Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Fear of Tomorrow is Bondage Today

The Bondage of the Fear of Tomorrow.


Last time we talked about Yesterday. How the things in our Past, the good, bad, and the ugly, can put us in bondage of the fear of them repeating, or by attempting to recreate them. Dwelling on Yesterday, and fearing Tomorrow, makes us lose our Today.

As we started to discuss, it is not totally our fault. Some of the fear and worry of Tomorrow has been taught us from Birth. We have been conditioned to fear Tomorrow. There are people who make a lot of money, stoking that fear.

Now, some of the things we are going to discuss today, may upset some of you. You may become offended. You may become angry. You may not agree. That's because we have been so conditioned that it has become the Norm. It's just what we do. In a way, it makes perfect sense. However, you need to think about one thing. One very important thing, that is always left out of the equation. Lets look at some of the Norm.

Car insurance? We pay money every month to a company that claims they will be there if we have an accident. Lets say you pay them $100 a month. In a year, you paid them $1200. Ten years? $12,000. Now lets say you have an accident. What do they do? In most cases, pay out, maybe, a couple hundred, or say the car is only worth a grand and total it out. They have armies of Lawyers looking for any reason whatsoever to pay you as little as possible.

Life Insurance? You are paying people to take care of your family if something happens to you. There are so many loopholes and small print, that some do not even pay out at all. If you die your family get's A Million Dollars. If you die during a Snow Storm, in July, wearing a blue hat and pink underwear.

College Funding? Putting money away for your kiddies to go onto higher education. Do you know they are going to? Do you know they are going to become something that NEEDS a college degree?

Retirement? Saving money your whole life, so that you can quit work, sit on the couch, and do nothing all day. I know people that work two jobs just to save for Retirement. I now know people that work two jobs just to pay for Car, Health, and Life Insurance. What if you lose you Job tomorrow. What then?

The fear of the loss of a Job can cause Bosses and Corporations to become abusive. If they think you fear the loss of your Job, they may start taking advantage of you. I actually once had a Boss tell me "A Trained Monkey can do your Job." In other words, you are not important, if you do not do what I say, there are a hundred people waiting to take over. He was demoted and moved out of our Department shortly after.

Fear of Death? That's a big one. Some fear tomorrow, because they fear what Tomorrow may bring. Lets deal with this one first. Once you lose your fear of death, does anything else TRULY matter? You see, last time we talked about the things of your Past are gone. Once you have been adopted into the Family of God, and God Himself becomes your Daddy, you become a New Creature. All that Good, Bad, and Ugly stuff is gone. Blotted out. Forgotten. You are no longer the person that did, or, lived them.

Romans 8:
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
And,,,,
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Now?
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Lord Himself tells us, as His Children,,,,

Isaiah 41:
10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
So if we have God promising us, "I am with thee", and we now know that "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword, death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God", Then we need not worry about Death.

Think about this. What is Heaven?

Luke 23:
43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
John 14:
2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
Revelation 21:
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 22:
1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
So I ask you. Which is better? That to which we go? Or this of which we leave behind? If death is no longer something to be feared, then WHY fear anything else? "But Pete, it's not the dying that worries me, it's the living. What if I can't feed my family? Pay my Rent or Mortgage. What if?" Jesus Himself answered this on the Sermon on the Mount....

Matthew 6:
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
You see, this is why Jesus tells us these things. Our needs will be met. Rely on God and stop relying on ourselves. With us, we can doing nothing. But with God, all things are possible. Who do you trust more? You? Or the Creator of all things? "But Pete, I have to work. I have to save for the future." Why? "Why? What do you mean WHY? This is what we do. We work now, save for later. If not, how are you going to live?"

Luke 12:
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Jesus tells us plainly "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Tomorrow is NEVER guaranteed. Think about that. Jesus says "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee." What if, this morning was the last time you ever ate Breakfast? The very last time you ever had coffee. The very last time you ever took a shower, got dressed, and kissed your Loved Ones goodbye. The last time. You go out the door, and a truck has a blowout and crashes into you. A plane flies into a building. You have a Heart Attack. Just because the World may not end today, doesn't mean this is not your last day on it.

Did you know that Retirement is a man-made concept. Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about saving for the future and so you can stop working and take it easy. Nowhere. I have known many people that live for Retirement, and they get there and Retire, only to die shortly after. Their kids now inherit that car, house, and all that money they, in some cases, kill themselves obtaining.

Jesus tells us to "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth." "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Jesus tells us that if we truly want to save for the future, we should do so by doing the Will of the Father. Store up treasures in Heaven. Add jewels to your crown in Glory.

Am I telling you to cancel all your Insurance Policies? Of course not. Car and now Health Insurance is now the Law of the land. You MUST have them. I'm not telling you to violate the Law, I'm saying start relying on God. Trust Him. Believe what He tells you. Remember, Jesus said "for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." And...

Luke 11:
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
We must "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added" on to us. We must not live if fear. We must trust in Him. Would God really allow you and your family to starve to death if you lose your Job? Whatever that Job may be? Do you really think God will allow your Family to lose everything if He calls you home today? Do you really think that God, the Creator of all there is was or ever will be, in unable to get you a Car if needed? Seriously? How big is your God? Do you see Him AS God? I ask you again, of whom do you trust more? God, or yourself?

Tomorrow is coming. The things that are in it, are coming. There is NOTHING you can do to change it. NOTHING you can do to prevent it. Nothing. It's coming. It's here. It's gone. Another Tomorrow is coming. Will you be in it? It's not even a guarantee. Why worry? Why fear? God is with you. Stop worrying about the Creation, and start trusting in the Creator.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Take No Thought of The Morrow, Yesterday.

The Bondage of the Fear of Tomorrow. Bound in Yesterday


What if? What if something happens to me? Will my Family be OK?
What if? What if I get sick? Do I have Healthcare?
What if? What if I lose my job? How will I survive?
What if? What if I make it to Retirement? Can I live on?
What if my car breaks? My house burns down? My Kid wants to go to Collage?

Tomorrow can seem scary. A lot of "What ifs". We have been conditioned from birth to worry about Tomorrow. People make a lot of money helping you plan out for tomorrow. They help you plan for Collage, Retirement, and even death itself. Insurance, from Auto to Health, to having a Life Insurance Policy, is all about "What ifs". All about planning for Tomorrow. Always be prepared? Plan for the worse and hope for the best?

There are a few different ways that we fall into the bondage of the fear of Tomorrow. Today we will focus on Yesterday. Yup. Yesterday.

You are born. You live and learn. You grow. You have experiences. The good, bad, and ugly. You make choices. As you grow, some of these moments in time, moments in our lives, can become so overwhelming that they take hold of you. They become, in essence, the person you become.

The Good? Ever have one of those moments that was SO very good, great even, that you want to repeat it? Re-experience it? You set up the same circumstances, invite the same people, arrange for things to be exactly the same? What happens? It is not as good as it was the first time. You see, there is only one first. No matter how much you obsess with trying to recreate it, you will fail every time. However, I know people that spend the rest of their lives attempting to relive something of their past.

The Bad? Last time I was behind the wheel, I had an accident. I will never get behind the wheel again. I see my Father working so hard, making like next to nothing. That will never happen to me. I will not do that. This happened to my friend. I will never let that happen to me. So they spend their lives trying to avoid things they perceive as bad.

The Ugly? Last time I was at Weird Uncle Joe's, he did things to me. I will never allow this to happen to me or anyone I care about again. You meet your friend's Brother and see him hug your Niece, your first thought? Is he an "Uncle Joe?" You immediately judge him based on what happened to you.

The point is, sometimes you fall into Bondage of the Fear of Tomorrow, because you cannot escape the Past. You cannot move on from Yesterday. If you have not been adopted into the Family of God, and allowed yourself to be forgiven and created into a new being, then you truly are your experiences. You truly are in Bondage. If you HAVE accepted the Spirit of Adoption, then God not only forgives you for what you have done, but blots out your very Sin.

Acts 3:
19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
God tells us that wee need to forget the Past. Forget all those things that may have been done to us. The things we have gone through. God tells us...

Isaiah 43:
18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
And,,,,
25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Once you become His Child, you are no longer the same person who had those experiences. You are no longer the same person that committed those Sins. You are a NEW Creature. However, if you are so focused on the Past, you will totally miss the things God is trying to do for you in the Present.

Hebrews 3:
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
Yesterday is called the Past, because all the things therein, ARE past. They have come. They have gone. Never to be repeated the same again. There will never be another 1963. There will never be another 1969. There never will be another 2001. There will never be another 4 am, July 28th, 2013.

Our lives are filled with never agains. You will never be 18 again. Never be 21 again. You will never Graduate School again. You will never give Birth to your first Child again. Never get Married to your Spouse again. Never go on your Honeymoon again. As you did the first time. You will never buy your first car, home, whatever, again. You will never experience ANY firsts, you have ever experienced, again.

Oh we try. Oh, how we try. Renew our Vows. High School Reunions. Baby Showers. We go around and show off our Stuff. Check out my new Car. Look at the House I just bought. Come over we'll have a Party. ETC. But you will never have the Firsts back. Let them go. All the bad stuff? Let them go. All the ugly? Let them go. Forgive whom you ought. Forget if you can. But let them go.

How do you do that? You renew your Mind.

Romans 12:
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Philippians 4:8
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
As Jesus, Himself, tells us....

Luke 21:
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
And of course...

Matthew 6:
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
You have to renew your mind. Change your way of thinking. Forget the Past. Let the Past be the Past. Allow Yesterday to BE Yesterday.

Colossians 3:
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
The Psalmist sings,,,

Psalm 19:
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Are you in bondage of Yesterday? Are you still there? Take my hand. Let me help bring you out of Yesterday and into Today. Have you been adopted into the Family of God? Are you ready to renew your Mind and be free from the memories of things long past? You can be. Say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

From Mistake to Masterpiece by Max Lucado

From Mistake to Masterpiece

Over a hundred years ago, a group of fishermen were relaxing in the dining room of a Scottish seaside inn, trading fish stories. One of the men gestured widely, depicting the size of a fish that got away. His arm struck the serving maid's tea tray, sending the teapot flying into the whitewashed wall, where its contents left an irregular brown splotch.

The innkeeper surveyed the damage and sighed, "The whole wall will have to be repainted."

"Perhaps not," offered a stranger. "Let me work with it."

Having nothing to lose, the proprietor consented. The man pulled pencils, brushes, some jars of linseed oil, and pigment out of an art box. He sketched lines around the stains and dabbed shades and colors throughout the splashes of tea. In time, an image began to emerge: a stag with a great rack of antlers. The man inscribed his signature at the bottom, paid for his meal, and left. His name: Sir Edwin Landseer, famous painter of wildlife.

In his hands, a mistake became a masterpiece. God's hands do the same, over and over. He draws together the disjointed blotches in our life and renders them an expression of his love. We become pictures, "examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us" (Eph. 2:7 NLT).

Receive God's work. Drink deeply from his well of grace.

This excerpt is taken from Second Chances.

If you're drowning in regret, shamed by your mistakes, or unable to offer grace to the one who's wronged you, you're looking at the right book.

Order Max Lucado's Second Chances at the Bible Gateway store!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Story of Paul, Final

What Sin have you committed, is worthy to be compared?


I'll be honest folks. In my mind, The Story of Saul was to be a one day message. The intent? The reason for sharing this message? It was to asked you a question. What Sin have you committed, is worthy to be compared? I've heard many people over the years say things like "You have no idea of the things I've done." "God could not possibly forgive me for some of the things I've done." "Jesus wants no part of me." ETC.

Look at Saul. A man who hunted down, bound, and even slaughtered God's chosen people. Look at how this Great Sinner {In the World Sense} became a Great Saint. What Sins have you committed? Have you killed God's people? Have you did anything that even comes close to what Saul did? Even if you say yes, look at how God used Saul.

The point, so I thought, was to show that God does not care what you have done. He does care what you can and will do for Him. To show, that once you have accepted God's Gift, Jesus's death, rather Resurrection, you "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10} The great Sinner that you were is dead. You are a new Creature. A completely differ person. One that is washed by the Blood of Jesus and one that God can now Bless and use, to be part of His Plan and Purpose. Just like Saul becoming Paul.

However, what started out in my mind as a one day message, turned into what it is today, A Five Part Series. Filled with a lot of information. Some of which I did not even know. You see, this is what happens when you get out of God's way, and allow Him to work through you. This entire series was led by the Holy Spirit. I did not read a book. Hear it at a Church. Or anything else. This was totally taught to me, as well as you, directly by the Holy Spirit Himself. The core question remains, "What have you done?" yet we got so much more.

So let's recap and wrap up. Here is Saul. Evil, enemy of God and His Chosen people. On a mission to hunt down and slaughter God's Chosen people. Yet, He is a Religious Zealot. He even tells us these things directly.

Galatians 1:
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
In Acts, after being beaten by the Crowd, arrested, and the Crowd calling for his death, Paul says this.....

Acts 22:
3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
Then he goes on to recount his conversion.
6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.

7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
Next he tells them about Ananias.
12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,

13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.

14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Now this next part is interesting..
17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;

18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.

19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:

20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
It goes on to say how this crowd that beat him was listening intently to him until he told them that God said "for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles." Then the Crowd called for his death "Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live." You see, they were rethinking calling for his death while he was talking about being Religious. But once he said, God told me to take the message of Salvation to the "Pigs and Dogs," the Gentiles, that they could not accept. Once he said that Jesus was God, that they could not accept.

But you see, this is how God works. I will never forget, and I told this story briefly before, I was on a quest. I wanted to know what this whole Jesus stuff meant. Truly meant. I wanted to know more about God and Salvation. So I was talking to... Catholic Priests, Rabbis, Pastors, and then two men came into my life. Dwight, and James. Both claiming to be "Christians" and both telling me two different things. I visited both their Churches. I was in the Catholic Church. I learn about Religions of the Far East. I was confused.

Then one day, I heard clear as day "If you want to know God, ask HIM. Ask the Creator. Stop asking the Creation." That is what I did. When you ask someone why do we, whatever, why is it against God to eat meat on Friday? Nine times out of ten, they will answer you according to their religion. "Well, the great saint John Smithion of 21 Ad said that..." No. That really didn't answer my question. Why is it against God for women to wear pants? "Well, Father Soso, in the 15th century said..." No. That really didn't answer my question. I also found that if you persist, a lot of times people will resort to one of the phrases in our language I absolutely HATE. "That's just the way it is."

I'm serious. I absolutely hate that phrase. "That's just the way it is." Why can't Blacks sit in the front of the Bus? "That's just the way it is." Why can't Women Vote? "That's just the way it is." Why do I have to accept Murder? {Abortion} "That's just the way it is." Why do I have to accept Sin? "That's just the way it is." You see, "That's just the way it is." is not good enough for me. Don't ever tell me "That's just the way it is."

So I did. I started learning directly from God. I started to grow in Wisdom and Righteousness through HIM. I asked HIM. I learned what HE thought of this or that. I stopped seeking the Truth according to man, and started learning The Truth according to God. This is what Paul did. Immediately following his conversion, he did not go to Jerusalem and learn form the Apostles. He did not enroll in a Seminary. He went to Arabia. Now Arabia is only mentioned I believe twice in the entire New Testament.

Many believe, and I do as well, that Paul went there because he needed to be far away from those he was with. In other words, here is this guy who was with a group of people who's whole purpose was to hunt down and kill people who accepted Jesus. Paul accepted Jesus. I believe that Paul withdrew himself to Mount Sinai to learn from Jesus and grow in Faith and Wisdom. He spent some time there, I believe three years.

Then he goes out and starts fulfilling his Destiny sent up by God Himself. He was Anointed and Appointed by Jesus Himself. He did not have an easy walk. Check out this list. The Word accounts. Paul was put in prison over and over. Faced death over and over. Received 39 lashes from the Jews 5 times. Beaten with rods 3 times. Stoned one time. Shipwrecked 3 times. Spent a day and night in the sea. And was in continual danger from rivers, robbers, his own people. Was always in danger in the city, in the country, at sea, from those he thought to be Brothers. Often hungry and thirsty, cold and naked. I guess you could say he had some trials and tribulations. But through it all, Paul not only remained Faithful and continued to Walk Worthy, he continued to grow in Faith and he continued to learn from God directly. One of the greatest Sinners became one of the Greatest Saints, who wrote a lot of what we call the New Testament, in the Hold Bible, that we today.

I repeat, what is it you have done? What is it in your past that you feel disqualifies you from God using you for His Will and His Plans? Paul was Saul and a Sinner to the highest degree, as we would rate Sin. Yet Peter saw him as an equal, and,,,,

Galatians 2:
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
So Jesus Anointed and Appointed him, and Peter consented. Peter helped to establish Paul as a Leader of the Church, equal to himself, only for Paul to go to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews. You see, once you go before God and Pray the Prayer of Salvation, and allow God to Anoint and Appoint you, allow Him to teach you the things you need, All that you have ever done is washed away. All the Sins you have ever committed are forgotten. Not just forgiven, but forgotten. You are no longer the person that committed those Sins. You are a completely new and different person. All you have to do is learn from, and allow God to work in your life. All you have to do is Walk Worth and be you. Will you have trials and tribulations? Of course. Look at Paul, but as Paul did, never lose Faith, know that God is with you, always.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Story of Paul, Part Four, Peter Meets Paul

Paul and Peter Meet

We left off with the story of Peter, being told by God, to go and Preach the Gospel to the Gentiles who were with Cornelius the Centurion. How Peter saw a vision and the Spirit of God told him that he should no longer consider any man God chooses as unclean. In other words, non-Jews were about to receive the Holy Spirit and Salvation through the Faith in Jesus, just as they. Peter goes, and witnesses this, first hand.

Meanwhile, Paul is doing his thing. Here is something you really need to understand. Just as Jesus came to Peter, and taught him the Gospel and the things of God, then appointed him, Commissioned him as the Head of the Church for the Jews....

Matthew 16:
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The Same Jesus appointed, or Commissioned Saul, now Paul, and the Leader of the Church to the Gentiles...

Acts 9:
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Paul was taught all he knows directly from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He, like Peter, was not taught in a School run by men. He was not appointed by man to any power or position. Paul tells us this in one of his letters to the Church in Galatia.

Galatians 1: 
1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Then we see what may indeed be the first time, man, tried to change the incorruptible Word of, and God Himself, into the corruptible imagine of man. In other words, instead of simply dealing with the Truth according to God, they decided that they were going to put restrictions and hardships on those seeking conversion. This is perhaps the first time we see man, attempting to form a "Religion" instead of operating in true Faith.

Now I personally believe, I, Peter Carlock, personally believe, not scripture, that the reason for this was jealousy. Some of the Believing Jews, became offended that Gentiles were being blessed, just like they. So they said, if any of these Gentiles want to be saved, then they must be circumcised, and they must come under the Law of Moses.

So they come to Paul and Barnabas to have the matter settled. It does not say, but it appears that Paul and Barnabas saw no need of this, but the people were not happy with that response, so they ask them to go to Jerusalem, to the Heads of the Church, The Apostles.

Acts 15:
1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Here they are, all together. Paul tells Peter, and the rest of the Apostles, all the things have been done with them. Then they get to the matter at hand...
5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
Can you say, denomination? This is how it begins. One group decides that they like this, but not that, or feel this and that should be added, or taken away, so they go on with themselves and form their own group, teaching their ways. Catholic, Protestant, Baptists, Hindu, ETC. It goes from Truth and Faith, to man-made Tradition call Religion.
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
Now Peter is saying here is this. Hey, I told you all the story of Cornelius the Centurion. it would most likely be hard for me to believe it if it had not been with my own mouth and seen by my own eyes. But there it is. The Gentiles have receive the way of Salvation just like us. Notice Peter did not circumcise them yet they received the Holy Spirit.
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
So the answer was simple. No. You do not have to be Circumcised to be Saved. The Apostles, send representatives back with Paul and Barnabas, with this letter. Most likely written by Peter,
21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:

23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.

24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Lets look at this letter for a second. First, they send with Paul and Barnabas, Judas or Barsabas and Silas, so that they can testify to those in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, that the letter is indeed from Peter and the Apostles and so those present cannot dispute the letter. They, Barsabas and Silas, will confirm the authenticity of the Letter and represent the Apostles and Elders.

"Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment." This is not of God. This is not of the Word. This is of no importance whatsoever. There is no reason that you must suffer these things in order to be Saved. Simply believe in Jesus, be baptized, and keep yourselves from the things of the world.

"It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Peter saw Paul as an equal. A man who is ordain by Jesus Himself, to be the outreach, if you will, of the Gospel to the Gentiles.

"For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." That's it. Believe, and grow in Faith. Live as God tells you to live. Do not be conformed to the world. Be above it. Sin no more. This is Peter's message to the Church of the Gentiles, now called "Christians."
30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:

31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.

34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.

35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.

37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.

38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.

39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
Now let's look at Paul's letter to the Church in Galatia some time later. First he gives God the Praise, then he admonishes them for becoming more a Tradition of Men than operating in True Faith,,,

Galatians 1:
1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
What does Paul mean here? Simple. The Gospel is, The Word became flesh and dwelt amount us. Jesus came to earth and suffered, died, yet rather, was risen again. That whosoever believes on the name of Jesus The Christ is Saved. He who repents and accepts the gift of God, is saved. Anything other than this, is a lie and an abomination to God and man.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
It is not a bunch of rules and regulations. It is not man-made and man-appointed Traditions. It is about Truth and Faith in Jesus and a one on one relationship with God. Then Paul admits that he was once a Sinner. And even how he benefited from being "Religious."
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
Now understand what Paul says here. He said, immediately following his conversion, he chose not to go to Peter nor any other Apostles. He went to Arabia where he learned the ways of God from Jesus Himself. Then, after three years, he went to see Peter. When he was fully grown and fully understanding of God and His plan, THAT is when he went to see Peter.

As an interesting side note here: the only place in the New Testament where the Greek verb historeĊ "visit" is found, indicating that Paul probably chose it purposely. It translates to "getting to know someone." So Paul says he went to Jerusalem to "get to know" Peter, and spent 15 days with him.
19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;

22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:

23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

24 And they glorified God in me.
Paul continues,,,

Galatians 2:
1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
OK. I understand that this may be a lot for some to take in. I get it. In this letter, Paul seems to be recounting his visit at the request of some, who demanded that the Gentiles be circumcised and fall under the Law of Moses. Remember, Peter and the Apostles Prayed about it and said The Holy Spirit, first, then them second, agree that this was not necessary.

Then Paul said, "when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he {Jesus, The Holy Spirit, God} that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)" Then Paul specifically says this..
9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
You see, anytime you hear Peter was the first Pope, this is simply incorrect. He was the head of the Church of the Jews, to bring Jesus to them, PAUL was appointed the Head of the Church, to bring Jesus to the Gentiles.

Then he talks about a time when he found himself admonishing Peter himself. See, Peter was a man of many flaws. Aren't we all? He loved hanging out with and doing the things the Gentiles did. However, whenever a "Jewish Leader" showed up, Peter removed himself and in essence hid who he was and how he was living. Peter fell into a "Do as I say, not as I do" type of behavior.
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Now Paul grows in Faith and becomes one of the Greatest Saints to ever live. We will wrap this all up next time. Paul did not have a cake walk. He did indeed pay for the Sins he committed as Saul. But what Sins have you committed in your life that is worthy to even be compared? If God can take a Sinner as Saul, and turn him into Paul, how much more do you think He can do for you?...

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Story Of Saul, Now Paul, Part Three

The Story of Peter

So far we met Stephen. A man of great Faith, and one who was appointed by Peter and the other Apostles, as a Leader in the Early Church, to oversee the daily distribution of goods toward the people. A face of an Angel and wisdom of God. A man who was killed for Preaching the Gospel.

We then met, at Stephen's death, a man named Saul from Tarsus. An evil man who's total reason for being was to hunt down and to bring into bondage, anyone who believed in, and taught in, the name Jesus as the Christ. We saw that not only was he present at Stephens death, but was consenting to it.

Following this, we saw how Saul first met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Saul accepts the voice of God, as that of Jesus the Christ. Jesus tells him to go into the city, and he would be told what he should do. Saul obeyed and went. Blind and fasting for three days.

Then we met Ananias. A faithful man, Walking Worthy, so close to God that when Jesus spoke to him, he said "I am Here." God tells Ananias to go heal Saul. Reluctantly, and not joyfully at all, Ananias went and laid hands on Saul healing his Blindness, and Baptized him. Saul becomes a new creature. Saul in essence, dies. That evil man, hunter of anything to do with Jesus, now becomes Paul. Apostle and Saint.

Now Paul heads out, he starts boldly Preaching the Gospel of Jesus the Christ. He is not accepted well at first, as you can imagine. He is arrested. Stoned. And suffers many things. However, always faithful to the Gospel and always growing in Faith and knowledge.

While Paul is out doing his part of God's Plan, Peter is doing his. Now we all know Peter. Saint, Disciple of Jesus. The only other man in history to walk on water with Jesus. The one Jesus said "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." {Matthew 16:18} The one who denied Jesus three times. The one who decided to just go back to his life, following Jesus's Crucifixion, until Jesus returned and admonished him and those that went Fishing with him.

So Peter accepted his role as Leader of the early Church. HOWEVER, BIG however, he was NOT the first Pope. He was NOT preaching the Gospel to anyone who was not Jewish. He was with Jesus and most likely believed what Jesus said when He said,, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." {Matthew 7:6} He was sent out, to preach by Jesus, when Jesus said, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not." {Matthew 10:5} So Peter had nothing to do with teaching Gentiles ANYTHING. To him, they were dogs and swine. Oh he liked hanging out with them, but teaching them? No.

So Peter is on a rooftop Praying, when he has this experience.

Acts 10:
9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:

10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Now remember, Paul was appoint to Preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Peter was appoint to preach Jesus to the Jews. Now Peter sees this vision and has no clue what it means. He is doing what he was taught to do. He thought he was doing what God told him to do. He was being "holy" and not touching anything unclean. Now this? What does it mean. He is confused.
17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,

18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.

19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
Cornelius is an Italian Centurion. He is not a Jew. He has nothing to do with Moses or the Law. But he is a man of Faith. He Prayed always. He gave alms, or goods and money to the Poor. He desired to know about this Gospel that he most likely heard something of. Who is this Jesus, King of the Jews? What is this Resurrection thing all about? Was this indeed God in the flesh? What is this healing and miracle thing all about? So God heard his Prayers. Saw his deeds. And appeared to him and said send for Peter "he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do." 

Now if Peter had not had this experience, had not been told by God, no longer call anything God cleanses common or unclean, when these men from Caesarea arrived, Peter would have in no way gone with them. Stupid Italians. Who do they think they are to come here and ask me to tell them the Gospel? They are not Jews. I will not go. I will have nothing to do with them.

However, now he understood that God can and does seek out the Heart. He has opened up Salvation to those worthy of it, not by Jewish blood, but by faith...
21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?

22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
So not only did Peter accept them, he brought them in, fed them, and gave them a place to sleep for the night. That most likely would have never happened either. Then in the morning, and went with them. Him and some others.
24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Notice the first thing he says to the group. It is not Lawful for me to be here. Meaning the Law of Moses. Not the Law of the Land. That according to the Law of Moses he should not keep company with, talk with, nor have anything to do with, anyone non-Jewish. But then notice how he puts this. "but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." "Any man." In other words, you have no idea the Heart of anyone but yourself. You do not know if God is using a certain person for His plans and purpose or not. You have no way of knowing who they are or what they are about. So Peter says "but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean."
29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.

33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
Again, Cornelius is an Italian Centurion. Yet? He was Praying to God always. Giving to the Poor, and even Fasting. He most likely was reading the Torah or the Tanakh. He may have been sneaking in to the Temple to hear the Word. He was a man of Great Faith and one God spoke to directly.
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
This is very important for you to understand. Peter said, God is no respecter of persons. In other words? "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." {Galatians 3:28} Then Peter Preached to them the Gospel.
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
So here we see, Peter sees, the first non-Jewish conversion. This did not go over well with some Believing Jews. It tells us in Acts 11, that Peter had to recount the whole thing.

Acts 11:
1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,

3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them,
It goes on to retell the whole story.
16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Now this is important to understand. Unless this took place, Paul and Peter could never have met. We will talk about this meeting next time. You will clearly see that although Peter had this experience, he was still commissioned by Jesus Himself to bring the Gospel of Salvation through Faith and not the Law alone, to the Jewish people. Just as Jesus taught Peter all things, gave him the power in all things, and commissioned him to Preach to the Jews, Jesus did the same for Paul toward the Gentiles.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Story of Saul, Part Two

The Story of Ananias. 

Last time we talked about Stephen. A Man, full of Faith and the Holy Spirit, that was Walking Worthy. He became an appointed leader of the Early Church and was killed by the Jews for Preaching the Gospel. Perhaps, one of the most important acts Stephen ever did, was what he said at the point of his death.

Acts 7:
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Now there, watching the whole thing, and consenting to it, and even taking joy in it, was a man named Saul.

Acts 8:
1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Saul is not a nice guy. He is, in essence, equal to Hitler. His entire reason to exist is to hunt down God's Chosen people. He would bring them into bondage, throw them in jail, and even murder them. He received great power and position by his Government for doing so and he was greatly respected and feared by men.

Acts 9:
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Now this is what they called, living the Gospel, at this time. They called it "The Way." Remember, Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." {John 14:6} If you were a believing Jew, well, you were a Jew. It didn't matter that you accepted the Truth of The Christ. You are still a Jew. Believer in "The Way." The Term Christian would first be used in Antioch following Saul's conversion.

So Saul goes to the High Priest, yes, Saul is a Religious man, just like Hitler was, and asks permission to hunt down any of "The Way" in Damascus. He is granted the permission to do exactly that. So he heads out.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord?
Stop.... Now again, Saul is a Religious man. He most likely actually believed the lies. He most likely TRULY believed that people like Stephen, and anyone else that is following the teachings of this Jesus that was Crucified , are committing blasphemies, and is attempting to corrupt the Law of Moses. So when he saw the light, and heard the voice, he knew it was God. So he asked, "Who art thou, Lord?"
And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Imagine this for a second. Here is Saul, on his way to do terrible things in the name of God, to those that follow this Jesus, and here is God talking to him, identifying Himself, as Jesus. Talk about a moment of clarity. A moment of recognition.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Here is something else to consider. He believed the voice. He accepted that it was indeed Jesus. He realized he was wrong the whole time. He was also not alone. He had a brigade of men with him, to assist him in his mission. Of course one man could not do all that he did. So these men also heard and saw the same Saul did.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Jesus tells him He is Lord. Saul accepts it. In essence, Jesus looked into Saul's eyes as He did with Peter, John, Matthew, ETC, and said "Follow me." Now at this point, Saul could have said "No." He could have disbelieved that it was the voice of Jesus. He could have continued on with his mission. But he didn't do that. He went. He in essence said "Yes."

After arriving in Damascus, and fasted for three days. Now it does not say why. It does not say he did so as a form or repentance. But one could draw that conclusion. While he was fasting, and blind, he saw a vision. He saw a man named Ananias coming to him and laying his hands on him to restore his sight. Meanwhile...
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
Stop for a second. How is your Faith? Are you faithful enough to be sure that if the Lord was to speak to you this very second, you could say "I am here." Are you this close to God? Ananias was.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
"Behold he prayeth." What? What do you think God meant here when He said Saul prayed. Again, it does not specifically say. But lets put this all together. Saul, in the middle of his Sin, is visited by Jesus. Jesus says "Follow Me." and Saul says "Yes." Now Saul is fasting, most likely as repentance for all the Sins he has committed against God and Jesus. So he prayed the Prayer of Salvation. Does it say he prayed for healing? Nope. He saw, in a vision, a man coming. God showed him Ananias coming. But Ananias was not so sure about all this.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
Now really think about this. Here is a faithful and just man. God speaks to him directly. What must he have been thinking? "You want me to build a boat? I got a lot of wood out back. You want me to go and preach the Word. I'm ready. You want me to clime a mountain, part a sea, whatever. I'm ready." God says "Go heal Saul." "WHOA!!!!! What? Sorry God. What did you just say?" "Go heal Saul." "WAIT!!!! If you were not God, I would be asking you if you have lost your mind. You want me to go do what? God. Do you not know this guy is evil? Do you not know the evil he has done. All that aside, do you not know he has the authority granted to him by the High Priests themselves to throw me in jail. To kill me even? You want me to go HEAL him? Good for him he is blind. You want ME to go heal him?"
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.So being a faithful man of God, Ananias went..
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
So here is Saul. The evil man. Enemy of Jesus, and one who in essence, was equal to Hitler. He was now a new creature. A man who would become known as Paul. But it was not an easy transition for some. It was not easy for some to accept that this evil man was now a Child of God.
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:

24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
Now next time, we will continue with The Story of Peter. How God showed him how NOTHING God has cleansed, should no longer be called common. God shows this to Peter and Peter Preaches the Word to Gentiles for the first time, leading to a meeting between Peter and Saul, now called Paul.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!