<![CDATA[Depths of Pentecost - Blog]]>Sat, 18 Nov 2017 20:03:44 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[When the Father Spoke to the Son]]>Sat, 18 Nov 2017 22:44:06 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/when-the-father-spoke-to-the-son
By Philip Cottraux

Before Jesus could go into ministry, He had to be baptized by John.  Matthew 3:3: For this is he (John) that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  This is one of the earliest Messianic prophecies fulfilled, and it was met by both Jesus and John.  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3).  Jesus found His cousin preaching repentance by the Jordan River.  Matthew 3:13: Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.  But John immediately refused, recognizing the sinless One who had no need to repent.  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me (verse 14)?

Of course, it seemed unreal that the Messiah would ask him to be baptized.  But Christ’s answer is very interesting.  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him (verse 15).  Jesus had all power, but was God made flesh and subject to the same trials we have to endure.  He was able to get thirsty, tired, and hungry.  And He was our example. 

But if John was preparing the way for Christ, Christ was preparing the way for us.  There was nothing that we have to endure in life that He didn’t endure for us.  And there was no job too lowly for Him.  Some of us have to clean the church toilet; but He washed the disciples’ feet.  He showed us the attitude we must have when we teach, preach, and serve others.  In the wilderness, He was subject to the same temptation from the devil we have to face.  He fasted for 40 days, enduring hunger for the greater glory of God. 

If Jesus was the Son of God and Creator of the universe, did He really need to be submerged in the Jordan River to receive power?  I don’t honestly know, but the question is like asking if He “needed” to fast or be tempted.  Or crucified.  It’s beside the point and overlooks His mission.  If the Father determined that He needed to undergo all life’s hardships for us, then the Son’s unquestioning obedience should teach us a lesson.

Verses 16-17: And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  While the Trinity is referenced in the Old Testament, this is the first time it was completely revealed.  The Son is baptized, the Holy Spirit appears, and the Father speaks His approval.  Jesus didn’t view Himself as above baptism, and that pleased the Father.  The Holy Ghost brought the message in the form of a dove.

The problem with so many Christians today is that we don’t have this attitude of obedience.  Unlike Jesus, we view ourselves as too good or important to go through the necessary steps of ministry.  We think that fasting is unnecessary, or that lowly jobs of cleaning and servitude are for new converts only, or that we don’t need the Holy Ghost.  But if Jesus, the very Son of God, had to fast before He could enter ministry, who are we to say we don’t need to fast?  If He had to receive the Holy Ghost before He could have power from on high, who are we to claim that we don’t have to?

This is the most famous incident where the Father’s voice spoke audibly to the Son.  But it isn’t the only one.

In John 12, Jesus had just entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  As He rode into the city, the people cried “Hosanna!” and laid palm trees before Him.  This was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.  But Jesus knew the celebration would be short-lived.  Within a week, the same people would form the crowd outside Pilate’s house crying for Him to be crucified.

He tried to explain this to His disciples in verses 23-26, but as we well know, they wouldn’t understand His mission until after it was complete.  While their response isn’t recorded, we can imagine it was the same confused bewilderment displayed at the Last Supper.  In fact, Jesus echoes the same sentiment in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified.  We know that He would pray O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: (Matthew 26:39), but we overlook that a few days before He cried  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: (John 12:27).

Jesus was subject to great emotional distress before His death.  The Son of God, the Creator of the universe, who will one day judge the world, was overcome by the very human emotion of fear.  But in both cases, there is a second clause: but for this cause came I unto this hour (John 12:27).  Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:39)

Jesus didn’t just come to die for our sins.  He didn’t just take on our sicknesses and diseases at the whipping post.  He didn’t just come to defeat the devil and conquer death, hell, and the grave.  He also came to overcome fear.  We have no reason to be afraid.  Oh, don’t get me wrong; fear, anxiety, and other human emotions will come your way as long as you’re on this earth.  But Jesus showed us what to do with it.  The Bible tells us to “fear not” in some variation over 100 times. 

And what was the result?  In John 12:28, He reiterates: Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.  This is the second time the Father spoke audibly to Jesus.  Jesus only asked that the Father’s Name will be glorified in His death.  The Father tells His Son that His name has been glorified in all that Christ has done, and will be glorified again in His death and resurrection.  Where the first Adam had failed, the second Adam had succeeded. 

It had never occurred until studying for this blog just how much that revealed about the relationship between the Father and Son, the first two members of the Trinity.  It shows a tender bond that surpasses all understanding.  Christ’s willingness to obey the Father showed just how much He loved the Father and would do whatever He said.  Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise (John 5:19). 

If we love the Father as much as Jesus did, we would be just as eager to obey Him no matter what.  But unfortunately, we’ve strayed so far that we don’t even recognize His voice.  This is evident in the very next verse: The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him (John 12:29).  Everyone around Jesus heard the voice from above.  As Jews, they were supposed to be God’s chosen people.  But they had no idea to whom the thundering voice belonged.  They assumed it was an angel.  Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes (verse 30)In other words, it was their sins He would be dying for.

Then Jesus reveals another mystery: their inability to recognize the voice of God was a fulfillment of another Messianic prophecy: Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them (verses 39-40)This hearkens back to Isaiah 6:10: Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

We can look down on the disciples all we want.  But we in the church today are in danger of the same thing.  We have strayed so far from the Father, we may hear His voice and not recognize it.  But even more frightening is that if we stray too far, He may no longer be able to hear us.

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<![CDATA[Guest Blog: God Wants to Show Us His Glory]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 23:02:36 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/guest-blog-god-wants-to-show-us-his-gloryBy Katie Wilson
psalm8110.com

I used to think the God was stingy with His glory.  I thought that He only showed it to the most holy people or to His favorites. That was clearly before I knew Him at all.  I now see that God is far from stingy. In fact, He is the most generous giver of extravagant grace and when He sent Jesus, He showered us with abundant life, Life with skin on, the visible expression of the invisible God. 
 
God does not hoard His glory for only the most holy. He showers His glory on the humble.  Moses was a murderer, yet after spending 40 years as a shepherd of sheep, God made Moses glow with His glory for the next 40 years, shepherding the Israelites.
 
And in Romans, God puts the whole “playing favorites” issue to rest:
 
But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:10-11 NLT)
 
As I camped out in Ezekiel this morning, I was awestruck once again by God’s glory and the countless, creative expressions He chooses to reveal it.
 
In Ezekiel 1 we are told,
Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
 
When I read the sentence,
 
 “This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me.”
 
I immediately remembered an encounter when God specifically showed me His Glory .  If He showed Moses, Ezekiel and me His glory (just to name a few), then you can bet your life that HE WILL SHOW YOU TOO!
 
“This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me…”

I am a Memphis girl, born and bred, but "Sweet Home Alabama" has been my home for the last 24 years. My mother was the last thread holding me to Memphis and she went home to Jesus in the spring of 2013. During her final days this side of Heaven, I packed up and headed to "The River City, the home of Graceland, for a bedside season. My journal and Bible were constant companions. Having lost my dad unexpectedly in 1991,  I knew I would see the "God Moments" in hindsight, but my continuous prayer was to recognize HIS PRESENCE, while still IN the valley.

One morning during the "Valley-Vigil", I specifically wrote in my journal:

"Lord, show me YOUR GLORY today, please."

Later that afternoon, I was running and listening to a podcast about having a servant's heart and how it is never to late to become who you were meant to be. I was inspired and encouraged and excited to return from this "Jesus Jog" with a renewed spirit to serve,

when I ALMOST missed a divine appointment!

Dressed in a starched white uniform with matching white shoes, she was bent over with a cane and attempting to put the recycle bin inside a big green trashcan. The long journey back up the driveway called for some trashcan consolidation. She showed no frustration and a toothy, white smile beamed from her beautiful, brown face. I am convinced it was her "glow" that caught my attention, not the wrestling match with the trashcans. I smiled back, said "hello"and ALMOST kept going.

Remember, I had been praying to notice the "God Moments" while still IN the valley, noticing from Christ's perspective. God is faithful and I DID NOT miss it! What good is an inspiring sermon if we don't live it out! I wanted a servant's heart and here was my opportunity to serve.

"May I please take those trashcans up for you?" I asked. She smiled and tried to say NO but I was a servant on a mission and I wasn't taking NO for an answer. I took both cans by the handle with the recycle bin strategically placed inside one of them and we began our trek up the long driveway.

(Here it comes. Are you ready?)

I asked her name and guess what she said?

GLORY!

I got to take up the trash for Glory!

I started crying at the mention of her name.

It took us a good 10 minutes to get the cans back up the driveway, just long enough for me to tell her I was from Memphis but now lived in Alabama, just long enough for her to tell me she was from Alabama but now lived in Memphis. Although decades apart in age, our hearts were connected immediately as we shared snippets of our stories.

Glory reminded me so much of my Aunt Leta, my "other mother." Aunt Leta worked for my dad before my parents were married; she helped raise me and all 3 of my older brothers and was still working for my mom. Although my mom was technically Aunt Leta's employer, "best friend" and "confidant" were more appropriate titles.

But now back to Glory!

She asked me if I knew her boss. You could tell by the admiration in her voice that she had the utmost respect for her employer and that getting those trashcans was a labor of love, not just a part of her job. You could tell that, although the owner of the big house with the long driveway was technically Glory's employer, "best friend" and "confidant" may have been more appropriate titles.

You could tell Glory was one of those souls who truly lived out:

Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for man.(Col 3:23)

She thanked me repeatedly for helping her take up the trash but I am the one who was overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn't tell her enough:

"Thank you for letting me help you!"

We were doing our own little "grateful dance"- round and round we went. What a sweet world this would be if we all tried to one-up one another in gratitude!

In that moment, I truly understood that all things are "trash" compared to knowing Christ. In knowing Christ, we NOTICE HIS GLORY, because we see through HIS PERSPECTIVE, not ours. When we NOTICE HIS GLORY, we won't take NO for an answer, going ALL OUT because we are ALL IN!

I asked to see GOD'S GLORY and HE delivered in the most creative, clever and kind way!

To God be all the Glory!

Pun intended:)
This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me.
What does it look like to you? 
I bet He will surprise you beyond anything you could ever dream or imagine!

******

-I want to thank Katie for filling in for me this week.  I highly recommend checking out her blog, "When Ruins Sing," at
https://psalm8110.com/
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<![CDATA[The Clenched Fist]]>Sat, 04 Nov 2017 21:52:46 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/the-clenched-fistBy Susan Cottraux
 
Romans 13:1: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God:  the powers that be are ordained of God.  Another version puts it this way:  “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God.  The authorities that exist have been appointed by God.” 
 
The clenched fist is symbolic of a rebellious spirit and anger toward God.  It has been a symbol of Communism for decades.  It’s the official salute of all Communist parties throughout the world.  It has been used by Masons, the Black Panther Movement, Hitler, Hugo Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Students for a Democratic Society and many others.  The Chinese saluted Mao Tse-Tung using the clenched fist.  Josef Stalin’s daughter said as he lay dying he was plagued with terrifying hallucinations of the judgment to come.  He suddenly sat halfway up in bed, clenched his fist toward heaven and fell back on his pillow and was dead.  His one last gesture was a clenched fist toward God, his heart as cold and as hard as steel.  Sixty six million people perished in Soviet Russia thanks to Stalin and others.  Yet the media adores Soviet Russia and casts them in a favorable light, especially Lenin and Marx.  What is the destiny of Russia in the Word of God?
 
Read about it in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.   Will the Antichrist use a clenched fist?  Most fictional books about the Antichrist portray him with a clenched fist.  We know he will come in peace at first.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if the clenched fist is used at some time during his reign.  As we look around we see many end time signs letting us know that Jesus will soon come.
 
The clenched fist has been adopted by Antifa.  Antifa is short for Anti-fascism.  But how close the words run: Anti-Christ—Anti-fa.  People in this group are radically left.  They are socialists, communists and anarchists that reject what they claim is a message of white supremacy coming from the White House. 
 
They are funded by 86 year-old George Soros, a Hungarian Jew who is not only an atheist but has an Anti-Christian agenda.  Soros loves to stir up rebellion.  He was subject to the concentration camps as a 14 year-old and said he loved the Nazi’s.  Soros has referred to himself as a messiah, a god, and the creator of everything.  His goal is to become the conscience of the world. 
 
Look around and you will see many types of the Antichrist.  The clenched fist has been adopted by many groups, but the saddest thing is to watch it used against our American way of life.  To raise your fist in defiance to the police, the military, the flag and government is a sad thing indeed.  Even when a political candidate was in the White House that we didn’t like or agree with down through the years we had respect for them and the office.  You are raising your fist towards a nation of liberty founded on the Bible, on Christian principles on decency and morality.  How long will God put up with a nation of division?  I Peter 2:13-17, Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme:  or unto governors. As unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.  Honour all men.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honour the king. 
 
Jude 8: Bold, self willed, they do not tremble blaspheming the glorious ones (the heavenly host).  Another version: “Those who indulge their fleshly desires and despise authority, brazen and insolent, they are not afraid to insult the glorious ones.”  Still another version: “These dreamers defile their bodies, reject authority and slander glorious beings.”  Finally the King James Version: Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignitaries.  Filthy dreamers—yes, they dream of a world of communism, dictatorship, famine, bread lines and a total breakdown of the world as we know it.
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<![CDATA[Guest Blog: Joseph Boaz's Healing Ministry]]>Sun, 29 Oct 2017 00:13:16 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/guest-blog-joseph-boazs-healing-ministryBy Joseph Boaz

My Background 

I began occupational ministry in 1995.  I worked for a Christian television studio and helped lead a ministry that taught young people how to preach the gospel.  Back then, if you had given me the choice of meeting an angel and meeting a lifelong pioneer missionary, I might have chosen the latter.  I often daydreamed about taking the gospel to the farthest regions of the world. God graciously granted my desire.  My life was an adventure- I’ve smuggled tons of bibles into China, I led a church plant and assisted with others, led many mission trips, and preached in villages that had never heard the gospel.  I preached the same gospel in over twenty nations that is, Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  And yet, something was missing from my gospel. 

Back when I worked at the television studio, I received a prophecy that stated I would one day walk into churches, ask the sick to come forward, and see every one of them healed.  Now I did occasionally see the sick healed on the mission field.  When I was in Hong Kong, A friend’s father was unable to speak after surgery and wanted healing.  We prayed for him and God supernaturally restored his voice.  However, divine healing was not a regular experience in my ministry.  

A Healing Ministry Begins

Several years ago, I met a dear brother from India who moved mightily in the gifts of healing.  I began to host events at hotels and churches for him when he was visiting the USA .  I’m not sure when it happened, but as I served this brother, I began to move in the gifts of healing.  One evening, I was visiting a house church and there was a new convert there who had rolled his ankle and was limping.  I’m not sure who knew me, but they said, “Joseph has the gift of healing!”.  I prayed for him- well actually I released the power of God, and he was instantly healed.  He was so shocked that he looked a little scared.  I was excited too, but I managed to act like this was a normal occurrence.  From then on, that church had me pray for anyone who was sick. 

In the past four years or so, I’ve seen more supernatural healings than I can recount.  My own children have been healed.  My second child, Isabella, was born with a strange heartbeat.  The midwife told us to visit a pediatrician as soon as possible.  We went home and laid hands on our dear daughter, and the power fell.  I’m moved to tears even now as I remember the moment.  We took her to a pediatrician and her heartbeat was normal.  We took her back to the midwife and she was surprised that there was no more irregularity.  My third child possibly had a hernia.  His belly button was protruding way more than a “outie”.   Frankly, it looked really weird.  I laid hands on him and in about a week, it turned into an innie.  Oh, and the prophecy that was spoken over me twenty years ago was fulfilled.  I was speaking at a house meeting and every single person was healed.  One lady had been suffering with nerve pain for 15 years.  That night, 80% of the pain left and within a few days it was totally gone.  

Here’s a testimony that someone sent me.  I honestly do not remember praying for this person.  

"Hello Joseph, not sure if you remember me I went to bridge for a couple of years and I was in the Bible study back in the winter time when you were praying for people to be healed of their sight and hearing, anyway I just went to the Eye doctor last week, the ophthalmologist and he insisted on doing some testing on my eyes because all I was there for was to get my prescription for glasses, so two things happened I no longer have to have glasses to get a drivers license, and he insisted I have some other testing done, and he didn't make me pay for it, the condition is ocular hypertension of the eyes (this is like the pre stages of glaucoma) anyways he did the pressure testing on my eyes and my pressure is completely normal, I had this I disease since I was in my late teens, so thank you for your prayers and praise God for his healing power !!!
N.T.R."

If anyone reading this would like me to pray with you, please feel free to contact me.  I’d be happy to come minister in your church or home group.  I’ve also seen people healed over the phone.  I only ask that you permit me to teach a lesson on how to receive healing before I lay hands on the sick.  

Your Servant in Christ,
Joseph Boaz
Healing Evangelist 

Josephboaz@gmail.com

Postscript:

In modern America, Healing Evangelists are ranked somewhere between ambulance chasing attorneys and aggressive telephone marketers.  Perhaps much of the stigma is warranted.  Certain television evangelists have woefully fulfilled the warnings in 2Peter, “in their greed, they will exploit you with false words.”  The enemy has succeeded in sullying the ministry of divine healing through these false teachers.  Not all healing evangelists fly around on chartered flights wearing $1,000 tailored suits.  I have met several godly men who move mightily in the gifts of healing and live simple lives.  My own family lives a simple life.  Just recently we were able to afford new glasses for my wife which she has needed for five years.  I do not believe in browbeating or manipulating people to give.  God is my provider, not man.  We must be mindful of the apostles who said, “silver and gold have i none, but such as I have I give.”

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<![CDATA[In Love With Technology]]>Sat, 21 Oct 2017 19:30:46 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/in-love-with-technologyBy Susan Cottraux
 
A lawyer asked Jesus a question: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”  Jesus said Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment (Matthew 22:35-38).
 
If we are devoting ridiculous amounts of time to our phones and social media, how can we keep this commandment?  The Lord is to be first in all we do.  In his book, The Soul in Cyberspace, Dr. Douglas Groothuis makes several interesting points of how iphones are changing us:

We are becoming like what we behold.  To worship an idol is to become like the idol, to worship Christ is to become like Christ.  What is happening to our souls when we spend so much time beholding the glowing screens of our phones? (Romans 1:18-27)
 
We start lusting after the forbidden fruit of limitless knowledge.  The serpent told Eve the same lie.  If you eat this fruit, you will be as God and know everything.  There is very limited knowledge of God on the internet; it is mostly man’s knowledge.

 
We are losing interest in the gathered church.  Hebrews 10:25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:  and so much more, as ye see the day approaching.  Churches with a strong online presence have seen it impact physical attendance.  Technology is changing everything we do, including church.  People are looking less to churches and leaders to help them grow spiritually.  People no longer feel guilty about not being in church on Sunday.  One pastor who left Facebook had this to say: “If my goal as a Christian is to be like Jesus, then is Facebook shaping me to be more like him?  For me, I have to admit the answer is no.  Facebook isn’t helping me achieve my calling as a pastor, husband, father or follower of Jesus.  Facebook is shaping my heart in a direction that puts love of self before love of God and neighbor.”  People check Facebook an average of every 31 seconds. 


We are growing careless with our words.  We are becoming bolder in criticizing others.  We say things online that we wouldn’t say in person.  We forget that people online have an eternal soul like us.  We are overcritical.  We are having an effect on other people’s destinies.  (Proverbs 10:18-21)
 
The average college student uses their phone nine hours a day.  That’s longer than most students spend sleeping!  People are becoming addicted.  Some phone users show the same symptoms as drug addicts.  They let their smart phones lift their moods and losing a phone causes anxiety and panic.  Larry Rosen says, “For the past 30 years I have studied the psychology of technology.  We can’t seem to keep our faces out of our smart phones for even a minute or two.  Some people call it addiction, others an obsession.  But there is an important difference between the two.  Addiction means you are trying to get your brain to release neurotransmitters that signal a pleasurable experience.  Obsession also involves neurotransmitters but they are associated with stress and anxiety.  We are fast approaching Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as a society with our cell phones.”
 
People are losing their grip on reality.  Artificial intelligence expert and author of the book Love and Sex with Robots, David Levy, had this to say, “We have already seen rapid changes in human relationships thanks to the internet, mobile devices and social media.  The next major advance will enable us to use our technology to have intimate encounters with technology, to have sex with robots and marry them.”  The author of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, said in the future that “global consciousness will replace our need for God.  We will start to find our spiritual experiences through our interconnections with each other.  Some form of global consciousness that we perceive will become our divine.  Our need for that exterior god, that sits up there and judges us will diminish and eventually disappear.”  He said that technology and artificial intelligence will someday change how we view God and religion.  “Will God survive science?” he inquires.
 
Which brings me back to Romans 1:22-23, 25, 28, 30-31: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator…And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness….inventors of evil things…without natural affection…

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<![CDATA[Guest Blog: Jason Shuler's Testimony]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 19:09:41 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/guest-blog-jason-shulers-testimonyBy Jason Shuler
 
I want to say thank you to brother Cottraux for allowing me this opportunity to share my testimony. 
 
It was December 4th 1987 on a Friday morning around 7:30 am.  I was 10 years old.  My Father (Melvin Shuler), who at this time pastored Garner Church of God, had come from a weekly prayer meeting.  We were on our way to pick a friend up who carpooled with us to school, and while crossing the Avesboro/Timber Lane intersection, we were side swiped near the back left tire which caused our minivan to flip three times on level ground.  The side door was forced open, throwing my sister and me from the vehicle.  
 
Brooklyn, who was 6 years old, was still conscious lying in the middle of the road with a broken jaw and fractured pelvis. My dad, who suffered a serious blow to the head because his seatbelt didn't catch, was wrestling to get out of the vehicle.  Once he worked his way out, he looked at me on the side of the road then spotted my sister who was lying in the middle of the road.  He darted for her to beat any chance of oncoming traffic running her over.  As he was making is way to her, God give him a clear vision of a wide open field with a girl running and playing.  As he got closer to her he began praying, but the Lord whispered to him that the young girl in his vision was her and she was fine.
 
About that time a plain clothes officer rushed in to help and started taking care of my sister.  Meanwhile my brother (12 years old) who only had a neck burn due to his seatbelt had come to check on me (lying in a puddle of blood) approached dad and said “Dad, Jason’s dead.”  I had landed and slid across the asphalt face first, completely ripping my face off.  Dad rushed to me and searched for a pulse, breath, or any sign of life.  Nothing. 
 
It was then my father laid over top of me and began to pray.  I like to think of this as my father touching the hem of God’s garment.  As he began praying there on the side of the road over his lifeless son, the Holy Spirit intervened and as he began speaking in tongues (a heavenly language) God give me life. 
 
The emergency vehicle arrived and as we were rushed to the hospital I was so scared I couldn’t keep still. My father had to lay on top of me (letting me know he was there) to calm me down.  They separated us at the ER, taking him to a separate room to be treated for his injuries.  As he was alone in this room he began praying again (the power of prayer is awesome!).  The Lord reminded my father to give it all to Him, and then whispered to him “He Will Be A Living Testimony of My Power.” 
 
The Doctors told my parents that if I survived, l would need plastic surgery just to have a face.  But in ONE WEEK, I was out of the hospital completely healed, no operation needed whatsoever.  I did have 3 small scars which now you can’t see unless I point them out, and a broken nose. 
 
This broken nose led to something that’s even more amazing than God healing and restoring my face.  As I was only 10 years old all I really knew of the Bible were what I learned in Sunday school and children’s church.  As I had to have a minor surgery to set my nose, I was scared of them knocking me out with the gas I had to breathe.  As the doctor told me to relax and breathe, I was soon watching myself being operated on.  I could see the doctors all around my face working on my nose, but didn’t quite understand what I was seeing.  There was no fear, no worry; it was the greatest peace I have ever felt in my entire life still to this day.  I then noticed someone standing to the left of me. As I turned to look this is what I saw.
 
Daniel 10: 5,6: I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist.  His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightninghis arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze
 
As I left the hospital that day I remember sitting in the back of the vehicle my dad was driving, and quietly telling my parents I believe I saw my guardian angel.  My mother turned around and asked me to describe what I saw.  Then she asked if I had seen a face.  I remember replying “No, It was just a bright light” I will never forget her next words: “Jason, that was God.”
 
I went into a complete awe thinking of how God had shown himself to a 10 year-old.  The song Jesus Loves The Little Children took on a whole new meaning for me.
 
This is a testimony I will never forget. I pray that it may somehow bless your life such as God has blessed mine.
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<![CDATA[Guest Blog: Alison Atwood's Testimony]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 00:40:00 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/guest-blog-alison-atwoods-testimonyBy Alison Atwood

My name is Alison Atwood. My husband, Nathan, and I have been serving as missionaries full-time in Central America for the past seven years. We have 2 biological children, Ethan (14) and Bethany (9), as well as in the process of adopting our precious Honduran children, Camila (3) and Gabriel (3). We are serving as team leaders of our Honduras team with Go To Nations by training, mentoring and apprenticing missionaries. We are also discipling, conducting Bible and ministry training, evangelism, orphan care and medical work among the Honduran people. Our hearts are to see the hope and love of Christ lived out in our lives and embedded into the hearts of those we serve.

Over the years God has spoken many things to my heart. Some of those have been uncomfortable, most stretching, but always needed. However, reflecting back on the greatest of truths that I have gleaned from through our trials and tribulations, the one that stands out the most is definitely the goodness of our Father. I have never been more reminded of the goodness, love and faithfulness of our God and Savior until last month when my dad went to be with Jesus.
 
My dad was a kind, caring, smart, and very logical man, who made no big deal of the fact that he was never quite sure how God fit into the equation, or how he did either. He liked that I was following my dreams to become a missionary and serve the Lord; however, that personal relationship, intimacy thing, never really quite made sense to him. My husband and I were radically saved at the same church service three weeks after being married and for the past 16 years have been blessed with the privilege of interceding for lost family members, like my dad. Believing for their salvation and that they would come into contact with their destiny in Christ and His overwhelming love for them.
 
I got to see those prayers answered in a hospital room in North Carolina. While coming home for a short one-week visit, that I had planned months in advance, my dad was being taken by ambulance into the hospital. I was called by family the next morning to come see my dad, who was on life support. He had actually died for 15 minutes, and God in His graciousness, chose for him to stay. For one week more, almost to the hour, my dad lived on this earth. I was able to be by his side every day, pray and declare God’s Word over him, and even talk briefly to him. He spoke to my mom, sister and me the day before he died and told us he loved us, but most importantly I could see he had an encounter with God. The tears that ran down his face, when he was too weak to talk, said a million words. He had that intimate encounter that he never understood before and was ready to live that intimacy every day for eternity. Only our God would have so intricately orchestrated not only my dad’s life, but mine, in such a way that He would usher one more of His children lovingly into His arms and answer 16 years of prayers. Why? Because He is a good God, faithful to His promises.
 
I love the verses in Exodus 34 where God is caught describing Himself. He could say a million wonderful things about himself and it would not accurately portray the greatness and vastness of our God, but He says He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, and forgiving. He talks of His most precious attributes, which make up His goodness. It is His desire that we grow in our identity as sons and daughters. We can never do that if we don’t understand the character of the One that we are reflecting. It is not an easy task, and I dare say it is a process, but one worth embracing.  
 
Although it is never easy to deal with loss, and there are many kinds of loss, we can always look to the hope that we have in Christ and be assured that His goodness is as unchanging as He is. He was faithful to His word and His promise, and I stood on that, and will eternally have a relationship with my dad. Most importantly he is connected with the One who created him and loves him with an eternal love.  When we choose to see God’s goodness in the middle of loss, grief, depression, anger or whatever hardship life is bringing us, then we position ourselves to receive true insight, revelation and healing from our Father.
 
Lord, I pray that my testimony of Your goodness brings healing to the soul and that we are all reminded of Your goodness and love for us. Thank you that there is nothing that we can do or say that can separate us from Your love. We continue to stand in righteousness and serve you with a deep yearning to please you, but an even deeper yearning to know You in a more intimate way, and know truly who we are in You. Thank you, Father, for your infinite love and how You so intricately care for each of Your children. You are so good. Amen.

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Click here to visit Nathan and Alison's page on GoTo Nations!

I highly recommend reading more about their work, as well as donating to their ministry.  You can also sign up as a monthly sponsor for their missionary work in Central America.

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<![CDATA[Guest Blog: Facial Recognition Technology]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 20:51:47 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/guest-blog-facial-recognition-technologyBy Susan Cottraux
 
Ready or not, here it comes.  The Washington Post had a recent article about the new iphone X introduced by Apple.  This new phone is the first to use facial recognition technology.  In quoting the article, “A random person cannot look at your iphone X and unlock it.  The chance is about one in a million.  Privacy experts have warned us of a future where our faces and other biometrics are used to track our every movement; our political activity, our religious lives and even our romantic encounters.  Research at Stanford contends that a range of private facts including your sexual orientation could be read through sophisticated analyses of facial images with the help of artificial intelligence.”
 
Facebook and Google have invested heavily in Facial Recognition Technology.  So why the face?  Revelation 13:16, And he causeth all, both small and great, rich or poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.  What better way to recognize your allegiance to the Antichrist by having his mark in your forehead!  With facial technology it will be easy to see.  There are some people in the world who don’t have a right hand, but everyone has a head.  The Antichrist will be more radical in his identification of his followers.  By getting his mark, people will be permanently branded like cattle. 
 
Getting a tattoo is a sign of the times.  People are so used to tattoos now that it will be nothing to get one in your right hand or forehead.  The Antichrist will be the sole dictator of the New World Order and will change the way the entire system operates.  Daniel 7:25, And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints to the most High, and think to change times and laws…  If you refuse to participate, you will be fired from your job, unable to pay your bills and you can’t buy or sell.  Revelation 13:17, And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Refusing the mark means no job, no income, no welfare, no food stamps, no medical benefits, no healthcare, no public transportation.  You would become an illegal citizen and identified as a threat to the New World Order. 
 
All over the world we see a move in this direction.  Facial recognition technology is being used in the UK at Heathrow’s airport and is coming to airports all over the world.  India has facial recognition systems using high definition cameras to identify people in controlled settings or in a crowd.  As the Antichrist comes to power, he will have all this new technology at his disposal. 
 
People love the next best thing and notice how popular just one thing on the internet becomes a sensation overnight.  The Antichrist will come on the scene as a great and charismatic leader.  People will flock to Him because of His knowledge and power he wields.  It will be hard not to worship him.  People already worship technology.  Look at how addicted people are to their phones, their Facebook, their games and their picture taking.  Anyone can take a picture with their phone.  Now they can be identified easily by their own selfie.  I John 2:18: Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists whereby we know that it is the last time.

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<![CDATA[Guest Blog: The Tearing Down of Monuments]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 20:00:27 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/guest-blog-the-tearing-down-of-monumentsBy Susan Cottraux
 
Tearing down Confederate statues and historical monuments have nothing to do with race.  The Spirit of the Antichrist is conditioning the world to worship him and him only.  II Thessalonians 2:3: Let no man deceive you by any means:  for that day shall not come, (the rapture of the church) except there come a falling away first, (people will backslide and churches will close) and that man of sin be revealed, (the Spirit of the Antichrist) the son of perdition;  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, shewing himself that he is God. 
 
The Greek word for image is eikon which is used for statues and pictures.  “Statue” fits the historical context best and this is why several translations of the Bible have it.  During the Great Tribulation after the Mark of the Beast is introduced, a powerful image (or statue) will be created (quite possibly millions of them in every city of the world) for humanity to worship.  Revelation 13:14: And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which has the wound by a sword, and did live; 15-And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
 
Where have we seen this in the Bible before?  King Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone to fall down and worship the image that he had set up.  No one was exempt. The Bible says in Daniel 3:7 that all languages, all the people, and all nations were commanded to bow down and worship the image.  It was more than likely an image of himself and that makes Nebuchadnezzar a type and a shadow of the Antichrist joining the ranks of the other Antichrist types such as Antiochus Epiphanes.  Revelation 13 tells us that the False Prophet of the Antichrist will be able to call down fire from heaven as well as give power to the image so it will speak.  The False Prophet has devised this image for the Antichrist as a focal point of worship.  When people receive the mark, they will take on a different personality and will easily bow to the image.  Those standing back watching without the mark will be killed if caught.  Some have even suggested the statue will have the ability to point out people without the mark.  That is how important the Antichrist will consider his worship to be enforced; proper worship for humanity’s new god. 
 
Do you see now why no nation will be allowed to have any other statue or monument?  The Antichrist will usher in a new age with no religion or history of any kind, except his.  The old way of doing things will pass away as he rewrites his own history and changes the calendar with his holidays.  Man and his history are no longer relevant; it’s all about the Antichrist.  The devil has always wanted this.  Isaiah 14:12: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning,….For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most High.

The Antichrist will come in peace at first and the Jews will be deceived thinking he is their savior.  Then he will set himself up in their temple declaring that He is God, not the Son of God.  Antiochus Epiphanes set up a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies and caused the end of animal sacrifices.  The Antichrist will do the same, repeating this by having a statue of himself set up in their newly constructed temple and then all the Jews eyes will be opened to who he really is.  They will realize Jesus was their Messiah after all, but they rejected Him.
 
The bible denounces idols as having mouths, yet being unable to speak, but these statues of the Antichrist will.  But God has the final say on everyone who worships the statues.  Revelation 16:2: …a grievious sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.  Revelation 14:9-11, …if any man worship the beast and his image…the same shall drink of the cup of his indignation and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, …and the smoke of their torments ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.  Revelation 19:20, And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image,  These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
 
The people who are defacing and tearing down statues today think it is all about race and slavery.  But they are nothing but pawns fulfilling the soon coming agenda of the Antichrist.  He will amass a mighty army of such people to do His will.   Our only and blessed hope is to be saved, filled with the Holy Ghost and ready to get out of here when the call goes forth.  Revelation 22:20, Surely I come quickly.  Amen.  Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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<![CDATA[Taking a Few Months Off]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 17:42:02 GMThttp://depthsofpentecost.com/blog/taking-a-few-months-offBy Philip Cottraux

If you’re like me, when faced with hearing good news or bad news first, you prefer the bad so you can savor the good.  Sort of like dessert. 

As you may have noticed by the title, it pains me to inform all my readers that I will have to take some time off from writing new weekly blogs.  I struggled with how long it should be, and decided that two months should be enough. 

That’s the bad news.  But the good news far outweighs it.  The first is the exciting reason why I’m doing it.

In January 2016, I concluded my personal testimony with the following statement:

“And now, I am pleased to announce work has begun on my first book, hopefully to be completed by the end of the year.”

I don’t know if anyone actually remembers that.  A few people responded with slight interest at the time.  Since then, I’ve almost never brought it up.  I’m most people assume I abandoned the project a long time ago. 

The truth is that I’ve never stopped working on it.  Steadily, week-by-week, I’ve been writing the book as I’ve found spare time, never losing sight of the goal.  As of now I’ve got about 125 pages done.

Clearly, however, I’ve fallen far short of my goal of having it done within a year.  But if I want to have it done within TWO years, something has to give.

So for the next two months, I am taking a sabbatical from my weekly blogs to concentrate on finishing my first book.  Believe me, this is going to be worth it.  Years of research are going into Bringing Exodus to Life (working title).  If you pay careful attention, you’ll notice that I have written little to nothing about Exodus, one of the pivotal stories in the entire Bible.  That’s because I’m saving all the material I can for this thorough and comprehensive study.  Part commentary and part history book, it does more than just examines the fascinating archaeological findings that support the story of the Exodus, but also delves into what we as Christians can take from it.  If you love my weekly blogs, you won’t want to miss this!

Hopefully two months will be enough to get it past the finish line so I can start shopping for a publisher by the end of the year.  And in the meantime, I have more good news!

Depths of Pentecost has been steadily growing since its inception.  I started off with a few dozen emails and about 20+ views a day.  About two and a half years later, it averages over 200 daily views, with just over a hundred email subscribers and 9,400 Twitter followers (Twitter is the main source of traffic).  However, any internet marketing expert will tell you that the surest way to kill site clicks is to stop updating.  So I can’t afford to abandon the blog.  In two months, new clicks would dry up and it would be like starting from scratch.  Souls are at stake.

So the plan is to have guest bloggers for the next two months.  My mother has graciously volunteered to fill in next week.  If anyone else would like to write a blog for Depths of Pentecost, feel free to contact me.  It can be about any Biblical topic, so long as it stays within 1,500-2,000 words.  I’ll be happy to do all the editing.  If you’re a writer yourself (and I know some of you are), this would be a great opportunity for exposure!

Around the time my book is done, I also hope to have launched a YouTube channel, which will really take this teaching ministry to a new level!  If everything goes according to plan, I’ll have a series of classes on Bible archaeology on YouTube that will generate interest in the website and book.  The long term plan from there is to condense the video series into my second book, Did the Stories in the Bible Really Happen (again, working title)?

If anyone’s going to miss me for the next few months, you’ll still have plenty of reading material from guest bloggers for Depths of Pentecost. 

God bless, thank you all so much for your readership and support, and I hope to be reaching out to you all soon with Bringing Exodus to Life!

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