Can these dry bones live? Speak to IT

Ezekiel 37:3-4 King James Version (KJV)

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

The fact that there were only dry bones left in the valley, meant that the body had not only died but had been dead for sometime. God asked Ezekiel his opinion on the matter, “do you believe these bones can live?” He was questioning his faith on the matter, even though every evidence pointed to the absence of life in the bones, He wanted Ezekiel’s take on it. He was given a diplomatic answer too “Lord, thou knowest”.

Ezekiel was then commanded to prophesy to these bones, speak to these bones, apply the Word, the precious promises to these bones. The very dry, dead bones became connected with his manual input, they grew flesh and became a large army.

Now, what dead situation or dying situation are you looking at this morning? Ministry?  Relationships? Finances? Church Growth? Marriage? Get into the Word, apply the promises found in the Word, speak them, pray them, think them. I’m believing with you that newness, life, and growth will enter that situation.

 

Through the eyes of men it seems
There’s so much we have lost
As we look down the road
Where all the prodigals have walked
One by one
The enemy has whispered lies
And led them off as slaves
But we know that you are God
Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come
That we may not yet see
So with the faith you’ve given us
We’ll step into the valley unafraid
we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
~Lauren Daigle (Come Alive – Dry Bones)
Be blessed,  MARANATHA
img-20161229-wa0009 Lady Shaki is an eleventh grade geography teacher and youth leader for her church. She is energetic, vibrant and willing to try most things at least once. She has a heart for God and a passion for young people. Be blessed as she shares on Establish Her.
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It’s Gonna Rain

And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 1 Kings 18:41

There was a drought for three and a half years. Water was simg-20170105-wa0007carce as there was no rain and no dew, this in turn impacted the food supply as crop failed, and the livestock died. Persons were distressed as there was limited or no food and limited or no water.

But the Man of God told the king, there is a sound of abundance of rain. The interesting thing was even as he uttered the word, the sky looked the same, nothing changed to indicate that there was gonna be rain. It seemed that only Elijah heard the sound of the abundance of rain, he alone caught the vision, he alone sensed the change and shift in the atmosphere. He declared not just rain, but abundant rain, torrential rainfall, rain to fill the rivers, the streams, the springs. He declared rain that would bring back life to a nation that was agrarian in nature, the soil would get water, the crop would strive, the livestock would live.

Have you been going through a dry season in your life? Finances seemed to have dried up, health is failing, relationships (whether marital or family) are in trouble, ministry at a standstill? Things seem stagnant, and to make matters worst, you can’t seem to get a hold of God?

It’s gonna rain, your situations might not indicate that, but it’s gonna rain, the sun might be beating down on you as you survey the dying things or seemingly dead things in your life, but take heart, IT’S GONNA RAIN. Maranatha

img-20161229-wa0009 Lady Shaki is an eleventh grade geography teacher and youth leader for her church. She is energetic, vibrant and willing to try anything at least once. She has a heart for God and a passion for young people. Be blessed as she shares on Establish Her.

In The Beginning…God

in-the-beginning-god

“In the beginning…” There’s something about a beginning that brings hope. Even for those that say it is just another day, deep inside, they know this isn’t true. We all want a clean slate. We all want a fresh start, and getting one gives us joy and brings new commitments. Most of us make resolutions. We promise to do better and, for a while, we actually believe we can. The new year is an opportunity to begin over. It is a chance to start again. This is something we all want, and we all desperately need.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)

“In the beginning, God…” He is the only way to truly begin again. Without Him, the clean slate of the New Year is just an empty concept. It cannot truly happen, but with God… He makes all things new. If you are reading this and you have never really made God a vital part of your life, I encourage you to do so. Let Him give you a new start. If you have made resolutions this year for eating, fitness, work, etc. why not make one more? Why not commit to doing something great for, or with, God this year? Why not start this new beginning off with God? Why not commit your life, for the first time or for the hundredth time, to Him?

Dear God,
I give You this year. As I start it out, help me to do it by following You. You are all I really want for 2017. Take me down paths in these coming days that are far more than I could ever have imagined. Help me to follow You today, tomorrow, this year, and for the rest of my days. I’m Yours, again, for the very first time. In Jesus Name.
Amen

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins…and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1: 21-23)

I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour (Isaiah 43:11)

Happy New Year all! God Bless You

An adaptation of a beautiful passage  from Beejai @https://theriverwalk.org/2017/01/01/january-1-in-the-beginning-god/

God’s Crossed-Hand Blessing

Genesis 48:13-14

13. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him.

14. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn

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It was the custom in those days for the firstborn of the family to be given the birthright.This included the position as the head of the family along, the accompanying prestige and a double portion of the inheritance. Manasseh owned the birthright being the firstborn, and by right he should have gotten the greater blessing but Jacob crossed his hand.

This resulted in the younger son Ephraim receiving the greater blessings. Joseph their father was surprised and maybe even upset and tried to correct what he perceived to be a mistake but the crossed hand was intentional. The blessing was Jacob’s to dispense of as he pleased.

God blesses whom he pleases with what he pleases, he doesn’t necessarily give to those we think are worthy or those we prefer. He’s the God who specializes in unqualified blessings, promotions that leave the world scratching it’s head and wondering “how did that happen?”

Some of us are living testimonies of the crossed-hand blessing of God. We came from the wrong address, we’re from the wrong family, we don’t have the right look, the right qualifications but God elevated us to some positions that even us in our wildest hope and fondest dreams could not envision our present status . God’s ways and thoughts are certainly not ours and he has a way of preferring what man looks down on.

I believe he’s getting ready to bless you, do you? MARANATHA

White As Snow

Experiencing God’s Restoration from Sexual Sin and Abuse 

Hi friends, I wanted to share this post with you by Leslie Ludy. I’m sure after reading, many of you can relate. You’ve probably said or done things that have lead you to ask yourself “how far is too far?”, “how much further can i go?”….without getting caught, until i can’t feel the sting of the Holy Spirit pulling me from sin. The reality is, the further you go the harder it is…but just know, no matter how steeped you are in that situation it’s never too late to be restored and made new by Christ’s amazing cleansing blood …it’s never too late to be made as White as Snow.
God bless you ~Yan

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
Luke 7:47

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.
Mark 2:17

When Eric and I were first married, a Christian leader took notice of the fact that we had “wisdom beyond our years” about spiritual things.  He felt that the reason we had been blessed with unusual spiritual insight was because we’d protected the purity of our relationship prior to marriage.  We’d listened to God’s Spirit above our own fleshly desires, and as a result we had cultivated the ability to hear His voice without the cloudiness and confusion that sexual compromise so often brings.  Honoring and protecting purity did so much more than merely enhance the romance in our marriage relationship.  It strengthened our relationship with Jesus Christ and laid the foundation for our marriage to be built upon His amazing strength.

But our lives hadn’t always been marked with sexual set-apartness.  In light of the physical purity that marked my relationship with Eric, it may seem hard to believe that we both came from very impure backgrounds.  Eric and I grew up in Christian homes and went to youth group, but like most Christian young people today we approached purity from a selfish vantage point.  We constantly asked, “how far is too far?” rather than “how far can I possibly go to please God and honor my future spouse?”  And as a result, our lives were full of sin, selfishness, and compromise.  Both of us gave our heart, mind, emotions, and bodies carelessly away in temporary flings, even though we “technically” kept our virginity.  For most of our young adult lives, saving a kiss until our wedding day would have been the last thing either of us would have considered doing.

By the time I caught a vision for the amazing purity and breathtaking beauty that marked a Christ-centered love story, I honestly felt like it was too late for me to ever experience it.  Sure, I’d technically kept my abstinence commitment, but my purity had been forsaken long ago.  I’d allowed the treasure of my heart, emotions, and body to be trampled time and time again.  I knew I was unworthy of a God-written love story.

But then, in His gentle, tender, patient way, my King began to show me that I could be completely washed clean, restored, and made new.  If I was willing toimages-3 repent and receive His forgiveness, I could be set free from all the baggage of the past, cleansed from all the impurity I’d allowed into my life.  And I could experience the fullness of a brilliantly pure, God-scripted love story, through the power of His redemption.  It seemed almost too good to be true, but it was exactly what He promised.

God-scripted love stories are not just for those who have never compromised.  In fact, the very reason that Christ sacrificed everything for us was to offer us the chance to be restored, washed clean, and given a hope and future.  Just look at this amazing picture of Christ’s heart toward those of us who have sinned:

And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

If you feel that you’ve “gone too far” to experience a truly pure and beautiful God-scripted love story, let me assure you that it’s never too late to be restored and made new by His amazing cleansing blood.

images

Repentance means turning and walking the other direction.  Once you awaken to the fact that you are heading over a cliff, stop, turn, ask God’s forgiveness, and then, by His grace, head in the other direction.  There is no reason to look back or second-guess your position as His child.  You should not expect a second-rate version of romance.  Once you have been restored by Him, you are clothed in His righteousness.  You are entitled to all the benefits of His amazing Kingdom.  Your forgiveness is complete.  Your sin is removed as far from you as the east is from the west.  It is finished.

We only need to read the Gospels to be assured that He did pay the price for our sin—once and for all. Let us not cheapen His amazing sacrifice by questioning whether His work on the cross was truly enough. 

We are either ignorant or arrogant if we believe that Christ’s death was not enough to cover our sin. At the moment Christ gave up His life for us, He proclaimed, “It is accomplished.” (see John 19:30) The price had been paid. The power of sin had been conquered. It was done. It was final. It was absolute. He left no room for us to question it. 

Don’t try to add to His sacrifice by improving yourself before you fall at His feet in repentance. Simply come to Him, in all of your sin and weakness, let Him wash you clean, and make you completely new.  Don’t focus on your unworthiness. Rather, fix your eyes on the awesome power of His conquering, redeeming, transforming blood, shed on your behalf.

(Additionally, if God brings a Christ-built man into your life, He will give that man the grace to forgive the same way that God has forgiven you – fully, completely, wholly.  Eric and I have never struggled with hurt or anger over each other’s “pasts”, because we have allowed God’s grace to equip us with a heart of complete forgiveness.)

If sexual compromise has entered your life, I’d like to offer some Biblical advice that can lead to complete restoration and healing.

1. Repent & Turn

Christ said,

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30)

Our King tells us that once we awaken to the fact that we’ve allowed sin in our lives, we are not to continue doing the things that led to our stumbling.  That means if you were an alcoholic, you should no longer hang out in bars sipping beer.  If yoimages-1u were addicted to Internet porn, you should no longer spend hours alone, surfing the Internet.  An
d if you stumbled sexually, you shouldn’t remain in intense, close contact with the one you compromised with.  You need to “cut off” the thing that caused you to sin – namely, the relationship you are in.  This isn’t to say that God can’t heal, restore, and cleanse an impure relationship and rebuild it upon a foundation of purity.  But there needs to be a re-calibration; new patterns need to be established, Christ needs to claim the throne in your life once again, and purity needs to govern your every action and thought.

When you are in the heat of an intense, emotional relationship with someone, you aren’t able to truly allow Christ to renew and re-train your habits.  You become distracted by your feelings for the other person, and it’s all too easy to fall right back into the same sin over and over again.  Even though it mi
ght be difficult, honor Christ by taking a step back from the relationship, surrendering it afresh to Him, and letting Him re-build it only after a long season of healing, renewal, re-training, and restoration has been established.

Whatever the “compromise triggers” are in your life – whether an impure relationship or impure habits – ask God forimages the grace to turn and walk the other direction.  Do whatever you must do in order to cut temptation out of your life, even if it means stepping away from an ungodly relationship, getting rid of your computer, withdrawing from unhealthy friendships, or throwing away ungodly movies.  Remember, nothing is more important that your relationship with Jesus Christ.  And if you put Him first, He will fulfill your soul far more than any unhealthy relationship or habit ever could.

2. Receive His Forgiveness

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn He came back to the temple, and all the people came to Him. Just as He sat down to teach, the scribes and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in the middle of everyone.

“Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman has been caught in the very act of committing adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded to stone this kind of woman. What do You say?”…

But Jesus knelt and wrote down something on the ground. As they continued questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “The one among you who is without sin, let him throw the first stone at her.”

Again, He knelt and wrote down something on the ground. Those who heard left one at a time, beginning with the older ones first, leaving Jesus alone with the woman. (John 8:4-11)

The angry mob wanted to humiliate, expose, and destroy the woman who had been caught in sin. But Jesus – the only One who had the power to judge and condemn her – chose a completely different response.  Forgiveness.  Full, complete, perfect forgiveness.

Just as Jesus knew the sins of each person in that crowd, He knows every sin we have ever committed from the day we were born. It is pointless to try to keep our sins hidden from Him. Yet when we come to Him, truly broken over what we have done, filled with the soul-wrenching regret of realizing how far we have fallen, and look into His eyes, He smiles tenderly. He lifts our chin with His nail-scarred hand. And He gently says, “I don’t condemn you. Now go, and stop sinning.”

When we are washed in Jesus’ blood, we become completely clean. When He looks at us, He doesn’t see our failures and mistakes, He sees a new creation—a child of God – resorted and made white as snow, not by our own merit, but by His.

And if we truly receive His amazing forgiveness, He can take the sin that our enemy meant to use to destroy us, and use it for His glory. He can take a shattered heart and life and script a beautiful tale of His perfect love.  As it says in Psalm 103:2-5:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies; who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

About fifteen years ago I sat down at the piano and attempted to express the heart of this amazing forgiveness through a simple song called White as Snow:

Alone and confused, your heart is bruised from sin; 
Your joy is gone from love gone wrong
And you’re longing to start again.
I know that you’ve been hurt, and you don’t know who to trust;
I won’t pretend I understand your pain.
But I can see repentance in your eyes, and I know it’s not too late;
I hear Him calling your name…

White as snow, He has made 
you white as snow;  
The moment you confessed, 
His heart forgave. 
You might think you’ve ruined all the 
plans He had for you,
But it’s for that very reason 
Jesus saves.

White as snow, He has made
you white as snow; 

Pure and innocent like a dove, 
Though you have done nothing to 
deserve His pardoning, 
You’ve been purified by Jesus’ blood—
White as snow.

The guilt and the shame, 
keeping you chained,
Not wanting to let you go;
It’s not how you dreamed,
not how you planned,
And you can’t see that still
there is hope.

Receive His healing for your bruises;
Receive His riches for your rags.
You cannot imagine all the plans
He has for you,
So take His hand, and don’t look back.

Thanks to Leslie Ludy https://setapartgirl.com/magazine/article/09-1-13/white-snow

A FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM

“It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less”. John 3:29-30

As Christians, we often spiritualize the idea of self-promotion.  After all, the more successful and popular we become, the better Christian witnesses we will be, right?  But surprisingly, that’s not God’s pattern at all.

At the peak of John the Baptist’s ministry, Jesus started baptizing, and people began coming more to Jesus than to John.  John’s followers seemed disturbed by this trend, and told him, “Behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” (John 3:26).  They must have felt jealous on behalf of John, thinking, “Why is John suddenly getting overlooked?  People aren’t noticing him as much now that Jesus is around!  John should do something to promote himself and his ministry!”  And yet John knew that his sacred commission was to make Jesus – not himself – known to the world.

He told his followers, “I am only the friend of the bridegroom; not the bridegroom Himself; when the Bridegroom is ee0e98db35658c4bed8a5200113540f4seen, my joy is complete.” (John 3:29, paraphrase) And then John made a truly profound statement, completely opposite of the self-promoting messages we are so used to today.

He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  What an amazing attitude!  His primary concern was getting out of the way, so that Jesus could be seen.  John knew that if he tried to take center-stage, Jesus would not receive the glory that He deserved.

The same is true in our own lives.  When we try to be seen and applauded, Jesus fades into the background, and people look at us, not Him.  But when we focus on getting out of the way and pointing others to Him, He receives the glory He deserves. This doesn’t mean we can never cultivate the unique talents and strengths that He has given us.  It is certainly possible to use our gifts to glorify God (in fact, that is why He gave them to us in the first place!) But first, we must ask some critical questions:  “Am I doing this for His glory or for my own applause?  When people see this part of my life, are they drawn closer to Jesus, or are they merely impressed with me?”  If we are more concerned with what others think of us than what they think of Jesus, then we have not learned how to be a faithful “friend of the Bridegroom” as John the Baptist was.  If we are pursuing our dreams in order to “get what we want out of life” rather than to lead others to the Source of true life, we are missing a crucial part of the Christian life.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  (Matt 16:24)  The word “deny” here means “to forget one’s self and lose sight of one’s own interests.” What an incredibly different message from the “do what makes you happy” notion that our culture promotes!  Jesus says that in order to truly follow Him, we must lay down all pursuits of self-glory and seek His glory alone.

I once heard a true story about a young woman who left everything – all her dreams and personal pursuits – in order to share the hope of Christ among the destitute and dying in a foreign country.  One day she was walking down a filthy alley, watching several sad old men sifting through garbage cans in search of food. They were long-time drug addicts at the end of their miserable and hopeless lives; their bodies shriveled and wasting away, their souls lost and despairing. No one knew their names or cared whether they lived or died.  As the young woman watched the heartbreaking scene in front of her, she silently said to God, “It would be worth my whole life if I could just reach one of these old men for You, Lord.”

At the peak of her youthful potential, when she had her whole life ahead of her, this young woman was ready to leave it all behind just to lead one hopeless old man to Jesus Christ. Such a self-sacrificing attitude might at first seem foolish to our logical minds.  If we could speak to her, we might say, “You are such a bright and beautiful young lady; don’t throw away your life for the sake of one old man!  Surely there are better ways – bigger ways – for you to make an impact in God’s kingdom!”

But God doesn’t measure success the way we do. Mary of Bethany poured out her most priceless ointment upon the feet of Jesus without applause, recognition or fanfare, and some thought it was a waste.  Yet Jesus said, in essence, “what she has done for me is a picture of the Gospel itself.”  (See John 12:3-8)

The apostle Paul had loads of worldly accomplishments and accolades that he could have been leveraged to gain a bigger platform for his ministry. But only when he was willing to consider his earthly achievements worthless and become a fool for Christ’s sake, was he truly effective as a witness of the Gospel.  (See Phil 3:8, 1 Cor 1:27)

Jesus said that if we cling to our lives, we will lose them, but if we are willing to give up our lives for His sake, we will find true life.  (See Matt 10:39)

Instead of striving to be noticed and appreciated, we are to take an entirely different posture into every area of our life – one of humility and self-denial. Whether we are recognized and applauded, or disregarded and overlooked, it should make no difference to us.  A woman who has truly taken up her cross to follow Christ only cares about knowing Him, and making Him known.

Thanks to Leslie Ludy of Set apart girl for these words of guidance. https://setapartgirl.com/devotional/friend-bridegroom

Women in Ministry – Is there an issue?

I’ve been meaning to re-blog this post on Women in Ministry by the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) for a while now especially with the regenerated debate on the role and function of women in the church. I hope it enlightens as it blesses. God bless you.



The United Pentecostal Church International has always recognized the ministry of women, including ordination to the preaching and teaching ministry. Over the past several decades, the percentage of credentialed ministers who are women has declined, but in recent years there have been renewed efforts to affirm and encourage women in ministry. Let’s take a look at this subject historically and biblically.[1]

Historically the Roman Catholic Church has never allowed the ordination of women as priests, and until the mid twentieth century the many Protestant denominations followed this precedent by restricting pulpit ministry to males. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Holiness and Pentecostal movements recognized the ministry of women based on the anointing of the Spirit. For example, both men and women served in the leadership of the Azusa Street Revival. When William Seymour, the founder of the Azusa Street Mission died, his wife, Jennie, became the pastor. Maria Woodworth-Etter was the featured evening speaker of the 1913 worldwide camp meeting in Arroyo Seco, California, that served as a catalyst for the emergence of the Oneness message. In the earliest Oneness Pentecostal ministerial directory that we have (1919), 203 of 704 ministers, or 29 percent, were women.

In the UPCI women have served as general youth secretary, general Sunday school secretary, district youth president, district home missions director, Bible college president, national board member (outside North America), and General Conference evening speaker, as well as pastors, evangelists, teachers, and missionaries. Currently, several key offices are restricted to males: all district board members, district global missions directors, and men’s ministry officers. However, other key offices are open to women: general superintendent, assistant general superintendent, general secretary, general global missions director, and other general and district offices not already named. The reason for these distinctions appears to be more cultural and historical than theological.

The proportion of women ministers has diminished over the years probably due to several factors. First, the early Pentecostal movement was about two-thirds female, but as more men entered the movement and as it became more socially accepted, men increasingly assumed leadership roles. Second, there was a backlash against the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, as Pentecostal women did not wish to be identified with the attitudes and mannerisms of worldly women who fought against biblical morality. Third, Pentecostals were influenced by the theological and social positions of Fundamentalists, who strongly opposed women in ministry. Consequently, many Pentecostal women fulfilled their ministry without seeking ministerial credentials. Often, those who experienced a ministerial call married ministers and worked alongside their husbands without seeking credentials of their own.

In the Old Testament God used women as judges and prophets. (See Judges 4:4; II Kings 22:14; Isaiah 8:3.) The new covenant opened the door for greater involvement in ministry by everyone including public prophecy (anointed proclamation) by both male and female (Acts 2:17; I Corinthians 14:31). The general principle is that in the body of Christ opportunities are not restricted on the basis of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or gender (Galatians 3:28). In the early church, women served in various leadership and ministry roles.

  • The daughters of Philip were prophets (Acts 21:9).
  • Priscilla was a teacher and apparently a pastor along with her husband, Aquila (Acts 18:26; Romans 16:3-5).
  • Phoebe was a deacon (Romans 16:1).
  • Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Euodia, and Syntyche were Paul’s coworkers in the gospel Romans 16:12; Philippians 4:2-3).
  • Junia was an apostle along with Andronicus, apparently her husband (Romans 16:7).

In dealing with a situation in Ephesus, Paul explained that women were not to usurp authority over men but were to minister under proper spiritual authority (I Timothy 2:11-12). Apparently some women there had begun teaching contrary to the established doctrine of the church. Thus he instructed Timothy, the overseer, that they had no authority to teach but needed to be silent. Because of a problem in the Corinthian church, Paul also explained that women were not to interrupt a public assembly to ask questions (I Corinthians 14:34-35). The instruction to be silent is not absolute but specific to the conditions being addressed. Otherwise, if interpreted absolutely, women could not sing, pray aloud, testify, or teach Sunday school, contrary to the principles of New Testament ministry that we have already seen. Paul taught that women could speak in public worship as long as they did so with proper respect for authority and while upholding their feminine identity (I Corinthians 11:5-6).

Bishops (pastors or elders) are to be the husband of one wife (I Timothy 3:2). This statement means they must follow the moral teaching of the church with regard to marriage. While it is phrased in terms of the typical or generic case of males, the purpose is not to imply additional qualifications of being male and married. Otherwise, single males such as Jesus and Paul would not have qualified.

In summary, we should recognize the ministry of women as long as they follow biblical authority in the church and in the home. The same is true of men. Women are not to imitate men but are to exercise their ministry in distinctively feminine fashion, for God has called them as women. Indeed all ministers are to fulfill their ministry in the context of their own unique identity, personality, gifts, and calling. The ministerial or pastoral style of a woman will be different from that of a typical male, but it can still be effective. In fact, we need different types of ministries and churches to reach our diverse population. We need every available worker in the harvest. Those who are dying need immediate attention, and it doesn’t matter whether the physician is male or female. We urgently need more preachers, teachers, pastors, pastoral counselors, and missionaries who can minister effectively in a variety of ways and relate to different kinds of people. There are many reasons why women in ministry should receive ministerial credentials: accountability to spiritual authority, validation of ministry, credibility inside and outside the church, participation in ministerial fellowship and decision making, and establishing of role models for young women who are seeking God’s will. Our world desperately needs more Apostolic ministers, both male and female.[2]i

[1] For a historical discussion see Bernard, History of Christian Doctrine, vol. 3. For a scholarly biblical discussion see Bernard, Apostolic Life, ch. 33. For an exploration of the issue in fictional form see David Norris, Cara’s Call (Florissant, MO: Apostolic Teaching Resources, 2011), available from Pentecostal Publishing House.

[2] This article is adapted from David K. Bernard, The Apostolic Church in the Twenty-first Century (Hazelwood: Word Aflame Press, 2014), 85–88. For a more extensive discussion of passages of Scripture that are sometimes interpreted to forbid women from serving in certain ministry or leadership roles—including I Timothy 2:11-15; 3:2-4; I Corinthians 14:34-35—see pages 89–94 of the same book.

Love and Fear

I always want to understand what is happening in my life. I can put up with a lot of discomfort and even misery if I know why.

Gideon felt that way. One day the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, Mighty warrior”. “But sir”, Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?'” (Judges 6:12-13). I can relate to that!

Yes, I know in my head that God has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. But if all that is true-and it is- why am  I going through such a hard time? As Gideon put it, “Why has all this happened to me?” When things arenwhy‘t going my way I don’t understand, I begin to be anxious. Fear grips my heart.

John writes something that is very profound, but it will take a little mulling over to appreciate the full meaning. He says, “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). My first impulse is to respond, “No, John, I think you have it wrong. That should read, “Perfect understanding drives out fear’.

If God would just tell me why  I have to deal with this problem or situation, I wouldn’t be afraid….right? But that’s not what John says. He says that perfect love drives out fear-that love is the supreme weapon against fear.

When I truly understand how much God loves me, fear leaves my heart like darkness when the sun rises. That’s because love always says…

  • I want the best for you – always
  • I have in mind your ultimate good, not just your present comfort
  • My love includes discipline, for I care too much for you to allow you to become a spoiled brat

The best thing I can know during a difficult time is that the One who allows that difficulty is the One who loves me more than anyone else does in the whole universe. No, I may not understand the state of affairs, but I know He loves me-deeply- just as He loves you. Fear not, You are loved by God.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

I need H-E-L-P!

help-png

When you see a storm approaching in your life, one that you know is too big for you to handle, where do you turn for help? On whom or what do you rely?

The prophet Isaiah said

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
    who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
    and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
    or seek help from the Lord. ~ Isaiah 31:1

In our own day, people are no different from those who lived in Isaiah’s time. When people see disaster headed their way, some turn to those they think they can count on to help bail them out-friends or “contacts” (Egypt, in Isaiah’s case). Others rely on material resources they can touch and see (horses). Still others rely on “numbers” (multitude of chariots). Some depend on the sheer power of their own resources (the great strength of their horsemen).

Yet God says, “Seek help from the Lord”. All the time we’re looking to other sources, God wants us to look to Him and call on Him for help. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask God for help; it’s a sign that we trust that He will come to our aid. When we call, we believe He will answer. This is no puny, incapable God we’re turning to. No way! He is the “Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). And, what’s more, He is our Father.

Continue reading “I need H-E-L-P!”

How Were You Baptized?

Making the decision to be baptized is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. The Bible tells us in the book of John (3:5) that unless we are born of the water, which means baptism, we cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

Peter asks the question in the book of Acts (10:47) can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized? And in Mark (16:16) scripture tells us that whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved. This baptismis pretty important, wouldn’t you agree? There are several scriptures throughout the Bible that inform us just how important baptism is.

There are also many, many scriptures giving us the correct formula in which to baptize. Since baptism is so important, there must be a precise method we should follow. I don’t believe God wants a certain group of people to baptize this way and another group of people to baptize a different way. Why would Christ give us different methods for this, especially if He Himself told Nicodemus that unless you are baptized, you cannot enter into the kingdom?

Ephesians 4:5 says
5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism

I was right, there is only one baptism. Now let’s see what that one baptism is.

If you have spent any time at all in church then you know some baptize “In the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost” and some baptize “In the name of Jesus Christ.” You will even encounter those who baptize “in the name of the father, son, holy ghost AND in the name of Jesus Christ” just to make sure they cover it all.

Continue reading “How Were You Baptized?”