Archive for April, 2015

Give the Gift You’ve Always Wanted

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:7–12, KJV).

We are Blessed

When we take part in giving, it is only conditionally most of the time—we give to what we believe in or what will eventually benefit us. But, Jesus had a different concept of giving. He instructed us in Matthew 10:8 to freely give because we have freely received. We need to remember that anything we have in life has been given to us by God. The very air we breathe that provides life unto us has been freely given by God!

God wants to bless His people—He is not out to rob us of any blessing. Even when we face challenges in life, God is going to give us strength to endure (Psalms 29:11–12). He will always fight for us and bless us!

In our key setting of Scripture (Matthew 7:7–12), Jesus explained that if we ask, we will receive; seek, and we will find; knock, and a door will be opened. We need to trust that when we ask, God will pour out the right blessing for us, at the right time! He will always open the right door to us.

There are times that the world will want to take away our blessings, and the devil will want to corrupt what God has placed in our life. But, we learn from Scripture, in the story of Balaam, that no one can curse what God has blessed (Numbers 23:8)!

Being a Blessing to Others

If we want God to pour blessings into our lives, God expects us to do to others what we want Him to do to us. Jesus focused on this point in Matthew 7:12 when He said, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (KJV). Jesus used the word “therefore” to join two ideas together—the concept of asking and receiving, but then the importance of giving to others. We should be what we are looking for. If we want an amazing blessing from God, we need to be a blessing to others. We need to start doing the right things to get the right results.

Two Reasons We Don’t Act Right

Excuses & Reasons

We know that we should do the right things and to bestow blessings on others, but we have too many excuses/reasons as to why we shouldn’t, or why we can’t at the opportune moment. We can read an example about excuses in Luke 14:16–24. A man made a great supper and invited guests, but everyone had an excuse why they couldn’t attend. It was at the end, the master instructed his servant to bring in the poor, maimed, halt, and blind (Luke 14:21). When we aren’t willing to be a blessing to others, God will find someone else to bless who is without excuse!

Comparison

We fail to be a blessing to others and to do the right thing because we start to compare ourselves to what others in the body of Christ are doing. Paul warned us not to do this because it isn’t wise (II Corinthians 10:12). Fair is not a word that exists in God’s vocabulary! We should not have a spirit of entitlement or think that what God does isn’t perfect and true. What God does will always be right, even if it doesn’t feel “fair” to us. Jesus was speaking to Peter, and Peter started to compare himself to another person. Jesus asked Peter, “…what is that to thee?” (John 21:22, KJV)—basically asking, “Why does it matter?” We need to keep our eyes on the Word of God and use that as the only comparison in our life. If Jesus blessed others, and we are striving to be Christ-like, we need to bless others as well.

Enabling Ourselves to Give

We cannot give to others what we do not have in our own life. If we’ve come to a place where we’ve realized that we cannot give, we need to adopt a Kingdom mindset and attitude in our life so that we can freely give to others. God will always give us the ability to abide by His Word—and He will give us the ability to give the gifts to others that we want in our own life. We can be what God wants us to be! Jesus said to, “…believe on [Him], as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38, KJV). When we give what we are able, God will pour into us such a blessing that we will have even more flowing out of us to give to others!

Bitten But Believing

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm (Acts 28:3–5, KJV).

Believing God Will Send a Word

Just prior to this setting of Scripture, Paul had been caught up in a great storm. Because the storm was so severe, the sails had to be pulled down. Then he, as well as the rest of the passengers, were blown around in the midst of the storm for two weeks. But, in the midst of the storm, Paul said, “…be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you…fear not…” (Acts 27:22–25, KJV).

There are times in our life when we are in the midst of the storm and we cannot tell where we’re going. But, God will send a Word unto us to encourage and strengthen us. He is telling us not to fear! When there doesn’t seem to be a way out, it’s difficult to believe that the end is near. But, as a believer, there’s something inside of us that reminds us not too be too overwhelmed by our circumstances.

Believing God Will Bring Us Out

Paul had been down a similar road before. It was because God had brought him out time and time again, he provided this testimony to the men of the ship. He knew that because God had delivered him before, he would again because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). If those around us doubt, we need to hold true to what God has done for us and what He has told us.

Never Stop Believing

When the vessel had shipwrecked, the men were thrown into the sea. Paul instructed everyone to grab whatever they could, and to get to land (Acts 27:43). He told them not to stop fighting for life. In the midst of our battle, we cannot give up—we cannot stop fighting! It is God’s will that we keep moving on and to gain victory over our situation. Too many times people give up hope too close to shore and drown in just a few inches of water. The devil wants nothing us than to steal our blessing. We need to keep pressing on. God has given us the victory!

Being a Believer

Once the men made it to land, Paul gathered up sticks for a fire. It is here, the viper lashes out to bite Paul and grabs a hold of his hand. When we get close to the presence of God, things will start to materialize that will affect our life. God will reveal unto us things that are deadly. Paul was regarded as the greatest writer of the New Testament. It isn’t a coincidence that the viper latched onto his hand—the viper tried to do something that would affect his writing ministry. But, Paul just shook of the serpent.

When we face a trial, it is more important how we react to our situation. We need to shake off the devil! In the midst of our storm, we don’t have time to focus on the fact that we’ve been bitten, but that the viper didn’t destroy us. We can’t stop being a believer. No matter what comes in life, we need to choose to be a believer of the doctrine of Christ!

Bites that Make Believers

Shipwrecked people make the best believers. If we continue to follow the Lord, we will attract others to the presence of God and ignite a desire in them to be like Christ. When we take a “bite” for Christ, others will see that we are still believing, still living for Christ, and still moving forward to face the next obstacle. Remember the Lord we serve is a mighty God and there is nothing that is impossible for Him!

Spreadable Smiles

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

There are days when we wake up late, scramble to get everything together before leaving the house, forget to let the dog out (and find lake Eerie on our kitchen floor), spill coffee on our favorite shirt, and on top of everything else, drop our technical device—shattering the screen… So, we might feel a little bit entitled to plastering a scowl on our face for the remainder of the day. Because, really—what’s there to smile about?

Depending on the source, it takes all of your face muscles (43) to frown, but only 17 of them to smile. If you’re exhausted from a stressful day, the worst thing you can do is frown—because that works more muscles and takes more energy, right?

Quite simply, what we show on the outside is what people see. As Christians, we’re called to be a witness to others about God’s greatness, presence, goodness, and blessings in our life. Therefore, we need to step back and think about how we look when we witness to others, and extend invitations to accompany us to the church house. Just imagine what someone thinks when we look at them with a scowl on our face and say, “You should want to be just like me—I’m one of those believers…” They’ll be right on board, right? Wrong.

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, KJV).

Shine in the Greek (lampó) means to give light, beam, and radiate brilliancy (literally or figuratively). We need to radiate the light and love of our Lord and Savior everywhere that we go. This is hard to do when we have a frown on our faces—in fact, we’re radiating the exact opposite! A smile can go a long way and help emulate the light, joy, and gladness that God’s Spirit (the Holy Ghost) brings to our life.

We don’t need to go out and spend money on teeth whiteners to bedazzle people with our smile. And, we don’t need to be concerned about plastering a fake smile on our faces when we don’t feel joyful on the inside.

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (I Peter 1:8, KJV).

When we have God’s presence in our life, we have all the joy that we need to put a constant smile on our face! It doesn’t matter what we go through or how we feel! We have a reason to smile because we have inner joy knowing Jesus is our Savior and that He’s with us each and every day.

We can’t always hide the situations that we’re in, but our witness becomes more effective when others around us see the trials we’re facing but also the accompanying smile day after day. Without even asking for others to join us in fellowship, they’ll be asking us what we have that they can experience too—the joy of Jesus is contagious if we just smile and shine!

Doubting the Downpour

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Years ago, the saying “April showers bring May flowers” was almost an absolute guarantee. April was known as the rainy season, and we didn’t dare walk outside the house without an umbrella or we’d get wet.

Today, we have transitioned into an era when our seasons are becoming skewed, and when meteorologists try to “predict” the coming rains, we can’t help but smile. Rain in April isn’t always the norm and doesn’t happen consistently—we start to chalk up the possibility of precipitation as happenstance; just a fluke…we start to doubt.

Our earthly ministries and walk with God are much like the precarious rain. We experience continual downpours of revival. Numbers of believers filled with the Holy Ghost are higher than ever before. Signs and wonders frequently take place after fervent prayer.

But then, our “guaranteed” formula for a downpour isn’t as effective as before. Church events don’t pan out the way we think they should. Saints just aren’t tarrying at the altars anymore. Pastors forecast a great move of God in the coming Sunday service, and we—just as we do with April showers—start to doubt.

As we innocently place a toe in the seemingly shallow puddle of doubt, we don’t realize how deep that pool actually is. We start asking questions such as, Does God really hear our prayers? Are we in the will of God? Is all of this really worth it? Was the revival actually genuine?

Doubt in our walk with God is a place we don’t want to be. James 1:6–7 tells us, But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord… (KJV).

“Wavering” in this scripture is from the Greek word diakrinó, meaning doubt. When we start to let doubt creep in—in any capacity during our relationship with God—Scripture warns we won’t receive anything from the Lord.

Doubt can be a perpetual cycle: we doubt, God won’t bless us; we doubt further, God continues to withhold Himself from us. This will continue until we’re so consumed with doubt, we will be blind to the fact that we’ve taken many steps away from God and are walking away from Him and His truth.

We can’t treat the promises of God, His presence, and His blessings as we do the silly April showers. Earthly rain is not a guarantee, but God’s rain is. II Thessalonians 3:3 simply states that the Lord is faithful (KJV). Hebrews 13:15 reminds us that God will never leave or forsake us. God is true to His Word and unchanging—He will always be there for us!

God may hide Himself from us for a while just to see how serious we are about His presence in our life—that we don’t take Him for granted. We may experience a trial in our life, a decrease in Spiritual fervency in our church, etc. Regardless of the circumstance, all will lead us to a greater outpouring of His presence in our life. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, KJV).

If we can stay faithful in our walk with God—not allowing a smidgen doubt to seep in—I can guarantee that when God shows up, we won’t just get a sprinkle of His presence, we’ll experience a downpour.

Change the Music

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth (Psalm 96:1, KJV).

Sounds for the Soul

Everyone is a singer. It doesn’t matter how well we think or feel we sing, we all sing praises to the Lord. He only cares that we praise Him—not the way we sound. Scripture tells us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord (Psalm 98:4). God loves our praise and worship when it is directed toward Him.

Song is ingrained in us. There is a reason that God gave us music. According to physiology, our heart beat, brain waves, breathing, and much more can be affected by music. Even the cells in our body respond to music! According to research, listening to music 15 minutes a day can increase our immune system levels!

Scripture reinforces the ideology that music is good for the soul and body. When Saul was troubled, it was David’s music that comforted him (I Samuel 16:23). Elijah called for a musician to start playing (II Kings 3:15). There is a Scriptural connection to the music we hear and the impact to our life.

The way we live and our life’s experiences are all a figurative song. Our life’s song reflects the way we think, how we act, and how we life our life. Our song will define who we are.

Changing Our Song

In our key verse of Scripture, David said to sing a new song. There must have been a reason for David to stop singing the old song and to begin with a new. We can learn there are 2 reasons why we need to change the music (the song) in our life.

A Stale Song

We may need to sing a new song because our current song has become old and stale. Everyone has a “top 10” list of songs that replay over and over again in our life. Some songs may be meant for a period in our life, but new songs are for a new day and a new season in life. God always has something better for us—and that new blessing will come with a new song!

We cannot always sing the same song and stay in the same tune day-in and day-out. God wants us to continue to grow in Him and unlock more truth, more power, more anointing, etc. God tells us to not remember the former things—He is creating a new thing in us (Isaiah 43:18–19).

Sometimes we just need to leave what is old and stale in our past. We need to continue to press toward new blessings in Christ and the new song He has in store for us. We need to change the music!

A Bad Song

There are times we need to change our song because it’s isn’t good. Bad songs are offensive to God and His heart is turned when He hears them. God isn’t put off by our singing, it’s what we’re singing. We need to stop and think today what our life song says about us. What song defines our lifestyle?

God created all sounds, all music, and all notes. People take melodies God created and add their own lyrics. Our life’s melody can seem right, but the lyrics can be wrong. Satan is a master at writing bad lyrics, and tricking God’s people into singing them. We need to be careful about what the devil is trying to get us to sing.

We don’t have to stay locked into the same song loop over and over again. God will always make a way of escape for His people (I Corinthians 10:13). God wants to wake us up and put a new song in our hearts. We need to listen to Him when He tells us to change the music.

Leading in Song

We learn in Scripture that our song can be powerful. Jehoshaphat was a shining star in the history of Israel who one a battle without ever fighting. He appointed singers unto the Lord and headed into battle with praise (II Chronicles 20:20–21). He didn’t put trust in himself or in his own song, but in the Lord’s. When his musicians started to praise the Lord, the enemy became scared and retreated—the battle was won through praise.

We can overcome any trial in life and live a life pleasing to the Lord when we simply change our music. Let’s think about the songs in our life, and direct them to praise of the most High!

The Empty Promises of Easter

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

In life, we’ve all encountered one situation or another when we’ve been promised one thing and the promise never materialized. We hear gimmicks and think, “that’s too good to be true.” We’ve been jaded by the world and it’s empty promises, and we are too skeptical when it comes to receiving them.

When we look at Jesus and what He has to offer, we have a similar attitude. However, we need to remember that God has never made a promise He has not fulfilled. All He wants is to bless His children and create fulfillment in our life. In reality, sometimes God creates emptiness in our life, so that He can fill it with His promises.

During this Easter season, we may think that we’ve entered another time of empty promises. And, yes—Easter is full of empty promises. But, these empty promises are for our good.

The Empty Cross

Jesus Christ willingly faced His crucifixion for each and every one of us. He was a man without sin, but Jesus became our sin when He hung on the cross. As humans, we have all sinned and have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The wage of our din is death (Romans 6:23), but Jesus paid that debt with His life.

When we look back on the empty cross, we can gaze upon the blood stains from Jesus’s hands, feet, head, and back. We can remember that His blood blotted out every sin that was recorded against us. The empty cross is our promise that all of our sins have been washed away and that we have become as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).

The empty cross is a reminder and a promise to us that we have a Savior who died for our sins so that we could be forgiven. Because of the cross, we have hope that we can spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven. We do not have to face a devil’s hell!

The Empty Tomb

When the women went to the tomb to see where Jesus laid, they found the tomb empty. Jesus had not stayed in the tomb, but descended into hell to take the keys back from the devil to death, hell, and the grave (Revelation 1:18). But, Jesus did not stay there—He was resurrected! Our Redeemer lives!

The empty tomb is a symbol and promise of new life. When Jesus rose, He sent the Comforter—the Holy Ghost—to live and dwell within us. It is that same spirit that will quicken our mortal bodies so we can one day rise to meet Him in the air (Romans 8:11). It is His Spirit dwelling within us that helps us rise up and walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

The Empty Grave Clothes

After descending to hell, Jesus spent the next 40 days with His Disciples in fellowship and provided instruction. Jesus didn’t stay in the grave, nor did He ascend to heaven immediately. He wanted to spend time with those that He loved!

The empty grave clothes are a promise to us that God will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus wants to have a relationship with His children! This is not a once-and-done experience—it is continual; day, after day! We serve a living God who is ever-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful. Not only does He want to bless His creation, but He wants to spend time with us, instruct us, and help us grow in our Spiritual walk.

Our Promises

These “empty promises” of Easter are for every one of us today. But, these promises are to those who choose to know Jesus. Scripture tells us that Jesus stands at the door and knocks—He wants to come into our life (Revelation 3:20). This Easter, remember that we have the promise of freedom from sin, eternal life, and a relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on April 1, 2015 with Guest Speaker, Rev. Casey Pollard

Walking with Wisdom

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Walking with Wisdom







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See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15–17, KJV).

What is Wisdom?

What does wisdom mean? We may find this easier to recognize in others, but more difficult to define. Paul tells us in this setting of Scripture to “walk circumspectly,” which means to be careful in our daily walk—not careless. Wisdom encompasses many attributes and is:

  • Having the power to discern what is true or right
  • The intersection of knowledge and doing
  • Not just having the right facts/answer, but the proper application

James encourages us to prove that we have wisdom through our conversation and our works (James 3:13). We should be careful not to have the wrong motive in our wisdom. We can avoid this if we seek out Godly wisdom:

But the wisdom that from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and with hypocrisy (James 3:17, KJV).

In short, we can define wisdom as being the right answer, at the right time, with the right motive, and the right attitude.

The Necessity of Wisdom

If we continue to be unwise, we will almost always end up making the wrong decision. God will always be the starting point for wisdom in our life (Proverbs 9:10). We are fools if we despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7). As Scripture states, fearing the Lord is just a healthy respect for and attention toward God and the knowledge and wisdom He brings into our lives.

God will teach us how to be wise. He gives us the how for living our life. This is a promise throughout Scripture (Proverbs 1:29; 2:5; 8:13; 10:27; 14:26; 15:33). If we continue to seek Him and His ways, we will be able to “get smarter.” If we seek God, wisdom and knowledge that we didn’t have (e.g., discretion) will become active in our life.

Watch the Tongue

The main way we see wisdom in our life—as well as others—is by the words that come out of our mouth. James’ whole discourse about wisdom followed his caution to the church about the tongue. He warned the church that the tongue was a little member, but would turn the entire body and kindle a great fire. It has the potential to defile the body as well as others (James 3:3–13). We need to be careful about what we say as it could potentially offend others. It is in what we say that our “wisdom” is weighed.

Why We Don’t Walk Wisely

People are Simple

King Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible, spoke about “simple” (naive) people (Proverbs 14:15). Simple people believe anything they hear and they don’t think about the consequences. They show lack of experience in their decisions. King Solomon equated the “simple” to a young man who was lured away by a harlot. He and described him as “an ox [that] goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;” (Proverbs 7:22, KJV). When we make decisions, we need to ensure that a momentary decision is going to trade our entire future.

We have a promise that the “simple” can be made wise when we are instructed and receive knowledge (Proverbs 21:11). We can proactively learn from others—this can include their positive and negative examples. However, our best example to follow, and to glean wisdom from will be God and His precious Word.

People Can Be Fools

Fools believe that they are right (Proverbs 12:15) and mock sin (Proverbs 14:9). The danger of simple people is their disregard of circumstances. However, the danger of the fool, is they ignore circumstances. Fools dismiss what’s going on around them even though they have full knowledge. Fools believe lies such as, “this is my life,” “this is my body,” and “this is my decision.”

Fools have a tendency to not only hurt themselves, but the people around them. Scripture tells us that we need to walk in the counsel of the wise so that we can be wise also (Proverbs 13:20). We need to listen to the counsel of others now before it is too late.

People are Lazy

Laziness in our personal life can seep over into our spiritual life. The Bible uses terminology such as “slothful” or a “sluggard.” Lazy people have the best intentions, but the worst attention. They always mean to and make promises, but the action never comes.

Proverbs 21:25 says, “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor” (KJV). Lazy people have the capacity to destroy through their lack of action. Lazy people have a greater propensity to backslide, make the wrong decisions, and damage things. And, it’s not because of what they do, but what they refuse to do. We need to be careful that we aren’t wasters and destroyers (Proverbs 18:9).

Wisdom is Looking for Us

James told the church to seek out Godly wisdom (James 3:17). We don’t know it, but this wisdom is already looking for us. King Solomon paints a picture of wisdom out in the streets crying to get people to pay attention to her, but not one listens (Proverbs 1:20–33). If we refuse wisdom, we shall be despised, mocked, and become fools.

However, if we seek out wisdom, and accept it, we will “understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5, KJV). Wisdom and knowledge will be poured into us if we see it and lay hold of it. God is ready to pour out His wisdom on His people. Are you ready to receive it?

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on March 25, 2015

Which Came First? Christ or the Easter Egg?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

It’s that time of year again—when those mysterious egg-laying bunnies are afoot. While children argue if multi-colored eggs come from multi-colored bunnies, adults engage in conversations questioning when “rabbits” were created to lay eggs. This conversation somehow leads to the inevitable question: Which came first—the chicken or the egg? But, for this season, is it Christ or the Easter egg?

If you’re still on the hunt for this mystical creature, or eye-deep in books researching out the age-old question, you’re search is now over! To let you in on a little secret, you may be surprised to know that Easter has absolutely nothing to do with bunnies, eggs, or even bunnies that lay eggs. Now that you’ve had a chance to pick your jaw off the floor, we can delve into what Easter’s really about…

Easter is a busy time, but compared to Christmas, Easter—thankfully—isn’t as crazy. We’re still gathering in churches, spending time with family, and eating great food.

Amid the various festivities, we forget the real “reason for the season.” Easter, like Christmas, provides us with an opportunity to remember the same wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. But, instead of celebrating our Savior’s birth, we’re remembering many things about Him, including His death on the cruel, rugged cross.

The world—including you and me—needed a Savior. We needed a perfect sacrifice, who’s blood would wash away every sin we’d ever commit in our life. Jesus was that Savior and perfect sacrifice; He knew no sin (II Corinthians 5:21). And, it was His precious blood that washed us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18) and continues to do so even today.

Thankfully, Easter isn’t just about remembering Jesus’s death. Easter is an opportunity for us to celebrate that He didn’t stay in the grave—He is risen! Jesus died, was buried, and rose again so we—again, this is you and me— could walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4) and that we could be free from the bondage of sin.

We serve a Savior who isn’t dead, but lives in each of us. For when Christ ascended into Heaven, He sent His Spirit (the Comforter) to dwell within us (John 14:16). It’s God’s Spirit that helps us live righteous and holy in this present world. It is His presence that gives us strength to combat the wiles of the devil, and the ability to make it through life! And, it is His Spirit that will quicken us so one day we can rise to meet Him in the air when He returns for His church (Romans 8:11).

Instead of a chocolate-filled egg—which did or did not come from a bunny rabbit—this is what Easter’s all about. And, in the center of it all, we’ll find something better than momentary sweetness. We’ll find Jesus.

Easter all started with Jesus’ death on the cross. Scripture tells us that Jesus, the Lamb and perfect sacrifice, was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8, KJV). So, if you’re still wondering about which came first—I think you have your answer.

The Eyewitnesses of Easter

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty (II Peter 1:16, KJV).

There is an inner desire in everyone to be the person that was there in any event—to be the person that was the main eyewitness, so that we can tell the story. When it comes to the resurrection of Jesus, we’ve lost our awe and wonder because we weren’t there. The resurrection has become another story in the Bible. We don’t personally know anyone who saw the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, even though Scripture tells us there were people “to whom also [Jesus] shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” (Acts 1:3, KJV).

Scripture tells us that Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and rose again. But, even today, we can be an eyewitness to this experience, because this same story can happen in our life! We can see the resurrection every day: anyone who has peace is experiencing the power of the resurrection. Anyone who has been delivered from addiction is experiencing the power of the resurrection.

When we take a moment and realize the workings of Christ in our life today, we can know that we are true eyewitnesses of the resurrection in present day.

Witnesses of Hope

When we become an eyewitness to the resurrection, we become witnesses of hope. Today, there is a spiritual darkness that is trying to pervade over our land. Scripture tells us that in the last days perilous times will come and men will become pleasers of their own selves (II Timothy 3:1–5). Humanity has grown an unquenchable desire to please ourselves rather than pleasing God. This is not what Jesus died for! The resurrection was meant to make a difference in our life and to bring us hope!

Scripture warns us that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy us, but that Jesus came to bring us life and that we may have it more abundantly (John 10:10)! There is hope in the life that Jesus brings us, which is made possible through His resurrection. It is Jesus who changed the course of our life forever when He died and rose again. We have hope in a new life in Him!

Witnesses of Power

When we become an eyewitness to the resurrection, we become witnesses of His power.  Paul said, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10, KJV). The power referenced in this scripture in the Greek word dunamis, which means miraculous power—inexplicable power that is stronger than anything else.

When Jesus died on the cross, He gave us power, which opened up the potential for all humanity to live above sin!  Romans 6:4–5 states:

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection (KJV).

When we repent and die out to sin, and are buried in baptism in the lovely name of Jesus, we have the promise of being filled with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. It is this Spirit—God’s Spirit—that will quicken us and allow us to be resurrected out of our sinful state to life a life that is different (Romans 8:11). There is power in the Gospel message. It has the power to change us forever, for if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17).

Becoming an Eyewitness

If we’re not sure that we are a true eyewitness to the resurrection, and that we’ve experienced that hope and power in our own life, we can today. God promised in Scripture that in the last days that He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17).

On the day of Pentecost, when the people realized who Jesus was, and His sacrifice on the cross, they were pricked in their hearts. Jesus’s death on the cross needs to become more than a story to us—we need to be able to experience it ourselves! We can follow that same Gospel message: repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). It is then we can experience the true power of the resurrection in our life today, and every day for the rest of our lives until Christ returns for His church.

Killin’ It

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Killin’ It







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Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18, KJV).

Defining Pride

Scripture tells us that pride is a precursor to the bad things that happen in our life. Many do not fully understand the concept of pride. Pride at its root form is self-focus. John tells us, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world,” (I John 2:16, KJV). These are the base elements of pride and exist in every human today. When these elements are violated, the worst comes out in us.

Pride has roots in Satan himself. Satan wanted to exalt his throne above God’s and also be like Him (Isaiah 14:13–14). This is why pride is about self-focus. It always revolves around the question: Who is going to rule? Pride is ultimately what separates us from God as well as others.

In a basic sense, pride is our flesh (our spirit)—the part of us that God is trying to save us from. The flesh is what God’s Spirit, in operation in our lives, is trying to control. Christianity today is slipping into a concept called “humanism,” where believers follow the dogma that purpose man’s existence is for his own happiness. However, when we come to Christ, we lay aside our own desires, and adopt Christ’s.

Scripture tells us that we are not our own, but are bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:20). Happiness is a by-product of serving God—His glory is manifested in everything around us. When we are where God wants us to be, we will experience happiness.

What We Need to Know About Ourselves

There’s Not Much Good Inside Us Except Jesus

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18, KJV). Paul realized if left to his own thinking, there wasn’t anything good in Him and he had no benefit to the Kingdom of God. He had a great desire to do what was right, but was struggling with the continuous application. Humans will always struggle between knowing what our brain/heart says and what the flesh actually does.

Jesus May Be Alive, But We Have to Fight to Keep Us Dead

On Sundays, Jesus helps to crucify our flesh. But, we have a tendency to “resurrect” our flesh every Monday after church. This is why it is so important that we walk in God’s Spirit so we don’t give in to what the flesh wants (Galatians 5:16). Our flesh and the Spirit will always walk in opposition to each other; therefore, we need to be on guard and kill off our flesh daily (I Corinthians 15:31)!

There is Nothing About Our Pride that God Can Use

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8, KJV). If we are left to ourselves, we alone cannot be pleasing to God, nor can we do a work in His Kingdom. We must keep His commandments and believe that His Word is true. It must have a presence and application in our life!

What We Need to Know About Pride

Pride Does Not Make Us Stronger

Pride will always make us weak and tear us down. It takes away our capacity to apologize, admit, and acknowledge. Pride cannot say what needs to be said, give what needs to be given, or do what needs to be done. Pride is self-focused! When we are too full of us, there is no room for God to come in and complete a true work. When we concentrate our ourselves, we de-prioritize everything around us—and this includes God! In essence, we tell God that His ways, His thoughts, His priorities, are less important than our own agenda.

Pride is a Prison

Pride will always shut us away from everyone else and it keeps others out. We cannot possibly be an effective witness if we have pride in our life. We cannot have a true relationship with God if we have pride in our life. He cannot get close if we are shut up in pride. Pride will control us and whittle us away until it eventually destroys us. We need to make the decision today that we will not be controlled by pride!

Killing Our Pride

There is only one way to kill our pride. We need to give to God what Satan himself threw away. We need to give God surrender. Surrender is the only true death to pride because pride is a “who’s going to rule” issue. Pride will not die by being modest, meek, etc. These are only by-products of surrender.

Subjecting to Surrender

King Nebuchadnezzar was a Babylonian king who learned over the course of his reign that God was a might God who revealed secrets (Daniel 2:22), and even commanded his people not to speak against God because He was a mighty deliverer (Daniel 3:29). However, the king had a pride issue.

Daniel warned the king that he would be humbled, so he would truly realize that God was the most high God who ruled the kingdom of men (Daniel 5:21). King Nebuchadnezzar did not heed the warning and continued in his pride. Therefore, God took His mind from him, and he was driven out to pasture like a wild animal. God humbled him because of his self-focus.

Glorifying God

Surrender is so important because it is all about subjecting ourselves to the truth that God is in control. We need to understand that everything is about God’ glory. We need to walk worthy of being called into God’s Kingdom, and His glory (I Thessalonians 2:12). God’s glory won’t always make us look good, and it may take us to a place of pain, suffering, and/or hurt. But, sometimes we need to give God glory through our trials and infirmities (II Corinthians 12:9).

Pride is sin—all who have sinned fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and the wage of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Scripture tells us that “…no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:29–31, KJV). Life is all about God’s glory and He deserves the reward. When we have pride we take that glory and reward out of God’s hands. Let’s get rid of our pride today, and give glory to the One who deserves it!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on April 8, 2015

Don’t Be A Fool

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Today is April Fool’s Day—the day when people in Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and the United States play practical jokes on each other.

In a fool (trick, hoax, joke, etc.), mundane objects and situations are disguised through illusions, making a person believe one thing to be true when the reality is the exact opposite. The goal of every fool is to deceive the unknowing recipient, with the jokester gaining much personal satisfaction.

We may take part in April Fool’s Day to experience—what is hopefully—light-hearted fun. But, not all fools in life are fun and games.

There is one in this present world who is out to deceive us on any day, at any level, and at any cost. In our spiritual walk, we need to watch out for our greatest adversary—the devil.

…He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44, KJV).

Satan is constantly trying to place a “spiritual” cloak over our eyes to keep us from the truth—the truth of who he is, and the truth of who God is. II Corinthians 11:14 notes, For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (KJV). Satan tries to depict good, when in reality, he is abhorrently evil. Just like a fool, Satan wants us to believe one thing, when the truth is the exact opposite.

I Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan is a roaring lion, walking around looking for people to devour. The devil’s main goal is to keep us from our eternal reward with Jesus Christ. While he is a ferocious animal, he tries to slip in among us unnoticed, creating an illusion of safety and security.

Matthew 7:15 warns us: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (KJV). The devil will try to sneak in among us, and present false truths.

Satan wants more than anything to lead us to believe false doctrines, discredit the Bible, or even worse, disbelieve in God. He wants to deter us from the straight and narrow path of living for God. The devil wants to deviate us from the true blessings we find in knowing the real truth and living a life that honors God and His Word. Just like an April fool, the devil gains much satisfaction by tricking us. But, instead of a light-hearted fool, he has but one motive: our destruction.

The devil has been a master of deception for ages—it all started with Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). He even tried to fool Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). Eve was fooled because she didn’t know God’s Word (Genesis 3:2–3). But, Jesus combatted the devil’s attempts of trickery by responding with “it is written”—He referred to real truths found in Scripture.

We cannot be fooled by Satan’s illusions! We need to go to the Word combined with prayer to know what’s right, what’s real, and more importantly, what’s truth. We need to know and speak the truth so we don’t fall into the devil’s trap and become fools ourselves. We need to know “what is written.”

Satan knows in the end he will lose—his demise us unavoidable. We are now living in the end times; the devil is desperately employing every tactic to fool God’s children. We cannot be fooled—Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (II Corinthians 2:11, KJV). We need to get in the Word and get on our knees in prayer. Don’t be a fool this April Fool’s Day, or any day throughout the rest of the year.