Thursday, July 31, 2014

Following Peace

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:3

I'd like to share with you a passage of scripture on Christ-like conduct; how we present ourselves to a lost and sin-sick world, but not only to those that are lost, but to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  Colossians 3:12-17
In Christ there is unity which springs forth where ever there is love.  We have an obligation, as ambassadors and representatives in Christ to conduct ourselves in all loving kindness and meekness; humbling ourselves in the sight of God.  God tells us in His word that He gives more grace to the humble while He resists the proud:

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith , God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.   James 4:6

At all times we want to conduct ourselves in Godly love, esteeming others above ourselves.  Follow what we refer to as the golden rule (Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.  Matthew 7:12):  do unto others as you would have them do unto you.    

We want to be more tolerant and more forgiving of others.  Part of the fruit of the spirit is longsuffering.  We have to bear with our brothers and sisters even when we don’t feel like it, even if they are not where we think they should be; it’s not our place any way.  Jesus moved with love, grace, compassion and temperance.  Pray for them instead of showing intolerance.  Show loving kindness instead of rudeness and criticism.  The word of God says to:

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:  Hebrews 12:14

The love of God should exude within us and overflow to others around us.  Love shows our maturity in God; it’s not the length of time you've served God or the number of committees or auxiliaries you work on or your title or your position - that's church work, not kingdom work - but rather, it is the measure of your love that demonstrates your perfection or maturity in God. The bible tells us:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  John;13:34-35
As you grow in your faith, the peace of God begins to fill your heart and your mind as you let God work in you that good, perfect and, what has now also become to you, that acceptable will of God.   There is nothing like having the peace of God; it is priceless!

Be thankful for everything that God has done for you.  Be thankful for what He hasn't done because our Heavenly Father knows best; He knows the way that you take; He’s mindful of everything you do, say and even think.  So thank Him when He does what is best for you.  Always, always have a spirit of gratefulness toward God!

Get in the word of God so when you speak, you speak truth.  Let you actions demonstrate the truth of God; know it, study it, meditate on it, use it as your hand guide, follow the examples, let it become alive in you.  It is by the word of God and the love that you demonstrate that people will realize the God in you.  So, as the scripture says:

whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  Colossians 3:17


Dear Heavenly Father, we want to thank You for one more opportunity to gather in Your name in prayer; to come unto You with gladness of heart that You are our Lord and King.

We thank You Lord for breathing life into us this day, for our health and for our strength.  We always thank You Lord for having a sound mind and a right mind which is to serve You.  Lord we don’t take that for granted.  Lord we love You and we magnify Your name.  We thank You for this day because You made it and and we will rejoice and be glad in it! 

We lift You up, even as You are the lifter of our heads.  We give thanks unto You for all that You've done and all that You’re going to do, we thank You in advance.  We know that You are God and that there is no other; none above or beside You.  Through faith we know that power belongs to You and that You are in COMPLETE control.  Lord we thank You because we can cast our cares on You and You take care of them.

Lord we ask, even now in light of the words that were given, Lord, that You bind your people together in love and unity.  Help us Lord to receive each other even as You receive us.  Lord you said in Your word that we would be known by our love one for another.    Create in us, oh Lord, a clean heart, a renewed, right  spirit in You that we may follow peace with all men.  Let our love and our light shine so that those who are lost and those that may have given up hope, Lord, those who are struggling, those who are discouraged can realize that there is hope in You through us.  Lord we know that You are a sustainer, a keeper, a mind regulator, a comforter, a bringer of peace and somebody needs You for just that purpose.  We know that You are a supplier of our every need.  Lord You said to ask and we’ll receive, seek and we will find, knock and the door would be opened.  We come before You Lord in supplication and prayer, seeking Your will for us that we may obey You in all things; that we do all things according to Your purpose.

Lord, we need You on today to lead us and guide us.  We know that this is not the time to faint in our spirit.  Lord we need our spiritual armour, we need the fruit of the spirit:  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance within us so that we’re able to stand against the wiles of the enemy, against the temptations that come up against us, against the struggles that we face every day, against our nonchalant attitude towards you.  Lord even against the perverseness of this sin-sick, sin-filled world, we need You.  Lord we pray Your forgiveness and that Your mercy prevail for every contrary word, deed and thought against You.  Lord when we didn’t trust you, Lord when we questioned Your will, Lord when we didn’t have a yes, Lord we seek your forgiveness and we thank you Lord for new mercies today, Lord for the opportunity to get it right today, to give you a sincere yes, to stretch out in faith.  We thank you Lord.  Great is your mercy towards us.

Lord, we ask even now that through the spiritual leaders You've given us, continue to give us clarity so that we’re not so easily deceived by false doctrine and the deception of the enemy.  Lord we ask that you send a refreshing to our spiritual leaders; that you keep them built up in you; always abounding in Your word and in Your will.  Keep them humble before you Lord.

We thank You heavenly father because we know You as a our keeper, the lover of our souls, the comforter, the King of kings and Lord of lords, You are the great ‘I AM’.   You are the one true living God and there is none like You; You said in Your word that “before Moses, I am”.   We know and acknowledge that You are the author and finisher of our faith, You are the beginning and the end, alpha and omega.   There is none beside You; You are incomparable; You are the creator and it is through You that we live, move and have our very being.  Without You, we were nothing, but through You, we are now heirs to Your holy throne.   You said in Your word that we can:

. . . come boldly unto the throne of grace,  that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

Lord, give us a heart and mind to want to be everything that You have called us to be; everything that You designed for us, we desire to do, but Lord, we can’t do it without You.  Lord, even as King David said, cleanse our hearts, purify our hearts and minds.  Help us to keep our minds stayed on You.  You said to pray without ceasing.  Give us a mind to serve You as good servants; wholly accepting of the call on our lives to do Your will.  Help us to say yes when You call our name.  Even when we err in our ways Your word tells us that You are faithful to forgive when we repent before You.  Convict us when we’re wrong and help us to come before You in godly sorrow and repentance.  Help us to stay in a right relationship with You. 

Help us to love in the manner that you have set forth.  Help us to love the way You love.  Help us Lord not to lose our focus on You.  Help us to remember that You won’t give up on us; You said that You would never leave us nor forsake us.  Help us Lord when we think we can’t go on, when we've given up the will, let us lean on You, our fortress, our strong tower, help us to put our faith and trust in You Lord and only You.  Lord You said for us not to be weary in our well doing and not faint and we’ll reap in due season.  Help us to keep going, to hold to Your hand and not let go.

Thank You Jesus, thank you Lord, our mighty savior, our counselor, our prince of peace, wonderful, awesome magnificent one.  You said in your word, Everyone must bow at the name of Jesus. Thank You Lord for the opportunity to bow before You now, to worship and serve You.  It is an honor and a privilege to come before You; it is no goodness of our own, nothing that we did or nothing that we said, but for Your grace and mercy.  Thank You for your love.  It was Your love for mankind that caused You to send Your only son, Your blameless son to be our redeemer and for that we say Thank You heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus.

Now unto God, our heavenly Father, be glory, honor and dominion for ever and ever.   In Jesus name, amen.  

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2

God's  Blessings to you.

Elder C. L. Henry


Monday, July 7, 2014

Sin Begins Within

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God  (Matthew 5:8)

Iniquity is a term used in the bible that is a little ambiguous in nature.  We know that it is wrong and something that we, as believers in God, should avoid.  But what exactly does it mean to have iniquity within us?

According to Strong’s dictionary, iniquity is defined as:  perversity, that is, (moral) evil: Thus sin, when repeated against the knowledge of God, becomes transgression which, if it continues long enough, eventually becomes iniquity which perverts the flesh. This perversion changes the DNA/RNA structure of the “flesh” and “beliefs” or “attitudes” resulting in genetic changes that are passed on from generation to generation.

The Hebrew meaning of iniquity is recorded as:  Perverseness, bowed down, twisted, to be bent or crooked, to be wrung out of course.

The bible defines iniquity as:

>     Hateful:

For he flatters himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.  (Psalms 36:2)   

>     Self righteousness:

When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.  (Ezekiel 33:13)

Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.  (Psalms 28:3)

>     Mischief:

Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. (Psalms 7:14)

>     Perversion:

And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart.   (II Samuel 19:19)

Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say , The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.  (Ezekiel 9:9)

Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?  (Job 6:30)

>     Unrighteousness:

But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth , shall he live ? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned : in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned , in them shall he die. (Ezekiel 18:24)

Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die : because thou hast not given him warning , he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered ; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  (Ezekiel 3:20)

>     Rebellion:

We have sinned , and have committed iniquity , and have done wickedly , and have rebelled , even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:   (Daniel 9:5)

>     Corruption:

They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins. (Hosea 9:9)  

>     Oppression:

As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed , spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity. (Ezekiel 18:18)

>     Pride:

And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.  (Hosea 5:5)   

>     Despise:

The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.  (Leviticus 26:43)

Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. (Numbers 15:31)

>     Vileness:

For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile , and he restrained them not. (I Samuel 3:13)

>     Stubbornness:

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.  (I Samuel 15:23)  

>     Hypocrisy:

For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.   (Isaiah 32:6)

Iniquity denotes not just that which is wrong, but the inclination to do wrong.  Iniquity is a perversion of intents, which affects our will.   Iniquities are inner nature sins, which stimulate us to repeatedly and continually commit sin.  

Iniquity is a perversion of the truth.  Any deviation from the truth will most assuredly lead to error every time.  

Though sin, iniquity and transgressions are all ungodly, there is a difference in the three terms.  Iniquity, when unchecked within us will lead to sin and transgression.  Sins and transgressions are the outward manifestations of the attitudes within us. 

It is easy to see how iniquity defiles our character with all types of ungodliness. Iniquity is the twisted state of what we are. Iniquity revolves more about the underlying attitudes such as idolatry, hatred, gluttony, covetousness, unrighteousness, wickedness and lawlessness:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:  (Galatians 5:19-21)

Note that attitudes (iniquity) is listed among actions (sins) in this incomplete list of the works of the flesh.

Iniquity is not as easily seen as sins.  Iniquity is insidious and hidden underneath the surface.  King David recognized the subtly of iniquity and asked God for a new heart and a right spirit:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  (Psalms 51:10)

Iniquity is such an egregious thing that Jesus was bruised for our iniquities:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Jesus paid the price for our iniquity:

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works(Titus 2:14)

Iniquities are not superficial. They are under the skin; they are deeply imbedded.  Bruises and iniquities have to be healed by the blood.

Satan was perfect until iniquity was found in him:

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.  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.  By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.  Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
(Ezekiel 28:14-18)   

The root of all sin is iniquity.  The beginning of sin begins within.  It grows through ungodly influences and actions until it finally becomes full grown and blooms into sin. 

Before we lambaste people for the outward sins being committed, a search for the reason should be done.  King David asked God to search his heart:

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  Psalms 139:23

Like David, we should ask God to search our heart at all times, to show us those hidden, iniquitous things that are within us; to help us rid ourselves of them before they are manifested in our character and in ungodly thoughts, deeds and actions.

(Biblical Studies)