Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Resolute RESOLUTION -- A Solemn VOW

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  (Isaiah 5:20)
O LORD, i have heard Your voice and was afraid.  You have called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour.  You are about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O LORD, my LORD, You have stooped to honor me to be Your servant.  No man takes this honor upon himself save he that is called of GOD as was Aaron.  You have ordained me Your messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing.  They have rejected You, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

My GOD, i shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfitness for the work.  The responsibility is not mine, but Yours.  You have said, "I knew you -- I ordained you -- I sanctified you," and You have also said, "You shall go to all that I shall send you, and whatsoever I command you, you shall speak."  Who am i to argue with You or to call into question Your sovereign choice?  The decision is not mine but Yours.  So be it, LORD.  Your will, not mine, be done.

Well do i know, You are GOD of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as i honor You, You will honor me.  Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor You in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while i live.

i beseech You, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the Enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what i see faithfully.  Make my voice so like Your own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow You.

May we all serve like the Master Servant -- with all meekness and the supernatural power of the Holy SPIRIT.
LORD JESUS, i come to You for spiritual preparation. Lay Your hand upon me.  Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet.  Forbid that i should become a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling.  Save me from the curse that lies dark across the face of modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism.  Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering.  Help me to remember that i am a prophet -- not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet.  Let me never become a slave to crowds.  Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity.  Save me from the bondage to things.  Let me not waste my days puttering around the house.  Lay Your terror upon me, O GOD, and drive me to the place of prayer where i may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world.  Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping.  Teach me self-discipline that i may be a good soldier of CHRIST JESUS.

i accept hard work and small rewards in this life.  i ask for no easy place.  i shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier.  If others seek the smoother path, i shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly.  i shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes.

Or if, i should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Your kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows.  Teach me to use whatever i receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power.  And if in Your permissive providence honor should come to me by Your church, let me not forget in that hour that i am unworthy of the least of Your mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as i know myself, they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

And now, O LORD of heaven and earth, i consecrate my remaining days to You; let them be many or few, as You will.  Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and i would not influence it if i could.  i am Your servant to do Your will, and that will is sweeter to me than position, or riches, or fame and i choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

Though i am chosen of You and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that i am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men.  i pray You, therefore, my LORD and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries i may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others.  Fill me with Your power by the Holy SPIRIT, and i will go in Your strength and tell of Your righteousness, even Yours only.  i will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear LORD, when i am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above and make me to be numbered with Your saints in Glory everlasting.  Amen.  AMEN.

(Aiden Wilson Tozer, 1897-1963, "The Prayer of a Minor Prophet"

fully devoted follower -- share, testify Good News (in) agape love
As CHRISTians (born-again Believers in JESUS and followers of the CHRIST who has risen from the dead), we all are given the holy calling to be messengers, servants and prophets of GOD -- we all are called to serve GOD by sharing, declaring and proclaiming the Good News, the Gospel of CHRIST.  

This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  (Matthew 24:14)

Today, to prophesy is not to foretell future events or opine "new" revelation -- for all have already been revealed through and by and in CHRIST JESUS; and GOD's infallible written Word, the SPIRIT-inspired Holy Scriptures.  A prophet today is one who preaches Biblical truths -- to make known to men the laws of GOD, to call the people back to obedience to GOD's laws; to exhort the people to sincerity in worship; to warn them of Divine judgment upon sin, both personal and national (Bible.org); to proclaim to all the world JESUS' imminent Second Advent.

One who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.  (1 Corinthians 14:3)

May the prayer of A.W. Tozer, a "minor prophet," be our own resolute resolution -- our very own solemn vow.  May we all present our ALL (body, heart, mind and soul; and money, time and talents) to be our intelligent and reasonable service, our spiritual act of worship.  May we all be as living sacrifices, holy and separated unto GOD, acceptable in His sight. (Romans 12:1, paraphrased)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PURGATORY Is STILL HELL

...between us and you a GREAT CHASM has been FIXED, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us. (Luke 16:26)
Because i was born into the Catholic religion, i thought that after death, the soul would first go to a place to be purged of any remaining unforgiven sin before entering Heaven. Purgatory was the biggEST LIE i was EVER taught as a child! Today many of my loved ones continue to believe in this LIE...a lie that gives empty comfort and a false sense of security. It's a demonic LIE from Satan -- the Father of Lies.

Read for yourself what JESUS taught about death, about where a person's soul goes after he (or she) sheds the physical body, about the realities of Heaven AND Hell.  In the Book of Luke is a parable about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31) Would JESUS, the greatest and holiest TEACHER who ever lived -- teach a LIE?
Both the rich man and the beggar died.  Lazarus is in the bosom of Abraham -- in Paradise...in Heaven -- being comforted; the rich man is in HELL, already in torment. (v 23) The rich man is not in Purgatory -- a condition of purification or temporary punishment by which those who die are believed to be made ready for Heaven. As is written in the Holy Scriptures, that rich man went immediately to HELL, not to a separate compartment in HELL. The rich man went to HELL, separated from GOD -- separated from all the goodness and the loving presence of GOD...forever.

Believing in a Purgatory means believing that prayers (from those still alive on earth) is a means to influence GOD to remove a soul from Hell (or to at least shorten the period of painful purification) and to gain his entrance into Heaven. That prayers to Mary, the mother of the Son of GOD, can do it. That prayers to the apostle Paul, or the archangel Michael, or saint James -- JESUS' earthly brother -- can do it. That those already in Heaven can ask Almighty GOD for a soul to be freed out of Hell because of their "highly privileged proximity" to JESUS (mother, brother, apostle, saint, angel).

If Mary or the saints or the living sinners on earth can pray a dead man's soul out of  Hell into Heaven -- why did GOD the Father send GOD His Son to be excruciatingly tortured on the cross? Wasn't JESUS' sacrifice enough?  Wasn't His precious blood enough? Wasn't GOD's plan enough

For the sake of argument, let's say that there really is a Purgatory. Would anyone still risk not being saved and being tormented for however long it might take to be completely purged of sin -- to be totally cleansed from so-called venial sins -- those unforgiven "forgivable" sins? And Purgatory is still in HELL; therefore, it would still be HELLish. It would still be without the presence of GOD -- without Light, without Peace, without LOVE. Purgatory would still be an utterly HELLish place in HELL.
And what if those you've trusted to pray you into Heaven stopped praying for you? After the 40th or 100th day of mandatory prayer, can you trust them to continue praying for you?  What if those loyal friends all died before you got prayed into Heaven...and there's no one left to pray for you, and you are still in Purgatory, and you are still not purged clean of all your sins... what then? Who will then ask Mary to ask her Son JESUS to speak to GOD the Father?

Do you really believe that Mary herself is that instrument of GOD, endued with the supernatural power to intercede like an advocate (lawyer) to pray a soul out of Hell? Isn't the ADVOCATE, Whom GOD the Father had already sent -- JESUS -- GOD the SON? Isn't CHRIST GOD's Instrument of Peace, for He is the very Prince of Peace?

Do you really believe that Mary likes being made much of more than her beloved Son, Who is her GOD, Who is her Savior? Do you really believe that Mary feels honored when you pray to her instead of directly praying to GOD through JESUS, Who is Himself GOD, Whom the Holy Scriptures calls our HIGH PRIEST? Do you really believe that Mary enjoys your adoration that makes her equal (or more) in your affections towards her GOD, her MESSIAH JESUS?

IF you DO believe in a Purgatory where your soul will be purged of any remaining sin -- then it must follow that you ALSO believe that JESUS' work was NOT ENOUGH... that His BLOOD poured out for us sinners was NOT ENOUGH... that JESUS being nailed on the CROSS was NOT ENOUGH -- that JESUS HIMself IS not powerFUL ENOUGH... IS just not ENOUGH to save sinners from going to HELL. This belief says: JESUS + Purgatory = ENOUGH!

Purgatory is a myth...it does NOT exist in word or principle or parable in the Holy Scriptures. GOD's WORD says there's NO such thing AND there's NO such place.

NO where is it written in the Holy Scriptures about a special department, a separate "holding tank," for those waiting to be purged, cleansed, purified of their sins. Only IN CHRIST -- through His blood, through His cross, through His death -- can we be ALLtogether lovely...purged, cleansed, purified of all sin.
Heaven is sin-free. Incredibly, incomprehensively without sin of any kind. FREE of ALL sin -- Hallelujah! Do you truly believe that you can pass through Heaven's gates with even an ATOM of crud still clinging to your soul? Heaven is where GOD dwells in unapproachable light -- do you think you can approach His throne with even the slightest shadow of sin still darkening your soul?

When you meet GOD, will you say to Him, "Your blood was NOT ENOUGH!"?

Through His WORD, GOD has already said, continues to declare, and will forever proclaim -- "MESSIAH JESUS is exceedingly abundantly infinitely sufficient!"

Be "purged" totally, completely and eternally -- forever and forevermore -- today...now...at this very moment! TURN to JESUS, the CHRIST, the SAVIOR of ALL sinners who would receive Him as their Risen LORD. ASK to be forgiven. REPENT of your sins -- commit to turn away from them.  CONFESS to GOD -- sincerely agree with Him that you are a sinner, deserving only HELL after death on earth. TRUST in  Him alone. Receive His forgiveness.  Receive His perfect righteousness. Receive your new citizenship in Heaven. Receive the supernatural indwelling of the Holy SPIRIT of GOD. Receive your adoption into GOD's family.  Receive your right as a child of GOD to enter into Paradise -- into the Kingdom of your Almighty FATHER in Heaven!
Receive this CHRISTmas, the most valuable, most precious, most NECESSARY gift you and i will ever receive, and never ever will ever deserve -- the utterly amaZZZing grace of GOD -- the wonderFUL, AWEsome, fanTAStic, UNbelievable, INcredible, breathtakingly lovely and glorious, and infinitely worthy... LORD JESUS!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

JUST ONE HOUR -- With JESUS


The CHRISTmas season is that time of year of greatest hustle and bustle when Believers -- professing followers of CHRIST JESUS -- are tempted to “fall asleep” (to be so caught up with buying gifts, decorating trees, putting up lights, shopping for holiday delicacies, practicing for church pageantries, entertaining visitors) -- so as to dash around so busily with all this stuff that we won’t (will not, for it is our choice whether to will to do, or to will not to do) even spend one hour with JESUS.
Some of us will say, “But I do make time to be in intimate fellowship with GOD! I give Him 20 minutes here, 15 minutes there, 15 more between this and that…and I plan to pray another 10 minutes at midnight before I fall asleep.”

JESUS, Son of Man, during His incalculable agonizing hour in Gethsemane, told His followers (His actual disciples) to watch and pray with Him.  He didn’t ask much…just for their prayers and emotional support as He wrestled deep within His soul -- His soul that was exceedingly sorrowFUL, even unto death…the worst emotional and mental anguish that any human has ever experienced.

JESUS found His followers asleep.  “WHAT! Could you not watch with Me one hour?”

Watch and pray that we do not enter into the temptation of texting and Tweeting and facebook-ing for hours, of worrying and sorrowing and coveting those toys we can’t afford to buy, of making the celebration of CHRISTmas be our god, rather than worshiping JESUS as The GOD that He is by honoring Him with our time -- time that is His gift to us by His gracious will anyway.
JESUS was prayed up -- thoroughly prepared and supernaturally strengthened for what He knew was about to happen.  Our heavenly Father did answer His fervent prayer. He was delivered from that which He feared, which was, lest by impatience and distrust He should offend His Father, and so disable Himself to go on with His undertaking. (Hebrews 5:7) GOD provided that He should not fail or be discouraged. (Luke 22:43).  This excerpt is from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
JESUS’ disciples fell asleep, for the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  They were not prayed up -- they did not even pray, The LORD deliver me from this sleepy devil!

So when that time came (as our time will also come) of great trial and overwhelming upheaval, all the disciples of JESUS scattered…lost in their fears, depression, sorrows.  They did not watch and pray even that one hour.

JESUS is the very Reason for this season, and the only Reason for our very brief season here on earth.  So isn’t it Reason-able that we watch and pray with Him in that ALLways season-able one hour?
This CHRISTmas, let us not fall asleep, but daily watch and pray for one hour -- one wholesome hour of sweet intimacy, delicious enlightenment and delightFUL fellowship with CHRIST JESUS -- our Kingour LORD!