If you have stumbled here by accident let me first insist that there really are no accidents in life. If however, you came on your own free will then please by all means open your hearts and your minds to the "New Wine" that God has prepared for you!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Washed in blood

Cornelius was a gentile Centurion, of the Italian regiment, living Caesarea who feared and believed in the one true and living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Peter was a Jewish fisherman by trade, living in Jerusalem, who was now following Jesus of Nazareth the son of man and the only begotten Son of God. They were both in the mind of God as our Heavenly Father begins to orchestrate a divine appointment that would unite, essentially graft in, a non Jewish world into the newly formed church of Jesus Christ.

In a vision an angel of God tells Cornelius to seek out Simon Peter who was staying with a friend in the Mediterranean port village of Joppa. At the same time, seveal miles away, Peter is praying on a rooftop as God sends him a vision of a great sheet being lowered down from heaven by its four corners. In it were all the forbidden foods that God had told the nation of Israel not to eat. Peter is instructed that God has now cleansed these things and for him to partake in them. 

“But peter said, ‘Not so Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean’ and a voice spoke to him a second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’”While Peter is thinking about the meaning of this vision the three men Cornelius sent to get him arrive at his lodgings. The Spirit says to Peter “Behold three men are seeking you. Arise, therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”

When Peter arrives in the compound of Cornelius there is a very large crowd of family and friends who have gathered to hear the truth of God explained by this Jewish preacher. “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation who fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ- He is Lord of all.”

What God has cleansed let no man call common! God shows no partiality, no matter where you’re from Europe, South America, Africa, Pacific Islands or Asia; He loves every single person He has created. I know it must have been hard, almost impossible for the nation of Israel to understand that God had cleansed all men and that they were now being invited into His kingdom but that was exactly what He had done.

For the truth is we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and one of the biggest areas we come up short is religion. It’s interesting that even though God solved our sin problem, by sending His only Son into the world to pay a debt we could never pay, men over the centuries have insisted that there has to be more work involved. However, salvation is a gift from God.

Many religious systems and Christian denominations believe that their way of achieving salvation is the only way and that you must be a member of their organization to obtain it. Rubbish! God left Moses standing on the edge of the Promised Land, unable to enter, because of His unbelief that God Himself is the only way to receive salvation. Laws, rules and regulations will never deliver you into the hands of a Living God. It was Joshua who led the nation of Israel into the Promise Land and who was a fore shadow of Jesus Christ who is both the author and finisher of our salvation.

The day that Jesus Christ died was the day that all of mankind was completely forgiven; what God has cleansed let no man call common or unclean. This is the gospel and it really is that simple so don’t complicate things. Jesus Himself said that the truth would set us free from the law of sin and bondage. There is only one God, only one Savior who has broken down the walls of separation.

So logically there can only be one church, one living organism that is being created and built by God, where Jesus Christ is the everlasting King! God loves His world and His desire is that all men come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

So if you find yourself sitting in a building on Saturday, Sunday or any day or night of the week where a man or woman is insisting that there is more to your salvation then get up out of your seat and run for the exit! For there is a new everlasting kingdom approaching whose King shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

For what God has cleansed, let no man call unclean!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Polaroid vision

 Mark looked into the eyes of Christine who was sitting across from him on a swing in the park. The sun was hot so the two teenagers moved under the shade of a large elm tree to escape the fierce summer heat. Mark looked around before he filled his pipe with some hybrid marijuana he had purchased from a local cannabis dispensary which had been laced  with something.

Soon after the drugs began to take effect both of the teenager’s hearts began to race as they began to see and feel things that had been veiled from their perception just minutes before. They had opened a gateway into a spiritual realm between this material world and a higher spiritual dimension in which their normal physical eyes couldn’t see. As the drugs took effect, Mark felt the stress and tension of school and living with parents begin to fade, his vision  blurred and he began to see into a new world between the shadows.

Mark tried to remember what it was his mom had told him earlier this morning but his mind was wandering and becoming more and more out-of focus. It was like an image from a Polaroid camera but only in reverse where the once clear picture began dissolving as it lost its visual acuity and became blurry. Mark had inadvertently opened a gateway into the spirit world and now his mind was the target to a whole host of negative input from the spirit world.

From this higher plane of existence Malus watched the teens as they felt the effect of the drugs intensify. He began to put lustful thoughts into Mark’s mind and pushed him to act upon them. Malus had been assigned to attack and devastate Mark’s family life. He was a mighty demon from the sixth ream of Lucent, who had already been successful at driving a wedge between Mark and his parents. Mark’s parents had been worried about him ever since they noticed him beginning to withdraw from a once productive life.

Malus was able to exist in Marks’s life and influence him because of the gateway that Mark had opened up into his world. The demon was a detestable, hideous creature that rather enjoyed causing pain to God’s creations and loved to visit the physical world as often as na├»ve humans would let it in. Once in, he had only to influence the teen’s thoughts by merely speaking into his mind. As the drug continued to be absorbed into his system, Mark began to become aware of the demon’s presence.

A few days earlier, while under the influence, Christine had stolen several video games from a local electronics store. After leaving the store she stopped for coffee as another demon coaxed her to take out a pack of Tarot cards she had ordered from an on line bookstore. Christine was fascinated by colorful pictures on the cards and was strangely drawn to them. It was almost as if they called to her and she began to listen each time she turned one over. 

Unfortunately, Christine couldn’t sense the demon as it intentionally pushed several cards out of the deck where they fell face side up in front of her. Intrigued she began to assign random meanings to their order. Strange thoughts began tumbling into her consciousness but little did she know that the demon was choreographing the whole event by whispering several words into her ear.

The sun was setting below a hill behind the park as almost six hours had vanished from Mark and Christine’s’ day. Now, the teens were having a hard time just standing up and when they tried to speak only gibberish came out. This lack of coherent speech frightened Christine who bolted out into the street. Her shortsightedness led her into the path of an oncoming distracted driver who looking up at the last second didn’t have time to hit his brakes.

So, while this story is totally fictional, it illustrates what can happen when we do things that open gateways into the spiritual world. God warns us not to speak, conjure or have anything to do with the spirit realm. The reason is a simple; we are not yet equipped to navigate there. God is protecting us by warning us to tune into Him in this physical realm and walk with Him here.

We must first believe that there is a spiritual realm out there and that both good and evil inhabits it. God inspired Paul to write “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Take heed to stay clear of things which might open a gateway into the spiritual world.

Put on your armor! Ephesians 5 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

True conversion

With clenched fists Saul left the temple office with letters of condemnation for all Christians living in Damascus. The High Priest had sensed his hatred towards Christians and granted his request to bring them back bound. He hated “The Way”, as it was known in Jerusalem, because they believed that that the Nazarene was the anointed son of God. Saul vehemently opposed them in view of their belief that Jesus was the true Messiah and that He had risen from the dead. 

Saul was looking forward to quenching the expansion of this growing phenomenon and it’s all he could think about as he started his travels that would take a week to reach his intended destination. For the first fifty miles he breathed threats to himself regarding these followers of Jesus and imagined dragging these cult members shackled back to Jerusalem and into prison where they belonged. 

Saul’s donkey kicked up a cloud of dust as he made his way over the rise. The scorching sun was just a dot hanging directly overhead as he lifted the goat skinned bag and poured water down his parched throat. Several other men were traveling with him but were not as focused on persecuting members of “The Way” as was Saul. They were merely part of a paid contingent that would help escort the prisoners back to Jerusalem. 

On the third day, as he neared Damascus, a bright column of intense light beamed around him illuminating and temporarily blinded all who looked at it. Disorientated Saul fell to the ground, closed his eyes and covered his face.

 “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” thundered a magnificent voice which echoed through the partially clouded midday sky.

“Who are you, Lord?” replied Saul as he took away his hands from his face and opened his eyes. He was completely blind as the thundering voice returned “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

Visibly shaken, blind and in shock, Saul had no choice but to allow the men he was traveling with to lead him by the hand into the city. Once there they left him at the house of Judas where he neither ate nor drank for three days. In a vision Saul saw a man named Ananias lay hands on him to restore his sight. Soon the vision became a reality when a man named Ananias laid hands on him as something like scales fell from his eyes.

The conversion of Saul shows us that anyone can be saved no matter what their background, or what they have said or done in the past.  It reveals the sovereignty of God and the purpose of our King to turn the hearts of the lost towards His purpose.

So this oppressor of the church was forced to be led by the hand into a house of a complete stranger, someone who he meant to harm, where he remained for three days in the dark.

So maybe your conversion wasn’t quite as intense as Saul’s. Maybe you didn’t get goose bumps, receive a word from a stranger or begin speaking in tongues but none the less your heart was changed as invisible spiritual scales fell from your eyes. What seemed like utter nonsense before you believed is now the truth that can set all men free. 

In the life of Saul, he went from a hater of Christians and persecutor of “The Way” to a man who was willing to be beaten with rods, scourged to within an inch of his life, lost at sea and shipwrecked, imprisoned and even stoned just in order to tell people that that Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead back to life!

True conversion will change the way you live your life. If you say you believe in Jesus Christ but worship anything else maybe you still need God to remove the scales from your eyes. The amazing thing about this story is that God cared for Saul while he was yet a sinner and went out of His way to meet him on the road to Damascus. 

The truth is, God loves us and is not angry nor does He desire to punish us. He only wants us to turn to Him, love Him and live our lives in ways that glorify His Son. God loves the world He created and everyone in it. He had a plan before the foundations of this world were formed. So now we have a choice to live in a way that puts a smile on His face or continue to feed our own flesh. 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who so ever believed in Him would not perish but receive everlasting life. With God nothing is impossible.