REDEEMING THE TIME – AGAIN

REDEEMING THE TIME – AGAIN

redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph.5:16

Time is one of our most precious of all commodities. Our time is not unlimited, we have a fixed amount of time on this earth given to us by the Lord. Our wise use of time is one of the things about our lives that will be evaluated at that great day when each of us will stand before the Lord. Our lives are all a series of “times” allotted to us by the Lord, these times are viewed, by the Lord, as treasures, or opportunities given to us for the advancement of His kingdom. There will come a day when time is no more, time will be swallowed up by eternity, and all of us will be instantly standing and living in the fruit of our labors here on earth. Dick Mills has some valuable insight into this phrase “redeeming the time”. Listen carefully to his words.

“This verse contains an illuminating Greek word for time: kairos (kahee-ros’). This is time adapted to circumstances. Kairos can be defined as: 1) A set time for action, 2) the right moment, 3) the opportune point of time when a thing should be done, or 4) the time appointed to accomplish a certain task.
In Ephesians 5:16 we are admonished by Paul to “redeem” the time (kairos) appointed to us by the Lord. Newer translations render this phrase, “buying up the opportunity,” indicating we need a natural acumen (understanding) to help us to interpret our spiritual opportunities.”

All of us live in a world screaming for our time. The Lord is different, He is quietly waiting for us to turn our attention to Him and to see the value of the time He has given to us. Seeing the value of something is the key to wise stewardship, especially of our time. We give ourselves to the things we perceive as important. How can I redeem the time and why would I want to? One glimpse of Him and His greatness will answer all of those questions. When you “see” Christ for yourself, your value system is radically upended, what you deem as important will change. When that happens, you will immediately see the value of one of the Lord’s greatest gifts to you, your time. In light of what Paul said about living in the evil day, we have to redeem the time, frankly, we don’t know how much of it we have.

CHANGED INTO ANOTHER MAN

CHANGED INTO ANOTHER MAN

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
Acts 2:14-16

This would be a day no one would soon forget. It began as the last nine days had begun, waiting. The followers of Jesus were waiting for “the Promise of the Father”. They were not quite sure what kind of promise that was, but they waited none the less. That tenth day, suddenly the very atmosphere in that upper chamber seemed to come alive. The room began to swirl with a wind that was more than a wind. It was the breath of God. Next, strange languages began to flow from deep within, these were not ordinary languages, these were the very words of God. As this strange blessing began to spread, the sound of celebration and joy began to attract a crowd in the streets below.
” These people are all drunk!” someone shouted. Before you knew it, Peter was in the street, lifting up his voice, ” These men are not drunk as you suppose, this is the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel said”.
Peter had been turned into another man. Just a few days earlier, Peter had denied ever knowing Christ, but now things were different, now Peter was different. He was speaking like a man from another world.
What had changed? Where had this new courage come from? Peter had received the “Promise of the Father”. Peter had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. He was a different man. He had been transformed by the touch of God into an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter’s life would never be the same. Is this blessing still available today? Can we experience this same transformation? In this very same message, Peter gives us the answer.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call”.
Acts 2:38,39
Yes, you too can be turned into another man. How will it happen? When you are clothed with power from on high. Ask the Lord today for this change, listen carefully, you just might hear the sound of a rushing, mighty wind.

Free from Sin

Free From Sin

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:1-4

In Romans 6 Paul talks about the death of our old life. He talks about us being crucified with Christ. He also says that if our old life is dead, consider ourselves as dead men. We no longer have to live as natural men, our old life is finished. If this is true, change is possible. The Lord not only dealt with sin, He dealt with the sinner. He crucified him. If you have been crucified with Christ, you are dead to sin. Consider yourselves dead. How do I consider myself dead to sin? Of course by reflecting on the “mercies”of God. The Word of God becomes our place of refuge. As we soak ourselves in scripture, this precious truth comes alive. I am dead to sin. I am alive to God. That person I used to be is gone. There is a new man living inside of me. Who is that new man? Of course it is the Heavenly Man, Jesus Christ. Christ’s death not only dealt with sin, He dealt with the sinner. I was crucified with Christ. The natural man was put to death so the Heavenly Man could be revealed. As we identify with Christ by faith, these truths are awakened. As we are awakened, we begin to walk in the power of this new life.
Why spend another day living that miserable old life, wallowing in the fears, temptations, and depression of this dark world? Start living, really living today. I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.

Purchased by His Blood

PURCHASED BY HIS BLOOD

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,* which he obtained with his own blood
Acts 20:28

We have been purchased by the blood of Jesus. That brings several thoughts to my mind. First, who or what was I purchased from? The Bible clearly teaches that all mankind is born into a state of slavery. We are spiritual slaves, held by the power of sin by the prince of the power of the air. When Christ represented me on the cross, the shackles that held me as a captive were broken. The prison door literally swung open. I could walk out of the prison of sin into the glorious liberty as a child of God. Secondly, who purchased me? Of course I was purchased by Jesus by the price of His blood. I am no longer my own. I have been bought with a price. I am now the purchased possession, the inheritance of Christ Himself. Finally, how does that effect my life. I am not my own, my life is now His. My reason for existence and the source of all my joy is to glorify God with my life. What a deal!!! He gets the glory I get the joy. Glorify God with your body because you are His purchased possession.

Words From the Cross

1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Recently, I have been reflecting on the incredible price Christ paid for our salvation. His death on the cross is His demonstration of His love for us.  The physical suffering from the beating and the crucifixion were horrendous in their own right, but Christ suffered also an incredible agony from the spiritual implications of Calvary. We can learn about and see His love and His suffering in His words that He spoke from the cross.  These are eternal words that can change everything about our lives.

His first statement is recorded in Luke 23:43, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  The immediate focus of His prayer was the Roman soldiers who were actually performing the crucifixion.  But after reflection, we can see the far reaching effects of this prayer.  The prayer reached through the authority of the Roman army all the way to Pilate. This prayer also reached out to the Jewish leaders who demanded His death. Finally, His prayer reached out to you and to me today.  Actually, it was not the soldiers, or Pilate, or even the Jewish priests who were responsible for His death.  I am responsible.   Christ died to save sinners.   It was my sins and your sins that nailed Him to the cross.  Christ’s prayer, “Father, forgive them” has been answered thousands, actually millions of times as sinners call upon the name of Jesus and experience salvation through the death of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, Jesus answered the request of the thief on the cross.  This man had lived a sinful life and was being executed for his crimes.  He was judged and found guilty by the Roman courts and was headed toward eternal judgment. By God’s grace and providential plan the thief found Himself dying next to the Saviour.  He cried out in desperation, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom”.  Jesus responded, “Today, shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”  Luke 23:43

What an incredible word.  Salvation based not on this man’s deeds or accomplishments in life.  This salvation came only by His faith in the dying Saviour by grace through faith. After all, this is the only way a man can be saved. We must come to Christ hopeless, and helpless trusting only in His ability to save us.

Third, Jesus addressed His mother, Mary and his disciple John.

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, Behold your son,” and to the disciple, “Behold your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19:26, 27

We hear the tenderness and love that Jesus had for His mother, He cared for her even in His last last dying moments. In these words, we see something about family and love that we are looking for.  Christ has provided for us a family that is closer than even flesh and blood.  He has joined us together by our common testimony.  When we are born again, the spirit of sonship enters into our hearts. God becomes our Father and every member of the body becomes our brother and sister.  We enter into a spiritual family that comes from this new nature that we have received. Not only are we joined together with Christians from all over the world and from every generation; we are also joined together by the Lord to a local church.  We are placed there by the Lord. He actually gives us a spiritual family on earth.  In these relationships, we begin to discover the commandment, “love one another”. This love, His love is the substance that holds us together and makes us one.

At about noon on the day Jesus was executed, the whole earth became dark. The sun and creation itself were affected by the treatment Jesus was receiving in Jerusalem.  The sun refused to shine as Christ became an offering for our sin.  We hear the cry of Jesus, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  Christ was now experiencing the worst of His sufferings. He was taking upon Himself the punishment for the sin of mankind.   As Isaiah said, “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him”. What an amazing miracle. Christ became sin that I might become the righteous of God.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  II Cor. 5:21

This is how we can now approach God. God’s anger toward sin was satisfied, judgment had been accomplished and mercy was now offered to all mankind.

Fifthly, Jesus cried out, “I thirst”, John 19:28. Thirst, incredible thirst, results from the blood loss during crucifixion.  Jesus experiences an incredible natural thirst. He also was experiencing another kind of thirst.  He was thirsting for souls, after all that is why he came. He was thirsty for Peter to be converted and Paul to experience His love and He was thirsty for you and thirsty for me. We are why he came, and He longed for the fulfillment of His work.  He also had had another incredible thirst. He was thirsty for  His return to that place of intimacy that He had enjoyed with His Father from eternity. He longed for His Father and He was crying out desperately for satisfaction.

It seems as if Jesus was strengthened as He faced His death. He cried out His victory shout, “It is Finished”, John 19:30.

The plans of God from eternity were complete. The prophecies of the Old Testament had been fulfilled. Redemption for man had been accomplished.  It is finished.  Because of that we can enter into a rest that comes from the work of Christ on the cross.  All our debts are settled, our sins have been paid for righteousness has been fulfilled, we are at peace with God. It is finished.

Finally, Jesus prayed His last prayer.

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.  Luke 23:46

Jesus yielded up His spirit to the Father. His work had been done, He could now return home. He could return to the right hand of the father as His beloved Son.  The Son of God was now also the Son of man. Not only did the second person of the trinity take His rightful place at the Father’s right hand. Also my representative, Jesus my heavenly high priest took His place in heaven. Today, He represents man to the Father. The resurrected Son of God and yes, Son of Man is ruling all things by the Word of His power.

As we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ again this year, let the words of Christ from the cross effect your heart and change your life.  After all we have a faithful High Priest who saves to the uttermost praying for us in heaven.

Unprecedented Acts of God 2010

Several years ago Dick Mills gave me a word of prophesy in our church. The word was Exodus 34:10 And He said: “Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.” This is an incredible word about incredible “marvels” and “awesome things” that the Lord has promised to perform. The first word “marvels” comes from the Hebrew word pala, this is the same word Isaiah used to refer to the supernatural birth of Christ. This word can be translated as wonderful or supernatural. It is speaking of the miraculous,  unexplainable work of God! The second phrase, “awesome thing” is just that: something that produces an atmosphere of awe, reverential fear of God. We are expecting God to do things in 2010 that are supernatural and produce and incredible reverential fear of the Lord.

At the beginning of 2009, the Lord impressed on us Isaiah 48:6, 7 “You have heard; See all this. And will you not declare it? I have made you hear new things from this time, even hidden things, and you did not know them. They are created now and not from the beginning; And before this day you have not heard them, lest you should say, ‘Of course I knew them.’” This passage speaks of God doing things that have never been done before. In the ESV study Bible the notes say that unprecedented acts of God are on the horizon. We believe those acts of God are coming upon us in 2010.

Another verse of scripture that comes to mind as I reflect on the purposes of God in 2010 is Deuteronomy 11:12 “a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year”. This verse describes the eyes of the Lord watching over our year. This verse suggests care, protection, as well as bounty. The Lord has his eye on every moment of every day in 2010. It will be a year of God’s favor upon our lives.

Paul uses a very powerful phrase in Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” The phrase that speaks to me is fullness of time. There is a specific time when God has determined for certain things to happen. There was a perfect time for Christ to be born. There was a perfect time for Paul’s conversion. There was a perfect time for Luther, for Whitefield, for Edwards. There was an appointed time for Wales and Azusa Street. There is a set time for the awesome move of God. In my heart I believe we are approaching another season we could call the “fullness of time”.  Genesis 21:2, “For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him”, speaks of God’s “set time” for Isaac to be born.  Abraham had believed God for 75 years for a son, but Isaac did not appear until the “set time” to fulfill the plans of God. Could it be that 2010 is a special year? It is quite possible that his year is an appointed year for the move of God in our church.

Finally there is a powerful phrase in Ephesians 5: 16-18 “redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit”, Paul speaks of “Redeeming the time” and “being filled with the Spirit” in relation to each other. To stay drunk on this world’s beverage and carnal ways is a waste of time. As we heed Paul’s admonition and stay full of the Spirit we will redeem the time. The Lord has some plans for you in 2010. Let us give our attention to the Lord, stay full of the Spirit, redeeming the time for the days are evil.

LAKELAND

Recently, there was a great stir with the meetings in Lakeland, Florida conducted by Todd Bentley.  Thousands of believers came hungry for revival from all over the nation and various parts of the world.

 

As stories of these meetings began to spread rapidly all of us began to wonder could this be another wave of revival?

 

For those of you that know me, my life and ministry has been dedicated to the move of the Holy Spirit.  I would give almost anything to see a “move of the Spirit”.  I would give almost anything, but not anything.

 

When we hear reports of a move of God we should check things out before we embrace them.  What should we check out?

 

First, we should check out the life and lifestyle of those leading the move.  Redemption from sin is what we are about, but what is the testimony of the leaders of the move.  Have they lived an upstanding life after conversion and especially after they began their ministry.

 

Secondly, does the message line up with the teachings of the Word of God?  Alarms should begin to go off in us when there is an unhealthy emphasis on what people have experienced rather than God’s word and God Himself.  We must insist on a proper doctrinal emphasis and not some fringe element teachings.  Jesus must be central to everything—not visions, angels or anything else.  Of course, I believe in (and have experienced) visions, and also the ministry of angels, but they are not our message.  I believe in prophesy and the gifts of the Spirit, but they are not the thrust of our message.  We must preach Christ.  He is central and He is our message.

 

Lakeland reminds us of two things.  First it shows us how vulnerable the church is.  It shows us how quickly those who claim to be Christians can be led astray. Secondly, it reminds us of the true revival.  The Lord can change everything in a day.  Let Lakeland put a hunger in our hearts.  Let us return to the Lord, return to a God-centered life and lifestyle.  Let us press on to know the Lord and know that His visitations are certain.