Archive for November, 2012


Pray Without Ceasing

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

          Pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Our relationship with God varies from person to person. Many may only pray when they go to a Church service or when they sit down to a meal. Others more dedicated may have a brief time of prayer at some point through their day. For most, being able to pray without ceasing is an inconceivable notion.

Before we have obeyed the Gospel as laid out before us in John 3:3-5, Acts 2:38, and 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and are filled with His Spirit, we only have our flesh, our sin nature. After we are born again of the water and of the Spirit, we have a dual nature. We still have our flesh which we will have until we die. But now we also have a new nature which we have in the Holy Ghost.

Part of the problem is that some see this infilling of the Holy Ghost as just an experience that they went through. After a while the “glow” wears off, and depending on the mindset and the desires of the individual, they can fade away back into the world, some quite rapidly. Others seem to be on a typical roller coaster of highs and lows throughout their walk with the Lord. Still a few actually maintain a high level of Godliness, of Holiness, and a close walk with God.

What is the difference between these individuals? What causes one to fade right back into the world and the flesh, and another to maintain a close walk with God? One might recall the teaching of Jesus regarding the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23. But I say unto you that stony and hard ground can be cultivated through labor and God’s help. Our soil can be made fertile through cultivating with prayer, and being fertilized with desire. With prayer and the Word of God, weeds can be overcome and rooted out.

First we must have conviction, followed by desire and commitment. We need to implement the tools of change. They are those that work to build our relationship with God, which is the Word of God through study and teaching, and that of prayer. We need to understand and realize that the infilling of the Holy Ghost was not just an experience that we went through. Prior to that event we had God with us, but that now we have God within us (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19)!

We need to turn off the world. I mean turn off the TV and the computer, turn off the smart phone, the video game, put down the magazine, the newspaper, as well as the hobbies and activities that consume our time and our minds (James 4:4). We need to spend time with God in His Word, and in prayer daily.

When you pray, take time to just praise and worship Him. Bring your petitions, but also take time to listen. Spend some quiet time with the Lord, and let God begin to deal with the issues that need to be rooted out. Get into His Word and begin to build the relationship that God desires to have with you. If it is your desire, eventually it will become easier and more natural. God’s voice will become more clear and distinctive. Your relationship will grow and become your desire over the things of the world. Soon you may find yourself praying without ceasing.

Yes, we have to interact with the world in our work and everyday life. But God wants to be part of your life, and involved with you. It is often thought that God does not want to be bothered with everything in our life, or with matters that are seemingly trivial. That’s a lie! Don’t you believe it! God cares so much about every detail of your life that even the hairs of your head are numbered (Luke 12:7)!

I wake up in the morning, and sometimes He wakes me. The first words out of my mouth and in my heart is praise and thankfulness. I’m in the shower sometimes singing praises to Him, other times just praising His Name. Sometimes I gather my family together if they are up, and we have a time of prayer together. I get in my truck and as I drive to my job, wherever it may be, and I turn the cab of my truck into a prayer room. I am oftentimes driving down the road with tears in my eyes, and I am overwhelmed with His presence. Throughout the day He talks to me, sometimes giving me complete messages. We have ongoing communication all through the day in between my dealings with customers, or business owners, clerks and cashiers.

He orders my footsteps, and He directs my path. If I get a wrong thought, He corrects me with a whisper. If I set off in a wrong direction, He softly nudges me to go the right way. If I lose my focus, He draws me closer. What I know now, I so much wish I had known as a young man. However I am so glad that I did learn it before my time on earth was done. What a loving God! What a Savior! What a Companion and Friend!

Sometimes I am in communication with Him and no one around me knows. Other times His presence is so overwhelming that I have to lift my hands and praise Him, even if I’m in the middle of WalMart.

“Pray without ceasing” is not just an idealistic suggestion, it is a necessary and vital part of our walk with God. It is the solution to roller coaster Christianity. It is the spiritual Weed-B-Gon or Roundup that will keep the cares of this world from overtaking us. It will prevent the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things from entering in, choking the word, and becoming unfruitful.

We’ve all seen the little gardening set of which the primary tools contain a trowel and a cultivator. Prayer without ceasing is a spiritual cultivator that keeps the soil loose, weed free, and prepared to receive the seed of the Word of God. The trowel is what is used to plant the Word of God deep within our prepared soil, by listening to His Voice and reading His Word.

If you could grasp this truth for yourself my friend, oh the joy that is waiting for you! Through every trial, through every tribulation, my course is set. I don’t know all of the waypoints, but I know the destination. I am enjoying the road and I have a peace in knowing that God will see me through.

Prayer without Ceasing” is one of those gems of truth that has become a great treasure to me. I so desire it to become a treasure in your life as well. It’s up to you. What is your desire?

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Life’s Greatest Question

Friday, November 16th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

antGod’s creation is so amazing to me. My wife and I are not into watching many videos, but one thing that we do enjoy from time to time is a nature video all about God’s marvelous creation. We are still discovering new things about it everyday, and even discovering life forms that have never been recorded in history.

How could anyone be a scientist working in these various fields of science and not come to a belief that these are the result of divine creation and have not just somehow evolved?

Some scientists believe that this all evolved from some great explosion that took place millions, or billions of years ago.  Have you ever seen something created by an explosion? Has an explosion ever been known to create anything other than destruction? How could things like the human eye have ever evolved?  If this is random and just left to chance why are my limbs equal and why don’t I have an arm sticking out of my back?  Why does virtually all forms of life have amazing semmetry and similarity, two eyes, two antenna, two ears, to arms, two wings, two fins, all balanced.  Why is all life so unique and complete, and not in a state of evolving into something better, but perfect with great purpose and form?

If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?  Were they just the slow kids?  Why do we not see any real provable signs of continued evolution in man’s recorded history?  Because it’s a lie!

Did you know that we are the only living thing that God did not just speak into existence?  Read it for yourself.  He spoke every single thing and creature into existence, except man (Genesis 1:1-24).

But the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

That’s why when we die our natural body goes back to the ground (Genesis 3:19), but our soul lives forever.  It’s just a question of where. This life is but a vapor, then what?  Where will you spend eternity?  You have a choice, free will, and free volition that God will not violate, and satan cannot violate. It’s up to you!

God had a plan and loved us before He formed us, or this world.  He had a plan for us before man ever fell into sin.  He knew that He would one day come, suffer and die to redeem us to himself before Adam or Eve had their first thought. It is amazing for us to even try to comprehend it.  What love!  How could we not respond in kind?  How could we remain all caught up in out own little world, our pride, our little pleasures, and not obey His voice regardless of the cost?

Because of sin man is separated from God. But because of His love for us He made a way for us to come back into a relationship with Him. We call it salvation, the act of being saved from His righteous judgement.

Do you want to know how to be saved?  All you have to do enter into His covenant.  To do that you simply do what the covenant requires and obey the gospel. We simply obey God and enter into what is a beautiful covenant relationship with Him.  But it’s not the lie of today’s “Orthodox Christianity”. Theirs is diluted, and watered down and of no effect, a “Placebo Christianity“.

It’s not a difficult requirement, or any great burden.  On the contrary, Jesus said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29,30)

But the Gospel is something that must be obeyed, not just accepted.  We don’t accept Him, He accepts us!

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8* In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7,8)

So the question is; What is the gospel?

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

“1* Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2* By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3* For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4* And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.

That’s the gospel!  But you may say; “Wait, that’s just a historical event!  How do I obey a historical event?”  I’m so glad you asked.

This is tied right in the message that Peter preached in the book of Acts.  When asked what they should do, Peter said to them: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

God does not ask us to die on the cross as He did for us, but rather that He die to ourselves through repentance.  That simply means turn from our will to His will.  God does not ask that we be buried as He was, but in like figure we are buried with Him in the waters of baptism in His name.

Baptism has a purpose, as Peter proclaimed in Acts 2:38.  It is for the remission of sins, without which our sins cannot be remitted.

Jesus said “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

The true gospel is not “accepting Jesus as our personal savior”. That cannot be found in the Bible anywhere.  It’s not just saying a prayer. We must obey God’s plan of salvation and not man’s philosophy. If we do, then He promises to fill us with His Spirit with a great and wonderful evidence.

God robed Himself in the flesh of a man (John 1:1, 1:14) and He called that flesh His son containing the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit). Now God has sent that same Spirit to us, to not just dwell with us, but within us.  We (the Church) are now His body (Ephesians 5:30, Colossians 1:24).

No three Gods, and no three persons in the Godhead. The Bible is clear that there is but one LORD, and His name one (Zechariah 14:9, Deuteronomy 6:4, John 14:7-9).

There is only one God, one faith, one gospel, one plan of salvation, and one Church, the one that Jesus is building (Matthew 16:18).  Not Joseph Smith, not L.Ron Hubbard, not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Benny Hinn, or anyone else.  The Church is not the Baptists, The Methodists, the Mormons, the Catholics, the Pentecostals or any other man-made organization.  It knows no denominational lines (John 10:27).

Repentance is not asking for forgiveness, although when you repent it should be due to a Godly sorrow for your sin.  Repentance simply means an about-face, a change of mind and of heart, and turning from your way to God’s way.

Baptism comes from the latin word Baptizo which means to be completely submersed. It is done exactly the same way today that the apostles and the early Church did it in the book of Acts, in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:5).

Then God promises that you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Luke 3:16, Luke 11:13, Acts 2:38).

So where should you go to Church? We need to be connected to a body of believers which is the Church, that have obeyed the gospel as I have preached here. If you live in Southern Maine the answer would be easy for me. Anywhere else you will need to seek out what is known to be a Church that is “Apostolic” meaning that they teach the same message and doctrine as the apostles did in the book of Acts.

They should also be “Pentecostal” which means that they still preach and have received the same experience of being filled with the Holy Ghost as they were on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Who is Jesus? (“I Am He”)

Friday, November 9th, 2012

 

© 2012 Stan Hallett

There is nothing for me to add here.  I’ll let the Word of the Lord speak for itself, with emphasis added . . .

New Testament – (Jesus said):

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” – John 18:1-6

Note: In the KJV you may notice the the word “he” is usually italicized.  This is because it was added.  The original text actually said “I AM”.

Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.” –  John 13:19

12″Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 13* The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. 14* Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. 15* Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. 16* And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. 17* It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18* I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 19* Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. 20* These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. 21* ¶ Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. 22* Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. 23* And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24* I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 25* Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. 26* I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. 27* They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. 28* Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 29* And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” – John 8:12-29

Old Testament (God said):

4* For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5* Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. 6* Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. – Isaiah 52:6

10* Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11* I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. 12* I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. 13* Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? 14* Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. 15* I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.” – Isaiah 43:10-15

Jesus is God and was God as he dwelt among us in flesh. He came in the flesh as the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8)  to redeem us to Himself. It is much more beautiful than man can fathom or comprehend. He did not send another to die for us, He came Himself!

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Placebo Christianity

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

Placebo:   A placebo (pləˈsiboʊ/ plə-see-boh; Latin placēbō, “I shall please” from placeō, “I please”) is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient. Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the “placebo effect.

In medical research, placebos are given as control treatments and depend on the use of measured deception. Common placebos include inert tablets, sham surgery, and other procedures based on false information. However, placebos can also have a surprisingly positive effect on a patient who knows that the given treatment is without any active drug, as compared with a control group who knowingly did not get a placebo.

In one common placebo procedure, however, a patient is given an inert pill, told that it may improve his/her condition, but not told that it is in fact inert. Such an intervention may cause the patient to believe the treatment will change his/her condition; and this belief may produce a subjective perception of a therapeutic effect, causing the patient to feel their condition has improved — or an actual improvement in their condition. This phenomenon is known as the placebo effect.

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Jesus asked Simon Peter “Who do ye say that I am?” Peter said; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus said; “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-19).

There are three Biblical truths that I want to point out in that portion of scripture:

(1.) Who Jesus is, is a revelation from God. Most of the religious, and even proclaimed “Christians” do not fully understand who Jesus is.

(2.) The name Peter is derived from the Greek Πετρος (Petros) meaning “stone”. This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas, meaning “stone” in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon by Jesus. But when Jesus said; “thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church“, He wasn’t saying that He was going to build his church on Peter, or even beginning with Peter as a foundation, but rather on the verse before, which is the revelation of who Jesus is. That is the foundation on what Jesus built His Church on.

(3.) That it was Jesus that built His Church, not Simon Peter, not the Christians, not the Jews, not the Mormons, not the Catholics, not the Pentecostals, or Apostolics, not the Baptists, nor anyone else but Jesus. There is but one Church.

(4.) That the keys that Jesus told Peter that he would give to him were not physical keys, sorry Catholics. St. Peter is not the physical keeper at heavens gate with a big key ring. The Keys that Jesus gave to Peter were spiritual keys that Peter then shared with us in Acts 2:38 where he said; “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Death, Burial, and Resurrection, those are the keys to heaven, and that is the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

God has given us free volition, and free will to choose and live as we please. Without God’s allowance, satan also cannot violate our free volition and free will.

There is a great spiritual battle going on, from the time that God created man, right up  until this very moment. It is a battle waged in the hearts and minds of men.

Satan uses trickery, lures, traps, and deceit, which are seemingly endless. For the most part he has most of the world convinced that either there is no God or they have a very warped, worldly conception of God. However, just in case they use that free will and try find God, he throws in great confusion.

Primary Religions of the World

1. Christianity: 2.1 billion
2. Islam: 1.5 billion
3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
4. Hinduism: 900 million
5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
6.Buddhism: 376 million
7. primal-indigenous: 300 million
8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
9. Sikhism: 23 million
10. Juche: 19 million
11. Spiritism: 15 million
12. Judaism: 14 million
13. Baha’i: 7 million
14. Jainism: 4.2 million
15. Shinto: 4 million
16. Cao Dai: 4 million
17. Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
18. Tenrikyo: 2 million
19. Neo-Paganism: 1 million
20. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
21. Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
22. Scientology: 500 thousand

Just in “Christianity” alone there are now reported to be approximately 41,000 Christian denominations in world, many of which cannot be verified to be significant. Talk about confusion!

Let me ask you a question. . . without direction, or revelation from God, how would anyone know what is truth, or find the true Church? Remember there is only one true Church, the one that Jesus is building.

But that is just what so many in the world try to do! The paths are as varied as there are people in the world. Some choose a religion or denomination based on a family members, a friend, a neighbor. Many simply try to find what seems right to them. Many go from religion to religion, denomination to denomination, assembly to assembly, looking for something that they can accept, and that feels right to them. A place where they can be happy or satisfied, and feel good about.

This is why 2 Timothy 4:3 says “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”. 4* And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Many folks were born into whatever religion or denomination that their parents were a part of. They were born a Baptist, or a Catholic, or whatever, and they are going to die a Baptist, or a Catholic, or whatever.

It’s an psychological and emotional attachment for most. Many will stay with the Church that they got “saved” in, or won over to because of this. They have a psychological loyalty to their philosophy and their Placebo Christianity.

Colossians 2:6-9

6* As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  7* Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8* Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  9* For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Many in false religions and false Christianity have been spoiled through philosophy and deceit. They either will not get into a discussion with you regarding it due to instructions they have received, or they know that they lack the ability to adequately defend what it is they believe. Some will argue and debate with you to justify or prove out what it is they believe, never able to see truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

2 Timothy 3:1-9

1* This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2* For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3* Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  4* Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  5* Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6* For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7* Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8* Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9* But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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