LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

OUR GOAL: ALWAYS PROVOCATIVE - ALWAYS BIBLICAL - ALWAYS EDIFYING. If you haven't already, please log on to our Kingdom Gospel Ministries website for a lot of info and a new drama each week - www.kingdomgospelministries.org

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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.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

THE BENEFITS OF MEMORIZING THE BIBLE

THIS WAS IN RESPONSE TO A COMMENT I MADE ABOUT THIS FACEBOOK POST.

JESUS DOESN"T CARE HOW MANY BIBLE VERSES YOU HAVE MEMORIZED. HE CARES ABOUT HOW YOU TREAT PEOPLE.

Me:   Actually we learn from Psalm 119 "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might sin against thee." We are supposed to devour the word of God. Jesus did. He memorized lots and so did Stephen. Our entire family belonged to the Bible Memory Association. I treasure that involvement and many Christians today do not know what is expected of them because they do not know the Word. Sorry Johnny West, but Mormons and Witnesses treat people very well and they are going to hell. It is not either/or but both/and.

Responder: It's important to understand that knowing the Word and memorizing it are two different things. We must know it to know how he wants us to treat others; however we don't have to recite them verbatim to follow the instruction.. 

Me: Obviously we have to know it but in the process of memorizing you go over it again and again. The Lord has used the Word I have memorized to avoid sins of commission and sins of omission and to keep me from accepting something preached that disagrees with the Bible. Many people do not have a scripture filter in their head and I am stunned with what I hear people believe because someone preached it. The scripture still says to hide it In Your heart and that means memorizing it. It also helps when no Bible is around or if you have to respond on your feet or if you are in a country where Bibles are banned. Try memorizing seven verses a week for a month and then tell me if you still disagree. If nothing else, those verses will be welded to your soul.

Responder: It's important to understand that knowing the Word and memorizing it are two different things. We must know it to know how he wants us to treat others; however we don't have to recite them verbatim to follow the instruction..   you are correct that many do not know what they speak of because they only know what someone told them and not what they knew for themselves. We just disagree that to study the Word and hide it in your heart means to memorize. I've memorized many verses, but it doesn't mean I can't recall those that I have not memorized. Even in your example, once you have left the place where Bibles are banned, those people must trust the Holy Spirit to reveal more to them after you're gone. We have to be careful not to alienate those who don't believe they have the gift of memorization so that they can become open to what they can do with the Christ that lives in them. If they believe they can't get to Him without memorization that would be a soul we have lost.

My response - too long for Facebook:

I did not say that people cannot get to God unless they memorize, but I did say that memorization is very valuable and there are countless examples in the scriptures.  Why didn't Daniel defile himself with the king's meat?  He knew the scripture.  How was Jesus able to overcome the temptations of Satan?  He knew the scripture and quoted it accurately to Satan.  The Sanhedrin did not offer Stephen a Bible scroll - he recited God's dealing with the Jews accurately if not word for word.  

Look, my memory is not "gifted".   My sister had a far better memory than I and memorized two entire books of the Bible during one Vacation Bible School to win that.  However, our entire family committed to doing so and we could sit in the living room and spend over an hour reciting the Bible encouraging one another.  Some can do more, others less, but the church is in such a weak state with FEW Christians knowing the Bible well at all and fewer able to drawn its truths in moments of crisis when no Bible is in sight.

When I was in 8th grade EVERYONE had to memorize Polonius farewell address to Laertes.  The teacher did not ask if you could or not do it. You did or you flunked.  I still remember parts of it over 55 years later.  The same with German dialogues.  It is was easier for some than for others, but EVERYONE did it.  I have owned a business for over 37 years - I have several computers and hundred of books - yet I am expected to have in my Human RAM an incredible number of facts - I am not considered learned without them.  I cannot just say, "Wait until I Google that." I frankly cannot understand why ANYONE would minimize the merits of having the Word of God dwell in them richly and to be able to repeat the heart  of God to another person they meet.  Witnessing Christians talk a lot, but the power of Scripture is stronger than our own words.  If you talk to a baseball fan(atic), they have memorized players, stats, everything.  The average sinner can name dozens of actors and actresses and every movie they appeared in. A rap or Spoken Word artist can go for twenty minutes with intricate rhyming material.  If you are a fan(atic) of Jesus. you should know as much as possible about hum by heart and be able to prove it by his word that is written on your heart.

I found this blogger's (Catherine Robson) opinion prescient as well.

"Rote memory of anything is unpopular these days. Why memorize anything when it can be at the fingertips of your smartphone in seconds? There was a time, into the early decades of the 20th century, when the memorization of poetry in school was mandatory. Educators knew that this not only helped children develop language skills and strengthen their brains, but even helped them internalize the themes of poetry. Teachers understood that when we learn something by heart, it becomes a part of who we are. “If we do not learn by heart, the heart does not feel the rhythms of poetry as echoes or variations of its own insistent beat.

The same can be said of the Bible. When we memorize Scripture, it becomes a part of who we are. From the pithy sayings of the Proverbs to the poetic rhythm of the Psalms, from the powerful speeches of the prophets to the theological expositions of the epistles, the Bible can be woven into the fabric of our personality. Its truths can be on the tips of our tongues for all seasons of life."


Look, I was on the phone for an hour and a half last week with a woman whom we met at a Christian retreat - a place incidentally where to my chagrin some totally unscriptural things took place. She did not even notice.  But we did get into the topic of stewardship because of teaching she had received from her pastor.  She asked good questions. She was in a tithing bondage with her home crumbling around her and did not know some basic scriptures such as "giving must not be under compulsion. Each man should give as he has determined in his own heart".  She was ignorant of differences between the Old Covenant and the New One and that you cannot cherry-pick portions of the law.  In fact what she was being taught did not even conform to the Old Covenant Law, and I have heard a seemingly countless number of pastors butcher the subject - why?  Because of simply copying what there have said without investigating it and knowing the scriptures and how they are intertwined with the very character of Christ, the Living Word.  She was ill-equipped to understand what the Bible said because while she read it probably more than most, it was not PART of her.  It was not welded to her soul. She was confused about much but when done still seemed to put the words of man above the words of God.

The church has tried your way and it is on life-support. All the relevant or purpose-driven stuff has weakened not strengthened the church. 80% of the young people leave the church during college.  In my high school Sunday School (Class of 1966), the majority of the class is in Christian service today. unless they retired recently.  The level of discernment in the church is minimal. People talk about "heir truth" vs. "my truth."  There is only ONE set of truth.   Pastors (and I had a full-time pastor confide in me he had a hard time devoting time every day to God) who used to be sound have gone off the rails. The man I referred to in parentheses lost his church and it disbanded.  People have worldviews and support politicians with demonic characteristics which they appear helpless to recognize.  (You should check out my previous post on knowing your Shepherd.)

Why not return to a time when the Bible is embedded into our souls - memorize, meditate, and apply the word?  I bet you if you tried it you would understand me. Do not say you cannot.  EVERYBODY CAN.  Experts say youth can learn 12 verses a week, adults 7.  I have seen it work.  It is not a magic bill, but as a minister of Jesus Christ who has been continuously in Christ for over 60 years, I must tell you it is EXTREMELY valuable.  One scripture kept my wife from a disastrous decision as a child.

 Here are ten reasons given by someone else.

1. Memorizing the Bible produces spiritual growth
2. Memorizing the Bible keeps us from sin
3. Memorizing the Bible stores up truth for later
4. Memorizing the Bible uses time wisely
5. Memorizing the Bible guards our thinking from error
6. Memorizing the Bible equips us for witnessing
7. Memorizing the Bible provides tools to comfort others
8. Memorizing the Bible sharpens our spiritual battle skills
9. Memorizing the Bible opens up heart fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ
10. Memorizing the Bible establishes gospel priorities

And from "GotQuestions.ORG

Question: "Why is Bible memorization important?"


Answer: Bible memorization is of utmost importance in the Christian life. In fact, memorizing Scripture is perhaps the single most crucial element to spiritual growth and victory over sin. The Word of God is powerful because it is literally “God-breathed” from the mind of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and when we fill our minds with His words by memorizing Scripture, we avail ourselves of the most powerful spiritual tool there is.

When we memorize the Word of God, several things happen. Psalm 119:11 tells us the psalmist hid God’s Word in his heart so that he would not sin against Him. Not only did he hear and read the Word, but he internalized it and laid it up in his mind and memory for future use. The Word of God is the believer’s only truly potent weapon against sin, and when placed in the mind through Bible memorization, it is a strong influence for godliness and righteous living. Hebrews 4:12 tells us the Word of God is “living and active,” meaning that it has supernatural power to mold us into Christ-likeness when we meditate upon it, and there is no better way to meditate on the Word than to have it in our minds and memories. 

Ephesians 6:13-17 describes the believer’s armor in the battle for our souls and spiritual survival. All of the elements of the armor are defensive except one. The only offensive weapon is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v. 17). Just as Jesus used God’s Word to fend off attacks of Satan (Matthew 4:1-11), so must we be able to use the same weapon. But rarely does Satan give us time to “look up” the correct passages when we are confronted with his lies and deception. Bible memorization ensures that we will have the appropriate truths and principles in mind and be able to recall them instantly to effectively respond to the evil one who seeks to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8). Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us to “renew” our minds so that we are no longer influenced by the thinking that conforms us to this world. The only way to renew the mind is to fill it with Scripture.

Memorizing Scripture is the privilege and responsibility of every Christian. There are several excellent Scripture memory systems available, including the Navigators Topical Memory System. Even without a specific published method, anyone can start with the key verses of the Christian faith—such as John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8-9—and continue to build verse upon verse. The key is to continually review the ones already memorized before adding any new ones. Whatever method is chosen, the benefits of Bible memorization are victory over sin, strengthened faith, and joy in the Christian life.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

MY SHEPHERD

Sheep need shepherds.
Sheep go astray.
They have a will that is independent of the shepherd.
They see something and it grabs their attention.
They are not looking for wolves.
They get hurt or destroyed by the wolves.

There are Wolfpacks in my church – and they are not all from North Carolina State.
These men and women support each other, guest on each other’s shows, and tell you how spiritual one another is.
The wolves care not for the sheep.
They see them more as cows – cash-cows.

True Shepherds care so much for the sheep they will DIE for their sheep.
If you are listening to some of the media pastors,
Ask yourself –  Would this man die to save my life?
Or would he simply take for granted my life is worth nothing compared to his?
Read my word – I describe how these men really care NOTHING for the sheep.

My Shepherd had the best life of anyone in the entire world throughout all of History. 
A spectacular life.
Yet he deemed my life – little old me – worth DYING for!
Thank you Jesus for dying for me.
I will serve you forever.

Praise be the name of the Lord!

BUILD THE WALL!


People make fun of the proposed wall at the southern border of your country. You know, the one like the one on the border between Mexico and Guatemala that already exists.

The church is like the country – letting everybody in.
People who do not share a deep love for Christ.
People without a loyalty to the things Christ stands for.

God put a wall around his kingdom.
It is impenetrable and the only entrance is through a very narrow door which is Christ.
There is no door designed for political activists who replace Jesus with the state.
Or liberation folks.
Or the do-good types like Mother Teresa who ended up not believing Jesus was God.
Or those with a false religious spirit.
Or those who have a litany of human-conceived rules that seem great.
Or nice affirming people.
One door with one means of admission – the blood of Christ applied to erase  the applicant’s sins.

People try to climb in to the kingdom, but they are unsuccessful.
They have to come through the door or they are excluded forever.

However, they do climb into church organizations rather easily who do not have the same wall God has. These organizations reduce the requirements to enter and join.
They do not require faith even though without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.
They do not require holiness, with though without holiness, NO MAN can see God.
They do not require belief, even though we must believe his word and in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Embrace the narrow way so that the church will be without spot or wrinke or any such thing.
Christ can and will wash the vilest clean,
But the vilest must be willing to b made clean..
They come with no preconditions except they are coming in repentance and humility to accept the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for them and to live in subjection to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords which is their most reasonable service.
They do not want to a better person but a person conformed to the likeness of Christ himself and be a vessel where the fullness of Christ dwells.


You church must mirror the kingdom – open the door to all who wish to come the way of the Father through Christ.  No one else is part of my glorious Body.  Whosoever will may come, but they must come as I the Lord have directed.

BE DISCIPLED CORRECTLY

Pastors are products of how they are discipled.
Not all discipleship is good.
Many are discipled to expect wealth and to demand tithes.
To go to pointless meetings.
To put church over family.
To put church over their spouse.
To make their spouse a pastor in violation of God’s word.
Learn from men who are 100% BIBLE men.

Bible men do not change the gospel.
Bible men do not elevate themselves.
Rather they want to decrease so Christ will increase.
Bible men do not demand things from people that Christ does not.
Bible men do not add human rules and regulations to the Bible.
Bible men accept the fact they are men and are given headship in the body.
They do not abdicate it or succomb to political correctness.
They also ask to be held to the Biblical standard of leadership which are
Strict but fair and reasonable.
When thy get discipled, they put themselves under men who are indeed
Mature in Christ.
Men who are not divisive but at the same time not compromisers.
Men who are the husband of one wife.
Men who are not drunkards or gluttons.
Men who are hospitable and put Christ above football or other pursuties.
Men who are apt to teach because they have been taught by God.
Men who are not greedy for money.
Men who are not greedy for fame, titles, or position.
In short, men who are like Jesus.