Category Archives: Book Study

Praying Powerful Prayers – FREE Printable Prayer Guide

Praying Powerful Prayers – FREE Printable Prayer Guide on Philippians 1 Apostolic Prayer

Last week I posted about How to Pray Powerful Prayers. This post was specifically on praying the apostolic prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1.   I also listed why using the apostolic prayer language in our prayers is so important and powerful.  Today I wanted to continue this prayer series on praying powerful prayers looking at my favorite biblical apostolic prayer: Philipians 1:9-11

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1 – Praying Powerful Prayers – Free Printable Prayer Guide focusing on Philippians 1

Philippians 1-Free Printable Prayer Guide

 

That Love May Abound Still More and More

I find this is beautiful language to pray over my marriage and relationships…or the relationships of my daughters.  That love would abound, increase and spill over. That as I grow in the knowledge of my husband, friend, etc my love would grow more and more with every day and year that passes.  It pairs wonderfully with the verse asking the Holy Spirit to shed His love abroad in our hearts.  Because it’s from the overflow and source of His love that we love..

That You May Approve the Things That Are Excellent

This is great to pray when you or someone you know has a difficult decision.  Or maybe they are just going through a difficult season making choices that do not line up with the wisdom of God. It’s also just generally a good prayer to pray over yourself, your family, your children. This way by God’s grace and wisdom, the choices that we or they make will line up with God’s perfect will for their lives; so that we will be blessed making choices that keep us on the narrow way and that are loving.

Here are the study notes that focus on the different parts of these verses. I got them here.

Prayer for God’s love to abound in our heart resulting in discernment and righteousness.

And this I pray, that YOUR LOVE MAY ABOUND still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may APPROVE THE THINGS THAT ARE EXCELLENT, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being FILLED WITH THE FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:9-11).

  • That your love may abound still more and more – ever-increasing love in our hearts
    • The path of the just shines ever brighter unto perfection
    • But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18)
    • Believers abounding in excellence in every gift
    • But as you abound in everything– in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us– see that you abound in this grace also. (2 Corinthians 8:7)
    • Abounding more and more unto pleasing God
    • Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
    • Thanksgiving for ever-increasing faith and love
    • We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, (2 Thessalonians 1:3)
    • Other scriptures – Job 17:9; Matthew 13:31-33; Philippians 3:15-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; Philemon 6; 1 Peter 1:22
  • In knowledge – experiential knowledge of the person of Christ
    • The need for maturity in understanding
    • Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:20)
    • Be wise, understanding the Lord’s will
    • Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17)
    • Filled with the knowledge of His will
    • For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (Colossians 1:9)
    • New man renewed in knowledge according to Christ’s image
    • and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, (Colossians 3:10)
    • Other scriptures – 2 Peter 1:5-6; 2 Peter 3:18
  • And all discernment –
  • The King prays for an understanding heart to govern the people
  • “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:9)
  • The spiritual man discerns unsavory things
  • Is there injustice on my tongue? Cannot my taste discern the unsavory? (Job 6:30)
  • The ear discerns words as the mouth tastes food
  • For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. (Job 34:3)
  • Using discernment to test and keep the good
  • Test all things; hold fast what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
    • Other scriptures – 2 Samuel 14:17; 1 Kings 3:11; Isaiah 7:15; Romans 14:1; 1 Corinthians 2:14-15;
  • That you may approve the things that are excellent – examining and agreeing with the excellence of the Lord
    • This comes from the mind being renewed in God’s Word
    • And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
    • Walk in light, and discover what pleases the Lord
    • For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8-10)
    • Training the senses through use to discern excellence
    • But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)
    • Test every spirit to approve excellence
    • Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
    • Other scriptures – 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Revelation 2:2
  • That you may be sincere – tested as genuine by the light of the sun
    • Fear the Lord, and serve Him with sincerity and truth
    • “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! (Joshua 24:14)
    • Nathanael seen by Jesus Christ as being without deceit
    • Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” (John 1:47)
    • Speak sincerely in the sight of God in Christ
    • For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17)
    • Hearts established blameless in holiness
    • so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:13)
    • Other scriptures – Acts 24:16; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 8:8; Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 1:16
  • And without offense – not stumbling over anything God chooses to do or permit
    • Jesus is a sanctuary to His own, but an offense to unbelievers
    • He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 8:14)
    • Not to be offended at the mystery of God’s ways
    • “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matthew 11:6)
    • Knowledge of Jesus keeps us from offense at His ways
    • Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 9:32-33) orinthians 1:23 – The stumbling block of the cross of Christ
    • Other scriptures – Matthew 26:33; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Galatians 5:11; 1 Peter 2:8
  • Till the day of Christ – the culmination of natural history at the appearing of Jesus
    • Blameless in the day of Christ
    • who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:8)
    • Work of Holy Spirit in our lives completed unto that day
    • being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:6)
    • Rejoicing in the day of Christ that our race was not in vain
    • holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (Philippians 2:16)
    • The sudden appearing of the day of the Lord
    • But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)
  • Being filled with the fruits of righteousness – the effects of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts
    • Planted in the Lord’s House, we bear fruit into old age
    • Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, (Psalm 92:13-14)
    • The pruning work of the Holy Spirit to increase fruitbearing
    • “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)
    • Appointed by the Lord to bear fruit that remains
    • “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:16)
    • Fruit of righteousness comes to those who embrace discipline
    • Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)
    • Other scriptures – Psalm 1:3; Isaiah 5:2; Luke 13:6-9; John 15:8; Romans 6:22; Romans 15:28; 2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 4:17; Colossians 1:6,10; James 3:17-18
  • Which are by Christ Jesus – the work of His hands upon our lives
    • His work in us that He may be glorified
    • Also your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21)
    • The planting of the Lord for His own glory
    • To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)
    • Fruit borne through abiding in Christ
    • “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
    • We are His workmanship, created for good works
    • For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
    • Other scriptures – Isaiah 61:11; Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11
  • To the glory and praise of God – that He is honored and beautified by our lives
    • Our fruitbearing to the Father’s glory
      • “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:8)
    • Our purpose is to be to the praise of His glory
    • that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:12)
    • Our purchase and redemption results in praise to His glory
    • who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:14)
    • Our lives glorify God in the time of visitation
    • having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12)

 

Resources That I Want to Share with Friends:

This book by Tim Keller looks awesome. Since it’s on prayer, I thought I would share with you in this post.  He’s one of my favorite pastors to listen to, very anointed for being so nerdy.  Check out some of my Favorite Sermons post if you would rather listen to some of his material.

This is a beautiful soaking hour that I found on YouTube. It would be great to sit quietly and just let it play over your soul.  I needed so much of what she sang. I pray it blesses you.

C.S. Lewis on Selfies – Perelandra

C.S. Lewis on Selfies – Perelandra

Selfie was named as the word of 2013 and it’s frequency of use has increased by 17,000%. Of course, I can’t think of selfies without thinking of C.S. Lewis and Perelandra.  c.s. lewis on selfiesThis is my second post on the book Perelandra, a science fiction work by C.S. Lewis.  If you missed the first one it was on Good Versus Best. 

The selfie has become very common in our society.  Everyone from the pope to the president.  And everywhere-from restaurants to funerals.  If we took a step back, we might realize how outrageous this practice really is, but it has become an accepted norm.  Self-gazing.

This gazing on self was the topic in part of Lewis’ book.  It struck a sensitive chord as I am also fond of selfies.  Well dang it! There’s never anyone around to photograph my most gorgeous moments!  Anyway, in this chapter the Enemy (also referred to as Un-man) is trying different strategies to cause the innocent “Lady” to fall.  It’s basically giving a glimpse into the second Eden where Satan is using strategies to deceive Eve into sin. At this point the Enemy has been filling her head with stories of heroines and also made her a coat of beautiful feathers (from birds he had cruelly slaughtered).  Ransom (whom the lady also refers to as Piebald) is the main character who is sent to try to deflect the enemy’s many schemes and to keep this Fall from occurring. This chapter escalates with a mirror as the enemy gives the Lady her first glimpse at her own appearance.

“But if you do not look you will never know how beautiful you are.”
It comes into my mind, Stranger,” she answered, “that a fruit does not eat itself, and a man cannt be together with himself.”
A fruit cannot do that because it is only a fruit,”said the Un-man.  “But we can do it.  We call this thing a mirror.  A man can love himself, and be together with himself.  That is what it means to be a man or a woman–to walk alongside oneself as if one were a second person and to delight in one’s own beauty.  Mirrors were made to teach this art.”
“Is it a good?” said the Lady.
“No,” said Ransom.
“If you try it and it is not good,”said Ransom, “how do you know whether you will be able to stop doing it?”
“I am walking alongside myself already,”said the Lady. “But I do not yet know what I look like. If I have become two I had better know what the other is.  As for you, Piebald, one look will show me this woman’s face and why should I look more than once?”
She took the mirror, timidly but firmly, from the Un-man and looked into it in silence for the better part of a minute.  Then she let it sink and stood holding it at her side…
(The Un-man speaking)I would give you this mirror to keep…But you have reminded me there can be no gifts, no keeping, no foresight while you live as you do–from day to day, like the beasts.”
But the Lady did not appear to be listening to him.  She stood like one almost dazed with the richness of a day-dream.  She did not look in the least like a woman who is thinking about a new dress.  The expression of her face was noble. It was a great deal too noble.  Greatness, tragedy, high sentiment–these were obviously what occupied her thoughts.  Ransom perceived that the affair of the robes and the mirror had been only superficially concerned with what is commonly called female vanity.  The image of her beautiful body had been offered to her only as a means to awake the far more perilous image of her great soul.  The external and, as it were, dramatic conception of the self was the enemy’s true aim.  He was making her mind a theatre in which that phantom self should hold the stage.  He had already written the play.  (Perelandra, Lewis, pp137-139)

We have fallen in love with ourselves, with our own image, our own beauty. And worse, we have become the center of everything.  Self is the center of the great saga of life.  But this is so untrue.  In fact, we are barely supporting characters.  Jesus is the lead actor in this play that has spanned thousands of years.  Our existence is only here to support his own glory.

And I believe as long as we are at center, our souls and lives will feel misaligned, maligned with an innate sense that something is “off”. Just as physically When something is out of balance, we feel sick; so there are symptoms of sickness of soul. This sickness ails us each individually and is obviously affecting our modern society. And the root of our disease is self-gazing, self-focus. Maybe we should remove our mirrors & cameras.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him. Isaiah 53:2

imageHow little does outward beauty matter to God? How much could it matter if His own son, God in flesh had zero beauty.  Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. What if we took a selfie of our hearts, our inner person?  Would we want to send that out to the world?

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty…You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Pet 3:3-4

 

Too many selfies.  Too much time thinking about self. Guilty.  Since reading this chapter, I haven’t stopped taking selfies, but I definitely take less and stop to think every time. Am I the star of this story (and also my own paparazzi)?  How can I put Christ at the center instead? Take my eyes off the mirror (or rear-facing camera) and back on Christ who’s beauty is beyond description.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. James 1:23

 

Pilate’s Letter to Caesar: Actipalate

Pilate’s Letter to Caesar: Actipalate

pilate's letter to caesarThe Actipalate: Possibly Pontius Pilate’s Letter to Caesar?

I came across this excerpt of Pilate’s letter to Caesar in Chuck Smith’s C2000 commentary on Matthew 27.  I found it very interesting that if this IS Pilate’s letter to Caesar, then it gives insight into the heart & mind of one of the crucifixion’s main charaters.  Below is Smith’s comments on Pilate’s letter to Caesar and excerpts that he provides from Pilate’s letter to Caesar.

Chuck Smith on Pilate’s letter to Caesar:

There is a document that was found in the Vatican library, that purported to be the letter that Pilate sent to Caesar (Pilate’s letter to Caesar), as he explained to him his part and the place of Rome in the crucifixion of Jesus.  Pilate’s letter to Caesar is called the “Actipalate”, and it is an interesting letter. However, the authenticity is something that cannot be fully attested to, but it does make very interesting reading. I have a book called the Archaeological and Historic Writings of the Sanhedrin, and Talmud of the Jews, and in this book there is a copy of the Actipalate, Pilate’s letter to Caesar. I like to just read a couple of those segments out of it to you.

Pilate’s letter to Caesar:

“To Tiberas Caesar the emperor of Rome, noble sovereign greeting,

“The events of the last few days in my province have been of such character, that I will give the details in full as they have occurred, as I should not be surprised if in the course of time they may change the destiny of our nation. For it seems oblate that all the gods have ceased to be populous. I am almost ready to say, ‘Cursed be the day that I succeeded Dalarias Fascias, in the government of Judea’, for since then my life has been one of continual uneasiness and distress”. (Actipalate, Pilate’s letter to Caesar)

And in Pilate’s letter to Caesar, he goes on and tells of some of the problems that he had as he took over as the governor there in Israel. He said:

“I granted unto Jesus unlimited freedom. It was true that Jesus was severe on the rich and the powerful. And this was a political reason, in my opinion, for not restraining the liberty of the Nazarene. The scribes and the Pharisees, He would say to them, ‘You are a race of vipers. You resemble painted sepulchres. You appear well unto men, but you have death within you.’

“At other times He would sneer at the alms of the rich and the proud, telling them that the mite of a poor was more precious in the sight of God. And new complaints were daily made at the praetorium against the insolence of Jesus. I was even informed that some misfortune would befall Him, and that it would not be the first time that Jerusalem had stoned those that called themselves prophets. And if the praetorium refuse justice an appeal would be made to Caesar.

“However my conduct was approved by the senate, and I was promised reinforcement after the termination of the Partian War. Being too weak to suppress the sedition, I resolved on adopting a measure that promised to establish the tranquility of the city, without subjecting the praetorium to the humiliating concession. I wrote to Jesus requesting an interview with Him at the praetorium. He came. You know that in my veins there flows Spanish, mixed with Roman blood is incapable of fear; it is a peril emotion.

“But when the Nazarene made His appearance, I was walking in my baselic, and my feet seemed fastened with an iron hand to the marble pavement, and I trembled in every limb as a guilty colberet, for He was calm. The Nazarene was as calm as innocence itself. When He came up to me, He stooped, and by a signal sign He seemed to say to me, ‘I am here’, though He spoke not a word. For some time I contemplated with admiration and awe. This extraordinary type of man, a type of man unknown to our numerous painters, who have given form and figures to all the gods and the heroes. There was nothing about Him that was repelling in His character, yet I felt odd and tremulous to approach Him.

“‘Jesus” said I unto Him at last, and my tongue faltered. “Jesus of Nazareth I have granted you for the last three years ample freedom of speech, nor do I regret it. Your words are those of a sage. I know not whether you have read Socrates or Plato, but this I know there is in your discourses a majestic simplicity that elevates you far above these philosophers. The Emperor is informed of it and I as his humble representative in his country, I am glad of having allowed you that liberty of which you are so worthy.

‘”However, I must not conceal from you that your discourses have raised up against you powerful enemies, and neither is this surprising. Socrates had his enemies, and he fell victim to their hatred. Yours are doubly incensed against you, on account of your discourses being so severe against their conduct, against me, on account of the liberty I have afforded you. They even accused me of being indirectly leagued with you, for the purpose of depriving the Hebrews of the little civil power the Rome has left them. My request, and I do not say, ‘my order’, is that you be more circumspect and moderate in your discourses in the future, and more tender toward them, lest you arouse the pride of your enemies and they rise against you, this stupid populous, and compel me to employ the instruments of law.’

“The Nazarene commonly replied, ‘Prince of the earth, your words proceed not from true wisdom. Say to the torrent, stop in the midst of the mountain gorge, it will uproot the trees of the valley. The torrent will answer you that it obeys the laws of nature, and the Creator, God, alone knows whither flows the water of the torrent.

‘”Verily I say unto you, before the rose of Sharon blossoms, the blood of the just shall be spilt.’

“‘Your blood will not be spilt,’ said I with deep emotions. ‘You are more precious in my estimation, on account of your wisdom, than all of the turbulent and proud Pharisees who abused the freedom granted them by the Romans. They conspire against Caesar and convert his bounty into fear and pressing the unlearned, that Caesar is a tyrant, and seeks their ruin. Insolent wretches they are not aware that the wolf of the tiger sometimes clothes themselves with the skin of sheep to accomplish the wicked ends”‘. (Actipalate, Pilate’s Letter to Caesar)

And he goes on with his conversation there in Pilate’s letter to Caesar. And then the interesting part I feel is concerning the resurrection. Talking of the crucifixion in Pilate’s letter to Caesar he said,

“I returned to the praetorium, was pensive on ascending the stair, the steps of which was still stained with the blood of the Nazarene. I perceived an old man in a sibilant posture, and behind him several Romans in tears. He threw himself at my feet and he wept most bitterly. It is painful to see an old man weep.

“And my heart already overcharged with grief, wept, though strangers, mutually wept together. And in truth it seemed that the tears lay very shallow that day on many whom I perceived out of the vast concourse of people. I never saw such a complete division of feeling. Both on the extreme, those that betrayed and sold Him, those that testified against Him. Those that said, ‘crucify Him; we will have His blood’. All slunk off like cowardly cures, and washed their teeth with vinegar. As I am told that Jesus taught a resurrection and separation after death, if such should be the fact I am sure it commenced in this vast crowd.

“‘Father’, I said to him, after gaining control of my feelings, ‘who are you, and what is your request?’ ‘I am Joseph of Arimathaea’, he replied, ‘and I have come to beg of you upon my knees the permission to bury Jesus of Nazareth’.

“‘Your prayer is granted’, I said to him. And at the same time ordered Manleous to take some soldiers with him to superintend the Interment, lest it should be profaned. A few days after the sepulchre was found empty, His disciples published all over the country that Jesus had risen from the dead, as He had foretold. This last report created more excitement than the first. As to its truth I cannot say for certain, but I have made some investigation in the matter. So you can examine it for yourself and see if I am at fault as Herod represents me.

“Joseph buried Jesus in his own tomb. Whether he contemplated the resurrection, or calculated to cut himself another, I cannot tell. The next day after He was buried, one of the priests came to the praetorium and said that they were apprehensive that the disciples intended to steal the body of Jesus and hide it, and then to make it appear that He had risen from the dead, as He had foretold, in which they were perfectly convinced.

“I sent him to the captain of the royal guard, Malcus, to take Him, the Jewish soldiers, and placed as many around the sepulchre as were needed. And then if anything should happen, they would blame themselves, and not the Romans. And when the great excitement arose about the sepulchre being found empty, I felt deeper solicitude than ever. I sent for Malcus who told me, he had placed his Lieutenant Benishim with one hundred soldiers around the sepulchre. He told me Benishim and the soldiers were very much alarmed at what had occurred there that morning.

“I sent for this man Benishim, who related to me as near as I can remember the following circumstances. He said that about the beginning of the fourth watch, they saw His soft and beautiful light over the sepulchre. He had first thought that the women had come to embalm the body of Jesus, as was their custom. They could not see how they gotten through the guards. And while these reflections were passing through his mind, behold the whole place lighted up, and there seemed to be crowds of the dead in their grave clothes. All seemed to be shouting and filled with ecstasy, while all around and above was the most beautiful music he had ever heard. And the whole air seemed to be filled with voices praising God.

“And at this time there seemed to be a reeling and a swimming of the earth, that he turned so sick and faint, that he could not stand on his feet. And he said, ‘the earth seemed to swim from under him and his senses left him’, so he did not know what did occur. I asked him in what condition he was when he came to himself. He said he was lying on the ground with his face down. I asked him if he could not have been mistaken as to the light. Was it not maybe the day coming in the east? He said at first he thought of that, but only as stones cast away, it was exceedingly dark, and then he remembered it was too early for day.

“I asked him if his dizziness might not have come from being awakened, and getting up to suddenly. For sometimes it has that effect. He said he was not, and had he had not been asleep all night, as the penalty was death for him to sleep on duty. He said he had let some of the soldiers sleep at the time, and some were asleep then. I asked him how long the scene lasted. He said he did not know, but he thought nearly an hour. He said it was hide by the light of day. And I asked him if he went to the sepulchre after he had come to himself. He said ‘no’, because he was afraid, that just as soon as relief came, they all went to their quarters.

“I asked him if he had been interrogated by the priest. He said he had, they wanted him to say that it was an earthquake, and to say that they were asleep, and offered him money to tell that the disciples had come and stolen the body. But he saw no disciples. He did not know that the body was gone until he was told so. I asked him what was his private opinion of the priest that conversed with him. He said some of them thought that Jesus was no man, that He was not a human being, that He was not the son of Mary, that He was not the same that was born of the virgin in Bethlehem. That the same person had been on earth before, with Abraham and Lot, and at many times and places.

“It seems to me if the Jewish theory be true, these conclusions would be correct. For to sum up His life, it would be in accord with this man’s life, as is known and testified by both friends and foes. For the elements were no more in His hands than clay in the hands of a potter. He could convert water into wine. He could change death into life, diseases into health. He could calm the seas. Still the storms. Call up fish with a silver coin in its mouth. Now I say if He could do all these things which He did, and many more as the Jews all testified, and it was doing these things that created this enmity against Him. He was not charged with criminal offenses, nor was He charged with violating any law, nor of wronging any individual in person. All of the facts are known to thousands, as well as by His foes and His friends. So I am almost ready to say, as did Manilas at the cross, truly this was the Son of God.” (Actipalate, Pilate’s letter to Caesar)

So that is parts of the Actipalate, Pilate’s letter to Caesar. There are sources in here that try to attest to authenticity of it being Pilate’s letter to Caesar. We do not know. As I say, the early church fathers did say that Pilate wrote this letter to the Roman government to explain the circumstances. Iranias refers to the Actipalate (Pilate’s letter to Caesar), they said, and Justin Marter, and the early church historian Usiveus.

This excerpt of Pilate’s letter to Caesar and commentary is taken from C2000 by Chuck Smith.  Smith includes these excerpts from Pilate’s letter to Caesar and it’s one of the only places where you can find the Actipalate (Pilate’s letter to Caesar) online.

Application for Pilate’s Letter to Caesar:

So, what do you think: Is this Pilate’s letter to Caesar? If it is Pilate’s letter to Caesar, what insight does it provide? What does Pilate’s letter to Caesar make you  feel about Pontius Pilate? Jesus? Other characters and their roles?

My Top 5 Resources on Marriage

These books/teachings have given me such revelation on marriage reality:

These teachings have provided me so much insight in the last 6 months into the beautiful reality versus the fantasy that we hold about marriage.  Much insight has also come as I read the Bible paying special attention to the romances/marriages in each book.  

There’s so much out there about dating, love, marriage.  These were the least confusing and most biblical.  But really, as I read the Word paying attention to romance, I noticed that each story and dynamic was very different than the next.  I believe this is one area where what is right for one person may not be right for the next.  This is very personal, and it really depends on the specific way God is using or planning to use the tool of marriage to carve you & your life.

1. Glory of Marriage… Billy Humphrey (IHOP-Atlanta)

2. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

3. Choosing to Love….. Bob Jones University

4. Destroying Pop-Christian Views of Marital Bliss 1…Paul Washer

5. Destroying Pop Christian Views of Marital Bliss 2 ….Paul Washer

Prophecy in Scripture

I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied. —1 Corinthians 14:5

For you can all prophesy.—1 Corinthians 14:31

The three purposes of simple prophecy. There are to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort to people: “He who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men” (1 Cor. 14:3).

 

Edification speaks of spiritually building or edifying one’s spirit in different ways, such as confirming their destiny or God’s purpose for their life. A practical way to do this is by giving people a scripture. Often the scripture you give them will have been previously important to them. When this happens, it confirms that God is speaking to them. Edification includes assuring people that God will touch their heart or grant a breakthrough in a specific area of their life. It may simply declare that God is with them, or it may confirm a secret in their heart about a past event, dream, or something God previously told them. It may speak of a breakthrough in salvation or healing for their family.

We also speak comfort by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This refers to giving them God’s perspective in context to a disappointment or setback in their life. This provides confirmation or assurance that helps them stay focused and faithful to do God’s will.

Simple prophecy includes exhorting people to persevere instead of giving up on God’s promises in hard times or giving in to sin during temptation. By the Holy Spirit we exhort them to persevere in their calling and in righteousness.

–Mike Bickle, Growing in the Prophetic

 

 

Hell, a Manifestation of God's Love

We are commanded not only to focus on the goodness of God but also on the severity of God (Romans 11:22). I bought the teaching by our NightWatch instructor, Stuart Greaves, called Jealousy is a Husband’s Fury.  This study by  is incredible.  I’ve uploaded it here to share with my blog followers:

http://www.archive.org/details/JealousyIsAHusbandsFury

Also, this is an interesting link that goes with his teaching:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_of_Hinnom

I also recommend the book 23 Minutes in Hell

Live Like There is an Eternity

Christians need to start living like there is an eternity-both heaven & hell. Here is a vision from God Dr. Lester Sumrall had regarding the latter:

God lifted me up until I was looking down upon that uncountable multitude of humankind. He took me far down the highway until I saw the end of the road. It ended abruptly at a precipice towering above a bottomless inferno. When the tremendous unending procession of people came to the end of the highway, I could see them falling off into eternity. As they neared the pit and saw the fate that awaited them, I could see their desperate but vain struggle to push back against the unrelenting pressure of those to the rear. The great surging river of humanity swept them ever forward. God opened my ears to hear the screams of damned souls sinking into hell…I could see their faces distorted with terror. Their hands flailed wildly, clawing at the air.

–23 Minutes in Hell

Embracing the Firestorm of Total Surrender

Everyone watching Elijah knew the significance of his altar. They knew that the fire from heaven consumed not only the bull, but themselves; not only the wood, but everything they had built their lives upon and all their carnal reasoning. Not only stones, but every affiliation supporting their identity; not only soil, but all the withered seed of doubt & unbelief that might spring to life in the coming rains. Even the water of past moves of the Holy Spirit was being consumed. It was a firestorm resulting in the complete annihilation of who they thought themselves to be. The only thing left was the stunning glory of God.

The meaning of this sacrifice, simply put, was all about purification of His beloved people. Fire not only purifies but transforms individuals into anointed people of God, faces reflect His light, hearts focus solely on Him, destinies are fulfilled in His power. The God who answers by fire–He is God…we are not.

Elijah’s invitation to embrace the firestorm of total surrender confronts is today. The showdown between the influences of Baal in our lives and the influences of the Holy Spirit are coming to a point where we must irrevocably cease wavering between two opinions that create shifting shadows of loyalty within us. If God is God, we must follow Him. In the words of the apostle Paul:

“Therefore I urge you, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom 12:1-2)

Paul urges us to become like the one you behold-Jesus- in whom there is no shadow of turning from intimacy with the Father and fulfillment of His purpose. We cannot seperate the shadows of society until we have seperated them within ourselves. We cannot release fullness of the light of the world until that light shines more purely within us. We are being called to die as a beloved child of God on the altar of total surrender.

As we offer ourselves upon the altar receive healing and step into our inheritance as the beloved of Gos, a firestorm os sure to be loosed in the days to come. Many prophets believe that the past moves of the Holy Spirit will pale in comparison to the sense of His presence and power that God is preparing to reveal. Indeed we are already seeing signs of that increase all over the world, small tokens of what is to come. During this time we find a hint in Elijah’s story that those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs (Jonah 2:8). Those who submit to the purifying power of His outrageous love now–will leap into this coming move with joy.

Excerpt from “Shifting Shadows of Supernatural Power” by Julia Loren

How Do You Know God's Voice?

“I know when the Lord is speaking to me because literally the air around me changes.  There is a stillness that settles all my raging emotions and questions and simply bids me to be silent, listen, and consider what I hear.  And then it’s almost as if it comes from the center of my being–the answer, the revelation, the instruction, and tit is sealed in this definite place inside of me that I can’t describe. I only know that I must do what I’ve been prompted to do. If I resist, I can’t breathe, but when I say yes and obey, the most incredible sense of knowing and peace overtakes me, and the matter is settled once and for all.”

–Michelle Mckinney Hammond