Glorifying God through Prayer and Worship
Living a Life that Pleases Our God
Pray that All Would Answer According to the Truth
Did Jesus Make and Drank Fermented Wine?
Unfortunately this is one of those subjects that has been misunderstood by the church at large. For it seems that there are those who try to make scripture
read in such a way as to say that drinking any alcoholic beverage is wrong. They even declare that the wine that Jesus made was only grape juice. And of course, this is not scriptural. I do believe that these same people are sincere in their faith and mean well, for wine and other alcoholic beverages have caused many problems. So, we must not look down on those who choose not to drink and to be careful not stumbling them with our drinking. But to twist scripture in such a way as to fit our own theological view is wrong also. So, whether we choose to drink or not, let us not look down or judge each other on this issue. For it's God who has given us freedom in this area.
First of all, getting drunk is a sin. And if it’s abused to the point of one being a drunkard (one who continually gets intoxicated), it can harm a persons relationship with God and even keep him (or her) from entering the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). However, that does not mean that you throw the baby out with the bathwater. We should not demonize something just because there are those that abuse it. Anything can be abused. And whatever you do abuse, you can be sure that you're committing a sin. And the reason should be clear. If what you do causes you to be unfruitful and even harmful, then you are being counterproductive. Jesus said if any branch in me does not bear fruit then it is removed. Also, He goes on to say that the will of the Father is that you bear much fruit (John 15).
So, we can see from what was just mentioned that whatever causes you to be unfruitful causes you to sin. This would include excessive drinking, wrongful sexual activity, watching ungodly movies, or anything else that’s counterproductive. You may already know that there are warnings in the bible concerning sexual misconduct. Now does that mean we are to refrain from it all together? I firmly believe that sexual misbehavior has caused much harm upon this earth. It has been used to violate woman, young children, men, as well as animals, and is the cause of many deceases as well. But again, should we throw it out and encourage everyone to become celibate? Of course not. So why would we do that with wine or any other alcoholic drinks?
So in conclusion, enjoying a glass of wine or a bottle of beer is not a sin as long as you refrain from getting drunk. Jesus Himself admits to drinking fermented wine as well as the gospel of John declaring that He made it at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (Matthew 11:19, John 2:1-11). Now I have to admit, drinking is not for everyone. There are those who may feel the need to refrain from alcohol for whatever reason. But that’s their choice, and their choice should not be pushed on others who have the liberty to do so. Nor should anyone put the pressure on an individual to make them drink when they feel uncomfortable about it.
Now let’s consider some scripture on this matter:
Are all the gifts of the Spirit available today?
There are those who say that the “gifts of the Spirit” ceased when the Bible (the Canon of Scriptures) was completed. Again, this is not true and amounts to bad scripture twisting. For they say that the passage which says: “when that which is perfect is come” is referring to the completion of the bible. I do believe that those who hold to this view are trying to find an excuse for the church’s lacking to step out in faith and practice these Spiritual gifts. So, having said that, lets examine the scriptures and see what it has to say.
Are You more Holy if you practice Celibacy?
There are those in the church who view that one must practice celibacy in order to be a spiritual leader in a church. This practice of celibacy was enforced by those in the early church that viewed sex as base and looked down on those who could not refrain from it. We can read this from the writings of such notables as Tertullian, Ambrose, and Jerome, all of whom believed that, even within marriage, intercourse necessarily involved sin. This attitude toward marital intimacy, which dominated the church for more than ten centuries, inevitably led to the glorification of virginity and celibacy. (see: www.ligonier.org/blog/sex-in-marriage) However, as we can see from scripture, this practice of forbidding marriage within the clergy is demonic and destructive. I say this because look at the harm that has occurred in the Catholic Church regarding sexual misconducts. I do believe God allowed this to happen to expose their teaching of heresy concerning marriage within the clergy. The unfortunate thing is however, many innocent lives have been marred through this, and yet do we see any changes in their views today. If celibacy is to be practiced, it has to be by choice and not required or enforced. Let's face it, not all have this gift. (For more info regarding sexual intimacy, see article: Sex Unveiled.
What is the Pearl of Great Price?
Even though Jesus despised the shame that the cross entailed, he endured it because of the joy which he knew would come. But what was that joy that was worth all that suffering? It was you and me being set free from the bondage of sin and delivered from eternal damnation, all so we can dwell in the joy of his presence forever. (FYI - you don’t endure something that’s easy; so be careful not to believe the lies of anyone who says that Jesus cried "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me" on the cross only to fulfill the prophecy of the Old Testament and thus wasn't really heart felt. I say this because I actually heard this said on a Christian talk radio. In other words, this wrongful reasoning could only lead on to believe that Jesus was only lying and didn't really mean what he said. However, we who are mature in Christ know that this is not true). Also, let's remember that the outcome of the cross is always death, which in turn, would lead a person ether in hell (for those un-repented sinners) or paradise (for those who have repented beforehand). And of course, we know by the scriptures that Jesus took on our sins and thus suffered in hell as well in our place.
He gave all to purchase you, a pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46). Not that you where beautiful to start out with; but just as a pearl starts off as an ugly grain of sand lodged in an oyster, over time it becomes a priceless object. Now, just as a pearl has nothing to do with what it will turn out to be, so it is with us who are in Christ. Also, just as the pearl needs to be in the presence of the oyster to be formed by it, so in like manner we need to be in God’s presence in order to become that “pearl of great price.” We were bought at a price, and that with the precious blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Do You have a Prideful Heart?
God hates arrogance and pride because from it came not only the fall of Satan, but the fall of mankind also. For Satan said “I will be like the most High (he referring to being like God himself). And Eve’s heart being deceived by the Devil’s tempting words, was filled with pride wanting to be like God also, thus bringing sin upon her, Adam, and the whole human race as well. And we know because of this folly, that God out of his heart of love toward us, had to send his beloved Son Jesus Christ to the cross to suffer for our sins. So again, God hates pride, so stay far away from it.
THE DOWNFALL OF PRIDE IN ONES LIFE
Below are some more scriptures that speak on the folly of a prideful heart. God help us.
Are You Sharing the Gospel, 1 On 1?
We as believers are to share the Gospel message to our family, relatives, friends, neighbors, and yes, even to our enemies. But for some reason, we think it's our duty to invite unbelievers to our churches and to put the responsibility of sharing the Gospel on those who are in leadership positions. But in reality, we don't have to wait for Sunday church to bring the Gospel message to our neighbors. For it's we ourselves to whom Jesus gave the great commission to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15) Also, we read in Isaiah 52:7, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
We are the hands, the feet, and the mouthpiece of God who are called to do this. Now don't get me wrong, for there may be those unbelievers who are searching and have a hungry heart for the truth who may find it when they step into the doors of our churches. This can be true especially when they experience and see our praise and worship to God, as well as our prayers for others. So, on one hand, let's not put a limit on the power of the Holy Spirit, who can convict a sinner on the simplest of all messages. However, on the other hand, we must understand that the Church is mainly there for the equipping and the edifying of the Saints in Christ. So, instead of bringing someone who doesn't know anything about the Gospel to church, make it a point to share Christ with them yourself. For it is faith in action that really gets people’s attention; those one on one encounters where people can see and witness Christ in us. We are to be living epistles for Christ, read by all men. (2 Corinthians 3:2)
Now speaking from my own experience in all this. I was as an unbeliever brought to a popular "non-denominational" church (which really is a denomination because of its many churches around the world) by some Christian friends of my mother. All I can say is that I didn't get converted nor any of the other times my mother took me to our local church. Yet, it's true that there may have been some seeds planted from all that, even though I don't remember any of the messages. However, I do remember more from my personal one on one encounters with Christians. Again, this is because I saw and heard faith and love in action. And this is what it's all about my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to not only preach the Gospel, but to live it out and to shine the light of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. So again, let's go and shine for Jesus to this lost world that so desperately needs him. Amen.
Consider what God's word has to say in this:
Do You have His Perfect Peace?
Here we have four key bible scriptures that can set you on the right path and keep you there. First, we must keep our eyes on the LORD at all times, trusting him in every situation. For if we will do this, we can be sure that he will fill us with his perfect peace. Second, we must completely rely on him to show us the way and the path we must take. To many times, we can lean on our own theology and depart from the truth of God’s word. Thirdly, we can find "perfect peace" by keep our mind on God. And fourthly, it is only through our Lord Jesus Christ that we can find true rest through all of this. We need not struggle and try to work our way into heaven, but allow him to show us the way. For we're all “a work in progress” learning the truth as we walk in the Holy Spirit.
The more we keep our eyes on the Lord, the more we can't help but fall deeper in love with him, and the deeper we fall in love with Him, the more we can't help but keep our eyes on Him. It's a beautiful snowball effect.
Are You Walking in the Spirit?
Here the scripture is plainly saying that we are to put off the desires of our flesh which would eventually lead to separation from God. We need to be aware of his presence in everything we think, say and do. Now having said that, what would be the results of a person walking after the Spirit? Well, according God’s word below, there would be a life that’s so filled with love, that it would pour over into other people live as well. A Spirit filled life can (and should) radically change the lives of others as well. That’s what we’re called to do.
Why take Pleasure in the Legs of a Man?
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy -147:10-11 This is so true. So why do we as humans think that the Most High God who created us is impressed with our athletic abilities or worldly feats that we do. Come on people he made us, he already knows what we can and can’t do. So when it comes to the Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” - (Philippians 4:13) we should not come to the false conclusion that this can be applied to our athletic abilities as well, whether one is handicapped or not. Because let’s face it, there are many people who are opposed to God’s truth who have been successful in one degree or another. But when it came to the opposition one receive for sharing the Gospel, only through the strength that God gives can one endure and have true victory, even when facing persecution.
But what about Bethany Hamilton (who starred in the movie Soul Surfer), who unfortunately had her arm bit off by a shark. Many people may mistakenly think that this whole thing is about God giving her strength to be a successful surfer despite the odds of only having one arm. But I believe it’s deeper than that. I see it as a lesson for her as well as us not to put our vain life pursuits before God’s call to serve. For as we can see from the movie, Bethany made a commitment to serve on a mission outreach that day. However, she broke her commitment and instead backed down so that she could put her surfing carrier first (even after being confronted by her mom on this issue). And it’s interesting that the same day she was supposed to go on missions, a shark bit her arm off which almost ended her life.
Well one may say, "God would never do such a thing," but let's not forget that God allows things to happen to open up the eyes of his people. Such was the case with Ananias and his wife Sapphira who dropped dead at Peter’s feet after lying about a property they sold. For they kept back part of the proceeds for themself and then made people think that they gave all of it to the poor (Acts chapter 5). Now I'm not trying to be all judgmental on this because it's possible that Bethany resized she was wrong and repented before God. However, I do want to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ by reminding them that our God is Awesome and we must not make light of his grace.
Do You Treating a Church like a Burger King?
“Hold the pickles hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us, all we ask is that you let us have it your way.” Some of you may remember that little jingle from a Burger King commercial a while back. Simply put, Burger King is saying choose how you want your burger to be made. And though this may sound good for a burger restaurant, it's not really that good for a church. For there is only One who is to have His way in the church, and that's God Himself. But so many times we still bring this mentality into church, nit picking and complaining about the music, the temperature, the ones who are preaching and so on and so forth, expecting things to be done our way. But if we would just come to church walking in the Spirit and seeking God's will, we would find ourselves in a state of worship, and in prayer, wanting to hear from God instead of having everybody else hear from us. Wouldn’t it be so nice if the church would just get back to the basics? It’s all about being in love with God, being filled with His Holy Spirit, and totally loving Jesus Christ, “who for the joy that was set before Him” died on the cross for our sins (because all have sinned) and rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father (God) and He will come again for His Church (His bride, praise God). So, let’s die to ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Him. Because a church is not a Burger King.
Is it all about being Entertained?
After our church quire sang a song in church I was approached by a friend of mine after the service who told me the song we sang did not do anything for her. Though she was a Christian (and involved in music herself) she still missed a very important point, and that is, the song we sang was not for her entertainment but for the glory of God. You see, so many time we come to church with a worldly mentality expecting a church to be a place of entertainment instead of a place to worship the living God. In fact, if you find yourself in a church that's geared toward entertainment, chances are you will come out of there no closer to God than when you first went in. God help us to come to church only with an attitude to worship Him and to hear from Him and not to have our ears tickled or to be entertained.
Do You see God as Your Master Craftsman?
God is an Awesome Creator, a Master Craftsman. The earth is His canvas, and we are His living artwork on display for all the universe (including us here on earth) to see and marvel at. And not only that, but we are made in His image, with the skills and gifts to build upon what He has already created. So having said all that, I realize that everything that I see around me is in one form or another, God's artwork. However, we must be careful that we glorify Him in everything we do. Don’t let the works of your hands, or anything else you do, bring glory to yourself, or the evil one, but to the One who gave you the ability to express your love for Him in everything you do.
So to all of us who are painters, sculptors, photographers, home decorators, or whatever craft or skill you may be involved with; just keep doing what you’re doing in a way that's brings glory to Him; and let it be your way of showing off God's handy work to the world.
Is it in God we Trust (or in the revolutionary revolt)?
A Pride that blinds the Eyes
“Oh say can you see, by the dawns early light.” Pretty much most of those who live in the United States would know the words to this song; a song which sparks national pride in the hearts of many red-blooded Americans. But has anybody really considered what took place during this war; who was fighting who and why? For if individuals would just strip off their patriotic blinders of pride for a moment, they would see a bloody war that should have never taken place. Yes, I mean it. Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not some anti-American, but I'm just using this bloody war as an example which can be applied for all nationalities and their countries. So please just think about what I’m saying for a moment. Weren't the early colonist British citizens who went to war against fellow British citizens, and this mainly over the issue of taxation (yes, even King George himself was a Christian - see info below)? And has anybody considered how many on both sides were confessing Christians who were killing fellow Christians? So, the main question we should be asking ourselves is, was this really pleasing to God in the first place. And, do you really have the audacity to think that God was giving these early colonists two thumbs up during the Revolutionary war? Of course not. For if we would read and consider what God’s has to say, we would find out that this was all in disobedience to his word.
God's Word says:
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
The Preacher says:
FYI - Did not God tell us to obey the governing authorities, as well as to pay taxes to whom it is do? And what about those who were involved in the “Boston Tea Party” who destroyed the revenue of those who labored to bring the tea over in ships. Please don't be so blind to God’s truth that you would hold those men up as heroes who should have been imprisoned instead for wasting the goods of others? And not only that, but they had the audacity to dress up like Native Americans so that they could shift the blame on them instead.
Oklahoma church leader Albert Soto similarly claims:
The Colonists’ act of rebellion flies in the face of [Romans 13:1,2]. Did they overlook this verse? No, these were not men ignorant of Scripture. In fact, they used Scripture to support their cause in the most devious of ways. The deception that prevailed during this period of history was immense. God and Scripture was the vehicle of mobilization that unified the cause, gave it credence, and allowed the Deist leaders at the top to move the masses toward rebellion. Scripture was the Forefathers’ most useful tool of propaganda (Please note that this was done by twisting God's word - The Preachers comment)
Man’s System, not God’s
The United States national governmental system, as well as the rest of the worlds, was doomed the second it was conceived in the minds of its founding leaders. For we must remember that man has rejected God’s governing system and embraced a worldly system instead. For we can see this to be true in that Israel asked Samuel to give them a King as the other nations (1 Kingdoms 8:4-5). For by so doing, they rejected God’s form of rule which was by him speaking and leading Israel by his chosen prophets, and instead wanted to depend upon a man-made government that’s based on the weakness and fallibility of man himself. So, we can see even in the best of any individual’s interests, all the nations governments are based on a flawed system that is ruled by the dictates of men, instead of the truth of God; this goes for America, as well as for the rest of the world.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that these men and women who set out to make America a Godly nation were all wrong in all their efforts. For I can see the fruits of their labor here in America. But unless we totally surrender it all to God and do it his way, all values will just erode away, as we can see happening around the world today. So that being said, I truly do believe that the founding leaders here in America were all acting out of the flesh when it came to their revolting against the British government that was over the colonist of that time. For if they were fully walking after the Spirit, they would have honored the King (King George) instead of going to war against their own country and their own people. For Christ called us Christian to pursue peace, and not war; especially not over something as trifling as taxes.
Why Government Can’t Save You, By John MacArthur:
Over the past several centuries, people have mistakenly linked democracy and political freedom to Christianity. That’s why many contemporary evangelicals believe the American Revolution was completely justified, both politically and scripturally. They follow the argumentation of the Declaration of Independence, which declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are divinely endowed rights. Therefore, those believers say such rights are part of a Christian worldview, worth attaining and defending at all costs, including military insurrection at times. But such a position is contrary to the clear teachings and commands of Romans 13:1-7. So, the United States was actually born out of a violation of New Testament principles, and any blessings that God has bestowed on America have come in spite of that disobedience by the Founding Fathers. .... But the ideal human government can ultimately do nothing to advance God’s kingdom, and the worst, most despotic worldly government in the end cannot halt the power of the Holy Spirit or the spread of God’s word. https://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/45-97/The-Christians-Responsibility-to-Government-Part-1
Daryl Cornett of Mid-America Theological Seminary maintains that the American Revolution occurred because . . .
Deistic and Unitarian tendencies in regards to religion. . .. were of such strength that even orthodox Christians were swept up into rebellion against their governing authorities. . .. Those Christians who supported physical resistance against the tyranny of Britain generally turned to Enlightenment rhetoric for validation, propped up by poor exegesis and application of the Bible.
Do You obey the Ordinance of God?
One must recognize that the governing powers that Paul is talking about in this passage above it referring to the Roman Government of his time. God was using this pagan system as His ministers of justice even though they were not Christian based. For according to God’s word, Christian are not called to take up the sword, but to preach Christ Jesus. So, God is using this pagan system instead to keep evil from spreading out of control, even if the system is corrupt itself. That’s why God tells us to pray for the Governing System that they would keep the peace so that we as Christians can live in safety while we speak the Gospel truth to our neighbors. For this pagan system would include not only the Department of Defense, but our local police force as well. So, our duty is to be good citizens and pay taxes to whom taxes are due and not be ones that “Rocks the Boat.”
Should You take up the Sward?
We Christians citizens are a unique group of people in which God called use to shine the light of Jesus Christ. In fact, because of our uniqueness, we are persecuted by this worlds system, just as Jesus was in his time. This is our soul mission in life, to present the Gospel, even in the face of death. Jesus said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel." We as Christians are to preach peace, even to the point of losing our own lives, and yes, even at times the lives of our family members as well. I know that this may be a controversial issue for many, because of the desire to defend our own family if one wishes to cause harm to them. But are main goal as Christians is to be a witness even in the face of death. So, if you are one who believe we can use arms for self-defense, I would use caution with how you handle this issue. For we must remember that Jesus message was always of turn the other cheek to those who come against you, even when confronted with death. For are mission is to focus on preaching Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Of course there are those who are serving in our defense system whether it be our local police or in the armed forces. If a person is called to serve in this area, then that’s between him and God. Can these same people be true Christians and yet take up arms? Well, the Bible does say that those who bear the sword are ministers of God, for we read: "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." (Romans 13:4-6) So that being said, God know the heart of each of us, so if he chooses certain Christians to be involved in handling arms, who am I to judge. Also, when John the Baptist was confronted by soldiers who were asking him what must they do in their situation, he said: “do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14) So as we can notice, John did not right out tell them to lay down their arms, so again we must leave some things up to the individual to decide how they should approach this issue.
God could have killed every vile person on this earth (which would have included us all), but instead he sent his Son Jesus Christ to show us the way. He was wounded and tortured for us sinners, and yes, his Heavenly Father saw it all but did not stop it from happening, because Jesus had a mission, just as we do. Even Abraham was willing to slay his own son in obedience to God's word. So, to answer the question, "should we who are in Christ take up arms,” I would have to say for me, no. For I would not want to kill anyone who is threatening harm to me, but with my last dying breath I would want to preach Christ to my enemy, in hopes that even after he may slay me, he would be convicted in his heart and repent. But what about my wife or my sons? Well, I hope I never have to find that out. But what I do Know is, we should provide for our own family as it is written: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." If this means protection also, then to protect we must do. (1 Timothy 5:8) God help us to always know and do you will in this and all things. Let's make sure to live our lives in a manner that would be honoring to God and to Jesus Christ who suffered and went to hell for us all (but thanks be to God that he was victorious and rose from the dead).
Watch this must see move which is based on a true story of the early church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sD9fjgc3b4
Who Owns Christian Music?
Why my fellow Christian musicians, do we collect royalties and claim ownership for music and songs for which we're not the true authors of? What I am saying is we are not the originators of Christian songs, but it is God Himself who is the true Author and Owner of them all. For it is He who put the new songs on our hearts as David says: He put a new song in my mouth, A hymn to our God; many will see and be afraid, and shall hope in the Lord. (Psalm 39:4 Sept.). God has freely given us these songs to share with others for the sake of praising and worshipping Him as well as to declare how good and awesome He is. So, tell me what right do we have to demand a price (royalty) for them when it is God who gave them to us free of charge? Yes, it is true that Jesus said “the workman is worthy of his meat,” but He also said “freely ye have received, freely give” (see notes). Though this may seem like a contradiction, in reality it's not because within God's word there's no such thing.
So, let's go ahead and consider what this means. The disciples that Jesus sent out to do the work of preaching, healing, raising the dead and casting out devils did not receive wages for the power that was bestowed upon them or for the message in itself, but for the work that was associated with delivering it. In the same way, a pastor of a congregation does not receive wages for the sermon in itself that he preaches, but for his faithfulness in being a good steward of the gift that God has bestowed on him. Yes, he may have spent a lot of time preparing it and putting it all together, in which He should be rewarded for, but we must remember that it is God who inspired it and put it on his heart in the first place. So, the same is true with Christian music. God bestows it upon our hearts freely and we as faithful vessels deliver it to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, we should be getting wages for the work involved in the performance and delivery of the song and not for the song in itself. For as said before, we are not the true owners of it, but God is. Once that song reaches another church body, now it’s them who is doing the work in preparing and delivering it to church. So, now they should be receiving their wages, not for the song itself, but for being faithful stewards in their work delivering it.
Could you imagine the negative impact it would have on the Apostle Paul's ministry if he demanded royalties for every time someone would read his letters in a church or made copies of it? I don’t see, “© Copyright by: Apostle Paul's Apostolic Ministries. Any Duplication or Use without Prior Permission from the Copyright Owner is prohibited by Law,” at the end of any of his letters. And let’s thank our God that Paul never ended his letters this way because if he did, there may have been a big portion of the New Testament missing. This is the same and true with the psalms or, for that matter, anywhere in the scriptures. We don't see any reference to a copyright notice or any royalties demanded at the end of any of the songs or anywhere else in the scriptures (except for that which is of the bible publishers themselves which is an evil as well). So why should we demanding money from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and place such a burden on the church? Let us remember that “covetousness” is a sin. Therefore, pertaining to religious things, we as Christians should not following after the pattern of this world with all its burdensome and greedy copyrights and patents laws, but rather obey God in His Word and be a people that gives.
The "Den of thieves"
As I said before. God is the author and owner of all Christian music and we are only His recipients and mouthpieces to bring praise and worship to His church. Let us remember what Jesus Himself said to those who were selling things in the temple: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Matthew 21:13) He said this to those who were making money off of the people by selling things that were to be used for religious service, thus making His church a house of merchandise. This can be applied to music as will. For if you're making money off the songs itself in which God is the originator, you're taking money for something that does not belong to you, and that’s stealing. For He also said: Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (John 2:16) We should be demonstrating that our time of gathering should be for worship and praise and not a means for financial gain.
In closing I would like to say that I do love all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are penning and singing these songs for the sake of the church and the world. I myself love to sing, worship God, as well as listen to the music of my fellow Christian. But please let us not mirror how the world operates or does things but let us live our lives as true children of the Light. For Jesus is calling us to come out of the world and be separate. And my prayer is for that.
What are those Filthy Rags?
We as people are inherently evil. The only way we can do any good is by totally yielding ourselves to God. When the crowed asked Jesus: “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” He said: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 6:29 KJV). So, we can see from Jesus statement, that all we must (or can) do is believe in Him. And by doing this, we receive God’s Holy Spirit which molds us and shapes us into all that He wants us to be. Anything we try to do on our own is like filthy rags to God (the word filthy in the Hebrew is the menstrual period - Isaiah 64:5-8 Sept.). I think you get the picture.
Who is Lazarus?
Jesus said: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36) Saying things that have no real value or meaning behind them would be unfruitful and unproductive indeed. So that being said, when Jesus spake of the rich man and Lazarus, would he be just throwing out some man’s name without any intent for the listener to eventually discover who that man is? Hmm? Oh, and let's remember that Jesus is actually mentioning someone by name, this never happens in His parables. So, below are a few key scriptures that I've found in God's Word that mentions the name Lazarus. Notice that Lazarus both died and was raised from the dead.
What are You Boasting in?
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) Here in the passage of Isaiah we have five descriptions of our Savior Jesus Christ. Please notice that in one of them He is called Wonderful. He is our Wonderful Lord who loved us so much that He bore all our sins upon the cross. And yes, it was that type of a cross that was used by the Romans to torture a convicted person unto death by nailing them to it and exposing them to public shame and mockery.
Now, I would like to draw your attention to what the writer of Hebrews has to say concerning our Savior Jesus and the cross in which He bore for our sins. For he says: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher ofourfaith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2) Please noticed that it says that “He endured the cross, (1)despising the shame.” Now, what does it mean to “endure” something? Does it not mean to put up with something that may be unpleasant or hard to bear? Secondly, what does it mean to despise something? Does it not mean to hate or loath that thing.” So we can see by this passage in Hebrews that Jesus Himself, because of His great love toward us endured the agony and the shame along with the mockery that was associated with the cross even though He despised the thing.
So what should our attitude be in view of the cross? Should we not be totally humbled and be at reverential awe of what took place on it? So my brothers and sisters in Christ I ask you this, why would we want to or even think about singing songs that speak of ones love toward the cross or how wonderful, mighty, and awesome it is? People, this is blaspheme. Why are we highly esteeming something Jesus Himself endured and even despised? We should not be exulting and adoring the cross, but only He who endured it for our sake. For let’s not forget what took place in the garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal. For Jesus Himself, being in agony sweat as it were great drops of blood (2)praying that the Father would, if possible, remove the cup that He was about to drink.And we all know that the cross was a part of that which He endured for the sins of us all. Yes it is true of what Paul said in (3)Galatians 6:14, however this should not be taken as a means to lift up the cross or direct our praises to it. Paul is glorying in what was accomplished because of the crucifixion of of our Lord Jesus and not exalting the cross itself.
Last of all I would like to say, let us remember the (4) cry that Jesus gave to the Father while hanging there on the cross. For He was forsaken so that I can be forgiven and be brought into a right relationship with God.
Does Your Fellowship have Little Foxes in it?
Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes. - Song of Songs 2:15 Yes it’s those little foxes in the vineyard that may go ignored or unnoticed who can cause much damage. And it’s the same for the church today. It’s those things that are overlooked and no one is concerned about that can cause damage to a fellowship. It's the Elders of the Churches duty to confront sin within the church and do away with it. But unfortunately to many churches allow sin within their assembly by closing their eyes to it. And once these churches are well seasoned and established, it will be harder to confront any issues that have been ignored or allowed. Below are a few things that God’s speaks out against, yet we as Christians allowed within the church.
1. Denominations who label their churches with names of distinction causing separation to the body of Christ as a whole. Did not Jesus pray that we all be one? So why are we separating ourselves and going against God word? It’s all pride, that’s what it is and we must do away with all church labeling.
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? - 1 Corinthians 1:11-13 KJV
2. Adultery within the church. For if a man marries a formally married woman whose first husband is still alive they both are committing adultery. In like manner, if a man puts away his wife for another he is committing adultery as well. The second marriage does not cancel out the first, so they are living in sin as long as they’re together. And let’s remember that Jesus only gave ONE excuse for divorce, and that is if the woman lies with another man. Only the man has the right according to God’s word to divorce, and never the the woman. For we can see to be true from the Old Testament that God allowed a man to have more than one wife, but never the woman to have more than one man (though such a man may have trouble in his life). So, let us put away adultery from among us so that others will not be influence to do likewise. And let’s remember that this type of sin can keep a person from entering the Kingdom of God.
3. The bible is clear that there should be a distinction between the hair length of a man and that of a woman. This is aseptically true within a church setting. For a woman with short hair is sending out a message to all that she is equal to a man in the area of authority. This is what is meant in scripture where it says she “dishonoureth her head” (head is referring to a the man). In the same token long hair on men is a shame and dishonoring to God as well. For a man is supposed to represent the Glory of God in the form of authority and not in the form of subjection as a woman. Therefore, God wants there to be distinction between the sexes. We can see this also in God’s word where it condemns a man for wearing woman's clothes and a woman wearing men’s clothes.