Monday, September 4, 2017

The Two Marriage Covenants (Old and New)

The Two Marriage Covenants, Old and New.
Sunday Sept. 3 2017

God works in covenants, all throughout Scripture. He establishes several which all work together towards His goal of a Holy Heavenly Nation.
There is one covenant in particular that is of special importance:
In the Beginning, God Establishes an EVERLASTING COVENANT that cannot be broken. It was established between Father and Son, who are two yet ONE. Both being perfect and completely unified with each other, this covenant would never be voided because neither party would violate the terms of it.
The Father and the Son would both perfectly fulfil the terms of this covenant forever. It was sealed by the death of Jesus on the Cross, and its benefits began to be distributed at His resurrection.

Rev 13:8 GNV
Therefore all that dwell upon the earth, shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of that Lamb, which WAS SLAIN from the beginning of the world.

He was slain before time began. Meaning, the Father and the Son had already established the EVERLASTING COVENANT based on that sacrifice, long before that sacrifice would actually occur.

Note that The Father and the Son had already established the details of the Everlasting Covenant, long before the world began.

Matthew 22:1-2 ESV
1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,

John 17:4-5 GNV
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now glorify me, thou Father, with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee
BEFORE the world was.

Genesis 9:16 GNV
Therefore the bow shall be in the cloud, that I may see it, and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living thing, in all flesh that is upon the earth.

Genesis 17:7 GNV
Moreover, I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

Hebrews 13:20 GNV
The God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting Covenant,

Later, in the Old Testament God established a Covenant With Israel, after delivering them from bondage in Egypt - This was The First Marriage Covenant at Mount Siniai. And it was between God and Natural Israel. The purpose of this covenant was to establish a people through which to bring forth a Messiah. It would also serve to show how much better the New Covenant would be.

Deuteronomy 4:13 GNV
Then he declared unto you his covenant which he commanded you to do, even the ten commandments, and wrote them upon two Tables of stone.

Deuteronomy 5:2 GNV
The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

Deuteronomy 5:3 GNV
The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers only, but with us, even with us all here alive this day.

The First Marriage Covenant was eventually broken (nullified) by Israel who violated the terms of the covenant. They were without true, whole-hearted repentance. After centuries of calling to them to turn back, and their refusal, God decided to divorce them.
Jeremiah 31:32 GNV
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, the which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord.

God divorces Israel in recognition that the old covenant, the first marriage, has been broken by Israel. They were steeped in unrepentant unfaithfulness and idolatry. This divorce was sealed by their deportation to Syria (Assyria/Ninevah). They would never return home.
Through their unfaithfulness to the Faithful God, they broke/nullified the covenant.
Jeremiah 3:8 GNV
8 When I saw, how that by all occasions rebellious Israel had played the harlot, I cast her away, and gave her a bill of divorcement: yet her rebellious sister Judah was not afraid, but she went also and played the harlot.

Thus we know:
A) Covenants CAN be broken if one of the parties violates the terms of that covenant and refuses to repent.
B) Divorce in itself is not a sin, since God has used divorce Himself. He cannot and does not sin. He is holy, faithful and righteous. It is a last-resort provision in case there is a violation of a covenant where no true lasting repentance can be seen or found. If a covenant is broken and there is no lasting repentance, divorce can be used... because the covenant was already broken.
C) The Everlasting Covenant cannot be Broken because both parties are flawless and completely unified with each other. The Father and the Son are ONE. (John 10:30) The Everlasting Covenant represents the Second Marriage, the marriage between the Lamb and the New (Heavenly) Jerusalem.

God kept a remnant of Israel in the tribes Judah and Benjamin, for the sake of His covenant to David's house. That everlasting covenant, the new one, would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ, the greatest son of David.
God promises to remarry the House of Israel through a new covenant.
Hosea 2:19-23 GNV
19 And I will marry thee unto me forever: yea, I will marry thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in mercy, and in compassion.
20 I will even marry thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord.
21 And in that day I will hear, saith the Lord, I will even hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth,
22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel.
23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth, and I will have mercy upon her, that was not pitied, and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people. And they shall say, Thou art my God.

That new covenant is the EVERLASTING COVENANT between FATHER and SON from before the foundation of the earth. It was CONSUMATED at the CROSS of Jesus.
John 19:30 GNV
Now when Jesus had received of the vinegar, he said, It is finished, and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Through Jesus Christ, any Israelite or Gentile can come be a part of HIS NEW BRIDE, the NEW JERUSALEM. Jesus Christ the Son of God, is the Husband of the New Jerusalem (The Bride). Jesus Christ is ONE WITH THE FATHER (John 10:30).
Thus, Hosea 2:19-23 is fulfilled in Jesus Christ's marriage to the New Jerusalem. This is the Second Marriage, and unlike the first, it is ETERNAL because the covenant was between two persons who are UNIFIED, SINLESS and FLAWLESS.

Hebrews 6:16-18 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
16 For men verily swear by him that is greater than themselves, and an oath for confirmation is among them an end of all strife.
17 So God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the stableness of his counsel, bound himself by an oath,
18 That by two immutable things, wherein it is impossible that God should lie, we might have strong consolation, which have our refuge to lay hold upon that hope that is set before us,

Revelation 21:9-14 GNV
9 And there came unto me one of the seven Angels, which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come: I will show thee the bride the Lamb’s wife.
10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and an high mountain, and he showed me that great city, that holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 Having the glory of God, and her shining was like unto a stone most precious, as a jasper stone clear as crystal,
12 And had a great wall and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve Angels, and the names written which are the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
13 On the East part there were three gates, and on the North side three gates, on the South side three gates, and on the West side three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the Lamb’s twelve Apostles.

There are three in Heaven, The Father God, Jesus the Word, and the Holy Spirit. These three are ONE (Triune). (See 1 John 5:7 in the Geneva Version or King James Version)
Jesus is married to New Jerusalem.

Jesus is God and Saviour:
2 Peter 1:1
Simon Peter a servant and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to you which have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Any person, Israelite or Gentile, who wants to be a part of the Bride, must come through the DOOR, Jesus Christ. (John 10:9). Through Jesus Christ, any person may enter into the NEW COVENANT. This new covenant is EVERLASTING, and it culminated in a SECOND MARRIAGE, a permanent and eternal one.
God Bless!

Ten Things I Have Learned in my 30's

10 things I have been learning in my 30's.
I will be turning 38 in a few short months. It's time to reflect on what my 30's have taught me in my walk with Jesus so far. Perhaps you can relate to some of what I share here.
10 lessons from my 30's:

Lesson 1. 30 is the time, Biblically speaking, to WALK IN a greater fullness of YOUR CALL. It's time to come into full adulthood and maturity.
-Joseph became the Vice-Pharaoh of Egypt at age 30,
-David was anointed king at age 30, and
-Jesus began His public ministry at age 30.
My 30's have truly been a time of increase: in maturity, in responsibilities, in authority, in anointing, and in ministry. In a nutshell, I was able to follow the Call from God. I believe God placed this call on my life in my childhood. I started answering the call in my 20's. But it was in my 30's when I saw the strength of this calling... and how it had survived many losses and adversities and actually flourished. Like David, Joseph, and Jesus, I had come through adversity in order to be tested and purified in character. The trials of my 20's prepared me to walk in a greater fullness in my 30's.

Lesson 2. You start to trim off the things that don't work in your life. By the time I hit 30, I had already gained experience through ambition and effort and tried many different things, including small business and travel.
 Not everything in my 20's worked. Some of it was VERY successful and carried into my 30's, such as my success in retail and in local church ministry. So failures are not a negative point... they are positive... because they allowed me to zero in on what DOES work for me. Every failure and every success contributes to my overall learning and growth.
So by the time I was in my 30's, I realized I don't have to achieve all the goals I once held in my 20's. I just need to be faithful to the Lord Jesus and walk in the path He calls me to. I simply do what works for me.

Lesson 3. I learned to let go of my young naive ideals about how life should be. By the time I was in my 30's I had a much more realistic and mature perspective on life and goals. I faced some huge disappointments and losses.
Life can deal some tough blows sometimes, and one has to learn that God only works GOOD, using both GOOD and BAD circumstances. He transforms all things for His plan. He only does GOOD, but He does not waste the BAD things that happen to us. They become a part of His design to form us into the image of His son, Jesus Christ.

Lesson 4. I don't have to be like everyone else. Don't compare yourself to others or gauge your "success" on what others have achieved.
There are many things I don't have, that others do. And now I realize, I don't care. Things went differently for me, and God blessed me in this path. So I simply do not compare myself to others, for that would rob me of contentment and it would rob God of the glory that my intentional gratitude brings to Him.

Lesson 5. I need to rest every now and then. I was constantly go go go in my 20's, but now I can see that rest should ALWAYS be a part of the equation. God rested on the seventh day after creating heaven and earth. Jesus invites us to come to Him to find rest.
I now notice that stress can creep up on me more often than it used to. So I have learned to work hard during the week, and rest just as hard on my day off.... if that makes sense!! I have 2 jobs, but I choose to take a rest day every week.
I rest with intention. I do things for fun sometimes. Like playing piano, making music, taking photographs, going for walks, writing.
I never really valued time off from work in my 20's. But let me tell you, I do now!! I have always loved working, and I still do. But now, rest is an actual priority for me. If I don't make it a priority, it could take a toll on me later in life.
So I make sure I am booking a week off from work every now and then. And I rest one day every week. And if I have other odd jobs to do that do not have a time limit, I pace myself. I no longer rush everything, because I realize I am only one human being.

Lesson 6. When I was 20, I wanted to be seen as "mature and old enough". But now, I welcome being called "young". Why? because in the next decade, I will likely start to show my age more. Right now, people usually underestimate my age by as much as ten years!
I am now being seen as both "young" and "old" at the same time. Young adults at work will joke with me and call me "old" and then 5 minutes later, a customer older than me will come by and call me "young man".
Of course, I welcome all the "young" compliments I can get!

Lesson 7. Humility has been a power tool in my life.  I have been discovering this in my 30's. I was practicing it in my 20's. But now, in my 30's I feel God is refining that character trait.
 I have discovered that being meek and pliable in God's hands is very empowering. And showing grace and humility to others also opens many doors. A lowly and humble man is one that does not think he is better than everyone else and does not always think he is right. A humble and gracious man is one who knows that he is never done with LEARNING. Such a man is powerful enough to receive constructive criticism without retaliating or falling into the emotional tank. Humility is an awesome weapon against satan, whose greatest downfall was his pride. And as the Bible states, Pride comes before a fall.

Lesson 8. Your body is not invincible. I was never reckless in my youth. But I also never fully realized that health issues could eventually happen to me, either. That is why I got so many cavities in my teeth in my late 20's. I just did not clue in that I needed to floss in order to keep my teeth clean. Brushing alone does not do the whole job. My dentist was always after me to floss. But it was not until after having all those cavities filled, at age 29, that it really dawned on me.
I entered my 30's with a renewed awareness....my body can fall apart if I don't look after it.
This new experience brought on a different kind of awareness. It was not mere head-knowledge... but it was now an active reality to me that caused me to take action. 

Overall, I have had very few health issues in my life, Praise God. But I HAVE had a few (other than cavities), and they mostly happened in my 30's. Bursitis, Shingles, and S.I. Joint dysfunction were among those issues. Each problem has been brought under control because I was humble enough to pray and also get medical help when needed.
So be aware of your body and never ignore signs of illness. When you see something happening to your body, Pray first - in Jesus Name. Then, as needed, seek medical advice from your doctor. Remember, if it is happening now, in your 30's, then that could be a problem later if left unchecked.

Also, because of this, I eat more fruits and vegetables now. I'm still eating other stuff, like sweets. But I have been more conscious of my diet lately and been eating more fruits and vegetables than I did in my 20's. I am a tall lean person, but I can't take it for granted. What I eat in my 30's will shape what I become in my 40's- and that decade is just around the corner. So getting nutrients from raw fruits and veggies has become more important to me.

Lesson 9. You start to realize that you don't have to defend your position or justify yourself to everyone. Practice being accountable with God and with your local church and your loved ones. But by the time you are in your 30's, the random opinions of uninformed ignorant observers will mean less and less to you.
I have learned this lesson. Yet I still need to be reminded every once in a while: don't take every comment personally. Explaining my heart to someone can actually work against me if I do not have a deeper connection to that person already. So my 30's have taught me to say less in general, and to listen carefully.

Lesson 10. Your Experience Pool has some depth to it now. When we are young 20-somethings, we have little personal experience to go on. That is why we often try so many things... we are trying to find out where we fit in. By the time I was in my 30's I had some significant experiences to draw from. Marriage. Divorce. Small Business. Retail. College. Ministry. Your personal pool of experiences hopefully helps you make wise decisions in your 30's. 30 is a time of GREAT OPPORTUNITY in the Lord. You are still young and energetic enough to try new things, and yet your are also old enough to have a set of experiences to draw from. It's a great time of life and an interesting mix. One of my sales reps at the store who has known me in the business for years, once described me as being "young and experienced"! THAT is a decent description of a 30-something.

 And THOSE are 10 lessons I have been  learning in my 30's! But there are more lessons I have learned. And there will be more lessons to BE learned too!

If you are in your 30's please share:
What have you learned in your 30's?

If you are in a different age bracket, tell me:
what age bracket are you in, and what have you learned so far?

God bless!
1:11am EST
Tue Aug 22 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

VISION: The MOUNTAIN above Canada


Vision: Mountain and Flood over Canada.
A couple of months ago I received a spiritual, symbolic vision from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was at church praying in our prayer service and the Lord suddenly showed me the whole map of Canada, slowly being submerged under water. Then I saw a mountain above Canada, and it was most impressive. It was small at first, but kept growing as it needed to, and it could be reached from any place within Canada (or from anyplace in the world for that matter).
All the valleys were flooded out and even Canada's tallest natural mountain, Mount Logan in the Yukon at a massive 5,956m above sea level was eventually dwarfed by this gigantic mountain.

 The Mountain I saw was never submerged. It was hovering above Canada, much like the crown is hovering at the top of Canada's coat of arms (see picture below). And all who were willing, went UP to the Mountain.
I figured now was the right time to share this since in the last day or two, there has been significant natural flooding in part of Southern Ontario.
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/grand-valley-grca-grand-river-conservation-authority-kitchener-storm-1.4174860
This is sad news for the Kitchener area, and I pray for those affected to be restored. May they cry out to the one true God, Jesus Christ. One of the towns affected was Grand Valley... near the Grand River. This natural event matches the spiritual vision I had a few months back: I had seen the "valleys of Canada" flooded in the spirit, several months ago. And now, we see here an actual town named Grand Valley being literally flooded.

I don't believe in coincidences. I feel the Lord is trying to get our attention.

Isaiah 59:19 (GENEVA)
So shall they fear [respect] the Name of the Lord from the West, and his glory from the rising of the Sun; for the enemy shall come like a flood; but the Spirit of the Lord shall chase him away.
 
Isaiah 59:19 (KJV)So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
 
On Canada's coat of arms one latin phrase reads "Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam" on the round red ribbon in the center, around the shield. That's Latin for "They desire a better country". That phrase comes from the Bible and was added to our coat of arms in 1994.

Canada's Coat of Arms (above) has two phrases from the Holy Bible on it, in Latin


Here is the original text that Canadian officials drew from:
Hebrews 11:16 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.


So if we keep reading the book of Hebrews we learn that The Heavenly Country is Mount Zion, also known as the Heavenly Jerusalem (not the earthly Jerusalem):
Hebrews 12:22-25
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.


So the question is: are YOU enrolled in heaven? Are you going up to the MOUNTAIN of the LORD? You can do it right NOW! You can access New Jerusalem from wherever you are, by entering the Door, JESUS CHRIST!
Jesus declared:
John 10:9 English Standard Version (ESV)
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.


Don't wait. Ask Jesus and enter into His kingdom right now. He LOVES you and wants you to live forever. He paid for your sins (shortcomings and lawless deeds) on the cross. He died and rose again, to save you! Enter today... access the mountain... go on UP! You reach the heavenly, better country, the New Jerusalem! It is eternal, and your citizenship is attainable TODAY. You get your passport and citizenship through Jesus, the DOOR. Citizenship is attainable as SOON as you apply! If you don't repent, sin will flood you out. You will be forever separated from God in hell. But God does not want that. He wants you to change your ways (repent) and head into the door, Jesus Christ! No matter what your past was, it can be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. You can be clean. In Christ, you are IMMEDIATELY ELIGIBLE for citizenship in The New Jerusalem!! Just believe in Jesus.
And finally, God is allowing a different kind of flood into Canada, not a natural one. He is allowing adversity to flood our valleys. He wants us to head UP.... out of our comfort zones... out of our complacency, out of our low perspective, out of sin, out of compromised truth, and out of hiding. God is calling us UP through Christ...
INTO His City,
INTO His country,
INTO His right living
INTO His faith
INTO His Salvation
INTO The truth
INTO His love
INTO a place of true security that no disaster or false belief can touch
INTO eternal life.
I do not believe my vision is to be taken literally, but as a spiritual symbol of what the Lord wants for Canada in 2017. It is time to GO UP GOD's MOUNTAIN! God is allowing the spiritual flood of opposition to cause discomfort in the valley and to cause us to rise up in prayer and in obedience to Christ's Call and great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).
Our lead pastor, Rev. Steve Coates recently preached at Church On The GO about this passage in Micah 4, and it really resonated with what the Lord had shown me in this vision:

Micah 4:1-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Mountain of the Lord
1 It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall flow to it,
2 and many nations shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord
,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore;
4 but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
5 For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our Godforever and ever.


John 8:58 English Standard Version (ESV)
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”


Let's go up to Heavenly Zion, like Micah 4:2 declares! Let's get our Heavenly citizenship... through Jesus. Canada, it's time to rise up, go up, take the highest ground! Jesus is calling. Canada has become a place like Micah 4:5... a place of many gods and there is confusion and disagreement on ground level. But we can choose to walk in the name of the LORD our GOD (v5).

What is the Name of the Lord God?
Philippians 2:10
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Our Canadian heritage is about desiring a better country. It's on our coat of arms. And now, that coat of arms has been restored to the brand new $10 bill. I recently had the chance to look at it. So the Word of God is on our new bills, and it's on our coat of arms, in Latin... both Psalm 72:8 (from sea to sea) and Hebrews 11:16 (they desire a better country).

Let's go up to the Better Country, New Jerusalem! Jesus is the Door!
Blessings
Pastor Curtis

Jun 24/17 5:30pm EST

Sunday, May 21, 2017

NOT IN VAIN - Happy Steadfast Day!

TODAY is the day I am choosing to CELEBRATE the LORD'S STEADFASTNESS and how He has been teaching me to be the same!
 
 
 
My labour (church ministry, retail management, etc) is not in vain. Period. Should someone attempt to suggest otherwise, I will point them to 1 Cor. 15:57-58. Jesus is faithful.
 
May is an important month for me. It was the month I began serving as a ministry leader in the church, 16 years ago. Back then I was a youth director teaching children and youths about prayer and the Word. I was just a young man.
 
Years have passed and I am now our church's Assistant Pastor. I've seen a generation of children grow into adults in God, and I helped to contribute to their development. What a special privilege and honour that has been... and still is! There just isn't anything better than this for me... raising spiritual children.
  God's faithfulness has shone through my wonderful church, Church On The GO. I continue with youth ministry, but over the years I have expanded my portfolio of ministry: I teach the Word to adults, lead in worship, run a ministry to Christian singles, and do other tasks as needed for the church.
It is a month that has much reason to celebrate. But for me, this day also has the potential to remind one of disappointments and loss. But I choose to remember and CELEBRATE the GOOD of the LORD over the unfaithfulness of people. I aggressively and assertively declare the GOOD of the LORD which HAS PREVAILED in my life, and continues to prevail! He has given me victory, and I choose to walk in that victory every day. Trials have come, and still do come. I sometimes fail and have to repent.
But the understanding that I already have victory over those trials has shaped my attitude as a whole. The Lord always brings me through each trial. He hasn't failed me. He is FAITHFUL. 
1 Corinthians 15:57-58 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
57 But thanks be unto God, which hath given us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye STEADFAST, UNMOVEABLE, abundant always in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is NOT IN VAIN in the Lord.
------
By the way, that Greek word for "vain" is defined by the blueletterbible as "emtpy, devoid of truth, fruitless" and it is also defined as "without SPIRITUAL WEALTH." Well that is what we have been studying in church.... God's wealth is 3-D! Our lead pastor got a revelation of the Word from the Holy Spirit on this concept of wealth being triune or 3-D. It is: the spiritual wealth of God, character wealth of the soul, and natural/bodily wealth such as money and health.

The Lord has made me immoveable. I depend fully on Him and not on my own strength or ability. Thank you Jesus for this day. This is a good day.... it's God's day.
 
Here is a list of things I choose to CELEBRATE about the LORD'S STEADFASTNESS in ME!
 
1. The Lord gave me a church ministry in May 2001... 16 years ago. He has expanded it since then.
2. Nearly 22 years work experience in retail.
3. My recovery from being abandoned, and recovery from divorce. (Married May 21 2005, Divorced Oct 15 2009) I am HEALED. I have FORGIVEN. I have MOVED ON in Christ. (In fact, today, it took me more than HALF A DAY to even realize that this was my former wedding date.
4. My SINGLES ministry is ONLY POSSIBLE due to the loss in my life... the compassion and the insight and experience the Lord allowed me to have is invaluable when ministering to other singles, divorced people and widowers.
Happy Steadfast Day.


-CJA
Sun May 21 2017 1:39pm EST

Monday, May 8, 2017

Feel Isolated in Christ? You are NOT ALONE!

Matthew 10:42 English Standard Version (ESV)
42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

1 Corinthians 7:17 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.

I want to encourage you: don't be afraid to walk your unique and holy path in Jesus. He calls you to it, and it will be an isolating experience, just as Bonhoeffer explains in his book "The Cost of Discipleship". Believe me when I say that I can RELATE to this!!



Yes, we gather in fellowship in local public churches. But that does not mean our individual paths in Christ will all look identical. We all seek to have the same mind in Christ and the same doctrine. But not every path in Jesus will be the same. 1 Corinthians 12 does a great job of explaining the diversities of callings and gifts in Christ. It is always the same Spirit. There is unity through diversity of callings and gifts. Not all people have to do the same thing in the body. In fact, in that chapter, Paul says that if everyone did the same thing or had the same gift, then the spiritual body would not be fully equipped!
Discipleship will cause you to feel separate. Indeed I know I feel separated and sometimes misunderstood because I don't have the same calling and walk as others. God equips us with desires that match the calling. So don't feel bad when you don't desire what other people think you should desire.
Remember the source of your desires.... it is God who changes your heart and determines what you will desire:

Psalm 37:3-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.

By delighting in the Lord and in what He desires, He will plant His desires in your heart and they become yours. This is what I believe the Psalm is telling us. Let God give you the desires of your heart. Then when you go to ask for those things, He will grant your desires, because they match His sovereign desire. And His sovereign desire for you is GOOD and HOLY. But it still will not be the exact same path as other disciples/Christians. Contrast the difference of paths between Peter and John in the New Testament. One was called to die on a cross, the other lived to full age while banished on a prison island.

 People want to put you into a cookie cutter. But you don't fit in the cookie cutter mold. And that's ok. God is using your set of unique experiences to further His kingdom of spiritual children. You don't have to fit man's cookie cutter. God shaped you with a different mold! He shaped you into the image of His Son! And Jesus did not follow man's tradition or Adam's natural path. He PERFECTLY did the will of His heavenly Father. And Jesus IS the LAST ADAM.
The FIRST ADAM had sinned, and had a natural family who also took on his natural sinful nature.
The LAST ADAM, Jesus Christ, is SPIRITUAL, and did NOT sin. He was SINLESS, yet He took on our own sin. He took it on, so that He could adopt all who believe Him as SPIRITUAL children!
Isn't that amazing? Read 1 Corinthians 15 for Paul's teaching on the First Adam vs. the Last Adam.

 Your path is unique and holy in Christ! Stay close to Jesus and stay obedient to His Spirit. Don't second-guess what God has already told you and shown you. Not everything that applies to other persons in the church will apply to you. Though your brothers and sisters in Christ love you, they may not understand God's will for you fully. It's ok. Just love them. Don't waste time defending your position. Since you are not sinning, you have nothing to repent of. There is no shame in following Jesus, even if it costs you personal relationships. And please don't assume they are wrong in their path. Don't assume everyone must walk exactly the way you do in your practical and life choices.

Be BOLD. Be yourself in Christ. You don't take up the cross of a different disciple. You take up your own unique cross for Jesus. And that cross will be misunderstood by some Christians. People don't mean any harm. So please be gentle and gracious with them.

God bless and strengthen you for the journey ahead, and remember, you might feel like me.... alone at times. Even though you feel alone, remember that you have JESUS with you and Jesus and the FATHER are ONE.
Jesus declared:
John 16:32 English Standard Version (ESV)
32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.

This is my reality. The Father is with me too, because I believe in Jesus, Love Him, and obey Him.

Jesus promised you and me:

Matthew 28:20 English Standard Version (ESV)
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Bless you!
Pastor Curtis

Mon May 8 2017 9:47pm EST

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Jesus is the Spiritual Body Builder

DID YOU KNOW?
Jesus Christ, the Head of the Body, is the spiritual "Body Builder"!
Are you on His side?



According to Scripture: Local Public Churches are Part of the Body of Christ!

Matthew 16:18b GNV
"...upon this rock I will BUILD my Church: and the gates of hell shall not overcome it."

Acts 9:31 GNV
"Then had the CHURCHES rest through all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified [a word meaning "built up"], and walked in the fear of the Lord, and were multiplied by the comfort of the holy Ghost."

Revelation 22:16 GNV
"I Jesus have sent mine Angel, to testify unto you these things in the CHURCHES: I am the root and the generation of David, and the bright morning star."

1 Corinthians 12:27-28 GNV
"27 Now ye are the BODY of Christ, and members for your PART.
28 And God hath ordained some in the CHURCH: as first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly teachers, then them that do miracles: after that, the gifts of healing, helpers, governors, diversity of tongues."

You can be a sprititual "BODY BUILDER" too, in Christ!
1 Corinthians 14:12 ESV
"So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church."

Just like natural body builders, SPIRITUAL Body Builders (Christians) need faithfulness, fellowship, and repetition of the same spiritual exercises each week, as well as a healthy diet of the Word of God! No body part will thrive or increase in strength if it separates or hides or runs away from the Body. It will shrivel and eventually die. Creation teaches us that. No one in their right mind would cut off their own finger or toe for fun. So why would we cut ourselves off from fellowship? Each member of the Body is meant to stay in fellowship with other LOCAL parts of the Body and to THRIVE! In order to stay in fellowship, one must stay humble, slay their own pride, and overlook those unimportant issues that your fleshly nature "thinks" are important. Keep Jesus the Head, and His Body in view. What you do to your brothers and sisters in the local church is how you are treating the Body of Christ. Let us BUILD one another with the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit and with love and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  

Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV)
"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable."

Acts 2:46-47 (GNV)
"46 And they continued daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread at home, did eat their meat together with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and had favor with all the people: and the Lord added to the Church from day to day, such as should be saved."

Happy spiritual body building!
Blessings! Pastor Curtis

 Sat Apr 1 2017 3:33PM EST

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The next leg of the journey


This verse below has been a part of my calling for the last 17 years. It seems the Lord is bringing it more to the forefront now.
Habakkuk 2:2 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

I've been writing for years now. As the Lord shows me things, I write them. Lately, a prophetic word has been spoken over me a few times that I am to write a book. Maybe two or three books. Wait.... a BOOK??
That has caused me to think.
Unless the Lord shows me something, I really have nothing important to write! I'm just another nameless figure in a sea of writings. What could I possibly add? On my own, there is nothing I can add. There are plenty of good Christian authors out there. And I am lousy at sales and marketing. But if the Lord calls me and anoints me, then He must have something He wants to share with others through me. So I must be brave and face this challenge despite the feeling that it's been done before and I have nothing new to contribute to the world of books. I am content to write my little blog entries for my tiny audience. Yet the Lord seems to beckon me beyond that.
The following verse is helping me to embrace this call more:

 
John 21:25 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
25 Now there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose the world could not contain the books that should be written, Amen.
 
In other words, those books "SHOULD" be written, even if the world is already full of books about Jesus. Maybe God really does want me to write a book. I have put it off for so long. I didn't realize the struggle that would ensue. BUT.... ironically, here I am WRITING about my hesitancy to write. Funny how that works, huh? I'm ok typing out thousands of words about Christ, as long as it is in social media or in short blog entries. But I somehow freeze up when confronted with the mountainous task of writing a book.

 
See I've been writing my blog for over 7 years. And I have written many songs, many articles, many Bible studies. On the topic of the seasonal gift singleness, I have written over 70,000 words.
 In this way, I have been answering the call God gave me through Hab. 2:2. But a recent prophetic word was spoken over me that I am to write a book, possibly two or three. This has caused me to reevaluate my content and wonder if I have what it takes to master such a huge task. Yet in Christ I can do all things.
God is constantly helping us stretch our spiritual legs, helping us walk a little further than before. He does not want us to get too settled in the Way. The Way is Jesus. The Way is also a journey with Jesus. It seems now is the time for me to take the next leg of my journey with Jesus. I will push back all those soulish thoughts that make me feel unworthy of book writing. If Christ calls me to it, then Christ anoints me for it. That anointing, plus some anointed discipline, will be the only thing that gets me through this. Praise God.

Perhaps God is calling you too. He may be calling you into uncharted territory. You've not been this way before. You will need to depend more on Him to direct your steps. But if He calls you, He will anoint you for it as well! Blessings!
-PC

Sun Mar 5 2017 12:25am EST