Gramps Living Room

A cyber church for all generations. Join Grampa Jamer as he passes on his wisdom from the Bible.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Blog

Dave's grandson Micah here. Grampa has had to move his blog due to an upgrade complication with blogger. He is set up now though and he is all fired up because he is going to be blogging on his own. Yup, that's right, Grampa is a lean mean high-speed blogging machine. Watch out, this blog is going to be updated more than ever before. The bible says that if we walk with the wise we will be wise. I hope you enjoy the next wave of posts from Gramp. God Bless!!

Click here to get there.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The benefits of being a Christian

They are very many, and extent far beyond anything this article might try to list. Perhaps the most important benefit to us who claim Christ as our Savior is the peace it gives us. The “peace with God”, that comes when we repent of our sin and accept Christ, brings with it the “peace of God” that keeps us calm in this troubled world. Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace” in scripture, and before He returned to heaven to be with His Father after completing the work of redemption, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to abide with us who believe in Him. He said the Spirit would be “another comforter” who would take His place on planet earth, and would not only be “with us”, but would be “in us”. We know from reading the book of Acts that this became a reality! This was possible because He is Spirit, and not confined by time or space. He is everywhere present, and no where absent. Because He is Spirit He can abide in all believers at the same time, and is presently in the process of joining believers in Jesus together to form the “Body of Christ” here on planet earth!

Jesus said He would build His church (Matt 16:18), which He has been doing now for over 2000 years from His place in heaven next to His Father. He declared to His disciples before His death on the cross that “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:3). We have been told this is some “mansion” up in heaven where we will spend eternity with Him. The truth is that God is not going to take us to heaven to live forever in some mansion, but He is preparing an eternal dwelling place for His redeemed people which He plans to bring down from heaven some day. (Rev 21) This dwelling place is none other than the church Jesus said He will build. Paul gives us a revelation of this in (Eph 2:22). The church that Jesus said He would build is His body on earth, composed of all true believers who have repented of their sin, and are depending on the work of the cross for their salvation. This includes righteous persons from the OT who were looking forward to the cross, along with people in the NT age which includes all who have placed their trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. We compose the true church, which is the“bride of Christ” that John saw coming down from heaven in (Rev 21)

All the promises you can find in the scriptures directed toward God’s redeemed people, sometimes referred to as “the elect”, can be considered as benefits of being a Christian, provided we have fulfilled the required provisions attached to each one! Sincerely in Him.----Gramp

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tabernacles, Temples and Churches (Part 1)

God has always desired to dwell with man on planet earth! In the Garden of Eden, He came down in the cool of the evening and fellowshipped with Adam. Later in the wilderness journey of His chosen people, He instructed Moses to build a sanctuary or “tabernacle” according to the heavenly model, where He could come down and dwell with His people. (Ex 25:8). Later God sent Jesus to our planet to become “Emmanuel” which means “God with us”. While on earth Jesus was the “habitation of God”, Paul declared that “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2: 9). We know from the NT scriptures that after Jesus had completed the work His Father had given Him to accomplish, He returned to His rightful place at the side of His Father, where He intercedes for us, His church. Jesus said He would build His church (Matt 16:18); this has been a work in progress on earth now for 2000 years. He sent the Holy Spirit to take His place, and He told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit came He would do certain things. You can read about this in (John 14, 15 and 16). In chapter 14 verse 17 He said He will “dwell with you, and will be in you”. Then in verse 23 of the same chapter “We will come and make Our home with you”. This is the “big picture” of what God’s intention has always been from the beginning!

“The tabernacle in the wilderness” was God’s idea, and he took Moses up on the mountain and showed him the real “Tabernacle in heaven”, and told him how to make the earthly tabernacle patterned after the heavenly. One of the main features of this tabernacle was it was designed to be movable. This would accommodate our God who is not static, but always on the move.
Under the reign of David and Solomon, a “temple” was constructed as a permanent dwelling place for God. The tabernacle was God’s idea, but the temple was David’s, although his son Solomon actually built it. In (1 Kings 6:12-13) we read that God agrees to come and dwell in this temple as long as the people kept His commandments. The original temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times, and there was a temple existing in Jerusalem at the time Jesus lived on the earth. “Temples can’t be moved, they can only be destroyed”, and that last temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

With the birth of the church in the “upper room” when Jesus breathed on His disciples, and said “receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22), the need for an actual tabernacle or temple ceased to exist. We the church are now “the dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:22) Sincerely.---Gramp

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tabernacles, Temples and Churches (Part 2)

We finished part 1 with the birth of the church in (John 20:22), and we know from reading the fist few chapters of Acts that the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost to empower the newly formed church for the work of extending the Kingdom of God on planet earth (Acts 1:8, and 2:4). Jesus declared in (Matt 16:18) that He would build His church, but He didn’t say how He would accomplish that. The church was a complete mystery until God revealed it to Paul the Apostle, as recorded in his letter to the Ephesians
The short answer is that the church is the “body” of Christ on planet earth, with its head, Jesus Christ, in heaven at the right hand of Father God. This “body of Christ” is composed of every “born again” child of God, who has been supernaturally “adopted” into God’s family. Chapter 2 of Ephesians is probably the best chapter in the whole NT to tell us about the church that Jesus said He would build. In the first ten verses he explains clearly how we become part of this true church of Jesus Christ, and in the last four verses he defines the church. He uses words and phrases such as “household of God”, “a holy temple in the Lord”, and “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit”.

Peter also gives a good description of the church in (1 Peter 2:5), where he uses the words “living stones”, being built up as a “spiritual house”, and “a holy priesthood”. Then a few verses later in verse 9 we are called “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people”. These are all descriptions of the church that Jesus is in the process of building, from His present location on a throne next to His Father. (Psalm 110:1) tells us clearly that He will stay at His Father’s right hand “until” His enemies are made His “footstool”. This verse is quoted several times in the NT, and (Acts 3:21) tells us He must remain in heaven “until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began”. In the prayer of Jesus to His Father recorded in (John 17:15), we hear Him say “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one”. He is talking about us, the church that He is building, and these verses refute completely the teaching that Jesus could come again at “any moment” to snatch the church away to heaven in order to escape the coming tribulation. Much of what the church has been taught has no basis in scripture, but is based on some mans theory. This whole “secret rapture” thing has been promoted by people that are trying to find a way to prevent any suffering that they may be called upon to face. It is “fear based”, and fear should not be any part of our lives! Sincerely in Him.---Gramp

Friday, June 16, 2006

Angels (Part 2)

There are many misconceptions regarding angels that are not scriptural, and are based on artist’s conceptions, superstition, traditions, or just plain “wishful thinking”, none of which are based on scripture. In part 1 of this study, we outlined 5 different classes of angels that are found in scripture (there may be more), and each class is different from the others. It’s hard to know where to start to list these misconceptions, but we will start with the more common ones, and see where they are not founded on scripture.

1/ Angels are never pictured in scripture as being other than male as we know gender, never as female or as children.

2/ Humans never become angels when they die, as some people believe. Angels are created spiritual beings, completely separate and different from humans. The belief that little children or some loved one become angels when they die has no basis in fact.

3/ Angels are usually depicted as having a pair of wings, only the first 3 groups listed in part 1 have wings, and they either have 4 or 6 wings. The idea of angels having a pair of wings has no basis in fact. When angels appeared on earth as humans, they were always as men, and certainly didn’t have wings.

4/ Angels are God’s messengers who answer to His commands. There is no scriptural evidence of humans ever giving orders to angels, or asking for their advice or help. When we see them coming to the aid of humans it is always because God released them to enter our physical realm, as in the case of the apostles in prison in Acts 5:19-20, or Peter in prison in Acts 12:5-19, and usually in response to prayer. There is no evidence in scripture of people worshiping angels, in fact in most cases where we see them appearing to people their first reaction is one of fear. Usually the first words from the angels were “fear not”! Read the account of an angel coming to Joseph in Matt chapter 1, or to the shepherds in Luke chapter 2. Some people have reported having visitations of angels on certain occasions, and scripture tells us that this should be expected. In Heb 13:2 we read “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels”. Who knows how often we have been helped by the intervention of an angel who remained invisible, but we knew it had to be help from a supernatural source? Also many credible people witness to the fact of having unknown persons appear from nowhere, to help them in a crisis situation, and then disappear suddenly before they can be thanked for their help! We should not be surprised if, in these last days we are living, God should dispatch one of His messengers to aid us in some way, or prevent us from being injured in an accident! Sincerely in Him---Gramp

Angels (Part 1)

There has been a renewed interest in angels in the past few years, so maybe we should take a scriptural look at angels as recorded in God’s word. To start with, angels are created spirit beings, created by God before He created the world and the entire universe as we know it. In Heb 1:14 we read a statement about angels in the form of a question “are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation?” Some people believe that every person has a personal angel assigned to them at the moment they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, scripture seems to confirm this. In Rev 5:11 we read that there are millions of angels around God’s throne, “the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands”. Angels are mentioned over 300 times in scripture. All angels are not the same; there are at least 5 classifications of angels that I know about listed in scripture, and they are all different.

1/ Seraphim (plural for Seraph)--- Read Isaiah 6:1-7 for a description of these special spirit beings who stand above the throne of God. Note they each had 6 wings.

2/ Cherubim (plural for cherub)--- Read Ezek 1:5-12 for a description of this class of angels whose main occupation seems to standing around the throne worshiping God, whereas the seraphim are standing above the throne declaring Holy, Holy, Holy!

3/ The Living creatures of Rev 4--- The KJV calls them “beasts”, and they are not found anywhere else in scripture. They are similar to both the seraphim and the cherubim, but different in certain points. They have 4 wings like the cherubim, and are covered with eyes, and each of the 4 mentioned have individual faces, similar to the four faces of the cherubim.

4/ The arch angels---there are only 3, Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer, who became Satan after his rebellion against God, and was put out of heaven. It seems each of them was in charge of a certain area of responsibility. There is no evidence that they had wings, although Lucifer is called a “covering cherub”, so may have been both a cherub as well as an arch angel before he fell. It seems they each had one third of the great host of angels that were assigned to them.

5/ Common angels, (for lack of a better word).---These are the ones most commonly mentioned in scripture, and along with the other 4 classes make up the great “hosts of heaven”. They are always referred to as being male, although not in the sense of “gender” as we know it. In part 2 we will explore some common misconceptions about angels! Sincerely.---Gramp

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A life of Holiness

There has been much teaching and preaching about “holiness” in the church over the years. Some of this teaching has been confusing because it is based on a false understanding of scriptural holiness. When God chose the Nation of Israel to be His chosen people, to show the rest of the Gentile Nations how they should live, He gave them certain instructions and laws to govern their lives. In (Lev 20:26) we read “And you shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine”. This standard of holiness is repeated over and over, both in the OT and in the new. The Hebrew word for holy is [qadosh], Strong’s # 6918, which means among other things—set apart, dedicated to sacred purposes, clean, morally or ceremonially pure.

Several “distorted appearances” of holiness have developed in Christian circles. The first, and probably the most blatant, would be what Jack Hayford calls “dehumanized holiness”. By this he means a mechanical, artificial, or abstract practice of holiness. Those who practice this type of distorted holiness, see themselves as superior to others in their knowledge, and think they have nothing more to learn. The implication is that holiness comes from “what” you know, not " who” you know. This type of distorted holiness is imposed from the outside rather than coming from a changed heart. It had its beginning in early “Gnosticism" teaching, which the Pharisees of Jesus’ day practiced. There are still Pharisees in the church today in some circles!

Next we have what we could call “legalized holiness”, or the belief that how well we keep the letter of the law, determines how holy we are. This type of holiness teaching rules out completely any guidance by the Holy Spirit, and opens the door for control by unclean “religious spirits

A third type of distorted holiness teaching is sometimes referred to as “Antinomian holiness”, or“false grace”. This is the false belief that grace releases us from the obligations of moral law and the development of right character. We often see this today in some charismatic circles, where there has been very little emphasis on the word of God, and more on subjective things like feelings, visions, or prophesy. This is only a very brief look at this problem of distorted views of this important subject. It should be developed more fully at a later date, but in the meantime this might give you something to think about as you consider this word “holiness” in your scripture reading. Peter quotes Lev 11:44 in his first letter (1 Pet 1:16) “be holy, for I am holy”. We would be wise to heed this word from Peter, an Apostle of our Lord! Sincerely in Him---Gramp

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Joe's search for the perfect church (Part 1)

The search starts one night when Joe is home alone since his wife had gone out to her weekly night out with the girls. Joe gets a cold beer from the fridge and sets down in front of the TV which he recently got hooked up to a satellite dish. While skipping through the many new channels he now has access to, he comes to the start of a “Billy Graham” program from a previous crusade. He is captivated by the anointed music and settles down to watch. The message he heard was different than any he had heard in the church he was married in 3 years ago, and that he and hiswife attended faithfully every Christmas and Easter. He heard the gospel message for the first time and at the end of the program prayed a prayer with Billy to receive Christ as his Savior. He took Billy’s advice to get connected to a good church where they preach the gospel. So his search began in earnest!

The first church he tried was called “The Salvation Shed”. He saw their add in the Friday night paper which sounded like what he had heard from Billy. He started to attend regularly, and heard a salvation message every service. After several months of this he thought there must be more to this Christian life than salvation. A friend told him about the church he attended called “The Deeper Life Tabernacle” on the other side of town. He decided to try it next week and the Pastor the Reverent Dr. Sylvester Highbrow was just beginning a verse by verse journey through Romans. He thought to himself now he had found the perfect church, but after a year of Romans verse by verse, he wasn’t so sure. Another friend was telling him about this awesome place outside of town called “The Body Shop” where they encouraged everyone to share their experiences, and pray for each other’s needs. They called this “body ministry”, and it sounded good to Joe after a year of Romans verse by verse! He really enjoyed this for several months until yet another friend mentioned the church he attended called “The Inner Healing House”. Here they taught about the need for searching through your past to find where you may have been wounded in your emotions that was preventing you from going on to “perfection in Christ”. After a few months of this probing his past for hidden hurts, he was ready for a change. He heard about the “house church movement”, where people who had been turned off by the organized church gathered in each others homes to seek fellowship on their own without being told what to do by a Pastor.

We will leave Joe’s search for the perfect church at this point and pick up his journey in part 2. His journey is not over yet!!----Sincerely----Gramp

Monday, May 15, 2006

Joe's search for the perfect church (part 2)

In (part 1) we followed Joe from his salvation experience after watching a Billy graham program on TV, through several different church experiences. We left him quite disillusioned with the “traditional church” and willing to try a “house church” that he had heard about.

Here he found people like himself who loved the Lord, and wanted to mature in the Christian walk to become more “Christ like”. However he found that not all of these people had the same attitude toward the various local churches they had been in during their spiritual journey. Some were very “anti-church”, and had some real problems with submission to authority. They blamed this on the way they had been treated by “authoritarian” leadership, who in their minds had Lorded it over them. The truth of the matter was that they still had “rebellion” in their hearts that had never been dealt with. Others had no such attitudes, because they had submitted to the leadership wherever they had attended, but only left because the Lord was leading them to a different way of “doing church”.

At this point Joe started searching the internet, and found that there were several different ways of doing church even in the so-called “house church movement”. One that he was impressed with stated that “A simple church (sometimes called house church or organic church) is a small group of believers who understand themselves to be an important (although not necessarily the only) expression of church. These groups are highly relational (church as a family) and highly participatory (priesthood of all believers). Their gatherings are informal with a strong sense of relying on the Spirit for the agenda”. When Joe read this, something clicked in his spirit and he knew that finally after many years of searching he had found what he had been searching for. Not a “perfect church”, because there is no such thing on planet earth, but a church that is patterned after the first church we see when we read the book of Acts. Another illustration from the same website that impressed him was a comparison between the reproduction cycle of an elephant and a rabbit. A pair of elephants can only produce a family growth in 3 years from 2 to 3 elephants, while in the same period of time a pair of rabbits could go from 2 to 476 million!! When Joe saw this illustration applied to the “traditional church” vs the “simple church” he knew for sure that he had found the right way to “do church”.
Of course this story of Joe is fictitious, but you can draw your own conclusions as to how near it comes to the truth!--Sincerely--Gramp

Friday, May 05, 2006

Christian Unity

Recently I read something written by an early Father in the faith, to the Roman Emperor in the second-century. He was describing the believers of that day. He wrote, “They love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If they have something, they give freely to the man who has nothing; if they see a stranger they take him home, and are happy, as though he were a real brother. They don’t consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead through the Spirit, in God.”

In Eph 4: 6 where Paul is finishing up one of his “long sentences” about keeping the “unity of the Spirit”, which he began in verse 4. He states “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all”. This is the key to Christian unity, to realize that we all are children of the same Father. That makes us all brothers in the Spirit, as that early church father stated in the above quotation. Even though we may be divided by all sorts of barriers and differences, deep down we are really all members of the one human family.

Paul exhorts us in verse 3 to “keep or (preserve) the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. We can only keep, or “preserve”, something that we already have in our possession. For example we preserve fruit and vegetables from our gardens in the fall, for use later in the winter months. It would seem that the “unity of the Spirit” must be something that becomes ours at salvation, while the “ unity of the faith” mentioned in verse 13, is something we come into later. The first must be a gift, while the second is like fruit that comes only with maturity. This corresponds with the “gifts of the Spirit”, and the “fruit of the Spirit”, which we spoke about in previous articles. We often confuse these two types of unity, although they are clearly not the same. The unity of the faith, in verse 13, is linked with “the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. This speaks of maturity, which only comes from submission to God appointed, and anointed, servants as mentioned in verses 11-12. The 2 key words here are “equipping” and “edifying”, which both have to do with our following faithfully the teaching of these men Jesus gives to the body. Unity among Christians comes from our union with Christ. Unity in spite of our diversity is the most effective witness in this sin-fractured world! Let’s start living like those believers in the early church! Sincerely in Him—Gramp

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I doubt if you will find this word in any dictionary. Please bear with me, this present use is only temporary, and I have no intention of applying to the proper authorities to have it included in future publications! This word came to my mind after reading an account of a “baby shark” that had been captured, and put in a 24x36 inch household aquarium used to display various varieties of tropical fish. Much to the amazement of the owner the little shark never outgrew its environment. This little creature, which under normal conditions in its natural environment had the potential of reaching an adult shark 9 feet long! What a tragedy!!

That is when I got the idea for this article. My mind went to certain Christian believers I have known over the years that have succumbed to this same problem of letting their environment control their growth. If we are honest and look around us we will see individuals who have never reached the potential our Creator God planned for them. Perhaps some of you who read this may even be one of those individuals. We all started out as a tiny fertilized egg in our mother’s womb. Nine months later we had outgrown this environment and passed through the “birth canal” into the outside world where we had lots of room to develop into an adult. Our Christian life begins when we are “born again” by the Spirit of God. (John 3:3). Our physical size can vary depending on the age at which this new birth experience happens to us, but spiritually speaking we are all “spiritual babes”. How well we develop into a mature Christian has much to do with the spiritual environment we are exposed to.

Our spiritual growth often depends on choices that we can make, although some times they are beyond our control. The tendency for all of us is to find a comfortable environment, and remain there. This can take many forms, but the result is always the same, we never reach our full potential! This story of the “baby sharkis a true story, although I don’t understand the scientific reasons for its lack of growth. Very few babies are allowed to remain in the confines of the womb for more than 9 months before they are “forced out” by considerable “ labor” on the part of their mother. However many baby Christians are allowed to stay in their “spiritual womb” for a much longer time than is healthy. We should all “break out” of our confined space at the appropriate time. The circumstances and the time for this breaking out, will vary for each individual, and will be the topic of a future article.

Sincerely in Him----Gramp

Monday, May 01, 2006

Breaking out: Part two

The story of Philip in Acts chapter 8 provides us with a good example of what we mean by breaking out of our “comfort zone”. You probably know the story of this man who was chosen to be a “deacon” in his home town of Jerusalem by the apostles, to help serve food to the widows. (Acts 6:1-7)

There arose a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and many Christians fled the city. We are told in chapter 8, that Philip “went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them”. (Acts 8:5) In Jerusalem he was just a deacon, but in Samaria he became a “great evangelist”. Read the entire chapter to get the full story.

In the comfortable surroundings of the church in Jerusalem he had been chosen, along with 5 other men to fill a responsible position. He probably would have been quite content to stay there and fulfill his role as a deacon, but we are told he “went” to Samaria. The “persecution” that forced him out of his comfort zone, is what God used to get him to where He could develop his spiritual gifts. It may take persecution of some sort to move many of us out of our comfort zones, to where God can really use us!

An interesting part of this story is that the “apostles”, which literally means “sent ones”, stayed behind in Jerusalem, and became the “sent for” ones as the church continued to grow. We can only speculate as to why this happened, but perhaps they preferred their comfort zone of being in a position of authority and importance. Sort of a “big fish” in a “ small pond”, compared to Philip who became a “small fish” in a “ big pond” of the gentile world of Samaria and beyond! We see from this story that Philip touched 3 separate cultures, Samarian---Ethiopian---and Philistian. (Azotus)

We might never be used by God like Philip was, but we all have been created with certain potential gifts that need to be developed. Eph 4:1-16 tell us that our Creator has big plans for all of us. We are to become “a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. We shy away from this word “perfect”, because of false teachings in some circles about becoming the “select of the elect”, or of “sinless perfection”, both of which are perversions of the truth. To become perfect is simply another word for “mature” or “complete”, which is God’s plan for us all!

So let’s not be afraid to “break out” of our present spiritual environment which may be restricting our growth. And let us become the mature Spirit filled believers that the Lord desires us to be! Sincerely in Him---Gramp

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

No Condemnation

These words, taken from Rom 8:1 should resound in our ears like the words “you are pardoned” must sound to a prisoner on “death row” in prison who has just received the word that at the last minute the Governor has granted him a full pardon! Paul begins this chapter with the words “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”. Every one of these words is important, and we need to look at each one carefully, if we are to really understand the full meaning that Paul had in mind.

Whenever we see the word “therefore”, we need to look back a few verses to find out why this word is used. In this case the reference is to the last two verses of the previous chapter. Here we see that Paul asked a question, and then answered it. This set the stage for this profound and awesome statement, “there is therefore now no condemnation”. Notice the little word “now”, this means right now, in our present situation, as long as we are “in Christ Jesus”. Paul uses this same phrase in (2 Cor 5:17) “Therefore if any man (woman, boy or girl) be in Christ he is a new creation----“. In this case he is referring back to verse 14 “if one died for all, then all died”. This is certainly the theme that Paul has been dwelling on in chapters 6 and 7, and wants to reinforce here in chapter 8. This brings us to the words “no condemnation” which we will explore now in a little more detail.

Who among us has never felt “condemned” at one time or another? Usually it is our guilty conscience that will condemn us for some wrong thought, or action! Even after we have been forgiven by God, when we repent of our many sins and receive Jesus as our personal Savior, we often still feel condemned. This is because we have an enemy called Satan, sometimes referred to as the “accuser of the brethren”. Not only is he the one who tempts us to do wrong, but then makes us feel condemned when we yield to his temptation. We have learned from our study of Rom 6 and 7 that our old sinful nature that we were born with, died with Christ on the cross. However we all have what Paul refers to as our “flesh”, that part of us that wants to protect “self”, and fights against the Spirit who now dwells in all believers. The Holy Spirit will “convict”, but never “condemn” us when we do something wrong! Condemnation always comes from our enemy. We need to learn to distinguish between his condemning voice, and the affirming still small voice of the Spirit of God! This is part of the process of “sanctification” that comes with maturity in our walk with the Lord daily! There is no shortcut, or easy way that I know of! Sincerely-----Gramp

Monday, April 10, 2006

Resurrection Sunday

We will soon be celebrating the Easter season again, when we remember the sacrificial death of Jesus, our Savior. This is really the highlight of the year for the church, when all eyes are focused on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Good Friday rallies have been very memorable times in the past, when the Saint John Ministerial sponsors a combined rally in one of the larger church sanctuaries in town, but Sunday morning has always been the most important day of all.

In the past few years I find more and more attention given to “chocolate bunnies” and “Easter eggs”,
and very little given to the story of Jesus. This has become more frustrating to me each year! How did the church ever fall into this completely non-scriptural tradition? It seems there was a pagan holiday that always occurred in the early spring, when all of nature was starting to come back to life after lying dormant over the winter months. The god called “Estar”, who they believed was the god of “fertility”, was worshipped at this time of year, and because it was always near the date of “Passover”, it seems the church gradually chose this pagan holiday to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. This would account for the emphasis on eggs and bunnies, since they represent signs of “fertility”.

Maybe 2006 could be the year that Christians rose up and refused to use the term “Easter”,which is taken from the pagan fertility god named estar, and start to use the term “Resurrection Sunday”. This is certainly a scriptural term, and loaded with powerful meaning for us believers. This word is found in many scriptures like Acts 23:6, where Paul used it to bring confusion between the Pharisees who believed in a resurrection, and the Sadducees who didn’t. The word is taken from the Greek word [anastasis] which means, standing up again, restoration to life, or rising from the dead.
It seems to me that “Resurrection Sunday” is a much more appropriate name for the most important day on the Christian calendar, than Easter Sunday!

How do you think we could go about redeeming this day from the pagans and making it into the “Holy Day” that it should be, instead of a day to honor some ancient fertility god? If anyone has a good idea how we could do this, maybe you can contact me. Let’s strive to make it a day to honor and respect the memory of our Savior who deserves our best! Sincerely---Gramp

The "IN" Generation

To be “in” is synonymous with being accepted. We all have a deep need to feel accepted, loved, and wanted. Because of rejection or our fear of being rejected, we will do almost anything to gain that feeling of acceptance or recognition. We all desire to be “in” and not “out”, so let’s consider a few uses of this little word “in”.

1. In-dependent---Everyone doing their own thing in their own way.

2. In-considerate---Selfish, “me first” no consideration for the rights or feelings of others.

3. In-secure---No real sense of belonging or being accepted, and not knowing who we are, we search for security in material possessions or in relationships.

4. In-consistent---Here today but gone tomorrow, no ability to follow through on resolutions or good intentions.

5. In-complete---Empty, not finished, unfulfilled dreams, discouragement and defeat, are the common symptoms.

As an answer to all these negative “ins” mentioned above let’s look at some verses of scripture that give a very positive “in”. “If any man be “in Christ” he is a new creature”, or “In Him we live and move and have our being”, or “we are complete in Him” etc. What does it mean to be “in Christ”? It means a new beginning, or a new birth experience like Jesus told Nicodemus about in John 3:3. Just as we enter into our earthly family be natural birth, we must enter into our spiritual family by a spiritual birth. This is accomplished at the moment of our conversion, when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, and the Holy Spirit comes in to our life to give us the assurance of salvation.

We are all unique individuals, God has given us a free will with which to make choices, we are not robots or clones, therefore we can chose today to be “in” Christ, or remain in one or more of the negative situations we listed at the beginning of this article.

There is nothing wrong with being part of the “In Generation” as long as it is the generation that has chosen to be “in Christ”!!! Sincerely in Him---Gramp

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

From Darkness to Light

What is darkness?--It is simply the absence of light. We are told in God’s word that Hell is a place of eternal darkness “the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 6, 13). We can associate sin with darkness. There is an old song that starts out “I was in sin’s prison, oh so dark and cold-----“

Let’s look at a few scriptures that mention light.

John 1:1-9, John 8:12, 1 John 1:5-10----all declare that God is light!

Ps 36:9----“In your light we see light”

James 1:17----“---the Father of lights----“ or the very source of all light!

God is Light---If we understand that He is the source of light, and we know that He is perfect then everything else is a mixture of light and darkness.

Satan is total darkness----He is referred in scripture as the prince of darkness or the god of this world who blinds the minds of those who believe not “lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” 2 Cor 4:4 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts----“2 Cor 4:6. Paul writes in Col 1:13 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love”.

In 1 Peter 2:9 we are told we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”. As believers then we should walk in the light of God, and not be a mixture of light and darkness! We should now hate the things we once loved, and love the things we once hated! That is the proof of our salvation.

However many believers are still a mixture, or a blend of light and darkness, and as such do not properly represent Jesus to the world. Satan is a deceiver, and comes as “an angel of light”, and has many false messengers “who transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” in order to deceive us 2 Cor 11: 13-15. Jesus warned us that in these last days in which we are living, many false prophets would come in His name, and would deceive many. Matt 24: 4-5. Paul refers to God as “unapproachable light” in 1 Tim 6:16, but Jesus came to earth to make Him approachable through His incarnation! Jesus truly is the light of the world!! We need to let His light shine through us as we “walk in the light” 1 John 1:7----Gramp

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Fruit of the spirit

Because the “fruit of the Spirit”, and the “gifts of the Spirit”, are often compared by many Christians, it may be well to follow the recent posting on the spiritual gifts with this one on the fruit of the Spirit. In (Gal 5:22-23) the Apostle Paul gives us a list of the “fruit of the Spirit”. A close examination of these verses will identify this fruit as a description of the nature and character qualities of Jesus. The list consists of nine things, and can be divided into three groups of three. The first three describe our attitude toward God, the next three our social relationships; and the last three describe character qualities, that guide a Christian’s conduct.

Fruit speaks of something that grows, and matures gradually over a period of time. For example apples take several months to come to maturity, and are not tasty until they mature. Have you ever tried to eat a little green apple in June, in contrast to a mature apple from the same tree in September? The fruit of the Spirit is like that when compared to the “Gifts of the Spirit”, described by Paul in (1Cor 12:4-11, 28-31, and Rom 12:1-8),. The “Gifts” are given; the “Fruit” has to grow into maturity.

Some people have tried to compare the value of the Spiritual “Gifts” to the value of the Spiritual “Fruit”, and have caused much confusion. Both Gifts and Fruit are available to every member of the body of Christ, and are necessary in order to live a life pleasing to our Heavenly Father. The Gifts can be considered as necessary “tools” to be used to extend the Kingdom of God, and the Fruit as the nature and “character” of Christ.

Our heavenly Father’s plan from day one, has always been to have a family of sons and daughters just like Jesus, This was his desire when He created Adam, and then formed Eve from Adam’s rib, and placed them in the garden. (Gen 2:7, 20-22) We know how Sin and Satan spoiled that plan, (Gen 3:1-7) but how Jesus reversed things by defeating Satan through His death, burial, and resurrection!(Col 1:19-23) Through Christ our Redeemer/Brother, we have been brought back into the family of God, and as members of His family we are to express His character. The “person” of Christ is in heaven now, seated at the right hand of God the Father, but the Holy Spirit brings His “presence” to us, when he enters our heart at the moment of salvation. (1 Cor 6:17) This “presence” becomes more real after we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-8).

A new baby receives from its parents the nature and character of the family due to what science calls our DNA. That nature will develop as the child continues to grow. The same thing is true in the family of God. The nature and character of His life, or we might say the Divine DNA, is to grow in us, as we grow in Him. This is our destiny --to become like Jesus. (2 Cor 3:18, and Eph 3:17-19). This can only happen as we are diligent to spend time in His presence, and mature as a believer. The words of Jesus, as recorded in (John 8:31-36) tell us how this comes about, as we “abide” in His word. Then we will be His disciples, we shall “know” the truth that sets us free, and we shall become mature, so we can produce spiritual fruit!

Remember fruit is meant to be consumed, so we should all be producing fruit in our lives every day so that other members of the body can feast on it!! Sincerely in Him.---Gramp