Tag Archives: apostle

A Guide to Effective Witnessing:

20 Sep

Here is a quick list that I hope will at least be considered by those who wish God to use them in the winning of souls.

1. The posture of the man may or may not represent the condition of his or her heart.

2. A joyous look may not always be so.

3. Many people have, in their hearts already fully rejected the love and forgiveness that God offers and therefore will be left behind to taste the bitter fruit of having their own way. (Proverbs 1)

4. Not many who are noble (what we would choose if we were in charge) are called but more often it is those whom the world sees as unimportant (the poor in spirit) that the Lord is most concerned with. These are they whom the world has in essence ‘trampled over’ thus creating within their wounded sprits a greater sense of the needing something more than what this world currently has to offer. At the top of this list would be those thousands who are the victims resulting in the crimes and sins of other people: including, but not limited to those that are caught up in the hopelessness and human despair that results from the bondage of human trafficking and forced prostitution. Also on this list would have to be unwed mothers who, because of low self esteem have willingly given themselves over to the passions and sins of another and who are in great need, children without parents who can love and protect them, the elderly, the disabled along with those who are without the resources to live a productive and meaningful life apart from human and divine intervention.
this is the most important group that we must diligently go after as they are comprised and make up every facet and phase of society.

5. Many bums choose to be bums by their own choosing and will use you if they can. Often they are better left with a kind word while you continue ministering to others. God knows they who are seeking after him and those who are not. Be wary of those who may have ulterior motives, who may lure you to a back corner somewhere under the pretense of claiming to want to get saved. If they are truly repentant they will pray out in the open, in a public place as well as desiring to be under submission to a local church body. To paraphrase from memory Martin Luther, “their is no more dangerous man than a rebel.” Often it may be more prudent to ‘provoke to jealousy’ like the apostle Paul those who are in this way of life; thus perhaps inspiring them to leave their condition (often self imposed) and find a good church home and stability away from the streets… Remarkably, many of the men and women that fit in this category have by theor own choosing have already made their choice in this world.  Apart from a miracle they are destined to go to hell. Though scripture says that we are to be kind to all men, we do not always have to preach to them.  In other words, let our actions do most of the speaking!

6. Brokenness (i.e. the feeling of lacking the ability to achieve anything for Christ without the divine help and governing of the Holy Spirit – see “The First Beatitude) is not an option but rather must permeate all our evangelistic endeavors so much so that unbelievers will be forced to take notice of the pure fragrances of gentleness and meekness in world that has gone clearly mad. This is to be the example and standard for all of us who are called by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

7. An attitude of prayer is also to be maintained throughout every evangelistic endeavor, as this is the most serious ingredient to effective souls winning. It can be said of prayer “that prayer is the fuel for the motors that must govern our lives.”

Many thanks again for all those who read this blog.

May the Lord be with you,


The First Beatitude

10 May

“Blessed (happy) are the humble (or poor) in spirit, for they are in fact the very essence of the kingdom of heaven.”

Please note: This commentary is only designed and intended to but briefly deal with the translation as presented to the reader above.  It is my desire to extend this commentary a bit further at a later date; focusing more on the original grammar and syntax from the Greek perspective and text as well as to trace it’s origins to the Hebrew, from whence it was originally translated.  But for now, may it suffice to say that I believe this is by far one of the most accurate of the English translations that we have available at our disposal today; that fully embraces the thought and mindset of the Hebrew author and his intended audience.  For those that cannot (or simply do not) wish to for me to write an additional commentary on the said above, I will most happily provide for you a link (here) to a source that will help to aid you in your pursuit of understanding the linguistic nature of this passage, as it did my own.  Happy reading, God’s blessings and peace be upon you all.

Sincerely,                                                                                                 John Mark Butzu


The focus of this text is not geared (as some have thought) toward the physical aspects surrounding the creature, but rather is concerned primarily with the inward status and condition of the human heart.  It is this condition above all else that determines whether the professing Christian truly experiences for himself the blessings and benefits of being identified with the kingdom of heaven; and frankly from knowing God at all.

What qualifies a believer to receive the gifts and blessings of this verse?  The answer is actually found in one word: poverty.  What qualifies a soul to partake in the kingdom of heaven is just what this verse implies.  One must be morally and spiritually without hope (and destitute) in their own sight (and in the all consuming presence and love of the Savior) to receive the love of Christ into their earthly lives.  It is strictly those men and women who possess in themselves the knowledge that without Christ they are absolutely nothing: spiritually destitute and without strength to perform anything on their own that generally receive the blessings that come from Almighty God.

The proper attitude one should always possess can be clearly seen from reading the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector who were praying at the temple found in Luke 18: 9-14.  The Pharisee, who believing in his own goodness, sought to commend himself to God being motivated by his own religious efforts apart from the workings of the cross (the grace of our Lord) is beautifully contrasted against a detestable and vile sinner, who in sheer desperation, and having had the realization of his own worthlessness and wretchedness, beat his fists repeatedly upon his chest, not daring to even lift his eyes toward heaven, while pleading with God for mercy for his wicked behavior.  We see it is the first man that is clearly condemned by Jesus while the second is in essence received with open arms into the tender embrace and compassion of the heavenly Father.

It is this inward nature of the human heart that willingly embraces its own poverty in exchange for the power and love of Jesus Christ that is in essence the prerequisite if you will for obeying all other known scripture.  Without this coveted and truly remarkable, wonderful condition all hope will be lost for the individual who wishes but in vain for spiritual advancement and progress.  The human heart must above all else learn to quickly and readily identify and to despise all of its even most positive and genuine self interests apart from Christ as well as its desires and natural feelings of pride and feelings of self worth at having secured perhaps many victories and accomplishments apart from the knowledge and cross of Jesus Christ.  The following thought taken loosely from Hannah’s song of thanksgiving (1st Samuel 2) “the rich he hath sent away empty but the lowly (humble or poor in spirit) he has satisfied to their hearts content and upmost desire” is most appropriate.”  This is the heart that Christ is well pleased with and so desires.  This is the heart that hears the Saviors’ voice and obeys its every command.  And this is the kind of heart that will, as it is spend all of eternity with God.

Other examples of this beautiful condition of the human heart as well as of this beatitude can be seen in men like the apostle Paul, who in his letter to the church at Ephesus writes: Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints.” There is no hint or trace of selfish boasting or feelings of pride at his spiritual achievements.  He knew that it was not by his own strength, might or reason that miracles occurred and many sinners were saved.  The human heart that has this revelation is most precious in the eyes of the Lord and is the finest thing we as Christians have to willingly offer back to God.  That is why all work and spiritual activity no matter how great it may appear to be from man’s perspective, but that does not stem from essentially a “broken heart” and “filled with compassion,” is in God’s sight essentially rubbish and an affront to his true nature and holiness.  Christian works, motivated by hearts not smitten with the love, humility and respect for a holy God will be swept away and will burn on the day that they are judged; through which all believers must stand.  Paul knew this, and I believe that this above all else is why God could truly do so much with his life.  Thus his prayerful and joyful declaration in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Another example (or aspect) of this type of heart behavior can be found in the book of James 4:9-10 which reads: Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” Here we see James instructing believers to return to their first love and to “break up the fallow ground” so to speak of their calloused and hardened hearts. (Hosea 10:12)  We find that these believers had never truly been exposed to the light and deep, inner probings of the Holy Spirit; for we find from the beginning of this chapter up until these verses complete spiritual confusion and chaos in the lives of these believers who were constantly seeking to run after and excel strictly in the things of this world. (See James 4:1-9)  It could be argued that perhaps many of these believers had at one time known the breaking of the exterior condition of the human heart, yet through willful negligence, laziness and spiritual apathy had grown cold and/or indifferent to the things of the Lord, thus allowing the flesh to dominate and wreak havoc in their personal lives.   James was calling for true and genuine repentance of exalting one’s self before the goodness and grace of our Lord, and if necessary to re-circumcise the callousness of the human heart in order to partake and to receive of the promises of the Lord once again in their lives.

The human heart in many ways is like the skin that seeks to live and to grow on top of our fingernails and toes (the cuticle).  Although some element of the cuticle is necessary for protection against bacteria and disease, too much of it tends to make the body look bad.  To stop this undesirable growth from taking place, we must continually take the pruning knife (or blade) into our hands; seeking to remove what we deem as unnecessary and counterproductive to the beauty and body as a whole.  Without careful diligence to restrict the unwanted growth, we would have a mess on our hands: literally.  In the same way, Christians must continually be on their guard against all unnecessary growth and development in the human heart that at its core is counterproductive to the life of Jesus Christ and the cause of Christianity as a whole.  If not brought under submission and checked on a daily basis through prayer, meditation and contemplation of the Word of God; our natural thoughts, mental processes and human reasoning (not the actual tissues and organs) will be alive and actively searching for an avenue to seductively creep into our daily lives, thus mixing the vile with sacred, all with the singular purpose of destroying our fellowship and sweet communion with the Spirit of God.  It is true that the apostle Paul cries out in the 8th chapter of the book of Romans: “What shall be able to separate me from the love of Christ?” with the implication that nothing of this world; neither angels or death or principalities or powers would be able to stop God from loving us.  It is we that stop ourselves from loving Him!  Note that in Jeremiah God says that our hearts are desperately wicked: who can know it?

In light of our present condition, there is only one thing that has the power to boast of possessing the remedy to our current crises: prayer!  Paul instructed his converts numerous times to be on the lookout for anything foreign that would attempt to come between them and their love for the Father.  We must continually be on our guard and endeavor to seek to maintain a watchfulness against all counter-productiveness in our walk with the Lord, so that He might be free to fully use our earthen vessels while on this earth for His awesome glory and His glory alone.  Hallelujah!  Amen.

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With out the presence of Yahweh (Exodus 33:16)

3 May

So often Christians are powerless to guide those that the Lord would send their way simply because they neglect to spend time in the presence of their risen Savior.  Even with all the benefits and blessings that Yahweh secured for us by shedding his blood on the cross, Christians often neglect the simple truths found throughout God’s Word.  Take the scripture found in Exodus 33:16: “Is it not your going with us that distinguishes us from every people on the face of the earth?” Moses knew firsthand the consequences of walking in the flesh, as it had led him into a desert for many years of his earthly life.  During those 40 years of testing, he was being drawn into a deeper relationship with the Almighty; learning to hear his voice and to walk in his ways, thus equipping and preparing him for the task that was yet to come.  When the time came for Moses to have placed under his care the entire nation of Israel, he knew without a shadow of a doubt that with God all things are indeed possible as the apostle Paul said; but without God, nothing is possible; not even the slightest move, not even while wandering in a barren desert; seeking for the blessings and provisions of their Savior King.  As with David, who desired to relocate the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6), sacrifices were made to ensure the continued favor of the Lord.  Many Christians today think that by coming to church on a Sunday that they will automatically secure the protection and favor of God while at the same time freeing them to be able to live however they choose the rest of the week.  Moses knew better.  He knew that one false step; one hasty decision without the mind of Yahweh, and he could jeopardize his own future and fellowship with his Savior as well as consequently subjecting the entire nation of Israel to reproach and danger.  To live under that kind of pressure requires a special touch.  David too learned firsthand the dire consequences of setting out attempting to achieve things for God in his own flesh; in his case trying to bring the tangible presence of the Lord to a group of people without the proper tools and time spent in the Word (or Torah), (what we would call starting a haphazard and/or premature revival).  God wrath was kindled so much so that he punished one of the young men carrying he ark,  Uzzah and caused him to die prematurely because of the hasty, fleshly zeal of this young king.  We too can die or burn out (usually in the spiritual sense) if we attempt to try things for God that we have not been commissioned to do or made ready for by the spirit of the living God.  The apostle Paul (New Testament) had to be led into the wilderness for three years to better acquaint himself with the ways of the Lord before God granted him license for public ministry.[1] Jesus too, spent time alone with the Father to be tested and tempted in the wilderness before ever performing one single miracle, validating the necessity of time alone with God.

In Exodus we see Moses pleading for God’s continual guidance and protection, even after crossing the red sea. So often we as believers run ahead of God, which causes our Lord to go places with us that He never intended.  Though he may continue to provide protection and look out for our well-being (thus maintaining hesed or his covenant with us) we will not be effective in winning disciples to the Lord.

Another mistake many Christians make in light of this verse is once in God’s presence not having the intuition and willingness to be ready to leave.  It is not enough that we receive God’s comfort, care and promises but we must take those promises to others.  We would have no Jewish history today if Moses had wept, pleaded and talked with God but never came down from the mountain to give to those that he was responsible for the instructions and benefits of having been in Yahweh’s life altering presence.  It is not that God requires that we leave his presence in the spiritual sense, but many gather to worship only for selfish purposes and carnal motives.  Our duty is to preach Christ any way we can to win the lost, not to keep him chained and locked within our earthen vessels and within the walls of our synagogues and churches.  The early church met for times of prayer with the sole purpose of being built up in their faith, taking to heart the parable of the 5 wise virgins that had oil in their vessels (Matthew 25) thus having within them the necessary power, resources, and means of winning the lost.  Many believers in the west wonder why they do not see the miracles and provision of God like those that lived during the time of the early church.  Yet this is far from the testimony of Christians in other parts of the world: often times it is just the opposite!  In China for example believers readily suffer; laying down their lives for the sake, knowledge and love of the cross that they hold in their hearts above anything else in world.  Quality time, even whole days are set aside by many for the sole purpose of intercession and seeking the face (faces) of God, thus receiving supernatural testimony and provision to His glory; as evidenced by the many miracles and intense persecution that they are often forced to endure.  What may surprise some readers is that most Christians in these eastern regions do this joyfully while spurning all the “extras” that we so often take for granted and enjoy and have come to rely upon in the west.  State of the art sound equipment; modern choreographed drama, dances and singing may not be wrong in and of themselves, but many pastors and churches must promote these things in a shameful attempt to cover for their lack of true power and anointing that comes from knowing and loving God, and God alone.  Remarkably, the very things that so many in our sleeping churches hold onto and so highly esteem, (who prefer good times to worshiping and sacrificing themselves for the glory and causes of God) are the very things that Christ wishes to cut off and eliminate that his pure word may go forth with power and unction as in the days of old.  The greatest examples of worship that we have in the New Testament all have one thing in common: suffering and sacrifice.  Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of worship and sacrifice; laid his entire life down on the cross for us as an offering to God, while becoming for us the true Passover lamb.  The apostle Paul and numerous believers like him similarly gave their lives as a precious drink offering poured out before the Lord as an act of worship and freewill love offering.  An unnamed woman endured much scorn and was completely misunderstood and treated with contempt from a crowd of well fed, religious scoffers and hypocrites as she unashamedly kissed her Savior’s feet and wiped them with her tears.  Mary, the brother of Lazarus also endured criticism yet was not ashamed of her love for Jesus as she poured out the precious ointment on the feet of the one she adored in front of all the other disciples and guests in her home.

Sadly, even with all these examples we seem to be such a busy people as a whole that we can easily justify a lack of prayer, Bible study and praise for days or even weeks on end.  In Jeremiah 2, God cries out heartbroken and in agony: “My people have neglected (forgotten) me days without number.”  The Lord in his all consuming love for His church will not allow our luke-warmness to go on forever.  It is a slap in his face and an affront to His name.  Even if it takes a worldwide disaster (as prophesied by many in the church as well as being backed by the Word of God and all of history) for his children to relearn once again the blessings and benefits that can only come from time spent in prayer and in fellowship with God not only for ourselves but also to those whose lives depend upon it than that is what will happen.  Remember, the only thing that makes us different and that distinguishes us from an unbelieving world (as we have already seen in this passage in Exodus) is truly being able to boast of having the presence and power of God in our midst because of quality time spent with Him.

Throughout history, as mentioned before, God has been forced to withdraw his blessings, power, and presence from individuals as well as from nations who as whole neglect quality time spent in his presence, and who take lightly the things of the Yahweh. (See Malachi 1:12-13[2])

It is not enough to receive the Lord into our lives and then just expect Him to do all the work.  The Christian life is an agreement with God the Father.  Christ is our mediator and great High priest but it is up to us to keep our end of the bargain!  We are to be continually filled with the spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and to have the mind of Christ.  How is this feasible without spending time alone with Him?  What makes the difference in our daily lives is this one thing and nothing else.  We are the only people who have the ability to be able to come at any time of the day or night into the presence of a Holy God, and then carry that aroma and savor of having spent time in his presence to others who have never experienced the wonderful reality of the Jesus Christ in their inner man. We should look at this as being our responsibility.  That is why the early church was so effective.  That did not hide their light but were eager to shine for the Lord no matter how dark society became all around them.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you can afford to live as a missionary in some third world country or have the luxury to preach behind a pulpit on Sunday: we are to be missionaries and evangelist wherever we go!  Satan knows this all too well, as we see all types of his tricks and gimmicks to keep otherwise committed and faithful believers out of the prayer closet; thus focusing all of their precious time, talents and abilities and passions to things pertaining to life in the here and now, rather than touching heaven with their prayers and being burdened for the lost who are literally dying for lack of an encounter with God.

I don’t have the energy (or even the desire) to list the ways believers squander the time that the Heavenly Father gives to them (time wasted on television or just lazily surfing the internet is one) but did you know that some even use scriptures to justify their lack of power (the ability to influence others for the cause of Christ) and habit of prayer?  I know one brother who when confronted about this very issue quoted to me a scripture from Ecclesiastes, “a time to plant and a time to weep, etc., thus justifying his lack of prayer and devotion to God.

Balance is a word that some earthly minded Christians love to use when confronted about their lack enthusiasm and zeal for the things of Adonai.  Try telling that to the believers who were and are willing and ready to give their lives at the very mention of Christ’s name.  Try preaching that to Christians in persecuted lands; who often are arrested, beaten and tortured because of the radiance that they are possess while ministering with others. No beloved, we must take these examples and apply them to our own hearts.  We cannot afford to do otherwise.

Jesus said that those that have been given much, much will be required.  We especially in America have been given the very best and finest things in all the earth.  If we do not use these blessings and benefits for Him, promoting the kingdom; He will surly take them away and give them to others who will gladly use them to bring glory and honor to His wonderful name.  Selah.

Sincerely and with love,

John Mark

“Yahweh gives to those that truly desire to love and to seek Him the revelation of all things necessary and pertaining to our salvation.” [JMB]

[1] If you recall, the Jews were going to kill him within just weeks of his conversion, and thus would have abruptly brought a stop to and ending his ministry before it ever really began as the Lord would have desired it to be.

[2] Formal study on these verses coming soon with emphasis on words such as “contemptible” snuffed” etc. (KJV)

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Why do Christians love to disagree?

21 Apr

This too was taken off of an older blog… sometime in the spring of 2008.  Hope you enjoy it.

Today I was introduced to a woman who hosts a Messianic Christian talk show program online.  I was hoping to have a nice quiet, edifying discussion about the Hebrew Bible, particularly since she too claims to have a love for the Hebrew language and is  a Jew by birth!  Not the case.  Right away, I knew there was going to be problems basically because of her unwillingness to allow me to even communicate with her without her attempting to control and alter the conversation.  She claims to have studied under different rabbi’s and from I can tell is probably somewhat educated.  Yet while she talked her only agenda it was obvious was to convert me to her beliefs on practicing our faith with the keeping of the levitical, Mosaic law; by observing the different feasts and so forth.  She claims that the early church, both Jews and Gentiles, kept these feasts and we are clearly wrong from scripture not to do the same.  I would have at least listened politely to what she had to say if it had not been for the way that she had said it.  I can remember when I first began studying Hebrew, I felt such a love for the ancient themes and cultures of the Holy land (and still do) and even remember the Holy Spirit leading me to observe the Sabbath on a different day of the week, such as on Saturday.  But what stuck me as being so distasteful was her lack of interest and total self absorption for anything but her own point of view.  I think she may have wanted to check to see if I had been properly circumcised if I had allowed the conversation to continue.  (Please don’t dwell on this point!)  I quickly excused myself and when back to my work.  Ughhh!  There is nothing more stupid in my opinion than for a Christian who willingly and intentionally is comfortable with causing a division over carnal pet doctrines and the teachings of man.  How you know what a person truly is like is not by their words but by their actions.  I don’t care what any one is trying to tell me.  If in their words you sense a readiness or a willingness to cause divisions and strife, watch out!  If during any debate (and there has been a few legitimate debates by Christians in the past usually over a newly learned piece of information) you do not sense above all else a deep and abiding, pure river of love emanating from whomever is heading the discussion, the best thing is probably to excuse yourself politely and walk away.  They are not really after your best interest but their own.  Remember what the apostle Paul had to endure when Jews that had been supposedly converted to Christ came to spy out the liberty and freedom of the churches in Antioch.  Not once did Paul allow their words to have any place in his meetings as they were trying to add to the message of the gospel of faith alone in Jesus; much to their own sense of Jewish traditionalism and nationalism. Man inherently always tries to find a way to spoil the simple truths of the Gospel.  When the crowd on the day of Pentecost cried out in Acts 2 “what must we do to be saved,” Peter’s answer was simple: Repent and be baptized“.   No seven steps to this or three steps to that, no, just a simple acknowledgment of having done wrong and a willingness to want to change. I guess that is why I am also so against much of the “self help” books that are published for and by the church today.  Don’t they read their Bible’s?  Your flesh cannot be altered or improved!  It must be crucified!  Imagine Peter, instead of his recorded sermon in Acts 2 choosing instead to preach a message entitled “Your Best Life Now” or some rubbish of the like.  What a hypocrite he would have been called by the people he had seemingly just converted, as just two chapters later we find him sitting in a holding cell after being arrested for holding a street meeting, preaching and healing a cripple!  Later, they were beaten, kicked, stoned, rejected thrown in prison, delivered from prison, mocked, ridiculed, thrown back in jail, condemned to death, put on crosses, set on fire, and publicly denounced as being stupid and blasphemous: the very rejects of a pagan society!  Their women and children may have been forced to become slaves of the vilest types.  Not what most people would esteem as their best life now by even most third world countries’ standards of living.  Yet this has always been the design and craftsmanship of God, to separate the wheat from the chaff.  What a horrible judgment awaits these false bishops who claim to represent a God they know nothing about!  You could have been raised in church all you life.  It really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is your relationship with God – do you really know Him?  Do you sense His presence when no one else is around, or do you prefer the internet, movies and hours and hours sensual, vile television?  I write these blogs as preparations for messages that one day I may be asked to preach and as well as to hone and develop my skills as a writer and critical thinker.  (Not really, I hardy have time to proof these for grammatical errors as you by now may have noticed!)  But rest assured, my treasures are not in things of this world.  No way!  My treasures are in heaven!

Going back to my conversation with this woman, I can disagree with you but still believe with you and pray for you and most of all love you: even while continuing to disagree with you about nonessential doctrines.  Maybe this observing the feasts was to her an essential doctrine, but them I would have to conclude (as I do) that she is living far from the grace of our God and very near to the bondage that comes with trying to keep the law.  Her life is spent far from the cross at Calvary, my guess would be more like incorporating into her preconceived ideas of learned religion the redemptive work and blood of Jesus Christ.

Please do not be mistaken, even though my flesh felt like pulling away from her in mid-sentence, when I did walk away the Holy Spirit allowed me to feel apart of how much He loves her in spite of the trouble.  She still belongs to the body of Jesus Christ and is loved by the Father.  And he has allowed me to feel that love for her.  So even though we do not agree, if she was willing to “put down the gloves” so to speak” (and by putting her false doctrine away), we would be able to have beautiful communion because of the fact we are still members of the same true church; the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Please do not allow your personal views and preferences to cause strife or division toward any other member of the body of Christ.   It is embarrassing.

Quote: “Satan loves to promote disunity, for he knows something that many Christians don’t – God refuses to work in a context of disunity.” (Tony Evans)

“Satan has always been a deceiver and must truly rejoice when any thing is allowed to be elevated higher than the finished work of Jesus Christ, his death on the cross, and thus His payment for our sins.”  (Me!)

Comments, questions, feedback … leave me a comment!

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