But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.”
Matthew 12:24

The Pharisees were men who had dedicated their lives to the study of Scripture. They took a solemn vow before three witnesses to spend every moment of their lives obeying the Ten Commandments. That is not to say they succeeded, because clearly they did not. But that is at least what they tried to do. And with a few exceptions, such as Nicodemus, these Pharisees—these religious experts—had hard hearts from what we read about them in the Bible.

What is ironic is they spent their time studying the Scriptures. These men, immersed in such a spiritual endeavor, had hearts that were so hard, they attributed to the devil that which was being done by God.

This reminds us that the church can be a dangerous place for us today. It is a place where we honor God. It is a place where the Word of God goes out. And we have a choice as to how we will react to these things. If we are in church because we want to worship and learn more about Christ, then that is great. But if we go to church out of mere obligation, thinking we can sin a little more because we have done our duty, that can be dangerous. It is never okay okay to “have your cake and eat it too“… I am sure you know that saying…

The same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. And sometimes the most hardened people can be inside the church, because they think, I know it all. I have heard it all. I am so spiritual. The problem is they are getting a hard heart. They are arrogant and resistant to the work the Holy Spirit wants to do in their lives.

It is easier to get a hard heart inside the church than outside of it. So if you have a critical spirit and a hard heart, watch out. The church can be a dangerous place for you. Yet, even if you do… Or are just feeling lost, no place to go… No place that “get’s” you. Remember my brother or my sister, we all have been there. We all have done that… Well, let me re-frase that because some have done more or less that others. But, we all can sympathesis with you. The Lord is a forgiving person. The Lord wants to remold you on His “Potters Wheel” and wants to show you a better life, a better way. No way is a good way without the guidance of our God, remember that.
 

Brother Jonathan

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“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Matthew 25:13 NLT

Have you ever sat back, looked around at the times today and wondered if this day is the last day? After wondering this, have you ever started to examine your own life, and what you’ve done with it? Asked yourself how many people you’ve lead to Christ or worried about where you will be going?

Honestly, look around at what is going on in society today. Wars, famines, crazy weather pattern’s, life altering events… the list goes on, and on, and on. Today is a different day and age than that of our forefather’s, our Grandfather’s and Grandmother’s, or even our very own moms and dads. Yes, to look around at the times today does say a lot without having to say a word at all.

Jesus knew this, that His physical days on earth were drawing short and spent every moment of His human life to do whatever He could to evangelize and grow the Kingdom of God. Jesus knew how little time He had so He went out into the world to teach, to evangelize and to make disciples. He, more than often taught His disciples through the telling of the Parable’s, one of which is the Parable of the Talents.

Jesus tells us a Parable in Matthew 25:14-26, “..the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’” “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![b]’

“The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’”

How many of us have had the, what ifs.. or I should have done that, or I wish I did this… Those are terrible things to hold onto. I know, I have done that to myself, countless of times over and over! I want to point out something, change comes from action. You can’t have change if there is no action. It’s faith, put into action that you will see a change. Even if you are on your death-bed, you can still change and make difference. It’s never too late to start changing while you’re still alive.

God Bless you all as we part are ways today!
Your Brother in Christ.

Brother Jonathan

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Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.
Mark 4:9

Charles Stanley, author of the book, “How to Listen to God,” once wrote, “I believe one of the most valuable lessons we can ever learn is how to listen to God. In the midst of our complex and hectic lives, nothing is more urgent, nothing more necessary, nothing more rewarding than hearing what God has to say. His voice waits to be heard and, having heard it, we are launched into the greatest, most exciting adventure we could ever imagine.

This is absolutely true, when we wait to hear God’s voice. And, when we hear it, boy! What an adventure. It is in that moment in time, when we now have the God appointment path, or mission if you might call it, that we have a new sense of urgency of action. And, we are filled with the Holy Spirit as we take on, God’s Will.

In Mark 4, we find Jesus teaching the crowds of the farmer scattering seed. Jesus tells the us in Mark 4:3-8, “..A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

That is where we find Jesus telling us the importance in listening, when Mark writes in Mark 4:9, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” We must hear our Lord’s call on our lives by listening with our hearts, our souls, our minds, our everything and, we must also understand His message He has for us to do.

I believe, today, God wants us to hear His word, hear His voice by listening in silence, and without distraction. It is that moment when we become silent to this world’s distractions is when the Holy Spirit speaks to us through prayer, thought, feeling, signs, or however else He does, but become silent today, open your hearts to hear our Lord’s voice and listen with your hearts to understand His call.

God Bless you all as we listen to our Lord’s will.

Brother Jonathan

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Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.
Mark 4:9

Charles Stanley, author of the book, “How to Listen to God,” once wrote, “I believe one of the most valuable lessons we can ever learn is how to listen to God. In the midst of our complex and hectic lives, nothing is more urgent, nothing more necessary, nothing more rewarding than hearing what God has to say. His voice waits to be heard and, having heard it, we are launched into the greatest, most exciting adventure we could ever imagine.

This is absolutely true, when we wait to hear God’s voice. And, when we hear it, boy! What an adventure. It is in that moment in time, when we now have the God appointment path, or mission if you might call it, that we have a new sense of urgency of action. And, we are filled with the Holy Spirit as we take on, God’s Will.

In Mark 4, we find Jesus teaching the crowds of the farmer scattering seed. Jesus tells the us in Mark 4:3-8, “..A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

That is where we find Jesus telling us the importance in listening, when Mark writes in Mark 4:9, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” We must hear our Lord’s call on our lives by listening with our hearts, our souls, our minds, our everything and, we must also understand His message He has for us to do.

I believe, today, God wants us to hear His word, hear His voice by listening in silence, and without distraction. It is that moment when we become silent to this world’s distractions is when the Holy Spirit speaks to us through prayer, thought, feeling, signs, or however else He does, but become silent today, open your hearts to hear our Lord’s voice and listen with your hearts to understand His call.

God Bless you all as we listen to our Lord’s will.

Brother Jonathan

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And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
Matthew 6:13

God is omniscient, which means that He is all-knowing. God is omnipotent, which means that He is all-powerful. And God is omnipresent, which means that He is present everywhere.

In sharp and direct contrast to this, the devil does not reflect God’s divine attributes. He is not omnipotent. Although he has great power, his power is clearly limited, and he is nowhere near to being God’s equal. Nor is the devil omniscient. He knows many things, but he doesn’t know all things. And, he is not omnipresent. He can only be in one place at one time.

What the devil doesn’t want you to know is that he can do nothing in the life of a Christian without God’s permission. The devil complained that God had put a wall of protection around Job (see Job 1:10). So we see from this that even though Satan has a wicked agenda, he has to ask permission to touch the child of God. There is an impenetrable wall that God has placed around you that Satan cannot breach. That doesn’t mean you can’t be tempted. It doesn’t mean you can’t be harassed. It doesn’t mean you can’t be attacked. But God never will give you more than you can handle. So when the devil comes knocking at your door, I would suggest that you say, “Jesus, would You mind getting that?” I am so glad He is there, because I am no match for the devil. And neither are you.

Temptation will come into your life. Jesus even taught us to pray, “And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). So the next time you are facing temptation, remember that God never will give you too much. He will provide a way out. And if it is to much for you to handle. Tell God, and pray. He and He alone, will set you free.

Brother Jonathan 

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Hope for the Hopeless

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 “Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country.”
Mark 16:12

Sometimes in our minds we feel as though God has fallen short, that He hasn’t done what He said He would do. But we have that we are the ones who have fallen. Maybe something has happened in our lives that have left us feeling disappointed with God.

That is how two disciples felt after the crucifixion. They had lost hope. When Jesus appeared to them, they were walking away from Jerusalem into the country (see Mark 16:12). In their minds, Jesus had let them down. They had misunderstood His mission. They thought He would be a militant Messiah, not a suffering Savior. But if they had read the Scriptures carefully, they would have come across a vivid description of the physical sufferings of Christ in Isaiah. They would have read the words of Psalm 22, which pointed out that His hands and feet would be pierced, and that He would cry out from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” But they missed that.

Jesus was doing exactly what He had come to do, and they had misunderstood. And when it seems like God has failed us, it is because we have misunderstood the meaning and purpose of the event. That was the problem with these discouraged disciples, and so they were leaving Jerusalem. They wanted to get that image of Jesus on the cross out of their minds. They wanted to put as much distance from them and the cross as humanly possible.

Many times when we are discouraged, we think, I don’t want to be around Christians. I don’t want to read the Bible. I don’t want to pray. But that is a big mistake. That is when we ought to be running to God, not away from Him. We ought to be spending time with His people and in His Word, not avoiding them.

Sometimes I feel so sad, so forsaken, so lost that no hope can be found. Yet, I somehow manage to find my footing and open my eyes to my heart again. The Lord forgives me for all the wrongs I’ve done, all the evil actions in my life were and are forgiven and washed away with His blood. He died for me; He did for us all on the cross. The Lord works so many miracles in my life so many times, I can never repay him for all the blessings I have.

All I can offer the Lord is my devotion, my life, my first born, my everything because the Lord Jesus is my everything. Remember, when you fall, you fall hard and it hurts but, there is hope for the hopeless, rest for the weary, r! emember to Cry out to Jesus!

May our Lord continue to bless and comfort you all today.  And remember, as we part our ways, there is always Hope for you.  No matter what your situation may be, the Lord has a plan and a place for you, but you have to walk it.  He will provide the opportunity, but you have to be willing to do your part.  If you ask for strength, He gives you opportunities and does not just make you super man with a wave of a wand or something like that.  Whatever you ask, there will be the opportunity to obtain it, but I must warn you… if you ask for it, the Lord will provide it, but you must be willing to accept the path that is layed in response to your request.

Brother Jonathan

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“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33

When Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba, ascended to the throne after his father died, he was overwhelmed by the task at hand. So he prayed, and God appeared to him in a dream and told him, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5).

If God appeared to you tonight and told you to ask for whatever you wanted, what would you pray for? Fortunately, Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people: “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:9).

Because he had not asked for a long life, riches, or even the death of his enemies, God told Solomon He would give him just what he requested and more: “And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days” (1 Kings 3:13).

Solomon had his priorities in order. He sought God’s kingdom first, and all of those things were added to him.

And when we put God and His kingdom first, our lives will find the proper balance as well. When Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,” what things was He speaking of? In context, these “things” are what you will wear, what you will drink, and what you will eat and everything we do. The basic issues of life will be taken care of by God when we put Him first…

Regardless of what you are going through… Have received… Plan to receive.. Or haven’t received. I want you to stop what you’re doing… Close your eyes… Fold your hands and bow your head. Pray to the Lord that He will give you what you need to do His will. When we truly ask this from our hearts, all will fall into place when you except the fact that we are not here because of accident or coincidence, the Lord has a special plan for you and all will be added to you in His time once we humble ourselves and are ready to receive.

As we part our ways today, remember… Be true to your heart and who you are. No matter what influence’s you, put aside the worldly wants and seek first the needs of God and you will live happy. Try asking someone how’s their day going today. A few kind words goes a long way on the road to recovery. Remember that.

Brother Jonathan R. L. Spann

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