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Ask Donnell: Will Heaven and Earth Literally Disappear At The End?

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We received the following question from Jabari;

"Good morning Pastor Donnell, I was reading Mark 13 where Jesus taught his disciples what will take place in the last days and one particular scripture jumped out at me that I don’t quite yet understand. It is Mark 13:31, “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” This was after Jesus told them in verses 26 &27 of Mark 13 “Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world —from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven”. I am unclear as to what it means by heaven and earth will disappear. Can you help?"

Wow! Jabari, you sure are eating that scroll, aren't you? You've obviously been reading your Bible. Great question. Here's the best way to clear up a scripture. Find another one that says the same thing clearer. 🙂 Before we get into that, be sure to read Chapter 7, "The Gap Theory", from my book, Faith Science. In it, I discuss Biblical prophecies that address the end of the heavens and earth as well as certain scientific theories that connect with them.

Anyway, let's get to the good stuff. At first glance, if you don't know much about Eschatology (Bible "End-time" Prophecy), it would be easy to assume that Jesus was just using the phrase, "heaven and earth will disappear" as a figure of speech. Maybe He was just trying to emphasize how impossible it is for His Word to ever pass away. Perhaps, He could have said the same thing in a different way if He was merely using it to make the point about the lasting nature of His Word. However, can what Jesus said be taken literally? Perhaps, there's more in there.

2 Peter 3:10-13(NKJV) - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

There it is as clear as day. God intends to start over. He will destroy the heavens and the earth as we know it at the end of time and then recreate them. He will burn everything with a fire so hot that even the elements themselves will be consumed. That supports a literal interpretation of the phrase Jesus used; "heaven and earth will disappear" because they will. This outcome is consistent with at least one of the popular scientific theories predicting the end of the expanding universe.

Isaiah 66:22(NKJV) - “For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain.

God intends to only do this once. When He creates the new heavens and earth they will remain forever. The tainted old earth and heavens that we live in now will be a distant memory and God will press the restart button. Thankfully, there will be no more sin and the devil himself will be in the lake of fire. Nevertheless, for some more insight into the circumstances surrounding the end of the earth and heavens let's turn to my favorite book of The Bible, Revelation.

Revelation 20:11-15(NKJV) - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:1-7(NKJV) - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

After the one thousand year Millennium reign of Jesus Christ which follows The Resurrection, the devil will be released to tempt mankind one more time. He will lead those who remain on earth without Christ into revolt against God and they will be soundly defeated. Once that is done, God will administer The Great White Throne Judgment and send everyone who's not in Christ into The Lake of Fire to burn for eternity. It's at that point that God will destroy the heavens and earth and start over with only the people in His Kingdom. Everyone else will be in The Lake of Fire for eternity after being sentenced during The Great White Throne Judgment.

I know I threw allot of information at you there but that's the answer in a nutshell. If you want a better understanding of Bible prophecy read my book, "Revelation Unplugged". In there you will see much more about how things will end according to The Book of Revelation and other supporting scriptures.

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Ask Donnell: How Do I Ask God To Confirm "The One" For Me?

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We received the following question from a young lady;

"How do i ask God for confirmation for a person i have never seen? I dated one gentleman that i really liked but he no longer speaks to me. There has been no other suitors that have come along. But deep down in my heart the guy that no longer speaks to me is still in my heart. He may be the one. How do i ask for confirmation?"

This is a great question. A gentleman asked almost the same question a few months ago so check out the response at the following link; "Ask Donnell: How Will God Confirm Someone As Your Future Wife?" The principles in there will also apply in your case.

James 1:5-8(NLT) - If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

First, let me congratulate you on your decision to seek God for guidance in this situation. Without His wisdom we are always bound to make bad mistakes that can affect us for life. When we ask God concerning a mate He answers us. This brings up the broader issue of developing your ability to hear from God so that when He answers, you will be able to hear and act on it. Read this blog, "Respect God's Voice In Other People". It's Part 7 of a mini-blog series on Hearing from God. Read all seven points by clicking the links in each blog to go backward to the previous point. Additionally, an entire section of my book, "Well Done", is dedicated to hearing from God.

So, is the guy who no longer speaks to you the one for you? Well, since I don't have any first hand knowledge of the details of your situation I don't know. However, I can reason using the facts you provided to me. What I do know is that your relationship with him is over and he is not speaking to you. Those two facts are important to keep in mind as you seek God about him. Whether or not he's still in your heart is not a factor because you can keep someone in your heart for as long as you choose to. When you are ready to let him go, he will no longer be in your heart. It's that simple. It takes time but it works. I assume that he's not married because if he is, then it's not a mystery. He's not the one.

Sometimes our emotions cause us to hang on to people we should be letting go. So, here is some good counsel. Since he has already let you go by not keeping in touch, it's time for you to let him go! Put him in God's hands and let The Lord reunite the two of you if He chooses to. If God doesn't do it, it's not going to happen because the guy has demonstrated that he's over it. Thankfully, that could be a good thing for you because when you let him go, you make room in your heart for the right person. Right now, that spot is occupied so even if The Lord sends someone in your direction, you're not ready to receive him. You can't see the man in front of you if you're busy looking back. So what now?

1 Corinthians 7:32-35(NLT) - I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

This is some of the best advice ever for single people. It's the same advice I received of The Lord while I was single and it works. Now is the time to go hard after The Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. Since you don't have a husband you don't have to split time so God can get all of you. Additionaly, during this season let The Lord shape you into the type of woman that the type of man you're looking for is actually looking for. It's much easier to attract the right man when you are the type of woman a man like him would be attracted to. Therefore, if you are looking for a man of God, let God help you to prepare by focusing your energy on your relationship with Him.

Psalms 37:4-5(NKJV) - Delight yourself also in the Lord , And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord , Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Matthew 6:33(NKJV) - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

I was single into my thirties and had to live these scriptures. I had to put God's Kingdom first and trust that He would do His part to add the things I desire to my life. My testimony is that when I finally decided to stop trying to force things and decided to trust God, He brought me my wife, Angel. It took several people speaking into my life and some bad experiences for me to finally reach that point but thank God I did. I just gave up and said God if you don't do it, it doesn't happen.

Until God favored me with a spouse I wrote several books, started The Cracked Door and threw myself headfirst into the Work of The Lord. He had my attention and now that I'm married I understand what Paul was saying to the singles. Make the most of your time while you have it. That's The Word of The Lord to you also. Give your all to The Lord while single until He sees fit to bring you a spouse. During that time, let God prepare you for the man He has for you.

Philippians 4:6-7(NKJV) - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Let me also share another part of my testimony. When I finally decided to give up on doing it my way, The Lord impressed on my heart to ask Him for what I really wanted in a woman. I had never articulated it before because I thought that was not necessary. He is God so whatever He wants to do He should do. I have no opinion. However, when God says to ask He means it. So I did just that. I wrote a detailed list of the qualities in the woman I really wanted even though I had never met her (I thought) and prayed over it for about one week.

I then forgot about the list and went along with my life. A few months into my relationship with Angel I remembered the list while talking to her on the phone. I found it and was completely blown away. She was exactly the person I prayed for and I didn't even know it. In addition, God spoke to me in a dream through a scripture to confirm that I had found the woman He had for me. Hence, when I walked down the aisle I knew I was walking in my destiny. It was not an act of my will being done but The Lord's. That's what I pray for you too.

John 10:27(NKJV) - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

So what am I saying? Confirmation from The Lord about a spouse is so much more than a feeling because feelings are random and can change at anytime. God knows how to speak to the people who know His voice. I had to learn His Voice over a long time so when I needed to hear Him clearly about a spouse I heard Him in several different ways. Read the blogs I linked to earlier so you can also develop your ability to hear from God. This is probably the most candid answer you may ever get because I'm telling you as it is. I can tell you an answer that sounds good or can make you feel good or I can tell you the truth. I rather tell you the truth because only the truth will make you free. (John 8:32)

II Chronicles 20:20(NKJV) - So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

Proverbs 11:14(NKJV) - Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

I'm going to finish this blog with two points. Seek counsel whenever you think you met the person God has for you and trust what God speaks into your life through His prophets. Not only did I hear from God on my own concerning my wife but I received several independent confirmations from prophets and people I sought for counsel. Some people don't want to go through all of that trouble but when the pressure hits them in the middle of a bad marriage they will wish they did.

The decision to marry someone can be one of the best or one of the worst decisions you will ever make in your life so don't cut corners during the process when you don't need to. Before I leave, let me give you some free advice I received from an expert. You'll usually find the type of spouse you're looking for in the places where that type of spouse tends to be. If you're looking for a drinker, frequent the bar. If you're looking for a partier, frequent the club. If you're looking for a man of God, stay in the presence of God.

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Ask Donnell: What's The Bible's Position On "In Vitro" Fertilization?

Ask Donnell: What's The Bible's Position On In Vitro Fertilization?

We received the following question;

"How is it viewed in The Bible when a man and a woman cannot have children but take it upon themselves to get the job done? For instance, by having their egg and sperm fertilized outside of the woman’s womb or body then placed back in the womb! What is your take on this from a biblical perspective? To me this is doing God’s work which brings up another question, Is God’s spirit in this child? God bless you."

Thanks for your question. First, let me apologize for taking so long to respond to some of the questions that have already been submitted. Keeping up with The Cracked Door Foundation has proven to be a little more challenging than we could possibly have imagined. Apart from our careers and personal lives we've been investing any time we have left into The Body Church in Atlanta, GA. Pray that The Lord send us the people we need to help shoulder the load.

Nonetheless, The Lord has provided a long term solution which we will be rolling out next week. We're very excited about what He's doing with this ministry that's been around since September, 2006. What started as a website to market my first book, I Curse Death, has grown into what you see before you now. So, on with your answer.

Ecclesiastes 11:5(NLT) - Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

Did you know that each of the patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob faced fertility issues in their families? First, there was the struggle of Abraham and Sarah, then Isaac and Rebekah, then Jacob and Rachel. They all struggled to have children but in the end God worked miracles in their lives. So, fertility challenges are all over The Bible and God has proven Himself as a deliverer in many of those cases, over and over.

Infertility is a very touchy subject. When a married, Christian couple can't have children it's a troubling and difficult reality to deal with. They have chosen to do things the right way in the eyes of God by getting married before having children yet some can't seem to get the expected results. There is little you can say to a couple in that situation to truly comfort their hearts. The last thing we need to do is speak out of turn and not approach this particular topic with as much sensitivity as it deserves.

Nevertheless, just like it was when Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes 11:5, the mystery of childbirth remains a mystery today. Modern science may be able to explain the physical process from the point of conception to birth. It may also allow us to see it using ultrasound imaging and other means. Yet, nobody but God can explain when or how a human spirit enters a human body and turns an embryo into a living soul. That's the part of the process we have no power over and will never be able to control. Regardless, the question we must address today is whether or not we have the right to engage the benefits of biotechnology and modern medicine to interfere with the physical process of childbirth.

Genesis 30:1-2(NLT) - When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!”

Proverbs 30:15-16(NKJV) - The leech has two daughters— Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”: The grave, The barren womb, The earth that is not satisfied with water— And the fire never says, “Enough!”

Listen to me. Some men might not really care to have children but according to Proverbs 30:15-16, the barren womb is never satisfied. If a woman has no children and she wants to have a child, there is nothing in the world that you can give her in place of that and The Bible acknowledges it. She can have all the money in the world, all the power, all the fame, her pick of men, the ability to travel anywhere, perfect health, good looks, everything you could imagine but she will never be able to fully let go of the thought of having children.

As a result, if there is any solution available for infertility, any woman in her right mind would at least consider it. She will never give up until it's either impossible or her spirit is completely broken. Hence, it doesn't matter what scripture you quote, you cannot tell a woman she should be okay with never having children when she wants children. Like the grave that takes and takes but doesn't give back, a desert that soaks up water and is quickly dry again or a fire that continues to burn as long as it has fuel and oxygen, the desire of a woman to have her first child cannot be quenched.

Genesis 1:26-28(NKJV) - Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Before we move on to anything else, let's establish that as human beings we are mandated by God in Genesis 1:26-28 to be fruitful and multiply. As a result, just to carry out God's plan we must have children so the desire to have children is built into our DNA. The truth is that everyone will not have children. In fact, everyone will not even get married so that they can have children according to God's order. Regardless, someone has to have children for God's plan in Genesis 1:26-28 to continue. That person might as well be you.

So what's The Bible's solution for infertility?

1) Pray

Philippians 4:6(NKJV) - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Genesis 25:21(NLT) - Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins.

Obviously, we can assume that a Christian couple who has started looking for medical solutions to infertility has already prayed. However, let's not make any assumptions and be thorough in our approach. Pray, then pray, then pray some more. That's such a religious sounding answer to someone in the middle of a tough situation but we have to always say it just in case people need a reminder. Like any other challenge you face in life, pray first, ask questions later. Once you pray, The Lord will then direct your steps. Sometimes, He just miraculously heals without the involvement of any human processes but sometimes He brings deliverance through processes that are already in existence.

2 Chronicles 16:12-13(NKJV) - And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign.

Don't be Asa. Never trust physicians more than you trust God. The end! Okay, well not the end but you get my point. If you meet with doctors before you meet with God you might exacerbate your problem instead of getting a solution. Let me say something again, but this time in a different way. God will either miraculously heal you by His supernatural hand or He will use the hands of a medical professional or some other natural process. The point is, we must go to God first and then let Him direct the process.

Mark 5:25-28(NLT) - A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”

The woman with the issue of blood spent all of her money at doctors before she ever got to Jesus who then healed her for free. We can't let the cart drive the horse and then be surprised when things don't work out. First, reach out and touch Jesus then He will either heal you instantly or He'll give you instructions to receive your healing like He did in John 9:7. This leads us to #2.

2) Explore Medical Options

Mark 2:17(NLT) - When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Colossians 4:14(NLT) - Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas.

After prayer and by the direction of God, it is totally fine to visit the doctor for help. If something's wrong with your car you visit a mechanic. If something's wrong with your building you call a structural engineer or building contractor. If something's wrong with the electrical wiring in your house you call an electrician. If there's a pipe leaking you call a plumber. If something's wrong with your teeth you see a dentist. So if something's wrong with your body you see a doctor. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doctors. Luke, one of the disciples of Paul was a beloved doctor. Even Jesus acknowledged that people who are sick need a doctor so that's what they are there for.

There are many medical treatments available for infertility once the cause is known. When most of the treatments don't work they turn to in vitro fertilization. Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about in vitro fertilization;

"In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex series of procedures used to treat fertility or genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child. During IVF, mature eggs are collected (retrieved) from your ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs are implanted in your uterus. One cycle of IVF takes about two weeks.

IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. The procedure can be done using your own eggs and your partner's sperm. Or IVF may involve eggs, sperm or embryos from a known or anonymous donor. In some cases, a gestational carrier — a woman who has an embryo implanted in her uterus — might be used.

Your chances of having a healthy baby using IVF depend on many factors, such as your age and the cause of infertility. In addition, IVF can be time-consuming, expensive and invasive. If more than one embryo is implanted in your uterus, IVF can result in a pregnancy with more than one fetus (multiple pregnancy)."

As long as the husband's sperm and the wife's egg are used in the process I don't see any scriptural basis for objection. Their physical bodies are not functioning properly for some reason so a medical procedure has been created to bring healing to the process. Regardless of the way the sperm gets to the egg, under the right conditions, the biological process stays the same. What we don't control is how the spirit enters the embryo. That's God's decision.

Ecclesiastes 12:7(KJV) - Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Just like a spirit returns to God at death and the body decomposes, a human spirit comes from God at conception and the body starts to grow. Perhaps, the entrance of the spirit causes conception? Think about that. I believe that the spirit of a human being plays a role in controlling how DNA triggers the process of cell multiplication in a fertilized egg. This explains why even under perfect conditions, the process never works 100%. Doctors cannot guarantee that cell replication will take place resulting in the development of a fetus when they implant a sperm into an egg.

Jeremiah 1:4-6(NLT) - The Lord gave me this message: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

Did you see that? Jeremiah existed before his body was formed in his mother's womb, not just before birth. It's easy to acknowledge that God set him apart before birth because when you look at an ultrasound you see a person. However, how do you explain the fact that God knew him before he was even formed? Simple. The real Jeremiah existed before the physical Jeremiah and when the physical Jeremiah died, his body decomposed and his spirit returned to God.

Psalms 139:13-16(NLT) - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Doctors do their part but God chooses whether or not the process of conception ever begins because there is no conception of a human without a human spirit that comes from God. This explains why no human being is a mistake. It doesn't matter the conditions of a sperm entering an egg, only God determines whether or not a fetus will form. He forms it. The only part of the process we control is the physical act of bringing the sperm and egg together whether through natural or scientifically enhanced processes. God determines if that embryo fully develops. Regardless, this brings us to #3 which is a stern warning.

3) Think Carefully Before Including A Third Person!

Genesis 16:1-6(NLT) - Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.

One popular solution for infertility is the involvement of surrogates. In this situation, the sperm of a man is used to fertilize the egg of a woman outside of the body and the resulting embryo is placed into the womb of another woman. Sometimes, the couple desiring the baby donates the sperm and egg but many times, other people donate either the sperm or the egg or both. These donors can be anonymous. Though it sounds like a good idea when you first think of it, Abraham and Sarah tried their version of that option and it didn't turn out well.

When the process of conceiving a child involves three or four people the door swings open wide for drama. Right now, there's a famous actress who divorced her husband while a surrogate was carrying their baby. Since the "fertilized eggs" were not her own she claims that she's technically not the mother and should hold no responsibility for the child. The case is probably still dragging through the courts today. The person in the worst position in that situation is the surrogate mother who essentially plays the role of Hagar. She was just trying to help out and now she just can't win. This brings us to Option #4.

4) Adopt

Ephesians 1:3-5(NLT) - All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Do you know that every single one of us in The Body of Christ are adopted into His family? That's because we were born into sin and without Jesus are left outside of God's family. That's the example God set for us. When we were separated from Him and left out in the cold with only the devil as our father, God reached out and adopted us. If a Christian couple can't have children, adoption is always an option. That's why, the first step is always to pray. When you pray, God's solution might just be adoption.

James 1:27(NKJV) - Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

What's the most important thing an orphan needs? A loving family! Right now there is a young lady living in your area contemplating aborting her unborn child because she knows she is not ready to be a mother. Why can't someone else who is willing and able raise the child? While there are Christian married couples crying out to God for a child of their own, there are unwed mothers crying out to God because they have children and can't take care of them. In the end, we end up with two problems. Parents who cannot or choose not to take care of their children and parents who cannot have children. Included in the first category are parents who died and left behind their children. Adoption is the solution to both problems.

We will end this blog today with a Word from The Lord;

Isaiah 54:1-6(NLT) - “Sing, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem, you who have never been in labor. For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband,” says the Lord. “Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities. “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God.
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Apostolic Mentorship

Apostolic Mentorship

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10(NLT) - History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.

Have you ever felt like you're the only one going through what you're going through? I have, at times, but I know that's not true. Nothing's new. It's happened before. It might be new to you or me but it's not new to mankind. After thousands of years and billions of people we're running out of unique experiences on the earth. Somebody has felt your hurt before. Someone has experienced your failure before. Someone's been disappointed just like you before. Someone has been in your situation before. In the same vein, someone has had your gift before. Someone has had a similar opportunity before. Someone's had to make a similar decision before. It's not new. It's just new to you.

As I prepared to walk out the door of a previous job into a much better position elsewhere I asked the president of my former company for any advice he could give. At the top of his list was a simple instruction; "Find a mentor. That person will be an invaluable resource throughout the course of your journey." Coincidentally, in preparation for my new position I read the book, "Passing It On" by Dr. Myles Munroe. Contained within it was the same principle of mentorship and how crucial it is to the continued success of The Church of Jesus Christ. With that in mind, I invite you to Friday night's session of this weekend's conference "Building The Church" at The Body Church in Decatur, GA.

At that session my mother, Apostle Jemma Duncan, will officially launch her new book, "Common Mistakes Women Make" in the US market. It's a labor of love to women in the church from a mother of three, wife of almost forty years, pastor of many, radio and television host of "Ask Pastor Jemma", prolific author, Bible School founder and retired elementary school teacher. Each time I hear my mother teach God's Word I am amazed at how clearly the Voice of God is communicated through her words. My mother taught me how to write as a young elementary school student when I would get all A's except for a huge C in Creative Writing. As a young preacher, my mother would critique some of my early messages and helped hone my teaching style.

Titus 2:1-7(NLT) - As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.

Older women must train the younger women to be good wives and mothers, to make wise decisions, to be pure, to take care of their homes, to do well and respect their husbands. In the same way, older men must teach younger men to make wise decisions as men, husbands and fathers. This is the model of The Church. We're not supposed to figure everything out for ourselves, we're supposed to receive and then pass down generational wisdom from which The Church can grow to please God. I didn't have a name for this principle so I created one; "Apostolic Mentorship". Older women are church mothers and older men are church fathers with years of experience from which the rest of us can benefit. We are a family and when things are done right, we won't repeat mistakes.

1 Corinthians 10:13(NLT) - The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Women, this Friday was set up especially for you. Someone else has felt the way you feel. Someone else has faced the challenges you face. Your temptations have been on repeat throughout history. God is faithful and wants to provide you with answers to your many questions. Your questions have been asked before and the answers have already been given. The answers you need are out there and you can get them if you make yourself available to receive them. With that, I am reminded of the common saying, "If we don't learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them." Praise God, that won't happen to you. See you on Friday at The Body Church for the launch of "Common Mistakes Women Make".

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Join The Conversation: Building Apostolic Communities

Fostering and Forging Apostolic Communities

Psalms 133:1-3(NLT) - Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.

This Thursday, August 20th, we are excited to have as a special guest at Coffee Shop Conversations, Apostle Jemma Duncan, the author of "Fostering and Forging Apostolic Communities". This will officially kick off, "Building The Church", our revolutionary weekend of meetings at The Body Church with both Apostles Jemma and Emanuel Vivian Duncan. For this week, this blog will serve simply to whet your appetite as we await The Word of The Lord through the Apostles.

Acts 2:1-12(NLT) - When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

Our latest sermon series at The Body Church is called "One" and it's an intense study of unity in the local church first and then in The Body of Christ as a whole. When we look at the beginning of The Church in Acts 2 we see a couple simple things happen in a very specific sequence with fascinating results. Let's take a look.

How The Church Was Built!

1) Jesus left a group of 120 people to wait for The Holy Spirit in The Upper Room. This was the first step of the process. Jesus said wait for The Holy Spirit before doing anything else and they obeyed.

2) They were unified in one place until The Holy Spirit showed up and anointed everyone of them. The Bible said that they were in one accord in one place. That's the type of atmosphere that's ripe for a move of God's Spirit.

3) They all received a common language (The Language of The Spirit) which enabled them to say the same things (testify of God's wonderful works) with completely different tongues, none of which were native to them but were easily understood by the foreigners gathered around listening to them.

4) Apostle Peter stood up and preached the first church sermon ever and it was a long one. Someone has to say something even though everyone experiences the power of The Holy Spirit. Church communities cannot grow without good teaching. Talking in tongues, prayer, prophesying, dancing, falling out, etc. are all good but preaching is important too.

5) The message ended with an altar call during which the first 3000 people got saved. Peter taught the people about the crucified and resurrected Jesus and they responded by committing their lives. Jesus was lifted up from the earth and He drew all men to Himself. He just did it that time through Peter.

6) The Church developed from 120 people waiting for The Holy Spirit in a room to a community of at least 3,120 who engaged in some very specific activities outlined in the following verses.

Acts 2:40-47(NLT) - And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

7) They devoted themselves to The Apostle's teaching. In other words, The Apostles kept teaching and the people kept doing what they were taught. One sermon from Peter, though quite effective, was not enough. The same applies to us.

8) They devoted themselves to fellowship. People spent time together which meant that even though they were different they learned to get along. We can't hate each other and fellowship. Church communities share life together. Lone rangers have no place in church. Plug in!

9) They devoted themselves to sharing meals including Communion. When people eat together it builds community. The same way families grow when they all sit at the table together, church communities grow when people eat together. Note that I didn't say churches grow. I said church communities. There's a difference. You can have a big church but that doesn't make it a community. 😉

10) They committed themselves to prayer. Have you ever heard the saying, "the family that prays together stays together?" Well, it applies to church families too. When it's time to pray we should all show up in the same numbers as when it's time to listen to The Word, hang out together or eat. All four are crucial to building the church community. You can't leave out any of them.

11) When the top ten were complete, God moved through miraculous signs and wonders among The Church. That was the order. The first miracle was The Holy Ghost falling upon everybody, then other miracles followed.

12) They helped each other out. Church communities take care of their own. We look out for each other first even before we try to look out for the community around us. We are a community already. It starts at "home".

13) They went to church consistently. You can't build a church community if people don't go to church. That's an easy step to follow because it's directly related to being devoted to The Apostle's teaching. People who show up on Sunday morning get something to follow during the week.

14) They hung out at each other's homes. This one's special for me because I grew up in a pastor's home where people would show up at our house uninvited, some of whom we did not even know. Thankfully, those days are over. However, church communities grow as people spend time at each other's homes when invited, of course.

15) They enjoyed each other. This seems too simple to make the list but it's pretty important. We have to enjoy each other's company. When people like each other, they enjoy each other. Truthfully, you don't have to like everybody you meet or even know, but at the very least, you should like the people at your church. To build the community you should enjoy each other's company.

With these 15 characteristics in place The Church community grew daily as God kept adding people. Additionally, miracles and wonders were done consistently at the hands of The Apostles. If that does not describe your church community, you're invited to Coffee Shop Conversations on Thursday night. If it does, you're also invited because we would love to hear how you do it. Today's blog is just a quick introduction. It doesn't do justice to what my mother, Apostle Jemma Duncan will teach from her book, "Fostering and Forging Apostolic Communities". If you live in the Atlanta area, don't miss it. What are your thoughts? Join the conversation.

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Hearing God's Voice

Date - Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

The Body Church
3015 Rainbow Dr,
Suite #142,
Building #3009,
Decatur, GA 30034

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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Divine Encounters With Jesus - Only Believe

CLICK HERE TO SEE "HEARING GOD'S VOICE"

Date - Sunday, July 26th, 2015

The Body Church
3015 Rainbow Dr,
Suite #142,
Building #3009,
Decatur, GA 30034

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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July 6, 2015 Posted by admin in Purpose

Make The Most Of Life While You Still Have A Chance

live

Hebrews 9:27-28(NKJV) - And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Yesterday, I received a call from one of my friends with some very bad news. Another friend of ours had a heart attack and passed away the day before. He found out about the death on Facebook after noticing several postings offering condolences on the guy's page. After first wondering what was going on, he was eventually able to deduce what had happened. At the time of his untimely death, our friend was no older than 38 years old. He was a man of God gifted in music and teaching God's Word. He came from a family of ministers and had spent much of his life in the ministry.

However, during the last few years he faced some trying times in his personal life. He would always put on a brave face when we saw him so there was no way for us to know how he was coping. We just hung out with him the other day while watching a big boxing match at a friend's house. We knew he was going through a rough season but there was no way we could have imagined that he would have died so suddenly. That changed everything.

I think about the times I talked with him on the phone encouraging him and offering Godly counsel. I wonder if I should have said certain things differently or maybe adopted a much stronger stance on certain issues. Would it have influenced his situation for the better or perhaps even saved his life? Nonetheless, hindsight is 20-20. We comfort our hearts knowing that he's in heaven where he doesn't have to deal with any more of this earthly mess.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8(KJV) - To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Welcome to today's blog. It's real! I'll be honest. This entire situation really shook me. What do you mean he's dead? People just die like that? Good guys too? Was it really his time to die already? While driving home with my wife after the same boxing match a few months ago I commented to her about how gifted he was and how much we needed his gifts in the church. We could only dream of people like him all over Atlanta choosing to join a church like our own in a city full of amazing edifices led by internationally known superstars.

I then lamented that there are so many huge churches full of gifted people who prefer to go there, sit down and do nothing instead of finding a place to serve where they are really needed. If that wasn't enough I didn't factor in the possibility of death coming early because that thought always brings a sense of urgency. People are dying with gifts, talents and dreams that we need in The Body of Christ. Hence, those of us who are still alive need to live like there's a reason to live and do everything God has called us to do right now. Don't think about it. Do it now! If it's not needed where you are then find somewhere else to do it. The time for excuses is over. Just do it! You never know when your time will be up.

Ephesians 5:15-17(AMP) - Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.

So what are you doing with your life? Are you living like time is running out or are you letting precious time go to waste? One of my favorite professors once told me that time is our only non-renewable resource. Once it's gone, it's gone. You cannot make time. You cannot make up time. You cannot even manage time. You can manage what you do with the time you have and that's about it. Time progresses regardless of what you do. It doesn't depend on you and there's nothing you can do to affect it. As a result, if you don't do something with your time you will lose it. What's even worse is that you have no idea how much time you do have. So you may be operating on the assumption that you have allot of time when you may only have a little.

You're still alive so make the most of the time you have left on the earth. Live with purpose. Live with wisdom. Get a hold of God's Will for your life and don't settle for anything less than its complete fulfillment. Don't sit on your gifts. Live with a sense of urgency. No, the sky's not falling but the clock is ticking and that's an even bigger emergency. Tick tock, tick tock... Each second of time is one less second you have to do God's Will for your life. If you don't know where to start, you can start here.

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Getting To Know Jesus - A Personal Journey To Freedom

Date - Sunday, June 21st, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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The Miracle of Sarah’s Conception

baby

Today's blog is an excerpt from Faith Science.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. - Hebrews 11:11–12 kjv

I defined the spiritual method as, “The use of faith in the Word of God as the activation energy necessary to cause matter to change form.” Sarah’s faith in the Word of God directly transformed her physical body. Her faith caused a successful reaction between the spiritual matter of the Word of God and the physical matter of her body, resulting in the miraculous conception of Isaac. Withal, these words of Paul in Hebrews 11:11–12 merely scratch the surface of this powerful case study of the practical application of faith in the life of Sarah.

God promised Abram the same blessing over and over until Abram finally stood up to God in Genesis 15 and questioned him concerning his descendants. In Genesis 15:2–6, Abram complained that even though his blessings were great, he had no children of his own to inherit them. In response, God reassured him that he would have a son and gave him an object lesson by comparing the number of his future descendants to the stars in the sky. He then made a covenant with him that would never be broken.

In Genesis 16, things got interesting. Up to that point, God had given all of his directions to Abram and nothing to Sarai (before the name change). Therefore, Sarai was standing on Abram’s faith, and that was not enough to sustain her. She agreed that God’s plan for the family was great, but she just couldn’t conceive the possibility of it taking place without a little help. She understood her physical inability to have children and came up with her own plan.

In Genesis 16, she offered her servant, Haggai, to Abram so he could have a child. That was not God’s plan, but he allowed it to take place. He blessed Ishmael, the son of Haggai and Abram, but made it clear that his descendants would present a major problem in the future. Even though the name Sarah was placed in the Hall of Faith listed in Hebrews 11, she showed a human side just like the rest of us.

How many times have you tried to help God’s plan by taking steps of your own? Maybe God told you that he would give you a husband or wife on his schedule but you decided to settle with someone because you didn’t want to miss a great opportunity at your age. Maybe God told you that he would bless you with a nice car and you took out a loan on a luxury car that you could not afford.

Maybe you did that with your house. Maybe you did that with your ministry. God promised you great expansion, and you expanded on your own instead of waiting for his plan to come into effect. Twenty-four years after the initial move from their homeland, God renewed his covenant with Abram and Sarai, which included changing their names to Abraham and Sarah. He then promised Abraham that the heir of all of his wealth would come from a union between him and his wife. In Genesis 18, God spoke to Sarah for the first time. God also visited Abraham at his home with two angels in the form of human beings and spoke face-to-face with him.

This is important because some Christians don’t take it literally when God said that he made man in his image and his likeness in Genesis 1:26–27. They cannot conceive that we look anything like God. Well, guess what? God showed up with two angels in Genesis 18:1, and all three looked just like regular men. They sat down, let Abraham wash their feet, and ate physical food prepared for them. Now that’s fascinating! According to 1 Colossians 2:9, the fullness of the Godhead lives in the body of Jesus Christ. Hence, whenever God appeared on earth, whether in the Old or New Testament, he was Jesus.

“Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked. “She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied. Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband— is also so old?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.” - Genesis 18:9–15 nlt

God told Sarah that she would have a son within one year, and she laughed. Thus, if you think you’re a loser because you didn’t believe what God said to you the first time, you’re in good company. I guess I’m too young to care about the impossibility of some of God’s promises. I believe everything like a little child does. If God says it, then I believe it and I keenly wait for it all to come to pass in my life. One day I’ll lead the church of Jesus Christ to a place where they believe God’s ability to give them victory over physical death through the power of his Holy Spirit.

Maybe it’s laughable to some people, but it’s as real as can be. What has God said to you that you still don’t believe? Do you really think he can’t get you out of poverty? Do you really think he can’t heal you of a terminal illness? Is anything too hard for the Lord? Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 that with God all things are possible, and then in Mark 9:23, he said that all things are possible to you if you believe.

Faith is more than just a religious exercise. Faith is God’s secret to getting things done. Do you want to be like God? Then operate in faith. If he says something, believe it, even if the only evidence you have is what he says. Remember that just because something is invisible and mass-less doesn’t mean that it does not exist. The lesson learned from the miracle of Sarah’s conception is that even when you initially doubt a word from the Lord, if you eventually choose to believe, he’ll still do it!

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