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The Bible says the tongue is powerful because of the effect it has on others. The tongue actually has the power to bring death or life:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue... (Proverbs 18:21)

The tongue is powerful because of the effect it has on you. You can snare yourself with your own words:

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth; thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. (Proverbs 6:2)

The tongue is powerful because your words can separate you from God:

Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? (Psalms 12:4)

http://godswordsofencouragement.blogspot.com/2017/11/your-tongue-unruly-evil.html
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The #Church

In its true and original context, the church represents a collection of Believers - those who believe, not just nominally but in spirit and truth, in Jesus Christ as God the Son and Saviour of all mankind. Hence the church is also referred to as the Body of Christ with Jesus Christ as its head.

Scriptural instances which demonstrate that the church is a collection of Believers include the revelation given to John the Beloved part of which presents an account of letters written to the Seven Churches (see Revelations 1:20; and chapters 2 and 3). It is instructive noting that the churches were recognised and addressed by their geographical location alone (e.g. the church of Ephesus, church in Sardis, etc.) and not in any other way including individual names, if any, for the various assemblies which make up the entirety of believers in each location. It means that the whole believers in Ephesus, for example, were simply referred to, collectively, as "the church of Ephesus" regardless of their respective community-based assemblies, or congregations, which make up the overall Ephesus body of believers. Thus revealing a very important truth: which is that heaven recognises, as churches, only the general collection of true believers in a given location and not individual assemblies or congregations. Heaven sees only a single body - because God is not the author of divisions or anything which divides or could bring about division - and not individual gatherings thus further emphasising the premium heaven places on the unity of believers. Or else how can a body be made up of many other individual bodies? How can members of the same body have different beliefs and practices (some of which atimes contradict each other's)? Further demonstrating that a single collective congregation is God's true intention for the church are a few other scriptural references including the one where Jesus, Himself, prayed for the oneness of the church (see John 17:20,21) and the other one where Apostle Paul talked about the church as a single body (see 1 Corinthians 12). The foregoing all reveal that God's plan for the church is not as individual institutions but a locational collection of believers.

The church today

Sadly, what obtains as the church today is a far cry from God's plans. Even as true religion - which is a direct and personal relationships between an individual and God - would become corrupted through human influences, inspired by our knowledge and proneness to evil, based on satanic manipulation and deception so also the church would become an abused concept which is now operated contrary to God's plans and often against His will as well.

The historical origin of the church began with the disciples and other followers of Jesus Christ, in the first century AD, after the ascension of the resurrected Saviour back into heaven. These early believers congregated in local community-based assemblies. Following their persecution, these believers would be scattered around the then world while still maintaining their beliefs and fellowship. It was as a result of one of such groups in Antioch (somewhere in present day Turkey) that the name, "Christian" (from which Christianity was derived), was first used; and, because, those who closely observed this particular body of believers - one could say, "of the church in Antioch" - couldn't help but notice how they behaved very much as Christ and His followers did. Perhaps the perfect testament of what a church is - a Christ-like behaviour and attitude. However, following ancient Rome adoption of Christianity as national religion both Christianity and the concept of church would undergo profound transformations. While Christianity would become modified, to accommodate most Roman pagan beliefs and traditions, the concept of church would also become modified into an institutionalised entity. Hence, for example, the Roman Catholic church, which in reality is simply an institution or religious-based organisation and not a church in the true sense.
From thence, the definition of church would change, from what God intended it to be to what humans made it to be. Consequently, following the Great Reformation, the Protestant Movement would itself continue with this false and deceptive concept of church as an organisation thereby giving rise to the earliest church organisations which operated under the protestant denomination. Later, even the protestant denomination would itself be subjected to further divisions the latest versions which are Pentecostalism and Charismatism. Ironically, those who claim to be protestants would nonetheless maintain the same organisation-based and, in some cases, the same organisational structure of the Catholic church, which they claim to be protesting against, for their own ideas of the church, ultimately resulting to the church as it is today.

What we have presented as churches today are nothing more than personal businesses; established, owned, operated and governed by their respective founders. A fact buttressed by the way and manner some of these organisations are set up - most are incorporated as private companies (often classified as charities) - while some are named after their founders - e.g. Smith Jones ministries - while also having an alias - e.g. Fire and Brimstone church. Or others are simply incorporated using a corporate religious name - e.g. Disciples of Christ church. Such that in a single community we may have more numbers of organisations, presented as churches, than actual believers in such a community; which often gives cause to some form of rivalry, or competition, as each organisation vies for membership from local residents thus subjecting the Kingdom of God and the Gospel to commercialism and consumerism. Similarly, consequently, we see many who profess Christ but whose beliefs differ and sometimes even contradict; such that one professed believer couldn't attend another local church organisation thereby resulting in some form of partisanship. But if we're all believers how then do we believe and practice different things? Would the Holy Spirt give us different interpretations, or meanings, to the same scripture? Can we all read from the same Bible and yet do things differently? Is God now the author of confusion? More so, if we're all of the same faith how then can we not congregate together? Why is it that members of one organisation would find it difficult, almost impossible, attending a nearby church organisation only because it has a different name to their's? Can you not see that something is very wrong here? Can we share a common eternal destiny if we can't even fellowship together here and now? Or is heaven going to be a divided place based on names of church organisations and denominations? How long shall we continue in wilful blindness? How long shall we continue in wilful deception? How long before we realise that the devil has got the better side of religion (as presently conceived)? How long before we awaken from this agelong spiritual stupor and embrace the truth? How long before we denounce human ideas and cleave unto God's plan? How long before we pledge our allegiance to God and not to a church organisation? How long before we cease from the idolatry of the present church system? How long before we become one, even as Christ prayed for? How long?

The way forward

As it was in the beginning, so it will be in the end. When God looks down upon the present world, He doesn't see our various church organisations but a collection of true believers in, e.g. London, Istanbul, Delhi, Hong Kong, Abuja, Accra, New York, Queensland, etc. The big question for you now is this: are you a member of the true body of believers in whatever location you are? Or are you just a member of AB and C church? Membership to a church organisation would not suffice to be accounted as a member of the Church. To be truly born again is to be born anew into the Kingdom of God - it is a spiritual regeneration. Similarly, true children of God are those who wilingly submit and subject themselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit in everything they do (see Romans 8:14). And if you are led by the Spirit, you wouldn't be partisan, because God isn't partisan, but you will seek the promotion and advancement of God's Kingdom not the numerical expansion of your church organisation. The kingdom of men isn't the same as the Kingdom of God; the latter is of the spirit and thus spiritual. Be not deceived! membership of a church organisation isn't the same as membership of the true church. Come out from amongst them and be ye separate. The true Church - in the spirit - is alive and marching on. Join in!

We are surrounded by many signs of the end time and thus should be aware that the time of pruning is here. The time has come to step out of every form of satanic deception. The time has come for you to deliver yourself - from every falsehood out there. The time has come for you to seek the truth - not human ideas - so as to be free - from the bondage of deception and falsehood. The time has come for you to engage in self assessment - to ensure that what you think is right is truly right. The time has come for you to trim your light and be ready. The time has come for you to ensure you don't have on you any lies or falsehood; because no lies, or anything that makes a lie, is permitted access to a glorious eternity (see Revelation 21:27). The time has come for you to take personal responsibility for the things you believe and uphold. You cannot blame another person - pastor, bishop, papa, daddy, mama, etc. - because God gave you an individual mind and spirit with which to make independent decisions and to prove that whatever you accept as truth is indeed truth. Your life; your choice but the time has come. The Kingdom of God is at hand! The Head of the true church is on His way! Judgement will start with those who profess a belief in Christ!

Be prepared!
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It’s a wonderful thing to know that we have a God who does not go back on His word. If He said it, that’s it and that settles it. His word is already settled in heaven. All we have to do is believe it! It is written in His word:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.(2 Peter 1:4)

http://godswordsofencouragement.blogspot.com/2017/10/god-said-it.html

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Rapture!

Rapture is perhaps the most expected event in contemporary Christian calendar. It is, equally, the ultimate hope of any serious-minded Christian - We all live our lives in order to "make the rapture" if it catches us alive. The resurrection of departed saints and their ascension, together with living and ready believers, into the heavenly clouds is itself undisputable - it is a divine certainty! - but the biggest problem with this divine truth is its association with what modern day Christians have come to believe as the rapture.

The Rapture Doctrine

This doctrine supposes a sudden and secret removal of living and ready believers, accompanied by resurrected saints, as a "first part" of the second coming of Jesus Christ when He returns to establish the Millennial Reign. Surprisingly, this doctrine has become wholly accepted and taught in most parts of contemporary Christianity even though its origin is rather questionable. Furthermore, there's no credible biblical support for such a secret and preliminary removal of believers, in a supposed first appearing of the returning King of kings, before the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Before exploring scriptural evidence, let's first briefly explore the origin of this doctrine.

Historical records make no mention of the rapture doctrine as a belief or teaching in Christianity prior to 1830 AD. Neither did the apostles and early believers believe in or teach a secret removal of saints before the Great Tribulation. The origin of the rapture doctrine is reliably credited to a John Nelson Darby who invented the theory of a sudden and secret removal of believers, who would escape the end time tribulation, sometime in 1830 AD. It is instructive to point out that a theology student in Bristol, England, Morgan Edwards, had in 1744 written a short essay suggesting a type of "rapture" as contained in the rapture doctrine but although this was the very first account of a reference to a "rapture", it nevertheless didn't garner any traction, credibility or popularity. It wasn't until Darby came up with his theory of a sudden and secret removal of believers that this doctrine properly would became accepted in some parts of contemporary Christianity.

With respect to the term itself, "rapture", it was derived from the Latin, "rapio" or "rapturo" - which literally means to snatch or seize (in relation to an ecstacy of the spirit or an actual supernatural removal from one place to another) - which itself was used as a translation of the Greek, "harpazo", which means to snatch or take away. In the Bible, the word, harpazo, appeared in I Thessalonians 4:17 (for "caught up"), and also in Acts 8:39 (in reference to when Philip was caught up by the Spirit and immediately transported from near Gaza to Ceasarea). Other references include Paul's "third heaven" experience in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. Note how a simple word, meaning to be caught up, would subsequently be misapplied to constitute a doctrine; and mainly based on a wrong understanding of I Thessalonians 4: 17! For this reason, let us now explore scriptural foundation and references to the event which has now been misrepresented as the rapture.

The Bible on "Rapture"

Firstly, there's no credible biblical criteria for qualification for this secret removal. Nowhere in scripture is it stated what could make a person rapturable or not - as in before the tribulation. The teachings presented in this regard are merely human assumptions. Secondly, the biblical use of the word, rapture - meaning caught up - is found thus:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. - 1 Thessalonians 4:16‭-‬17 KJV.

Now, whereas the above reference mentioned a "caught up" (or rapture), it doesn't in anyway hint at a secret event. There's no credible support provided here for a secret event. Furthermore, there's nothing whatsoever in the above that suggests that the event in reference would happen before the Great Tribulation. Therefore, to better our understanding of the event referenced above, let us put it in its proper context by matching it with another biblical reference which refers to a similar (and most likely same) event.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. - Revelation 20:4‭-‬5 KJV.

The key thing about the above reference is the reference to a "first resurrection"! It clearly stated that this event is the first resurrection, meaning that before its occurrence there was not any other resurrection. Common reason would then suggest that the event referenced above is the same referenced earlier (in I Thessalonians 4:16,17). Now note carefully that the above event occurred after the Great Tribulation! Not before or during. Hence the reference in I Thessalonians 4:16, 17, the key (and possibly only) scriptural reference often used in support of a secret removal howbeit by misapplication, must've been referring to the same event referred to as the "first resurrection" in Revelation 20:5, which has been noted to occur after the Great Tribulation. It is instructive pointing out that the latter reference, in Revelation, doesn't reflect an ascension of the resurrected and remaining saints to "meet the Lord in the air", and so leaves the former reference subject to various interpretations. However, the concluding aspect of that earlier reference makes an eternally conclusive assertion thus: "and so shall we ever be with the Lord", which if interpreted literally would mean that after this event the people involved remained with the Lord in the air for ever and ever. Which in itself suggests that neither the ascended saints nor Jesus Christ descended back from the clouds. And therefore could only have happened towards the end of the apocalyptic events and not before the beginning of the end. A further confirmation that the resurrection of the dead saints, and thus the rapture, would occur after the tribulation is provided by the account given by Jesus Christ in Matthew 24. Verses 29 - 31 closely resonate with the two aforementioned references - detailing the event now being taught in some quarters as the rapture - but note again that this happened after the Great Tribulation. Note also that verses 37-42 refer to a sudden separation between people - which somehow fits the rapture doctrine narrative - but that the events referred to also occurred after the tribulation.

Finally, those who teach this doctrine suggest that this secret removal - rapture - would be followed by the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; which according to them will last a period of seven years (based on a literal interpretation of the duration of the Great Tribulation as stated in scripture). They assume that while the "left behind" believers are facing the Great Tribulation below the "raptured" will be enjoying a wedding banquet in the azure above. But even that marriage supper is noted, in Revelation 19: 7, 17, not only to have occurred after the Great Tribulation but also as not being a literal feast as such but an allegorical reference to the Millennial Reign which soon followed the appearance of Jesus Christ - the only recorded appearance, secret or open, during the Second Coming.

Therefore, the only biblical evidence in this regard all tend to support the "rapture" occurring after the tribulation period. Note, however, that there's not a single biblical reference which could rightly be claimed in support of the rapture doctrine.

Conclusion

While it is more important for us to live in readiness and preparedness every moment of our lives, a false doctrine is however very dangerous, deceptive and thus misleading, as well as counterproductive. For instance, believing in a pre-tribulation "rapture" would leave many people unsuspecting when the end time Beast is manifested; because they would fail to recognise the Beast for who or what it is simply because they had believed that the rapture would occur before the revelation of this beast. Consequently, such people may unwittingly submit to the Mark of the Beast, not knowing the true implication of such actions, because they were still expecting a rapture - based on this present false rapture doctrine - to occur before the Beast and his Mark are unveiled. Very dangerous! Hence, we of the present dispensation are spiritually obligated to reject this doctrine for the falsehood that it is so that we can pass on the truth about the rapture to the generation which would succeed ours for the purpose of ensuring that those in whose time the end time would occur would not be in the dark or under any misconceptions and thus could avail themselves of the benefits of divine light and truth. This false doctrine started sometime in history - 1830 AD - and must be ended now to deny it of its evil objective. We should count ourselves very lucky that we didn't become its unwitting victims. We must therefore not subject our descendants to the very plight we've managed to escape (hopefully, if we've finally seen the rapture doctrine as the falsehood it is) and that by divine providence alone.
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