Landmarks

Deu 19:14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.

Hundreds of years after Moses gave this commandment, Solomon reiterated it twice. The issue of landmarks became more prevalent as unscrupulous men demanded more land. However, it was critical to keep the inheritance intact as they were previously measured. The marker established the property line and its value. Even more critical was the assumption that every generation after the first, knew their inheritance and the boundaries of their homes.

In regards to the Doctrine, Jude wrote: Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

The Faith for which we are to contend for was established long ago. Inward and outward holiness was never an option for the first church. The infilling of the Holy Ghost, evidenced with speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance, was part of the original Gospel. Jesus said that we would be baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire. Water Baptism in Jesus’ name, which Acts 4:12 declares as the only way to be saved, was and is the only mode and method of scriptural baptism.

This is the “faith once delivered.” Not only are we to honor these settled landmarks, we are also encouraged to honor those who have given them to us. Our senior saints have kept the Faith. They have invested their lives in delivering the Doctrine of Jesus Christ to this generation. They have given of their time, money, prayer, and sacrifice.

When a body of believers, a church, fails in honoring those who deserve such honor, they in turn disobey the Scripture and set in motion the devaluing of the biblical tenets upon which the body is established. Our future revival is tied to our past sacrifice. They that sow in tears shall come again reaping in joy. Thus, our vision is founded in the faithfulness and commitment of those who came before us. In light of these truths, we must not move the landmarks. They guide us, direct us, tell us when we are off course, and lead us back to God’s Word. We must let the landmarks stand!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Let Us Remember

At the root of all spiritual directives lies a single line of scripture. It was a warning from Moses to God’s called-out people: Deu 8:11 “Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God.” The prophets came to declare the judgments of God because they had “forgotten the Law of thy God.” In more modern times the adage is offered that history tends to repeat itself when we fail to remember. In all, it seems that memory can keep us from a repetitive life, even destruction. We must Remember the Lord our God.

To remember is also the greatest part of honor. To forget is akin to dismiss what once was. Our lives are all fleeting, which makes it even more important to recall and rehearse the sacrifices made for our freedom. When we speak of those who have passed from this life and talk of their attributes, we are honoring them. We must remember the fallen and the saints which have gone before.

Finally, there is a value in keeping a keen memory of both tragedy and triumph. On this day, 21 years ago, the world changed forever. An unsuspecting enemy attacked the homeland. Our casual life came to an end as 2,977 souls died. Even more were affected by the remaining debris. The numbers can hardly be told.

Today, we remember souls lost; fractured families, and those whose lives changed forever. Just as we remember the law of the Lord and the saints, we also pause to consider our nation and the innocent lives which were taken. Our prayer is that the window to reach our nation will remain open long enough to spread the Gospel before these memories fade.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

No Time For Leaven

Exo 12:34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.

At the end of what could only be described as a national tragedy, pharaoh and the Egyptian people begged Israel to leave their land. They said, Ex. 12:33 “We be all dead men” knowing that the 10 plagues had wiped them out. The exodus was sudden. The last and final judgement was more than enough to unloose pharaoh’s grip: the Egyptians were also ready for the suffering to end.

Moses gave the command and Israel rushed to escape. Their departure featured the urgency of the moment. A small byline of the scene was that they had no time to add leaven to the bread. Consequently, the taste of the moment was distinguishable from every other time. Bread without leaven does not rise. It tastes bland, even dull. And yet, to wait meant a return to bondage.

Every year from that moment on, the Israelites celebrated the Passover, the exodus, and the salvation of God with unleavened bread. They remembered the urgency of the hour and how time was of the essence. Had they paused for pleasure, or waited for a more savory result, the day may have passed. Thus, the Passover always featured unleavened bread.

There is a battle in our modern Christian world. Believers desire sweetness and freedom. Many seek for blessings without sacrifice. Ultimately, the urgency of the Lord’s return is being lost on feel-good ideologies. The “Thief in the night” has been replaced by complacency, even apathy. Yet, the truth remains the same, there will be no time to turn back when the trumpet sounds. The end of the age will come and only those who are ready will be saved. These words find no refuge on leaven mentality. However, for those who sense the importance of the hour, let nothing hinder us from hearing the final call and the catching away of the Bride. Let it be that no sweetness this world may offer can cause us to pause at the readiness of our soul. Finally, the spiritual battle may entail a bitter taste, but it must not keep us from leaving this world behind.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

God Can

Consider the days of Israel. A drought had crushed the spirit of three attending armies. In response to their dilemma, the prophet Elisha was called. Through the anointing of the Spirit, he told them to dig ditches in the valley. He said, 2 Ki 3:16-18 Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.

The Bible is replete with these occurrences. God’s people find themselves in trouble with no way out and no way through. Then God speaks and performs the work. He gives rain from cloudless skies; food from ravens; and rivers from rocks. He fills jars with perpetual oil and offers provisions from unknown sources. God can.

God can bring a harvest in the middle of the desert. He leads through the impassible sea and then removes those that pursue you, never to be seen again. God can restore even when you think you are beyond help. His reach is greater than your self-condemnation: His love deeper than your despair.

God can. God can make a way where there is no way.

The word of the scoffer is no match for the word of The King. Doubt that comes from a temporal voice cannot bind the infinite supply of The Provider. His name is Jehovah Jireh! When we feel crushed, lost, without hope, bewildered, trapped, and altogether helpless, He is the Lifter, Healer, Refuge, Wisdom, and Strength. And this is but a light thing for the Lord.

The disciples asked Jesus how these things could be. Jesus said, Mat 19:26 “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Marriages can be mended. Prodigals can be brought back. Sickness and disease can be healed, because none of the above are contingent upon human ability. God speaks things into existence that were not there before. Abraham believed in a God Who “…calleth those things which be not as though they were” Rom 4:17.

Finally, the end of the matter does not rest with God. It rests with us, or as it has been written, “Whose report will you believe?”

Falling Away

Upon review of both the birth and death of Jesus Christ, there are numerous occurrences of prophecies which were fulfilled. In fact, the statement, “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken” is repeated through the Gospels concerning Jesus. In brief, prophets prophesied and the fulfillment came to pass.

In another setting, Jesus foretold of the Temple. Luke 21:5-6 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

The stones of that Temple have fallen. Only outer walls remain. The Word has and will come to pass. The Bible is without rebuttal or rebuke. There will come a day in which the world will shake with a violent roar. The earth will groan and the spirit of the antichrist will persist. Paul wrote, 2 Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

The apostle declared that the antichrist will follow a “falling away.” This implies that people who were once dedicated to the doctrine, born again of the water and the Spirit, separated in holiness, and living according to the scripture will forsake the Truth. They will abandon what they first believed. This falling away is a description of a backslidden state. Paul then went on to prophecy of the antichrist which he called “the son of perdition” – 2 Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

The day is coming. Ready or not, Jesus is coming. Sadly, there will be people who will reject the very Truth they once believed and fall away from their original commitment. While we pray for all those who have lost their way, it is incumbent upon us to grow deeper in the Word and stronger in the Faith. Our hearts are broken for those who have turned their back on holiness, godliness, and all scriptural doctrines. However, our eyes must be focused and our lives must be centered on the soon return of the Lord. We look with earnest at His coming knowing that all these things must be done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord.

Measuring Judgment

Mat 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
gavel
Maybe we have forgotten. Maybe the words of Jesus have lost their power, because among the Christian community is a most damaging view. Some believe that opinions, criticisms, gossip, and all manner of grievances can be uttered without consequence. It is striking that born again believers are so free with their judgments. Jesus’ words, however, are not clouded in mystery. We do not need the original Greek of Matthew 7:2 to understand the Lord’s message.

Jesus was clear: Whatever you give out, it shall be given back to you. There are no exceptions. He did not make an allowance for any particular case. Jesus did not say that those who have been misused, abused, or wounded can retain the right to dispense the same. Paul wrote of the law of harvest which describes the reaping of every seed that is planted. Seeds of love produce fruit of its kind. Seeds of bitterness produces bitter fruit. Seeds of giving produce blessings in return. It is God’s Law.

Even still, there are many who attempt to embrace the blood-stained Cross while condemning those who have offended them. It is the most glaring contradiction and hypocrisy among those who have been forgiven of their sins. To think that anyone believes they can retain the power to condemn while rejoicing that Jesus did not condemn them. It is delusional. This conflict has existed for the duration of humanity, but it is still a disgrace. And to that end, anyone who withholds grace becomes a disgrace. Jesus said, Mat 10:8 “freely ye have received, freely give.

The whole of this subject is much larger and deeper than this moment, but we must subscribe to the scripture. If not, we will become religious in word, but not in nature. We will reserve for ourselves rights, which Jesus did not give. In doing so, we will find a certain fate.

Jesus said that the merciful shall obtain mercy-Mat 5:7. Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that weightier matters pertained to Mercy and Faith -Mat 23:23. It might be time for everyone to pause before speaking; guard before hearing; and pray before assuming.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

As They Were Increased

Michael Brown asked in the Townhall, “Can the Church regain its Prophetic Voice.” His inquiry implies a loss of unspeakable proportions. If you are reading this, then know that your responsibility as a believer and disciple of Jesus Christ has never been more critical. Jesus called us to be the salt of the earth, Mt 5:13, but if that salt loses its “saltiness” it loses its preserving power.

The steps are simple: The path well worn. It begins with faithful worship. The assembling of ourselves together (Heb 10:25) is a command. However, in recent years churches have seen a slow, but steady, decline in consistent attendance. One church leader asked, “How many Sundays will you miss this year?” His research found that the average member will miss about 8 out of 52 Sundays. A slight majority will miss roughly 14 out of 52.

Wednesday Bible studies are even more meager. Less than 30% of church members now attend any midweek function. While Covid bears some weight to the matter, and there are pockets where the numbers are better, the fact remains that Pentecostal churches have seen a dramatic, downward shift in faithful, consistent church attendance.

Prayer and the Word have also suffered in this arena. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” The reason is found in the next line, Hosea 4:7 “As they were increased…” The priorities of Bible reading, prayer, and fasting are in competition with our busy schedules. With “increase” comes added responsibilities, which further erodes devotion to prayer and the Word. Added to this conflict is time wasted on phones, media, television, movies, and entertainment. It is a recipe made to cloud the Voice of the Lord – a constant barrage against our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

The prophetic voice is also wrapped around the preached Word; the pulpit. Weak preachers have been developed over the years. The cause is varied. While some are anointed and led by the Holy Ghost, others ministers seek to please the congregation. Likewise, while some members invite a strong, doctrinal message, others reject it and seek out a more palatable pulpits which appeases their lifestyles. The battle to retain a biblically centered message has always been in play, but never more so than today.

The questions are many. Will we obey the Word? Will we abandon or embrace prayer? Is the preached and taught Word important enough to rearrange our lifestyles? Is sound doctrine, direct preaching, and anointed messages, which invade our personal space, still welcomed? And finally, can our church survive and thrive in these final days of time?

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Stagnant Waters

In the withering heat of Africa’s summer lies Lake Natron. The unmoved water features large volumes of sodium bicarbonate which calcifies any animal that might venture there. It means that they die and become like hardened statues. Birds floating on the surface are almost mummified and other animals which drink from those waters are frozen in time. The lake looks red in color, which has its own inviting allure. However, the chemical levels are deceiving and deadly.

Lake Natron

Lake Natron’s features stand in stark contrast to the words of Jesus. John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

The flowing river of living water was a clear message of life. Living waters imply the bursting forth of hope and strength. They are ever moving; ever strengthening; forever producing. Jesus offered His water knowing there would always be a counterfeit.

Stagnate waters have their own distinction. They are captivating to the eye pulling in the unsuspecting soul. Philosophies and pursuits are attractive. The appeal of gain or influence has its own appeal, but upon consumption, they corrupt the spirit. I suppose that we know the difference, at least in our minds. Yet when the opportunity to drink from the “unmoved” water is presented, it becomes difficult to resist. Moses refused it. Joseph ran from it. However, many have fallen victim to its draw.

Lot’s wife, with the Covenant in her past, could not resist. She turned back one more time. She was led out of the fallen city by the hand of the angel, and yet, no amount of supernatural intercession could save her. I believe that her heart had turned to stone long before her body became a pillar of salt. The murky water leads me to the words of the psalmist.

Psalm one begins by telling us where not to walk, where not to stand, and where not to sit. The opening scene is a description of how not to live. Everyone wants the blessing, but first we must reject what damages our lives. Only then can we claim the Word: Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

The Drift

The final scene of King Saul found him alone and in defeat. He died on a hill surrounded by his lifeless sons; the enemy had exacted their strength against him. When David heard the news, he tore his clothes, fell to the ground and wept. Saul had desired to kill David, but he still considered Saul to be “the Lord’s anointed.” David would not touch Saul, because he knew that some things should never be held in the hands of a man.

It is interesting how far the church has drifted from scripture. Many see the Bible like a buffet, picking and choosing what they like and discarding the rest. The Bible says, 1 Chr 16:22 “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” The Bible is often cast aside as criticisms and conversations ensue.

Consider God’s stand on who we are to marry. 2 Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? This verse has been widely ignored by Christians who seek relationships outside of the faith. From young to old, God’s Word has been rejected. Even though the Bible is clear, many choose not to obey. The old adage says, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” Thus, disobedience reigns.

God spoke through Malachi about returning tithes and offerings. This Bible doctrine has been taught for thousands of years. Yet, there are “believers” who do not follow the scripture. God even called them “thieves and robbers.” However, these words have not provoked a change in their habits. Instead, the voice from the Pentecostal pews is that the preacher talks too much about money.

Adherence in lifestyle, modesty, language, and church attendance have all been diluted. The Bible is still the same, but “The Drift” has set a host off-course. It doesn’t take much. Just dismiss one sermon or even one part that does not feel good and the drift is on. While rejection is common in this modern era, it is still incumbent upon the pulpit to preach the Word. Regardless of who receives it, the Word must be preached. Even this communique must be written, even though it might be tossed aside or dismissed by the reader.

We are called to adjust our lives to the Word. So if need be, let conviction reign and let us return to the scripture which will make us “wise unto salvation.”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Sacrificial Giving

Mark 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
Mark 12:42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
Mark 12:43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
Mark 12:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Of all the Biblical subjects in sermons and lessons, few topics invoke such feelings like that of money. From Hophni and Phineas until now, money mismanagement has always been present. There are ample examples of hypocrites, liars, and unethical leaders to go around, though none can remove the scriptural command of giving.

Consider the text. Jesus sits in a curious place. I dare say that most congregations would not take kindly if their pastor stared at them as they gave their offerings, but Jesus had no problem watching. Mark 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.

Jesus took note of who was giving and how much. After all had passed by, He made a statement about the nature of their giving. Jesus was not concerned with the amount. Rather He was speaking about the sacrifice. Jesus said, “most gave from their resources; but the widow gave all.” The amount was inconsequential to the conversation, and that is where most stumble. Some reply, “I have so little, it probably won’t matter.” Let me just say, “It matters to the Master.”

While some have felt satisfied with the amount, and i.e., the numerical value, the Lord is looking at the depth of the sacrifice. Giving from the pool of abundance means that it was given at no cost.

I am aware that this communique will be discarded by the majority of readers. Money, tithes, offerings, and the whole of sacrificial giving is not a welcomed subject. I am the least of pastors, and yet I know that even the great leading pastors have been tuned out when it comes to money. Even still, I am compelled to wage war against the carnal mind which rebuts the Word. Jesus is still watching. He is looking for our commitments and the length we will go for the sake of His Kingdom.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole