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Archive for February, 2016

When simple Truth clashes with our common experience.

Posted by appolus on February 29, 2016

In Galatians we see an encounter between Paul and Peter at Antioch. It has to be remembered that the initial Church was all Jewish. And even at that time the Jewish teachings and traditions were well over a thousand years old. Imagine for a moment, a thousand years of history, teachings and interpretations and ritual. You were special, Gods own called out people and everyone else were Gentiles, apart from God.

In Acts 10 we see that Peter encounters God in a vision on a rooftop. A sheet comes down with every kind of unclean animal that Jewish people were forbidden to eat and God tells Peter to rise and kill and eat. Now, this would be something like Abraham being told to take his son up the hill and burn him to death. How could this be God? This is the mental and emotional anguish that Peter must have wrestled with as he defies God three times, three times brothers and sisters. At that very moment, the servant of Cornelius the Gentile arrives. The answer to Peter’s vision just knocked on his door. How would you like a question to God to be answered so quickly? And we know what happens next, he goes to Cornelius’s house and witnesses the Holy Spirit come down on that household just as it had come down on them at Pentecost.

Now back to the Galatians. We see that Peter and others including Barnabas were taken up with hypocrisy. The revelation had been given by God Himself about the Gentiles yet Peter and the others were still afraid of those who came down from Jerusalem and insisted that the Gentiles must be like them if they were to be part of the Body of Christ. Thank the Lord that Paul, quite apart from any leadership in Jerusalem, had been taught himself by vision and revelation about the nature of the Body of Christ and so he withstood Peter and the leadership of Jerusalem and insisted that they were being hypocrites by insisting that the Gentiles must live like Jews in order to be part of the Body of Christ, they were adding to the Gospel and Paul would have none of it.

Now, before you are too hard on those early believers who were Jewish by birth, I want you to consider how your own common experience may clash with simple truth. If Peter was so bold and conflicted as to say ” not so, Lord,” ( and this is an impossible phrase is it not, how can He be the Lord of our life and we say no to Him) three times then could this not happen to you? Now what is the simple truth that I am talking about that the vast majority of Christendom say ” not so Lord?” Here it is. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christianity, church of scotland, Daily devotional, Devotions, end times, End Times Eschatology, Jesus, pentecostal, prophecy, religious persecution, revival, signs and wonders, spiritual growth, Spiritual warfare, the deeper life, the gospel, The presence of God, the remnant, The State of the Chuch and Manifest presence, the state of the church, theology, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

My First Love

Posted by appolus on February 27, 2016

We have only one life to live
We have only so much to give
So let’s give it sacrificially
That we may live life beautifully

Far from the grasping crowd
I’m running from all that is loud
Just want to walk with the sun and the breeze
Hands silently raised and falling to my knees

I just want to hear the rain fall
See the birds fly and listen to them call
Maybe see a deer around the bend
Talk about my passion with a friend

I see the sun in the sky-high above
As I walk back towards my first love
I’m losing everything that has weighed me down
So I can run to Him at His feet to be found.

I’m traveling light on my journey now
My heart has been furrowed by the plow
I’ve cried tears and raged at the moon
But now it’s time to walk for my Master’s coming soon.

Nothing else matters only He
Coming back to the one who set me free
My heart now longs for just one touch
To hear Him whisper in my ear would be so much

To the glory and the King of majesty
Loving and living with all simplicity
An ear to hear and a heart to sing
The praises of His glory,my risen King.

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christian poetry, Christianity, church of scotland, Daily devotional, Devotions, end times, Jesus, pentecostal, poetry, revival, spiritual poetry, the remnant, the state of the church, theology, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

I was watching American Idol last night-why God hates Divorce

Posted by appolus on February 26, 2016

Last night my wife and I were watching American Idol. Kelly Clarkson finished the show with a raw performance of a song she wrote called ” Piece by Piece.” It left most people in the audience in tears. I recently watched a movie about the life of Amy Winehouse. She says in the movie that the thing that changed everything in her life and sent her down a path of destruction was her father walking out on them when she was nine years old. Kelly’s song relates to the same thing only she was six.

Two years ago I walked past a neighbor’s house. They had two children, two beautiful girls aged seven and five. Their father was leaving and I could hear the girls wailing, not sure I will ever forget that. He had met a younger woman. I ran into the neighbor a few weeks later just sitting in her car at a trail near our house, sitting weeping in her car, broken. She allowed me to pray with her and we both wept before the throne. The damage of divorce is untold and it ripples through the fabric of our lives and society. Well does the Bible say that God hates divorce. The pain and the agony and the lives ruined by it are inestimable.

Listen fathers, don’t you ever walk away from your children. You might not be the best father in the world or things might not be perfect in your world but don’t you walk away. You might not have all that you want in this life but does that give you the right to take away from a child everything that they have? We have one life to live and we only have so much to give, give it and give it sacrificially. God will help you do it. Walk away and the leaves will simply fall from the tree and be scattered by the wind.

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christianity, church of scotland, divorce, end times, God's love, healing, Jesus, pentecostal, revival, the remnant, the state of the church, theology | 4 Comments »

The Triumph of Form over Substance

Posted by appolus on February 24, 2016

What do I mean by the triumph of form over substance? Well, it typically means that content or the subject does not matter, what matters is how a thing looks. In other words the subject itself does not have to have any depth or true meaning it only has to look good and feel good.

I would argue that this current political cycle is a perfect example of form triumphing over substance. The rise of Donald Trump is the rise of form over substance. He merely taps into the mood of the people and says what he needs to say to get elected. He is an amalgam of our personality cult culture and business and now politics. This is the end result of a long process that could only truly find its successful conclusion with the rise of media and especially social media.

Now there have been notable people from the previous century that gives us clues as to how we got here. If we look at Hitler we see a man who could never have arisen without the aid of radio and the camera and of course circumstances. The circumstances are obvious. There was social unrest caused by a financial meltdown. This of course was severely aggravated with the rise of socialism and communism throughout the world. Given these fears and others, the people turned to someone who promised to make Germany great again. Someone who would face the problems of the day head on. Now they knew that he held extreme views but their fears for their present situation overcame any misgivings they may have had for him. The basic premise throughout the ruling classes was ” he would at least sort out the Communists,” which of course he did yet they had unleashed a monster.

Along with all those reasons, Hitler could still not have come to power without the aid of media. Radio of course was the social media of the day. People gathered in their living rooms and listened to his captivating speeches. They also went to the movies and saw such productions as ” Triumph of the Will.” A movie about the rise of the Nazi party that combined music and clippings of speeches and rallies. It is purported to be the greatest propaganda movie of all time and truly shows the power of media, form over substance, to move a whole nation. And of course that power has only increased exponentially over the last 80 years.

The first ever televised interview of two politicians debating was in 1960 and was between Nixon and Kennedy. Unbeknownst to Nixon, Kennedy had the heat turned way up in the studio because he knew Nixon had a tendency to sweat. When they both sat down to debate, Kennedy looked cool and collected while Nixon sweated badly. This had a great effect on the viewing audience. No matter what one of these men you liked, it could easily be argued that Kennedy knew the value of form over substance, it was less about what they were saying and more about how they were coming across to the audience.

In the church we are living, for the greater part, with the triumph of form over substance and the evidence of that is the depth or lack thereof of Christianity in our society. While we have had no Hitlers in the church(many mini ones) we have had many charlatans that used the power of the media and the rules of entertainment to water down the message while promoting themselves. Now three of four generations into an entertainment driven church we are left with a shallowness of showmanship that engages the ” audience.” Tozer writes “The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment.” I would argue that all across Christendom in the west we are seeing leaders who lead the people by providing entertainment.

Tragically we have seen that as the world goes so goes the church. Of course it should be the exact opposite, yet here we are. You will hear excuses about staying relevant and keeping up with technology and so on. I personally have nothing against technology but when it becomes an integral part of the “show” on a Sunday morning then you know that the plot has been lost. Today we are being driven by the form and not the substance. The cultural winds have simply taken a hold of the church and the church is being driven along by these winds towards what destination? What is the end for such a church? The complete amalgam of the world with the church. This is a tragedy. The church was supposed to be a counter-culture not a sub-culture.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christianity, church of scotland, Daily devotional, Devotions, end times, Jesus, pentecostal, revival, the remnant, the state of the church, theology, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Kissed by justice and mercy

Posted by appolus on February 23, 2016

Justice and mercy have kissed
And my heart was broken and healed
Your love which I so long dismissed
Now covers forever and seals

Oh Lord of heaven above
And of earth and sky and sea
How I rest in the warmth of your love
Once was shackled but now I am free

Your love and truth are my guiding light
And your mercy never comes to an end
Your fire and glory light up the night
While you fall down from the heavens you rend

Fill up the valley my glorious King
Flood the whole earth with joy and with praise
Look kindly upon the sacrifice I bring
That I may follow you all of my days

Oh justice take the hand of mercy
That glory may dwell in our land
IN the shadow of victorious Calvary
Where sin lost its final last stand!

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The church is sinking!

Posted by appolus on February 16, 2016

“I feel like we are salesmen today and the reason is we do not pray. Everybody today is an echo. They go to a conference to hear what everybody else is saying, and then repeat it. But brother Dave Wilkerson was intimate with God, and that’s what allowed him to be a voice.” ( Pastor Tim Dilena, Brooklyn Tabernacle Church)

Very few people are lifting their voices. All of the statistics prove, that by every measurable parameter, the Christian church is sinking. Part of the problem is what we have been fed for the last ten, fifteen, twenty years-the focus on church growth, on being user friendly, seeker sensitive. All that has opened the door to unbiblical teaching, just shallow nonsense. It’s resulted in getting away from prayer, away from the Gospel, away from loving people of all races, away from dependence upon the Holy Spirit. My editor asks, ” where are the Tozers, the David Wilkersons who’ll say in love ” that is wrong.” (Jim Cymbala, senior pastor, Brooklyn Tabernacle)

Now why is Christendom sinking, what are these pastors talking about? They identify echo chambers and a lack of prayer meetings. They identify a lack of any real reliance on the Holy Spirit. Going to conference after conference and learning nothing. Their editors bemoan the lack of people like Tozer and Wilkerson, men who were more afraid of God than they were of men. Men who were not trying to build a kingdom of their own but simply walking out the Kingdom of God.

Christendom today is, for the most part, voiceless. There is not a single voice on the national stage that is a fearless voice, a voice that has heard from God and is unafraid to speak what he has heard. A voice that seeks no political influence nor is concerned with their own ministries or money or pleasing the people, in other words, a prophetic voice. All day long men will give you their political opinions and it is often tied to raising money, but where are the men with fresh fire from the altar of God?

Men hold onto their reins in their ministries so tightly that there is no room for God to speak. The Holy Spirit has been displaced and the church has plunged headlong into disaster. To most the change has taken place slowly enough to be like a frog in a slowly boiling pot of water. A prophetic voice feels the burn, sees the consequences, shouts from the rooftops, to get out of the pot. That voice is full of love and passion and compassion and a sheer doggedness that most generations would have struggled with them.This generation cannot handle them on any level because their ears have been tickled for so long.They have been so drowned in worldliness that they must shut them down.This voice that pierces through the grey dimness that passes for light, that speaks to the bone and the marrow is missing and we should cry out to God that He would raise up such a voice and that He would remove every barrier to it being heard.

My advice to the younger generations of pastors and leaders is to yield. Step back. Discover the glory of allowing Jesus to be preeminent in your meetings. It will be the scariest thing you have ever done but to those who can hear, you know that your congregation is without power, it is without glory and has not bowed in reverential awe to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. You know there has been no sowing in tears. You know there has been no agonizing and prevailing in prayer. Now that you know this, then why go a minute longer without addressing this head on. Do you want to be the pastor of a religious club? Do you want to be the leader of a social work department? Or do you want the glory? Do you want it so badly that you are willing to shut down every activity not birthed and sustained in the presence of His majesty? May God find just a few men willing to lay aside everything they think they know and invite God back. He will not ignore such a plea from hearts wide open and fully given to His glory and honor. Lord Jesus, help us to stand again in this evil day and help us to be thorn in the flesh of our enemy and be what we have been called to be, more than conquerors in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour forever.

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christianity, church of scotland, Daily devotional, Devotions, end times, Jesus, pentecostal, prophecy, revival, the remnant, the state of the church, theology, Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

Cast your cares upon the waters.

Posted by appolus on February 12, 2016

And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. (Exo 2:2-3)

We see here a great story of faith and agony. Can you imagine that the law demanded that you kill your new-born child if he were a boy? Moses mother saw the beauty of her child and kept him hid. When she could hide him no more she made him an “ark of bulrushes,” and cast him out upon the waters. I cannot even begin to imagine the agony his mother must have suffered as she let go of that ark and let the current slowly carry her child away.

As Moses’ sister watched the ark, she saw the daughter of Pharoah arrive and discover the child. Pharoah’s daughters  heart is filled with compassion. Then with boldness, Moses’ sister steps out and tells Pharoah’s daughter that she knows someone who could nurse the child. Moses mother is soon reunited with her child and Moses lives. It’s an incredible story with much to learn from.

First we see that God’s children are being persecuted and now this incredibly evil law is enacted whereby every Hebrew male child is to be killed. If that was successful, then their heritage would die out. Satan was trying to destroy the Hebrews but God had a plan. We know that Moses had an older brother so the law must have been relatively new. It is very possible that even as the law was enacted, the solution was already taking shape in the womb of Moses mother.

Now many of you brothers and sisters are facing a trial in which there seems to be no way out. I want you to imagine the pain of Moses mother. For three long months as she nursed her precious child, not one day would have went by without her knowing that at best what she was doing was temporary. Many of you are living each day as it comes, it being just enough to get up each day and get through the day. I want to reassure you brothers and sisters,  God sees your affliction. Now Moses mother could never have imagined in her wildest dreams what would happen when she cast her child upon the waters. She must surely have spent the previous months agonizing over his certain death. Can you see that God can be already working on a solution to our problem long before that solution every comes to the light of day.

Sometimes we have to cast our cares upon the waters. It might be your child, your adult child, your husband or your wife. Can you let them go and allow God to take them? Believe me, I do not underestimate the agony of  letting go, especially for mothers. Yet sometimes if we do not let go it would mean certain death for all involved. Trusting God is no easy thing, it comes with a cost. The innermost flesh of your heart has to be torn, it is a rending of soul and spirit. Yet the Lord has asked us to trust Him and no where is this more important than with our loved ones.

Can you imagine the pain for Moses mother as she put this ark together? This is no simple thing. She is constructing an ark of faith, piece by piece, in order to allow her child to float away with the current. The fear that must have gripped her soul, the pain that must have coursed through her with every strand of that ark, with every application of that pitch. This would have been the same pain that Abraham faced as he climbed that hill with the necessary pieces for a sacrifice, his son being the sacrifice. Imagine that, This child that Abraham had waited for twenty-five years, this child of promise, this seed that would produce a multitude greater in number than the sands of the seashore or the stars in the night sky. And yet he is compelled to take his son up the hill. Yet God had a plan.

God sees your pain today brothers and sisters but I want to assure you that God has a plan. Despite the pain and the agony of your situation the Lord is calling for you to trust Him. Will you trust Him today? Will you cast you cares upon the waters? Will you allow your cares and your deepest fears to be carried away by an act of your will, by an exercise of your faith, trusting in Him? God bless you today as you walk through your valley of tears and yet remain steadfast. A steadfast heart still bleeds. It still weeps and feels the crushing weight of circumstances yet it endures and overcomes. You will endure brother, you will overcome sister. You will overcome because you stand in the shadow of the Almighty who walked this earth and overcame so that you too could overcome.You will overcome, stand fast in the beauty of His Holiness.

There will come a time soon when the Body of Christ corporately and individually will seem like they have been cast away. Yet God has made a way for His children for He is a Father to the fatherless and a lover of those who have been outcast, those who find themselves outside the established order of things. God will supply every need as we cast ourselves upon the waters and into His eternal plans. This is the agony and the glory of faith. This is where true peace is born. There is a peace that surpasses all understanding and it is forged in the crucible of the decision to trust in God. Nothing this glorious comes without a cost. There is a Jordan river to cross in our hearts. One side is the wilderness and the other side is the promised land of rest. There are rivers to cross and cities to encompass. Those who trust in God shall see a way through the raging waters of life and see the walls of opposition crumble as we stand fast and declare His glory with a shout.

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christianity, church of scotland, Daily devotional, Devotions, end times, Jesus, pentecostal, revival, the remnant, the state of the church, theology, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I am just a sinner saved by grace

Posted by appolus on February 8, 2016

I am just a sinner saved by grace. Now I understand what people mean when they say that but to me it is firmly in the negative column and is a pendulum swing too far. We who know and love the Lord are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We are sons and daughters of the Living God and His love and thoughts towards us cannot be measured. He has raised us up to heavenly places, He causes us to walk in His kingdom and not the kingdom of the world. Ours is no mere legal fiction, ours is a glorious living reality and I believe that the greater part of Christendom has forgotten that. When was the last time any of us heard the song ” Victory in Jesus,” or ” Stand up stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the Cross.”

How we view ourselves is very important and no hyper grace or prosperity teacher should rob us of our glorious truth just because they mis-interpret it for fleshly gain. Our identity, who we see ourselves as, is vital. When you say I am a sinner saved by grace, you have just identified yourself as a sinner. No, if genuinely saved, you’re a child of the Living God. And if you are a child of God then the world will see the fruit of it, not perfection, but it will see the fruits of your salvation. I genuinely believe that this phrase ” I am just a sinner saved by grace,” is a phrase that was invented to explain the “carnal Christian.”

I have found that the same people who use this phrase love to talk about Romans 7. They use Romans 7 to justify their own lives as if Romans 7 was the last chapter in that book. Oh wretched man that I am is no rallying cry to the Body of Christ. I thank God that Paul continues on and says that there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ. We who are in Christ are free from the law of sin and death. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us who walk after and in the Spirit of the Lord.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.(Rom 8:11)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Rom 8:14-17)

Do you see it brothers and sisters, do you see your identity? A child of the Living God. An heir of God and joint heirs with Christ. God is our Father and we have the glorious privilege of coming before His throne and crying out “Father.”

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:30-31)

Can you see what you have been called to? You have been justified in the eyes of God and He has shared His glory with you, you have been glorified. The God of all that exists is for you, for you, not against you. This is the word of God. And do you know who desperately does not want you to ever grasp that? The enemy of your soul. He would be at peace all day long if he heard the children of God identify themselves as “just,” a sinner saved by Grace. These are not the words of warriors, soldiers in the army of God. These are the words of people who have no real desire to glorify God. We as children of the living God are sanctified vessels whose chief aim is to glorify the living God. We are called to be living epistles read of men. When men read our ” book,’ what will be the title? Will it be ” Merely a sinner saved by Grace?” Or will our books title be “To the Glory of God on High.”

Here is the thing brothers and sisters. I believe we get to title our own books. What is the title to the book of your life? Will it be Victory? Will it be glory to God? Will it be over-comer? Will it be child of the most High? Will it be Living stone? Will it be Dearly Beloved? Will it be Apple of His Eye? Will it be More than Conquerors? What will it be? Will you walk in victory? Will you glorify God? Will you overcome and endure for His namesake? Will you identify yourself as a child of the Living God who is a living stone rightly shaped to fit into the temple that houses His glory? Do you know that you are dearly beloved and the price of that love was Calvary? You are the apple of His eye, never be tempted to take on the mantle of ” sinner,” under any circumstances. You tell the world of His glory and you confess to your Father in heaven your sins. He is faithful and true to forgive His children, let us be faithful and true to give Him all the glory for the wonderful things that He has done for us.

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christianity, church of scotland, Daily devotional, Devotions, end times, Jesus, pentecostal, revival, the remnant, the state of the church, theology | 11 Comments »

For a moment I have hidden my face from you.

Posted by appolus on February 2, 2016

For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (Isa 54:6-8)

The times in which we live are like no other times in history. We are approaching the end of ages and the birth pangs have begun and everything that can be shaken is being shaken. This is true not only of our denominations and institutions, but also our secular institutions and governments. Arab springs and Donald Trump, the times that we are living in are certainly tumultuous.

Now, what is true for institutions and churches is also true for individuals. God’s people are being tested in ways that they have never been tested before as individuals and in their personal walk with the Lord. Are you feeling forsaken today? Your faith in God maybe steadfast but you feel forsaken. Not only do you live in a barren land but that barrenness has also touched your own soul. Not only do you feel barren but trials have mounted one on top of the other and it seems that you are under judgement. I want to encourage you today saint, the afflictions of the land is touching your soul. You do indeed live in a barren land and your righteous soul is vexed, could it be any other way? If judgement indeed begins at the house of the Lord, that judgment will affect you. Perhaps you have had to leave your church? Or, perhaps you are still there and are totally dismayed by the worldliness that surrounds you? Either way, you seem to be in a place that is hopeless? I want you to read the promise of God quoted above.

But with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.

And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. (1Sa 1:6-7)

Can you see the agony of Hannah? She herself was surrounded by fertile women but her womb was closed and this caused her to be ridiculed by her adversary. Perhaps there is little or nothing to show for your own walk with the Lord? Perhaps you hear the enemy whisper in your own ear that all you strivings and longings have produced nothing? If we look at the state of Israel in the midst of Hannah’s troubles we see something very disturbing.

1Sa 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christianity, church of scotland, Daily devotional, Devotions, end times, Jesus, pentecostal, revival, the remnant, the state of the church, theology | 10 Comments »