Archive for May, 2016

Miracle at Your Gate

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

There is a need in us to solve every problem; we want provide an explanation for everything. When it comes to God and His miraculous power, humans try to “explain away” everything as happenstance or an everyday occurrence.

When Jesus walked on the water, skeptics try to explain this miracle as being accomplished via a sandbar right below the surface of the water or by the possibility of an ice formation on the surface of the sea. But, Peter came out onto the water with Jesus!

We can know the Word of God and His presence is true by our own experiences. In our own testimony, we don’t need facts, figures, and explanations. We know without a shadow of a doubt that God has performed a miracle in our life. When something looks impossible, God makes it possible!

In Scripture, we can read about a time when Jesus came near the gates of the city, He beheld a funeral procession. A young boy had died, and his widowed mother was following the casket. Jesus had compassion and came forward and touched the coffin (Luke 7:11–17). Jesus broke Jewish ceremonial law when He touched the coffin because He became unclean—there was no reason for Him to reach out and lay hold of the casket. But, when Jesus spoke, the boy came back to life.

When we allow Jesus in the middle of our situation, to meet us at the gate of our life, marriage, situation, He will bring a miraculous move of His presence. He will put life back in our lives!

Today, we need to move from a measure of faith to a measure of knowledge. Fear is having faith, but having faith in the wrong area. Gideon was a man struck with fear, but he was also called a mighty man of valor. He was charged to train a group of men and to go against the enemy.

Gideon went into battle against 120,000 men with just 300 men. He instructed his men to keep their eyes on him and to shout with the voice of praise unto the Lord (Judges 7:17–18). That day, 300 men experienced victory over the enemy at the gate of the city. If we just keep our eyes upon the Lord, we will experience victory at the gate!

We must remember it does not take faith to do the possible. But, we only need faith the size of a mustard seed to do the impossible. God isn’t calling us to do what we can do in these last days—He’s calling us to do what we can’t do.

The prophet Ezekiel saw a valley full of dry bones. He was obedient to the Lord and prophesied to those dry bones. When he first opened up his mouth, the bones began to shake (Ezekiel 37:7). But, he didn’t just stop there. Too many of us today stop short of our miracle; we fail to demonstrate the true power of our doctrine.

When Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones to hear the word of the Lord, he acted beyond all human reason or explanation. Even without physical ears, the bones listened to the words of the prophet. Ezekiel prophesied again and muscles formed on the skeletons (Ezekiel 37:8). He continued to be obedient and stepped out in faith. Ezekiel prophesied a last time, and when he did, breath came into the corpses and they lived to become an exceeding great army (Ezekiel 37:10).

Today, we can’t stop short of our miracle because the world doesn’t understand what we’re about. We can’t stop short of our miracle because the enemy has made us afraid. We must continue to press forward to the gate of our situation, walk by faith that God will perform a miracle, and we’ll step into the greatest experience in God of our lifetime.

The End Times: Part IV

Thursday, May 26th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The End Times: Part IV







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Last week, our End Times study covered the opening of the 7 seals, blowing of the 7 trumpets, and pouring out of the 7 vials. This week, we will discuss the 2 witnesses, the “woman,” and what will happen to the church.

Two Witnesses

Time on the Earth

After the rapture of the church, and during the tribulatory period, there will be 2 witnesses on the earth. They will preach and prophesy to the world for 3.5 years (Revelation 11:3) and have supernatural abilities—power to breathe fire and conquer their enemies (Revelation 11:5), as well as control over the elements and the ability to smite people with plagues (Revelation 11:6).

After the witnesses finish their testimony, the beast (antichrist) will kill them (Revelation 11:7). Their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem and everyone around the world will see them lying in the streets for 3.5 days (Revelation 11:8–9). Due to the technological era we live in, the media will most likely cover the event and broadcast it to the entire world.

Unfortunately, the world will rejoice over the death of these two witnesses and in their joy will send gifts to each other—the world may declare a national holiday (Revelation 11:10). But, after 3.5 days, the Lord will breathe life into them (Revelation 11:11) and will call them up to Heaven (Revelation 11:12).

Identifying the Witnesses

There are many schools of thought as to who the 2 witness could be. Some scholars believe the 2 witnesses are Moses and Elijah, as these were the 2 individuals Jesus spoke to on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2). Others claim the 2 witnesses are Enoch and Elijah as neither individual actually died (Hebrews 9:27). Enoch was “taken” because he walked so closely with God (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind (II Kings 2:11).

There are many other theories of who these could be; however, it’s important to note the witnesses will have power and there will be witnesses of their own resurrection (Revelation 11:11).

The Woman

Theologians speculate as to who the woman is mentioned in Revelation 12:1–7. Some believe this is the story of the Nation of Israel’s history from beginning to end. Similar typology of the sun, moon, and stars was used in reference to Joseph’s dream (Israel/Jacob’s son) (Genesis 37:9). However, in this setting of Scripture, much of the alliteration points back to God’s chosen covenant people—the Jewish nation.

On the whole, the woman is referring to the Nation of Israel and the man child referring to Jesus Christ. We can see history unfold as we read about the war in heaven (Revelation 12:7). Satan and his angels are cast out and they are left on the earth to torment the woman (Israel) and her child (Jesus) (Revelation 12:13). We are closing on the time when Satan and his demons have reign over the earth and evil being rampant in society.

The Church

Scripture tells us the church will be taken up to meet Jesus in the air (I Thessalonians 4:15–17)—this is known as the rapture. Those who are already dead who lived for Christ will rise first and then believers who are alive and remain on the earth will be “caught up.” It’s important to note, the rapture or “catching away” of the saints is not the second coming of Christ. Jesus doesn’t come down to the earth when He calls His church home—we will meet Him in the clouds (I Thessalonians 4:17). The second coming of Christ will be discussed in a future study.

After the rapture of the church, there will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7). This event will occur somewhere during the time of man’s wrath upon the earth (during the tribulatory period).

Those who have endured this life, kept the faith, and made themselves ready will participate in the Marriage Supper (Revelation 19:9). Scholars believe Jesus’s words in Mark 14:24–25 were in reference to the Marriage Supper—Jesus would drink the fruit of the vine with His disciples in the kingdom of God. However, during this time God’s people will praise Him in Heaven and will rejoice with Him. It will be the best moment with the Lord we’ve ever experienced as believers.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 25, 2016

Know It All

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Have you ever met someone who has an answer for everything? I think we can honestly say these folks are a little difficult to deal with. For me, let’s just say it’s a good thing I have the Holy Ghost. But, even with the Holy Ghost there is a small part of me that secretly prays God would evaporate some of a know-it-all’s brain cells, so the next time s/he acts as if they have all the answers, they won’t…

Don’t judge me too harshly here because you’re human too, dear reader. We can’t possibly like everyone we encounter. But, we can love them—with our without a few critical brain cells.

After encountering some of these people, we may be left feeling agitated, inferior, or even perplexed by the complexities of life. How can a human know it all?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. These self-proclaimed know-it-alls can’t possibly know everything. That privilege alone belongs to God.

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 2:6:

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding (KJV).

The implied truth here? Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding originate with God. He’s the One who created everything and He’s also the One with the ability to know everything (I John 3:20).

When I actually think about it, I love the fact that God knows everything and I don’t. I know that sounds a little far-fetched, but it just helps me realize all the more how great a God we serve! We cannot compare to the glory and majesty of God.

Be comforted today because we don’t have to know it all. God takes care of knowing it all. Take satisfaction in this—rejoice in not knowing what we don’t know. When God’s ready for us to know, Proverbs 2:6 says He’ll give us the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

Don’t seek to be your own know-it-all. Scripture tell us not to be “wise” in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:7). Instead, hunger and thirst after God, and He is willing to give knowledge to those who seek after Him (James 1:5)!

And, when it’s all said and done? You’ll know everything God wants you to know.

How Do You Count It?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2–4, KJV).

Trouble is Going to Come

In life, everyone will endure trouble—it is inevitable (Job 14:1) and God will send rain on the just and unjust (Matthew 5:45). Jesus warned His disciples that they would experience tribulation, but to be of good spirits because He would overcome the world (John 16:33).

Trouble is Real

The trouble we experience in our life will start to shape our perceptions because trouble is a very real and tangible part of everyday life. Trouble will impact us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Scripture tells us having a wounded (troubled) spirit is hard to bear (Proverbs 18:14). Some trial wounds cut deep into the innermost parts of our lives (Proverbs 26:22). If we allow it, trouble will have a negative influence on our life.

Counting Offenses

While Scripture tells us to consider trouble in our life as a good thing, we don’t typically spring for this emotion. Instead, we become offended by the trials and troubles we endure in this world. We need to realize we are people who are full of the Holy Ghost. And, if we walk in the Spirit of God, we can let the Spirit handle our troubles (Romans 8:1–5). We can either allow the Spirit to reign in our life or our flesh.

God has told us many times He will heal our broken hearts and bind our wounds (Psalms 147:3). Offenses don’t belong to us; they belong to God. We need to cast every care upon Him. We cannot continue to take ownership of the troubles in our life!

Counting it as Joy

We need to choose to count our troubles as joy. When troubles come our way we can view them as trauma or an opportunity. When we “consider” the situation, we give way for God to do something joyful in our life. Trouble’s main purpose is to rob us of our joy, but we can cling to that joy and keep it in our life regardless of what we might face.

Jesus provided the perfect example in how we can view our troubles. Jesus looked at the joy that was before Him and endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). David, a man after God’s own heart, also provided an example for us to follow. He looked at his own situations but choose to have joy in remembering the blessings of the Lord’s hand (Psalms 77:10).

Making the Right Choice

If we struggle in how we will deal with life’s troubles, we know we can find the answer in the presence of the Lord (Psalms 77:13). Being around God’s people can help give us the right perspective. Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ can help us hold to the joy that’s in our life and to turn our future troubles into joy

And, if we stay in His presence, God will help remind us He will take our trouble and work all trouble for our good (Romans 8:28). We have a choice in how we’re going to deal with trouble, but the right choice is to let go and to let God come in and have His way.

The End Times: Part III

Thursday, May 19th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The End Times: Part III







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Last week, our study of the Book of Revelation and the End Times continued with examining the overarching themes, and introducing the breaking of the 7 seals. This week, we will reveal seals 2–7, trumpets, and vials.

Seven Seals

Second Seal: Red Horse

The second seal will be a rider on a red horse who will steal the illusion of peace from the earth. He will have a great sword and will simulate war (Revelation 6:3–4). The overarching reference to “earth” in this passage of Scripture denotes more of a global rather than national event.

Third Seal: Black Horse

The third seal will be a rider on a black horse with a balance in his hand. There will be famine in the land with his arrival (Revelation 6:5–6). There is speculation as to what will cause the famine and when it will begin (possibly with the arrival of the red horse). Poverty will result from this widespread famine.

Fourth Seal: Pale Horse

The fourth seal will be a pale horse called “death,” and hell will follow with him. (Revelation 6:7–8). The earth will see a fourth of the population killed at this time. However, even with widespread death and destruction, there will still be people who believe all has been caused by natural disasters (strong delusion) rather than by the hand of God.

Fifth Seal: Martyrs

There are many questions if there will be people saved after the rapture of the church. In this seal, souls will be revealed that have been slain for the Word of God (Revelation 6:9–11). We can assume there will be a type of salvation after the rapture, but the church should not plan on securing their salvation at this time—our goal should be to escape from tribulation and make the rapture.

There are two types of “tribulation saints” that we see in Scripture. There are those who are protected (Revelation 7:1–8), the 144,000 sealed saints, which possibly points to a remnant church of the Jewish nation. There are also persecuted saints (Revelation 7:9–14) who will be martyred for their beliefs.

Sixth Seal: Upheaval of the Heavens and the Earth

Much will occur during the unveiling of this seal—earthquakes, blackened sun, blood moon, and falling stars. The earth will be wrought with trembling and destruction, which again will be widespread instead of confined to a few areas of the globe (Revelation 6:12–17). Some people who are surviving during this time will be aware it is God’s wrath coming down upon the earth (Revelation 6:16).

Seventh Seal: Angels with Trumpets

John sees seven angels standing before God with seven trumpets in their hands. They prepared themselves to sound for what is yet to fall upon the earth (Revelation 8:1–6).

Seven Trumpets

First Trumpet: Plant Life

One third of the earth’s vegetation will be burned by fire which falls from heaven. We can foresee this destruction will cause an ecological disaster as trees are a vital source for producing oxygen. All of the green grass will be burned during this time as well (Revelation 8:7).

Second Trumpet: Seas

One third of the sea will become blood which will cause the death of a third of the sea creatures. The end result will be a third of all the seas destroyed upon the earth (Revelation 8:8–9). This will greatly affect the economy as various trade waterways will be eliminated.

Third Trumpet: Fresh Waters

After one third of the seas are destroyed, and their inhabitants, we will see one third of the fresh water sources destroyed. Additional people will die because of the bitter waters (Revelation 8:10–11).

Fourth Trumpet: Heavens Struck

One third of the sun, moon, and stars will be destroyed—there will be more darkness than ever before (Revelation 8:12–13).

Fifth Trumpet: Locusts

There will be a release of a terrible locust that will not attack the earth, but only mankind (excluding the protected saints). The locusts will be so terrible and torment humans for a span of 5 months; men will seek death and not be able to die (Revelation 9:1–12).

Sixth Trumpet: 4 Angels

Four angels will be loosed from the river Euphrates and they will bring with them armies to attack those who remain on the earth. From this slaughter, another third of mankind will be destroyed. After their work is complete, approximately half of the world’s population will have been destroyed at this point by the previous seals and trumpets. Even after all of this, mankind will still seek to serve devils and idols and not reverence God (Revelation 9:13–10:6).

Vials

The seven angels were also instructed to pour out their vials upon the earth. Some theologians have determined these to be additional woes upon the earth, and some have described the vials as more detailed descriptions as to what has happened on the earth during the opening of the deals and sounding of the trumpets.

First Vial: Sores

Those who have taken the mark of the best will receive a grievous sore (Revelation 16:2).

Second Vial: Seas

The rest of the seas will become as blood and everything (the remaining two-thirds) in the seas will die (Revelation 16:3).

Third Vial: Fresh Waters

An angel will pour out his vial and the rest of the fresh waters will become blood as well (Revelation 16:4–7).

Fourth Vial: Fire & Heat

The remaining portion of the sun (two-thirds) will be able to scorch men with fire and a great heat (Revelation 16:8–9).

Fifth Vial: Darkness

After blazing heat and a terrible sun, the world will be in darkness. Mankind will sit alone and writhe in their pain, but will still not repent for their actions (Revelation 16:10–11).

Sixth Vial: War Preparations

The river Euphrates will be dried up and events will start to begin to reign in the battle of Armageddon. Nations and people will be stirred up ready for war (Revelation 16:12–16).

Seventh Vial: Earthquake & Hail

There will be a great earthquake upon the earth, nations/cities will be divided. A great hail will fall out of heaven and men will continue to curse God (Revelation 16:17–21).

Seven Thunders

With the many woes that are poured out on the earth with the opening of the seals, the blowing of trumpets, and the pouring out of vials, there are still seven thunders to be witnessed. John the Revelator began to write what he had seen, but the Lord told Him not to record his vision (Revelation 10:4).

We will never know what is to come in the thunders, but the Lord has given His people more than enough insight as to the terrible things that are to befall mankind during the tribulation. The church needs to be ready for the rapture!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 18, 2016

Stop and Smell the Roses

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

We’re in the midst of the Spring season—trees are budding, flowers are peaking out through the battered soil, lawns are being mowed for the first time leaving the smell of crisp cut grass in the air, and the sun is starting to blush over the sky in slightly longer durations each day.

For those who don’t suffer from chronic allergies—having their eyes swollen shut by all of the allergens being released into the air—Spring is generally an enjoyable, lovely time of year. It’s an opportunity to admire the incredible beauty of God’s handiwork as the earth gives way for new life.

God’s splendor is around us every day. But, we take His created beauty for granted most of the time, letting it fade into the background unnoticed.

Someone once said we must “stop and smell the roses” from time to time. Why? Because in our crazy lives, it’s easy to blow past the little things and forego their simplistic beauty.

We don’t behold in amazement the handiwork of our Creator as much as we should, in nature or otherwise. We forget that we serve an amazing God who created everything around us—us included.

When was the last time we “stopped and smelled the roses,” so to speak, with God? Have we taken a moment recently to reflect and praise Him for his creation, greatness, beauty, excellence, holiness, righteousness?

The Psalmist said in Psalms 8:3–9:

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! (KJV).

Have we stopped to consider how great our God really is? The very root of “consider” is to see. Are our eyes open, noticing the greatness of our God? And, if we’ve noticed, have we thanked Him for it?

Scripture tells us we should always have a praise for the Lord on our lips (Psalms 34:1). We cannot praise the Lord if we aren’t “stopping” to think about Him once and awhile or seeing Him in everything around us.

We need to take at least one moment each day to slow down, stop, and consider our Creator. We need to take a moment to drink Him in—allow His presence to excite the very core of our being. And, we should be thankful for those moments. God is so good to have given us life today to enjoy what He has created, and more importantly, Him.

Stop and smell the roses with God today. I promise you’ll like the fragrance.

The End Times: Part II

Thursday, May 12th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The End Times: Part II







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Theme of Revelation

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John (Revelation 1:1, KJV).

The book of Revelation depicts real-life, human events. However, some of the text provides insight into what is to come—by way of types, shadows, and analogies. The writer, John (who was a Disciple of Jesus), knew Jesus as more than a Savior. He walked with Him in real life and saw Him as a tangible human being. But, what has been revealed in the dramatic pages of Scripture showed Jesus in a way John had never experienced (Revelation 1:13–16). John saw Jesus as the eternal God (Revelation 1:17–18).

Revelation begins with who Jesus is, shows what He has done, illustrates what is to come upon this earth, and how He will take His church home. But, the larger picture we can glean from this book is its main theme—beyond the excitement of the rapture of the church and fear of the tribulation. Revelation is about Jesus: who He is, and is, and is to come (Revelation 1:8).

Understanding Revelation

When we read the book of Revelation, we need to make considerations when attempting to analyze and comprehend Scripture for a complete understanding. It takes experience and the leading of the Holy Ghost to understand when Scripture moves from literal to figurative exhortations. And, we need to consider the Biblical and historical setting, as well as grammatical (literary style) of what we’re reading. There is a chronological sequence to the revelations (Revelation 1:19), which will help us further understand God’s plan. Scripture can’t be understood in a vacuum, per our own ideals and interpretations!

The Great Tribulation

Theologians have earmarked a focus of Revelation to be the “Great Tribulation.” This is a period of time when God will pour out judgment upon the world. There are varying opinions as to when the tribulation will be on the earth.

Tribulation Beliefs

Pre-tribulation is the belief God will rapture the church prior to the period of tribulation. Mid-tribulation believes God will allow the church to remain on the earth for half of the tribulatory period (3.5 years), and then will remove them. Post-tribulation is the belief God will allow the church to remain on the earth for the full tribulatory period.

Matthew references the “Great Tribulation” in Matthew 24:21 as well as John in Revelation 7:14. We are currently living in a dispensation of grace, experiencing God’s mercy. But, God will pour out His wrath upon the disobedient of this earth. The “Great Tribulation” will be 7 years of judgment, with 3.5 years of man’s wrath and 3.5 years of God’s wrath.

Revelation, and other corresponding verses in Scripture about the tribulation are warnings to God’s creation to live right and to get ready for His coming. The church has a hope (the Holy Ghost)—we will be removed from this life and onto our future reward (I Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9). If we live right, heed the signs, and follow Him, we will make our heaven our home!

Seven Seals

Revelation was sealed up in a book, but in John’s vision, the Lord allowed the seals to be opened and to reveal what was to come upon the earth (Revelation 5:1–14). John was given knowledge and understanding to explain the events of the tribulation and the blocks of time/events that would proceed in the future.

First Seal: White Horse

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer (Revelation 6:1–2, KJV).

An Evil King

Theologians explain the white horse is a foreshadow of the antichrist. Daniel also foretells of his coming in Daniel 8:23–27. We understand in the latter times, the antichrist will come and he will bring a false peace with him. He will be a leader and will move into a position to control the world through a one-world government or alliance. The antichrist will work through manipulation and deception and utilize both technology and globalization to further his plight.

The Beast

Revelation continues to reveal details about the antichrist in Revelation 13:1–9. The antichrist will mimic the power that Jesus had. Therefore, he will have favor among the people, but also cause wars, and eliminate anyone who worships the Lord.

The Man of Sin

Paul warned the church about the “man of sin” (the antichrist) in II Thessalonians 2:1–12. We cannot read the insights of John the Revelator and not know these evil workings have been in place for a long time (II Thessalonians 2:7). The antichrist will deceive many with his lying wonders. All people who refuse to believe and worship the Lord will believe in a strong delusion and will experience the wrath of God (II Thessalonians 2:11–12).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 11, 2016

Another Game of Hide and Seek

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

It’s the sound of feet padding quickly down the hallway, elevated breathing, and a quickened heartbeat. It’s the mental exercise of making quick decisions, moving strategically, and planning an escape route. It’s the sudden change in emotion, adrenaline rushing through the blood stream, and the overall enjoyment of the it all. It’s just another game of hide-and-seek.

I remember playing numerous games of hide-and-seek as a child and into my “tween” years. I hold the reigning title in my family for the best hiding place—it took my family ages to unearth my hideout.

Why the concept of hiding is a thrill to children is a mystery. Even playing peak-a-boo as infants is a monumental experience. But, while we like to point our fingers at children and laugh at them for their naiveté, hide-and-seek is not too distant of an activity to adults as it may seem. The best player of the game is the one you see looking back at you in the mirror.

We all like to hide—character flaw, past failure, family drama, social anxiety, etc.—the list is endless. There are just some things in our lives that we aren’t even willing to put on Facebook! Instead of broadcasting to the world, we’re desperately trying to avert our eyes, draw every drapery, and close every door to conceal ourselves.

Hiding isn’t just something we do from people; we’ve become an expert hider (reigning champion) when it comes to our relationship with God. And, in this scenario? We’re hiding due to similar reasons or because God’s asked us to do something and we haven’t done (or won’t do) it yet.

Remember Jonah? He didn’t want to deliver a message to Nineveh so he stowed away in the side of a ship (Jonah 1:1–5). Remember Gideon? He hid behind a winepress (Judges 6:11) and snuck around at night (Judges 6:27). Remember Elijah? He got freaked out Jezebel was going to kill him and took up residence in a cave (I Kings 19:9). The common thread between these stories? The men were all hiding, but God found every single one of them.

Scripture tells us nothing is hidden from God’s sight (Hebrews 4:13). Whether we’ve done something bad (or good), the Lord sees it. He even knows what we’re going to do before we do it—as He knows our thoughts before we think them (Psalms 139:2) and knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10)! It is impossible to play hide-and-seek with God, and yet we try time and time again. Some of us have been attempting this game our entire life.

Adults like to “pretend” they can’t find the children they’re seeking during a game of hide-and-seek. God doesn’t pretend that He doesn’t know us or that He doesn’t see us. Most of the time, He wants us to know that He already knows.

But, are we ready to admit we’ve been found or found out?

Stop pretending. Stop sweeping things under a rug. Stop trying to be sly. Stop hiding. Let’s embrace the fact that God wants us to be found. And, He wants us to draw close to Him instead of drawing away from Him. We need to stop lurking in the shadows, but instead step into the shadow of the Almighty (Psalms 91:1).

Still not ready to give up the game? Pray that God can deliver you from the snare of a “hiding” mentality. You’ll find that He can be your ultimate hiding place; He will keep you and deliver you (Psalms 32:7). Don’t play hide-and-seek with God. Just hide in Him.

Faith to Receive or Faith to Conceive

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised (Hebrews 11:11, KJV).

There is a difference between receiving a promise and conceiving a promise. According to theologians, there are 3,573 promises in the Word of God. We have promises of forgiveness (I John 1:9), the infilling of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38–39), power (Acts 1:8), eternal life (John 14:1–3), and many more.

We have the ability to partake in all of God’s promises if our lives are aligned with His Word. However, there is often a disconnect in our life—we receive the promises of God, but we fail to conceive them. God’s promises will always be true whether we believe them or not. But, in our life, God’s promises won’t fully come to pass until we conceive them.

Receiving a Promise

God’s Promises are Personal

God has specific promises for each of His children. God came to Abraham and Sarah with a promise for them that wasn’t for anyone else (Genesis 18:1). While we can lend ourselves to helping others receive their promise from God, we need to desire that our promises are fulfilled.

God’s Promises Sometimes Seem Impossible

We can become so blind that we think God’s promises are an impossibility in our life. We forget the Author of the promise! We cannot become fearful of God’s promises coming to pass in our life (like Sarah when she laughed). We need to remember that there isn’t anything too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14) and with Him all things are possible (Mark 10:27)!

God’s Promises Require Patience

Abraham waited 25 years between the promise of a child and seeing his son born (Genesis 12:1–7). We cannot become frustrated when a promise isn’t fulfilled in our timeframe or per our desire. If God gave us a promise He will fulfill it in His time and according to His purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We cannot think we know God’s timing better than He does or even try to manipulate it. Let God move in our life the way He sees fit!

Conceiving a Promise

God Loves Us Enough to Give Us Personal Promises

In God’s perfect design of marriage, He allows intimate moments where children can be conceived. God desires for us to know Him on an intimate level so promises can be received as a result. We need to connect with Him on a deeper level; drawing deeper in God allows us to believe and operate in a greater level of faith.

Sarah was able to grasp “next level faith;” Scripture tells us she was able to conceive seed (Hebrews 11:11). We need to raise our level of faith and walk by realizing God wants an intimate relationship with us. He wants us to draw near to Him so we too can operate in a new level of faith. If our forefathers were able to walk in a greater element of faith, we can too—we can conceive the promise!

We Must Do Our Part to Receive the Promise

God’s plan is perfect—when He opens a door no one can shut it. But, our part in receiving the promise may involve waiting, or taking action, or in doing whatever God calls us to do. The principle is not whether we will act or wait but if we will be obedient and submit to the plan of God. Waiting and action will be completely pointless if we are not obedient and submitted to God.

Waiting will reveal our true motives in receiving God’s promises (Jeremiah 17:9), perfect His work in us (James 1:4), help us develop character (Psalms 86:11), draw us closer to God (Psalms 91:1), and help us build a thankful heart (I Thessalonians 5:18). We need to seek God to determine what we need to do to help our promises come to fruition in our life!

Specific Promises for Today

Mothers

The best thing a mother can do for her children is to pray for them and to be a model of submission and obedience. The power of a submitted, praying mother will help create a heart in her children that will hear when the man of God speaks. Mothers will help to cultivate a mindset in their children to respond to the Word of God. If a mother will pray, God will do a work.

Marriages

There is a promise over marriages if we will ensure the restoration of roles in the home. We need to align ourselves with the Word of God and allow the proper fulfillment of roles in our marriages. If we continually operate outside of our God-given boundaries, promises will not be conceived in our lives. Women need to submit to their husbands and allow them to develop into the leader of the home. Once we submit to the plan of God and His Word, we will see promises in our marriages.

Ministry

God wants to use His children to fulfill His work. Our promises in ministry will be a direct proportion of the process God wants to take us through. God cannot release a purpose in our life without taking us through a process—God may put us through a season of testing before He can use us. Part of our testing will be to submit to the pastor He places in our life. There will not be a ministry purpose conceived in us until we pray for those over us.

Faith to Conceive

Today, we need to seek the Lord and pray for His help in igniting an ability in each of us to conceive His promises in our life. We have the ability to see those promises and partake in those promises if we exercise the measure of faith He has given us. Today is the day we can conceive—we don’t have to wait another day.


Adapted from Sunday Morning Service on May 8, 2016 with Guest Speaker, Candy Saylor

The End Times: Part I

Thursday, May 5th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The End Times: Part I







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And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matthew 24:3, KJV).

The Last Days

We can look around at our world today and see that we are living in the last days—the last days before the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Peter spoke to the believers on the day of Pentecost:

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams (Acts 2:16–17, KJV).

The last days were spoken about 2,000 years ago and we are still living on those days today. God is still pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh in every country and in every nation.

Signs of His Coming

Even though Scripture gives signs of Jesus’ coming, it’s not wise to determine the date. Jesus told us of His coming so we could prepare our hearts and be ready. No one will ever know the hour the son of man will come back for His church (Mark 13:32). God doesn’t measure time the way we do (Psalms 90:4, II Peter 3:8). Our time is finite—His is infinite!

We know the coming of Jesus is soon because of the state of the world (II Timothy 3:1–5). If God ended previous dispensations of time in judgment due to the behavior of the people, how much more will He come to pour our judgment in this time when people have grown worse and worse!

False Christs, Wars, and Conflicts

And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven (Luke 21:8–11, KJV).

We should never be afraid of these signs, but we should see them and prepare ourselves. As the church, we should see these signs and realize we are living in exciting times! God is getting ready to come back for His church, but more miracles will be poured out in this day than ever before.

Destruction and Rebuilding of Israel

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24, KJV).

The Jewish nation ceased to exist for years and years. After World War II, almost all Jews perished under persecution. However, in 1948, Israel was acknowledged as a sovereign state. History even speaks to the coming our Lord!

Natural Warnings

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken (Luke 21:25–26, KJV).

All aspects of nature will begin to move toward a state of upheaval—the normalcy of nature will change as we know it. We are already seeing devastating destruction from tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions like never before. Disease is on the rise. Nature is telling us Jesus is coming soon.

Scoffers

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation (II Peter 3:3–4, KJV).

Because we are now almost 2,000 years past the day of Pentecost, people have stopped believing and watching for the Lord to come. It’s only God’s longsuffering and grace that keeps Him from coming today. We cannot let our guards down and lose sight of His coming. We cannot be lulled to sleep by this world!

Living Without Regard to God

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24:37–39, KJV).

During the days of Noah, people didn’t believe it would rain until the flood came, despite all the warnings. Theologians believe Noah preached to the lost generation, warning them to get right so they could be saved. Today, we can’t get caught up in the day-to-day activities of this life. There should be a sense of excitement and earnest expectation the Lord will come soon!

Preparing for His Coming

We need to watch for these signs and know that when we see them, His coming is near (Matthew 24:32–35). We are instructed to watch! If we are looking for our Savior, we will keep our motives and our mission for living right in check. Jesus warned the church as time progressed on, the pleasures of this life would lull us asleep—the church would develop a numbness to sin (Luke 21:34–36). We cannot get used to this world.

We should look forward to the catching away of the church (I Thessalonians 4:14–17). This is our hope—we should pray for and seek this every day (Titus 2:13)!

Good News of His Coming

The church should never dread the coming of Jesus Christ. When He comes, we will be translated to a new place (John 14:2–3), receive a new body (I Corinthians 15:51–53, I John 3:2), and leave this old world to forever be with the Lord (I Thessalonians 4:17).

We are just passing through this world—we are looking for our true home. This is just our “holding place” until we’re received up into glory (I Peter 1:17). Let’s not make this world our home, but watch the signs of the end time, and look for the coming of our Savior.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 04, 2016

One Accord, One Place

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Tomorrow, May 5, is our National Day of Prayer. People all across America will be binding together to pray.

Magnificent things happen in God’s kingdom when His people come together and pray. On the day of Pentecost, 120 believers were gathered together in one accord and in one place (Acts 2:1). It was during this prayer-meeting, all 120 believers were filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4) and the church was born!

Two things were happening during this “Pentecostal” prayer meeting we should model when we pray tomorrow.

One Place

If possible, try to gather together with others to pray. Personal prayer times are important, but praying with believers is powerful. There’s something different when you get in a room with people who are on their faces, crying out to the mighty God to move heaven and earth.

Hearing others pray will stir your own spirit and encourage you to move to a deeper place in prayer. But, the melodic prayerful tone won’t be the only thing you hear and feel. Scripture tells us where two or three are gathered together in His name, God will be in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20)!

One Mind

The believers on the day of Pentecost were together in one place. You can be with others in one location, but your mind can be far away. We’re called to have one mind when we pray. We must be unified. We’re told in Scripture to have unity of mind with our brothers and sisters in Christ (I Peter 3:8) and to maintain that unity at whatever cost (Ephesians 4:3).

When we come together in a unified mindset to pray, we can conquer enemies, see the sick healed, and see the Lord move in whatever capacity we’re praying for. If one person can put a thousand to flight, and two can put ten thousand to flight (Deuteronomy 32:30), what more can the entire church body do when they pray together in unity?

Let’s bind together as a Nation tomorrow and pray the Lord of Heaven and earth will hear us and heal our land (II Chronicles 7:14)! We need a move of God in this hour like never before, and it won’t happen until God’s people pray.

Our Need for His Joy

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalms 16:11).

In life we forget about the joy promised to us through Jesus Christ (Luke 2:10). We look to the world to fill a void in our life instead of to God. Even when we realize God desires to bless us, we get too caught up in the gifts He gives us instead of taking joy in the Giver.

True joy can only be found in Jesus. Our search should not be in materialistic things, but in the pursuit of the Lord, Jesus Christ. If we’re unwilling to empty ourselves of everything the world can give us, or even what we can manifest in our own lives (e.g., pride), there won’t be any room for His joy.

We get confused about what true joy is—we’ve allowed the world to define it. Emotions and circumstances do not have anything to do with God’s joy. If we can hold onto the true joy in Jesus, we will see it will never leave us.

As in the days of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:9–12), we have sought after idols in this life. These dead things have stolen the joy the Lord has given us. We can’t get comfortable in this world and seek to be fulfilled by the things in it. The world will give us false comfort and joy—it looks good on the outside, but it’s dead on the inside.

We need to listen to the Word of the Lord today and allow it to increase our faith—faith to know God will supply our every need; one of those needs is joy! If we allow the fullness of the Lord to enter our life, we will experience the fullness of true joy. All we have to do is ask today, and we can experience that joy (John 16:24).