Friday, January 24, 2014

Because I'm Happy...Because I'm Saved!

A friend of mine reminded me today happy! She forwarded an awesome song that you should really try out. Why am I posting this on The Apostolic Pentecostal? Because it's high time we remember who we are, what we have going for us, and that God came in flesh to give us life more abundant!

In John 10:10, Jesus said, "I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly."

1 Peter 1:8,9 tells us that although we haven't seen Jesus Christ in flesh, we still love him. We believe and that causes us to "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls."

Nehemiah 8:10 says that "the joy of the Lord is your strength" so get with it and check out this awesome song!

If people without the Holy Ghost can remember to be joyful in the gift of life, how much more should we--the chosen of the Lord, the blessed among the nations, the apple of His eye--lift our voice and shout, raise the roof and dance, sing at the top of our lungs, and just be joyful in the day that the Lord has made!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Burdensome Stone

Like many children, I used to collect rocks. What began as a fun pastime of picking up ‘the pretty ones’ became an endeavor in my teen years to catalogue the various types of rock around my hometown. I found pumice from a centuries old bed of volcanic rock in the Tularosa Basin; I found obsidian which had been formed into arrows by Native Americans a century earlier; I found quartz both raw and shaped into beads from a time before my own. Sandstone proved plentiful as did pyrite.

I must say that this collection was far more easily accepted by my mother than my catalogue of insects in the area, but that’s an entirely different story!

What I learned from my collection was that different cultures are affected uniquely by the minerals in their area. While one civilization could be tortured or simply erased by a volcanic eruption that formed the pumice, my father used the dark rock to landscape parts of our yard due to the scarcity of water in the desert.

Likewise, different stones were used for different purposes. While our society has learned to use graphite for writing utensils, still another created hunting tools from obsidian and objects of adornment from the quartz.

These are, of course, simple observations, but in my reminiscence last night about this past hobby, I began to ponder just how stones are referenced in scripture.

Stones in the Bible

My first thought was that Jesus is called the chief cornerstone in Ephesians 2:20. In this passage, we find that our faith is built upon the foundation established by the teachings of the apostles and that Jesus served as the chief cornerstone.

What does this mean? Just what is a cornerstone anyway?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a cornerstone is:

* A stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining two walls. Jesus was that cornerstone; He was essentially the missing link between Old Testament prophecy and New Testament fulfillment. He connected the two ‘walls’ of the Bible, if you will!

*A cornerstone is also an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based. Essentially, it is the beginning structure of a building, from which all other points are measured!

So, according to Ephesians 2:20, the teachings by Peter and the others are sound doctrine and are in alignment with the Words of Jesus! He is the cornerstone—the beginning concept, the beginning foundation—from which the teachings of the disciples and apostles were measured.

”And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.

Note, Peter…and his subsequent revelation are referenced by Jesus in the same type of construction vocabulary:

”And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17-19).

Continuing this construction jargon, Jesus is said to be “set at nought” of the builders.

Acts 4:10-12 states, 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. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Likewise, in Isaiah 8:13-15, we find that Jehovah is a stone of offense:

“Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.”

We see that Jesus is the fulfillment in flesh of Jehovah God, as the same description is given to Him in I Peter 2:8:

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

Why would Jesus be rejected by the builders, a type of the religious leaders of that day and age?

It’s quite simple. Builders would not want a stone that could not be sculpted or hewn into the shape they wanted. Jesus was just such a stone.

He could not be shaped and influenced to fit their preconceived ideas—nor can he be altered to fit ours in this modern age. He was His own man…actually, His own deity.

For the child of God, he cannot be shaped into one little corner of our lives, tucked neatly where He won’t be too obtrusive. Instead, He must be our cornerstone if He is to be anything. He is the stone against which everything in our lives must be measured. He is the foundation we build upon.

A Godly Structure on Fire?

I Corinthians 3:10 cautions us, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

Now, notice the remaining passage in verses 11-13:

“ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.”

The passage continues, revealing that the way in which we choose to build upon the foundation we are given will be tried by fire.

We often take this to mean that our structure will be tried by hell fire; however, those who live for God are not going to taste hell so that reading cannot be scriptural.

To understand the type of fire we will each be tested with, allow me to divert your attention for a moment to another stone mentioned in scripture: the burdensome stone.

Jerusalem is called the “burdensome stone.”

I’m sure that none of us strive to acquire such a label as burdensome, but I believe that Jerusalem is called this because the world isn’t quite sure what to do about this stone!

A little history:

* Jerusalem is the only city in history to sustain forty different sieges .

* Her walls and her buildings have been partially destroyed thirty times.

* Jerusalem has been rebuilt from mere ashes five times.

* She has served under foreign leadership twenty-six times.

* Jerusalem has survived countless wars and a Holocaust in the past century alone!

So why would a city with so many issues be considered so great?

Look at her history. She has definitely weathered the storm. No matter what trials came her way, her people got back up and rebuilt their lives. Her story is one of survival.

So many times, we label people who face a lot of trauma as having ‘a lot of baggage.’ Quite simply, we do that because in relationships, we don’t want to deal with the emotional scars these people sometimes have.

Unfortunately, the term has made many who have faced such hardships as divorce, deaths in their families, and hard times to feel ashamed that they have ‘baggage.’

Note: This mindset is contrary to scripture. Rather than saying that Jerusalem and its people have baggage, both are viewed as strong survivors!

Jerusalem is seldom referred to as the victim or as one who just can’t get its life together. Instead, here are just some of the titles used in reference to this great city:

* City of David – The city is named for a man known to be “after God’s own heart.”

* City of God – God is not ashamed to label this city as His! Whatever you have done in your past, God will never be ashamed to call you His own if you will seek His Will in your life!

* City of the Great King

* Holy City – Does this mean it has never made a mistake? Hardly. But whenever its inhabitants have failed, they turned their faces to God in repentance. They make up a holy city!

* The Faithful City – Once again, we could remind God that Jerusalem often fell to idol worship but the fact that the city and its inhabitants keep returning to Jehovah makes it a faithful city. Believe me, as a human you will not always make the right decisions…but it is how we finish the race that matters!

* City of Truth

* City of Righteousness

* Perfection of Beauty

* Throne of the Lord

Notice that despite its failures, Jerusalem is called all of these things in God’s eternal Word!

Back to Us Being Tried By Fire

Since we know that the righteous shall not taste the fires of hell, just what fire is going to test the structure we have built on the foundation of Jesus Christ?

Just like Jerusalem, we are each going to face trials in our lives. Not once or twice, but many times.

Facing temptations and trials does not, however, mean that we are weak people who have “baggage.” Instead, these trials by fire are testing our alignment with our foundation!

Are we truly submitted to God so that we have faith and assurance in His protecting hand? Or are we emotionally bedraggled by trials?

When temptation or even hardship comes our way, do we quickly walk out the church doors, ready to throw in the towel? Or do we draw closer to God, seeking His divine strength in place of our own?

Essentially, do you really believe what you say you believe? And in the midst of the fire or even in the midst of the ashes left of your life, do you have what it takes to live it?

Often, we may feel that we walk all alone, but God is always in control.

Job proclaimed, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:8-10).

Note, one method for refining gold is by placing it in the fire.

Like in the case with Hezekiah, the Bible says that “God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart” (II Chronicles 32:31).

I Peter 1: 7 says to rejoice through hardship, “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

Yes, we are refined by going through the fires of life, which prove our structure of faith! That doesn’t mean that God is out of touch with us though.

Hebrews 4:15 tells us that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”

How can this be? It isn’t the same as when we haphazardly tell someone who is hurting, “I know how you feel.” God truly does know the feelings of our infirmities!

In Isaiah 53:5, we find the “chastisement of our peace was upon him.”

In Matthew 8:17, it says that Jesus on the cross “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”

Like Jerusalem, We Are the Unforgotten Stone

We may find the fiery trials in our life often seem more than we can bear…but, like Jerusalem, we can be an undying city!

How? Because like that great city, we have a God who is not content that we should fall and be forgotten…a relic of the past.

He is a sustaining God who will not suffer His people, His church, His covenant with each one of us to be forsaken!

Can we indeed be likened to the great city of Jerusalem, the burdensome stone that has never been forsaken but always rose from the ashes of adversity?

Indeed, yes. For in I Peter 2:2-6, we are told:

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”

If we hold onto the faith through the fire, we will not be confounded.

What does confounded mean? Consulting our friendly Merriam-Webster dictionary again, we find that this passage means that if we hold on:

* we will not be confused, perplexed, or mislead

* we will not be made worse

* we will not be forsaken

* we will not have cause to be ashamed

* and, finally, we will not be damned.

A Stone Going Through the Fire

If you are indeed going through the fire as Job did, be reminded that God sees you as holy, as a survivor, and as His own.

Draw strength from Psalms 139:
”1O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”

Baptism: How, When, Why?

Scriptural References

Essentiality of Baptism
Acts 2:38   Luke 24:47
Matt. 3:13-16   Heb. 2:3-4
Acts 10:44-48   Acts 8:12
Matt. 28:29   Acts 19:1-5
    Acts 22:16

Baptism as Part of Salvation
Acts 2:38   Rom. 6:3-5
2 Cor. 5:17-18   Acts 22:16
Matt. 3:16   1 Cor. 6:9-11

Jesus Name or Not at All
Matt. 28:19   John 16:7
Luke 1:27-33   John 14:26
Matt. 1:23-25   John 8:44
Is. 9:6    John 7:12
John 5:43   2 Thess. 2:3
John 4:24   2 Cor. 11:14
John 1:1   Acts 2:38
John 1:14   Acts 8:14-17
2 Cor. 4:6   Acts 10:46-48
John 14:16-18   

Jesus Name and the Blood
Hebrews 9:22

Step One: Baptism is Essential
***In response to the Jews’ inquiry about how they could be savedafter having crucified their Messiah, Peter said: Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent,
and be baptized every one of you in
the name of Jesus Christ for the
remission of sins, and ye shall receive
the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

*** Jesus lead by example, reinforcing the fact that baptism is necessary: Matthew 3:13-16

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee
to Jordan unto John, to be baptized
of him. But John forbad him, saying,
I have need to be baptized of thee,
and comest thou to me? And Jesus
answering said unto him, Suffer it to
be so now: for thus it becometh us to
fulfil all righteousness. Then he
suffered him. And Jesus, when he was
baptized, went up straightway out of the
water: and, lo, the heavens were opened
unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.”

***Peter commanded believers to be baptized: Acts 10:48

“And he commanded them to be baptized
in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they
him to tarry certain days.”

***Jesus, when giving the great commission, instructed believers to teach all nations and baptize them: Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:47

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

“And that repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in his name among all
nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

*** We can’t escape damnation unless we are conscientious and follow the plan of salvation: Hebrews 2:3-4

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so
great salvation; which at the first
began to be spoken by the Lord
, and
was confirmed unto us by them that heard
; God also bearing them witness,
both with signs and wonders, and with
divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost
according to his own will?”

***Note: #1 It was spoken by the Lord: where? Matthew 28:19

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

***Note: #2 It was confirmed by the hearers. Who were they? The Apostles, most notably Peter in Acts 2:38!

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent,
and be baptized every one of you in
the name of Jesus Christ for the
remission of sins, and ye shall receive
the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

***Note: #3 God confirmed with signs and wonders as it was confirmed by being practiced: where and when?

Acts 8:12
“But when they believed Philip preaching
the things concerning the kingdom of God,
and the name of Jesus Christ, they were
baptized, both men and women.”

Acts 10:44-48
“While Peter yet spake these words, the
Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the
word. And they of the circumcision which
believed were astonished, as many as came
with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also
was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For they heard them speak with tongues,
and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can
any man forbid water, that these should not be
baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as
well as we? And he commanded them to be
baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed
they him to tarry certain days.”

Acts 19:1-5
“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was
at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper
coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain
disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received
the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said
unto him, We have not so much as heard whether
there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them,
Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said,
Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily
baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying
unto the people, that they should believe on him
which should come after him, that is, on Christ
Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized
in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Acts 22:16 What’s His name?
“And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized,
and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Step Two: Baptism is Part of Salvation

***Salvation is initially a 3-step process that mimics the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

***PART ONE: Repentance = Death of Christ

The British army says ‘Repent’ to mean ‘About Face,’ commanding a turn of 180 degrees.

Repent means to completely turn from your old ways, to die out to the flesh, and to give upon old habits and the old sinful man that is displeasing to God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”

*** PART TWO: Baptism = Burial with Christ

Baptism, by nature, means submersion: Matthew 3:16.

Jesus, when baptized, “came up straightway out of the water,” meaning he must have been put down into the water.

Romans 6:3-5 Notice the name! We die to our sinful nature!
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”

If our old man dies, he must be buried!

Some quick tips on burial:

* We don’t bury a person’s body by sprinkling dirt on it. It has to be completely covered over to keep the old from corrupting the new life around it.
* We don’t bury a person unless he or she is dead. Spiritually, we must die to our old ways before we can be baptized. This is why infant baptism is not Biblical, nor is it mandated in scripture. There is no precedent of it ever occurring in the Word of God!
* The person must be in a state of repentance.

***PART THREE: Holy Ghost Infilling = Resurrection of Christ

Ultimately, baptism washes away our sins and our sinful nature, creating a clean and undefiled temple in which God will dwell:

Acts 22:16
“And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Step Three: Baptism is in Jesus' Name

*** Baptism must be in Jesus' name to be effective: Matt. 28:19
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
* Notice, 'name' is singular, meaning one rather than several
* What is the name?
* Father, son, and holy ghost are titles or offices God holds just like he holds the offices of Jehovah Jireh (my provider) or Jehovah Shalom (my peace)
* They are not separate deities, personalities, or personas

*** You don't sign a check at the stoe with your titles: mom, sister, wife, etc.
* The bank simply won't cash them because there is no authority in a title!
* It must have the authority of a name!
* Could salvation be any less important than writing a check for a pair of new heels?

***So, what is the name of the son?
* Luke 1:27-33 "To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
* Matthew 1:23-25 Joseph understood Emmanuel to mean Jesus, which literally meant 'God with us.' Jesus is God in fleshly form. "23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."
* So, the name of the son is JESUS.

***What is the name of the father?
* Isaiah 9:6 reveals that the child and the everlasting father are one and the same: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
* John 5:43 "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive."
* The fleshly robe of the divine God came in God's name!
* We are part spirit, part flesh but no less one being. Jesus was flesh outside but His spirit was no less than God Almighty!
* Consider, if you were invisible but you wanted to show someone where you were or what you were doing, you might put on a coat or a robe to show yourself. God did the same!
* John 4:24 says that God is spirit! A spirit cannot be seen so he robed himself in a fleshly shell!
* John 1:1,14 "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
* 2 Cor. 4:6 "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
* God is shown forth in the being of Jesus. He put the flesh part over the glory so that we could see its works! Through Jesus, we understand the nature of God!

***What is the name of the Holy Ghost?
* Jesus spoke in John 14:16-18 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
* The flesh instructs his followers that he will send a manifestation of himself to be IN you, which is the Holy Ghost. As he states here, the Holy Ghost already dwells with them in the face of Jesus Christ! * Note, by the time the Holy Ghost is poured out, the days of the fleshly manifestation will be ended. Essentially, there isn't a fleshly body up there directing a separate spirit to come into your heart.
* This is symbolic of us: We can't receive the spirit of God unless our fleshly days have been ended through repentance!
* The flesh of Jesus had a beginning of days and an ending of days.
* John 16:7 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
* John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
* What name will the Holy Ghost come in? Jesus' name!

***So, if Jesus is come in his father's (the divinity's name) name, to baptize someone in the name of the father would be to pronounce Jesus over them.

***And, if the Holy Ghost (the spiritual infilling that is God living in us) is sent in Jesus' own name, then to baptize someone in the name of the Holy Ghost would be to pronounce Jesus over them.

***Few would argue that the son of Mary was named Jesus so we find that Acts 2:38 is actually the fulfillment of Matthew 28:19!

Why should we not use the titles in baptism?

* These titles could also be applied to Satan.
* Satan is called a father in John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
* Satan, as he has infilled the anti-Christ, is called a son in 2 Thess. 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."
* He is likewise a spirit with angelic properties. First, he began his existence as an angel; he continues to use the guise of angelic light, as we find in 2 Cor. 11:14 "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

***This is why we use the apostles' mode of baptism! Their method of baptizing in Jesus' name revealed their revelation of who He is and their understanding of His words in Matthew 28:19.
* Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
* Acts 8:14-17 "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."
* Acts 10:46-48 "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days."
* Once again, 'name' is singular--with good reason!

Step Four: Baptism Applies the Blood Through His Name

Baptism applies the blood—via the Name—to your heart!

***The blood washes away sin and the name is applied at baptism: Hebrews 9:22

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

If you want your sins forgiven and washed away, the blood is waiting!

Compromise: The Greatest Sin of Our Age

So many in our world today cry out for compromise. They promise it will bring peace. It will assuage human confrontation and division. However, no great cause was ever won through compromise!

In fact, throughout history, it was the masses who refused to compromise that eventually won their liberty, their dignity, and the right to life.

Moses proved to be just such a man.

As a young man, he refused to serve the gods of Egypt although his adopted mother, the daughter of Pharaoh, believed in them. Instead, he chose to be numbered with his own people. “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Although initially his faith in himself and his own ability waivered due to a speech impediment, he seldom waivered at God’s promises. If God said he would free the Israelites from the Egyptian taskmasters, then Moses would settle for nothing less!

Consider his negotiations with Pharaoh over Israel’s release.

Visit #1

Moses’ first request was that the Israelites be allowed to take a three day journey to worship. Notice Pharaoh’s response:

“Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens” (Exodus 5:1-4).

Pharaoh basically said, ‘Why aren’t you slaving away? You’re nothing so go back to work!’

In response to the request, Pharaoh increased the Israelites’ workload, causing them to be angry with Moses and Aaron. Moses questioned the Lord but was quickly assured that God was moving!

Miraculous Visits

Moses and Aaron entreated Pharaoh a second time…and a third…and so on. Each visit, God performed a different miracle to reveal his deity to Pharaoh, but Pharaoh refused to listen.

What a tough fight! How many of us would have given up after one or two visits and said, ‘God, I think you missed it!’ Moses, however, stood in faith on God’s promises and repeatedly visited Pharaoh!

Again and again, Pharaoh would promise to acquiesce to their request only to harden his heart once the plague ended.

After the swarm of flies encroached upon the land, Pharaoh offered to allow the Israelites to make a sacrifice to God…but they could not go as far away as requested by Moses. Moses refused this offer.

Another time, Pharaoh offered to allow the adults to go worship but they had to leave their children behind. Once again, Moses refused this compromise. How many of us have compromised and by doing so, are leaving our children to the mercy of this sick world?

Instead, Moses kept returning to Pharaoh’s courts, performing the miraculous plagues that God instructed him to perform. Consistency and a refusal to compromise describe Moses’ tenacity!

One of the final plagues was the encroachment of darkness. Indeed, it was a darkness that was so impenetrable that it could be felt! Often, I’ve wondered if our world has not slipped into such a spiritual darkness itself!

Finally, following the plague of darkness, Pharaoh agreed to allow the Israelites to worship if they left their cattle and flocks behind. Moses once again refused the compromise, saying “Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind” (Exodus 10:25-26).

Even so much as a single hoof would not be left behind! How often have we compromised what seem to be little things?

• We say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…as long as it doesn’t interfere with sports, the kids’ activities at school, or my soap operas!”

• We say, “I will give all I have to the Lord…as long as I can afford it along with the ‘wants’ I have!”

• We say, “I will serve God with my whole heart…but surely these measly standards of holiness are not that important; it won’t matter if I let a few little things slide.”

Just how many compromises are we making? And are they truly helping us spiritually?

What If We Were the Israelites?

Based on some of the little compromises I’ve seen in our saints, I would dare say many of us would have been happy with the status quo. “That’s right, Pharaoh. As long as you supply us with the straw to make the bricks, we’ll be happy to be slaves to sin the rest of our lives.” Really? Is that really what God has for His people?

Some of us would have leapt at the chance to take a 3-day vacation from Egypt even without our flocks and cattle. But, God wants our livelihood included in this life of worship!

Even some of us would have easily left our children behind in the city of the Egyptians while we ‘served’ our God. I can just feel many of you shaking your heads but how often have you heard families in the church saying:

• “Well, I live for God but it’s up to my child if he wants to come to church or not.” Um, as long as that child lives with you, you need to give him or her as much opportunity to serve God as possible…and that means having them attend the house of God every time the doors are open!

• “Well, the rock music, the violent video games, the pornographic comics and manga are just this generation’s idea of entertainment. We should be understanding of such choices.” Indeed, when such entertainment conflicts with Biblical mandates, it’s time to put on the brakes! God never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. According to Malachi 3:6, God said, “I am the Lord, I change not.”

For so many years, we have been brainwashed to believe that compromise is the only way to ‘grow a church’ …but if you have to compromise to have people sit on the pew, you don’t have a church at all. You have a social club.

For so many years, we have heard from psychologists and educators that there is a generation gap and we have to give in to the whim of Hollywood that our young people fall prey to so that we can relate with our children. Instead, why don’t we show them something that is more consistent that these changing fads, more wholesome and fulfilling than the latest video game, and more lasting that the pleasures of sin for a season!

For so many years, we’ve heard that compromise keeps people from being offended. In fact, political correctness has taken not only ‘Merry Christmas’ from us but it has made us swallow every form of lifestyle without a word! Indeed, while scripture says that a brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, the Bible also says to preach the truth in love. That means being honest, truthful, and exact when we tell others what God expects of His people. We’re so afraid of offending people that we’d rather see them lost and burning for the rest of eternity than tell the truth!

Look at the Israelites. Pharaoh at one point said they could worship their God if they didn’t go too far from Egypt. Egypt is a type of sin. Satan doesn’t mind you worshipping as long as your life doesn’t change. He doesn’t mind you sitting a pew as long as you have no relationship with God! And he doesn’t mind that pretty song you sing as long as you no longer feel a need to worship in the “beauty of holiness!”

Sure, Pharaoh was offering the Israelites a chance to worship for the first time in 400 years! Many of us would have leapt at the chance! It was such a big step compared to what they had been doing…yet Moses said, “Not good enough!”

Why? Because God promised far more than that!

What Happens When We Refuse to Compromise?

In the end, the Israelites not only walked out of Egypt free but they left with the Egyptians’ riches! Because Moses would not compromise, Exodus 14:8 says he left with a high hand!

So often, we settle for a workplace that lets us at least attend Sunday morning service, obstructing us from worship and encouragement the rest of the week. We settle for a doctor’s advice that says we can continue to live if we become dependent on certain medications, rather than praying until medical science is confounded by our healing. We settle for tucking our heads when asked about holiness so that we don’t stick out too much. But there is a mighty ministry and blessing for those who refuse to compromise!

You want your family saved? Stand your ground…don’t compromise!

You want to win your coworkers and have freedom to worship your God? Stand your ground…don’t compromise!

You want to live life abundantly as Jesus promised? Stand your ground…don’t compromise!

You want to make it to heaven? Yes…stand your ground…don’t compromise!

Look at Moses…and stand your ground!

Jesus: God Almighty or Just An Anointed Man?

I recently received a comment on ‘The Lord is One’ post (under the 'Oneness' label to the right) and would like to share the comment and my response with everyone.  This is a great discussion and I think it is very important that we understand what we believe.  As our belief in One God has been challenged as pagan and not being scriptural, I’d like to share a few notes on why I believe what I do and why Jesus is undeniably God.

Here’s the post one of our readers shared:

Greetings Genessa Torsy

Oneness or Trinity: Which is it?

Answer: NEITHER!!

Sadly, both Oneness and trinity doctrines try to make Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah our Lord, into Almighty GOD!! And both doctrines state that you must believe that the Lord Jesus is Almighty GOD to be saved!! In this regard, both doctrines do err and are scripturally wrong. IMHO! Both doctrines appeared hundreds of years after the ascension of Christ. Both doctrines try to explain how Jesus can be both God and man at the same time!! The Godman!!

But the original faith which was once delivered unto the saints [Jude 3] did not suffer from this problem. The original faith has always been that there is solely ONE GOD, the Father. And Jesus of Nazareth, is the one man, the one human being whom Almighty GOD raised from the dead, made him, both Lord and Christ, and exalted him to His right hand. Hence, Jesus of Nazareth is the Lord Jesus Christ, a man approved of Almighty GOD, who is currently at the right hand of the ONE GOD in the heavens.
Whom we await for his return.

(1 Cor 8:4) ... there is none other God but one.
(1 Cor 8:6) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him;
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

(1 Tim 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus;

(1 Th 1:9-10) For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Hundreds of years after the pure, true, apostolic faith was propagated;
Greek, Hellenistic and pagan philosophy/doctrines changed the human Jesus into a demigod then into a godman.
And in response, both the doctrines of the trinity and Oneness tried to solve this self-inflicted problem!

The solution therefore, is to return to the pure faith and doctrine as taught in the Scriptures:
that there is solely ONE GOD, the Father.
And there is solely one man, one human, whom the ONE GOD has made
"Lord of all", the man Messiah Jesus.

And indeed the day is coming where ...
(Phil 2:11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

Here’s Just a Few Notes On Why I Believe that Jesus is God Almighty, Manifest in the Flesh:

Dear Brother,

I admire your passion and belief in the oneness of God.  I do differ with you, however, in the belief of who that God is.  You see, there can be no doubt that Jesus is the Almighty God incarnate. 

So that you can better understand why I believe this, I’ve jotted down a few questions for you:

1) First, what shall we do with John 8:19? “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.” 

2) What shall we do with John 14:7? “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.”  Neither you nor I can say the same about our fathers.  If you have seen me, you have not seen my father.  If I have seen you, I might see a man who looks similar to his father but I have not seen your father.  Jesus was trying to explain to his followers who he truly was.

3) What shall we do with the bold statement of Jesus in John 10:30, saying “I and my Father are one.”  In this sense, the flesh is terming its Creator as its father.

4) What shall we do with John 14:8-9?  “Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?”  Jesus is asking in disbelief.  In essence, he is asking ‘You mean you’ve seen the works that I do and you don’t know that I am Almighty God?’  In the next few verses, Jesus even expounds on the works being done as not having been done by a fleshly person but by deity.  He says, “whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  Essentially, he is saying, I will perform the miraculous if you call on the name of Jesus because I want you to see that this is God Almighty at work.

5) What shall we do with Isaiah 9:6?  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  How is it that this baby Jesus, born in a stable, is called the Everlasting Father and the Mighty God by Isaiah and yet you say that Jesus was just a man and was not God or the Father of Creation?  Hmm, I think your disagreement is not with me or with oneness believers.  It is with Isaiah and Jesus so far.

6) What shall we do with the entire first chapter of John?

Verse 1:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Here, we find that the Word is God the Creator of all things.
Word=God the Creator or Father of Creation

Verse 3: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”  There isn’t another creator.  The Word is it!

Verse 4: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  So the Word is the Light!

Verse 6: We learn here about John the Baptist.  “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.  He was not that Light…”  So John bears witness of the Light…who is the Creator!  Who does John introduce?  Jesus!

Verse 10: The scripture begins describing this Light, who is the Word from verse 1:  “He was in the world, and the world was made by him [Creator], and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”  The Creator came to his own—to live amongst his creation—and they rejected him…sounds strangely reminiscent of Calvary, right?

Verse 14: This scripture reveals that the Word, which is the Creator, which is the Light….is Jesus Christ. 
Word = Creator = Father = Light = Jesus
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Notice, the Word or Almighty God became flesh.  Only by becoming flesh could we see the glory, grace, and truth of who God is.  The term ‘begotten’ is often misunderstood.  Yes, it can mean giving birth to but it also means created by.  The flesh was a created vessel, made specifically for God to indwell.

Verse 18: “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”  Let us understand this passage:
* No one has seen the spirit of God.  Why?  As John 4:24 says, “God is spirit.”  Spirits cannot be seen as they lack properties such as flesh and blood.
* Jesus became the vehicle through which we could see God.  He was ‘declared’ by the bodily presence.  Declare does not just mean to state or say something; it also means to “make manifest or visible” or “to reveal.”  Check your dictionary!
* Otherwise, if God were not manifest in the flesh, how could Acts 20:28 be true?  The text says that God “hath purchased [the Church] with his own blood.”  Where could a spirit get blood from?

7) Moving on in our study here.   What shall we do with John the Baptist’s introduction of Jesus in John 1:30, “This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.”  How could Jesus be before John? 

John’s mother, Elizabeth, was pregnant and gave birth to John before Mary gave birth to Jesus so, physically, John came before Jesus….but supernaturally, Jesus was before all flesh as the Creator! 

As Jesus stated in John 8:23, “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”  If he was simply a human being…how could he not be of this world.  The word ‘of’ means to come from.

Furthermore, God in the Old Testament was known as the ‘I Am.’  You can see Exodus 3:14 for an example.  Jesus repeatedly identified himself as the ‘I Am’ in the New Testament.

For instance, in John 8:24, Jesus said, “if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

Bible scholars often add “he” after the words “I am” to assist with readability; this is why the word “he” is italicized in these versions.  This means that the original translation would have read, “If ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.”

John 8:28 is another example.  Our versions state “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he.”

The words “that” and “he” are italicized, meaning they were added for readability.  What the phrase actually states is “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know I AM.”  In essence, when Jesus gave His life on the cross and was ascended up into glory, then they would understand He was God Almighty.

The examples go on and on.  But I would be remiss not to add this conversation between Jesus and the Jews who were asking who he truly was.

In John 8:56-58, Jesus says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.”

Why didn’t Jesus say, “Before Abraham was, I was?”  Because He is eternal God…He always IS!

7) Having discussed John 1, now what shall we do with the prophecies foretelling of Jesus’ birth?  What shall we do with Isaiah 9:6?
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

This infant, born in a stable, is called the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father.  Apparently, those who do not believe that Jesus is the Eternal and Only God are not disagreeing with me or with other oneness believers.  They are simply disagreeing with Isaiah and Jesus himself.  How much simpler can God say it?

8) Final question: What shall we do with 1 Timothy 3:16?
Scholars denote that when Timothy referenced “God,” he was certainly speaking of the same God referred to in the Old Testament.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

That sounds an awful lot like my Jesus!  I’m so glad that I know Him!

Isn’t it time we lifted Him up in praise as the God he truly is and won the lost?

Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
* He was lifted up on a cross from the earth once so that His blood could redeem us.
* Now, it’s time to lift Him up with our belief and our praise as God—rather than man—so that our world can be turned upside down and brought back into reconciliation with Him!

Have an opinion or a scriptural passage you’d like to share?  Feel free to comment so long as we remain respectful of others and post with the intention of sharing the truth in love.  We need more people talking about Jesus anyway!

Monday, April 29, 2013

21 Days of Faith

Being in ministry...any kind of ministry...can make you susceptible to burnout. It is so easy to show up at church on a Sunday morning and expect the musicians, worship leaders, Sunday School teachers, and preachers to just operate at their best automatically...but it just isn't that simple.

As a musician, singer, and Bible teacher, I have to say that many times the ministry arrives at the church house in just as much need of encouragement as the saint or visitor in the pew. Yes, that is what the prayer room is for prior to service...but it takes more than that. It takes a walk with God on an individual level during the rest of the week to be able to feed others when you likewise are facing trials or dry times in your life.

My husband and I have recently been blessed with a son. Being parents makes living for God even more important!  Not only do we need to be able to feed and encourage those in the church but we have a son whose view of God will come from us!

We've decided to embark on 21 days of faith! Like everyone reading this, we have needs that only God can fill. There are things we need to happen in our lives that we cannot possibly do in our own human ability...but God is not limited.

Join us...

If you have a physical need in your body, the gospels are full of examples of Jesus healing the sick! No illness stands a chance against him!

If you need a financial miracle, stop thinking that is an area God cannot reach. Just as the widow who went to Elisha for help when she almost lost her sons to the creditors, God can multiple the oil of our livelihoods and bless us beyond imagination. God is a miracle worker and there is no area where He cannot touch!

We are believing God for a miracle! Each day during the next 21 days, we are going to embark on prayer, fasting, building up our faith, and walking in His promises!

Suggested Preaching 'Power Surge': "What I Say When I Preach to Myself" by Rev. Steve Warman at Because of the Times 2011!
*** Key Take Aways: I Have Faith For This!

In future, I'll try to include sermons you can find on youtube or vimeo but this is a favorite faith builder for me and my husband!  It's worth purchasing from the Pentecostals of Alexandria!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Refreshing Him With Praise

How to Please God: Praise is a sweet smelling savor

Throughout the Old Testament, sacrifices made to God were likened to a sweet smelling savor.  Essentially, this is a wonderful smelling perfume or scent.  Praise, thanksgiving, and a submitted life are likened to these sacrifices in the New Testament.

I was reminded earlier today that our praise is like a sweet aroma to God.  I had been working on some things and decided to wash my hands.  If you’re anything like me, I love scented hand soaps and candles.  As I lathered my hands, the scent of Gardenias filled the air and I had to bend down to get a better sniff!

It may sound silly but something so simple can truly rejuvenate your day! 

It’s much the same when I smell cookies baking; I am reminded of childhood days at my grandmother’s house.  When I smell rain, I remember splashing in puddles as a teenager with my best friend Cristina and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallow cream on top.  I can still envision the marshmallow cream all over our faces as we attempted to drink; the cream seals the top of the cup completely, by the way!

The point is, scents do something to us.


In fact, during my training as a school teacher, we were instructed to burn candles or have air fresheners in the classroom.  No, it wasn’t due to all the bodies being in the same room.  It was because studies have shown that we remember smells vividly.

Information we learn in the presence of a particular smell can be easily recalled later in life when that smell is presented to us again.

That’s why smells bring back such vivid memories! 

This is another reason why women and men alike often invest in a signature fragrance or cologne; the mere scent anywhere in the world will remind their loved ones of them!

It is a very powerful sense!


Interestingly, some scents even encourage relaxation.  Many aromatherapy companies sell the following scents because of their powers to affect the mind and body:
·         Lavender, chamomile, and Jasmine relax the body and relieve stress.
·         Bergamot is said to rejuvenate and refresh.
·         Rose is calming.
·         Neroli, a scent extracted from bitter oranges, rejuvenates and energizes.

The benefits are so well-known that even forward-thinking companies like mine provide teas and scented air fresheners in these scents free of charge for their employees!  And massage businesses consistently scent their rooms with these fragrances to enhance the atmosphere of relaxation.

My question this morning: 

If our praise is translated into a scent for God…

·         Could it be that our praise makes Him lean just a bit closer in our lives to take a second whiff of the glory we are sending up? 

·         Could it be that your praise reminds Him of all we’ve done to serve Him and all our glorious memories together? 

·         Could it be that our praise relaxes, refreshes, and rejuvenates God, energizing Him to move in our lives even greater?

Could be! 

In Genesis 8:20-21, we find that when Noah offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God, following the flood, that “the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake.”

Could it be?  Have you praised Him today?