Have I Not Commanded You?

Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

“Have I Not Commanded You”?  To do what God calls us to do, we must remember that being “strong, courageous and not being afraid is a COMMAND, not a FEELING.  We must be obedient to follow His directions.

Because if it is really God who called you; YOU WILL NEED THIS VERSE! He only calls us to do what He can do, not what we can do on our own.

Do You Want To Experience the Voice and Presence of God?

The only tools needed to spark a personal revival in your life:

  • You, alone with God.
  • A Bible
  •  a cup coffee or your favorite drink
  • with an open and a willing heart and mind to hear His voice.

Draw Near

Delay not, delay not, O sinner, draw near. The waters of life are now flowing for thee; No price is demanded, the Savior is here; Redemption is purchased, salvation is free.

Delay not, delay not, the Spirit of grace, Long grieved and resisted, may take His sad flight, and leave thee in darkness to finish thy race, to sink in the groom of eternity’s night.

Thomas Hasting (1784-1872)

Fresh Manna

Exodus 16:4 Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day……

21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating:

What worked Yesterday does not mean it will work today!

Go get fresh manna!

Let God supply you according to each new day’s needs.

Need Help in Overcoming FEAR?

As I sit here today planning and WORRY about my returning to Guatemala on Christmas Day. The fear of the future started grabbing at my heart. I turned to prayer and God gave me this from the “God Calling” book.  I do believe Jesus spoke to these ladies. This book has ministered to me for years in this same manner. It never fails, when I am faced with something overwhelming, I turn to the Bible and this book and I  always find my answer. May this devotional encourage you today!

Perfect Love

Our Lord, give us that Perfect Love of Thee that casts out all fear.

Never let yourselves fear anybody or anything. No fear of My failing you. No fear that your faith will fail you. No fear of poverty or loneliness. No fear of not knowing the way. No fear of others. No fear of their misunderstanding.

But, My children, this absolute casting out of fear is the result of a Perfect Love, a perfect Love of Me and My Father. Speak to Me about everything. Listen to Me at all times. Feel My tender nearness, substituting at once some thought of Me for the fear.

The powers of evil watch you as a besieging force would watch a guarded city — the object being always to find some weak spot, attack that, and so gain an entrance. So evil lurks around you, and seeks to surprise you in some fear.

The fear may have been but a small one, but it affords evil a weak spot of attack and entrance, and then in some rushing despondency, doubt of Me, and so many other sins. Pray, My beloved children, for that Perfect Love of Me that indeed casts out all fear.- Jesus

Intimacy; Learning How To Talk to God Part IV

This is my favorite part!  In the past 30 years, I have learned to do one thing right and that is I have learned how to communicate with God.  When I was first seeking God, as I shared in my testimony in Part III, I learned how to throw out a lot of religious practices and did it my own way without all those religious trappings.  I want to share some of what I learned, what to do and what not to do.  I hope I can give you some insights to being intimate with God.

God is a Person

I shared that God is a person in my last article but I wanted to go over it again.   This concept is huge and it is where most people mess up.  Again, God is a person and if we take away all the religious trappings, and approach Yahweh, as you would any other person, you will go a lot further.  I have a feeling most people believe they have to approach God as in the scene from the “Wizard of Oz.”  In that scene there is a loud intimidating voice with smoke and flames coming up, then Dorothy squeamishly goes forward to meet the great Oz.  However, we do not have to approach God in such an intimidated manner.  The Bible gives us a much better way to approach God.

Hebrews 4:16; Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
God wants us to come boldly without fear, as a child comes to their own dad.  When I began praying, I just simply threw all the old stuff away and began to talk.  There was no more religious stuff.  I just came and told God; “I would like to get to know you.”  I really wanted to know for myself if all the things I had heard about God were true.  This was the only way I knew to figure this out.  If He was real I would approach Him as I would any other person and meet Him.
I became, in a way just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, she just had to meet him so she could go home.  I had to find God in order to survive this addiction that had me for so long.  I did not want to learn second hand.  So for 6 months I was persistent and faithful to talk to God and listen.  I was on a search and I searched for Him like He was gold and limitless treasure.
Psalm 63:1  O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
PRAYER

With today’s technology, we should have no problem understanding prayer.  We are the generation with Skype, Messenger, What up apps, and Facebook to name a few.  We certainly should understand how to communicate via long distance.  Today we can chat instantly with anyone around the world, even if you cannot see them or hear them.

Well, that big religious word “prayer” simply means to communicate with God.  That is all it means and yet we unnecessarily complicate it in the church and the world.  Please do not get me wrong there are different types of prayers written in the Bible, but for our purposes here I want to simplify it as much as possible.  The reason for that is if you do not get this one down, the rest is useless or will lead you to some religious bondage that will only frustrate you in the long run.

Another big mistake people make is thinking prayer is a monolog.  That it is a one-way street, or it is some pre-learned prayer, we recite over and over again.  Prayer is a dialogue, which means it is a two-way conversation.

We are not designed to do all the talking.  God would love to speak, but most of the people I have watched only say their part and then they are gone out the door.  That leaves God sitting there wanting to answer, but those praying are already gone.  So to speak we have already hung up the phone.

This is the biggest reason so many in the church have never heard Him.   They rattle off their wish list or petitions and say in the name of Jesus and then hang up.  God is on the other end saying; “hello, hello, well they must have hung up, and I was going to share with them about their request.”  So we go through life believing either God does not answer our prayers or believing that hearing God is only for the super-elite Christians.  Let me share how I heard God even before I asked Jesus into my life and became born-again.

So all prayer is communication – a two-way dialogue.  The bible tells us to “pray without ceasing.”  When a religious person hears that, they automatically think that it is a lot of work and dedication.  They think they need to dedicate their life to prayer.  They think it will take years to learn how to stay in the mode of prayer.  Let me reassure you, it does not.  Think about when you used to talk for hours on the phone with your new boyfriend or girlfriend.  Think about how much time we spend on text messages?  We can spend hours on those things, if we think the person on the other end is worth it.  Let me share this, GOD IS WORTH IT AND HE LOVES TO TALK TO YOU ALL THE TIME!!!

When I pray, if you could hear me, you would think I was talking to my best friend.  Othertimes it might sound as if I was talking to my dad. Then there are times I just include Him in my day while riding in the car, at the mall or at a restaurant when I am alone and I want someone to talk to.  Do not get me wrong, I am not nuts and I do not sit there talking aloud to an empty chair.

If you read my last article, I shared that during the evening of June 10 I first talked to God in the physical realm.  Later that evening, God told me to go and sleep in my broken down Mustang.  As I sat there and tried to fall asleep, I began to talk to Him about how to fix my car and how to find a place to live.  To make a long story short, every time I asked God for something, even something as simple as the need for a blanket, one showed up.  Then I said I needed some money to get my car fixed and at 3 o’clock in the morning a woman I knew knocked on my car window and gave me a blanket and lent me enough money to get a car part.

As God began working mysteriously in my life, I was so happy that I thought all I needed now is a vehicle to go get that car part.  The same woman who gave me the blanket and cash, now showed back up and offered me her car.  The next day I bought the part and the car was fixed but I was still homeless.

I then went to the Lord and asked what am I to do with my homeless situation.  God said,”I was to humble myself and reconcile things with my sister.  I then went to her house and knocked on her door and she hugged me so hard because she thought I had gone back to drinking.  We finally became reconciled that day.  Later that day I told God, “I need to sell my stereo, so I can relocate from my home town and get a new life started.”  Within one hour a friend called and asked; “if I was still interested in selling my stereo.”  I sold it to Him that day.

Ever since that day I have been talking to God.   There are times I do the talking and there are times He begins talking to me about my life.  There are also times that I have even had a passing thought on something and I would share these with God.  If I needed something, it would show up.  I figured out later on that God knew and heard my thoughts and prayers.  God let me know that He wanted to bless me.

Why did God answer those five thoughts or prayer requests I had on my mind that night?  To thwart the devil!  He knew the devil would come in and try to steal that experience from me.  The devil loves to whisper,” it was only a dream, it was not real.”  I know that, because He tried over and over again but every time, I remember how I asked those 5 things and God responded, in a very real way.
Persistence
Learning to communicate like I have learned to do takes persistence and time.  During my first six months as a new believer I began seeing consequences in my life as I talked to him, but I never heard His voice. I saw results as if I was watching the wind.  Although I cannot see the wind, I can certainly see the results from the wind, like the leaves of a tree blowing or grass moving. It was like that at first and at times still is.  Now years later, after learning how to quiet myself and listen, I can often hear God, but even now it is not all the time.  However, it is most of the time.  There are times when I might be working and not even thinking of God, and then He begins to talk or show me something I might have mentioned earlier in our times together.
Have you ever seen the movie: “The Matrix?”  When Neo or one of the other members of the team went into the real world and they had to learn something, the man on the sub would load a program and they would learn it instantly.  In one example the female character needed to learn how to fly a helicopter, so they downloaded it to her and she knew how to fly it immediately.  The reason I shared this is because this is how God sometime downloads information from His Word to me.  There are times I feel that I just received a download and now understand things from scripture I never knew or understood before. Jesus let us know that the Holy Spirit would be our teacher.  I am convinced that sometimes He downloads these cool revelations to me. It is really fun, and I highly recommend that you too plug into God.

 Our Daily Bread

God taught the Israelites, who just started out with him in the desert, an important lesson;  

They were to gather manna once a day and only for that day except for the Sabbath.  They were not to collect a weeks worth, or a months worth because it would spoil.  God wants us to learn that we need to come to him for a fresh provision every day.  So many Christians think they can go collect their manna and their other spiritual needs only on Sunday, instead of meeting with God daily.

I have heard so many say on Sunday; I need to go to church to recharge for another hard week.  You do not need to recharge if you stay plugged in all week.  Then they wonder why their life is spoiled and rotten and nothing seems to flow right in their week.  If your life moves like a rusted joint, then oil it every day.  When Jesus taught us to pray He said we are to ask for our daily bread not our weekly bread!

Intimacy with God is not going to happen with a quick cup of coffee and a donut as you rush off to work or drop off the kids at school, and then think you’re going to get your prayer time in as you fight traffic.  I know what you’re thinking, I am so busy!  Jesus was busy too!  Jesus taught, preached and healed whole towns full of sick and demon possessed people and in addition fed the masses.  He also walked everywhere He went, but every morning, He got up and spent time with God before “every man wanted to see Him”

The Prayer Closet

Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
This is one of the misunderstood verses in the Bible.  I have seen and heard about Christians building a closet or going in to a closet to pray. There is not a thing wrong with this, if that is the only way to get alone with God.  But this was not the point Jesus was driving home.
He was doing a comparison to a man who wants to be intimate with His wife.  He was pointing out when a man wants to make love to his wife, he does not do it in public.  He does not make a public showing out of it!  He takes her into the closet (in the greek “bedchamber”) and has intimacy with her.
God wants us to know if we really want to have intimacy with Him we need to treat our prayer time the same as the example above and not pray in public.  People often pray in public to get people’s approval or for others to see their great spirituality.  Instead, our prayer time this should be when we desire and need intimacy with God.
You might think I am contradicting myself from earlier statements.  However, let us do what Jesus did.  We can learn this by looking at an example from marriage.  When I want the most intimacy with my wife, we go and be alone, but it does not end there.  Do I only speak to my wife in the bedroom?  No, we interact all day.  The same concept should apply with God.  If we want a deep intimate relationship with God, we need to steal away time and shut off the television and stereo, even worship music at times.  Get away from everyone and everything, be quiet and still.  Then we can open up that spiritual channel to only hear God.
I once heard that God is like a radio station that broadcasts 24 hours a day, but if you never tune into that station, you will never hear him.

 

Intimacy, How To Draw Near To God Part III

In my last article I showed you that God is real and He can and wants to be intimate in your life, just as He has done in mine.  I share this verse from the Book of James:

James 4:7-8;  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

This takes away the notion or any religious idea that God expects us only to be His subjective servants.  Rather, He desires to draw us into an intimate relationship with Himself.  But like I said; “the first move has to be ours.”  We and only we determine how close of a relationship we have with God.  So in this article I want to remove religious trappings and notions that hinder our relationship with God.

God is a Person

God is a person, a real living person.  He is not “the force be with you” or some substance that is floating around out there, somewhere in the universe.  He is a real living being!  I want you to remember and take note of this: We are created in the image of God!  We are the off-springs of God.  This is important because the wonderful attributes that are in us, are from Him.

The ability to love, to communicate, our desire to have and be in a family, all the good that is in man is from God.  Unfortunately, the overwhelming evil we possess is from our fallen nature.  I point this out because we are created in His image – not vice-versa!  We do not make God conform to our image!   When we attempt this, we try to mold Him into our fallen nature. (Exodus 32)

My goal for this article is to take away all the religious trappings and make God’s reality so familiar and understandable that anyone can apply this to their life.

Once again God is a person!  I repeat this so we can move to our first step!  His name is not God, that is His title, such as Mr. President.  If you met Barack Obama, you would not say good-morning Barack, you would say good-morning Mr. President.

My point is, and this is not trivial: in relationships there is always an introduction, either from yourself or from another person.  The first thing you do is learn the name of your new acquaintance.  So if you have never been introduced to God, let me have the pleasure in doing so… Yahweh or Jehovah (if you desire); this is my reader.  Yahweh or Jehovah is God’s proper name.  It is more personal and intimate than saying good morning Mr. God.  Try saying it; good morning Jehovah, it is nice to meet you.

God takes this even further.  God understands who we are and He knows our limitations.  The first time we meet God can be very intimidating and overwhelming, Jehovah knows that.  Therefore, He has supplied a solution to this intimidating introduction.  When God first introduced Himself to Israel at Mount Sinai, that first introduction did not go so well.  Israel could not deal with the over-whelming presence of Him.  So God supplied us a solution so we would not freak out when He appeared:

Jesus

His name is Jesus, Emanuel (God with us).  God became a real breathing living man!  In that human body dwelled Jehovah, Yahweh, our God.  When we watch Jesus throughout the gospels, He manifests two magnificent and wonderful things: First: He is “Son of God” as I described above.  (Do not get stuck on son, He is God)  When we read the gospels we can see God in action.  His likes and His dislikes.  What He does and how He deals with various issues, His attitudes towards life.

Do you want to clear up your confusion and have an understandable way to decide what your doctrine should be?  Simply read and do what Jesus said and did!  He is Jehovah.  Jesus would not do anything outside His nature.  Just following Jesus would clear up most if not all denominational differences.  In addition we would then know how to be perfect ambassadors to the nations.  What did Jesus say and how did He handle issues on Earth?  Various issues such as :

  • Sin and the world
  • Healing and sickness
  • Holy Spirit and baptisms
  • Cultural issues

We need to learn what Jesus did and said about every issue and make that our mission and purpose.  We as the body of believers would be a lot further ahead in leading people to Christ if we followed Jesus and His teachings.  This leads me to the next attribute of Jesus.

Second He is the “Son of Man,” He not only mirrored what God looks like but He also shows us what we, as Spirit-filled people of God should look like.  Too many people write off what Jesus did because He was God, but I believe, and scripture shows that every miracle He did, He did as a man.  He never used His own deity for the miracles.  He did what His Father told Him to do and then relied on the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill all the miracles he preformed.

This is all important; because if we want to get close to God, we have to see Him for who He is really is, not what the religious legalists portray Him to be.  If you are involved in sexual sins and tend toward the wild side, read about how he dealt with the woman caught in adultery (John 8).  If you have a business and are struggling with business integrity or at times feel low or down and out, then read about Matthew, his disciple (Matt. 9) and Zacchaeus (Luke 19).  If you feel like an outcast and feel as though you do not fit in, read about the woman at the well (John 4).  If you tend toward legalism and find yourself at times prideful because of your righteousness, read how Jesus dealt with those that demonstrated religious pride, the Pharisees and Saducees.  They thought of themselves as special because of their positions and their education with regards to religious affairs.  Jesus spoke of these people, the Pharisees and Saducees throughout the Gospels.

As a side note, you will find that these last two groups, the Pharisees and the Saducees, were the only people that Jesus did not shower with Mercy and Compassion.  Jesus never condemned others because of their sexual lifestyle, corruption, divorces and or failures, but Jesus dealt with these religious people differently.

I say all this because no matter what situation you find yourself, good or bad you can always come to Jesus as you are.  Nicodemus, the Pharisee came to Jesus seeking truth and found expectance in His presence.  The woman caught in adultery most likely was dragged into the town circle naked or maybe with a blanket on her, however she also found acceptance with Jesus.  She was never told by Jesus to go get dressed and cleaned up before I help you.  Jesus probably looked at her lying there and reached out his hand and said; “who is here to condemn you”?  No one and NEITHER DO I?  GO AND SIN NO MORE!  

So what is your excuse for not coming into His wonderful and loving presence?

Time

With regards to relationships there are two parts to time, one being the time spent to get to know someone, the second covered later, is the actual time spent with someone after you get to know them.  It is very hard to get to know someone if you never have time to be with that person.  God is no different and in His case, it is even more difficult because you can’t see or hear him very well at first!

When we first meet a new person, what draws us to that person?  It is usually because they are attractive or they have a great personality.  Jehovah has both, but it take awhile to develop your spiritual senses.  If you are not familiar with this, you have five human senses but you also have five spiritual senses.  But unlike your natural ones, your spiritual senses have to be developed.  I used this verse in the last article:

Matthew 13:15  For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
If you read this you will understand that the people of Israel were hearing and seeing all that Jesus said and did, however, Jesus said they were dull of hearing and their eyes were shut.  What was He talking about?  He was referring to their spiritual ears and eyes.  How could the Pharisees see and hear Jesus raising a man who has been dead for three days and not get it?  Then they watch Him feed the multitude with a few loaves of bread and some fish and also calm storms.  But they still did not get it, this is because they were deaf and blind spiritually. (Matt. 23:16-23)  So not to be like them and the unbelievers, we need to take time and develop our spiritual awareness to His presence.  Then we need to be able to recognize the difference between His voice and the voice of Satan the deceiver.
The second part to time is “time in itself,”  this demonstrates how much importance you place in that person.  Imagine if all the intimacy in your marriage was a quick kiss out the door in the morning with a cup of coffee in your hand and then a quick dinner after work while you watch your favorite television program.  If this was the most interaction you had, you would not demonstrate that you placed much importance in the person.  Then to follow that off, imagine that the only time for real intimacy was an hour or so on Sunday morning?  But you say we had to cut it short or rush because we wanted to get to the lunch buffet before the crowd or your favorite team was playing that day?
The above scenarios describe many Christians and their “intimate time with God”.  Once a week and a quick hello God and “help me make everything go my way today prayer” as we fly out the door or sit in traffic.  You cannot have quality time in the car with God watching for traffic and dropping off the kids at school.  This does not create intimacy and depth in your relationship with God.
Simply put, if it would not work with a physical human relationship it will not work in the spiritual realm which requires even more effort and stillness.  Your spouse, your children and your friends need your quality time and attention.  Like I have shared before, Jehovah is no different.  Remember He is a jealous God and He refuses to share you with your idols, sins or your busy lifestyles. 
Remember if you draw near, He will draw near!  
In Christianity we call this alone time “Prayer and Meditation”, this will be covered next week.
If you need salvation or are not sure if you are, please press this link to :  How Do I Receive Eternal Life?
Written by Dennis Stauffer
Edited by Gary Green (Omega House)

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Also before you leave the website, please look around the site.  DSI/Hands In Action is a missionary team who help the poorest of the poor in Northern Guatemala.  Please sign up for our newsletter on this website and also on Facebook.  Thank you.

If DSI has blessed you, please consider becoming a Partner with us to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and be His Hands in Action in Guatemala and around the world with this teaching ministry.

Go to the donation page and become a “missionary partner” with us.  When you give you are partnering with me to become a fellow servant for Jesus in this “hungry” world.  Thanks again for blessing not only this ministry but also for serving with and for the Lord.

God Bless

Dennis Stauffer  (Founder/President and writer of DSI Ministries/Hands In Action)

Gary Green (Editor for DSI Ministries)

Intimacy Part I

Today I want to share with you one of my most passionate areas in Christianity, being intimate with God. I believe intimacy is the most important lesson for any Christian and I also believe it is the most neglected teaching in the Church today. It has saddened me during my years of Christian ministry to see how many people whom I consider to be good Christians, having such a lack of intimacy with God in their daily walk. I want to begin by sharing two stories:

During a meeting with my Pastor I shared how God was directing me and speaking to me about the next move in my ministry. As I observed my Pastor, I quickly noticed he was very uncomfortable with what I was speaking about. I asked him if there was anything wrong? He began to share in a very irritated tone how God does not speak to him in this way and he was not hearing the voice of God. This obviously shocked me and at the same time saddened me to think that here is a man who is in a position to be leading people to a personal relationship with Christ and he does not hear God’s voice for himself. I have since found that this is not an isolated case.
I was filling in as a group leader for a Holy Spirit Class at a Bible College. In this class, one of the questions in the study was; “How many hear the voice of the Holy Spirit directing their lives?” Once again to my amazement, and this time with a class of third year bible college students studying for ministry, over 75% confessed they did not hear the voice of God directing their lives!

Let’s Start From the Beginning

The first thing that needs to be cleared up is that Christianity is NOT A RELIGION! Believers and non-believers alike make this mistake by saying; Christianity is a major religion in the world. You may be thinking; “Dennis you are splitting hairs here! “You are just playing a word game!” I am not playing a word game nor am I splitting hairs. By the very definition of the word “religion” I can clear this up. I looked up the word on an online dictionary and here is what I found:

Religion: 1) a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

2) a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.

Let me dissect one word (believe or belief) from this passage to show you want I mean:

Believe (v): to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

Here is where the problem lies and where many Christians get stuck. If we go with what the world’s thoughts are and what the world thinks, then God cannot be proven. God is somewhere in the cosmos and we can only have a belief in Him. The world tells you that there is no proof that God exists, so the best we can do is have a belief system and hope that He exists. However, the Bible makes two things clear regarding this, first for His existence and then second, we are to have a personal, one on one relationship with our Lord.

Romans 1:20 (NLT) For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

The Bible makes it clear that we can see God first through His Creation. I know that for a fact. While I was an unbeliever I would always be amazed at how perfect this created world was. Everything in nature, except for natural disasters (created by sin curse), is perfect. The seasons and their timing and the oxygen we need to breathe is perfect. It always amazed me, and I knew without a doubt this world could not be this perfect and be created by some accidental big bang explosion.

My second point is found in John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Let’s look at this verse closely. And this is life eternal ; this is the setup for the definition of eternal life. For most people, when eternal life is mentioned, they reference eternal life to when a person dies and goes into the next world. Let us continue on in this verse; John gives us exactly what is meant by eternal life. Eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ. I want to point out this word know, is not the word for head knowledge or familiarity with. The word know as used by John means much more than this. It has as its meaning the same as when used in Genesis when it states;

Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain.

Adam knew Eve and had a son. The Holy Spirit explains that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ. Are you now getting the picture of how much God wants to be with you? He used a word that describes the most intimate feelings a human can have. This was no mistake by God. Throughout scriptures God describes His unconditional love for mankind and His desire to be with you. God did not become man and then die a horrific death on the cross by bearing your punishment just to start another world religion. He died because He loves you and He wants to have a personal relationship here and now with you and for all eternity.

Now do you see what I shared about Christianity not being a religion? Remember the definition; a set of beliefs concerning…… usually involving devotional and ritual observances……containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Real Christianity is an intimate relationship with God. So much so that Jesus calls us “His Bride” in several verses in scripture. We are called “the bride of Christ” and we are just that. This picture (of being His bride) is painted throughout the New Testament. But before I get into that further, I want to show you where we went astray in the Christian Church and then I want to paint a new picture for you next week in our next article.

Where the Problem Lies

I personally believe the problem starts from the very beginning when we lead a person to Christ. Instead of introducing Jesus as a Person, we begin by sharing what He has done for us and what He has to offer us. We share the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and if we are on a roll we might even add He did it because He loves us. (John 3:16) Then we share how we benefit because we accepted Him: He will forgive all your sins and when you die you get to go to heaven and not burn in Hell. This sounded like a great deal to me, so I accepted the offer.

Preceding this however, I was given my work schedule! First find a church, then start going regularly according to that denomination’s tradition. For me, it was Bible study before Sunday Service (and remember it was twice on Sunday, morning and night), then there was the Wednesday night Prayer meeting. After this I was told to get my first Bible (King James only, this is the only one Jesus and the Apostles used. LOL) I was then told to read the Gospel of John followed by the other Gospels and the book of Acts. Several months later, after they saw I had a true conversion, I was told to make an appointment for baptism. Now I was to read my Bible and learn the doctrines of the church and get more involved – e.g. ushering, cleaning up etc. Now you can see the problem, these things they said were all good and great practices, but they never lead me to an intimate relationship with Jesus, instead they lead me to: a set of beliefs concerning…… usually involving devotional and ritual observances……containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs, in other words – RELIGION!

This is the exact opposite of what Jesus desires, along with most of us who truly seek God. But this is how it has been done for hundreds of years. When we are new to Christianity, we do not know the difference. As a new believer, I believed if I did these things they would lead me into this intimate personal relationship (a carrot dangling in front of a horse), but instead they just set me up to work harder and harder to find that intimate relationship I desired to have with God. However, just being religious will never bring you to this place. Only following scripture can do that.

Do We See This In Scripture?

Yes! When we read the New Testament we see something very odd. The very people who were supposed to be leading Israel in worship and dedication to God, are the very people who rejected Jesus. These men were trained in the scriptures and had a lot of head knowledge in the coming of the Messiah. In scripture they were called Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes, today we call them pastors, priests, and bishops depending on your denomination.

What happened? I believe that like the church of today, they fell into a 300 year old rut. For hundreds of years, God did not speak a word to man; so these learned men began practicing religion. They began to govern and rule over people. They began making new rules and adding to God’s Word what was never intended. Jesus called these rules; “traditions and doctrines of man”.

Mark 7:6-8 …….”This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

So not having a fresh heart towards God, they developed a certain practice of worship and set up rules and regulations for how to worship God. This, their very own devised system, drove them along with the very people who they were supposed to be ministering to away from God! If you read scripture closely, you will note that most of the common people feared or loathed the Old Testament ministers and therefore had little to do with God or His worship, except for what they were commanded to do by law! Reading the New Testament we notice that when Jesus did show up on the scene, these ministers were so rooted in their traditions and way of life that they rejected Jesus, who was God in the flesh. This deep religious rut they were in made them so callous towards God, that when Jesus healed or raised a man from the grave they did not take notice other than to fear that Jesus might replace them along with their prestigious religious positions.

Let me sum this up. When we replace intimacy with God, even with great things like going to church, reading your bible and living the Christian life according to your traditions, it still hardens our hearts just like the men of Jesus’ day. The question today is;

Does this condition in the New Testament, exist today in America?

The answer is YES! I see signs of it everywhere. Many times when you ask a person why they believe in God they give you a doctrinal answer from the Bible rather than sharing (witnessing) how God is real and how He made a great change in their life. Another example is when I asked those Bible college students if they were hearing God and most answered no. These are just two examples! Today there is definitely a problem with and within our church system!

Most unbelievers today want nothing to do with Church. So many I see and talk to either fear the judgement of Christians or simply do not like us. We can see the same attitude in Christians today as in the Pharisees of the Old Testament. For example, we can look at how Christians deal with the homosexual question in America. So many in the church are so condemning, as if this was the unpardonable sin.

I see so many today acting like another group in the New Testament, those that were called Zealots. They believed in keeping Israel pure and preserving the nation at all cost. In America we might call this group, “Conservative Right-wing Republicans.” Many today are more interested in preserving the Union and the Constitution than they are carrying out the Great Commission.

So what does this have to do with us? When we lose or never obtain that close intimacy with God the father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we become like the religious men in the gospels and perhaps even worse. We do not reflect the love nor the image of God to a dark and lost world in which we the Church are called to reach. It is either intimacy with God or the road of religion. Next week I will share with you my journey to intimacy with God.

Written by Dennis Stauffer

Edited by Gary Green (Omega House)

If you like our Post please “SHARE IT” on Facebook and Twitter! When you share this post, it helps this ministry and who knows your share, might bring someone, who you have been praying for into the Kingdom of God!

Also before you leave the website, look around the site. DSI/Hands Action is a missionary team who helps the poorest of the poor in Northern Guatemala. Please sign up for our newsletter on this website and also on Facebook. Thank you.

If DSI has blessed you, please consider becoming a Partner with us to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and be His Hands in Action

I am Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?  For years I thought getting sick was just a normal part of life.  I would say things like, “I am getting a cold,” or  “I usually get the flu and a cold with a sore throat twice a year.”  Guess what?  For many years I caught what I said I would get.  Every year especially around Christmas, I would get sick!  I hated it and for years, I struggled with it, until I learned some basic truths.  Sickness and disease are looked at as a common, nothing out of the ordinary part of life.  Let me warn you, sickness and disease are no different and no less serious then a person breaking into your home.  How many of you reading this would stand by idly  if you knew tonight someone was going to stage a home invasion on your home?  Would you say oh, this is a bad neighborhood, it happens all the time and then go about your day?  Sickness is a home invasion into your healthy body!   How about a carjacking or highjacking?  You would not be passive about these would you?  But honestly you are more likely to suffer and die from sickness and disease than one of the above mentioned.  Why are you allowing this to happen to you and your loved ones?  Why are we so passive about the one thing that is most likely to end your life?  For the next two weeks we will deal with this issue.

 Where did sickness come from?

Back in the Garden of Eden, God told Adam not to eat from the tree.  Adam was told,” if he ate from that tree, he would surely die!”

Now fast forward to the New Testament; Romans 6:23 says:  For the wages of sin is death.  I believe most people read this and take it as a blanket statement never even mediating on it.  What usually precedes death…. isn’t it sickness?   (Not always because some people die of natural causes and accidents of many kinds.)  But sickness is a part of the deadly process of sin.  In the book of Acts, Luke writes about Jesus; “Then Jesus went around doing good and healing ALL who were oppressed by the devil.”  (Acts 10:38)  Did you read that carefully?  Healing all who were oppressed by the DEVIL!   Another verse; John 10:10 (NLT):  The thief’s (DEVIL’s) purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose (JESUS) is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

My simple theology is this: If something is killing you, stealing from you, or destroying your life, it is  the devil or you or both! 

Another tip from the Word in this verse is the word  Kill  it means;  The devil gets you to destroy God’s blessing in your life though a false religious practices.   An example of this would be this statement, “God gave me this disease to teach me a lesson.”   The devil gets you to cooperate with his plans through some religious ideology.

Religious Debates

There is much debate over sickness and healings within Christian circles.  Some believe healings and miracles are of the past.  Others teach Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was blindness or an eye disease, (religious nonsense).  If you do a reference check, the term used in the Old Testament “thorn in the flesh (sides) is found in Number 33:55”, it refers to persecution.

But if anyone would open up the bible and just read it, they would find that from front to back, God heals His people.  Acts 10:38  and the other Gospels state; Jesus healed all who were oppressed from the devil.  One of the seven names of God the Father is  “Jehovah Repha”, I am the Lord that heals thee (Exod. 15:26).

Here are some scriptures:

  • Psalm 30:2 – 
O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me
  • Psalm 103:2-4 – 
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,  
  • Jeremiah 17:14 – 
Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.
  • Psalm 41:2-3
 – The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.  The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness.
  • Matthew 9:35 – 
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
 
  • Acts 9:34 –  
And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you.  Arise and make your bed.  ” Then he arose immediately.
  • James 5:16 –  
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

I have only taken a few verses from the Bible.  I did this on purpose rather than taking you through the entire Bible.  However, I have taken these verses from the Old Testament, The Gospels, The Books of Acts and the Epistles to show you that all through the Word of God healing is being taught.  Remember one of His names, Jehovah Rapha, I am the Lord that heals thee.  It does not say the “Lord that once upon a time heals thee”.   God’s will is to heal you!

If The Bible so clearly teaches healing, whats the problem?

For so long the Church has been operating without power.  Through vain traditions and doctrines the Church has negated healing.  Christianity has become a place were we preach; “Receive Jesus and go to heaven” and then in the meantime we will teach and preach: “sin or behavior modification.”

Paul states in: 1Corinthians 2:4 – And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.  Today we like fancy sermons and high intellectual style preaching that tickles our ears.  Paul stated his words were not enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in reality they were the exact opposite of what we see in churches today.

It takes courage to preach the “Full Gospel.”  It takes courage to stand up in front of people and say, God is the God who forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases.  It takes courage to say God is our protector and our strong tower, and to say to our congregations, God wants us to prosper in all we do.  It simply takes courage to preach “faith that moves mountains.”  But so many today through their vain traditions and doctrines have retreated!

Written by Dennis Stauffer

Edited by Gary Green (Omega House)

If you like our Post please “SHARE IT” on Facebook and Twitter!  When you share this post you not only help our ministry, but furthermore when you share you are helping to spread the Gospel.  Your sharing might bring someone, maybe the someone you have praying for, into a personal relationship with Jesus and therefore into the Kingdom of God!

Also before you leave the website, please look around the site.  DSI/Hands In Action is a missionary team who help the poorest of the poor in Northern Guatemala.  Please sign up for our newsletter on this website and also on Facebook.  Thank you.

If DSI has blessed you, please consider becoming a Partner with us to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and be His Hands in Action in Guatemala and around the world with this teaching ministry.

Go to the donation page and become a “missionary partner” with us.  When you give you are partnering with me to become a fellow servant for Jesus in this “hungry” world.  Thanks again for blessing not only this ministry but also for serving with and for the Lord.

God Bless

Dennis Stauffer  (Founder/President and writer of DSI Ministries/Hands In Action)

Gary Green (Editor for DSI Ministries)

 

The Ultimate Sacrifice

When we the think of the term ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, we automatically think of the brave soldiers who gave their lives for this country and also for those who served and returned home, and as Americans we should.  There is one however, whom we tend to forget.  His was truly our ultimate sacrifice: I am speaking of Jesus Christ.  

In Romans 5:8:”But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in while we were yet sinners (Gods enemies), Christ DIED for you.  

Why did He die for us?  The main reason is that God wants to have a relationship with you.  God is not angry with you, quite the opposite, He is in LOVE with you.  Unfortunately, our sins, our own desires block that relationship with Him, not only here on Earth but also in eternity.  God knows that we can never be good enough to live the perfect life or give enough sacrifices or money, or do enough sacraments to earn our way to Him.  There is no good work that can do it for us (save us).

Roman 4;5 (NKJV): But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

The Amplified Bible shows us more closely what this verse means;

Romans 4:5 (AMP):  But to the one who does not work [that is, the one who does not try to earn his salvation by doing good], but believes and completely trusts in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God).

So instead, Jesus , the only one who could do all this, did it for us.  He went to that cross and took every sin you have ever committed or will commit against Him and paid it all off.   God will never hold you accountable for any sin that you have done.  The reason is this; Jesus was held accountable for those sins, for your sins that you committed against God.  Jesus not only took the consequences, but He also paid that debt for you!  Jesus took your death sentence upon Himself for you!

Do you think that this is too good to be true news?   If you think so, that is what we call the Gospel (too good to be true news). The New Testament is not about do’s and don’ts, it is about the Gospel and God desires that everyone receives it.

So as we think of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms,  also try to Always remember the One who died for you personally.   Right this moment give your life to Jesus, he paid the ultimate price, so you can be free for all eternity.  Remember it is a free gift, to all who call on His Name.  In the following paragraphs I will show you how to receive this gift:

 How can I accept Jesus and receive this great gift?

Repent from your SINS; (repent simply means go the other way, turn around). Walk away from those sins by telling God you want something better, tell Him and yourself; “that you are though with this empty life you have been living.”

Repent from GOOD WORKS, many think they can keep Gods laws: they can go to church enough, be baptized, give money and do good works.  They think they can earn their way into heaven.  This is plain foolishness!  So many under this category are in churches every Sunday and have no idea they are on there way to an eternity without God (hell)!  Why, because they are like the religious men of Jesus’ day, they were thinking that they could earn God’s favor by being religious and by doing acts of religion. The following verses shows us just that:

Romans 4:5;  David Celebrates the Same Truth ] But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

 

Romans 4:2-4:(NLV) If Abraham was made right with God by what he did, he would have had something to be proud of. But he could not be proud before God. The Holy Writings say, “Abraham put his trust in God and that made him right with God.” 4 If a man works, his pay is not a gift. It is something he has earned.

 

Ephesian 2:8,9;  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and  it that not of yourselves; is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Remember this are God’s Words  not mine!)

Give your life to the one who can save you!  As I said earlier, while you were God’s enemy, God died for you.  Jesus took your death sentence to the cross.  He paid all the debt you own and now offers you a free gift of eternal life with Him.

 

Eternal life is not fire insurance!  It is life with God here and now!  We do not get saved only to escape the fires of Hell and then return to living as we please.  Jesus died because He wants you to be in His family and also to have a personal relationship with Him.

John 17:3;  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Roman 10;12-13; For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Simply tell Jesus in your own words:  

Jesus I am sorry for the way I am living, I am tired of this life and the way I have been living.
or
Lord, I am tired of trying to be good and trying to live the perfect religious life!  I can’t do it any longer!  
So today I accept by faith your death on the cross, that you paid for all my sins and all of those things that have keep me away from you.  I now want to make you my Lord, Savior and King over my life.  Thank you for all you have done for me.   

When you do this you will have passed from death to life!

Any questions or need help with this  new life, be free to contact us at www.dsiministries.com or write me at dinostauffer@yahoo.com, all contact will remain in strictest confidentiality. I do not judge you either, do not be afraid to contact me and ask anything, that you think keeps you from the Love of God. I am here to help. If you care to argue or debate, I do not argue, you are free to stay an unbeliever. This is for those who want or need God or on a journey to find Him.

Written by Dennis Stauffer

Edited by Gary Green (Omega House)

If you like our Post please “SHARE IT” on Facebook and Twitter!  When you share this post you not only help our ministry, but furthermore when you share you are helping to spread the Gospel.  Your sharing might bring someone, maybe the someone you have praying for, into a personal relationship with Jesus and therefore into the Kingdom of God!

Also before you leave the website, please look around the site.  DSI/Hands In Action is a missionary team who help the poorest of the poor in Northern Guatemala.  Please sign up for our newsletter on this website and also on Facebook.  Thank you.

If DSI has blessed you, please consider becoming a Partner with us to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and be His Hands in Action in Guatemala and around the world with this teaching ministry.

Go to the donation page and become a “missionary partner” with us.  When you give you are partnering with me to become a fellow servant for Jesus in this “hungry” world.  Thanks again for blessing not only this ministry but also for serving with and for the Lord.

God Bless

Dennis Stauffer  (Founder/President and writer of DSI Ministries/Hands In Action)

Gary Green (Editor for DSI Ministries)