Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Dead Man's Prayer

The moment we believe the gospel we die. Romans 6 and Galatians 2:20 states that our old man is crucified with Christ, that we were baptized by the Spirit into his death. Galatians 5 says the we that are Christ's have crucified the flesh and its affections and lusts. We are conformable unto Christ's death. Several times throughout Paul's writings is this doctrine of our old man dying, our flesh being crucified.

Let me ask then, if we are crucified in Christ and we are to reckon ourselves dead, if our life is not our own, then why do we pray for things that we want for our life here and now? Why do we pray for physical needs if our flesh is dead. We know that we are in a corruptible body and it is going to do just that...corrupt. Why do we then pray for earthly blessings for our dead man's life? What good are physical blessings to a dead man? What use does a dead man have for carnal objects that only supply needs for the living? What cares of this world does a dead man have? The obvious answer is none.

The other side of death is life. Our flesh is dead in Christ but our Spirit is made alive. We live in the corruptible physical body but we have life in Christ by the Spirit. We can start living the resurrected life now! Isn't that a joy! I have to work on patience, so when I heard it put this way I got super excited! I don't have to wait to start living the resurrected life!! :)

A lot of us are rightfully looking forward to heaven but think only when we get to heaven is when we start our eternal life and can enjoy all the blessings and good stuff then. Don't you realize that we are crucified with Christ, nevertheless we live, yet not ourselves but Christ in us and the life that we now live in the flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us. So though we have hope and wait for our resurrected bodies, our resurrected life started the moment we were saved and put into the Body of Christ.

We can joy in God's word which states that we have all spiritual blessings now: righteousness, justification, forgiveness, peace, reconciliation. We are made ambassadors for Christ! What an honor to be given such a position, and only in Christ can this be accomplished. We can joy in the tasks that we have been given that has a far more eternal weight and glory than any goal and accomplishment that our flesh can achieve.

Our life is hid in Christ, we are part of the Body of Christ. Our mind is set on things above thus our prayers ought to be as well. When our flesh died on the cross with Christ we were also given a new life by his Spirit which now lives in us. This inner man that Ephesians talks about is the one living. He prays for things that pertain to Christ's will. He prays for things that have to do with his life which is not carnal! Our inner man longs to see souls saved and saints edified thus thinks of how to accomplish this. A live man's prayer longs to share life with others and not his life but Christ's life and oh what that means to a world full of the walking dead.

We pray what we know; if you have found that you don't know what to pray for then learning God's word is the first step in correcting your mind away from your dead man's life and strengthening your inner man. In order to pray for God's will in your life you must first know what the bible teaches about what God is doing.

Here are some helpful lessons on prayer:
http://graceambassadors.com/life/prayer/how-prayer-works-2

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What if...

Have you prayed in Jesus' name like Matthew 14:13-14 says to do and this verse did not hold true "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it?" What if Jesus wasn't talking to you when he said that? 

Haven't you wondered why God isn't healing every manner of sickness and disease like he said he would in Matthew 4:23 and 9:35What if the gospel of the kingdom preached in Matthew chapter 4 and 9 and Mark 1 was never meant for you? 

Have you waited on the Lord to give you that break in life because you have given to others, given tithes, given for the sake of God's kingdom? Luke 18:29-30 says that those who give for the kingdom of God's sake will receive more in this present time and in the life to come. Based on Luke 6:38 if you "give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."  What if Jesus wasn't talking to you when he made that promise, but rather, his audience was with a different people, Israel, at a different time of God's plan to bless the earth?

What if you are not God's covenanted people, whom he never gave the law to, whom he never promised physical blessing to, whom he never promised a kingdom to; but rather you are part of Christ's body, the Church, who is freed from the law, who has all spiritual blessings intended to go to heavenly places? (Col 1; Rom 6; Gal 5; Eph 1-2)

What if Jesus revealed himself to Saul on the road to Damascus, believed that Jesus was the Christ, and was told to preach the gospel of grace (not the gospel of the circumcision given to Israel) (Gal 2). What if Jesus revealed the mystery of faith alone without works, without the law, without covenanted promises and signs and wonders. (Eph 3) 

Wouldn't your bible make sense now? You wanted to let all your bible be true but it was rather difficult dealing with verses that said you had to keep the commandments and sell all you have to have eternal life (Matt 19), when in Ephesians it states that it is not by our works that we are saved (Eph 2:8-9).

You wanted to let all your bible be true but it was rather difficult dealing with verses that said you would speak in tongues, and people would be healed after they believed (Luke16) . Yet in 1 Corinthians it says that God's grace is sufficient for our infirmities (2 Cor 12:9). 

If you allow God's word to be true as it stands, let the verses mean what they say; then you will always come to the same conclusion, God must have had different instructions for a different people at that time. Now you just need to find where your instructions for today are. I'll give you a hint, they are only found in the epistles written by Paul. (Romans-Philemon) Paul was given the dispensation of the grace of God which was kept secret (Rom 16:25; Eph 3). This is different when compared to the Kingdom and Law given by God to his prophets and Israel and was made known from creation (Acts 3:20).

For more resources on how to properly study your bible and to finally learn how to let God's entire word be true visit GraceAmbassadors.com

Here are bible studies about the special apostleship given by Jesus Christ to Paul.
http://graceambassadors.com/paul

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bible Questions to Consider

Where are you in your understanding of God's word?
Make sure to get your bible out to look up these verses.
  1. Should we work and save like the ant in Proverbs 6:6 and 2 Thess 3:10 or do we trust God to provide as do the ravens and take no thought for our provision as in Luke 12:22-33? And should we sell all that we have trusting that the Lord knows our needs or do we need to work to provide for our own as 1 Timothy 5:8 teaches?
  2. Is our forgiveness based upon forgiving others as in Matthew 6:14-15 or do we obtain forgiveness by our faith in Christ blood as Colossians 1:14 and Ephesians 1:7 states?
  3. Are we under the law as Matthew 5:19 points out as well as Matt 19:17, Matt 23, or are we free from the law as Romans 6:14 reads? And if we are free from the law should we be following Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as our pattern of operation since Jesus came to fulfill the law in Matthew 5:17?
  4. Should we meditate and study the scriptures to convince the gainsayers as Titus 1:9 and 2 Timothy 2:15 say or should we give no thought on what to say and trust the Holy Spirit to give us utterance as is instructed in Luke 21:14-15?
  5. Will we reign in heaven like Ephesians 2:6 states or on earth like Luke 22:30 teaches?
  6. Do our works play a role in obtaining eternal life as Luke 10:25-29 and James 2:24 teach or do we obtain eternal life without our works like Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 4:5 teach?
  7. If in Luke 9 Jesus had not died yet, what gospel were the disciples preaching in verse 6? Especially since they did not understand Jesus' death and resurrection in Luke 18:33-34, what gospel were they preaching for 9 chapters if they did not understand the gospel of Jesus' death and resurrection for sins?

To give you a hint with these questions: only rightly dividing the scriptures will give you the correct answer to the confusion that is cause by the apostate church of today's Christianity (which should more appropriately be called Christendom.) 

http://graceambassadors.com/testimonials

Here is a link of just a few testimonials of once confused, frustrated, and sadly lost 'Christians' who came to understand God's word by understanding how to study and read it. God intended his word to be used by his people at all times. This by necessity means that we, as ambassadors of Christ are able to understand it properly in order to see others come to the knowledge of truth. I hope that you will consider the above questions with the motive of letting God be true (instead of your own agenda of what you feel and like best.)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

History and Authority

I have been on this history kick lately. A subject in which I thoroughly did not enjoy when I was in high school; probably because it was a list of 50 names that we had to match up with 50 dates and never saw the connection and affects of that list on today's world. However, since going through our verse by verse study in Genesis at church, history has become a favorite subject of mine now.

I am not interested in history for history's sake alone, but rather my interest in the bible has sparked my current interest in history. Correct doctrine affects every area of your life, and obviously even that before your life.

My current observation of the Church today is one of disgust because of the ignorance surrounding the very thing that they say they put their faith in: the bible- the very words of God. Even that statement is only half true because some Christians say that we do not have God's words today. Besides the lack of logical reasoning behind having faith in God yet saying we do not have his words, the Church has a problem of authority. That is obvious when studying history.

We are on a decline of bible literacy. Our so called bible students today who pride themselves in going to seminary would look like a bunch of foolish babes in their knowledge of God's word compared to just the commonly understood basics among bible students one to two hundred years ago. Of course when studying church history this would be evident and what is more evident is the problem: the problem of authority.

Our society lacks integrity and it is sickening to see it called "loving" because there are no confrontations. This was not how church has behaved in the past nor is it how today's Body of Christ is to get any work accomplished. To think that the disagreements in today's Christianity is only a recent thing is proof of one's lack of their understanding of history. There have been corruptors of God's word back in the first and second century, back in the days of the prophets, and back in the Garden. If people only knew what those before us stood for! They stood for truth. Defending God and his word is the only thing worth fighting for. A person defending God's word values and loves truth. Yet, the world looks at them as arrogant and unloving.

Authority issues go back to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden but let's just summarize it from a book that was suggested to me as I venture forth in my current interest in making known the importance of God's word throughout history. The book titled 'The Apostasy of the Christian Church' by R. Dawson Barlow.

"This then, is the root of the unbelief and rebellion of the Jewish nation and of the professed Body of Christ in this age. But just to make sure we are not deceived by the niceties of some people and human "sweetness," it is at this point we must be very clear about the nature of apostasy. Apostasy does not usually deny the existence of God. it does not behave itself unseemly and cry out that it hates God. In fact, apostates are pretty nice people whose life philosophy is to get along with everybody, offend no one and attempt to make the world a better place. Apostasy pursues to serve a "god of his/her own imagination" and serve "he, she, or even it" through a form of religion whose foundation of authority is the subjective feelings they have on a certain matter.

It matters not what the revelation of God says, the final, ultimate authority is "how I feel about any issue in my heart!" It rejects the objective authority of the Word of God as the final court of appeal, and, in the process of this rejection, embraces the deceitful, subjective message of human heart and misinterprets it as God's authoritative message. The buzz word of this growing number of people is, "Well, you have to do whatever is right for you." The conclusion is that nothing is really right or wrong, but what is right and wrong for me! This is nothing but a denial of any absolute truths."

Though studying history will provide you with much helpful information, the personal study of your bible, believing it as God's authoritative word, will provide a far greater benefit.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The "AFTER" Picture

Our end goal in this body and life transformation is to live a life of godliness with contentment. Not because we get something out of it but because we understand who we are, now.

People choose an "AFTER" picture as a motivator to become someone else, to live a life that will get them those results. They are tired of making the choices and decisions they are use to making and have now set a goal of a new identity.

They want people to look at them a certain way, and to be known for promoting a certain lifestyle which chooses to go for a run instead of watching a movie. This new identity, this "AFTER" picture becomes their motivator.

Similarly, our motivation for living a godly life with contentment comes from understanding who we are in Christ, and forgetting who we were without Christ.

This understanding and knowledge does not come overnight, just like your "AFTER" picture body doesn't appear over night. Wouldn't that be nice! But alas it does not. That is why we are to study, to come unto the knowledge of the truth, to give ourselves wholly unto the doctrine; else how are we to know who we have become in Christ? And therefore, how are we to expect a transformation without knowledge?

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

We are created in Christ Jesus you see. We are not created in our flesh, we are not created to do as we please, we are not created to find ourselves and our personality, nor to live out the American Dream. (This is where the motivational tough guy comes in for 10 minutes to fuel you up before the big Tough Mudder.) Except God's words have a lot more power. Just imagine a muscle guy on stage shouting these reminders at you.....

We are bought with a price, our body and our spirit are God's - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
We are crucified with Christ, never the less we live, yet not us, but Christ liveth in us. - Galatians 2:20
We are Christ's and Christ is God's - 1 Corinthians 3:23
We are ambassadors for Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:20
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works - Ephesians 2:10
We are dead, our life is hid with Christ in God - Colossians 3:3
We are servants to God (and righteousness being made free from sin), we have our fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life - Romans 6:22
Servant of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart - Ephesians 6:6

Just like getting in shape, it takes endurance, patience, faithfulness to the doctrine, longsuffering, praying without ceasing. There is no end profit of living after the flesh; so much so that Christ took it upon himself to die on the cross, killing our flesh for us so that we can live a life in Him and for Him. Before getting in shape we thought that donuts, ice cream, and fair food was the best thing ever; then we learn the lack of nutrients and that no profit comes from those things. God knows what is great gain: godliness with contentment.

But how do we do that, you may ask. The extent to which we find it hard to live godly and do good works as we are called to do is the extent that we have reckoned our old man dead. How much do you yearn to know what God has to say? Does that lead to you studying what He has said? How much do you want to see men saved and come to the knowledge of the truth? Does that lead you do something to get the truth to people?

We think that this world is life, and how mistaken we are when truth opens our eyes to see the reality of real life in Christ, the reality of real benefit, the reality of real joy that come from being godly and being content. But it is only in Christ that life can be experienced. O, how much life is in Christ! You can only know by studying His Word.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The "BEFORE" Picture

Have you ever been in between needing to get in-shape and looking like you're in shape? For example, my experience is I'm told that I don't need to worry about being in-shape because I already look it. However, secretly I know that I haven't worked out in 2 months and my eating habits consist of Culver's burgers with a free scoop of custard and my favorite Sour Cream N' Onion potato chips. Yikes, I mean my legs can feel it too, just screaming "WORK ME!"

When people around you are saying 'Oh no, you look great! Don't worry so much about it" its harder to act upon what I know is the truth, which is - I've been slacking. I try to push to the side what I know I should be doing because I seem to be doing alright, I mean no one around can tell any different. But I feel sluggish, my muscles ache (and not the sore ache but the sitting around not being used ache), and the worst part is not exercising, it's not beneficial and it's not helpful in getting towards my end goal.

But maybe this isn't you, perhaps you wish you were in between stages but have to do a lot of work just to get there. Part of me is jealous of these people because they have a better appreciation for and motivation to get to their end goal. Sadly, sometimes those who don't lack as much don't know what they have.

Being godly and living a life of contentment is similar to what I've described above. Some of us are not what Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 6 describe as our fleshy members: fornication, wickedness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, haters of God, proud, boasters, disobedient, adulterers, thieves, drunkards,wrath, strife, uncleanness...and on and on. Don't be so quick to forget sin is sin no matter how great or how small; if we have broken the least of these (pride, envy, deceit- lying, disobedient) then we are guilty of all.

When we read this list we are quick to exclude ourselves. When we read the list of the works of the flesh we picture some rough looking, mean, scary guy. After all they need saved MORE than us. "I'm not a murderer, adulterer, or fornicator." These are BAD sins right? We don't need as much work as some of those real sinners. We aren't like them. Of course I am being facetious.

It is so easy to 'have a form of godliness.' (2 Timothy 3:5) If you can quote a couple verses, and people know that you read your bible 5 minutes every morning, man, you are looked at as some type of spiritual giant! You are really hardcore about your faith. Are you really? This is the part when people around you are saying "Oh, no, you look great! Don't worry so much about it." But you know the truth. You know your affections are not set on things above (Col 3), you know that you are not reckoning your old man dead (Rom 6) with its deceitful lusts and desires. You and God know if you're a workman that'll be ashamed (2 Tim 3:15)

I heard my brother put it this way: The old man's affections aren't always those bad works of the flesh, but rather seeking our own and minding earthly things. Have you ever heard the phrase 'Follow your heart, whatever your heart desires, go after that.' Normally its directed towards younger people and given as a motivator to those who 'need some time for themselves.'

Jeremiah 17:9 is an excellent cross reference and pretty much tears down the follow your dream concept "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" Romans 6 does a pretty good job at crucifying that old man. Our old man might be a good person in the eyes of the world. Our old man might desire a good thing, a noble thing in the eyes of the world. But what is that thing's end goal, purpose, eternal weight? On what are our affections set?

Are we here to persuade men or God? Are we here to please men? (Galatians 1) We should strive for those things of which we are apprehended. We should act according to truth which is according to our position, who we are in Christ. Not being content with our old man, even if everyone around us is saying we are doing "OK" - according to their standards. Our calling is a higher calling, our standards come from the word of God, and our judge is God himself.

Don't be content with this "BEFORE" picture which is having a form of godliness but denying the power of God's word and its ability to change you and your life. (2 Tim 3:5, 1 Thess 2:13). Set your affections on things above, let grace teach you how to live godly in this present evil world, redeem the time (Col 4, Eph 5), give yourself wholly, take head unto thyself and the doctrine (1 Thess 4). Be a workman, no really, do something!







Thursday, July 10, 2014

Body and Life Transformations

We have all been there. The point of "I'm going to do it! No, I'm serious! This time I'm going to stick to this workout and go all out even on the food plan that goes with it."

We Google 'Best, fastest, muscle, fat burning workout.' Tons of results come back and we compare the before and after pictures, the body transformation section, right? Have you seen some of those people? Those defined muscles, super-toned midsection, nice legs. But do you know how extreme their workout regiment is and their diet to get that transformation?

They had to totally transform their mind from how it use to think, they had to go against the norm of other people's lifestyles, ranging from eating habits, to lazy habits, to time priority habits. They surrounded themselves with other people with like-minds of eating healthy, people who are not lazy, They research new exercises and techniques, they obtain more knowledge of how the body works and then they acted accordingly. 

Image that! people can learn and study and make a change. Somehow after reading what all that processed food is doing to your health, after finding out what lack of exercise is doing to your body and the more you hear it and hear it and read it the less appealing and satisfying it becomes to stay in the condition that you are in.

I figure a lot of people can relate to the principles of trying to get fit but we all know the bible states, 'bodily exercise profiteth little...' (1 Timothy)  I would imagine that we can also relate to the second part of that verse '....but godliness with contentment is great gain.'  We try to achieve this as well, godliness with contentment. Both parts are hard, godliness and then contentment with godliness. Its like godliness is the workout and contentment is the extreme food plan that goes with it. So even if we think the workouts aren't too hard we ALSO have to be temperate with our food decisions?...c'mon that's too much. 

Being godly is not very popular, it's not the top 50 searches in Google. In fact, if we studied godliness with contentment as much as we spend studying how to get fit, if we had the same zeal for godliness with contentment as we do about working out and eating healthy, if we were as obsessed with godliness with contentment as we are obsessed with our bodies we will probably be criticized for it, teased about it, people will think we have completely lost it.

You will know that you are close to the end result of godliness with contentment when things that you think are fun become different than things society thinks are fun; things that you enjoy your time doing end up being different than what society enjoys doing. The topics we choose to talk about change, what we watch on television changes, what we choose to listen to changes, perhaps our clothing style changes, and even our jokes might change.

Just like the person in that perfect "After" picture changed their lifestyle, their habits, and probably got teased about being obsessive to get the result they wanted, we also will be looked at as obsessive when our life starts reflecting the zeal for godliness with contentment.

They will think that we are obsessed with something that to them holds little value. If it is turning heads that we wanted by working out, we will probably get a lot more by deciding to live a life that is godly and being content with it.

The truth is, if we are not disciplined in our efforts into getting that result....we will probably not have the transformation that we want. Just like if we are not disciplined (the bible uses the word temperate) in gaining godliness with  contentment, we will probably not get the result that we are called to have.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27, Titus 2:14, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Tim 2:21, 1 Th 4:4

(Clarification: We know that there is nothing in meat or drink, or the clothes we wear, or the the jokes we tell Roman 14:17 and we our salvation does not depend on works of righteousness which we do Titus 3:5 but the word of God effectually works in those that believe 1Th 2:13 and we are to live not as though we had already attained, either were already perfect: but we follow after, if that we may apprehend that for which also we are apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philippians chapter 3 discusses our efforts in transformation in this life.)