When Praying, Do Not Think You Are Offering Your Words To Him For Them To Be Graded,
And If You Should Pass By Any Measure, He May Answer For Your Good Pleasure...
All your words, no matter how well or poorly constructed, if uttered from the heart, will be heard by Him, and into His presence you will be
faithfully conducted. So, learn the language of your heart and speak it often; for in it lies the key to effective communication with Him.
THIS IS PRAYER!
As A Developing Child Mimics To Learn The Language Of Its Parent And Provider So As To Effectively Communicate Its Deepest Desires
And Innermost Thoughts Of The Heart, So Too Must You With Your Heavenly Father. As With Any Language, To Know That Language,
You Must Study His Manual And Speak It Often To Him.
AND SO PRAY:
"Father, teach me first the words of your Heavenly language whereby I may communicate to you the thoughts of my heart and
with it hear and understand your will to me. And then teach me not only how to pray and the words to say, but for what it is I am to pray."
- Author: Ken Livingston
Read entire In His Presence prayer guide.
"Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil."
Divine love is rendered conspicuous when it I shines in the midst of judgments. Fair is that lone star which smiles through the rifts of the thunder clouds; bright is the oasis which blooms in the wilderness of sand; so fair and so bright is love in the midst of wrath...
When the Israelites provoked the Most High by their continued idolatry, He punished them by withholding both dew and rain, so that their land was visited by a sore famine; but while He did this, He took care that His own chosen ones should be secure. If all other brooks are dry, yet shall there be one reserved for Elijah; and when that fails, God shall still preserve for him a place of sustenance; nay, not only so, the Lord had not simply one 'Elijah,' but He had a remnant according to the election of grace, who were hidden by fifties in a cave, and though the whole land was subject to famine, yet these fifties in the cave were fed, and fed from Ahab's table too by His faithful, God-fearing steward, Obadiah. Let us from this draw the inference, that come what may, God's people are safe. Let convulsions shake the solid earth, let the skies themselves be rent in twain, yet amid the wreck of worlds the believer shall be as secure as in the calmest hour of rest. If God cannot save His people under
heaven, He will save them in heaven. If the world becomes too hot to hold them, then heaven shall be the place of their reception and their safety.
Be ye then confident, when ye hear of wars, and rumours of wars. Let no agitation distress you, but be quiet from fear of evil. Whatsoever cometh upon the earth, you, beneath the broad wings of Jehovah, shall be secure. Stay yourself upon His promise; rest in His faithfulness, and bid defiance to the blackest future, for there is nothing in it direful for you. Your sole concern should be to show forth to the world the blessedness of hearkening to the voice of wisdom.
- Author: C.H. Spurgeon
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"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised
to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin,
when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
The question is asked: When tempted, where is the line
that distinguishes between sin and none sin? If one does not feel drawn
towards a temptation (have a desire towards), where then is the need for resistance?...
If two are faced with the identical wrong and the first easily, without thought (enticement), turns away and the second is
enticed but after some
internal conflict, whether great or small, renews his strength and then turns away, who has the victory? The first can boast of his own strength and say,
"Because I was strong, I was not tempted in the least!" But the second is thankful of heart in that his strength came not from within, else he knows he
would have given in; but it came from without—from a source other than himself. The first is proud, the second humble. For he knows God, not he himself,
was his strength and redeemer... (I Peter 5:5-6)
- Author: Ken Livingston
Read entire article and more.
The revealed will of God is not obviously seen in every event in history. Temporal setbacks of Christianity and the growth of Islam are
vivid examples of this. However, the growth of the kingdom of God predicted in the Holy Scriptures surely contains a message for us...
At the very dawn of the Soviet state, the Russian Communist leaders were too well aware of the fact that this country could not permanently exist
unless it received some foreign support. The only socialist island washed by the hostile waters of capitalist countries had little chance to survive.
And the 1917 socialist revolution in Russia was carried out with expectations of outside support...
- Author: Roman Medvid
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Top Articles Feature.
The following is taken from the Book, Adam2: A Guide For The Walk Home, written by our founder.
It is A Commentary On The Gospel Of John, complete with a background look at the contemporary Jewish groups active in Jesus' day.
It includes a summary of each chapter, a redacted study of each disciple, a brief study of Gnosticism of the time, pertinent timelines,
and much more. Each chapter of study includes extensive Biblical references to the notes on the chapter.
A chronological excerpt of each section will be posted here at the beginning of each month. You can access free of charge at any time
a complete online digital version
for your further study. In addition, a link will be provided to purchase the book on CD to install on
your own computer for convenience of study and print. All we ask is that you observe the stated copyrights as with any book you buy over
the counter, limiting your print to only one hard copy for your own personal use. If further hard copies are necessary,
please contact us for an additional nominal fee. Thank you for your interest in this study. Our hope and prayer is that
through the work of the Holy Spirit as you study you will be blessed by it, and if so, recommend it to a friend.
We turn this month to the study of the Pharisees from the book: Adam2.
I. MAJOR JEWISH GROUPS IN JESUS' DAY
Pharisee in Hebrew is Perushim, and in Greek, Pharisaion, both meaning, separate, or Separates.
This idea developed from the strong desire and attempt to keep the Jew separate from the other peoples of the world,
by blood, religion, ceremony, and culture, eventually evolving into the Pharisees' own perception of themselves being
separate purists within their own Judean religion. Origins of this can be seen in the call of Abraham through the
repatriation of the post-exilic Jew in Ezra's day
Nu.25; Ezra 9-10). Out of this national culture developed several parties of prevailing schools of thought as to,
(1) how to interpret and practice the oracles of God handed down through their forefathers, and (2) what role and to what extent
their reduced Jewish state would play among other nations, especially under current Persian control. Though the origins of the
Pharisee can be seen prior to the Maccabeans who ruled Judea from 167-63 B.C., they did not develop until their time.
(See Appendix, Inter-Testament Timeline, p. 3; "Sanhedrin," Chapter 3, p. 77, and "Feast of Dedication," Chapter 10, p. 139.)
Gone was the monarchial rule of pre-Babylonian captivity that lasted several centuries during the Solomon Temple era
(See Appendix, Old Testament Timeline, p. 2). During the post-Babylonian period and Zerubbabel's temple time, law and
order evolved into the hands of men studied in the Mosaic law, usually priests, or the then emerging scribe such as Ezra,
a Levite. (See
From this cultural time evolved the Great Assembly, or Knesset Gedolah, composed primarily of anonymous scribes who
became the "supreme spiritual authority" in matters of law regulating Jewish life. Therefore, the shift of power from the
pre-Babylonian nobles and kings to the post-Babylonian High Priest and Council of Sages (as they were then called, eventually
called the Council of Seventy Elders or the sunedrion, or Sanhedrin—from the Greek suned, meaning council) was complete.
Continuing reading Pharisees and Work..►
It is stated simply as a matter of fact by a modern Jewish historian that: "All these [post-exilic] developments called for
hundreds of new ordinances and enactments to regulate cultural and religious life...The members of the Great Assembly...faced
the task of providing fixed patterns of behavior in many spheres that had formerly been left to the discretion of the individual"
(Steinsaltz, p. 16). Their interpretations of Mosaic law evolved into oral law which was later catalogued and codified and rigidly
imposed and enforced. So strong was their desire to remain separate and in strict compliance to the letter of the teachings of the Mosaic law,
their stated philosophy was that it was "better to die than sin." A tragic tale exists of the only known nasi,
or president of this Council during this period, surrendering his own son for execution on sophistic charges because of their
insistence of strict adherence to the letter of their law (Steinsaltz, p. 22).
It is also said that in the beginning the Pharisees were men of great moral and religious character who placed themselves in
mortal danger for the cause of their party, but as time passed and the risk declined with growing popularity, its ranks swelled
with men of lower character, leading to the gross hypocrisy denounced by John the Baptist when he came upon the scene
(Davis, p. 630).
After the Greeks came to power, unlike the emerging Sadducces, the Pharisees refused to become political, steadfastly
resisting the hellenization of their people. To prevent the Jews from adopting the Greek's cultural ways (hellenization),
they required strict adherence to the Mosaic laws and the rabbinical teachings and traditions of their fathers.
Scholars of Mosaic law evolved and their interpretations became binding, leading to almost if not all life's activities
becoming legally defined and ceremonially controlled. This resulted in their becoming highly legalistic in their daily living,
creating the yoke of burden upon the people of Israel that went beyond what the spirit of God's law intended. The central
question asked by them readily reveals how they evolved into their strict outward ceremonial life: Is it not better to be
a doer of God's Word than a hearer? Doing God's Law then became paramount. The condition of the heart became
secondary, and to most, totally irrelevant. What mattered most was the strict outward obedience to the Law.
This attitude gave rise to their long public praying, excessive tithing, and all the other outward excesses
they themselves engaged in and demanded of others. For example, using in part
prohibited work on the Sabbath is identified in seven general categories with thirty-nine subdivisions. Specific detail
is given pertaining to the day's activities, with even further specifications for today's modern Jew. For instance,
nothing on the Sabbath can be carried outside one's home other than the clothing worn on the person, not even a handkerchief
in one's hand. (Babies are exempted, thankfully.) Work is strictly forbidden and specifically identified down to the minutest
detail, e.g., the turning on or off of a light, picking up a writing tool, or today, opening an umbrella for shelter from
the rain or sun. Private written communication is forbidden to be read unless it was in open form prior to the commencement
of the Sabbath. If one desired to personally avoid these voluminous restrictions, they simply hired a Gentile to do what
they themselves could not, therefore, clearly keeping the letter of the law but violating its spirit (Trepp, pp. 70, 71).
(Maybe they had learned their lesson in captivity all too well.) Consequently, the spiritual aspect of Jewish religion was
all but extinct, except among a few, usually among the poorer class who still had hope for a spiritual messiah
- Author: Ken Livingston
Addicted To Experiences
I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning
ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God...
Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness,
and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
- Exodus 16:12; Nu.14:22
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this,
said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it,
he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
In the above Biblical examples both the Hebrews and the nominal disciples of Jesus were dependent upon their most
recent experiences with God for their continued loyalty to Him. Absent those miracles they all murmured and decided
they could no longer bear His leadership. They were addicted to their expectant experiences rather than dependent upon God.
They could not see past their human and emotional needs to be disciplined to walk by faith and not by sight. He would not
concede to their demands. He would not appeal to their emotions. He sought to elicit their obedience by faith, a faith beyond sight.
Short of that, He would force no one against their will to follow nor would He continue to entice them with His miracles (Lk.11:16).
His compassion knew no limits but He would not alter His teaching or rhetoric to placate their consciences to maintain their following.
His call was always prefaced with an IF—IF you will be my disciple, IF you would seek eternal life, etc (Mt.16:24; 19:21; Lk.14:26).
The amazing experience of the Exodus was not the experience of the parted Sea nor the manna that fell from Heaven.
It was not the miraculous flow of water from the rock of Meribah nor all the other miracles witnessed by the hundreds of
thousands of wandering Hebrews for thirty years. No. As marvelous and unforgettable as those experiences were by a people to
whom they were given there is one that towers over them all. It was the visible proof of the presence and movement of their God
seen in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. Without question, they knew they abided in the presence of their God. He
went before them by day and they pitched their tents around Him by night. Imagine! And yet it seems the Hebrews looked upon that fact
with such familiarity they looked past it, looking for the next experience that would give them their daily hope and encouragement.
From highs to great depths they repetitively fell—experience after experience, year after year. God's presence and His promises
alone were not sufficient to them. We know that because without those experiences they constantly wanted to turn back to Egypt.
In fact, at one point God wanted to completely destroy them and would had it not been for the intercession of Moses (Nu.14).
Their addiction to their experiences was greater than their dependence upon their God! Despite all the wonders they experienced
in Egypt before their departure, despite all the miracles they had witnessed to date, the Hebrews failed to grasp the vision of
Moses and at a minimum walk with him in his faith. Hence, they were condemned to their wilderness wanderings until all above
a certain age died out before their posterity were permitted to cross Jordan into the land of His promise (Nu.1:45). Even after
their children did cross Jordan, they would continue this disposition until after their captivity in Babylon and Ezra's
calling and ministry to them. One has to look only at the period of the Judges for clear evidence of this.
The experiences with Jesus and His followers were much along the same line. They would run to Him when they would see that
flash on the horizon upon His performance of a miracle, pushing, shoving, elbowing in to see and take for themselves any
overflow from the crowd, to desperately touch if possible in anonymity the hem of His garment. They followed Him as long
as they believed He might do another for their benefit, but when their faith would go no deeper in Him as Jesus
intended in the miracles, He would cease. He knew what was within the heart of each (Jn.2:24-25). Like their ancient kinsmen,
they too would turn away with much sorrow (Jn.6:66)—what tragedy, God among them, Immanuel, and they would walk
no more with Him! Addicted to the drug but no thought of the Physician who came to heal and save them!
Read Entire Article...►
- Author: Ken Livingston
The following is taken from the Book of New Testament Summaries.
[Paul's response to Titus' good news from Corinth's reaction to his first letter.]
He begins with customary greetings, salutations, and commendations. He is greatly comforted in Christ amidst his
most recent severe persecution in Asia (Acts 19). His life has even been in danger, but he knows others are
comforted and strengthened in Christ's witness through his many afflictions, and he theirs (
Their effectual prayers are greatly noticed. His words to them, though grievous, have not only been above board,
but straight from the heart in every way. Though he intended to come earlier but prevented, God is his witness
that he was sincere. His word can be trusted, just as Christ always fulfills His promises. His delay was in part
to allow them sufficient time to respond to his earlier rebuke that they not be sad when he arrived,
similarly causing him great sadness as well. He hopes their joy has since been restored and will be
shared when they finally meet. His previous instructions were to strengthen their faith in which they solely stand,
and not intended as rule over them. His authority, as theirs, is in none other than Christ who anointed and sealed him by His Spirit.
Their joy is interdependent: if one is sad, how can he make another glad. We ought always rejoice that it be for the
edifying of all, even in our afflictions and persecutions! Paul has written hoping that this time of correction,
discipline, and repentance might pass before he arrives. He is elated they have dealt with the errant one (I Cor.5),
but is now concerned they may go too far in their separation from him. Their forgiveness of the disciplined is absolutely
essential that Satan not gain advantage for further damage to their witness to Christ. He has been greatly concerned and
anxious in this matter, writing to them with his own tears, passing up opportunities of ministry in Troas where Titus was
to have met him with their report. Finally having found him in Macedonia (Philippi?), his spirit is relieved; in fact, their
news has caused a sweetness in his soul at this victory in Christ and the triumphing of His Truth, which he holds dear above all else.
[The theme of ministries contrasted or compared is expanded in Chapter 10. Apparently men of prominence, likely Jewish Christians,
were present in Corinth with letters of introduction from Jerusalem. Paul's authority was now being questioned by these influential
ones in the very Church he had established.]
Should he have to reintroduce himself as at the first when they were saved? He had no letter of introduction or authority from mortals then.
His power and authority has been, is, and always will be based solely in God who called him into the ministry of the New Covenant.
He was God's letter to them and now they to the world. They need no other! The old letter, to be taught others, was written in stone,
but the new, upon the hearts of the believers that all men might read wherever they are. The old condemned and brought death; the new makes
alive and free in Christ. The glory from the old could not be looked upon by the worshiper as he approached (Ex.34:29-35),
but now the veil has been removed (
Heb.9 & 10.) and man may live in its presence, all radiating its light (
as only Moses before (
The veil has been universally removed for all men to look upon Him and live, yet Israel continues in blindness, unable to look within the
truth they read, even teach, which brings life and freedom, the Law continuing as their guide rather than the Spirit who has now clearly come.
He will teach all men, Jew or Gentile, who will open their ears and eyes to the truth reflected in His words. (Deu.18:15-19; Jn.16:7-15)
[Paul speaks to the core of Christian character that needs no vouchment by another, clearly visible by all, an open letter in the
light of God's gospel which he has been given to share with others.]
What are letters but a testimony of one to another's honesty? What need is there of them if we have the testimony (letter) of Christ.
A Christian's character is beyond reproach, above questioning, where no guile (deceit) can be ferreted. What need have I of letters then,
if I have Christ? (
If I have Christ, I have His Letter! What is His Letter, if it is not His Testimony?
(3:3) What is His Testimony, if it is not His Spirit? (
What is His Spirit, if it is not Truth? (
What is His Truth, if it is not Freedom? (
What is His Freedom, if it is not Righteousness? (
What is His Righteousness, if it is not God? (
And what is God, if not Love? (
Examine me then, and see if I have the Love of God in my heart, if so, then the Letter of Christ! Don't you see?
If I am in possession of one, I am in possession of all! And if I am lacking in one, I am lacking in all. Love then is the greater,
and by it we know He is in us. (
4:6-17) And Love suffers all. (
Paul has successfully established his authority and identity in Christ by stating both his argument and giving evidence
in his own life of his love suffering for them. No one suffers as he has if the love of Christ does not dwell in him;
so do not be fooled by one's outward pomp, circumstance, and letters. A man's life and suffering is sufficient evidence
and defense of his own standing in Christ. (A widely known question comes to mind here: If you were arrested tomorrow
and charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you? Letters could be destroyed
but the legacy of lost souls won to Christ could not be eradicated. What would be the nature of your evidence?
Certainly, all would have to concede in Paul's case it was lives and not letters, to which they did, thus easing
the schism that developed among them.) Certainly our suffering, though it may not be fully understood and appreciated
by some, will not go unnoticed and unrewarded by God (
The rewards will far outweigh the small temporal price paid in suffering for His sake while doing His work.
Read Entire Summary...►
Knowing our temporal bodies are His Earthly temple, when it has served its purpose on Earth, be assured its spirit will
immediately ascend to the Father. We have been given the assurance of this by His indwelling Spirit. And if the Spirit
who is rich above all Earthly measure, who Himself gives gifts to the recipient believer (
is only the down payment of the riches to come, how great must those riches be! This is sufficient cause for our earnest
expectation to depart the present for the eternal. So, for goodness sake, labor while present that you may be accepted by Him,
both now and in the life to come. Glory only in the things eternal, and do not be overly impressed by those who make pomp of
their appearance; God will judge the hearts of all men. We seek the approval of no one but Him. And we have, through His atoning work,
been made ambassadors in His name. This is by what authority we work and speak.
[Paul continues his vindication of his Apostolic authority.]
Their continued questioning of his validity puts them in danger of bringing reproach upon their thriving ministry in Corinth.
God's grace, which was bestowed upon them at the first through Paul's original work, was not in vain, otherwise they would
still be in their sin and in need of another witness, this time of valid authority. But he has been that witness; therefore,
he needs no other or further recommendation to them. His open life of suffering is evidence of his love for both God and them.
His heart has been that conduit, enlarged, through which Christ's love could flow to them, and that not of insignificant quantity.
He is not their master to lord over them, but they, his children in the faith. His care is parental, desiring to see them grow into
the full stature of a man, becoming capable of discerning truth from illusion, false teachers from true prophets. He warns them to
beware of worthless men who may rank high in the eyes of other men, but worthless nonetheless for Christ. They are not to associate
with such, for their ways are subtle, contaminating them with their doctrine and practices. God's children are to remain sanctified unto Him.
Purity of body and spirit is the way of the one called and separated by and for God (
Paul exhorts them to such a life of moral integrity and honesty, as he himself has lived before them. His soul has not
rested since sending Titus with his previous letter. But now that he has found Titus upon his return through Macedonia,
his heart is overcome with jubilation for their Godly response, which was the sole intent of his written words. Both his
and Titus' love for them is magnified by their humble submission to their direction in this matter. God has been glorified.
[Paul now turns his attention to the offering being collected in Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece for the saints in Jerusalem.]
Liberality in giving, as Christ so liberally gave, is encouraged that none go lacking and equality might be obtained.
As each one is helped, they in turn are to reach a hand behind to lift another, all working hand in hand as one body,
fitly joined together, that no disparity exist among them. Christ's Church is one; indeed, it is His body. If one suffers,
they all suffer. If one abounds, they all should abound. Titus' personal care for them is commended. Others not named are
honored in their readiness and assistance. Let all that is done in these administrative matters be done with full accounting
that not so much as a suspicion be leveled against the ministry anywhere. Paul is confident now in their corrected zeal,
and is certain they will want to demonstrate their love for the brethren in this opportunity for giving.
- Author: Ken Livingston
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Has church been getting you down lately? Do you have more questions than answers about the major
shift in your experiences in worship, in the objects, music, and even the sermons? We may be able to help.
Know first, you are not alone! More people are awaking to a deceptive practice that
began years ago. In addition, we have put together 5 articles to try and answer some
of those questions and help with your understanding. The first are more practical in nature as they
relate to your questions. However, the 5th is more specific in identifying a major factor behind the
changes you are experiencing. We hope this will not be the end of your exploration of this
growing cancer on the church. If you're fine with it, we wish you the best but some of us
have not nor will buy into it.
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