Tag Archive: Praise


NOT SO FAST, GOLIATH, NOT SO FAST!
by Carter Conlon

“Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle…And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together…And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass…He stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? Am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17: 1–5, 8–10).

Our present moment in history is very similar to the time in which the Israelites were living when they faced this situation. Remember, they were the people of God, called to represent Him in the world. The miraculous didn’t belong to the Philistines, it belonged to Israel, who had personally witnessed God’s power and deliverance. Earlier in 1 Samuel, we read of some of the previous victories they had, even under King Saul: “So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them” (1 Samuel 14:47).

Yet now as they faced Goliath, the Scripture tells us that “When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:11). Isn’t that amazing? After a record of incredible victories and of God’s faithfulness, the Israelites now stood trembling under one voice that cried, “I defy you!” Threatened by a challenge that would make them servants to godlessness, they had no spirit or will to fight back. It was as if they had forgotten why God had left them in the earth in the first place—to be a testimony and a blessing; a visible display of the power of God.

HOW WE END UP POWERLESS
How is it that God’s people end up powerless before the taunts of the enemy? We find a clue when David, who became king after Saul, said, “And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul” (1 Chronicles 13:3).

In Saul’s victory days, when it seemed as if nobody could stand against the Israelites, the people of God put away the prayer meeting. The Ark was the presence of God, representing His forgiveness, mercy, power and provision. Yet they put it away and began to walk in their own strength, only to find themselves facing a giant that they could not contend with. We might rightfully say that God’s order was breaking down, and another order was threatening to take its place.

Similarly, the Church of Jesus Christ in this country has had her share of past victories, yet today we see God’s order rapidly breaking down as another order comes to take its place. If you don’t realize how ominous this is, very shortly you will. It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to get back to the Ark of God! We must drop all the foolishness that is masquerading as the presence of God and get back into the prayer meeting again.

REJECTING THE FULL IMAGE OF GOD
The Scriptures point to another reason why the people of God end up powerless. Paul explains it in his letter to the Romans: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them…When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…” (Romans 1:18–19, 21–23).

The problem is not that people don’t have truth—they just don’t value it. It is not that people do not study it, they refuse to wholeheartedly embrace it. They do not want what truly represents the glory and full image of God to be made manifest, so they change the image of God into the image of man. In other words, they fashion a more palatable Jesus and ultimately discernment is lost.

What happens to a nation when the Church is backslidden to this degree—when she has lost her voice and is virtually cast out as a nonplayer while society marches farther and farther away from godliness?

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator…For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another…And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:24–28).

Consider how accurately Paul’s description seems to fit of the society in which we currently live: “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:29–32).

Not only do they do these things while claiming to possess some measure of the truth, they take pleasure in those who do them, as well. In other words, they settle for a vicarious enjoyment of sin through other people’s lives. They watch television and movies, content to be entertained by fornicators, liars, murderers and thieves. According to one commentator, the final step of reprobation in a nation is when we will not do it ourselves, but we will be entertained by others who do.

As the people of God have seemingly retreated into a place of powerlessness today, the voice of godlessness is rising once again. Remember that in his taunts, Goliath said to the armies of Israel, “If you cannot put somebody forward to fight this battle and win, then you will be our servants.” That means that unless we get back to the prayer meeting—unless we embrace truth once again and allow ourselves to be empowered by the Spirit of God—we will become servants to godlessness, and the freedoms in the house of God ultimately will be lost. Sharing the burden to see people set free from sin, from homosexuality, and other lifestyles that are a robbery of what God intended them to be, will soon be considered hate speech. I feel we are not very far from the day that it will be against the law.

And so, in a time when it might cost somebody something to stand up and face the giant, we must ask ourselves: Who will have the courage to fight?

THE SECRET BATTLES
There is only one solution: God must have a people who are fearless because they have personally experienced His supernatural power in unseen places. That was the case with a young man named David.

The Bible tells us that David went to Saul and said, “…Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:32). “I will fight! You all have the training and the armor, yet you have lost touch with God! You are no longer gripped with a passion to see the glory of God revealed in the earth again, to see captivated souls set free.”

“And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33). It was as if the devil was now using Saul to try to discourage faith from coming into the battle again. “Look how small you are, you are only a kid. How are you ever going to stand up against this giant?”

David essentially replied, “While I was keeping my father’s sheep, along came a lion and a bear. They took a lamb out of my flock—a lamb I was given by my father to keep. So I went after them, smote them and delivered the lamb. And when the lion rose up against me, I grabbed hold of its mane. The Spirit of God came upon me, and I killed this lion! I won the victory over the lion and the bear, and now this godless Philistine who is standing up and challenging the honor of God will be just like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God” (see 1 Samuel 17:34–37).

David had already witnessed the miraculous; he had already won battles in secret places. That is why I implore you—do not play games; do not pretend to be free if you are not! Go into that secret closet of prayer, lay hold of the victory of Christ and say, “Devil, you are not having my mind! You are not getting my heart or my home! I don’t care how big you are or how small I am in your sight. I have the Spirit of God upon me, and in the name of Jesus, I take authority over you!”

VICTORY BY FAITH ALONE
Finally consenting to let David fight, Saul then tried to fit David with his armor. Now Saul’s armor probably had some marks on it to which he could point and say, “Here is where I once won the victory.” In a similar manner, there are pastors who might say to me today, “Aren’t you a little extreme? After all, we tried these methodologies, and they worked. Our church grew from two hundred to four hundred!” I can agree, just as David could agree with Saul, that yes, there are nicks on your armor from some past victories.

Nevertheless, we now have come to a season when this armor will no longer suffice. It is faith alone that will win the battle. Imagine if David had approached the Philistine with a survey, saying, “Goliath, I’m sorry you are enraged against us, but what will it take to get you to come to our church? A nine-foot bed? A twenty-five foot swimming pool?” No! David had seen the miraculous power of God. He had won victories that were supernatural, partaking of strength that could come only from the Lord. He had found some other weaponry.

Paul speaks of this weaponry in 2 Corinthians 10:4–5: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strog holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

What was the imagination in this case? Goliath imagined that because of his size and xperience, he would be victorious. Yet he failed to realize that he had exalted himself against the knowledge of God, and that all God required was somebody of faith to rise up again—somebody who was not playing carnal games in the house of God; somebody who had won battles that nobody else knew of.

David pressed past the threats and the scorn, just as we must not be hindered by the ridicule of the godless in this hour. “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (1 Samuel 17:45). In other words, “You have defied God! You stand here with your boasts and your weaponry, claiming that you can make us servants to godlessness. But I want you to know that you are not standing against us, you are standing against God!”

“This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee…and all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:46–47). The battle is the Lord’s! We are not going to match you force for force, and we are not going to win this in the political arena. We are going into the prayer closet, and we will come out strengthened by the Spirit of God!

“And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone…” (1 Samuel 17:49–50). In other words, David was not fighting with human strategy or effort. The only thing he had was complete dependence on God. He took off Saul’s armor and instead went to a brook and picked up five smooth stones. I don’t know how long those stones had been there before they were made smooth, but in a sense they were weapons that had been fashioned by the hand of God—just as we have been given the weapon of prayer, the weapon of being set apart, the weapon of embracing the Word to the point that it takes precedence over everything that this world is trying to tell us.

David went into the battle with only what had been given by the hand of God. We see this repeated over and over throughout the Scriptures—the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. God uses the Esthers and the Gideons; the barren wombs of Elisabeth and Hannah. The armies of Israel knew this truth, but they didn’t believe it. They instead resorted to human reasoning and natural strategies. This, too, has been the great folly of the church in America today.

IT IS TIME TO FIGHT
God help us now, for these dark and ominous days require men and women of faith. I challenge you to win those secret battles now. Don’t hold on to areas of unsurrendered defeat in your own life. Learn to live for the honor of God rather than the preservation of self. Go into the prayer closet and fight it out in the strength of God. Do not let the devil have even an inch, concluding, “All right, he took one lamb. I have ninety-nine left—big deal! Who is going to notice?” No! Go after it, for this is essential in the school of faith. We must learn to say, “We give absolutely no ground to the devil!”

The time has come to stand anddeclare the Word of God unashamedly; to fight for those who are lost, for unborn children, for our families, for our marriages, for the future of this nation! It is time to fight for what God has entrusted to us in this generation. Be aware that as you and I rise up to face the challenges of our day, everything we naturally fear will start moving toward us to convince us that our faith in God is useless. But that is when we must continue to press forward in the power of God, looking these man-made giants straight in the eye, declaring, “Not so fast, Goliath! Not so fast!”

Carter Conlon
©2013 Times Square Church

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“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
“Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

“And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:1–11).

Forgiveness—that is what this story is all about. How important is forgiveness? Well, very simply, without it we are not saved. It is conclusive in the Scriptures that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We have fallen short of who we were created to be, of how God designed our lives to be lived, of what kind of testimony we should have here on earth. We are truly amazed when we come to a place of understanding the depths of our sin yet recognize how God, in His mercy, chose through His Son to forgive us.

Forgiveness is also directly linked with mountain-moving faith. Jesus once told His disciples, “…Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe…he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore…What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:23–25). Jesus was saying, “I am willing to give you faith that can move mountains—all those things that stand before you and hinder what your life is destined to be. Whatever you are lacking, I will supply. But when you come to Me, if you have anything in your heart against others, forgive them, that your Father in heaven may forgive your trespasses.”

It is clear that without forgiveness, we cannot remain in the life flow of the blessing of God. Jesus went on to say, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:26). That does not mean that you lose your salvation every time you struggle with unforgiveness, for it is a struggle that no one is immune to. However, it does mean that when we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts, a sense of well-being is lost. That life flow and ability to hear from God becomes hindered because ultimately the kingdom of God is all about forgiveness.

AN OUTWARD DISPLAY
Picture for a moment the scene in our opening text: Jesus is sitting in the temple teaching the people when suddenly in bursts some scribes and Pharisees. Keep in mind that the scribes and Pharisees were the keepers of the law—the ones who were supposed to represent the testimony of God in the earth. To their credit, they started out with the desire to preserve the Word of God. Fearing that it might eventually devolve into something other than what God had originally meant, they set out to be purists. They intended to guard the Word and to exemplify what was written in the text of Scriptures that they had up until that time. However, they ended up being more of an example of how religious zeal and incomplete obedience to the full revelation of God in the Scriptures can leave people bearing very little resemblance to Jesus.

Into the midst of the crowd they came, bringing a woman who was of the family of faith but who obviously had fallen and failed. Casting her down at the feet of Jesus, they said, “This woman claims to belong to the family of Abraham, part of the seed of God’s testimony on earth, but we caught her in the very act of adultery. Our Scripture says that she should be condemned and stoned to death. What do you say, Jesus?” The Word says that they asked this question in order to test Jesus and have reason to accuse Him. Ironically, they were quoting the Word of God, but they were arguing with the author—trying to tell Him what He meant when He wrote the Book.

Consider as well the outward appearance of the scribes and Pharisees in this whole scene. They would have been spit-and-polished, with everything pristine—their garments pressed with precision, the borders of their sleeves and skirts measured to exactly the right length. They had prayer shawls over their shoulders and prayer beads attached to their sides so that they would be known as people of prayer. Standing there adorned with all of this paraphernalia, they also had one more thing—they had stones in their hands. Or at least they had stones very close at hand, ready to condemn anyone who failed to meet their religious ideals.

REWRITING THE SCENE
Now contrast this to Jesus, who, according to Scripture, identified with the common man. He was made in our likeness, He took upon Himself our frailty, and He understands our weaknesses. He had no outward display—no symbols of prayer and obedience—except the manifestation of the full power and purpose of God.

As a carpenter’s son, Jesus likely wore regular workman’s garments. There was probably dirt around His knees since He had stooped down to write on the ground with His finger. Although we do not know exactly what He wrote, we do know that it stung the conscience of the religious but gave hope to a woman who had fallen. In other words, Jesus rewrote a scene of judgment and death into a place of forgiveness and hope. He rewrote this woman’s future—perhaps giving her the reassurance that her past as well as present frailties were still covered by the mercy of God, for she knew she was a sinner in need of a Savior. On the other hand, those standing by with the stones had long lost the understanding that they themselves were outside of the kingdom of God, having failed to represent His heart of mercy.

Jesus could not have rewritten this moment in history if He, too, had been holding stones. The same holds true for you and me. If we are found with stones in our hands, we will not have any power to make a difference or to rewrite the future; we will be unable to represent God in our generation. After all, how can we represent a kingdom that is established on a foundation stone of forgiveness if there is unforgiveness in our hearts? It is simply not possible, which is why we must come to a place of total forgiveness. Of course, this is never easy. It means that we must learn to overcome grievances that have been learned or personally experienced—sometimes deeply embedded over the course of our lifetime.

HOW TO LET GO
I remember a time when I was betrayed by somebody whom I loved and trusted. The betrayal was so deep in my heart that it took me about a year to get over it. I cannot tell you how many times I went before God and said, “Lord, I am not even at forgiveness yet—I am dealing with trying not to hate somebody. You have to help me.” No matter how many times I attempted to put those stones down, my hands simply would not let them go. If I succeeded in throwing them down for a moment, it was as if a bungee cord was attached to them, and they eventually bounced right back up into my hands again.

Nevertheless, I persisted in the battle, not willing to be a hypocrite in the kingdom of God. I found myself in the same place over and over, praying the same kinds of prayers, until one day, the Lord spoke to my heart: “Here’s how to do it. Turn your hands over and let Me take the stones away.” I realized at that moment that it was impossible for me to put them down in my own strength. Only the Lord could take away the stones, and I found that He was willing to do it.

The Scriptures speak of another man who had stones in his hands. He dwelt in the mountains and in the tombs—one is a high place and the other is as about as low as you can go on the earth (see Mark 5:1–5). However, instead of casting his stones at other people, he was cutting himself with them. It is a picture of a person who hates himself for what he has done and for what he is becoming. Just like the Pharisees, this man needed the courage to say, “Jesus, take these stones from my hands.”

Likewise, many Christians today are unwilling to forgive themselves for the things they have done in the past. Although the Lord has cleansed them, they persist in calling themselves unclean. God alone can give them the grace to let go of the past—to release the stones from their hands.

REPRESENTING CHRIST IN THE DAYS AHEAD
Without forgiveness at the core of our being, we can talk about Jesus, but we cannot represent Him. People who merely talk about Jesus become concerned solely about the exterior—about their own reputation, about being called, “Teacher, Teacher” and having the best seats at banquets (see Matthew 23:6–7). These things become the whole focus of their life. The people who truly represent Jesus are the ones bending down, writing in the sand. They are rewriting into people’s lives the mercies of Almighty God, no matter what they have done or how they have fallen.

I believe very soon many prodigals will be returning to the house of God—men and women who perhaps gave their lives to Christ when they were young, yet somehow ended up on a wrong path. They took the life of Christ and went far beyond the borders of where they should have been living—but not beyond the reaches of God’s love. And now the Lord is giving His church the opportunity to represent Him, offering these people hope for the present and rewriting their future. Just as the father welcomed the prodigal son when he came home, we can put our arms around others, covering their failures and empowering them to become everything that God is calling them to be. We can put a robe over their shoulders, shoes on their feet, and invite them to join us on the journey. But before we can do this, we must put down our stones.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want to misrepresent Christ in this world. Yet if I am ever going to err, let it be on the side of mercy. Let it be mercy that rewrites my life and the life of everybody God desires to touch through me. I want to be a bridge builder, not a bridge destroyer. I want to see the church come to life once again in our generation—every race, every nationality, every denomination coming together as one body in Jesus Christ for this final moment of time. This means that all of us must drop our stones—denominational stones, racial stones, all the grievances that we have been holding on to. By the grace of God, we must be willing to stoop down, get our hands and knees dirty, and start rewriting the future in people’s lives.

It all begins by holding up our hands and saying, “Jesus, take the stones from my hands. I know that I do not have a right to carry these, but I cannot put them down. You have to take them from me.” Remember, Jesus is not angry with your frailty or your struggle. All He is asking is that you simply turn your hands over and trust Him. Trust Him to take away any unforgiveness in your heart, any self-condemnation, any inner judgments that you may not even be aware of. It is God alone who can help you to forgive and bring you into this place of mercy and faith that He speaks of. It is God alone who can enable you to stop beating yourself for your past failures.

If we do not come to God and allow Him to take away these grievances now, as the body of Christ we are going to be swallowed by the evil of this generation. After all, it is clear that we are living in an hour when society is becoming increasingly divided and civility has practically gone out the window. This comes as no surprise, for Jesus warned that in the last days, nation will rise against nation (see Matthew 24:7). In the original Greek, this means that ethnic culture will rise against ethnic culture. In other words, the world will be marked by bitter divisions and hatred. Yet in the midst of this, you and I cannot be found like the rest of society. If we end up embracing any part of this system that is throwing stones at each other, we will no longer represent the Christ who went to a cross. Let everyone else do the judging, but we are called to live by a higher law—the love of God, the mercy of God and the forgiveness of God in Christ Jesus. It is the willingness to embrace what we would not naturally embrace; the willingness to call “clean” what others regard as unclean; the willingness to receive with hope
what others would call failed.

There is no other gospel that will change the hearts of men. It is not our garments, it is not our Scripture memorization, it is not our big Bibles —it is the love and mercy of God in our hearts that will make the difference. It is time to allow Jesus to take the stones out of our hands so that we can truly represent Him in this generation. As we learn to forgive, and as we are willing to stoop down and identify with people who the whole religious scene is about to write off in their ignorance, I believe there will be a harvest of souls in this generation beyond anything we ever could have imagined. Hallelujah!

Carter Conlon
©2012 Times Square Church

Mark 9:38-40 (AMP)
38 John said to Him, Teacher, we saw a man who does not follow along with us driving out demons in Your name, and we forbade him to do it, because he is not one of our band [of Your disciples].
39 But Jesus said, Do not restrain or hinder or forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in My name will soon afterward be able to speak evil of Me.
40 For he who is not against us is for us.

I was reading today and came across this scripture. It caused me to think about some things. So I embarked upon a little study. I read several Greek commentaries, several translations plus their notes, thought some more on it – then read some more on it. In plain English John said – ” Hey he ain’t with us ( Texas translation) so we told him hey stop it” Jesus said ” Forbid him not – Wuest Word studies / Greek New Testament says it this way -” But Jesus said , Stop forbidding him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle upon the basis of my Name who will also soon be able to speak ill of Me, for whoever is not against us is in behalf of us “. One writers notes says -” In general, anyone or any doctrine that denies a personal God, the Holy Spirit, the incarnation of Christ, the virgin birth, Jesus’ sinless life, His claims of who He was, His death and resurrection, His exaltation to Kingship – the Blood, certainly is not God ” So this of course takes care of false doctrine and teachers. So I’m not addressing that issue thats a settled question.
The issue was John’s statement – ” The guy ain’t right he don’t hang with us” Amazing isn’t it? Now we see this same attitude later on in the Church :

1 Corinthians 3:1-9 (AMP)
1 HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!]
2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it],
3 For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?
4 For when one says, I belong to Paul, and another, I belong to Apollos, are you not [proving yourselves] ordinary (unchanged) men?
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Ministering servants [not heads of parties] through whom you believed, even as the Lord appointed to each his task:
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was making it grow and [He] gave the increase.
7 So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but [only] God Who makes it grow and become greater.
8 He who plants and he who waters are equal (one in aim, of the same importance and esteem), yet each shall receive his own reward (wages), according to his own labor.
9 For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God’s garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, [you are] God’s building.

Hmmmmmmmmm. Paul’s reaction – ” I’m glad I didn’t dunk any of you !” ( I Cor. 1 :10-14 )
1 Corinthians 3:21 (AMP)
21 So let no one exult proudly concerning men [boasting of having this or that man as a leader], for all things are yours,

So what we see happening here is what I call ” ITEISM” Terrible disease. You see Israel fought against many ” ites” . We in the Church today see this same thing. ( Please see my previous note on ” Ours is the Only Camp” This disease has grown more viral – it fosters division, strife, quarrels, envy etc. These things ought not to be spoke of concerning the Body. I’m a __________ite – no one teaches the truth but ____________ and that’s what I believe. Would Paul call us babies ? I think so. Not too long ago I went with a friend of mine to visit a place where a man was used of God. At one time God anointed him wonderfully and I remember him coming to our Church when I was a small boy. He has been deceased for decades. Now I DO NOT question that God used him, I hear that later on in life He began to get off course in his teaching. I’m not his judge and that is between him and God. I still respect God used him. My point is years later since his passing some still follow his teachings as the ” only” message. There is no further revelation. So there they sit clinging and not going forward in the things of God.
Why are you saying this Dennis? Honestly the pride and arrogance that has crept in with the attitude of ” ites” has to make our Heavenly Father highly displeased! It stinks in His nostrils. It doen’t build up the Body it divides it. When a person or group begins to think and say ” WE ARE THE ONLY ONES” – they have already begun to miss the mark. It is the same attitude and thoughts of the Pharisees and Scribes. My goodness if Paul ( who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament said ” I have not arrived” — I ask them” Who do you think you are? ” No one can hear you because just like a skunk your smell alerts everyone of your presence and flees. This stuff has got to STOP! How are we going to reach the world with attitudes like this being bantered and tolerated in the Body of Christ ? I am so tired of some of the pompous, bigoted, prideful, arrogant, buffoonery we see going on.

Again I’m not talking about good , solid, Biblical truths – the foundational truths of the Gospel. I’m speaking of this demonic divisive spirit that has invaded the Church. Don’t be guilty of it!!!!!!!!

Let’s not let this be named among the Body of Christ!
Be Blessed > Dennis

Okay I’m sure the title probably got your attention. I know this will probably irritate quite a few but oh well. First let me share a scripture.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)
16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

There is one word here we will look at : madown) :- discord, strife.taken from maw-dohn – a contest or quarrel :- brawling, contention (-ous), discord, strife. Notice this includes the idea of quarrelling.

I think one of the most demonically inspired things to come into the Body of Christ is this division idea. Hence our ” Camp”. Have you been asked that? What ” Camp” are you in? Or what ” bunch” are they a part of ? When someone says ” What are you ? I usually reply ” A Christian” and I attend at this meeting place. May I show you some of the stupidness behind this? I will name the ” Camp ” and make a point:
Word of Faith – Those faith people! > Duh everything you obtain from God is by FAITH! HELLO! So yes I’m a Word of Faith guy. You can’t even be saved without faith. Now if your talking about some particular teaching then address that . Every ” Camp ” I know of probably has something that needs to be addressed. I have faith in the faithfulness of God!
Cross Camp – Well guilty here too. I preach the Cross as well. I believe everything that we needed was provided at the Cross and Resurrection. You have to have both ! I may not preach it exactly as you do but I do preach it because the Cross is essential! Everything we have is because of the Cross. The power of the Cross is without measure.
Prophetic Camp – Goodness guilty here too. I believe in the Prophetic as guided by the Holy Spirit. However I don’t run around chasing conference after conference and whatever I do hear it is always held up to the scrutiny of the Word test. If it doesn’t line up with the whole counsel of God – forget it . I don’t care who says it.

Full Gospel Camp – Uh oh – guilty here too. Been raised in it all my life. I believe ALL the Gifts of the Spirit are still available today for the Church. I do not believe in cessation! The main reason is the Church’s mission isn’t over! If ever we needed the Gifts to operate it is now! Under the direction of the Holy Spirit!I certainly seek to be used by God in this way and minister in the Gifts when so directed.
Prosperity Camp – Geesh guilty here too. I have this idea God wants me blessed so that I can be a blessing and channel to others. Now do I think that means a Mercedes in every driveway – four homes – vacation retreats and yachts – NO! I just don’t think God wants me to barely exist – always struggle – and not be able to help others. So yes I believe in being prosperous to be a blessing not satisfy the need for things and bling!
KJV Translation Camp – Well oh no guilty here. Bless God if it was good enough for the Apostle Paul it’s good enough for me. I personally love the language of the King James Version and usually use it when speaking. However I like my “Amplified Bible” and one I have that has 26 different translations in it as well such as Beck, Phillips, Moffett, etc. I have Greek and Hebrew study bibles etc. I am for any tool that will help with clarity as long as there is no messing with the true message of the Word.
Holiness Camp – Guilty! It is mandatory! Now if you mean by that do I believe in certain rules and regulations? I must ask what is your definition of Holiness? What you wear or don’t wear? Whether you have a tv or not ? Etc , etc. Holiness is this – the character and nature of God worked into your life by the Spirit of God with the fruit of that being evident to all.
I could go on and on about different ” Camps ” . Personally I’m tired of the Bickering and Elitest mentality. I’m sure God is. Here is a novel approach – let’s try this –
Army of the Lord Camp – Yep – I like it. Thats where I am going to ” Camp” . Being born again by the Spirit of God- filled with the Holy Spirit – preaching Jesus and Him crucified so that others might be saved to walk in newness of life, translated from the kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light – to move under the direction of the Holy Spirit – allowing the Word and the Holy Spirit to transform me into ” Christlikeness” – so that I may mature in Him and fulfill my place and function in the Body of Christ- so that His anointing may flow through my life so that I may help others to be delivered from the bondages of the enemy.To walk in obedience to the voice of the Lord of Host – to the best of my ability hear His commands and be willing to obey whatever the price so that I may please Him and see Him exalted in the earth. That’s my ” Camp ” – I believe it’s called ” Christian ” :0)
Be Blessed!> Dennis

What is Repentance? Sermon for 3-12-12 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:36-39

You will rarely hear a message on repentance today like the one Peter preached at Pentecost. His sermon led thousands to freedom in Christ. We’ve traded repentance for self help, psychology & the pursuit of happiness.

In order for their to be True Repentance, there must be an acknowledgment of sin. Sin, another term that we are now afraid to preach about in America.

Sin is no longer challenged or preached against especially by televangelist. A carnal preacher will seldom challenge sin because GOD forbid, you may leave and he may not get your money. They may offend you and in this Politically Correct day and age, the last thing we want to do is offend somebody or loose a potential customer.

What is Repentance?

Repentance is sorrow, regret and remorse over sin. Regret that you went against and violated the God who created you, gave you life and died on the Cross for the very sins you now feel sorry for. The Hebrew word translated means “to turn back” or “turn around” The Prophets of the Old Testament used this word to encourage people to a radical, conscious rejection of past sin.Repentance is a change in one’s way of life. Repentance is running from your sin, doing a U-Turn, going in the opposite direction where you are so disgusted with yourself that you never want to commit that sin again. And if you Truly Repent: You never will.

“Repentance is more than just sorrow for the past; repentance is a change of mind and heart, a new life of denying self and serving the Savior as king in self’s place.” ~ J.I.P.

Only the sacrifice of Christ’s blood can forgive. But repentance is the only way to know true healing and rejoicing. There is no other way to enter the peace and rest of Christ except through the doors of repentance. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the fruit that results from repentance:

Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 7: 9-11“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”“ Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

Repentance is the only way healing and strength can come to those who are caught up in sin.

In the book of Acts, which tells the story of the early church, the preaching of Repentance is mentioned nearly a dozen times.

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” Acts 3:19

“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,” Acts 17:30

“but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” Acts 26:20

“testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21

Jesus speaks of Repentance over 22 times in the Gospels and He also mentions it several times in the Book of Revelation.

In Mark 2:17 Jesus said clearly He came to call sinners to repentance.“When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:17

He also clearly calls us to preach repentance in Luke 24:46-47“Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[h] from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46-47

Warning a sinner to run to the Cross or perish — is the greatest love message that can be offered to man. For it is repentance and trusting in the finished work of the Cross that leads to forgiveness.

What did John the Baptist preach? Matthew 3:1-11

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:‘Prepare the way of the Lord;Make His paths straight.’”Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:1-11

“John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Mark 1:4

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15

Jesus says Repent or Perish ~ Luke 13:1-5

“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5

Rejoicing in Heaven “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9

God wants us to Repent!

“Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:10-11

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4

Where are the God fearing men? Why do we allow this madness?Why do we seek to listen to and follow men and idols instead of God & Scripture? We act like dumb ignorant dogs, slaves to our masters, slaves to our sin who return to our own vomit over & over & over again!

You think you’re serving Him by saying, “I’ll repent some day.” That’s not a favor, that’s an insult. God, you’re good, just not good enough for me to give that up right now. These things are more precious to me than You. This sin is more beautiful than You, more valuable than you. It’s about me God! God, You’re good, just not good enough for me to repent and turn from my sin right NOW. My sin and satisfying my flesh are more important to me. I’ll repent one day when my sins ruin me, I’ll repent on my time. I’ll repent when I’m ready.” But what you’re saying to God is saying, “God, I’ll repent on my terms, not Yours. I’ll repent when I want to.”If you are doing this: You are insulting a Holy God!

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:1–4).

It is critical that those of us who have been walking with God for any length of time pay special attention to these words. Ephesus was a church that was theologically sound. The followers of Christ tested what was preached and did not tolerate anything that strayed from truth. These were a working people who labored without fainting, but something had happened to them along the way—they had left their first love.

Have you noticed that there is something very attractive about first love? That is why we love weddings! Even the most callous person is strangely warmed inside watching a young couple exchanging vows at the altar—a classic picture of first love. The couple sees no wrong in each other, and they look forward to sharing the rest of their lives together.

Imagine a scene fifteen years later when this same wife is feeling under the weather. Her husband is sitting at her bedside at 3 a.m., holding cough medicine and reading to her its healing ingredients. “Honey, this cough medicine contains 6.2 milligrams of diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine and a cough suppressant; 2.5 milligrams of phenylephrine, a nasal decongestant.”

She simply looks at her husband and asks, “Why are you reading all this to me?”

He replies, “Well, there are a lot of frauds on the market, and I’m not willing to go to all this trouble and have you take an inferior product.”

Suddenly she looks up at him and asks, “Do you love me?”

“Of course I love you,” he says. “It’s 3 a.m. and I’m sitting here discussing with you the truth of the healing that I hold in my hand.”

Remember when Jesus appeared to His disciples on the shore and asked Peter a similar question? Jesus turned to him and asked, “…Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” (John 21:15). We do not know exactly what He was referring to when He said “these,” but it must have been something within reach, something He was pointing to.

Perhaps it was the boats, the oars, the nets, the friends. Peter must have loved the smell of the sea, handling the oars, the thrill of casting his nets into the water and bringing in fish, the camaraderie that he shared with his friends. Suddenly Jesus is asking him, “Do you love Me more than these? Do you love Me more than the things that you have become familiar with? Do you love Me more than what you have grown accustomed to tasting, touching, feeling and handling?”

Peter could have replied, “Well, I am here, aren’t I?” The Scriptures tell us that when Peter saw Jesus standing on the shore and one of the disciples recognized it was the Master, Peter leaped from the boat into the water. There was a love in his heart. He could have said to Jesus, “Didn’t you notice that I got here first? I had my seat reserved at the fire before the rest of the people even arrived. Why would You ask me if I love You? You know that I do!”

Today I could ask you this same question in Christ’s stead. Do you love Jesus? Do you really love Him? Some would answer, “Well, of course, I love Jesus. I would not be reading this if I didn’t love Jesus. I would not be studying the Scriptures and examining truth if I didn’t love Jesus. I would not be going on missions trips if I didn’t love Jesus. It is quite obvious that I love Him.”

Let us look again at the husband who carries on with his duty to properly present the medicine that he holds in his hand. Once again, in a voice barely above a whisper, his wife asks him, “Do you love me?”

In reality, this husband has become much like that church in Ephesus—concerned about having the right product, concerned about getting up because of duty and doing the right thing, concerned about the appearances of love. Yet Jesus said to this church, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4–5).

When I first came to Christ, I could hardly wait for opportunities to read the Word of God. Winning the lost seemed as easy as breathing. There was no program involved—I simply loved Jesus with all my heart. People would ask me, “What happened to you? Why do you always seem to be so calm? What is the difference that I see in your life?”

I did not open my mouth and explain, “Well, I have been testing and proving those who claim to be apostles, and I found them to be liars.” Neither did I tell them that it was because I had gone on a missions trip or had been working in the house of God. The answer was simply, “I love Jesus. He has come into my heart and transformed my life. He has broken the power of the things that once bound me, and He has given me hope for a future. He is teaching me how to be a good husband and father.” I had a simple answer because in my heart, I loved Him. People are attracted to that relationship of first love.

A THIRD TIME
Having just answered Jesus’ question, Peter was probably settling down by the fire when Jesus once again asked him the same question, “Do you love Me?” Peter replied, “Yes, Lord, You know I love You.” Perhaps Peter should not have been so quick to answer, for he was asked the same question one more time.
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee…” (John 21:17). By this point, Peter was exasperated and essentially said, “Lord, You know all things. You have already asked me this twice, and this is the third time. You know that I love You. Why would You keep asking me that question?” Jesus answers him succinctly:

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me” (John 21:18–19).

Jesus was saying, “Peter, just embrace Me once again. Do you remember those early days around the table when I told you I was going to Jerusalem and that I was going to be betrayed and crucified? Remember that day when you said, ‘I will go with You and I will die with You. Where You are, there I will be?’ You did not say that out of duty, you said it because you loved Me. Now I am asking you to stretch out your hands and embrace Me one more time. Embrace Me in the way you
did in those first moments.”

This is the same thing that the wife was saying to her husband as he dutifully read the contents of the cough syrup: “I just want you to embrace me. I want to know that I am the love of your life and not a labor in your life. I want to know that I am still as important to you today as I was that day we spoke those vows to one another. I don’t want you to read to me, I want you to hold me!”

There are men reading this whose marriage is not going well. Could it be because you have lost your first love? I believe if you will reach out and embrace your wife again, you will find that she still wants to be given to you, that she still desires to walk with you. God has put it in her heart to be loved by you. You will find that a lot of healing will come into your home if you will just simply reach out, stop talking and start holding.

The Lord went on to say in Revelation, “…To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). I believe Jesus was saying this to the church in Ephesus as well as to His Church today: “Will you simply love Me as you once did—when no cost was too great and no journey was too far? Will you reach out and allow Me to lead you? Will you embrace My will for your life and walk with Me wherever I go? If you are willing, I will unlock to you the full victory of Calvary and it will be strength and life to you.”

THAT WHICH MAKES US ATTRACTIVE
“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5).
So what is the candlestick? Simply put, the candlestick is the light of first love—that bright, burning flame. It is what makes Christ in us attractive to people who are outside of the kingdom of God. It is what makes our children want to follow God.

Have you ever noticed a young couple in a restaurant eating together, so in love that they are not even aware of the food on their plates? They are staring into each other’s eyes while the food is getting cold. Then you look at the same couple twenty-five years later—he is reading the newspaper and she is looking out of the window. The only words they have to say to each other are, “Nice potatoes.” “Yeah, and these peas aren’t bad.”

There is nothing attractive about that relationship, nothing that would cause young people to look at them and say, “Wow! I would love to be married someday and have a relationship like that!” Likewise, when our relationship with Jesus degenerates into simply testing and proving, laboring and concentrating on not fainting, keeping right and avoiding the fraudulent, nothing attractive remains. There is nothing about our relationship with Christ that anybody in the world is going to desire, let alone ask about.

Yet that is the danger we can fall into. It is so easy to become an Ephesus church, focusing on doing everything right. Right doctrine, right works, right programs—all at the expense of losing what was so precious in the beginning. God help the bride of Christ who suddenly needs a pamphlet to talk about her Bridegroom. “Can I tell you about Jesus? Wait, I have it here somewhere. There is a pamphlet here that describes Him. Yes, let me tell you about my Bridegroom.” No! Our hearts should be captivated! Just as it says in the Song of Solomon, “Have you seen him? He is the fairest among ten thousand! He is altogether lovely!” (see Song of Solomon 5:10–16). That is first love.

RETURN TO YOUR FIRST LOVE
I don’t know about you, but I want to finish this race the way I started. I want my marriage to finish even better than it began. I want my love for Jesus to increase. I don’t want to preach in different places and have people conclude, “Wow, he sure is theologically accurate. He sure can rip apart the false prophets. He sure can labor without fainting.” I would much rather people notice, “He sure does love Jesus! Everything in his being, everything in his voice, everything in his eyes simply exudes a relationship that I would like to have!”

Perhaps you started out so in love with Jesus, yet somewhere down the road that love has degenerated. In your heart you know that your relationship with Him is not what it used to be. It has become all about works, doctrine, and learning to endure. If this is the case, Jesus would say to you today, “If you can overcome this declension and get back to your first love, all that I have will be yours again. I will fill your heart with compassion. There will be light in your eyes, and people will ask you the reason for your hope.”

How do we come back to our first love? I believe it starts with asking the Lord to ignite our hearts once again, and then simply reaching out and embracing Him. Jesus told Peter, “Stretch out your hands.” He was talking about embracing the Lord—embracing the heart and will of God; walking together with Him in intimacy again.

Don’t let your candlestick be taken away in this critical hour. Come back to your first love, whether you have walked with God for fifty years or for ten. Simply come back to that place where you love Him with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind and all of your strength. We must have the flame of first love burning brightly in this dark hour. This is what our testimony should be; this is what will bring Him glory in our generation!

Carter Conlon
©2012 Times Square Church

Followers of Jesus, Followers of Men and Followers of Wolves!
Only One will Inherit Eternal Life!

We are living in The End Times and There is Only One Gospel!
Anything with a word added in front of it is not the Gospel:Prosperity Gospel, Word Faith Gospel, Liberation Gospel, Emergent Gospel, Seeker Sensitive Gospel

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9

Another Gospel?
Does it take on the name of Jesus? Yes
Does it use the name of Jesus? Yes
Is it’s followers the followers of Jesus? No
They were the followers of men!

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

What is The Gospel?“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:21-24

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

It’s All About God!
Is the Gospel all about you and getting your best life now or is the Gospel all about God?It’s all about God! It’s all for the Glory of God! When we suffer, we do so to the Glory of God! When we rejoice, we do so in the Glory of God! When we are persecuted, we are either persecuted in the Cross that we are called to carry or we are persecuted because of our choice to live in sin not as punishment but as a consequence.
Who is this Book about? Is it all about you? Is it all about the preacher on television? Is all about the multi million dollar mega church that’s run like a Wal Mart catering to your every need?No It’s all about God!

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.” Ezekial 36:22-30

God The Center of The Universe! Ephesians 1:3-14

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
You are not the center of the universe! God is! And if you make yourself the center of the universe or anything else: You are an Idolater! You have created another God whether that be yourself, some thing or someone else.

The End is Near? Matthew 24:3-8
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew 24:3-4
Who will deceive us? Buddist, Muslims, Hidus, Athiest? No! It will be people who profess Jesus is the Christ or Messiah!
“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Matthew 24:5
Jesus also Warned us in Matthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8
We have all of this now. Israel and Iran are threatening each other with war. Just in the past few years, we’ve had wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Earthquakes are on the increase worldwide causing disastrous tsunamis.
Since the death of Christ, famines worldwide have been constantly on the rise.
1996 North Korean famine. Scholars estimate 600,000 died of starvation (other estimates range from 200,000 to 3.5 million)
1998 Sudan famine caused by war and drought 70,000 dead
1998–2000 Famine in Ethiopia. The situation worsened by Eritrean-Ethiopian War
1998–2004 Second Congo War. 3.8 million dead, mostly from starvation and disease
2000–2009 Zimbabwe’s food crisis caused by Mugabe’s land reform policies
2003 Famine in Sudan/Darfur
2005 Malawi food crisis
2005–06 Niger food crisis
2006 Horn of Africa food crisis (Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya)
2008 Myanmar food crisis. Cyclone Nargis devastated Burma’s major rice-producing region.
2008 North Korean food crisis
2008 Horn of Africa food crisis (Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya)
2008 Afghanistan food crisis
2008 Bangladesh food crisis
2008 East Africa food crisis
2008 Tajikistan food crisis
2009 Kenya food crisis 10 million Kenyans face starvation.
2010 Sahell food crisis
2011 Horn of Africa (Somalia and neighboring countries)

Famines, Pestilences and Persecutions
As Food Prices go up as they are doing now: Worldwide Famine is inevitable.
According to the UN, these are the reasons for rising food prices.
Changing weather conditions
The rise in oil prices
Increase in farming of biofuels instead food crops
Increase in the consumption of meat in growing economies such as China
Food riots in some countries are increasing and if something is not done soon many will starve to death.
“We are seeing a new face of hunger. We are seeing more urban hunger than ever before. We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it.” Josette Sheean, Director of the UN World Food Program
Pestilences – Aids, Cancer, Bird Flu, Swine Flu.
34 million people have hiv aids and nearly 2 million people died last year with more people being infected daily.
In the U.S. Alone 11,958,000 people have Cancer. It is approximated that 31% of the world population suffer from cancer and these numbers are expected to climb to 50%.
Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Staff Infections all highly contagious are all evolving to states where anti-biotics are no longer effective.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And 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 24:9-14

According to Voice of The Martyrs, Intolerance toward Christians continued to grow in 2011. In Nigeria 40+ Christians were killed while attending a Christmas Service.
The Government of Iran has declared war on the Christian faith, imprisoning Pastors, clossing churches and putting believers to death.
In Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, Christians are viewed and treated as second-class citizens. In these countries, believers are being imprisoned, experiencing torture and sexual abuse to try to make them convert to Islam. Christian’s homes are also being burned, many believers have been physically attacked and murdered.
In Indonesia, incidents of Christian persecution nearly doubled from 2010 to 2011, and an Islamic extremist group is threatening to have five Christian churches demolished.
In Ethiopia, a group of 500 Muslims burned down a church that stood for over 60 years on land owned by Christians.
This will happen to true believers in America surely as prayer is being taken out of schools and everything with the name of God on public property will be taken down.

Wolves on the Prowl!
Right now many in America follow “Another Gospel” a Gospel with a name in front of it such as the Prosperity Gospel. We build massive mega churches / entertainment centers that cater to every materialistic desire that a believer could have. The preachers tell the people what they want to hear from the pulpit. Many no longer preach against sin or holiness, judgment and repentance instead we’ve chosen to cater to itching ears to create man made ministries of the flesh.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:12-13

A Self/Man centered gospel turns God into man’s Servant instead of man’s Lord. Man through God can get and receive everything he wants, every material blessing, every desire of his heart all in the name of Jesus.
Jesus is reduced down to nothing more than a Sugar Daddy or a Santa Clause type figure.
Things like repentance are ignored as God now becomes a blessing machine.
This is false as Repent is the very thing that Jesus, Paul, The Old Testament Prophets, The Apostles and John the Baptist preached first of all.
Following Christ begins with repentance! Following Christ causes one to deny his self as center of the universe and places God as center of the universe. The love of money is gone, as is the love and desire for the things of this world.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

The Gospel is and always has been: Come to the Cross, Repent, Believe & Deny Yourself.We live for Eternity not temporary material blessings.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it iscertain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:3-10

How to Spot a Wolf!
The True Gospel leads people to Jesus Christ and to an Eternity with him in Heaven not to cater to the desires of you heart and flesh. A True Christian wants to glorify God not cater to self!

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
A Wolf will always Try to Convince you that The Road isn’t that Narrow and many are being deceived!
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:15-20
False Teachers always appear as Sheep & Angels not Wolves & Devils.If you don’t see any, it’s because you’re looking for the wrong thing.
False Teachers seldom preach self denial, repentance and especially holliness.The devil can imitate a great many things but he can never be holy.
Questions to ask:
Does their teachings appeal to the flesh?
Do they preach the Narrow way?
Do they preach against Sin and encourage Repentance?
Do you hear Humility in their preaching or do you hear pride and arrogance?
Does this person appear Worldly and Carnal, catering to materialism and the desires of the flesh?
At the End of this Life Followers of Wolves and Followers of Men will Hear: “I Never Knew You”
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23

Once you’ve been given the Truth, you can do one of 3 things with it: Accept it, Reject it or Conform it. Rejecting it results in eternal damnation and you get to chase satisfaction your entire life all the while living in the Illusion of Your Best Life Now.
Conforming it results in the same only you’ve made yourself much more comfortable because you believe you’ve accepted the Truth but in reality you’ve only conformed it to your world of greed, pride, materialism or something else. Accepting it is a Narrow Path and only a few find it. It’s not easy but you realize that nothing compares to knowing The One True God who created you for His Glory!

‎”But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them asrubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11

Slaves to your own Flesh!
We can become slaves to men, slaves to false doctrine all while professing the Name of Jesus. We can also be slaves to our own flesh:
Slavery to Self:
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:16-22

We must ask ourselves: Are we followers of Christ or are we followers of man!The truth is many of us profess Christ but we are slaves to the very flesh that we walk in.

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2 Corinthians 13:5

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phillipians 2:12-13

Religion is demonstration of an attitude or lifestyle that lives under total condemnation. Those displaying this attitude consistently condemn themselves and/ or condemn others. Religious bondage is a restriction that allows for keeping up with, or one-upping the Jones’s, while maintaining an outward appearance of piety. I heard it said that for religion to flourish, there must be a neck to step on.

I have personally been treated this way by (religious) groups of people, by those who name the name of Christ. It’s a terrible day, ladies and gentleman, when fratricide is displayed in the body. This is a sin as leprosy is a sin. Eventually, the body left undiagnosed will eat itself up. Back biting is defined in some cultures as the actual eating of another’s flesh, stealing the strength of the victim for the biter. Religion permits back biting one another until the entire body is crippled, paralyzed and dead.

The Bible says, true religion, undefiled, is ministering to widows and orphans and keeping oneself unspotted by the world. (Jam 1:27) BIBLICAL religion demonstrates a love for others that comes out of a heart that loves God. Can I ask if we are demonstrating the love we KNOW, and is our demonstration evidence of the love we DON’T KNOW?

Jesus said ANY man may come and drink of the water of life. He also said that if we believe, out of our belly will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37-38) Let me ask you, have you denied another believer the blessing of refreshing from your life because of a religious decision?

That person is too _____.
I just don’t agree with _____ about _____.
They go to ‘so and so’ church and it’s a _______ church, so I can’t be their friend.

Brethren, the Lord loved you while you were still a sinner. He died for the ungodly, bearing the worst punishment imaginable; the very wrath of Almighty God. (Rom 5:6-8) He loves you still, as He is molding you and shaping you into a vessel of honor. He extends His grace to you, His mercy upon you, His Word to feed you, His presence to comfort you. He constantly forgives, consistently forgives. Jesus is our redeemer. God is LOVE.(1 Jhn 4:8) He bids you to come to Him and find rest for your soul. Won’t you demonstrate today, that you know the love of God, by loving others the way the Lord loves you? (1 Jhn 4:16)

As we have stepped into this New Year, I believe we also have entered a season when the Lord is asking His people to stop and consider something. Most likely it will be a short season, but a critical one—a season to seriously consider the extent to which we are willing to embrace and follow the full pathway that God has put before us.

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when much of the church of Jesus Christ has become hemmed in by the boundaries that society has set around it. We have allowed a handful of people to dictate when we can and cannot pray in public; what we can and cannot do in the name of Christ. Such limitations have been put in place despite the fact that those who believe in Jesus statistically comprise over 70 percent of the American population. We have retreated to a place where we can be assured that we will be tolerated—knowing that the world will have no problem as long as there is nothing in the church that stands as a definitive contrast to a society that continues to cast off moral restraint at an unprecedented level.

In God’s Word we read of a church called Ephesus—a church known for its works, endurance and doctrinal purity. Yet Jesus said to them, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:4). The church had lost the very thing that made her attractive—a wholehearted love for Christ and the embracing of His work on the earth. Those outside the church must have looked in and seen a relationship of merely mutual tolerance, much like a marriage that had lost its spark of love and passion.

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? The first days of your marriage? You were filled with passion, unashamed to be seen in public with your spouse. You walked down the street arm in arm, proud to acknowledge that this was the person you had given your life to.

Sadly, we look at much of what is purported to be the testimony of Christ today and cannot help but wonder where the passion is. It is like the married couple who stays together for convenience or for the sake of the children, all the while completely unaware of how unattractive their relationship has become. No wonder so many people have concluded, “If this is what a relationship with God looks like, no thank you! If this is the passion it produces, if this is the character that evolves from it, I would rather find something else.”

A MERCY CALL

Although we have in large measure moved away from the simplicity of Christ and have formulated theologies to justify our backslidden condition, I am thankful this is not the end of the story. The Bible tells us that we have a season to consider our ways. The prophet Haggai spoke to the people of God who were called to rebuild the testimony of Christ in their generation:

“Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little…Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit” (Haggai 1:4–10).

Consider your ways! Haggai was saying to the people, “You have settled into a form of religiousness. You developed strategies to fill the house of God and mask the encroaching spiritual bankruptcy, but now you suddenly find heaven closed. You boasted of a great harvest that was going to come in, but where is it? You had sporadic gatherings, seemingly with no substance, and the Lord blew it all away.”

Today’s church has made conversion so easy. There is no longer a need for repentance, no requirement to turn from sin, no admonition to give one’s life fully to the work and cause of Jesus Christ. Instead, people are told that if they will simply repeat a little two-line prayer, their sins will be forgiven and they will be on their way to heaven. We have opened the gates wider than the Scriptures have opened them. We have brought in a supposed harvest, but now are finding that this harvest has no power to stand against all that society is throwing against it. Many claim to be Christians, but where are the warriors—the men and women of character? Where are those who are willing to stand in the face of the storm?

“And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands” (Haggai 1:11). The Lord called for a drought, and this is exactly where we find ourselves today. The Lord has called for a drought in America in order to get the attention of His people, as well as that of a lust-laden society.

Remember, the mercy of God sends us into the storm. Yes, it is judgment, but mercy precedes and triumphs over judgment. We need to be brought into a place of realizing our true condition. How tragic it would be to live as if everything is fine only to discover later that we missed the whole purpose, stopped short of the gateway to eternal life, and lived a cultural Christianity with no reality in it.

AN ALTAR OUTSIDE THE GATE
The writer of Hebrews tells us, “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle” (Hebrews 13:10). We have an altar! Yet there are those whose whole relationship with God is based on ordinances, laws and obligations. They have lost their passion and settled for a mediocre Christianity, just doing their time, reading their Bible for ten minutes every day, and vocally professing to be a Christian. They may not have the courage to love God in public or the heart to do His work, but there is also an altar for that—an altar with no power. There is no lasting ability, no sustaining strength, no revelation—nothing but ideas out of men’s natural minds.

On the other hand, there exists an altar that is much deeper and more satisfying, but it requires a refusal to settle for rituals and profitless labor. That is why Paul said to Timothy, “Stir up the gift of God that is in you” (see 2 Timothy 1:6). When you first came to Christ, the hand of God came upon you, and you were called to do something that only you could do. God gave you a responsibility, and He endowed you with gifts to glorify His name. So do not let things spiral down to the point of merely coming to church out of obligation; a passionless relationship with God that bears no fruit in the earth. If you allow that to happen, you can be certain that nobody will desire what you have. People will look at your relationship with God and conclude, “I am already despairing enough. I do not need religion adding to my misery!”

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Hebrews 13:12). He suffered outside the gate! For the sake of saving us and enabling us to walk again with a holy God, Jesus traveled outside the gate—outside the limitations, outside the borders of the religion that tried to confine Him. He could have risen to become one of the highest in the whole echelon, but He refused to play their game. Therefore, they dragged Him outside the gate, outside of the city.

“Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 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” (Hebrews 13:13–15). You and I are called to “go forth out of the camp” to where Jesus is. In other words, we have a chance as a church to come out from our cultural captivity—to come out to a new place where our mouths are open in constant thanksgiving. We can come out and approach the altar where the fire of God truly is, where His glory abounds, where people are given abilities that could only come from the heart of God.

Going to that altar requires humility, a contrite heart—admitting that perhaps our religion falls short of the glory of God for our lives. Notice that the Scripture speaks of “bearing His reproach.” That means it will require a death to self and a willingness to step outside the gate, for that is where this altar is found. At this altar we are willing to endure the scorn of a fallen world; we will not let the snickers in the workplace prevent us from bowing our heads. No! We have an altar, and it is called being given for the glory of God and for the souls of men. There is a place that this church age has been called to—a place where we fight to bring people into true freedom.

Hebrews 12:1 says it this way: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…” The writer is referring to those saints described in the previous chapter—those who faced threats, fire, flood, trial, personal inability—yet none of these things were able to stop them. The same holds true for every genuine believer in Christ today—there is nothing that can stop the plan of God ordained for those who choose to be given for His glory.

“…Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). No weight can crush us; no sin can keep us! Jesus came to give sight to the blind, to open the prison doors to those who are bound, to heal those whose hearts have been wounded. That means we are free to get up and walk out of every place of captivity, and no opposition or limitation can stop us in this race. The only thing that can stop us is our personal choice to live within the confines that a fallen society has placed around us, cowering when they regard us as narrow, misguided, weak or foolish.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him… ” (Hebrews 12:2). The source of His strength, the vision that was before His eyes, was the joy of seeing you free; the joy of having you back in a living relationship with Him! It was all about you and me. Yet what have we set before us in this generation? Gold, cars, jobs, position and power. No wonder there is no joy in much of what professes to be Christianity. Our focus is wrong—it should be all about people! Jesus did not quit or give in to the scorn or accusations that came against Him, because He saw you and me ruling and reigning with Him forever. We will not tremble or remain silent once we begin to see the men and women around us the way Jesus sees them.

“[He] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus won a victory! That is the altar that you and I have if we are willing to join Him outside the city; if we are willing to escape the boundaries and be put outside of a people who really are fighting against their own salvation.

“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:3). Consider Him! Consider what He endured, and consider what you are willing to endure. Consider how deep and how far you are going to go in this walk with God. Are you going to settle in and become a powerless voice as Lot did—a man who was so intermixed with the ways of society that even after meeting with angels, he could barely bring his own family out of captivity? Or will you be like Noah, who built an ark, enduring the ridicule of people who passed by every day, and said, “You foolish old man, it has not rained here for years, and you are building a boat?” Yet the Bible says that Noah was a preacher of righteousness, and he brought his whole family to safety with him.

STOP AND CONSIDER
Do you feel the urgency of this hour? Do you realize that we are about to enter a storm of unprecedented proportions? Just as in Noah’s day, some people may ridicule this message and put it away. However, I urge you to get oil now, to get strength now, to make a choice now. As Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

The prophet Isaiah said that in the last days, in the midst of the darkness, there will be a people who have a song of praise to God (see Isaiah 30:29). Of course, that does not just happen. It all starts when we make a choice to consider Jesus, understanding that the victory He has already won can be ours. We make a choice to go to an altar in a place that those who play games with God cannot go.

I encourage you to let 2012 be a year when you consider Jesus. Consider whether you will follow Him all the way. That means not being half-measure, not falling short, not running a cheater’s race, not bowing to the boundaries of society, not settling in to a relationship of begrudging service in the house of God. If you are determined not to settle for anything less than the fullness of what He has for you, you will find that the Lord will give you the strength of character to be salt and light in your city. He will give you compassion for all men, even those who oppose you. You will be taken into the divine life of Christ, and this will be a year when God will astound you!

Carter Conlon
©2012 Times Square Church

People all over the world are broken hearted and in despair. Can we, as Christians, present the answer to them, ie…. Jesus Christ and Him Crucified????

You know maybe we can…….. If we would smile instead of snarl……. If we could somehow put ourselves in their place (we all have been) instead of looking down on them and making them feel like second class humans…… If perhaps we could give a little more than we take; fix a few more than we break; and realize that in their eternity, we have a stake…..

If only you and I could learn to take the words of Jesus seriously when He said to love your neighbor as yourself…. Maybe therein lies part of the problem; maybe you do not see how greatly valuable YOU are in His eyes and His heart… He died on the Cross for you and would have if you were to be the only one…. But you weren’t the only one… Jesus died for every sinful, twisted, warped, perverted, depressed soul in the world; you and I included. Should that not cause us to look at people differently? Tell me…

Sin has done and is doing its deal level best to destroy this world and all of us in it… I can only hope and believe that Jesus will mature His church and teach us the true meaning of His awesome and great love…

They are out there; those who by dust of the Earth are a part of us. They are hurting. They are crying; believe me. And you and I often pass by them every day and seldom offer so much as a friendly smile let alone the message of Jesus… Help me o God… I repent for failing you. Please give me your Mercy and Grace to make a difference somehow, in this world of sin, today…

I LOVE YOU JESUS…. please forgive me for not often showing it……..