Finding that Perfect Mate

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

(The Crux of the Matter)

©2013 Stan Hallett

Finding That Perfect MateThe most important and beneficial thing for us in regards to finding that perfect mate is our focus on God.

Matthew 19:4-6 says;

4* And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5* And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6* Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

The key phrase is “God hath joined together”.

I’ve shared in the past about how there are over 41,000 “Christian” denominations in the world today, and how could any of us choose which one was right, which one was true, except it be for God’s leading and direction?

Well, there are an estimated 96 Million adults that are single, just in America alone. How could anyone choose the right one on their own?

God loves us so much that the very hairs on our head are numbered. He knows our needs even before we ask. He knows our heart; in fact His Word says that we don’t even know our own heart. Do you really trust yourself to pick the right mate for you? Really?

The way to obtain the very best person for us to be joined with is to let God do the joining. Therefore our focus should be on Him, and not striving to fill that void in our life for ourselves.

If we become impatient we may very likely end up with years, and perhaps a lifetime of heartache and trouble. Abraham and Sarah grew impatient and felt that God needed their help. The result was outside of the will of God, and ended up being an issue that still plagues the Jewish people today.

Does God give us grace? Yes He does. Can God still work with our poor choices? Yes He can, but not often without great cost, heartache, and failure.

Do you want a Godly spouse? The most attractive woman to a Godly man is a Godly woman, one that is focused on God. The most attractive man to a Godly woman is a Godly man, one that is rooted in the Word of God, and steadfast in the faith.

I promise you that if you seek God, and are steadfast in your focus on Him, that one day, in His timing, which is perfect, in His Will, which is prefect, the right mate will be standing in front of you, and you both will know it.

God is rarely early, never late, and always right on time.

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

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The Neglected Sign

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

©2013 Stan Hallett

waxcoldOne of signs of the Lord’s second coming, may be a neglected one that is vital to the point of being a spiritual life-and-death matter. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many [literally, the many, the majority] shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12).

Spiritual coldness is one of the signs enumerated by Jesus. It is not a new thing, but this verse indicates it will be intensified and grow to such proportions near the end of the age that it will engulf all the professing Church except a faithful minority.

The cause of this fading love is “iniquity”, better translated lawlessness. It will not he confined to a few, but will abound until it literally floods the human race. This multiplied lawlessness will do two things to many Christians:

1. It will weigh them down with discouragement. They will reason, “The world is in such a mess that there’s no use even trying to do right.”

2. It will exert a strong spiritual pull away from God.

You may throw a ball high into the air, but eventually it will yield to the downward pull of gravity. The lawless atmosphere of the end time will have this kind of influence on many who have formerly served Christ.

This spiritual decline is described by Jesus by the expression to “wax cold“. The Greek implies a gradual cooling off. To resist this relentless evil tide will take faithful, and sustained countermeasures. It will be necessary to really work at our Christian walk. A passive spiritual attitude is not enough.

What are these countermeasures the overcomer must employ? They are very simple. It is only a matter of returning to old, tried-and-true fundamentals:

UNFAILING COMMUNION WlTH GOD

If you place a piece of iron in a fire, it will heat until it glows. But if you take it out of the fire, the glow will disappear; eventually the metal will cool to the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere. It must be left in the fire if it is to stay hot! So the Christian’s spiritual glow is maintained only by staying in very close contact with God.

When the Lord visited Joshua just before the battle of Jericho, He commanded him, “Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy” (Joshua 5:15). Joshua’s shoes were the part of him closest to the earth. They had been soiled with the dust and dirt of the road. The removing of the shoes was symbolic of casting off worldly defilement in order to come into God’s presence.

The real defilement comes to us, not from our shoes, but through our hearts and our minds. As long as we are in this world the mind is almost certain to become soiled by wrong kinds of thoughts and suggestions. If we would stand on holy ground, these must be diligently removed and cast away from us.

There is no better cleansing agent than the Word of God and prayer. How vital the Word of God is to our communion with Him. Getting into His Word, praying in the Spirit, and with understanding is vital.

UNFAILING ASSEMBLING WlTH THE BODY

When the Ammonites and Syrians marched against David (2 Samuel 10:9-11), Joab divided his forces so that part of them were fighting the Syrians and the others the Ammonites. As he took command of the Syrian front, he reasoned this way to the officers on the other front. “If either of us is defeated, it will also be a defeat for the other. Therefore, if you’re having a hard time, I’ll come to your rescue; and if I run into trouble, you can send aid to me.”

This is a picture of the Church. Some are fighting different battles than others; but if one goes down, it is a loss to the rest. One of the beautiful advantages of Christian fellowship is the support we can give each other when the going is hard.

In Acts 14:22 Paul and Barnabas returned to several of the cities where they had preached for the purpose of “confirming the souls of the disciples.” These people had been saved, but the apostles came back to confirm them, “to give further support.” This is one of the benefits of the Church; to give further support, and to nurture those who have been born again.

Nothing can drain a Christian spiritually as quickly as the deliberate practice of absenting himself from the Church. But many are doing it, with the inevitable result of cooling off in their souls.

This is one of those unfortunate by-products of our affluent society. There are so many other places to go now, and we have the money to go, so the Church has immense competition. Those who surrender to this pull of the world are rapidly being numbered among “the many” whose love is waxing cold.

UNFAILING FAITH

Jesus assured Peter, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” When faith breaks down and the heart becomes cynical and questioning, it is a dark day indeed. When the angel appeared to Gideon with the salutation, “The Lord is with thee,” Gideon’s disheartened reply was, “If the Lord is with us, why then is all this befallen?” (Judges 6:12,13).

How many times have God’s people asked the same question: “If the Lord is with us, why are things so bad?” What was God’s answer to Gideon? Actually there was none. He simply said; in so many words. “Your place is to go! Start marching in faith, and see what God will do for you.” In other words, Gideon was to stop questioning and commit to God the discouraging conditions around him. His place was not to ask, “Why?” but to fulfill his own God-ordained destiny.

The same is true of Christians in any age and under all circumstances. Outward appearances are not to regulate our faith. Our confidence and trust must be secured by the immutable promises of God and not by the turn of events. A shaken faith will soon produce a heart from which all of the spiritual fire has departed.

UNFAILING DETERMINATION

When all is said and done, the quality most needed in the Christian life is just a good stiff backbone. We all can do just about what we want to do. Many have grown cold simply because they have not been determined enough. They have been too weak in their resolution to serve the Lord. This is a problem in which God will help us, but the determination to serve Him must be our own.

Too many Christians have the character of Jacob’s oldest son, Reuben, whom his father described as “unstable as water” (Genesis 49:4). There is nothing more easily disturbed than water; the slightest breeze starts the ripples moving. Water always takes the path of least resistance. It travels downhill, not up–unless it is pumped. And it doesn’t take a very large obstacle to make some streams change their course. You have seen the water in a creek even detour around small sticks and stones. What a picture of weak-willed Christians!

When Gideon’s call went out for soldiers to fight the Midianites, it was answered by 32,000: but by the time the enemy was encountered there were only 300. It is easy to answer the call and join the ranks when the trumpet blows and there is a flurry of excitement. But it is quite another thing to be faithfully at the post of duty when the fight gets hot.

This is where determination comes in. There are times when we must simply stand fast, pray hard, and wait out the storm. Even the strongest grow weary. Paul had to warn the early Christians not to be weary in well-doing. We have to keep going in spite of our weariness. The spine must remain strong even when the legs are shaky!

Many are being overwhelmed by the relentless flood of godlessness, and are throwing down their weapons.
There is no doubt about God’s power to keep us in this hour, but the question is. “How willing are we to be kept?” It is distressing to see the evidence that some once-glowing hearts are now cold as stones.

This “cold love” is the often-neglected sign of the soon return of our Lord, but it does not have to spell spiritual ruin. Jesus had a word of hope for those who would recognize the danger in spiritual coldness: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

We need to be in the Word daily, we need to talk with the Lord daily, and we need to stay in fellowship with the Church, His body, to nurture and be nurtured to minister and to be ministered to.

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)

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

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Reaching Out to the Wounded

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

©2013 Stan Hallett

hurtingI have attended a lot of Church services over the course of my 64 years, all across this country from sea to shining sea. Although I have had some experiences with denominational “Churches” in my life, my primary experience has been what has come to be known as “Apostolic Pentecostal”, or as some refer to us as “Oneness Pentecostal”. I have been part of, and have attended many assemblies whose pastors are licensed with the *United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI).  In fact I was baptized in Jesus’ Name in 1976 by a UPCI pastor (The late David F. Gray, Revival Tabernacle, San Diego, California).

I have also attended some assemblies affiliated with other organizations, and have been part of the leadership of others. I have also attended, and been part of some Independent Apostolic Pentecostal Assemblies, as I am now. You should also know that I consider all that are repented, baptized in Jesus’ name, and are filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance, and continuing to walk in the newness of life, no matter what organization, or what the name of their assembly is, to be my brothers and my sisters.

Having said that; I agree that man-made organizations have done much good in the kingdom due to the organization of efforts, I feel that they have also done much harm due to the exclusion of those ministers, pastors, evangelists, and elders that are not card-carrying members. The spirit of exclusion, the spirit of competition, of disfellowship, and disunity is alive and well in the Church, which should not be. Nowhere has this been more prevalent and obvious to me than in my own home state of Maine. This has done, and continues to do harm to the Church as a whole. What some have intended to be a tool to unite like-minded brethren, has only served to divide us just as much.

The answer was never in man-made organizations and bylaws. The answer was in what Jesus already built (Matthew 16:18). Paul instructed us that “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). You might ask why we don’t just submit, and join the ranks of this organization for the sake of unity? For me the answer is very simple.  While I agree with the basic doctrine of salvation, i.e., Acts 2:38, I do not agree with other false doctrines, the prevalent legalism, and the traditions of men which have harmed, and continue to harm the Church. It does injury to those that otherwise might have been saved through love. 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).

There have been many rules, or what are referred to as “Holiness Standards” put in place that are often not Biblical, or are taken from a misinterpretation of the Old Testament law, and do great harm to the Kingdom of God. This has been a yoke too heavy to bear for many new converts, and some older saints as well. There are also many traditions of men that are put upon the church as a yoke, which is often too heavy to bear for many.  I’ll not go into these here simply because I do not always know who my reader is. It is not my desire to cause harm or division in the Church. I will say that true holiness comes from the heart, and a covenant relationship with the Lord. True holiness does not come from a set of rules, the keeping of the Old Testament law, holiness standards, the personal convictions of others, or any man-made traditions.

What I do want to do is reach out to those that are of like faith, and that have been hurt by some of these false doctrines, standards and traditions of men, and may have given up.  I am reaching out to the wounded and hurt Saints of God that may live in or around the area of Northern New England. It is to them that I would like to invite to visit us at the First Apostolic Church of Biddeford, Maine. I can testify that I arrived here drawn by the Lord, in my mid 50’s and have been here ever since.  I came with a bit of baggage, thinking that I was well rooted, and had a pretty good understanding of doctrine.  I have learned much since I have been here and have grown in the Lord greatly. I am anxious to share it with you!

Come and visit us as you are, and where you are in your walk with God.  If your heart is to seek, learn about, and serve God, you are welcome here (See About Our Church Assembly). Have Questions? Want to talk? Feel free to email me, or call if you would like.  Or if you prefer, just come, and if you come, please make yourself known to me.

First Apostolic Church of Biddeford
One Apostolic Way
Biddeford, Maine 04005

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

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Stan Hallett
[email protected]
 

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 * The United Pentecostal Church (UPCI) is a ministerial organization of which only it’s licensed ministers are members. It is the largest Oneness, Apostolic, Pentecostal organization of ministers. It is not a denomination or a church organization, although many congregants feel that they too are UPCI if they attend services where a licensed UPCI minister is the pastor.

 

 

 

 

Peculiar Doesn’t Mean Weird

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

©2012 Stan Hallett

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.  – 1Peter 2:9

The word peculiar appears seven times in the King James version of the Bible. Many think that it means odd or weird, it does not.  In fact nowhere in the Word of God is His Church ever referred to as odd, or weird.  It is the world that is odd, weird, and contrary to what God intended for us.

The word peculiar as used in the Word of God means a “purchased possession”, or “purchased treasure” (See also Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 14:2,26:18, Psalms 135:4, Ecclesiastes 2:8,Titus 2:15).

Having said this, I think someone needs to tell some that are in the Church.  Some of us act weird! Holiness or Godly does not mean contrary to the natural, or contrary to what is taught in the Word of God.

Let me give you an example; If you were to look upon the crowd at a rock concert or a sporting event like a football or baseball game, you would see people responding naturally. If music was being played we would perhaps see people moving to the music or beat.  They might sway, bounce, dance, or even jump up and down.

When people get excited they clap, jump up and down, shout, etc. Should we be doing anything different or unnatural? We are just getting excited, and are happy about different things.

We have the same natural response regardless if we are in the World or in the Church. Having said that, we shouldn’t be doing weird things that are contrary to the natural, as well as contrary to the Word of God.

In my sixty-two years I’ve seen some pretty strange practices in some assemblies as I’ve traveled around the country. Most of them I’m not going to mention here.

I want to start by saying that I think some use Church as a reason to do the same things in the Church building that they did in the world.  Some folks talk like Church is just a big party, looking for an opportunity to run or dance in the aisles, or “shake their hair down”.

Why do we assemble ourselves together?  Do we come together to worship God together as a Church, or do we come to Church to go crazy and put on a show for each other?

Do we come to hear a message and learn of God? Or, do we come to get worked up emotionally by a screaming preacher and organ music getting everyone all pumped up so that they can all go crazy and talk about what a great time we had, and how the Holy Ghost moved?  Holy Ghost or flesh?

We should be bold in proclaiming the gospel.  We should be bold in our worship, lifting our hands and our voices unto God.  But we should also have wisdom.

Here is the wording an actual sign the I saw in front of an Apostolic Pentecostal Church building:

Apostolic Pentecostal, One God, Tongue Talking, Holy Rollers“.

A sign at another Apostolic Pentecostal Church Building in another location read like this:

(Name of the Church) – “A Place to Belong and Believe”.

It was bold to put up the first sign, but did it show wisdom?  If you were not in the Church and were looking for a Church to attend, which one would attract you?

Did you ever notice that some of these things that Pentecostals like to do in a Church service always seem to happen down front where they can be seen by everyone, and never up in the back? Did you ever notice that they only happen in front of an accepting crowd and never in WalMart or in their own back yard? Just saying.

It might help some of our assemblies grow if some of us stop acting weird. It might help the Church grow if we stop looking down our long self-righteous noses at the unsaved, and love people instead. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work on it’s own, and stop trying to help it with our flesh, and calling it a work of God. We need to be full of the Spirit, but far too many are full of flesh. Whoops! Did I say that?

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

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We Are His Body

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

©2012 Stan Hallett

A few weeks ago I was cleaning out my rain gutters and my porch roof of all the leaves and mostly pine needles before winter set in.  I was using a push broom to reach up over the edge of my corrugated metal roof on my porch to pull off several small branches and pine needles down onto my driveway.  On my last reach up over my roof, the end of my thumb hit the sharp edge of the metal roofing which cut me very deep.  I’ll spare you any further description than that because it makes most people wince.

I was the only one home at the time and I was sitting at my kitchen table holding a paper towel on the end of my thumb over another paper towel that was fairly saturated with blood, when my wife and youngest daughter walked in. The site of this threw them into a bit of a panic.

I got the bleeding to stop relatively quickly despite the depth of the cut and I did not feel the need for stitches, and a tetanus shot never occurred to me, since I’ve never had one in my life. I just bandaged it up and went on with my day.

Needless to say that this thumb, this small body part, was handicapping me greatly in the use of my right hand, and consequently my arm because of the injury.

It was about three weeks later that I was thinking about this, and came to a realization and subsequently a lesson learned. Paul says in Ephesians 5:30 that we are “members of His body”, and in Colossians 1:24 he says that the Church is His body.

Think about it; when Jesus dwelt amongst us in the flesh, His Spirit was in that body of flesh. Now His Spirit is in us, His Church, His bride. We are His body!

If there is just one saint in the local assembly that is spiritually injured and not in a right relationship, the body as a whole is affected, and at least partially crippled or handicapped.

We often think that our Spiritual failures, or sins only affect us, but that is far from the truth.  In relationship with the Church, your local assembly, our failures in this area have an effect on the Church. If the local expression of the body of Christ is not whole and is crippled in some way, it affects our ability to be used effectively for His purpose.

In the case of our families, especially with the head of the family, if we are not doing right, our entire household and family can and   does pay a price for that.  Sin comes with a price.

Ephesians 5:30* For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Colossians 1:24* Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

1 Corinthians 6:19* What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Ephesians  4:1-32

1* ¶ I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2* ¶ With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3* Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4* There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5* One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6* One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7* But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8* Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9* (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10* He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11* And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12* For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13* Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14* That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15* But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16* From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 17* ¶ This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18* Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19* Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20* But ye have not so learned Christ; 21* If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22* That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23* And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24* And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25* Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26* Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27* Neither give place to the devil. 28* Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29* Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

My thumb is doing very well.  It is being healed and is being restored.  While it is not completely there yet, I am seeing great progress and am very pleased.  I did not lose my thumb, nor as some predicted, did I even lose the nail. It is amazing the way the body has of healing itself, when a member is not cut off or damaged beyond restoration.

What separates us from God is the same thing that separates us from the body. . . sin!  There is a sin unto death as stated in 1 John 5:16. James 1:15 says that “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”. Sin is a severing action caused by our own selves, separating ourselves from God, and from His body.

Hebrews 3:12,13 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

My thumb was injured, but was not cut off completely.  It continued to be given, and receive life giving blood and nourishment from the body.  Notice that I said it continued to be given and receive.

Let me ask you a question; What would happen if my thumb became completely cut off or severed from the body and was no longer receiving the healing and life-giving nourishment that it needed?  Would it not perish?

What if when this happened I did not put the thumb away from me, but rather clung onto it, not wanting to lose the thumb?  Perhaps I might tie a string around it and hang it about my neck.  Would it not whither there and begin to look unsightly to all that beheld it, and me.  Would it not also begin to stink?

Several months ago in prayer, I believe that God gave me a glimpse of His body as a lame man walking. Sin cripples the Church! The sin of fornication, which includes sins involving pornography, the sin of adultery, of stealing, of lying, of covetousness. Also the sin of gossip, of backbiting, of slander, of haughtiness, a sower of discord, and a false witness all of which stem from pride.

God desires to do a great thing in His Church. I believe that it is not us that are waiting on God, it is God that is waiting on us.  We need repentance, we need revival, we need oneness!

Ephesians 4:14-16 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

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

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Addicted To His Presence

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

addictedI liken the presence of God to sitting outside on a warm, calm Summer day, and feeling the warmth of the morning sun against your skin. . . except on the inside. I love the presence  and the love of God, and have become addicted to it.

Did you ever have feelings as a young man or woman for someone to the extent that you felt that you wanted to spend every single moment with them? It was particularly troublesome if you did not know whether or not they felt the same way. It was even worse if you found out that they didn’t. But if they did feel that same way, at the moment that they told you that they loved you too, your heart felt like it was going to burst with joy.  Have you ever known a love like that? I think that is like the love that God loves us with. It is a perfect love, and love that is without measure or comprehension.

As with all relationships, our relationship with God takes time to grow. As with any relationship it takes effort.  Can you imagine a young man or woman who have entered into a courtship not talking to each other, not spending time together? God already knows you inside and out, and He still desires to spend time with you. . . imagine that!

His Word says that we cannot even know our own heart, but He searches our heart and knows it (Jeremiah 17:10). His Word also says that He cares so much for us that even the hairs of our head are numbered (Luke 12:7). He loves and desires a relationship with you that involves time and conversation. It is more than just us doing all the talking, we need to listen as well.

Sometimes we have ignorant mindsets and habits. Some of us don’t spend much time with God until it’s time to go to a Church service.  Some have habits of a prayer before a meal, or before bed.  We all tend to pray and seek the Lord when a calamity befalls us, or a loved one. From my observations over the years, this all seems to be fairly typical of most Christians.

Some may think that because the Bible says; “for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20), that there needs to be a group in order for God be present. Wrong! If you are saved, born-again, that is you have obeyed the Gospel (Acts 2:38, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) , then you have direct access to God every single moment of your life! God’s Spirit is with us at all times, and not only with us but He is in us (John 14:17)! God has taken up residence in us!

I think sometimes either true Christians don’t realize who they are, or they forget. He is with us always! They problem is our flesh, and we are carnal minded.  We get caught up in our senses, in what we see, in what we hear, and what we touch. Our senses are bombarded in this modern world in which we find ourselves.  The world’s music is everywhere.  It’s in our workplace, in our homes, in our cars, on our iPods, and even on our phones.  We can literally go through a day and never have a quiet moment, and some of us virtually don’t, and some by choice!

Video is everywhere as well. Some of us are addicted to movies, television, and YouTube. It is like we have to be constantly entertained. Add to that video games, sports, hobbies, food, fashion, cars, and on, and on, and on. It has been said that you are what you eat, but I say; You are what you think about all day long. What you think about all day long is a form of worship, and thus can become your God.

What is needed first is a realization of the problem, then repentance.  We then need to seek God and ask Him to change us, to search out hearts, and as King David did, ask Him to create in us a clean heart (Psalms 51:10). Begin to draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you (James 4:8).  Begin to form a habit of communication with God, even if you need to place reminders in your life until it becomes second nature. Talk to Him when you awake in the morning, before your feet even hit the floor. Thank Him for the day, for your life, for your salvation.  Ask Him to guide your footsteps through the day. Praise Him in the shower singing songs of praise.  Pray at breakfast giving thanks for it.  Grab some time with your family before you all head off in different directions for the day.  Talk to Him on your drive to work, and talk to him throughout the day. You are not bothering Him! He wants to be involved with your life!

I desire to come to, and remain in a place where I am not addicted to all the entertainment and distractions that the world offers, but rather I am addicted to His presence. To come to a place where I am not trying to steal a few moments to enjoy the pleasures of this world, but rather I am trying to steal a few moments with my redeemer, my savior, my fortress, my refuge, and my strength, and the one that loved me enough to die for me.

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

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An Atmosphere of Worship

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

If you are a husband you occasionally like to do something special for the bride that you love. Perhaps a nice evening out, that would include dinner at a nice restaurant. Not a fast food restaurant, or even one of those chain restaurants, but something fancy, expensive, intimate, quiet, with some nice music perhaps, and some great food, and a romantic atmosphere. For us that are in love it is all about atmosphere. Everything has to be just right.

When God created man, He didn’t just create him and put him in some void until he got around to creating the things that man needed.  No, before He created man He made the earth, the seas and the heavens. He made the grass, the trees, and every living thing.  He created and prepared the environment, and just the right atmosphere.

The Bible says that when He created man, He didn’t just create man by simply speaking him into existence, as He had everything else that He created.  He created man by forming him from out of the dust of the earth, and in His own image. Then the Bible tells us that He breathed the breath of life into him, and man became a living soul.

The garden was well prepared for him, and God set him over it.  The environment was already created for him, and He set man in it. Everything was perfect, a perfect environment, and a perfect atmosphere.

Now six-thousand years later He has brought us through to finally obtain the promise that He would not only be with us, but He would be in us (John 14:16,17). All of us that have His Spirit are no longer of this world, but we are His Bride.

When we gather together we become the complete local expression of His Body, the Church. If you ask anyone why they attend Church Services or assemble themselves together or “go to Church” as some might say, you may get different answers.  Some may say “it’s just something we do”, or “I enjoy the fellowship”. Perhaps one might say “I really enjoy the music”, or “I always feel better after going”.  Some may say that they “like to hear the preaching of God’s Word” or “I like to learn more about the Word of God”. All of these things are good, but the primary reason that we should be gathering together is to worship God, together as His Church, His Body, His Bride.

So how should we go about that?  Would we not want to create the right atmosphere?  Would we not want to create the right environment that would move God, and cause Him to desire to enter into it with His presence?

The Word of God says that He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalms 22:3).  This is not referring to the appearance of worship or rote ritual praise.  It is not the praise that looks good to us with our hearts somewhere else.  It is not the kind of praise where someone has their hands raised, but they’ve got leaving on their mind. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God sees the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

We need to create an atmosphere of praise and worship, and not just through some ritual or motions, but express our love and adoration for Him with sincere praise and heartfelt worship. When we do this we are creating an environment that God can inhabit with His presence.

Let’s go back to creation just for a moment. . . The Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth, and every living thing. But by what means did He create them? All through creation God spoke everything into existence. Seven times before he formed man the book of Genesis says “and God said”.

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).

“And God said let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters” (Genesis 1:6).

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so” (Genesis 1:9).

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so” (Genesis 1:11).

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so” (Genesis 1:14,15).

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” (Genesis 1:20).

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so” (Genesis 1:24).

God is all about His Word!

The Bible says in John 1:1 that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. Then if we go down to verse 14 its says “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”, again, God is all about His Word!

Now let me ask you, does the Bible not say that we are made in the image and the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26, 5:1)? We are like Him! So if God, in whose likeness we are created, spoke an environment and an atmosphere into existence for us, how then should we create a proper atmosphere or environment for Him?

We need to speak it into existence with what Hebrews 13:15 refers to as “the fruit of our lips“, and with our words of heartfelt worship and praise.

More and more I see congregations clapping their hands (applauding) when a call to worship goes out.  While I am not condemning the clapping of hands, it can be done mindlessly.  Not too much thought needs to go into it.  However when we begin to praise God with our lips from the abundance of our heart, now we have a definite connection.

Only one time does the Bible says for us to clap (Psalm 47:1), then it says; “shout with a voice of triumph“. However the Bible tells us 218 times to praise Him, to sing praises, and to worship Him with our whole heart. This is an atmosphere of worship.

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

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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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Breaking Up Your Fallow Ground

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

gardening_tools…”Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” – Jeremiah 4:3

In many modern dictionaries “fallow ground” means plowed, but left unseeded during the growing season. This is actually a modern definition of the word that changed from the days of Jeremiah.  The original meaning of fallow ground meant un-cultivated, which means un-plowed (not broken up), un-prepared. It may be hard or stony soil, and it is often covered with weeds and thorns. Jeremiah was speaking to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, talking about their heart.

In the parable of the sower Jesus also referred to the heart as it were earth, ground, or soil. . .

Matthew 13:3-8
3* And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4* And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5* Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6* And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7* And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8* But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

It is clear that again some of the soil was either not prepared to receive the seed (no understanding), or it was not prepared or maintained well enough so that it could take root and survive (no root in themselves), or the thorns choked it (cares of this world). It is all speaking about the heart.

Many today have hearts that are not able to receive the Word of God.  Others receive it in the beginning, but because they have no root in themselves they can not endure, and they fall away. Yet others get caught up in the cares of the world and are caught away.

We have taken a huge step towards the solution of our dilemma if we can recognize any of these things in ourselves. If we recognize that our own ground is fallow, un-cultivated, stony, or covered in thorns, it does not need to be a permanent condition!

I recognized some of these things in my own life. Some seed sown in my life seemingly fell by the wayside.  My heart has been stony, and I have had insufficient root in myself.  Often the cares of the world choked the Word that was trying to bear fruit in me.

The good news is that if you can recognize the problem, now you have information whereby you can take action to change  it!  What can you do?  How do you change your heart?  A lot the solution does have to do with you.  You have to want to change. But you need help beyond your ability.

Recognizing my issues and my failures I began to pray continually for God to break up my fallow ground, to get the stones out of my soil, to fertilize, to do a soil transplant. I needed to get rid of my sandy soil and put in some dark rich soil whereby the seed could take root, grow and bear fruit in my life.

Keep in mind that God gives us free volition and free will.  He did not create us to be robots. You have to desire change. With prayer God can and will shape you, just as the potter forms the clay.  But that clay has to be malleable.

I was reminded of the following verses . . .

Luke 14:26-33
26* If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27* And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28* For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29* Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30* Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31* Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32* Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33* So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

1 John 2:15,16
15* Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16* For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The truth of the matter is that once we have received, and continue to yield to the Holy Ghost, the farmer has shown up, and will begin to do the work by natural process, if we allow Him to.

The difference between our “soil” and natural soil is that God has given us free will and free volition.  We have to allow the Holy Ghost to remove the rocks, the weeds, and begin to cultivate and change us.

Over time as I began to yield to Him, I began to notice changes in myself.  I began to actually hate many of the things of the world that I used to enjoy.  I praise God that I am no longer the person that I was. God is so good!

My prayer is for God to continue to change me as He would have me to be, for Spiritual growth, and for wisdom. That will happen by simply conforming to His will in my life and walking in the Spirit rather that my flesh, the old man.

How’s your soil? Jesus changed water into wine, the dead into the living, the blind into the seeing, and caused the lame to walk.  He set the stars in the universe, spoke a world into existence, and made every living creature.  He formed man and breathed into his nostrils creating in him a living soul.  If he did all that, He is able to bring about change in you, if it is your desire to conform to His image (Romans 8:29, Romans 12:2).

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

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Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

Looking for LoveThe Bible says that God is Love (1 John 4:7-8). God is not to Love as apple pie is to good.  God is to love as apple pie is to apple pie. . . God IS Love!  I can tell you that apple pie is good, but you will never know for yourself until you get some apple pie inside of you.  Likewise you will never know just how good God is until He dwells inside of you (Acts 2:4).

Further, you cannot really know what love is until you are filled with His Spirit (Romans 5:5). Without Him we are only capable of loving within the limits of our flesh.  Many of us have a certain amount of love for our children, our siblings, our parents and perhaps our spouses.  All too often this love is conditional.  As long as they are kind and loving toward us we often can love them back.

The law was our schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24-25). What we could not achieve in our flesh under the law, now through His Spirit the dwells with us and in us, we can be obey the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:33).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

But the greatest of these is LOVE  (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles (Matthew 7:16)?

Henry David Thoreau  (1817-1862) said that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation“. He made a keen observation, but did not truly realize the full truth of it.  Most of mankind spends their entire lifetime searching for love, never truly finding it. Many, if not most never realize that love of God is indeed what they seek.

There is a country song that come out around 1980 with the main lyric of “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places”.  We spend our entire lives looking for God and being deceived that what we are looking for is everywhere else but in God.

Many marry thinking they found love, never truly know what love is.  We marry for all the wrong reasons.  When we marry because of the lust, the attraction fades with the flower of what originally attracted us. All too often that marriage ends in divorce.

We live in a “me” generation which says; “as long as I get what I want”. Remember God is love.  A Godless marriage is a loveless marriage.

Do you want a blessed marriage where you are truly loved, and can be truly happy? It’s probably not that cute guy with the hot car, and great job.  It’s probably not the gorgeous, sexy looking “chick”.  No, the recipe for a wonderful loving, blessed marriage is the one that begins with YOU being in a right relationship with GOD, having obeyed the gospel and walking in a close relationship with God, full of the Holy Ghost.

What you want for a mate is exactly the same things.  Let me say right here with all sincerity that what will be most attractive to a Godly man is a Godly women, and what is most attractive to a Godly woman is a Godly man.

If you use a fly you’ll catch a trout or a bass.  If you use cut bait (flesh) you’ll catch a shark. If a young lady uses bait such as provocative dress, appearance or actions to lure a man into a relationship, she may not be happy with the catch.

Let me say something here to the young singles. Do not strive over being married or finding the right husband or the right wife.  God knows the desires of your heart and your needs even before you ask of Him.

However, this also does not mean that we should hide ourselves away, all the while praying that God send us a mate.  We need to pray that God will direct our paths, and then step out in faith seeking environments where God can work to bring us that equally yoked mate. The Church and similar environments is a good start.

“Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength (Mark 12:30) and when it is in God’s timing the man or woman God has for you will be standing before you.

Be patient and wait on God.  The Word of God is full of examples of the grief that we can bring on ourselves when we become impatient and take matters into our own hands.  When it is God’s choice and His time, you will know.

Love is the greatest test whereby we can know if we are full of the Holy Ghost and in a right standing before God.  Do you love your neighbor as yourself?  Or, do you mutter under your breath when someone cuts you off in traffic?  Are you at odds with ANY brother or sister? Love is the greatest test of our right standing with God.

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen (1 John 4:20)?

The only way that you can be filled with Love is to be filled with God.  The only way to be filled with God is to be full of the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of God manifested to man.  The only way that you can be filled with the Holy Ghost is to first, obey the gospel (Acts 2:38, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4), then continue to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4). This means to be continually full of the Holy Ghost.  That means to be in continual relationship and communication with God (see No Oil. No Light).

There are some television shows that have been around for the last few years called things like ‘American Idol’ and the ‘X Factor’. Every once in a while someone will have an audition that has great singing talent. Often even during their debut performance the large crowd will stand to their feet and applaud, sway, shout, all showing their acceptance and appreciation, including the judges.

If the contestant had great talent there will be an uproar of applause and shouting at the conclusion of the performance. This almost always brings even many male contestants to tears, unable to contain themselves. Why? Because of the great affection, appreciation and acceptance being bestowed upon them. It gave them great joy, albeit short-lived. This is why many seek fame in the first place. They really are seeking love and acceptance. However, should they lose their talent, their beauty, or whatever it was, they would just as quickly lose the acceptance, the appreciation, and the perceived love.

Everyone is seeking the satisfaction and the joy that can only come from the Love of God, and they do not realize it. They look for satisfaction, they look to be fulfilled, they look for acceptance in virtually every place, and everything but God. Most never turn to God until God is all that they have left, if even then.

Many look for satisfaction and fulfillment in relationships, in success, in obtaining wealth, in drugs, in alcohol, in power, in sex, in material things like houses, cars, and the list goes on. Most people who by the world’s standards have achieved great success, wealth, fame, still are never satisfied and often turn to drugs and all too often eventually suicide.

Even born-again, Christians often struggle with these things. Many are all too easily get caught up with success, entertainment, and the things of this world. They lose their way, all the while having the Holy Ghost within them and the power to overcome, and still lose out with God. How sad.

I’m not talking about just going to Church, praying when you think of it, reading the Bible from time to time, and trying to act like a Christian. I’m talking about being in a one-on-one, intimate, covenant relationship with God. What about you?

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

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