050814, “Are You Thinking Of Ministry?” Consider Effectual Prayer! James 5:16b

Whether your ministry is taking off, or just starting, it’s important for you to know if you’re heading in the right direction. You have been given an awesome responsibility and opportunity to lead your ministry. You should be intentional in your prayers, as to your ministry being led in the direction of righteousness. It is up to you to be prayerfully ready for whatever things that might develop. Consider the scripture that addresses intentional prayer.

King James Bible, James 5:16b
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The wording of the King James Bible translation, “effectual,” as rendered by Barnes’ Notes On The Bible, is very compelling.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

The effectual fervent prayer – The word effectual is not the most happy translation here, since it seems to do little more than to state a truism – that a prayer which is effectual is availing – that is, that it is effectual. The Greek word (ἐνεργουμένη energoumenē) would be better rendered by the word energetic, which indeed is derived from it. The word properly refers to that which has power; which in its own nature is fitted to produce an effect. It is not so much that it actually does produce an effect, as that it is fitted to do it. This is the kind of prayer referred to here. It is not listless, indifferent, cold, lifeless, as if there were no vitality in it, or power, but that which is adapted to be efficient – earnest, sincere, hearty, persevering. There is but a single word in the original to answer to the translation effectual fervent. Macknight and Doddridge suppose that the reference is to a kind of prayer “inwrought by the Spirit,” or the “inwrought prayer;” but the whole force of the original is expressed by the word energetic, or earnest.

I think that you will find that “effectual and fervent prayer” must be a an indispensable part of any ministry, and must be ingrained in the mind of every ministry leader. Consider the following ideas that relate to disciplines of prayer that should be embraced by ministry leaders.

A few years ago, I went to the home and ministry quarters a of well-known personality whose family was also known for its ministry accomplishments. The property is located in the southeastern part of the United States Of America, and is about sixty miles away from the Atlantic Ocean. As I walked from building to building, and from room to room, I noticed a room that was not used by anybody, except for the ministry leader. That particular room was located on the upper level of a ministry building. It was used only for the personal prayer times of that ministry leader, who went there daily for uninterrupted prayer; no one was allowed to interrupt. The room was a safe place for prayer. It had no tv sets, radios, or any other types of media devices. There were only Bibles and other Christian resource materials in the room, other than furnishings. The purpose of the room was prayer, and nothing else but prayer.

It is my belief that if you are leading a ministry, or if you are considering whether you should, or should not, lead a ministry, you should consider setting aside a time and place for your regular and uninterrupted prayer. You should make it a discipline that can not be, and will not be, interrupted. You may have been reading my discussions that deal with the value and respect for the Lord’s Sabbath. I think that you should take that Sabbath time away from the prayer discipline and allow yourself to be refreshed from your prayer vigils. Prayer can be exhausting, so it should not be something that could take away from your freshness of intimacy with God. I think that you should use Friday’s Day of Preparation (John 19:14, Friday morning until Friday sunset), to prayerfully prepare for the Lord’s Sabbath (Friday sundown until Saturday sundown). I also think that you should use Sunday, the Lord’s Day, as a time of soul rest away from your prayer discipline. The type of prayer that I am suggesting, can be very fatiguing, and may become exhaustive spiritual warfare. But, I think that you will be able to realize a vast harvest of spiritual fruit if you continue in your prayer disciplines. Please consider the following prayer verses, and prayers of Jesus. The result of such prayer disciplines should be for you to become totally sold out to the intimate words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him … and the power of His resurrection … and the fellowship of His sufferings … being conformed to His death.” You might consider using my writing of “Knowing God”(050214), as being a refresher for this verse (Philippians 3:10).

As it relates to “effectual and fervent prayer,” let’s consider corresponding prayers of Jesus. As you read the Lord’s prayers, read them as if you have never read them before. Look for pearls of wisdom from our Lord’s words. Don’t use cross references. Ask for God to lead you into an intimate relationship of understanding in each of the prayers. There are fourteen prayer scriptures that I am suggesting; read one of them each day over a two week period. Repeat them until you are fully aware of the spiritual meaning of each passage. The longest of the prayers is that of John 17:1-26. That passage contains many pearls of wisdom, so don’t rush through it. Examine and inspect each verse of the text. Especially in John 17:1-26, assume that you know nothing of the Lord’s teaching. Allow His Spirit to lead you as you prayerfully consider the truths of the passage deeply into your soul. John 17:3 should be a verse for you to commit to memory. It contains a Biblical text book definition of eternal salvation.

John 17:3, New American Standard Bible
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Luke 6:12

Luke 6:18

Luke 10:21

Luke 22:42

Luke 23:34

Luke 23:46

John 11:41-43

John 12:27-28

John 17:1-26

Mark 14:32-42

Matthew 6:8-13

Matthew 11:25-26

Matthew 26:39

Matthew 27:46

Now, let’s go to our Lord Jesus in worship and praise.

Worthy

Revelation 4:11 – New International Version
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

050714, Church Plants And Cell Groups. What Do You Think About Forming One? Acts 2:46

Following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, on the Day of Pentecost, the early believers in Christ (not called Christians until Acts 11:26, nine years later), began to meet in small groups in their own homes for spiritual enrichment. The aspect of home churches/assemblies was not one of design, but rather of necessity. Because the early believers were Jews, and were most likely “respectful, religious Jews,” they still met in the Temple. Of significance, is the fact those early followers of Jesus met in small groups in their homes, also on a daily basis. The following scriptures show that those of the early church/assembly “devoted themselves” to the things that the Apostles were teaching them. While they met as small groups, they also “broke bread.” It is most likely that these disciples remembered the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus during the time that “they broke bread/shared a fellowship meal.” There was great excitement in the small groups, and there was also tremendous growth among the early groups of believers.

The events of the above paragraph took place in the year 33 A.D. But, how does that example relate to the year 2014 A.D? It appears that most readers, who receive my writings, are also involved in the weekly worship services of their own churches. But, there are many people who do not attend church services, at any time, and who are friends, relatives, and associates of church members. Those “absentees” are also important to our Lord Jesus. Please read the page on my blog that addresses, “The Mission And Ministry Of Equipping The Saints.” Also, read the “Mission Objectives” that are located on the blog side bar. In those two writings, you will find some good ideas for your own personal ministries.

It is one of the objectives of this ministry to help in the planting of churches, as well as various types of cell groups. Cell groups can be effective in homes, work places, and in any other setting. Cell groups can develop into, and become church plants and fully functioning assemblies/churches/congregations. Many of my readers are serious about their ministries of instruction and encouragement through their writings. Many of these same people have the ability to lead a small group of believers. What may be lacking is an organized structure of support. Or, maybe only study reference material is needed. That is where our ministry becomes valuable to such followers of Christ.

If you are interested in pursuing a cell group ministry, and would like to have support from this ministry, please let me know of your ideas about your thoughts. We will try to help you in any way that is possible. First of all, reply to this post. You will then be given further information on how we will contact you. Please consider how God can bless you as you try to share the gospel of Christ with people who may need to know Him as their Lord and Savior. Consider the following Words of God.

Philippians 4:13, World English Bible (WEB)

13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Acts 2:42-44, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread andto prayer.
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47, The Message (MSG)

41-42 That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
43-45 Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.
46-47 They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

Now, let’s praise our Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth.

Let God Arise

Days Of Elijah

Baruch Adoni

Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him”

050614, Equipping The Saints, Our Church In Sabbath Worship, And In Passover And Communion

A change was made to one my blog pages. Please click onto the page link that matches the title of this post to see the changed page. The page does not have a numerical identifier.

There is also another worship song, that I am including here. It has the same title, as the song that you will see on the page, “Holy Are You Lord,” but it was recorded at another setting and has an added message. May it bless you.

Holy Are You Lord

Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him …”

050414, Worship, “Do We Have Barriers To It?” Matthew 26:30-45

Matthew 26:45, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

45 Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

It was late Thursday night. Jesus and his disciples had just shared in the Passover Meal. Friday would soon be arriving, with The Day Of Preparation leading to the time when Jesus would be crucified. This horrible event would take place on Friday evening, before the beginning of the Sabbath (Friday evening at sunset). Jesus and the disciples had left the place of the Passover meal, which was an upper room of a house, which may have been the same place where the remaining eleven Apostles, and 109 other followers of Jesus went, stayed, and prayed, for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:1-15). Jesus and the disciples “sang a song,” (Mt 26:30). They went to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:1-4), and continued to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus told the disciples to pray. Jesus prayed, and then found the disciples sleeping, and said to them, “So, you men could not keep watch with me one hour?” (Mt 26:40) Jesus continued to pray, but found the disciples sleeping, again (Mt 26:43), and said to them again, “Are you still sleeping and resting?” (Mt 26:45).

Let’s consider our corporate worship. But, first of all, let us consider scriptural examples of worship.

Let’s consider the example of worship that was set by Ezra, the scribe-priest. We will only consider that aspect of worship, as we read the account that is written in the Book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 8:1-8, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

8 1 all the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel. 2 Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. 3 He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4 The scribe Ezra stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites,[a] helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places. 8 So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

vs 1. All of the people gathered. vs 2. Ezra read the law to all who could understand his reading. vs 3. The reading lasted from early morning until midday; all who were there were “attentive.” vs 4. Other priests stood by Ezra, in support of him. vs 5. All of the people stood while Ezra read the law. vs 6. The people responded to Ezra’s reading (not a sermon) with voices of “Amen, Amen.” They lifted up their hands, they bowed their heads; they worshiped God with their faces to the ground. 7. Other priests helped the people to understand the law, “while the people remained in their places.” vs 8. The people understood the word that was read to them.

Let’s consider the example of King Solomon, that is written in the Book of Second Chronicles. Again, we will only consider the aspect of worship that is written in that text.

2 Chronicles 6:12-13, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands. 13 Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven.

vs 12. Solomon stood before his people and spread out his hands. vs 13. He knelt on his knees before his people, spread out his hands to God, and prayed to God.

Let’s consider our barriers to worship.

1. Do we gather, as a body of Christ, to hear the reading of God’s Holy Word? 2. Do we ensure that the teaching is appropriate to the ability of the people, who are present, to understand it? 3. Is the length of worship a problem for us? We must not fail to remember the children in the nursery, or the adults who are with the children. We must also make provisions for people who may have medical conditions. 4. Is the pastor supported by other pastors, deacons, and members of the church? 5. Does the congregation show reverence for the reading of God’s Word? 6. Is the church too prideful to show humility and reverence to God’s Word? 7. Do the pastors ensure that the teaching is appropriate for the ability of the people to understand it. Are the people reverent while God’s Word is being read? 8. Is there the result of the people understanding the Word of God? 9. Pastors, are you too prideful to stand before your congregations and spread out your hands, and kneel on your knees, and pray to God from that posture? 10. Now. Here is the question of the century. It will be a multiple choice. Church members, would you be: “not embarrassed, embarrassed, greatly embarrassed, or terribly embarrassed” if your pastor were to stand before you, and then spread out his hands, and kneel on his knees before you, and spread out his hands to God, and “pray to Almighty God,” for him to soften hardened hearts?

Now. Let’s consider the example of worship at the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church.

In the early 1970s Jim Cymbala took over the leadership of the struggling Brooklyn, New York church, which numbered less than twenty. He had no Seminary. Music Director, Carol Cymbala, had no formal music training. The church now has five weekly services, and a choir that numbers 280. Many of the members of the church are former Matthew 25:40 people, “the least of these,” (homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes – people who are close to my heart). It is easy to see the truth of Philippians 4:13 in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me.” We can also see the true life song at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, “red and yellow, black and white …. (you know the rest).” Now, for a mini concert of praise, please enjoy the inspired worship of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

Thou O Lord
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

I Bless Your Name
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Worthy Is The Lamb
Brooklyn Taberacle Choir

Song Of Moses
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

I Say Yes
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him …”

050214, Considering, “Knowing God,” John 17:3

Considering The Intimacy Of Knowing God

Intimacy With God/Knowing God. The New Birth. The Kingdom Of God. These three topics will be addressed as we discuss the aspects of our achieving intimacy with God.

John 17:3, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

The aspect of knowing God is essential to the salvation of all human beings. It is not, merely, an awareness of Jesus, but a relationship that is described as being as close and personal as the physical relationship between a man and his wife. Strong’s reference number 1097 of the New Testament (Know) is directly related to the Old Testament reference number of 3045, in Genesis 4:1, in which Adam’s knowing Eve refers to his direct contact with her, in a sexual relationship. The 1097 reference also applies to Matthew 1:25, where Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary until after Jesus was born. The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible states, in relation to 1097: By euphemism: to lie with a person of another sex as spoken of a man or men (Mt 1:25, Gen 4:1, 17; 24:16); of a woman or women (Lk 1:34, Gen 19:8, Nu 31:17, 35).

The application of physical intimacy is that of “one in the other.” The following scriptures show that literal application. (NASB)

John 1:4

4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

John 14:9

9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 14:10

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

John 14:11

11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

John 14:16-17

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

John 14:20

20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

Romans 8:1

8 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:27

27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

1 John 1:5

5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

The aspect of intimacy is illustrated very clearly by relating physical intimacy to spiritual intimacy. The closest relationship that a husband and wife can experience is that of sexual union. God has used that example to illustrate the intimacy that is present between His “born again” believers and Him (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.) When we are born again, God’s spirit and our spirit, become one in spiritual union. In John 14, we can see the following aspects of the indwelling of the Spirits of the Father, Son, Spirit, and us. But, it is important to start this conversation with verse 9, where Jesus states that He and the Father are one. That “oneness” of God The Father and God The Son, was important for the Jews to understand, as well as for us today. It was a statement of Jesus being, “God with us,” and not a competitor or impostor (Matt1:23, Isa 7:14, 9:6). We see the literal indwelling of God’s Spirit, as follows :vs 10-11 , Father in Son, Son in Father; vs 16-17, The Holy Spirit indwelling believers; vs 20, the Spiritual union of Father, Son, and believers. The other scriptures that are listed above, also show the literal presence of God’s Holy Spirit within the spirits of believers in Christ.

God’s Spirit indwells our Spirit, immediately, after we have been born again. See John 3:3-8. That is important because of the condition of our depraved spirit, which exists immediately upon our being conceived and become an embryo. The fall of Adam and Eve resulted in a flawed conception of all subsequent births of children, from Cain forward (Romans 5:12). In order for us to understand the significance of the need to be born again, it is important for us to understand the makeup of each man, woman, child, infant, unborn child, and embryo. At the time of conception, a spirit is present in each embryo, a spirit which is in need of a Savior (Rom 3:23). Let’s go to 1 Thes 5:23. There, we see that all of us are made up of a spirit, soul, and body. It is important for us to remember that all three parts of us must be saved. All three parts of us have been affected by the fall of Adam and Eve and must be saved for us to spend eternity with God. The terms “spirit and soul” are often used interchangeably. But, they are actually separate. Our body is easy to describe. Our soul is our emotion, consciousness, and reasoning. Our spirit is our initial point of entry into life. Our spirit is in need of a savior. It is the deepest part of us, and is the part of us that God is seeking to save, per Lk 19:10, so that we will spend eternity with Him. There is a need for all of us, “body, soul, spirit,” to be saved. When we have been born again, our spirit has been saved – it can not sin – it is immediately made perfect, just as perfect as the Spirit of Christ (Justification). Through our life’s walk, we become more mature in Christ (Sanctification), but because our soul can sin, it will not be saved until our death or until we are caught up in the rapture; our soul, “is being saved” – will be made perfect. Our body can sin, just as our soul is also able to do so, even after our spirit has been born again. It will be saved upon its resurrection in the Rapture (Glorification), where it “will be saved” – will be made perfect. So, here is a timeline of our growth in Christ. We have been saved (spirit). We are being saved (soul). We will be saved (body). It is important to remember that if any part of us can sin, it has not been saved. It is only our spirit that can not sin, because it “has been saved.” Immediately, upon our being born again, we take up residence in the Spirit of God, because we are no longer darkness (in God there is no darkness, 1 John 1:5). See the following scriptures: 1 Cor 6:9-11, Rom 8:28-30, 1 Cor 15:50-54, 1 Thes 4:16-18. Additional word studies should also be considered.

John 3:3, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Footnotes:

John 3:3 Or from above

John 3:3, Revised Standard Version (RSV)

3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew,he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Footnotes:

John 3:3 Or from above

John 3:3, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.
Footnotes:

John 3:3 Or born anew

Consider the need for the new birth. It is necessary for us to gain entrance into the Kingdom of God. It is described as being, born again, born from above, and born anew. In John 3:3-8, Nicodemus came to Jesus, “in all of his Jewishness.” Immediately, Jesus spoke truth to a Jew who should have know the truth of the new birth. Nicodemus, because of his position within the Sanhedrin, should have known the truth of such scriptures, as Ezekiel 36:24-29, which describes the new birth:

Ezekiel 36:24-29,New American Standard Bible (NASB)

24 For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. 29 Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not]bring a famine on you…… (The Apostle Paul would also write on the new birth, as follows)

2 Corinthians 5:17, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

(The “new creation,” refers to the regenerated human spirit; “everything old” refers to the depraved, unborn again, spirit which must be regenerated/born again in order for us to be able to spend eternity with God.)

John 3:8, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Consider the method of the new birth. The Holy Spirit creates the new born spirit in believers. His actions here are related to the wind. The wind can not be seen, and can not be controlled, but its presence is known by where it has been. The Holy Spirit can also go to the right, left, front, and rear of us. He can go fast, slow, and can also stand still, and can not be controlled by us. But, when the Holy Spirit has come upon, and has taken up residence in, a formerly unsaved person, it can be clearly known where the Holy Spirit has been.

The Kingdom Of God

The Kingdom Of God is a subject that is addressed in the following three translations. It is described as being, “in the midst of you,” among you,” and “in your midst.” The words of Jesus, to Nicodemus, were such that in order for anyone to be in the Kingdom, they would have to be born again. In the discourse with the Pharisees, in Lk 17:20-21, Jesus stated that the Kingdom was not a place, or rearrangement, of government, but is a place of spiritual residence. He stated to the Pharisees, and to whomever was present, that they were looking at the Kingdom as they were looking at Him, and at anybody else who had been born again. The application for you and me is that, by our new birth, our spirits are sharing in the presence of the Spirit of God. If you have been born again, my spirit is indwelling your spirit and your spirit is indwelling my spirit. And, both of our spirits are present in the Spirit of God.

Luke 17:20-21, Revised Standard Version (RSV)

20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Luke 17:20-21, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”

Luke 17:20-21, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with]signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

The Kingdom Of Heaven

As opposed to the dwelling place of believers in the Spirit of God/the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven refers to the influence that God has over all of His creation. A god example is that of the thousand year reign of God, when it is controlled by God’s influence during most of that time of “peace on earth.” (Rev 20:1-3).
Psalm 103:19, Revised Standard Version (RSV)

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

Conclusion.

About twenty-six years ago, I was listening to a sermon that was being preached by a long time pastor friend, whom I will lovingly call “Brother Dave.” He read through John 17:3. It made such a strong impact on me that, even while Brother Dave was continuing his sermon, I was beginning a word study of a key word in that scripture, “know.” Brother Dave presented to the congregation a text book definition of attaining eternal life, which was to “have an intimate relationship with God, the Father, through God, the Son.” The word study led me to understand that spiritual intimacy with God was a parallel to physical intimacy that exists between a husband and wife. In order for spiritual intimacy to be attained, we must be born again, whereby our depraved spirit is regenerated to become as pure as the Spirit of Christ. The result of the new birth is that we, through our spirit, take up residence in the Spirit of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Accordingly, the Spirit of God takes up residence within our regenerated spirit. At that time, we are present within the Kingdom of God. During the time of our entry into life, and throughout our lifetime, we are subject to the Kingdom of Heaven, whereby “all” of God’s creation is under the influence and power of God.

In order for us to “know Christ,” we must be intimate “with Christ.” Such a relationship must be accomplished spiritually, by God. There must also be a continuing emotional relationship by us with Him. Jesus spoke of the result of someone not having an intimate relationship with Him. In Matthew 7:23 we read:”…I never knew you; depart from me…”
Jesus was saying (in my words), “I never knew you; you have never been intimate with me: you have not been born again; you will not enter the Kingdom of God.”

Writing such as study, as this one, is very difficult. There has got to be a starting point, as well as a stopping point. So, a writer has to find start and stop points that will address the issue, but without doing a reprint of the whole Bible. John 21:25 has a wording that correlates to the dilemma of writing this article. John said, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they *were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself *would not contain the books that *would be written.” So, if I have failed to address an issue that is important to you, please accept my request for forgiveness and allow me to provide any, and all, information that you would like for me to provide.

Now, let us consider Jesus.

He Is Here

Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him…”

050114, A Conversation About Jeremiah And “The Least Of These,” Jeremiah 18:1-6, Matthew 25:35-40

050114, A Conversation About Jeremiah And “The Least Of These,” Jeremiah 18:1-6, Matthew 25:35-40

It was during a blog conversation that I had with Lisa (Falling Down The Rabbit Hole), that the subject of the prophet Jeremiah led to my comments that follow. (You might want to check out Lisa’s blog; it is very good.) Please consider the needs of people who are poor, and are barely getting by, or may be sleeping on park benches. Consider how you may be able to support Hospice locations with snack items for friends and family members of patients, who are spending their last days of life in those loving and compassionate facilities. Consider the “working poor.” Consider those who are residents of nursing homes, those who are hospitalized, or those who may be confined to a prison, jail, or detention center. Consider those who are grieving the death of a loved one, or of a close friend. Consider the words of our Lord Jesus, in Matthew 25:40. Consider how God may be leading you in the direction of a ministry, or in a change of ministry, like that which happened to me through Jeremiah 18:1-6. Consider the complete discourse of Jesus about the less fortunate, in Matthew 25:35-40. Consider Jesus, in the song that follows the writing of this post.

Matthew 25:40
New King James Version (NKJV)

40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Jeremiah 18:1-6
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Potter and the Clay

18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

Equipping The Saints on April 30, 2014 at 8:50 pm said:

I was “on the road” working. I had been dabbling with ministry to “the least of these” (Mt 25:40), when I laid my Bible down on my motel room bed; it opened to Jeremiah 18. Then, I read the first six verses and asked God, “are you changing me?” The answer was yes! From the point in time forward, I began a dedicated ministry to homeless people, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, homosexuals, “the working poor,” and whomever else may have “slipped through the cracks” of society. God has blessed me beyond measure. I give Him all of the honor and glory. I thank you for allow me to write this short story of God’s leading of my life. Please check out the pages of my blog. May our Lord Jesus richly bless you.

Please read the Benevolence Missions Statement of Equipping The Saints Ministries. It can also be found on the “Page Section Of My Blog.”

“Equipping The Saints” Benevolence Missions Statement.

Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

1. Purpose: Equipping The Saints Ministries (ETS) provides Spiritual and Benevolence Support Services to individuals and groups, in The United States Of America, and in International locations. ETS enlists support from other groups and individual to create an expeditious flow of support to the areas of need. Our purpose is to support churches and other designated and established ministries. ETS members will always be submissive to church leaders, or other ministry leaders, who may have established, assigned, or designated authority in areas where we have been asked to provide such support services. We will provide ministry outreach where no other church or designated ministries are present, and it appears to be prudent for ETS to assume command of the mission.
2. Vision. Ephesians 3:20 shares a view of ministry that has been revealed to ETS. That scripture tells us, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us …”That vision includes things that we do, to include, but not be limited to, the following:
a. Ministering to prostitutes, homosexuals, alcoholics, drug addicts, and the homeless.
b. Becoming an advocate for anyone who may need our support, including those who are not homeless, but may be classified as the working-poor.
c. Assisting in the staffing of national and international ministries.
d. Using the forces of personal evangelism and Internet media to make thousands of believers around the world aware of the burdens that God has placed on our hearts.
e. Supporting U.S. military forces around the world, based on the type of request.
3. Overview. Matthew 25:40 has challenged us to step outside of our comfort zones, and to respond to the needs of people who seem to have been overlooked. In that scripture, our Lord says to us, “…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
a. When I stepped outside of the area of comfort, that had previously shielded me from a very dark side of life, I began to share the love of Jesus in a way that had never entered my mind. To take the hand of a prostitute and pray with her – to see her closing her eyes and joining me in praying to our Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth – to see tears flowing from her eyes … these are all special moments of my life, and will never leave my mind. To walk under a bridge and see a homeless city; to see homeless people devising ways to protect their personal belongings, such as putting all that they own in a grocery store shopping cart; to see a makeshift bed, that extended from one steel girder to another, so that a man and his wife would be able to sleep five feet above the dirt; to see women selling their bodies so that they could sleep in a real bed, and have food to eat; to see homeless people walking the streets all day long, with no place to go; to see the vacant houses where those without homes would make their homes, for a night, for a week, or until a police officer would tell them that they would have to “find some other place to sleep” – which might be a park bench, a bridge, or another abandoned house; to know that many homeless people die each winter’s night, because they don’t have clothing that is warm enough to protect them from subfreezing temperatures – to know that the heat of summer takes the lives of those who can not escape its deadly temperatures.
b. When I have become an advocate for one of “the least of these;” when I have tried to “do what Jesus would do;” when I have tried to “be Jesus to the less-fortunate;” it has been very challenging and fatiguing, yet very rewarding.
c. As a ministry seeks to recruit volunteer ministers, it is very rewarding to be asked to assist in the recruiting and logistics effort of the growth of that ministry.
d. As I have been invited to explain the ministry of “Equipping The Saints,” to churches and church groups, it has been more of a blessing than I could ever have imagined.
e. The challenges of the United States armed forces are numerous. Many troops have no relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Military chaplains need the assistance of churches, individuals, and civic groups, in providing bibles and personal items to the troops. It is a blessing to be a part of that supply process.
f. Displaced persons ministry needs are overwhelming. ETS is attempting to respond to the needs of any people who are living outside of their designated homes. We attempt to support ministry and medical leaders, who oversee displaced persons dwelling places. There are many churches that need to be made aware of the needs of “the least of these.”
g. There are many churches that need to be challenged to seek out that demographic of society that seems to slip through the cracks of our minds. But, there is only so much that can be done by a few people. Other people, of similar sentiment, need to become affiliated with this ministry. That will allow more churches to embrace the message that scripture has so clearly been given to the Church, as it relates to the less fortunate. More sermons need to be preached about meeting the needs of the less fortunate. More hurting and lost souls need to be told about the love of Christ, and need to have more of their daily needs met by the Church. May God help this ministry to be all that it can be to share the message of Matthew 25:40, “in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
4. Ministry Objectives.
a. Matthew 28:18-20: Evangelism;
b. Matthew 25:35-40: Benevolence;
c. Ephesians 4:11-12: Equipping The Saints.

Turn Your Eyes On Jesus

Matthew 25:35-40
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’

043014, A Conversation About Worship, Revelation 4:1-11

Revelation 4:1-11

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
The vision of Heaven

4 Later I looked again, and before my eyes a door stood open in Heaven, and in my ears was the voice with the ring of a trumpet, which I had heard at first, speaking to me and saying, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen in the future.”

2-6a Immediately I knew myself to be inspired by the Spirit, and in my vision I saw a throne had been set up in Heaven, and there was someone seated upon the throne. His appearance blazed like diamond and topaz, and all around the throne shone a halo like an emerald rainbow. In a circle around the throne there were twenty-four thrones and seated upon them twenty-four elders dressed in white with golden crowns upon their heads. From the central throne come flashes of lightning, noises and peals of thunder. Seven lamps are burning before the throne, and they are the seven Spirits of God. In front of the throne there appears a sea of glass as clear as crystal.

6b-8 On each side, encircling the throne, are four living creatures covered with eyes in front and behind. The first living creature is like a lion, the second is like a calf, the third has a face like a man, and the fourth living creature appears like an eagle in flight. These four creatures have each of them six wings and are covered with eyes, all around them, and even within them. Day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming.”
The ceaseless worship of Heaven

9-11 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honour and thanksgiving to the one who sits upon the throne, who lives for timeless ages, the twenty-four elders prostrate themselves before him who is seated upon the throne and worship the one who lives for timeless ages. They cast their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things and by your will they exist and were created.”

A conversation that I had with fellow blogger, “Freedomborn…Aussie Christian Focus” is pasted below. It came from my blog page, “About Equipping The Saints.” I don’t need to restate my words; I invite you to read them, and consider “Worship.” I also recommend that you check out the blog from my friend, “from the land down under.” As you view the worship video, consider the Apostle Paul; consider you. Consider another passage of scripture that I have found to be the key to having a relationship of worship with Jesus. In order for us to have a relationship of worship with God, we must first of all have an intimate relationship of intimacy with God the Father, through God the Son. A special sister was so moved by my continual quoting of John 17:3, that she made a ceramic tile for me, with that verse in King James wording, painted on the tile. Terri, that dear saint, a true “Bama” fan from Jackson, Alabama, can preach “circles around me.” I thank God for her.

John 17:3
King James Version (KJV)

3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 17:1-3

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Jesus’ prayer for his disciples—present and future

17 1-3 When Jesus had said these words, he raised his eyes to Heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son now so that he may bring glory to you, for you have given him authority over all men to give eternal life for all that you have given to him. And this is eternal life, to know you, the only true God, and him whom you have sent—Jesus Christ.

Equipping The Saints says:
April 29, 2014 at 12:09 pm Edit
Thank you for your thoughts, and for the verses of God’s Word that support your beliefs. It can also be impossible for some people to meet for corporate worship, on some days and on all days. We can let our minds roam and think of many circumstances that prevent people from meeting with other people for organized worship. I wrote the post about Worship In Spirit And In Truth last night which lends truth that we worship “in spirit and in truth.” A place, time, day is not part of the discussion that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman. At that particular moment, He had the perfect opportunity to tell the woman that “worship” is to be done, “at that place, on that day, at that time.” But, he was very clear in His Words. Worship is that of relationship, and not of logistics. I trust that our Lord Jesus will lead you in sharing your thoughts of grace with those who may be confused about a subject that has been a noose around many necks for many years. Please have a blessed day.
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Freedomborn … Aussie Christian Focus says:
April 29, 2014 at 1:14 pm Edit

Now, let’s worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

For Your Name Is Holy – I Enter The Holy Of Holies

Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him …”