Monday, November 2, 2020

Justified

(Romans 3:23)
"For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God," these words are found in Romans 3:23, and no words have rung truer than these throughout the centuries. From the highest-ranking general to the lowest-ranking private, it doesn't matter, we are all the same in the eyes of God. The book of Genesis tells us that God created mankind in His own image; therefore, we now know that whether we are a senior head of state, a simple guy, just taking an evening stroll down a tree-lined path, a "social justice warrior," fighting for the rights of others, or a "mighty politician" who believes that he, and he alone, knows better than you and I what we should do, it just does not matter, the scourage of sin covers us all. 

When Paul the Apostle wrote "all," he was describing every single one of us, you and I, and all who have, or ever will walk this earth. With this truth, we must keep in mind that we are all equal in the eyes of God, created by Him, and for Him. In life, there are many ups and downs, high peaks, low valleys, a joy that fills the heart, and pain that breaks it. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of the word All is the total sum of a thing, the whole amount, or total extent of, every member or individual of a group, etc. The word All is “all” encompassing, it includes everything and everyone, including each and every one of us; thereby assuring us that even though we have messed, fallen down, or blown up, we are no different from anyone else. So, just think about this, when the enemy tries to convince us that we are forever lost, depressed, or unworthy, remember that Jesus paid the price for you and I in His own blood, and in return, we have received the gift of Salvation, Hope, and Freedom: we have been Justified by Faith, and Redeemed by the Blood.

Romans 3:24-26 Being justified freely by His Grace through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation through Faith in His blood, to declare His Righteousness for the Remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His Righteousness: that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus...

By the Blood of Jesus Christ, and our faith in Him, as the One True Living God, we have received the gift of redemption. But what is redemption? in layman's terms, we have had the chains torn asunder and are free from the bonds of sin, we have been redeemed. By the Grace and Mercy of our Lord, we are justified and made righteous, and because we have been made righteous by His Precious Blood, we can cling tightly to the Promises of God. Three hundred and sixty-five times, that is the number of times the term "fear-not" is found within the pages of the Bible. Ironic isnt it, which should assure us that although we may slip, and although we may fall, the Lord Jesus Christ is right there waiting to catch us, hold us, and secure us in His Mighty Hands, there is no reason to be afraid.

Psalm 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord : and he delighteth in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand...

(Justified By The Blood)

Faith in God and the Power of the Blood of Jesus Christ: this is what justifies us, and assures us that we are the children of God. The Apostle Paul had an ailment in which he saught the Lord's touch on three seperate occasions, and what God said to Paul, still applies to us today, “My Grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God alone is able to keep us from falling, it is by His Grace that we live and find our worth, and Christ is ultimately all we need to survive in this failed world. Justification through our Faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Grace and Mercy, and the Hope and Salvation through His Blood that was shed on Calvary Hill, all of this and more is available to you and I, BUT we must make the first move. 

As humans, we have the gift of free will, we can go left, or we can go right, we can go up, or we can go down, the choice is ours, and so are the results of those decisions. You and I must make the choice to place our Faith in Him above all else, we must place God in the driver’s seat, and we’ve got to ride in the back. Unfortunately, there are many who will not make this choice, there are those who will choose to live a life that is un-pleasing to God, resulting in this fallen world we see today. You see, God is a gentleman, and because of this, He will never force you or I to do anything outside of our own will, nor will He force anyone else to follow Him. Ultimately, the choice is ours, we can choose to live for God, or we can follow the self-destructive will of our flesh, but I promise you this, if you will make the first move, if you reach out in faith, God will never let you down. 

Wow, by the Blood of the Lamb, we are Justified! Freed from the wages of sin, and washed as clean as the driven snow!



Monday, January 20, 2020

Brothers & Sisters

(Group of Men and Women)
Brothers and sisters, those of us who call Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, it is us who have now accepted the higher calling upon our lives. As we have been chosen by God to become His hands and feet on the earth and reach the world with the Gospel, we must be prepared to do so by praying, reading the Word, and living a life that is pleasing to God. Being that we have been chosen by God, and have accepted the call, it is up to us to do more than say that we are His, we must show the world that we are indeed truly His. The first step to showing the world that we are God’s children is to love God and love others more than we love ourselves. Jesus Himself stated, in Matt. 22:37-40, that to love God with all of our heart, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves is the completion and fulfillment of the law; however, there’s still more to do. Our next step is to learn to love ourselves while also forgiving ourselves for the shortcomings and failures we have experienced in the past.

In the book of Romans chapter 12, we are admonished by Christ, through the writings of the
(Jesus)
Apostle Paul, to not be Conformed to the ways of this world, but instead, to be transformed by the Power of God’s Grace. To do this, we must step out of the darkness, and into the light. But what does this mean? Great question, and here is the answer, we must be separate, in the world, yet not of the world. Understandably, it would be very difficult for an individual to completely remove themselves from the rest of the world; however, we as individuals can differentiate ourselves in the way we dress, act and interact with others, the way we comb our hair, and even in the way we speak.

Matthew 12:36-37
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned...

In the two verses above, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees; yet, He is also speaking to the people of today as well when He warns them that there shall be an accounting to God for every single word we have spoken. We as the followers of Christ Jesus must understand that after we have put on the “new,” the “old” no longer applies; therefore, our language must change, our attitudes must change, in fact, everything about us must change. Again, Christ tells us that we shall be judged by the words that we speak; therefore, it is important that we as believers be very careful about what we say, and how we say it, words can lift up, encourage, and show love and mercy; however, words can also be dangerous, they can tear down, destroy, and even kill.

James 3:5-10
(Holy Bible)
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be...

(King Cobra)
Again, as stated in the preceding set of verses, we who proclaim to be the children of God should know better than to speak both curses and praises from the same mouth and/or keyboard. All too often, there are Christians who will post pictures, tweets, or Facebook status updates describing women in a derogatory manner, use racist words, or other forms of crude terminology, only to then follow that up with bible verses, religious photos, videos, and the like; why, how can this be? It simply should not. For us, those who are called by the Name of Jesus, to use any of the language described above, it is not only a sin, it is deadlier than a snakes venom, causing divisions, pain, and destruction.

Brothers and Sisters, it is imperative that we as the followers of Christ, begin to take our walk with God much more seriously, but why? The answer to that question is simple, because there is always someone watching. With this knowledge, we must also know that any damage we cause by speaking or acting inappropriately, we must answer for in heaven. To be the hands and feet of God is to have the honor of not only being the child of God, but we are also listed amongst the kings and priest, those who are charged with reaching the world with the Gospel, those who are commissioned as intercessors, to be the bridge between the lost, and God, the salt of the earth. Finally, my friends, let us continue to live by faith, knowing that the God who has begun a work in you, is faithful and just to complete that which He has begun.

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Reference: Ep.4:29, Jm.1:26, Lk.6:45, 1Pt.1:15,3:10,

Friday, January 10, 2020

Heroes

(The United States of America)
Here in America, we celebrate our heroes, those who served, and/or gave their lives for the freedoms that we so dearly cherish, as we should. Unfortunately, just as we celebrate those who have fought, sacrificed, and died for us, we must also realize that there are many who continue to wish us harm; therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we continue to pray, seek God, and declare that the evils that have caused the deaths of many, cannot, and will not be repeated today, in our own time.

Recently, I met a WWII veteran who survived the beaches of
(The Real American Hero)
Normandy, fought all throughout France and the occupied territories, and finally met up with the forces of the other Allied nations as they crossed the Rhein river, headed into the heart of Germany and Hitler's Nazi fatherland. As we talked for those few minutes, I began to realize one thing, just as I am able to talk with this gentleman today, 75 years after the conclusion WWII, somewhere, out in this beautiful God-given world of ours, there remains many of the perpetrators of perniciousness that had stained Europe, Asia, and the entire world at that time.

The world that we live in today is not much different than the world of twenty, forty, 75, or even 2000 years ago, evil abides everywhere; however, there is a God who will hear the cries and prayers of His people, and He will hear us from heaven, and He will come in like a flood to aid and protect His people.






Thursday, May 9, 2019

Remove Not the Ancient Landmarks (Landmarks Part Two)




(We Are The Hands Of God)
To serve God is to serve others, wether believers in God, or the people of this world, to truly serve God is to serve His people. As for myself, it is an honor to be in a position which allows me to reach out to those in need of assistance, regardless of what that actually need is. Why you ask? Because to be the hands and feet of the Father is to honor His Word, and according to James 1:27, it is the purest form of religion. Adhering to the scriptures contained within the pages of the Bible, and by following the instructions of those God has given charge over us, we are cleave to the Landmarks established by God and the elders who have gone before us.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…

(Orphaned Children From Africa)
In just over twelve years attending the same local church here in Austin, TX, the pastor was never forced to request of me to perform a certain task or duty more than once; why, its simple, because the respect and reverence I had for him required that I honor his request, direction, and expectations, to do otherwise was to ignore God’s design for my life. The Bishop of the house in which I served, had his own expectations, which included excellence in all things, all areas of ministry and the church as a whole, a five star experience was not merely expected, it was demanded. These expectations of excellence were to be an area of focus in all areas of the Christian’s life, including the way we carried ourselves, ministered to others, and represented the church. 

Whether we were at home, work, or anywhere else, it was understood that the rules and  standards set forth by our pastor were to be strictly clung to without question. Unfortunately; in today’s liberal and hedonistic climate, these Landmarks and standards have begun to fade away at an alarming rate, replaced by the ways of the world, just as the light snow on a sunny day, our traditions and standards are evaporating into just a memory before our eyes. Frighteningly; the “will of the people” has replaced the ways of God and has now allowed the plumb line of God to be replaced by the wavering ways of the unstable mind. As the children of God, it is imperative that we always remember and understand that even Peter, one of the greatest of the apostles, and the one Jesus called a rock, was used by the devil, completely unaware.

Proverbs 22:28
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set...

Today, so many have decided to let go of the Faith, everything we have been taught throughout the years has so easily been set aside, but why? How is it that so many have effortlessly turned away from the scriptures and teachings go God? The Word repeatedly advises us against the disregarding of God’s Word; yet, so many times we openly decide to do just that, we remove the standards what we do not like, choosing the path of less resistance, which often times, leads back into the world. Today’s church no longer celebrates the Living God, but instead it has become the church of the ”modern era,” a church of man pleasers, who have replaced the God chasers of times past. The Landmarks of old were put in place to help Christians maintain the straight and narrow path as described in Matthew chapter seven; however, it would seem that we have all decided that as man kind, we know best, we are the makers of the rules, and no more are we to follow the instructions left for us by the prophets and preachers, nor must we look upon the Acts of the Apostles as our guides. The modern church, will no longer operate according to the Word of The Lord, instead it is the word of "man" that leads the way. In this hour, it is of the utmost importance that we are not caught with our candles under the bushel, or our lanterns unlit, because as we know, the day of the Lord’s return is known by no man: this is the importance, of maintaining the ancient landmarks.

Pro.23:10
Remove not the old landmark...

(King Herod's Caste, Iraeli Landmark)
Holiness has always been an anchor, pillar, and foundation of the Church; nonetheless, today, the word holiness has, to some, become an outdated, undesirable, and divisive set of ideals, no longer needed in today’s assemblies. In the past, the word Holiness, and all associated connotations, were once exemplified, an example of man’s desire to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and yet now, the mere mention of the word breeds anger, claims of legalism, and oppression. Godliness, devotion, and dedication to God, the desire to attain spiritual purification, throughout our daily lives, within the confines of our homes, and in the workplace, has somehow been replaced by a “Sunday morning only” doctrine, as if consecrating oneself to God is of no importance. 

For the past 2000 years since Christ ascended into the heavens, as well as the many thousands of years that preceded that Glorious day, Holiness before God has been an integral part of the Judeo-Christian faith and an expression of one’s love for God, and dedication to His Word. The Landmarks of our faith have been established since before the stars shown bright in the midnight skies, and the sandy seashores welcomed the fishes of the ocean’s deep and the birds that soar above. From those very beginnings, Holiness was to be the standard in which all of creation was to  agree, a holy people, set apart by a Holy God, and for that same Holy God. According to the Bible Holiness is the expected standard by which we all must live, it is the key by which we are to see God, and it is the outward sign of an inward desire to be like God, a benchmark to indicate that we are His possession: the children, and redeemed of Christ Jesus our Lord. In the book of Hebrews chapter twelve, we find the following statement, Follow peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see God.”  Clearly, the Lord expects us to live a way that exemplifies an ever increasing and acceptable level of Holiness which displays to others that we are the children of God; thereby, assuring our acceptance and entrance into the Kingdom. 

As the great apostle Paul stated in II Corinthians 12:9, God’s “Grace is sufficient for thee,” He accepts us for who we are, and as we are, we can come to the Cross heartbroken, shattered, and full of pain; yet, God will still come to us, comfort us, and forgive, carefully lifting us up out of the muck and mire. However, we must also acknowledge that God is also, indeed Himself Holy; accordingly, He cannot be in the presence of unholiness, which indicates to us, those that believe, that we must ourselves be transformed into the image of Holiness if we are to live with Him on that great day of the Lord. Yes, Jesus Christ will accept us as we are; even so, we have a responsibility as well, we are to adhere to the Word of God, we must cast out the old, and become new, in other words, there must be transformation in our lives. You see, we must not remain the same, we must exhibit a change that divides and separates the old from the new, not even Jesus remained the same after His encounter with the Power of the Holy Ghost atop the mount of transfiguration, Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel, Saul became Paul, and Peter became the Rock, no longer a pebble, but a mighty mountain who preached the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost, clearly, if these mighty Biblical characters had to change, so must we.

Romans 12:2 ...Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and the perfect will of God…

We as the people of God, must understand that Christ Jesus does not only want us to enter into the kingdom of God, but He wants us to become the kingdom God. Clearly, it isn’t the Lord’s desire to simply accrue a massive amount of church members, if that was the end goal, Christ would not have sacrificed Himself on the cross, instead He would have called down angels from to defend Him, and conquer the earth. Instead, He did the opposite, the Messiah, our Lord and King, gave up His life freely, a ransom in exchange for ours. The church, that is who we are to become, this is why God gave up His only Begotten Flesh for each and every one of us, but how do we become the church if we are not willing to be transformed into the image of the Living God, the image of Holiness? The answer is clear, we cannot. 

If we as individuals, and as the church as a whole, are to become more like Paul, and less like Saul, we are going to have make a choice, we must completely change the way we talk, the language we choose, and the words we speak. By voluntarily making these choices, by showing love, and by extending kindness to others, we show the world around us that we are the children of God. To be transformed into the image of the Living God, there must be a shift, we must change how we dress, we must change how we act, and we must change every other aspect of our lives that is not of God, simple put, if we are to enter the Holy of Holy’s, we must change. The church of today must work to reestablish the landmarks of old, the days of compromising the Word in an effort to appease the itching ears must be placed aside as we put on modesty, moderation, and morality; thereby, assuring all, that we are no longer followers of the world, but followers of Christ, and workers in His kingdom.

Amos 7:7-8
(The Ancient Plumb-Line)
Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people…

“The famous words of Amos the prophet,” said no one ever, in spite of that, these are very important words, a set of verses that we should perhaps look at a bit more closely, but first, what in the world is a plumb-line? According to the internet, a plumb-line is a tool used by craftsman, such as carpenters and plumbers to ensure that walls, pipes, boards, and other things are perfectly in line, and without corruption according to required standards, and measures, much as it was used in the days of Amos. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, as well as Jesus Christ Himself would have used this device in their work as carpenters, as well as many of the tradesman of today. Here in the scriptures above, the Holy Spirit, through the writings of Amos, uses the word plumb-line to describe to his contemporaries, the people of Judah, the importance of adhering to the Word of God and the established Landmarks of the Faith at that time. As a prophet of God, and minister to the people, it was Amos’ job to inform the congregation of the Lord’s law, instructions, and desires for His people, just as it is the duty of God’s ministers today. Unfortunately, in the church communities of today, many have forgotten this verse, turning away from the standards of the plumb-line, removing the Landmarks that have guided us for so many years, Landmarks such as maturity, moderation, modesty and faithfulness to the house of God. It is of the utmost importance that the Amos’ of today cry out in the wilderness, encouraging all of creation to repent, and return unto the Lord. 

Proverbs 23:10
Remove not the old landmark…

Sadly, the modern church has strayed away from the standards, customs, and traditions established before us by the saints of old, leaving us instead with a church that looks much like the world we claim to have left behind in our quest for God. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 16, Jesus, speaking to Simon Bar-jona, declared that, “thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church,”  the original word used here, transcribed as church, is the Greek word ekklÄ“sia, which in it’s original language means to be called out, an assembly of saints, or a gathering of men. This definition of the root word for church, indicates that we, as the living church, are to be called out from the world, a gathering of saints and men, dedicated to God, along with Holiness, this is yet another foundation of the faith, and a Landmark for us all.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

God Is Able, Just Have Faith...

(Myself, Fred Blackman II 2014)
This week, five years ago, I was rolled out of St. David's hospital in Austin, TX. after a five month stay. My time there had been filled with no less than five surgeries, and a multitude of procedures, injections, and doubtful diagnosis from the doctors and medical staff. Although they definitely did everything in their power to help me both physically and emotionally, the time I spent there was nothing less than physically torturous and spiritually draining, and yet, I made it. Minute after minute, hour after hour, and day after day, the pain endured, the reports were dismal, and the expected outcome was grim, but God!

You see, God made a way, even after the doctors came to my room, and said that they would make me as comfortable as possible, as the infection in my spinal cord and brain seemed unstoppable and that there was little else they could do. At that point and time, it was up to myself, and my God to make a move, for their hand had played out, and the bacterial infections was ravaging my body. Five surgeries and ten hours a day hooked up to an IV pump, as the strongest antibiotics on the planet flowed into my chest cavity, through a port connected to my blood vessels, sent the medication directly to, and through my heart. Although I was desperately afraid, I was also filled with the confidence that only comes from a relationship with God, that no matter what happened, things would be alright.

You see, I knew that God would make a way, and that in the end, I would be alright, for even if
(My father Fred Blackman I 
& I)
He did not cause the pain to cease, the infection to die, and the nerves in my back to reconnect, He could do it with just one Word, and that even  then, I’d be just fine. Even through the doctors had spoken their negative diagnoses and report, I knew that Christ Jesus would have the final say, and with that thought in mind, I sought His face, I was determined to have a conversation with Him, as I declared, that in the end, His will would be done, and that no matter the outcome, I would be satisfied knowing that it was not my will, but His will that was done, but then God moved, and five years later, here I am... God is Able, just have Faith...

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Holy Ghost

The Word of God has prophesied to the believers of the past, and present alike, that there would be a time when true worshippers would come unto the Lord, to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, and there are many who have claimed that this time is now. Joel, the Old Testament prophet, foretold of a time when the Spirit of God would be poured out upon all flesh, a time when dreams would be shared, and prophetic visions would be seen by the children of God. For us today, that prophecy and promise from God, is in still in full affect and available to us today, it is a power that few outside of the church understand; yet,  all are free to receive.

(Baptism of Water & Spirit)
In the Old Testament books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, the Lord our God speaks of a time when the Word would be written onto the hearts of men, that the wretched heart of mankind would someday be replaced by a heart of flesh, and therein the Word of God would be written. In the New Testament book of John, chapter 14, Jesus speaks of a Comforter that would come once He fulfilled the scriptures, and departed from this earth: this Comforter, also known as the Holy Spirit, would teach us, guide us, and encourage us in the ways of the Lord.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, and the Power of the Holy Ghost are all One and the same, a Promise of God from the days of old, and a Promise that applies to us today, right up until this very moment. According to the book of Acts chapter two, the Promise of the Holy Spirit is given unto us, our children, and as many as the Lord should call. The Holy Spirit moved upon mortals, guiding them as they wrote the Words that we read, study, and live by today, It moved upon the prophets, informing them of things to come and teaching them in the ways of God, and it is this very same Holy Ghost Power that caused Jesus to arise from the grave and ascend into heaven two thousand years ago. 


(The Holy Ghost)
The Power of the Holy Ghost, as discussed above, is available to you and I today: it is a freely given gift, presented to all who would request it, by the mighty God Himself. Although we understand that the Holy Ghost has been given to those who believe as a source of comfort and peace, It is also so much more than that, it is the evidence of our relationship with the Lord, it is the authority behind our prayer, and it is the Spirit of the Living God, residing within us. Repentance, Baptism, and Faith, these are all that we need to receive from God, the gift of Himself, operating and living within us. What a beautiful experience, what an amazing gift, and what a wonderful feeling to know that Jesus Christ is alive today, He is our God, our Comforter, and all that we need to face the world today.

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