We are reminded in Colossians 3, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God – Colossians 3:1-3. As one who knows many perils in this world, it is easy to become distracted by the world around us; with work, family, appointments, the economy, and stress. Did I mention stress? There is one thing that the LORD does for us when we are founded upon the ROCK that is Christ. We are given His peace. Take some time this month and consider your role in the body.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ – Colossians 3:23-24.
Lift Up A Banner is proud to announce the upcoming release of a new featurette, Into The Fire: The Burning Bush – Where The Spirit Speaks. The short film is set to be released within the next 30 days and I hope that you will be submersed into the Word of God as never before. While many of us consider all of the events and uncertainty in the world, le us jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.
As this may sound confusing, let us consider Daniel 3. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego while operating in great faith, trusted the LORD to deliver them from Nebuchadnezzar because they chose not to bow themselves down to worship other gods or idols. As they were thrown into the exceedingly hot furnace, we read the following, ‘Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
The following is the first three minutes of Into The Fire: The Burning Bush – Where The Spirit Speaks. I pray that as you are watching, listening, and following along, you absorb all the visuals, music, and spoken Word. May you be blessed!
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. – John 9:1-7.
Jesus tells us in Luke chapter 4, reaffirming Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Would you like to receive your sight? Would you like to know what the Messiah meant from those verses of the Bible? Go, walk in the way, wash, and come seeing.
Simply believe that the Word is speaking directly to you. Understand that what is being said, is exactly what it means. And, Jesus, is saying all of it to you personally. It truly is that simple. You may want to buckle up. Click the link above.
Passover not only highlights God’s faithfulness, but it also points to His Son, who was the final sin offering. For this reason, God commanded the Israelites to keep the Passover from generation to generation. This time of year reminds us of the Lord’s faithfulness to His words.
Passover is noteworthy because it symbolizes the crucifixion of the Savior, the ultimate Passover Lamb who freed us from sin. Paul writes to the disciples, “The Christ, our Passover, has also been sacrificed.” He accomplished the sacrificial system’s requirements by laying down his life. All of the Pesach lambs pointed to Christ as the supremely pure Lamb. Our sins were put on Jesus in the same way that a Jewish person’s sins were placed on a faultless lamb as a sacrifice by the high priest – both instances involving the faultless dying for the sinful. Those who apply the blood of Jesus Christ to their temple’s “doorposts” and “lintels” will be safeguarded from eternal death, just as those who applied the Passover lamb’s blood to their dwellings were rescued from death in the Book of Exodus. As a manner, Passover serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in delivering His chosen people from Egyptian slavery. As well as in delivering us all from sinfulness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
This time of year is significant for us all because it commemorates the Passion of Christ. It is where we start learning about the way, the truth, and the life. We have the very same accessibility to the Father through His Spirit that Jesus did, after He rose on the third day. If only we could accept all of the Messiah’s teachings to find a home in our hearts. Every word of God gives life and without knowing them, we will inevitably fall short. Did you prepare for the Passover?
He is risen from the grave! Look, He is alive! This excellent news is much more welcome and reassuring than ever before after a year defined by so much agony and suffering. The tale of Passover begins with a subject that has recently affected many of us: death. And dying by crucifixion at Calvary, where Jesus compassionately made penance for our transgressions, allowing us to experience a new and genuinely abundant life in Christ.
Jesus shocked his followers by returning from the dead 3 days following his mortality, defeating death and spreading the great news of salvation to the entire world. The gospel has become the good news of this passion, burial, and resurrection, which we honor and proclaim throughout the world. We have indeed been freed from the bonds of sin, therefore we eagerly and joyfully join Jesus Christ in his mission of creating disciples of all nations.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. – Matthew 28:5-9.
Within the simplicity of a single moment, our eyes can be opened. “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” – Ezekiel 36:24-27.
On this day, Skull and Bones day, we will look at Jeremiah 22. If you haven’t noticed by now, the whole world has gone to flying fecal matter. And, it discomforts me to see all of the “Christians” choosing sides. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2.
Jeremiah, just as every Book in the Bible, is loaded with spiritual truth. Chapter 22 is not one to let down either. It tells us about who we are, where we come from, and even what the Bible defines us all has. Simply believe what you are about to see. “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”
We will begin with Hebrews 11, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” What does is mean to be a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. Well, it means that you aren’t from here. It means that you don’t belong here. It’s that simple. If I leave my place of residence or flee to another country, I am a stranger or pilgrim in that land. If I decide to move to another country looking for something better, the meaning is the same.
The Bible is the only thing in this world that we can count on. It is the only truth. So, if you don’t belong to the earth and you are from another “country,” where exactly are you from? Consider the prodigal son for a moment. Now, let us tie this together with Jeremiah 22. “And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.”
If your heart is beginning to pound in your chest, consider the following, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Now, click on the link above and read it.
I’ve always been fascinated by Jesus’ tale about the lost sheep of Israel. Why wouldn’t the shepherd just take his loss and ignore the one sheep that was most likely already devoured by the wolves? Plus, that shepherd may have jeopardized the lives of the other 99 sheep. Some who understood that narrative relate and were likely to have had a similar reaction to mine.
However, there are a few assumptions that need to be addressed. Foremost, if we disregard the lost sheep and continue to lose one sheep at a time, the sheepfold will soon be empty, and it will leave us wondering what happened. Is this something you’ve heard before? Every single person who doesn’t know the Gospel is a source of concern for us. We may feel constrained by what we can do to entice that individual, but we must take action. That’s the enthusiasm for the truth that Jesus desires from all of us.
This brings us to the following point. We’re not looking for that stray sheep, just for some random reason. Rather, we are really seeking to keep that lamb from the perils of the wild, the loneliness of being without the Shepherd, and the world’s deceptive allures and temptations. We also want to communicate the magnificent revelation of Christ Jesus, to whom we are called and through whom He wants everyone to be rescued. In other terms, we search out the lost because it is critical. Life and salvation are on the line.
There’s one more thing to think about. We want that long-lost friend or relative to return to the Gospel because we love and need that person, just as we know God does. That person’s distinctiveness and human dignity are great blessings to our community, and we would be significantly less without him or her. The Church is a call to all to come together, and Jesus requires our bodies and voices to make that happen. We recognize the individual’s freedom as a gift of God, which implies that anyone can truly say “no” to Christ.
These are formidable obstacles for Christians who have not received adequate training in evangelization, or sharing our religion with others. We also don’t want to offend our relatives, friends, or neighbors. We must discover ways to bear testimony to Christ, whether via prayer, good example, or simply loving one another. The best way is to lead by word and deed and not by word alone.
“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” – James 2:21-24. Scarcely a righteous man will be saved, my brothers and sisters. Let us find all the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
Let us take a moment to consider, if the LORD is the one true God, who are all of the other gods? Are they all of the things that we physically make with our hands? Is it our televisions, computers, and the stuff that many of us “worship?” Or, is it something far more simple, something easier to comprehend? Yet, in a way, it is the hardest thing to believe. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
What does it mean to draw back from something or someone? Is it a refusal to believe or do what we are seeing or hearing? Could it be being told an idea with truth to back it up, yet, we still refuse to accept it? How about knowing to do something and just not doing it? In my own Christian walk of faith, I have stalled out many times in my own spiritual growth. I have fell over in disbelief, pain, and agony. Yet, I never fled from the truth. In the Book of Zechariah, we are told about the coming calamity that the world is facing in chapter 13. Let us look at a few of these verses. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” What does it mean to be brought through the fire? Consider the words of Paul once again, “But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
What is it about fire that can make it somewhat unpleasant? Well, it burns, quite literally. Most of us know of the story of Jacob and how he wrestled with the LORD, the one true God. At the end of it all, he came out with a limp. He is one, who pushed into the fire and didn’t draw back. In this world of around 8 billion people, picture the suffering of those in a third world country. Picture the suffering of those in Ukraine. Consider those in Russia who have no part or interest in what the government is doing. All of these levels of suffering are common to every man. Our gas prices have risen, the cost of most things have significantly increased these last couple of years. Is any of this similar to wrestling with GOD? It appears to me that it is not.
The problems that we see in this world leaves us with a choice to make. We can begin to get angry, bitter, or discontent over it all. Or, we can begin to ask questions such as, “None of this is making any sense?” “Why is all of this even happening?” “Why is GOD allowing this to take place?” In order for the LORD to receive us, we need to become as a little child. We need to seek Him, intimately. We need to know Him. And, it comes at a cost. We, as Jacob, will end up coming out even similar. As we push into the truth, many things that we may see or hear may be hard to believe. At those moments our response should not be such as, “no it couldn’t be.” It needs to be similar to, “Father, I trust you, lead me through this.” A little child is humble and they are ready to learn and listen. They typically don’t get angry when being taught or disciplined by their parents.
When being instructed, a child may at times stand there in fear, trembling. Why do you think that the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom?” At this point in time, seeing all that is happening, I don’t want to be a part of the two thirds that gets cut off and dies, I would rather be a part of the one third that continues to be tried and purified in the furnace of affliction. I will now backtrack to Zachariah:1-3. “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.”
What are the idols and why do they have names? “But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men. But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” – Jeremiah 10:8-11.
May the LORD, the only true GOD, bless you and keep you as one tried and purified through the furnace of affliction. “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.”
There are numbers of Scriptures on Lift Up A Banner that tie the way, the truth, and the life, together in an easy to follow format. Please take a moment to go over each lesson one by one. Return to the first post by going all the way back, to the beginning. Speaking on complete abstinence, there are more teachings on this site than any other. And the Scriptures back up this claim, if you only take the time to seek it out with a prayerful heart. Become as a child. Literally. Look over the homepage’s lessons and go through the Bible study. It starts with the truth as a foundation and afterwards, moves on to the way and the life. Take a look at the ten free Christian eBooks available. Take the time to study every one of the videos. Take a look at the other videos on the YouTube channel that aren’t available on this website. Your faith will grow, your eyes will be opened, and your hearing will be restored.
As much as I want you to believe everything you see and hear, we must each do our part with the Lord and the Spirit. You will see that what I have been saying is correct if you do so. The entirety of the Church is constructed on the words of Jesus Christ. We may not ever find everlasting life if we do not comprehend Jesus’ teachings, even all of them. How can we claim to know Him if we don’t abide in them?
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” – Luke 14:28-30.
“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Are you able to receive it, brothers and sisters? The Spirit is speaking to you. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63.