Trading Our Cross For A Crown.

I love this song by The Collingsworth FamilyTradin’ A Cross For A Crown off their live DVD “A Night To Remember”  I remember my pastor’s wife often testifying to the fact that she had, “set her face like a flint to make it in.” I like that. Determination won’t get us to heaven by itself, but a heart surrendered to Jesus that will go all the way in obedience, faith, and determination will make it in Matthew 24:13. Listen be blessed and buy the album or DVD to show your support to the Collingsworth Family.

Shake By Prayer

A small boy was saying his bedtime prayers with his grandmother. He went through the normal prayer and continued to pray, for quite a few minutes. Finally when he finished and got up his grandmother, who’s curiosity was piqued, asked, “Honey, why did you pray so long?” the little boy looked up with childish innocence and all the sincerity he had and answered, “I heard that, ‘Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees’ so I was going to give him a good shaking”
What great faith that little boy had in prayer. Prayer is our connection to God. Our hotline to heaven. It is direct contact with God.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18 that we are to be, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” What a command to pray always, not just to pray always but to pray in our praying. John Wesley the faithful man of God and founder of the Methodist wrote on this verse, “Praying always – At all times, and on every occasion, in midst of all employments, inwardly praying without ceasing.”
Oh what prayer can do,

An unknown author said it so well when they put it into this powerful poem;

“Prayer has divided seas rolled up flowing rivers and caused flinted rocks to rush into fountains,
Prayer has quenched the violence of the flames of fire and muzzled lions and disarmed vipers and poisonous snakes
It has marshaled the stars against the wicked and stopped the moon and arrested the sun it its rapid pace.
Prayer has burst open iron gates, conquered the strongest devils and commanded legions of angels down from heaven.
Prayer has bridled and chained the raging passions of men and routed and destroyed vast armies of proud blustering daring infidels and atheists.
Prayer has brought one man up from the bottom of the sea, and carried another in a chariot of fire into heaven.
Abram’s servant prayed and Rebecca appeared.
Jacob prayed and Esau threw his arms around his neck instead of plunging a dagger into his heart.
Moses prayed and Amalek was defeated.
Joshua prayed and Achan was discovered.
Hannah prayed and Samuel was born.
Asa prayed and a victory was gained.
Jehoshaphat cried to God and his foes were turned away.
Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed and 185 thousand Assyrians were dead in 12 hours.
Daniel prayed and the lions were muzzled, He prayed again and the 70 weeks were revealed.
Mordecai and Esther fasted and prayed and Haman was hanged.
Ezra prayed and God answered.
Nehemiah simply started a prayer and the King’s heart was softened in a minute.
Elijah prayed and a drought of 3 yrs. Succeeded . He prayed again and the rains started apace.
Elisha prayed and the Jordan was divided. He prayed again and the soul of a child came back to life.
The Church ardently prayed and Peter was delivered by an angel. Surely God’s hands are opened or bound as we pray.
Man’s extremity is still God’s opportunity, for God never never fails.” (Author unknown)
 
 

T.M. Anderson wrote in his book Prayer Availeth Much “I am convinced that the people of God have not explored the boundless possibilities of prayer.”
What a privilege is ours if we will only take advantage of it today. Won’t you spend some extra time in prayer today? It is our only hope of revival. It is our only hope of renewal. .It our only hope of restoration. We can vote our values till we are blue in the face, we can lobby congress till we outlaw every evil thing, we can promote good clean morals until every evil thing is out of sight. But I guarantee you our only hope for America is found in this little weapon of PRAYER & REVIVAL. Lets pray in our praying and give the devil a good shaking today.

How To Pray For One Hour – Mark Eckart

This article was taken from God’s Revivalist and Bible Advocate in the Winter 2014 Issue. Special thanks to God’s Revivalist and Bible Advocate for giving me permission to use this article in my blog.  It not only inspired me to take a closer look at my prayer life, but also a way to keep my prayer life from becoming a rut, or boring.

First let me say that we want to shy away from legalism anytime we talk about spiritual formation topics. It is so easy to fall in the trap that if I just do these ten things or follow this specific regimen, then I will certainly be in God’s favor. On the other hand, some Christians are so lackadaisical that they never make any effort to seek God earnestly. It is interesting the interaction Jesus had with His disciples about this topic: “Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’” (Mark 14:37-38).

Here is a good way to spend some time with God, whether it is for an hour or not. However, it does
work well to spend 15 minutes on each section.

 

PRAISE
About 140 times in Scripture it talks about how we should give worship and praise to God. The book of Psalms itself is full of this admonition to praise God. For example, “He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen” (Deut. 10:21). This verse alone should get us blessed. Think of scores of other admonitions throughout
the Bible encouraging us to praise God! You could take a whole hour just on this point.


REPENT

As Wesleyan-Arminians, we don’t believe you have to practice sin as a Christian. When you get
saved and sanctified, it changes you and your desires so you don’t want to sin and hurt your relationship with God. However, this does not mean that there is not room for confession

in the life of a believer. With all of the strengths of the holiness movement, this has been one of our

weaknesses. That is, to believe that once you are saved that you never need to confess anything to God or others. The practice of confession is stated clearly in James 5:16: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another….”

ASK
Often by this point in your prayer time you will be feeling great. You have spent time giving God the praise He deserves and have confessed any sin or fault that He brings to your attention. Too many of us just plop on our knees with our “wish list” to tell God all that we need and never take the time to cover these two very important before-mentioned steps. The good news is that God wants us to ask Him for our needs and even our wants. Repeatedly in Scripture we are invited to come to God and
are told that He cares about our needs and situations. A favorite reference to illustrate this is found in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seek finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-11)

YIELD

Don’t make the mistake of believing that the sanctified no longer have anything to yield to Christ. Even though consecration is a major part of that work of grace in the life of a believer, the reality is there are things that come into all lives continually that we still need to be yielding to Christ. What a beautiful thing it is to finish your prayer time by just reminding God that you totally belong to
Him. Even though none of us deserve it, ask God to make you a conduit of His grace for that day to those who are hurting and need a hand. You will yield your time, treasures, and talent to Him once again. The other day I was leaving a restaurant with my wife. There was a sign in the window that said, “Prayer is the world’s greatest wireless connection!” I agree, so I invite you to P.R.A.Y.
 

Scriptures printed in article are taken from the NKJVArticle written by  Dr. Mark S.F. Eckart  (GBS BRE ’83), District Superintendent of the

Indiana South District of The Wesleyan Church, formerly served as a faculty member and Dean of Students at God’s Bible School.

What I Gave Up To Be A Christian

While being a Christian does cost us some things here is a positive list of this we give up to be a Christian.

 
 
What I Gave Up To Become A Christian

  • I gave up filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) for a righteous robe (Isa. 61:10).
  • I gave up vileness (Job 40:4) for virtue (2 Pet. 1:3).
  • I gave up poverty (Rev. 3:17) for plenty (2 Cor. 8:9)
  • I gave up perplexity (Luke 21:25) for peace (John 14:27)
  • I gave up judgment (Rom. 2:5) for justification (Rom. 5:1)
  • I gave up death (Eph. 2:1) for life (John 5:24)
  • I gave up hell (Ps. 9:17) for heaven (John 14:1-3).
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? —Mark 8:36-37
Special thanks to Pastor Al Hughes for sharing this.

Black History Month- Wintley Phipps

I love this video by Wintley at a Gaither Homecoming event. What some of them endured now provides strength and encouragement for us today.
Watch this powerful message in song and be blessed.

Five ways husbands can love their wives.


Husbands are commanded in Eph. 5:25 to love their wives. Notice that this is an unconditional commandment. There are no exceptions, asterisks, or amendments in the verse. In fact it is compared to the love Christ has for the church. There is a concept to dwell on this week, do I love my wife like Christ loved the church?

I have been thinking lately, what are some ways we can show our love to our wives? Now I confess that this is not an exhaustive list but rather a springboard to get your creativity flowing in ways to keep the spark alive in your marriage, and the love bank account in the black.

                1. Act so you are easy to respect.
It is so easy for us men to try to demand respect, while it would be so much better for both if the husband lived in a way that was easy to respect. When conflict arises, (and it will give it time) do you speak in a way that is condescending or in a, “I told you so!” style? Do you raise your voice? Do you say hurtful hateful things? By avoiding these things you are actually helping your wife live up to her commandment Eph. 5:33 to submit and respect you as the head of the home.

              2. Do whatever necessary to maintain your faithfulness.
We live in a sex crazed culture. It is our responsibility as Godly husbands to be sure that there is no other person, absolutely no one else involved in our marriage. Now as I mentioned we live in a sex crazed society, and men are bombarded daily with pictures, provocative coworkers, and just people we pass in general who do not subscribe to the need for modesty. We need to build a fortress around our mind and heart, so these mental images do not interfere with our marriage. We show our love by keeping our mind, heart and body for no one else but our wife period!!! Heb. 13:4 Matt. 5:28

       3. Schedule! Schedule! Schedule!
 Keeping the romance alive will take time and effort. One way husbands can show their wives they love them is by giving them their time. Block off days or hours of the week that is only for them. Let them know that there will be no checking Facebook, emails, twitter, or even answering phone calls. Let her know it is just you and her. Take a night a week or at least once a month for a date night. Schedule it in and don’t let anything get in the way of that. I understand that young families with children may face difficulties with finding babysitter, however this can often be resolved by a neighbor, a niece, or even another young couple who will swap nights with you babysitting your kids on your night, and you babysitting theirs on their night.

      4. Learn your wife’s “Love Language”
If you have not read the book The 5 Love Languages you need to. I would also encourage you to take the Five Love Languages Test You may also take this test and have your wife take it as well. Share with each other what you have learned about yourself. Talk specifically about her love language and needs. Men and women think differently. We men assume our wives know we love them, but we need to let them know in a way that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we love them.

     5. Marriage is not for you!
Love is always about the other person. In our marriage relationship, love is about her. What can I do to make her happy? What can I do to make her smile? To make her day better? We must understand that marriage can be a wonderful institution, but it was intended for so much more. It was instituted by God when he created a wife for Adam out of his rib Gen. 2:21-22. I think this shows us more than God created men first. Ask yourself why God created the woman? It was not good for man to be alone Gen 2:18. So God created a help mate from his side. Adam was then to honor, cherish, and love her. Eph. 5:25 tells us husbands to love our wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. We need to give ourselves not so much to, (although that is a wonderful thing) but for our wives. Sacrificing us for them.

These five suggestions to love your wives will help keep the romance alive. But these five suggestions are not the end all or an exhaustive list. I trust you will also think of some more ways that you can show your love to your wife, and post suggestions or comments below.        

Just Grow Up!

Leonard Ravenhill

Leonard Ravenhill tells about a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village who walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one tourist asked, “Were any great men born in this village?”

The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.”

A frothy question brought a profound answer. There are no instant heroes–whether in this world or in the kingdom of God. Growth takes time, and as I Timothy 3:6 and 5:22 point out, even spiritual leadership must be earned.

Amy Carmichael once said, “Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. I feel that I shall never be like that. But they won through step by step by little bits of wills little denials of self little inward victories by faithfulness in very little things. They became what thy are. No one sees these little hidden steps. They only see the accomplishment, but even so, those small steps were taken. There is no sudden triumph no spiritual maturity. That is the work of the moment.

 The word “walk” is used 7 times in the book of Ephesians.
This is a strong indication that spiritual maturity is a walk, a journey and a calling.

“Only the Holy Spirit, working through the Word, has the power to bring us to maturity in Christ. “Spiritual maturity is simply concentrating and focusing on the person of God until we are caught up in His majesty and His glory.…– John MacArthur

Eph. 4:1-16 tells us that growing up is a high calling. We call this growing up maturity.  What is maturity? J. A. Wood said in his book, Purity and Maturity “What is produced by growth is of necessity, gradual, what is by faith and the Holy Ghost is of necessity instantaneous. God never accomplished that by cleansing power which is to be secured by growth in grace. On the other hand, growth in grace cannot effect that which is the work of the creating, cleansing energy of the Almighty Spirit. The one is a supernatural, instantaneous work; the other a gradual, natural work….No one is BORN INTO MATURITY, and no one GROWS INTO PURITY.    

Spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how high you jump in church, but how straight you walk in obedience.

A mature Christian has developed spiritual perception. They are able to connect present choices with future consequences.

 Clint Archer pastor of Hilcrest Baptist Church and author of the blog “Criplegate” gives these five signs of Spiritual Maturity
    1. An appetite for meat Heb 5:11 (An infant’s meal needs to go through a blender for the first few months of his or her life. When a normal 21 year old still asks mommy to spoon feed him mashed potatoes, it’s creepy and dysfunctional.
    2. An Imperviousness to personal offence Phil 1:15
    3.  A Conscience informed by Scripture, not opinions
    4. A Sense of humble surprise when used by God in Ministry
    5. Tendency to give credit for Spiritual Growth to God, not people.
While it is a high calling it is also a lowly calling. We are called to be humble loving Christians. We are called to a unity of the Body of Christ. Part of growing up will include these four graces of unity found in Col 3:12;
  1. Lowliness – The opposite of pride, “A thankful sense of dependence upon and a humble recognition of the worth and value of other people.” Beacon Bible Expositions
  2. Meekness – More than modesty and knowing one’s limitations one theologian worded it, “that unresisting, uncomplaining disposition of mind, which enables one to bear without irritation or resentment the faults and injuries of others.
  3. Longsuffering – The enduring unweariable spirit.
  4. Forbearing in Love – a twin to longsuffering. Forbearing in love is a patience that loves and respects despite another’s faults and weaknesses.

The Early Church Was Absolutely, Unequivocally Trinitarian

First of all I would like to say that I am not interested in arguments. I am interested in the purity and the authenticity of the Bible. David was not afraid of fighting Goliath when he defied the army of the Living God, and I am not afraid of those who are out to pervert or change the meaning of what the Bible, the inerrant Word of God says.

David was a shepherd boy, had no business being on the front lines of war, I am a poor uneducated holiness preacher and have no business taking on theological giants, but feel that I must stand up for the Word of God and what it says.

Why does the doctrine of the Trinity matter? Isn’t that non-essential theological banter? Let me answer that with a resounding NO!!! It is very important that we understand who God is, what God is like, and to the best of our understanding how God operates. We have a very revealing picture in the Word of God of all three of these things.

First of all there is symbolism now I don’t want to dwell on this because, symbolism can be misunderstood and twisted to fit whatever opinion you would like, but there are a few important instances in the Word of God we need to look at.


  1. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God… the name used for God in this verse is Elohim and is in the plural tense. Not more than one God but more than one individual
  2. Genesis 1 God speaks, The Holy Spirit moves upon the face of the deep, and Christ is there as well
  3. Genesis 1:26 Let us make man… let who? Us God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  4. In every prayer that Jesus prayed, He prayed to His “Father.”
  5. When Jesus was baptised by John in the river Jordan  Jesus was in the water, God the Father spoke from heaven, “This is my beloved SON!!!” The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove.

On and on I could go with symbols but that is not what is so important, what does the Word say about it?

Moses makes it very clear in the Law given by God that “the LORD our God is one LORD.”

We must make no mistake, there is only ONE GOD, however He displays Himself in three different distinct personalities. These personalities have been named by God’s Word as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (Spirit). These are not three gods but One God in three. I like to use math to help me understand it. I am not adding 1+1+1 to equal three but rather 1x1x1 = 1. They work together in a unity, and coexistence that is really unimaginable and incomprehensible by us.

  1. John 1:1-2  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

    From the beginning we have the Word – The Word was God but we read on and find the Word was WITH GOD. The same was in the beginning WITH God.

    I am not the brightest snowflake out there but that tells me there are two distinct individuals that were at this event, God AND the Word. Now we know from reading through the Bible that The Word was Christ. We also know that from Genesis 1:2 that the Spirit the third part of the Trinity moved upon the face of the deep.

  2. Several references in Hebrews chapter 1.
    1. Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
      3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
    2. Hebrews 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
    3. Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

      Notice the questions with implied answers in verses 5 and 13 God the Father speaks to Christ in an implied answer which you can find that this took place in other instances, “Thou art my SON…. I will be to him a Father and he shall be to me a Son…”
      Sit on my right hand… now I am not a genius but I know I can not sit on the right hand of myself. It has to be two distinct individuals. To drive this point a little further look at

      1. Acts 7:56 Stephen was being persecuted for being filled with the Holy Spirit and preaching in the name of Jesus, they begin to stone him and he cries, “ Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
      2. On the day of Pentecost Peter preaches to the people in Acts 2:33 and he says, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”

        Peter is speaking of Christ being by the right hand of God, receiving the promise of the Father, the Holy Ghost which Jesus sent down on that great day.

I feel I am belaboring the point, however I want to get across to you that, yes God is ONE but He works in Three Distinct Persons that are mentioned by name and duties in the Word of God.

The scriptures should be sufficient but I feel I must pursue this one step further and show that the Early Church Fathers understood this as well. Now we can take history and twist it to say anything we want, but I want to go back and get exact quotes from those individuals that have been left to us in their writings.

  • Poly Carp (70-160 A.D.) Prayed, “O Lord God almighty… I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever.”
  • Diognetus (Written 130 A.D.) “as a king sends his Son, who is also king, so sent he him, as God (1) he sent him; as men he sent him; as savior he sent him,…”
  • The Apostles Creed or the Old Roman Creed was the first attempt at an organized creed dating from 390 a.d. says;
    I believe in God Almighty, and in Christ Jesus, His only Son, our Lord; who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary; who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried, and the third day rose from the dead; who ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, whence he cometh to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost, the holy church, the remission of sins, the resurrection of the flesh, the life everlasting.”


Again I could go on and on but feel I have belaboured the point laready.  I feel that all the above evidence is enough that I can conclude confidently that The Bible, The Early Church Fathers, and The Doctrine of the Trinity are in accord. I believe in the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, Three in One and they all reside in my heart, PRAISE THE LORD.

 

The Cause For Thanksgiving

Ephesians 5 tells us to give thanks for everything all the time. It is amazing to me how easy it is for us to forget this little commandment in the Bible. One lady prayed, “Dear Jesus, please teach me to appreciate what I have before time forces me to appreciate what I had.” There are many causes for thanksgiving let me just give you a few.

  1. Thank God for what you have
  2. Thank God for what you don’t have
  3. Thank God for what you have had
  4. Thank God for what you will have

Someone has noted that it is “better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings counting your troubles.

Just a brief reminder to give thanks for everything all the time.