So truthful, it hurts!
The Lighthouse Sentinel
VOL. II NUM. IV
2016 HOLY SPIRIT ALL RIGHTS PRESERVED
JUL / AUG
2 CORINTHIANS 5:18-21
PAID IN FULL
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: - Ephesians 3:8-13
Grace & Peace from God
God The Holy Spirit, we haven't been short changed! - Children of God are never alone because they have God the Holy Spirit with them for the rest of their lives! He will teach us, guide us and point us to Christ through the word of God. During the earthly ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ, he told His followers that The Comforter would come in John 16. The Spirit of Truth would glorify Christ, (per John 16:7-14) something he still does today in this wonderful dispensing of God's grace. However, we learn even MORE of the ministry of God The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul's writings, especially in Romans 8.
Is prayer relevant in the dispensation of grace? - Absolutely!! The apostle Paul often prayed and wrote many times to his readers about this topic. In the book of Philippians the apostle to the Gentiles told us that with all regard to consideration of others, we can let our requests be made known unto God and that we shouldn't worry about anything, instead to pray about everything! By expressing to God what your needs are, He will give us His peace to overcome our cares and concerns. Doing this will enable us to experience God's peace, which transcends beyond human thought as our hearts and minds are renewed through Christ. Prayer can also be a difficult thing for the bible tells us that more often than not, we don't even know what to pray! However, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf and thank God for that!
If you want to try this out I suggest that you use a "template" of prayer that Paul gave us to use in Ephesians 1:15-23.
Jerusalem, Israel: -
The book of Joel (click here to access) was designed to call the nation to repentance on the basis of the disaster of the locust plague, a token of the more devastating judgment of the coming "Day of the Lord". These judgments fall right in line with what God proclaimed according to the course of curses in Leviticus 26. The prophecy was also intended to comfort the nation with the promise of a future restoration and prosperity in the Day of the Lord, a day of deliverance for Israel and destruction for her foes.
But this great plague is but a mere microcosm of much greater judgment and wrath to come, and it ultimately looks toward the future “day of the LORD.” The book is divided into two major sections:
The first section deals with the locust plague (1:1–2:17), which includes an actual description of the plague (1:1-12), a prediction of a future day of wrath (1:13-20), and a call to repentance (2:1-17).
The second section presents promises of future blessing (2:18–3:21) including the land’s restoration (2:18-27), an outpouring of the divine Spirit (2:28-32), and the judgment of enemy nations and Judah’s renewal (3:1-21).
Joel prophesied of a coming destroying army of locusts, God’s punishment for sin being overwhelming, dreadful, and unavoidable. When His wrath occurs, there will be no food, no water, no protection, and no escape! The day for settling accounts with God for how mankind has rejected His word will be dealt with during this time. During times of stress it appears plainly that the cares of this world are most real to us but during this future day of reckoning—not the weather, mother nature, the economy, finances or threats from a foreign invader will matter. mankind will not be able to ignore or offend God forever and he will be forced to pay attention as His wrath is delivered.
This book of prophecy and future judgment of God is in direct contrast to how God is thankfully dealing with us today under this wonderful dispensing of grace! For the last two thousand years, Jesus Christ told Paul to proclaim - Grace and peace from God The Father and from Our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Creation from a "grace" perspective
I have always been fascinated with the creation story recorded on the pages of Genesis. In Ephesians 1, the apostle Paul mentions something specifically for today's grace-age saints. The passage in verses 1 through 6; (especially verse 4) may prompt us towards further study as we learn about the richness of God's grace which was planned before the creation account:
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
With so many things to focus our study on, I decided to investigate what God was up to prior to Genesis 1 based on scripture. Please note that I am basing parts of my study on the notes and audio files of two pastor's who called out Old Testament verses to help make sense of God's plan for mankind.
Friends, we must understand how blessed we are to have something that many saints before us did not have. Not only do we live in this glorious dispensing of God's grace which was committed to the apostle Paul on our behalf, but we also have the entire 66 books of the bible! We are privileged to be able to read and study about man's failure and God's greatness culminated by the all-sufficient, completed work of God The Son , the Lord Jesus Christ! No saint could ever read or understand about their perfect position in Christ as Paul describes!
But with this blessing comes great responsibility as we "strive" to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus". With this framework in mind it is my prayer that the reader will be edified and comforted with this study as we study scripture together.
Many people debate the age of plane earth. Most Christians subscribe to a 6,000 year old earth while other believers embrace a form of secular teaching into the creation account such as God creating the earth and evolution taking place shortly thereafter.
Other people subscribe to the "billions upon billions of years ago" creation account and the fact is that it takes more faith to believe that then anything I have describe so far!
Let's make one thing clear, God is infinite, He has existed, does and exist and will exist forever!
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. - John 1:1-3
With the above verses in mind, the earth in and of itself could have existed as a domain, city hall or hall of justice if God so desired. God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit has existed, is existing and will exist forever! The Godhead is equal in nature but distinct in personality and office. In His love and desire to love, He created angelic beings to rule and reign with Him in order to share in His greatness. God's perfect demonstration of love, knowledge, power and presence would provoke all those around Him to worship Him for He is worthy!
I believe scripture supports this pre-earth, perfect, celestial world in Ezekiel 28:13,14 as Eden is described before the creation account in Genesis 1:1 as well as His highest ranking angel Lucifer:
"Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." - Ezekiel 28:13,14
A relationship with God?
In this politically correct world we live in, the thought that anyone could have a relationship with God can be deemed as offensive. First, and unlike ever before, you'd have to get over the hurdle of determining which God you are talking about! The world has its share of deities ready to either take your money, guilt you into submission, send bad karma to you or rejoice in sending you to hell because of all of your evil deeds.
But the true Christian faith speaks of a God (THE God), who Himself decided before the foundations of the world to save you. He just wanted to prove our wretchedness (through the writings of the Old Testament) so that man could never say that God didn't give Him a chance to work things out on His own, or even seek God himself. So anyone who is impatient or angry with God about His justice, really should read the Old Testament. However, Saul of Tarsus, a trained Hebrew Pharisee who was persecuting those that had professed faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would be God's chosen apostle to the Gentiles. Saul who is better known as Paul received special revelations from the Risen, Glorified Lord, Jesus Christ. Paul would spend the better part of 30 years receiving instructions from Christ in a glorified state even many years after His death, burial and resurrection. Christ's focus was to tell Paul about how He reconciled mankind to God The Father at Calvary. Mankind had proven to be at enmity with God since the garden in Eden and could not be trusted to obey God or take him at His word during his existence. Man was and is an utter failure and desperately needs God. God certainly knows that, but wants man to admit that and come to Him exercising his own free will.
Man who is rebellious and sinful by choice and practice needed an advocate to be able to have a relationship with God. God through the person of Jesus Christ became sin, Christ, who knew no sin, that we might be made the rightness of God through Him. The apostle Paul placed a condition on this relationship with man having to accept or believe God the Father's Word on this matter. Once ANY person, bond or free, male or female, Jew or Gentile accepts God's Son as their substitute for access to heaven, they will have the hope of eternal glory and security.
You do not have to read the Old Testament or perform any number of "do's and don't's" to get right with God. Jesus Christ took the issue of sin off the table at Calvary and has offered His very righteousness as THE way to access heaven and have a relationship with God.
In other examples, many fundamental teachers believe that the verses in 1 Corinthians 11 somehow apply to non-believers who partake in communion unworthily due to their sinful lifestyle. But it is not consistent with who Paul was writing to; Corinthian believers, not the lost! Let's go back a few verses in the same chapter starting in v.18:
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
Paul had heard that there were divisions and although he didn't want to believe it, he knew better! In addition, there were heresies among the Corinthian saints to the point where Paul encouraged those "who were approved" to step forward. Paul rebuked the carnal Corinthians and reminded them in verse 20 that when they did come together, this was NOT the Lord's supper. Some believers were hungry while others were drunk! Did believers not have a place to go? Why were those who had food not sharing with those who lacked? Worse, they were showing off! Like today, they wanted to keep people down by showing others how "well-off" they were....of course, Christians today would NEVER do that.....right. The church at Corinth
is in many ways a reflection of our congregations today.
Unfortunately, most of our churches have become show places of fashion, wealth and automobiles as those who "do without" are forced away because they don't measure up to the standard which is established by the church's command media of perfect, holy people.Sound doctrine is set aside and replaced by appeal, aesthetics and apathy towards "rightly diving the word of truth".
The Corinthian believers were celebrating communion in an "unworthy" fashion through their gluttony, selfish motivation and ignorance of the purpose of this "love feast". They would fall under further condemnation (also known as damnation) by Paul himself unless they examined themselves in the matters discussed. With a clear conscience of love, believers could celebrate their oneness in Christ! The last several verses of chapter 11 describe the conduct of those involved in the celebration feast. Many were weak and sickly because they were famished and were only coming to the feast to get fed! Paul questioned them saying "are their not houses of which to eat in"? To the wealthy he rebuked:
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
On the other end of the spectrum, others were so drunk, they passed out or slept. Paul addressed them as many who sleep! These verses are in many instances interpreted that God inflicts some type of "on the spot judgment" killing believers due to their sin. This is in error for "God has not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation". Friend, either we are in Christ safe from judgment or we are under the wrath of God! If God exacted what a friend of mine calls " a pound of flesh" every time we sinned, the Body of Christ would all be home with Him! Or their are the legalists who would bemoan, "they were probably never really saved at all... " Paul goes on to tell us that when we are judged we are chastened by the Lord so that we would not fall unto further rebuking. How, you my ask, are we chastened by the Lord? The word "chastened" in verse 32 is described in Strong's as:
to train children
to be instructed or taught, to learn
to those who are molding the character of others through reproof or admonition (warning)
Since we know that we are no longer under His wrath, how will the Lord chasten us? Through the bible my friend. The rest would be set in order when Paul again returned to Corinth.
Before we close on this controversial topic, I want to be sure to emphasize that communion is a love feast to bring to remembrance what Christ accomplished on our behalf. More importantly, the very essence of the message of grace expounds upon and teaches the believer of the liberty and freedom a person has in Christ! It is now a matter of us studying to be "workers" in order to stand approved of God.
Communion is not a way of salvation and there is not a shred of scripture to say that it is. No man has the power to raise God from the dead or crucify Him again and again for the bible says in the book of Hebrews:
"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 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." - Hebrews 9:24-26
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
This Issue's Topic:
Children are a gift from the Lord
Psalm 127: 3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
I received this article in an email and thought it would be a blessing to those that are considering starting a family or being part of a caretaker situation. Now while these figures haven't been updated for a few years, I think we can all associate "present dollars" in order to come up with a relevant bottom line expense towards coming up with the cost of raising a child from birth to 18. Nowadays, kids are staying at home longer because they just can't afford to get out on their own after the debt of college or a weak labor market....or both!
The average cost of raising a child born in 2013 up until age 18 for a middle-income family in the U.S. is approximately $245,340 (or $304,480, adjusted for projected inflation), according to the latest annual “Cost of Raising A Child” report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The estimate is 1.8 percent higher than the previous year.
That equates to roughly $12,800 - $14,970 per child per year for a two-parent family with a median annual income between $61,530 and $106,540. The annual cost can vary based on factors like the child’s age, the number of children in the family and the family’s income and location.
Housing is the top expense, accounting for $73,600 or about 30 percent of the total cost of raising a child. The next-biggest expenses are child care and education (18 percent) and food (16 percent). Transportation, health care, clothing and miscellaneous expenses were also considered. The cost of college, pregnancy or other expenses after age 18 were not factored in.
Taking the average cost of the range above ($13,885), the breakdown loks something like this:
13,885 a year
1,157 a month
267.02 a week
38.04 per day
...or about $1,58 per hour
With the above figures in mind, what is it that we actually get for this investment?
Naming rights which I think is pretty cool
Gender reveal parties is a new thing that is a lot of fun
An opportunity to see a mini-me of you or your spouse running around
Water pistol fights
A general excuse to be a kid again
For $13,885 you don't need a excuse to play tag, wiffle ball, flop in the pool, run around like an idiot at the beach or build sand meatballs. You do have an excuse for your wife to make cookies and brownies however, because they weren't really made for you, but you grab some anyway...
For that $249,930 you get to:
Coach a soccer team
Play cops and robbers
Remove a splinter
Play Marco Polo in the pool
Or even when they get older and bring their spouses, play snow football
You get a front row seat to history to witness the:
1st step (awesome)
1st word (so cute)
1st bra (yikes)
1st date (lock and load)
1st time behind the wheel (help meee......)
In a way, you get to be immortal! You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match!
In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits!
Grieve not the Spirit
The first lesson each believer in Christ should learn is that immediately upon believing he is given everlasting life. Referring to this fact Ephesians 1:13,14 says:
"In whom ye also trusted, having heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also having believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise."
Mark well, the believer is not sealed by the Holy Spirit, but "with" the Holy Spirit. The Spirit Himself is the seal. Every sincere believer in Christ, then, should rejoice in an accomplished redemption and rest in the fact that the Holy Spirit will keep him eternally safe.
But while we cannot lose the Holy Spirit we can, and often do, grieve the Holy Spirit, as we read in Eph. 4:30. This is why we are told in Rom. 8:26 that the Spirit "helpeth our infirmities" and makes intercession for us, that we might live lives which please and honor God.
The wonderful fact is, however, that "nothing," not even an aggrieved Spirit shall "separate us from the love of God" (Rom. 8:38,39). Thus in the same breath with which the Apostle exhorts us not to grieve the Spirit he again reassures us that this same Spirit keeps us eternally safe:
"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30).
Does this encourage careless living? Those who think so have missed the whole point of Paul’s appeal. The Apostle does not warn the believer that if he grieves the Spirit he will be lost. Rather, in grace he exhorts: "Do not grieve the very Spirit who in mercy and love has sealed you as forever His own. Do not repay such love with such ingratitude."
Philippi, Greece- The bible makes it clear that Satan has transformed himself into an angel of light and that we should not be surprised that he has transformed "ministers of righteousness" to deceive many. With these "wolves in sheep's clothing" across our churches today, let's examine what Paul had to say to the saints at Philippi. Read the text in verses 1 through 10 in the chapter of Philippians 1 first, then make sure to go back and read the rest of the chapter!
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 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, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. - Philippians 1:1-21
The Law of the Spirit
Paul clears up the notion of conduct as an indicator of whether or not someone is a Christian in verse 7 of the above passage:
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Christians often consider themselves quite spiritual because they are able to overcome struggles or some vice that maybe others have not. Worse, with this form of self-righteousness, they claim great devotion to God while having nothing to do with resting in Christ and His sufficiency...
We must understand clearly that "BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW THERE SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED IN HIS SIGHT; FOR BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN" (Romans 3:20).
We should have no illusions as to man's utter inability to please God by works in any age including this age of grace. Our good works should be in gratitude to God not to achive one patrticule of blessing, rightness, blessing or anything else that has not already been completed by Jesus Christ!
So, "The Law of the Spirit" has made us free from The Law of Sin and Death" then friends. Let's not confuse the two when we see someone step out of line lest we fall into the same temptation. Let's exercise brotherly love and help bring them back to right thinking so that they can continue to be a testimony of Christ.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Guilty No More!
(continued from 3rd column )
But exclusively and only through Christ do we have the opportunity to have His perfection charged to us, His righteousness deposited into our account and His liberty to sustain us forever! It is this reconciliation Paul had in mind when he said in 2 Corinthians 5: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.