Saturday, March 12, 2011

Giving All Diligence to Earnestly Contend for the Faith

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 3

Jude "gave all diligence" to record God's Word for all New Testament believers. He did this under the direct inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. Beloved, make no mistake; the LORD had you in mind when He inspired His servant Jude.

God's active and protective love in us will propel us to train others to discern and be guarded from the mischief intended upon them by the evil one and his emissaries in our midst (Ezekiel 44:23; 1 Tim. 4:1, 6).

"And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." Nehemiah 4:14

The war for the souls of the saints involves the brethren. To contend earnestly for the faith is directly connected to loving God and loving our neighbor for whom Christ died. Lies and lack of knowledge are causing many to perish.

"Fight for your brethren" – A godly brother can be used to cut off occasion to Satan and his emissaries – to intervene. The intervention of a loving brother, who brings divine truth forward and into the ears and heart of another who is being enticed by the enemy, can be soul-saving. See James 5:19-20.

Contending for the faith begins in the arena of one's own heart and mind. Bringing one's mind under subjection to the Spirit and Word are prerequisites for being used to defend the faith and help others to abide safe in the harbor of the truth (2 Cor. 10:3-6). The soldier of the cross must first "contend for the faith" of the Gospel, as revealed in the Scriptures, internally before he can do such externally. God's Word is "settled in heaven," but is it "settled" or established in your heart as final authority? Do all of your current beliefs emanate from the Word? (Study Psalm 119)

Our minds must be washed by the water of His holy Word, cleansing away every trace and all residue of unbiblical doctrine and thinking. The heart of the Christian worker must be infused with the constitution of His LORD, found in the Bible. He must make the quality decision to relinquish all previous religious thinking and notions and repent of all false images of the LORD, which are built out of unbiblical teaching.

Our Heavenly Father gave us His Word in order to "exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

Believers must earnestly contend for the truth. When taking a closer look at the New Testament canon of Holy Scripture, one will discover that the LORD and His apostles were engaged in a continual battle to preserve truth and eliminate error, namely in the minds of God's people. Christians are called to stand side by side, aligned cohesively with our LORD and His Word, and defend His holy truth against all attackers who would cause others to err from the faith – embracing the image of a false god through wrong information (1 Tim. 1:6; 5:15).

"…that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27

"Earnestly contend(ing) for the faith," as embodied in the written Word, is all-important to the preservation of divine truth in the hearts of men. God's Word is under severe attack by the evil one. As it has been in all of history, so today, men of God must do their part by speaking out against all enemies of the LORD, which have come to alter His eternal Word and malign His holy image. We must stand with Christ and not men. Our allegiance is to Him who bares the nail-scarred hands and feet. As laborers together with the LORD (1 Cor. 3:9), we must do all in our power to preserve God's written Word in its original form and in the hearts and minds of those around us.

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." Psalm 12:6-7

Because (as promised repeatedly) there are so many antichrist deceivers in this last hour, the deluge of deception is at an all-time high. End-time predators fill the pulpits and bookshelves of our "Christian" venues. Beware and sound the alarm!
Multi-billion dollar "Christian" television empires beam out a plethora of poison peddlers who are parading their wares and wiles to millions who participate and pay for such toxin. New books break on the modern church scene daily with little or no Scripture from authors who are obviously attempting to make a name for themselves, instead of making the LORD's name famous. New "Bible" versions arrive monthly having utterly changed the eternal Word of God into something He never inspired. In all of these instances, wicked men are taking His holy name in vain by attaching it to something He has nothing to do with. In light of these and many other vehicles of deception, never has the church world more needed to diligently study and rightly divide the Word of truth than it does today (2 Tim. 2:15).
God said that His people are the dispensers of His truth:

"…in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." 1 Timothy 3:15

His people are His Church – His called-out ones – which are the pillar and ground (stewards and dispensers) of His truth.

Excerpt from the book Deceivers & False Prophets Among Us.
Available at
todd tomasella

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What is the “Church”?

What is the “Church”?

Can anyone find a physical church building in this equation?

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25

There is no local church building needed to fulfill Hebrews 10:24-25. The early believers primarily met "house to house" daily:

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:42-47

It's all about KING Jesus and "the kingdom of God" and not a physical location. Isn't this what Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well? (John 4:20-24) In the city of Ephesus Paul took the true disciples OUT of the building-centered fellowship due to the "hardened" hearts of evil men. He "separated the disciples" and flourished in the LORD:

"And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." Acts 19:8-12
Joining a Church or Becoming a True Disciple?

Perhaps the real reason people want to "find a church" is because it is just easier to ride on the wave of the community and social life a local gathering creates. But Jesus told us He will spew (vomit) from His mouth (out of the body of Christ) those who are "lukewarm" and "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria." (Amos 6:1; Revelation 3:15-16) It is interesting that "Samaria" means watch station in the Hebrew. That which is supposed to be a watch station has become an entertainment gallery, piloted by those who have made it a den of thieves as they steal the glory from the only One to whom it is due.
One goal of Satan with his modern "false apostles" and false church, is to spiritually kill believers by making them dependent upon the local church businesses they have set up, littering the landscape of America (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).

To obey God's Word to become Christ's disciple by "daily" laying down ones own life and following Him, is much more difficult than simply blindly following some person who has set himself up in a place of leadership. Of this Carmen Rojas writes:
"It is far easier to be told what to do, what to believe, who to hang with and to take years to read one verse of Scripture."

People who are not abiding in Christ in their daily lives, learning daily to love, worship, fear, and obey Him, want to fall back on the support group created by a larger group. This is a deadly endeavor and trap. Instead of simply BEING His church (called out PEOPLE) they would rather "join a church." Can anyone please find a verse in the Bible, namely the New Testament Scriptures, where the LORD instructs believers to go out and find a church to join?

People who do not follow the LORD Jesus by choosing to make Him more important than self, find it easier to "find a local church" and become a "church member" and do whatever the pastor says (including funding that local church business), instead of truly having a daily walk with Jesus - getting real with repentance, confession of all sin, brokenness, walking in His love and by faith in the Spirit, and looking for the soon return of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Joining a local church does nothing but feed self instead of leading one to obey Jesus by dying to self (Luke 9:23-24; John 12:24-25, etc.). Jesus calls all who will be His true disciple to "Follow me" and He told us that such is only possibly by the denial of self, and taking up the cross (Luke 9:23-24). The numerous warning in the New Testament Scriptures make it crystal clear that becoming comfortable or "lukewarm" in a local church atmosphere can be deadly to one spiritually and result in eternal damnation.

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." Luke 12:35-40

"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Revelation 2:4-5

Ready or Not – Jesus is Coming, but only for those who are looking for Him, without spot or blemish but rather being daily washed by His precious blood and the "washing of water by the Word." (Ephesians 5:25-27; Hebrews 9:28)

The earliest believers in the New Testament church rejoiced in Jesus Christ who had just died and risen from the dead to justify and give them new lives. They knew nothing of any Sunday and Wednesday religious routine. They didn't have church buildings. Everything was brand new and no wolves had yet entered in among them to assault the purity of their worship. They knew only Christ and desired more of Him. Their gatherings were very organic or naturally occurring and not a staged event. They were consumed with the resurrection life of Christ and overflowing with His love, pouring that love upon their fellow members of Jesus' body. Consequently, they could not but gather to celebrate and learn of Him - daily. Open your Bible and heart and study the following passages afresh and ask the LORD to speak to your heart and grant you ears to hear. Acts 2:42-47, Hebrews 10:24-25, Matthew 18:20

99% of those reading this have a corrupted idea of what the church really is. Herein lies so much confusion and hindrance. Father, please teach us what You really mean concerning Your people.

The reason so many are misled and confused is that hirelings have taught us a false concept of what the church really is. The hirelings goal is not to make disciples but rather to make good church members. He does this to win friends, influence people to like him, and build his local church franchise.

The LORD would have us to cease trying to "go to church" or "join a church" and simply be His people/church.

"… the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." Ephesians 1:22-23

We should denounce and remove our names from ANY roll call, local church membership, or contract of any kind. The true disciple is bought by the very and precious blood of Jesus Christ and on that basis alone, we are the people of God, given the earnest of His Holy Spirit – the true Church Jesus told us that HE is building (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:13-14).

It's time to BE His Church and stop trying to "join a church." In fact, we should denounce and remove our names from ANY roll call, local church membership, or contract of any kind. We are bought by the very and precious blood of Jesus Christ and on that basis alone, we are the people of God – the true Church Jesus told us that HE is building (Matthew 16:18).

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (that Jesus is the Christ) 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." Matthew 16:18-19

Overseeing the flock and being a member of a vital group of believers is not an institution such as is seen in most instances today. That's not what God had in mind as can be witnessed in the book of Acts and the New Testament Scriptures. The modern church bears little to no resemblance with the New Testament Church seen in the New Testament Scriptures. There seems to be more of an organic sense in the early church. No buildings, committees, boards, programs, professional clergy (as seen today), etc. is needed.

Ordaining elders (Titus 1:5) to oversee Christ's body does not mean there has to be a physical building or any of these things. We must see ourselves as God's people apart from the trimmings, trinkets, programs, and nicolaitane bureaucracies seen in the modern church world where sheep are corralled for man's purposes (Revelation 2:6, 15). Nico means conquer and Laitanes means laity – Jesus said He hates the deeds and doctrines of the nicolaitanes which have used the leverage of their organizations and all involved to conquer, subdue, manipulate, and lead astray God's people.

Antichrist means "in place of" Christ. Whenever and however heart affections are drawn away from the divine Person of Jesus Christ who is a "jealous God," high treason has been committed by glory-robbing wolves (Exodus 20:3; 34:14; 1 John 5:20-21).

Is this not exactly what is happening in the visible, modern church setting? Is the whole system not set up to intercept and squelch all glory ascending to Christ?
As foretold of these final days, glory thieves abound in this late hour.

Think about this: The Bible tells us to "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom HE (Jesus) hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." (Psalms 107:2) Yet, so many are so quick to herald their local church, their favorite pop-psychology, pagan author.

Could this indicate that we are in the last days where false prophets have starved the people of God's Word and led them astray to the worship of self, idols, and false gods? Was this era not foretold? (Amos 8:11; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 13)

So many can be heard saying "I love my church" or "my pastor is the best," and yet it is extremely rare to hear someone declare "I love my LORD and Savior JESUS Christ and give Him thanks today for shedding His precious blood for my many sins."
What does this indicate? Obviously, it doesn't indicate that these people are being led to foster a rich, obedient, and intimate life with Jesus.

New Testament elders are those who preach only God's pure written Word and watch over the souls of those they are privileged to oversee (Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 4:11; 5:1-6). Read these verses carefully please. Any man in leadership today who is not doing these things is a wolf. Being a part of a local church business, holding a position on a board or as a leader, does nothing to authentic any man in the eyes of Heaven. A physical building does not make anyone or any organization approved of God. The true people of God are a "SPIRITUAL house." (1 Peter 2:5, 9)
Jesus told us "I will build MY church" which means "I will build MY people – the called out ones - the ones I have called out to be mine." (Matthew 16:18)

Building upon the revelation that "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus mandates that each and every one of His saints be matured (Hebrews 5:11-6:3). Only true overseers send those they oversee into Christ's work. Wolves keep people dumb and dormant. True under shepherds equip, mature, and send forth others into Christ's work Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting (equipping, maturing) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Ephesians 4:11-16

One clear indication that Christ is not in modern institutions and the vast majority of local gatherings is that individual believers are not being equipped "for the work of the ministry" THEMSELVES but rather are being exploited by those who are misleading them (Ephesians 4:11-13). If Christians are being equipped or matured, they are participating and not just sitting listening to one man speak and feeding their attention, loyalty, energies, and monies into that system of mere men. True under shepherds of Christ always – without fail – equip those they oversee to DO God's work themselves. It is to the wolf's advantage to keep people in the state of ignorance and immaturity. Unlearned, ignorant, and immature people are easy to lead – astray (Romans 16:17-18).

"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly (personal appetites and agenda); and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." Romans 16:18

Someone asked in part how we do the fellowships we are blessed to participate in. The answer went something like this: Christ ordained elders to equip all those they oversee to do the work of the ministry themselves. So, I usually lead off but other overseers and disciples join in. They are invited to and asked to as they personally study God's Word for themselves and are rich in it (Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:15).

Joining an institution is not biblical and should be avoided at all cost. This contract yokes the believer to an earthly institution and thereby draws away his allegiance and loyalty from Christ. Jesus told us that as He was lifted up on that cross to redeem His people with His precious blood, that He would draw men to HIMSELF and anything that intercepts the heart affections of His people from HIM is antichrist (John 12:32; Colossians 2:18-19). Spiritual nourishment from Heaven only flows to Christ's body when HE is lifted up as the only "HEAD" of His body - the body He alone purchased with His own perfect blood (Colossians 2:18-19; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Timothy 6:15-16).

The kingdom of God is ALLLLLL about KING Jesus and not some institution that has come to yoke God's people down and steal from Jesus Christ the glory and loyalty due to His name alone.

It's only as we gather hungering and thirsting for more of HIM that He will fill us – Matthew 5:6 reads "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." That will not happen – hungering for more of Christ – when men's hearts are draw away from pure devotion to Him with programs, building schemes, and other non-New Testament practices. When these things are in place men naturally please those men who have instituted these things and are leading these circuses and monuments built and perpetuated to man's glory.

"Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." 1 Corinthians 7:23

Okay, read these words from the Son of God once again. Who will the LORD fill? Only those "which do hunger and thirst after righteousness." God never fills self-righteous, un-diligent people who rest on their own goodness and laurels (which are non-existent – Romans 7:18; Ps. 39:5). The LORD will not bless those who rest in their local church institution or social environment. He rejects the proud and the lukewarm and only gives grace to the humble in spirit who are currently diligently seeking His face (Hebrews 11:6; James 4:6-10; Revelation 3:15-16). Those who aren't 1) converted, and 2) humbly dependent upon Him like little children, aren't saved according to Christ, regardless of their past experience with God (Matt. 18:3-4). Why bother wasting our time gathering if we have hearts filled with pride and self-righteousness? Might as well stay home – the "lukewarm," who were at one time saved, are going to hell anyway (Rev. 3:14-15). Might as well live it up while we can because hell awaits.

Isn't this what our modern church institutions have produced?
At my place we have home meetings and the LORD has always blessed immensely as only He can do. We gather house to house seeking His holy face and not distracted by allegiance to mere men and their institutions and sinful desires.
Acts 2:42-47 is the model:

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:42-47

It is clear that the early believers met both in the synagogues and "from house to house" (Acts 2:42-47) and yet, there is danger in most building-centered institutions as is clear from the apostasy seen in their practices and beliefs. We were warned that in the final days "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse." (2 Timothy 3:13)

Meeting in buildings is not a sin or wrong in itself - the big question is though, what is going on in those gatherings? Who is truly being elevated and worshiped? Is God's pure Word alone being delivered?

Have we not all spoken with dozens upon dozens of truth-seeking disciples of Jesus who have search far and wide and simply cannot find a Christ-centered, God-fearing local congregation that meets in a building? What does this indicate?

Though falsehood and wolves have no boundaries or limitations they operate in, it seems clear that the church building model and its bureaucracies is more dangerous and can be more persuasive than the home meetings because of the trappings and techniques which can be employed by those leading. False teaching can happen anywhere though that's for sure - in a house, apartment, separate building, a coffee shop, a restaurant, under a tree, in a boat, etc.

God's people are HIS CHURCH no matter where they are. We are a "spiritual house." (1 Peter 2:5)

The synagogues the New Testament believers met in WERE ALREADY BUILT AND PAID FOR before the New Testament church was born at Christ's resurrection and the Day of Pentecost. There is no hint of a building fund among the earliest believers or in all the New Testament books. The monies given went to those in need, as every man had need, and also to those called-out to do the work of ministry (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35; 1 Timothy 5:17-18).

The vast majority of all that is done in Christ's name in physical buildings is being done to perpetuate that organization and not elevate Christ and see His work truly done. That makes it apostate.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

8 Things that Grieve the Holy Spirit by todd tomasella

What 8 Things Does the Bible Tell Us "Grieve ... the Holy Spirit of God"?

Firstly, let us acknowledge from His Word, that the LORD can be grieved. He has emotions.

"And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." Judges 10:16

“But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock is carried away captive." Jeremiah 13:17

The following passage from Ephesians 4 is what we will peer into concerning the Holy Spirit's warning to us not to grieve Him:

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:29-32

• "corrupt communication" (v29)
• Lack of "edifying" that "minister(s) grace unto the hearers" (v29)
• "bitterness" (v31)
• "wrath" (v31)
• "anger" (v31)
• "clamour" (v31)
• "evil speaking" (v31)
• "malice" (v31)

What is the attitude of all true believers toward their fellow brethren?

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

• "kind one to another"
• "tenderhearted"
• "forgiving one another"

And WHYYYYY are we to freely extend mercy with a tender heart to others? – "for Christ's sake" or on the basis of Christ's merit alone you and I are forgiven and not on our own merit. Our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags in the eyes of the one true God who is "Holy, holy, holy." (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8)

There is "NO GOOD THING" at all in you outside of Christ Himself.

Are you "blessed" according to Jesus? Let's find out okay:

"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." Romans 7:18
If you need mercy – and you certainly do – you better get an attitude of mercy toward others or you will be under the judgment of God (James 2:13).

It's time to repent and wake up people. YOU are in desperate need of the present grace and mercy of God and if you don't show it to others, He will not give it to you. If you die in that state of hatred of heart, you are going to spend eternity in the lake of fire.

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 1 John 3:14-16

todd tomasella
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Friday, March 4, 2011

POOR in SPIRIT by todd tomasella

The cornerstone truth of the entire sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) is found in the very first words of our LORD when unveiling this elaborate, far-reaching, and profound message to His disciples of all ages. Here are His first words:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

Note, "poor in spirit." Not poor financially or religiously. The two should be mutually exclusive. The Greek word translated into English as "poor" is PTOCHOS. It means pauper, beggar, poor.....desperate and spiritually impoverished. Christ looks to desperate, hungry and thirsty people who want more of Him (Is. 66:2). These long after Him. They pant for more of His presence and Word.

The LORD has no interest in the empty worship of men or religion which is vastly prevalent today as it was in Christ's day.

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Mark 7:6-9

No other sin so grieved the Savior as un-engaged religious pride and worship which actually insulated men from Him while claiming to be the only way to Him. No other group received more harsh and dooming words from Jesus Christ as those who were the very leaders of the religion He started 2 thousand years earlier (Judaism). The Jewish system of religion is the only religion God ever started or ever will start, and it is now obsolete. Christ came to bring all people into a personal relationship with Him and the Father and Holy Spirit (John 14:6, 17:3, 1 John 1:3, 7...).

In these precious words recorded in Matthew 5:3, the Master was saying that those who are desperately impoverished in their hearts, realizing their utter need for Him are "blessed." Undue loyalty to the organizations of mere men invariably taint and hinder the personal relationship He made us to enjoy. LORD, please bless us to know and love You and You alone. We will have "no other gods before You." (Exodus 20:3-4)

Here's how the blessing of knowing Him happens. Am I that weary and thirsty traveler in the hot, dry desert, panting after that glass of cold water laid before me? In other words, am I currently and personally seeking the LORD with outright abandonment and absolute desperation?

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6

Q Who did Christ say were "blessed"?
A "they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness"
Q Who did Christ promise would "be filled"?
A "they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness"

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" Psalms 42:1-2

PRAYER: LORD, please forgive me for being deceived into thinking I don't utterly need You with every fiber of my being. You made me. Please forgive me for allowing the cares of this world, deceitfulness of temporal riches, lust for things other than You, and religion, consume me because I wasn't being filled with You. I begin this moment to set my heart affections upon You alone and find my whole identity and purpose in You. May Your presence in me increase as You fill me afresh with Your Holy Ghost. Please increase in me Jesus and I choose to decrease, purging all that does not belong to You. I love You my LORD Jesus Christ. Praise Your holy name forevermore.

todd tomasella

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LORD, CHANGE ME by todd tomasella

Not long after I was found and saved by our LORD, a caring friend gave me a small paperback book titled LORD Change Me by Evelyn Christensen. The Bible-based message conveyed in this writing was to alter the rest of my life and eternity.

Summed up, the message of this writing titled LORD Change Me, was that I should seek to change the one person God gave me to change - myself, and cease from the preoccupation of thoughts about who else around me needed change. That is their Maker's place, not mine.

Being preoccupied with the need we personally have to be changed is all-important. God has pre-ordained us to be changed into His image. Being focused on the person who needs the most change - ourselves, will allow for such as we seek the LORD.

Only then can He begin to use us to help others (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:21, etc.).

"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." Romans 8:29

Change and being conformed into the image of Christ requires a constantly repenting heart and is an essential component for the wise virgin believer in readiness for the return of the Bridegroom for those who are being washed/purified by His Word (Matt. 25:1-13; Eph. 5:25-27).

Pride, stubbornness and an unteachable heart are the antithesis (total enemy and hindrance) to a healthy and growing life with the LORD.

The pliable heart that has no idols but only desires more of God, is that which facilitates unhindered growth and blessing of life from above.

This message is repeated four times in Scripture; "To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Hebrews 4:7

May God grant us now a pliable heart of flesh and take away the stony places in our hearts (Ezek. 36:26). Help us LORD.

"O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel." Jeremiah 18:6
Natural clay cannnot be molded until it is wet. The human heart cannot be made pliable until it is wet with the presence of God the Holy Spirit who will only inhabit the heart postured in humility. (James 4:6-10, etc.)

God promises on numerous occasions that those who hide their sins, instead of relinquishing them, have ceased from growing in the life of God and are in grave danger:

"He that covereth (hides) his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Proverbs 28:13

The life of repenting (turning) from who we currently are and toward the LORD is essential to having God's glory in us - the glory that transforms our lives into His image.

"Refreshing" with the water of His Spriit is promised to those who repent (Acts 3:19). What are we waiting for?! A life with the Savior is one of constant change and transformation which is made possible by regular repentance before the LORD of life.

Remember with me that we were created/made in His image, right (Gen. 1:26-27). And, after the fall of man into sin are saved through Jesus Christ, and now after being bought back (re-deemed), are predestined to be conformed into His image.

"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." Romans 8:29
Change can be painful at times, but yields life:

"Now no chastening (corrective change) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:11

As I read the book LORD Change Me, the Holy Spirit began to change and reconstruct my heart and thought life. The patterns of my heart and mind began to be transformed to realize how utterly in need I truly was (and am). The Holy Ghost and the Biblical message on change began the work of posturing my life for what is important and essential - God and His change. We should expect change. We should cry out to the LORD for change - Because it is the will of our God and so needed due to the fact that we are all imperfect and in need of Him who is "the life" (Jer. 17:9; John 14:6).

For the record; Is God changing?

"For I am the LORD, I change not." Malachi 3:6

Are those who are seeking Him and love Him changing?

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Note here that those who "behold...the glory of the LORD" are "changed" into His "image...from glory to glory." This informs us that there are levels and stages of change all the way through our walk with God on earth and that these occur as we "behold...the LORD". Your life is at one place of glory now and there is another one awaiting your being conformed to His image as you seek His face.

A life of repenting of our sins and wrong beliefs is essential to growing with God and into His perfect image. This occurrs by the in-depth study of His Word and the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Word. We must behold His face in order to grow and go from one place of glory with Him to the next. "But we all, with open face (transparency) beholding...the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Okay, notice also that God the Holy Spirit is the One who does the changing and work that only He can do, as we behold the face of Jesus Christ and seek His change. Note the phrase "as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18 Also, see Romans 8:13.

We are "predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son." Romans 8:29 Work is involved in this process - ours and His.

We should seek and expect change and when praying for others, know that this is His will for all of us. No need to wonder what to pray for ourselves and humbly hope for others.

todd tomasella

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THE MORE BLESSED LIFE by todd tomasella

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Do you truly desire and yearn for “more” of God and His blessedness? This should be the deep desire of every disciple. How do I get “more blessed”? Am I left to wonder what the answer to this important question is? Does holy writ reveal the answer to this question?

Yes. To get more “blessed”, I must “give” more of myself to my LORD. I must be willing to have the LORD increase in me as I decrease, so as to facilitate His expansion in my being. The LORD stated:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn (grain, seed) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth (continues) alone (unfruitful): but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me by dying to his own will and living unto the Father’s); and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:24-26

In this sinful and perishing world system we dwell in, self and being served is king, but in the kingdom of God, self-less serving is the measure of greatness.

"He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he can never lose." Jim Elliott

Serving is blessedness and is the great and perpetual prayer and desire of every true disciple. I must yearn for more of His presence, His holiness, His love and His grace. To follow on to know my Master deeper, I must pray the prayer John the Baptist prayed:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

He is to increase and I decrease. That is, I must become less in control of my own life and will, and relinquish my right to myself. The self-emptying process must more fully take its course. For I have been bought with the price of His holy blood as the result of His infinitely merciful sacrifice, and no longer live unto myself, but unto Him who gave Himself for me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20. I get to love Him more than I love myself! LORD teach me each day to love You more and myself less.

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15

I must relinquish control of the reigns of my life and will to the One who is worthy of all my praise as long as He gives me the breath of life.

Do we not have this thing called life all wrong? Do we not need a complete transformation of thought? LORD, please have mercy upon us and change us. Amen.

"The One who is the Highest came and became/to become the lowest. We who are the lowest, seek to be the highest." unknown

Friend, there are no shortcuts – This is the true path to blessedness with God – putting Him first by giving Him and His people more of me daily. In fact, if I am not growing to “give” or serve more, I am not growing as a disciple of my LORD. The true measure of spiritual growth is seen in how much we give of ourselves to God and others.

To the degree I am serving, my spirituality can be measured.

“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

My humility is the true measure of my spirituality.

The way humble serving plays out in my daily life could be as simple as smiling warmly at others (Matthew 5:44-48), gently encouraging another, visiting a sick person, instructing a child in the way of righteousness, planting a seed of love in someone’s heart by writing an encouraging note with Scripture, emailing or writing a letter to remind someone how much the LORD loves them, passing a Gospel tract to a lost soul who needs the refuge that only the Savior can give him…. (James 1:26-28).

In our lives, May all things be done unto the building up of the saints/body of Christ and the reaching of those who do not yet know Him (John 17; Galatians 6:10).

"Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification." Romans 15:2

"Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth." 1 Corinthians 10:24

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, May Your love fill my whole being increasingly and govern my every thought and action as I set myself to be conformed to Your image and will. Not my will but Thine be done. Thank You for the privilege serve others in this short life. Jesus I know You are coming soon. May my hand be found upon the plow of serving others as unto You. I love You my Savior. Thank You for saving me and setting my life apart for Your holy purposes. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:3-5

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