Tuesday, August 23, 2016

EVERY DAY WITH JESUS:
KEEP THE FAITH!
by Rev. Max Solbrekken, D.D.
    Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more. Jesus saves and keeps me and He's the One I'm waiting for. Every day with Jesus is sweeter that the day before!
    More and more, I find myself singing the old hymns and humming the Bible choruses we sang as children. Unfortunately, many little children today do not have the same opportunity to learn the things of God because of parent's neglect and the church's failure to teach them.
    J. Edgar Hoover, former Director of the F.B.I. stated: “Children that are brought up in Sunday school are seldom brought up in Court.”
    Jesus Christ said: “...Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it.
    “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose His own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8: 34-37)
                                      A REAL WORLD OUT THERE!
    This life doesn't offer many free lunches or instant successes. Our sojourn on Planet Earth is mostly a series of trials, errors and hard work!
     Often success only comes on the heels of disappointment and failure. We live in a real world, with very few born into instant money, privilege and position.
    For most of us, it's a day to day "bump and grind" existence, with only a minuscule chance of winning a Loto 649 and living the fantasy life projected on TV commercials.
But hard work has never hurt anyone and a little strain, stress and sweat is really quite healthy. The old adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again", is good advice indeed!
    Abraham Lincoln ran for public office several times and was defeated. He did not give up however, and finally was elected President of the USA and became renowned as one of America's greatest leaders.
   Theologian, Dr. Kenneth Taylor sought in vain for a publisher to print his new paraphrase of the Holy Bible. He organized Tyndale House Publishers and has sold more than 35 million copies of the 'Living Bible'.
   Science fiction writer, Frank Herbert who authored the galactic epic, 'Dune', was turned down by 20 publishers before his manuscript was finally accepted. His run-away-book has sold over 12 million copies.
   If we turn our mistakes and failures into stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks, the experiences we go through are reversed from negative to positive!
    But if we take the low road of complaining, sulking and blaming people, it becomes a long term aggravation that eats like a cancer. The Bible says, "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he". Here's a poem that reinforces that truth:

ALL IN THE STATE OF MIND

"If you think you're beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't
If you'd like to win, but you think you can't,
It's almost a cinch you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you've lost;
For out in the world you find
Success begins with a fellow's will,
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you're outclassed, you are;
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can."

    St. Paul stated emphatically, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me". (Phil. 4:13). And Jesus said, "All things are possible to him that believes". (Mark 9:23)
    We must come to God, in simple faith, believing that Christ's victory over Satan, death and Hell has purchased our freedom!
     Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened". (Matt. 7:7-8)
     Four things that most people are vitally concerned about are:
PEACE OF MIND. This comes through the knowledge of salvation, with the forgiveness of sins and the removing of guilt. Jesus said, "My peace I give unto you". (John 14:27)
PROTECTION OF ONE'S HOME & FAMILY. The Bible says, "There shall no evil befall you and no plague shall come nigh unto your dwelling". (Ps. 91:10). The angels of God protect His people.
SECURITY OF ONE'S JOB. The Bible tells us not to be concerned about tomorrow for He shall bless us with abundance. If we put Him first, He has promised to prosper and bless the work of our hands. (Luke 6:38; Matt. 6:33)
CONTINUED GOOD HEALTH. When Jesus died on the cross, He purchased our healing for the Bible states, "He was wounded for our transgressions...and with His stripes we are healed". (Is. 53:5; Matt. 8:16-17)
    The Bible says: “TRUST in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. DELIGHT thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. COMMIT thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. REST in the Lord and wait patiently for Him...” (Ps. 37: 3-7)
    The key is in not giving up. We must make our request to God, seek His Word for an answer and keep knocking until we receive. That's real faith!
     Here's a beautiful poem that I hope will inspire you!

I've dreamed many dreams that never came true
I've seen them vanish at dawn
But enough of my dreams have come true, thank God
To make me want to dream on!

I've prayed many prayers when no answer came
Though I waited patiently and long
But answers have come to enough of my prayers, thank God
To make me want to pray on!

I've trusted many a friend who failed me
And left me to weep all alone
But enough of my friends have been true blue, thank God
To make me want to trust on!

I've sown many seeds that fell by the way
For the birds of the air to feed on
But I've held enough golden sheaves in my hands, thank God
To make me want to sow on!

I've drunk of the cup of disappointment and pain
I've gone even days without song
But I've sipped enough nectar from the roses of life, thank God
To make me want to live on!

Here's a sobering little poem which tells the true story of life:

THE SPAN OF LIFE

Charming childhood,
teachable teens,
tender twenties,
tireless thirties,
fiery forties,
forceful fifties,
serious sixties,
sacred seventies,
aching eighties,
shortening breath,
death, sod, God!


Let us never lose faith in Jesus Christ, for only He is able to give real meaning to life and death! Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2016

DEFLATING THE DEVIL:

Destroying the Works of Satan!

                                      By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
     “No man can enter into a strong man´s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” (Mark 3: 27)
     Jesus was controversial, because He was not like other men. He healed the sick and cast out devils! He spoke the Word of God with power and He practiced what He preached! He was holiness personified! He preached the truth because He is the Truth and there is no lie in Him! (John 14: 6)
     Jesus challenged His enemies: “Which of you convinces Me of sin?” (John 8: 46). The police who were sent to arrest Him, returned saying: “Never man spoke like this man.” (John 7: 46). 
   He was a man of authority and not as the scribes! He confounded the leading theologians with His great wisdom. The Scripture says: “No man dared to ask Him any further questions.” (Matt.22: 46). Consequently, they “hated Him without a cause” and crucified Him as a common criminal on Golgotha! (John 15: 25)
                         CONTROVERSIAL AND NO COMPROMISE!
    Jesus´ followers are also controversial, because they are not like other men! They are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. They speak the truth with great authority and power. They live exemplary lives before the world. They obey the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and preach the Gospel, heal the sick and cast out devils in His name!
    They do not compromise or seek to placate the politically correct, prejudiced and bigoted “enemies of the cross”. Consequently, His followers are often hated and called inclusive, intolerant and insensitive! The world will never understand the Church and our mandate to preach the Gospel to all the world!
      Jesus said: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of this world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15: 18-19; Matt.10: 24, 25).
     He stated: “Remember the Word that I said unto you. The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you; if they have kept My sayings, they will keep your also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.” (John 15: 20, 21)
     St. Paul declared: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor.2: 14);
    "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are.” (1 Cor.1: 27, 28).
    The Bible says: “But the wisdom that is from Above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good works, without partiality, and without hypocrisy,” (James 3: 17) while the wisdom from below is sensual and devilish! (v. 15)
                                BINDING THE STRONG MAN!
      U.S. President George W. Bush was asked some years ago, whom he considered to be the greatest philosopher. He answered: “Jesus Christ.” When asked why he felt that way, he very calmly and firmly stated: “He changed my heart. He changed my life.”
     Then they asked him how he was able to quit drinking at the age of forty. Again, he confounded them with his answer: “Jesus came into my heart. I was born again!" When asked to explain his answer, he simply replied: “If it has happened to you, you will know. If not, you will not understand!”
     Jesus was accused of casting out devils by the power of Satan! In answering that unholy accusation, our Lord simply stated what any thinking person without a bias would understand: “How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand but hath an end.” (Mark 3:23- 26)
    Everywhere Jesus Christ went, He healed the SICK and cast out EVIL spirits from those who were bound and tormented: “And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Him ALL that were diseased and them that were possessed with devils. And He healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew Him.” (Mark 1: 32-34)
     The Ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ was composed of preaching, teaching, healing and casting out demons from those who were tormented, oppressed and possessed. The words and actions of our Lord show how much compassion He had, and consequentially still has!
     “And He said unto them, Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And He preached in their synagogues throughout ALL Galilee and cast out Devils.” (Mark 1: 38, 39)
     He knew His calling and He fulfilled His mission! He did His Father's will perfectly and showed us His Father's mercy, grace and kindness. He was moved with Compassion upon the poor, needy, fearful, tormented and sick, and He HEALED them all.
      In the Lord's Prayer we see the heart of Jesus: “...Thy Kingdom come. Thy WILL be done in Earth as it is in Heaven...” (Matt.6:10). We know that there is NO sin, sickness, fear or torment in Heaven. That is why He healed the SICK and cast out EVIL spirits.           These things are foreign to Heaven. They are the fruit of Lucifer's High Treason against the Almighty!
                           CHRIST'S LOVE FLOWED TO OTHERS!
     Our Lord was showing His hatred for sin, fear, sickness and death by healing the sick and raising the dead! And He was giving us a little taste of what it will be like in His Heavenly Kingdom. He came to earth to show us His Father's heart and to make His Father our Father. COMPASSION flowed out from Him to others:
    “And Jesus went all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and HEALING every SICKNESS and every DISEASE among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matt.9: 35,36)
     His battle against Satan the fallen archangel and enemy of God and man, intensified as He ordained twelve Disciples and later seventy more to do the exact work that He was doing. He was
also laying out the 'Pattern' and 'Work Order' for the Church He would build after His ascension to Heaven and the outpouring of the Blessed Holy Spirit.
    “And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out , and to HEAL all manner of SICKNESS and all manner of DISEASE. And as you go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt.10:1, 7,8)
                         I GIVE YOU POWER OVER THE ENEMY!
      “After these things, the Lord appointed other SEVENTY also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come. And HEAL the SICK that are therein and say unto them, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” (Luke 10: 1;8,9)
     “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us in through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning FALL from Heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10: 17-19)
      Jesus made a powerful statement regarding casting out unclean spirits. He calls Satan a strong man and so he is. He has great power over those who allow him access to their spirit, mind or body. He cannot, however, forcefully take anyone captive unless they have played into his hand and invited him to have fellowship with them through acts of disobedience and rebellion to God.
     Our Saviour stated: “No man can enter into a strong man´s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” (Mark 3: 27). Not only did Jesus state that “the Enemy” was a strong man who had taken many unsuspecting souls into captivity, but also that He was the Stronger Man who was able to overpower him and “spoil his house”, meaning to liberate those captive souls.
    Speaking to Cornelius the Roman Centurion, St. Peter declared: “How that Jesus of Nazareth went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10: 38).
     Satan had oppressed the people but Jesus loosed them from their oppressors by casting out demons from those bound by Satan's chains of oppression, sickness and pain!
     On the Day of Pentecost, St. Peter stated: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
    “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having LOOSED the pains of death because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.” (Acts 2: 22-24)
                            DEATH COULD NOT HOLD JESUS!
    Why was it impossible for death to hold Jesus? He was Sinless! If there would have been one sin in Him, Death and Hades would have held Him captive until the Day of Judgment! And because He had power over death and Hades, He “led captivity captive” and released the souls which were with Him in Hades on the Third Day, as David had prophesied. (Ps. 68:18; Eph.  4:8)
     “For David speaketh concerning Him, I FORESAW THE LORD always before my face ...He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ that His soul was not left in hell (Hades), neither His flesh did see corruption. This JESUS hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2: 25-32)
     As David prophesied about Christ, the Heavens were open and he actually saw His face and saw Him rising from the dead. And the word Hell used in the King James Version is actually the Greek word for Hades. Jesus did not go to Hell, but to Abraham's Bosom which is called Paradise, from which He ascended! (Luke 16: 22-26)
    Jesus of Nazareth was incarnated (God in human flesh), therefore without sin. As the Lamb of God, He took upon Himself the sins of the world - past, present and future! The pascal lamb was slain on Israel's altar for their sins on the Day of Atonement, likewise, God's Pascal Lamb took upon Himself the world's sins.
    The Bible says: “Who His own Self bare our Sins in His own body on the tree that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: By Whose stripes ye were HEALED.” (1 Peter 2: 24);
     “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus Who gave Himself a RANSOM for all...” (1 Tim.2: 5,6); “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give HIS LIFE a RANSOM for many.” (Mark 10:45)
    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being MADE A CURSE for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a TREE.” (Gal.3: 13); “The God of our Fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a TREE.” (Acts 5:30);
     “And we are witnesses of all the things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; Whom they slew and hanged on a TREE: Him God raised up the third day...” (Acts 10: 39, 40)
    “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for thy people's: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.” (Heb.7: 27); “For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world, but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away Sin by the Sacrifice of Himself.” (Heb. 9:26)
                           GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD!
    ISAIAH saw Him suffer, bleed and die for our sins: “Surely, He hath BORNE our sicknesses (griefs) and CARRIED our pains (sorrows).: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.
    “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.. He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His Knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear the iniquities.” (Is. 53: 4-12)
     He identified Himself with us as He bare our sins. Israel's paschal lamb was examined for three days and was declared perfect in all respects. JESUS also had been examined for three years by God and men and found faultless! If He had not been without fault and perfect in every respect, He would not been able to be the PROPITIATION (satisfaction, covering, expiation) for our sins.
     In order to pay the total price and meet the Demands of Divine Justice in the courts of Heaven, the incarnated Son of God had to bear the sins of the entire world and shed His pure and righteous blood through His vicarious death for us all. While Jesus of Nazareth was dying in our stead, God the Father was judging His only Son on our behalf and the Holy Spirit was in Jesus Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
                       IT IS FINISHED; IT IS FULFILLED; IT IS PAID!
     Speaking in Greek, Jesus shouted out His Victory Cry, 'Tetelestai', taken from the verb teleo which has three essential meanings: “to finish something, to bring something to an end; to fulfill something; to pay that which is owed.” His work of Redemption was finished. He had brought to an end Satan's domination over the human race. He had fulfilled all the Old Testament Prophecies about Himself and He had purchased our total Salvation!
    His life-giving BLOOD was flowing. He had opened the fountain for sin and uncleanness as foretold by the prophet: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness.” (Zech. 13: 1)
     Immediately, the Heavenly Father left the Holy of Holies, ripping the veil in two from top to bottom and rendering it ineffective. The blood of bulls and goats would no longer have any value, and the sacrificial system had become obsolete.
    God's Paschal Lamb had been sacrificed once and for all time, and the Fountain of blood was opened for sin and uncleanness. The Old Testament types had been fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. The Blood of Jesus Christ, God's pascal Lamb would for all time atone for sins!
    He knew His work was over and His Father's Name was glorified, so He prayed, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit”. Immediately he was met by Moses, Elijah and the prophets as His spirit soared into Abraham's Bosom called called Paradise! And the thief who had believed on Him there on the Cross, also joined the righteous dead! (Luke 23: 42-46; 25: 25)
CHRIST'S VICTORY; SATAN'S DEFEAT; OUR LIBERTY!
    Christ's Victory over sin, death and the devil is Permanent. He had come to earth as God's Paschal Lamb for the express purpose of meeting the demands of Divine Justice in the Courts of Heaven, by shedding His precious and holy blood to redeem the human race!
    The angels of God sang in triumph, Satan and his demons trembled in fear, and believers in Christ exulted with joy, when Jesus rose from the dead! God's Peace was now given to troubled minds, His Mercy was freely imputed to repentant sinners and His Grace was poured out upon mankind! Redemption had come to the fallen sons of Adam and Eve through the mercy, love and grace of Jesus Christ our Lord!
     His Victory was eternal, purchasing not only forgiveness of sins, peace for troubled minds, divine healing for diseased bodies and joy for sorrowing hearts, but also Life Everlasting for all who would receive His abundant love, grace and mercy!
    Our spirits exult with JOY in the amazing presence of the blessed Holy Spirit, given liberally to us all, through our Heavenly Father's everlasting gift of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

             A GREAT DOOR AND 
             MANY ADVERSARIES                                      By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
      “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Cor. 16: 9)
    In the Gospel work there are always many adversaries because the Devil opposes the work of God. And when there are open doors in an area, Satan is more aggressive than ever in persecuting the Lord's servants.
      MARTIN LUTHER stated: “The greatest trial is not to have a trial.” History proves that the church grows more rapidly when it is under the fire of persecution than when it is not! It is easier to fall asleep spiritually and stop praying and witnessing when everything is going well and there is no opposition!
    A.G.WARD said: “The age in which the church was most completely separated from the world was the age in which Christianity was most victorious in the world.” - From Dr. Charles S. Price's Golden Grain, quoting one of the early leaders of P.A.O.C.
     In January, 1942 (during WW11) REV. D.N. BUNTAIN called the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada to Prayer and Fasting. The second Wednesday of each month was set aside as a time of fasting and waiting upon God. In his publication, Dr. Charles S. Price encouraged the Assemblies of God in the USA to do the same!
     Everywhere St. Paul travelled to preach the Gospel, he met with serious persecution. Often the persecution began after God had stretched forth His hand to heal the sick and a spiritual revival had begun.
     At Philippi, St. Paul cast out a demon from a fortune teller who could then no longer perform her evil work, which in turn angered her masters. The makers of pagan artifacts were incensed at the loss of their income because the Gospel had changed people's lives. The results of their outcry caused Paul and Silas to be beaten and thrown into a prison.
    A MIRACLE caused them to be thrown into prison and a MIRACLE brought them out. The miracle of the earthquake that opened all the doors gave Paul and Silas the opportunity to win the Jailer and his family to Christ, which in turn undoubtedly strengthened the Church greatly!
                                PERSECUTION WAS HIS COMPANION!
     “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
     “And at midnight Paul and Silas PRAYED, and sang PRAISES unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bands were loosed.” (Acts 16: 23-26)
    God's MIRACLE rescued Paul and Silas and brought the Philippian jailer and his family to Christ: “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” (Acts 16: 33-34)
                              A CHOSEN VESSEL OF THE LORD!
    SAUL of TARSUS knew beforehand what was coming. Our Lord had made it clear from the very beginning, that he would have to suffer severely as His hand-picked Ambassador to the Gentile world. Here was His message to Ananias:
    “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way, for he is a Chosen Vessel unto Me to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and before the children Israel: For I will show him how great things he must SUFFER for My name's sake.” (Acts 9:15, 16)
    Years later SAUL, who had changed his name to Paul wrote: “Are they the minister of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews received I forty stripes save one.
   “Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren:
     “In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
    “In Damascus the Governor under Aretas the king that kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.” (Acts 11: 23-28; 32,33)
                                 ST. PAUL'S GREAT DISTRESS!
     St. Paul suffered more than most men during many years of Christian Ministry, as he spread the Gospel far and wide and founded the Church of Jesus Christ across the Gentile world, as St. Peter and the other apostles did among the Jews!
     He wrote: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the POWER may be of God, and not of us.
     “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed: we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed: Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (2 Cor.
4: 5-11)
     In Troas, God had OPENED the door for St. Paul to preach the Gospel but because Titus had not arrived, he left the revival. He regretted it deeply and coupled his forgiveness with the man who had sinned grievously, whom he said should also be forgiven.
     “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. Futhermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's Gospel, and a DOOR was opened unto me of the Lord. I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
     “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to TRIUMPH in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.” (2 Cor.2: 11-14)                          
    To St. Paul, this was certainly a grievous mistake. He had gone to Troas to preach. God had opened the door among the heathen, but he was so stressed out and worried about Titus that he left the revival. He felt that he also needed God's grace and mercy, which he received.
                                  ANOTHER SPIRIT, ANOTHER GOSPEL!
     The great 'Man of God' did not tolerate false brethren who sought to minimize Jesus Christ and replace Him with their old theology. He wrote of it as: “another spirit; another gospel or another Jesus”.
     “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Cor.11: 3,4)
     Again, St. Paul stated: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
     “But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than ye have received, let him be accused.” (Gal. 1:6-9)
     The Lord's Chosen Vessel wrote: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” (1 Cor. 16:22). What does all this mean?
     St. Paul who had been given the Gospel from Jesus Christ personally by revelation and by being carried into Heaven and seeing things that he was not allowed to tell, was captivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church, which is His Body!
     He KNEW that there is only One Way to God and Heaven and that is through Jesus Christ alone! He was not preaching any short-cuts to God. Everyone must come the same way, through the Cross and by the Blood of God's Paschal Lamb!
    He used two Aramaic words, Anathema and Maranatha; one meaning censure, suspended or accursed and the second, our Lord comes. He was warning that when the Lord Jesus returns it will be a great and wonderful day for His Church, but a dreadful day of censure for those who do not know and love the Lord!
     The Righteous will receive eternal blessedness but the others an eternal censure and curse! Concerning the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, St. Paul instructs the Church: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus Christ is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (1 Cor.12: 3)
    Now you know why adherents to the Cults and pagan religions will miss Heaven and populate Hell. The Muslim religious-political belief ridicules Jesus Christ as the Son of God, saying that is impossible for God to have a Son! The Jesus they preach is not 'the Jesus of the Bible', but an impostor who will force all Christians to accept Islam or be killed!
                                 CHRIST IS NOT AN EVOLVING IDEA!
    The Western Report Feb. 8, 1993 story of Christian Unity in Alberta carried this excerpt: 
     Edmonton’s Dr. Max Solbrekken is more blunt. “We can’t sit at the same table with people who presume to change the word of God — call God the Father ‘she,’ license homosexual acts, change Christ’s own words on marriage, or deny that He rose from the dead. That’s blasphemy. The only truth that unites Christians is the person of Jesus, and He is not negotiable. I’m all for Christians joining together, but Christ is the living Word, not an ‘evolving idea,’ and He doesn’t change with the times.”
   There is however a path to God and Heaven, and that is the way of REPENTANCE and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Bible says: “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance to God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21).
     There can be no forgiveness without repentance toward God, which is sorrow for sin and rebellion against God. And faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for us!
     Jesus warned: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt.7:13, 14)
     The Holy Bible says: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the TRUTH. For there is ONE God, and ONE Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a RANSOM for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2: 3-6)
      JESUS invites occultists, cultists, pagans and all lost souls to come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing through His precious blood and total healing from all the powers of the Evil One. His love reaches out to everyone!
He stated: “Come unto Me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt.11: 28); “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to Him, and will sup with him and he with Me.” (Rev.3: 20).
                                      ENDURING UNTO THE END!
     Jesus warned about coming tribulation: “And many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
      “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt.24: 11-14)
      St. Paul stated: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is me, if I preach not the gospel. For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel has been committed uto me.
     “What is my reward then? Verily that when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself a servant, unto all, that I might gain the more.” (1 Cor.9: 16-19)
     “For what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Phil.3: 7-10)
    My good friend, BOB ROSIN, used to say, “It's one thing to start. It's another thing to finish.” And that is the truth!
    Behind us lies thousands of years of history confirming the power of Almighty God in Creation, the lives and messages of Israel's prophets, the Incarnation and life of Jesus Christ and His message to us, the Apostles of our Lord and the great revivals that were wrought by the Holy Spirit in the Early Church and for the past nearly 2,000 years,
     And ahead of us awaits the unknown with its opportunities to fulfill our calling in the further spread of the Gospel. Obeying God's Word, we rely on His promise to never leave us nor forsake us as we carry on the work of those who have laid down their lives for the cause of the gospel.
    Acknowledging our own weakness we throw ourselves upon His strength and great mercy, and holding on to His Almighty Hand we stretch ourselves to do the impossible through His power, knowing that in the end we win!
     “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep through the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, in Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb.13: 20,21)
     And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the fellowship and communion Holy Spirit be and abide with us all until Jesus comes. May He strengthen, bless, forgive, heal, protect and prosper us all in His holy name! Amen.