Unifying the Body of Christ

Sermon by Zac Poonen “Christlike Freedom from Racism and Partiality”

Unifying the Body of ChristDivided we fall, United we stand

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God, whom we have never seen?” 1 John 4:20.

The Bible tells us to bear with one another in love, knitted together as a local body, accepting and respecting each other’s differences; be it colour, nationality, language or gender. We’re to put aside our racial, cultural or societal differences, and to die to ‘self’ in order to maintain unity within the brethren. As the Bible states in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As Christians we are all called to conform to the likeness of Christ, and not one particular group or culture. We are all equal and loved by the same almighty God who sent His beloved Son Jesus to die for us all. The only thing we’re not to compromise on is God’s Word, His instruction manual on how we’re to live; and the Lord requires the whole gospel to be preached, without exception or apology.

The almighty sovereign God didn’t make a mistake when He placed us in a particular local body; He placed us there so we can serve, build, love and unify as one body in Christ, putting aside all differences in order to build unity and the spirit of faith in the church. Let us not justify why we cannot accept someone who is different than ourselves. Let us search our own hearts and ask the Lord to cleanse us from any partiality, deep rooted behaviours, patterns, prejudices that leave us so slowly. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive us. We can ask Him to help change us, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit. How can we learn unconditional love, if we’re around people who meet all our conditions?

Here are some Bible verses that can help build unity in the Church:

  • Ephesians 4:2-3, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
  • John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
  • In Romans 12:16, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, Never be wise in your own sight.”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What is so special about you? What do you have that you were not given? And if it was given to you, how can you brag?”
  • Philippians 2:2-4, “Then make me truly happy by loving each other and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, working together with one heart and mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.”

So then, let us love one another, for when we love one another all will know we’re His disciples. – John 13:35


Article by Lori McPherson / Picture by Pixabay at Pexels

 

Speak O Lord

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness

That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith
Speak, O Lord, and fulfil in us
All Your purposes for Your glory

Teach us Lord, full obedience
Holy reverence, true humility
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity

Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority
Words of power that can never fail
Let their truth prevail over unbelief

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity

And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory


By Songwriters: Keith Getty / Stuart Townend / Speak O Lord lyrics © Thank You Music Ltd.

Photo by Ric Rodrigues at Pexels

** A Clear Gospel Message

Simple Truths To Remember

Biblical Truths to remind ourselves often

I AM ACCEPTED…
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified (declared righteous).
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ

I AM SECURE…
Romans 8:1-2 I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be
separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

I AM SIGNIFICANT…
John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

By Neil T Anderson

Jesus – Tempted As We are

The secret of a godly life lies in Jesus Who lived on earth as a Man, and Who was tempted in every way as we are, but never sinned even once in thought, word, deed, attitude or motive or in any other way (See 1 Tim. 3:16 along with Heb. 4:15 and Heb.2:17,18).

Since it is only those who have come to a godly life who can live together without strife as one body in Christ, we could go one step further and say that a local church can be a functioning expression of Christ’s Body only where believers have seen our Lord Jesus in this way. This is the truth of which the church is to be the pillar and support (See 1 Tim. 3:15 along with verse 16).

Temptation is not the same as sin. James 1:14,15 makes that clear. Our mind has to agree with a temptation before it becomes sin. It is clear from Matthew 4 that Jesus was tempted. But His mind never agreed with any temptation even once. Thus He never sinned. He kept His heart pure.

Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit. He did not have the ‘old man’ that we were born with. We have sinful flesh, whereas Jesus did not have sinful flesh. He came only “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom.8:3). But the Bible teaches that our Lord “was tempted in all points as we are” (Heb.4:15). We do not have to analyze this, even as we do not analyze the mystery of God becoming Man. We believe it. At every point, in every temptation, during His 33? years on earth, Jesus obeyed His Father (unlike Adam who disobeyed).

God’s Word says about Jesus, “He learned obedience and was made complete” (Heb. 5:7-9). The word “learned” is a word that relates to education. So what this verse is saying is that Jesus received an education in obedience as a Man. In each situation and in each temptation, He obeyed His Father and thus completed His education as a Man. Thus He became a Forerunner for us, so that we too can now follow in His footsteps, overcoming temptation and obeying God (Heb. 6:20).

Our Lord can sympathise with us in our struggles against temptation, because He too was tempted exactly as we are (Heb. 2:184:1512:2-4). If He was not tempted as we are or if He had access to resources in times of temptation that we do not have access to, then He could not possibly ask us to follow Him. But He had only the same power of the Holy Spirit that He offers us.

An angel cannot ask us to follow him if he flies across a river. We have to swim across that river. And so an angel would have to take a body that is subject to the law of gravity before he could ask us to follow him and show us how to overcome gravity and swim.

The purity of Jesus as a Man was not something that He received on a platter, but one that was acquired through battle. He had to pray “with loud crying and tears” to overcome spiritual death – just as we have to (Heb.5:7). But those battles were not endless ones. Each temptation was conquered – one after another. Thus, over the period of His lifetime, He faced every single temptation that we are tempted by – and overcame every single one of them.

The school of temptation is just like any other school. We all have to start in the kindergarten class. Our Lord too must have been tempted with the most elementary temptations first. But He never spent more than the minimum time necessary in each class. By the time He died on the cross, He could say, “It is finished”. Not only had the work of man’s redemption been finished on the cross, but the path for every child of God to walk in – in victory over sin – had also been finished in His lifetime. Every single temptation that any man can ever face had been faced by our Lord and overcome. Every single examination in the school had been passed successfully. His education as a Man was “finished” (Heb. 5:8,9).

For a person who is unfaithful in the kindergarten class of temptation (e.g. sexually dirty thoughts, anger, lying, love of money, etc.) to try and understand the temptations that Jesus faced in the Ph.D. class of temptation is presumptuous. If you are faithful yourself, you will understand. That is what Jesus said plainly in John 7:17. If however, you are unfaithful in the moments of temptation, you will never understand, no matter how many books you read or tapes you listen to. You will then think that what we are saying here is heresy.

The great mystery of godliness (1 Tim.3:16) cannot be understood by listening to messages or by reading books. The secret of the Lord is revealed only to those who reverence Him so greatly that they hate the very thought of sin. To them alone God reveals His mysteries and His covenant (Psa.25:14). ???..(To be continued)

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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

**Subscribe at the CFC website to get an edifying article like this one every week: Here

Comfort During Troubled Times

 

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

In a time such as this, worry and stress can creep in and overwhelm us if we allow them too. But standing on the promises of God and resting in Him can bring peace of mind. Here are some Bible verses to help comfort and reassure you of God’s divine love and sovereignty over this world. Jesus tells us that we will face troubles and hardships in life, but we can have peace knowing he has already overcome the world. May these words of the Bible serve as reminders for you. As you read these Bible verses pray and call out to God to heal your mind and heart. Reach out to others around you to uphold you in prayer also, don’t suffer in silence. May the Lord meet you at your point of need and bring healing and restoration, whether it be spiritually, physically or mentally.

PEACE 

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2) 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:14) 

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) 

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11) 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22) 

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

“They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:11) 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) 

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15) 

SLEEP 

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.” (Proverbs 3:24-26) 

“Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2) 

ANXIETY AND STRESS 

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) 

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:25-32) 

 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” (Philippians 4:13-14

“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:6-7) 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) 

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10) 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:27-28) 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8) 

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22) 

 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) 

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4) 

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;” (Psalm 34:14-15) 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

**LINK to the audio version of these Bible verses

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By Lori McPherson

**Picture courtesy of Harvard University

Testimonies to Strengthen Faith: Trials and Tribulation


“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

These video testimonies will strengthen your faith. In times of trials and tribulations, many lessons can be learned from these: hope, endurance, patience, forgiveness and much more, as well as how to be over-comers in these last days.

As Christian believers we’re to look unto Jesus and His finished work on the Cross, as He is the author and perfecter of our faith. We’re not to be afraid of those who want to kill the body; they cannot touch our soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. We don’t put our trust in man, but in God alone. Jesus will give us His peace that surpasses all understanding, and help us to rest in Him amidst the storms. Jesus, our Lord and saviour and soon coming King forewarned us that times of tribulation will come as we’re in the last days: And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22 NLT)

And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (Revelation 12:11)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15)

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones… See, I have warned you about this ahead of time… Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. (Matthew 24:21-22; 25; 29-31 NLT)

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39).

By Lori McPherson

How To Pray For The Unsaved

How To Pray For The Unsaved…

1. For God to have mercy upon them

2. For God to lift the veil off them and give them revelation of who He is

3. For their hearts to be prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive His truth

4. For their spiritual eyes and ears to be opened

5. For Godly people to come across their pathway each day – who are ready in season and out of season to give their testimony led by the guidance of the Holy Spirit

6. That God would cast down anything in them that’s exalting itself against the knowledge of Him, especially pride and rebellion

7. To take down all known strongholds, thought patterns and opinions that goes against God’s will and Word

8. To bind Satan from taking them captive, and to bind all wicked thoughts and lies Satan will try to place in their mind

9. For their protection, uprooting any traps and snares lay wait for them by Satan and his minions

10. To bring healing and restoration to them mentally, physically and most of all spiritually

11. For God to give them a spirit of repentance and forgiveness (of others)

12. And that they come to know the Lord as their personal Lord and Saviour and soon coming King!

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**How to be saved – The Path To Salvation: HERE

Jesus Said “In The World You Will Have Tribulation”

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”
2 Timothy 3:12

Jesus said in John 16:33 “In the world you have will tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world”. He never promised that we would escape tribulation – whether small tribulations or the great one. But He did say that we could overcome even as He overcame. He is far more interested in making us over-comers than in saving us out of tribulation, because He is far more interested in our character than in our comfort. Neither did Jesus ever say that escaping the great tribulation was a reward for faithfulness, as some teach. On the contrary, He said that those who forsook everything to follow Him would have even more tribulations than others who didn’t follow Him (Mark.10:30). When He prayed to His Father for His disciples, He said, “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil.” (John.17:15). He did NOT want His disciples to be raptured out of the world at that time, just because they were going to face tribulation.

” Perseverance is a great virtue that is emphasised throughout the New Testament.”
In the 3rd-century when Christians were being thrown to the lions in the Roman amphitheatres and being burnt at the stake in different parts of the Roman empire, the Lord did not rescue them from such tribulations. The God Who shut the lions’ mouths and took away the power of the fiery furnace in Daniel’s day, did NOT do such miracles for these disciples of Jesus – for these were new-covenant Christians who were going to glorify God through death. Like Jesus their Master, they neither asked for, nor expected twelve legions of angels to come and protect them from their enemies. From heaven, God watched the Bride of His Son being torn to pieces by lions and being burnt to ashes; and He was glorified in their testimony – for they had “followed the Lamb, wherever He went”, even unto a violent physical death (Rev.14:4). The only word that the Lord spoke to them was, “Be faithful until death and I will give you a crown of life” (Rev.2:10). Even today, when the disciples of Jesus are being tortured and persecuted for His Name in many lands, the Lord does not take them away from the earth. And He will not rapture us to heaven before the great tribulation either. He will do something far better. He will make us overcomers in the midst of the great tribulation.

Jesus is far more interested in saving us from evil than in saving us from tribulation. He permits us to go through tribulation because He knows that, that is the only way that we can become spiritually strong.

Such a message is strange teaching indeed to a comfort-loving Christendom that has been coddled in their pews every Sunday for years by ear-tickling preachers. But this is the message that the apostles preached to the early churches. “They (the apostles Paul and Barnabas) strengthened the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God'” (Acts 14:22).

The little trials that we face at home and at work now, are but a preparation for the greater ones that will come in the days to come. That is why it is essential that we are faithful now. For God says, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses?” (Jer.12:5).  In Revelation Chapter 1:9,10 John refers to himself as a “fellow-partaker in the tribulation which is in Jesus”. Every wholehearted disciple of Jesus should be prepared to partake in the “tribulation which is in Jesus”, as long as he is in this world. John did not get this unveiling while living in comfort. He received it, while experiencing tribulation at Patmos, because he had been faithful to “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev.1:9). He had to experience tribulation himself in order to be able to write about the saints experiencing the great tribulation from the Antichrist in the last days. God takes us through trials and tribulations first before giving us a ministry to others who are facing tribulation. Perseverance is a great virtue that is emphasised throughout the New Testament. Jesus Himself said “They will deliver you to tribulation. But the one who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt.24:9,13).

By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/

**Subscribe at the CFC website to get an edifying article like this one every week: Here

Saved Out of the New Age

We all have our stories to tell of how we came to know Christ, and I always love to hear them, as they’re never the same. The Lord works in miraculous ways, wooing us and convicting us via His Holy Spirit, as Titus 3:5 states ‘He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’.

I grew up in a dysfunctional secular household in London, England. I had a warped view of spirituality from a young age and this led me to seek ‘higher truth’ in my own way. I was bit of a magpie grabbing onto whatever fit in with the way I wanted to live my life, till eventually I came across a movement called the New Age which derived from the East. A movement which heavily into improving, ‘the self’ and worshipping ‘the self’ through a wide range of spiritual beliefs and practices. I latched onto it and ran, even qualifying as a life coach in such matters. 

I was into self-help books, astrology, tarot cards, mediums; I believed in reincarnation and studied past life regression. I was into reaching higher states of consciousness through meditation, which I learned through yoga, in turn making me curious about the yogi teachers themselves. I believed there were many paths to God and it didn’t matter what religion you practiced, as it all led to the same place and that it was a personal choice on how you chose to get there. 

I was running wild, partying, clubbing, drinking, shopping, consumed by the image beast. I was careless and reckless in my behaviour, mixing with the wrong crowds. I wore a mask to the world, not wanting to be me, as deep down I was wounded, lacking self-esteem. I was in the miry clay, the pit of sin. I was on fire for the devil and running away from life.

 I got to a point that all the doors closed in on me, and everything that could go wrong, went terribly wrong. I was caught between a rock and a hard place and went through a serious bought of depression. I was broken and wounded, and felt like I had no one to turn too. In my pain suicidal thoughts wrecked havoc on my mind. When I had a realisation of the selfishness of this act, I had a feeling of remorse and that I was ‘not right’ as a person; and that I was a self-pitying evil mess and I just randomly started to repent of my sins. I didn’t realise at the time what I was doing, but I know now. And Jesus in the midst of my pain reached out to me and gave me peace. In Psalm 34:18 it says ‘The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit’ it didn’t matter that I wasn’t a Christian as the Lord is no respecter of persons. In my pain and torment, I just knew to cry out. That night the Lord took the broken pieces of my life, and mended me together again. What months of therapy couldn’t do, Jesus did overnight, He healed me. The following morning, I looked at the world with fresh eyes, I felt like a new person. 

I knew it was Jesus because of the prayers my grandmother had been giving me to read in the midst of my pain; she was always watching the religious channel and as I was staying with her at the time, something must’ve unconsciously sunk in. Because of this I wanted to know more about Him and started to read the Bible, I always thought that he was some sort of teacher, like one of the gurus from my meditative yoga practices. And as it says in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” So, I sought Him. I’d heard about Jesus, the great teacher, the Hollywood Jesus with the blonde hair and blue eyes, the baby catholic Jesus, the Muslim Isa the prophet, but it’s not until that night in my room when I was seeking for ways to take my life that I came to know the real Jesus, the Son of God! 

Soon after I found myself working abroad, and was led to a Christian volunteer charity worker, who was a pastor. He showed me some verses in the bible, that really spoke to my heart like, Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truth—the teachings of] Christ.” and also Deuteronomy 18:9-14, among others. I had to renounce the new age religion and repent properly of my sins. I had to personally invite Jesus into my life. So I did, as Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). It was the goodness of God that brought me to repentance (Romans 2:4). 

 Since becoming a Christian that hole in my heart that I tried to fill with the empty things of this world started to slowly get filled with Jesus, as something in the spirit realm had taken place, the third heaven, God’s Kingdom. I started to build upon this relationship with prayer, just talking to the Lord. And I began reading and looking for guidance via His Word the Bible, His love letter to the world. The Bible is living, it’s breathing, and it’s sharp and active, like a double-edged sword. And when it goes into your soul, it cuts things, it breaks things, and it changes things. It weeds out the garden of your heart so it’s pleasant for the Lord to reside there. 

When I realised how much I’d been deceived it shook me to my core, but my journey didn’t end there, it was only the beginning… The Bible says in John 8:32, ‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ 

 Lori McPherson

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**My full testimony is called “BLINDSIDED” and is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback

**How to be saved: The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

Prayer for Forgiving Others

Dear Merciful Lord,

Thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me. 

I understand that even though I feel scarred, my emotions don’t have to control my actions. Father, may Your sweet words saturate my mind and direct my thoughts. Help me release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. I want to see my offender through my Savior’s eyes. If I can be forgiven, so can he. I understand there are no levels to your love. We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish.

You teach us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.” (Colossians 3:15) When I forgive in words, allow your Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace. I pray this peace that only comes from Jesus will rule in my heart, keeping out doubt and questions. And above all, I am thankful. Not just today, not just this week, but always. Thank you for the reminder, “Always be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) With gratitude I can draw closer to you and let go of unforgiveness. With gratitude I can see the person who caused my pain as a child of the Most High God. Loved and accepted. Help me find the compassion that comes with true forgiveness.

And when I see the person who hurt me, bring this prayer back to my remembrance, so I can take any ungodly thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) And may the confidence of Christ in my heart guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching and perfecting my faith. In Jesus’ Name,

Amen!

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By Kristine Brown

This prayer was written by author Kristine Brown from kristinebrown.net and originally appeared on Crosswalk.com

The Church Walking With The World

“you can’t hold hands with God whilst holding hands with the devil!”
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

The Church and the World walked far apart
On the changing shores of time,
The World was singing a giddy song,
And the Church a hymn sublime.

“Come, give me your hand,” said the merry World,
“And walk with me this way!”
But the faithful Church hid her gentle hands
And solemnly answered “Nay!

I will not give you my hand at all,
And I will not walk with you;
Your way is the way that leads to death;
Your words are all untrue.”

“Nay, walk with me but a little space,”
Said the World with a kindly air;
“The road I walk is a pleasant road,
And the sun shines always there.

Your path is thorny and rough and rude,
But mine is broad and plain;
My way is paved with flowers and dews,
And yours with tears and pain.

The sky above me is always blue,
No want, no toil I know;
The sky above you is always dark,
Your lot is a lot of woe.

My path, you see, is a broad, fair one
And my gate is high and wide;
There’s room enough for you and me
To travel side by side.”

Half shyly the Church approached the World
And gave him her hand of snow;
And the old World quick grasped it and walked along,
Saying, in accents low:

“Your dress is too simple to please my taste;
I will give you pearls to wear,
Rich velvets and silks for your graceful form,
And diamonds to deck your hair.”

The Church looked down at her plain white robes,
And then at the dazzling World,
And blushed as she saw his handsome lip
With a smile contemptuous curled.

“I will change my dress for a costlier one,”
Said the Church, with a smile of grace;
Then her pure white garments drifted away,
And the World gave, in their place,

Beautiful satins and shining silks,
Roses and gems and costly pearls;
While over her forehead her bright hair fell
Crisped in a thousand curls.

“Your house is too plain,” said the proud old World,
“I’ll build you one like mine;
With walls of marble and towers of gold,
And furniture ever so fine.”

So he built her a costly and beautiful house;
Most splendid it was to behold;
Her sons and her beautiful daughters dwelt there
Gleaming in purple and gold.

Rich fairs and shows in the halls were held,
And the World and his children were there.
Laughter and music and feasts were heard
In the Place that was meant for Prayer.

There-were cushioned seats for the rich and the gay,
To sit in their pomp and pride;
While the poor folk, who were clad in shabby array,
Sat meekly down outside.

The Angel of Mercy flew over the Church,
And whispered, “I know thy sin”:
Then the Church looked back with a sigh and longed
To gather her children in;

But some were off at the midnight ball,
And some were off at the play,
And some were drinking in gay saloons,
So she quietly went her way.

Then the sly World gallantly said to her:
“Your children mean no harm,
Merely indulging in innocent sports”;
So she leaned on his proffered arm

And smiled and chatted and gathered flowers
As she walked along with the World;
While millions and millions of sorrowing souls
To eternal death were hurled.

“Your preachers are all too old and plain,”
Said the World to the Church with a sneer.
“They frighten my children with dreadful tales,
Which I like not for them to hear.

They talk of brimstone and fire and pain
And the night of an endless death;
They talk of a place which may only be
Mentioned with bated breath.

I will send you some of the better stamp
Brilliant and gay and fast
Who will tell them that people may live as they choose
And go to heaven at last.

The Father is merciful, great, and good,
Tender and true and kind;
Do you think He would take one child to heaven,
And leave the other behind?”

So he filled her house with gay divines
Gifted and great and learned
And the plain old men that preached the cross
Were out of her pulpits turned.

“You give too much to the poor,” said the World.
“Far more than you ought to do;
If the poor are in need of shelter and food,
Why need it trouble you?

Go, take your money and buy rich robes,
Buy horses and carriages fine;
Buy pearls and jewels and dainty food,
Buy the rarest and costliest wine.

My children, they dote on all these things,
And if you their love would win
You must do as they do, and walk in the ways
That they are walking in.”

Then the Church held tightly the strings of her purse
And gracefully lowered her head,
And whispered, “I’ve given too much away;
I’ll do, sir, as you have said.”

So the poor were turned from her door in scorn,
And she heard not the orphan’s cry;
But she drew her beautiful robes aside,
As the widows went weeping by.

Then the sons of the World and the Sons of the Church
Walked closely hand and heart,
And only the Master, who knoweth all,
Could tell the two apart.

Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,
“I am rich and my goods increase;
I have need of nothing, or aught to do,
But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”

And the sly World heard her, and laughed up his sleeve,
And mockingly said, aside:
“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;
And her shame is her boast and her pride.”

The angel drew near to the mercy seat,
And whispered in sighs her name;
And the saints their anthems of rapture hushed,
And covered their heads in shame.

Then a Voice came down through the hush of heaven
From Him who sat on the throne:
“I know thy works, and how thou hast said,
‘I am rich,’ and hast not known

That thou art naked, poor and blind,
And wretched before my face;’
Therefore from my presence cast I thee out,
And blot thy name from its place.”

By Matilda C Edwards, 1936

“Ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy,
and have severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine.”
Leviticus 20:26

The Spiritual Warfare Prayer

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:10-13 

Heavenly Father,

I bow in worship and praise before You. I cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as my protection during this time of prayer. I surrender myself completely and unreservedly in every area of my life to Yourself. I do take a stand against all the workings of Satan that would hinder me in this time of prayer, and I address myself only to the true and living God and refuse any involvement of Satan in my prayer.

Satan, I command you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to leave my presence with all your demons, and I bring the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ between us.

Heavenly Father, I worship You, and I give You praise. I recognize that You are worthy to receive all glory and honor and praise. I renew my allegiance to You and pray that the blessed Holy Spirit would enable me in this time of prayer.

I am thankful, heavenly Father, that You have loved me from past eternity, that You sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to die as my substitute that I would be redeemed. I am thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ came as my representative, and that through Him You have completely forgiven me; You have given me eternal life; You have given me the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ so I am now justified. I am thankful that in Him You have made me complete, and that You have offered Yourself to me to be my daily help and strength.

Heavenly Father, come and open my eyes that I might see how great You are and how complete Your provision is for this new day. I do, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, take my place with Christ in the heavenlies with all principalities and powers (powers of darkness and wicked spirits) under my feet.

I am thankful that the victory the Lord Jesus Christ won for me on the cross and in His resurrection has been given to me and that I am seated with the Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenlies; therefore, I declare that all principalities and powers and all wicked spirits are subject to me in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for the armor You have provided, and I put on the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of peace, the helmet of salvation. I lift up the shield of faith against all the fiery darts of the enemy, and take in my hand the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, and use Your Word against all the forces of evil in my life; and I put on this armor and live and pray in complete dependence upon You, blessed Holy Spirit.

I am grateful, heavenly Father, that the Lord Jesus Christ spoiled all principalities and powers and made a show of them openly and triumphed over them in Himself. I claim all that victory for my life today. I reject out of my life all the insinuations, the accusations, and the temptations of Satan.

I affirm that the Word of God is true, and I choose to live today in the light of God’s Word. I choose, heavenly Father, to live in obedience to You and in fellowship with Yourself. Open my eyes and show me the areas of my life that would not please You. Work in my life that there be no ground to give Satan a foothold against me.

Show me any area of weakness. Show me any area of my life that I must deal with so that I would please You. I do in every way today stand for You and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life.

By faith and in dependence upon You, I put off the old man and stand into all the victory of the crucifixion where the Lord Jesus Christ provided cleansing from the old nature. I put on the new man and stand into all the victory of the resurrection and the provision He has made for me there to live above sin.

Therefore, in this day, I put off the old nature with its selfishness, and I put on the new nature with its love. I put off the old nature with its fear and I put on the new nature with its courage. I put off the old nature with its weakness and I put on the new nature with its strength. I put off today the old nature with all its deceitful lusts and I put on the new nature with all its righteousness and purity.

I do in every way stand into the victory of the ascension and the glorification of the Son of God where all principalities and powers were made subject to Him, and I claim my place in Christ victorious with Him over all the enemies of my soul. Blessed Holy Spirit, I pray that You would fill me. Come into my life, break down every idol and cast out every foe.

I am thankful, heavenly Father, for the expression of Your will for my daily life as You have shown me in Your Word. I therefore claim all the will of God for today.

I am thankful that You have blessed me with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I am thankful that You have begotten me unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I am thankful that You have made a provision so that today I can live filled with the Spirit of God with love and joy and self-control in my life. And I recognize that this is Your will for me, and I therefore reject and resist all the endeavors of Satan and of his demons to rob me of the will of God.

I refuse in this day to believe my feelings, and I hold up the shield of faith against all the accusations and against all the insinuations that Satan would put in my mind. I claim the fullness of the will of God for today.

I do, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, completely surrender myself to You, heavenly Father, as a living sacrifice. I choose not to be conformed to this world. I choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, and I pray that You would show me Your will and enable me to walk in all the fullness of the will of God today.

I am thankful, heavenly Father, that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, to the casting down of imaginations and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring every thought into obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore in my own life today I tear down the strongholds of Satan, and I smash the plans of Satan that have been formed against me. I tear down the strongholds of Satan against my mind, and I surrender my mind to You, blessed Holy Spirit.

I affirm, heavenly Father, that You have not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I break and smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my emotions today, and I give my emotions to You. I smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my will today, and I give my will to You, and choose to make the right decisions of faith. I smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my body today, and I give my body to You, recognizing that I am Your temple; and I rejoice in Your mercy and Your goodness.

Heavenly Father, I pray that now through this day You would quicken me; show me the way that Satan is hindering and tempting and lying and counterfeiting and distorting the truth in my life. Enable me to be the kind of person that would please You. Enable me to be aggressive in prayer. Enable me to be aggressive mentally and to think Your thoughts after You, and to give You Your rightful place in my life.

Again, I now cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and pray that You, blessed Holy Spirit, would bring all the work of the crucifixion, all the work of the resurrection, all the work of the glorification, and all the work of Pentecost into my life today. I surrender myself to You.

I refuse to be discouraged. You are the God of all hope. You have proven Your power by resurrecting Jesus Christ from the dead, and I claim in every way Your victory over all satanic forces active in my life, and I reject these forces; and I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ with thanksgiving.
Amen!

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**Excerpt from “The Adversary”, Mark I. Bubeck by Moody Press.

Dr. Mark I. Bubeck is the founder and president emeritus of ICBC, inc. A pastor for over 40 years, Dr. Bubeck is the author of The Adversary , Overcoming the Adversary, The Rise of Fallen Angels, and Raising Lambs Among Wolves .

**How to become a child of God

**Prayer

Why I Don’t Celebrate Halloween

One of my children recently came home reciting this rhyme learned while at school. “Witches, ghosts, and goblins, walking down the street Knock on every doorway, ‘Trick or treat!’”

I was shocked by how my child, in all innocence, could sing so casually and trivially about such scary things. I also noticed that this song grouped ghost and goblins which are not real, with witches. I realized that this song sought to group witches into that same silly, not-real category.

Some people think of witches as women with pointed-hats and a broom, or witch-doctors in a jungle. But there is a very active and fast-growing religion called Wicca, where its witches (and wizards) seek to cast spells. Wicca is not some ancient Gaelic religion from the middle ages. It is an active religion practiced across the world today, and very present in the areas where many of us live. Some statistics indicate that Wicca is one of the fastest-growing religions in the U.S.A.

And here is what Wikipedia says about Wicca and Halloween:

Wiccans celebrate a variation of Samhain (October 31) as one of the yearly Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year. It is deemed by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four “greater Sabbats”. Samhain is seen by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have died, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the dead are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of light and fertility. Wiccans believe that at Samhain the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest point of the whole year, making it easier to communicate with those who have left this world.

As Christians, we must be careful that practices from the religious festivals of Wicca do not influence us in any way. We do not find Hindus mixing the practices of Muslims in their festivals that honor Vishnu. Neither do we find Muslims adopting the practices of Hindus in their celebration of Ramadan. Different religions believe very different things, and have different practices.

The Bible is very clear that witchcraft is real and powerful and also evil (Read Revelation 21:81 Samuel 15:23Deuteronomy 18:10-13Isaiah 8:19; and 1 Chronicles 10:13-14).

As Christians, we know that there are powers of darkness in the spirit world. So what must we do when the world trivializes what the Bible describes as evil? It should trouble us deeply. And even more so when we see the god of this world system (the devil) seeking to influence our highly-impressionable children, and to write his values into their minds.
When I later told all my children that Jesus instructed us to have nothing to do with witches, a response I got was stunning: “But there are good witches, Dad!” That was also something that had been picked up from school!! This un-Biblical point of view had slipped in. So I realized that I had to stand guard against the dangerously-deceptive logic of this world system.

There is no such thing as a “good witch” for Christians.The Bible tells us that God alone is good and that witchcraft is evil. Good and evil are polar opposites. So a “good witch” is just the devil coming as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Christians must have no contact even remotely with witchcraft in any form, because it will open them up to the god of this world (the devil) – and he is far shrewder than all men. Only the Holy Spirit can help a Christian against the tactics of Satan. All our good intentions will not help us, if we disobey the Scriptures. So no matter how good we may think we are (and no matter how sincere we may be), we can still be destroyed if we don’t hate all evil and stay far away from it (See Proverbs 14:12).

The Western world’s view of Halloween is greatly influenced by the religious values of Wicca. Halloween is a celebration of darkness in the world today. A walk down my neighborhood or a visit to the local grocery store around Halloween time readily confirms this. The world is preaching a Halloween that aligns itself with Wicca.

Western culture today seeks to make witches and witchcraft seem normal. Whether with the concept of good witches, or the wildly-popular Harry Potter novels/movies, Western culture is increasingly accepting of witchcraft. And the fun and carefree festival of Halloween acts as a perfect springboard to aid in this acceptance. I am convinced that Halloween is the “fun gateway” that Satan has opened for people to eventually dabble in the spiritually-evil practices of witchcraft.

So what must we Christians do with a holiday that another religion celebrates as the “festival of darkness”?

As Bible-believing Christians, we give freedom to other religions to do as they see fit. But we must not associate with evil, in any way. We must live with great discernment in our time – because deception is increasing everywhere (See 2 Timothy 3:13). We must nip the normalization of witchcraft early on and stand strong against every attempt of the devil to slip this religion of Wicca into our homes.

When another religion celebrates darkness and focuses on communicating with dead spirits, what does the Lord expect us to do? Can we just go along with the external fun of this holiday, when we know that at its core, this is a festival that explicitly glorifies the powers of darkness and the enemy of our souls?

The devil has masterfully sought to rebrand Halloween as harmless, so that he can encourage people into the blatant pursuit of evil. He did the same thing when he got Adam and Eve to sin (Genesis 3:1-6). October 31st is a day where darkness is openly and blatantly pursued. But many “Christians” drown themselves on that day in an ocean of candy and dress-up costumes. This is textbook-deception: Satan is saying, “I’ll numb you with candy and gifts on Halloween, so that you are distracted from fighting the spiritual havoc I am causing through the glorification and open practice of witchcraft! And eventually, I will rob you even of eternal life.” (Eternal life being the increasing knowledge of God and of Jesus – John 17:3).

I am convinced that only one group of people can fight these supernatural powers of darkness: Christians who walk in the Light of God’s Word alone are uniquely equipped to overcome these forces (1 John 1:3,7)!

So let the world call us narrow-minded or radical. We will remain alert and watchful against all deception. And we will teach our children also to be alert to these Satanic deceptions (even if their friends at school laugh at them or consider them weird). Satan seeks to work on children, slowly and craftily over the years, to the point where they will become increasingly comfortable with open darkness and evil. Our children need to learn from an early age how to combat Satan’s deceptions; and our children are watching us, their parents, to see how we do it!

What shall we say then to Christians who want to celebrate Halloween? At a minimum, I would suggest that you clearly determine why and how you celebrate it. Ask yourself whether you would do things differently if you knew that your neighbors and the folks on your street were Wiccans celebrating the spirits of darkness on Halloween. Judge yourself and ensure that you walk in the light that God gives you. That is all that you are asked to do. You will be judged based on the motives and intents of your heart, and whether you lived by your conscience.

America as a culture seems to live mostly unaware of the spirit world. I have seen that cultures that are more open to idolatry, are much more aware of the spirit world. I grew up in India, and I saw witchcraft and evil spirits several times. I even watched as a neighbor hired a witch to sit in their backyard and cast spells on us (the spells didn’t work and had an opposite effect; they served to show me the powerful protection available in Jesus Christ, who defeated Satan on the cross – Colossians 2:14-15)!

I will not be surprised if rationally-obsessed people laugh off my thoughts about the spirit world. But that world is real and more powerful than most people imagine. And I don’t base this statement on my own experience. The Bible is crystal clear about it. Our Lord Jesus drove out evil spirits from people more than anyone else did.

If I succeed in getting you to honor Jesus Christ on October 31st in a bigger way than before, then I would have achieved my primary purpose in writing this.

May God open your eyes more and more to these realities in the spirit world.

**By Sandeep Poonen © Copyright – Sandeep Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

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A Clear Gospel Message