devotions

The Testimony of Jesus

Posted on October 9, 2007. Filed under: blog, devotions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

 “And I fell at his feet to worship him. But [the angel] said to me,See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10) 

A prophet, or prophetic ministry will be known by what it does, not by what it says it is. He or she will use the prophetic gift to speak forth the mind and counsel of God for repentance to be taught and righteousness to be preached in order to bring restoration and a return back to God and healing of broken bodies, souls and spirits.  

What is written and said will be a testimony of the truth of Jesus—as revealed from Genesis to Revelation. They will communicate God’s priorities, the present day utility of God’s power and His purposes as He speaks.
        

Paul states that Jesus Christ is the only foundation to be laid: 1 Corinthians 3:11: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 

The modern day prophetic ministry will speak words of exhortation, comfort and revelation. There will also be individual and corporate edification, learning and comfort. In public usage exercise of the prophetic gift will prove to be a sign for believers.
       

 This ministry will covet to exercise the prophetic gift for the purpose of edifying the Church of God whether it be in writings or in speaking.
       

Maturing the saints by preparing them for works of public service, or ministry, and teaching them how to build up the body of Christ is the mandate of the prophetic. Its purpose is to bring about unity of the faith that comes with the knowledge of the Son of God so that the body of Christ will mature into the full measure of Christ Himself.
        

Unity in the body of Christ is emphasized and must be based upon the truth of scripture, not other devices which overlook or ignore the truth of the Bible. All must be based upon the knowledge of the Son of God, which comes from the truth of the Word of God which teaches us of Christ.
        

A true prophetic ministry, just like the true Christian prophet, understands that their influence over others only comes when and if others voluntarily and willingly follow their example of personal holiness and servanthood to others by their public service, freely given.   

© 2007 Candace House. All Rights Reserve

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When The Word Of God Isn’t Enough

Posted on September 14, 2007. Filed under: devotions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2corinthians4_5.jpg 

There is an interesting passage of scripture I overlooked in Luke 16. I was reading the story that involves Abraham, Lazarus the beggar, and the rich man. This morning I had a “things that make you go hum” moment.

 

Everyone that is saved for any length of time has heard this story or read it. Well sometimes we can read the Word or hear it numerous times that it becomes too familiar.

 

We already go into reading or hearing a particular scripture with preconceived notions of what that passage is saying.

This morning the Lord showed me something that I hadn’t paid attention to even though I had it highlighted! So my spirit grasped it then. But there was an appointed time for me to consciously lay hold of it.

According to this story, there was a certain rich man who had more than he ever wanted or needed. He lived his life for himself, in selfish indulgence, not caring at all about the poor. Lazarus was a poor beggar who like a dog desired to be fed the crumbs from the masters table, though it is not clear if he ever was fed by the rich man.

After they both die, we get a glimpse of their situations in eternity. Lazarus is with Abraham, symbolizing that he is grafted into the family of God by faith in Christ. He is in heaven. The rich man is in agony in the burning flames of hell. Between the two a great divide which cannot be crossed is fixed.

A conversation is said to take place between Lazarus, the rich man, and Abraham. The rich man knows that his five brothers are as wicked as he was and without a doubt end up in torment as he is, so he begs Abraham to send somebody, even Lazarus, to his brothers. He thinks that if his brothers see a person raised from the dead that they will repent and put their faith in God.

Yet Abraham explains that unless they hear the law and the prophets, which they already have available to them, they will not repent.

Abraham’s statement, told by Christ as He gives this story, is emphasizing that the Scripture is sufficient.

Unless a person hears what they already have in the Word of God, they cannot and will not be saved. Even if some miraculous sign happened for the rich man’s brothers or for any man for that matter, they would still not believe.

We can deceive ourselves into thinking that if only Jesus came and appeared to all men that they would trust Him. We can think that we can come up with some other means to woo somebody to church or to Christ. The reality is that the greatest sign of all time has already taken place. Jesus Himself rose from the dead and people reject that, despite the overwhelming evidence of its historicity.

The Lord knew this and was foretelling in this story that even His death burial and resurrection would not be sufficient to bring some people to repentance. Christ Himself knew that only the Word of God could change a person’s heart. If Christ even byperforming the greatest miracle of all time couldn’t convince a person to believe, what really do we have to come up with? 

The Church has so many programs and works that they perform all to bring people to Christ. They are working themselves to death trying to come up with ways that will attract people into the household of the Lord.

Programs, skits, musicals, bazaars, fairs, workshops, auctions, giveaways, you name it the Church tries it. I look at all of the churches with theatre props, book stores, coffee houses, gyms, empowerment & business centers, soup kitchens, credit unions, colleges, schools, daycares, restaurants and so forth and so on. We here in America have made the Word of God secondary in comparison to all of the wonderful things we are doing for Him.

Churches are not willing to preach the full counsel of the Word for fear of losing members. They have listened to polls that say people’s attention spans cannot absorb a sermon over 15 minutes. So the Word becomes secondary and the programs  are first.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a lot of this stuff as long as it is in its proper place. What has me concerned is the mindset that the Word of God is not enough to get people saved.

The Word of God can stand on it’s on. It doesn’t need any help. The only thing God put His full backing on is His Word. The Scripture is the Power of God in written form. It is only through hearing and appropriating the Scriptures can sanctification take place.

Good works, community service, and theatrics can have their place. The issue is whether they are sufficient to be able to stand on their own apart from the Word of God.

The Body of Christ needs to study, memorize and meditate on the Word of God. I am  very concerned for the Church here in America because of what is coming down the pipeline for this country. The scripture says “Who have believed our report?”  Isaiah 53:1. You have to first know the report in order to believe it.

Remember man cannot live apart from taking in the Word of God. He cannot be saved apart from hearing the gospel, and he cannot be a mature Christian without instruction from the Scripture. We already know from Romans 1:16 that the “gospel is the power of God unto salvation.” We know from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Romans 10:16 says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the word; your word is truth.”

All of our progress in being sanctified into the image of Christ is due to our being immersed in the truth of the Word of God. There is no short cut to this thing called Sanctification.

  

© 2007, Candace House, All Rights Reserved.

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No Unsong Heroes

Posted on September 4, 2007. Filed under: devotions, ministry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

This morning I started thinking about an incident that happened to me. I was reading a verse of scripture when this came to mind.

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”

—Hebrews 6:10

  

I remember when I implemented a program in a former church years ago to have a variety store for the poor. I went and set up an account with Second Harvest, a food warehouse where you pay pennies on the dollar for items. I solicited the help of my best friend who was a minister in the church as well. We asked the pastor for space in an industrial park the church owned to set up a free store. He said yes.

  

We stocked it with food, medicine, personal hygiene products, clothes, furniture and toys. My girlfriend and I were the ones who went and picked the items up and unloaded them. Furniture and heavier items we had delivered.

  

We worked the store 2 days a week. We also traveled 2 hours one way to pick up food for a couple of years before they would send a truck our way. Never asked for gas money, and half the time paid for the food. We did this at least twice a month.

  

We made these items available to people that had fallen on hard times for free. People that came in for assistance traded time working in the store for items given. It made them feel good to be able to contribute. During this time we had the opportunity to share the Love of the Lord with them.

  

Many came to the Lord through this outreach, and joined the church as well. After a year the pastor wanted to re-evaluate whether we needed to continue with this project and if it brought “any value” to the ministry. After fighting with him on this issue, at the end of two years we handed it back over to him to do with as he wished.

  

Someone else joined the church a little later with like vision and went to him and said how the church could get publicity for the store. He went for it. Mind you the church had been getting publicity all along on a local level. He wanted “his” “name” recognized regionally.

  

When it was all said and done, the pastor credited this person to the media for piloting the program and doing all of the work. My girlfriend and I were never mentioned.

  

I don’t know if you have ever experienced this before: you do the work and turn in a great performance someone else gets the credit. They may not have done all that much to earn it, they were just there at the right time or simply knew how to “suck up” to the “people that matter.” They get the credit deserved by others who end up forgotten.

  

As Christians, this leaves us in a tough position. We don’t want to be selfish and egotistically toot our own horn. But it hurts. It’s not fair. It can lead to discouragement, anger, and resentment. I know it did with me for about a year I held on this.

  

When we find ourselves in this situation, I believe it is helpful to remember two things. First, we don’t work for our employer, teacher, manager, or boss or pastor: we ultimately work for the Lord. (see Ephesians 5:6-8)

  

If He is pleased, then we should be proud of our work and feel our goal has been accomplished even when we are not pat on the back. Yes, we all need some affirmation for a job well done, but sometimes it doesn’t come until the Father says, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

  

Second, God who sees will not forget what we have done. He knows who really did the hard work and who deserves the credit. He will be the one to reward us for doing His work for His Glory even if no one else knows or cares. So if you’ve found yourself in this situation, IN GOD’S FAMILY, THERE ARE NO UNSONG HEROES!

 

Shalom, 

2007. Candace House, All Rights Reserved

 

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