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Archive for September 2013

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The Trinity: One God - Father, Son and Holy Ghost

The Trinity: One God - Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Today's blog is an excerpt from my book, The Mysterious Kingdom Of Heaven.

1 John 5:5-7 - Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

The pattern for our relationship with God must come from the example He set for us. We can only fully embrace it when the mystery of The Trinity is revealed. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are three who are described as one throughout the scriptures. The Apostle John said that all three bear record in heaven and operate in complete unity. This is the mystery of The Godhead. In our humanity, we can only understand one of two positions; Either God is one being with three expressions or they are three beings who agree on everything.

Nonetheless, the truth is that the Godhead is simply three who exist as one. In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….” The fact that He referred to Himself as The Godhead must not be overlooked. He didn’t say, “Let me make man….” In addition, we are assured that no created being assisted in the creation of man, so He could not have been referring to anyone else.

My close friend, Nathan Watson heard from God and completely blew my mind with his vivid depiction of The Trinity. In a nutshell, here’s what he said and I quote, “God in eternity is The Father, God in time is Jesus and God in us is The Holy Spirit.” With that in mind, let’s dig into this.

Matthew 3:16-17(NLT) - After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

The Godhead consists of three because in the account of Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:16&17, The Son was in the water on the earth, The Father spoke from heaven and The Spirit descended to the earth like a dove. There is no confusion here because God appeared in three different places as The Father, Son and Spirit simultaneously. In addition, Jesus held several conversations with The Father while He was on the earth.

He went away to pray several times. He also spoke of His Father like He was a completely different person. This confused even the disciples who walked with Him daily. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it still confuses many in The Church. Unless Jesus was a ventriloquist, He was not speaking from the heavens while standing on the earth so the voice had to come from The Father.

John 14:8-10(NLT) - Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.

In John 14:8-10 we see an illustration of The Trinity. Jesus was visibly disappointed in Philip for not understanding what much of The Church is yet to understand. He was the physical manifestation of The Father. In John 4:24 the writer stated that God is a Spirit. Conversely, Jesus wanted people to know that He had stepped out of the spirit realm into the natural. As a result, seeing Him on earth was seeing The Father in a human body. As He stood before the disciples, He was The Father. He was in The Father and The Father was in Him. There was no separation between The Father and Himself. However, that’s not all. In the same discussion, He told them that He was also one with The Holy Spirit.

John 14:15-19(NLT) - “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.

Jesus is The Holy Spirit. In verse 15, Jesus said that He would ask The Father and He would send The Holy Spirit. He made it clear that the world would not be looking for Him so they would not recognize Him. Then He dropped a bomb in verse 17 by telling the disciples that The Holy Spirit was living with them at that moment and would live in them in the future. In other words, He was The Holy Spirit. He then continued with this astonishing thought in verses 18 and 19. He said that He was not going to leave them as orphans but it was really He who was coming to them. Now let me share with you some astonishing revelation from the scriptures.

Colossians 2:8-11(NKJV) - Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Jesus is not just one part of The Godhead. He is the physical manifestation of the entire Godhead. The fullness of The Father, Spirit and Son is seen in Jesus. Hence, even if we think we understand it, The Mystery of The Trinity continues to unfold before our eyes. Jesus is The Father, Spirit and Son all in one physical body. Nothing is missing from God when He manifests as Jesus. He is everything. Now if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.

2 Corinthians 5:16(NKJV) - Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.

The world knew Jesus on a physical level so they could have recognized Him in that form. However, only His followers had a spiritual connection with Him and knew that He was also The Holy Spirit. As a result, they knew that even though He was no longer on the earth as a physical man, He returned to them in The Upper Room. That explains why Christians can now use receiving Jesus and receiving The Holy Spirit interchangeably because it is not Biblically incorrect.

Ephesians 1:19-23(NLT) - I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

While He was on trial before The Council of Elders, Jesus said that He was on His way to be seated at the right hand of His Father in Luke 22:69. After His death and Resurrection, Paul confirmed His arrival at The Father’s right hand in Ephesians 1:20 and Colossians 3:1. So how on earth could He have returned to the disciples unless The Holy Spirit was a different being? However, how could He have said that He was returning as The Holy Spirit if they weren’t the same person? Lastly, how could He sit next to The Father if He was The Father? Obviously, this is why The Trinity is a great mystery. If you try to simplify it to mean anything less than it really is, you will get it wrong. Like the popular saying goes in the United States; “It is what it is.”

John 1:1-3, 10-14(NLT) - In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.…. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

It really doesn’t need to make complete sense for us to accept the truth. The Word was God, was with God and remained God even after He came to earth as a human. He returned to heaven and simultaneously returned to earth. In fact, He was always a human because He was the prototype used to create all human beings. However, He was always a spirit because God is a Spirit. If God needed us to understand this for it to be truth then we would have something to do with the existence of truth. The truth (pun intended) is that we don’t! Even if none of us accept the mystery of The Trinity it will continue to be what it is, in spite of us.

I’ve heard several preachers mess up this explanation because they felt the need to reconcile it with human reality. They tried to use natural illustrations to get the point across and in the process lost its true meaning. That’s why Jesus sent The Holy Spirit as The Spirit of Truth to guide us into all Truth. He will show us what Jesus really said while He was on the earth. He will also clarify what The Father said through all the writers of The Bible. In 1 John 2:20&27, The Apostle John says that the wisdom we receive from The Holy Spirit as we study the scriptures is more valuable than the opinions of all earthly instructors. As a result, it only makes sense that nothing really makes sense (pun intended) concerning spiritual things outside of His wisdom.

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"The Body" Bible Study - Partnering With God

You are personally invited to join us in Atlanta (Vinings), GA for our exciting, new monthly bible study; "The Body". Our mission is to bring people into The Body of Christ, help them to discover where they fit and show them how to execute their purpose with a burning passion for Jesus! Join us every 2nd Saturday as we address Biblical steps toward discovering and executing The Will of God for your life.

If you're out of town, you're invited to join The Body Online where you will receive access to the same interactive information from anywhere in the world. By the time we're finished you will be well on your way to fulfilling your destiny. Contact us for more details and to RSVP. Invite a friend.

Discover Your Purpose With The Body Bible Study!

Next Session - Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Atlanta, GA

6:00PM

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Video Of The Month: Shame - Nakedness Of The Soul

Genesis 3:7(NKJV) - Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

When Adam and Eve sinned, a strange thing happened; they saw their own nakedness. Why is that so significant? Check out this video from Session One of The David's Company Youth Conference 2013 to find that out and much more.

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God will separate the wicked from the righteous!

God will separate the wicked from the righteous!

Today's blog is an excerpt from The Mysterious Kingdom Of Heaven.

The Parable of the Net – God will separate the wicked from the righteous!

Matthew 13:47-50 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

This parable is easy to understand because Jesus gave the explanation. In God’s Kingdom, complete separation between the righteous and the wicked will only take place at the end of this age. Therefore, until then both groups of people will coexist on the earth. This is important because many people who appear to be doing well right now are on the slippery slopes to a burning hell. In 1 Samuel 16:7, God said that even though man looks at the outward appearance, He looks at the heart. He can see right through two people who seem to have identical characters. So even though both get the same evaluation from men, God completely separates them.

Matthew 25:31-36, 41-43 (NLT) - “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’… “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

Sometimes, when I read this passage I think to myself, “Man, I’m going to hell if I don’t do more to help people.” Obviously, Jesus was much more detailed in Matthew 25 when describing the end of time than He was in Matthew 13. While He only mentioned a general separation between the wicked and the just in the Parable of the Net, He made a clear distinction in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. There will be some major surprises on the Day of Judgment and I have no desire to experience this one. Jesus placed a high priority on the works that must accompany our faith.

He expects us to visit the imprisoned, feed the hungry, give to the thirsty, accommodate people in our homes, clothe the naked and take care of the sick. Honestly, I need to work on this and if you’re anything like me, I’m sure you need to also. This is the message of the Kingdom that must be preached before the end comes. It’s a message of action. The Church of Jesus Christ has to become a chief asset to the community because that’s how God plans to differentiate between those who are His and those who are not.

James 2:14-20 (NLT) - What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

This is a crucial message to The Body of Christ because it forces us to evaluate our priorities. The life of Jesus was marked by a combination of good teaching and good deeds. He showed compassion for the hurting and always did something about it. As a result, in the Parable of the Net, it’s not far-fetched to think that the separation between the wicked and the just may not be as we think. According to John 14:6, there is no way to the Father but through Jesus Christ. However, in Matthew 25:31-43, Jesus proved that He expects us to live by His standard. What are you doing to help your community? How do you demonstrate your faith? If you never verbally say that you are a Christian will the people around you still be able to see it?

As I said earlier, I’m definitely not blameless in this situation so believe me when I say that we need to all work on this. At the Judgment, will God reject those who claim to be Christians but didn’t demonstrate His love on the earth? I know that God forgives anyone who repents and as long as we remain in Christ, He sees us as perfect and sinless. However, I don’t want to take any chances by living contrary to His Word and neither should you. If He expects evidence then let's give it to Him. James made the point in Chapter 2 that anyone who lives by faith in Christ will act like it. There really is no confusion about the true status of a Christian. If there are no works, there is no faith and salvation is by faith in God's grace.

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Protect The Seed Of God's Word When It Enters Your Heart

The Responsibility Of Teaching God's Word

Today's blog is an excerpt from The Mysterious Kingdom Of Heaven.

The Word of God is Incorruptible Seed

Luke 8:10-11 - And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

1 Peter 1:23 - Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

When studying the Kingdom of God, the first form of seed we must consider is the Word of God. After Jesus illustrated the Kingdom with The Parable of the Sower, He made that point to His disciples. God created all physical matter by sowing His words into the atmosphere and we can create whatever we desire by sowing His Word into our hearts. Our harvest from those seeds is contingent on the condition of our hearts because God’s Word is always potent. Therefore, if we consistently sow the Word into our hearts and nothing really happens in our lives, we know where the problem lies.

Luke 8:11-15 - Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

According to Jesus, people lose the seed of the Word of God from their hearts because they let the devil take it, are shallow or get distracted by the things of this world. However, what’s most important about the people whose hearts are considered good ground is that they keep it and bring forth fruit. The word, “keep” according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary means, “to preserve, maintain, watch over, defend and support.” In other words, Jesus wanted us to expect opposition every time we sow the Word of God in the soil of our hearts. Therefore, the only way we can consistently bear fruit is if we’re willing to fight the enemy for it.

Proverbs 4:20-23 - My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

The life you desire from the Word of God starts as a seed that grows out of your heart and manifests in your life. This is where many people miss their victory in Jesus. They don’t realize that everything flows out of their hearts. As a result, many have failed in their attempts to see lasting change because they focused on changing their minds and disciplining their actions. Both of those steps are great but without a change of heart everything returns to their original positions after some time. Any deep rooted issues in your life came out of your heart. Consequently, if you want your issues to end your heart must be fixed.

A broken heart leads to a broken life so the most important place you need healing is in your heart. Now I’ll show you how to get that done. In Proverbs 4:20-23 we see that the Word of God is not just seed but it is life and health. As a result, the same Word of God that cannot flourish in a broken heart can also heal the broken heart. Hence, like medicine, you can treat the wounds in your heart with the healing balm of the Word of God. In a practical sense that means you have to encourage yourself in the Word.

Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Speak to yourself like David did in Psalm 42. Claim healing for your heart according to Psalm 147:3. Jesus said in Luke 4:18 that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to heal the brokenhearted. If you are in Christ, then you already have been offered healing and it’s up to you to receive it. The healing of your heart was included in the stripes Jesus took on the cross according to 1 Peter 2:24. The steps to success in the system of the Kingdom of God are quite simple but unless you understand how it works you’ll never fully enjoy it. The point I am trying to make is that if you are not seeing results you have to prepare the soil of your heart with certain healing scriptures before you start trying to sow other scriptures.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 - A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Before we get too deep into this book, God wants to heal your heart. You can't do it by yourself and time doesn't heal anything. He wants to take out that broken heart and give you a brand new one. It's not an easy process but it's necessary. Ask God right now for a new heart and tell Him that you want to change for the better. Once you do so, He'll answer your prayer by taking you through a process of healing. Whatever happens, don't forget that your answers are in Him and His Word is available to you right now.

In sum, God wants us all to understand that the foundation of everything in existence is His Word. Therefore, if you feel like you are being shaken, strengthen your foundation. It is worthless to sow seeds into soil that’s not good so that’s why Jesus’ first parable about the Kingdom was about this very issue. In that parable, He shared the mystery of Kingdom success. While wise men looked elsewhere, He told His disciples to look inside their hearts. This type of wisdom is so profound that it will immediately change your life once it’s understood. The Word of God is quick, powerful, sharp and discerning. Nothing else is as effective. The secret is out!

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Life Out Of Death

Life Out Of Death

John 12:24-25 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Mark 4:26-29 - And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

One major aspect of the mystery of the Kingdom of God is illustrated by the germination of a seed. Even under perfect conditions, once sown, a seed lies dormant for a period of time before germination takes place. During this period, from all appearances, the seed is dead. It cannot be seen and no sign of it exists on the surface other than a heap of dirt. Hence, to the ignorant, the decision to sow it is a complete waste of time. At least, the seed could have been used for something else and if edible, could have been consumed. The parallels between this concept and the Kingdom of God are astounding.

Our Heavenly Father created man and gave him dominion on the earth. He also enabled man to make his own decisions even if they are completely against His Will. Consequently, it makes complete sense that He wants His Kingdom to operate by free will. A simple definition of His Kingdom in this context should therefore state; “If you want what God has to offer, give Him what you already have!” This system contradicts common sense and seems to go against the standard of the world. However, it has proven to be very effective once accurately implemented.

Mark 10:21-24 -Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

The rich young ruler missed out on an opportunity to receive a spiritual breakthrough because he refused to value Jesus over his money. He was cut off from the Kingdom of God because he trusted in his riches. For some reason, he thought that God’s Kingdom was one of convenience instead of one of sacrifice and that’s a lesson to all of us. God expects our human desires to die before we could fully embrace the extent of His goodness.

Maybe the first time you heard of God’s Kingdom you thought of royalty. You probably pictured yourself wealthy and privileged walking the earth as nobility because you were adopted into the family of God through Christ. While that may be true, the Bible’s definition of God’s Kingdom includes a system of exchange. God wants what you have so that He can give you what He has. The rich young ruler had faith in his money so God wanted him to switch priorities and he would have received what he knew was missing from his life. Unfortunately, the price was too high for him.

What about you? Is there anything in your life higher than God? If you’re not a Christian, the answer is yes because God doesn’t rule your life. If you are a Christian, it is very easy to lose sight of God’s importance while looking through carnal eyes. The Word of God says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” For you to successfully live in the Kingdom of God an elevation of the standard of your thoughts is essential.

Mark 10:25-30 - It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

After the rich young ruler walked away, Jesus revealed another dimension of the Kingdom of God to His disciples that would have greatly interested him. From all appearances, Jesus was making a case for poverty. He first told the rich man in Mark 10:21 to sell all he owned and give it to the poor which is actually one of the contributing factors of sustained poverty. Even in modern society, it is clear that provision without education leads to dependence hence the many objections to social programs like “Welfare” in the US.

He then stated to the disciples in Mark 10:23 that the rich would find great difficulty in entering the Kingdom of God. That blew their minds so He clarified Himself in Mark 10:24 and said that it’s difficult for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God. After the disciples shook their heads in disbelief and talked among themselves, Peter spoke directly to Jesus. He reminded Him that they did what the rich young ruler could not do. That’s where Jesus made sense of everything.

The Kingdom of God is not just about sacrifice but it’s a system of exchange. If you let your desires die, God will bless your life with all the desires of your heart. If you give up anything in the name of Jesus, as long as you remain in His Will, it would only be a matter of time before He returns a major harvest to you. He won’t give you back what you gave up but He will give you even better. In fact, Jesus said in Mark 10:30 that you will receive one hundred times what you give up while you are still alive on the earth and on top of that, eternal life.

Psalm 37:4 - Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Romans 8:31-32 - What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

The rich young ruler asked Jesus for eternal life but Jesus asked him to first give up his trust in money. What he did not know was that in addition to eternal life, God would have multiplied his money and returned the harvest to him. He did not stick around long enough to hear that part of the story so he missed out on God’s plan for his life. The same God who fed thousands with five loaves and two fishes intended to take care of his heart’s desires. Nobody knows how God does it but like Jesus said in Mark 10:27, with man it is impossible but it is possible with God.

As a result, what seems like a loss in the Kingdom of God is really an exchange. You might think you’re walking away from something important but as long as you’re doing it in obedience to God you will eventually receive much more than you had before. God’s true purpose is to gain your trust so as soon as that is established He won’t think twice to give you anything you desire. If He could give up His own Son to pay for your sinful nature, is there anything else He wouldn’t do for you? When He becomes your delight, your desires become His responsibility.

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"The Body" Bible Study - Two Types Of Gifts From God

Romans 11:29 (AMP) - For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]

You are personally invited to join us in Atlanta (Vinings), GA for our exciting, new monthly bible study; "The Body". Our mission is to bring people into The Body of Christ, help them to discover where they fit and show them how to execute their purpose with a burning passion for Jesus! Join us every 2nd Saturday as we address Biblical steps toward discovering and executing The Will of God for your life.

If you're out of town, you're invited to join The Body Online where you will receive access to the same interactive information from anywhere in the world. By the time we're finished you will be well on your way to fulfilling your destiny. Contact us for more details and to RSVP. Invite a friend.

6

The Seventh Trumpet - The Resurrection

The Seventh Trumpet - The Resurrection

Within the next few weeks we will complete a two year study of The Book of Revelation at Coffee Shop Conversations in Atlanta. During that time we have discovered some amazing things. Today's blog is an excerpt from my book, "Revelation Unplugged".

Revelation 10:5-7(NKJV) - The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

Finally, The Resurrection is introduced. After all the implications and assumptions of it taking place before The Seventh Trumpet, the mighty angel puts it to rest. I know you’re probably wondering what on earth I’m referring to. You don’t see anything about The Resurrection in Revelation 10:5-7. Maybe all this Eschatology has finally gotten to me and my mind is showing signs of stress? Maybe I’m confused? Well, I’m not! The mystery of God ends when the redemption of the bodies of every member of The Body of Christ takes place. How am I so sure? Take a look at this prophecy by The Apostle Paul.

1 Corinthians 15:51-58(NKJV) - Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

The Apostle Paul refers to a mystery that will take place at The Last Trumpet. It happens to be the same mystery that the angel announces will take place at the same time. Paul’s reference to The Resurrection as a mystery is not a coincidence. It’s the clue that confirms in Revelation that Paul was right about the heavenly schedule. He said it would take place at The Last Trumpet and The Bible is always right. Therefore, if there is ever a question about the timing of this event, The Bible’s answer is, “The Resurrection takes place at The Seventh Trumpet.”

Ephesians 3:1-7(NKJV) - For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles — if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

The Mystery of The Resurrection at The Last Trumpet is the completion of the mystery of redemption revealed to the Apostle Paul. When Adam sinned, he instantly died spiritually because he was separated from God. On the other hand, his spiritual death began the process of all death and he eventually died physically. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross gave the entire world access to God’s plan for reversing the process Adam started in Eden.

As a result, when we accept the death of Jesus Christ as our sacrifice for sin, our spirits are instantly redeemed from death. However, Jesus also rose from the dead so there is another part to our redemption. The completion of redemption must include our physical bodies which finally takes place at The Resurrection. Therefore, the mystery of redemption that starts at salvation for The Body of Christ is completed at The Resurrection.

The Seventh Trumpet – The Resurrection

Revelation 11:15-19(NLT) - Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: "The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever." The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said, "We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, "We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth." Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm.

What an amazing spectacle! Finally, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords responds to The Seventh Trumpet and prepares for the establishment of His Kingdom. It’s a time of great celebration in heaven and John hears the loud voices full of joy. However, the opposite is taking place on earth. All the people can tell what’s about to happen and fear grips them. As it’s been revealed in The Sixth Seal, they will run and hide because Jesus won’t return to earth like a politician shaking hands and kissing babies. He’s returning as a warrior to execute judgment.

In this passage, the twenty four elders touch on several different events scheduled to take place after Jesus returns. His wrath must first take place on the earth as He destroys the armies of his enemies. Then according to this passage, He will judge the faithful who have died. All the people in this judgment are assured a place in heaven but their rewards will vary based on their obedience to God’s directions during their lifetimes. This is the judgment you want to be included in because the next one won’t have any happy endings.

Matthew 24:29-31(NLT) - "Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

Even Jesus made it clear that The Resurrection takes place after the period of great anguish is complete. In fact, He specifically said a few verses earlier in Matthew 24:21 that The Great Tribulation begins with The Abomination of Desolation. Then He followed up by saying that it ends with the sound of a trumpet at The Resurrection in Matthew 24:31. It won’t happen at any other time because The Bible is consistent about it. According to Jesus, The Trumpet will not sound before The Great Tribulation.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18(NLT) – And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to those believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together, with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

The Apostle Paul wanted to reassure The Church that The Resurrection will take place. In doing so, he made an important discovery. The return of Jesus Christ and The Resurrection are simultaneous. This is very hard to understand when you consider what will have to take place on the earth before His return. He comes back to earth to put an end to the oppression of the enemy. As a result, instead of The Body of Christ escaping from the earth before the oppression begins, Jesus returns to earth at the end of it.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3(NLT) - Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction.

The Church will witness the revelation of The Antichrist. Obviously, Jesus won’t return before then, so we won’t be going anywhere unless we die. The Apostle Paul had to warn us because people had already started making stuff up. We need to heed his warning because people keep making things up in The Church and continue to stretch scriptures to support what they say. By the time you’re done with this book, you’ll know the truth.

Daniel 12:1-4(NLT) – “At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation, will arise. Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued. Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like stars forever. But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.

Daniel placed The Resurrection after every other end time prophecy in his book. It’s in the final chapter and Daniel 12:1 clearly states that. However, he includes something quite interesting which I will consider in detail a little later in the book. Even though the people of God would have sustained dramatic and overwhelming persecution before they are taken from the earth they are actually saved from something much worse.

Jesus will take us out of the earth and then will unleash His wrath on the world. Nothing that His people will suffer can be compared to bitter pill of revenge that the world will taste. Accordingly, even after The Resurrection is complete, there will still be more suffering to come on the earth for the people outside of His Kingdom.

6

Ask Donnell - Who Did Jesus Say Would Be Cast Into Outer Darkness?

Ask Donnell - Who Did Jesus Say Would Be Cast Into Outer Darkness?

We received this question from Owen;

"In Matthew 8, what did Jesus mean by; 'The Children of the Kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness?' Who are the children of the Kingdom?"

Owen, this is a big question. We're going to have to work a little to find this answer so let's get to work. In the scriptures there are three distinct references to outer darkness and in each case, different people are being cast there.

Case 1 - The Children of the Kingdom

Matthew 8:10-12(KJV) - When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Case 2 - The Improperly Dressed Guest at the Wedding

Matthew 22:11-13(KJV) - And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Case 3 - The Unprofitable Servant

Matthew 25:28-30(KJV) - Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So what exactly did Jesus mean by outer darkness? I think the first clue to finding the answer is the phrase that follows; "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth". Just in case we're not sure where outer darkness is, Jesus made it clear that it's the place where you'll find weeping and gnashing of teeth. This leads to the next question; "Where do you find weeping and gnashing of teeth?" We know one place where we don't need to look. Heaven! According to Revelation 21, there is no crying in heaven. Nonetheless, let's see what The Bible says.

Matthew 13:41-42(KJV) - The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:49-50(KJV) - So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 24:48-51(KJV) - But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Luke 13:27-28(KJV) - But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

In Matthew 13:42 and 50, Jesus said that weeping and gnashing of teeth will be found in the furnace of fire. This obviously is a reference to hell which in Revelation 20:14 will eventually be thrown into the Lake of Fire. In Matthew 24:51, the evil servant will be cut to pieces and given the same portion as the hypocrites. So what is their portion? The Bible says in Job 27:8 that God will take away the soul of the hypocrite. Also, Luke 13:27-28 says that workers of iniquity will be weeping and gnashing their teeth when they are thrown out of God's Kingdom. Hence, those who are sent into outer darkness will lose their soul and be thrown out of God's Kingdom.

What does this all mean? Outer darkness is a reference to hell. It's the place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth for eternity. It's what my Apostle in Atlanta calls "the smoking section". So when Jesus says that The Children of The Kingdom will be cast into outer darkness He means they will be cast into hell. Now let's understand exactly who he's referring to.

Matthew 8:10-12(KJV) - When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In this passage, Jesus is comparing the faith of a foreign centurion to the faith of people in Israel. This foreigner had more faith than God's chosen people. When Jesus said that many would come from the east and west, and shall sit down in the kingdom while the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness He was continuing the same comparison. Those coming from the east and west are the foreigners and the children of the kingdom are God's chosen people. In other words, He was pointing out that several people of Israel would reject Him and end up in hell while outsiders (Gentiles) like the centurion would accept Him and end up in heaven.

John 1:10-13(NKJV) - He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Surprise! Surprise! 🙂 What Jesus said is exactly what happened. Many of the Jews rejected Jesus and in fact, some still reject Him. They are awaiting their Messiah, totally unaware that He came already. On the other hand, salvation was offered to the Gentiles and many of us accepted. That's how we reserved our spots in The Kingdom. We are part of the many who came from the east and west. We accepted Jesus so we are going to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in heaven while some of the Children of The Kingdom (Jews) chose to reject Jesus and will spend eternity in hell. Until Jesus died, The Children of The Kingdom referred only to the Jews. The rest of us became a part of The Kingdom through Jesus.

6

Ask Donnell - How Do I Live Among Sin Yet Remain Pure?

Ask Donnell - How Do I Live Among Sin Yet Remain Pure?

We received the following question from Rosh;

"Living among sin but not being part of it.

Good night Donnell and Angel.
You are influenced and become what you see, hear and surround yourself with. Removing yourself from people, places and situations is possible but what if you cannot. I live where obscenity is a norm in my house. I too was part of it. Now that I am saved I try my best not to use it - but it's in the house. When upset it may initially not come out of my mouth but I say it in my mind but finally when I get really mad it comes out my mouth. What can I do to rid myself of it?"

Rosh, this is a valid question. Thanks for asking. The answer is not that straightforward because your situation isn't. Regardless, let's see what we can extract from The Word of God.

Option A - God Can Present The Opportunity To Move Somewhere Else

2 Peter 2:6-9(NLT) - Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.

If Lot were here today he would tell you that he knows exactly how you feel. The sin around him was tearing him up on the inside so much that it made him feel sick. God's response was very simple. He got Lot out of there. Even though Lot had to endure the wickedness for a while, God ensured that the experience was only temporary and eventually came to an end. Using this example as proof, The Apostle Peter said that The Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials. In this case, God's rescue plan is a complete exit from the situation.

Option B - God Can Present A Way Of Escape In The Midst Of Your Situation

1 Corinthians 10:12-14(NKJV) - Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

I always thought that when The Apostle Paul used the phrase; "a way of escape" he meant a way to physically get out of the situation completely. This is supported by the Greek word it is translated from, "ekbasis" which means "an egress, way out, exit". My assumption was that my awareness of a way of escape is what gives me the ability to bear my situation. However, as I was writing this response, The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to another dimension of understanding.

Think about this. Read the reason given in 1 Corinthians 10:14 for why the way of escape is created. It is not created so that you can exit the situation but so that you can bear it. If God creates a way of physical escape from the situation how is that giving you the ability to bear it? You don't need the ability to bear something if you can physically escape it and not experience it at all. Therefore, when you find yourself in a challenging situation if God chooses not to take you out of it completely, He reassures you in two ways. First, He guarantees that you have what it takes to handle it and second He gives you a way to escape it while you're still in the middle of it. How is that even possible? I'm glad you asked.

John 17:14-20(AMP) - I have given and delivered to them Your word (message) and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world [do not belong to the world], just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy) in the Truth. Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching,

Based on this scripture, every single Christian on this earth is living in the middle of a sinful world. Therefore, from a big picture perspective, we are really all in the same situation. However, Jesus gave us His plan. It is very different to the plan of physical escape God had for Lot. Pay close attention to the prayer Jesus prayed. He asked God not to take us out of the world but to keep and protect us from the evil within it. Yup, that's what He said. Physical escape was not an option.

We have to stay in the middle of the world yet not let any of the world's evil get in the middle of us. How can we be kept from the evil in the world if we live in the middle of it? Four words... The Word of God! Jesus said that the truth of God's Word will purify, consecrate and separate us from the evil in the world. That's your answer! If Jesus could live in the middle of a sinful world and not sin even once, He knows what He's talking about.

Conclusion

God is sovereign. If He doesn't want you there anymore He will open the door for you to move. However, if God doesn't open the door for you to leave your situation then your way of escape is The Word of God. You should spend more time listening to God's Word than you do listening to the profanity being spoken around you. If you have your own room that's even better. You can fill your room with The Word of God through books, music, videos and The Internet. At the very least, you can control the atmosphere in your head whenever you have to be in the house by enjoying private time in your room with a pair of headphones.

Matthew 5:13-16(NKJV) - “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Sometimes we want to leave the world in darkness and go where there is only light. However, that's not always God's plan. If He puts you in the middle of the darkness you should shine right there for as long as you have to. The Word of God is your way of escape mentally, emotionally and spiritually when you cannot physically escape your situation. Use it and escape the evil around you. You can't control the physical environment in your house but you can control the environment in your heart.

For every profane word spoken around you, there should be two encouraging words from God's Word entering your heart. What you can't control, you can't control but what you can control, you should control. Control what you put into your heart whenever you can control it. Overcome evil with good. It's not an ideal situation but you can handle it. Pray that God transforms your family and volunteer yourself to be used by Him to do it.

Sanctify, purify, consecrate and separate yourself with the truth of God's Word on a consistent basis. Also, remember that faith without works is dead and you cannot only be a hearer of The Word but a doer also. Hence, let The Word of God be seen through your actions so that you can be a light in the darkness around you. Instead of joining in the profanity live out the holiness of God's Word right in the midst of it. God might be keeping you there just for that reason. Don't let them change you, let The Word of God in you change them. Impose The Kingdom of God on the Kingdom of darkness. Let them see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

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