Transformed To Be Translated

I am a part of the “Trans” community.

Now, before you tune me out, please hear me out. I’m not talking about the trans-community you are hearing about in the news. The ones that are making all the noise lately. The ones who claim that you can “become what you truly feel you are”, or at least “identify” with what you feel you are. Yes, I’m talking about the “transgender” folks. The transexual folks. And the transvestite folks, all of which have forced us to acknowledge and accept them as “normal.” It’s hard to believe that we’re living in a world in which mankind claims they can alter what God has created. However, this is an indication that we are living in the last days – didn’t Jesus teach us that it would be as it was in the days of Lot? Well folks, it’s happening.

I do want to say this: God does have a trans-community. It’s just not the one you are being force-fed in the news media.

So I’ll say it again: I am a part of the trans-community. God’s.

“Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

I’ve been TRANSformed by the power of God! I’m not what I used to be. I’ve been changed. Old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new! I’m a brand-new creature in Christ Jesus!

Maybe what we’re seeing in the world today is the created of God truly crying out for a TRANSformation – they are simply looking in the wrong place. We really are supposed to be transformed from our NATURAL into the SUPERNATURAL, or spiritual, by the power of the Holy Ghost! By the renewing of our mind. It can’t happen with a carnal mind, the carnal mind is enmity (opposed) to God (Romans 8:7). It’s got to come out of our desire to know Him, and to be made conformable to His death. We really are supposed to be conformed – not to this world, but to the nature of God. And to be transformed, proving what is the absolute will of God – that we would become like Him.

And that’s not all. Another member of God’s trans-community was Enoch. Remember him? The one who walked with God. In fact, Enoch’s life is described in only four verses in Genesis, and two of those verses make this statement: “And Enoch walked with God.” The other verse that describes his life on this earth is Hebrews 11:5: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Did you catch it? In this one verse, some form of the word translated is use three times. He was translated out of this world and into the eternal to be with God forever. Because he walked with God. Because he pleased God.

And folks, that is my hope. To be trans-formed by the renewing of my mind, that one day I will be trans-lated into the eternal realm, to ever be with the Lord.

I’m a part of the trans-community. And I hope you are too.

Posted in Demonstration, Hope, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation

Build Yourself Up!

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1:20-21).

It seems there are so many opportunities in this earthly existence to be “torn down.” It is hard to maintain a consistent attitude of optimism and faith in the middle of all the chaos and bad news that pummels us daily. The world is getting worse, the enemy feels nearer, and our flesh certainly doesn’t cooperate! If it’s not another “creak”, “crack” or ailment of the physical body, it’s the emotional and mental attack on our self-esteem and confidence in ourselves from many outside sources: peers, family, work, school, you name it. And it seems, at times, to be never ending.

So, what is the answer? As with all things, we look to the Word of God for our direction and understanding. The Bible tells us that King David “encouraged himself in the Lord” when being threatened with death by stoning. Paul said that he “thinks himself happy.” And lest we think that it’s all about just positive thinking, we can see that the Bible teaches us how we can “build ourselves up.” Let’s look at three things that we can utilize to encourage ourselves in the Lord:

In Acts 20:32, Paul says: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” The first thing we can utilize to build ourselves up is the WORD of God (called “the word of his grace” in the scripture above). It’s no secret that the Word of God builds us up. It is so important for all Christians, but especially newer Christians, to build a habit of reading, studying and memorizing the Word of God. People, before coming to God, filled their life with many activities that are not conducive to “building up”. These activites must be “replaced” with Spiritual things that will strengthen, encourage, and help us to grow in grace. Time spent daily in God’s Word is vital.

Our opening Scripture from Jude gives us insight into the next two things: FAITH and PRAYER. We must build ourselves up ON something – on faith! We are now learning to trust in God, not in ourselves. We don’t lean on our own understanding, but lean on God’s ways and God’s thoughts – which are much higher than ours. And let’s be honest, faith isn’t easy. Faith doesn’t make sense. Faith might seem a little radical. Just ask Peter – it is physically impossible, and against the laws of physics, to “walk” on the water. But Peter did it, by faith – and by keeping his eyes on Jesus! And don’t forget, we are taught in the Word that we “walk by faith, and not by sight.” If you are feeling the need to build yourself up, to encourage yourself in the Lord, try walking by faith – trust God again.

And finally, Jude teaches that building ourselves up can be accomplished by “praying in the Holy Ghost”. What does this mean? First of all, daily PRAYER is also vital to our spiritual existence. We must spend time each day talking with God, which includes (don’t forget!) listening as well! God desires a relationship with his children. Daily communication with Him builds up our spirit, as well as our understanding and clarity of His purpose in our lives. But what does it mean to pray in the Holy Ghost? It means that each day we should yield ourselves to the Lord in prayer until we speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gives utterence. Praying in the Spirit helps tremendously in building oursleves up. Feeling a little down? Get alone with God and pray until you are speaking in other tongues. Let the Lord intercede through you. Build yourself up by yielding yourself to God!

One final thought: the Bible says that “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Sometimes we allow guilt and condemnation to tear us down, because we know to do these things and don’t do them…so we feel that we’ve sinned. Make up your mind today, YOU have the power to build yourself up, to think yourself happy, to encourage yourself in the Lord, simply by doing what you know to do! Let us encourage one another, pray one for another, and build each other up! YOU CAN DO IT. God knows you can. I know you can. And YOU know you can. Be blessed.

Posted in Christianity, Hope, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation

The Importance of the Prayer Room

I found a wonderful article this week that I want to share with you. It was actually written in 1946, but it is amazing how relevant and true it remains today. It speaks of the importance of prayer in a Pentecostal service. Here it is:

What is the distinctive feature in a Pentecostal worship service? The answer, according to a 1946 Pentecostal Evangel article by P. S. Jones, is “the prominence given to the prayer room.”

Early Pentecostal churches usually dedicated a room to prayer, where earnest believers would intercede during the preaching service and where prayer would continue long after the benediction had been pronounced. Jones asserted, “Pentecostal prayer rooms are truly the power-houses of the assemblies. Everything else can be counted of secondary importance in the church’s program.”

According to Jones, the success of a ministry is proportionate to the prayer life of those involved in the ministry. The “urgent necessity” of every pastor, he wrote, “is to see that the prayer life of his people is maintained at white heat.”

Jones described how an active private prayer life is essential if Christians are to effectively engage in spiritual warfare. The “treasures of heaven,” he wrote, are often only gained by spending hours in “hot, animated, boiling-over prayer.”

What happens when a church neglects prayer? Jones warned, “When the thrill and throb of the Holy Ghost are lost through prayerlessness, all kinds of substitutes will be tried,” including social functions, entertaining preaching, and other amusements. He described these as mere “camouflages” that attempt to hide “the fact that the real thing has been lost.”
According to Jones, “Pentecost can very well do without the carnal decorations and the tinsel of this pleasure-crazed world, but it can never do without its prayer room, its prayer-loving pastor, and its prayer warriors.”

Wow. Almost prophetic, and still so true. Only through prayer do we see true revival and growth in our lives and in our church. The work of the Kingdom depends on our fulfillment of 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Pray, church. Pray.

Posted in Christianity, Demonstration, Hope, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation

Can You Be Comforted?

The story of Joseph is one of my favorites. I suppose that I just appreciate his attitude through all the seemingly unfair things that he experienced, and especially his spirit and attitude toward his brothers when it was finally revealed to them who he was. He had the opportunity for revenge, but chose instead compassion and forgiveness (after having a little fun at their expense – but he even repented over that!). His words from Genesis 45:7-8 are so powerful: “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God…” He chose to believe and know that it was God who had allowed all that he went through. It wasn’t really about him, it was about preserving God’s people through the famine that was coming. Folks, God knows! Do you trust Him that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose?” You can.

But another aspect of this story of Joseph became illuminated to me this week during my Bible reading. When the brothers had sold Joseph into slavery and came back with his “coat of many colors” dipped in animals blood, they completely fooled their father, Jacob, into believing that Joseph was dead (quick note here: you DO reap what you sow. Remember that Jacob was a deceiver and supplanter before his encounter with the angel at Peniel. The deceiver was deceived. Be sure, your sin will find you out!). When this occurs, the Bible says this, in Genesis 37:35: “And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.”

What struck me is the fact that Jacob refused to be comforted. Comfort was available, his family was gathered around and willing to give it, he could have called on the Lord, who we know to be The Comforter – but he refused. He would not allow anything or anyone pull him out of his sorrow. He had made up his mind that he was going to mourn Joseph, and that is all there was to it! In fact, he made this statement: “I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.” He had determined that this was something he would never get over, that he would carry for the rest of his life.

Here’s the trouble with that: Joseph wasn’t dead. Jacob refused to be comforted, commited himself to sorrow, putting on sackcloth and ashes and living in mourning, over something that wasn’t true! It makes me wonder how many times Satan has deceived us, lied to us, played mind-games with us, and caused us to be in despair and sorrow, only to discover that what we were so down about simply wasn’t true. It was a lie.

Here is my question today: will you allow yourself to be comforted? The Spirit of God is present in your life and in your circumstance to heal. To deliver. To comfort. In fact, Jesus taught us that the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, is also called the Spirit of truth (John 15:26). And the truth is this: you can make it! You can be healed. You can be faithful, not fearful. You can be an overcomer, and not be overwhelmed. Don’t believe the lie that you’re not good enough, strong enough, powerful enough, worthy enough. Face it, you’re not. But HE is! And He made you good, strong, powerful, and worthy! Can you be comforted? Let me hear a resounding AMEN! God bless you.

Posted in Uncategorized

Step Away From the Milk

The challenge for us as Christians is to continue to grow. It seems so easy to become stagnant and complacent, especially if we don’t feel a sense of our importance to the Kingdom and it’s furtherance. Know this: God has chosen US to spread the good news! The purpose of Jesus coming to earth was threefold: to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), that we might have “life, and that more abundantly” (John 10:10), and to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:Smilie: 8). As we align with the pupose of Jesus to seek the lost (evangelize), we must continue to grow in the “life more abundantly” (becoming disciples) that He came to give us.

The scripture speaks many times of this process of becoming. The Apostle Paul said that he longed to become “conformable unto his (Jesus) death” (Philippians 3:10), Jesus told his disciples that He would make them “to become” fishers of men (Mark 1:17) and Hebrews teaches us to “go on unto perfection (completion)” (Hebrews 6:1). And it does seem like an endless process at times! But, we can be confident of this very thing: that “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). That is a promise!

There is also the temptation to remain as a child – simply going through life at the same level as you entered (spiritually), never maturing, never advancing. The apostle Peter speaks of our nourishment, at least initially, in Christ as being milk: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1 Peter 2:2). Notice the point of “milk”, though: “that ye may GROW thereby.” It’s not the intention of God that we require “milk” for the rest of our spiritual lives. We must get to the place that we can handle some meat!

Paul chides the Corinthian church by saying this, in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal…” Wow. It seems very clear that those who can only handle milk are carnal. And the danger here is that the carnal mind is “enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). The “milk-drinkers mentality” is in opposition to God. The writer of Hebrews reproves the Jerusalem church with these words: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” (Hebrews 5:12-13). No wonder the scripture instructs us to “Study to show (ourselves) approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:15). I want to be in the place that I can handle some meat, that I may be approved of God, and that I may teach to others!

It’s interesting that Jesus said, “my MEAT is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Can it be that for us to do the will of God, and to complete the work He sent us to do, we must be meat-eaters? Let us “put away childish things” and grow beyond the milk. Step away from the milk – and enjoy the richness of the meat of the Word. Do His will. Finish His work. May the Lord bless you today!

Posted in Christianity, Demonstration, Hope, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation

Sitting Is Hazardous To Your Health!

The Los Angeles Times shared an article early this year entitled “Even for the active, a long sit shortens life and erodes health.” It starts out by saying: “Maybe those of us who sit for long hours in meetings, on phone calls, and tapping away at keyboards should be getting hazard pay. New research that distills the findings of 47 studies concludes that those of us who sit for long hours raise our average risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and early death.”

CNN posted an article just this week entitled: “Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise!” They say that “the studies showed sedentary behavior can lead to death from cardiovascular issues and cancer as well as cause chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes. Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world, according to the World Health Organization. Prolonged sitting, meaning sitting for eight to 12 hours or more a day, increased your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90%.”

No wonder the scripture encourages us to “Fear ye not, STAND still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13), admonishes us to “withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND” (Ephesians 6:13), and tells that we should “STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). And when it comes to worship, we are told to “STAND UP and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise” in Nehemiah 9:5.

Now, I understand that we can’t stand all the time. We can’t stand for the whole service. We can’t even stand for the whole sermon (although, I do!). But it seems like there is something that happens when we rise up from our place of relaxation, our place of complacency, our place of laziness (sorry!), our place of comfort. Worship requires effort – and it should! Hebrews 13:15 says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Sacrifice, by it’s very definition, is going to cost you something. Worship is worth it. Praise pays. Our precious Savior deserves a STANDING OVATION once in a while. And a very good time to do that is when we gather together as a church to worship. Why not rise to the occasion, and let’s just see what God will do!

Sounds like we need to UNGLUE from the PEW! Sitting can be hazardous to your health – let us STAND AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD! God bless you.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Renewed Mind

It seems so easy at times to let our minds drift toward the negative. Some folks, I suppose, are more inclined to think that way, your basic “glass half empty” kind of people. And especially living in the world we live in, which seems to be slanted toward the negative, anyway. Anybody ever notice that it’s always “partly cloudy, with a chance of rain”? Almost never, “mostly sunny, with a great chance of being a wonderful day”! I am normally a “glass half full” type of guy, but even I find myself, at times, in a place that David was when he had to “encourage himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6).

The Lord helped me realize this the other day during my daily Bible reading. The scripture I read was Psalms 119:98: “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.” When I first read this, I thought, “yeah, you’re right, my enemies are ever with me, just like it says!” But upon reading it again, I realized that I was reading it wrong. The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown commentary says this: ” ‘they are ever with me‘–The Hebrew is, rather singular, ‘it is ever with me‘; the commandments forming ONE complete whole, Thy law.” Do you see it? What is “ever with us”, according to this verse, is not our enemies, but “His commandments”, or “His Law”. Wow. That makes a difference!

How many times, because we’ve allowed our mind to drift toward “negative thinking”, do we miss the real promises of God found in scripture? Looking closer at this verse, there are actually two promises: first, that God’s law (His word) is ever with us. Secondly, this law has made us wiser than our enemies! My mind had focused on “enemies”, when in reality, that word is the least important on the verse. The most important thing are the promises of God contained therein. It doesn’t matter, the strategies of the enemy against you, you are wiser! It doesn’t matter, the plans the enemy has to make you fall, you are wiser! What a promise. And I nearly missed it.

No wonder the scripture admonishes us to “gird up the loins of our mind” (1 Peter 1:3), and to be “renewed in the spirit of our mind” (Ephesians 4:23). In fact, Romans 12:2 teaches us that we can actually be “transformed by the renewing of our mind“, helping us to “not be confirmed to this world.” So important is this renewing and protection of the mind, that God gives us armour to help protect it, aptly named the “helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17). And the tie-in is easy to see: your very salvation may depend on you keeping your mind renewed.

A renewed mind: don’t leave home without it!

Posted in Christianity, Demonstration, Hope, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation

Divine Appointments

We live busy lives. It seems that we are busier than ever before, with our job, our family, our church, our school, whatever it is. I’ve learned through the years the necessity of a “schedule”, to try to organize and prioritize all that we have going on. Appointments need to be scheduled, planned for, and reminders given, lest we forget something really important (like your spouses birthday, for example!). But we must remember the barrenness of busy-ness. Don’t just have a full schedule, live a full life. Make sure your make “appointments” for the eternal, necessary things of life. Things that have lasting, eternal value: prayer, daily Bible reading, fasting, outreach, discipleship. And know that you have some divine appointments that you must not be too busy to miss.

You have an appointment with the miraculous. Jesus is preparing to enter your life in a way you’ve never dreamed of. Luke 7:11-15 tells of a wonderful, divine appointment that a widow woman had: “And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.” Can you imagine? Having an appointment with the coroner, with the graveyard, only to have the Savior intervene and turn it into the best party ever? She couldn’t have imagined the appointment she had with the miraculous that day…but Jesus knew. And Jesus knows what He is about to do in your life – you can expect your appointment with the miraculous!

You have an appointment with your calling. Each of us is called and commissioned to fulfill the purpose of God in our lives, and none of us are called to do the very same thing. We all have our talents, our areas of expertise, our place in the Body of Christ. The scripture that comes to mind is found in 1 Kings 17:9, in which The Lord is speaking to Elijah: “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” Did you catch it? God had commanded (meaning, appointed) a widow woman to sustain the prophet. She had no idea the miraculous provision that was about to visit her household, but it happened because she obeyed the Word of the Lord. You answer your divine appointment to service in the Kingdom, and watch your household be blessed. Seems like Jesus taught that same principle in Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

One of the more obvious appointments we have is found in Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:“. We all have a divine appointment with death. The death rate for human beings is right at 100%. And yet we spend most of our time as if this is not a concern. Folks, we do have an appointment with the eternal. Are you ready? An old song says, “Have you made your reservation?” This is one reservation that you cannot cancel! You’d better put this on your calendar. You do have an appointment with Jesus. Will you say yes?

Posted in Christianity, Demonstration, Hope, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation