|| Fresh Blog
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Wouldn't it be great to meet as the early believers did in the NT?
YES! amen, that is our hearts desire. We prayed for 4 years for fellowship while God prepared us. We believed others were out there but did not know who they were. So we patiently waited and trusted the Lord to make it happen, as He will for you too. On 7-28-10 David Eells and a group of elders discussed the early church structure and some personal experiences in home groups. Listen here 7/28/10
Let me tell you how we assemble.
When we gather, it begins with a meal around 2-3 pm on a Saturday when work schedules permit.
We eat, talk, fellowship (like what people love to do!..).
During the meal time, we may talk scripture, testify, answer questions, talk about our lives...
Later, we drift into the living room for some worshipful music either from a cd or some Holy Ghost worship music on youtube. here's one we like: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLiyPd-j8z8&feature=related
Sometimes we are blessed with someone who plays guitar or an instrument.
We will enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. God shows up and tears come to many eyes as we respond to His Presence.
People may share a teaching, a psalm, a revelation, we have had a prophesying or two, some questions may be asked.
Healings are received and demons have been cast out.
People have been saved and baptized.
Some needs may be brought for prayer.
No one has an agenda and if someone is out of order, (which happens) the Holy Spirit helps us deal with it. Christ is the head (Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the church)
The assembly will last way into the evening and people may come and go.
1st Corinthians 14:26 What is it then, brethren? When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
Last time people stayed 'till about 12:30 am. Of course we had food available for an evening snack.
The church assembly functioned as a family, a fellowship, and the body of Christ.
After gathering like this for over 2 years, a traditional, orchestrated church "service" has lost all appeal. We just LOVE gathering in holy, spiritual fellowship this way.
This is our "communion of the saints".
Maybe we are not doing it right on some technical points. We seek the Lord days before we gather and strongly seek His leading in these meetings. It is wonderful how God is confirming His Word...
When I look close at how they gathered in the homes in scripture, and how Jesus often did so, who can fault this kind of assembling?
One night, as we drove home from the Fresno family's house fellowship where we had shared a meal, prayer, teachings, and ministry, it suddenly dawned on me "THAT WAS CHURCH!!"
(We did not realize it at first because we were so conditioned to think of church in terms of the institution.)
Thursday, 15 July 2010
Most Christians think it impossible that God would hurt them.
A majority believe God is always nice and He would never hurt a Christian, allow a demon to afflict them, oppress them, or allow them to get in an "accident".
So when something does come along in life and it hurts, aches, needs stitches, a cast or a replacement, depression pills, a marriage counselor or children intervention , God is nowhere in the picture. "Those things happen" and shoulders are shrugged... and a doctor consulted.
Do you know many scriptures say the opposite? From the old to New Testaments, God has always punished sin, corrected, and chastised His children, and "judged" them in this life..
Recently I was reluctantly sent to give a Word to a man in a position of authority.
The Lord had given me three dreams in one night for him, and even though I knew he would reject me and the dreams, I went anyway telling the Lord that I loved Him more than sparing myself an unpleasant interview.
After several days of prayer and getting my heart free of any ill-will or self-righteousness, I went to his office and shared the 3 dreams. As expected, he was sceptical but we parted in a friendly manner. Driving home I was a bit sad and feeling rejected, but I knew I had done what God sent me to do. Was it a coincidence a few days later this man was in an "accident" and shaken up?
The Lord told me he had not only rejected the message, but he had also spoken against me.
Did the man connect the two events? Probably not...
Does it say in1Thess 5:20 despise not prophesyings?
What happens if a Christian does? Do you think God might send a message in another form?
I could give many personal examples of God's chastisements in my own life as he has dealt with my sins and transgressions. And we know of many cases where others have suffered because of pride, rebellion, unbelief, greed, lust, grumbling, complaining and other iniquities. These events transpire in the lives of the majority of Christians and churches but very few make the connection between our sin and God's intervention.
God does "hurt" his kids, and He does so to chastise and correct them. -as often as we need it, in order to humble us, purge us, and turn us around.
Hebrews 12: 9 Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence...
10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.
11 All chastening seemeth for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness.
The word "chasten" is used all through scripture. Strong's 3811 defines it:
to cause one to learn
to chastise or castigate with words, to correct
of those who are moulding the character of others by reproof and admonition
to chasten by the affliction of evils and calamities
to chastise with blows, to scourge
of a father punishing his son
of a judge ordering one to be scourged
Chastisement is a work of the "curse", and is the affliction of pain, torment, and other symptoms which God created as the corrective instruments to bring us back to obedience. It is often applied by the demons. The "curse/chastising" serves the Lord in God's people by humbling them and motivating them to repent and seek His face.
That is what 2Chronicles 7:14 is saying.
The Good News of the New Testament is that when we come into agreement with the Word, He has already provided the blessing of healing, deliverance, restoration, and provision.
2nd Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. -Our land is our physical body.
In our New Testament Covenant, when we repent and believe the gospel of scripture, as children of the King we are entitled to the benefits of our salvation.. "for by His stripes we were healed" 1Peter 2:24 and here is another goodie from Psalm 103: 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases
Would God do that in the age of grace? Can a Christian have a demon? Does God punish willful disobedience in His church? Does the curse still impact Christians?
Although many deny, these things do occur and they do so often. Once you recognize the curse, and the chastisements of the Lord, and what and how pain is inflicted, you will see it everywhere including and especially in churches.
James 5:9 Murmur not, brethren, one against another, that ye be not judged: behold, the judge standeth before the doors.
Want a little revelation? God judges murmuring here and now. -And those doors? Why they are the ears, mouth, and eyes. He is watching every thought, every word we utter, and even what we hear.
Look at this prophetic Psalm 89:
27 I also will make him my first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth.
28 My lovingkindness will I keep for him for evermore; And my covenant shall stand fast with him.
29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, And his throne as the days of heaven.
30 If his children forsake my law, And walk not in mine ordinances;
31 If they break my statutes, And keep not my commandments;
32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes.
33 But my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, Nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
And Job 33:19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, And with continual strife in his bones
Psalms 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray; But now I observe thy word
Why is that pastor sick?
Why did that Christian die young?
Why did our children rebel or suffer?
Why did that deacon have cancer?
Why did that sister have arthritis?
Why did that elder have a car wreck?
Why was that church family so troubled?
Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not (do not hate) thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
-scourge: G3148; to flog (literally or figuratively)-scourge. from the base of G3145 (through the idea of contact); a whip (literally the Roman flagellum for criminals; figuratively a disease): - plague, scourging.
That's a word for God putting the hurt on us. The Lord does so not for His pleasure, but in order to purge and sanctify us, and to bring us into the image of Christ and sonship.
Many Christians will say "A CHRISTIAN CANNOT HAVE A CURSE!
If that was true, then WHY do so many Christians suffer from the very afflictions God stated were part of the curse?
-sickness, "whatsoever plague", rebellious children, poverty, debt, pain in child birth, shortened lives, and so much more... (Deut. 28 and other passages tell us so.)
Perhaps this passage from 1Cor. 11 will now make sense to you
29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. (they died)
31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.
32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
THE NLT renders it:
27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup.
29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.
30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.
Right there you have an explanation for many dead Christians and why many are ill.
Jesus taught unforgiveness will bring sorrow and torment.
Matt. 18: 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due.35 So shall also my heavenly Father do unto you, if ye forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.
The "tormentors" are the demons.
An unforgiving Christian turned over to them will have depression, bitterness, anger, and eventually develop physical ailments, many times in the form of cancer. Suffering and pain can bring deep repentance and humbleness.
But the flip side is when we do forgive everyone their trespasses and repent of holding grudges and criticisms, THEN we have a right to cast out the demon(s) and receive healing!
It is easy to be healed! Of course, we need to stand on the Rock of scripture when we do so, and confess appropriate verses of scripture from God's promises.
James 5: 14
Is any among you sick? (there's the curse in the church)
Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: (real elders know how to pray and get healing!)
15 and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
Sadly, the churches are filled with sick, afflicted, and troubled people from the pulpits to the pews. Very few have understood Proverbs 26:2
Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
Learning these wonderful principles will not only restore our obedience and Godly fear, it will also empower us to minister powerfully to others in repentance and healing.
Using the approach of finding the sin involved, confession and repentance, and speaking the Word of God in faith, many healings are observed through the name and Word of Jesus.
When we pray for someone, I BELIEVE they will be healed. It is not a rote prayer. And sometimes we will also need time to build the faith of the afflicted one in order for them to receive and believe they are healed.
It is wonderful when you know God's promises and exercise strong, "hold-fast" faith in what He said.
Many pains are immediately gone.
Healing is begun and/or completed.
Many pray and hope for healing. But most often, when we find and deal with the sin first, we WILL be healed.
For the parents:
How easy is it for us to "impart" the curse?
We do so through our words and actions as our children receive our words and actions.
Cuss words, anger, complaining, hating others, unforgiveness, political views, evil speaking against anyone, fear, superstitions, false traditions like Santa Claus are examples of what Christian parents impart to their children.
We see many examples in both testaments how a parent's sin may bring "the curse" upon our children.
If we persist in holding on to sin, God may (not always) at some point allow the curse to touch our children. We have seen examples from scripture where the children were struck with sickness or an injury because of the stubbornness and sin of their parents.
We received a request to pray for a man's sick son. The boy had suffered for about 7-8 years and was now around 12 years old. We discerned there was a cause for the curse of autism in the boy, so I asked him "what happened 7-8 years ago?"
He immediately replied at that time of a serious problem in his marriage and though his wife had said she had forgiven him, she still had a grudge.
-Her lack of forgiveness brought the curse that alighted on the child. When this was pointed out, the man agreed and acknowledged it was the true.
We have seen other similar examples as we are more aware and observant of the operation of the curse in Christians.
In fact, once you recognize "the curse", you will see it in the lives of people all around you. -Especially in the lives of Christians which is what Paul said to the Corinthians. "for this cause MANY are weak and sickly among you (the curse) and some sleep" (die).
In another case of child leukemia, the Lord revealed hidden anger and unforgiveness in the parents as the cause. The parent who was responsible became angry and denied God would do that. She refused responsibility and they sought medical treatment. (She attended a faithless apostate church that did not believe in God healing)
A friend backslid into sin and after being warned many times to repent, a son was killed at 17.
A friend who died at age 56, a committed Christian, but he had many grudges and complaints against family and others. Unforgiveness will KILL a Christian.
1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (die).
When parents understand the responsibility of their sin inflicting suffering upon their children, as shown in the scriptures below, perhaps they will seek God for repentance.
2 Samuel 12:15 And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died.
1Kings 13: 33 After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again from among all the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, that there might be priests of the high places.
(He put people in leadership who were neither called, anointed, nor qualified. Just like the church does.)
34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.
14:1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. (and died)
1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. (Saul and his sons were killed as a result of Saul's sin)
Friday, 09 July 2010
Which Door Leads to THE Faith?
OK, we all know how confusing Christianity can be. A church on every corner and the phone directory is full of choices and invitations to "come worship with us".
Some claim to be THE faith of Christianity, and others are ALL-inclusive accepting anything and everything that calls itself "Christian".
One approach in solving the mystery "which faith" we hope to point you to, is a look at what Jesus said to His disciples. Yes, they only had the Old Testament, the Law, and the prophets untill Jesus began to teach and minister. We know He spoke and demonstrated Father's Will and Word, and He gave us a NEW Covenant upon His death..
Luke 22:20 ... This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you.
Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant
Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant he hath made the first old. But that which is becoming old and waxeth aged is nigh unto vanishing away.
Hebrews 9:16 - For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
Who wrote the New Testament?
No, it was not Jesus. it was His disciples, the holy men given Him from the Father, and later filled with his Spirit which was given after the resurrection.
They wrote for us the words of the Covenant and they spoke and demonstrated the Faith Jesus had given them.
Jesus told us to believe on Him "as the scripture hath said" -John 7:37
Now right about there you should start questioning some of the church lingo like "mass", "trinity", "purgatory", "oneness", and the Titled church positions.
Believe the Word, NOT what someone says about the Word. Next, we will point out that the New Testament church had a beginning.
Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
And as Peter gave the gospel to the gentiles, he reaffirmed how he and the disciples had received the Holy Spirit "at the beginning".
Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak (to gentiles), the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning
Now we can see clearly there was a "beginning" of the gospel after Jesus' death and resurrection.
Next we will give you a measuring rod to help you determine more truth.
Jesus gave His words to His apostles, to do, to speak, and to write what would become the words of our New Testament. Proper use of this tool will help you cut out a lot of false words and ideas.
John 17:20 Neither for these only (the apostles) do I pray, but for them (everyone who believes) also that believe on me through their word.
The Tool is spoken of as Jesus prayed for those that will believe in Jesus through the Words He gave the apostles, which became the words the apostles gave us, in scripture.
The apostles would give us the New Testament scriptures.
BTW, what Paul wrote the churches is scripture.
This was acknowledged by the church in Acts, by Jesus Himself, and by Peter in 2 Peter 3:15
... even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you;
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood,
which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction
We are forming our foundation in the New Testament that what Jesus said, and what the apostles wrote is scripture. If we can trust the New Testament as scripture (see the links to "Scientific proof of the Scripture) then we can begin to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" as they gave us.
Eph. 2:20 Ephesians 2:20 Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone.
Note: the apostles were all well-read in the Old Testament and knew the law, the prophets, and the prophetic scriptures. They, as men filled with the Holy Ghost were commanded by Jesus to give us the "faith once delivered to the saints".
What they wrote was what God wanted us to have.
One clear example was in Acts 15 at the council of the church elders and apostles. They, through the Holy Ghost, they decreed what parts, if any, of the old Testament laws, statutes, and ordinances were to be kept and or observed by the churches.
It was a lively discussion and it resulted in what was said in Acts 16:4 And as they went on their way through the cities, they delivered them the decrees to keep which had been ordained of the apostles and elders that were at Jerusalem.
At this point, we can begin to sort through many of the modern, apostate, practices that have filtered into the church world. The apostles did it for us and what they wrote and ministered is the tool we measure with.
If the apostles commanded (in the decrees) tithing from our income, let's tithe.
If they taught praying the rosary, then we better pray it.
If they elected a pope or a District Superintendent or President, let's follow him.
If they put a hired pastor in charge of the local churches, let's follow suit.
If they ordained fundraisers and building programs, let's build.
If they had the typical church "service" programmed out, let's follow.
If they ordained women into pastors and bishops, give her a Title.
If they said "accept Christ" as savior and "asked Jesus into their heart", preach it.
If they testified of gold dust and getting "slain in the spirit", then get some.
If they had choirs and "worship leaders", celebrated christmass and easter, or mentioned their clergy robes and outfits, then do it.
If the disciples sold "stuff', had bake sales, and made building pledges then we have precedent.
If they practiced AND commanded sabbath keeping and observing the 7 feasts of Israel, then let's do that too. If they told us to keep the law of Moses and carefully did so, and instructed the churches likewise, let's keep all of the Law (even though it is quite impossible).
If they taught, baptized by immersion, healed the sick, cast out devils, spoke in tongues, and had signs and miracles, then we should too.
If they forgave, showed love, and were not covetous, then we are to be likewise.
If Paul told the bishops of Ephesus and other churches to work and support the weak like he did and said, then maybe we ought to re-examine the hired clergy. (Acts 20)
All of this will take careful study of what our New Testament role models did and did not and requires careful study of the book of Acts.
Now here comes the "clincher".
Since the New Testament gives us the terms and living examples of our covenant, for starters why not rely on what they gave us? Here is why we should:
Acts 1:1 ...all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,
2 until the day in which he was received up, after that, he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Do you see it?
Jesus continued giving commandment to the disciples and churches through the Holy Spirit and they wrote what we have received in the New Testament scriptures.
Once you understand that the New Testament gives us the terms of the faith, it becomes much simpler to find what is and what is not New Testament faith. The "faith" that they began to proclaim beginning in Jerusalem when the Spirit was given.
They "rightly divided the Word of truth" for us.
Rev. 22:18 If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book
This part of our journey began when we went to the Lord asking Him to prove tithing as we had done for 24 years. The Lord spoke to me "start reading the New Testament', and the day came when we realized there was no command given to any church or saint to tithe.
So if the church you attend has strayed from what the apostles wrote for us, maybe it is time to step back from church as you thought it was supposed to be, and take a few weeks or months to simply stay home and read your New Testament prayerfully for the truth, asking God to show you any error.
You might just find yourself in the company of all the disciples of scripture who left their synagogues (churches) in order to find the Jesus of scripture. "wherefore come out from among them...."