Thursday, December 26, 2019

              THE LOVE OF GOD
                        and the
               CALL OF THE SPIRIT 
                 By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D                                     God’s love permeates the world. His presence is everywhere. Every breath we take proves that He exists, because He is the giver of Life. Without oxygen we could not survive and if Jesus Christ took His hands off the controls there would no longer be a solar system, and we would no longer exist!
    The Holy Bible states: “God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed all things, by whom also He made the worlds. (Heb.1: 1,2)
     “For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He (Christ) is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1: 16-18)
     The sun comes up every morning, the seasons change as they always have, bringing severe cold and heat in different parts of the world. And the youth are still struggling against the evil in their hearts, ever since Adam and Eve’s rebellion. And there is usually a rainbow in the sky after a storm, just like the Bible states.
                   GOD’S COVENANT WITH US!
       After Noah’s Flood, Almighty God made a covenant that remains until today: “And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the earth for man’s sake; for the imagination of his heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
    “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8: 21, 22)
      “And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you for perpetual generations: I do set My bow in the cloud and it shall be for a token of the covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud.
    “And I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And God said unto Noah, This is a token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh upon the earth.” (Genesis 9: 12-16)
     Speaking to the king, the prophet Daniel said: “And thou his son, O Belshazzar has not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but thou hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of Heaven…and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.” (Daniel 5:22-23)
     Only an idiot would believe that all the intricacies of our world and the millions of heavenly bodies in outer space along with our own solar system only happened by chance should have a good talk with his shrink!
    Albert Einstein stated, “I do not believe that God plays dice with the universe.”  And Werner von Braun, a German aerospace engineer and architect of rocket and space technology in USA said: “The farther we probe into space, the greater is my Faith in God.”
    When American soldiers marched into central Germany in May 1945, they found that Werner von Braun had organized the surrender of 500 of his top scientists, along with plans and test vehicles.
    Von Braun and his German scientists were relocated to the United States, where they became indispensable to the development of American military and space programs. Von Braun’s life had changed drastically within the course of a year.  
    But it was in a little church in El Paso, Texas, that von Braun experienced a spiritual transformation that would change him from the inside out. In Germany, von Braun had been nominally Lutheran but functionally atheist. He had no interest in religion or God.
     In Texas, while living at Fort Bliss, a neighbor invited him to church. He went, expecting to find the religious equivalent of a country club. Instead, he found a small white frame building with a vibrant congregation of people who loved the Lord.
     He realized that he had been morally adrift and that he needed to surrender himself to God. He converted to Christ and, over the coming years, became quite outspoken in his evangelical faith and frequently addressed the complementarity of faith and science.
     Dr. C. M. Ward’s 1966 interview of von Braun took place in Huntsville, Alabama, at the George Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA), where he served as director. Von Braun contrasted the large empty cathedrals of Europe to the large numbers of churches he found in Texas, many meeting in temporary buildings, pastored by “humble preachers driving second-hand buses,” who led “thriving congregations.”
    The German scientist was impressed and noted: “Here is a growing, aggressive church and not a dignified, half-dead institution. Here is spiritual life.”
     Ward published von Braun’s story and his thoughts on faith and science in an article in the June 2, 1966, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, as well as in a 15-page booklet, The Farther We Probe into Space, the Greater My Faith (Gospel Publishing House, 1966), of which almost 500,000 copies were published        – From This Week in AG History — June 26, 1966
                      GOD REACHES OUT TO MAN!
     The Bible says: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. He that testifieth these things saith, Surely, I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:17,20)
     All through the Holy Bible we read of Almighty God reaching out to mortal man! In the Garden of Eden, the Creator walked and talked with the man and woman He had created. There was an intimacy between God, and Adam and Eve, like a father and his children.
     The Lord God took of earth’s soil to form Adam, and then blew His own breath into Adam making him a living spirit! He removed a rib from Adam’s body, from which He fashioned Eve.
    “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:22, 23)
     Even after their disastrous ‘fall’ God graciously provided for the human family, through the sacrificial system  which pointed forward to the  sacrifice of His own dear Son, Jesus of Nazareth, who would die on a rugged cross to meet the righteous demands of Divine Justice, and appease the wrath of God against mankind’s sin.
    Addressing Satan, the Lord God said: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her SEED; it shall bruise (crush) thy head, and thou shall bruise His heel.”(Genesis 6: 15). He was declaring that the SEED of the woman, Jesus Christ, would through His vicarious death on the cross, destroy Satan and his domination over mankind!
    By that declaration, God promised a Deliverer who would crush Satan and his evil power. That great deliverer would be His own dear Son who would be incarnated (God in human flesh) to meet the righteous demand of Divine Justice in payment for Adam’s colossal Sin of high treason against the Almighty!
     God sent the Flood to save the righteous bloodline of the Messiah! The descendants of Adam and Eve had corrupted the entire earth. They had heard the message of coming judgment from NOAH, as they watched him build the Ark. The tragedy is that the entire population had been polluted by evil spirits, so that only one family, that of Noah had remained true. They alone, carried the bloodline!
     Satan had planned to stop the Messiah from being born, but was too late. When the Flood had destroyed all the wicked, the righteous bloodline was preserved! And in due time, Christ would be born in Bethlehem of Judaea!
                            MERCY, GRACE & LOVE!
      A few years ago, a missionary lay dying in Denmark. With his relatives gathered near his bed, he said: “For many years I have preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a missionary. Now has come the time for me to die. I have gone bankrupt in everything. I have no earthly goods. All I have left is the Blood of Jesus and with that I will approach God.”
    And in the final analysis, that is exactly what is needed to enter Heaven’s gates: Nothing more and nothing less! An old Gospel hymn says, “Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to Thy cross, I cling. Take me as I am. My only plea, Christ died for me. Take me as I am.”
    Here is my question? Why would a man from Denmark spend his time, resources and his entire life preaching and ministering in pagan nations and die in a bankrupt state?
     Here is another question: Why would Saul of Tarsus, a murderer and enemy of Jesus Christ, suddenly convert and spend the rest of his life preaching the same Gospel that he had bitterly opposed? And die as a martyr?
      And why did Sadhu Sundar Singh work tirelessly for Jesus Christ spreading the Gospel in India. Planning to commit suicide at 6:00 AM one morning, Sundar Singh was awakened by Jesus Christ, who shewed him His nail scarred hands and feet, saying, “How long will you reject Me?
    His conversion was immediate, and he became known as the ‘Apostle with bleeding feet’. He refused to wear sandals, to suffer a little for Jesus, who had suffered so much for him!
    Why have millions of true believers in Christ, from Steven the martyr in the First Century until today, where Christians have been tortured, beheaded and crucified by Islamist terrorists, stood true for Christ rather than deny Him!
    For the same reason that the Son of God left Heaven’s glory to die as a common criminal on Mount Calvary, paying the ransom price for mankind’s sins against Almighty God! To suffer, bleed and die for a lost world and appease God’s wrath and satisfy the righteous demands of Divine Justice for Adam’s sin of high treason!
     Here is my position on Jesus Christ and His Gospel: I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and a Soldier of the Cross. I am an Ambassador of the Kingdom of God to the poor, lost, sick and suffering of this world, liberating them from servitude to the world, flesh and the devil.
     Upon the authority of God’s Word, by the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, through the Eternal Holy Spirit and in the all-powerful Name of Jesus Christ, I charge every evil spirit to relinquish its hold upon those reading these lines and all who call upon the Name of Christ our Saviour in faith!   
    The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3: 16, 17).
  “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of devil: for God was with Him.
    “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10: 38,43); “…The devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3: 8)
   The devil heard the news of His birth, when the Angel choir sang the glad tidings to frightened shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night.
    He was agitated and tried unsuccessfully to kill the infant Jesus, through King Herod. And he trembled when he heard John the Baptist say: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” (John 1: 29).
     He thought back to the Garden of Eden and remembered the words of the Almighty: “The seed of the woman will bruise (crush) your head.” (Gen. 3: 15). This is what he had dreaded ever since. Now, he couldn’t hide in a snake. He would have to meet the Son of God face to face.
     He must have trembled when he saw the Holy Spirit descend like a dove upon Jesus of Nazareth at the River Jordan and heard the voice of God the Father, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3: 17)
    St. James says: “Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble.” (James 2:19)
  Satan failed again in the Wilderness temptation, when Jesus refuted him repeatedly, saying, “It is Written.” Oh, how he hated those powerful words knowing they were true. He had to leave when the Lord said, “Get thee hence, Satan for it is written. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.
   “Then the devil leaveth Him, and angels came and ministered unto Him.” (Matthew 4: 10,11). The Greek word diakoneo is to wait on a table, to serve.
    Seeing the angels minister to Jesus, angered the Wicked One. Oh, how he hated the holy, pure angels of God. He must have remembered how different things were before he had led the rebellion against Almighty God! 
    Now Satan was now an outcast, hated and despised. He is the doomed despot! He is called the devil, the liar!
     He had to agree with the Word of God which states: “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6: 23). Satan is spiritually dead. His sins have destroyed him for time and eternity! He is ultimately heading to the Lake of Fire.
    “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20: 10)
     Satan had observed how Jesus of Nazareth had cast out evil spirits. They begged JESUS not to torment them, before their time! The case of two thousand demons driven out of the man from Gadara at once and the hogs drowning, was certainly shared among Satan’s demons!
    Hearing Jesus cry out from the cross, the word tetelestai must have unnerved the devil. Speaking in Greek, Jesus said, ‘It is finished; it is fulfilled; it is paid.” 
     Jesus had finished His work; He had brought to an end Satan’s dominion over mankind. He had fulfilled all the Scriptures about the Messiah. He had paid for all our sins. It was over!
                  HE IS NOT HERE: HE IS RISEN!
   I believe that Satan would have been nearby, when God’s angel came down from Heaven and rolled away the great stone on that first resurrection morning. He saw the Roman guards fall to the ground like dead men, and heard the angel          speak to the women, “Why seek ye the living among the dead. He is not here. He is risen, like He said.”
      Satan must have been nearby to hear Jesus share His last words: “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
   “And these signs shall follow them that believe; in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; They shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-20)
     Did the devil get wind of Jesus’ ascension to Heaven? I believe he would have had demon spies alert him of that great event. How he must have remembered the good life in Heaven, the love and goodness of God. I believe he will remember that throughout eternity and it will haunt him forever!
    He must have observed the strange behaviour of the group of about 120 believers receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost. He had seen prophets in ecstasy, but what was that? They were staggering around like they were drunk. Then he heard them speaking in tongues. What was all that?
  And he observed Peter preach Jesus Christ’s vicarious death and resurrection from the dead and invite the people repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Seeing about 3,000 men in that great crowd that had gathered, cry out for mercy and be saved, must have blown him away!
     What would he do? He had a greater challenge that he thought. And then a short while later to see Peter and John raise up a man born lame, in the name of Jesus. And another 5,000 men getting saved. He had seen enough, and he had to get away to think about his failed mission. And get his gang of demons together for a tongue lashing and new orders!
   Jesus is the Great I AM, and I am only a sinner saved by His Grace; only by the Mercy of God; only by the Love of God will I stand before the Ancient of Days,  an unworthy vessel, redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
    He was manifested through the Blessed Holy Spirit in these latter days for the honour of His Kingdom; which will last forever. World without End!  This earthly vessel is only a very small footnote in this great work of Jesus Christ, the propagation of His merciful Gospel toward sinful mankind
     William Gladstone, statesman, Prime Minister and unquestionably one of Great Britain’s most noble, and greatest legal minds in the 1800’s stated:
   “Talk about the questions of the day! There is but one question and that is the gospel. That can and will correct everything. I am glad to say that about all the men at the top in Great Britain are Christians. I have been in public positions fifty-eight years, all but eleven of them  in the cabinet of the British Government, and during these forty-seven years have been associated with sixty of the master minds of the century, and all but five of the sixty were Christians.”
    Someone said, “Christian: Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
    Edith Brock wrote: “Sailing across the trackless Atlantic, the sailors with Columbus rose up in rebellion and demanded that he turn back. But the undaunted words of Columbus will always be inspirational as he cried out, “Sail on, sail on. sail on.”
      “Even though the future is overcast, the New Year is saying, “Sail on.” Perhaps there were failures and mistakes in the past. Let no mistake or failure stifle your efforts as you begin the New Year.
      “Learn the lessons of your failures and sail on. No failure need to be final. One’s face should be always be kept toward the future, and he should never cease to believe that that his visions and dreams will come true. Keep the faith, and sail on, sail on. - From the Church of God Evangel
      With gratitude and godly fear for His goodness to me over the past many years, I now make my testimony and put pen to my prayer in Jesus’ Name.                                                            – Max Solbrekken
    Almighty Eternal God: If it were not for the mercy of God upon a poor lost soul like me, I would not be here today! When I think of the way He has protected me for so many years, spiritually, mentally, physically and materially, it is pure compassion, love and grace!
    His gift of mercy, wisdom and protection is beyond compare and understanding. If it were not for His great love, where would any one of us be? His grace goes beyond the limits of human comprehension!
    How could I ever thank Him enough for saving me, filling me and keeping me? It was my Saviour’s love that drew me to Him, unworthy as I was. He not only died for my sins, but He put His blessed Holy Spirit within me.
    I was nothing when He found me. And I am still nothing without Jesus my Saviour. I don’t deserve any of His goodness, mercy or spiritual gifts which He has bestowed upon and showered me with.
     Thank you, Heavenly Father, for being so merciful and kind to me and my family! By your grace I will continue to serve you in whatever capacity you see fit. Lead me by Your precious Holy Spirit.
    Thank You for opening Your Holy Word to me in such marvellous and copious ways, which truly amaze me for in myself, I know nothing as I should know it. Your imparted wisdom astounds me and the knowledge You have opened up to me, continues to bless me!
    Please grant unto me Your spiritual gifts in a greater measure, as You see fit. Lead me, precious Holy Spirit into a deeper walk with you, for the honour and glory of my Saviour Jesus Christ.
   I will continue to praise You for time and eternity, for the great compassion and care You have so graciously blessed me with over these many years of serving You!
    Please continue to bless my precious wife Donna and me with health and strength and guidance in all things! Please bless, protect and heal our children, grand and great grandchildren with your great mercy, grace, love and spiritual gifts! And may Your saving, healing and guiding hand bless all my friends and others who read these words. In Jesus’ blessed Name!
    “Nothing in my hands I bring. Simply to Thy Cross I cling. My only plea, Christ died for me. Take me as I am.” Amen.                                                                                                                         -  December 11, 2019