THE SINNERS’ LAMENT

Last night, I had an awful dream that the end of time had come.

The trumpet had been sounded and life on Earth was done.

An Angel stood one foot on land and another foot on sea.

And as I tried to kneel and pray, a Voice said unto me,

“It’s standing room! No time for woes! It’s much too late to pray!

It’s standing room! It’s time to go! This is God’s great Judgment Day!”

People filled the churches as far as eyes could see.

I heard a cry for mercy then realized it was me.

I saw the Savior then appear as He split the Eastern sky.

There were tears of joy on a Christian’s face yet I saw the sinners cry.

I tried to touch His Holy hand and with one last feeble plea

I cried again, “Have mercy, Lord! Have mercy, Lord, on me!”

I saw a tear come to His eye as He turned my soul away.

I didn’t know Him yesterday, so He knew me not today.

The Earth was burning all around and the world went up in smoke,

And as the flames engulfed me, I thanked God that I awoke.

I got out my bed and on my knees and you should have heard me pray

For in my dream I saw the fate of God’s great Judgement Day.

 

  An excerpt from the testimony of Howard Pittman – author of the book, Placebo.

WALKING AMONG THE HATERS: SPIRITUAL WARFARE BETWEEN THE KINGDOMS OF GOD & SATAN

When I entered into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ thirty years ago, I was naive about many things concerning God. Quite simply, I believed that once I haf given my life over to the Lord, He would wave an invisible magic wand over me causing me and my life to immediately become “blessed” by being trouble-free. When things did not go as I imagined it would, I was confused and disappointed. Not only did my life NOT become trouble free, I experienced even more trials and challenges.

Having not been discipled  by someone who had walked this walk before me, I did not understand that once you become a child of God, you immediately become an enemy of Satan’s.

There is spiritual warfare taking place all around us. For most, it cannot be seen with our physical eyes for it exists in the spiritual realm. The war is between two kingdoms – the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. To live in this world as a Christian and not recognize this reality is a dangerous disadvantage to say the least for this battle is being fought to the death.

THE KINGDOM OF SATAN

Spiritual warfare is not a battle that can be fought in the natural. As God has a Kingdom, Satan also has a kingdom and it is not to be underestimated.

Satan is a counterfeit. The entirety of his existence in this world is based on replicating and mocking God. He began in the Heavenly realm in service to God almighty, therefore he had an excellent model to copy. When Lucifer was cast out of Heaven, he took with him one third of the Angels that we now call demons. Lucifer became Satan and operated his kingdom in the second heaven situated above the Earth and below God’s Glory.

Satan is a master of deception therefore he set up a highly organized, structured kingdom modeled after the Kingdom of God complete with principalities (kings, princes, etc.) that govern over countries, states, cities, neighborhoods, nationalities and even people.

In the spiritual realm, Satan’s kingdom battles for control of our souls. Each true follower of Jesus Christ bares the mark of God which is seen by those who are under the rule of Satan. The world may be fooled by the false Christian, but in the spiritual realm all truth is revealed. Child of God, never forget that you are the prime target of Satan and all of his minions.

CHRISTIANS MUST FIGHT!

Beloved, we are at war! Satan, demons, evil spirits of all ranks and even people on this Earth who are committed to serving evil are aiming their efforts for destruction at you. You must fight! God demands and has equipped you to do just that. In this, be strong, be resolute and be encouraged for Jesus has already defeated Satan’s kingdom and has won this war.

WHEN WE LIMIT OURSELVES, WE LIMIT GOD

When we believe and respond only to what we are capable of experiencing in the natural, we render ourselves dysfunctional as Christians. When we do this not only are we limiting ourselves, we are limiting God for the Lord moves according to our faith.

CAN ALL CHRISTIANS WIN THIS WAR?

Christians who say they believe and yet are living their lives according to their own version of Christianity, and not according to the Word of God, will LOSE this war. You cannot fight on your own terms or in your own power.

HOW DO WE FIGHT?

The Bible tells us that we must put on the whole armor of God in order to withstand the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). “Stand your ground putting on the Belt of Truth and the Body Armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes put on the Peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the Shield of Faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on Salvation as your Helmet and take the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Pray at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:14-18

SATAN DOES HIS HOMEWORK

Read your Bible! Know your Bible! Live your Bible! Regardless of what church you may attend, you cannot trust the translation of the Word of God to anyone. God will speak to you concerning his Word. You will be held responsible for every step you take in your own walk.

Study your Word and do your homework. You can be sure that Satan has done his. Rest assured that he and his demons know everything about you. They know your strengths as well as your weaknesses. In fact, they count on your every flaw and will not hesitate to use all of them against you in their relentless pursuit to steal, kill and destroy you and your family.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

You are the body of the Church. You, the Christian, are the sole enemy of Satan for the Church alone is the only entity powerful enough to defeat him and his kingdom. No one on this Earth has the ability and the power through Jesus Christ to do this but the Church. Jesus has commanded His disciples to occupy and subdue (Genesis 1:28) until He returns. If we, as the Church, do not stand up and fight on God’s behalf, who else will?

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I’M A BRAND NEW CHRISTIAN! NOW WHAT?

stages-300x300This was the question I asked myself thirty years ago when I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. There was noone around to disciple me and, honestly, I felt completely lost and alone.

You see, I was not raised in a church and did not own a Bible until I had become an adult. So, although I looked forward to my brand new life as a Christian single-parent, I knew absolutely nothing about the things of God. I only knew that a brand new life awaited me and my two small children. By His grace alone, I managed to stumble along even though there was so much I did not understand. I came to learn so many mistakes and years later that my transition could have been much easier.

Now before you read on, allow me to be completely honest with you. Following Jesus Christ, in spirit and in truth, will be the most difficult, as well as the most rewarding, experience you will ever encounter in your life. Not everyone will be able to see it through as only those who are called by God will be able to contend to the end.

The Holy Scripture tells us: “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The Highway to Hell is broad and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life (Heaven) is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

I highly recommend that you pray continuously for God to equip you and cover you throughout this journey. the resolve to stay the course and never give up, no matter what. I pray that the Lord will bless you to have an amazing relationship with the one and only living God. I pray this in Jesus’ name.

STEP 1: GET BAPTIZED
Jesus tells us: “Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Baptism represents the partaking of the burial and raising of Jesus Christ so that we, too, may walk in the newness of life. It is for this reason, we are told to repent AND be baptized in His name for the forgiveness of our sins. The Bible also tells us that the baptism allows us to “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit(Acts 2:38) who is our Helper though out this walk.

The first thing Jesus did before He began His ministry was to be baptized, (Luke 3:21-22). Where do you go to get baptized? Any true follower of Jesus Christ (Believer) is authorized, according to Jesus Christ, to baptize. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (Matthew 28: 19-20)

Baptism can be done in a true, Jesus-following church and even in a bathtub within the home of a true believer. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to follow His example. So regardless of where you get baptized, get baptized as soon as you can!

STEP 2: READ YOUR BIBLE
You cannot truly follow Jesus Christ if you do not understand who He is or His word. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

There is no substitute for reading your bible. Do it every day or whenever you can. Begin immediately. There are many translations available. Find one that is most faithful to the original text. I recommend beginning with the King James Version. If you are sincere in seeking Him, God will open up His word to you and give you understanding (discernment). Do not allow yourself to become too busy to read God’s word. This is a tactic of Satan who is your worst enemy. Set aside time when and where you can meditate on Him without being interrupted. Quality is equally as important as quantity when it comes to reading your Word. The Bible telIs us that we are to “study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word unto truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). Remember this: God pursues those who pursue Him.

STEP 3: PRAY OFTEN
As a follower of Jesus Christ, you are to pray always without ceasing. Prayer, very simply, is talking to Jesus. Talk to Him about everything. He cares about everything that concerns you. There is nothing too small or seemingly too insignificant that you can’t share with Him. Speak to Him as you would a very dear friend for He is. In fact, you will find that He is the very best friend you will ever have. Through prayer, you will be developing a very REAL and intimate relationship with the true and living God.

I suggest that you begin by praying every morning before you start your day and every evening before you go to bed. Pray, also throughout the day. Pray for direction and guidance concerning every decision you make. Thank Him for all He has done, is doing and will do for you. Pray for others as well as yourself. If you find it difficult to find the words to say, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts as you pray. “When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly you.” (Matthew 6:6)

STEP 4: BUILD FRIENDSHIPS WITH OTHER TRUE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS
The Christian life is not an easy life. As a true follower of Jesus Christ, you will be under constant attack and scrutiny from your enemies who will come by way of Satan and his demons. This may even include family members. It good to fellowship with like-minded Christians. You will need to be around those you trust for encouragement as well as admonishment (correction). “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting (encouraging) one another and so much the more as you see the Day (of Jesus’ return) approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Also be mindful that we, as Christians, are warned to not be unequally yoked with non-believers. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

STEP 5: OFFER YOUR GIFTS & SERVICES FOR GOD’S PURPOSE
As a new Christian, the Lord will begin a miraculous new work in you. You will go through a process that will transform you from the old you into the fabulous new you. This transforation will slowly mold you into the spiritual image of Jesus Christ. A new Spirit has come alive in you for God has an amazing work for you to do. Go for it!

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

STEP 6: ALWAYS LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE YOUR FAITH & YOUR TESTIMONY WITH OTHERS
Through Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior, you have received salvation. You can now stand alongside of Him and claim your inheritance to the Kingdom of God. Through Him, you also have access to the power of healing and deliverance as well as access to the throne of the one and only living God. There is much for you to be excited about! So, share your excitement whenever you have the opportunity.

It is through your testimony, and the testimony of others, that Jesus Christ will be shared throughout the world. It is also through your testimony that You share in His victory of overcoming Satan and the evil that is temporarily in this world. “And they (Christians) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12:11)

As you continue in your faith and your walk, remember that there is nothing you have done that was deserving of this wonderful and mighty blessing you have received through Jesus Christ. You have been saved by grace alone. Even still, God has started a work in you and His promise is to finish it. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 1:6)

STEP 7: PRAY FOR GOD TO LEAD YOU INTO YOUR DESTINY
Only God knows the plans He has for you. Only God knows of your special call. Pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Pray for spiritual sensitivity to hear Him and obey His every word.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

Now, welcome to the family and remember this: To God be all the glory!