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May 24, 2019, 12:31 AM

Consider The Backslider


   My daughter and I were discussing backsliders during lunch today; the cause and the types. First, it is important to understand that all backsliding is rooted in pride and pride is the worship of selfish desires over God’s Word. Backsliding has many excuses, some are justifiable. However, when they are compared to the price Jesus paid to redeem us at Calvary, the Holy Ghost that He has given to those that obey Him, the blessings that He gives us, the heaven to come, and the hell to be delivered from – backsliding is not worthy to be considered (John3:16-21).

Through personal observation, there appear to be three types of backsliders:

1) Those that have a degree of the fear of God and believe the Truth but have become convinced that they cannot overcome sinful habits. Because they do not want to be hypocritical, they leave the church. Some of these come and go - not affecting others but never truly victorious. These will tell any and all that Acts 2:38 salvation, holiness within and without, love for others, and submission to God is necessary to be saved BUT feel that they are beyond God's mercy and grace (2 Timothy 2:25-26).

2) Those that become bitter having experienced VERY REAL abuse and injustice done to them by church members or ministry. These rarely find a place of true repentance because the root of bitterness is seldom dealt with. A victory lap and some tongue talking help them feel secure for a while. They often become church hoppers. Many of them end up in charismatic or trinity churches. They look for love and acceptance from others - rather than Truth - they become disillusioned and wander in delusions of spiritual self-will becoming companions of like-minded individuals (Hebrews 12:15-17).

3) Those that have the world - Lust of the eye, Lust of the Flesh, Pride of Life (1 John 2:16), in their hearts. They’ve never truly sold out to God. There seems to be a tendency to worldly things and a resistance to regular Godly consecration. With those raised in the church, it usually reveals itself in the late teens and early twenties. Some folks are shocked by what is called, “a sudden falling away” – but a silent majority are not. They partake in worldly ways with joy and abandonment. Often they will visit the church and its functions flaunting their rebellious freedoms – without fear of God or respect for His people. When the world they have desired finally crumbles (for some it never does) the degree of pride that must be overcome is almost insurmountable and so, they look to justify their worldly desires and heartache by continually accusing church members of judging them. When these leave, they rarely return. Thank God for those few that do return.

   Many years ago, I was a backslider. The church I was raised in had many good and godly people in it. The pastor was a man above reproach. However, there were many things that church folks were unaware of. For instance, the physical and mental abuse at home by a hardworking and tongue talking mom. The exposure to pornography at six years old and the molestation by some church teens and adults that began when I was 8 years old, the constant reminder by some church members that I would turn out to be like my father. Much more could be written. By the age of 9, I received the Holy Ghost but had so many sinful and shameful habits that I was convinced there was no hope for me. Finally, at the age of 18, I left the church – convinced it was right but that I could not overcome sin in its various forms. I exemplified points 1 and 2. Thankfully, at the age of 22, God allowed me to return home and helped me to gain victory over sin and any desire to return to the world – for any reason!

   The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) chose, for whatever reason, to leave the Father’s house and go to a faraway city – a type of the world and its desire for you – to get you as far away from the Father and His house as possible. However, many prodigals have a moment when they come to themselves. What they do with that moment makes a difference. Some decide to stay in the city or in the pig pen. Others get up and go back home – they must travel a long way back – but they make it. How glorious that is!

The Father gave the returning son three things:

1. Robe – a type of righteousness
2. Shoes – a type of testimony
3. Ring – a type of power to use the family name

   The Father could not give the son back the wall of innocence. Every day the former prodigal lived at home, going back to the faraway city was an option – unless, he chose to serve and love the Father and his house with the same passion and obedience that he used in the faraway city (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).

   When I was a backslider, I did not associate with other backsliders. Never did I doubt God’s Word, church standards of separation, or the joy of evangelism. I felt that the failure to serve God was in me and not the fault of Jesus Christ or the church. Therefore, I did not want to hang around other backsliders that heaped ridicule and disrespect on the very Church that God chose to save them from hell. Backsliders that know all about what is going on in various churches around them will NEVER repent – they have become family with the ungodly, sinners, and mockers (Psalm 1:1-6).

   The modern apostolic church is too touchy-feely, politically correct, and user-friendly towards the backslider. Many churches now allow the things some people once backslid to do. Other’s feel that the backslider must feel comfortable and loved and then they will return. THAT IS A LIE!!!! The prodigal knew that the Father cared for him. He had chosen to no longer care for the Father, his brother, and the house. Only when the prodigal returned, willing to be a servant was the relationship repaired! Until a backslider comes with that attitude – there is no hope of truly returning to God. They may cry, speak in tongues, and dance but until they are willing to serve – regardless of the cost to their pride – they will never be able to live in the Father’s house.

   The backslider should feel condemnation, shame, guilt, and alone. That is the price of leaving the Father’s house. Yet, when they begin to return, there should be joy among God's people that they are. However, the cost of living in the Father’s house and enjoying fellowship with God’s family remains the same. Without apology!!!

   Mercy is for the repentant and grace is given to empower the repentant to serve God beyond their capability. When a backslider comes to their self they come to the Father in repentance and are given mercy. As they begin to demonstrate obedience and love to the Father, they gain grace to help them overcome sin and become the “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) that God desires them to be. The scriptures state, “He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13) and, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).


   There is hope for every backslider who will return to the Father’s house. If they are willing to be a servant and ask for mercy, they will find relationship and grace enough to overcome their pride and the world as the Bible declares, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).



Comments

07-13-2019 at 4:30 PM
Dale Young
The Savala's have been dear friends for years. We've always enjoyed their outgoing personalities, and been blessed by his ministry.
We recently acquired JPS ministries' music and Bible story CD'S and continue to be blessed and entertained.

Thank you for all of your dedication to furthering the Gospel!
06-12-2019 at 4:43 PM
Lee Wilson
Excellent article. I like your site.
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December 11, 2018, 12:00 PM

The Challenge of Parenting



I’m not certain that I qualify to be a parent. My wife and I only have one child. Those with only one child have two advantages over those parents with two or more children.

1) When something is misplaced or a mess is made they always know who did it

2) Time spent with one child is much easier to make than when multiple children are part of the family.

I didn’t know how to be a father or husband. Most men don’t however some men start families with at least an idea of how to be a good husband and father based upon the example their father sets. My father was an abuser of women physically, verbally, and emotionally. He encouraged me to run away from my mother and then turned me over to the California foster care system. He had no time, patience, or kind words for me. But then Jesus turned my life around when I was 22 and placed me among a church full of men that were examples of how a godly man should treat his wife and children. It has been my earnest desire to honor their example and to please the Lord Jesus Christ.

My wife has been a godly example from her youth and is the finest Christian lady that I know. She has labored beside me in the kingdom of God and in life. As a mother, she is caring, thoughtful, and hard working. Thankfully she has imparted much of her traits to our daughter also.

The years have passed and my daughter continues to live joyously for the Lord Jesus. I better understand the words of the apostle John when he said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4). There is no guarantee that our children will live for God. I have seen children that have had safe, godly, and fun family environments choose the ways of a sinful world when they reach adulthood. I have also seen children raised in some of the worst of life’s environments but they made up their minds to live for Jesus at young ages and have done so. Serving God happily and faithfully is a matter of a willing heart! Yet, it is true that the way a child is raised often has the greatest influence upon their spiritual, social, emotional, and physical development.

At some point it dawned on me that our daughter would one day look for a young man (God forbid that he look at her!!!!) to marry. I began to pray that God would help me to model (a small replica of the real thing) for her what to look for in a young man. I wanted her to have a love for God, so the basics of Bible reading, prayer, fasting, tithing, church attendance, and a continuous sense of the presence of God was purposefully established in our family by my wife and I.

Somewhere in my early studies about fatherhood and then, as a minister responsible for the spiritual development of other children, young people, and adults; I came across research that linked both the emotional happiness and depression of the majority of women with the type of relationship they had with their father before becoming teen agers. Waiting until children are teen agers to have a meaningful relationship is parental suicide. Invest in children when they are young and it will return as they become older. I asked my daughter for her thoughts and suggestions of things we had done together that had helped her and that might be a help to other fathers desiring to help their daughters and sons lead happy, fulfilling, and Christ centered lives.

  • We often went (still do as possible) for a weekly date
  • Bike rides
  • Snowball fights
  • You always allowed me to ask you anything – even about boys and answered honestly. You did not act shocked or get angry. If the subject matter was to mature for my age, you used the following anecdote: “Some subjects are like heavy suitcases and you are too young to carry them right now. Let dad carry them for you and the time will come when you will be big enough to carry them on your own.”
  • When working at home he never made work seem more important than me
  • Didn’t correct in anger; I was sent to my room and corrected later
  • Encouraged Bible times: I would write a Bible question at night and dad would have a written answer for me in the morning.
  • Tried to be at all major events: graduations, birthdays
  • Encouraged me and pushed me to work for something if I wanted it and to do my best.
  • Gave me my space but made sure I knew that he was there if needed
  • Praying with me in church – Dad always said parents need to “Keep your hands on your kiddos!”
  • Walking the aisles together during church prayer time
  • You did not answer phone calls when we were eating together. It always made mom and I feel like we were important and had your attention.
  • We have prayed together almost every night since I was four years old – even over the telephone.

Maybe some of these ideas can be a help to you and yours. No matter where you are in the development of your family it’s never too late to try. Be patient, laugh, cry, and above all - pray together. Jesus Christ is the glue that holds everything together.

P.S. If you might be interested in more thoughts on parenting or this blog has been a blessing to you, please leave a comment below. 

Special Thanks to my friend and fellow minister, Pastor Rick McGuffey, for encouraging me to write along these lines.



Comments

02-14-2019 at 7:45 PM
Dennis Johnson
I'm proud of you,for i know Jesus changed your life and turned you around. God bless you.
12-12-2018 at 6:45 AM
Harlan Morgan
Thank you for these insights!
12-12-2018 at 1:21 AM
Peter Connell
I sure did enjoy reading this post - and Cassie’s recollections were an excellent part of it. She’s a great girl, and your good parenting is in large part responsible for that. Many good points made here - and the suitcase analogy was perfect. I’ll remember and use that. Instruction on good parenting is a critical need in our day. Keep writing!
12-11-2018 at 12:23 PM
F.B.M.
Great reading as always. Thank you!
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October 6, 2018, 12:00 AM

The Will of God


“What is the will of God for me?” That’s a question most people have asked themselves. The desire to know the will of God for the immediate and the future and yet, unable to recognize it, has caused many to make serious mistakes and even question the Divine purpose for their lives. Others have recognized the will of God for their lives, did not like it and decided to live according to their own will. 

Someone aptly stated, “To know the will of God is to do the present work at hand.” To me, that means that if I will do what I know  pleases God right now, the will of God for my life will unfold accordingly. The apostle Paul gave the saints in Ephesus an outline of how to find and stay in the will of God. Here’s the principles found in Ephesians 5:17-21(KJV):

  • Understand God’s will by rejecting worldly wisdom and foolishness and embracing His Word that brings wisdom and knowledge.
  • Be filled with the Spirit. We must both live and walk in the Spirit. Yesterday’s experience cannot sustain today’s needs. The joy of the Lord gives us strength to do His will!
  • Singing aloud the scriptures and spiritual songs of the Lord that should abound in your heart. The songs and words that we sing and say reveal what we allow most into our thoughts and hearts. To know His will we must meditate upon, speak of, and sing about God’s will as revealed in His Word.
  • Living a lifestyle of thankfulness to Jesus Christ for all things. Not a lifestyle of complaining, drudgery, and laziness but living an abundant life found in the presence of the Lord Jesus!
  • Being submitted to others in the fear of God. Remember Jesus was/is God manifested in the flesh. He submitted himself to others while on earth. Am I better than Jesus? Not if I fear God! There is no greater honor than to live a life of submitted service/ministry to others that brings glory to God.

If we will follow these five principles, we will accomplish the will of God for our lives whatever the will of God may be and wherever it may lead us. Here's a peom that brings hope and a challenge to all those that desire God's will in and for their lives.

The Will of God

The will of God will never take you,
Where the grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.
Source Unknown

 



Comments

10-17-2018 at 8:08 AM
Brent Crosswhite
Ouch! Submit! Indeed it is very much part of doing the will of God in our lives!Thanks, this is very good instructions in righteousness, which is far deeper than just mere information. Spiritual growth material!
10-08-2018 at 4:51 PM
Arthur Law III
Great blog entry Bro. Savala. Aside from the obvious wisdom the entry possesses, it’s depth comes from the fact that you have lived it. Powerful and full of sustenance are the words you’ve poured out of experience. Thank you for sharing a proven path.
Blessings,
Bro. Law
10-07-2018 at 8:32 AM
Kevin McElroy
Very good. Something that caught my attention was at the beginning of the blog. Statement “ if I will do what I know pleases God right now, the will of God for my life will unfold accordingly,” is principled living. This is a walk of faith. We’re not always going to know what is coming next, but if we live according to that principle, it enables God to unfold his will & for us to flourish in his will.
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June 4, 2018, 6:44 PM

The Man In The Arena



"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." ~ U.S. President (T.R.) Theodore Roosevelt

 

~ How easy it is to judge the motives and actions of others when we are not in the midst of the fight. Just as those who have never been involved in combat ‘know’ what they would have done under the circumstances. They are quick to judge the actions of men and women whose lives and the lives of others reside in a few split seconds of action. Or those who have never parented who ‘know’ what they would do with everybody’s children but their own.

So it is with those who do not serve the Lord Jesus,or try serve Him half-heartedly. These have worldly views often based upon bitter and hateful emotions and text books written by those that resist the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Let the voices that speak into your life be those of people that have lived in the arena of life while serving God with all their heart. Those that know about worldly pressures that battle the mind, backslidden family members that laugh, sickness that brings the body low and yet, live joyfully and fully unto the Lord Jesus!   Give me someone who knows what it is like to be in the arena and not merely sitting ringside betting money on the outcome. 

 

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit”

Ecclesiastes 7:8

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

Romans 8:37



Comments

06-13-2018 at 10:17 PM
Kevin L. Nix
Amen!!
06-05-2018 at 3:42 PM
Andrew Masley
Brother Savala thank you for the reminder that we should not stand on the outside as critics but rather be the one who is in the ring fighting. God bless you.
06-05-2018 at 3:18 PM
David Boyd
Thank you, my Friend for such an encouraging word. God less you as you bless others.
06-05-2018 at 10:59 AM
Keith Nix
Excellent, my brother! Thanks for writing this.
06-05-2018 at 10:32 AM
Rick McGuffey
I enjoy reading this blog. Post are thoughtful, easy to understand, and immediately applicable to real life. Thank you.
06-05-2018 at 7:01 AM
Scott Kitchens
Very good blog, and so very true!
06-04-2018 at 6:18 PM
Peter Connell
Great post! And the word “great” is not an exaggeration.
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May 22, 2018, 12:00 AM

Time For A Change



There's an old sea story about a ship's Captain who inspected his sailors, and afterward told the first mate that the stench of the crew was horrible. The Captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would change their underclothes regularly. The first mate responded, “Aye, aye sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”The first mate went straight to the sailors berth deck and announced, “The Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underclothes. Pittman, you change with Jones, Leroy, you change with Witkowski, and Brown you change with Schultz.” (Anonymous)

The Moral of the Story: Someone may come along and promise “Change”, but you often end up with the same old smell. 

 

~ Here are a few thoughts I have taken from this humorous but poignant story.

  • I will never change what I allow myself to tolerate. You know, like making excuses for being late to work, church, and other important events. Idenitfy bad habits and make up your mind to change them. Remember, a double minded person is unstable in all of their ways (James 1:8).
  • Achieving excellence is attainable right now; it is the maintenance of excellence that is so difficult. Start small and increase your efforts. Praying 10 minutes a day equals 1 hour and 10 minutes a week. That's 52.8 hours in a year or 2.2 days of prayer. The same principle applies to anything you desire to learn (music, langauge, business, et al) and begin to excel in.  
  • Change always requires a degree of sacrifice. Do it with joy for the end result.  

True change is a transformation of the habits of one’s mind. It is a mixture of a person's will embracing the will of God, “…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). ~ JPS

 



Comments

05-23-2018 at 12:46 PM
Brian Enochs
Wow, thanks for sharing! : )
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