"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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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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CROSSING The T’s STUDY in 1 TIMOTHY – Biblical Precepts and Principles for Pastoral ministry: CHAPTER TWO

INTRODUCTION
: Paul wrote a very affectionate, endearing, heart-felt epistle to the church at Philippi and we see very much the same heart here from Paul to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy.

I’ve had and have some spiritual sons in the faith myself; though they are not my blood, but rather by the blood of Jesus in redemption, as am I, this forms a bond that quite often supersedes familial bonds. And will outlast them.
The instructions we see here are not just from an apostle to a pastor, but a mentor to a disciple, and a father to a son: we see these relational views throughout this letter (as well as the second letter to Timothy) and evidences the true godly love that should be the trademark of all believers in Christ (JOHN 13:34-35).

So let’s continue into chapter two!
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Monday, December 27, 2021

LEVITICUS – A HOLY PEOPLE’s ACCESS to The HOLY GOD – Chapter TWENTYSEVEN

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

Complete Study of Leviticus by pastor Chuck Smith 

LEVITICUS 27: “The LAW REVEALING The RIGHTEOUSNESS of GOD” – by James Fire, Facebook video not available.

INTRODUCTION: “The last verse of the foregoing chapter seemed to close up the statute book; yet this chapter is added as an appendix. Having given laws concerning instituted services, here he directs concerning vows and voluntary services, the freewill offerings of their mouth. Perhaps some devout serious people among them might be so affected with what Moses had delivered to them in the foregoing chapter as in a pang of zeal to consecrate themselves, or their children, or estates to him: this, because honestly meant, God would accept; but, because men are apt to repent of such vows, he leaves room for the redemption of what had been so consecrated, at a certain rate.” ~ Matthew Henry

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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

LEVITICUS – A HOLY PEOPLE’s ACCESS to The HOLY GOD – Chapter TWENTYSIX

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

Complete Study of Leviticus by pastor Chuck Smith 

LEVITICUS 26: “The Way of Blessing and of Cursing” – by James Fire, Facebook video available here.

INTRODUCTION: GOD desires to bless people because He is a kind, gracious, generous LORD with a tender heart and limitless resources. Think of a billionaire Grampa who has lots of grand babies. That pales compared to GOD! Throughout the Old Testament, GOD held out His hand, graciously inviting His people to partake of His goodness and provisions, and all they had to do was obey Him. And therein lies the problem. They didn’t, so He couldn’t.

It came down to a matter of heart: the human heart is desperately wicked (JER 17:9), and even the Old Testament saints that were approved by GOD and seen as upright in heart, still had to offer up sacrifices for their sins. Someone had to pay the price for sin! And it was either GOD’s people or the animals they sacrificed!

The sin nature has to be dealt with! GOD would have to instill in people a new nature after His own godliness and that’s what Ezekiel prophesied in EZEK 36:26. It’s what our LORD spoke about in JOHN 3:3-5. A new nature, a spiritual rebirth. And even then, we New Testament saints have this wrestling match going on inside of us, the Spirit against our sinful flesh (GAL 5:17). We rejoice in knowing that one day, our sin nature will be extracted from out of our very being, and we will be completely holy without even the possibility of being corrupted by sin, or even tempted to sin.

Until that day, it’s a constant visitation to the cross, where we have to crucify flesh, die to self, and let Christ Who lives IN us, to live THROUGH us.

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Thursday, December 16, 2021

O HOLY NIGHT – A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE


~ by James Fire

The one thing that I love the most about the Christmas season are the traditional Christmas carols – and by these, I am NOT referring to Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman or O Christmas tree.

I’m referring to those blessed ballads that speak of the new born King, the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the world. He most likely wasn’t born on December the 25th – that was known throughout the ancient world as Saturnalia, a pagan festival of debauchery where Romans sated carnal lusts. He was in all probability born in the Spring or the Autumn season (and there are good arguments for both).

The idea of Christmas trees, mistletoe, holly, rituals and games as being non-Christian along with other pagan accoutrements and whether Christians should avoid any and all such associations would be the subject for another time.

Whenever it was that the birth of Christ took place, the blessed reality is that He was in fact born into this world: for all eternity, long before the creation of time, space and matter/energy, He sat at the right hand of the Father, and it was understood by the Three Members of the Godhead that man would fall from his right standing and would incur the judgment and subsequent wrath of GOD.

Unless GOD intervened, the entire race would be doomed.
It was agreed upon since before the foundation of the Earth that the Son would take up the mission of Atonement (REV 13:8), and it came to pass that He stood up from the right hand of the Father, He took a single step in the eternal halls of heaven and stepped out of eternity and into our time domain – and infused His Spirit with the procreative egg of a lowly peasant girl named Mary, of the house of David, from the tribe of Judah: the kingly line!

The rest is history as recorded in Holy Writ. And in the various Christmas Carols that everyone knows. It’s not surprising that these are rife with biblical doctrine as so many of them were penned by pastors and godly poets. Among them I have my favorites – and as you rightly surmise, O Holy Night is among them.
Would you accompany me for a while as I muse upon these lyrics and expound upon their Scriptural relevance?

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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

PONDERING THE PARABLES – Part Three

~ by James Fire

INTRODUCTION: The parables teach us many spiritually valuable lessons, but they all center around a central theme, that being “the kingdom of heaven”. Note that this isn’t just the realm of heaven, where GOD and His holy angels reside – along with the many departed saints, but the kingdom of heaven. The King of course is the LORD Jesus Christ, and there is an abundance of prophecies that talk about the coming kingdom (of GOD, or Heaven, or as its stated elsewhere (like ACTS 1:6) the kingdom of Israel.

What we covered last time in the primary parable that the LORD taught His disciples is the template by which all the other parables are interpreted (MARK 4:13). The idioms all stay the same: the seed is the Word of GOD; fowls or birds are agents of Satan (be they human or demonic). These idioms are also found in other Scripture, and consistently mean the same thing: leaven for example is always used in the negative sense (never the positive) of sin, or pride, or false doctrine.
Let’s get into the next parable then, which is very similar to the first.

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Thursday, December 9, 2021

LEVITICUS – A HOLY PEOPLE’s ACCESS to The HOLY GOD – Chapter TWENTYFIVE

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

Complete Study of Leviticus by pastor Chuck Smith 

LEVITICUS 25: “The Lord of the Sabbath is our Jubilee” – by Albert Lopez, Facebook video not available

INTRODUCTION: The Lord spoke to Moses again and addressed the people on the Sanctity of the land that he had promised them. He also instructed them on the year of Jubilee. Sadly, in later years the nonobservance of this command led to Israel’s captivity, in which the land observed it’s Sabbaths without the presence of the people of the covenant. These laws ensured that God’s people set aside times to acknowledge that the bounty of the earth they share is a gift from the sovereign Creator!
Here we’ll be getting into the year of Jubilee, and what it represents. For Israel, it meant that all debts were cancelled, those in indentured servitude were let free, and it was a time for joy and celebration, every 50 years.
For us, it represents the freedom we have in Christ, for all of our debts were paid at the Cross, and we now have liberty in Christ, no longer under the Law that would condemn us, but granted the Spirit of GOD as dear children, so that by our liberty we are enabled to love and serve the LORD, rather than ourselves!

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Friday, December 3, 2021

LEVITICUS – A HOLY PEOPLE’s ACCESS to The HOLY GOD – Chapter TWENTYTHREE & TWENTYFOUR

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

Complete Study of Leviticus by pastor Chuck Smith 

LEVITICUS 23 & 24: “Celebrating the Goodness of GOD” – by Sonny Islas, Watch the video on the SHINE BRIGHT Youtube page
INTRODUCTION: There are seven annual feasts that the LORD commanded Israel to keep; these were joyful festivals held in connection of celebrating GOD’s goodness towards them. It is a JOY to know GOD! We will recognize that these feasts all point to our LORD Jesus Christ.

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

CROSSING The T’s STUDY in 1 TIMOTHY – Biblical Precepts and Principles for Pastoral ministry: CHAPTER ONE – PART One & Two

By James Fire

INTRODUCTION: We are now venturing into what have been called the pastoral epistles (both Timothy and Titus were pastors, and Paul the apostle, their mentor). In the rank and file of the Christian hierarchy of leader/servants* that’s listed in Scripture there are apostles, then prophets, then pastors and, or teachers, and evangelists. Therefore Paul the apostle is entirely qualified to mentor these pastors.

* Regarding the position or relationship to the LORD as children of GOD we saints are all on equal footing, with none higher or lower than any other (MATT 23:8; GAL 3:26-29).

For those who are pastors today, we have The Apostle (the One sent from the Father), the LORD Jesus Christ Who mentors us; we also receive counsel from elder pastors who are senior – that is to say, those who’ve been pastoring longer than the less experienced ones.
There is a tendency for some to overlook these specific pastoral epistles because they say, “I’m not a pastor”. Yet let’s not forget that "all Scripture" is profitable (2 TIM 3:16), and that profitability is not exclusive to any single ministry. Where the specifics of pastoral duties are addressed in Scripture, certainly those are applicable to pastors.
Let’s keep this in mind as we begin these studies.
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