Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Glimpse of Righteousness by Faith


1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

For those who love God, His commandments are not to be grievous. Yet why is this so often not the case with us? Instead, usually we are trying our utmost to keep His commandments and are constantly struggling with feelings of weakness and guilt; constantly meeting with defeat after defeat. Other times, we find ourselves on the verge of giving up, feeling that it’s impossible to keep the commandments of God.

“Why,” we wonder, “is this Scripture not true in my life? Why do I find His commandments so grievous?”

Once we are honest enough with ourselves to admit that His commandments are grievous to us, we can then begin to apply ourselves to finding out why. And not only the cause, but also the remedy! And where do you suppose we can find all this? Yes, in the Bible.

Where better to start our search for an answer to a troubling passage of Scripture than in close proximity to that very passage? And so we find that in the very next verse, the issue begins to reveal itself.

1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

God’s Word says that those born of Himself do overcome the world. And as Christ Himself said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Yet instead of us overcoming the world, we find the world overcoming us, and are “drawn away after our own lusts.” But, this verse contains a key to unlock the mystery of overcoming, for it tells us what the victory that overcomes the world is…and if we know what it is then we can begin to seek it. And what is this victory of overcoming the world? “Even our faith.

Faith! Our faith “is the victory that overcometh the world!” And thus is revealed overcoming the world by faith. And what is overcoming the world, except keeping the commandments of God? And what is keeping the commandments of God, except righteousness? And so we have come face to face with Righteousness by Faith.

Here we find the heart of the Gospel; that message which lay dormant in the hearts and minds of Christians for centuries…that message which was proclaimed with such power and clarity in 1888 by A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner, who removed all manner of theological sophistry and grasped the pure and true message of Righteousness by Faith, revealing it to us as the matchless charms of Christ.

And so what is it that our faith must be placed in? Christ, and Him alone. For in the very next verse we find yet another key, which unlocks the mystery of our faith, for it describes that which our faith
must be applied to.

1 John 5:5, “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

And so we find that our faith is the victory that overcometh the world, and that it is in Him who overcame the world: Jesus, the Son of God!

John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

And here is the promise, that in Christ we might no longer find the commandments grievous but, instead, finally have peace.

“But,” we say, “I already have faith in Jesus, believing that He is the Son of God. So why do I not also have the victory that overcomes the world?”

Indeed. So we must keep digging.


FAITH...and what is it? Consider we really need to have the definition perfectly pinned down if we know how to get it? If we know how to get as much faith as we'll ever need, does it really matter if we know exactly what it is?

Romans 10:17. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God!"

There it is, friends!! The word of God! That is what will give us the faith we need to overcome the world!

When God brought the people of Israel out of captivity in Egypt and led them through the wilderness until they crossed the river Jordan into the promise land, just as He brings us out of captivity in sin and leads us through the wilderness of this life until we cross the river of death into the promise land of heaven, what did He feed them with? What did He sustain them with in the wilderness? Manna! Manna is what gave them the strength to get through the wilderness into the promise land. As long as they got that manna they had the strength to overcome...and as long as we keep getting faith we will have the strength to overcome!

The Hebrew word manna literally means "What is it?" They had no idea what it was! But they knew where to get it. As long as we know where to get faith, does it matter if we know exactly what it is?

One thing I have noticed when talking to other Christians is that there seems to always be a common denominator when they are struggling with not overcoming the world: lack of consistent searching of the Scriptures.

You would be shocked if you could see the actual number of people who read their Bibles faithfully every single day. If we would all concentrate on just 3 things, our entire lives would be changed, and our entire church would be changed, and the entire world would be changed, and Jesus Christ would be on His way back!

The three things are so simple: Bible study. Prayer. Sharing.

Can you imagine what would happen if every member of our church committed themselves to reading God’s word every day, praying all day, and sharing the Gospel at every opportunity?

This study is not entirely fleshed out and complete...but I have had this written down for a few weeks and wanted to get it out there. I hope that it will be helpful to someone out there. :-) God bless.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Let Us Pray

By: Rob Peralta

It has been said "The less we sin, the more we win". That is a simple yet profound truth. And one of the "big" wins is in our prayer life. We have closer communication with our Lord which brings us to a higher level in our Christian walk. Many today are wondering "Why do I feel when I pray, that the Lord just isn't listening and I'm talking to myself?" In (Isaiah 59:2) we read " your sins have seperated you from God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear." So many times we are walking in many errors before the Lord and therefore, our prayers are given up to Him in our compromising position. Hence the the prior quote comes into truth before the Lord.

From my own experience, I can really feel a bond or closeness in prayer to him, when I am living a more upright life. On the contrary , when I have messed up and did wrong according to my conscience, I have felt very little connection in prayer. But the great thing in our walk is to be able to actually feel and KNOW our Lord is listening from on high! I mean your soul actually grows and glows when we know he is listening to us. The bible says the "prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16).

Many of you have seen the front picture of "The story of redemption" by Ellen White. It shows Jesus in prayer talking to God the Father. To me that picture, like they say, tells a thousand words. One of the primary things I've noticed is that Jesus is kneeling BUT His face is to the heavens. This to me should be our practice in prayer. When you pray, you don't have to tuck your chin into your chest and mumble almost silently. Rise up your face! Speak to him directly as if He is standing right in front of you. How many would like for their friends or family to walk up and start a conversation, chin tucked down, mumbling softly? Jesus should be our example in all things, even prayer. This is not to say that the other method of kneeling and prayer is bad, but to suggest something more uplifting for you.

As we all know, communication is best when it is shared and not just a "one-way" street. In prayer it is JUST AS IMPORTANT to LISTEN as to speak. How many actually kneel and listen instead of talking and talking? If we are walking upright with our Lord, his small still voice can be heard through the Holy Spirit. You're at his command, silent and ready for His ideas and thoughts to come into you. THEN you can talk back to Him based on what He has "occured" to you. I like to call Him the "Great God of occurrence" because often, thoughts that just happens to "occur" may indeed be sent from Him(Like my being told a dream was coming). Again I cannot stress the supreme importance of walking righteously before Him, not "perfectly"(although we should always strive for this) but righteously according to His Commandments. In (Proverbs 28:9) we read "If ANYONE ( and that means Jews, Gentiles or even "Born again Christians") turns his ear from hearing of the Law, even his prayers are an abomination". Wow, pretty powerful words from our Lord!

Finally, I would like to add some personal thoughts. In prayer Jesus referred to His Father as "Abba". Which was considered a very affectionate term for Father. In prayer I call our Lord "Pops" and I really feel close to Him when I call Him this. But keep in mind if you do call Him an affectionate name, DON'T use that same name for ANYONE else! Also it is better to use "less" words in prayer than "many" words. Jesus said "let your no be no, and your yes be yes"(Matt 5:37). I amazed sometimes when I hear a pastor on TV or somewhere, go on and on in prayer, rarely even remembering their prayer a couple days later.

May you discover one of the greatest experiences we have, and that is in PRAYER! May your prayers be clearer and heard by our most gracious and loving Lord.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Get ready. The dreams they are a comin!

By: Rob Peralta

For a little over a year I have been praying this frequent prayer "Dear Lord, please help me walk in your righteousness and according to your Laws. Please admonish me if I walk in error, make it CLEAR to me, that I might know my wrongdoing." And the Lord did not disappoint!

Ever since I was a young teenager I have been a avid boxing fan. I mean I almost worshipped the sport. I watched every big fight through the years. I knew all the boxers and even bought the boxing magazines (before there was the Internet, lol). I would not hesitate to cancel any and every important thing that stood in the way, in order to watch a good fight. Then I came back to the Lord. But guess what? I still did not want to give up my beloved boxing. That all changed just a few days ago.

Remember my prayer above? Well I was in my kitchen the other night and I heard the Lord say to me "Tonight I am going to give you a dream" I said "Ok, Lord I am ready, you know how I really look forward to hearing your messages in the dreams." Since I have been "born again" I have had several dreams which were messages from the Lord, affecting my life. Little did I know this one would "knock me out" lol.

I knew that this particular dream would be something profound. Because I had never before been "told" beforehand a dream was coming. So I went to sleep that night. And I did get a dream. Normally I am one of those who won't really remember a dream, or not have any at all. Here's what happened.

I was in a room and I see Oscar De La Hoya (world famous former champion boxer) sitting at a desk with some other people (like body guards). I approach him and reach out to shake His hand. We shake firmly. I sit down and began to tell him "Hey Oscar, you know it's not right, you really should return the rental deposit back to your tenant"(Don't ask me why I asked this,lol)
Then all of a sudden Oscar eyes flashed at me, and I mean really flashed, with immense hatred towards me. Like he wanted to kill me. he said "Ok, I'll do it" but He continued to stare at me angrily. Then I get up to leave. Next I am at the rental house thinking he's coming over to get me. But strangely I feel not alone but protected. Then I awake.

When I awoke I remembered clearly this dream, yet I wondered "what was that about??" Then the Lord reminded me about His promise of a special dream. And here is the best part HE EXPLAINED IT TO ME! Praise God! The shaking of the hands was me "embracing boxing" The hatred of Oscar towards me was "boxing wanting to kill me or do me harm." the Lord was telling me this is a wicked sport and it will do you harm if you continue to sin in watching this brutal sport. Amen Lord! Thank you for answering my prayer in guiding me to stay on the righteous path.

So please be aware that the Lord will speak to you in many different ways. And one of the best and clearest is in dreams! Keep praying that he will guide you in ALL areas of your life. Will I miss boxing? I probably will for a while but you know what? My elation of knowing that our ever watchful Lord has guided me FAR outweighs this loss.

May you look to the Lord for every aspect of your life. He'll guide you always!