Warriors

We are warriors.

God is our Armor.

When God puts something in your spirit to share with the world, no matter what you think may or may not happen it’s best to be obedient.

As a warrior of the Kingdom of Heaven, it’s your obligation to live a life not just for yourself, but for those who are misled, fed lies by the enemy, or completely lost into the norm of society. God’s message is uncomfortable to many, some pick and choose what is right from the word of God, or what feels right. Although we are human and make mistakes this is no excuse to to decide what you think is right and wrong from the word of God. His word is truth. God will use people to reveal faults. Let him use you, and arm yourself as the warrior that you are.

God is unbiased to status, titles, and positions, so if there is something that he needs to tell you, change in you, or use you to change something about others in he will do it in a fashion that may make absolutely no sense to you. He may use you to correct something or someone and whoever God is trying to correct needs to be open to that God uses people. God may use you, therefore dress yourself as God’s warrior in the armor of God, because whoever God is trying to correct may not be receptive and the enemy will put lies in their minds. They may begin to throw stones at you, not realizing that God is the one trying to correct something about them. They may begin to turn away from you, but God is doing a work. Press on. Prayed up, suited up and complete the work God has assigned to you!

God is your strength, your hope, your words, your shield, and truth. Continue your assignment, don’t walk away because of persecution. Instead, press in to God even more and let him use you!

Psalm 18:30 New International Version (NIV)

30 

As for God, his way is perfect:

The Lord’s word is flawless;

he shields all who take refuge in him.

– Clarissa Flores

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UNITY

Jesus Prayed For Unity, Building The Church And Gathering Together!!!!!

With death knocking at his door, Jesus’ final thoughts and prayers were spent on unity. Of all the things he could have prayed for, Jesus made unity a massive priority. This theme is echoed continually in the New Testament and also woven into the very fabric of creation. Unity pleases God and it must become a priority to us like it is for Christ.

Unfortunately, the word unity has grown tired, exhausted by our many failed attempts to embrace it. As a result, today, we are divided on so many fault lines: politics, ethnicity, sexual ethics and theology keep us fractured to name just a few.

But it is time to demolish the notion of disunity. A calling to bring the church together.

Overcoming our crisis of fragmentation begins first with knowing the God who is the source of all unity. Unity within diversity already exists in perfect form within the Trinity, therefore we cannot manufacture it, but rather we are invited into it. That’s exactly what Jesus asked for when he prayed: “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you” (John 17:21). This was a bold, radical and specific request.

Think about it. Jesus literally asked that we would be as one as the Trinity!

What type of unity did Jesus pray for? Not some common denominator faith that compromises on truth. That is not unity, that’s conformity. Instead, Jesus prayed that his fellowship of believers would be a community marked by the same radical love, submission, power and impact in the Godhead. That is why Jesus tied his prayer for unity immediately into the missional calling on all believers. Jesus followed up his unprecedented request for unity with an amazing line: “…that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). Jesus saw with extreme clarity that His Lordship would be most clearly declared to the world through the unity of the Church. He is waiting for us to come alive to this truth and become the united body we were designed to be! “

Jesus declared that the only thing He would build was the church. When He said this, He wasn’t referring to a physical structure, but a movement of people who would take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. The word he used is the word “ekklesia,” which means the “called out ones.” It was a term that often referred to a military group being called up and sent out on a mission.

Before Jesus ascended back to His Father in heaven, He commissioned His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations.” He instructed them to start in Jerusalem and then take the message to the surrounding regions and ultimately to the ends of the earth. That’s exactly what the early church did.

As the church grew, so did the persecution. Many Christians were killed for following Jesus publicly. Yet, the message kept spreading and the church kept growing. Two thousand years later, Jesus is still building His church. The Gospel is still moving towards the ends of the earth. We are a part of what Jesus is building. He isn’t just building a single place of worship, but He is seeking worshipers who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth!

Have you ever considered that you are part of the fulfillment of what Jesus declared He would build? If you are part of the church, you are also commissioned to build Jesus’ church in this world.

Now let’s explain gathering together!!! We call it church because it is his people gathering together. Which I love dearly, gathering together in unity. It is both a small community or big community of believers (the church) that come together to pray, worship, and learn the word of God by a pastor or pastors that God has ordained to teach, guide, and grow believers of Christ!!! I do not knock gathering together in any form or fashion. Better yet I encourage it to build one another up.

Here’s the reality that we all live in, but we can so easily forget: going to church isn’t biblical because you can’t GO to something that you ARE. Use the phrase, “we’re going to church,” but please don’t forget that it’s simply an expression, not an actual thing. If you are in Christ, you ARE the Church.

Let’s review what Jesus did when the the veil was torn and GOD destroyed the temple (the house of God)!!!

All changed when Jesus was on the cross, “cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. At the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s presence was unleashed in a special way from that room in that building that all of the Jews understood as the Temple (the building) It’s significant, don’t miss it, that the veil was torn from top to bottom. God did the tearing. He was saying in that moment that He was going to relate to His people in a new way. Now, since your church building is post-resurrection, we must understand that the Church is different than the Temple.

The Temple was a special building where God’s presence was found in a special way in the Holy of Holies – a place only for the High Priest to step foot into, once a year, and only after purifying himself in very specific ways. A place of sacrifice for the people to account for their sins according to the Law of Moses.

A place of prayer, accompanying the times of offering or sacrifice.

The Temple is gone now!!!

But wait!!!! In a bolder and better move, God has moved out of the Temple and into a place where any man or woman would never have thought possible. The veil of the Temple was torn. Then Jesus was resurrected.

Then Pentecost happened, stay with me!!!!

Jesus told them before He ascended to Heaven that they would receive POWER when the HOLY SPIRIT comes upon them (Acts 1:8). And He wasn’t lying.

Acts 2 says:

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

They were filled with the Holy Spirit. God’s presence. In being filled they became God’s temple. We became the called out ones “the church”.

Walking Temples? Oh yes!

This is the chief misunderstanding or point of unintentional negligence when someone refers to their church building as the House of God!!!!

Friend, the church building IS NOT the house of God. The CHURCH “people” is the house of God. You are!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

So I leave you with this if you are in Christ, you are a temple of the Holy Spirit demolishing walls when Jesus broke the veil!!!!! God’s presence is in you the Holy Spirit and lets not forget to gather together in unity as brothers and sisters in Christ for our Heavenly Father in Heaven and reach the lost as The Holy Spirit grows us personally and corporately. We all have a purpose in the kingdom and it is for the kingdom.

TOGETHER!!!!!

GOD BLESS EVERYONE!!!!!

— Dominick Flores —

Again?

No matter what happens in your life, it can be used for the glory of God. Sometimes we get let down, by loved ones, friends, family, people we look up to, but there is a bigger picture that looks that let down. God is in control and holds you through it all. When you think to yourself why is this happening again, why am I in the same situation I was in before .. it’s because that’s where you got stuck. There is something there that a God needs you to do differently than the time before. He needs you there and the last time he placed you there you missed it.

If you are currently in a situation that you’ve once been in before, but with different faces. Look around, ask God to reveal it to you and complete your task there that God has you there for. It may be something you have to fix about yourself, or it may be something God wants you to bring light to somewhere else. Recognize it, pray about, and walk through it.

-Clarissa Flores

WALLS DOWN

We sing many times, God tear our walls down! In our lives, in our hearts Lord… in the world around us God…!!

What does this look like, when we actually allow God to remove walls! ?

It looks like healing of hurts, it looks like love, it looks like unity…it looks like courage, it looks like transparency, it looks like humbleness, it looks like stepping out into the unknown, like fueling up at the building called church with word and prayer and then actually walking with the church (church=people) out side of the church walls, out of your comfort zone of self, or let them come to me mentality. Walking, talking, and being like Jesus. Open, spreading the word of God through love, with whatever gift God has given you. WALLS DOWN!

16 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

-Colossians 3:16

11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

-Ephesians 4:11-13

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hadeswill not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will beloosed in heaven.”

-Matthew 16:15-19

Matthew 16:18 EXPLAINED

And I say also unto thee

Either besides what he had already said concerning his happiness; or, as the father had revealed something great and valuable, so likewise would he; or inasmuch as he had freely said and declared who, and what he was, in like manner he also would say what Peter was, thou art Peter: intimating, that he was rightly called Peter, or Cephas, by him, when he first became a follower of him, ( Matthew 4:18 ) ( John 1:42 ) , which words signify the same thing, a rock, or stone; because of his firmness and solidity, and because he was laid upon the sure foundation, and built on the rock Christ, and was a very fit stone to be laid in the spiritual building. The aptness of this name to him is easy to be seen in his full assurance of faith, as to the person of Christ, and his free, open, and undaunted confession of him.

And upon this rock will I build my church:

by the church, is meant, not an edifice of wood, stones but an assembly, and congregation of men; and that not of any sort; not a disorderly, tumultuous assembly, in which sense this word is sometimes taken; nor does it design the faithful of a family, which is sometimes the import of it; nor a particular congregated church, but the elect of God, the general assembly and church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven; and especially such of them as were to be gathered in, and built on Christ, from among the Jews and Gentiles. The materials of this building are such, as are by nature no better, or more fit for it, than others: these stones originally lie in the same quarry with others; they are singled out, and separated from the rest, according to the sovereign will of God, by powerful and efficacious grace; and are broken and hewn by the Spirit of God, generally speaking, under the ministry of the word, and are, by him, made living stones; and being holy and spiritual persons, are built up a spiritual house: and these are the only persons which make up the true and invisible church of Christ in the issue, and are only fit to be members of the visible church; and all such ought to be in a Gospel church state, and partake of the privileges of it: these materials are of different sorts, and have a different place, and have a different usefulness in this building; some are only as common stones, and timber; others are as pillars, beams, and rafters; and all are useful and serviceable; and being put, and knit together, grow up as an holy temple to the Lord: and are called, by Christ, “my” church, because given him by the Father; and he has purchased them with his own blood; are built by him, and on him; inhabited by him, and of whom he is the head, king, and governor; though not to the exclusion of the Father, whose house they also are; nor of the Spirit, who dwells in them, as in his temple. This church Christ promises to “build”. Though his ministers are builders, they are but under builders; they are qualified, employed, directed, encouraged, and succeeded by him; he is the wise, able, and chief master builder. This act of building seems to have a special regard to the conversion of God’s elect, both among Jews and Gentiles, particularly the latter; and to the daily conversions of them in all ages; and to the building up of saints in faith and holiness; each of which will more manifestly appear in the latter day; and are both generally effected through the word, and ordinances, as means, the Spirit of Christ blessing them. By the rock on which Christ builds his church, is meant, not the person of Peter; for Christ does not say, upon thee Peter, but upon this rock, referring to something distinct from him: for though his name signifies a rock, or stone, and there may be some allusion to it; and he is so called because of his trust and confidence in the Lord, on whom he was built; but not because he was the foundation on which any others, and especially the whole church, were built: it is true, he may be called the foundation, as the rest of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are, ( Ephesians 2:20 ) ( Revelation 21:14 ) without any distinction from them, and preference to them; they and he agreeing in laying doctrinally and ministerially Christ Jesus as the foundation of faith and hope, but not in such sense as he is; neither he, nor they, are the foundation on which the church is built, which is Christ, and him only. Moreover, what is said to Peter in these, and the following words, is not said to him personally and separately from the rest of the apostles, but is designed for them, as well as him, as appears by comparing them with ( Matthew 18:18 ) . As he spoke in the name of them all, to Christ; so Christ spake to him, including them all. Peter had no preeminence over the rest of the apostles, which he neither assumed, nor was it granted; nor would it ever have been connived at by Christ, who often showed his resentment at such a spirit and conduct, whenever there was any appearance of it in any of them; see ( Matthew 18:1-3 ) ( 20:25-28 ) and though Peter, with James, and John, had some particular favours bestowed on him by Christ; as to be at the raising of Jairus’s daughter, and at the transfiguration of Christ on the mount, and with him in the garden; and he appeared to him alone after his resurrection, and before he was seen by the rest of the disciples; yet in some things he was inferior to them, being left to deny his Lord and master, they did not; and upon another account is called Satan by Christ, which they never were; not to mention other infirmities of his, which show he is not the rock: and, after all, what is this to the pope of Rome, who is no successor of Peter’s? Peter, as an apostle, had no successor in his office; nor was he bishop of Rome; nor has the pope of Rome either his office, or his doctrine: but here, by the rock, is meant, either the confession of faith made by Peter; not the act, nor form, but the matter of it, it containing the prime articles of Christianity, and which are as immoveable as a rock; or rather Christ himself, who points, as it were, with his finger to himself, and whom Peter had made such a glorious confession of; and who was prefigured by the rock the Israelites drank water out of in the wilderness; and is comparable to any rock for height, shelter, strength, firmness, and duration; and is the one and only foundation of his church and people, and on whom their security, salvation, and happiness entirely depend. Christ is a rock that is higher than they, where they find safety in times of distress, and the shadow of which is refreshing to them; and therefore betake themselves to him for shelter, and where they are secure from the wrath of God, and rage of men: he is the rock of ages, in whom is everlasting strength; and is the sure, firm, and everlasting foundation on which the church, and all true believers, are laid: he is the foundation of their faith, and hope, and everlasting happiness, and will ever continue; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The Jews speak of the gates of hell: sometimes of the gate of hell, in the singular number F16; and sometimes of the gates of hell, in the plural number. They say F17, that

“(Mnhygl vy Myxtp hvlv) , “hell has three gates”, one in the wilderness, one in the sea, and one in Jerusalem.”

They talk F18 of

“an angel that is appointed (Mnhygd yert le) , “over the gates of hell”, whose name is Samriel; who has three keys in his hands, and opens three doors.”

And elsewhere F19 they say, that

“he that is appointed over hell his name is Dumah, and many myriads of destroying angels are with him, and he stands (Mnhygd axtp le) , “at the gate of hell”; and all those that keep the holy covenant in this world, he has no power to bring them in.”

Our Lord may allude to these notions of the Jews, and his sense be, that all the infernal principalities and powers, with all their united cunning and strength, will never be able to extirpate his Gospel, to destroy his interest, to demolish his church in general, or ruin anyone particular soul that is built upon him. Again, the gates of “Hades”, or hell, sometimes seem to design no other than the gates of death, and the grave, and persons going into the state of death; see ( Job 38:17 ) ( Isaiah 38:10 ) where the Septuagint use the same phrase as here; and then the sense is, that neither death, nor the grave, shall finally, and totally prevail over the people of God, and members of Christ; but they shall be raised out of such a state, and live gloriously with him for ever. By it here is not meant Peter himself; though it is true of him, that Satan, and his posse of devils that beset him, did not prevail against him, so as to destroy his grace, hurt his estate, and hinder his salvation: nor could death, in all its frightful appearances, deter him from holding, and preaching, and maintaining the doctrine of Christ; and though death, and the grave, have now power over him, yet they shall not always detain him: but rather, it designs the doctrine Peter made a confession of; which, though it may be opposed by hell and earth, by Satan, and his emissaries, by the open force of persecutors, and the secret fraud of heretics, it may be brought into contempt by the scandalous lives of professors; and though the true professors of it may die off, yet truth itself always lives, and defies the power of death, and the grave: or else the church in general is meant, and every true believer. These words do not ascertain the continuance of anyone particular congregated church, but secures the church universal, which will continue as long as the sun and moon endure, and the perseverance of everyone of God’s elect; and assure that death, and the grave, shall not always have the dominion over the saints, but that they shall be rescued from them. Once more, this “it” may refer to Christ the rock, who, though he was brought to the dust of death, by the means of Satan, and the powers of darkness, yet to the ruin of him that had the power of death; and though death, and the grave, had power over him for a while, yet could not hold him; he rose victorious over them, and ever lives, having the keys of hell and death, to open the gates thereof, and let his people out when he thinks fit.

-JOHN GILLS exposition of the Bible (bible study tools)

-https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/

-Clarissa Flores

FIGHT!

Family is worth fighting for. Your marriage is worth fighting for. Don’t give up when times get tough and instead do as Nehemiah said, ”fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.’ If you are heading towards divorce, fight against it. If your relationship with your spouse is strained, fight against it and seek restoration. If you’ve been hurt by your spouse and you’re holding a grudge, fight against it. Let that grudge go and forgive them.

Talk: Admit any grudges you have with your spouse and forgive them. Discuss those areas of your marriage that need restoration.

Pray: Ask God to equip you with the tools you need to fight for your marriage when it comes under attack.

Do: Commit to staying actively involved in reading God’s Word together and praying together by choosing a new reading plan or devotional to begin next week.

-author unknown

REACHING OUTSIDE & BEING THE CHURCH

So you want your church to reach people who don’t go to church.

That’s wonderful because that’s basically the mission of the church: to share the love of Christ with the world in the hopes everyone will come into a relationship with Jesus.

The challenge is that unchurched people aren’t exactly flocking to most churches, and many Christians seem stumped as to why that is.

There are many reasons, but a surprising number center around one thing: Christians who treat the church as if it’s their private club.

The gravitational pull of human nature is toward self, not towards others, and churches behave the same way. You will focus almost exclusively on your needs and wants unless you decide not to.

And that’s exactly what far too many churches do: focus exclusively on the needs and wants of their members.

Okay, it’s worse than that. Maybe it’s not even about needs and wants. Maybe it’s about preferences.

So many church leaders (staff and volunteer) struggle to lead beyond the preferences of the church members. And as soon as they try, they get inundated with complaints and angry emails. Too many Christians feel like it’s their right to have a church that caters exactly to their tastes and whims, and millions are paying the price for that (including unchurched people).

Catering to the preferences of members is a terrible idea for three reasons.

First, it’s killing the church. Attendance continues to stagnate or decline as people drift further and further from Christ.

Second, it’s an unwinnable game. Even in a church of 100 people, you’ll never be able to please everyone.

Finally, and most importantly, it’s just wrong. Since when did the personal preferences of members become a legitimate reason to keep people away from God’s love?

When your preferences keep unchurched people from the promise of Christ, it’s time to change your preferences.

Here are 7 things Christians should give up to reach unchurched people.

1. Music

You would think by now we might have solved this one. But even churches who think they’ve solved it often haven’t.

Many churches who call themselves contemporary… aren’t. They’re just more contemporary than they used to be.

Have you listened to the top 40 on iTunes or Spotify recently? Probably not… because you hate that music. You even tell yourself it isn’t music. There’s no guitar. It’s all beats. And what’s with the vocal Olympics? Why can’t they make music like they used to (like in the 90s), you say to yourself?

Which may be part of the reason your church struggles to reach anyone under 40.

Be honest. Don’t call yourself contemporary if you’re some paler version of it. Self-awareness and honesty actually matter if you’re trying to reach unchurched people.

Sadly, well-meaning self-deception runs rampant in church leadership today.

Be truthful about what you’re doing. If you are, it might just make you frustrated enough to make you change again.

In the meantime, realize that despite all the change, you could still be miles away from being relevant to the people living around you.

2. Politics

I’m not sure politics has been this divisive in a generation or two. But I promise you; it’s divisive. Just check your social media feed.

I know many people who say they have stopped following people on social channels and avoid the news because they’re so upset by the divisiveness.

By definition, your church needs to include people who are different than you.

God is not a Republican, a Democrat, a conservative, a liberal or a socialist. He transcends all our political categories, however important they might be to us.

Politics matters, but it will never change the world the way the Gospel can (or has).

Should Christians vote? Of course. Should Christians run for office? Absolutely. We need more women and men of character and conviction in government.

But the church doesn’t exist to elect or defeat politicians. It exists to glorify Christ and grow his Kingdom (which is an alt Kingdom) in the world. (Here are a few more thoughts on being the church in the present political climate.)

Just know this: if God has all the same opinions your political party does, you’re probably not worshipping God.

3. Style

It seems the likes and dislikes of Christians run deep and wide these days.

We have opinions on everything from the coffee we serve to the color of the paint to the flooring in the auditorium to what we call the auditorium (“It’s a sanctuary, people!” he said, loudly) to the color shirt the greeting team wears.

Christians seriously leave churches and try to divide churches over issues like that?

You know what that is? It’s pettiness.

Obviously, at some level, all those things matter.

But instead of running it through a filter of what you like, run it instead through a filter of whether what you do is effective in reaching the people you’re trying to reach.

And church leaders, you need to choose who you focus on: members or those not yet coming to your church.

leaders should focus on who they want to reach, not who they want to keep.

4. Buildings

As Christians, sometimes we get more attached to our buildings than we do to our mission. Christians should also be willing to give up their buildings to reach more people.

This can happen on several levels.

First, don’t resist renovations. If you’re still asking toddlers to meet downstairs in a mouldy basement with green carpet, don’t be surprised when you can’t keep young families coming to your church.

Second, be willing to do what it takes to reach people. Sometimes that might mean moving from a permanent to a portable location. Other times it might mean doing a huge expansion. Don’t resist.

Finally, in a growing number of cases where churches are dying, this will mean flipping the keys to a growing church that lacks a building.

One of the oddities of the era we’re in these days is that the churches who have buildings often have no people, and the church plants that have people often have no building. Flip that.

I love hearing about the growing number of churches who are giving their building, assets, and leadership over to a young church that’s reaching people.

5. Money

Dying churches that own buildings also often have money.

If a church doesn’t flip the keys and simply closes, then in many cases, denominations (many of which are also in decline) often take the money after a church closes and uses it to prop up, well, a dying denomination.

What if instead that money was redeployed to plant new churches? Even new churches that aren’t part of that ‘denomination’?

In the emerging post-Christian era, it’s time to build THE Kingdom rather than YOUR Kingdom.

Similarly, older Christians tend to have more money than younger Christians.

What if Christians who had money used their resources to fund innovation rather than fight it?

Could you imagine what might happen?

6. Time

Being the church is about a lot more than showing up for an hour on Sunday or tuning in online.

If you’re really going to reach the next generation, it means giving your time too.

Authentic Christianity is more about what we give than what we get. Our giving doesn’t earn us our salvation, of course, but it’s a joyful response to a God who gave everything for us.

7. Our Lives

Christians should be the most generous and selfless people on the planet.

Sadly, we’re often known as the stingiest and most selfish (ask any non-Christian who’s worked at a restaurant).

The Gospel calls us to die to ourselves so that others may live and to put something bigger than ourselves above ourselves.

If you give your life away, you find it.

When you die to yourself, something greater rises.

Dominick Flores

One of those days

Talk about “ONE OF THOSE DAYS”

Ha, they creep up on you when you think everything is great, and you want to throw in the towel and act like everyone else.

But guess what? You are not like everyone else. You are a chosen people from a chosen generation for this day and time! God has given you gifts that are specifically for you and for whomever you encounter everyday. You are a vessel for God and when you decide to act like everyone else “todays society norm”, you block whatever God is trying to use you for.

So stand strong, brave, true, patiently, mercifully, and gracefully in God’s peace and be still every day, even on “THOSE” days!!

-Clarissa Flores