CTT | God’s Word for You in 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

God’s Word for You in 2016 is the same as it has been since the second century A.D., namely the whole of scriptures from בְּרֵאשִׁית (“In the beginning” of Gen 1:1) to the ἀμήν (Amen of Rev 22:21).

Does God have a special word for His Church in 2016? No. Does He have a special slogan or focus verse for your church in 2016? No.

2 Timothy 3 (ESV) | Godlessness in the Last Days

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God

10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Why do so many self-proclaimed prophets/apostles declare a “word of the Lord” for the new calendar year? Because they are false and practicing divination, sooth-saying, and astrology. I can say that of the big ones, the celebrity false prophets like Heidi Baker, Patricia King, Bill Hammon, Dutch Sheets, Bill Johnson, Chuck Pierce, Rick Joyner, and whoever else you might see writing something “prophetic” in Charisma Magazine. But there are a thousands of deceived pastors and church-plant leaders, who’ve attended “leadership conferences” who believe they are supposed to get a direct revelation from God concerning this new calendar year… that God the Holy Spirit has some special word for 2016, as though He were some 2-bit marketing guru with a psychology degree. They are under the mistaken notion that it is up to them to deliver some fresh word from God otherwise the congregation will miss out on what God is doing in 2016. Such a horrible burden… horrible and unbiblical. This is neither the role of the pastor nor of the Holy Spirit we see clearly written in Scripture.

2 Timothy 4:1-8 (ESV) | Preach the Word

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of mydeparture has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

God isn’t bound to any calendar, much less our Roman one. He isn’t bound to the Hebrew Calendar, either. God’s Will is accomplished by His Power and Might. God wasn’t waiting for the ball to drop in NYC. He wasn’t waiting for a shofar to blow in Jerusalem. We are not a part of the Mosaic covenant; rather, we who are of the faith are part of the New Covenant by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Remember the Galatians, who were gentiles at first, saved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then deceived by the Judaizers to submit themselves under the Mosaic covenant, look at what Paul had to say to them in the following passage:

Galatians 3:23-4:20 (ESV)

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Sons and Heirs

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave,though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Paul’s Concern for the Galatians

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

12 Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are.You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Just as the Judaizers wished to shut out the Galatians so that they would in-turn make much of them… these false-prophets seek to insert themselves as intermediaries between you and your Heavenly Father. They want you to flock to them for a fresh word from God… a word that will carry no meaning, no weight, no Life but will make you feel important, special, and motivated to do more (for them) and give more (money to them).

Conclusion

Is it a sin to look forward to the new year? No. Is it a sin to make resolutions or to set goals for the new year? Absolutely not. It is a sin to search for God in ways He has expressly forbidden… mediums, diviners, and false prophets. Repent, and be forgiven in Jesus’ Name. Read the Written Word of God… let it be sufficient to for you as Paul told Timothy it was. God’s Word is sufficient. It is the only means by which we might gain faith. Be in the Word, be in Christ, and do not be led astray by men who preach a different gospel and speak by a different spirit.

Revelation 19:6-10 (ESV) | The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Taking Some Time Off

16_luke2-collectionWith all of the traveling my family is going to be doing over the next 3 weeks, I think it’s time we took a bit of a break from blogging. I pray you each spend time in prayer and in the Word during this Holiday season. Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bear fruit in keeping with repentance, forgive others as you have been forgiven in Jesus Name.

Matthew 6:5-21 (ESV)

The Lord’s Prayer

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, forthey think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them,for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Fasting

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rustdestroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

If the Lord should tarry, we should be back to blogging here at Faithful Stewardship for Gospel Wednesday, January 14, 2015. We will be picking back up in the Gospel According to Matthew.  Until then, we plan on sharing good material we find on our Facebook Page.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Reaching forward to what lies ahead in 2014…

Happy New Year 2014In my family, New Years is the big holiday for the family to gather together and thank God for the year that has drawn to a close, and pray for His blessing on the year to come.  I am still on vacation, so this post will be rather short today; however, I did want to share what has been on my mind for 2014. A close brother in Christ shared the Sunday morning message at our church and he highlighted the following passage in Philippians.

Philippians 3:13-16 (NASB)
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

My wife and I have spent a great deal of time in December, discussing all of the ways that God has matured us and blessed us. We do tend to focus a bit too much on the various “growth opportunities” (trials) we faced in 2013.

I am not writing to tell you what God has in store for you in 2014… not specifically anyway. Rather, I know that to move on with the proper attitude, Paul begins his advice with the phrase, “forgetting what lies behind”. One thing I noticed here is that Paul didn’t specify “just the bad things that lie behind”. He said to forget what lies behind. That’s important, because too often we become so focused on the good things God did in the past that we fail to recognize any of God’s blessings that don’t look exactly like the blessings of the past. In doing so, we limit God and hurt ourselves and those around us by not being in a position/mindset to fully recognize and acknowledge the blessings of God. But holding on to the trials too tightly can be even worse. Not only can that rob us of future blessings, and blind us of future trials, but holding on too tightly to the trials themselves can rob us of the very lesson God had intended for us to learn from it. Additionally, we can leave room for the enemy to plant seeds of bitterness when hold on too tightly to the trials of the past.

I am writing this to encourage you (and me) to seek the Will of God for 2014. Our church begins each New Year with prayer and fasting. What is God calling you to do in 2014? What is the prize for upon which you need to set your gaze? I recommend, keeping a prayer journal, and writing down what you feel the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Once you’ve written down what you feel is God’s call for you this year, search out the Scriptures for what you’ve written down. Once you’ve found the scriptural basis for what you’ve written down, you can be confident that you heard from God and rest in the fact that He has called you to do good works. If you cannot find scriptural basis, maybe ask a brother or sister in Christ to pray with you and search the scriptures with you.  It could also be that you’ve injected your own desires or what you think God would want you to do. We’ve all done this at one time or another and to varying degrees. Here again, is why we need to be surrounded by Godly council and brotherly love.

I’m looking forward to 2014. I pray that this blog will be an encouragement to your lives in the upcoming year, and that you might share with us the great things He has done in your lives. May the Lord Bless you and keep you this year.

In Him,
FS