Judah: The Backslidden Nation

Hosea 14:1-7… “Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto Him . . .” (v. 2, KJV).

Hosea wrote about Ephraim, who represented the nation of Israel and her spiritual downfall. He says in Hosea 4:1,6, “There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land . . . My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee” (KJV). Lack of knowledge was destroying the people of God. “Lack of knowledge” refers to forgetting the law of God in word and practice. In our terms it would be “not knowing the scriptures or the power of God.” God wanted to do mighty things in their midst, but they were backslidden. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:19-21 that every Christian should have knowledge of the wide range of the love of God, and they should know that it is God who will do above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us. Hosea 4:14 says, “Therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.” This may be the reason why the power of God is absent in today’s churches. The text says, “Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD. Say to him, ‘Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises’” (v. 2, NLT). I heard in my spirit the words, “My people do not know how to repent.” Think on it… many do not know how to say, “I am sorry, Lord.”

“Backsliding” means “turning from God, defection, apostasy, without adherence to God or to His word, stubborn, rebellious, bent on sinning, failure to grow in the knowledge of God.”

Hosea exposes the nation’s backsliding… These same signs are in the church today.

Hosea 4:17… Ephraim is joined to idols. In other words, divided loyalties were in his heart. There is danger in incomplete separation. Our nation is full of idolatry. People have made idols of other people, big homes, money, fancy items, big churches, big business, positions, and status, among others.

Hosea 5:3… Ephraim has defiled himself through immoral practices. Proverbs 12:28 says, “In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death” (KJV). Sex is a big business in our nation.

Hosea 5:11… Ephraim, because of oppression, cannot make sound judgments because he willingly did wrong things. How can our leaders make sound decisions when their conscience tells them they are doing wrong? We are no different.

Hosea 5:13… Ephraim went to Assyria for help. Assyria represents taking a step in a wrong direction. The trip did nothing for Ephraim. The United Nations will never be the answer for our nation.

Hosea 7:1… Ephraim’s iniquity made an opening for the enemy to come in so that the enemy could strip him of his wealth.

Hosea 7:8… Ephraim brought mixture into his life. He was cake that was half-baked. Partial holiness is not good enough. The Bible has been compromised. The truths that the nation was founded upon have been watered down. Half-holiness will bring you death, not life.

Hosea 7:9… Ephraim was not aware that strangers were devouring his strength. So also in our nation–people who are alienated from God are bringing much damage. Spiritual deterioration comes in silently.

Hosea 7:11… Ephraim is pictured as a silly dove, i.e., senseless and confused about what direction he should take. God was silent; His counsels are refused.

Hosea 8:11… Ephraim made altars to sin. He was devoted to a false thing. Today, people love their SUVs and their big houses.

Hosea 8:14… Ephraim (Israel) had forgotten his Maker and built temples of false worship. Meanwhile, Judah multiplied its fenced cities and isolated itself behind walls. The church world divides for various reasons. A group splits, leaves a church, and starts their own church, giving it a spiritual sounding name to cover up their act. No splinter group ever calls their new work “We Split Life Center,” or “We Dislike One Man Leadership Fellowship,” or “Legalism Tabernacle.” Judah put up walls of exclusiveness around itself and acted as if they only had God in their midst.

(To be continued…)

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Living Off The Powers Of The World To Come, Pt. 2

(Continued…)

The 120 started out with prayer and waited for the coming of the Spirit (Acts 1:14). They did not start out with, “Lord, give us power and success to do miracles.” They were very careful in that they did not use prayer for ego-expanding requests, nor did they use God for their personal selfish purposes. Prayer is not capturing Jesus to make Him serve us. Both Jesus and the disciples began on the right foundation. They prayed for the coming of the Spirit. The Spirit makes intercession for us (Romans 8:26-27). The Spirit helps us to pray according to God’s will. 1 John 5:14-15 mentions the words “according to His will.” The qualifying power for answered prayer is “according to the will of the Lord.” Too often the will of God is not in our praying. Faith in what He has said will bring the answer. The 120 prayed for the Spirit, and what each wanted for themselves, they wanted for all. With the Spirit came the miracles from the world to come.

The disciples saw Jesus’ countenance change when He prayed (Luke 9:28-29). Prayer changes the way you look. Prayer made Jesus look better. Prayer can make you look better… believe it. If you want a good facelift, pray. The glory of the Father manifested itself on the body of Jesus. Paul writes of these things in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. It can be so, that through prayer we can become alive, aglow, anointed, and permeated with His glory. If prayer lags, our bodies sag. “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:28, KJV).

The disciples saw Jesus praying in Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46). He prayed that He would accomplish the purposes for which He came–the cross and the shedding of His blood for the remission of sin. Prayer was generated towards a specific purpose. Prayer put a Divine compulsion upon Him to do the Father’s will. If prayer lags, your ministry sags. Prayer gives us a mission and the power and ability to accomplish that mission. When saints pray, they soon exchange the chip on their shoulder for the Lord’s hand upon their shoulder apprehending them for Kingdom purposes.

A story is told of an old riverboat pilot. A passenger had marveled at his skill in navigating the paddlewheeler up and down the river, “You must know where all the sandbars are.” “No,” said the pilot, “but I know where the channels are.” Jesus knew the channels that led to a Spirit-empowered life… so did the early saints. The channel is prayer and faith in God’s Word. Because they knew how to pray, they knew how to live (which was by the powers of the world to come). We can experience the miraculous abundance of the world to come as the early saints did. The key is prayer and having faith in what God says. Prayer brings the Spirit, and with Him comes poise, peace, purpose, and power. Many saints seek only the proof of prayer when they should be seeking the practice of prayer. Prayer is talking something over with God rather than trying to talk God out of or into something.

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Living Off The Powers Of The World To Come

Hebrews 6:5… “And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come” (KJV). The NLT reads, “Who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come.”

What a great verse. It tells of saints who learned how to live in troubled times. They learned how to pray and how to believe in the Word of God. They tasted God’s utterances and experienced how good God’s message is. They were nourished by the Word, and the results were fantastic. They lived off the miracles of the world to come. Mighty works were in abundance. When they believed the Word, they set in motion the powers of the supernatural world. If we know how to pray, we know how to live. If prayer sags, life sags along with it.

I was meditating on this text some time ago, and of the possibility of entering into and reaching into the world to come, taking from that world, bringing into this world, and living by the powers of that world. The NCV reads, “They found out how good God’s word is, and they received the powers of his new world.”

Of course, the powers of the world to come was in receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. If Christians today can grasp this… That coming age was the “age of the Holy Spirit,” the New Testament era. It is now. I personally believe that soon there will be extraordinary manifestations of the power of God that cannot be explained away. “Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29, KJV).

Prayer will help us to penetrate through the natural world into the supernatural world, the realm of God. Prayer draws from His realm the needs for our realm. We can live by the abundance that He provides. If prayer lags, supplies sag. The New Testament teaches that it is by faith we have access (Romans 5:1-2), and by the blood of Jesus the way was opened for us to come in (Hebrews 10:19). There are things in God’s realm that will not come to us unless we pray and believe. God is willing to supply all our needs when we are willing to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). The saints in our text learned to live by tapping into the supernatural by prayer and by faith.

The disciples saw Jesus praying. He relied on prayer for fellowship and communion with the Father. He prayed first at His baptism (Luke 3:21-22), and the Holy Spirit came upon Him. Prayer brought the Spirit, and with the Spirit came the power and the abundance. Jesus prayed for many things as well. When the disciples saw Jesus praying, they asked to be taught how to pray (Luke 11:1-4). Jesus taught the importance of relationship (“Our Father”). He taught them the power of the Name of Jesus (“Hallowed be Thy Name”). He also taught the necessity of the Holy Spirit (Thy kingdom come”). In the early manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke, the words “Thy kingdom come” reads as “Thy Spirit come upon us” (Cambridge Bible, 1910). In the 1950s, I was reading the Lord’s Prayer and came to the words “Thy kingdom come.” The Holy Spirit said to me that this refers to the Holy Spirit coming upon us, and that when we pray, the Holy Spirit needs to be in our asking. It’s the Holy Spirit that brings the powers of the world to come into our living today.

(To be continued…)

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

 

Taking Responsibility

Ezra 10:4… “Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it” (NKJV).

Are you secretly hoping someone else will follow through in an area for which you are responsible? Here in Ezra, there was a marriage problem. That may or may not be your problem. Too often people will say, “But that’s not my problem; it’s yours. It’s your responsibility.” People often avoid their responsibilities by shifting the blame to someone else or to something else, hoping that the problem will go away. It will not. Your responsibility to do a thing is your responsibility.

Why offer excuses? Why not take courage and do it, as our text says? Don’t cover what you have to do with a lot of long explanations; accept responsibility and hold yourself accountable. Learn how to establish a habit of action to heal and correct a problem before it destroys you. Proverbs 18:9 reads, “He who is loose and slack in his work is brother to him who is a destroyer and he that does not use his endeavors to heal himself is a brother to him who commits suicide” (AMP).

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PERSECUTION WATCH… Many Asian nations have passed new religious laws which forbid Christians from gathering together or converting others to Christ. Jail time is certain. The persecution comes about through courts, lawsuits, and restrictions which limit the voice of Christians to express the Gospel message. These nations do not hate Christians; they hate the Lord Jesus Christ. John 15:18-19 reads, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (KJV).

This same spirit is rising quickly in our nation. Many pastors and churches will soon face lawsuits and persecution. If ever there was a day to be faithful to Jesus, it is today.

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IF YOU DO NOT LISTEN, LIFE WILL JUDGE YOU… 2 Chronicles 24:20 reads, “Why break the commands of the Eternal, why defeat yourselves” (Moffatt). In Jeremiah 36, Jehoiakim received a word from the Lord through Jeremiah. He read a few pages, didn’t like what he read, cut them out with a penknife, and threw them into the fire. “That’s that! That settles it!” he may have thought. But had he settled it? Jeremiah wrote again and “added many more words.” Do you ever try to get God’s words out of your life? They will come back stronger than ever. An old quote reads, “He who will not heed the helm must heed the rocks.” The king did not heed the Word. He defeated himself and life judged him.

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Amazing Grace

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…”

This is one of the greatest hymns of all time. “Grace” means “divine favor,” but it is also from the Greek word that is used for the word “gift.” Grace is God’s power in operation, or His operating power. Note Zechariah 4:7, “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it” (KJV). Grace brings down mountains.

Picture this… Have you a problem? Heaven shouts “Grace, grace” to your valleys of depression. “Grace, grace” to your financial difficulties. “Grace, grace” to all your diseases. “Grace, grace” towards all your failures. Grace calls out to you, “I will help you.” The Bible declares, “He giveth grace to the lowly [humble]” (Proverbs 3:34, KJV). The word “humble” refers to those in affliction, those who are hurting.

Psalm 84:11 says, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (KJV).

Acts 4:33 reads,“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (KJV).

The Lord is calling out to you, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9, KJV). God’s grace never stops working; it is always full.

If we are living in days of unbelievable problems, then proclaim God’s grace towards the things that are causing you problems.

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Truth To Live By

Revelation 1:17-18… “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (KJV). “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (NIV).

What a great truth. Jesus was not the great “I was,” but He is the great “I am.” The entirety of Christianity rests upon the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and the grave and is now seated at the right hand of God continually making intercession for us. Jesus is the Living One. Romans 10:9-10 states that we cannot be saved (born again) unless we believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead. It is with our heart (spirit) that we believe, and it is with our mouth that we verbalize that belief. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (verse 13, KJV).

Ephesians 1:19-20 teaches that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead works on our behalf. Think on this. Paul uses the word “greatness” in the KJV. This word means “God’s exploding force,” or “God’s outward display.” In other words, the full dimension of God’s power works on our behalf. We are living in dark days. I choose to believe that God has greater power to keep us safe from harm than the devil has to harm us. Perilous times have arrived, and in those perilous times, God’s power is working on the behalf of all who believe. This is a truth to live by today.

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

The Full Course Of Faith

“’If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23, NASB).

Faith is simply the assurance that the things God said in His word are true. God will do exactly what He has said He will do. We too must believe in, and rely upon, the Word of God. God has given us a measure of faith and that measure will increase as we exercise it (Romans 12:3). Barnabas was a man “full of the Holy Ghost and of faith” (Acts 11:24, KJV). Stephen was a man “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 6:5). The words “full of faith” refer to “a full course of faith.” The words “full of the Holy Ghost” refer to being full of, and being controlled by, the Holy Spirit. There was a full course of faith working in these men; they were led by the Holy Spirit. There are five New Testament words which describe a full course of faith…

a) Faith… pistis… This word is used 243 times in the New Testament. This is what God put in you (Romans 12:3). It’s the power that God implanted in you, and the authority of God in you that performs the will of God. It’s the force that brings things into existence. It’s the faith that believes that what God has said, He is able to perform. This faith works as you speak out, as you speak out the word of God (Romans 10:8, Mark 11:22-26).

b) Faith… pepoithesis… This word means “confidence.” Confidence comes into you when you see the evidence, when you see something visible. This word is used only six times in the New Testament, and yet this is the type of faith people use most often (2 Corinthians 8:22, Ephesians 3:12). This is faith by sight: you see and then you believe.

c) Faith… pisteuo… This word is used 244 times in the New Testament. It means “to believe, to put your faith to action, to release your faith to do its work.” Mark 11:24 puts it like this: “When you pray, believe.” Faith resides in your spirit. If doubt is there, it prevents the releasing of your faith. When you pray, you will either put doubt to work or faith to work.

d) Faith… peitho… is used 53 times in the New Testament. This word means “to persuade or convince.” You heard something and are persuaded to believe. In Acts 28:23-24, many came to Paul, he persuaded them concerning Jesus, and many believed.

e) Faith… pistos… is used 67 times in the New Testament. This word means “to be faithful or trustworthy in believing.” 2 Corinthians 6:15 says, “He that believeth“; i.e., is faithful in believing. This person is going to keep on believing in spite of circumstances that may block his progress. Jesus said, “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17, KJV); i.e., that who are faithful in believing.

The man or woman who has a “full course of faith” working will have all five. They use the faith which God puts in them by speaking out the word God gives them. They have confidence. They release faith, and not doubt, when they pray. They are convinced that faith works. They keep believing even if they see no evidence. We need a full course of faith working in us if we want to be part of what God is saying and doing today. You can tell if a full course of faith is working in you. Hebrews 11 shows that the Old Testament believers had a full course of faith working in their lives. Here are a few examples…

Hebrews 11:4… Abel… Faith makes a man offer his best to God.

Hebrews 11:5… Enoch… Faith makes a man know that walking with God is the most important thing in his life.

Hebrews 11:7… Noah… Faith makes a man concerned with the saving of his household.

Hebrews 11:8… Abraham… Faith makes a man believe God, even blindly sometimes, not knowing exactly where God is leading him.

Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-16… Abraham and his descendants… Faith makes a man obey God to live a lonely life and waiting for his descendants to inherit the promises.

Hebrews 11:11-12… Abraham and Sarah… Faith makes a man change his mind about things thought impossible. (See also Romans 4:18-25.)

Hebrews 11:17-19… Abraham offering Isaac… Faith makes a man obey God no matter what God demands.

Hebrews 11:20… Isaac blessing both Jacob and Esau… Faith makes a man concerned for the well-being of his children regardless of their spiritual condition.

Hebrews 11:21-22… Joseph… Faith gives a man confidence when threatened with death or prison.

Hebrews 11:23… Moses’ parents… Faith makes a man or woman cooperate with the purposes of God even if the political world says otherwise.

Hebrews 11:24-27… Moses… Faith makes a man live a lifestyle that is different from that of the world. That man or woman will separate themselves from the world’s standards and follow the standards of conduct God has set down.

Hebrews 11:27… Moses confronting Pharaoh… Faith takes away the fear of man.

Hebrews 11:28-29… Israel crossing the Red Sea… Faith can make a man or woman overcome impossible situations.

Hebrews 11:30-40… Rahab, Samson, David, Gideon, and a host of others… Faith gave people great courage to overcome a great host of things that came against them.

Pray for a full course of faith–there is a need. Faith brings victory and success in your life. The Spirit wants you to believe for the awakening that is coming. Have faith for your success. Have faith for the quieting of your turmoil and distresses. Have faith for rest in your life. Have faith to be whole again. Have faith in the talents and creativity and the gifts the Holy Spirit put into your life. Ask God for a full course of faith.

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved