HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life!”  John 3:16

 The verse written above is the most familiar verse in the Bible.  Many have it memorized, some who do not make any claim of being a Christian!  It comes at the end of a conversation between Jesus Christ and a man by the name of Nicodemus.  During the conversation, Jesus tells this prominent man from the Jewish community that every person (no exceptions) must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God!  When Nicodemus misunderstands the meaning of this statement by saying, “How can a man be born when he is old?  He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”  Jesus then explains there must be two distinct births, one a natural birth of water and a spiritual birth of the Spirit.  Nicodemus then asked, “How can these things be?”

 Jesus then expressed amazement that a man understood to be “the” teacher of Israel, obviously indicating Nicodemus had a reputation of being knowledgeable in the Scriptures, could not understand the necessity of two births, one natural, and one spiritual.  Nicodemus then exclaimed, “How can these things be?”  Jesus follows this question with His explanation of how one is born again in John 3:16 quoted above, requiring that one must “believe” in Jesus.  The challenge lies in properly understanding the meaning of the word ‘believe’.  Many have assumed that it means a merely intellectual transaction, but the demons in hell believe that much, and shudder (James 2:19)!

 The New Testament word ‘believe’ means, “To trust in; To cling to; To rely on.” 

1) To believe in Jesus that results in salvation means to trust in what Jesus has done for you!  “Christ also died for sins, once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us unto God.” (1st Peter 3:18). 

2) To believe in Jesus resulting in salvation means to cling to who Jesus is in you!  “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Colossians 1:27).  “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure!” (Philippians 2:13).

3) To believe in Jesus resulting in salvation means to rely on all Jesus has said to you!  “It is impossible for God to lie!” (Hebrews 6:18).

 Here is the question to be answered!  Here is the question you must answer, if not today, then once you die.  “It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgement!” (Hebrews 9:27).  Are you qualified to enter the Kingdom of God?  Have you been born again?

Jon Moore

 

Another Story of When God Comes in Revival!

In the early years of the 1700 – 1900’s the revival fires burned.  God sent powerful awakenings to: Wales, Scotland, Ireland, India, Korea, the United States and many other parts of the world.  God used many people such as John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield, and John Hyde (known as praying Hyde). Hyde, a missionary to India, prayed for 12 years before he saw an answer to his prayers.

A revival began in Southern India where Amy Carmichael along with many others had been praying that a new visitation of the Holy Spirit would come all over India as it had in many other places.  Amy was a Protestant Christian missionary in India who opened an orphanage and founded a mission in Dohnavus.  She served in India for 55 years without furlough and wrote many books. On October 22, 1906 Jesus came in the close of the morning service.  It was startling.  Soon the whole upper half of the church was on its face on the floor all crying out to God, each boy, girl, man, and woman alike.  The sound was like a sound of waves or a strong wind in the trees.  I had never heard such a thing, Amy confessed.  Many outside rushed to the church.  Months later, most all of the children had been saved and most adult backsliders were restored.  Many in the village were converted and many were quickened to walk in newness of life.

Oh God, may we be found faithful to be fervent in praying, repenting of our sin, and seeking You above all else, so that You might pour out revival in our nation and world.  Oh Father, grace us again with Your Holy presence.

Burdened,

Phyllis

Parts of this were taken from “Revival Fires,” by Wesley Duewel.

THE RELEVANCE OF REVIVAL!

“O Lord, You showed favor to your land; You restored the captivity of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah! You withdrew all Your fury; You turned away from Your burning anger.”  Psalm 85:1-3 NASB

The question is being asked today in some of our religious institutions whether the subject of revival is “old-fashioned, out of date, irrelevant?”  After all, it seems like it has been ages ago since there has been a spiritual awakening among a group of God’s people that resulted in both fire in the pulpit and fire in the pew, which eventually led to churches being revitalized and large numbers of lost people getting saved! That all seems to many as “so yesterday!”

Similar thoughts may have passed through the mind of the Psalmist.  Notice that all the verbs in the first three verses of Psalm 85 are in the PAST TENSE (What God formerly had done). Then, after verse two he pens the word Selah! This word may mean Pause, or Musical Interlude. A pause, or interlude gives one time to think, consider, contemplate.  Is God unable to act on this level again? Or, is He simply unwilling? But the writer of this Psalm knows the Lord too well to fall for that! He knew the God Who told Moses that He had heard the cry of His people, and He had “come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and…bring them up to a good and spacious land.” And he was aware the Lord then accomplished all that He had promised! Based on the assurance of God’s faithfulness, and the obvious need of the hour, the Psalmist then presents his petitions.

The first request is for the Lord to cease His indignation. “Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause your indignation toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will you prolong Your anger to all generations? (verses 4-5)  In verse 8 he refers to being in a spiritual condition where we need to be restored as “folly” or “stupidity”!  It really is dumb for a Believer to let himself (or herself) get so indifferent and cold spiritually that he or she needs revival!

The second request is for the Lord to confer His revelation. “Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness O Lord and grant us Your salvation!” Revival is the work of God, and he is the only one Who can do it!  The same One who reproves us is the only One who can revive us!  The One who chastens is the One who quickens!

When Danish sculptor Albert Thorwaldsen completed his famous statue of Christ with His arms extended, and His head bowed, he invited a friend to view it before showing it to the public.  The man walked around the work and said, “I cannot see His face!”  Thorwaldsen replied, “You must get down on your knees!” 

Once we recognize the need for revival, the first order of spiritual business is to “humble ourselves!”  See 2nd Chronicles 7:14…

Jon Moore

Another Story of God’s Mighty Power

Job 42:5-6, “My ears have heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  Until we truly see our need, we have no hope to see the glory of God.  It is God’s nature to bless.  He wants to bless His children in a Spiritual cleansing and refreshing. Are we willing to prepare the way of the Lord, by prayer, fasting, and repentance?

Another story of God moving in revival in American history.

Charles Finney was greatly used of God to spread the revival fires in central New York in 1825.  On a Thursday night the Lord brought much brokenness to the leaders in the church where he was preaching.  God gave Finney a burden of prayer, and on Sunday, God suddenly came down in power. The people had begun to weep and sigh uncontrollably.  God gripped the people with such Holy Spirit conviction that Finney led in prayer in a low unemotional voice to restrain the people. Their sighing and weeping continued as they went home.  Everyone that came into that town felt a sense of God’s presence. The town was full of praying.

One story is told of Finney when he was invited to tour a large cotton mill.  He entered one large room where the girls were at the looms laughing.  As he walked toward the work area, one of the girls looked into Finney’s eyes and the loom stopped and the girl started to tremble. One after another all the girls began to weep.  Finney had not said a word. Oh, what glory when God’s presence changes not only the atmosphere, but all the people in it.

Burdened,

Phyllis

Some parts taken from ”Revival Fires,”  by Wesley Duewel

 

BACK TO BETHEL!

“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and keep me on this journey that I take…and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God.  This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house…”  Genesis 28:20-22

After Jacob’s long and eventful stay in Haran, and the Lord’s deliverance from Laban, his uncle and now angry father-in-law, he began his return to his homeland.  Once again God miraculously delivers him, this time from his brother, Esau!  However, in spite of his former vow and the Lord’s promise, Jacob had a change of mind/heart and settles in Shechem.  There, due to his grand-daughter’s rape and to his two son’s treachery in killing all the males and looting the city, Jacob was forced to move once again.  It was at this point that God reminded Jacob to go BACK TO BETHEL (Genesis 35:1a)!  The name comes from two words, meaning House of God!

If you stop and think, it is a great thing the Lord has done that He has given us the Holy Spirit to remind us of what He has already told us (John 14:26b)!  It can also be a humbling thing to be reminded we haven’t kept our commitments to Him!  Notice the Lord makes two requirements for the trip (Genesis 35:2).  1) Put away your idols!  It has been well said that an idol is anything or anyone that substitutes for the place of God in your life!  2) Purify yourself!  “If we confess our sin, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1st John 1:9)!

Not only does the Lord have two requirements for this trip, but He also has two remembrances to keep in mind (v 3).  1) It is God Who first makes a commitment to Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15 to bring him back to Bethel!  2) Then Jacob makes his vow to God in Genesis 28:20-22.

I remember a story of a man who was driving his wife and children to a remote campsite to take a camping vacation.  He came across a sign stretching across the road that read, “Road Closed!  No Entrance!”  He drove around the sign proclaiming, “I know where I’m going and how to get there!”  After a 10-mile long, bumpy ride, he came to a washed-out bridge!  He turned the car around, drove back another 10 miles.  When he arrived at the sign, someone had hand-painted a message on the backside of the sign, “Welcome back, Stupid!”

It is never a good thing to disobey God, but if you do make that mistake, it is a very good thing to get back to where you started (Bethel=House of God)!

Jon Moore

HUNGERING AFTER THE HEART OF GOD!

Many years ago I was given a book titled, “Intimacy with the Almighty” by Charles Swindoll.  God used that little short book to change my Spiritual walk.  At the time I was very BUSY in a women’s retreat ministry as well as BUSY working. It seemed that I was so BUSY doing all those “good” things for the Lord that I neglected the most important, spending more quality time in worshiping my heavenly Father.  Oh, I was having my rather routine “quiet time.” Notice that I used the word BUSY several time in the last couple of sentences. BUSYNESS was robbing me of an intimacy with my Lord. Here are several Bible verses as well as quotes from his book that made an impact on my journey into intimacy with the Almighty.

Hosea 10:12b, “It is time to seek the Lord, until He comes to rain on you.” Notice the word “until” He rains on you. No more skipping through the halls of heaven.

Romans 11:33 “Oh the depths of the riches, both wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways.”

Psalms 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for the water brook: so my soul pants for You, oh God.”

Truly we are panting, hungering and thirsting for something, but can we honestly say it is for the heart of God? Richard Foster states: “Superficiality is the curse of our age. Instant satisfaction is a primary curse of our age.” Isaiah 29:8, 13 gives us a warning as the Lord warned Jerusalem. “Behold you are eating, but your hunger is not satisfied. You are drinking, but your thirst is not quenched. WHY? Because this people draw near with their words, and honor Me with lip service, but their hearts are far from Me.”

What are we to do?  Holy appetite suppressants: 1. Sinful activities. 2. A pleasure driven life. 3. Pride..     4. A success driven life. 5. A people pleasing life. 6. Cares of this world. 7. Make more- spend more- just want more. 8.  So many activities, sometimes, even good activities, but takes so much time that we neglect intimacy with the Lord.

Hunger satisfied:  Simplify: reorder our life…..Solitude: Cease striving, “Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”…Silence: Cut out all the noise so we can hear His still, small voice ….Surrender: Surrender is the key that unlocks the vault of the Father’s best and deepest treasures.

Joy,

Phyllis

THE GROWTH OF FAITH!

While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?”  But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe!” 

                                                                                                                                  Mark 5:35-36

Faith that is untested is faith that is uncertain.  Faith that has been tested and matured is faith that is prepared to deal with whatever challenges that life brings!  The synagogue official Jairus came to the Lord with a weak faith, but as the result of walking through a time of testing, he came out with a stronger faith.  Note the significant tests of faith through which Jairus was required to walk.

The first test of his faith in Christ was the test of patience.  No sooner had Jesus agreed to go to the home of Jairus to minister to his terminally ill daughter than the Lord was led to minister to a woman with a twelve-year long issue of hemorrhaging-(verses 24-34)!  Can you imagine what was going through Jairus’s mind while all this was happening?  “Hurry up!  My daughter is dying!  Why are we wasting precious time?”  Most times the Lord operates on a different time schedule than we do!  Will we be patient in our faith to trust Him?

Secondly Jairus had to pass though the test of perseverance.  A messenger came delivering a somber message.  The girl had died!  He was asked, “Why trouble the Master anymore?”  What would Jairus do?  Would he accept the report after Jesus had accepted his request to come to his home, and “…lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live?”  It is at this point Jesus said, “…only believe!”  It is important to know that this word in the original language of the New Testament literally means, “Keep on believing!”  Would Jairus continue in faith?  Will you and I continue to believe the Lord’s Word when so much around us seems to contradict?

The third test of faith is that of purging.  When Jesus, three of his disciples (Peter, James & John) and Jairus arrived at the home, professional mourners were already there making a loud commotion (common in that day).  When the Lord said the girl was not dead, the mourners laughed at Him, so He put them out, allowing only the parents and the disciples to accompany Him into the child’s presence.  Not only is it crucial that we trust the Lord, but it is also critical we surround ourselves with other believers in Christ!

A visitor to Africa freed a struggling butterfly from its cocoon, but he was shocked that it did not have its distinctive coloring as it flew away.  A native explained that by beating its wings against the cocoon, the wings are marked by splashes of vivid colors, but releasing it from its beatings, the visitor had robbed the butterfly of its beauty!  Likewise, victorious faith by definition MUST BE TRIED!  There can be no victory without conflict!  Keep believing Jesus!

Jon Moore    

                                                    

Don’t Click On That!

Yesterday our computer tech was here working on our computers.  As she was working, I mentioned that I saw something in my document list that I didn’t recognize. As I started to click on it, she stated with excitement in her voice, “Don’t click on that!” She explained that when we open anything on the computer that we are not sure who sent it, or how it got in the computer, we open it up to all kinds of hacking and major damage.

As I was praying and thinking about what went on yesterday with my computer, I was thinking how that parallels the Bible as it states: “Be well balanced, sober of mind, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of ours, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”  When we open our minds to sinful thoughts, dishonesty, un-forgiveness, fear, worry, gossip, slander, or a hateful attitude, we give the devil an entrance into our hearts with all kinds of strongholds. Strongholds are habitual patterns of thinking that are deeply ingrained in a person. What starts out as a simple sinful act can open us up to all kinds of spiritual harm.

Romans 12:1-2 “ I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  Be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Every day we make a series of choices. Some are trivial, but some are not. Some determine our success or failure in our unhindered walk with our Lord.  Scripture clearly reveals that who we are, and where we are spiritually, is because of various choices we have made. We make choices and then choices make us.

Joy,

Phyllis

THE DISABLING TOUCH OF GOD!

“Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.”

Genesis 32:31

Sometimes it is tempting to view crises as unneeded and unwanted intrusions in our life!  We may very well find ourselves asking the Lord, “Why me?”  We can lose sight of the fact the Lord often uses such events to disable our natural abilities as a reminder that the same One who has called us now lives in us to accomplish all to which He has called us!  Often times our greatest need is for the Lord to touch us with that “disabling” touch.  That was certainly true for Jacob as he wrestled with “a man” in Genesis 32:24.

I want to visit with you about two things that happened to him after the angel (see Hosea 12:3-4) touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh, so that the socket of his thigh was dislocated (Gen. 32:25b).  First, he now walked with a limp as a daily reminder of his dependence on God!  He no longer was free to function as his birth name implied=Supplanter; Heel-grabber; Deceiver.  He would now walk (live) as a man completely dependent on the Lord!  No longer was he free to live by the credo, “The end justifies the means!”  He would now live his life and serve the Lord relying on the Lord’s daily supply of His guidance and strength!

Secondly, his limp would be a daily reminder of not only his dependence on God, but a reminder of the Lord’s continual presence in his life!  The ultimate ‘success’ of his life and ministry would no longer rest on his talent, his abilities, his resourcefulness, his ANYTHING!  His fruitfulness in life and ministry would forever be linked to the faithfulness of God to never leave him, or forsake him…to be with him always, even to the end of the age!

A new Marine recruit was puzzled to be ordered to hold his food tray a certain way when standing in the chow line, even when he was chastised for not having his hands on the tray in the proper place.  It wasn’t until later when he was issued his weapon that he learned he was to hold his weapon in the same way.  Unknown to him, he was being prepared for future encounters with the enemy!  Often we do not understand when we have to go through difficult, sometimes painful experiences in life, not understanding at the time that the Lord is touching us with a disabling touch in order to prepare us for future encounters with our enemy the devil!

Jon Moore

Be steadfast!

Have you ever felt tired, weary and put upon? Of course you have if you are a living, breathing human on this earth.

This morning I was reading 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Even though Paul was writing those words, I could not help but think, how many times our Lord was tired, weary, and was put upon, yet His goal was to fulfill His purpose from His Father in heaven.  I have to remind myself that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33), but our Lord overcame.  We also can overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ is calling us to be steadfast in a world that seems to be upside down, and going in the wrong direction.  Even when we are tired, not getting the appreciation for what we are doing. Even when we feel that we are being put upon, we must keep our eyes on our Lord, remembering the special purpose He has for us as His children. It is a life that is humble, gracious, forgiving, and kind even when things don’t go our way, keep on… keeping on……

It reminds me of the time many years ago when Jon and I were jogging at a local park.  The park was beautiful and full of gorgeous trees that gave lots of shade around the jogging trail.  At that time Jon and I would run in different directions so that he could make sure I was ok each time we went around the track.  After about 2 rounds, “A BIRD MESSED IN MY FACE!” WOW what a shock!!! Oh my, it was so hard to continue the jog after that, especially when Jon passed by and hollered, “Honey, did a bird just mess in your face, are you ok?” Well, No……………ok readers, go ahead and laugh, we did.

You know sometimes that is just how we feel in this life. ”A bird just messed in my face.” However, just as our Lord was steadfast to the cross, we must continue to be steadfast in the race that our Heavenly Father has for us. God promises our amazing reward in 2 Timothy 4:8. “Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day, and not only for me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Amen and amen!!!

Joy,

Phyllis