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Gospel

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What about modern day prophets?

According to Holy Scripture God did speak to us long ago through prophets in various ways. But since Christ and those apostles he commissioned directly to establish his Church, God has ceased using prophets to speak for him. Today we have the Holy Spirit and the blessed revelation of all we need within the Bible as all our means for guidance in life this side of heaven. Anyone who since the time of the Apostles who claims to be a prophet or apostle who speaks for God, is a liar and someone who must be exposed as such, no matter how sweet or nice they may appear to be. God's greatest judgments stand in wait against such evil people. 

Listen to God speaking though His written Word.  

 "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world." 

Hebrews 1:1‭-‬2 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/heb.1.1-2.ESV

 

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Coconut gods

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Coconut gods

When you describe only one attribute of someone, are you actually describing that person, or are you creating a false image of them? Lets make an analogy.  A man became stranded on a tropical island with no fresh water and he was about to die, but he had a two-way radio with signal in which I could communicate with him, and let's assume I knew for a fact that that island had coconut trees with water filled coconuts and it was the right season for young coconuts, but that man knew very little about coconuts and the life-giving water found inside.

 

coconut shell

Say I talked to him and told him about how wonderful coconuts were.  That coconuts are brown on the outside and have this fibrous husk and wood-like shell, and maybe I talked about how the coconut can be made into nice little wooden bowls.  Would I be doing that poor thirsty person any good?  No, not unless it rained before he died! If I told him coconut is wood, and certainly they are wood all over; would I be giving that person a real and accurate view of what a coconut really was?   It's inaccurate to tell someone a coconut is wood only, it's a partial or a functionally incomplete description the thing called a coconut and its benefits. Actually quite a useless conversation to that person dying of thirst. Although it's really not inaccurate to say coconuts have fibrous hard shells; to say that only in describing a coconut to someone who does not know what a coconut is, would be a part-truth that is in reality a deception or a lie; a distortion of truth. A false image. The image I described above in reality is a false image of what a coconut really is.

In this story above, not only is it a twisting of truth, it's downright evil, because I have knowledge of the truth of how that coconut could save his life, but I did not inform and help him find the full useful truth of that coconut. Truth is vitally important to someone who does not know enough of it.  Coconuts are so much more than wood!  Wood is one of many attributes of a coconut. Coconuts are full of water and nutritious fleshy food also. Their husks make great firewood for cooking and warming . Later in their cycle they can be pressed into beneficial oils.  There are many attributes of coconuts.  Nothing at all what you would think if all you knew was what I said above.

What am I getting at?

Many well-meaning people today are giving a false reality of who God is and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God has made it very clear. He hates falsehood! He hates false images being made of him, misrepresenting him as something lopsided or one dimensional emphasizing only the attributes of which we prefer for our own selfish reasons!  God spoke long ago and even coded it into the law given Moses .  "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth." (Ex 20:4).  Then Jesus Christ himself repeated this timeless truth when he spoke to the woman at the well in John 4:23-24 when he said,"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

Truth.  God wants us to know him in truth, through the empowerment of his Spirit  though our spirits. Truth is so important because if we misrepresent

watery coconut

it in some important way as to leave someone with a twisted or one-sided view of God, then they like the man above in the fictional story, will likely perish.

We need to care about people enough to tell them the truth about God as graciously as possible. I recently watched the TV special of "The Passion" play, hoping in vain that truth about Jesus Christ might be brought out in such a way as to demonstrate what the love of God was all about some 2000 years ago when Jesus died for us. I turned off the TV feeling so incomplete and unfulfilled.  It really only spoke of Gods love in a confusing way and for us to love our fellow man and basically all get along.  They all sang familiar hit songs of modernity that wrought out human emotions and many were in tears watching and enjoying what they felt was the Love of God on display. But was it really?

What we saw on TV that day was a false image, an Idol. The very thing God hates! The Gospel of Christ and the passion of which it was conceived and brought forth in to living flesh was only done in response to the eternal holiness and justice of God Almighty! Yahweh, God I AM, cannot and will not let the guilty go unpunished. Listen to what God said about himself to Moses: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,  maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” (Ex 34:6-7)

This God of love, who is very much described as Love throughout the Bible, is also the God from which all mankind must learn to tremble...tremble...TREMBLE! He is high and lifted up in extreme searing holiness! Even the demons bow before Jesus and tremble in fear!  (James 2:19) But rarely does proud and arrogant man. No. We just want to add Jesus to our portfolio of niceties and love songs to make us feel happily deluded so we can go about our way living as we so please. But God, he is a perfect God in whom no darkness exists ( 1 John 1:5) and who requires each and every one of us to likewise be perfect as He is perfect (Matt 5:48) in order to not face judgement to a life in eternal fire punishment! (Matt 13:42)  The Word of God says, "Our God is a consuming fire!" (Heb 12:29)  The Gospel is good news of God!  But good news about what? It is in the Gospel we come to see the true love of God and what HE did to rescue us.  But what was Jesus really rescuing us from?  Was it from Satan and hell?  Sure..but what is hell and what is the power of Satan over us?  It's quite simply the justice of God being worked out in our lives for all our lawlessness and rebellion....for our sins. There was only one mention of the word sin on that Passion TV show that I heard when Perry said Christ came to save from our sins. But in this world, who knows what this means?  No one speaks of it anymore. We are all told we are basically good people who just need a little direction and love of God in our lives. Who doesn't want love?  Sure we all like that. But what we do not like is to be told we are sick and utterly ruined and depraved to the  core! But without this part of the Truth, we will not repent and we will accept a false vision of God, not God at all, but a coconut god, an Idol. Yet this is what we are and this is why Jesus came to die. He humbled himself and the majestic Son of God became like one of us to die and become the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God to atone for our evil doings.Without the shedding of pure blood there is no forgiveness of sin! (Heb 9:22) God alone could only do this because no person, no not one of us is good and thus are unable to save ourselves from the very righteous ANGER from God over sin (Rom 3:10); God the very One who created us in love  to know him intimately and be his children. God's love compelled him to do this for us, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!  (Rom 5:8) This is the real God of the Bible.  The God who hates sin, and the God who came and died for our sins, and then proved his power over sin and death and rose victoriously from the grave on that Resurrection Sunday! Do you really think God would go to all that extreme measure if He did not  both love His holiness and his people? Gods blood took place of our eternal punishment! Christ paid the price and took the blows from the justice of God the Father! This God demands holiness. You must likewise be holy in order to live. Come before him unclean and you perish forever in Gods burning wrath! So by God's grace and love he did for us what we could not ever do. He spilled his own atoning blood.

But... But not everyone has their sins atoned.  While the blood of Christ is enough to atone for all peoples sins, only those who choose to follow Jesus by surrendering their life to him and be his forever slave will find this great and eternal Salvation and be set free!  Jesus said it in many ways, but in a succinct manner in John 3:16 " God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."  But it is not enough to leave it at that one summary statement, we must hear the full counsel of Gods Word and the teachings of Jesus and see the bigger picture of truth so we do not end up with a crazy coconut belief about God.   Jesus explained what it means to believe and he demonstrated it. He said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."(Luke 14:26)  Belief means obeying and following Jesus as Master and owner, forsaking all else as of little importance compared to him. This is the Jesus of Calvary who died for us!  This is the God who calls us to "repent" and have obedient faith! When we fall on our knees before him willing to surrender it all to him, then we are given the new life of the Spirit, born-again into the eternal family of God with new power to overcome sin and live for Him. This is what the Gospel is about, humbling ourselves before God so that HE will then lift us up! This is love, not that we loved him, but that he loved us first and called us out from among sin and death to live no longer for ourselves, but for him who was crucified and rose from the grave, our Master... Jesus of Nazareth!

No more Coconut gods !  Please no more just talking about the love of God out of context of how and why that love was expressed on on the bloody Roman cross!  Go help people see the real God; the real Jesus living in you and preach in loving grace, knowing but by the grace of God, we too should have perished, but preaching the truth of the holiness of God and the wickedness of man. For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God...Every human needs to repent.

Jesus came to declare the Truth. His truth is this: We all are sinners, utterly wicked by comparison to Holy God. We all will perish by the very anger of God against us for our sins. God loves us so much he came and died for us in the person of Jesus Christ and rose and ascended to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Truth is we must repent and accept by humble faith God's free offer of salvation  in order to receive Christ's atoning blood as our payment and restoration. This faith means following and obeying Christ as Master of everything in your life.

Truth is... This is the Biblical faith that saves!

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. - 2 Cor 5:21

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Why the massive suffering?

Are people who suffer catastrophes worse sinners than you or I who have it easy? Jesus answered this saying..  "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” -Luke 13:5 ESV

You see but by the grace of God, there go we. No one is good. There is no one who continually does good and never sins as holy God had revealed to us. He has numbered our days and has sworn his Spirit will not strive with corrupted flesh forever. (Gen 6:3)

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Would you have answered this Question like Jesus did? He sees life from an entirely different perspective than most humans do; from the eternality of our souls, not from a narrow few earthly  years view.

Pastor John Piper put it this way. "Now ponder for a moment what you would have answered at this point. What does your theology of suffering and sin call for in the face of this kind of tragedy? What Jesus said was this. He said, "No, their sin was not extraordinarily horrible. It was ordinarily horrible, just like yours. And if you don't repent, you too will experience a horrible end, all of you." In other words instead of saying that they are no more sinful than we are and being amazed at their death, he says that we are just as sinful as they are and should get ready to die like they did. What Jesus teaches, then, is that all of us are extremely sinful. We are so sinful that calamities and disasters should not shock us as though something unwarranted were coming upon innocent human beings. There are no innocent human beings. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "There is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). And what should amaze us in our sin is "not" that some are taken in calamity, but that we are spared and given another day to repent. The really amazing thing in this universe is not that guilty sinners perish, but that God is so slow to anger that you and I can sit here this morning and have one more chance to repent."

I agree what is amazing is not that people die in disasters, but that we all do not. We we see such horrific things let us have compassion on our fellow man and do what we can to help and demonstrate love, because but by the graceful patience of God for us, we too should face calamity, and someday will. You will die in this body.  But more importantly, let this put a sense of urgency in our hearts to reach more people with the Gospel message of peace with God through repentance and faith in Christ. Because all human souls are immortal and will either have true life in Christ and resurrection, or perish in hell forever once our time here comes to an end.     Do you really believe this? Then do something about it. Change everything and make this your passion. Follow Jesus Christ and lead others to faith in him. He was dead serious.

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Something stored in heaven for you and me

Today I am reading, meditating on this passage of scripture, 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

This Scripture is so full of hope and passion and joy! It goes on revealing that it is being written to suffering Christians everywhere, yet when we look at our immense blessings from God, even among our suffering for doing good in following Jesus, everything in this life seems silly, insignificant and petty by comparison!

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Oh the joy that floods my soul as I am reminded by God's Spirit whose I am ! Amazing grace, and such security I have knowing that it is God himself storing for me an imperishable life; an imperishable body. It's really being saved for up for each one of us who by faith believe and follow Jesus as Lord! The day we truly repent from sin and choose to give our hearts to Christ, we spiritually cross over from death to life (John 5:24), but this sin struggling and decaying body we still keep, and have to learn to make submit to God's will. Oh the struggle of that daily task at times. Some of us even are experiencing much unwanted physical pain and suffering because of messed up bodies, some are suffering because of your identity in Christ and choices to follow him, thus facing world given hardships. Let us have no doubts about it following Jesus will cost you dearly in the this world ruled by Satan and the flesh of mankind. But the joy of knowing who I am, who I belong to, and the joy of walking in the light of God, by faith in Christ, is so much better, so much worth it all!    I just wish all my dead walking dead zombie human friends around me could taste and see you that the Lord is good ...then take sure that step of faith and turn to Jesus. It literally takes a miracle.  It takes you and me walking in the light so they can see The Light even exists. It takes our steadfast love for their souls, showing them there is only one way to Life, and that is in Jesus. It takes worn out knees, praying for God to the turn their dead zombie like hearts of stone, into hearts of flesh. God must make the dead alive, we cant do you that part; so let's do our part and live Christ around them and love them enough to tell them the truth, even if you that disturbs them or causes them to not like you. How evil of us on our part to live in fear and say nothing. God forgive us for the times we have sinned by that act of  ommission. Let us see the joy of our reward stored up by our Father in Heaven and invite many to come join us. Yes, many will decline, but many will accept when they see the love of Jesus in our eyes and hearts. I head to Africa in a week to work with my many east African pastors and fellow Christ servants in Uganda and Kenya, and God will save many, because if only we are willing to go and share Jesus, God acts and responds with salvation. The problem is God gave this responsibility to us. So we must go, or any they perish, and their blood is on our hands. Think about this. It's serious. So for all who read this, pray for Holy Spirit intervention in the lives of those who will hear the Gospel so the halls of heaven will be filled with ones like me, undeserving , but SAVED by grace! You go today, and this week also to your Africa's next door and in your towns and share Jesus. The zombie like lost are waiting on you. How will be they hear unless someone "preach"...each on us are called to be the proclaimers of the the Lords Gospel.

Come soon Lord Jesus, and find us faithful to the end, no matter what. 

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Dilemmas of loving my neighbors

But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. -James 2:8

This sums up the commands of God for us toward our fellow man. This is easy to do to those who love us, or when it doesn't demand any real sacrifice on our part. But real life doesn't always go that way. Sometimes your life is busy or demanding, or financially stressed with more needs than resources. Then someone you love dearly has a crisis, and you have immediate ability to meet that need, but it will put your wisely planned out resources and budget to get blown up and leave you in need, or unable to stay in a secure place. What do you do? Worse yet, someone you are not emotionally or lovingly close to has a need and you see it and can meet all or part of the immediate need, what do you do? Do we pass them by, because it may put us in debt and force us to work harder and longer to recover than we desire or planned? Do we pass over the need because it may impact our ability to fund our immediate or long term plans or retirement "properly"? Do we walk on by like the Jews of the good Samaritan story not helping the person in need because we don't want to be inconvenienced; or  we want a nicer car and can't afford a new car payment and sending an extra 10, 50, 100 or 300 dollars a month to help fund an orphanage or feed hungry and hurting Pastors,  or feed the poor people who need to see the love of Jesus in action before they can see his offer of Salvation? What do we do?   Needs abound, so do we just pass them by, or do we dig deeper, cut back more on self, and invest more in others and less in personal pursuits? What does loving you neighbor as yourself look like for you? Is it a life of giving mercy to others that takes from your own resource pool of mercy and provision?

We can choose to avoid seeing or acknowledging needs, turn a blind eye like those who passed the beaten and robbed man on the road way to Jerusalem, or we can stop and render what aid we can. We can all do something. It's better to do all you can to save a few, than nothing, and keep on walking. God has blessed you. What will you do?

God has blessed me more than I deserve. I really believe this, so I choose to prove it by giving more and more back to those in need, even when it hurts to do so. Not just talking about it, but doing it. This is why I invest much of my time and money in the poor and for the Gospel message of Christ, and have partnered with Jim Ball to make it easier for others to join us in doing exactly this. Loving our neighbors who are in the greatest of need around the world. Join me at http://www.aboutfacemissions.com or on our Facebook page and help us help more and reach more for Jesus.   https://www.facebook.com/AboutFaceMissions . Even as hard as the road may be at times dealing with the troubles and problems of others as well as your own, the resulting rewards and new life friendships and bonds of love that form from your efforts will last forever. Joy unspeakable will come though Christ to you, and have you saying, "why did I ever even hesitate?".   I know this, I struggle daily with these questions and find stepping out in faith for Jesus always has immense rewards beyond my human reason.

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About-Face Missions

color globe lg Jim Ball and I started About-Face missions as a way to help us better organize our passions to follow Christ in our lives. He and I met while both recently having a fire put in our bones by God to change our lives and start doing more to see the Gospel proclaimed and people saved all over the world. Being small budgeted middle class Americans, with very limited means, we asked God to use us and send us where ever he wanted us to go. He showed us through some short term mission trips that we can affect much in poor undeveloped countries even with very little financial resources compared to what we Americans had come to expect.  Even a single person like me or Jim can do much for the kingdom of God around the world, if only we are willing to sacrifice some of our "American" lifestyle and go and give. We saw so many needs in Africa, India, Pakistan, Philippines and all around the 10/40 window being unmet, that we could not simply do nothing any longer. God clearly called us  to go and be his ambassadors of Christ and to help encourage and inspire others to partner with us and take average every-day people who love Christ, and organize them into a connected and involved support system to those  indigenous followers of Christ, whom God is using to do his ministry work of helping others find Christ and meeting many of their human needs along the way.  Our goal is to be obedient to Christ in making disciples of all people groups, teaching them to obey all he has commanded as we know this is our job as the Church, God's collective saved in Christ people.  God choose to task us with reaching all people groups and as Christ said, then the end will come. The Church age will end and Christ will return in his full glory as Judge and Ruler of righteousness!  Our desire to see this happen is burning strong in us as we don't want to be people who just say we believe, but live as we really do believe. So this is why both Jim and I press on hard to focus on what more we can do to reach the unreached peoples as much as possible, while not forsaking the obvious places where the Holy Spirit is greatly working and calling us to go even outside unreached groups. All people need Jesus so our mission is to reach all to become fully devoted followers of Christ. For now, God has provided me a great career that provides me plenty of income and up to 6 weeks of vacation, so it works well for me to fulfill my job as Missionary for Christ and Co-leader of About-Face Missions.  While I would love to go work with our partner ministers more than 3 trips a year, for now this is what God has me doing.  Yet for Jim, it seemed clear to both Jim and I that his job was really limiting his ability to server God effectively as Missionary and Co-leader of AFM and so we both agreed God was calling him to step out from his corporate career and move full time into missionary support and work.  As of this month of Septermber 2013,  Jim Ball has done just that. By the provision and grace of God we have acquired enough support for him to make the move. Yet his monthly pledge base is still needs a significant more percentage, God has provided enough of a cushion of one time donations to fund him for a while.  Yet moving into the less familiar ways of relying on God to provide more directly ones income is always a step of greater faith.  So pray with me for great blessings on our President of AFM Jim Ball as God works among our ministry and our strategic partnerships with our supported ministries overseas and our supporting foundations and ministries here to help us!  Pray for  the last of Jim's support base to commit to being his and About-Face Missions partner. We all are the universal family of Christ working all together for the common goal of living for Jesus and bringing as many to faith especially giving those who never really had opportunity to have it.  God loves all peoples, and so do we.   When I see that we have Churches, supporting ministries like MLE Ministries, and Showers of Blessings Foundation and so many individuals coming alongside us to help us carry out the missions of Christ it brings such great joy to my heart!  In turn we are able to share these blessing to our supported pastors and evangelists who are leading thousands upon thousands to faith each and every year and  feed the hungry, help the sick and care for the hopeless and hurting.  God is good indeed.

To learn more about About-Face missions visit our website  http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/ or help support our work with your loving offerings to God.  Our donation page and sign up form is here also.  http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/Donate

Always your prayers and interaction with us and our pastors is welcome live or via messaging on Facebook, among our pages and groups.  Start by visiting our Facebook public page and there you will see links to our private AFM group for those who are serious about being a prayer or financial partner and want to see more of what God is doing.  Here is that link. https://www.facebook.com/AboutFaceMissions Lastly, if you want to do more towards helping with the great commission to reach the unreached and to support Missionary Jim Ball in the process, even if all you can sacrifice is about $10.40 a month, we highly encourage you to commit to do just that.   Be a part at least at this level and help us really get the message out to those who never had real opportunity to receive the life saving message of the Gospel.  Our partner ministry has set up a $10.40 monthly online donation auto charge option for you to join us called the 10.40 priority.  We call it this because the 10/40 window of the world is where most these unreached people groups exist.  Visit the 10/40 site here.  http://www.mleministries.org/1040Priority

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God be glorified in all we do as we make much of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!  Amen

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