Saturday, June 5, 2010


The Church of Jesus Christ celebrated Ascension Day this past Thursday, May 13, 2010 (That was also the day 15 years ago that Vickie and I walked along Lake Michigan near Lincoln Park in Chicago, and I gave her a white Bride’s Bible and asked her to be my wife.)

So what were Peter and John and James doing on this day, 1,980 years ago? What were Andrew, Philip, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Bartholomew, Simon, and the other disciples doing on this day, the first Resurrection Day without the Savior on Earth.

In Acts 1:14 we read:
These with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus and with his brothers.

But where do we find the disciples?

Back in the Ancient city of Jerusalem, the disciples were in an upper room praying.

There would be time taken out to select a replacement for Judas, but then again they would be back on their knees in prayer.

Jesus had given them strict instructions: Acts 1:4
And while staying with them he charged them, not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which he said ‘you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit/Ghost.

Yes they were to be witnesses. Right before ascending to heaven Jesus gathered his disciples and said, “All authority (power) is heaven has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father an dof the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19,20

And only minutes before Ascending, Jesus said,
Acts 1:7,8
It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has in his own power. But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. And ye shall be witnesses unto me, in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

And then he was gone…Angels beside him saying, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven, this same Jesus which is taken up from you shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go.”


If prayer was the Lord’s command, and the first and foremost duty of the First Christians, why would we suppose ourselves exempt from the call to persistent, insistent, consistent prayer?

The Churches of our nation are more and more worldly, as nearly half of those who profess to be born again do not believe that the 10 Commandments are absolutely true—and that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

The culture is more violent, promiscuous, and hateful by the day.
Only a move of God in Holy Ghost, Sin-Killing, Devil-Defeating Revival Power can stem the tide and turn our nation back to God.


Until we pray we will never see God for who He is, and us for who we are.
--THE HOLINESS AND POWER OF GOD…our own sin and powerlessness and profound dependency

Until we pray, surrendering our lives to His absolute authority, we will have no authority against sin.


There will be no revival without prayer. And revival begets more prayer.

Only the effectual fervent prayer of God’s righteous men will avail much against the strongholds of the enemy.

Jesus said, My House shall be called an House of Prayer! Not a crass commercial business.

Jim Cymbala observes, “God birthed the church in a prayer meeting, and prayer meetings today are almost extinct.”

Until we pray we will not have what we need most—we rush around, we run around after this and that, when God is saying, “everything you need I have.”

Only a praying Church can be a soul-winning church

Only a praying Church can be a place where lives are changed, and the power of God is released in miracles.

Only a praying Church can be a bold witness against the Spirit of the Age.

No church should be measured by attendance, rather we must measure ourselves with the Word of God and our faithfulness to it.
Daily in the Temple and in every house…

Only a praying Church will be concerned about the never-dying souls of its community, of its neighbors, of its family.

Oh yes they prayed and turned the world right-side up.

Will we?

Thursday, June 3, 2010


What God Has Joined Together…

JESUS said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:9). The disciples had asked the Lord about marriage. Christ was clear. It is not possible for a man to divide what God has joined together.

I have been thinking about other things that God has joined together that carnal men are trying to “put asunder” and divide.

Before turning to the Scriptures, we would observe that our great nation was founded on the principles of the Judeo-Christian ethic, with a firm reliance upon the God of Scripture and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Declaration of Independence reads, “All men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Our first President, George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern without God and the Bible.”

John Adams wrote, “The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity…I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

In his plan for education, Benjamin Franklin insisted that schools should teach, “the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.”

Patrick Henry declared, “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

The United States Supreme Court ruled, “America is a Christian nation,” at the end of the 19th century.

Yet at the dawn of the twentieth century, voices began to be heard, seeking to divide that which “God had joined together.” Now liberty has been uncoupled from morality. Rights have been separated from Right. And Privilege is no longer dependent upon Responsibility.
What God has joined together we put asunder at our own risk. Unless there is a great awakening, our liberty, our property, even our very existence is at risk.

THE SCRIPTURES teach us that God has joined together these great truths:

Until there is sincere repentance there can be no saving faith. It is impossible to believe that God has truly forgiven us until we have fully repented—literally changed our minds about sin.

After his baptism, Jesus preached, “Repent and believe the Gospel.” (John 1:15).

In Acts 20, the Apostle Paul tell the Ephesian Elders, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying to the Jews and Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:20,21). See also Hebrews 6:1.

It is our conviction that the reason so few possess the full assurance of faith, is that so few have failed to thoroughly repent of sin—wilful disobedience against the known law of God. Consequently many “profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16).

In his second letter to the Church at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul declares, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

While we contend that sanctifying grace is able to cleanse away our natural inclination to sin and renew our heart in love, the Scriptures clearly teach that saved men are initially sanctified. In nearly every case that sanctification is not entire, but it is begun in the heart of the regenerated. God can only call a man righteous He has made righteous. He cannot lie.

There are some who have confused the effect of holiness (separation from the world, the flesh, and the devil) with the cause of holiness, and in so doing they have entirely missed the heart of holiness (i.e. righteousness, joy, peace, and love). Their bitter, censorious, and harsh critique of those who do not live “by the book” (that book usually being the Church Manual) has turned many away from the highway of holiness.In reaction against those who have accented separation from the world (especially in entertainments, adornments, and lifestyle), there has risen a large contingent of “Anti-Pharisees” who believe themselves to be “Super Saints.”

Like the Gnostics of the First Century they suppose that they know the real truth, and so how they live their lives is not important. They criticize their critics and unwittingly fall into the same bitter attitude as those they despise.Indeed “legalism has slain its thousands, while liberalism has slain its tens of thousands.” Sadly, both make shipwreck of their faith.If God’s Word is inspired (and it is!), and if God’s Word reveals God’s will (and it does!), then God’s People will take seriously the spirit and the letter of God’s will as it is revealed in God’s Word and by God's Spirit.To neglect separation from the world is folly, but to reject separation from the world is rebellion.

God has joined Holiness of Heart and Holiness of Life together. The Bible says that those who are “made free from sin,” [holy in heart] are “become servants to God.” [holy in life], and they have “fruit unto holiness.” (Romans 6:22).

There are many who suppose that they can divide the doctrines of Christianity from the disciplines of Christian living. It is an error as old as the Gnostics of the First Century. The Apostle John confronted this heresy directly, “If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” (1 John 2:29). The Bible nowhere teaches us that those who believe correctly will be saved. But it does say, “He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2:17).

Right doctrine (orthodoxy) and right practice (orthopraxy) are in God’s word, inseparable. But some are attempting to divide what God has joined together.

Jesus instructed his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the “promise of the Father.” He told them that when the Holy Ghost was given they would “receive power.” On the day of Pentecost, as the disciples were in one accord in one place, they were filled with the Holy Ghost.

Peter would later described Pentecost as the day the disciples were “purified by faith.” (Acts 15:8,9).

Was it Power that they were given at Pentecost? Or was it Purity of heart that came with the Spirit? It was both. Christ came to “purify the people with his own blood.” And, He came to empower his people to victory over the world, the flesh, and devil. Where there is no purity, God’s power will be absent. And wherever you discover God’s power working, you will see God purifying His people from all sin.

The writer to the Hebrews urges, “Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14). In Romans we read, “to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6). “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17). Indeed without holiness there can be no peace.

Finally, we know that Holiness and Heaven are inseparable. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). In writing of Heaven, the exiled Apostle John declares, “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27).

We are fooling ourselves if we suppose that we can divide without consequence that which God has joined together. Every attempt to do so will be met with certain judgment. Lay it to heart my dear reader. Let us not resist the law of God, but rest in the comfort of doing God’s will. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:21).