Love Has Everything to Do With It!

Today is February 14. America is celebrating Valentine’s Day, a day of love. It was named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine. On this day, eros, romantic love is expressed in many ways and some couples get engaged or married. In recent times on this day, people also express their love to their children, parents, and friends.

What is love? Love is an action word, not a feeling. When you love someone, you want to help meet their needs—tangible and intangible. God is love and met mankind’s greatest need–salvation by sending His son Jesus to die for our sins.

One of my former pastors asked everyone at church the question “Who you love”? He wanted you to say you loved him. Who are we to love? In addition to loving God, we are to love…
• family members
• neighbors
• friends
• strangers
• enemies
• all people

Our love for one another must be real, without conditions, kind, tolerant, and sacrificial. Love can be hard work. Let’s give mercy and grace because no one but God is perfect. Let’s be good listeners when people talk so we can hear what they need and provide it even when it requires a sacrifice of our time, talent, and treasures. I heard someone say, “Love does not hurt.” Let’s not hurt those we love but instead be forgiving, compassionate, and kindhearted to them.

Walking in love creates a win-win situation. Our giving of love produces a harvest of met needs, blessings, happiness, relief, comfort, thanksgiving, and rejoicing for the recipient. As the giver of love, we feel blessed to be a blessing.

May our Lord Jesus Christ increase and flourish our love for one another!

CHRISTMAS IS THE CELEBRATION OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS!

The world has labeled this time of year as the “holiday season.” It is Veterans Day and already it has begun preparing for Christmas and New Years. Stores are decorated and full of items for gift giving and celebration. I even saw a roadside Christmas tree market the other day.

Body of Christ, let’s join them! Let’s not wait til December but let’s NOW begin our annual observance of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus! Let’s…
  • walk in love in greater measure
  • shine the light of Christ in our hearts brighter than ever
  • tell those we encounter that God loves them, sent Jesus to save them from their sins, offer them the gift of salvation, and lead them in the Sinner’s Prayer
  • embellish our dwellings with Christ-honoring decorations
  • maintain our Christian witness during this season
After you lead a person to jesus…
  • tell them that if they said the Sinner’s Prayer sincerely from their heart and in faith, God has saved them that fast
  • rejoice with the angels in heaven that they have been born again, are now a Kingdom Citizen, and a member of God’s family! Hallelujah!
  • encourage them to go tell someone they just got saved.
  • advise them that this Christmas season will hold new meaning for them as a Christian
  • suggest to them to include the greatest gift of all–salvation through Jesus the Christ in their gift giving
  • remind them that Jesus is not a baby, is not in the manger, but in heaven praying for them
  • pray for God to direct them to the bible-believing, bible-teaching Church of His choice so they can grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Body of Christ, TODAY, let’s begin our celebration of the greatest gift of all!

Let the Truth about the Celebration of Halloween Set You Free!

Celebrating Halloween is not innocent fun, is not of God but of the devil!

DID YOU KNOW?

The Druids hallowed out and carved a face on a large turnip representing the demonic spirit they depended upon for their power and knowledge.  Inside the turnip a lighted candle served as a lantern as they went from house to house. Pumpkins were substituted when this practice came to America in the 18th century and the name “Jock” which was the name of the spirit which inhabited the turnip was changed to “Jack” or “Jack-o-Lantern”.

DID YOU KNOW?

This practice entered the church when Constantine, a new zealous convert to Christianity became Emperor of Rome. He commanded that everyone had to become a Christian or face death. This resulted in the Church being flooded with pagans and their practices. The pagans demanded that the Festival of Samhains remain a part of their lives. To placate the people, the Pope declared a new celebration on November 1 called “All Saints Day” in honor of all martyred saints of the church and allowed the people to still have their festival on October 31 because November 1 was a holy day.

DID YOU KNOW?

In the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Western Europe a secret society of priests and pagans, the Druids, celebrated the eve of the Celtic new year in honor of their pagan god Samhain on 10/31. Traveling house to house, they demanded peculiar foods to offer to their “Lord Samhain” at the Festival of Death.  Refusal to give food incurred a spoken demonic curse over the home resulting in death within the year. Thus you have trick or treat!  This is still recognized today by all Satanists, occultists, and devil worshippers as the eve of the new year for witchcraft.

DID YOU KNOW?

The mass said on All Saints Day was “Allhallowmas” and through the years it’s name became Halloween. The Pope’s attempt to make “Allhallowmas” holy backfired and Halloween became recognized as a religious holiday.  Halloween is not a religious holiday as its origins are rooted in the occult, witchcraft, and Satanism.

DID YOU KNOW?

Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:11 reminds the Church at Ephesus “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”  Celebrating Halloween on 10/31 is celebrating the devil and all that is evil, dark, and dead–ghosts, witches, black cats, graveyard scenes, skeletons, monsters, bats, vandalism, and destruction of property.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Bible declares in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.  Is Halloween a celebration of God who represents light, goodness, and life or a celebration of Satan who represents darkness, evil and death? 

Jesus said in John 8:32 ” And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

NOW THAT YOU KNOW THE TRUTH, OPEN yOUR MIND AND DECIDE TO GLORIFY GOD BY NOT CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN!

LET THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD SAY SO!

Saying you are a Christian indicates the following:

1)  your spiritual relationship  – you established a relationship with God through His Son Jesus; you are saved; you are a Christian.

2) your spiritual position–you have been delivered from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light.

Saying you are a Christian does not indicate your level of spiritual maturity.  You may be one of the following*:

1)   Baby Christian
2)  Carnal Christian
3)  Growing Christian
4)  Mature Christian

Let’s be intentional about growing spiritually by developing our relationship with God through daily praying and reading, studying, meditating, and applying the Bible, God’s Word, to our lives. 

*See my blog series “It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup” for further study.

It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 7

The last diagnosis I want to teach you is being a mature Christian.  Just as a child desires to be a grownup; likewise, every Christian should have a goal of being a mature Christian.

A baby and a carnal Christian’s lives exemplify the Greek term “kata sarka” which means abnormal, out of harmony with their new identity.  As they grew spiritually, they put off the old man (practicing sin) and put on the new man (practicing righteousness).  In addition to Jesus being their Savior, He is now their Lord.  They are led by the Holy Spirit and have grown into a mature Christian. Now their lives exemplify the Greek term “kata pneuma”, normal and in harmony with their new identity. 

Mature Christians are “souled out” to God and have a vibrant, intimate relationship with Him.  They pray without ceasing as commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:15 and have become prayer warriors.  Hebrews 5:14 says, “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Because of a steady diet of the solid food of the Bible, they are able to operate in discernment.  In obedience to Joshua 1:8, they meditate and do God’s Word day and night resulting in a prosperous and successful life. 

Mature Christians are active church members.  They attend Christian Education classes, prayer meetings, and are cheerful givers and willing servants in the House of the Lord.  They know what God has anointed them to do and use their spiritual gifts to serve in God’s Kingdom.  They are “nevertheless Christians” and are working to fulfill God’s unique purpose for their life.  Mature Christians are living to hear God say to them one day “well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

Mature Christians exude forgiveness and love for God and all people in their walk.  They exhibit an uncompromised lifestyle and are consistent faithful witnesses that glorify God.   Keep doing what you are doing so others will be inspired to continue to grow to spiritual maturity also. 

This concludes the It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup series!  Its purpose was to help you truthfully reflect and examine yourself.  If you self-diagnosed yourself as a baby, carnal, or a maturing Christian, follow the treatment plans and prescriptions given for each diagnosis. As people get older in the natural, people may say “you look like your father or mother.”  It is my prayer that all Christians will grow into a mature Christian that resembles God, our spiritual Father.  God is willing and able to help all Christians grow as they seek, discover, and fulfill His unique purpose for their lives!

It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 5

Another possible diagnosis one may receive from a spiritual checkup is being a carnal Christian.  A carnal Christian has accepted Jesus as their Savior but does not consume the Word regularly.  As a result, their mind is not being renewed and their faith is weak.  They are not doers of God’s Word. On the contrary, they are ruled by the standards set up by the dictates of their flesh and trust in the flesh and people more than in God.

1 Corinthians 3:3-4 gives a clear description of a carnal Christian.  Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, “For are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men”?   Because they were envious and jealous of one another’s spiritual gifts, they were argumentative and divisive. He rebuked them for their prideful behavior.

A carnal Christian is a willing prisoner of thoughts, desires, and values that are opposite to God’s Word. They are led by their emotions, their flesh (five physical senses), and by satan instead of being led by the Holy Spirit. Lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life impact their choices.

The treatment plan or prescription to cure carnality is to desire, decide, and be devoted to developing one’s relationship with God by spending more time in prayer and reading, meditating and studying God’s Word and depending on Him to help you do it.

If you are a carnal Christian, I pray you will be sold out to righteousness and not to sin!

 

STAY TUNED FOR IT’S TIME FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL CHECKUP – PART 5 TO LEARN ANOTHER POSSIBLE DIAGNOSIS!

It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 4

The next possible diagnosis one may receive from a spiritual checkup is being a baby Christian.  This is someone who has accepted Jesus as their Savior but has not grown spiritually yet due to a lack of consistently eating God’s Word.  

Baby Christians are dull of hearing, immature spiritually, need someone to minister to them, and are not able to minister to others yet.  Because there is no spiritual growth, they are unable to stand on their own and must be carried spiritually.

All new Christians are baby Christians but it can also be those who has been saved for a time—1, 2 years, or longer but have not grown spiritually.    The Bible says in Hebrews 5:12, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” One of Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray.  Baby Christians, too, must be taught how to pray.  They are not able to get a prayer through so others have to pray for them.

In the natural, mothers feed their new born babies breast milk or formula.  They cannot eat solid food yet as their bodies are not developed enough to do so.  Baby Christians, too, require spiritual milk, elementary truths of the Bible because they are not mature enough to digest the solid food of the Word of God. 

The treatment plan or prescription to grow beyond the baby Christian level is to eat God’s Word habitually.  1 Peter 2:2 proclaims that, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” 

I pray that you will desire to eat God’s Word daily so that you can grow spiritually!

Stay tuned for It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 5 to learn the next possible diagnosis!

It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 3

Upon physical examination and reading of your tests results, your doctor will diagnose your physical condition and give you a treatment plan. We, too, must read the results of the spiritual tests that Apostle John administered to us in Part 2 and self-diagnose our current spiritual condition.

The first possible diagnosis may be that you are a sinner (sin-sick) and need salvation. The prescription for that spiritual condition is to accept Jesus as Savior.  If this is your diagnosis, please pray the following sinner’s prayer:

 “Dear God, I Acknowledge that I was born a sinner. I need your mercy, forgiveness, and grace.  I Believe Jesus is your son who died on the cross in my place for my sins, was buried, and arose rose from the dead. I Confess Jesus as my Saviour and Lord.  I invite you to take control of my life and to help me to know and obey you.  Thank you for saving me, giving me new life in Christ, and filling me with the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, Amen”!

If you have prayed this prayer sincerely from your heart for the first time, you are now a Christian.  Just that quick, God performed spiritual surgery on you, took out your hard heart, and replaced it with a soft heart. Welcome to the Body of Christ!

I pray that God will lead you to the bible-believing, bible-teaching church of His choice so you can grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In John 10:10 Jesus said, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Remember, the abundant life starts with faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross!  Go, run, and tell someone that you just got saved!

Hallelujah! I am rejoicing along with the angels in heaven that you are now a Christian, a Kingdom citizen, and a child of God! You have just begun the most exciting journey that God has planned for you! Email us and we will send you information to help you in your new life in Christ!

Stay tuned for it’s time for your spiritual checkup – part 4! you will learn about another possible spiritual diagnosis.

It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 2

As part of an annual physical examination, your doctor will administer various tests to help diagnose your physical condition.  In the books of the Bible that Apostle John wrote, he gives eight tests to help us diagnose our current spiritual condition. There are no wrong answers. Think about your lifestyle and give your honest answers!

Belief tes– 1 John 5:1 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…”  Do you believe Jesus is God’s Son who died on the cross for your sins?

Sin test – 1 John 3:9 “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God”.  Do you live a sinful lifestyle?

Obedience test – 1 John 2: “The man who says, I know Him, but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Do you obey God consistently?

Holy Spirit test – 1 John 4:13 “We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of his Spirit”.  Is the Holy Spirit operating in your life consistently?

Love test – 1 John 3:14-15 “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him”.  Is there anyone you hate?

Answered Prayer test – 1 John 3:22 “and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.  Is God answering your prayers?

Love of the World test – 1 John 2:15-16 – “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.” Who do you love–this world and its things or God and all people?

Persecution test – John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”  Does the world hate you because you are a Christian or does it love you because your lifestyle resembles its?

STAY TUNED! IN THE NEXT POST, YOU WILL DIAGNOSE YOUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION!

Why Was I Created? (Part 2) by Belinda R. Stokes

The third step is to assess what God has deposited within you.  God’s purpose for your life is determined by your makeup.  God has equipped you with the exact talents, spiritual gifts, and temperament needed to fulfill your purpose.  A clue to your purpose is what you are good at and what you like to do.  Consider the things that you are compassionate about, things that you hate, that cause anger, or grieve your spirit?  These things may help clarify your purpose.  God is intelligent.  If you don’t like working with children, the probability is great that your purpose is not in children’s ministry.

Your spiritual gifts are clues to your purpose.  A spiritual gift is a divine enablement. Each Christian has been given one or more spiritual gifts.  A spiritual gifts assessment will give you an idea about your gifting.  In your gifting lies the power and the anointing of God to get the job done.  As you operate in your gifts, there should be sweatless victory.  If you can’t do it, it is not for you to do.  We are accountable to God for the stewardship of our gifts.  Serving in the church or community will uncover your strengths, likes, dislikes, and the vocations at which you are adept.

Your God-given talents are also indicators of your purpose.  Some people have a natural ability to sing, write, play instruments, sports, etc.  The more your talents are utilized, the better they get. Remember the 5Ps–Persistent Practice Prevents Poor Performance!

A person’s temperament or personality is another clue to purpose.  Temperament is defined as the unusual personal make-up manifested by peculiarities of feeling, temper, actions, etc.  Taking a personality test will show the type of personality God has given you.

To summarize, knowing God, seeking Him for your purpose and, finding out what God has placed in you will aid in the discovery of your God-given purpose.  Once God reveals your unique purpose, its time to plan to fulfill it!