LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

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Location: Horsham, Pennsylvania, United States

John is a PA/NJ Architect with his own practice in its 41st year working on a wide variety of projects. He works on churches, convenience stores, residences, and academies as well as industrial projects. He has helped in numerous property acquisitions and worked with real estate investors. Acutely interested in politics since a teenager with many articles published over the last 55 years, he 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. John is a "Tentmaking Evangelist" (Architect). An Evangelist with the Anchor Bay Evangelistic Association (non-denominational). Co-Founder of Kingdom Gospel Ministries, a ministry now in its 35th year with a mission to reconcile people of different racial, ethnic, and economic situations, and the producer of three weekly radio programs - a Sunday morning verse-by-verse Bible Study on Radio Delaware Valley, a weekly message from current events in California, and a weekly radio drama on the Wilkins Radio network. He also has archived many, many radio programs and written articles on the Internet.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

WHAT IS GOD SHAKING IN YOUR LIFE?

Date: Wed Mar 16 14:37:43 2011

(this message is adapted and condensed from one I delivered at Johnsville Assembly of God on Sunday, March 13, 2011)

One is struck by the massive damage in Japan with the recent earthquakes. Though the quake was 1,000 times stronger than the one that killed hundreds of thousands in Haiti, construction in Japan is much more rigorous than in Haiti, or one could not imagine the utter devastation that would have taken place. The tsunami that followed was a major double blow that exacerbated the situation greatly.

Oddly enough, a pastor in Japan has a take on what happened that is totally different from what one might hear in the news media. I received an email from Japan with the following verses from Hebrews 12: ì25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ìOnce more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.î 27 The words ìonce moreî indicate the removing of what can be shakenóthat is, created thingsóso that what cannot be shaken may remain.î

The pastorís concern was for the spiritual welfare of the people, the vast majority of whom have steadfastly resisted the gospel. They listen politely, but usually will not commit their lives to Christ. The Pastor wants to see spiritual good come out of this. There is for sure Christian involvement in relief efforts, but the opportunity must not be lost to present Christ when someoneís world has been shaken so violently.

Many people think that the shaking is some kind of punishment. Not so. It is to remove that which will not stand and to leave the eternal standing alone. Letís see the rest of the Holy Spiritís thoughts as written in vs. 28 and 29: ì28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our ìGod is a consuming fire.î

Anyone who has walked with God any length of time knows that there WILL be shaking. There are financial shakings, marital shakings, health shakings, and all other manner of shakings. I am being shaken right now in many ways due to the severely depressed economy which has hit my work sector worse than most any other. I just visited a friend whose heart failed him and who is now in a hospice. I have a friend who is at severe odds with his wife spiritually, and you could multiply each of these and many others by the thousands if not by the millions.

That is why we need to pray much for each other. I used to think that God called some people to be intercessors and the rest of us could lead more normal lives. I donít think that way any more. In fact, I devote most of my times in prayer to interceding for other people. We live in serious times and we must follow the examples of Christ and the Apostles and the early church in terms of devoting ourselves to prayer. Prayer changes things.

We also really need to get to the heart of what we need to do so that what we do really does remain. I am sure all of you are familiar with Ephesians 2:8 and 9: ì8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithóand this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godó 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.î We know that is by grace, not works, that we are saved. No matter how well reasoned or how beautiful the works we come up with are, they cannot save us. However, many of us do not jettison those works. Instead, we view them as a means to sanctification rather than a means to salvation. We do the works we came up with to move toward maturity and feel quite good about it, thank you. We arenít trusting those works to save us, but we are in love with them nonetheless. We really need to read verse 10 to get the whole message: ì10 For we are Godís handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.î Ah, ìworksî again, but these are not works of our design and choosing, they are ìGodís worksî that he designed and which he prepared for each of us to do. God may well have something for you to do that you never dreamed of or which you thought you were not very good at. Only God knows what we should be doing with our lives, and we need to ask him and not assume anything.

The challenge we face is that we take the works we come up with and incorporated them into religious systems that everyone has to conform to in order to pass muster with us. The problem isnít often faith ñ we have had Ephesians 2:8-9 drummed into us. It is what we ADD to faith. We add all manner of things of our choosing, and the results are not pretty. In fact, despite all the talk about unity, there have been a very large number of new denominations formed over the last few years, and unfortunately a plurality if not an outright majority of those are Pentecostal. Compare this to only 17 religious groups in America in 1790. While some divisions are over major issues, others are over the ìformulasî used over baptisms and even much more minor issues.

With so much that we add to faith not being Biblical imperatives, we need to see what God wants us to add to our faith. Yes, Virginia, adding to faith is a Biblical concept. Letís check out II Peter 1, starting with verse five: ì5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.î

I donít know about you, but I want to be effective and productive in my knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I urge you to only add to your faith what God wants added, and that you press in close to him in these serious times. We need to let him shake out of us everything that does not fit his master plan for our live so that the fruit and deeds we do that build up the Kingdom of God will be all that remains.

May God bless you!

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