You Humble me

you_meYou Humble me
He who lives without prayer – he who lives with little prayer – he who seldom reads the Word – he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high – he will be the man whose heart will become dry and barren; but he who calls in secret of his God – who spends much time in holy retirement – who delights to meditate on the words of the Most High – whose soul is given up to Christ – such a man must have an overflowing heart; and as his heart is, such will his life be. – Charles Spurgeon

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” – Deuteronomy 8:2-3

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Are you humbled by what God has done for you in the years past?
We recognize very quickly the influence that we have on other people. As I reflect back on 2012 I’ve never realized the impact on lives that I have encountered here on the site and the lives that I have impacted in the real World have been astonishing for my ministry and as for myself. We Christian’s are all in this thing together; build up one another, and I am proud that I have been a part!
My Vision
“To shape the future you need to have a vision; to bring it to life takes a visionary.”
Bentley Motors
As 2013 begins, I’m ecstatic. The challenges that I have been up against this year and have completed, I am humbled. I believe that God has big plans for you and I this year of 2013. Have you stepped into your fullness and potential? That will be one question that I will bring up in future blogs. My vision for this ministry of 2013 should be the vision for every Christian. Seek the lost!

For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.” – Psalms 149: 4

With 2013 being here and with having over a little 1,200 views since I started in October of 2012. I would like to say that I am humbled for the support that I have seen on this blogsite. I hope that I have impacted your walk with Christ and for you to “Be Ready, Stay Focused and Never Look Back” the word that I heard so clear one day as a reminder of how close His coming is.
My Thoughts
Let 2013 be a year that you are humbled by God! Be bold and stand upon the Rock, so many Christians are afraid to speak out the Truth. Let your light shine! This may be the year of Christ’s return, who knows! nobody. Let us have an overflowing heart as we transition into 2013.
As in the words of the late Henry Ward Beecher ” And should it be our last year, let us make such timely preparation, that at whatever hour the summons comes, we may depart gladly, rise with triumph, and take hold of immortality in Heaven.”
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You Anoint me

 

You Anoint me

When you had that oil on you, you began to glow. It was those nice aromatic oils, those nice spicy oils that made a nice warm glow on your skin. If you rubbed it on your skin you began to feel warm, you began to glow. Why? Because God was using in the Old Testament, a type, a picture. The whole Old Covenant is a picture of what was to be fulfilled in the New. God was using a symbol, a picture in oil, of what He was to do with His Holy Spirit; that when His Holy Spirit would come upon people it would have that effect – a glow, a warm glow, a nice effect.

Anointing in the Old covenant

Judges 6:3 (paraphrased)

Gideon, this mighty man – the angel came to him to tell him that God had called him, and he was hiding away from the Philistines. The angel came and said, “God is with you, Gideon, you mighty man of valor.” And I think Gideon looked around and said, “Who are you talking to? Who me?”

“Yes you.”

“Me, a mighty man of valor?”

“No, you’re a little wimp, but I am going to make you into a mighty man of valor. Now the first thing you do is go down and cut down that idol that your father and his family are worshiping.”

So you know what this mighty man of valor did? He sneaked in at night when nobody was looking, and cut it down. But you see, he took a step in the right direction. And the Scripture says, “And the Spirit of God came down on Gideon.” Then he stood up and blew the trumpet! Well, you cannot hide when you blow a trumpet. Something happened to this little wimp when the anointing of the Spirit of God came on him. He had a new power, he had a new boldness. And he went and defeated the whole Philistine camp with 300 men. Talk about change! The anointing of God will do that to a person. It will bring change. It will bring power. It will bring strength, and it will bring wisdom and boldness.

Anointing in The New covenant

Jesus was speaking about a new kind of anointing. He was speaking about an inner anointing. He was speaking about an anointing that was for you, not for others but for you. It is for you to tap into yourself. It is for you to sink down your bucket and to draw from yourself. It is to tap into for your own needs; for your own thirst; for your own hunger, whatever your needs are. Jesus was offering a source, a power within that you can tap into yourself. He was speaking about a new kind of anointing. He was speaking about an inner anointing. How does that inner anointing come about? By the Holy Spirit coming to dwell within, not upon but within.

Differences between Old and New

Old Testament: Given to Select People Only

So we see there is a difference between the Old Testament and the New. In the Old Testament we see that they had an external anointing only. In the New Testament we see that believers still have the external anointing. But we have now a new power that has been placed within us that can gush forth from within.

In the Old Testament God gave His anointing only to selected individuals. In the New Testament, “Whosoever will may come.” Peter said, “This promise is to you and to all that are far off, and to your children, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” This promise is to everyone who accepts Jesus. This promise is to everyone who believes. This promise is to every single person who is born again of the Spirit of God.

New Testament: Given to all!

Acts 2:1-4 ESV

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

You don’t have to wait for God to say, “Well, you’re my favorite. I am choosing to give you this anointing.” You have a right to this anointing! Jesus paid the price. He shed His blood to give you this anointing. It is your right, it is your inheritance, and He has given you His robe of righteousness. And He has given you the right to reach out and to take what He has bought for you at Calvary. It is yours, believer. Every single one who knows Jesus as their Savior has the right to that anointing.

–          In the Old Testament the Spirit came upon. In the New Testament the Spirit is within.

Ezekiel 47

Ezekiel had a vision where he saw the temple and he saw from the threshold, the door of the temple and there was water pouring out, water trickling out in a stream. Everybody knows this passage so well, it has been preached so well. Everybody is talking about the river of God. “Get in the river.”

And the angel came and measured up, and each time he measured up the water became deeper. It started up to the ankles, then up to the knees, then up to the thighs. Then it became a raging river that you had to swim in. It is the river of God; it is the anointing of God. It is the power of God. It is the external anointing, the outpouring of God’s Spirit. You had to get in it.

A River in You

Well, the Old Testament saints had the river. They could get in the river. But I want to tell you something, if you are a New Testament saint you have a river in you! You can give out the river. You don’t have to go and get in the river; you can give out the river. “Out of his innermost being,” Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow
rivers of living water.” John 7:38.

why live on yesterday’s anointing?

God wants to give His anointing to everyone. But have you stepped into your
fullness and potential? Don’t let your past ruin what God has for you today.
Don’t be too busy to hear His voice. Learn how to wait patiently for God’s
perfect timing and the promotion that will be here tomorrow. The fresh anointing
is available to you…right now.

The Christmas Story

The Christmas Carol

By Dr. John R. Rice

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. “Luke 2:4-7.

How many beautiful Christmas carols or hymns there are! Charles Wesley wrote, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” and we sing it to the music by Felix Mendelssohn. Martin Luther wrote, “Away in a Manger,” words and music. Isaac Watts wrote, “Joy to the World,” with music by George F. Handel. The famous Episcopal preacher, Phillips Brooks, wrote the words for “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” There are a number of others that rejoice the heart and make melody at Christmastime by Christians. We suppose the newest Christian Christmas song is my own little song, “Jesus, Baby Jesus.

“Silent Night” was written by a Catholic priest, Joseph Mohr, pastor in the Austrian Alps in a little town of Oberndorf. It was Christmas Eve, 1815, when he meditated on the wonderful story of the birth of Christ and wrote the sweet, simple verses of this song. The next day he took them to the village schoolmaster, an organist, Franz Gruber, who prayerfully put them to music that fits them so quietly and so well. And that night they had the choir sing it for the first time with only guitar accompaniment, since the organ had broken down . Through the years this sweet song drifted out to the world and now millions of people rejoice as they sing

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin mother and Child. Holy Infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

The name “Bethlehem” means house of bread. It is some six miles south and a little west of Jerusalem on the way toward Hebron. It was the home of David and of Boat and Ruth before him. Micah 5:2 prophesied that the Saviour would be born there: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

So when Caesar at Rome decreed that all must go to their families’ ancestral homes to report for taxation, Joseph and Mary, his virgin wife, heavy with child, came from Nazareth, nearly a hundred miles north in the province of Galilee. They came to Bethlehem because they were of the house and lineage of David. The little town was crowded. There was no room in the inn, and they were given a place in the stable and there Mary brought forth her firstborn son, the Lord Jesus. Now they show a cave as the birthplace of the Saviour and over it is built the Church of the Nativity and another church beside it. However, no one knows for sure exactly where Jesus was born. Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, selected this cave as the birthplace of Christ but it was way over three centuries after His birth. The area had been ravished by war a number of times and there may have been not a single house remaining that anybody could know Jesus was ever there. So she selected a cave. Over it was built the Church of the Nativity.

I think the dear Lord does not want us worshiping a place so He did not let it be settled surely, either the place of the birth of Jesus or the house in which He lived in Nazareth or the place of crucifixion or the tomb in which He was buried. All that is left a little unsure lest men should worship as an idol a mere place when the Lord wants us to worship the Saviour Himself. I have been many times in that cave and there we sing, “Silent Night,” and speak of the birth of Christ. At least it represents the place where Jesus was born, whether it is the exact place or not.

1. Christ Born in a Stable

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

It is true that there was no room for them in the inn. Does that seem sad? No, surely that foretold that the Lord Jesus would be a Man of sorrows and He would be acquainted with grief. He came to be abused and rejected as well as to save all who would receive Him. So Jesus is fitly born in a stable. Since He is to be “anointed. . .to preach the gospel to the poor. . .to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,” it is suitable that His coming be announced to ignorant shepherds and not in the palaces of the mighty but to the poor. But remember, this is a glad time. Jesus is born to die on the cross, but, oh, praise the Lord He is born! The shepherds heard the angels say, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” So it is a joyful, happy time. So the song very properly says,

“All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and Child.”

Mary is in sweet peace and joy over her God-given Son. The Baby sleeps peacefully for He is in God’s care and has entered His earthy mission. Psalm 22:9,10 says, “But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.” And that indicates that even the Baby Jesus was someway conscious that He was from God and that His hope was in God His Father. I think I see a bit of a smile upon the face of the sleeping One there in the manger cradle. “Round yon virgin mother and Child,” the song says. Oh, yes, Mary is still a virgin. And the angel had said to Joseph, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:20). Ah, yes, this Baby Jesus is the “Seed of the woman” which was promised Eve. This birth of Christ fulfills the promise of Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son.” Oh, here is Immanuel, God with us in human form. I was shocked the other day looking in a hymnbook and saw that this first verse of “Silent Night,” had been wickedly changed, and the liberal, unbelieving hand that changed that first verse took out “Round yon virgin mother and Child,” and put other words. Oh, but Mary is a virgin and Christ is God in human form.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, of a virgin mother born, Laid in manger cradle, wrapped in swaddling clothes and warm.

Birth cry in a darkened stable, in the inn no room. Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God, to share earth’s gloom.

2. Angels Announce Christ’s Birth to the Shepherds

Silent night, holy night, Darkness flies, all is light;

Shepherds hear the angels sing, “Alleluia hail the King!

Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.”

Yes, suddenly the darkness turns bright as day and the Heaven is filled with glory!

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. ” It was the Angel Gabriel who had announced to Mary up in Galilee nine months before that she was to be the mother of the Saviour. We suppose this is the same Angel Gabriel bringing glad news. The “Field of the Shepherds” is not far from Jerusalem, and we suppose it is the same field where the shepherds watched their flocks by night. It may be also the same field of Boat where Ruth, the Moabitish young woman who came back to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi to live under the shelter of God’s wings–and there in the field, perhaps, where Ruth gleaned and got acquainted with Boaz. The announcement is wonderful:

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in, swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”-Luke 2:10-12.

Ah, the Saviour is born! And the angel says they may find Him in the city wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Then suddenly all the heavenly host filled the skies, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The shepherds were told they would find the Baby Jesus “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,” and they went quickly to find Him. Oh, they believed the story; they were glad to hear it. King Herod heard it and was troubled. The scribes and Pharisees knew where the Saviour should be born and they told Herod it would be in Bethlehem, but they did not heed the glad news brought them by the Wise Men from the east. But these shepherds were so glad to hear it! Oh, whoever reads it, be sure you run to see Jesus and know Him for yourself and go away to tell it gladly as they did.
3. Wise Men From Afar Are Alerted by a Star to Seek Jesus

Silent night, holy night, Guiding Star, lend thy light;

See the eastern wise men bring Gifts and homage to our King!

Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.
The Scripture says, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” They are “wise men.” The term reminds us of the wise men, the magi, in the book of Daniel. And these are from the east, so if we go back some 500 miles or so to the site of ancient Babylon we find, no doubt, the area from which these wise men came.

They said, “We have seen his star in the east.” Note carefully, they did not follow the star, traveling all this way. They had seen the star in the east as a warning, a reminder. But it seems evident they knew from the book of Daniel that the Messiah would come, and that He would be King of the Jews .

In Daniel 9:25 Daniel had been inspired to write it down, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” And it is interesting that although nearly all the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, certain parts of Daniel, including this part, are written in Chaldaic and so God must have intended that the Scriptures there should be kept in the Chaldean language so they would know about the coming of the Saviour. He is to be a Prince or King and He is to come to Jerusalem. And we are plainly told that it is to be sixty-nine weeks of years from the time Jews were to go back from captivity until the coming of the Saviour. So they took what they knew from the Scriptures and then had a sign from God to verify it and they came.

Later they came to Jerusalem thinking the Saviour, a King, would be born there. There scribes and elders told them, as Herod insisted, that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem six miles away in the city of David and now they came to find it. But how will they find the house? Ah, there is the star. They see it again and it stops over the house where the Child lay and they came in to see the Baby Jesus.

We are told that they opened their treasures and brought forth gold, frankincense and myrrh–gold, no doubt, as a proper tribute for a king and myrrh for the suffering of a Saviour as picturing the spices of His burial, and like the bitter herbs with which the Passover lamb was eaten, and frankincense for worship to God, for Christ is God.

Oh, Wise Men, let us kneel beside you by the manger cradle and to Jesus let us open our treasures and bring all we have to the Lord Jesus.

Wise men came to see Him, having seen His star afar, brought their gifts of precious gold and frankincense and myrrh. Herod heard, was troubled, could not kill the Holy Child. Jesus, Baby Jesus, King and Priest, and Saviour mild.
4. Greater Than the Star Was the Leading From the Scripture

Silent night, holy night, Wondrous Star, lend thy light;

With the angels let us sing Alleluia to our King.

Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.
There were wonders and marvels to astound the mind and lift up the heart, give a lilt to voices of praise the night Jesus was born. His birth was itself a miracle. It was good news to all people. He is Christ the Saviour.

The angels were miraculously present and it was so important that it seems every angel in Heaven wanted to join in the glad refrain, the chant, of peace on earth.

The star was wonderful, too. Some think it might have been the conjunction of two of the planets in the heavens that made an extra brightness. No, no. This was a special star. Was it like a comet across the sky? Was it like a meteor falling into space? No. In those days before there were any telescopes, they did not have a great many names for heavenly bodies, they did not differentiate between ancient planets and suns and meteors and comets. This star was especially created for this time to announce the Saviour. The Wise Men saw it in the east, and again when they came to Jerusalem they saw the star resting over the house where the Baby Jesus lay. We suppose then that star disappeared having run its course, having made its holy announcement.

But do not miss even a greater marvel than the angels and the star and the divine leading of these Wise Men. They came according to the Scriptures.

Oh, the birth of Jesus was wonderful, but it was foretold and this is the Gospel “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” All the other miracles and manifestations are subject to a divine pattern, a divine schedule written down in the Bible. It was in “the fullness of the time” that Christ came, as we are told in Galatians 4:4. That is, He could not come before and He could not come after–He must fulfill the Scripture, and He did.

So wise men studied the Scriptures yonder in the area of ancient Babylon. Old, old manuscripts and books they studied until they came across what Daniel had prophesied. When they came to Jerusalem, they needed more light. They came as far as they knew how. They came into Jerusalem, but they found now the Scripture said the Saviour would be born in Bethlehem, so they came to Bethlehem. In the east they were to follow the Scriptures but they had a star then to verify their decision and comfort their hearts. Now they follow the Scriptures out to Bethlehem and again God gave the star to give additional light.

Do you not see again, as we sing about the Christmas story, that the virgin birth of Christ is far better than any fairy tales of Santa Claus and reindeer and sleighs? Do you not see that the story of the announcement to the shepherds and the Wise Men coming from the east is far more joy and blessing than the worldly festivities and drunkenness and feasting and revelry? Let us rejoice then in the blessed Word of God this Christmas season.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, Tempted, poor and suffering no one knows us as He can!

Holy, righteous, blameless, fitting sacrifice complete. By His blood atonement, God and sinners in Him meet.

Now, let us sing again this sweet Christmas song, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” for

“Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.”

The gift that really keeps on giving is Jesus!

Lose the Booze

alcohol

By Dr. John R. Rice

By way of introduction, let me say this: in Bible times they did not have distilled whisky as we have it now. However, they did have several kinds of wine. But wine in the New Testament very often means simply grape juice. In fact, there was not in Bible times a different word for wine and for grape juice as we have. When the juice was first squeezed out of the grapes, it was called wine, as you see from Proverbs 3:10: “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” So grape juice is wine, in the Bible sense. Later when the grape juice ferments, it is still wine in the Bible sense.

There is no reason to suppose that the wine which Jesus made at the wedding in John, chapter 2, was intoxicating wine. There is no reason to supposed that the which was used a t the last supper and which New Testament churches used for the Lord’s Supper was intoxicating wine. In fact, the Scripture takes particular pains not to call it wine, but instead calls it “the cup,” and “the fruit of the vine.” So the Lord seems to have specially guarded against being misunderstood on this point. However, if He had used the word wine it might have meant unfermented wine, that is, simply grape juice.

I call your attention to the double curse of God on booze

First, there is a curse on the drunkard. Who is a drunkard? When is a man a drunk? Many a man, after he has been arrested for killing somebody with his car, or after a fatal accident, says to the judge, “Why, Judge, I only had two or three beers. I wasn’t drunk.” He couldn’t drive well, couldn’t see well. He couldn’t get his foot on the brake as quickly as he ought to; he was not as reliable a driver under the influence of liquor. But he said he wasn’t drunk. Because he wasn’t unconscious or wasn’t in a stupor, he thinks he wasn’t drunk.

When is a man drunk? When a man has drunk, he is drunk. Anybody who drinks beverage alcohol in any degree is somewhat affected by it, and so he is drunk to that degree. A man can get more drunk than he already is. He can drink until he is unconscious and can’t drink any more. A man can drink until a certain percentage of alcohol gets into the blood and stops the motor responses so that he quits breathing and dies. Now, that is a little more drunk than he was while he was breathing. Yet he is still drunk.

You know that the word drunk is part of the word drink, drank, drunk; or, drink, drank, drunken. A drunkard is a man who drinks. Anybody who drinks any alcoholic liquor is under the influence of it, is affected by it, and to that degree is drunk.

If it takes eight glasses of beer to make a man drunk (it takes less than that for some people) then the man who has one glass is one-eighth drunk. The man who has two glasses is one-fourth drunk. And no man on-fourth drunk is safe as an engineer of a passenger train, safe to drive an automobile down the road, or safe to handle a steam shovel or a drill press, or a welding torch. No girl who is one-fourth drunk is safe in the presence of sex temptation. The man who would not gamble without drinking, will gamble when he is one-fourth drunk. And the man who never intended to take more than two glasses of beer can be tempted to take more when he is already one-fourth drunk!

Now what are some of the curses of God on the drunkard? Listen to Proverbs 23:21: “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”

What is the curse on the drunkard? Poverty. I need not prove that. How many of you ever knew somebody who was poor because of liquor?

In the second grade at school I had my first love affair! I fell in love with Miss Mabel Blossom, my second grade teacher! One day Miss Mabel said to the class, “All you children but Sammy will have to stay in today. Sammy, you have been a good boy. You may go home on time. Get your lunch bucket, your cap and coat, and go on home. Good-by, Sammy. I am going to keep the rest of the class in.”

Sammy left. When the door was closed, Miss Mabel got off her rostrum, walked down near us, stood there with tears in her eyes as she said, “Children, some of you haven’t been very nice to Sammy. You don’t like to play with him. You have nice lunch baskets, while he brings his lunch–if he has anything at all–in a lard pail. Your Mother fixes your hair nice. You little girls have nice starched dresses; you little boys have white blouses and clean pants, but little Sammy only wears dirty old patched overalls.” She said, “Children, I want to tell you something. Sammy is not to blame. His father is a drunkard, and Sammy’s mother does the best she can. They don’t have money a lot of the time. Sammy can’t bring any lunch some days. So don’t you be mean to Sammy. He can’t help it if his father drinks.”

I have never gotten away from that. Here is a little boy who didn’t have lunches like the rest of us. Our family was very poor, but we always had clothes. And they were always clean. We came with our hair combed and looked nice. We were well cared for. But Sammy, with a drinking father, couldn’t have nice clothes; he didn’t have enough to eat, and he went barefoot in the winter-tine. I was impressed then with the thing I have wept over I guess a thousand times since-the poverty of wives and little children who suffer because of a husband or daddy who is a drunkard.

Some of you are against the liquor business, yet you will eat where it is served or trade where it is sold, even if there is a good restaurant close by that does not serve it, and a grocery store not far away that does not sell it. You say you don’t drink it–no; but you patronize the one who does, because you can save a few cents on a can of coffee or a pound of sugar or a gallon of milk. Shame on you! God is displeased when you have a choice and choose to trade with the liquor crowd.

Now there are some occasions in this day and age when we have no choice. I fly on airlines that serve the stuff. If there were airlines that didn’t, I would make my choice to fly with those lines. Would you? Or does it not matter to you? God help us!

Don’t you see that when you go into places where beer or liquor is served, you are backing up those who are in the dirty business of damning souls. Your presence there says to your children, “It doesn’t matter. Such places are all right for decent people.” But that is not true, and you know it. To do so puts your money and influence back of those who are breaking down morals, who are turning our girls into drunkards and prostitutes, and making our boys into profligates and drunkards.

When you patronize these places, you are putting your money into the kind of thing, and your friendship and your good name behind the kind of thing, that has God’s curse on it. Don’t do it! give your testimony by where you trade and where you eat.

I remind you again that the curse of God is on anyone who gives his neighbor drink, or helps others give their neighbor drink, or puts his influence behind people who give their neighbor drink.

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!” Isaiah 28:1

“The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet.” Isaiah 28:3

“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out-of-the-way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out-of-the-way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” Isaiah 28:7,8

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD’S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.” Hab. 2:15,16

Notice the woe to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim. Woe to the drunkard! A curse is on the drunkard, says the Word of God. There is a curse on the man who drinks, on the woman who drinks.

There is another curse: “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” There is a curse on the person who serves, who sells, who gives liquor.

JESUS IS READY TO FORGIVE AND SAVE YOU NOW

Now listen to me. Drink leads to ruin, to Hell. But, thank God, there is mercy, if you will turn to Jesus Christ. No matter how far you have gone, God loves you still. There is not anywhere God will not follow you. There is not anywhere He cannot help you. There is not anywhere He cannot clean you up. But Jesus will have to do it. Break with the old crowd. Break with the ways of sin. Get out of the hogpen! prodigal, come on back to the Father’s house! God has mercy and forgiveness for you.

I will tell you what all of us need. What you need if you are a drunkard and what you need if you are not a drunkard is Jesus Christ. You need a new heart, need to be born again.

You say, “I will turn over a new leaf.” But the new leaf will soon be as dirty as the old leaf. “But,” you say, “I’ll make up my mind with all my willpower . . .” Listen, sin takes more than willpower; it takes the grace of God.

You say, “But Brother Rice, I’ll change my habits.” Even though you may change your habits, you cannot change your heart. Even if you quit your drinking now–if you do, and I hope you will–but if you quit your drinking now, unless you turn to Jesus and repent of your sins and trust Him, you are still a poor, lost soul going to Hell. Don’t you see that the only chance for a sinner is to put his trust in Jesus, depend on Him? Let Jesus come into your heart and save your soul.

We have been talking about liquor; now I am turning to a far more important subject than that. What you need is your poor, black heart made white. As clean as you may be you have a black heart and if you do not get born again, you will go to Hell.

In Romans 3:22, 23 the Scripture says: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” There is not any difference, God says. All are sinners alike. The drunkard is a sinner; the man who does not drink is a sinner, too! Harlots are sinners; modest, virtuous women are sinners, too–lost sinners, condemned sinners, Hell bound sinners if they are unconverted, if they be not born again, saved by personal trust in Christ.

You can’t lick sin without Jesus. You cannot trust your own righteousness. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can save. What you need is a new heart, a new nature. You need to let Jesus come into your heart, forgive your sins, and save your soul today.

And He is ready to do it, too. He said, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So I beg you to trust Jesus right now to save you. Turn your heart to Him! Repent of your sin. Depend on Him just now to save your soul, by His great mercy! He will do it!

If you are ready to accept Christ as your Saviour then pray this prayer. Realizing that I am a poor lost sinner, I today turn from my sin to trust Christ and take Him as my Saviour forever. I believe He is willing to save me, willing to take me, however sinful I have been. I believe He is able to help me do right, able to keep my soul. Here and new I claim Jesus Christ a my Saviour and give Him my heart. I will honestly try to serve Him the rest of my life.

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Opportunities Presented by God

“I believe we are each given an opportunity each day to speak, show and shine the Word of God.
And even more opportunities to pray, pursue and perform the work of God. If only we are willing.”

Going to the dealership for some is a headache, getting ran down by a salesman in the lot as if you were a fugitive that had just escaped prison is a lot for a person who just wants to look around for a car. For me, it’s a different story, I love going. As a car enthusiast  and most of the times stumping the salesman about the cars that they have is so fun! Here is my story of an opportunity that I could have encountered if I was willing.

Opportunity Presented

Meet, Mike, who has been in the car business for a little over 5 years. This guy always has a smile on his face, full of joy and for sure a light of the Gospel for that dealership. He wasn’t my salesman, but we bonded the first time we spoke all the times I would get my vehicle serviced. He had told me about his daughter and had asked me to keep her in prayer the first time we had talked. He had told me she had been battling cancer for six months. After I had told him that I was in the ministry, he was enthused. Exited to hear that. He then asked me if I would be willing to come over to his house and pray for his daughter. As if I had stepped into her room, a vision began to take hold of me after he asked me the question. I responded. “Mike, that sounds great, I would love too.” I seen myself, sitting in a chair by a window with her on the bed next to me. Her face, as she was erupting with hope couldn’t wait to listen. As I began to tell her a story about the woman who had a sickness that no man, no medicine could cure but only one name, Jesus. I was taken back to reality when he asked me again, “Would you mind coming over?” I replied again, ” yes!”

“We have very little time” I thought to myself as I left, after I accepted the opportunity, but when? When will I go and pray with his daughter?

So you say your going to pray for that person, are you really?

Every time I would be there for an oil change or when I was close to the dealership I would stop in and tak to the guys. I would always find Mike and ask him how his daughter was. A cold morning in November I walked into the showroom before any salesman were there. Looking around I thought of Mike and his daughter. Was I too late? It’s been a while since he had asked me to go to his house to pray with his daughter. Did I really mean by what I said? Or was it something that he wanted to hear me say? Is she healed? Surely, someone else prayed and she got healed. Its like the memory of her had vanished.

I had seen this man months before with a smile on his face, greeting everyone as if he had known them for years. I was hoping the situation had not gotten worse. I stopped by Mike’s office. For months his life had been ship wrecked, a test of faith, of the situation that he and his wife were facing. A giant of a disease that had no face, no cure. Had she been healed?

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There are so many opportunities, a chance to step into a “realm” of Gods power, of Him using you for a specific purpose so many times throughout your life, that most of the times we are not aware. Why? We doubt God. Making excuses like, “I’m not capable of that” or the famous line, “I can’t do that” we’ll of course you can’t, it’s not YOU, it’s all HIM! So lets put on Christ and put off the doubt. And for most the time.

Time is a huge factor, so precious to use every minute wisely, I’ve found that out very quickly when I got called into the ministry. When the opportunity is available, take it and don’t let go. Prioritizing is key, not just in the ministry but for everyone else. I guess you could say I took the opportunity but I would find out that it was taken from me. A single man, most would assume I can find time. working close to 45 hours at my job, plus my small business Nitty Gritty Auto Detailing was too much for me to handle. And I had forgotten more important duties. I was letting the opportunity slip out of my hands without even realizing it.

As I was talking to another salesman asking how their quarter for sales were, Mike steps in, with of course, a smile on his face, said “hey, how you doing?” I said  “I’m fine, and you?” “Doing good!”

As I looked at Mike I could tell his life had taken a different turn. You knew he would have to answer to my question about his daughter, the intense look that he had I knew it wouldn’t be good news. As I had got done paying for the oil change I was motioned to go talk to Mike. I walked over to his desk, took a hold of his hand to shake, I asked him “Mike, your daughter, how is she?” She passed a little over a month ago,” with my hands grasping his, I didn’t let go, his eyes began to form tears. As I looked into his eyes all I could think to say was  ” I’m so sorry, she was ready to go” embracing him and instilling the faith that one day he would see her again. That’s all I could think of to say, I turned around and began to walk away. I paused for a moment.

I knew that my opportunity had been taken away, I didn’t cherish it, because I didn’t cherish the time that I had in order to take action. I let it go, and now it was gone, no second chance.

I think sometimes, God could have used me to heal this girl, of course her church, the pastor prayed with her  for the healing. But what if I had prayed? I’m no one special I know that, but what if God used this situation to use me and to open my eyes to the raw power of His Glory that is unlocked by stepping into faith?

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 “And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.”

(Mark 5:21-43 ESV)

The crowds, the distractions, the religious rulers watching every move of Jesus would be enough for anyone to hide and give up for the day. But he pursued and carried on. Jairus came along, fell at His feet, pleading that He might come and and lay hands so that she may live again. As Jesus was on the way to Jairus’ house, a woman who had endured for 12 years of a blood disorder had a chance to be healed by this man whom they call Jesus. The crowds by now were pressing in even more closer to Jesus as they were anticipating of what was to happen at Jairus’ house.

Reality: We began to push things to the side whenever we have too much going on at once, at least I know I do. The pressure, the stress of today’s society is easy for anyone to say, “I don’t have the time.” We put the work of God on the back-burner and do the more “important” things first.

Q: Are we completing the opportunities that we receive?

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The Willingness

def. – Acting or ready to act gladly; eagerly compliant

We speak before we really think about the situation that we are about to embark on. Whether it is a prayer request, a promise to another, or a situation that I had. Intentions are different from willingness. The willingness to do something is stepping into faith. Intentions are thoughts, no motivation.

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Are you willing to open the door?

 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20

Never, does anyone have a second chance to change a circumstance in their life, even an opportunity that I could have acted on; she is gone. But that does not mean that God will not use me in another opportunity that He may bring my way, we must learn from our mistakes and keep our eyes open to those opportunities. The second our last breath is breathed here on Earth, we stand before a Holy God who is just. There will be no second chance to make things right, we must make that decision here on Earth. Are you willing to open that door of Salvation for Him to be Lord over your life?

The Hour Has Come

“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires”. – Romans 13:11-14

The hour has come to Awake

“I am compelled to tell you the urgency of how close His coming is, time and time again during my prayer I hear the spirit over and over tell me “Prepare yourself, be not afraid for I am nearer than you think” instances like these awaken my spirit to the reality of His coming, and how close He is.”

“Come to reality, awake from where you are, if you are in a place of uncertainty then come away with me, and you will see what I can bring to you.”

When is the Christian most liable to sleep? Is it not when his temporal circumstances are prosperous? Have you not found it so? When you had daily troubles to take to the throne of grace, were you not more wakeful than you are now? Another dangerous time is when all goes pleasantly in spiritual matters. There is no temptation half so dangerous as not being tempted. The distressed soul does not sleep; it is after we enter into peaceful confidence and full assurance that we are in danger of slumbering. The disciples fell asleep after they had seen Jesus transfigured on the mountain top. Take heed, joyous Christian; be as happy as you will, only be watchful. – Charles Spurgeon

The hour has come to Prepare

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The hour has come to Realize

James 5:1  “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.” -(James 5:1-6 ESV)

“Nothing is worth missing His coming. The indulgence of the World has become a way of life for so many. The luxury, the fame, the treasure that we have here on earth cannot compare to His riches and Glory.”

“There is power in poverty that breaks principalities, brings the authorities down to their knees. There is a brewing frustration in the ageless temptation to fight for control by manipulation.

The God of the kingdoms & God of creation, the God of the nations had sent this Revelation through the homeless Jesus, the Son; the poor will inherit the kingdom to come.

And where will we turn when the World falls apart & all of the treasures that we store in our barns won’t buy the kingdom of God.

And who will we praise when were praised all of our lives, man who build kingdoms, man who build fame, but Heaven does not know their names?

And what are we going to fear when all that remains is a God on the Throne with a child in His arms and love in His eyes and the sound of His heart cry.” – Jason Upton

The hour has come to Respond

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Taming the Tongue

“The fruit of your life is in the words that you speak”

Think past in the last hour, day or even the week. What words have you spoke? If you were able to pack up every single word that came out of your mouth into a briefcase, stood before God, handed Him the briefcase and for Him to open that briefcase and judge the words that were spoken . They not only came out of your mouth, but from your heart. The “heart” is the seat of emotion. The very heartbeat in which Christ lives in or is absent from. I hear this a lot of times from a lot of people, curse words are okay to say. Ephesians 4:29 ” Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

“The words in which we speak come from the heart”

The Heart – Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. Psalm 139:4

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
(Matthew 22:37 ESV)

The first commandment that God gives, is to love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind. In order to do that, we must accept Him as Lord over our life, and hold nothing back from Him. Let’s look at the meaning of “Lord”. “One I should obey and has power over me. Receiving Jesus as Lord means that my constant overriding goal should be to be to obey him”. Nothing else should
matter. Let’s realize it, when you receive Him, you will know He is all that you need! Everything changes when you receive Him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Your not the same person anymore. Your old life of drunkenness, idolatry, worldly-minded being, is replaced with the spirit of Christ, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” -Rom 8:7. And having the spirit of Christ living inside your “heart” changes your mindset.
“I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.”
(Hebrews 8:10 ESV)

~It all starts from the heart~

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
(Matthew 12:34 ESV)

“My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.” Psalm 39:3

Colossians 3:5-8
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”

“Our tongue is a rudder”

“You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue” psalm 54:2

There is value in words, power behind words can either build up or destroy a relationship of one another.

When a friend describes a beautiful sunset, a picture is created in your mind. The words enable you to make meaning. When a parent reacts to a child’s artwork, meaning is created between child and parent, which can affect the child’s self-concept for a lifetime.

Likewise, when a lie is spoken, a false reality is constructed that, once discovered, can rupture relationships. For example, when Bill Clinton’s inner circle believed his lie that he hadn’t had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, their minds accepted an “unreal reality.” Their eventual discovery of the truth and resulting feelings of betrayal were probably more dramatic than those who hadn’t believed Clinton in the first place. This power to affect one another is serious business. Our spoken words shape the reality of those with whom we interact.” — Lori Carrell, The Great American Sermon Survey (Mainstay Church Resources, 1999)

“Our spoken words shape the reality of those with whom we interact”

“My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.” – Psalm 119:172

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Psalm 19:4

Doubting Faith

Many in waiting upon the Lord find immediate delight, but this is not the case with all. A deeper sense of sin may be given to you instead of a sense of pardon, and in such a case you will have need of patience to bear the heavy blow. Ah! poor heart, though Christ beat and bruise thee, or even slay thee, trust him; though he should give thee an angry word, believe in the love of his heart. Do not, I beseech thee, give up seeking or trusting my Master because thou hast not yet obtained the conscious joy which thou longest for. Cast thyself on him, and perseveringly depend even where thou canst not rejoicingly hope. – Charles Spurgeon

Q: Are we walking by faith or by what we see in front of us?

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. – Mark 11:23

A: The second we lack in faith, is the second the doubt enters and turns our focus, which determines our outcome of the situation.