The church of Smyrna

Greetings. It has been a while since I last wrote a post on my blog. Frankly, it feels good to be back. Thank you for your past support. Now, having said that, we will continue with our study of the book of Revelation. We are going to look at the church of Smyrna. Let’s study Rev 2:8-11 (Good news Version)—
“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
This is the message from the one who is the first and the last, who died and lived again. I know your troubles; I know that you are poor—but really you are rich! I know the evil things said against you by those who claim to be Jews but are not; they are a group that belongs to Satan! Don’t be afraid of anything you are about to suffer. Listen! The Devil will put you to the test by having some of you thrown into prison, and your troubles will last ten days. Be faithful to me, even if it means death, and I will give you life as your prize of victory. If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches! Those who win the victory will not be hurt by the second death.

The church of Smyrna was facing intense persecution. One of the ways in which they got persecuted was by losing their material wealth. During that time, the Roman government demanded allegiance to Caesar as Lord. Christians stood firm and proclaimed Jesus as Lord. Some were put to death, while others suffered the loss of their wealth. They were dismissed from their jobs. Those who were looking for a job could not be hired. Others faced the loss of their business.

They were destitute and poor, yet Christ saw them as being rich. Two things to glean from this—

  • True riches come from serving God. There is no price for his presence and being guided by him.
  • God saw that they had the ability to get what they needed in the spirit. The word of God says to call those things that are not as though they were ( Rom 4:17) Our trust and provision come from God and not from man.

Another point to consider is that they were persecuted by the Jews. God called the Jews as belonging to the synagogue of Satan. (King James version) This type of persecution was religious in nature. The Lord saw their pain and gave them a word to comfort them. Notice, he says to listen (Rev 2:10) and gives them the details of their suffering. It was going to get worse.

He mentions 10 days. I believe it is not, literally, 10 days but it is symbolic for the 10 emperors that will put this church thru intense persecution. The Bishop of the church during that period was Polycarp. It was believed that he got captured and brought before the coliseum. He was told to renounce his faith, which he refused. His punishment was to be burned at the stake. As he was burning, it was noted that a nice fragrance was in the air and he was preserved. A soldier stabbed him, finally killing him. (1)

This should cause us to analyze our walk with him. Around the world, many Christians are dying for their faith and suffering great torture. May we be mindful to keep our brethren in our prayers. God, help us to count the cost and be faithful unto death.

Some final thoughts-the word Smyrna means Myrrh. It is symbolic of suffering and its fragrance is sweet. God sees the church of Smyrna’s suffering as a sweet smell to him. Brethren, here in America, we may not see this type of suffering, but believe me, you are going to go thru many testings and trials. It’s part of our package of Salvation. Personally, I see that when persecution comes to me thru a family member or incident, I rejoice. Doing this has brought great comfort and blessings in my life.

Always, remember that we will, always, have trials and tribulations. The good news is with the Lord on our side, he is able to give you the victory. You are destined to win because we are more than conquerors thru him that loved us. (Rom 8:37) God bless and be encouraged.

Get a free stock…https://join.robinhood.com/angels1702

Picture courtesy of Michael Burghers…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Burghers_michael_saintpolycarp.jpg

Bible verses provided courtesy of http://www.biblegateway.com

(1) https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/study/module/polycarp/

Something different…

 

Greetings. We are going to take a break in our studies of the book of Revelation. The Lord led me to post from my other blog a subject that will make you hunger for God’s word.

                                    Amazing facts from the Bible. 

Have you tried to read the Bible, only to be frustrated at not understanding it? Are you a skeptic, thinking that it is filled with fairy tales? I have news for you, friend, God’s word is real and it is alive. Let us look at this amazing fact-

” Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?”                                                         (Job 38:35)

Think about this verse and the time in which it was written. The book of Job was the oldest book of the Bible. Can you fathom what was in the mind of the reader who was alive during that time?  Lightning talking to you? It, also, gives the glory to God alone who could perform that miracle.

Now, let’s go to the present. We all know that electricity carries our voices and images throughout different ways of media and communication. Yes, from the time to Benjamin Franklin, who was thought to be the pioneer of electricity, man has come a long way in it’s development. Man discovered electricity and the laws that make them work, but God had that knowledge way back in the days of Job.

Here is another Bible nugget. Let’s read the verse below—

 “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: ” (Isa 40:22)

This is another prophetic wonder of God and how he foresaw the future. Since the time before Christopher Columbus circled the Earth, man held to the belief that the Earth was flat. We, all, know what happened-Columbus proved that theory wrong and discovered the new world, but it doesn’t stop there—there is more in Isaiah 40:22. 

Notice the words- “…Stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain… ” Science has discovered that the universe is being stretched out by an unseen force.  If our leaders and governments would have taken God at his word, imagine all that money that our government could have saved. All it would have took is a couple of dollars to buy a bible and turn to Isaiah 40:22 and the answer could have been right under their nose instead of doing all that expensive research at taxpayer’s expense. 

                                    Final thoughts.                                

It is my prayer that this will stir up any hunger to read God’s word. If God’s word foretold these thing centuries ago, then you can rest assured that God will reveal your plan for your life. He will show you the end from the beginning and make you more than a conqueror!

Let me end my thoughts by sharing the following-” 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.” (Jer 29:11) You have a future with Jesus and it is a glorious one. God bless.

The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. (Rev 2:15)

                                Defining the word doctrine 

Greetings. In this Bible study, we will look into the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. As you study Rev 2, you will find that God mentions the Nicolaitanes two times. When you see a word repeated in the Bible, pay attention. Doing so will help you find out what God is trying to tell you.

First, let’s define the word doctrine. Webster’s dictionary defines it as something that is taught. Teachings or instruction. The word of God places great importance on the doctrine of Christ. (Heb 6:1) What is God trying to tell us concerning doctrine? Correct doctrine is important and failure to adhere to it can have grave consequences

Let dig in further. The word Nicolaitanes comes from two Greek words. Nikos and Laos. Combine together it means the conqueror of the people or laity. The Lord has placed Pastors as the authority of the local church. The Holy Spirit speaks to the Pastors first, and then to the church. Pastors are supposed to be hearing and guiding the church thru the Holy Spirit.

                                The root of false doctrine 

When the people override the Pastor’s authority, there is division. Respecting God’s spiritual authority in the church will bring you into a safe place. Everyone needs to know their place in the church so it can operate in peace and harmony. Miriam and Aaron got into trouble because they tried to override Moses authority. (Numbers 12:1-9)

Most theologians believe that the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes came from Nicolas, one of the first deacons of the church. (Acts 6:1-5). The Apostle Paul had warned that out of the congregation would come division and strange doctrines. (Acts 20:30-31) This message would not be received in today’s modern user-friendly church. The church needs to receive correction and warnings so that they could be watchful and not allow the enemy place.

Let’s look at the life of Nicolas and how this false doctrine came into being–

  • First, Nicolas might have been a charismatic person, finding fault with everything and everyone. Maybe, he wanted to go on his own (without being ordained) and have his own church.
  • Another possibility is mixture. Mixture could have played a role because some people in the church of Ephesus had books of curious arts (Witchcraft and sorcery–Acts 19:19).
  • Finally,  it stands to reason since they were in a sexually liberal city, they had lowered their standards.

                             Watch and pray 

It is not clear what happened, but false doctrine rose up to try to destroy the Ephesian church. God complimented them for their stand against those false teachings. What is the central message for us in this day and age? Watch! Brethren, now more than ever, we need to watch for false doctrine.

Some churches are lowering their standards. Holiness is a foreign word in some churches and grace is being perverted. It’s time to pray, stand firm in the Lord, and be vigilant. Let’s learn from this example and reject any false teachings in our lives. Pray and support your Pastor. Allow God to use him to bring about correction and order. Doing so will keep you on the right path and in a place of safety. God bless.

 

FORGIVENESS: THE ANTIBIOTIC FOR THE WOUNDED SOUL (Guest Blogger)

Tracey Moore is a minister, writer, and poet.

Since we have so many opportunities to be offended every day, and we have to forgive often to make sure we are not in a state of torment, it’s imperative that we get good at forgiveness. Not only do we need to forgive, but we need to forgive quickly. We need to refuse to give the enemy any room to shut down the anointing on our lives and steal our peace and joy. Amen?

That being said, I’d like to point out that I often see God as presenting concepts to me with three elements on which to focus. Forgiveness is another one of those concepts that I view as analogous to a three-legged stool. The three legs that keep the stool stable and balanced are three quality decisions we must make based on truths in the Word of God:

  1. We trust God to pay back the perpetrator for the wrong done to us in His way and in His time. God said in Romans 12:19, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” He also says in Isaiah 61:8, “For, I the Lord, love justice.” Exodus 34:7 says, “He will not leave the guilty unpunished.” Therefore, you can trust God to repay the wrong that was done to you. You have His Word on it. 
  1. We trust God to pay us back double for what we have lost. Isaiah 61:7 says, “For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.” God is saying that I will pay you back more than what you lost if you will trust Me. 
  1. We take the prescribed actions that have been commanded in the Word toward our enemies.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. When you take these actions toward your enemies, THAT is the true sign of forgiveness. 

In summary, when you make these decisions and act accordingly, the power to heal flows from God. Your soul flourishes and prospers. It’s not about feelings. The bad feelings you may be experiencing are the by-product of an unhealed soul wound. Making the right DECISIONS to believe and take corresponding actions is when the healing will break forth.  As a result, anger and bitterness will subside.

Forgiveness is the antibiotic that will cleanse that soul wound and allow it to heal. Therefore, forgiveness is not simply the absence of emotions, It’s the presence of faith in God. Trusting Him at his word and executing specific behaviors that can be clearly observed. So if you are harboring any unforgiveness in your heart, why not give yourself the gift of forgiveness? Decide to let the healing begin today! When you decide and act in the manner God requires, your three-legged stool of forgiveness will remain stable and so will your life. 

If you would like to read more of Rev. Tracey Moore’s teachings, click on the link below…https://traceylmoore.com/

 

Have you left your first love?

Stay open to your tree

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Rev 2:4)

In our past studies, we took a hard look at the church of Ephesus. This was a church that was founded by the Apostle Paul. It was a church that had tremendous growth. They won so many souls that they, practically, emptied the temple of Diana. The idol Diana brought great gain to the silversmiths, and this massive conversion to Christ affected their business. They, in return, stirred the mob against Paul and the church.

In spite of all this opposition, God protected Paul. The church overcame this obstacle and increased in size. God gave them uncommon favor with those in high places and they influenced that city for the Lord. We could conclude a happy ending to this story, right? Not quite, the Lord had a final say—They left their first love! How did they get so distracted and how does this apply to us?

Defining first love

First, let us address the topic of first love. There have been many interpretations about defining first love, but let’s look at Matt 22:37-38 —
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

So, based on this verse above, we find that loving God is the first thing we should do. We could conclude by this that the Lord Jesus is our first love. He is before your wife/husband, family, job, etc. When you love someone, you do the things that please them. They have top priority,

Perhaps, the church was doing things in a routine way. When you get to see many miracles, signs, and wonders, it can get to be a routine. Another thought to this is their work in the ministry. Working for the Lord in ministry is good, but it can have its drawbacks.

Church Pastors can get caught up in helping the poor and other community ministry outreaches that it robs their time with God. After a while, they spend less time in prayer and Bible study. The results? Their sermons are improvised and not anointed. Finally, maybe many rich and influential members were pressuring its leaders to adopt worldly ways of doing things that were not right with God. A spirit of compromise could have been a major factor causing them to lose their first love.

It is an unknown issue what happened in that church. The main issue is that there was a falling away from God. They had grown cold towards God and lost their first love, but not all is lost. God had some answers to this problem.

Consequences and benefits

To further enhance this study, we will use the Amplified version. The Amplified version of the Bible gives us clarity on God’s ultimatum (Consequences and benefits). Let’s look at the following verses below–

So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent. Yet you have this [to your credit], that you hate the works and corrupt teachings of the [a]Nicolaitans [that mislead and delude the people], which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who [b]overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant [the privilege] to eat [the fruit] from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’(Rev 2:5-7)

God is threatening to remove their candle. What does this mean? This means that they will lose their influence with those in high places. They will not longer be making an impact on society. On the bright side, God has an answer to their problem. The answer is that if they get this matter corrected, they will eat the fruit of the tree of life. God is opening up heaven on earth again if they repent.
Proverbs 15:4 says that a wholesome tongue is a tree of life. This talks of dominion and authority. Your tongue can bring life and death. God has given us authority to tread on serpents, scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19)

As we study this subject further, God is addressing their authority. Their authority was at stake in this matter. They were at risk of forfeiting their authority because of their sin. The good news was that God was willing to take them to even deeper dimensions and blessings. The only thing that was required was repentance and correcting the problem of falling away.

They had a choice to make. The first one was to continue in their sin and forfeit their authority. The other alternative was to repent and correct the problem. God, always, gives us a choice. There is a saying that with great power comes great responsibility.

Personal application

As we ponder on this example, we need to ask ourselves–Have I lost my first love with Jesus? Here are some points to consider..

  • Have I had so many answers to prayers that I become complacent and robotic in my service to the Lord?
  • Have I allowed distractions to take away my time from the Lord?
  • Have I been so involved in ministries and good works that I placed the Lord in second place?

Let us not cut the flow of blessings from God in our lives. God is a jealous God and he demands our time with him. Doing so will allow us to continue to eat from the tree of life and be an overcomer.

 

Our latest guest blogger.

Brother Carlos Garcia

It is my pleasure to have as our guest blogger Brother Carlos Garcia. I have known Carlos for more than 10 years. He has the heart of a poet and writer. Here are some thoughts he wants to share about the Corona virus pandemic. Whether or not you agree with his thoughts, it will make make you think about the people who have lost their loved ones to this terrible disease.

                                   Healing the Pandemic’s effect.

Have you ever survived a crash or a traumatic event in your life?  Yet, when the event is over, the experience you went through continues to linger.  At times, the trauma visits you in the form of a dream, or better said, a nightmare.  The pain keeps coming back and making your breathing heavy and labored.  You keep trying to find relief, but you can’t seem to find freedom from it. 

The pandemic turned many worlds upside down.  Let’s look at some key points…

  • Many lost loved ones.
  • Others lost businesses.
  • Finally, many lost themselves in the mist of the chaos.

                                 Identifying with pain

 We all need healing, a voice and hope. This year is halfway over. Though many have moved on, It’s hard to look forward because your heart is with those who have passed away.  You wish you could move on.  You can’t let go and you’re in a stasis as life moves on past you. 

Many are trapped and stuck. They are surrounded by what some never acknowledged to be true, but you know the other side of the story. You wish you could move on. No one has seen the pain and the loss like those on the front lines.  This select group has seen death up close in a way that has not been reported in the news.

Death and the pain of loss is real.  Few will ever see what nurses and doctors have endured during this past year of loss. Walk with me and let’s find healing together.  Here is a small excerpt from my book-—-                                                    

                                         12, 16, 24-hour shifts,

Fighting for the lives of others. Exhausted, you still stand. To labor another day.  Another day to save the ones dying. Fighting against the madness. Bold, strong, feeling so weak. Vulnerable, shaken and feeble, Yet, I declare you are strong. Bold, joyful and courageous.

                            Finding comfort in the book of Psalms. 

The book of Psalms is a timeless book in the Bible where many go to find solace and comfort. To identify with the feelings of pain, guilt, anger, and regret.  This book runs the gamut of emotions that humans need to express to God while revealing what is taking place in their hearts.  We need the book of Psalms. 

 The book of Psalms is essential for our sanity, humanity and soul.  Poetry portrays the raw inner strength and inner struggles.  I pray that the reliability of these poems reaches deep into your heart and helps you find healing. God bless you.  

                                     Editor’s notes 

I hope you have been motivated by the heart of Brother Carlos thoughts. He will be our guest on our Sunday online church service sometime in July. He has written various books and his latest is titled Healing in the time of Corona virus which is available through Amazon.                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Guest blogger.

Pastor Pardon and his wife Sherry

Greetings. I am honored to have my good friend Pastor Doc Pardon grace us with his post on our blog. Pastor Doc is an anointed teacher and speaker. He has authored a few books that brings encouragement and challenges our walk with the Lord. So, make yourself comfortable and prepare to be blessed as you read his post.                     

                                              The Fulness in Christ

and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:22-23)

We are seated in Christ in heavenly places (Eph.2:6).  He is in us and we are in Him.  He is the head of the church, and we are His body.  All the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Him.  Colossians 2:9-10 says ‘For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.’ 

The complete capacity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwells in Him in bodily form, and we are in Him.  Glory to God!  So, since Christ is in us, and we are in Him, all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in us by the Holy Spirit!  Romans 8:11 says ‘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 (make alive) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.’ 

                                        Victory in Christ 

The resurrection power, the life-giving power, the fulness of Almighty God dwells in us!  We are complete in Christ.  There should be no sickness, it’s been defeated.  There should be no sin, for the sin problem has been dealt with; it’s been washed away. 

We must open our eyes to who we are in Christ!  In Christ!  The first part of 2 Corinthians 2:14 says ‘Now thanks be to God who always leads us to triumph in Christ!’  TPT says ‘God always makes His grace visible in Christ, who includes us as partners of His endless triumph.’ 

Jesus Christ always wins!  We are victorious through Christ.  The only way you can be defeated is if you allow it. Jesus said in John 8:31-32 ‘If you continue (abide, stay) in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’  The truth is what sets us free. 

                                            In Christ 

Knowing the truth make us free.  The truth is God’s word.  Jesus said in John 15:4-8 that we have got to abide in Him.  We bear the fruit of the Spirit when we abide in Christ.  If we don’t bear fruit, then we are cut off from the vine.  The branch doesn’t bear fruit of itself, but of the vine. 

The branches are an extension of the vine, and bears the fruit of the vine.  The branches that are diseased and are not producing fruit, are cutoff so that the branches that are producing fruit can continue receiving the proper nutrients of the vine.  The branches that are producing fruit, get pruned so they can produce more fruit. 

You cut off the diseased branches to keep the disease from spreading to the other branches. In summary, we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, and we should be operating from a stance of victory, not for victory.  The victory is already ours, and this empowers us by the Holy Spirit to go into all the world and teach others about the salvation that has been made available to all. 

Learn who you are in Christ.  Learn that all the fulness of the Godhead bodily is in Christ.  All authority has been given unto Him (Matt. 28:18), so go in this authority and make disciples of all nations!  Praise the Lord!

Editor’s note–We hope that you have been blessed by Pastor Doc Pardon. His teachings and studies can be found at https://www.biblelifeglobal.com/

For a copy of his latest book, click on this link…https://www.biblelifeglobal.com/mybook

A look at the Church of Ephesus–Part 2

 

A study of Ephesus

In our last Bible study, we had seen how God used the Apostle Paul to raise up a church in Ephesus. Ephesus was a city where the false God Diana was worshiped. That cult had a large following and it’s temple seated anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 people. It took Paul three years to establish the church and as a result of his efforts, there was revival.

How revival started in Ephesus.

Before we address how revival started in the city of Ephesus, we will see a series of events that occurred prior to that event. Let’s look at some points—

  1. Paul spent some time ministering to twelve men. He made sure they were equipped and ready for the challenge. ( Acts 19:1-7)
  2. Paul preached the gospel in the synagogues. He was not afraid to stand up to his beliefs. Unfortunately, many rejected his witness. (Acts 19:8-9)
  3. Another door of opportunity opened up for Paul. Tyrannus had a place for Paul to teach the gospel unto others. This, in turn, allowed his students to preach the word and reach many in his surroundings.
  4. God confirmed his miracles with signs and wonders (Acts 19:12)
  5. An unsaved group of men tried to take upon themselves the casting of demons. The results were disastrous. (Acts 19:14-16)
  6. This incident caused the church to examine themselves by the Holy Spirit. The church had allowed mixture to creep in. They repented and burned all the books that had to do with curious arts such as Magic, Sorcery and the Occult. (Acts 19:19)
  7. The result was the growth of the word of God and souls coming to the kingdom

The backlash

As a result of these events, souls started to get saved and the temple was getting empty. Idolatry was big business and the silversmith industry was getting clobbered. No longer were the idols of Diana being sold. Demetrius led a mob with false accusations to kill Paul and stop this revival, but it backfired. (Acts 19:24-41)

Entering into God’s rest

The church of Ephesus, eventually, prevailed. They went on to exercise great influence on their city. They passed the test and God gave them rest to do his work in that area. Many believers have the mistaken idea that they need to suffer constant attacks from the enemy. It gives them a sense of comfort and assurance of their salvation. Yes, Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy but he can depart from you for a season.

Let’s look at the following points. First, the devil departed from Jesus for a season. (Luke 4:13). Would we conclude that there was something wrong with Jesus because the devil departed from him? No, Jesus passed his testings in the wilderness! Second point to consider is Acts 9:31. The churches had rest for a season. Passing your testings in life will cause Satan to depart from you for a season.

That is why it is so important to pray for those over us. God wants us to lead a quiet and peaceable life. (I Tim 2:1-3). Friends, there are times of rest that God gives us for our benefit. When we pray for those above us, it can influence our leader’s heart and give the church favor.

The third point is pleasing God. You can have a church in the midst of people who hate you. When you start looking to please God and be obedient to his calling, your enemies will be at peace with you. The fear of God will be prevalent and uncommon favor will follow.(Prov 16:7) 

One final point is understanding the word from a military point of view. The word of God calls us soldiers. (2 Tim 2:3) I was in the military myself and understood the importance of rest. Soldiers need time to rest. A much-needed rest will help them to enjoy the fruits of their labors. It will refresh them for the next battle to com.

End result

The end result of God’s rest is victory. The church of Ephesus was so  influential that many ministries wanted to get it’s stamp of approval. A stamp of approval would mean that they would expand to other areas, but it was not that easy.  The leadership at Ephesus had the gift of discernment. They knew whether the Apostles were sent or not. (Rev 2:1-3)

Another notable achievement with this church was following correct doctrine. Correct doctrine was very important. Discerning the false doctrines of it’s day–the Nicolaitanes caused the Lord to be pleased with their work. (Rev 2:6) All these achievements would make for a happy ending, but the Lord is not through. He noticed that they had fallen from their first love. In our next study, we will see how the Lord deals with this short-coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A look at the church of Ephesus.

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on Pexels.com

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In our last study, we saw the introduction of the seven candlesticks and stars. The Lord Jesus had appeared unto John in the midst of the candlesticks. He noticed that the Lord had the seven stars in his right hand. This imagery is interesting and symbolic as we will see below–

  1. The Holy Spirit defined the stars as angels. The  Greek word for Angels is Aggelos, which means human messengers. These were the Pastors of the churches located in Turkey.
  2. The candlesticks were defined as the churches.  There were seven churches mentioned —-
  •  Ephesus–The Loveless church
  • Smyrna–The Suffering church
  • Pergamos–The Worldly church
  • Thyatira–The adulterous church
  •  Sardis–The dead church.
  • Philadelphia–The faithful church
  • Laodicea–The Lukewarm church.

The church of Ephesus

For the sake of our studies, we will take a look at the church of Ephesus. It is interesting what we will find described below–

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; (Rev 2:1)

Let’s begin by taking a look at our Lord Jesus. Jesus came to earth to die for our sins. He rose up on the third day and is sitting on the right hand of the Father. Sitting is symbolic of rest. He completed his work on earth  There are times in which he has stood up for important events.

One good example was with Stephen. As he was getting ready to be martyred by the mob, he had a vision. Jesus stood up to honor Stephen. (Acts 7:55) In Rev 1:13, we see Jesus standing again in the midst of the candlesticks.

As we turn our attention to Rev 2:1, we see him walking. Jesus wanted to see the whole picture concerning what was happening in the churches. Walking among the churches gave him a better view of existing issues within that area. Let’s look at the following verses below —

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. (Rev 2:2-3)

Notice how the Lord begins his conversation. I know thy works! The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He starts off commending them for their good works. They labored (Worked hard in the ministry), exercised patience, and hated evil.

A blow against idolatry

It would do the body good to hate evil and love righteousness. It will bring a spirit of joy which, in turn, will give us strength. It gave the church of Ephesus the strength to do God’s work. (Heb 1:9) Joy is a powerful force.

One point to consider is the name of Ephesus. The word Ephesus means desirable. God desired to reach the city of  Ephesus. It was a stronghold for the godess Diana. Its temple housed a great multitude of people. It is believed that it seated about 20,000 to 30,000 people.

Idolatry was big business in that area. It brought great gain in the financial realm. Silversmiths were making good money craving the idol of Diana for the people. The Apostle Paul was sent by God to do his work in that area for about three years. God used him to bring about a mighty revival in that area.

The turning of the people from Diana to God affected the idol trade. Greedy and evil people stirred the mob against Paul, putting his life in peril. (Acts 19) God’s word prevailed, and the church developed tremendous revelation knowledge to win that whole city for the Lord. In our next study, we will see how important it is for believers to enter into God’s rest. We will, also, see some wonderful revelation knowledge that was brought to that church.

Prayer–Dear Lord, help me to apply this lesson to my life. Help me to love righteousness and hate iniquity. Restore the joy of my salvation. Use me to impact my family, community and society–In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Our special Guest blogger

stop condemning yourself

Greetings. I want to introduce a new feature to our blog. We are having a guest blogger today. Our guest blogger is my good friend Tracey Moore. Her teachings will inspire and motivate you. So, sit back and enjoy today’s Bible teaching entitled– What’s wrong with me?

 What’s wrong with me? 

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What’s wrong with me?” I know that I have many times, and God is now challenging me to not do that anymore.  God has shown me that this is the wrong question to ask on so many levels. There needs to be a change. We need to stop asking –What’s wrong with me?   

There are several reasons why we need to stop asking “What is wrong with me?”

1-The question “What’s wrong with me?” reeks of judgment and condemnation. Romans 8:1 (KJV) says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” 

2-God wants us to focus on the good in us. Didn’t He say in Philippians 4:8 (KJV), “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things?”

3-God says in Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV), “I the Lord search the heart, I examine the mind.” God is the examiner. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to examine ourselves for the purpose of diagnosing ourselves so we can make changes because the scriptures tell us clearly that’s God’s job. The Holy Spirit is the Agent of Change.

4-Psalm 19:12 (NIV) says, “Who can discern his own errors? Cleanse me from my hidden faults.” David knew it was pointless to ask himself “What’s wrong with me?” because we as human beings don’t have the capability to find errors in ourselves. That information has to be revealed by the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

5-We are probably asking the question and looking for the answer so that we can fix ourselves and appropriate our own righteousness.

 Asking what’s wrong with me is counterproductive. 

Honestly, that question is injected into our minds by the devil and is fueled by the lie he tells us, “If I don’t focus on what’s wrong with me, I’ll never change.” The truth is, the more I focus on what is wrong with me, the less progress I will make. That seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. Why? I Peter 5:5 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” So asking “What’s wrong with me?” and trying to change ourselves creates conditions that will impede the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

A better option is prayer

Let’s get real. When we stop asking “What’s wrong with me?” is a clear indication to God that we have stopped trying to do His job. The better option is to pray and tell God the following:

“Lord, I give up. I don’t know what is wrong with me but you do.

I give up trying to diagnose and change myself.

I am asking you to give me revelation and change me by the power of your Holy Spirit.

Please tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

I trust you to make the necessary changes in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

If you have been blessed and would like to know more about Tracey Moore’s ministry, please on the following link….http://traceylmoore.wordpress.com