ACTS 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,
(Click on arrow to hear the sound)
What the Church needs now is to return to the founder and foundation of her faith – 1 Cor. 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
The Church has been tossed and blown off course by winds of errant doctrine, like Universalism and Replacement Theology, and needs the compass of the Holy Spirit to help navigate her back to the sea of sound doctrine. The Scriptures have been discarded to some extent and replaced with humanistic philosophy and New Age teachings, or they have been watered down and made ineffective to convict or equip.
Close to being shipwrecked on the rocky shores of disillusionment and failure – her leadership is being swept away in a riptide of idolatry and apostasy. One of the duties of a captain is to navigate his ship, to steer it in the right direction so it may reach its intended destination. He’s also responsible for the welfare of his crew and ship. If his capacity to function has been impaired, how can he protect either from danger? When church leaders defect to the world and its lusts, abandoning Christ and his words, how can they steer his members through the darkness of night to a safe haven?
Isa 33:23 Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey. (loosed – forsake, cast off, hang loose, let fall, let lie fallow, cease from)
A ship whose mast is unsteady, whose sails are unfastened, and whose tacklings (or ropes) are loosed, cannot be navigated and is therefore at the mercy of every ‘wind of doctrine’ – Ephesians 4:14. The Mast or vision of the Church is weak, for it’s been knocked off its base (the Scriptures); thus the Church is unable to spread her sails to catch the Spirit’s wind, and sits idly dry docked – Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish……..(‘perish’ – let go, let loose, ignore, let alone, neglect, to show lack of restraint, to let loose of restraints; expose, dismiss; figuratively absolve, begin: – avenge, avoid, bare, go back, let, (make) naked, set at nought, refuse, uncover.)
The Church needs to get back to teaching and preaching the foundational truths of the Kingdom and ‘cut the ropes’ of errant doctrines, wayward ministers, prophets, and teachers who contribute to her decay and ruin, and carry off her treasure as booty (cut away the ropes – Acts 27:32). For many, the ‘pearl of great price’ is being stolen by altered bible versions that have left out vast portions of Scripture, even removing evidence of Christ’s divinity, thereby making a mockery of his blood. These things should not be allowed – Mt 18:18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. 2Co 10:5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ;
Some members are discouraged and exhausted from much work, and need rest. Others are slack in their Christian duties, intoxicated with the wine of cheap grace choosing a life of ease and comfort. The latter are ill equipped to carry the Gospel to the world due to their deficiency of the knowledge of God’s Word and neglect of prayer. They need to forsake the idleness of their hands and become useful vessels – John 9:4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. Though we walk by faith, labor is involved in bringing forth the Kingdom of God and all hands are needed on deck!
Heb 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; (hang down and feeble – neglect, disregard, omit, relax, loose, let go, weakened, exhausted)
Isa 62:10 Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
The Lord uses Spirit-led prophets and ministers to prepare the way (by removing whatever causes his people to stumble), lift up the standard, and guide his church back to the lighthouse of his Word. Who is our standard but Jesus Christ the LORD? – Isa 11:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, that standeth for an ensign of the peoples, unto him shall the nations seek; and his resting place shall be glorious.
Arise then, Fair Lady! ~ Lift up the standard, strengthen your tacklings, hoist your sails, and launch out into the sea bearing God’s light to the nations!
~ Debra R. Stout © 2015
standard means a flag or a sail – a signal; figuratively a token: – banner, pole, sail, ensign. From the root nâsas which means, to gleam from afar; through the idea of a flag as fluttering in the wind.
fair comes from the root yâphâh, meaning to be ‘bright’ by implication; beautiful, make oneself fair.
lady is a church whose children walk in the truth – 2 John 1&4. “Church” is derived from Greek “Kuriake,” akin to Kuria, or Kyria here; the latter word among the Romans and Athenians means the same as ecclesia, the term appropriated to designate the Church assembly.
ABOUT ME: One sultry summer afternoon in late August of 1976 I was Born Again when a Jewish college student named Wendy Abraham led me to Jesus Christ. She had come to the YWCA where I was living, asking residents what they thought about Jesus and if they would come to the beach house where her group, Campus Crusade For Christ evangelistic ministry, stayed for the summer. At first I was disdainful of the idea but God inspired one of the residents to urge me to go. At the group meetings we sang Christian songs and read the Bible. Sometimes just Wendy and I hung out together, and she would read to me from the Bible. The individual attention made me feel special. All of the students were nice to me, and seemed genuinely happy.
I’ll never forget the moment Wendy invited me to pray with her to ‘receive Jesus Christ as my Savior.’ I said a very short, simple prayer in my own words, and instantly I knew something had changed deep down inside of me. For the first time in my life I felt peace, except when I heard a voice at age six telling me to obey my father, a voice which sounded familiar and made my spirit leap with joy, although at the time I didn’t realize whose voice it was. (What this suggests to me is the human spirit has the capability of hearing God’s voice even before Regeneration occurs). As Wendy took me around to the students, introducing me as their ‘new sister in Christ,’ I felt a kinship or bond with them I hadn’t felt before. I cried when it was time for her to return home for Fall classes, but God had a plan. Before long, I met other Christians and began attending a church where I grew in the Lord, and was baptized by full immersion in water. A few years later I was baptized in the Holy Spirit with attending Charisma. Wendy, I’ll always remember what you did for me, and I’ll always love you! Never doubt that you’re a good Christian and a faithful witness for Jesus. I’ll ever be grateful for your obedience to his command,“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” – Mark 16:15. Shalom to you dear sister until we meet again!
The battle for my soul before I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior was intense and very real, but Jesus won that battle, and my heart! Choosing him was undoubtedly the best choice I ever made. A better friend, supporter, and guide you cannot find. The more I get to know him and what it cost him to become Man’s Redeemer, the more I love him. He is the Logos, the living Word who became flesh – John 1:14. I might not be alive today if he had not rescued me from the self-destructive path I was on before I met him. Though raised Catholic, I saw little in that religion or in my home that would make anyone want God. As a child I often asked God if I would ever be happy. As a teenager, I questioned if he existed, and if he did, what was he like and why was I born. As a young adult, I had much anger and bitterness towards him for the terrible things I had witnessed and experienced growing up. In spite of the walls I had erected thinking they would protect me from further hurt, God was able to break through them, and reveal himself to me.
The question, ‘Does God exist?’ has been absolutely and undeniably answered for me through the ‘New Birth,’ and his abiding indwelling presence. There is but one, true God, and he is Yahweh. The great “I AM,” the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End is who he says he is! – Exodus 3:14. His Word, the Bible, contains his plan for the Redemption of Mankind, and is a reliable history of Man’s beginning, fall, and the eventual restoration of those who enter by the Door – John 10:7. His words are truly the words of Life for he is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life,” John 6:63, John 14:6. Without Jesus, I would still be lost but now I’m found – Luke 15:32. Jesus is my hero! If you have never asked him to reveal himself to you, there’s no better time than the present, for Behold now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation – 2 Corinthians 6:2.
If you want your sins washed away, and you want to change your life’s course for the better, then don’t wait, call upon him this very moment. Ask him to reveal himself to you so you may know that he is God, and that you may be given the power to become one of his sons. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” – John 1:2. You could pray something like, Dear Jesus, I realize that I’m a sinner and can’t save myself. Please cleanse me of all my sins and be my savior and Lord. Fill me with your Spirit and lead me into all truth. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and my neighbor as myself.
If you prayed this prayer with sincere faith, God heard it, and he will answer you. Not all of your problems will disappear overnight, but if you continue to sincerely, humbly and patiently seek him, your life will improve over time – Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9, Romans 2:7 & James 5:8.
WHAT I BELIEVE: I believe there’s but one true God, “I AM,” who has always existed and always will. He’s the eternal Father and Maker of the Universe and everything and everyone in it. I believe that Jesus Christ is his only Begotten Son (Jn 3:16), born of the Holy Spirit (his seed was not of human sperm), and took on a human fleshly body in the womb of a virgin named Mary – Mt 1:18, 20.
When he was ready, he was baptized in water by John the Baptist to prepare him for ministry – Mt 3:13, 16. Jesus worked many miracles and preached the Kingdom of God among the people, and was loved by many, but hated by the sect of the Pharisees. When his time was come, they led him away to be crucified on a cross, not for any wrong he had committed, but because they were jealous of his popularity with people, and felt their authority with them was threatened. His sinless blood paid the ransom for the souls of men and by his blood their sins are washed away, forgiven, absolved. Jesus was buried and arose three days later – 1 Cor 15:4, Mt 10:34, 16:21; Lk 13:32 & 33, 24:7, 20-26. After Jesus ascended back to his Father, he sent his Holy Spirit to live inside those who believed in him, that they too might work the works that he did – Mt 10:7&8, Mk 16:15, 17&18.
All men are born sinners – Rms 3:23, 5:12 Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned: Because of this, no man or woman can be saved or enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless he/she is “born again” or born from above by the Spirit of God – John 3:3-8, John 3:16.
No one can come to the Father except through his Son, Jesus Christ – John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. In order to be saved from God’s wrath to come, everyone must repent of their sinning, receive Jesus as their savior, and be cleansed of their sin nature – John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.
As soon as a person believes on Jesus and repents of sin, he/she is regenerated, baptized into Christ, receives forgiveness and cleansing of his/her sins – Mt 3:6, Mk 1:4, Lk 3:3, Jn 3:18, Acts 19:3&4, 1 Pet 3:21, Tit 3:5. This is also called being “born again” – John 3:3-5. With reference to FUTURE SINS in a believer’s life, I do not support nor teach the errant UNCONDITIONAL ETERNAL SECURITY doctrine! There are too many CONDITIONAL scriptures in the New Testament that say otherwise; Mt 6:14-15, 10:33, 18:34-35; 1 John 1:8-10; 1 Jn 2:3-4. A believer must continue in a lifestyle of obedience to God’s commands and of continual confession with repentance when he fails to do so. Here’s a sobering verse – Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Water baptism is a symbol to show one has been regenerated and died to their old sinful life (symbolized by full submersion in water), and are raised with him (symbolized by coming up out of the water) who is now seated at the right hand of his Father in heavenly places – Rms 6:3-14, Cols 2:12.
There is however, a second baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is not a symbolic, but a literal submersion in the Holy Spirit to endow the believer with spiritual gifts, power to witness, and power over the enemy – Acts 1:8,15, 11:16; Lk 3:16, John 1:33.
Every born again man or woman has been given the keys to the Kingdom, and it’s their duty to execute judgment and correction in Christ’s Body on earth – Mt 16:19.
The lack of church discipline today is causing the members to slip further and deeper into all manner of sin because of this liberality. The church surely needs reforming in this and other crucial areas, for ‘without holiness, no man will see the LORD’ – Heb 12:14.
Many church assemblies are not only accepting but condoning sins the Bible condemns. They call themselves, “seeker-friendly” and hang signs outside their gates that say, “We are an affirmative church” which means they won’t confront you with your sins and will fully accept you into their membership, regardless of your sexual orientation and what God’s Word says about it – Rms 1:24 &7.
The Scriptures are “God-breathed,” thus they’re words man can trust and live by – Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4, 2 Titus 3:16, Ps 119:130.
I believe in life after death, and all who receive the Son of God, Jesus Christ have eternal life – John 3:15, 5:24, 8:51, 11:25;1 John 5:13.
I believe that God alone holds the keys of life and death, for he has conquered hell, death, and the grave! – Rms 6:9, Heb 2:14, Rev 1:18. Jesus “tasted death for all men” – Heb 2:9, 14, Phil 2:8.
I believe that Jesus Christ is coming a second time to the earth to gather his elect unto his throne, and to destroy the wicked – 2 Thess 2:1, Mark 13:27.
Then will the Kingdom of Heaven be set up and established upon the Earth for 1000 years called the Millennium. During that time, the resurrected saints will rule and reign with Christ on the earth. After that period, Satan the Dragon and his demon hoard will be let out of their prison for a short season to deceive the world once more (Rev 20:7&8), but he will be overcome. The Lord of Hosts will completely smash Satan and his angels, and cast them and all unrepentant mankind, into the Lake of Fire – Rev 9:20-21,19:20, 20:8-10&15.
I believe in the resurrection of all the dead; the first resurrection is of the righteous dead – Rev 20:4-6, John 5:28&29, Dan 12:2. The rest of the dead won’t be judged until after Satan is ‘loosed’ again, at the end of the Millennium – Rev 20:7&8. Books will be opened to judge the works or deeds of them all – Rev 20:12-15. After the Devil and his angels (demons) are destroyed, the smoke of their burning will rise forever, but the righteous will shine like the stars in heaven forever – Rev 14:11, Dan 12:2&3.
There will be no more dying, sorrow, suffering, nor lack once the New Jerusalem comes down from above to the earth, when the Father and Son will dwell forever with the Redeemed – Rev 21:2-4.
This is my statement of faith, in short. The Bible, God’s Word, is rich and deep having many layers of revelation; we can never come to an end of discovering its treasures. Because of this, I’m able to change my position on any doctrine when new light is shown me. I do not claim that my writings are error free, for no one can do that. I’ve asked the Lord to cover any errors I may make, and I exhort you to search out the Scriptures for yourself and compare all writings to them. I also welcome suggestions and comments.
Thank you for visiting, and may you find the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ – Mt 13:46.
Debra R. Stout © March 28, 2015
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