Do Not Be Offended By Persecution

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“I have told you all these things, so that you should not be offended (taken unawares and falter, or be caused to stumble and fall away). [I told you to keep you from being scandalized and repelled.] 2 They will put you out of (expel you from) the synagogues; but an hour is coming when whoever kills you will think and claim that he has offered service to God. 3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father or Me.”  John 16:1-3 AMP

After Jesus has told His disciples “all these things” in John chapters 14 & 15, He tells them, in the opening verses of John 16, that He told them “all these things” so that they would not be offended by the persecution which would inevitably come. He had started off in John 14:1 AMP by exhorting them with these words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me.”

His emphasis is on trusting the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit because they will protect and provide for you–spirit, soul and body–always–no matter what you are going through. He talks to them–and us–to focus us on God and His Word and not what we are experiencing in the flesh. He talks about Himself–the Way, the Truth and the Life; about the Father–if you have seen Me you have seen the Father; about praying to the Father in Jesus’ Name; about the Comforter and Helper–the Holy Spirit–who would be in you and with you and never leave you; about what was to come–His death–the laying down of His life and returning to the Father; about the importance, and also the benefits, of obedience and keeping His commandments; about how they–and we–would be witnesses of Jesus and everything He did and said; about the persecution that would result from our commitment to Him and our preaching of the Word.

Jesus told them, “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. 20 Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. 21 But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me.” (John 15:18-21 AMP)

Persecution will inevitably come to the child of God, who walks in obedience to His will and His Word. Jesus warns us about it so that we are not surprised and especially so that we are not offended by it. The Greek word translated “offended” in John 16:1 is “skandalizo”, which means “to stumble, to cause one to begin to distrust and to desert the one whom he ought to trust and obey.”

It doesn’t take much to offend some people. The devil has a real easy time with people who are not deeply connected into the Word of God–they immediately blame God, instead of the devil, for the discomfort they experience when the persecution starts. Mark 4:16-18 AMP says, “And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy; 17And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.”

Matthew 13:21 AMP says about the man who is not solid in the Word of God, that, “when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away.” The devil uses persecution at every level to cause people to back away from God and the Truth. Even the disciples were scattered, scared and tempted to deny Jesus when He was arrested. Jesus forewarned them in Matthew 26:31-34 NIV: Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “’I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” 34 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

The first purpose of persecution is to get you to get mad at God and mad at the Word of God so that you will cut yourself off from God and backslide. Jesus said, in Matthew 24:9-10 AMP, “Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.”

The second purpose of persecution is to get you to get mad at your fellow Christians and even to betray them and to turn around and persecute them along with the ungodly. There are many people who will do anything to someone else if they think it will save their own skin. They would throw their own family “under the bus” to prevent any discomfort from coming their way.

It is only those who know their God and know His Word; who have committed their lives into His hands; who have given up–lost–their own lives and found His; who trust God with their life; who can say with Paul, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”; who will be willing to endure the hardships of persecution for the joy of what lies before them.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  Matthew 10:22 KJV

Appreciate What you Have in Christ

The Prophets Longed For What We Have Now

Praised (honored, blessed) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)! By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 [Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time. 6 [You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, 7 So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed. 8 Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy. 9 [At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 AMP

All those, who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior, have every reason to rejoice and praise the Father for the great things He has done for us through Jesus. By His boundless mercy, we are born anew into an imperishable inheritance, reserved in heaven for us. We are being guarded by God’s power through our faith until we get to heaven and enjoy the fullness of our salvation. This great future should give us hope and make us glad, even though we may go through trials and suffer temptations here on earth. The genuineness of our faith is being tested like gold, which is purified by fire, and will be commended by Jesus when we see him. We haven’t seen Him and yet He is real to us through faith – we love Him and believe in Him and exult with heavenly joy. At the same time, His Spirit is working in us and bringing us closer to Him.

The prophets, who prophesied of the grace (divine blessing) which was intended for you, searched and inquired earnestly about this salvation. 11 They sought [to find out] to whom or when this was to come which the Spirit of Christ working within them was indicating when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow [them]. 12 It was then disclosed to them that the services they were rendering were not meant for themselves and their period of time, but for you. [It is these very] things which have now already been made known plainly to you by those who preached the good news (the Gospel) to you by the [same] Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Into these things [the very] angels long to look! 1 Peter 1:10-12 AMP

The prophets who prophesied about Jesus – His life, death, burial and resurrection – prophesied by the Spirit of God; not by their own will. 2 Peter 1:20-21 AMP says: “[Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving). 21 For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so — it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit.”

The Spirit of Christ worked in them and predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. They searched and earnestly inquired and sought to find out who the Messiah was and when He would appear, but it was revealed to them that it was not for them or for their time period. How blessed are we, that we should be so privileged to live in this Church dispensation! What a privilege we have, to not only be able to have seen the fulfillment of these prophecies, which have already taken place, and passed down to us by those who actually walked with Jesus; but to be recipients of God’s grace and to experience the brand new heart that King David and the prophet Ezekiel spoke of!

Even the angels long to look into these things and experience what we experience, but they cannot. We are the redeemed of God! How truly blessed we are! Words could never express the blessing and privilege of this new life: being washed in His blood, the forgiveness of sin, sin having no more power over us, walking in His grace and resurrection life, filled with His Spirit, seated in heavenly places with Jesus, anointed with power and authority, children of the Most High and welcomed into His family.

For all that God has done for us – the least we can do is to fully appreciate what we have and to serve Him with all of our heart. We are purchased with the precious blood of Christ! He is holy and so we must be holy, too.

So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is revealed. 14 [Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel]. 15 But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living. 16 For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy. 17 And if you call upon Him as [your] Father Who judges each one impartially according to what he does, [then] you should conduct yourselves with true reverence throughout the time of your temporary residence [on the earth, whether long or short]. 18 You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold, 19 But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:13-19 AMP

Characteristics of the Power of God – Part I

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. Acts 1:8 AMP

The word “power” used here is the Greek word “dunamis” or “dynamis”, from which we get our English word “dynamite”. It denotes explosive power! It has to do with not only power, but ability also and is translated variously in the KJV as: power; mighty work; strength; miracle; might; virtue; mighty.

Transforming power:

The Holy Spirit has the power to transform lives! In fact everyone who is genuinely touched by the power of God is transformed – both instantly, and over the course of time, as they continue to yield to the Holy Spirit’s power.

Peter experienced the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Before he was changed, it was a different story: In Matthew 26:69-74, Peter denied – three times – that he was a disciple of Jesus out of fear and self–preservation. He also cursed and denied that he even knew Him. But only 50 days later he was filled with the Holy Spirit, endued with fire power, speaking in tongues, and preaching boldly on the streets. We see an entirely different Peter! Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a bold witness for the Lord Jesus Christ!

As reported in Acts chapter 2, in the middle of people mocking and scorning the 120, accusing them of being drunk, Peter stood up in front of the multitude and preached a bold sermon – proclaiming the Lord Jesus, who was only recently crucified by these same people. The people were cut to the heart by his powerful and anointed preaching and asked him what to do to be saved. That day 3000 people received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Paul experienced the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Before he met Jesus and had his powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit, he was a zealous and deadly persecutor of the early Church. He arrested and imprisoned men, women and children and was right there when Stephen was stoned for his last and greatest sermon. Paul might not have thrown a stone to kill Stephen, but he looked on and consented to it, and the garments of those who did, were left at his feet (Acts 7:58 & Acts 22:20).

“Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Acts 22:6-8 NKJV

Saul/Paul was struck blind for three days by this encounter and humbled by the Spirit of God. The Lord sent Ananias to preach Jesus to him, and restore his sight, baptize him, and prophesy to him: “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:14-15 AMP)

“Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance 18 and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ 19 So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. 20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’” Acts 22:17-21 NKJV

Even though Paul had done terrible things against the Church and against Jesus – Jesus forgave him, changed him and used him in a mighty way to spread the Gospel throughout Asia. Even when he tried to remind Jesus of what he done to Stephen, all Jesus said was, “Go to the gentiles!” His past was washed away and he was forever transformed. Paul went on to boldly teach and preach the Word of God and perform mighty miracles, despite powerful persecution. Acts 19:11-12 AMP says, “And God did unusual and extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 So that handkerchiefs or towels or aprons which had touched his skin were carried away and put upon the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”

The Lord can transform your life in the same way too, and use you like He used Peter and Paul!

Healing power:

The Lord uses ordinary people, who are completely submitted to Him, to do great miracles and to heal the sick and raise the dead.

If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Acts 4:9-10 KJV

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 KJV

And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. Acts 5:12-16 NKJV

Peter and John were not educated men, and yet miracles of healing were performed by them. Through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. This was not their power or ability, but the power and ability of the Holy Spirit. This power is still available to us today – if we believe it and if we obey the great commission to lay hands on the sick – we WILL also see mighty miracles of healing performed!

Jesus Sacrifice

Jesus is Abel’s sacrifice and Noah’s rainbow. He’s

Abraham’s ram and Isaac’s well. He’s Jacob’s ladder and

Ezekiel’s burden. He’s Judah’s scepter, Moses’ rod, David’s

slingshot, and Hezekiah’s sundial. He’s the Church’s Head and is

risen from the dead. He is a Husband to the widow and a Father

to the orphan.


To those traveling by night, He’s the Bright and the

Morning Star. To those in the lonesome valley, He’s the Lily of

the Valley, the Rose of Sharon, the Honey in the Rock and the

Staff of Life. He’s the Pearl of Great Price. He’s the Rock in the

weary land. He’s the Counselor. He’s the Everlasting Father. The

government is upon His shoulders. He’s Peter’s shadow, John’s

pearly white city. He’s Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Living



He’s the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He’s

the One who split the Red Sea. He’s the One who took the children

of Israel out of Egypt into the promised land. He’s the One

who humbled Himself, came to earth, healed the sick, raised the

dead, cleansed the lepers, opened the eyes of the blind, and

turned the water into wine.


He’s the One who fed the five thousand, walked on water,

and cast out devils. He’s the One who humbled Himself, once

again, and became obedient unto death — even the death of the

cross. He’s the One who died on the cross, rose from the dead,

ascended to the right hand of the Father, and ever liveth to make

intercession for us. And He’s coming back very, very soon.


He is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus said, I and my Father are one (John 10:30). He

said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” (See John

14:9.) Jesus was God manifest in the flesh.

I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last…

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And

being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks.


And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto

the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the

foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white

as snow; and his eyes were as flames of fire;


And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a

furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

And he bad in his right hand seven stars: and out of his

mouth went a sharp two edged sword,” and his countenance

was as the sun shineth in his strength.


And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he

laid his right hand upon me, saying” unto me, 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.


Momentary Pleasure

There are all sorts of ads on the radio and on television. Often, when it gets down to the fine print, the announcer speaks so fast that you can’t keep up with him. Why does he speak quickly? He’s reading the part the company would rather you didn’t hear. The important message: Buy it now.

Satan makes the same presentation: Don’t worry about the future; you can have immediate fulfillment now!  The strength of Satan’s temptations is that worldly things are available immediately. You can have them – for a price – and they will provide temporary gratification.

The Enemy doesn’t bring up tomorrow. He invites us to forfeit our future by demanding immediate fulfillment of our desires. There is nothing you or I “must have” now that is worth stepping out of God’s will or losing the privileges and opportunities He has prepared for us. God has a plan for our lives, and there is absolutely nothing that can compare with His will, His purpose, and His goals.

Our relationship with God is the most important aspect of our existence. No experience at any time in our lives compares in the slightest with knowing Him. Yet every day, because we must “have it now,” we’re tempted to choose what Satan has to offer.

We sacrifice our future when we make irrevocable decisions in times of emotional weakness. Jesus Christ can help us face any temptation or trial Satan can throw our way. The Lord is there for us, and He will never leave us or forsake us.


Foundation Scriptures: John 4:19-24

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:19-24 NKJV

1. You worship you know not what.

a.    This sounds like the modern-day church.
b.    As we have traveled around the world, it has been interesting – and in some cases, disturbing – to see what goes on in the “Church” under the guise of “worship”.
c.    Jesus said, in verse 23, that the Father is seeking TRUE worshipers. The Father is seeking people who will worship Him from their mouth AND their heart.
d.    You worship in vain if your mouth worships, but your heart is not submitted to God. Matthew 15:8-9 NKJV – These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
e.    It is unprofitable to offer a sacrifice of worship from a disobedient heart. 1 Samuel 15:22 AMP – Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

2. Being a true worshiper.

a.    Worship is from the heart.
b.    Worship is not a religious act of posture, stance, or tone. It is the heart crying out. Psalms 42:7 – Deep calls unto deep.
c.    10 lepers were healed – only one came back to say thanks. Nine were cleansed, but only one was made whole. Luke 17:15-19 KJV – And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
d.    True worship does not spring forth only in “good times”, it springs forth out of and in the middle of the darkest seasons of life.
–    Jonah in the fish’s belly
–    The three Hebrew children in the fire
–    Daniel in the lion’s den
–    David tending sheep
–    Paul and Silas in prison
–    Jesus in Gethsemane
–    All circumstances don’t have to be the best for worship to be true worship. True worship originates from a heart; whose trust, hope and faith are in the Lord and not in a temporary situation.

3.True worship comes from a pure heart.

a.    A heart that is pure and holy.
b.    A heart that is ablaze – on fire.
c.    A heart full of passion.
d.    A heart full of faith.

4.True worshippers worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.

a.    There is a difference between Old Testament worship and New Testament worship.
b.    OT – God inhabits the praise of His people.
c.    NT – God inhabits His people of praise!
d.    Rejoice and give thanks – always – for all things! Ephesians 5:18-20 KJV – And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
e.    Worship will never stop – for all eternity we will joyfully worship Him!

5. Let this month be a month of worship.

a.    Every day – thank Him and give Him praise for His goodness, mercy, and grace!

The New is Wine is Better

Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. 39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'” Luke 5:36-39 NKJV

No one puts a new piece of material on an old garment:

Jesus told the disciples: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.”

He was speaking of the New Covenant compared to the Old and to our new life in Him compared to religious tradition and our own efforts. Isaiah 64:6a NKJV says: “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” When it comes to garments, the material tends to shrink when it is washed, especially when it is new. An older garment has done most of its shrinking, but a new piece of material will still shrink further. When this happens, it will tear away from the garment it has been sown onto.

Christianity is not just another religion – it is a new life! We have a brand new covenant, based on better promises. You can’t put a new religious patch on an old religion. Jesus did not come to “patch up our religion, nor us” or to patch up the Law – He came to give each of us a brand-new garment – a robe of righteousness. You can’t fix the sin problem by fixing behavior – you can’t fix it from the outside in, with rules, but only from the inside out, by the Spirit of God. Only God can fix the sin problem, and He does it by changing the heart. When you believe the Gospel and you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are born again and you become a new creation – your spirit is made brand new! You don’t have a new religion – you have a new life.

No one puts new wine into old wineskins:

Jesus said: “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Jesus is speaking here about new wine that has been freshly squeezed. New Wine is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. You can’t put new wine into an old wineskin, because an old wineskin is rigid and unyielding. When the gases of the wine in it expand, it will not stretch, but burst. New wine must be put into a new wineskin that is soft and flexible, so that they can expand together. God puts His Holy Spirit into the heart that has been made brand new by the blood of Jesus.

Even an old wineskin can be pressed into service again if it is first soaked in water and then has oil thoroughly rubbed into it, to make it soft and flexible again. Water is symbolic of the Word of God and Oil is another symbol for the Holy Spirit. Where religion makes us hard and inflexible, liable to burst and tear, God’s Word and His Holy Spirit make us soft, humble and yielded, if they are allowed to do their work on our “wineskin”. If we want God to be able to use us then we must continually soak ourselves in the Word of God and allow it to soak into us. We must allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us to keep us fresh and full of His wonderful new wine.

Old wine versus new wine:

Jesus said: “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’”

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” John 2:1-10 NKJV

The first miracle that Jesus did was to turn water into wine at the wedding feast. The master of the feast declared that this new wine was the best tasting wine at the celebration. When people drink too much of the “old wine” of religion, they are not thirsty for the new wine of the Spirit of God. Jesus came to give us His delicious new wine. Once we taste it, we will never want the old again!

Right Relationships

In order to become the people that God wants us to be, it is essential that we choose the right relationships. They are extremely important because without them, we will be unable to accomplish much in life. The relationships that we should pursue are ones that:

Build our confidence in God and in ourselves.

Encourage us when we are troubled and despondent.

Stimulate us to reach our full potential.

Energize us when we are weary.

Comfort us when we are hurting.

Defend us when we are attacked.

Forgive us when we make mistakes.

Love us unconditionally.

Confront us when we go astray.

Serve us when we are overextended.

It is good to ask ourselves if we have anyone in our lives who fills the needs mentioned on this list. It is also important to discover what relationships may be dragging us down or deflecting us from the path of godliness. When this happens, we may have to separate from certain individuals in order to maintain our standards. When separation is not an option—as when the unhealthy relationship involves a family member—we can still persevere to walk with God.

Now, let’s look at that list from a different angle. Ask yourself, Am I the person who lifts and steadies others in their walk with God? We can determine to provide those qualities to those around us. Such relationships are among life’s greatest treasures.

  • 1.
  • And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved .
  • 2.
  • When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
  • 3.
  • And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
  • 4.
  • And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
  • 5.
  • But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed , saying , That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
  • 6.
  • And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
  • 7.
  • And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up , and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe .
  • 8.
  • And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness , giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
  • 9.
  • And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
  • 10.
  • Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear ?
  • 11.
  • But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved , even as they.
  • 12.
  • Then all the multitude kept silence , and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
  • 13.
  • And after they had held their peace , James answered , saying , Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
  • 14.
  • Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
  • 15.
  • And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written ,
  • 16.
  • After this I will return , and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down ; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up :
  • 17.
  • That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called , saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
  • 18.
  • Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
  • 19.
  • Wherefore my sentence is , that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
  • 20.
  • But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
  • 21.
  • For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
  • 22.
  • Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
  • 23.
  • And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
  • 24.
  • Forasmuch as we have heard , that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying , Ye must be circumcised , and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment :
  • 25.
  • It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
  • 26.
  • Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 27.
  • We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
  • 28.
  • For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
  • 29.
  • That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well .
  • 30.
  • So when they were dismissed , they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together , they delivered the epistle:
  • 31.
  • Which when they had read , they rejoiced for the consolation.
  • 32.
  • And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
  • 33.
  • And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.
  • 34.
  • Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still .
  • 35.
  • Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
  • 36.
  • And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas , Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do .
  • 37.
  • And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
  • 38.
  • But Paul thought not good to take him with them , who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
  • 39.
  • And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other : and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
  • 40.
  • And Paul chose Silas, and departed , being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
  • 41.
  • And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.


Children are a blessing from God. Many people treat them as if they are anything but a blessing. They will be more of a blessing if you apply God’s Word in the way you raise them. Rodney Howard Browne teaches us to stand on God’s Word for your family. Believe His promises.

For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.  Psalms 147:13 NKJ

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.  Psalms 127:3-5 NKJ

The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.  Proverbs 20:7 NKJ

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.  Psalms 128:3 NKJ

A wise child is an incredible blessing, but a foolish child will bring years of pain and grief. Foolish, undisciplined children disrespect their parents. Your children will give you the respect due you as a parent if you discipline, correct, teach and train them as the Word of God instructs. Rodney Howard Browne teaches us to protect your children and be careful over their friends and whom they associate with.

A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.  Proverbs 10:1 NAS

A wise son makes a glad father, but a self-confident and foolish man despises his mother and puts her to shame.  Proverbs 15:20 AMP

A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.  Proverbs 17:25 NKJ

Whoever keeps the law [of God and man] is a wise son, but he who is a companion of gluttons and the carousing, self-indulgent, and extravagant shames his father.  Proverbs 28:7 AMP

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.  Proverbs 23:24-25 NKJ

Take responsibility for the raising of your own children. You shape their future! Eli got in trouble with God because he allowed his sons to do whatever they wanted to do. Rodney Howard Browne warns that undisciplined, untrained children lose out on their inheritance —spiritual and material.

Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.   Proverbs 22:6 AMP

A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share in the inheritance among brothers.  Proverbs 17:2 NAS

Don’t be shocked when your kid does dumb stuff. They are kids! You will need patience and you will need to be consistent in your discipline and training ­—not just for a day —for at least 18 years!

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.  Proverbs 22:15 AMP

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left undisciplined brings his mother to shame.  Proverbs 29:15 AMP

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your heart.  Proverbs 29:17 AMP

Withhold not discipline from the child; for if you strike and punish him with the [reedlike] rod, he will not die. 14 You shall whip him with the rod and deliver his life from Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).  Proverbs 23:13-14 AMP

He who spares his rod [of discipline] hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines diligently and punishes him early.  Proverbs 13:24 AMP (…disciplines him promptly NKJ)

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.  Proverbs 19:18 KJV (…do not be a willing party to his death. NIV)

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.  Proverbs 29:17 NKJ (…he will give you peace…NIV)

A child is accountable for his/her attitude and behavior just the same as an adult. “He’s just a kid” is a cop out. Kids are responsible for themselves and should be held accountable.

Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.
Proverbs 20:11 NKJ

Your leadership style in the home relates directly to your leadership style in other areas. You can act like you have it all together out there, but back home your kids know the real story! Your first responsibility is your own family. You cannot abdicate your familial responsibilities and then expect God to use you in the church. If you want a leadership role in the church you must be a leader in your home. Show some character and integrity in your home and you will be fit to minister to the Body of Christ!

He must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control, with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and keeping them respectful. 5 For if a man does not know how to rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?  1 Timothy 3:4-5 AMP

Let deacons be the husbands of but one wife, and let them manage [their] children and their own households well.  1 Timothy 3:12 AMP

[These elders should be] men who are of unquestionable integrity and are irreproachable, the husband of [but] one wife, whose children are [well trained and are] believers, not open to the accusation of being loose in morals and conduct or unruly and disorderly.  Titus 1:6 AMP (…wild and disobedient NIV)

Witnesses to the Resurrection

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Acts 1:1-3 NKJV

Just like the Virgin Birth, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to our faith and salvation. 1 Corinthians 15:14 says: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” And 1 Corinthians 15:17 says: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (NIV) Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins and He rose again to give us new life – eternal life. Christianity is not just another religion – it is a genuine experience and a relationship with Almighty God through Jesus Christ. It is a fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Hundreds of people personally witnessed His death on the cross and hundreds were witnesses of His resurrection. They saw Him, they spoke with Him, they touched Him, they ate with Him, and they saw Him ascend into the heavens into the presence of the Father and His angels.

Jesus’ Appearances After His Resurrection:

Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18):

Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. Mark 16:9-11 NKJV

The other women at the tomb (Matthew 28:8-10; Luke 24:1-11):

And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9 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. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. Matthew 28:8-10 KJV

Peter in Jerusalem (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5):

Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. Luke 24:34 KJV

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12, 13; Luke 24:13-35):

After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. Mark 16:12-13 NKJV

Ten disciples (without Thomas) behind closed doors (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25):

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. Luke 24:36-40 KJV

All the disciples, with Thomas (excluding Judas Iscariot) (John 20:26-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5):

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. John 20:26-28 KJV

Seven disciples who were fishing (John 21:1-14):

After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. John 21:1-2 KJV

This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. John 21:14 KJV

Eleven disciples on the mountain (Matthew 28:16-20):

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. Matthew 28:16-17 KJV

A crowd of 500; Peter; Jesus’ brother, James; and Paul:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 KJV

Those who watched Jesus ascend into heaven (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:1-11):

So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. Mark 16:19 NKJV

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11 NKJV

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