LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

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Location: Phila Metro, Pennsylvania, United States

Tentmaking Evangelist (Architect). An Evangelist with the Anchor Bay Evangelistic Association (non-denominational). Co-Founder of Kingdom Gospel Ministries, a ministry now in its 31st year with a mission to reconcile people of different racial, ethnic, and economic situations, and the producer of two weekly radio programs - a Sunday morning verse-by-verse Bible Study on Radio Delaware Valley and a weekly radio drama on the Wilkins Radio network. He also has archived many, many programs on the Internet. John is also a PA/NJ Architect with his own practice in its 38th year working on a wide variety of projects. Acutely interested in politics since a teenager with many articles published over the last 50 years and served as a guest on a Talk Radio show discussing race relations and on It's Your Call TV show with Lynn Doyle dealing with the subject of interethnic marriage.

Friday, March 18, 2011

GIVING ALL TO JESUS

Original Post Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2006
This message was given at the Pakistani New Life Church in Philadelphia, PA, April 30, 2006, and was translated into the Urdu language.


Greetings, Friends of Jesus Christ!

Two languages ñ one spirit. Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge my wife, Verileah. Two colors, one spirit. Thirty one years.

Back in 1985, we founded Kingdom Gospel Ministries. Its purpose is to bring people together, breaking down every wall between people groups. In the New Testament, one of the biggest problems was getting the Jews and the Greeks to get along. Even early in the Book of Acts, widows of some ethnic backgrounds were not being treated fairly in terms of the distribution of food. Stephen and six others were chosen to solve the problem. They were full of the Holy Spirit. You know, some folks think the power of the Holy Spirit is only needed in the pulpit. No, my friends, every person doing every task needs to be full of the Holy Spirit. Whether you make collection calls or sell cars, the fullness of the Holy Spirit is needed for you to please God.

When I was but five years old, we lived in a Rocky mountain mining camp in Gilman, Colorado. They mined zinc, and most of the supervisors were of European descent and most of the laborers were Mexican. There was no church in that camp of 300. My father was an ordained minister and a school teacher. My parents started a Sunday school there where everyone was equal. It was there in June of 1955 that an Assembly of God traveling preacher spoke and I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. It was the first of many experiences in my life that would point to one of my main missions on this earth.

There are many divisions in the body today, some enforced, some voluntary. I do believe that the glory of the Lord will come more than it has already when all of the earthís Christians see themselves as one body of believers and highly respect and value each other. If all are eyes, where would the hearing be? If all were ears, where would the seeing be? God has placed in your experiences some things I need, and God has placed in my experiences some things that you need. I am so happy we can learn from each other this afternoon. I hope it can happen again.

My topic today is GIVING ALL TO JESUS. Sounds simple, right? Yet many people today are not doing that ñ rather, many today are asking Jesus to give it all to them. They petition him with all manner of requests. Others take a back seat. And so does the will of the Lord. I said Lord. Many forget that when we come to Jesus, we are coming to serve the Lord, not take on a butler! The fact is, Jesus has already given up everything for us. More to the point, is whether we are giving ALL to him!

PAUL WAS ONE who gave all for the gospel. II Corinthians 11:23b-28 gives the following list of what Paul went through. (I put it in the third person)

He worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times the Jews gave him 39 lashes ñ that is 195 lashes. Three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked, a night and a day he was in the open sea. He was constantly on the move. He was in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits (crime wasnít invented yesterday!), in danger from his own countrymen and IN DANGER FROM people OF other countries. He was in danger in the city AND in danger in the country. He was in danger at sea, and in danger from false brothers. He labored and toiled and often went without sleep. He knew hunger and thirst and often went without food. He was cold and he was naked. Besides everything else, he faced daily the pressure of his concern for all the churches.

And with all that, Paul did not complain. He considered it his reasonable service. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10

For Christ's sake I delight in weaknesses, In insults, In hardships, In persecutions, In difficulties. For when I am weak, then am I strong!

Letís look at his final voyage ñ you can see from Acts 27 and 28 what an adventure he had. He went on a Greek vessel and the shipís owners insisted on sailing with questionable weather in store. The ship went way off course in a hurricane, The sailors tried to leave the ship on the lifeboat and abandon the rest of the 276 people on board. When they struck a sandbar, the soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners including Paul. After the Centurion who was in charge stopped that from happening, Paul had to swim to shore.

Isnít that enough, considering Paul had to still stand trial in Rome before Caesar, the ruler of the world empire? Apparently not. The folks from Malta were very hospitable and built a fire to warm and dry out the men from the ship. Paul gathered brushwood to help feed the fire, and a viper came out and fastened itself on Paulís hand. The natives of Malta said that Paul must have been a murderer, and though he survived the shipwreck, ìthe godsî were bringing justice.

You know that the ship Paul was on was not the first ship to be wrecked off the shores of Malta. It would not be the last. The islanders had a seen a lot, and believed sincerely in their gods. Paul shook the snake off, and suffered no ill effects. After observing him for a L-O-N-G time, the islanders concluded he was a god. I donít believe these folks were just superstitious. I believe it was a poisonous snake. Remember now, that Mark 16:18 about picking up snakes without harm hadnít been published yet! _

The people's hearts were opened because of how God saved Paul. Not only did Paul live - he did not panic, did not complain, and handled the situation as a true professional. There were 276 people on the ship (Acts 27: 37), yet only one captured the attention of the islanders.

Paul was able to minister Christ as he healed first the father of Publius, the chief official. Then he healed ALL the sick on that island! Malta was not a small island. Rather large. We are talking about quite a few people getting healed.

Many of you here in this sanctuary today know people who have paid a high price to be true to the gospel. I recently saw a picture of an earnest young Christian man in the magazine called Voice of the Martyrs. He worked in a brick yard. For all practical purposes he was a slave. In the United States after the civil war, when the slaves were freed, the former slaveholders devised a new way - it was called sharecropping. The freed slaves were extended credit and were essentially tied through debt to the landowners. It was slavery by a different name.

In Pakistan, the Muslims in charge of this brickyard encouraged debt and with the meager wages earned, had the legal right to hold these Christians and other ìundesirablesî in abject poverty and suffering. This young man determined not to be bound in this way, and avoided the trap. He left the brickyard, and decided to sell Bibles and Christian literature to support himself. He attached a music player to his bicycle and came through the camp, playing Christian music and having a sachel of Christian literature. He was tolerated for a short while, but the strongmen in charge tried to scare him off. He would not be swayed. One day, men jumped out in front of his bicycle away from the brickyard and demanded for the final time that he stop. He refused and they took an ax and chopped off his arm, leaving him bleeding in the road. Through the mercy of God, he survived.

Did he say, this isnít fair! Christ should have stepped in and stopped these men! Other Christians havenít all had to go through all this. Why me? NO! He said, if they decide to chop off my other arm AND then my legs, I will not deny Jesus!

I also read about a 17-year old Christian girl who was doused with acid by a Muslim man when she refused his advances. You could probably take hours telling me stories you know or have witnessed.

What causes people to give all to Jesus? To risk EVERYTHING? What has caused people for almost two thousand years to not count their own lives as valuable compared to love and loyalty to Jesus Christ? I mean, these arenít the only ones.. There have been millions who have died for Christ. People are dying today.... not only in Pakistan, but in India, in Sudan and in Indonesia, and in many other places.

I read that 60% of the new Christians in India are from the ìUntouchablesî ñ the Dalits. The Hindu fascists have a BIG problem with that. As you no doubt know, there are four castes in India. One supposedly comes from the head of God. The second from the shoulder of God. The third from the thigh of God, and the fourth from the foot of God. The Dalits are below all the castes and are not even considered worthy of God walking on them/ The Dalits coming to Jesus are learning that as Christians they are worth a whole lot. They were worth God coming in the person of Jesus Christ to DIE for THEM! They are now Kings and Priests unto God. They are to be conformed to the character of Jesus Christ! This turns the whole culture the radical Hindus are so furiously trying to protect on its head.

They understand the implications very well. More perhaps, than we do! In this country, black people were dehumanized by folks who said they were Christians, but who missed the whole intent of the gospel. It was forbidden in most places to preach the gospel to the slaves. The owners knew the implications of THAT! In many quarters, blacks could not preach to their own people. It had to happen underground, so to speak. The slaveowners assigned white preachers to preach to the slaves only the portions of the Bible that suited them. Passages such as obedience to their masters, certainly NOT passages telling Masters to treat their slaves as their brothers, since they had a master in heaven, And NEVER passages written to slaves to make themselves free if they couldÖ Or that Black people were joint heirs with Jesus Christ. When the true gospel is preached, people become truly free.

Even in this country TODAY, many hate Christians as well. Despite our freedom of assembly, everything in this country seems to work against the true Christian - the newspapers, the books, the TV, the movies. Rules in schools and workplaces make it difficult to be an open Christian. Did you know that even the degree of freedom we have did not come easily?

In the 17th century, people who preached the whole gospel were put in jail in what is now the United States. In the classic book by J.M Carroll, A TRAIL OF BLOOD, which details opposition to the gospel worldwide since the time Christ physically dwelt among us, it includes chronicles of what happened in the colonies which now form the United States. Remember that in Europe during this period, there was vicious persecution against all manner of church people who didnít fit in ñ Christians as well as those of various sects. Many left to come to America, but these same people often persecuted those who went a step further. Even today, some liberal churches who do not believe the Bible or that Jesus Christ is God make fun of evangelicals who believe the Bible and the deity of Jesus Christ. Yet in some evangelical churches, they write vicious articles and teach that those who are filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in other tongues are of the devil.

In fact, much of the time, religious people are harsher toward each other than the world is toward the church. Such was the case in early America. In New England, people who refused the ordinance of infant baptism were sometimes stripped and whipped or banished from the colony to live with Native Americans. As many as 30 preachers in Virginia were put in jail with the only charge against them--"for preaching the Gospel of the Son of God."

James Ireland is a case in point. He was imprisoned. After imprisonment, his enemies tried to blow him up with gunpowder. That having failed, they next tried to smother him to death by burning sulphur under his windows at the jail. Failing also in this, they tried to arrange with a doctor to poison him. All this failed. He continued to preach to his people from the windows. A wall was then built around his jail so the people could not see in nor he see out, but even that difficulty was overcome. The people gathered, a handkerchief was tied to a long stick, and that stuck up above the walls so Ireland could see when they were ready. THE PREACHING CONTINUED!!!

You could believe in God in America (and God help you if you didnít!), but to believe in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was a whole other matter. Friends of Jesus, the degree of religious freedom we enjoy in this country today did not happen overnight. It was fought for with tears, and fortunes were lost fighting for it. After all that, it did not even make the original constitution of our country. It was added later.

Leaders such as Patrick Henry and others wanted to have a state church or at least a state church for each of the colonies which had become states. If he were not called back to his constituents, history might have been different. We could have been like Europe, with dead, lifeless, state churches supported by taxes but not by God. But James Madison prevailed, and the constitution was amended to grant freedom of religion.

Have faith and be encouraged. As people around the world smell freedom, they will stand for Jesus no matter what it takes. They will not count their lives or fortunes as important to them. They will not believe that God owes them a life of ease, barns filled with plenty, and a stress-free life. Rather, they will begin to understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in a whole new way and demonstrate that sacrifice to the world with a whole new level of power.

What price was too high for Jesus Christ to pay for our salvation? Remember this, that if Jesus would have taken one fewer stripe, not allowed himself to be spit on and mocked, not scourged, not crucified, or failed in any other detail prophesied about him, he would not have been the Messiah.

Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice who fulfilled every requirement of God for our sin. We had a meeting last Thursday on forgiveness. I have been talking about it on the radio this season as well. Many people do not believe that Jesus can forgive them. They are insulting God. Jesus paid enough to forgive any sin, no matter what. He forgave people the worst sins when he was walking here on the earth.

Sin is not just what most people say it is ñ the breaking of the law, or the Ten Commandments. When Adam and Eve sinned there were no Ten Commandments. They had no knowledge of any other God. They did not even know the difference between good and evil. There were no idols, so there were no other gods to have before God. There were no TVís, movies, or crude books, no Howard Stern, so there was no profanity.

God was the one who rested the seventh day, and they did not need to, as they did not have to work, but simply enjoy the paradise God put them in. Adam and Eve had no parents, so they did not have to worry about honoring their father and mother. Who would want to kill, Adam and Eve had each other, and they loved each other. Adultery and lust were not a problem. There were no other women for Adam to look at or to compare Eve to. Plus she was perfect! A ì10î as they say, on a scale of 1 to 10. Everything was theirs, so stealing was not an issue. There were no neighbors to bear false witness about or to covet what they had.

So Adam and Eve had no problem with what would become the Ten Commandments. Neither did the rich young ruler. Jesus did not point out any commandment he did not keep. Rather, he told him that to be perfect, he had to sell his possessions and give to the poor. Is that in the commandments?

No. People were to give under certain circumstances to help the poor, but nothing this radical. That only came at Pentecost! when the law of God became something other than rules on a scroll and was written on their hearts! When the heart of God came into people through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Is hatred in the commandments? No. In the Old Testament, people could love their friends and hate their enemies. In the New Testament, Jesus told us to LOVE our enemies and do good to those who used us. Is lust in the commandments? Amazingly, not.

I think that is why so many men who claim to keep Godís law can still be lustful. It is not only Muslim men. It is Christian men. We have to take seriously what Jesus said ñ A man who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart. It is only through the power of GOD that a man can please God is this area of life!

Did Saul, later known as Paul, break the commandments? In terms of legalistic righteousness, he was faultless, but HE REJECTED God speaking through Jesus Christ. You might say, hey ñ he killed Christians! It was permitted to kill the infidel ñ In fact, in many cases it was COMMANDED! He was doing what HE THOUGHT God wanted.

But it WASN'T what God wanted. Many today THINK they are doing what God wants.
In fact, like Paul, it is just the opposite. And Paul, like many religious leaders today, was an enemy of God, persecuting all who believed in Christ, and approving of their deaths.

What Eve, the rich young ruler, and Saul had in common was the same problem. This was believing and trusting God. Sin entered the world not because of people breaking what we know as the Ten Commandments. Sin entered the world because of a lack of total trust in what God said.

That sin was sufficient to require the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and that was promised in Genesis 3:15.

AND I WILL PUT EMNITY BETWEEN YOU (that is the devil) AND THE WOMAN. HE WILL CRUSH YOUR HEAD, AND YOU WILL BRUISE HIS HEAL.

Since that time, men increased in their inventiveness in sinning. Today, people are sinning in ways, many before us never conceived of. Sin is practically infinite in its variety and in its universality. It is worldwide and it pervades every culture. The only way to deal with such a massive sin problem was with a sacrifice of infinite proportions. That sacrifice is God himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the perfect lamb of God. Jesus Christ lived as a man who dwelt among us AND WE BEHELD HIM, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER, FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.

Jesus lived a perfect life, suffered perfectly, and died perfectly. He also rose perfectly. Did you know that they did not roll away the stone to ìletî Jesus rise from the dead! No, the tomb literally could not hold Jesus Christ. Matthew 28 says that Mary Magdelene and the other Mary were at the tomb. An angel came and the earth shook. The stone was too big for any man to roll away, but the Angel, full of Godís strength, rolled it aside and sat on it, exposing the EMPTY tomb for the two Maryís to see.

Jesus went through the stone! Later, he walked through walls at least two of the times that he met with the disciples after the resurrection. Jesus rose physically from the dead and his body was raised incorruptible and full of glory! He ascended in that same body to heaven, and will reappear in that SAME body with those SAME nail marks and that same wound in his side. Could Jesus have healed those? Of course! In a New York Minute!

But He chose to save those wounds because he loves us and lives with that reminder in his body even in heaven of his eternal love for us. I think that price is too high to pay. If I were God - and it is a good thing I am not - I think I would have said ìServes them right! Those ingrates!î I have a son ñ I would not want to give him up even if the whole world could be saved in the process. Even more so if I knew that most people would reject him, I believe I would hold thim back. ìJesus is all I have who has not forsaken me. A third of the angels went over to Satan.î ìMy chosen people have gone committing adultery with other gods. There is none righteous, no not one!î

Jesus was willing to die and considered NO PRICE too high to pay for our redemption. He did not back off of even ONE requirement to be that perfect sacrifice.

God did not charge us for this wonderful and incomparable salvation. So, how much is it worth? In business, we do give things away. People do not appreciate them But that does not mean they are free. The cost enough of that cns

People complain about gas being over $3.00 per gallon in many places. The world does not contain enough money - Exxon, even with all its recent record profits, Bill Gates, all of them put together - to buy even ONE drop of the blood of Jesus Christ! And Jesus Christ did not shed only one drop. Blood flowed like a river from Immanuelís veins. When God sent prophet after prophet, and so many of those were mistreated or killed, God waited about four thousand years with no real response from the people most of the time.

Finally he sent his son. And Jesus was rejected and died as well. But, praise God, he was raised and we are raised with him also.

WE ARE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST, NEVERTHELESS WE LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN US! How can we hold back? Paul did his reasonable service. So have people for centuries the world over, often with serious consequences.

Yet many of us so not do everything we can in grateful service to Christ. When there is a financial need, we calculate what we ìoweî God instead of simply meeting the need. When we come across lost people, we weigh the embarrassment of being rejected. When someone threatens our job, we put Christ on the back burner. I am here today to encourage you, my Friends ñ many of you have been through the fire, and many of you have family and friends who have been through the fire.

Yet, it is not over. I say, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit to do all that is required.

After Stephen testified in Acts chapter 7, Luke writes,

When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, Looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, And Jesus STANDING at the right hand of God! Friends, it takes more than willpower and a love for Jesus Christ It takes the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do everything Jesus has laid out for you to do.

Whether it is to be in government, Or to be on the firing line. Donít hold anything back or fail to go ANYWHERE that Jesus leads you! I am talking with people who want to go EVERYWHERE Jesus wants to take them.

A friend of mine loves older cars.

He had the opportunity to get a 1959 Jaguar in exchange for some work he had done. It cost more and more to restore ñ I think he has put over $75,000 into the restoration ñ it is for sure an expensive hobby. One day recently he got a call from the car shop. The man was very nervous as he told my friend there was a little accident. It resulted in a dent in the bonnet (or hood). Some people in this city will hurt or kill someone over a parking space.

The least the car man expected was a bawling out. My friend said it was just a car and that it was all right. He also said that even if the car had blown up, it was still just a car and the man was more important than any car.

Maybe that is why God trusted my friend with the car.

The man at the other end of the phone started to sob. People arenít used to this kind of response. Jesus has to be Lord not only in the church. Jesus has to be Lord in your life EVERYWHERE. Just as Stephen could not have helped solve the problem of widows some a minority ethnic group getting all there food without the power of Holy Spirit, So we cannot be Christlike at the workplace or do things Godís way without the power of the Holy Spirit.

You know, being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time occurrence in our lives. We are to constantly be filled. We must ask God to enlarge our tent to be vessels for more of him.

It is a common statement that most people use less than 10% of their mental capacity. The situation we find ourselves in is that we do not operate in even 10% of the power of the Holy Spirit. We may experience some joy, some peace, and an occasional miracle.

Compare that to people placing themselves under Peterís shadow to be healed.

Compare that to demon-possessed people being delivered as they ran to Jesus ñ before he even touched them.

As much as we think we are doing, it is not enough. The hospitals are filled with people suffering in their bodies. There are even more with mental issues yet untouched by the power of God. Believe me, the children of the devil are running at far more than 10% of THEIR capacity. They are going around stealing, killing, and destroying. You know, a whole lot of people think that sinners conspire against Christians.

They really donít??? They all have the same FatherÖ Whether they are a common criminal or a religious leader without Christ. They all hear the same voice. Their actions all work together to fight the Christian. We will only be united when we all hear the same voice from our Father. We have divisions and weakness because we are doing what we want, not what the Father is saying. What the Father wants is revealed to us in the Bible and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to us.

We must be filled each and every day. If you want to be refreshed in the Holy Spirit today, COME or if perhaps you are here today and still have not repented of your sin and come into eternal life by accepting Jesus Christ as God and as your personal Savior from sin and the Lord of your Life. You are welcome to come, and we, along with your leaders, will pray with you.

We have come this far. Letís go ALL THE WAY WITH JESUS. Letís GIVE ALL TO JESUS! Praise God.

JESUS, JOHN, AND MARY AT THE CROSS

Original Post Date: Sun Sep 24, 2006


READ JOHN 19:25-27

Standing near the cross were Jesusí mother, and his motherís sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, ìWoman, he is your son.î 27And he said to this disciple, ìShe is your mother.î And from then on (this hour in some translations - this moment in the Message) this disciple took her into his home.

A group of women, along with the Apostle John, stood near the cross. (Later, they would move farther away and join other friends of Jesus. [Matt. 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41].) John specifies four women: Mary, the mother of Jesus; His motherís sister, Salome, the mother of James and John; Mary, the wife of Clopas (Cleophas); and Mary Magdalene. It took courage to stand there in the midst of such hatred and ridicule, but their being there must have encouraged our Lord.

Note that there were four women and one man.More women than men followed Jesus. But why not more men at the cross? [[EMOTICON:SAD2]] John alone was in the judgment hall. John alone was at the cross. It doesnít surprise me that the very thing that the other disciples feared most was being identified and and targeted by the same people that were killing Jesus.

Jesus said that whoever tries to save his life will lose it and whoever will lose his life for my sake will save it. So It also doesnít surprise me that John was the only disciple not to be martyred and that all the others were. Godís word does not return void. It is absolutely true.

Also, note that the four women and John were all standing NEAR the cross. They were up-close and personal to that grisly sight. Later, according to Mark 15:40, there was a larger group standing AT A DISTANCE from the cross. The party of five who were close and empowered enough by God to do so did not mandate that the others who were coming go to that extent. They moved back and a larger group stood vigil.

Those of you who understand the agony Jesus was going through as he bore the sins of the world will find it suppendous that he had the presence of mind to think about others. Of course, we know that Stephenís final words were of forgiveness to those stoning him, and such has been the case for the almost 2,000 years since in the case of many other martyrs.

Jesus was an other-directed person, not a self absorbed person. Unlike the teaching many receive today, which preaches a Jesus wholly devoted to providing personal fulfillment to carnally minded folks, the true gospel is one of agape love. At the Passover, most of us would have been moody if not depressed knowing the cross was less than a day away. Jesus, though, looked to the need of the disciples and washed their feet, indicating his love for them and his priorities in life.

As Jesus considered how to deal with the destiny of his mother, I believe he received his answer in a New York Minute.

John was, after all, the disciple that Jesus loved. John was the only one who was present at the judgment. Though he fled in the garden like all the rest, unlike the others he gathered himself and stuck with Jesus through the trial AND at the cross. Jesus loved all his disciples, but when it came to his mother, only the best and most trustworthy would do.

You might ask why he needed to do anything. After all, Salome, Johnís mother, and Maryís sister, could likely have taken care of her. Mark mentions in his gospel, chapter 15, vs. 41 that Salome, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Mary Magdalene followed Jesus and cared for his needs. Certainly Salome was up to the task. Zebedee had a great business, probably had a nice home, and after all, sisters usually care well for each other.
There is no mention of Zebedee ever coming to Christ. Perhaps Salome was unequally yoked, or perhaps Zebedee was a quiet believer who subsidized the expenses of the ministry from his business. Yet Salome was a close follower of the Lord. What stands out in Markís account was that Mary, mother of our Lord was NOT listed among those who followed Jesus and cared for his needs in Galilee. Whether his rebuke of her earlier made her retire a bit from the forefront, or whatever the reason, there may have been some friction between the two, and Jesus of course would have known that. I believe a spiritual reason came into play. You remember that Mary had pressed Jesus to perform the miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. While Jesus rebuked her, he did do the miracle. Later, according to Matthew in chapter 12, vs. 46 of his gospel, Jesus was speaking to the crowd and his mother and brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Whether it was urgent or they simply wanted to divert him from his purpose we do not know, but Jesus replied that those in the crowd who did his will were his mother and brothers. This must have stung Mary, and perhaps she stepped back a bit. It seems that she mellowed over time. That was not the case with her sister Salome. Salome cared for the practical needs of Jesus, perhaps much like Martha, and like those preoccupied with the ordinary, miss the true message. Marthaís sister Mary truly understood Jesus.

Salome seemed to miss the whole intent of what he was saying. In Matthew 20, and in Mark 10, very close to the Triumphal entry, Salome apparently encouraged her sons James and John to make a request of Jesus ñ one to sit on his right and the other on his left, in the Kingdom. This earned a rebuke. I believe Jesus also had in mind that his mother Mary would not push John into this kind of ambition, so he would rather have John relate to her as his mother rather than Salome. Remember Jesus' words, he who does my will is my mother and brother.

It is also worth noting that Salome lived in Galilee, and from the text, John took her into his home that same hour. John must have lived in or near Jerusalem. By having Mary there, she would be in the thick of things until John relocated to lead the church in Ephesus later on. Jesus knew that a sword would pierce Mary's heart. Who better to see her through that weekend and the years that followed than the one closest to Christ, John?

We must not absolutely conclude before we look at the other choices Jesus had in assigning responsibility for his mother. What about Maryís other children? James, Jude, and the others. What about her daughters? We know from other scriptures that Jesusí family, other than his mother, did not believe in him yet. With Jesus, the spirit always ran thicker than blood. Remember his statements ñ who is my mother, and brother and sister? And whoever does not hate his mother and father is not worthy of me?

Yet Jesus knew that in the upper room, Jesus half-brothers would all be there and they all would be filled with the Holy Spirit along with his mother. Mary would likely be helpful in encouraging them in Christ, and how better to support that that to have her live with the disciple who best captured the message and love of Jesus Christ? Jesus truly cared for his family. And look at the results ñ the books of James and Jude were written by Jesus half-brothers.

So Jesus perfectly matched John and his mother. And many translations say HOUR, so this was immediate. John did not count the cost or inconvenience or impact on his lifestyle or his marriage or his relationship with his own mother in the slightest.

What would that do to Johnís relationship with his own mother? NOTHING.

John was in his own home and he was fully able to love more than one person. He did not reject his own mother by accepting Mary.

Salome, on the other hand, had to accept sharing the affection of her son with her sister. That is not easy, but from Acts chapter one, we believe that she was among the women who were in that same upper room.

The ways of God was past finding out. But Jesus, who took such care and who used such foresight in making these arrangements, takes the same level of care with every detail of our lives. You can trust Jesus for every detail of your life. And be sure to follow his example, and think of the welfare of others when you are hurting. That is Christlike, and that is the way it must be if we are to be his mother or his brother.

Amen

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO THE KINGDOM?

Original post date: Sat May 20, 2006


The news is filled with teaming crowds in the streets. They are demanding "rights", even though they are not citizens and even though they have not professed loyalty. Coming in like a thief and a robber, they protest that they are good people and have done nothing wrong.

Mexicans in cities both close to and far from the border? Well, yes, but that is not the crowd I am talking about. I am talking about hordes of people - Americans and those from other countries who all are demanding from God and who are "holding him to his word". They have not come through the sheepgate, but as it says in John 10, as a thief and a robber. There are hoards of people who want all the benefits of the kingdom of God without seeking righteousness first. They believe they can get in other ways -

First, they think they can buy their way in. Like Simon the Sorceror, their eyes get big as saucers [[EMOTICON:SHOCK2]] when they see the miracles and the works of God. They would not be a crass as Simon was, but they give to get. They do not GIVE. They simply send money to questionable ministries with the expectation they will get back every cent they send plus much more. In exchange, all the endemic problems in their lives will be solved - by fiat. NO repentance, no tears, no change, just money.

Some don't have the money or the crassness. They try to sneak in.
They hide in the proverbial gas tanks under the gospel train and seek to come in piggybacked on other Christians. Not just Mom and Dad, mind you. They latch on to other saints and figure they'll be close to God if they stay close to the saint. Jesus checks credentials. If you are not coming in by the blood, you are illegal, and will not become a citizen of heaven.

Some mimic the works of the kingdom. The immigrate in and assimilate.
Many assume they are true believers. They may even heal the sick and cast out demons, but Jesus himself said that he would tell those who did these things without TRULY knowing him to depart from him. [[EMOTICON:ANGRY3]] Only what is genuine is worth counterfeiting. There are many counterfeits around today, and like counterfeit money, they are similar in most respects to the genuine. However, the little detail that is false gives them away to the truly children of God trained to detect the genuine from the false. Illegals look like good citizens in many respects. However, those who are not legitimately in the kingdom will not remain.

Still others come by brute force. They bypass the gatekeepers - and the borders of the church are more porous than the Mexican border). They come in and WORK HARD. They ingratiate themselves and make themselves indispensable. They are not living in accordance with the rules, their language is not the language of the kingdom, but the language of their past life. They will fly the flag of their own sovereignty above that of the Lord, yet they will demand kingdom blessings. [[EMOTICON:THINK1]]

You see, life in the world is tough. Satan doesn't pay well. The wages of sin is death. People want better. They hear about how good it is where God is. Problem is, they just want the goodies, not the whole package.

The Shepherds need to see eye to eye. They need to have one standard to get in - a passport issued by God himself. The Shibboleth is "Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and he is the only say to salvation". If you can't say that sincerely, you are out on your ear and back to your homeland. I John is very clear about this.

Friends, there will be no amnesty. If you are hanging around Christians and the church without a passport, you will be deported to hell by the Son of God himself. There will be no guest workers in heaven. There will be no "illegals" in heaven. In some churches, there are more illegals than saved. The pastors do not want to chase them out because they watch the children, they set up rooms, they provide security, and they pay money. Wouldn't you like to see the gates closed and only the bloodwashed given status? We need a purifying of the church.

I have nothing against immigration. All Christians are immigrants.
We leave sin and enter eternal life. We just have to do it by the Book. NO other way will work. Invite people who are loyal to kingdoms other than our Lord's to switch allegiances. Remember, unless we proclaim our loyalty to the Lord, we cannot receive the benefits of his eternal kingdom.

God bless.


COMMENTS
Name: Wootay
Date: Sat Apr 15 11:09:45 2006
Comment: Church isn't a place for Christians. How did they first become Christians, anyway? It's not a place that needs to shut the door on the lost! You are way off if you think that.

I enjoyed your metaphor of immigration, but when you talk about borders, Heaven has its borders to allow Christians in and everything else out. But the "church" is nothing more than a place to fellowship and worship God. It doesn't even have to be a building with a steeple. Jesus never preached at what you would call a traditional church. Sometimes he sat on a boat and taught people sitting on the shore. Sometimes he taught on the side of a mountain. And I'll guarantee you He didn't tell certain people to go because they were bad and others to stay because they were good.

You can't earn your way into Heaven, and you don't have to earn your way into church. You do, however, have to earn your citizenship, and one of the qualifications should be that you didn't break our federal laws to get here.

Name: JohnTheEvangelist
Date: Sat May 20 15:09:04 2006
Comment: I note that the church is the Body of Christ which comes together in local bodies. Being in a church building no more makes you a Christian that being in a window factory makes you a window. Christ let all come to him, but he was no stranger to telling the truth without compromise, and by so doing many left him and he did not chase them. We simply need to be sure that those among us are truly blood-washed saints, and that we do not assume that because they hang out at church buildings or home meetings or whereever else we are that they are in the Kingdom of God.

WILL THIS YEAR MARK THE END OF "CHRISTIANITY LITE?

Originally posted Monday, April 2, 2007
A Reprint of a New Year's Day Message - we are in April, but it is not too late to do something about it!


Much ado has been made of churches canceling services this season. Our church did not, but we decided to pay a visit to another Pentecostal church near us on New Yearís Day, and it was CLOSED! Not closed by Communists, not closed by Muslims, not closed by the ACLU, but closed by CHRISTIANS! It was already just after 11:00 AM, so we went somewhere else nearby ñ Zion Baptist in Ambler, to give credit where credit is due - and they were not only open, but with a big crowd and in no rush to end it! Over an hour of worship and praise, a wonderful dance performance by Living Stones on getting into the heart of Jesus, and an interactive sermon from Hebrews 13:1-5 that was practical, up-lifting and enjoyable. They then were taking a group to a Senior Citizensí home to minister on New Yearís Day afternoon! Why are some assemblies so eager to serve God, and others afraid of being too ìradicalî?

We live in a world of ìliteî everything. I think Miller Beer started it all. Remember ìMore taste. Less filling.î? We now have ìliteî margarine and ìliteî everything else. Some of these are perhaps more healthy that the full blown version. However, we also unfortunately have ìChristianity Liteî. and it is far from healthy. Not only does it have less taste, but it is also less filling. The Psalmist says in Psalms 34:8 says, Taste and See that the Lord is Good.î Psalm 119:103 says ìHow Sweet are Your Words to My Tasteî. So many Christians have not had a solid five course meal of God recently that they do not know what it tastes like. Instead they are in a hurry and fill up on junk food ñ get rich schemes, worship that stops almost before it starts, messages more about current events than on imparting heavy duty soul food into the spirit. In essence, they drive through and eat while pursuing other things. Recipes, the big game, and other thoughts often replace diligent attention to what is being said from the pulpit even those few minutes. Not only is the body not nourished, but the enjoyment factor is low because it is not the slightest equivalent to what Jesus has prepared for those who diligently seek him. An appetizer of praise and worship. a fruit salad of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in full operation, and a meaty message. We need everything to nourish the body, not food of limited value with lots of salt and no balance. We are to be FILLED with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). We canít have ìfillersî and have room for the Spirit, too! Many Pastors are afraid of losing people if the services are too serious. I say, so what? We need to move beyond where we are and fully engage the Lord in concert with the rest of the Body EVERY time we are together. The truth is, sinners would be more attracted to that level of reality. Some practical tips -

1) Know your position in Christ. Do not live in the outer courts or as if the veil is still there and you need a priest to go into the Holy of Holies for you. Jesus tore the veil from top to bottom. LIVE in the Holy of Holies. Live in His presence. You need to carry Godís presence with you. You must not walk into it and then out of it! That is far below your privilege!

2) Pray without ceasing. Know that when you walk with the Lord, you have an open line, a BROADBAND CONNECTION if you will. You neednít talk all the time, and neither will the Lord. However, when either of you have something to say, it can be said and freely received. It is effortless if you live that way.

3) Worship God on your own. It is not a good sign if you have to be in church to worship. Worship at home, in your car, ANY PLACE. Worship with songs, with words, with attitude. Use English. Use tongues. Worship with the mind and the Spirit.

4) Write down what the Lord tells you. Expect him to share with you every day. Share what he says with others if it could bless them. Make sure to note specific commands the Lord gives you and follow through TIMELY. When we obey, the windows of heaven open wider each time.

5) Contribute sacrificially to God. First your heart, then your time, and last, but not least, your substance. Never give to get. Give to GIVE! God will supply your needs, but we give to facilitate the growth of the kingdom, not for selfish reasons or with expectations of return. Donít let giving be reduced to a formula! Simply learn to hear Godís voice and give him WHATEVER he asks of you. Do not hold back anything from your heart, your time, or your substance.

Donít wait for others. Take the initiative yourself. If your church is practicing ìChristianity Liteî, talk to your leaders and tell them you want more taste and to constantly be filled with the Holy Spirit. As you are filled each time, your capacity grows for Him, so this is a continuing process for both the individual AND the Body of Christ. Tell those guarding your soul you want 2006 to be the end of ìChristianity Liteî and the beginning of a îtake no prisonersî brand of New Testament Christianity. Our lives surely depend on it!

RELIGION IN THE SCHOOLS CELEBRATED BY LOCAL PRESS

Originally posted Sunday, September 24, 2006

Copy of a letter sent to a local paper - it celebrated elementary students preparing for a test using Tai Chi Chuan.. They were sitting in a yogic position with eyes closed, hands face up. Amazing! My comments -

I had very mixed reactions to the large photos and prominent coverage given to Joseph Pusacano's students practicing Tai Chi Chuan. On one hand, they glorified and endorsed the practice of Taoism and New Age techniques in a PUBLIC school where students are steered clear of the one name that really does help people (Jesus Christ), while on the other hand it exposed the sham of religion in the schools that has become routine. In California, some students had to practice Islam to learn about it. [[EMOTICON:SAD1]] In Philadelphia, some students were taught astrology. In other districts witches are instructing students about occult things.. It has never been about religion in the schools - it is about banning true Christianity. If school districts were TRULY religion neutral, Mr. Pisacano would have been summarily fired for cause. If it were only about religion, the paper would have shied away from printing this story. If it were only about religion, the ACLU would have been on the case.

We know that it is impossible for anyone to be religion neutral, as naturalism has engulfed science education, and some form of religion fills every spiritual vacuum. I say that no public school teacher should be allowed to lead their students in religious exercises in the classroom unless it is an optional course where this is specifically stated to parents, but that belief systems should be presented as a part of life and students should be free to practice their own religion without shackles.

AN INTRODUCTION

Originally posted September 24, 2006

The Lord and I love people. Having known the Lord for over 50 (count-em) years, I have learned a lot from him and want to pass it on and help people.

If you need prayer for anything, just let me know. Check our website for our radio, Internet, and other ministries -
www.kingdomgospelministries.org

My heart is saddened by the situation at Duke University. For so long, schools have been telling their students that free sex, pornography, and the like are all acceptable. They have put vile reading material on the book lists. Then, alas, they are "shocked" when students act like the devil. Pray for that young exotic dancer that through this experience she would come to know Christ. What the devil meant for evil, God can bring good out of it! God can do anything.