The Name above Every Name

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:”  (Php. 2:9)

After God revealed to Moses that His eternal Name and memorial was Jehovah, everything Moses did thereafter was done in the Name of the Lord, except for one time.

The one time he did not, he disobeyed God by striking the rock a second time to obtain water instead of speaking to the rock as God had commanded, and it kept him from being able to enter the Promised Land.

God tells Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy,

Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.” (Deu. 32:51)

“Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.” (Deu. 32:52)

The people of Israel soon realized the sanctity of God’s Holy Name.

Although Israel knew that the Name Jehovah meant The Self-existent One and God had told Moses that He was the “I AM that I AM”, this still did not reveal to them “Who” God is.

The Name “Jehovah” revealed to them the ability and sovereignty of God.

The Self-existent One and “I AM that I AM” means that God exists because He causes Himself to exist.

There is no one that created Him or that He has to depend upon. There is no one that is above Him, or beside Him, or before Him. He is before all things and by Him all things consist.

There is nothing that God depends upon in order “to be.” No water, no air, no food, nothing.

The only thing that the Lord God Jehovah depends upon to exist is Himself. “I AM that I AM”. He is all power. He is all life. He is all wisdom. He is all authority.

But this does not tell us anything about Him. It does not tell us “Who” He is.

As God would meet with people in their lives and manifest Himself to them, they began to know God in certain aspects. They would add this aspect to His Name in order to express this new found quality of the Lord.

In the 22nd Chapter of Genesis, we read of the time that God tested the obedience of Abraham by telling Abraham to offer up his only son Isaac as a sacrifice.

Abraham knew that this was a test from God because God would never require a human sacrifice. Abraham told his servants,

“And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and (we will) come again to you.” (Gen. 22:5)

Abraham took his son, the wood, the knife, and the fire but no lamb for an offering. When Isaac asked his father of it, Abraham said,

“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” (Gen. 22:8)

When Abraham bound his son upon the wood and raised the knife to make the sacrifice, the angel of the Lord stopped him.

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” (Gen. 22:13)

“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (Gen. 22:14)

“Jehovah-Jireh” means “the Lord will provide” or “the Lord will see to it”. Abraham discovered Jehovah as the Lord who will see to it, or the Lord who will provide whatever is needed.

In the 15th Chapter of Exodus, the Israelites came to a place in the wilderness where the water was bitter and undrinkable. Moses sought the Lord and the Lord showed him a tree to cut down and throw into the waters.

When the tree touched the waters, they were healed and the people were able to drink. There God told the people through Moses,

“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” (Exo. 15:26)

Just as God healed the waters, the Lord said that if the people obeyed Him then He would be their Healer, “for I am the Lord that healeth thee (Jehovah-Rapha)”. They came to know God as their Healer.

In the 17th Chapter of Exodus, Amalek came down to fight against the Israelites in the wilderness.

Moses went up to the top of a hill as the Israelites fought and held up the rod of God above his head like a banner. As long as Moses held the rod above his head, the Israelites would win but when his arms grew tired and the rod began to fall, the Israelites would lose.

Aaron and Hur set Moses down on a rock while they stood on either side of Moses to hold up his arms and the Israelites defeated the Amalekites.

The Bible says,

“And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:” (Exo. 17:15)

There the Israelites came to know God as “Jehovah-Nissi” which means “the Lord our Banner.” They realized that if they would lift up the Lord’s Name in Praise and Worship the Lord would fight for them and they would be victorious.

In the 6th Chapter of Judges, Gideon realized that he had met an angel of the Lord but his life was spared,

“And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” (Judges 6:23-24)

“Jehovah-Shalom” means “the Lord is Peace” and the people began to realize that the Lord was for them and not against them.

In the Book of Jeremiah Chapter 23 verses five and six, the Lord reveals His Name as “Jehovah-Tsidkenu” which means “the Lord our Righteousness”.

“In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jer. 23:6)

In all of these instances, the Lord revealed a portion of His character or nature, but none of these Names could adequately describe the total character or nature of God.

However, the Bible says that there would come a time when God’s Name would be one and the people would know it. In that day, the people of God would know through His Name the character and nature of God.

Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.” (Isa. 52:6)

“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” (Zec. 14:9)

They would come to know “Who” God is and what they could expect from Him by knowing His “One” Name.

That day came when the angel Gabriel made an announcement to a carpenter by the name of Joseph concerning his virgin wife-to-be by the name of Mary.

“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Mat. 1:20)

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mat. 1:21)

Jesus in Hebrew means “The Lord (Jehovah) is Salvation”.

Jesus is the perfected (or complete) Name of God.

John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to ask of Jesus “Are you the One that should come or look we for another?”

“And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:” (Mat. 11:3-4)

“The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” (Mat. 11:5-6)

In other words, Jesus responded to their question by saying, “There is no other One. I AM the fulfillment of the prophecies. I AM the One that God has sent.”

There is no other Messiah, there is no other One coming, there is no other Name.

Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus is the One, Jesus is the Name, and the Bible says we are “complete” in Him.

“For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” (Col. 2:9-10)

There are those today that believe they can attain some deeper degree of spirituality by calling upon God using one or all of the ancient names for God instead of Jesus.

Whether Jehovah, or Yahweh, or El Shadday, it shouldn’t matter how it makes us “feel”. If we are coming to God the Father in prayer, worship, or praise by any name other than Jesus Christ then we are not approaching Him through faith and according to His Word.

“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.” (Acts 4:11-12)

The Name of Jesus is the Name given by God. It means “salvation” and we are complete in Him.

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” (Php. 2:9)

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php. 2:10-11)

Tomorrow- The Comforter

"How to Walk in the Born Again Experience" by Raymond Candy just published and available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

“How to Walk in the Born Again Experience” by Raymond Candy is available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

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“Our Father, Who art in Heaven”

“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.”  (1Cor. 8:6)

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)

In the Book of Genesis chapter one and verse one, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, Moses gives the very first mention of God in the Bible.

He didn’t use the ancient Hebrew word “El” for God which is singular, nor did he use the word “Eloi” which has a more dual meaning.

“Eloi” is the word for God that Jesus used from the cross when He cried, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) referring to the Father and the Holy Ghost.

But under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Moses used the Hebrew word “Elohiym” for God, which is plural.

This is in reference to what the Bible calls the Godhead but many Biblical scholars call “the Trinity”, which is the Father, the Son (the Word), and the Holy Ghost.

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1John 5:7)

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” (Col. 2:8-10)

This is why God says of Himself in Genesis chapter one and verse 26,

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:26)

Whether the words “El”, “Eloi”, or “Elohiym” are used, they are all words used to describe the Supreme Being, the Creator, the Most High God, and God Almighty (El Shadday).

It wasn’t until God met Moses in the burning bush that He revealed His eternal name and memorial to His chosen people.

“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” (Exo. 3:13)

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exo. 3:14)

“And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Exo. 3:15)

“And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty (El Shadday), but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” (Exo. 6:2-3)

Knowing the name of God was important to the people of Israel because an individual’s name in Biblical times gave an indication of their character, ability, or heritage.

The Hebrew word for “the Lord” is the word “Jehovah” which means “the self-existent one”.

Before Moses, all of the various names for God were used to signify the Supreme Being, the Creator of all mankind and of all that exists.

It wasn’t until God revealed Himself to Moses as the Lord (Jehovah) that He began to have a specific relationship with a certain group of people in a special way.

Now no longer was He the far away God of all mankind, or the Friend of a certain few, such as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

But now He was Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel. He was the Lord over a certain people whom He separated from the rest of the world in order that He might show Himself mighty on their behalf and they would be special in His eyes.

Then God sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ into the world.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

God sent His Son into the world so that the world would know Him as not only the Creator of all mankind, or even as the Lord of a certain group or nation of people, but He sent Jesus Christ into the world so that through Christ every man, woman, boy, or girl could know God as their Heavenly Father.

Jesus said of Himself that He is the only way to know God as the Father.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

When we are born again, we are adopted into the family of God and God becomes our Father.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15)

And as your Heavenly Father, He loves you, cares for you, and watches over you.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Mat 10:29-31)

Jesus said that when we pray, we should pray in this manner,

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Mat. 6:9)

God has promised that since He is our Father, He desires to give us all things that we need for life and godliness.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)

All He asks is that even as it is with a son that loves and admires his earthly father and wants to be like him, that we would want to be like our Heavenly Father also.

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mat. 5:48)

Here the Greek word for “perfect” is the word that means “complete”, as in “full growth, complete stature”.

If we want to be as perfect or complete as our Heavenly Father, then we need to strive to be like Christ, for Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.”

Jesus Christ is our example.

How can we be like Christ?

We can become like Christ by getting to know and understand Him through the written Word of God, asking ourselves in every situation “What would Jesus do?”, submitting every area of our life to the power of the Holy Spirit, and then making the right choice and doing it.

If we will do this, we will pass from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord, being conformed into His image, and we shall intimately know God as our Heavenly Father.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18)

Tomorrow- The Name above Every Name

"How to Walk in the Born Again Experience" by Raymond Candy just published and available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

“How to Walk in the Born Again Experience” by Raymond Candy is available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

Becoming Established in the Faith

“And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”  (Acts 16:5)

Someone might say, “I’ve just accepted Jesus Christ and been born again. What do I do next?”

If you have recently asked Christ into your heart and confessed Him as Lord of your life, then you are no doubt feeling a great joy and thankfulness to the Lord for washing away all of your sins, saving your soul, and giving you a new life in Christ.

I’m sure that you are feeling a great love for God because of His mercy and grace that He has bestowed upon you.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1John 4:19)

You have been, as Jesus said, “born again”, and as such you are like a new born infant in the eyes of God.

And just like a new born baby, you have been washed (in the cleansing blood of Christ), swaddled (in the fresh linen of the righteousness of God in Christ), and all God asks of you for now is to be nurtured by Him (through prayer and reading His word), grow, and do as He asks.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

The first step in growing spiritually is to obey the Lord, and the first thing that the Lord asks of us after being born again is to be baptized, both in water and in the Holy Ghost.

“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 2:38)

“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” (Acts 1:4)

“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5)

The Bible makes a clear distinction between water baptism and being baptized with the Holy Ghost.

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:” (Acts 8:14)

“Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:” (Acts 8:15)

“(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” (Acts 8:16)

“Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17)

By water baptism we are immersed in water and by being baptized with the Holy Ghost we are immersed in His Spirit.

“And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:38)

“And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39)

In the same way that confessing with our mouth is the outward manifestation of the belief in our heart and we are saved,

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:10)

Water baptism is the outward manifestation of our inward belief that through Christ we are dead and buried to our old life of sin and we are raised up out of the water to a new life in Christ.

“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.” (Rom. 6:4)

The baptism with the Holy Ghost is the empowerment to live that new life.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

In the same way that water baptism was not just for the early church but was a commandment to all believers for all time, the promise of the Holy Ghost is a promise to all believers for all time.

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

“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 2:38)

“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39)

The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

If these Scriptures that we have shared have caused the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and give you the faith that baptism is for you, then you might ask, “How can I be baptized?”

Water baptism is simple. Any other believer in Christ can baptize you in water. Phillip was a deacon in the early church and he baptized the Ethiopian eunuch in the Book of Acts. Paul was an Apostle and he baptized very few choosing to allow others the blessing of doing it.

I was baptized in a swimming pool, my daughter was baptized in a lake, and I baptized my son in a bathtub. My wife was baptized in a Church Baptistery.

The type of water is not important. What is important is having the faith as to what it means and making a public expression of your faith. The Bible says that we are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and in the name of Jesus Christ.

Being baptized with the Holy Ghost is just as simple. Jesus said all we have to do is ask the Heavenly Father and believe.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13)

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)

If your Heavenly Father said that He would do it, then He will. It is impossible for God to lie.

The Holy Spirit will guide you, such as what Scriptures to read (He had me begin in the Gospel of John), what Church to attend (one that believes in the whole Word of God), and changing your life so that it is pleasing to God.

After these steps have been taken, then it will be time to go on into the deeper things of God, learning more about God your Heavenly Father, your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and your Comforter the Holy Spirit.

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” (Heb. 6:1)

“Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal for judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” (Heb. 6:2-3)

Tomorrow- “Our Father, Who art in Heaven”

"How to Walk in the Born Again Experience" by Raymond Candy just published and available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

“How to Walk in the Born Again Experience” by Raymond Candy is available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

Overcoming Satan

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  (Rev. 12:11)

The Bible tells us about the Christian and his victory over the devil in the Book of Revelation.

We are covered by the blood of Christ when we are born again, and we overcome Satan every time we testify of God’s mercy and grace upon our lives.

Jesus said,

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)

The story of my salvation experience is not a typical “hear the Gospel, walk down the aisle, shake the preacher’s hand, pray the sinner’s prayer, and join the Church” type of story. It is a little more like a “Saul on the road to Damascus” type of story.

I was never really a religious person. Oh, I was polite and considerate enough. If a group of men were standing around, and the talk leaned toward church, or prayer, or God; I would nod my head knowingly, as if agreeing with what was being said, or as if I understood the conversation.

But I really didn’t.

I didn’t consider myself a bad person. My parents had occasionally sent me to church as a child. I had even been baptized, but only because I didn’t want my sister doing something that I wasn’t able to do.

I had grown up, gotten married, had a child, loved my family; even decided every New Year to try to do better, cuss less, maybe even start going to church or read the Bible. But every time I would start thinking about God, something strange would happen.

Terrible, wicked thoughts about God would come into my mind, and I certainly knew that was wrong, so I decided not to think about God at all.

I had allowed myself to come to a place in my life where I shunned all preaching and anything religious. It would almost take a miracle from God to get my attention.

Little did I know how all that was about to change: my loving wife was praying for me.

I worked as an independent contractor for the Dallas Times Herald, distributing newspapers and servicing newspaper vending machines on the east side of Dallas, Texas USA.

On Saturdays, we would have to make two trips down to the newspaper: the first, to pick up an early Sunday edition and put them out for the Saturday night revelers, and then back to the newspaper to wait in line for the late edition that would come out about 2:00 AM Sunday morning.

It was during this waiting time that most of the men would stand around and talk or nap in their trucks.

On this particular night, as I was trying to catch a nap while waiting for the late edition, my best friend Calvin came running up to my truck window. I had noticed that he was late getting back from the early edition delivery.

“Raymond”, he said excitedly, “You’re not going to believe what happened to me tonight! I stopped by a tent revival meeting out on my route, and man, I got saved!

“Great”, I said, trying not to sound too incredulous. “Good for you”, I thought as we talked for a few more minutes and he further explained the details of what had happened.

But something happened in Calvin from that night on. There was a peace about him and a joy that was not there before. His whole conversation changed.

He quit cussing, quit drinking, quit telling dirty jokes, and started listening to a Christian radio station instead of his country music. I began thinking, “Maybe there’s something to this salvation thing after all.”

A week or so had gone by, and I continued to see the change in Calvin. Then one particular evening, after I had sat down in my favorite chair to relax a little before going to bed, I happened to pick up a magazine that belonged to my wife.

As I began to glance through it, I saw something that grabbed my attention.

It was an article on the Shroud of Turin, which many people believe to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

When a photograph of the shroud is taken, the negative reveals the distinct image of a man, which is not discernible in the regular photograph.

The man appears to be lying in death, hands folded with eyes closed, and has the exact same wounds in the forehead, hands, feet, side and back as the Bible describes were inflicted upon Jesus.

Experts have debated for years over the authenticity of the shroud, but it wasn’t the shroud or necessarily the article that captured my attention. It was the face of the man in the picture.

It was evident that this individual had gone through excruciating pain and torture.

Yet this face had such nobility, peace, and regality about it. It was as if pain, sorrow, and even death could have no victory over him because he was of such royalty that he was above all of it.

I thought, “What if God really did have a Son, and this was Him? Could I really be looking at the face of the Son of God?”

I could not get that face out of my mind.

Over the next few days I asked around to see if anyone else that I knew had ever heard of the shroud, but no one had, and I put it to the back of my mind. But, there was just something about that face.

As time went by, I began to think about that article less and less, but God was orchestrating all of the things in my life that would bring me to a crossroads, a turning point, and a decision from which there could be no turning back.

I had just gone to bed one evening, and for some reason on that particular night I remember being extremely tired and discouraged, as if I had hit rock bottom and didn’t know why.

It wasn’t long until I was in a deep sleep and began to have a dream, a vision, or whatever else you might want to call it. All I know is that it was as real to me as the bed that I was lying on.

I was walking down a typical neighborhood street. It was a beautiful, sunny spring-like day. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face, I could hear the birds singing, and there was not a cloud in the sky.

I could even hear what sounded like music coming from radios through the opened windows of the houses as I walked by.

Then suddenly, it began to slightly rain, like sprinkles on a sunny day.

However, as the raindrops hit my arm, they burned my skin like acid. I started rubbing the spots on my arm where the raindrops had landed, thinking “What in the world is going on?”

All of a sudden there was a rumbling noise louder than thunder, and a portion of the blue sky in front of me began to open and peel back from top to bottom, like a two handle scroll when it is opened up.

There stood Jesus, radiant in white, with the expanse behind Him in the opening pitch black.

In a mild, loving voice, He said, “Accept me or reject me now. This is your last chance.”

I fell to my knees and said, “Lord, I accept you. What must I do?” He said, “Get your family, find a boat, and sit in it.” Then the opening rolled back together, and the sky was blue and clear as before.

I started to run home as fast as I could, and as I ran, I could hear the radios through the windows of the houses.

The announcer was saying that there was a problem with a cloud of acid rain, there was mass hysteria, and that some people had said that they had seen Jesus; but not to worry, everything was alright and under control.

I ran into my house, got my wife and daughter by the hands, and said “Hurry, come with me.”

We ran down the sidewalk, looking in between the houses, trying to find a boat that someone had parked there. We finally found one, crawled up inside it, and sat down.

As soon as we had sat down, it began to pour down rain. As the water fell upon us, we started to get drenched and soaked; but as the rain touched the ground and houses around us, everything began to burst into flames and be consumed by the fire.

I started to feel the heat, when suddenly I awoke drenched in sweat and out of breath. As I lay there panting, it seemed as if a small voice spoke in my ear.

“Go back to sleep, it was just a dream.” the voice said.

I lay there and thought, “What if it wasn’t just a dream? What if this really is my last chance?”

I crawled slowly out of the bed, so as not to wake up my wife, and knelt down on my knees. I didn’t know how to pray, so I just began to say what I felt from the bottom of my heart.

“Dear God”, I began, “I’m sorry for the way I’ve lived my life. I believe that this dream was from you, and that this really is my last chance.

I accept you now, and I want to change my life and live for you, but I don’t want this to be a game or something that I just try for a while, so no matter what it takes, or what it costs me, or what I have to give up, I’m going to live for you with all of my heart, and do whatever you tell me to do, and never go back. Amen.”

When I said “Amen”, it was as if someone had hit me with the proverbial “two-by-four” and a presence, a power came over me, and as I crawled back into bed, there was a peace and happiness inside of me that I never knew existed.

And something else, which I had never felt before; I felt clean from the inside out. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I had just been saved.

God does not always send a dream, or a vision, or a miracle to get our attention. Sometimes it is just the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit convicting us of the need to be saved.

No matter how He chooses to do it, whether through preaching or divine revelation, it is when the Holy Spirit makes us aware of our lost and sinful condition and our need to be forgiven and born again that we need to respond to His call and surrender our lives to Christ.

We may never get another opportunity.

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.” (Heb. 3:7-9)

Tomorrow- Becoming Established in the Faith

"How to Walk in the Born Again Experience" by Raymond Candy just published and available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

“How to Walk in the Born Again Experience” by Raymond Candy is available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

What must I do to be Saved?

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  (Acts 16:30)

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:1-2)

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4)

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6)

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8)

Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he shall not see the Kingdom of God”, and again He said, “Ye must be born again.”

When Nicodemus was confused about how a person could physically be born a second time Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

In other words, the “born again” experience is a spiritual birth. Jesus compared it to the wind, which although it is invisible, the effects can be seen, felt, and heard. So it is with being born again.

Jesus told Peter, “When thou art converted (changed), strengthen the brethren.”

“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32)

There is a change that takes place when a person is born again.

It is a moment, a place, a point in time when the Spirit of Christ comes to live inside of an individual and that person is not the same ever again. It is not gradual. It is an experience that can be marked on a calendar.

The Bible says that if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ then he is none of His.

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9)

How does one become “born again”?

First of all, it is not just a matter of believing in God or even believing in Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that the devils believe, and they even fear and tremble, but they can never be saved or “born again”.

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

Believing in Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done is a starting point.

We must believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

We must believe that He was born of the Virgin Mary after that the Holy Ghost had come upon her and placed within her the seed of God.

We must believe that He lived a sinless life in complete obedience to the will of God, and that He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)

We must believe that He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins and was crucified at the hands of wicked men.

We must believe that He was buried in a borrowed tomb and that after three days He rose physically from the grave and is alive forevermore.

We must believe that He ascended into Heaven and is set down in His Father’s throne, at the Heavenly Father’s own right hand, and has sent back the Holy Spirit to come and live inside of everyone that has been saved and born again.

And we must believe that we become born again when we believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and we confess with our mouth that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:10)

When we confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord we are not only confessing that He is Lord over all, but we are confessing that He is Lord over us, our life, and that we are giving and committing our life unto Him both now and forever.

If we are ever going to know Christ, be forgiven of our sins, and make Heaven our home, then we are going to have to be born again.

It doesn’t matter whether we were brought up in Church or never stepped through a church door in our entire life. It doesn’t matter what Church or denomination we were born into or have joined.

It doesn’t matter whether we are a “sinner” or what some might call a “saint”, whether a “goody-two-shoes” or a not so nice person.

We all must be born again.

The Bible says that all of our good deeds are like filthy rags before the Lord and that there is none righteous, no not one.

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa. 64:6)

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10-12)

I remember attending a service where the minister had preached a wonderful message on God’s mercy, repentance, and salvation. Afterwards, the minister asked that if anyone needed prayer would they come down to the front of the auditorium.

I saw a young man get up out of his seat and go down to the front. The minister prayed for him and he returned to his seat with his head still bowed.

The Lord spoke with me to go and talk to the young man after the service had ended. I felt out of place but I decided to obey the Lord.

I sat next to the young man and asked him if he had gone down to accept Christ or did he just feel sorry for his sins and want God to forgive him.

He said that he had just felt sorry for sinning against God. I asked him if God forgave him and he said that he didn’t know.

I asked him if he had ever been born again and he said “no”.

I shared with him that Jesus loved him and would forgive and save him but he had to believe in Christ and ask Jesus to come into his heart.

I shared briefly the Scriptures about being born again and confessing Jesus as Lord and he prayed out loud repenting, asking God to forgive him, confessing Jesus as Lord of his life, and inviting Jesus to come into his heart to save him and set him free.

Afterwards he grinned from ear to ear saying that now he knew that he had been forgiven, that he had been saved and born again, and that Jesus had written his name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

How about you?

Do you know that Jesus loves you?

Have you been born again?

It is my prayer that if you are not, you would right now pray and ask God to forgive you of all your sins, you would ask Jesus to come into your heart and save your soul, and you would thank God for doing it and confess that you are now a born again child of God through Jesus Christ.

Now, go and tell someone what a great and wonderful thing God has done for you. Perhaps when they see and hear of Christ in you, the hope of glory, then they too would ask Jesus to come into their heart.

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30)

Tomorrow- Overcoming Satan

"How to Walk in the Born Again Experience" by Raymond Candy just published and available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

“How to Walk in the Born Again Experience” by Raymond Candy is available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the iPad, the PC, and all other tablets and e-reading devices

The Glory of God and the Honor of Kings

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.”  (Prov. 25:2)

The Bible teaches us,

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

And again, in another place, the Bible declares,

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6)

It is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is the vehicle by which we receive from the Lord.

When we receive the word of God, whether it be by preaching or by reading, the Holy Spirit takes that word and gives us spiritual ears to hear.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Rev. 2:29)

Once we begin to hear in our heart the understanding that the Holy Spirit gives, the faith that is resident in our heart through the Holy Spirit comes alive and saturates our being with the ability to believe God.

It does not matter what our senses perceive as reality or what we rationalize. We believe God over all, in all, and through it all.

This miraculous ability is not something that we have to go and find. It is already in us because of the state of salvation that God has placed us in through Jesus Christ. It is in us because God’s Kingdom is in us.

“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)

The more we discover about Christ and His Kingdom that is contained in the Holy Scriptures, then the more we can realize that these same aspects are already spiritually in us because of our salvation.

Whether it be Christ in us as the Redeemer, or the Savior, or the Rock that brings forth the water, the honey, the oil, and the fire; it is still Christ already in us by faith ready to be revealed in us by the revelation and power of the Holy Ghost.

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God;” (Col. 1:25)

“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:” (Col. 1:26)

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Col. 1:27)

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:” (Col. 1:28)

“Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” (Col. 1:29)

The Bible says that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter but it is the honor of kings to search it out.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” (Prov. 25:2)

The Bible says that we shall rule as kings with Christ.

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:6)

It is our responsibility and duty to search out the hidden mysteries of God so that they can be revealed in us for the glory of God and His Kingdom.

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Dan. 11:32)

Tomorrow- What must I do to be Saved?

"How to Walk with Christ in You the Hope of Glory" by Raymond Candy is available now for $2.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

“How to Walk with Christ in You the Hope of Glory” by Raymond Candy is available now for $2.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

Spiritual Fire

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:”  (Mat. 3:11)

There came a time when Moses desired to see the glory of God.

“And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” (Exo. 33:18)

God answered Moses in the Book of Exodus chapter 33 verses 21 and 22,

“And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:” (Exo. 33:21-22)

As long as Moses was on the rock or in the rock, he was able to behold the glory of the Lord as He passed by.

God teaches us in the New Testament that Jesus Christ is that spiritual Rock.

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1Cor. 10:4)

In the same way that Jesus said He was in the Father and the Father in Him,

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 14:10)

Christ is in us and we are in Christ.

As long as we are in the Rock, in Christ, and the Rock (Christ) is in us, we are in a position to behold the glory of the Lord.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Col. 1:27)

We have seen that there are certain benefits in understanding that the Spiritual Rock in us is “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. There is water, honey, and oil found in the Rock.

The Bible tells us of a time when God also caused fire to come out of a rock.

“And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.” (Judges 6:20)

“Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.” (Judges 6:21)

In the Book of Judges we read of a time when the people of God were oppressed by the Midianites. God heard their prayers for deliverance and sent an angel to visit a man by the name of Gideon.

The angel told Gideon that he was a mighty man of valor and that God would use him to defeat the Midianites. Gideon doubted that the message was from God and asked for a sign to prove to him that the message was true.

“And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.” (Judges 6:17-18)

“And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.” (Judges 6:19)

When Gideon brought his present or offering to the angel, the angel told him to place it on a rock. The angel touched the rock with the end of his staff and fire came out of the rock and consumed the offering or sacrifice.

Here we see that there was fire contained in the rock, and when that fire was released, it consumed the sacrifice that was upon it.

In the same way that there was fire in that rock, there is spiritual fire in the Spiritual Rock of Christ.

The Bible says that we are to present our bodies a “living sacrifice.”

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2)

When our faith grows and we accept Christ in us as the Spiritual Rock, then we can have faith that God will release fire from the Rock to spiritually consume the sacrifice of our physical bodies with all of its sins, weaknesses, and insufficiencies.

Once our bodies have been refined by God’s holy fire, then we are transformed and sanctified so that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Mat. 3:11)

Another aspect of this holy fire is that once it is released from the Spiritual Rock of “Christ in us”, it will make the Word of God like “fire shut up in our bones.”

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jer. 20:9)

The Prophet Jeremiah was known as “the weeping prophet”. He was called by God to prophesy during the difficult time when God was bringing judgment upon His people.

Jeremiah complained that everything God gave him to prophesy was “gloom and doom”, and so he decided that he wouldn’t speak anymore in the name of the Lord.

However, God caused His Word to be like fire shut up in Jeremiah’s bones and he could not refrain from declaring the Word of God.

Thankfully, we are living in the time of God’s grace and we are not called upon to preach a message of gloom, doom, and condemnation.

God has called us to declare His message of love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace upon all that repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat. 11:28-30)

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)

If we hunger for the Word of God, if we study to show ourselves a “workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth”, if we present our bodies a “living sacrifice”, if we put away all things that offend and we desire to be a “vessel fit for His use”, then God will make His Word and the message of Jesus Christ like fire shut up in our bones.

We shall open our mouths, and as Jesus promised, the Holy Ghost will bring to our remembrance what He has said to us, we shall boldly speak the Word of God in the Name of the Lord, and David’s prophecy about the fire will be fulfilled in us,

“Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:” (Psalm 104:4)

There is another aspect of God’s Holy Fire.

The fire should never go out.

“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” (Lev. 6:13)

However, we are living in the last days. We find ourselves in the same situation that Lot was in.

“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)” (2Peter 2:7-8)

Because of our “righteous souls being vexed”, we are seeing the fulfillment of Jesus prophecy happening around us.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Mat. 24:12)

Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard we try, the flames of fire are not burning as bright and as hot as they used to.

Jesus understands.

He has promised that if there is still just a smolder, even if there is only a little smoke, if we trust in Him, He will not quench it but will fan that spark into a roaring fire for the glory of God.

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.” (Mat. 12:20)

“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Mat. 3:12)

Tomorrow- The Glory of God and the Honor of Kings

"How to Walk with Christ in You the Hope of Glory" by Raymond Candy is available now for $2.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

“How to Walk with Christ in You the Hope of Glory” by Raymond Candy is available now for $2.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices