"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

PONDERING THE PARABLES – Part Four

~ by James Fire

INTRODUCTION: There are some parables that address GOD’s reconciliatory work, based upon His redemption. Because He died for our sins and bought us out of ‘the slave market of sin’, we belong to GOD, are loved by GOD, no longer at enmity with the LORD – we are reconciled and have relationship with the LORD as our Father, with the LORD Jesus as our Savior, with the Holy Spirit as our Helper (the triune GODHEAD is relational to us in these and so many other capacities!).

We see this in such parables as the treasure in the field, and pearl taken from the oyster, the lost sheep, the lost coin reclaimed, etc. In all of these there is a retrieval of something that was buried, out of sight, lost, but regained and cherished.
There is the primary parable – the Sower of the Seed that expounds on the efficacious nature of the Word to propagate, bearing fruit after its kind (and those influences that hinder or even halt that germinating work).

Then there are these other parables where the kingdom of GOD is being infested by the workings of Satan – such as the tares sown among the wheat, the leaven being introduced into the dough, and in this next parable yet another distinction:
The good and the bad dwelling together, but then separated: the good and bad fish; those who didn’t attend the wedding and those who did;

MATTHEW 13:47-50
50 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 "which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels but threw the bad away. 49 "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 "and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth
.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Chapters 5

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

NUMBERS 5: “CLEANSING OUTWARDLY AND INWARDLY” – by Albert Lopez, For the complete teaching, check out this teaching on youtube video.

INTRODUCTION: If I were to ask each one of you, do you like to be clean? and remain clean for as long as you can? Many of you or even all of you would say Yes. Everyone likes to be clean. An example of this is that you shower because you want to be clean and you want to smell good.

You know that our bodies need to be clean, and you do your best to make sure every part of your body gets washed with soap and shampoo and rinse with water. One important thing to note is that we do this daily, sometimes even more than once if we get all sweaty; but the point is that you are concerned about it. You take time to take care of it and clean thoroughly.
Little thought however is given to being cleaned inwardly by many people. It’s easy to detect and clean what you can see but it becomes more difficult when you are not able to see it or are not too concerned about it. We will be reading about examples that are outwardly and could be seen but also the state of the heart that leads people away from God.

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Monday, January 24, 2022

REWARDS by Lambert Dolphin

Caveat

This is the very first time I have ever attempted to write up what the Bible says about rewards in the next life. 

I've always assumed I'd be lucky to get my foot in the door of heaven. 

Pride, however, is not always exhibited by arrogance, presumptuousness or a sense on entitlement. Pride can also be latent in us as touchiness, false modesty, resentment--as when someone else gets promoted and we are passed by. Or sour grapes when another gets praised and we are ignored--as in not giving credit where credit is due for a team effort.

I remember a sermon from nearly 60 years ago about "Crowns." I was turned off. Quite a few people in the audience were excited at that time about hoped-for, stored-up rewards, in heaven. Some in that audience were (I thought) real losers.

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Saturday, January 22, 2022

WISDOM & OBSERVATIONS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD - 2022 "Things as They Are"

A timely word from one of TTUF's guest writers, Greg Reid (web links provided by yours truly, pertinent to Greg's subject matter):

Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

I’m writing to you from my home on this cold January day of the new year in West Texas. As I listen to the bitter wind whistling and shaking the are trees with the dried pods barely hanging on to the branches, sounding like the rattling of bones, icy fingers that both underline the year of death and loss we have walked through, and pointing to the year ahead of us with an ominous whisper, “Fear on every side.”

But then I hear Another, who says, “The Lord is good, and a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)

We must choose trust over fear this year.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

WHY DOES SHINE BRIGHT CHURCH EXIST? A NEW YEARS MESSAGE - 2022

Note from James
: We had an awesome and entirely appropriate message this last Sunday (01/02) that dealt with why we exist as a church. What is the purpose, what is the mission, what is the declaration of the church of Jesus Christ in today’s growing iniquity?
Where are we going, and do we need to retrace our steps and get on the path of righteousness once again?

As I heard this sermon, I was making mental notes on various TTUF articles that would be suitable accompaniments to it, and so I asked pastor Sonny if I could publish this teaching and insert links to my articles and he was all for it! You’ll see certain words and phrases hyper-linked throughout this article which will lead you to those articles.

I pray that this teaching is as much a blessing to you as it was to all of us at SHINE BRIGHT church, here in Tucson, AZ.
So, without further ado, on to the message!

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Friday, December 31, 2021

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Introduction and Chapters 1 & 2

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

NUMBERS 1 & 2: “GOD Paints By Numbers” – by James Fire, Facebook video.

INTRODUCTION: We are now in the fourth book of the TORAH, as written by Moses, as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
In GENESIS we saw the beginning of all things, including the beginning of a relationship between ‘the father of the faithful’, Abraham and His GOD, the LORD GOD. This man and Sarah his wife grew into a family, and by the end of GENESIS, they grew into a nation.

In EXODUS that nation was redeemed from bondage in Egypt and was brought to Mount Sinai where the LORD GOD was revealed to them, as well as His Holy Law, the testimony of GOD confirmed regarding His plan for Israel and the plans for the Tabernacle that was then built.
In LEVITICUS we see that the nation that was redeemed, has been sanctified, and made a holy and special people to the LORD through priestly ministration and sacrifices. As a nation, as a priesthood Israel was consecrated unto the LORD to fulfill His glorious purposes: to be a beacon of truth and light to a world that didn’t know GOD (not much beyond the testimony of creation).

Now we are in the book of NUMBERS, and it’s called that because of the first four chapters, where Moses is busy about making a census of the twelve tribes of Israel.

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