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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Law and Grace: Flip Sides of the Same Coin

All too often lately I'm hearing 'Grace alone' and "we are not under law" being taught primarily on Christian radio programs.  I'd like to remind folks that Jesus Christ made the strongly worded statement in Matthew 5:18 "For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished." (AMP)

The folks that ignore this verse also push the "once-saved-always-saved" (OSAS) platform - that once we are saved we can never loose salvation. That is also non-scriptural and, in fact, anti-Christ. The best scriptural example I can give to disprove this stance is Hebrews 6:4-8 which states emphatically that it is possible to loose salvation and never be eligible for repentance again! Also, Mark 3:29 clearly states that "but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will NEVER be forgiven; they are guilty of an ETERNAL SIN.”  Again, it is possible to permanently loose salvation by blaspheming (discrediting, scoffing, denounce or ban) the Holy Spirit! This verse actually establishes a NEW Testament law! But I digress. The point is that Jesus did not do away with any of God's laws - in two short verses we can see that He actually added to them!

While we ARE saved by Grace, we must abide by the moral law established in the Old Testament as well - and we are subject to them until every prophecy given in the OT is fulfilled and the earth is destroyed - in other words, until the end of time, as we know it. This doesn't mean that we must adhere to dietary law, circumcision, etc - those were done away with at the Jerusalem Council -  but we MUST adhere to moral law - from this we can never 'escape' - and if we break them there will be consequences.

May the blood of Jesus cover, bless & protect you!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Thanksgiving Like No Other!

This Thanksgiving is different than most others - and what makes it different has only happened once in history, in 1888, and will not repeat again for over 79,000 years! This year Thanksgiving and Chanukah converge on the same day. The commonalities between Thanksgiving and Chanukah are few but potent.

•    Both are times of celebration, thanks and feasting. Both are times of celebration, thanks and feasting. Both are holidays of gratitude after facing adversity. While Americans are stuffing themselves with turkey, dressing, bisquits and pumpkin pie,  Jews globally will enjoy brisket, potato latkes, challah and sweet noodle kugel . American Jews and Christians alike have come up with several fusion recipes like turkey doughnuts!

•    Both are rooted in religion. Jews began to celebrate Chanukah, or  the Festival of Lights, 2178 years ago. Chanukah is the eight-day celebration commemorating Jewish military victory and the miracle of oil that lasted eight days when it should have only lasted one. Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest feast between Pilgrims and Indians that happened almost 400 years ago and while that might seem secular, the Pilgrims would never have been breaking bread with the Indians if they hadn’t first fled Europe in search of religious freedom.

•    Both were started by people who sought refuge in America. As Franklin Roosevelt said, “Freedom is what the Jews have found in America and it’s also what the Pilgrims found in America.”

•    Both are celebrated at home, with family. People don’t go to public parks or churches or synogogues on either of these holidays. Jews aren’t reciting long prayers in Hebrew and Americans aren’t going over the manifests of the Mayflower. These are both celebrations that involve spending the day, visiting with family and celebrating that closeness and love.

So, enjoy your turkey, your brisket, the pies and kugel – but most of all enjoy the fellowship of family. Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Trinity Concept and Scriptural Support

This very brief article is written to provide guidance and scriptural support for one of the absolutes of Christianity, The Trinity. Let it be said that any ‘religion’ or ‘denomination’ that does not include The Trinity as part of its doctrine is a false religion or a cult – and certainly has no place in Christianity. These include Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), Jehovah’s Witness, Christian Science, United Pentecostal Church (UPC - or any ‘Oneness’ cult), United Apostolic Church, Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, Bible Way Churches of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The New Age Movement,  The Way International, Scientology, Living Church of God, Unification Church, United Church of God, Unitarian Church, Judaism and Islam,  They may say that they are Christian but they try to twist Christianity into something that ‘makes sense’ and fits their own agenda -- but is certainly not supported in scripture, the infallible, breathed word of God – and therefore are not Christian. Let’s look at what scripture does say about one of the most essential of Christian core beliefs. 

The Individuality of the Trinity

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26)

Here God clearly refers to the Trinity as individuals, in the plural – “us” and “we”.

“And the angel answered and said to her [Mary], "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)

Why would God use the Word ‘offspring’ if not to signify the individuality of Jesus, the Son of God, the Father?

"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you." (John 14:16-17)

Jesus certainly wouldn’t have to ask Himself to give a helper to the disciples. Also, “the helper” referred to here is The Holy Spirit. Here, Jesus also refers to the Holy Spirit as “He” and “Him”, indicating another person.

"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him." (John 14:16-17, 23)

Here Jesus speaks of His Father as a separate entity from Himself and also refers to Himself and The Father as “we”.

·           Jesus said: "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30)
·         "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9)
·         "He who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me." (John 12:45)

The Three Are One at the Same Time They Are Three

In Matthew 26:36-46, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and is praying to the Father and asking, if it is possible, to let the cup of suffering and death that lay ahead of Him be taken away. Just what was going on in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was praying to the Father? Was He talking to himself?

2 Corinthians 13:14 really nails the concept and comfort of  the Trinity: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all."

To get a better grip on the concept of Trinity, let’s look at water. H2O is the symbolic representation of the chemical make-up of water. It consists of two parts Hydrogen and one part Oxygen. Within this set make-up or structure, water can and does exist in three forms, water, the Liquid, steam, the vapor and ice, the solid. Although water can and does exist in all of these forms simultaneously, it is still water! If you sample each form and analyze its chemical make-up, it will always be H2O. If you look at the picture above you see that this example really makes sense when applied to the Trinity. God can and does exist in the forms of God, the Father, God, The Son and God, the Holy Spirit simultaneously, but these three are still the same God! The three individual elements are intertwined with each other as one entity: three in one.

The confusion about the Trinity (is there is any) is due, in part, to our sinful nature. We are not able to see or understand clearly because sin affects all of us and clouds our Spiritual vision and comprehension. On top of this, we live in a defined three dimensional world and if things don't fit that worldly explanation, then we get uncomfortable. We have to try and make whatever it is fit into the universe and reality as we know it. Unfortunately (fortunately), God doesn't live under any of our constraints. He's God and can do whatever He wants. If that means bending everything we understand about our three dimensional world in order to be omnipresent, to be in all places, with every single human, at the same time, 24 hours a day, then so be it. If it means being able to split Himself up into three distinct persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then so be that as well. It is impossible for us to 'understand' or fully grasp how this is done and there will never be an explanation about how God can do this on the "How Things Work" page. This is simply something we must "understand" by faith - like tumors disappearing overnight or cataracts dissipating in front of our eyes. These are not things that can be 'explained' in our natural world, but exist constantly in God's supernatural world. It is simply because He is God! His thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and it is to be expected that there are things about God our creator that we, being the simple, sinful creatures we are, simply cannot grasp. 

One more thing, the doctrine of the Trinity is taught, like so many other Godly concepts, in the unfolding of God's revelation about Himself, rather than in a specific chapter and verse. This is what Jesus meant in Matthew 16:16-18. Jesus tells Peter that the rock upon which the church will be built  is the revelation that God the Father gives to us  regarding all things. He did not mean that the church would be built on Peter himself but upon the revelation that Peter received from The Father! If we approach the Bible in this way, with an eye open to all things, guided by the Holy Spirit, we will see teachings about the Trinity from Genesis 1:26-28 to Matthew 28:19-20 to 2 Corinthians 13:14, its all there.

May the blood of Jesus (The Son in the Trinity) cover, bless & protect you!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jim Croft Tonight on The Omegaman Radio Show

Jim Croft will be featured on the Omegaman broadcast tonight at 9PM EST. The topic will be "Deliverance from Sex Addictions and Homosexuality" To listen in go HERE!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Understanding Tongues: The Language From heaven

The gift of tongues is usually, but certainly not always, the first outward sign of receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, an event that is so crucial that Jesus commanded His disciples not to begin their ministries until they had received the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). Those 12 men (with Mathias replacing Judas) as well as others in the upper room totaling 120, were baptized in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) after praying for 10 days to receive it. This event not only signified the birth of their ministries but the Christian church as well. When they received, all began speaking in tongues, simultaneously.

In practice, there are generally two kinds of tongues, known and unknown. Known tongues are earthly languages, either currently used or used in the past, such as the ones spoken at Pentecost. Unknown tongues is a language given direct from the throne room and every single one is as unique as the person it’s given to. The result is a direct pipeline to God through a language that He created just for you – a very powerful tool to say the least. By far the most common king of tongues is the unknown tongue, or heavenly language. The gift of tongues is referred to as the heavenly language, praying in the Spirit, prayer language, Spiritual language, the gift of tongues, speaking by the Spirit of God or just speaking or praying in tongues.

The following are 25 short teachings, with scriptural references (facts), that you should know about tongues – and the Holy Spirit. Take the time to go through these and read the correlating scriptures and I promise you're understanding of tongues and its use will be enhanced.

1.       The creator is a communicator (Genesis 2:15-17)
2.       As our ‘helper’,  relationship is the goal and focus of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-15)
       **Since speaking in tongues is actually the Holy Spirit speaking through us, nothing can build this rapport faster - or more powerfully.

3.       You must be willing to grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit – even if you don’t understand everything He does! (John 14:17)
**This is a prerequisite to any development in our Christian walk. Move in faith!

4.       Speaking in tongues was promised by Jesus and was to accompany belief. (Mark 16:17)
5.       The giver of all earthly languages has one of His own. (1 Corinthians 14:2)
6.       There are varied uses of the ‘heavenly language’ that reward us and apply to different situations. (Acts 2:6-11; 1 Corinthians 12:10 and 28)
7.       The Holy Spirit has various methods for using unknown tongues as a sign to unbelievers. (1 Corinthians 14:22)
8.       When you speak or pray in tongues you won't understanding what you speak. (1 Corinthians 14:14)   (Unless you also have the gift of interpretation)                                                                                                                               

**This is a point of contention with the ‘non-believing believer’ who would say “Then what’s the point?” The point is that you don’t have to understand everything that God does in or through you – just know that whatever it is it is for your good! (see #3)

9.       The Holy Spirit is meticulous and orderly in the plan of how and when corporate tongues should be employed. (1 Corinthians 14:13 and 27-28)                                                                              

**NOTE: The word ‘speaks’ here means publicly in the sense of prophesying through tongues.

10.   The Holy Spirit will pray through you in private intercession for others, via unknown tongues. (Romans 8:26-27)
11.   When you pray in unknown tongues, or the heavenly language, God increases and builds up your faith and confidence in Him – thus, taking you deeper into the Spirit of God to see His will.  (Jude 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 14:4)      

 **This is why praying in tongues either in times of testing, trouble or when miracles are needed (i.e. healing) is important.

12.   It is crucial that you practice your prayer language in order to keep it alive and vibrant. (1 Corinthians 14:18; Ephesians 8:18)                                                                                               

 **NOTE: The more you use tongues, the more proficient you become at it and the easier you can slide into it from speaking your earthly language when in prayer. Also, the more you use tongues, the larger your vocabulary becomes.

13.   The Holy Spirit delights when you enter into a private time of intercession for others, via the heavenly language. (Romans 8:26-27)                                                                                               

14.   We need to recognize that we are not always equipped to speak the right words and that sometimes we have no idea how to pray about something. It is crucial to trust and permit the Holy Spirit to take over in these times and pray through us! (Romans 8:26) (**See # 3)                 

 **Sometimes we just need to get out of the way, relinquish and give it up to God and His will.

15.   When praying in tongues, trust the Holy Spirit enough to avoid all logical thinking and the temptation to even try to understand what He is doing! (Romans 8:26-27) (**See # 3)
16.   When praying in tongues, you pray “error-free”. (1 Corinthians 12:3; Zephaniah 3:9)
17.   Praying in tongues is one of only two offensive weapons in the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:18) 

**Note that praying in the spirit (tongues) can also be used as a defensive weapon.

18.   Speaking in tongues was prophesied by Isaiah. (Isaiah 28:11; 1 Corinthians14:21)
19.   Recognize the Holy Spirit as your earthly intercessor and Jesus as your heavenly intercessor. (Romans 8:26-27, 34)
20.   Trust the Holy Spirit that He will not fail you or lead you to error! (John 16:13) (**See # 3)
21.   Recognize and treasure mentors that the Holy Spirit brings to you to provide a greater understanding of Him and the use of tongues. (Acts 10:25-48)                                                                                     

**This is so important for everyone. You should have a seasoned mentor to teach you in dealings of the Holy Spirit. (I can hear Jim Croft saying “Yes, grasshopper” right about now)

22.   Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to draw you closer to Him. (Jeremiah 31:3) (**See # 3)
23.   Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth regarding all things! (Matthew 6:16-18)               

**Heavenly truth and revelation is the rock that the church is built on, NOT Peter! (see #2)

24.   Walk in the present light you have and more will be provided. (Acts 19:1-7)
25.   You must ask for your prayer language! (Luke 11:13; James 4:2)

“You do not have because you do not ask”

©2013 Mark Williams. (Based on “The Wisdom Bible”, Study Guide #94)

May The Blood of Jesus cover, bless & protect you!

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