Sunday, July 30, 2023

Family Sunday ​Following Jesus


Wedged in between the parable of the seeds which fellon four types of soil, and the explanation Jesus gaveHis disciples, is the truth which governs our life. If you are a follower of Jesus, you will recognize this truth


Matthew 13 NLT

16  “Blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.


The difference between the Disciples and the Pharisees; between the disciples and the Roman citizens of Jerusalem; between the disciples and those who looked to the secular or religious rituals for answers … is that the Disciples were followers of Jesus. And as such were blessed to see and hear things a little differently than others who were not following Jesus.


By following, I mean Consciously Committed to Christ.


They were called Disciples of Jesus because they followed the teachings of Jesus. The Disciples believed His words and imitated His ways. They wanted nothing more than to be just like Him.


Jesus said in John 8:31 & 32: “If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”


Free from what? Free from the deception and the destruction of this world.


The deception began in the Garden of Eden. When tempted by the devil, Eve became confused about the issues. She thought life was all about her. She felt limited and lied to. Eve did not choose to follow the Word of God.


That serpent deceived her by appealing to her selfish human nature. She imagined what she did only affected her. 


Eve was wrong! She wasn’t evil. She wasn’t a bad person. But she did a bad thing. Eve was the perfect chosen daughter of God, but Eve was wrong. And so was Adam who was more committed to her than to God.


If you listen to the wrong voiceyou will make the wrong choice.


Of course the opposite is true as well. And Jesus said:


Matthew 13: 9  “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”


When we listen, our perspective changes. When we listen to Jesus, we begin to understand the truth. When a person commits their life to Jesus they receive a new nature and they begin to see like He sees


Matthew 13

10  His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

11  He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not.


People who do not have a committed relationship with Jesus do not understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. (1 Corinthians 2:14) The best we can hope for is that they will understand parallel truths of God from observing the things around them. 


The laws of nature, the laws of physics, life, death, farming, fishing, birds, beauty, loss and gain … all contain truth and all of them were subjects used by Jesus in parables in His attempts to help people see what He sees. 


But, when a person accepts Jesus as Savior andbecomes a disciple of Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live with them in this life. 


They begin to see the truth. 


Their eyes begin to clear, and are not clouded by deception any longer


They see spiritual meaning in what is happening all around them.


Their eyes are opened, and they are no longer blinded by the world and all it offers.


You hear a different voice. It’s the voice of the Holy Spirit living in your heart.


The Holy Spirit fights for you, offering you conscious and unconscious support from the Word of God day and night.


You are no longer alone in the battle of the mind. You listen with a different ear.


Matthew 13

12  To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.

13  That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.


Rather than the condemnation offered by the devil and this world, the Holy Spirit brings conviction to the heart and invades the mind offering His counsel in agreement with the Word, the Will, and the Way of God. 


We are turned in our quiet times to face our convictions. 


Peace comes when we surrender our will to Him.


Brokenness and repentance are healing agents offered to the followers of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. These heal the heart and cleanse the mind as we are restored to right relationship with the Father.


Peter experienced this after denying Jesus at the judgment, only to hear the Master say, “feed My sheep.” (John 21)


Seeing, hearing and understanding are all predicated on a decision. People all over the world this morning are making decisions to commit their lives to Jesus and follow Him. And yet people sitting right beside them don’t have their eyes, their ears, or their hearts open today. They will go away from the presence of God unchecked, unchallenged, and unchanged.


However, those who open their hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit right now will hear that still small voice encouraging you to simply follow Jesus. This voice will never leave you and never lead you astray. You will always be able to confirm the truth He tells you in the Word of God.


Don’t be afraid to call on Jesus. He wants to bless you and be your friend


Matthew 13:17  I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.


Open you heart. Invite the Holy Spirit to come and live inside of you. Ask Jesus to become your Lord and Savior and to open your eyes to see, you ears to hear, and your heart to understand the truth that is all around you.


You have the opportunity to be the most blessed generation ever to live on the earth. Blessed because you are consciously committed to Christ and have been privileged to see, hear, and understand God’s plan.


If you know how to pray, pray with me now. If you have never prayed and don’t know what to say, pray this prayer and use it every day. God will hear you and He will help you.


Dear God, Open my eyes to see you in the things around me, and open my ears to hear your voice. Help me to understand the truth and to feel your peace in my life. Forgive me of my sins and lead me by your Holy Spirit. Teach me how to be a committed follower of Jesus. Amen.


If you sincerely prayed that prayer, you have taken a big step towards the perfect will of God for your life. God will send angels on assignment to guide you in the right path. Your part is to talk to God, read the Bible, and attend Church. God will do the rest.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Angels on Assignment Part 5 – Judgement Day


Jude 1:6  And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

·        Proper domain = First estate = Primary place = Original order

·        Own abode = Residence = Habitation = Home = World

2 Peter 2:4  For God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.

·        Wait … “angels who sinned?” Angels can sin against God? Yes, angels have the capacity to sin, and one day they will face eternal judgement.

·        We have read about the fall of satan from heaven like lightening because iniquity was found in him. (Luke 10; Ezekiel 28).

Perhaps the angels who sinned and did not keep their first estate were originally a part of the group who are called the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6. There could be no biblical reason to doubt that these sons of God in Genesis 6 are of any different rank and order of creation than the sons of God mentioned in the book of Job (1:6; 2:1; 38:7). I don’t see the validity of imagining they were children of Adam and Eve as were the children of men.

Genesis 6 is a troubling passage especially due to its brief account with few accompanying details. However, when read in light of the whole Bible and the one-story God is telling, it stands to simple reason that the references in Job and Jude, along with 2 Peter 2:24, should be included in any consideration of the subject.

Let’s read the Genesis account before we continue discussing Angels on Assignment and the coming judgement day all creation will face.

Genesis 6 NKJV

1 ¶  Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them,

2  that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

3 ¶  And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

4 ¶  There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

5  Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

6 ¶  And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

I believe there is sufficient reason to consider that the angels who sinned and left their first estate were among the ones mentioned in Genesis 6 and counted among the “fallen angels” if you will, who are still facing eternal judgement in the last days.

I believe the Bible teaches that some of these wicked and depraved angels who are capable of great destruction and unimaginable evils against humanity are locked up at this present time awaiting two possible moments. Some will be let go during the great tribulation period while others will perhaps never be released until judgement day.

The Apostle Paul, who was caught up into the third heaven, which is where the throne of God sits and all eternity awaits the unfolding of God’s plan, said that he could not speak of some things at this time, but he did say:

1 Corinthians 6:3  Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

Jesus gave us clear insight on the matter in:

Matthew 25:41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Hell was originally prepared to hold rebellious angels and to keep them from hindering God’s eternal plan. However, (Isaiah 5:14), “Hell has enlarged herself…”

It was revealed to the Apostle John that at the coming judgement day:

Revelation 20:10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 20:14  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

The Bible is not a new book with new ideas or new considerations. The Bible is a clear narrative written and preserved in its original intent by the inspiration and the protection of the Holy Spirit of God before the foundation of the world. The story is unfolding before our very eyes and the story of both heaven and earth includes angels on assignment.

Some angels are ministering spirits sent forth to protect, deliver, and direct the children of God while others are evil angels of satan who desire to destroy the plan of God. Still other angels are bound in chains, locked up in a prison called hell awaiting eternal judgement for the heinous crimes they have perpetrated against God and His children.

Whichever … angels are real and they are all around us. God’s holy angels excel in strength and are sent to deliver God’s children and to destroy God’s enemies. And as of right now, we are all waiting on judgement day. But … only you have a chance to repent of your sin and be saved by the blood of Jesus. Angels, as I understand the Bible, have already sealed their fate.

They have already made their choice … how about you?

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Angels on Assignment Part 4 – Covert Agents of God



In Part 3 of our Angels on Assignment series we focused on a passage of scripture from Acts 12 concerning prayer warriors. In that passage, we studied Luke’s well researched account of the Apostle Peter being delivered from prison in Jerusalem by an angel. The angel entered the prison undetected by others. He woke Peter without waking the sentry, the four squads of soldiers, or the two soldiers between whom Peter was chained. Peter got up and got dressed and followed the angel out of the prison.

When Peter and the angel approached the outer gate, it opened for them of its own accord and Peter found himself outside in the street. At first Peter thought he was dreaming but finally came to himself and realized what had actually taken place. The angel departed and Peter went to the prayer meeting which had been organized by the Church in Jerusalem. It was in a house that belonged to John Mark’s mother, who was also the sister of Barnabas.

Most likely both the young Apostle Paul and the older Barnabas were at that prayer meeting, (Acts 12:25). After Peter quieted the excitement of the prayer group and assured them that he was ok, he told them to go and tell Pastor James and the other Apostles he had been freed from prison by an angel, and then Peter left Jerusalem.

As soon as it was daylight the soldiers began to wake up and they realized Peter was gone. There was no small stir among the soldiers that morning. King Herod, the same King Herod who had recently executed the Apostle James and intended to execute Peter that very week, was informed Peter was missing. Herod ordered his soldiers to search everywhere for Peter, but they were unable to find him. After questioning all of these soldiers once more, Herod had them all executed. Then Herod left Jerusalem and went to the city of Caesarea by the sea.

No doubt King Herod was embarrassed and angry. He was angry with the leaders in Jerusalem, but he was also angry with people from other places as well. The scriptures tell us Herod had been angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. These cities are located along the Mediterranean coastline north of Israel in Lebanon as you travel from Haifa towards Beirut. This region was known for its cedar tree forests. Over 1000 years earlier King David built his palace in Jerusalem with the cedar trees given to him as a gift by King Hiram who ruled this region during David’s time.

We do not know why King Herod was angry to the point of contemplating going to war against these people. But we do know they sought to appease him and in the course of that pursuit, they made friends with one of King Herod’s assistants. It was through him that they requested peace and were invited to attend the Roman theater by the sea in Caesarea in order to hear Herod give a speech.

Let’s read the rest of the account from Acts 12. Luke tells the story much better than I can.

Acts 12 NKJV

20 ¶  Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.

21  So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them.

22  And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!”

23  Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.

24  But the word of God grew and multiplied.  

Angels are both messengers and ministers, sent by God to deliver and to destroy. The scriptures continually show angels delivering the children of God while destroying their enemies.

From the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation and all in between, angels are on assignment, often silent and sometimes deadly 

Herod killed James, persecuted the Church, imprisoned Peter, and would have no doubt attacked Tyre and Sidon. It was evident Herod would not repent but was lifted up with pride and fell prey to the judgment of God.

"No man is flattered by another who has not first flattered himself.”

Josephus says of King Herod that he “did neither rebuke them, [the people,] nor reject their impious flattery. A severe pain arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. And when he was quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and the seventh of his reign.”

Numbers 22 tells the story of the prophet Balaam who faced an angel unaware. The angel determined to kill him Balaam because the angel knew Balaam would hurt God’s children. This angel was a covert agent of God.

2 Chronicles 32

20  Now because of this King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried out to heaven.

21  Then the LORD sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria.

This angel was an invisible agent of God’s will, sent to deliver and destroy.

2 Kings 6 NKJV

15  And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

16  So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17  And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Angels are all around us, silently watching over our lives and moving in force to accomplish the will of God when we pray.

They are determined to deliver the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14), and they stand ready to destroy wickedness and the works of the devil at the unction of God. Be kind to strangers, some might just be angels sent to silently watch over and deliver you. (Hebrews 13:2; Psalms 34:7)

Saturday, July 8, 2023

What Good is the Church?


We live in a day and age when the value of the Church is being questioned not only by the world, but also by the many Born-again Believers in Jesus Christ. Some who love and respect Jesus have no love or respect for the Church. There are even a few who are committed to world missions and yet they have no commitment to a local fellowship of Believers. They have their reasons but fail to recognize the sovereignty of God on this one issue.

God has designed each and every one of His new creations in Christ to be a particular member of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. The patterns given to us by God in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament, and even heaven and the whole of eternity, are one of coming together in an assembly to worship God as one body.



In the Old Testament it was first an altar, then a tabernacle, and finally a temple which was the Old Testament Church. God’s children were commanded by the law of God to attend, worship, pray, give, and listen to the priests read from the Word of God on certain days, (Deuteronomy 16:16). Attendance and participation were not subject to personal choice.

In the New Testament, the Gospels tell us that Jesus was accustomed to attending the organized place of worship and participated in the services as was His habit every weekend, (Luke 4:16). The one result of the Promise of God, which was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, was the establishment of an organized local Church with a recognized Pastor, Elders, Prophets, Evangelists, Apostles, Deacons, missionaries, and thousands of local members.

The one goal and the fruit of every mission trip taken by missionaries from the Church in Jerusalem, the Church in Antioch, and the Church in Ephesus, our three main New Testament pattern Churches, were new Churches being established and commissioned as local congregations to continue the Great Commission, (Matthew 28:18-20), by spreading the Gospel message to their communities and ultimately to the whole world.

I have long said that if you want to be like Jesus, you’re going to have to go to Church … because He did and He will keep going. In fact, He is in Church today. Sunday is even called the Lord’s Day!

After looking for 12-year-old Jesus for three days, Mary and Joseph finally thought to look in the one place Jesus always wanted to be. They found Him in His Father’s house. (Luke 2:46ff)

And bear in mind, the people Jesus went to Church with weren’t perfect in His day either. Some of them were downright mean and more than one was possessed by devils. The preachers and the Church board often didn’t like Him. They lied on Him and treated Him like He was dirt. Jesus was thrown out of more than one congregation and yet He kept going.

The only glimpses we have been given of heaven and on into the millennial reign of Christ which will afterwards give way to a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness, where there is no need of a sun or moon for Jesus Christ shall be the Light thereof, is that of great assemblies where everyone from all nations and all tribes and tongues, everyone who makes it there, will gather together to praise and worship and adore the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and to give Him all the crowns they have earned.

Jesus died for the Church. Jesus is coming back again for the Church. Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the Bride. The Church is the Body of Christ and the family of God in the earth. The Psalmist said God sets the solitary in families, (Psalms 68:6). Paul said it this way: God sets us in the Church as it pleases Him … not as it pleases us, (1 Corinthians 12:18).

Are you ready for the Word today? We are going to read a passage and hope to find the answer to the question: What Good is the Church?

On the day of Pentecost 120 people were in an upper room praying and worshipping – they were having Church … and the prayer revival lasted 40 days … Then God sent the Holy Spirit to baptize them with power from on high and to give them the gift of being a witness. They immediately went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ everyone from all the nations who were visiting during the Feast of Weeks. People were amazed and had many questions, (Acts 2:1ff)

Peter began to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2 NKJV

38  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.

·        The Bible only tells one story. In order for any one scripture verse to be correctly interpreted, it must fit into and not violate the entirety of the one-story God is telling.

·        The one story of the Bible is Redemption by God’s grace.

·        We are saved by grace and not by works.

·        Jesus is the pattern of all truth.

·        Jesus was baptized because He was the Son of God. He was not baptized in water so that He could become the Son of God.

·        His water baptism was a baptism of identification and to be the example for us to follow.

·        We are baptized in water for the remission of sins in the same way Jesse James was wanted for robbery. He was not wanted so that he could commit a robbery. He was wanted because he had committed robbery. This word as it is used here connects the present to the past, not the present to the future.

·        Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Greek word ‘eis’ = for or because) because your sins have been forgiven …

·        The word “for” in this verse signifies an action in the past.

·        This agrees with the whole narrative of salvation by grace and not by works, (Ephesians 2:8&9).

39  “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.”

·        God is still calling and the Promise of receiving the Holy Spirit is still to us!

40  And with many other words Peter testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

·        Peter’s simple message conclusion: Be Saved!

41  Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

·        3000 people were added to the 120 who just moved the revival outside and kept the Church service growing and going all over the world.

·        Make no mistake … the initial and lasting results of Pentecost is Church! And it’s still growing and going all over the world.

42 ¶  And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

·        Here are The First 4 Things the Church is Good For:

o   Doctrine

o   Fellowship

o   Communion

o   Prayer

·        These are the primary pillars, responsibilities, goals, and benefits of the Church.

·        Without the Church, God knows the world will lose these pillars.

43  Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

·        The Church is good for maintaining an awe of God in the earth.

·        The Church is good for signs and wonders.

o   God works in, on, for, and through the Church.

o   I can testify all day about the signs God is moving through the Church and each one of them is a wonder to everyone who hears and sees.

§  Just in our little congregation here in a small community in the corner of Southeast Texas … Our Church Congregation is responsible for:

·        More than 700 water wells all over the earth.

·        More than a dozen congregations just within our local communities.

·        More than 150 sponsored children.

·        Orphanages, schools, hospitals, medical clinics, seminaries, feeding centers, preaching points, missionaries, publications, television programs, dozens of Christ-centered websites with free life-changing resources, and millions and millions of souls saved, and families restored here in our area and all around the globe.

§  I constantly wonder at the miracles done by those, and these proverbial, 120 who took their witness outside the walls of their little Church meeting and trusted in the power of the Holy Spirit.

·        Just this week we were able to buy shoes for poor and needy families in the Philippines.

·        Just this week we were given another building at Gioto Dumping Site in Kenya in which the Government has authorized us to remodel and expand our KE Learning Center to include First and Second grade classes.

·        Just this week we, right here from our Church, were able to fund three more months’ worth of salaries for the Medical Doctor and the Dentist who come every week to a clinic in Atoyac, Mexico, where we funded and drilled 3 new water wells last week. I can remember back in 1994 sending a group of 5 men from our Church to paint that surgical clinic which we had helped to build a few years earlier. My son was on that team, he was 15 at the time.

o   Talk about signs and wonders being done by and through the Church … not to mention those done for the Church by God!

·        These should all give us a sense of awe and respect for God and for His vehicle of choice, the Church of the living God.

44  Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,

45  and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

·        One of the responsibilities of the Church is to help one another and those in need by giving of those things God has blessed us with.

·        We see this happening every day in the Church, in so many ways.

·        The tithes and offerings people bring to the Church enable us to reach out and meet so many needs here within our congregation and community and elsewhere.

o   From our food bank to our outreaches to the simple benevolence needs which we meet to the toys at Christmas and so many other things you never hear about.

o   The left hand does not often know what the right hand is doing.

o   Last month alone three cars that I know of were given away from families in our Church to other families in our Church. There were probably more … there usually are and later I find out about it.

o   Last week our Church blessed a ministry assisting children in the Texas CPS system by giving them one of our 15 passenger vans. They were in desperate need, and they do a great service for children and families in some of the most terrible and trying times of life. We got a lot of use out of that van and it was a perfect fit for them and their need. We can believe God for another van.

·        That’s what the Church is good for … meeting needs.

·        I read somewhere recently that more real needs are met in communities around the world by Churches than by any other type of organizations.

We are almost finished … 2 more short verses and the best is yet to come.

What Good is the Church?

46  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And …

·        Stop right there for a moment before we finish that verse.

·        The Church helps us to keep things simple and to help God fill the hearts of our congregation members with gladness.

·        Together we praise God and others favor us because of all the good we do.

·        But … Do you know the best thing about the Church?

o   You know what the Church is really good for?

o   The best thing about the Church is the rest of that verse:

… the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

People are being saved on a daily basis in and through the efforts of the Church in our little part of the world and all around the globe.

The greatest responsibility, privilege, priority, and hope of the Church is that in all the good we do, we do not forget that our primary call is to bring people to the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

·        Have you been saved?

·        Are you committed to a local Church?

·        Can you remember a time when someone in the Church prayed for you, encouraged you, stood with you in faith, or walked with you through a trying time? Bible studies, camps, fellowships, and mission trips together all produce results that reach beyond our lifetimes.

·        Organized Church is the will and plan of God for every generation.

·        Church is not just a good thing; Church is a God thing.

What good is the Church? It is the Church that keeps satan and his demon angels from taking over this world and enslaving every soul for eternity.

Refuse to believe or propagate the devil’s message of doom and gloom. Jesus is the answer for the world today and Churches are the messengers.

Get saved and get plugged into a Bible believing, Christ-centered, missions oriented, church planting congregation and make an eternal difference by leaving it better than you found it.