Archive for March, 2015

What the Cross Says

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Many people don’t realize crucifixion was the cruelest form of execution ever pronounced on a human being. According to history, the average thief wasn’t crucified; it was reserved for those who had committed the worst atrocities. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—who knew no sin—faced the cruel and rugged cross, and suffered 9 hours for all of us.

It was after those 9 hours, Jesus spoke 3 profound words: It is finished (John 19:30). These words did not just proclaim His death. Something happened in the spiritual realm that day. With Jesus’ death, He changed the course of history and paved the way for all of us to experience the power of His Spirit working in our lives. Jesus paid the penalty and paid the debt for every sin that every person would ever commit—past, present, and future.

Paul told the Corinthian church: For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:18, KJV). We need to understand the blood shed on the cross covers our sin, the cross has not changed today, and more importantly, the power of the cross has not changed.

What the Cross is Still Saying

Our Place Has Been Taken

Jesus didn’t just die on the cross for us, but He died in our place. We were all shaped in iniquity (Psalms 51:5) and have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The sin in our lives will lead us to death and destruction (Romans 6:23). If we follow our own desires and fall short of God’s expectations for us, we will face a certain death (James 1:15).

Our sin is typically rooted in pride. Pride is more than what we think it is—it is self-preference and self-focus. Pride goes beyond merely acting like we’re better than other people. It starts with being self-absorbed and self-centered. If we want to please ourselves rather than God or other people, we have pride issues.

Jesus took our pride, made Himself our sin, and took upon our guilt (II Corinthians 5:21). He became all of our mistakes and took our place at the guillotine. His sacrifice should become personal for all of us. We know we’re not perfect and can acknowledge our shortcomings. But, Jesus loved us so much that He died so we could have a chance at everlasting life. Each day we need to be thankful that Jesus took our place and that He paid the ultimate price so we would not have to face death, hell, and the grave.

Our Debt Has Been Paid

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to this cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Colossians 2:13–15).

Jesus’ blood made a way for each of us to be forgiven for all our sins. He wouldn’t have died on the cross if we didn’t have sin in our life. However, Satan tries to convince people that we don’t have sin and God doesn’t have a plan for the way He wants His creation to live.

We need to remember that God’s law applies to everyone and we are all guilty before Him (Romans 3:19–20). Everything we’ve done has been recorded against us. Every time we disobey the Bible or God’s Word this is marked against us as a sin.

Because we’ve fallen short, and were born into sin, we’ve created a gap between us and God. The only way to close that gap is so repay what we owe. This price is our life. But, Jesus paid that debt and closed the gap. When we believe in God and follow His Word, the power of the cross is activated in our life. Jesus’ blood blotted out every sin ever recorded against us and paid our ultimate debt! Without Jesus and His death on the cross, we would all be lost, and not have the ability to be saved from our sins.

Activating the Cross’s Power in Our Life

Fifty days after the death of Jesus on the cross (Passover) Peter preached a message on the day of Pentecost. When people realized their Lord and Savior was crucified on the cross, they were pricked in their hearts. They asked Peter what they needed to do to be saved. Peter explained the way of salvation in Acts 2:38: repentance, baptism, and the promise of the infilling of the Holy Ghost.

God is still pouring out His Spirit on all flesh—on those who’ve had their sins blotted out by the blood shed on the cross. We need to listen to the cross today. It’s calling out to us to remind us its purpose and how it’s still relevant to us. If we make the decision to believe on Him and abide by His Word, we can be washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Adapted from Sunday Morning Service on March 29, 2015

The Power of a Repented Heart

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

The story of Jonah is about realizing our faults, repentance, and making a change in our lives. The concept of repentance involves experiencing deep sorrow and a desire to turn away from our wrong doings. The key to repentance is first realizing that we’ve done something wrong in our life―that we have an issue. But, to resolve the issue, we must get to the root cause of the problem.

We are all human and are constantly fighting a war within ourselves. We were all formed in sin (Psalms 51:5), and because of this, have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Because of our sinful natures, we have a desire to be like God. This was the root of Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:5). Jonah had the same issue. Scripture doesn’t say specifically that he wanted to be like a god, but he wanted to be in control of his own life and make his own decisions. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh and obey the direction of the Lord. He decided to go in the opposite direction (Jonah 1:3).

Jonah got on a boat and found himself in the middle of a storm. Because Jonah disobeyed God, he put many lives at risk. Eventually, the sailors threw Jonah overboard, and he was swallowed by a big fish (Jonah 1:17). Just like Jonah, if we choose to go against what God has told us to do in life, we will run into a “big fish” problem. Many times we like to blame God for the situation that we’re in, but if we had just been obedient to God in the beginning we wouldn’t face the present problem in our life.

Jonah didn’t realize it at the time, but being swallowed by the  fish was his saving grace. Death is always the result of sin. Jonah would have perished in the storm, but this fish stopped Jonah just short of drowning. In was here in the belly of the fish, where Jonah had a change of heart, realized his faults, and cried out to God (Jonah 2:9).

When we realize that we have sin in our life, and repent, God will forgive us. He will extend mercy and grace to us in the midst of our failures. In Jonah’s case, God was quick to forgive him, and He  caused the fish to spew up Jonah on the shores of Nineveh. God gave Jonah a second chance to obey His voice.

Jonah finally made it to Nineveh and preached God’s warning message: in forty days, God would destroy the city (Jonah 3:4). It was a simple message, but the city responded. The king decreed that neither man or animal would eat anything (fast), and they would put on sackcloth and repent (Jonah 3:7). The city didn’t want to chance the destruction of the Lord. They desired to change their ways and live a life that was pleasing to the Lord.

True repentance will always be followed by an action. We cannot stop short in just believing in the Lord (John 3:15) and expect salvation. Just like the king of Nineveh acknowledged his sin, as well as the citizens of Nineveh, we need to do the same. We’ve got to take action to repent of what we know we’ve done wrong, and ask God to come in to forgive us, and to change us!

If we don’t confess our sins to God and ask Him to completely change us, we will waste away (Psalms 32:3–5). We become a hindrance to the work of the Holy Ghost and a potential revival in our lives if we don’t repent. Conviction will always come when we allow the Holy Ghost to be operational in our life (II Corinthians 7:10). With the conviction, we need a change in our lifestyle.

Although Jonah had repented in the belly of the whale, he  still had some heart issues to deal with. Jonah was mad that God didn’t destroy the city of Nineveh after they repented. He had not fully repented. When we truly repent, we will have a complete heart change that will impact our lifestyle, thoughts, and actions.

God’s desire to forgive us will not last forever. In the story of Jonah, God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent and turn back to Him. Receiving God’s mercy because we repent has an expiration date. There is coming a day when God will pour out His judgment on the world. If we don’t repent and change our lifestyles, we will too be destroyed. The only thing that’s holding us back is our repentant heart. Once, we repent, we will find out just how powerful our repentance will be in our life.

Your Wait Problem

Friday, March 20th, 2015
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Your Wait Problem







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And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:3–5, KJV).

Paul instructed the church—which is true for us today—quite simply, that good stuff comes from bad stuff. If we deal with tribulations in our life the right way, we will develop patience, then experience, and then hope (faith):

  • Patience—To cheerfully endure; to continue; to wait
  • Experience—To test or prove; testing out life
  • Hope—To anticipate; to have expectation, confidence, or faith

Trials aren’t going to be an aspect of our Christian walk that will excite us, but the believer should embrace tribulations because we understand the end result. As Paul says in Romans 5:3–5, our results are the development of patience, experience, and hope in the God we serve!

Patience is Key

We’ll find that patience is the foundation, or catalyst, to other workings in our life. Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (KJV). We can read about the concept of patience everywhere in Scripture because spiritual maturity is birthed in patience. The more we draw closer in our relationship with God and His Word, the more we will realize that patience is one of the greatest enablers of success in our spiritual walk. If we can’t learn to wait on God, we will not grow in God.

God wants to build us up and complete a work in us for His Kingdom, but many times these works are grown slowly over time. Scripture tells us that God is a God of patience (Romans 15:5). God, in turn, wants us to have patience as a minister (II Corinthians 6:4), display it as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), pursue patience (I Timothy 6:11), demand patience (Titus 2:2), mimic those who display patience (Hebrews 6:12), and run with patience the race that God has placed before us (Hebrews 12:1)!

We need to remember that God’s heavenly time table doesn’t always make earthly sense. God’s timing always has a purpose, and will come in due time. He had a specific season to save us (Romans 5:6) and has a specific season to grow us. We just need to be patient!

Waiting Always Comes with Promise

Waiting on God is always going to be worth it. Scripture tells us to wait on the Lord (Psalms 25:5, 37:9, 37:34, 40:1; Lamentations 3:5, 3:26; Micah 7:7). Scripture tells us, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36, KJV). Waiting on the Lord always accompanies a promise. If we try to do things on our own, and do not exhibit patience in our life, we won’t receive the blessing God has in store for us.

Waiting on God Completes His Work in Us

If we don’t wait on God, we won’t reach that place in His Kingdom where He wants us to be. In Scripture, we read about King Saul who led Israel into a battle with the Philistines. He was told to wait for the prophet Samuel to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Saul waited seven days and determined in his mind that he wasn’t going to wait any longer (I Samuel 13:8). He took it upon himself to sacrifice to the Lord, and “…as soon as he had made an end of the offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came…” (I Samuel 13:10, KJV). If Saul had waited, the Lord would have established his kingdom over Israel forever (I Samuel 13:13).

Saul missed out on the promise of the Lord in His life because he didn’t wait. He lost more than God’s approval that day; he lost God’s kingdom. If we choose to take our own road without waiting on God, we will always receive less than what God originally prepared for us. By extending patience, we will accept a difficult situation without giving God a deadline to remove it. We need to remember “…the trying of [our] faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that [we] may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:3–4, KJV).

Waiting on God Builds Strength

Breaking down is always a part of building. When God breaks us down through a trial or tribulation, He is trying to strengthen something in us that is weak. Paul spoke of a thorn in his flesh—something he dealt with continuously in his ministry (II Corinthians 12:7). He asked the Lord three times to take it away from him, but he learned that God’s grace was sufficient for Him. But, more importantly, his strength was made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).

Although we may be weak, weary, and worn, the end result of our trial is something to get excited about! We have strength and blessings coming from the Lord. Isaiah 40:29–31 says:

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (KJV).

Mastering the Wait

If we keep waiting on God, He will continue to strength and renew us day-by-day. We will never be disappointed to see what patience brings, what experience brings, and what hope and faith is birthed in us.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on March 18, 2015

Get a Piece of Pi(e)

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

A few days ago—March 14 to be exact—grade schools around the country celebrated Pi (π) Day. If you didn’t know, Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, approximately 3.14. Therefore, Pi Day is celebrated on the third month (March) and the fourteenth day. And, what do you think the celebratory meal consists of? Pie.

Every day of the year is a different celebration of some kind:

  • May 4—Star Wars Day (May the “fourth” be with you)
  • July 15—Cow Appreciation Day
  • September 19—Talk Like a Pirate Day

…just to name a few.

It seems as though the human race has an innate inner desire to focus on and “ingest” something each day. We desire to learn something new, celebrate its goodness, consume it, and apply it. We desire knowledge (Pi). We desire food (maybe pie, maybe not). Can we lay hold on something—Pi(e)—daily that meets our needs and desires?

As it turns out, God in His infinite wisdom created humans this way purposefully. And, He gave us a way to satisfy our desire for a piece of Pi(e) every day.

Matthew 4:4 instructs us: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God (KJV). Just as we require daily sustenance to survive, we need to feed on God’s Word daily to survive. We spend too much of our lives fulfilling our desires in worldly things—not in what the Lord preordained to meet our needs. God gave us His Word to teach us, to sustain us, to feed  us, and to lift us up. He gave us His Word so we can apply it and celebrate it!

I Peter 2:2 tells us that in order to grow, we need to desire the sincere milk of the Word. We need spiritual food! If we don’t feed on the Word of God daily, we will find ourselves frail and weak. We will lack the right nutrients to grow into stronger men and women of God.

Humans typically follow a schedule of daily eating—three meals broken into breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating’s routine, mapped out, and repeated day, after day, after day. We need to approach “feeding” on the Word of God the same way. Reading should be routine, mapped out, and repeated daily. But, how can we start?

In the Bible we find the book of Proverbs. Proverbs has 31 chapters; there’s one chapter to match the days in most of the months in our calendar year. If we struggle to get into God’s Word daily, a good place to start is by reading Proverbs. We can read Proverbs 1 on the first day of the month, Proverbs 7 on the seventh day, and so on.

We can start getting our piece of Pi(e) today—we don’t have to wait to start on day one, chapter one. We can read a piece of God’s Word today, consume it, and start growing!

Here’s more food for thought. Because Pi is an irrational number, it cannot be expressed as a common fraction. Its decimal representation (rounded to 3.14) actually never ends—it permanently repeats itself.

Just as we won’t ever be completely full of physical food to stop eating, reading God’s Word isn’t something we’ll ever stop consuming. If we start with Proverbs, when the month ends, just begin again. Focusing on His Word, learning from it, celebrating it, etc. should be constantly on repeat until the day we meet our Lord and Savior.

We need a piece of God’s  Word to “munch” on and digest every day—to meditate on it, let it remake our hearts and minds, and help us grow stronger in our spiritual walk. We can take of piece of His pie daily—and the best part? It never runs out….just like Pi. I encourage you, dear reader, to go after a piece of God’s Pi(e) and see if you ever get full.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Monday, March 16th, 2015

These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:25–27, KJV).

Jesus was preparing to face a cruel and rugged cross in a sheer matter of hours. Before He faced His own trial, He expounded to the Disciples about the difficulty that too would be in front of them. Jesus saw the trials ahead and the fear that would creep into their hearts. But, Jesus told the Disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, KJV).

Scripture tells us not to worry about anything (Philippians 4:4). The word “worry” in the Greek means to divide the mind. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). If we allow ourselves to be controlled by fear, we let the devil gain control of our soul.

Troubled Waters

Waves in the ocean during a storm can range from 10–100 feet high. These waves are large enough to capsize even the largest oceanic vessel. Just like the raging waves in the sea of life, there are waves (circumstances/trails) that will come to try to diminish our faith and crush our relationship with the Lord. But we need to remember that no matter what we endure, Jesus has a peace for us that is greater.

We, as children of God, have a choice to act differently than the world around us—this includes how we act in our circumstances. We can choose to not let circumstances trouble our minds. We can proclaim, “It shall not be so!”

Tides of Trouble

The Tides of Satan’s Attacks

The devil understands the times that we live in better than we do. He will use anything in his sphere of influence to come against us and to devour us (I Peter 5:8). But, we have the ability to resist the attacks of Satan (I Peter 5:9), and a command from the Lord not to let our heart be troubled!

Scripture tells us in I John 4:4, “…Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (KJV). We do not have to worry about the devil trying to wreak havoc in our life. He’s already been defeated!

The Tides of Circumstances

We may not be facing opposition from the devil, but just enduring the experiences of day-to-day life can bring their own onslaught of heartache. We need to remember that God knows what we need to survive here on earth, and He will provide for us. But, we must “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto [us]” (Matthew 6:33, KJV). When we focus on God first, He will supply our every need (Philippians 4:19).

God has never failed us so we have no reason to think that that He will fail us now! Our natural, human response is to worry about life’s circumstances. But, we need to develop a conditioned response. We can remember what God has done for us and apply that forward to present and future situations. We can know to cast every care upon Jesus and He will take care of it (I Peter 5:7)!

The Tide of Self

This is the most detrimental tide, and can capsize us in a moment. Paul exhorted us to, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14–15, KJV). If we don’t give God our worry, it has the ability to grow roots inside of us. The only product these roots will yield will be bitterness.

When we start to worry about anything, we will become troubled in our minds. From this worry, the only person who will end up with a true problem is us! We do not have to live with bitterness in our hearts. We need to decide not to allow our hearts to be troubled!

Changing Our Hearts

Jesus said He would send the Comforter to us, which would teach us all things (John 14:25). It’s not a coincidence that Jesus continued to speak about peace. The power of peace is wrapped up in the Holy Ghost (the Comforter). The gift of the Holy Ghost is promised unto us, and to our children if we are obedient to His Word (Acts 2:38–39). All we need to do is get right with God, seek Him first, and we’ll have a peace that comes in like a flood and fills every part of our life. When this happens there will be no room to worry.

Loving You Back

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

“Loving You Back” is the third, and final segment in the Crazy Love series, which focuses on the story of the Prodigal son found in Luke 15:11–32. The Prodigal son walked away from what he knew was right and away from the shelter and safety of his father’s house. Many of us have made the same choice in life. We’ve left a life of serving the Lord and obeying His Word to live out in the world. We’ve left our first love (Revelation 2:4).

Today we need to be reminded that no matter what we’ve done, God has never stopped loving us. God is trying to find those of us who are lost to His Kingdom, ways, commandments, love, shelter, and blessings. God thinks we’re worth too much to leave us alone and to give up on us. He sees value in all of our lives! He is trying to love us back home to Him.

Jesus shared the story of the Prodigal son because it was well known during this time in history. In this story, Jesus illustrates three key concepts of why people walk away.

There’s Something Better Outside of God’s Kingdom

The son looked at the riches inside his father’s house, but then looked to the world. His vision was drawn from “here” (inside) to “there” (outside). Luke 15:13 says, “…and [the son] took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living” (KJV, emphasis added). He didn’t realize that once he made it there (outside), the world would utterly destroy everything he had and eventually destroy him as well. The world and our culture will only take from us—it has nothing to give that is better than what God has in store for us. God has a better life for us here under the shelter of His arms than out there in the world.

Even if we’ve squandered our blessings out in the world, when we turn back to God, all of those promised blessings are still there with Him. We can’t let the world skew our perspective (Galatians 4:9); out there is not better! Better is one day with the Lord than thousands elsewhere (Psalm 84:10).

Failure

After the Prodigal son had wasted away his living, he was hired to feed pigs. He was so destitute, and so hungry, that he longed for the food the pigs were eating (Luke 15:14–15). The son had accepted this as his lifestyle; there was no escape for him. When we experience spiritual failure in our life, it becomes difficult to walk back toward God.  We’ve either accepted where we’re at, feel like we can’t be forgiven, or we have too much pride.

Scripture tells us the Prodigal son “came to himself” (Luke 15:17) and realized that he needed to get back to his father’s house. We need to allow God to bring us back to our senses! He can help us realize we too are living the wrong life, and get back to His house.

When the son made up his mind to return home, Scripture tells us that while he was a great way off, his father saw him (Luke 15:20). In order for the father to see his son a ways away, he had to be looking for him! The father ran to meet his son, embraced him, clothed him, and ordered for the household to celebrate (Luke 15:22–24).

God is looking for us, and wants us to return back to him. The moment we take one step in His direction, He will come running to us with His love. He will accept us back into His fold with open arms, and restore unto us everything we had originally given up. We will immediately reap His love, shelter, and innumerable blessings.

People

The Prodigal son had a brother. When the brother heard the merriment in the household, he asked a servant what had happened. When it was revealed that the brother had returned and the household, and his father, were celebrating, he got mad (Luke 15:25–28).

People sometimes drift away from God because of other people. When we’ve failed God, and try to make an effort to reconcile ourselves with God, we may think there are people who will discount us. The devil has tried to paint a picture that everyone in the world wants get in the way of God trying to do a work in us. But, when a sinner repents and returns back to the Lord, the church will celebrate with them! The church is a type of Christ. If Jesus is loves us all the way back to Him, the church will love us when we return as well!

Getting Us Back

In Scripture, Jesus did not only tell the story of the Prodigal son. He also shared a parable about a Shepherd who lost a sheep, searched until he found it again, and brought it back into the fold. Jesus also taught about a woman who lost a coin, and swept her house until she found it again. Jesus loves enough to go after just one—He loves us enough to bring us back. God just wants us to come back to the Kingdom. Let’s go home.

The Ability of Abiding

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The Ability of Abiding







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I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:1–7, KJV).

Aiming to Abide

When Jesus tells us to abide in Him, quite simply, He’s asking us to live, dwell, remain, etc. in Him. We need to act out our life in Christ. Abiding in Him warrants application in every area of our life—even in the mundane moments—and involves more than adopting the phrase, I’m a Christian.

If the Saints can abide in Jesus, we will see great things happen in our church and community. A church that is in strong union and relationship with Jesus will create an atmosphere where God can continually dwell.

Bearing Fruit

Jesus told His disciples that they should bear fruit. Fruit in the plainest sense means results. We can try to compartmentalize fruit into winning souls, working in a ministry, being a servant to God’s Kingdom, or developing Spiritual gifts. But, on the whole, God just wants us to bear spiritual results in our day-to-day life. Jesus doesn’t want us to be stagnant and “die out” to our growth. He wants us to grow in spiritual maturity and progress in our relationship with Him.

As in the metaphor of the vine and the branches, plants cannot grow without the proper nourishment, environment, and care. We too cannot grow unless we do what God what God wants us to do in our life. We need to be in the right environment, follow God’s Word, and have the proper relationship with Him. If we are going to bear fruit in our life, we need to allow God to develop things in our life that haven’t been developed yet. Jesus demands results that come from being connected to Him!

How Can We Abide?

Our Ability to Abide Depends on the Likelihood of Our Loving

After Jesus instructs His disciples to abide in Him and to bear fruit, He tells them to continue in His love (John 15:9). If we are to adopt Christ’s characteristics in our life, and follow His example, we are to love like He loves. Loving others was Jesus’ commandment for the church (John 15:12); we cannot live in Jesus and not love unconditionally like Him. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, KJV). If we are going to abide in Him, we need to extend sacrificial love towards others—this includes people in the church and outside the church. Love is the root element of the body of Christ.

Our Ability to Abide Depends on Our Compliance with Jesus’ Commandments

Human nature is to scoff at rules. We like to make excuses that God doesn’t have any “rules” to have a relationship with Him. But, there is no such thing as a relationship without rules. “Words” referenced in John 15:7 is the Greek word logos, which is referenced in John 1:1. If we abide in Jesus, His Word will abide in us. It is the Word of God (the Bible) that enables us to abide and live in Him. It gives us the strength, power, and know-how to live a righteous life day-to-day.

People today have lost the wonder of God’s Word. We forget too many times that it’s God-breathed and has the ability to change our life. David said in Psalms 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold the wondrous things out of thy law” (KJV). If we dig into God’s Word and it becomes active in our life, it will cleanse us and help us live a life pleasing unto the Lord. Jesus reiterated this concept when He said, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3, KJV). We need to spend time in the word, hide it in our hearts (Psalms 119:11), and learn to submit ourselves to God.

Our Ability to Abide Depends on Our Potential for Pruning

Sometimes God will need to cut things out/away from us so we will continue to grow. People who are spiritually mature know that gain doesn’t always equal gain—sometimes loss is gain and sometimes gain in loss! Jesus said:

Ye have not chosen men, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you (John 15:16, KJV).

There are three key truths in this verse of Scripture.

Spiritual Results are God’s Plan

God has ordained for us to bear fruit in our walk with Him. He has chosen us to do a work for His Kingdom. God knows the plan He has for us—if we are obedient to His Word and His will, we will see fruit come forth in our life.

Fruit is Not Temporary

Jesus said that when we bring forth fruit, it will remain. When God does something in our life, He doesn’t give it to take it away. Every move God makes in our life is foundational. He will bring forth fruit in our life to lay the groundwork for future growth. The only movement in our relationship with Christ is upward and onward.

Fruit is Necessary to Operate

If we have fruit in our life, whatever we ask in Jesus’ name will be given to us. If we are going to have a strong relationship with the Lord and operate in His Kingdom, we need to have fruit!

Scripture tells us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, KJV). The day we made a commitment to live a life for Christ and received the infilling of the Holy Ghost, a work started within us. That work was bearing fruit. But, when we start to bear fruit, God will purge (prune) it, so we can bear more (John 15:2).

We need to be spiritually mature to know that when God starts to “prune” us this does not equate to a dry place in our spiritual walk. God isn’t going to prune and then fail to water us. Jesus has wells of salvation and springs of everlasting life! When we abide in Him, and know that everything else in life is frivolous, we’ll be okay when God starts to cut things out of our life (Philippians 3:7).

Abundantly Abiding

We need to remember that when we abide in Christ we’ll understand that God’s grace is sufficient and that His strength is made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9). We need to trust God to know when He starts removing things from our life that it is for our good (Romans 8:28). We must decrease so that He can increase in our life (John 3:30). We have the ability to abide in Him! And, when we finally do—we will experience an abundance of blessings and fruit.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on March 11, 2015

What on Earth Am I Doing?

Friday, March 6th, 2015

In life, we’ve all found ourselves at one time or another thinking (or maybe even saying aloud), What on earth am I doing? It could be in a moment when we’re working, get side-tracked, and then can’t remember what we were doing prior to the interruption. It could be in a moment when we’re engaged in an activity we really shouldn’t be doing, and our conscience kicks in. Or, maybe we’ve found this question to be our daily mantra—quite simply, we don’t know what’s our purpose on earth.

We’re all doing something in life; it’s unavoidable. If we’re breathing in and out, we’re doing something. Acknowledging this point is half the battle. The other half is figuring out if the something we’re doing is what we’re supposed to be doing.

When God created mankind, He didn’t create each of us on a whim. When God does anything it is purposeful, projected, planned, and perfect.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV).

Scripture tells us that God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). From the foundation of the world, God knew who we’d be and what we were going to do. When God formed us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), He had a plan for our life.

While God has a general plan for all of us—sharing the Gospel message with all the world (Matthew 28:19) and being a witness to all men (Acts 1:8)—He has an individual plan for our life. We are all to minister in our own unique way.

Scripture tells us in Romans 12:5–6 that we are all members of the body of Christ, but that God has blessed us with different gifts. I Peter 4:10 tells us to use our unique gift(s) to minister to one another. In God’s infinite wisdom, He has blessed each of us with a unique talent (gift) and ministry to do a work for His Kingdom.

II Peter 1:10 says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (KJV). Calling in this Scripture is the Greek word klésis, which means divine call (plan). Election is the Greek word eklogé, which means God’s choice. Instead of just doing something for God, we need to make sure we seek out God’s divine call (His choice plan) for our ministry.

Finding the answer to the looming question “What on earth am I doing?” may be, in fact, be a journey. We may try our hand at different ministries to find out God’s plan for our life. Sometime we’ll know it’s the right ministry when it’s successful. Sometimes it might be a confirmation from spiritual leadership or a seasoned Saint in the church. Sometimes it might be a Word from God letting us know we’ve stumbled onto the right path and finally figured it out!

But more importantly, we need to go to God in prayer and ask Him to reveal unto us His will for our life, to order our steps (Psalm 37:23), and to light up our pathways (Psalm 119:105). It is then we’ll truly know more than just “what” we’re supposed to be doing on earth. We’ll know God’s direction, call, and plan for our life so we can ultimately say: On earth, this is what I’m doing!

God Tells Long Stories

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
God Tells Long Stories







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The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation (Numbers 14:18, KJV).

Scripture tells us the sins of fathers can fall on third and fourth generations. God warns that when a generation sees the sins of their elders, they are affected in many ways. The current generation may feel these sins are acceptable in God’s eyes and may start living a lifestyle that is displeasing to the Lord. If a generation continues in the sins of previous generations, the effects of the sin(s) can be passed down to generations upon generations.

However, Numbers 14:18 does not mean that we today are accountable for the sins of our fathers and the generations before us. Exodus 20:6 says, “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (KJV). Today, if we decide to break the cycles of spiritual failures of our ancestors and honor the commandments of the Lord, our future generations will be blessed! What we choose to do today in our walk with God can impact many lives—and people’s stories—down the road.

Saul’s Long Story

Saul was the first king of Israel and was given a command by the prophet Samuel to destroy everything of the Amalekites and to kill king Agag (I Samuel 15:1–3). But, Saul decided to spare the best of the sheep, oxen, etc.—what he saw was good—and he did not kill king Agag (I Samuel 15:8–9). Saul later decided to take upon the role of the priest and make a sacrifice to the Lord.

Saul decided in the absence of the prophet he would do what he felt was good in his own eyes. Just as the devil tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden to look upon the tree to see that it was good to eat (Genesis 3:6), the devil tempted Saul to keep the spoils of war that looked good. Just because something looks good, God wants it out of our life for a reason. We need to remember to live for God regardless of who is around us in the flesh because God is always with us.

Later in Scripture, we read in the book of Esther about Haman the Agagite who devised a plot to destroy the Jews. Haman was a descendant from king Agag who Saul did not kill in obedience to prophet of the Lord. Four hundred years later, Saul’s actions—his story—impacted the entire Jewish nation. Esther had to work diligently to save her people.

Impacts of Disobedience

When God tells us to do something in our life, we need to be obedient. The prophet Samuel told Saul, “to obey is better than sacrifice…” (I Samuel 15:22, KJV). God can see the end from the beginning, and knows what our actions will impact down the road. We may not be privileged to know the reason behind God’s direction and command, but it is always for our good.

Sometimes our dream of what we want isn’t what is always best for us. Scripture tells us, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9, KJV). We need to learn to yield to God’s plan because He knows what’s better for us!

The prophet Isaiah told king Hezekiah that he should set his house in order because he was going to die. But, Hezekiah didn’t accept God’s plan and prayed that God would give him longer to live. Because of his prayer and desire for what he wanted, God blessed him with 15 more years (Isaiah 38:1–5). In Hezekiah’s last 15 years, he became the father to Manasseh, who in his reign committed even more evils than the pagan religions during his time (II Chronicles 33:1–9). God knew Israel would be saved from Manasseh’s leadership if Hezekiah would have died, but Hezekiah didn’t want God’s plan for his life.

Impacts of Obedience

Jochebed, walking by faith and obedience to the Lord, placed her son in an ark of bulrushes and placed it in the river (Exodus 2). That child was Moses. Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s household and became a deliver to the nation of Israel. Parting with her son wasn’t an easy task, and Jochebed may not have understood the reason for the separation. But, her actions impacted many people years into the future. When we are obedient to the Word of God, we will impact our future generations!

Sometimes we don’t understand the God’s direction for our life because we’re only seeing just a small part of the story. We can’t focus so much on the present. We need to be obedient to bring a good work in the future. Our life may feel small and insignificant; we can be a prisoner of the time/place where we life. But, we’re in the middle of a long story—we’re just a chapter in the long story that God’s telling. Let’s allow God to complete His perfect work in us! Our story is just beginning!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on March 5, 2015 with guest speaker Rachel Coltharp