone by and I have had many things go wrong in my body but I can honestly say my feet have never given me another bad day. Once God does something He does not un-do it.

No one is saved by doctrine

But we were talking about doctrine. For some reason males especially think they must have a doctrine to back up their beliefs. That sounds sexist but not so. People approach the issues of life and death differently. I wonder if the male mind is not overly concerned with making stuff logical. But that isn’t our goal anyway. Women are more likely to accept what God has done and be thankful and not overthink things. if people question you about your faith – and poopoo it, you have your testimony to fall back on.

Remember this. No one with an experience is at the mercy of a someone with theory.

The purpose of doctrine is to explain what has happened to you in the context of the rest of the believers and reflect what is taught in the Bible.

And conversely false doctrines are there to cheat you out of a full Christian life experience. You will not pray for God to do something if you’ve been told He won’t do it. I prefer to think God listens to everything I say and that frees me to ask whatever I will. That does not mean He always answers, and certainly not right away. But the option is there.

Use the autumn season to make a new mission statement for your life

This is Labor Day weekend. it is a good time to take stock of your life and make a plan for this coming year. Change is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Get yourself back into reading the bible, not just the parts you like, such as the Psalms or the Gospels. It is the whole Bible that belongs to us.

There’s an old gospel song – Every Promise in the Book Is Mine. But only if you know the promise is there.

My Funniest Gospel Story – devotional

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Years ago I heard this true story and go back to it many times because it shows that God has a sense of humor even in the worst times. Remember He is not caught off guard by any situation we get into.

The pastor at Almighty God Assemblies of God Church was working late on Sunday night at the office and decided to call home to tell is wife he was on his way soon. But the phone rang repeatedly with no answer. Thinking she must be in the shower he just closed the office and left. When he got home his wife said she’d heard no ring from him and they forgot about it.

Monday morning at the crack of dawn there was a man on the steps of the church with this story to tell. He had been in his apartment with a gun on his lap planning suicide Sunday night.

As a final ditch attempt  he said, “God, if you are really there, let me know and I won’t go through with this.”

Then the phone rang. He looked at the Caller ID – It said Almighty God. 

Frozen with fear the man stayed awake all night. Then he checked on the church address and ended up at the pastor’s office to hear a word of hope.

There are several things about this story that stand out. First, God is able to mess up phone lines when He needs to. We don’t consider how God can get around man’s opinions, his technology, his people, his church, his nations, even the bad ones. The Bible repeatedly says, He is Able. We allow our doctrines to hamper what He can do or will do.

Second, the man had to respond.  He could have looked at the Caller ID and thought, well, a phone call doesn’t count.  Sometimes our negativity is so thick we are unable to respond when we have the chance. It clouds our mind. This man realized something otherworldly had happened.

Third, and this is perhaps the most important lesson, I cannot prove it but somewhere, someone had prayed for this man.  Perhaps a family member, a coworker, even a person on a bus might have seen this man and thought, “He looks depressed and hopeless. He needs God.”

So, add a person you don’t know to your prayer list – the cashier at the Food Lion, the person in the next cubicle that you do not know, or the guy who is panhandling with a sign, “Will work for food.”  It doesn’t matter that he probably needs drugs too. Your job as a believer is prayer. That is a Christmas present you can give anyone.

With prayer you can be ‘Almighty God’ in your town too.

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