A Mission on a Mission
"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuaded me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28) Imagine that—sitting under so great a Word, contemplating what to do, then walking away from getting right in God‘s eye. That‘s what‘s happening in the world today (in your home, on the job, in the company of others, etc.)—people have been evangelized (received the Good News, have been healed, have shook hands with a Christian) and never gave their life to Christ. The Word of God has come to this world and only a few have accepted it as the Gospel. Father, you see all—seen and unseen in man’s eye. I know the Word is being spread to the ends of the earth and that the hearts of the hearers is getting more and more hardened. Father, this world is accepting of substitutes and alternatives instead of accepting the preached Word of God. We need your help to better live the Christian life, that others might see. Please hear this prayer and move with compassion on your people.
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) Praise the Lord. Before you can come to terms with the greatest sacrifice one could do for another, one must address the meaning of the word "propitiation." "Propitiation" means: The turning away of wrath by an offering. "The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement, specifically towards God. Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to them." In the above Scripture, we recognize that somebody (or something) took on our debt (sin), this debt (sin) which separated man from the love of God. Today, as it was before, we all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but then came Jesus Christ. See, here is the problem—nobody thinks or believes they are sinners. They haven't murdered, they haven't stolen, they don't consume alcohol. The list of "I do not, therefore I'm not a sinner" is endless. But reader, this attitude is what man says about man. The big question is: What does God say about YOU? No matter what you've concluded, God sent a sin offering, as a propitiation, that is free for ALL who want to be set free, free from sin, free from past indiscretions, free from guilt, free from _________ (you fill in the blank). This verse reminds us that Jesus is the one who paid the price for our sins. His death and bloodshed satisfied the penalty of death that we owed. The whole world now has the opportunity to receive salvation and escape death. The only thing we need to do is accept that Jesus died in our place, repent and ask him to come into our hearts. Father, you know the heart of man. You know our shortcomings and strong points. Help us to make the right decision for our eternal future. Nobody wants to admit, on God's green earth, that a loved one died and went to hell. While there is fleeting time remaining, lead and guide those who are either teeter-tottering with this decision, those who are on the fence, or those who have not been introduced to the Son of God - lead and guide them (as well as your own into the truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
At the Rally Point – Revelation 19:14
It is on my heart to speak, FAMILY, we need to do better serving God and fellowshipping with us! Today, I want ALL of us to “rally” around the Cross. I need to hear YOU on the Bible study line today. Dear reader here’s the thing, you do not know if it is Christ (who is calling on you) or if it's pastor Alston (though it should not make a difference) sending out this exhortation. (IF the Spirit of the Living God is present in you, you should know who’s calling you).
The term “rally” (militarily) refers to a designated place, a prearranged coordinate where the leader of the group would get a head-count, a count that definitively tells the leader who is still amongst the living, as that group of individuals continues to make it to the remaining rally points, on their way to the safety of the higher headquarters. It’s also the spot where there is reconsolidation of morale, purpose, and energy! It’s also the spot where the road map to safety is re-introduced. It is also here where THEY make communication with higher headquarters for direction, purpose, and understanding. At the rally point.
At the “rally” point, the leader assesses the condition of those still alive. The leader takes inventory of those in the unit; their care, their health, their strength (spiritual and natural) to continue on. Also, those that are still alive see their companions-in-arms. They, too, assess the condition of their friend. They encourage them to go further. They all make sure they all are properly fed and have drank well. They bandage up their wounds and restore the weary, the broken, and the damaged. At the rally point.
At the “rally” point, there are no circumstances or situations, nor excuses on why one could not make it, WHY, because they were all in the same battle together and managed to make it out alive. They survived incursions! They survived ambushes! They overcame the attack of those who wanted to kill them. They ALL endured when their rations ran low! They ALL looked out for one another, determined to make it to the place of safety! They all gained strength as their numbers began to grow! At the rally point.
Ministry family, I need YOU to make it to today’s rally point! I need you to “saint-up!” You should want to know who is fighting with you. You should want to know who is struggling with you. You should want to hear another’s voice in the ministry! You should want to know who is still alive. You should want to know if higher headquarters is still attainable! You should want to know the direction to higher headquarters! At the rally point.
So, you say: You didn’t know you were a soldier (a military person). Why are you talking to me like this? I’m not in the military. I have never been in the military. I don’t want to be in the military. I believe I’m saved and sanctified. I believe I’m filled with the Holy Ghost. I believe I’m on the easy road to heaven. Brother, sister you need not have been a patriot in this world’s military, this man’s army to be in the army of the Lord. Because you are saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, you are in His army, to do His will, to live a life worthy of His admiration. You are living on His grace (1st Cor. 15:10) and mercy! You are strengthened by His compassion and love (Matt. 15:32). You are held up by His mighty hand (Ps. 95:7). You are guided by His thoughts (Isa. 55:8). At the rally point.
Your assignment: Get to the next rally point! (Every Sunday service: 10:00 – 12:00 a.m.), Bible study – Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. – 1 (605) 475-3220, pin # 648415)
In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen
Who and What Is God
There still are questions of ‘Who’ and ‘What’ God is. To call all things into remembrance, the thing to know is God is not contained in human intellect (physically, psychologically, or otherwise). The true and living God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient. God is eternal. God is the creator of heaven and Earth. God created man, in his image, on day six.
In the Word of God, there are passages of Scripture that identify that not everything God is or what he’s done is written. For you and me, to know who He is is to know his Son (John 10:30). His name is Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one. As reverent as I can, all the work of Jesus is not and was not printed on the pages in the canon of Scripture. In the book of John, verse 20:30-31, it is read: 30“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” It is by faith (trust and belief) that we believe God to be who he is, what he has done, and what he will do, this “faith” being revealed to His believers through the Spirit that reveals itself in Scripture. (If you do not know what I mean, read the Scripture for yourself. Don’t be prejudice of the reading because it could be a reflection of who you are.)
I just want to share some attributes of who and what God is (to me) to a believer. The listing is not in totality but just a sample of the greatness of the Father.
The Names of God’s Name Are (Abbreviated List):
The Great I AM (Exodus 3:14),
Father (Matthew 6:9),
Jesus (Matthew 1: 21),
The Lord of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17),
The Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6),
The Bread of Life (John 6:48),
The Comforter (John 14:26),
The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
What God Does for His Children, He Is (Abbreviated List):
The King of kings (Revelations 19:16),
The Saviour (Luke 2:11),
A Counselor (Isaiah 9:6),
The Redeemer (Isaiah 48:17),
The propitiation of our (your) righteousness (Romans 3:25),
The shield (Psalm 28:7),
Faithful (1st Corinthians 1:9)
What God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost Is Not. He Is Not (Abbreviate List):
The intellectual property of a few,
Solved by arithmetic,
Proven by science,
Reasoned through philosophy,
An artificial stimulant,
A figment of the imagination,
The product of quantum physics.
Dear reader, the Trinity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, cannot be defined by man’s understanding or by man’s ingenuity. He is revealed, through the power of the Holy Ghost, to them that believe in Him and, by that faith, He is revealed to his children. God requires his believers to have faith, faith to believe in the Son of God and that He is coming back to redeem man and to take back that which the adversary, the devil has stolen. He also desires obedience from His own, for He is the good shepherd and the (his) sheep (John 10:14, 10:15, 10:27) know him!
May God bless you, reader!
A conversation between Doc Holiday and Wyatt Erp from the movie “Tombstone,”
“My hypocrisy only goes so far”
I am encouraged to point out the most damaging SIN a Christian can exemplify, the SIN of UNFORGIVENESS.
Reader, the sin of unforgiveness IS the most devastating example of disbelief a Christian can ever live by. The sin of unforgiveness affects how a person lives, how much trust a person has in Jesus Christ, and is a measuring rod of how much effort a person is willing to accomplish in developing the right relationships.
The spirit of unforgiveness hates correction. It cannot tolerate any promising word of encouragement, edification, or exhortation to let go of the ‘root’ of the un-forgiveness and those spirits attached. Obviously, this is hypocritical to the Word of God and the faith you have invested in the Word of God. It’s bad enough people don’t like correction but it's worse when correction goes unheeded. The spirit of un-forgiveness is oppressive, argumentive, and confrontational.
The sin of unforgiveness has correlating attributes; bitterness, resentfulness, quickness to bring up past disappointment(s), unfullfilledness. Unforgiveness never lets go of the past and, thereby, hinders your future (Matthew 6:15). Does it stop you from being a Christian? NO. Does it limit your spiritual growth, your character development, your testimony? YES.
Coming into the sanctuary of God is a blessed thing, especially when one desires to live a better life, a longer life, a life of fulfillment. It is hypocritical to glorify God in the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit and seen by witnesses (like-minded folk) and not forgive your brother (you can insert names instead of the word ‘brother.’)
Reader, there was and is only one person who is qualified to hold a grudge, that man being Jesus Christ, but, surprise, he did not and does not hold a grudge against the very people who mocked him (Luke 18:32), who humiliated him, who spat on him, who turned him in (to authorities) (Matthew 26:14-56), who his family subjected him to mockery (John 1:11). HE IS THE ONLY QUALIFIED PERSON TO HOLD A GRUDGE!
OK, you have been hurt. You have been disappointed. Yes, you have been abused by life’s bitter problems. Your spouse mistreated you. Your spouse violated your trust (emotionally, physically, financially, and even spiritually). Your children did things that you did not teach them. (Be careful with this because they only live out what they see in the home). EVERYTHING I just shared with you (and others not mentioned) is past tense!
Your response to these things and others is your testimony! Your response to these things and others is not based on your spouse, your children, and your neighbors or co-workers. It is not based on whether the car started up this morning, how much money you have in your personal accounts, how many people love you. Your response to life’s bitterness (I say this word with relevance because people’s level of tolerance, people’s ability to manage stress, people’s aptitude to overcome bitterness varies and has measurable weight(s) associated) is in direct correlation to your love for God, his Son crucified and the power of the Holy Ghost living inside you. That’s why it is hypocritical to say “I love Jesus” for the most part and fail to forgive your brother (whatever name you want to use in place of the word “brother.”)
Here’s a biblical answer to unforgiveness: Matthew 5: 22-24, reading:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hellfire.
There are more Scriptural references. The above is a good starting point.
I don’t want to leave you here; I want to lift you up. God wants his children to live a fulfilled life, one with hope, aspirations, and glad tidings. God wants to bless you, to prosper you, to increase you. You have to let go and let God!
What is God to do with ones who perpetrate unforgiveness?
As we prepare for the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, consider this insight;
There are many nations on Earth. These nations are ruled by various forms of politics, doctrine, methodologies, and ideas.
The most important "nation" you and I have to address, with sincerity and conviction, is our imagination. All decisions are formulated in the mind and become decisive actions, the things God knows we're going to do and the things people see us do. God sees and knows everything about us, our past, present, and future. There is nothing hid from Him. Everything we do starts in the heart and from the mind and is on display for examination by all to see when the decision becomes reality. Stir in "imagination" and this produces color to our decision(s).
As we continue this Christian walk, control your "nation" using Godly principles and the result will be a blessing for you!
The Church Is God’s Plan for YOUR life!
Now that you have read God’s plan for your life, you have a responsibility to respond. The decision is: Do you make the plan of God the central reality of your life or do you make the plan of God of no effect in or on your life (do I dismiss His plan for me)?
From Pastor Alston’s experiences in church and with church, I asked myself: What do I know about church? I know we can praise Jehovah God without distraction. I know preaching/teaching is going on. I know people come on Sunday (Saturday) morning. I know we will hear good music. I know we will shake hands with friends. I know we can share laughs with others. I know I can receive the Holy Communion. I know I can participate in corporate and individual prayer. There are more “I knows” that I’ll not list only because I’ll run out of ink and paper.
This leads me to the question: Why do people not come to church? Why do people feel (think) they can express their love for God in another place (in their home, washing their car, reading the daily newspaper, going to work, looking at TV (TBN, ESPN, CBS, TNT, OWN, etc.), sleeping in, malingering around the house, etc. on the Sabbath Day? There are many other ‘things’ people can claim as to why they do not honor God on the Holy day. Another question, What has turned a person off, who once went to church, from going to church, today? Is it because people are sensitive, because people are emotional, because people are finicky because people are hurt because people were wounded in the church, or maybe because people feel the church is irrelevant (nothing good, no real ‘love’ demonstrated, the words do not affect me, etc.)? Because (you) we are spirit beings, in the grand scheme of spiritual life, these “justifications” have no merit. Why, because you can overcome (1 John 4:4) these ‘justifications’/’experiences’ with new and better! This “shifting” only occurs with a closer walk with God.
In Isaiah 58:13-14, from the Living Bible, it is read: “13 If you keep the Sabbath holy, not having your own fun and business on that day, but enjoying the Sabbath and speaking of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day, and honoring the Lord in what you do, not following your own desires and pleasures, nor talking idly – 14 then the Lord will be your delight, and I will see to it that you ride high, and get your full share of the blessings I promised to Jacob, your father. The Lord has spoken.” This entire passage of Scripture talks about the reconfirmed mind (Romans 12:2) and the blessing(s) attached. Challenge me on this. Call the ministry at (301) 577-3733 for an explanation.
Reader, brother, sister, God wants me to share this passage of Scripture with you also. Hebrews 10:25 (King James Version) reads: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” The same verse from the Living Translation; “Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” This passage of Scripture is self-explanatory. Challenge me on this. Call the ministry at (301) 577-3733 for an explanation.
Because the church is God’s plan for you (not getting too theological or technical) o’ brother, o’ sister, you make the church! If YOU want the church to be happy, YOU bring in the spirit of happiness with YOU. If YOU want the church to be a praise church, YOU bring in the spirit of praise with YOU. If YOU want the church to be a warm and receptive environment, YOU bring in the spirit of peace with YOU. If YOU want the church to ease up on talking about tithes and offerings, YOU give your tithes and offerings according to the Word of God and not your own scripture(s). If YOU want more people to come to YOUR church, YOU take ownership of the church and YOU tell others of YOUR participation in the church. If YOU want the church to sing more songs, YOU present your talents to the church for all to see. All these and more, combined, make the church a living, breathing, force to be reckoned with! The Word of God will be preached, YOU respond to the Word of God and the Church will grow!
In summary of this brief but important argument, YOU are not following God’s plan for your life if you have deemed the church to be null and void if you continue to perpetuate lies handed down by the father of lies. Because you do not know what tomorrow will bring, because you do not know what the next minute holds, I want to invite you to take a walk with Jesus Christ (receiving Him as your Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:9-10, Acts 2:38-42), reading His Word for yourself, finding a local church at will bless you (help you overcome many of life’s challenges, encourages you to keep the faith). Call Prepare for the Rapture Ministries at (301) 577-3733, and you will be blessed!
Congratulations to all who have been baptized into the body of Jesus Christ through the confession of faith and being baptized (for the remission of sin) according to Acts 2:38. The confession of faith (Romans 10:9-10) is the inward manifestation of your heart’s desire to be a son or daughter of God through the blood of Jesus, the Christ, and the desire to turn away from the things that held you back, things that easily weighed you down, and those things that kept you trapped in guilt, shame, and doubt. To be baptized is an outward act of believing your sin was buried at the cross, that you have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus and that the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost will be forever your template for Christian living, living a redeemed life and experiencing the fullness of joy God has promised his children. (Hebrews 9:28)
Brother, sister, I think there are things a believer ought to know beyond a shadow of a doubt. The first is knowing your name is written in heaven and nothing can separate you from the love of God. Secondly, I think a believer ought to know that we are no longer under condemnation and that we have the power of the Holy Ghost to speak to anything in our lives that are contrary to the Word of God and declare victory over it. Thirdly, I believe a believer in Jesus Christ ought to KNOW their spiritual birthday.
Knowing your spiritual birthday, I see it as a beginning to all possibilities God offers his children. I see it as a foundational piece of a victorious life in Christ and I see it as an anchor to whenever we run into situations we have no control on, we can always go back to our spiritual birthday for renewal, for revitalization for rejuvenation. To know your spiritual birthday will always help you to remember who you are and who you are!
I’m encouraging all believers in the body of Christ to remember your spiritual birthday!
YOU CAN MAKE IT! Brother, sister, with the help of Christ, you can make it. We face situation after situation, decision after decision. We are challenged on every side. YOU can make it in Jesus mighty name. Somebody reading this is dealing with or has dealt with sickness in themselves or in a family member or friend. Somebody reading this has been unemployed for some time and government help is coming to an end. Somebody is going through a difficult season in their lives. You can make it! Though these situations and circumstances are present, our faith, your faith in Jesus Christ is the deciding factor whether we make it or not. Nobody knows how long discomfort will be but He does. In His word, He'll never leave you alone, never leave you desperate, never leave your discouraged. he will make a way for you if you put your trust in Him. Give Christ a try. Test Him. Hold Him accountable to His word. Pray His Word back to Him and wait on Him to renew your strength. Read 2nd Corinthians 4:8-10.