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greggordon

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  1. “Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy” – Psalm 86:1 As days go by in our life here on earth so many times our focus gets fixed on something transient and passing. Daily cares of life, all the needs and desires of others in our lives, even our own ambitions, and goals sometimes cloud the vision for what really matters. Remember when you started to know the Lord, the day you bowed your knee and spoke with your Lord who redeemed you? Remember the awe in your heart for Him who died for you? How sitting at his feet for hours was easy? We all can drift from this intimate focus on the Lord, where our hearts desire was for Him to just hear us and answer. Where we had a poor and needy attitude of being poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). If you have drifted from this goal, you can still put your main aim to know Jesus more intimately, He is waiting for you. There is a wonderful contemporary song that captures some of the heart of being a friend with Jesus but still having great fear and awe in what He did for us, here are some of the lyrics: Wonderful, merciful Saviour Precious Redeemer and Friend Who would’ve thought that a Lamb could Rescue the souls of men Oh, You rescue the souls of men Here in our weakness You find us Falling before Your throne Oh, we’re falling before Your throne Today, set your heart back to the place where you first found Him. Not in just Bible reading, or in ministry endeavours or other Christian things, but in that place where you sat at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:39) for Him alone. One day we will bow at His feet in heaven in adoration. Let us also now be found at His feet in intimate worship and relationship. Lord, I bow today before Your feet, I look to Your face and just long to hear words from Your mouth. Forgive me for being so distracted with other things. Precious Lord let me know You more intimately day after day until I see you soon. Amen.
  2. Whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbour, and casts no slur on others. - Psalm 15:3 The psalmist David speaks of the type of person who can dwell near the Lord. When we speak against someone's reputation this is never a light thing. One who God dwells near should have absolutely no slander in his lips or in the heart. We all judge others or form opinions in our minds of others, we must be quick to cast down thoughts that are not based on our personal experience of the individual. When we hear stories or third-party stories of another brother and sister in the Lord and then cast a judgment we err. It is even worse when we take part in slandering someone when we have never known or spoken with the actual individual being blamed. Even if a brother or sister has erred in a significant way this is not our job or right to slander them, rather we should seek to pray for them and show the love of God. If we are praying for our sister or brother we will not be able to sin against them, but when we are sinning against them we can never truly pray for them. Polycarp bishop of Smyrna says, "Not quickly crediting an evil report against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive; for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God." Though we know the theology that God is ever-present seeing all things, we usually act as if God cannot see. When we talk about others, ruin someone's name, write words that accuse we do not realize all of these words are in the sight of God. Our Lord even said that every single small word we utter or write will be held for account in the last day (Matthew 12:36). In the passage we are looking at the last statement is of significance. In Hebrew the words for "casts no slur" essentially gives us a word picture of someone picking up an object to throw at someone. Here we have words being spoken to others in reproach and scorn. The word "slur" in hebrew gives the sense of something that is despised. One who is a child of God cannot carry such hate in their heart no matter even if evil was done to them. When we speak about others in such ways we end up hurting ourselves spiritually and the Lord does not dwell near us. When we judge others like this we end up judging our Lord who became sin for that individual. We end up speaking against him as a despised thing. All humans are made in the image of God and when we sin against them we in a sense sin against God. David in his confession of sin against other humans realized that the sin was against God (Psalm 51:4). Let us do not wrong to our neighbour even to those who have hurt us.
  3. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. – Acts 17:11 In modern evangelical circles the Bereans are esteemed as model believers that all should follow, and yes there are great attributes to them but also there are implications taken from them that are untrue. Firstly they were jews, meaning they were religious jews but not believing Christians. Yet Paul the Apostle states they had “noble character” meaning they had a sense of them that they were deep thinkers before coming to quick conclusions on a matter. They were willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Secondly, we see that they gladly received the message, meaning they were teachable, willing to learn and adjust their own beliefs. They were not so dogmatic to think that they were perfect or not needing correction or perfecting of their thinking of the Scriptures. When they heard reasonable words shared from the truth of Scriptures they eagerly sought these out to see if they really were Scriptural and true. They were not defensive but rather looking to learn and grow in their relationship and walk with God. They were also diligent in that every day they looked to see if the things Paul was sharing was true. They did not just give up or judge Paul but were willing to listen to the other side of the story and not come to quick conclusions. What a wonderful picture of a people who in the end mostly “embraced” the gospel message, they certainly were “noble” and the Lord honoured that. The Bereans did not spend hours looking for gaps and mistakes in Paul’s and Silas’s teachings but looked to see what was true of what they were saying. Modern believers who esteem Bereans think of these things in a different way. They look to diligently check things with the Bible so they can accuse and criticize another person or ministry. Most people are usually have their mind made up someone is wrong and therefore go ahead and simply look for ways to attack another’s character, calling and ministry. Such ministries are known as discernment ministries or even heresy hunters. Most of those who follow the ways of these “type” of Bereans are joyless, critical in spirit, bitter or even angry. Many believe they can take down the ministry they are accusing and feel they are doing God’s work just like the early Bereans. If you desire to have life and peace, stay with the Word of God and stay away from those who make it their life’s work to criticize and accuse others. Follow the example of the true Bereans who were happy and joyfully to rejoice in truth when it was shared and be willing to grow in our understanding of the Lord.
  4. When someone hears mention of the Anglican Church, the first thoughts that come to mind are unlikely to be about the Holy Spirit or deliverance from bondage. Yet, there is a movement within the Anglican Church of North America that is called “Via Apostolica” (Way of the Apostles) that originated from a large Church in Lethbridge, Canada where God called the lead pastor towards Anglicanism. The focus of their movement is called the 3 streams: Scripture, Sacrament and the Holy Spirit. This emphasis is defined on their website as those who “listens to Christ in the Scriptures, is connected to Christ by the Spirit, and communes with Christ through the Sacraments.” Bishop Todd Atkinson is the servant leader who has a passion to see radical discipleship and rooting in the great traditions of the Church. In a recent message given at a conference on inner healing called: Living Free. +Todd gave a powerful message on being set free from a life of self-bondage and focus. This inner healing and freedom from our own selfishness is part of what Jesus calls us to as disciples. The main Scripture shared in the message was the famous call of discipleship by Christ in St. Matthew: Here is an excerpt from the message where the life of self-focus is looked at: During the epitome of the message +Todd leads in a powerful prayer of deliverance asking Jesus to heal our spirits of the life of self-focus. As he said in the message this is first-step in a journey of deeper discipleship with Jesus Christ. Consider to read it first to mediate on what is being said then when you are ready read out-loud this prayer to God meaningfully by faith: Lord Jesus Christ, I release To You my life of self-focus Lord Jesus Christ, write Your ways upon our hearts Release me from my individualism, From making things all about me. Lord, have mercy Release me from my sentimentalism, From being led by my raw emotions. Lord, have mercy Release me from my entitlement From thinking I am owed things. Lord, have mercy Release me from my materialism, From looking to things for happiness. Lord, have mercy Release me from my skepticism, From anticipating disappointment Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. You can watch the live stream of the full message here on Facebook
  5. sorry will refrain from links in future posts, thanks!
  6. Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. – James 2:13 We all have been shown great mercy in our lives. God has shown great compassion and forgiveness towards us in not counting our sins against us. We were in a place were God was ready to punish us and cause us great harm in sending us to hell for eternity for our great sins. Yet he showed great mercy and love towards us, forgiving our sins in his Son. When we therefore show no mercy to others, especially believers, we sin greatly. Warren Weirsbe says, “The most miserable prison in the world is the prison we make for ourselves when we refuse to show mercy.” Such a prison many believers are in not being able to show mercy to others but being a great benefiter of mercy from God. God came down from above as the compassionate one to forgive your sins, yet we cannot show compassion to the sins of another believer. Judgmentalism is one of the great sins in the Church, as we are always faulty in the way we see others, never knowing someones motives and heart (Jeremiah 17:9). When we learn to be full of mercy for others, we start to share the heart of Jesus Christ who did not judge but showed compassion to failing humanity. Look into the eyes of Jesus Christ now and see his wounds where he was pierced for you, can you say to him that you cannot forgive another? Have mercy to another? The Desert Fathers were those who sought the Lord in a life of prayer in solitude, they sought God for God Himself. These were some of the godliest followers of the Lord in that era of Church history. A story of a Desert Father on not judging says, “A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, ‘Come, for everyone is waiting for you’. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, ‘what is this, father?’ The old man said to them, ‘My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.’ When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.” If we see our sins as this old godly brother did, we will not judge but show mercy to a fellow believer on this journey with the Lord. If we judged our own selves we would see our failings as great and have great mercy to others. We should find ourselves as the publican calling out to God for mercy constantly (Luke 18:13). Just like the pharisee in the temple praying we can judge our fellow brothers, looking down on the errors of others, but not seeing our own. Lord have mercy on me and help me to be merciful to others. Amen.
  7. Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. – James 2:13 We all have been shown great mercy in our lives. God has shown great compassion and forgiveness towards us in not counting our sins against us. We were in a place were God was ready to punish us and cause us great harm in sending us to hell for eternity for our great sins. Yet he showed great mercy and love towards us, forgiving our sins in his Son. When we therefore show no mercy to others, especially believers, we sin greatly. Warren Weirsbe says, “The most miserable prison in the world is the prison we make for ourselves when we refuse to show mercy.” Such a prison many believers are in not being able to show mercy to others but being a great benefiter of mercy from God. God came down from above as the compassionate one to forgive your sins, yet we cannot show compassion to the sins of another believer. Judgmentalism is one of the great sins in the Church, as we are always faulty in the way we see others, never knowing someones motives and heart (Jeremiah 17:9). When we learn to be full of mercy for others, we start to share the heart of Jesus Christ who did not judge but showed compassion to failing humanity. Look into the eyes of Jesus Christ now and see his wounds where he was pierced for you, can you say to him that you cannot forgive another? Have mercy to another? The Testimony Of The Desert Fathers The Desert Fathers were those who sought the Lord in a life of prayer in solitude, they sought God for God Himself. These were some of the godliest followers of the Lord in that era of Church history. A story of a Desert Father on not judging says, “A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, ‘Come, for everyone is waiting for you’. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, ‘what is this, father?’ The old man said to them, ‘My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.’ When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.” If we see our sins as this old godly brother did, we will not judge but show mercy to a fellow believer on this journey with the Lord. If we judged our own selves we would see our failings as great and have great mercy to others. We should find ourselves as the publican calling out to God for mercy constantly (Luke 18:13). Just like the pharisee in the temple praying we can judge our fellow brothers, looking down on the errors of others, but not seeing our own. Lord have mercy on me and help me to be merciful to others. The Example of Jonah, A Prophet Without Mercy We all know the story of the prophet who was swallowed by the fish. Children are amused and enough the thought of it! Yet as adults when we take time to read through the details we realize a much more serious and importance message is being given to us. Jonah was a holy prophet and admired by the people of Israel. He heard the voice of God many times and obeyed in sharing the truth with the people of God. But when the voice of the Lord told him to go to a very wicked people who worshipped the fish god, Jonah said no. He went the opposite direction in a boat but the Lord had a way of getting his attention and encouraging him to obey and speak repentance to those people. Jonah had seen time and time again God show mercy to Israel when they did not deserve it and it turned his stomach to think he would show mercy to the very wicked people of Nineveh. Even after preaching and seeing the peoples repentance Jonah still felt that God should judge them in some way (Jonah 4:1). We Can All Be Like Jonah We all can be like Jonah at times, especially if we are the people who have been hurt by others. The people of Nineveh enslaved and caused great harm to Israel before so the thought of forgiving them and even God showing mercy to have them become believers was too much for Israel or their prophet Jonah to accept. Have we been hurt by others in the world who we have not forgiven? Maybe we have forgiven them but do we want them to be saved? St. Benedict of Nursia says, “To hate no one. Not to be jealous or envious. To hate strife. To evidence no arrogance. Never despair of God’s mercy.” God’s heart is full of grace, meaning he wants to extend his love and mercy to those who do not deserve it especially. God is compassionate and very slow to anger against those that we feel deserve it. We are never called to hate anyone, desire evil for anyone, if we shared the true Spirit of Christ we will seek the mercy of the love for all of humanity. This also extends to the body of Christ that we would seek the good of all those who call upon the Name of the Lord. Steps To Be Free Of Judgementalism The journey to freedom is one footstep after another. To get out of a pit one has to start the climb out. After years of habitual judging of others we can find ourselves in a deep chasm of rooted sinful behaviour. Here are some small steps you can take daily to help: 1). Meditate on the Passion of Jesus Christ – Spend time in silence thinking upon the wounds of Christ. Think of the Crown of Thorns, the Pierced Side, the wounds afflicted to Christ when the soldiers were mocking Him. See your sins there causing such hurt to the Saviour. See your judgemental words heaped on Him. Also see the hope that Christ died to free us all from our passions and sins. 2). Show Acts of Mercy – No matter if you think a person deserves it or not, show mercy and kindness. Make deliberate acts to see the good in others and applaud them for these God given gifts. See where people do things better than yourself. Glory in God for anyway people serve God in a way you are not doing. Show deeds of mercy to others in gifts and kindness. Let no thought of judging to come into your mind. 3). Remind Yourself of Your Faults – When you are tempted to judge someone, consider your own faults and sins. When did you fail greatly in the same area or similar area. Look to yourself, consider how much mercy God gave you and then show that mercy to others. 4). Learn to Hate Judging – Learn to not hate others as St. Benedict counsels us but rather to hate the sins of jealousy, envying, strife, arrogance. Hate the sin of habitat judging as it’s a cancer of the soul. Put your focus on God, in worship and adoration, do not spend your time considering the faults of others even obvious false teachers or those departing from the faith. Look to your own soul find your lacks and where you are departing and pray for God’s mercy to finish well. May God give you complete victory as you daily put this sin under the blood of Christ and the victory of His holy Cross. The God who knows all thoughts of our mind and heart will cleanse and give you victory in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
  8. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. – Jonah 4:2 We all know the story of the prophet who was swallowed by the fish. Children are amused and enough the thought of it! Yet as adults when we take time to read through the details we realize a much more serious and importance message is being given to us. Jonah was a holy prophet and admired by the people of Israel. He heard the voice of God many times and obeyed in sharing the truth with the people of God. But when the voice of the Lord told him to go to a very wicked people who worshipped the fish god, Jonah said no. He went the opposite direction in a boat but the Lord had a way of getting his attention and encouraging him to obey and speak repentance to those people. Jonah had seen time and time again God show mercy to Israel when they did not deserve it and it turned his stomach to think he would show mercy to the very wicked people of Nineveh. Even after preaching and seeing the peoples repentance Jonah still felt that God should judge them in some way (Jonah 4:1). We all can be like Jonah at times, especially if we are the people who have been hurt by others. The people of Nineveh enslaved and caused great harm to Israel before so the thought of forgiving them and even God showing mercy to have them become believers was too much for Israel or their prophet Jonah to accept. Have we been hurt by others in the world who we have not forgiven? Maybe we have forgiven them but do we want them to be saved? St. Benedict of Nursia says, “To hate no one. Not to be jealous or envious. To hate strife. To evidence no arrogance. Never despair of God’s mercy.” God’s heart is full of grace, meaning he wants to extend his love and mercy to those who do not deserve it especially. God is compassionate and very slow to anger against those that we feel deserve it. We are never called to hate anyone, desire evil for anyone, if we share the true Spirit of Christ we will seek for mercy and love for all of humanity. This also extends to the body of Christ that we would seek the good of all those who call upon the Name of the Lord.
  9. Over 3 years ago, God started to speak to me deeply on the great sin of division, slander, and gossip in the body of Christ. God started to have me in situations where great hurt was being done and I saw first hand the way the enemy used these tactics to destroy and hurt the testimony of Jesus Christ in others lives. One of many devotional articles I wrote during that time was called: God's Church Is Sacred In This Earth. The premise of the devotion was a warning that when we speak against the body of Christ we speak against God's Sacred Church of whom we are all a part. Recently, God spoke to Francis Chan on that exact same verse (1 Corinthians 3:17) to give us a loving warning to the body of Christ against division. Here is a recent statement Francis made in regards to people who divide and leave Church fellowship: "There is this terrifying verse in 1 Timothy where Paul talked about two men who rejected the faith. Paul said that he had handed them over to Satan, by which he meant that he’d put them outside of the church (1:20). Basically, these men were actively opposing the works of God, so rather than pretending everything was fine, Paul removed them from the safety and blessings of the fellowship of believers. He was hoping that the misery of being separated from the church would lead them to repent. Are you catching the weight of this? Paul equated removal from the church with being handed over to Satan! It is crazy to me that we live in a time when people are voluntarily doing this to themselves! No church has placed them outside of the fellowship; instead, they’ve handed themselves over to Satan!" What a sobering thought that those in our day in North America being critical of so much that is called Christian are doing to themselves what Paul the Apostle had to recommend Timothy to do to others as a last resort to have them repent of their pride and sins. We are living in a day where we are judging others and not ourselves. We are finding it easy to be critical of everything but our own sins we ourselves struggle with. Francis again shares on how God wants to send real unity to the body of Christ: "Real love, unity and blessing were supposed to be found in the church. Many are having a hard time finding that, so they’re setting off on their own. Jesus said that the world would see the supernatural unity and love we share in the church and believe in Him through that. But we’re not experiencing it. We’ve given up on it. We no longer believe it is possible." Perhaps we can start to change our minds and start looking towards others with seeing their good and not bad, speaking blessings over others and not curses. Remember we are fitted together in a temple of God with all saints of all ages. And Francis gives the example of someone taking a sledgehammer to this temple. What a fearful thing to do, of course we would depart from such an individual for fear of what God Himself would do to him. As the Scripture says, "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them" (Titus 3:10). You can watch the full video message by Francis Chan, "Are You Destroying The Church" where he gives this loving warning against division in the Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJph3Z6cfxM
  10. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. - James 4:10 Humility is the way to heaven. Christ was humble, the prophets of God were men of humility. The Apostles Jesus choose ended up being men of great humility. Saints in church history are considered those who reached a place of humility. Pride is everything that opposes Gods will and way. The demons are proud and love to come near those who are of a proud boastful spirit. Humility of heart drives satan from us. Humility is not just a sense of being but hundreds of daily choices we make. We can humble ourselves in a manifold amount of ways each day in our thought-life, actions we make, in relationships we are in. The Spirit of God is working with us daily to allow us to choose the right humble choices. Archimandrite Joel Giannakopoulos said rightly: "Humility is, not only to humble your own self, but also to forbear the humiliations which others impose on you." St. Chrysostom said: "For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart, will not be vainglorious, will not be wrathful, will not envy his neighbor, will not harbor any other passion." The Scriptures say to humble "yourselves." And to realize that when we do this we are doing it "before" the Lord not only men. God see's our hearts condition and honours humility. He longs and desires to "lift us up" and grant us His blessings safely as we maintain humility of heart. There are many steps to take towards humility, here is one practical step. Consider to pray out loud this "Litany of Humility" even daily if it becomes a help to you: O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being honoured, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of consulted, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus. That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
  11. Stay here and keep watch with me. - Luke 26:38 We sometimes guage Christian life and spirituality in terms of what have accomplished or what we have done for God. One over-looked feature of spirituality is that of sharing the very heart of God. One almost revolts at the thought of such intimacy or closeness to God, but our Lord calls his disciples to stay with Him in his deepest hour of sorrow. Have you ever thought to ask God to share in his sorrows and heart for a broken humanity? If you were in Gethemane that night would you accept the call to watch with Jesus? Our Lord at times is seeking those who will simply "watch and pray" with him. Not seek great things in his name or big goals but to simply be at his feet, caring about how the Lord feels. In some way to minister to the very Lord himself. The Old Testament priesthood had this element of ministering and appeasing the Lord himself. While our Lord in the incarnation came into humanity he was touched and ministered to by the tears and the hair of a forgiven woman. As the world grows exceedingly worse in sin and evil, God's heart breaks even more for those he died for. Will we minister to the Lord's heart in such times when evil itself seems to triumph? When last has your heart been broken on the inside for those around you who were lost and without the hope of Christ? When last has a tear dropped from your eye for those who are on their way to a Christless eternity? There is a simple song sung in a Christian community that can be perhaps the echo of the Lord to our heart today: "Stay with me, remain here with me. Watch and pray, watch and pray. My heart is nearly broken with sorrow. Remain here with me, stay awake and pray." Will you hear the Lord's voice today? He is still waiting for you.
  12. greggordon

    Forsaking the Love of God

    Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. - Revelation 2:4 Over the years we hear many explanations of the reasons why our Lord spoke so strongly to the Ephesian Church about their loss of their "first love." Our Lord summed up the entire Old Testament in one sentence, paraphrased: "Love God and Love Others." This love has action and proof to it. Intense and sincere devotion to Jesus Christ will produce a life of godliness and good works. Jesus was calling his Church back to practical worship, godliness and a denying of worldliness. They had hatred of evil, endured persecution in their society (Revelation 2:3), were able to spot false teachers and doctrines (Revelation 2:2) and even hated the major evil doctrine of the day taught by the deacon Nicolas (Revelation 2:6). Yet slowly love of pleasures were mingling into their affections for Jesus Christ alone. They passion they had for Him and Him alone was beginning to wane. Their looking to the cross and seeing the "lover of their souls" was something that lost its luster at least for a moment. Nicolas began as a full-hearted believer full of the Spirit of God (Acts 6:2-6). Yet slowly through self-importance he went away from the teaching of the Apostles and formed his own teaching and way. David Wilkerson says of Nicolas of Antoich, "The church fathers had two cardinal rules for believers - do not eat meat offered to idols and avoid fornication. Nicolas evidently fathered a doctrine that led to idolatry and fornication. The society of that day winked at sexual promiscuity. Nicolas and his followers invented a doctrine of false security that eventuated in mixture with the world and an undercurrent of sensuality in their teaching." Clement of Alexandria said of the Nicolaitans, "They abandoned themselves to pleasures like goats, in a life of shameless self indulgence." How do we not lose and forsake our love for the Son of God: 1. Look to Him alone for nothing else but Him. It is God that is our goal, not success, money, fame or anything else the world can offer. Give God your love and worship. 2. Pleasures are always fighting us for our affection for Jesus Christ. Our worship for Him must overcome and let Him be our satisfaction not passing worldly pleasures. 3. Look to the cross. It is there you find meaning, fulfillment, peace, joy and life eternal. Meditate on the cross. Daily thank the Lord for His death. 4. Look to yourself more then others. Instead of seeing others faults, look to your own. See the apostate deacon Nicolas in the early church as a warning sign to look inward in your own life. Are you submitting to what is the apostles doctrines today? Are you believing what the Church has always held to or are you trying to make your new teachings and ideas? The road to apostasy always begins with the separation from the people of God which leads to a leaving of God Himself. 5. Love others, find ways to do good to others. Think of others more then yourself. And you will find peace.
  13. St. Paul writes to Timothy giving us a picture of how it will look just before the second coming of the Lord. He shares that people will be “unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good” (2 Timothy 3:3). In the end times there will be a great shift in how people live and act worldwide. Jesus spoke of children who will betray parents and how people will even want to put Christians to death (Matthew 24:9-10). But we see the root of the issue in the attitudes of human hearts, and committed believers in Jesus Christ are not excluded. Not having love, not forgiving, and speaking evil of other good believers will be just part of the coming spirit of anti-Christ in the world. Unforgiveness is a prison, a torturer. It will rob us of our joy, peace and even physical health. Jesus knew mankind and he knew that a great problem that many deal with is forgiving others. It is one of our Lord’s primary teachings and the apostles were very keen to this. Peter said to Jesus in answer to his question of forgiveness, seven times! He understood that Jesus said to be extravagant in our forgiveness of others, and the current teaching by rabbis in that day was to forgive three times and then seek revenge. Our Lord’s response showed the extent of how God forgives and how those who claim to follow him should forgive, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:22). Do you find it hard to forgive other brothers and sisters in the Lord? Do you find it hard to love others in the body of Christ because of hurtful things that were done to you? Are you speaking evil of those brothers and sisters and judging them? It is very important that we are clear of all such sin and are full of love, forgiveness and using our mouths to show mercy and love to others in order to restore them (Galatians 5:1). Early believers lived in great anticipation of the coming of the Lord, and the thought of holding a grudge in unforgiveness with a believer and then entering eternity with this sin was unthinkable. In speaking about disputes, St. James writes, “Don’t grumble against one another” (James 5:9). The terrible reality to him was that the Judge was standing at the door, the Lord was coming back soon.
  14. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. - Mark 8:31The Nicene Creed The Nicene Creed declares of the Son of God,"For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures."What a wonderful statement to consider and think about. Our faith in death and resurrection of Christ are the non-negotiables that we must hold to tightly and dwell on continually. There is an unfathomable depth of richness in these simple statements that should release us on a life of holy contemplation of the sufferings of our Lord.Commemoration of the Death of Christ The early Church remebered the suffering of the Lord and resurrection daily but also commemorated it yearly on a specific day. That day was debated at first and various local believers practiced different days but soon a universal day was recognized. This yearly consideration of the death and ressurection of Christ allows for a season of very deep meditation on the death of the Son of God for us and should greatly deepen us in our holy faith.Some accuse those who practice the yearly memorial that they are missing a daily thinking of the death of Christ but nothing is perhaps further from the truth. The early believers saw the death of Christ in everything, the bleeding side was thought to where the very Church was born (John 19:34), daily many believers will recite the nicene creed or others that speak of the death of Christ, the cross was widely used as a symbol in churches and homes and was a daily reminder of the death of Christ. It should rather be asked to modern believers where churches are removing crosses, are we remembering the Lord's death enough?Jesus Died Jesus died for our sins! It is not a phrase that we should glib over lightily but heaven is consumed with this constantly, the heavenly choruses never end glorifying the son of God who died for all races, peoples and humanity.The incarnation is part of the sufferings of the Godhead in which God humbled himself to save humanity. Every accusation, misunderstanding, evil look, secret plot, word of gossip, slander, all hurt the Son of God's heart. He suffered so many things for us, willingly laying down his life continually on the earth for 33 years (12,000+ days).Every day it was a conscious choice of the son of God to bear the shame for us so that we could be free. In the end with blood stained eyes he looks at humanity killing him and has only love for this is the reason he came.His final foe was death, that he would trample victoriously, as an early liturgy says, "Trampling down death by death."His death defeated all death and in him is life everlasting, resurrection life. We are invited during this season of lent and holy week to consider again what we remind ourselves daily, the great suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord. May it become richer and more meaningful to us each year, as we are simply preparing to enter into the fullness of worship in heaven, declaring to the Lamb: "you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God" (Revelation 5:9). Amen.
  15. The Roman Coliseum was one of the main centers for entertainment and, on this day, it was not gladiators or sports competitions, but a different type of crown was being competed for. Rows upon rows of circular seating, with humanity throbbing inside. Fifty thousand faces fixed their attention on the scene below. The noise at times was deafening with cheers of the crowd, anticipating what was to come. To whet the appetites of the onlooking romans, gladiators were sent out to fight. Then wild animals who were starved were released, and a skillful gladiator would kill each one. But all of this is just to prepare the crowd for the main event and attraction. It was the Christians that were competing today for a heavenly crown following the way of Christ in the noble way of martyrdom. What happens next, The Martyr of the Catacombs, details the sad scene well for us: This is an excerpt from the free Christian ebook, The Following of Christ by Greg Gordon
  16. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. - Proverbs 11:2 Pride and the Devil When we speak of pride we also often times think of the devil. He was the beautiful angel who through transgression and pride fell from his place with God to a fallen state. Lucifer, an anointed cherub of God became the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44). He was soiled and became filthy and the enemy wants to defile all those who are unsoiled also. When we are free from pride the enemy of our souls desires to sow prideful thoughts into our life. Pride is a preoccupation with self, it is to say that I am more important then all others. Pride says "I" am always right. Pride is when at all costs we need to revenge ourselves of our abusers. Pride says that we are more important then others and when sinned against our rights are more important. Personal glory and importance leads to a proud heart and opposition to God (1 Peter 5:5). Pride and Selflessness Pride is in some ways the opposite of selflessness. When we are humble we seek the good of others even when we have been hurt by someone. Disgrace and shame comes with pride because God diminishes the proud one under his own displeasure. Just like Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, we can be blinded by Pride and a sense of self-importance thinking we are able to control situations and even people. This is a profound thought that God himself shows everyone grace, mercy, and gives constant help. And when we see others in the body of Christ fail, or cause abuse, if we become proud, judge them overly and do not do it all in love, we can have God's grace lifted from our lives. And the sad result can be the brother who fails, when we judge him we can become worse then that brother. When we have pride against others in the body of Christ we have insulted the Creator Himself. We should never look down on others, never think we are better especially when we see another of our brothers and sisters fail. The Publican and Pharisee In Luke 18:9-14, we see the famous story of the Publican and Pharisee. It is a great contrast between pride and humility, self-assuredness and humility. The first error of the religious leader Jesus pointed out was of being "confident." It was a self-reliant attitude that I am in a better place with God then most and therefore can speak down to others and also not need God's grace as much. It is a subtle deception on the road towards knowing God we can start to trust on our past experiences of grace and not rely on the grace of God daily. And what happened? The religious leader, "looked down on everyone else" (Luke 18:9). He did not take the humble role of a being below others as a servant but rather assumed priority over others. In such a contrast we see the Publican come to our Lord and simply say in humility, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." (Luke 18:13). This one humbled himself before God, no matter how holy or progressed in our Christian lives when we humble ourselves we keep our position of walking with God in His presence. But once we exalt ourselves then we are cast away. In a famous drawing of this scene, we see the Publican bowing and humble, and the Pharisee exalted and with one hand judging the other and the other praising God. Then in the picture we notice the hand of God blessing with grace and mercy the Publican only. Let this be a reminder that when we judge others we cannot praise God with the same breath and miss God's blessing in the process. Serving Others In the Body When we have pride in our own accomplishments and skills we are taking the credit for these things to ourselves. The reality is all giftings given to brethren in the body of Christ is to serve and help others, not ourselves. To follow the way of pride is to follow the way of the devil. The follow the way of humility is to follow in the way of the Lord.
  17. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. - 2 Corinthians 12:21 There are many tests for the humility of our walk with Christ. One of them is how we react to correction and namely correction by spiritual leaders in the body of Christ. It is never easy to consider we have been wrong in an area of our life and our decisions have caused hurt towards others. Paul the Apostle was encouraging the Corinthian believers to repent fully of their past behaviours, he was full of grace towards them that they could change. But sadly in the 2nd letter he wrote to them at the end he started to doubt whether they had changed. He wrote, I fear there would be "discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder" (2 Corinthians 12:20) still among you! An arrogant attitude says I am never wrong, it says people need to listen to me. Arrogant, proud, haughty men were in the Corinthian church who were not even listening to leaders in their gatherings and were rejecting the Apostle Paul himself. You could possibly hear one of them saying, "I have no authority over me, I only submit to Christ!" It sounds spiritual but in the end such an attitude is of a decieved individual who is found apart from Christ in his pride. The Corinthians were submitting to what Paul called, "super apostles" (2 Corinthians 12:11). These men where ear-tickling preachers that told the people what they wanted to hear. One thing they did not speak about was sexual sins or against disorder and discord in the body. All they probably wanted was the peoples money and esteem. Paul highlights at the end of his letter that "many" have "not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged." No wonder they were not correcting a young man who was in incest (1 Corinthians 5). What shocked me is when I read the word "many"! The Corinthian Church was compromised and were neglecting the cure to their ills which was godly leadership and true spiritual elders guiding them. They were blind leading the blind into lives of sin and selfishness. The end was many who were slandering each other, name-calling, talking behind backs and ultimately division in the body of Christ, something that grieves the heart of God. Paul labored with them and sought to visit them again to spend time with these children of God and tend them like a Shepherd. This comes close to home for us, are we willing to submit to correction by spiritual leaders in the areas of our lives that are amiss. Or do we seek to always justify ourselves and not accept even the godliest of men who counsel against our decisions. Our way of repentance is to humble ourselves under such correction and allow Christ to start to be formed in us again.
  18. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. - John 8:44 We have to remember that Satan is the father of lies. He is a murderer from the beginning and dwells in falsehood. He never wants the glory to go to Jesus Christ but rather twists the truth and deceives those in the Lord’s work to take glory to themselves. Satan is also the master counterfeiter who has been deceiving God’s people since the beginning. He spoke to Eve and deceived her by twisting the truth of God saying, “Has God indeed said?” Such twisting of the truth is his normal activity. Since the earliest days of the apostles, even with our Lord himself, there were deceivers and false brethren present: those who secretly come into God’s flock for personal gain and to infiltrate the liberty of the believers, betrayers, deceivers, false brethren, false prophets, and those desiring preeminence among the saints (3 John 1:9). Diotrephes and one's like him did not seek honour in the church as much as sought his own truth, his own way and seperated himself from the doctrines of the Apostles and all the other Churches. He was stubborn to think he was right and all others were wrong. A false teacher is always who is in admidst but then seeks to draw people "out of" towards themselves. Just like satan, these false teachers do not have, "the truth in them." One key to understand the working of God versus Satan in a meeting of believers is the emphasis put on the Son of God. Those that worship, honor, and glorify the Holy Spirit more than Jesus Christ are not led by the Holy Spirit to do that. The Holy Spirit will always honor Jesus Christ; thus the true working of the Spirit can be distinguished in measure. The Scripture states: “He shall not speak of himself” (John 16:13). All early Church creed statements always elevate the work of the cross and the incarnation of the Son of God. In the end times, there will be an influx of those in the Church teaching doctrines of demons to deceive even the elect of God. There will be many false teachers who claim to be of the truth but are not. The most dangerous weapon against the Church is not persecution, but deception. One key feature of these deceptions is that there is something new offered, when rather we should be seeking to believe the truth that is old and that which the Church has held to from the beginning.
  19. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. - Ephesians 4:31 Bitterness is something we feel never will happen to us. We go through life opening our hearts to many people, seeking friendship in this life. But when we least expect it someone hurts us, or circumstances themselves come to a place where we allow bitterness to come into our hearts towards even God himself. Feeling angry and disappointed over how we have been treated or how circumstances have treated us produce great bitterness in our being. This feeling we hold in is suppressed in our hearts and not see at first in our daily life. But it starts to seep out its poison slowly in our words (James 3:7), and mind, we start to judge everyone, say cynical and hard comments towards others. Usually this hurt is directed towards a person or specific situation. Anything that would remind the hurt person of this situation will result in their hurt to come out in words that damage and tear down others. In the verse before this passage the Apostle Paul speaks of not grieving the Holy Spirit as believers in Jesus. He shares that Disciples must "get rid" of all of these hurt feelings that result in resentment, anger, frustration, hurtful words towards other persons. If we allow any unforgiveness as believers to rest in our hearts it will grow like a cancer and create bitterness and then our inner man is defiled with all these sins of anger. The Apostle pleads with fellow believers to forgive "each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32). That is the only solution and way to solve the problem. Getting even, hurting someone else or an organization will not result in releasing you from the personal prison of bitterness you are in. Forgiveness is the key that will open that door so that you may walk in the freedom Christ has called you in and then you will be able to help release others who even caused the hurt in your own life.
  20. I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. – John 17:23 Many have marvelled over this priestly prayer that our Lord uttered. It is the longest recorded prayer that Jesus left us with and it shows the very heart of God in it. If you could think of all the things that could be prayed during the last days of Jesus being on this earth we could think of many things. Yet our Lord had in his heart this one important topic: Unity. And not just unity in general but ‘complete unity’ a unity that is perfect and full. The prayer is not for boldness or perfect speech and unction but rather great unity. In the fanfare of excitement in certain christian circles we can be seeking power, outward displays and not realize that a unity with other brothers and sisters is the foundation for our witness to the world. Though false teachers were exposed such as Judas, yet our Lord’s call was for united purpose in being his Disciples and sharing the Good News. Our unity is not found in our preferences, styles or exact thinking but rather it is found in the person of the Godhead. Our knowing and partaking (2 Peter 1:4) of the Son of God is where our unity meets with other believers. We are formed together as one body, through one baptism (Ephesians 4:5). Seeking after unity should not been seen as compromise but a desire to share in the true heart of God for his Church. We do not unify with those who are practicing falsehood and sin but we should not shun unity with those who do not exactly think and act like our style of Church. God looks past much of the differences we look at and see’s the heart and worship in bodies of believers. Tertullian says, “We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force.” Early believers were united by purpose, hope, godly disciplines, prayer and confession. In our day of individualism and striving to be unique and heard God’s people need to recapture the sense of unity of the Church where all are a part of its purpose and mission. When Jesus ascended he did not desire all the Apostles to start their own Churches and ideas but his prayer was for great unity that no matter what happened they would stay unified. When we lose the reverence for God and his working we easily break fellowship, create dis-unity and seek our own way s better. When we lose the fear of God we question godly ministers, ministries and Church works that have been established and blessed by God for many years. The spirit of independence questions everything and sets one up as the authority rather then submitting to authority. The way of unity with believers in the body of Christ is the way of submission, humility and christ-likeness. Hear our Lord’s prayer again for you today, he prays that you are unified with others in the body of Christ. See our Lord looking at you from the right hand of God, he accepts you, will you not accept others in the body of Christ. He gave His own life for you, will you not open yourself up to others and be unified as the Church?
  21. It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. – 1 Corinthians 11:10 The passage in Corinthians clearly teaches of headship where God is the head of Christ and Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman. Though Biblical submission is right woman are not inferior spiritually but one in Christ. Yet they must choose to submit and humble themselves just as Christ humbled himself before the Father. God’s government and way of order is in such a way where each member must do his or her part. When women or men choose not to fulfill and walk in God’s ways for the Church, disorder and every evil practice ensues. The importance of head covering is not an outward reason but an spiritual reality proclaimed to the principalities and powers. When the head covering is practiced it proclaims God’s order and way to all of creation, including the angels (1 Peter 1:12). K.P. Yohannan says, “Have you considered why there is so much tension and fighting over placing a small piece of cloth on one’s head? When a woman wears the symbol of God’s government, a head covering, she is essentially a rebuke to all the fallen angels. Her actions say to them, ‘You have rebelled against the Holy God, but I submit to Him and His headship. I choose not to follow your example of rebellion and pride.'” Eve fell into satan’s rebellion (2 Corinthians 11:3), yet now in the Church women declare they are following God’s order in the Church (1 Timothy 2:12-14). Watchman Nee says, “When many of the sisters in the church take the place given to woman and learn to cover their heads, they send out an unspoken word of testimony to the angels in the air, to the effect that God has obtained in the church what He desires.” Hippolytus an early Church Father wrote, “let all the women have their heads covered.” Others who taught this practice in the Church were, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Early Church Fathers, John Wesley, Matthew Henry to name just a few. We must remind ourselves that until the twentieth century, virtually all Christian women wore head coverings. As we worship together as the Church we enter into worship with the holy angels in heaven who cover their faces (Isaiah 6:2). In the same way sisters covering their heads show they honouring of the glory of God. Clement of Rom in A.D. 96 said, “Then let us gather together in awareness of our concord” speaking of the holy angels when we worship. The Church is to gather and worship God in the spirit (John 4:24) doing things that the world considers foolish but for the Lord there is great significance. Paul speaking as inspired by the Holy Spirit said, “we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16). It was not just a local custom or practice but all the Churches were practicing this as with water Baptism and Holy Communion. This was not an optional thing as the default was all the Churches were doing it. But Paul gives grace to those who are not convinced of its importance from the Lord as the Corinthians partly were divided over many issues including this one.
  22. I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! – Genesis 45:4 Many of us have heard the dramatic story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. This young man gets abused and sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He suffers greatly in prison and in other circumstances. Finally in an amazing turn of events, God brings him to a great place of prominence where he is one of the most powerful people in the known world. Many of us have had terrible things done to us in this life, and if we have not, just wait, it is coming. This world is full of hurt lives where we are sinned against in great ways. Joseph had such a great terrible thing done to him, his brothers even contemplated murdering him in the beginning. Now he was in the position and had the power to exact perfect vengeance to them. But what did he do? He forgave them completely. He actually was in such a place of realizing God’s grace and he did not even bring up any of their sins and details of what they did but just wanted to bless them! Jesus teaches us to bless our enemies (Matthew 5:44) To bless those who curse us (Luke 6:28). To “never avenge yourselves” (Romans 12:19). Bless those who persecute you (Romans 12:14). Joseph does not tell his brothers that he was the “one you sold into Egypt” to condemn them, rather he really wanted them to know he was there brother and he loved them greatly still. How do we get to the place where we can bless our others in the body of Christ that sin against us? How can we even get to the place were we can forgive enemies in this world? We are called to forgive but blessing seems like its too much. When we forgive at times we actually still secretly hope they will be exposed or judged for their sin, or at the judgment seat they will get whats coming to them. Such thinking is not forgiveness but a form of vengeance masked in a guise of spiritual humility. When we truly forgive someone as Christ forgives us, we need to come to the place where we can bless them and desire God’s blessing also on their lives. Do you realize God will actually bless your enemies and pour his grace and favour on their lives? Think of anyone that you have had or have ought against, think of their face and person, do you want that person blessed? It takes brokenness to bless others who hurt you. Joseph went through terrible circumstances but God was bringing him to a place of nothingness where he could share in the sufferings of Christ and have the heart of God. In the end when we bless and forgive others we will be blessed by God himself. God wants to anoint those who are free from bitterness in their Christian lives. Heavenly Father, I release, forgive and also bless that individual who caused me harm and hurt. In Jesus Name please bless them with your favour and forgiveness. Amen.
  23. These people are grumblers and faultfinders. – Jude 1:16 Some modern believers act as if faultfinding is a virtue. The main objective of any conversation, meeting of believers or hearing a teaching is to try and find what is wrong in it. Instead of seeing the good in others they pick apart everything and always have something negative to say. They look for small problems in others and treat them as if they were big (Matthew 7:3). The faultfinder has a motive to build himself up by tearing others down. Many faultfinders can be filled with envy, discontented at the position and calling of others from God. Most faultfinders are not in any type of fruitful Christian ministry but are spectators always finding what is wrong in what they see. In envy he hurts others but it is himself he hurts the most. Just like the Pharisess they find fault in anything and even the sinless Son of God (Matthew 9:11). Faultfinders have very few friends or those who want to be around them because in the end they pick each one apart. These “mote-hunters” seek to find any small thing wrong with a minister or christian leader to try and disqualify them. They feel exalted in their ability to be able to see faults in others but this is a deception as its a work of the flesh. They will not be able to humble themselves to repent of their own sins because they are too busy looking at the sins of others. There is no spiritual gift of fault-finding, there is no virtue or benefit to it. Basil the Great says, “If you see your neighbor in sin, don’t look only at this, but also think about what he has done or does that is good, and infrequently trying this in general, while not partially judging, you will find that he is better than you.” We are quick to look at the faults of others but at times slow to look at our own. The way of humility is to humble ourselves and see our own sin and need of mercy from God. f you have been judged by another brother or sister instead of finding fault in them also, leave them to God’s mercy. Instead of seeing to look at others faults we should seek to love them, show mercy, kindness, goodness (Galatians 5:22-23). Those who are overly critical lack peace and joy, suffering from tension and bodily problems. Faultfinders usually are not content with their own situations in life and therefore try to make others miserable by judging them. When we find fault, we sow discord amongst brethren, it divides, and does great damage. Faultfinders have a self-righteous attitude, a sense of superiority and they refuse to admit they are wrong. Let us not allow fault-finding in our life but put it away as its a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:20). Father in heaven, please forgive me for being critical and finding faults in others in your body. Give me grace to see the good in others and seek to uplift others in the Church. Amen.
  24. greggordon

    Faith

    yes we need to enter the struggle prayer and deep meditation on God, to find him and his ways. Read the Bible, pray, spend time asking the questions, many give up without spending the time to find God. If you seek him with all your heart you will find Him.
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