May 22. 2020

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9 NIV

Warrior;
It is important that we know what the WORD that we are reading means. Understanding the WORD of GOD, requires that we sometimes go beyond the WORD that has been translated to the ORIGINAL language. The old and new TESTAMENTS were written in the language of ‘the day’, when it was written. The old was written in Hebrew and Aramaic and the New was in Greek and Aramaic. In addition to the different languages, some words have multiple meanings. The word ‘set’ has almost 400 variations and uses. So we need to know what WORDS were meant by the WORD that was used. Over time, words can change and thus their meaning. So we must go back to the original language to get the purest meaning and intent.

Leader, the word used here BELIEVE, is the word ‘pisteuo’, it has the meaning of, “convinced of something” and “to give credence to”, it also has a further inherent meaning. It also means to “trust.” NO OTHER OPTION- a life vest! If we believe in the biblical meaning of the word, then we are TRUSTING CHRIST to save us—NOT a good life, NOT church attendance, NOT water baptism, NOT taking of the sacraments, or keeping of the commandments. In other words, NOT of our own WORKS, so that NO MAN can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) It is through FAITH alone, by GRACE alone, in CHRIST ALONE!

Conduit, no better word brings out the meaning of believe to a twenty-first century listener than the word TRUST. We must be sensitive to the fact that some people believe in Christ in the sense that they accept Him as a historical figure who died and arose; however, they are not trusting HIM ALONE to save them, which is what the biblical word believe conveys. As we share the gospel, we must explain that God requires the individual to TRUST IN CHRIST ALONE- plus nothing- for salvation. Only when we trust in Christ alone to save us is God satisfied. To believe in the biblical sense of the word is to trust in Christ alone as the only way to obtain eternal life with God. In the words of AMY GRANT: In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song. This Cornerstone, this solid ground-firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace? When fears are stilled, when strivings cease- My Comforter, my All in All. Here in the love of Christ I stand! Amen.

May 21. 2020

But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”- Acts 17:5-7 ESV

Warrior;
Have you allowed the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST to turn your world UPSIDE DOWN? Has your relationship with Jesus turned anybody else’s world upside down? To make JESUS our LORD- We don’t need MORE information about JESUS, what we need is REGENERATION through Jesus. We don’t need to clean up our lives- not in need of some minor RENOVATION- we need a TRANSFORMATION that only comes from handing over the REINS of our LIFE to the one who GAVE IT ALL so we could HAVE IT ALL. We need radical change, a conversion-to BE BORN AGAIN! A new beginning, a new purpose, a NEW WAY FORWARD!

Leader, now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night- without others knowing, without people judging him or ostracizing him. He wanted to know how to BE IN GOD’s KINGDOM- Jesus told him he must be metamorphosed: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5-6) When a woman’s water breaks it is a sign that the BIRTH process has begun. And when we TRULY accept Christ as the LOVE OF OUR LIFE- We become a new creature in the SPIRIT: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.

Conduit, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once noted that, “Death comes to every individual. There is an amazing democracy about death. It is not aristocracy for some of the people, but a democracy for all of the people. Kings die, and beggars die; rich men die and poor men die; old people die and young people die; death comes to the innocent and it comes to the guilty. Death is the irreducible common denominator of all men.” The writer of the book of Hebrews also tell us; it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. If you are only born of the flesh and then DIE- you will stand before the WHITE THRONE judgement of God. (Rev 20:11-15) If you are TRANSFORMED into a child of GOD your judgement seat you stand before will be the BEMA seat of CHRIST! (2 Cor 5:10) One is for punishment, one is for REWARD. Your CHANGE will generate HUGE DIVIDENDS- what a GREAT Return on Investment(ROI)!

May 20. 2020

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. -Revelation 2:2-6 ESV

Warrior;
Not only did Jesus mention the ‘Nicolaitans” to the church in Ephesus- and that mention was good, because they HATE the works of the Nicolaitans, which God also HATES. But, Yeshua also mentions this group, this MINDSET of beliefs- to the church in Pergamum; But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (Revelation 2:14-15) I have heard that the Nicolaitans were “rulers of the people/laity”. In other words, it was a sect of people with a mindset, a belief that some were “ministers” and others “receivers’ on the ministry. Some taught and we “esteemed” higher than others, and the rest were lay people who were in submission to the rulers, those in authority. Many churches have “Pastors” and teachers who educate others, and then we have the others, those who are taught to. It is an interesting concept, and might be true, but I want to focus on the other possibility. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion. (Jude 1:11)

Leader, another line of reasoning is that expressed from http://www.biblegateway.com. This seems to be the more prevalent view: The Nicolaitans were a people who used Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh, against such Paul warned (Gal 5:13). The enticement to such a course of action was the pagan society in which Christians lived where eating meat offered to idols was common. Sex relations outside marriage were completely acceptable in such a society. The Nicolaitans attempted to establish a compromise with the pagan society of the Graeco-Roman world that surrounded them. The people most susceptible to such teaching were, no doubt, the upper classes who stood to lose the most by a separation from the culture to which they had belonged before conversion. It may be that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans was dualistic. They might have reasoned that the human body was evil anyway and only the spirit was good. A Christian, therefore, could do whatever he desired with his body because it had no importance. The spirit, on the other hand, was the recipient of grace which meant that grace and forgiveness were his no matter what he did. They were those ready to compromise with the world. They were judged by the author of Revelation to be most dangerous because the result of their teaching would have conformed Christianity to the world rather than have Christianity change the world. Does this sound familiar? This seems like the pandemic that the church is facing. This is also the teachings of Balaam.

Conduit, the teachings of the Nicolaitans are linked to the teaching of Balaam. We meet Balaam in Numbers 22-24, where we learn that he is a seer who was hired by the king Balak to put a curse on the people of Israel as they were threatening to move into the Holy Land. But God wouldn’t let him! Later in Numbers, Moses is criticizing the actions of the Israelites with regard to the women of Midian, and he says: Behold, these caused the people of Israel, by the counsel of Balaam, to act treacherously against the LORD. (Numbers 31:16a) So Balaam was regarded as advising Balak to use the Midianite women to trick the sons of Israel into committing sexual immorality and abandoning the Law of God and to go after pagan gods. It seems more plausible that the Nicolaitans were in part responsible for “Christianity’s” acceptance of Christmas, Easter, Halloween and other ‘ways of the world” becoming ‘ways of the church’. More importantly, ‘Nicolaitanism’, representative of a much broader philosophy, can be blamed for the organized and systematic removal of God’s law as a central pillar of the Christian way of life. These beliefs watered down the church, it made the church much more like the world, than the world becoming like the church. This way of thinking and acting was judged by JESUS to be most dangerous because the result of their teaching would have conformed Christianity to the world rather than have Christianity change the world. God’s original plan was that He would walk with Israel and He would be their God and them, HIS PEOPLE. Other nations would see how they were and want to follow the God of the Jews, the God of the Bible- the ONE TRUE GOD. Today we must ask ourselves the same thing. Is our relationship with God watered down by the world? Or is our example, our walk with God done in such a way that others want to walk with your God! We are called to be different than the world. Today consider the question: If being a Christian was illegal- would there be enough evidence to convict you? You still have time to GET OFF THE WORLD and GET ON THE NARROW PATH! “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”. (Matthew 7:13-14)

May 19. 2020

and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. – Colossians 1:20-22 ESV

Warrior;
Those words from that great hymn say it all, “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. Remember it is GOD who chose you, it is GOD who loved you first, it is GOD who CHOSE you- JESUS DID IT ALL! For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-31) In the Garden of Gethsemane it was Jesus who cried out, His soul unto death. He did not want to do it- if He didn’t have to do it! Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, … he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death…And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:36-39 ESV)

Leader, we have to ask ourselves, what was Jesus talking about? If there is any other way to do what? To reconcile God and Man. Jesus mission was the reconciling of a broken relationship between a HOLY GOD and a FALLEN MAN. His Ministry was the ministry of reconciliation: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19) The cost of SIN is DEATH, blood needs to be shed to cover our sins. What was done yearly, with animals was about to be replaced with a ONCE AND FOR ALL sacrifice, but not of an animal- but of the MANGOD, fully man and fully God! The one person, the one entity that could represent both Man and God since He was of both natures. Jesus was elevated between the earth and the heavens, He was Man and God; For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Conduit, Hebrews 9:11-18 confirms the symbolism of blood as life and applies Leviticus 17:11 to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 12 states clearly that the Old Testament blood sacrifices were temporary and only atoned for sin partially and for a short time, hence the need to repeat the sacrifices yearly. But when Christ entered the Most Holy Place, He did so to offer His own blood once for all time, making future sacrifices unnecessary. This is what Jesus meant by His dying words on the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30). Never again would the blood of bulls and goats cleanse men from their sin. Only by accepting Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross for the remission of sins, can we stand before God covered in the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). As a Christian, we believe that Christ’s body was killed, and his blood shed, as a perfect sacrifice for us. We believe there is no other way by which our sins, which alienate us from God, can be forgiven and our guilt removed. We are to have FAITH in the shed blood of Jesus. (Romans 3:23-25a). We are called to REMEMBER this, every time we take communion: In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:25) Conduit, there is NO OTHER WAY! Jesus Himself told us this; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) It is time to show God our appreciation for the precious blood of Jesus that was shed, so that we can spend eternity as Children of God. All we have to do is confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in our hearts, that HE IS RISEN- we will be saved! Now that you are saved- what are you going to do about it? What were you saved for? If God was done with you, He would have pulled an Enoch, and walked you home! For God it is finished, the price paid in full! But to us, we have much work to do- to share the GOOD NEWS of JESUS. Time is running out, it is time to make our Lord proud- go out and share the GOOD NEWS to a world that is focused on everything bad! If not YOU- then who? If not NOW, then when?

May 18. 2020

Brothers my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. – Romans 10:1-4 ESV

Warrior;
Do you DESIRE in your heart, that others be saved? Enough Desire that you bear witness to them? Do you chance your friendship, your relationship- by openly sharing the path to success in this world? From the time that we are cognizant enough to understand that life has a purpose and is filled with opportunities- we desire to live a successful life. Success is a nominalization, a generalization that is defined by the beholder. It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what about success? As people responsible for the choices in our lives and how we spend the TIME OF OUR LIVES- we must define success. Charles Stanley Defines success this way; Being God’s person, in God’s place, doing God’s work in God’s way. There is no way to FAIL, by abiding in this simple concept. Remember the enemy’s #1 weapon formed against us is CONFUSION. So as soldiers in the Army of God, we must work to be great KISSERS; Keep It Simple Soldier! The Bible is clear: And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28)

Leader, Romans 3:23 tells us that ALL men fall short of the GLORY OF GOD! We fall short by SIN. Sin is an archery term and it means to MISS THE MARK. Sin separates us from God. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. (Leviticus 17:11) That is why in the garden, when Adam and Eve fells short of God’s standard and they deviated from following and trusting in God- they were removed FROM THE GARDEN and the first blood was shed to COVER, to atone for man’s SHORTCOMING. And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. (Genesis 3:21) There had to be bloodshed, to ATONE for the separation from a HOLY God and an UN-HOLY creature, called man- HUMAN. This is the purpose of the sacrificial system in the OLD TESTAMENT- something had to die, to cover the separation from Man and God. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the concept was connected with sacrifices that were made to allow people to approach God and worship him. Under the Mosaic Law, sacrifices were made, particularly on the annual Day of Atonement, in order to effect reconciliation with God despite the sins of individuals and of the whole nation. Those sacrifices pointed to Jesus’ sacrifice, which completely atoned for mankind’s sins once for all time, giving people the opportunity to be reconciled to Jehovah.

Conduit, the word testament means agreement. There was an OLD agreement that used blood of animals to COVER our sins- for a time, but this was pointing to a SAVIOR, and when the SAVIOR came we would have a NEW agreement- NEW TESTAMENT. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:13-14) Every human being will be judged, upon the first death. We will be judged based on three things: How much truth did we have, how much opportunity did we have, and what did we do with that opportunity. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:11-14) Righteousness is NOT about how Good you are- you cannot be GOODUFF for God! Righteousness is about our standing before God and only ONE, JESUS, has that standing. However for those of us who believe in the RISEN King, who believe in the SON and HIS WORK ON THE CROSS- we become clothed in CHRIST! So when we stand before God, His Judgement seat- God sees HIS SON. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:27) To God success is a simple formula and we cannot do it without JESUS! Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:13-14) Today realize that JESUS is the ONLY answer, He is the KEY TO SUCCESS on this planet and the KINGDOM TO COME! Today, PUT ON JESUS and put off that which is of the OLD NATURE. to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

May 17. 2020

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. – 1 John 3:1,2 ESV

Warrior;
Nobody is too far gone from God, HE is OMNIPRESENT. In Psalm 139 we are reminded of GOD’S VASTNESS; Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. (v7-13) There is nowhere to run or hide; nor is there a need!

Leader, scripture tells us we WERE enemies of God; And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds. (Col 1:21) It is not that you personally did something wrong inside the womb, it is a FLESH issue, it is part of our DNA thanks to the FIRST HUMAN, the FIRST MAN, and his bride. The first ADAM brought sin into our DNA and it has been here since GENESIS 3! For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor 15:21-22) How do we do this? By BELIEVING IN HIM! And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. (James 2:23) TODAY, If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. And even more, we become sons and daughters!

Conduit, how blessed are we. That Abraham, the Father of our Faith became a FRIEND of GOD! AND we who trust in the LORD, JESUS, become children of God! For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. (Romans 5:10) We went from and ENEMY of GOD, to a FRIEND of GOD, to now have a SONSHIP with GOD; Romans 8:16 in the Amplified bibles says; The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. What a great progression to go from WHAT WE WERE, to WHAT WE WERE CREATED TO BE! It has been said- IF WILLING- God meets us where we are at, BUT HE LOVES US too much to leave us there! and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:17) What an incredible promotion to go from ENEMY to CO-HEIR with CHRIST! PROVIDED-that is an ‘If-Then’, a CONDITIONAL statement. If A then B; Provided we die to ourselves daily and pick up our cross and follow HIM! Today, PICK up your cross! Sacrifice your time, resources and talents from YOUR GLORY and LIVE AGAIN for HIS GLORY. Be willing to suffer for CHRIST and share HIS NAME and HIS LOVE in a world that is OFFENDED by HIM, HIS NAME, HIS WORD and HIS PEOPLE who humble themselves, turn from our wicked ways and PRAY in the name of JESUS! Amen!

May 16. 2020

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, -2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

Warrior;
This is called TRUTH THERAPY. As Jesus spoke these things, many believed in Him. So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:30-32) Notice the CONDITIONAL statement: IF…THEN. In other words; if you put MY WORD in YOUR HEAD and HEART, not only are you one of my TRUE disciples, BUT that TRUTH, that you know, that I am God and you know that I AM the Messiah, the WORD, the KINSMAN REDEEMER, the JUSTIFIER OF THE BRETHREN- that understanding will set you free from the CONFLICT of this world, from the conflict of the INNER BATTLE between your flesh and your spirit. Jesus is telling us the battle IS IN THE MIND! The battle filed is in every heart and every mind. That is why we are told to HOLD every thought captive. In other words, IT IS WRITTEN: A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (Luke 6:45)

Leader, like a GOOD FATHER does, God has a repetition of message, for those things that are more important than other things. Any good parent knows about repetition of message. We believe what we listen to most often. That is why God- in many verses, in many ways, in many GOOD BOOKS in the GOOD BOOK- tells us to fight the good fight that is waging in our thoughts. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.(Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-23, 1 Peter 5:8, Philippians 4:8) What we focus on most often becomes the place of primary focus, it is known in the Bible as our “Heart”. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

Conduit: this is why God told us through Solomon; Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23) When the Bible talks about your heart, it does NOT mean the physical organ in your body, it means the center of your thoughts. According to Vine’s New Testament Dictionary:The Greek word ‘kardia’ rendered “heart” (English, “cardiac,”), is the chief organ of physical life, it occupies the most important place in the human system. By an easy transition, the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements. In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life. The Bible describes human depravity as in the “heart”, because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then ‘defiles’ the whole circuit of his action. The Time is Now to get your HEART ON the LORD! The time of the Gentiles is coming to a close and we are called to be ready because when Jesus comes to get us He will come like a thief in the night- see Thessalonians 5:2. The BATTLE IS IN THE MIND, we must focus on our LORD, HIS WORD, HIS WAY and HIS RETURN! The Good Lord put our eyes in the front of our face, because we move in the direction of our focus and we focus in the direction of our movement! Where is your focus? It might be time to RE-FOCUS on the ONE WHO was, who is, and who is to COME AGAIN! Amen?