"It was He that gave some to be Pastors." Eph 4:11

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Have You Ever Been Born Again?

I remember one time when I asked a man in a Kroger’s parking lot if he had ever been “born again.”  By the confused look on his face, as he pondered the question, I knew that he hadn’t.  That is a question that only those who have experienced it can respond with a yes.  In John 3:3 (read John 3:1-16), Jesus tells Nicodemus, a leader of Israel, “NO ONE can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again!” In other words, nobody can go to heaven unless he has been “born again.” 
Let me ask the same question to you, have you ever been born again? If you were to die today, would you go to heaven? Today there were thousands of people who got out of bed, tied their shoes and left the house not realizing that it would be their last day to live.  I wonder how many were truly at peace with God or “born again.”  Some of you might be asking, what does it mean to be “born again?” Well let’s look at that for a moment together.
The Bible says in Romans 3:23, All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” We can thank our earliest forefathers, Adam and Eve for that! The fact is, they brought sin and death into the world.    When they sinned against God by their disobedience, they brought spiritual death into the human race, which means me and you! However, I personally have done enough sinning myself and I know that I couldn’t blame anyone for my own sin. You are probably saying the same thing. I mean let’s be honest; none of us have been perfect angels. Yet, that really doesn’t matter, the fact is, we ALL need a savior and that Savior we ALL need is Jesus Christ!
God said that there must be punishment for sin. That punishment is the shedding of blood. That’s why in the Old Testament, they sacrificed lambs (1st born male Lamb without blemish) and placed the blood on the Altar of God. However, the blood of an animal could never pay for the sins of the human race.  But in John 3:16, the Bible says that God SO LOVED THE WORLD (people in the world) that He gave HIS ONLY SON, to be the blood sacrifice, to pay the price for our sin. That is why Jesus is called the, “lamb (sacrifice) of God.  That’s why Jesus had to die and shed His Blood on the Cross. He died for our sin! He took our place and died for our sin!  WOW!! THANK YOU SO MUCH JESUS!!!!  There is an old song that I still sing from time to time that goes like this, He paid a debt He did not owe and I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away.

After Jesus died, three days later (Easter Sunday), He rose from the dead with a  glorified body and ascended to heaven where He is right now.  He bought life back for us. We can now have our spiritual life back. We don’t have to be separated from God any longer. We can now be “BORN AGAIN.”  Before Jesus died and paid the price for our sin, God’s Spirit lived in temples. But now, He lives in the souls of every one that has been saved or “Born again.”  In fact the Bible says that we now are the TEMPLE OF GOD!  PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!!  God’s Holy Spirit can now live on the inside of us.  We can be forgiven of our sins and have the assurance that if we were to die today, we would go to Heaven.  So, be sure that when you celebrate Easter this Sunday, you honor God’s precious Gift and go to church! Easter is so much more than a bunny and coloring eggs. Hopefully your kids know more about Easter than coloring eggs!
Ok, now, how do you become born again? How do you receive life back into your spirit or how can you be reunited with God and His Spirit dwelling in your soul? That is simple.  The Bible says that whosoever calls on the Name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved!  In Romans 10:9 it says, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED (born again)!  That is it! Let me say it this way, all you have to do Is confess to God you are a sinner, that you have sinned, ask Him to forgive you. Then, ask Jesus to come into your heart and live. Tell him, Jesus I want to be born again! I want to receive your precious gift that you paid for by dying in my place on the cross. If you pray that prayer, you will be born again! Jesus will come into your soul and bring life and healing into your being.
Obviously there is much more to be said on the subject, that’s why we all should find a good Bible preaching church and attend faithfully.  I became born again on July 10, 1988, That was the greatest day of my life. The old me died!  And the New me is now living for God!  I’m no longer the same! I don’t live the same way, do the same things or go to the same places!  The Bible says I am a NEW CREATION, the old is passed away and the NEW has come.   Ask anybody that knew me before I was born again and they will tell you that person is no longer alive; the Spirit of God lives in me and talks with me. I am possessed by God’s Spirit!
There are hundreds of other religions out there but NONE OF THEM can lead you to God. Only one person died for you. The Bible says there is only one name under heaven by which a man can be saved, that name is Jesus Christ!
Well I hope that reading this blog has blessed your soul as much as it has blessed mine writing it!  This Easter Sunday, Let’s not just stay home and color eggs. Go to church and honor the Lord Jesus Christ. Easter is a special day. It’s a day the Devil hates, but a day that God loves!  Be looking for my next Blog! I will be writing about, “The Signs of The Times.” You won’t want to miss it! Until next time, become “BORN AGAIN!”
In God’s Love and Mine – Pastor Rick

Monday, March 28, 2011

And What About Angels?

Angels- what a fascinating subject to share with you today! There have been thousands of books written about “angels”, hundreds of movies made on the subject, and many stories have been told about personal experiences with them.  I am going to share with you the truth about angels that is found only in the Holy Scriptures of God’s Word. I mean, after all, He is their Creator and His (God)opinion is the only opinion that should count.

Since we already know that angels exist (which, they DO exist), let’s discuss three different areas today on the topic of angels. First, who and what are they? Secondly, where do they exist?  Thirdly, what is their purpose for existing?
Who and What Are Angels?
Angels are spiritual beings that were created by God. They have a spiritual body and they CAN appear in physical, bodily form in the earth. The Bible is full of examples where angels appear to people and deliver a message from God or assist man in some way.  So yes, an angel can appear and talk to you. However, I must add that according to the Bible, there are only specific reasons why an angel would do that (I will address this in my third point). There are giant massive angels and yet, many times they appear to us in normal human form. They are beautiful, glorious beings and they are holy by nature.

     They do not marry, nor do they have children. They are not human beings that have died and then are turned into angels by God. According to scripture, God DOES NOT turn people into angels.  Therefore, our dead relatives are not angels on the earth watching out for us. If our relatives made it to heaven, then that is where they are to remain. The Bible is very clear on this point. There are only two places that we go when we die, Heaven or Hell; not wandering around the earth, lost or reincarnated. According to the Bible, there are THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANGELS.  There is the Archangel, which is the most powerful of all the angels.  The Bible names one of them as Michael, God’s Chief Archangel of Battle. He is a very powerful angel that defeated Lucifer (Satan) and cast him out of Heaven.  

Next are the Cherubim. The Bible calls Lucifer a Great Guardian Cherub. When Lucifer was cast out of Heaven by Michael, the Bible says he took 1/3 of the stars (angels) with him. We know that 1/3 of the angels revolted with Satan to fight against Michael/God.  That is where “Fallen Angels” or Demons come from.  They were all defeated and cast down to the earth!

 Lastly, there are the Seraphim. Not much is mentioned about them except that they are seen flying around the Mighty Altar of God. In the Book of Hebrews, chapter twelve, it says that in Holy Jerusalem (Heaven), there are an “innumerable company (too many to count) of Angels.” 

Secondly, where do angels exist?
There are two worlds that God has created, the natural world and the spiritual world.  We obviously live and exist mainly in the natural world.  However, the spiritual world is very much a reality as well(this is a topic for a later day), and angels exist there. However, on occasion they crossover into our world to carry out a mission from God. The Bible tells us that Heaven is full of angels and many surround the throne of God worshiping Him continuously crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!” What a beautiful image don’t you think?  They also roam the earth’s plain as they constantly are ascending and descending between Heaven and Earth.

Thirdly, what is the purpose of their existence?
This is the perfect place to address the question, “Do we have a guardian angel?” The answer is, Yes and No.  Psalms 34:7 says, “The Angel of the Lord camps around those who fear God and He delivers them! The word “fear” means to love, respect, and serve God. Those of us who serve God are guarded by His holy angels and are delivered (helped and saved) by them. Those who do evil or reject God have no such luxury! 
All children have guardian angels as well. In Matthew 18:10 the Bible says, “See that you do not look down on one of these ‘little ones’ for THEIR ANGELS in Heaven always see the face of God. “ In other words, do not hurt or harm little children because they have been assigned powerful angels that are constantly reporting to the face of God Himself!!  WOW!! For all of those who have abused and hurt children, there is a day of judgment coming!! 

Now, as far as each person in the world having a specific guardian angel, the Scriptures do not teach that. God protects us with angels but it doesn’t appear that he assigns specific angels to specifiy people for their entire lives, especially those who are evil and perform wickedness on the earth.  But, that shouldn’t matter to us, because if we love God and worship Him, then all around you, all the time, He has angels that “camp” around you (stay close by). Those angels are there to protect you and perform the work of God with respect to your life. 
     I want to address a very dangerous and deceptive teaching that is out there concerning angels.  leaders in the Occult, New Age, magik, and Voodoo world teach that angels are here to be our “spirit guides," and that they are here to guide us in life.  THAT IS A LIE!!! The only spirit guide you should ever listen to is the Holy Spirit who lives inside the “born again Christian.” God is the only one who knows your purpose and your direction, and He will decide when to use angels to help us and bring us a message. We are to NEVER PRAY TO AN ANGEL. We only pray to God, please be very careful! The Bible says in II Corinthians 2:11 that Satan masquerades as an “angel of Light.” 

The last thing I want to say concerning this topic is that in the spiritual world, there is a tremendous war taking place.  We call it “spiritual warfare.”  The Kingdom of God is warring against the Kingdom of Satan. God’s Holy angels are at war with Satan’s fallen angels.  The two sides are fighting for the souls of mankind. Your soul is precious to God and He is fighting for you!! If you have not made God your personal savior, please do so today. Contact me and I will lead you in a simple prayer that will change your life forever. Well, again I must stop at some point. This is another subject that I could probably write a book on. So, until my next blog, be careful how you treat strangers, because the Bible says you might be entertaining an angel without knowing it!! 

In God’s Love and Mine – Pastor Rick

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Demonic Possession II: A Devil's Foothold

Today, I am continuing the subject of “demonic possession.”  There are basically, three stages of a demonic attack, being oppressed by the devil, tormented by the devil and then complete possession by the devil. Let’s look into some of the root causes.
In Ephesians 4:27, the Bible says, “do not give the devil a “foothold.” (NIV). The Word “foothold is the English translation for the Greek word “Topos.”  The word “Topos” means: place, location or License. In other words, what the Bible is teaching us is, DO NOT give the devil a place or a location into your life (soul) and do not give the devil a “LICENSE to oppress, torment, or possess you.  Let’s put it another way, DO NOT give the devil a “LEGAL RIGHT” (license) to have a space or location into your soul. Wow!! What a powerful warning that God gives us in His Word. 
The Scriptures directly above verse 27 and below (Eph 4:17-32) give us greater insight into what actually constitutes a demonic foothold. Let’s look at three "footholds" or legal rights that the devil can have into a person’s life. First, the Bible talks about being “separated from the Life of God.” There are some people who don’t even believe that there is a God. These people are separated from Him. The Bible says, “A Fool has said in his heart that there is no God.”If God has no part of an individual’s life or of a family’s life, and if they don’t live for God and obey His Word, then they are “separated from the Life of God.” That gives the devil a legal right to attack, torment and/or take up space into that life.  Where ever God isn’t present, you can rest assured that the devil is present.  He loves dark places; he dwells around the life and the family that has no relationship with God. You show me a place that doesn’t have God and I’ll show you a place where the devil has a foothold!  
Secondly, The Bible talks about indulging into sensuality and lust.  In all of my dealings with people who have been possessed by a demon, by far, the number one legal right has been “sexual sin.    Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry in America alone. And with every family having access to the internet, Satan has a HUGE foothold right into our living rooms via "internet pornography." The Bible says all other sins are committed outside the body, but sexual sin (fornication or sex out of marriage, adultery etc...) is a sin that we commit against our own body by which we defile our own flesh.  The Bible also says that when a man and woman join together (sex), they become “ONE FLESH.” That means with whomever you have sexual relations with, you become one with that person. Scary isn’t it!!  This is an open door for the devil to gain access into your life.  That is why God ordained the Marriage bed. Instead of defiling one another, we can sanctify the relationship. Yet in today’s world, people are disregarding Holy Matrimony, and living like the animal kingdom! 
Thirdly, the Bible mentions another foothold called, “UNFORGIVENESS.”  When we don’t forgive a person for their trespasses against us it opens the door to things like:  anger, bitterness, resentment, wrath and animosity.  These raw and negative emotions weigh heavily on the human soul; they also give a legal right for the devil to torment us.  Jesus says to forgive and we shall be forgiven.  If you are carrying these types of emotions around, LET IT GO AND FORGIVE!  It doesn’t mean that whoever hurt you gets away with it; it just keeps you from carrying the offense fresh and new every day. It keeps the devil from gaining access into your life.  Nothing can torment the human soul like the foothold of unforgiveness. 
These are just three footholds I’ve mentioned today. There are many more, but I have to find a place to stop.  I could write a book on this subject.  The point of this blog entry is to bring people into a greater understanding of this subject. 
The best advice I can give is to strengthen your relationship with God.  The more of God you have the more of the light of His Glory shines into your soul. That is the one thing the devil can’t stand, the brightness of God’s precious Holy Spirit.  So be filled with His Spirit Today, which will drive away any evil that tries to harass you. Your life will be much happier and at peace. Until my next blog, forgive those who have wronged you and draw closer to God!
In God’s Love and Mine – Pastor Rick

Monday, March 14, 2011

Demonic Possession

The Haunting of Mary Hartley, The Rite, Exorcist III, Exorcist:The New Beginning, Annelise: the Exorcist Tapes, Paranormal Activity I, Paranormal Activity 2, The Haunting, etc... are all movies produced by Hollywood in the last year or two. What do they all have in common? DEMONIC POSSESSION This does not include all of the mini – series’ showed weekly on regular TV. Hollywood is mass producing these films because they realize there is a large public interest. When there is a large public interest in something, Hollywood capitalizes on it immediately (they’re all about the money).

Why is there such an interest in the Demonic? Because never before in our history have so many people suffered and been tormented by Demons. Witchcraft, Satanism, palm readings, people contacting the dead, reading horoscopes etc... are all on the rise. Psychology is failing people because they are clueless on how to deal with "spiritual" problems. They handle the tormented by medication and medication will not drive out a demon.

As a Pastor, in the last 5 months, I have dealt with 6 cases of SEVERE demonic possession (I'm not mentioning small cases of torment). In one of these cases, a house was terribly haunted. In another case, children were being tormented. 

When I was in Paraguay (3 years ago), I dealt with this on a mass scale. God had to teach me how to bring deliverance on whole congregations at once! That was a profound and awesome experience, let me tell you. People were manifesting all over the place. If it wasn't for the MIGHTY POWER OF GOD, I wouldn't have been able to handle it.

There is a sector of Americans who don't believe in demons, Satan, or Hell. That's OK, they can believe how they want, and I will believe how God believes and teaches. The Bible is full of examples of Jesus driving out demons from all sorts of people.

In one of those examples found in the Book of Acts, there was a man who was horribly possessed. Seven sons of a high priest tried to drive out the unclean spirits. When they did, the demons inside of the man said, "Jesus we know, Paul the Apostle we've heard about, but who are you!" Then this one man under demonic power beat these seven men bloody and naked and they ran out into the streets defeated.

What does this teach us? Without the anointing of God, you can't defeat the devil; you definitely can't help those who are possessed! It takes more than a degree in psychology or a degree in any area of study! You must know how to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. That, my friends, only comes by a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why is there such a rise of Demonic Possession? What is causing this problem? I will answer those questions and many more in my next post. YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS IT!! If you or somebody you know is being tormented or if you suspect there may be demonic activity taking place in somebody’s life, THERE IS HOPE! Don't hesitate to contact me. I promise you this; we can help and there is healing for the soul. Until my next blog, keep your eyes on Jesus. He is theonly true solution there is!

In God's Love and Mine - Pastor Rick

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dealing With Deep Inner Pain

We are living in a day where the majority of people are suffering with "inner pain," the kind  that cuts deep, and most of us haven't a clue on how to fix it.  As a pastor I see it everyday!
     We don't have to look far to find the broken-hearted.  Daily, the reports are murder, rape, and child molestation. Violence and terror is apparent on all sides. Witchcraft and occult practices have a stranglehold on our youth. The American Family is plagued with strife and contention. The fathers are against the mothers and the children are warring against the parents. Divorce rates continue to escalate, leaving behind adults and children that are completely devastated (I could go on and on).
     Physical pain, most can deal with, we usually medicate it with an aspirin, rest or stronger pain medications. However, when we have inner hurts of the soul (heart), we medicate as well. Here is a small list of the most common forms of medication: Sex, relationships, control, food, Vicodin (drug of choice for the middle class), illegal drugs and alcohol, Isolation (escaping), self mutilation (cutting), over working, money, materialism, etc.   This is just a few prescriptions; some even go as far as suicide.  Which one are you medicating with? Of course, we know that these are just temporary fixes to ease the pain, but they NEVER HEAL THE PAIN! in fact they compound the suffering. 
     When you try to talk to somebody, all they do is just prescribe the above medications, in fact, usually they're hurting themselves.  Then you have the hurting helping the hurting and around we go!!!  I recently read a Facebook entry were somebody recommended to a grieving mother to just, "smoke a joint!"
      I've tried many of the above medications to deal with my own personal pain and like you've discovered, none of it worked.  But one day, I was "pouring out my complaint before God," and He heard me!  What happen next changed my life forever. God Himself visited me in a way that human words can't really describe. As I was crying out before Him, He gave me a vision.  In this vision (like a mini movie) Jesus himself came to me and knelt down before me with a Silver Platter.  He took the platter, placed it under my tears and began to catch every tear that I cried. This said to me that every tear I shed is important to Him. Then he did something that I will NEVER forget! He took His hand and reached down deep into my soul and touched my deepest inner part.  Then Healing broke lose throughout my entire spirit, it was like a gentle fountain of warn oil.  I was so profoundly touched.  I will never forget that day in prayer. 
    Let me encourage you with Psalm 142 in the bible, it says, "I cried unto the Lord  with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord I made my supplication. I poured out my complaint before Him. I showed before him all my Trouble."   The bible also says to Taste God and sees that He is Good. Stop trying to just survive with your pain.  Quit medicating your hurt with things that really only cause more suffering.  There is HEALING in Jesus Christ.  Turn to Him and see that He is good.  You won't be disappointed. However, you must turn to Him with your whole heart!  God Is real!! I have learned to "pour out my complaint unto the Lord."  I encourage yo to do the same. It truly works. He is the creator of the human soul and He is the only one that can FIX IT! 
     Next week, I will be dealing with Part II, how to overcome Hindrances to our Healing. You won’t want to miss it! Until my next blog, read Psalm 142 and learn to pour out your complaint to God.

In God's Love and Mine - Pastor Rick

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Behold I Stand at The Door and Knock!

Revelations 3:20 says, "Behold I stand at the door and Knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." 
I am surprised at how distant some people are from God. I mean they really do not know Him. I'm also surprised at how many people are clueless about what God's desires are for there lives. It's something that every person should consider. 
     In my house, we have a beautiful wall hanging above the fireplace mantle that says,"Christ is the HEAD of this home, the unseen guest in every room." That's it and that's that! that is how we live our lives, God as  the Head. He has lead my family into wonderful places, literally to the other side of the equator.  we've made  wonderful friendships and have experienced exotic cultures.
     When difficult and dark times have come (and they have come) God has never abandon his position as Head and Leader.  He has always lead us through and brought us out on the other side unharmed.  Yes! it has cost us friendships, we've had to say no to things that we've wanted to do. We have made decisions that many haven't understood. For example, packing up the family and leaving the country. well....that's OK, because it's been worth the experience TO KNOW GOD AND HIS WILL!  That has been and always will be the supreme goal of  our lives.
     I know  that one day soon, when this life is over, we will stand before God approved.  And I also know that no matter what dangers lie ahead for my family, God will be there as the Captain and Head of our lives.  And that my Friend brings me Great comfort and joy into  the depth of my soul! 
     Today, if your distant with God, the next time He knocks at the door of your heart, let Him come in. Let Him sit as the Captain of your ship. I promise you this, You will be Glad you did!  Until my next post, listen for His knock. 

In God's Love and Mine - Pastor Rick

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Prophetic Insights into Egypt and The Middle East Crisis

When the people of Tunisia broke out into a revolt against the harsh treatment of their government, this had a domino effect throughtout the Middle East and sparked other revolts in Jordan, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Albania, Lebanon, and most recently Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood, a powerful and radical Islamic group, that is highly organized and financed, has capitalized on these “social” revolts and have turned them into “political” revolts.  This has the potential to create government shifts in the entire Middle East region by replacing the older regimes of these nations with much more radical Islamic regimes. 
The Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to install The Sharia Law. This would have devastating implications for Israel and America.  Sharia law states, “ Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden that which hath been for-bidden by Allah and His Messenger,  (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah (holy tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
"I call you to God and to Islam. If you respond to the call, then you are Muslims: You obtain the benefits they enjoy and take up the responsibilities they bear. If you refuse, then you must pay the jizyah. If you refuse the jizyah, I will bring against you tribes of people who are more eager for death (suicide bombers) than you are for life. We will then fight you until God decides between us." If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency. Fear God with regard to what you have been entrusted.
Egypt and Jordan both have signed peace treaties with Israel. If Mubarak’s government is overthrown and replaced with Sharia law and if Jordan is also toppled, these treaties will be abolished and the nation of Israel will stand alone.  Plus, It will now be completely surrounded by pro-Palestinian Governments, the West Bank in the North, Jordan in the East, Gaza in the West and Egypt in the South.   
The Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Ashkenazi warned about the growing radicalization in the region. He said today (2/8/11),  “Given the recent changes across the Middle East, Israel must prepare for an all-out war with battles in several theaters.”
My biggest concern is for America. This is the first time in the history of our nation that a U.S. President has taken an anti-Israeli/pro Palestinian stance. President Obama has continued this posturing throughout the Egyptian crisis as well. That to me is mind boggling. Other than maybe Jordan, Egypt is the only true Arab ally Israel has left in the region.
God said, “I will bless those who bless you (Israel) and I will curse those who curse you.”  I fear for the safety of America if we don’t continue to stand with the “Apple of
God’s Eye.”  In studying end time events, we know that the kings of the North (Russia), South (Egypt) and the kings of the East (China) will form an unholy alliance against Israel.  Wow!! We are closer to that possibility than ever!  Let’s obey the scriptural mandate to, “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” She needs it more than ever! These are exciting times for sure, but they are also dangerous times.  Let me encourage you with the last few words of Jesus Christ.  “When you see all these things come to past, look up for your redemption draws nigh.”  The end of all things is truly at hand. And we
who are looking for His appearing will soon be with Him in eternity forever.  Until my next blog, keep praying for Israel.
In God’s Love and Mine – Pastor Rick