Archive | November 2011

Consistency and focus in Christian walk

One thing I am learning is about consistency in the Christian walk, and also what I say on my posts.  Forgive me if I seem to be going from one extreme because I am going on this journey along with you guys, and we are one Body so if I say something that doesn’t seem to be right or consistent with any of my messages, you can point it out, but just be patient with me.

When cooking a cake or even a brownie, you need to have consistency, and that means being smooth, or being the same everywhere you look.  In the Christian walk, it is ideal to not to believe one thing one day, and then the next day believe something totally different.  Because of media overload in this generation it is hard to remain consistent because we get so many differing viewpoints and it is difficult to distinguish or discern without a proper Biblical foundation, what to do when contradictions appear or people argue with you or even when your own curiousity gets you into trouble.  Through the Holy Spirit, you get guidance in your Christian walk, and sometimes it takes some time shutting everything off and freeing yourself from distractions to just sit there and study and meditate on God’s WORD.  Remember that satan is always there to try to confuse you and get you discouraged, and when you don’t understand what’s happening, what you need to know is “Trust God and lean not on your own understanding.”

While I was studying about consistency today I fell upon many passages in Psalms and Proverbs that mentioned about the consistently righteous.  But the passage(s) that really touched my heart were found in 1 John 3.

1 John 3:6-10

 6No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains [e]in communion with and in obedience to Him–deliberately, knowingly, and [f]habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him].

    7[g]Boys (lads), let no one deceive and lead you astray. He who practices righteousness [who is upright, conforming to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action, living a consistently conscientious life] is righteous, even as He is righteous.

    8[But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].

    9No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and [h]habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine seed, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.

    10By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children: no one who does not practice righteousness [who does not conform to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action] is of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother (his fellow [i]believer in Christ).

In vs. 7, Apostle John is talking to boys, but this is applicable to all of us…that we lead a consistently conscientious life in order to be righteous.  Conscientious means painstaking, diligent, or persistent life.   Then in vs. 8, it has a warning about sin. The reasoning is that when you are born again, and have the seed of the divine God in you, you cannot sin.  He says that this is made clear that we are either children of God or children of the devil, and we cannot be both.

Once you receive the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and accepted Him as your Savior, nothing in short of blaspheming the Holy Spirit can take that away from you unless you choose to reject Him, after you once accepted Him.   When that happens that means that your foundation was not strong, but you can still recommit, and give your life to Christ again, if you have done that.  The only thing impermissible by God is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit, which is looking at someone who is performing miracles in Jesus Name, and say that it is demonic.  That’s what happened when Jesus was performing miracles and the Pharisees said that He was “demonic”.

Now I am going to go into the issue of sin.

 

After the original sin, there was the sin of Cain, who brought an offering tilled from the ground, but the Lord did not respect it.

So the Lord said,  “Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected?” Genesis 4:6

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

What was Cain’s sin?  It was, incidentally, to not love his brother, that led him into sin.  Because he was jealous that he God respected Abel’s offering more than Cain’s, he became sad, depressed, and dejected.  There is a lot of significance in the Bible to why Abel’s offering was more significant than Cain’s, and you can go very deep into that issue, but the emphasis is on, what we are to do with sin.

We are to master sin, but Jesus has already mastered sin, through His blood on the Cross.

1 Corinthians 8:3 says:
But if one loves God truly [ with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [ recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].

Affectionate reverence and awe comes with recognizing the spectacular amazement of who God is, and grateful recognition of His blessing can really take away a condemning mindset quickly.  But we often we get caught in a trap.

The enemy often comes to steal, kill, and destroy our love for God, one another and ourselves.  Delayed obedience is still disobedience.  We don’t want to disobey God, as children of God, and we want to please God with our faith, but then there are those temptations – those lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and that pride of life.  Some of you may be thinking that you have no lust of the eyes, or no pride of life, but how disciplined are we particularly in America, with watching what we eat and the lust of the flesh?  In this particular verse, the context was talking about eating food sacrificed to idols so that we can approach ourselves and others to be careful to offend anyone.

Before this verse was 1 Corinthians 8:2-

2If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary.

Basically saying that if you think you know so much and are puffed up, and thinking, “I am better than you because I don’t eat these things,” then that’s the wrong attitude to have.  The “I am better than you” attitude is the absolutely wrong attitude have.  The Bible says  that we are supposed to consider others better than ourselves, and not to consider ourselves more highly than we ought.

How God responds to our disobedience is examined in Romans:

Romans 5:19
For just as by one man’s disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him).

I want to bring up a few more verse:

Romans 11:30
Just as you [Gentiles] were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained [His] mercy, through their [Israel’s/Jews] disobedience. (emphasis mine)

 31So they also now are being disobedient [when you are receiving mercy], that they in turn may one day, through the mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy [that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you–through you as messengers of the Gospel to them].

 

Romans 11:32
For God has consigned (penned up) all men to disobedience, only that He may have mercy on them all [alike].

Romans 11:26-27

26And so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob.

27And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins.

See because of what Christ did, He brought Gentiles into the covenant, He actually did this to provoke the Jews to jealousy, and not the other way around.  The jealousy in the sense (not like Cain with his brother Abel), but in the sense that they see what favor and grace that the Gentiles have and they want to have that.

We are made righteous through Jesus on the Cross, because we were sinners, He died for us.

We are supposed to be ministering the Gospel to Israel, God’s chosen people, according to these passages and what has been forgotten is that while we have been trying to minister the Gospel to the world, which is good, but God’s chosen people are neglected.

The Jews and Gentiles are actually brothers in covenant with a founding father in Abraham.  One by blood, and the other by adoption, but they are actually brothers under the same covenant of salvation.

I think I have strayed a little away from the point, but one thing we have to realize is that we must love God, love another as we loves ourselves.  It seems like an impossibly high standard for people to do on their own because they were born out of a natural tendency not to have a God kind of love.  Jesus said “Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as you love yourself, on this one commandment hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Sometimes this is hard to see in places in the Old Testament, and even in books like Revelation, but when you put Jesus into picture, when you shift your focus on to Him, then you will be seeing at divine vision.  You won’t need the glasses that you were so used to.  The whole book is the Bible and the Bible is all about Jesus and what He did so if someone else tells you otherwise than don’t listen to them.  The Bible is the WORD of God, and it is actually Jesus Himself as it is written in the Book of John.  His WORD, is exalted above His name, and definitely above any internet sites you go to.  When you study make sure not to go into too many different sources.  These are all lessons I am still learning.  Of course we need help and guidance in our walk, and the support of other believers, so reading and sharing and feedback on other blog posts is ok because this is how build up and encourage one another in this walk of faith.

We need to shift our focus off of sin, and more onto Jesus to the point where we become saturated with His love.  I mentioned about pruning and chastening of the Lord, but as I mentioned in the post about the Sound of Music, if you have love you are more effective.  I heard a pastor say today, “If the tree is full of sap then the leaves just fall right off”  That sap represents the love of God.  It is like Jesus said in Revelation 2:

Revelation 2

 1TO THE angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Ephesus write: These are the words of Him Who holds the seven stars [which are the messengers of the seven churches] in His right hand, Who goes about among the seven golden lampstands [which are the seven churches]:

    2I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] and have tested and critically appraised those who call [themselves] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars.

    3I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary.

    4But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].

    5Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.

 The Church at Ephesus worked very hard and stayed away from all kinds of wickedness, but they forgot their first love.  They forgot the first love that they had for God.  They had forgotten their zeal and passion and in many ways it seems some people are in this place right now.
It is never too late to turn around and repent, or change your mind and in turn change your heart towards God.

 

 

 

Should Christians celebrate Christmas -questions and answers

First of all before anyone reads this I would like to pray:

Heavenly Father,

I apply the Blood of Jesus over this article and ask You to only allow what is permissible under Your Holy Spirit to give as a covering over our eyes, and our mind, that we only receive the necessary information that we need to receive, and that we keep everything in line with what You want to reveal.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen.

There is a narrow gate, that the Bible says we have to walk upon, and that way is narrow.  So I have spent a good part of the night gathering from what I have collected to give you some of the roots behind the traditions we follow without knowing the roots today.  I tried to take as many sources, including the Bible to get my information to help you decide whether, and in what way you want to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas.

Let’s first start with the Christmas Tree…

 

The Christmas tree, also known as a Yule tree, is a decorated evergreen coniferous tree, real or artificial, and a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas. The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas started in Livonia and Germany in the 16th century.[2][3] The Christmas tree is traditionally brought into the home and decorated with Christmas lights (originally candles), ornamentsgarlandstinsel, andcandy canes during the days around Christmas. An angel or star is placed at the top of the tree, representing the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.

The custom of erecting a Christmas tree can be historically traced to 15th century Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia) and 16th century Northern Germany. According to the first documented uses of a Christmas tree in Estonia, in 1441, 1442, and 1514 the Brotherhood of Blackheads erected a tree for the holidays in their brotherhood house in Reval (now Tallinn). At the last night of the celebrations leading up to the holidays, the tree was taken to the Town Hall Square where the members of the brotherhood danced around it.[8] In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decoratedspruce at the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”.[2] In that period, the guilds started erecting Christmas trees in front of their guildhalls: Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (Marburg professor of European ethnology) found a Bremenguild chronicle of 1570 which reports how a small tree was decorated with “apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers” and erected in the guild-house, for the benefit of the guild members’ children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day.[3]

Wikipedia Christmas Tree

There are a few things that I want to bring out from different sources that I have heard about the Christmas Tree-

According to the Restored Church of God:

The following quote demonstrates what the Babylonians believe about the origin of the Christmas tree: “An old Babylonish fable told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolized the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz! Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia!” (Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 242).

http://www.thercg.org/books/ttooc.html

Carmen Welker says in her book, Should Christians be Torah Observant:

“trees were used as pagan altars where offerings were placed for the deity Asherah [associated with Tammuz] wreaths symbolized wombs, trees symbolized phalluses, tinsel, tinsel symbolized Semen, (ornaments) symbolized testes, which were used to observe the sexual aspects of these pagan rituals.” (emphasize)

I could never look at a Christmas tree again after I read that.

 

 

Traditionally speaking, the tree was cut down, to represent the death of the god of Tammuz and resurrected his body on winter solstice.  (ChristianMediaResearch.com)

13 And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.” 14 So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.
15 Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.” 16 So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.  (Ezekiel 8:13-16)

According to the DAKE ANNOTATED REFERENCE BIBLE:  “The Babylonian Dumuzu or Tammuz was represented as a beautiful shepherd slain by a wild boar, the symbol of winter.  Ishtarm [who I am supposing his wife according to the myth] long mourned for him and descended into the underworld to deliver him and descended into the underworld to deliver him from the embrace of death.”

Before I want to go any further, I want to clarify, that this is NOT JESUS.  Jesus was not slain by a wild boar, or winter, He was pierced by the Father’s willingness for Him to die for us.  In Isaiah it says there was nothing appealing about His earthly appearance.  His appearance now is quoted in Revelation 1 and you can read that for yourself.  satan likes to copycat everything about God just to bring confusion, and doubt.

Now to get on with Christmas itself – We have to ask ourselves, why do we celebrate Christmas?  Is it because Jesus was actually born that day?

This is what I found out:

It is worthwhile to note that December 25th is likely not the date of Jesus’ actual birth. In the Biblical description of Jesus’ birth, He was visited by three shepherds who had been out that night with their sheep. Shepherds would not have been out with their sheep in the winter. Jesus’ birth date is more commonly agreed to be some time in the autumn. It was not until A.D. 440 that the church officially proclaimed December 25 as the birth of Christ. This was not based on any religious evidence but on a pagan feast. Saturnalia was a tradition inherited by the Roman pagans from an earlier Babylonian priesthood. December 25 was used as a celebration of the birthday of the sun god. It was observed near the winter solstice. [1]

Conservapedia: Christmas

So what do we celebrate on December 25?

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti

Main article: Sol Invictus

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means “the birthday of the unconquered sun”.

Modern scholars have argued that the festival was placed on the date of the solstice because this was on this day that the Sun reversed its southward retreat and proved itself to be “unconquered”.[citation needed] Some early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus.[6] “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born…Christ should be born”, Cyprian wrote.[6] John Chrysostom also commented on the connection: “They call it the ‘Birthday of the Unconquered’. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord . . .?”[6]

Although Dies Natalis Solis Invicti has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly speculation,.[citation needed] the only ancient source for it is a single mention in the Chronography of 354, and modern Sol scholar Steven Hijmans argues that there is no evidence that the celebration precedes that of Christmas:[23] “[W]hile the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas, and none that indicates that Aurelian had a hand in its institution.”[23]

Wikipedia: Christmas (Pre-Christian)

What can be the harm of participating in Yule traditions….

READER BEWARE:

In chapter 55 of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, different names for the gods are given. One of the names provided is “Yule-beings.” A work by the skald Eyvindr skáldaspillir that uses the term is then quoted, which reads:

Again we have produced Yule-being’s feast [mead of poetry], our rulers’ eulogy, like a bridge of masonry.[5]

Ynglinga saga, the first book of Heimskringla, first mentions a Yule feast in 840. Saga of Hákon the Good credits King Haakon I of Norway with the Christianization of Norway, as well as rescheduling the date of Yule to coincide with Christian celebrations held at the time. The saga states that when Haakon arrived in Norway he was confirmed a Christian, but since the land was still altogether heathen and they retained their practices, Haakon hid his Christianity to receive the help of “great chieftains.” In time, Haakon had a law passed that established that Yule celebrations were to take place at the same time as when the Christians held their celebrations, “and at that time everyone was to have ale for the celebration with a measure of grain, or else pay fines, and had to keep the holiday while the ale lasted.”[6]

Wikipedia: Yule (Old Norse)

So what are we to celebrate anything during the winter months?

WORD OF GOD (Bible):

At that time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt.[d] 9 And on the eighth day they held a sacred assembly, for they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 2 Chronicles 7:8

John 10:22

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 

What was The Feast of Dedication that Jesus actually celebrated:

22 Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim.

John 10:22 CJB

What is Hannukkah—-

http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/hanukkah.htm

The Hanukkah Story

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods….Read more at the above link at about.com

For further study on this defeat of Nimrod leading to the Dedication of the temple, would have to go through 1 Chronicles to 2 Chronicles, and it would be around there.  I would go into it, but for the sake of time, and since I’ve just been introduced to this angle I can only encourage you to do your own research of the WORD on that one.

What does the Bible have to say about the god Zeus the Greeks worshipped?

Idolatry at Lystra

8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. 11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them. – ACTS 14

What does the Bible have to say about celebrations?

16-17So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ…….

20-23So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? “Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important. [ The Message]

In this context, Paul was talking to the believers at Colossae to not be so obsessed with following all the laws.
Why do we really celebrate Christmas?  Forget about all the paganism involved in the holiday like Santa Claus, Winter Solstice, Reindeer, a magical mystical superstitious time, but isn’t it all about this idea that we have to spend massive amounts of money to get gifts to spend on Christmas.  I suspect that even when Jesus went to the Feast of Dedication, it was celebrated like a regular feast, but it wasn’t about the gifts.  That’s the Pharisee mentality- that they were going to all these feasts, to get the best seat in the place, and for food, but did they really care about honoring God?  Too much importance has been put on Mary by the Catholic Church, and I am not saying there aren’t Catholics, who are really born again, but Mary was just a woman, and that’s why Jesus said, “Woman, this is your son,” referring to John, the apostle.
This is just a side note, but there are three references to” women” that we are to regard as holy:  One is New Jerusalem, the bride of the bridegroom,  the other is Wisdom.

So what should we do on Christmas for those people that really like to spend time with their family?  One thing is that you can worship the LORD like any other day.  Give thanks and spending time with your family are ok.  In my house I was blessed to find out that “Santa Claus” was not real at age 5.  I never felt at peace during Christmas and it was depressing.  I liked giving presents, but I didn’t know why I was giving presents, but the real true celebration of Christmas – Christ Mass, is a Christ Feast.  It is just a feast to honor Christ.  I personally would be weary about the day and the origins.  The color Red, is good to signify the Blood of Jesus, and the color Green to signify evergreen and living life.

In Conclusion, what are we supposed to do with all this paganism that has gotten in the way?  Well it’s just like the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares – let them grow up together, and when the time is ripe, the tares will be gathered together and burned into the fire.  But we have to spend time more in the LORD’s presence, and arm ourselves with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and prepare ourselves for daily battle, seasonal battles, and an hour of testing, but the best way to do that is the “bed of intimacy” with the Lord, which is the root of Obedience and that is founded and grounded on love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very important lesson about grace and lack of knowledge

I learned something today about how sometimes we take God’s grace for granted sometimes.  We went shopping today at a store, which shall be nameless to protect privacy.  Two things happened, which made me reflect on the prospect of not knowing the rules, and just getting by and knowing the rules and being prevented from future mistakes.  I’ll start with the coupon for “Tree-Nuts”.

Scenario #1:

For the past 2 weeks we have been getting store brand trail mix, in 24 oz package, with a coupon for tree-nuts in same brand in the same 24 oz.  Both weeks the computer at the cashier wouldn’t let the coupon work, but we found grace through the cashier who just made a decisive decision and just let us have the trail mix for the discount for the tree-nuts.  This week we got a different flavor, but the same thing – a 24 oz container of trail mix, but then the cashier and the manager wouldn’t let us get discount for it. My dad tried to debate with them saying they’re still tree-nuts, but this time as much as we tried to we didn’t get the discount.

Scenario #2

There’s a discount we were told of by someone who worked in the store, that if you bring in plastic bags for the groceries, as we understood it, that you would get a discount for every plastic bag you bring in.  Turns out we were wrong, the store policy is actually if we bring in fabric bags then we would get a discount per bag.  This whole time since around September, which would be like two or three months we’d been bringing in the same plastic bags, and every time the cashiers would allow us to have discount on the bags we were bringing in.  They probably only once tried to mention it to us, but we were still ignorant.   So today we found out we were wrong. There was no real harm done, but I particularly learned a very important lesson about the walk of faith.

What was to be learned from this? We were unintentionally deceived because of our lack of knowledge.  This whole time, we’d been getting away with things we shouldn’t be getting away with.  Had the rules changed?  No.  But what did change?  What changed is that we found out we did not know the whole truth.  We only had part of it.  We had been getting grace and favour in our shopping, but then that all stopped today.  But we were informed for the better, so that we can make the right choices, like decide to pay full price for the trail mix anyway or start bringing in fabric bags, so we could change and adapt to the situation.

How does this apply to the Bible?  This is not to bring any condemnation whatsoever because there is no condemnation in Christ, but sometimes knowing the rules helps.  Knowing the foundation helps.  Knowing the roots helps. Knowing what the Bible has to say about the Law in the Bible helps. The Bible says “My people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge,” referring to the LORD.  Not knowing what the WORD of God has to say about a certain issue can bring us to a point where we are walking by blindly, and just sliding by, by the hair of our teeth.  We may just be barely making it, or “scarcely saved”, as the Bible puts it.  Some of us are beyond that, and we know that we are the righteousness of God in Christ, but there are others, and if it’s you read this you know it’s you, are one step away from falling to the point, that grace can’t pick you up.  It’s happened in the Bible before like with Esau when he sold his birthright, and with Saul when he sought the LORD, and He could not be found.  There are those times, “The Silent Years”, or the times when you are clinging on to the last hope that you have.  That it seems like everyone has turned against you, and even the crowd that was for you is now against you.  To those people, and you know it’s you God still has a plan in all this – He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you; to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11  The Scripture in this passage are about the captives that were carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon.  It was about the elders, prophets, and priests, that were being yanked out of their homeland, and sent to live in a foreign land.  God brought them back didn’t He.  He will get you through this time, but you have to make the effort to invest time in God’s WORD, and get to the point where you begin to know the zoe (or abundant kind of life) that God has for you.  Don’t give up now you brothers and sisters.

For those if you, which it doesn’t apply, for those of you who are walking right with God, know this – that the closer you to get to God and His WORD, and an intimate relationship with Him, you will come to that point where you cannot sin and you do not want to sin because you first don’t want to be operating out of love, and you know that you abide in Christ and Christ abides in you….This is not saying that we are Christ, but it is saying that we are at the level that the world around us, is only a place where we can shine the light of Christ, and be a blessing to other people.  We can get to that point where we realize that even though we were sinners Christ died for us, and allowed His Holy Spirit, and like Benny Hinn said, “that it is only skin that is separating us from Christ”, but before we get there it is a refining process and it may hurt, it may have ups and downs. I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten to the point where I see God in everything.  It’s like what David said in Psalm 139:8 – “If I ascend into heaven, You are there, if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there,” and the vs. that says that “nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

As I was reading Psalm 139, I found the part that says, “Such knowledge is so high, I cannot attain it.”  That is so true.  The God of this universe, our LORD GOD, our Heavenly Father, and Blessed Trinity, knows everything from each and every detail with such an intricacy.  Nothing that we do, say, think, or feel is a surprise to Him.  He knows us beyond anything.  At the end of this Psalm it says, “Search my heart, know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me.”  Because He knows you so well, you don’t have to be afraid, He’s right there, it’s not like He didn’t know that you were going to sin, because He foreordained everything from the foundation of the world, but when times go by when you’ve been taking Him for granted, and the things that He has done for you for granted, is when you have to go back to realize all that He has done for you and just appreciate Him.

 

 

Powerful sermon on Commitment and finishing Strong

 

This is a sermon from a preacher I found on youtube who someone recommended to me and he is very practical and he talks a lot about relationships especially between men and women.  I think it gives me sound advice and if there ever happens to be any man who is interested in me I want him to listen to this video because this is a powerful sermon on how to maintain commitment in relationships or even in business.  Basically it says don’t sink your head into something unless you are able to float when the currents are coming against you.  Don’t get involved in something unless you are willing to pay the cost and if you are willing to make a life long commitment to it.  One moment of a bad decision can cost you a lifetime of trouble.  So he talks about how you have to sit down and think before you make a commitment and that brings wisdom.  So consider the cost carefully and don’t make decisions unless you can be objective and not get your emotions involved.  Life is a process of discovering who you are and once you become born again it is about discovering who you are in Christ, and once you have learned who you are then you look at problems from a whole different viewpoint.  I am still learning but I have the seeds of potential to do something great, which is what I am starting to see right now.  That’s what God had given Joseph in the Bible.  He had given Joseph a vision that he would overtake his brothers, but he had to wade through the tough times and he knew who he was.  He knew he was favored by God.  It was the same thing with David and the Philistines.  He knew that he was favored by God and he was strong in faith in God that God would bring him through and give him the strength to fight any obstacle that he had to fight.  I think one of the things I have to deal with the most is finding out that I am the righteousness of God in Christ.  Many times because the devil knows our weaknesses he likes to see what makes us tick and when he finds a spot where we are vulnerable he takes a stab at us.  Whether these things come from God to test us, or from satan to attack us, as long as we know who we are in Christ we are able to become conquerors in Christ.  This is something we should all inspire to be.  We need to get rid of that victim mentality, including myself.  I pray that the LORD begin to show me exactly who I am in Christ, and the way He sees me, instead of sitting there condemning myself and others for lies that have been put into my head.  The WORD says that perfect love casts out fear.  That is so that we have boldness in the day of judgment.  It also says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power love and a sound mind.  I have been finding out recently that even when I am tested in my fears, God uses people to help me in my time of testing, just to show me to trust Him to know that He will not give me beyond what I can bear and that He will provide a way out.  He always provides a way out, and that is His grace.  Sometimes His grace steps in when you have no choice, but to step in when you can’t make it from one end to the other, but you just have to trust Him. He will never leave you alone, and even if you are alone, He will send his angels to come down and protect you.  I know my God, and there is no sin that I can commit that will stop Him from loving me, and I won’t let anyone tell me that the hedges of protection will be taken down.  Even if they, which is contrary to His personal rhema for me and His nature once you claim that you are a son of God in Christ, I trust that my God will not leave me stranded.  He is no respecter of persons, and He shows no partiality, and He will do the same for you.

 

 

Looks like Pottersville

I was just going down the streets where I live and looking at all the signs and billboards where I live and a shocking thought to me.  It seems like we are living in Pottersville, instead of Bailey Park.  In case you don’t know what I am talking about, there is a movie that came out, I think it was 1946, with Jimmy Stewart, and Donna Reed in it, called “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  It is a Christmas themed movie and many shows have done their version of it.  In this story we find a man, at the end of his rope, everything lost and he is about to jump off the end of the bridge, and commit suicide because his Uncle Harry has misplaced a large part of the money that belongs to Bailey Building and Loan, the bank, which George Bailey inherited and was voted in when his father died.  Before that George had big dreams.  He wanted to see the world, and travel, and have an impact in the world, and yet he was stuck in this town and every time he could have a chance to get out something happened.

So this man is about to jump off the bridge, and what the audience knows is that his “guardian angel” Clarence Oddbody, was watching his life, and trying to prevent him from committing suicide, because he knew that he had a great calling on his life.  So he jumps in and he rescues George by having George jump in and save him.  So the story goes that Clarence goes through a hard time trying to convince George that he was his “guardian angel” and was sent to rescue him.  George is still depressed and says, “I wish I was never born.”

Before I go too much into the story, I want to tell you about a man named, Mr. Potter, who is the greediest, most cunning, man with no scruples, and he is the head over the main financial transactions of the city.  Mr. Potter is actually the one who stole Uncle Harry’s money when he saw him at the bank, but no one knows that, and I don’t think they ever find out.  Mr. Potter is actually in a wheelchair, but for his disability he seems to have a lot of power.  Anyway this man has a lot of control.

So when George says that he wishes he was never born, the guardian angel asks permission and grants his request to make it seem like he is never born.  So this would be a strange experience for anyone.  Imagine everyone can see you and talk to you, but it is like you don’t even exist, and you have no history, and everything you have ever done does not exist, and everyone you ever knew does not know you.  This is what happens to George Bailey.

While George is going down the streets of the whole town, where he was raised, brought up, lived, and had the most impact, there seems to be signs of nightclubs, and other vile and decrepid, and debased places, which were nothing compared, to the friendly, nice hometown that he was raised and brought up in.  The town is actually called Pottersville after this alternate reality, and it is rampant with the debasement of society.  Everyone is after his or her own interests and they are going their own way.  They don’t care about anyone, but themselves.

This brings into the aspect of towns and cities like Sodom and Gomorrah, and the times of Noah, where everything was pretty much corrupt, and debased, so that God felt regret, and He wanted to destroy the places, and even the world in the case of Noah, but because of the few righteous people He saved the land.  Abraham was actually negotiating with God about the people in Sodom Gomorrah.  He started with I think it was 50, and he then negotiated until it was 10.

In the movie, George Bailey, was eventually taken back to reality, and realized, that he loved his life, hence the name, “It’s a Wonderful Life”,  and the impact he had on others and that money was not the center of everything, and that even if he had to go to jail, he would still love to be life, because he realized that at least he had friends, and those friends showed him love that was unconditonal.  In the end they all gave him money from all over and he became the richest man, and that was because he knew he had friends and that God was watching out for him.  Similar to the story of Job if you think about it, except Job’s friends were not good for him.

If we take a look at the life that we have now, is it more close to Bailey Park, or to Pottersville?  Especially with the economic collapse, we are seeing more and more Mr. Potters.   We are seeing more and more debasement of society, and if you don’t believe me just check aol or yahoo news.  So what is the answer?  It definitely isn’t Occupy Wall Street.  That definitely isn’t going to get anything done.  The crowd is never the best option.  So what is the best option?  It may be too late because we are living in the last days, but we as believers should shine the light of Christ, and really be true examples, of what we need to see in life.  There is Matthew Hagee, the son of John Hagee, who has a remarkable concept, in his teaching, which I haven’t bought yet, is RESPONSE ABLE.  He basically has talked about how the Church has to play a more active role and reach out to the community and make a change.  We need more George Baileys and less Mr. Potters.  The interesting thing about George Bailey was that he was not Mother Theresa or flawless, but he had his small impact on the community.  He showed everyone love.  Now I don’t know in the context of that movie, whether he was born again or not, but even the selfless acts of people can make a difference.  We need more pay it forwards, and less pay myself.

Sometimes the Church makes the mistake of taking time to spread the gospel, and sell their teachings, that they don’t realize the real impacts of the broken people of society and that sometimes you have to reach to your own community and start for wherever you are.  I am still searching for ways with even my own disabled body, I can still be a blessing to people, and in a way that even Christ was, and even the way that George Bailey was, I through the Holy Spirit living in me by the power of Christ, can make difference in people’s lives for the better, because I know it is not I, but Christ working through me.

No more rules and regulations

In my walk with God I have been trying to have a balanced perspective and the whole picture.  I don’t want to be on the extreme of either side, but yet show a characteristic of radical life changing walk with Christ in my life.  While I was praying last night, God showed me something in the form of an illustration, taken from real life, and it actually comes in the form of a movie.  That movie is “The Sound of Music”.  The movie is about a woman named Maria who is a nun and she is not fitting in with all the other nuns and just hasn’t learned to be obedient.  Well the Mother of the Abbey (the place where the nuns live together), tells her after praying about it, that it is the will of God for her to leave them and to live in a house and raise seven children for Captain Von Trapp, a man who used to work for the navy.  He had several what you call “governesses” that tried to raise the children, and all of them had run away from the children.  His wife had died several years earlier.

So Maria went on this adventure trying to face whatever was to come to her, but she didn’t know what to expect.  When she got there she met the Captain, he had these whistles, and he did not call his children by name, but by whistle sound, and they were very scared of their father.  At one point Brigitta, one of the girls who I believe if I remember correctly was a pre-teen or an early teenager, was reading a book, and the father took the book and spanked her with it.

They spent some time in the movie showing how strict the father was, but whenever the father wasn’t looking they were rebellious to the governess, Maria, and liked to play tricks on her, to “test” her.  When the father was gone she built up a relationship with the kids, and she had a confrontation with the Captain, and said to him, “they just want to be loved, love them all” about the children.  She also brought music into the home.  In those days music was a lot more pure than it is these days, but point being she restored an actual relationship with the father, instead of all these rules and regulations they were following, but only when the father was around, but they were still pretty rebellious to the governess.   She knew the best way to win them over was with love.  She ended up marrying the Captain and being the kids’ mother.

There are something that I want to point out from this illustration.  Maria used love to repair the relationship of the father with the children where Jesus used love to repair the relationship of God’s people, Jews and Gentiles, to their Father.  Before that He was called LORD, or YHWH, and in some cases even ADONAI, which means Master.  But Jesus wanted to reveal Him as “Abba, Father” or Daddy.  That’s the same thing kids in the movie wanted.  They really wanted to be loved by their father, and they didn’t want to be called by a whistle.  They wanted him to call them by name.  They didn’t want this strict, harsh, stern, authority figure.  They wanted a father who would love them.  Jesus came to restore the Jews relationship, and also bring a new relationship for the Gentiles to the Father, or Daddy who is their God.  He wanted to bring that closeness, and intimacy, that a father has with a child.  I posted in a previous blog entry about “Girls and their fathers” about how the father loves to give good gifts to his children.

There is even a prophetic and an angle of spiritual warfare that can be seen from this illustration.   According to this movie there was the Naval forces of the Third Reich, under Nazi Germany under this time, and they were after Captain Von Trapp.  But fortunately at this point, he was married to Maria and had a love relationship with his children, so they were all able to work as a team because the enemy did come and try to destroy their family.  What ended up is that they were able to escape into the hills after a clever escape plan.  But because the love relationship was restored, they were a lot more effective in escaping the enemy.

So that made me think about, if our walk is rooted and grounded in love for God, neighbors, and ourselves, instead of all these rules and regulations that don’t bring us closer to God, but pull us away from God, won’t that be so much more effective spiritual warriors, and be able to walk with wisdom in the last days?  Someone once said that the Bible is progressive, and that you learn more and more about God through revelation as you go from Old Testament, to New Testament.  We have to change our mindset about God, and even the Heavenly Father.  He is not a cold, distant, stern, authority figure who is waiting and just waiting to judge the people and make them pay for everything they have done (at least for believers).  He is a loving, merciful, gracious, Abba, Father and loving Daddy that wants you to love Him.  Even in the Old Testament it talks about how God wants the people to turn from their wicked ways and just turn to Him.  He just wants them to love Him.

I am going to clarify again the word, “love”, in case you missed it last time.  There are four types of love in the Greek:  Agape, Eros, Phileo, and Storge.  Agape, is the unconditional love that God has for us through Christ, someone put it best – “Agape is the love of an object/person despite the condition of the object of the affection”.  EROS, is the romantic kind of love between the husband and a wife.  Phileo is the love between the brothers and sisters of the church, and the type of love that Jesus said we are to have for our neighbors.  Storge is the love we have for our family members.

After Jesus had resurrected and He had come to meet Peter by the sea, He asked him, to redeem Peter for denying Him, “Do you love/Agape Me?”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Peter said, “Lord, you know I love/Phileo You.”    Then He asked again, “Do you love/Agape Me?”  Peter said yet again, “Lord, you know I love/Phileo You.” Jesus said “Shepherd, (tend) my sheep.”  Then Jesus came down to his level and said, “Do you love/Phileo Me?”  This time Peter was sad, and then Peter said, “You know I do love/Phileo you.”  Then Jesus said “Feed my sheep.”

I think Amplified plays out this passage very well in John 21 –

15When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do–with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs.

    16Again He said to him the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep.

    17He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

Jesus was trying to get this Agape, love, a love that is a choice, with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion out of Peter, and I think He is trying to get that out of all of us.  For us to look at the Heavenly Father, who we can talk to as a Daddy.  There is a seeking in this type of relationship.  It is an act of devotion.  It is going after God till you find Him.  It is to yearn and hunt after God.  It is to pour all you have on finding this loving Father in your life.  In the same way that Maria restored the relationship that Captain Von Trapp had with his children.  The same way Jesus was and is trying to change our view and relationship of the Heavenly Father.  Sometimes as Christians we take the Heavenly Father for granted, or because so many of us have an orphaned spirit, we don’t know how to have a relationship with God as our Father.  We thank the Holy Spirit for giving us insight into who the Father is and to Jesus for revealing to us who He is, and lovingly we call him Abba, or Daddy.

If you want to know the descendents of the Von Trapp children are still alive.  They sang beautifully on a television interview I watched.  I didn’t want to disgrace that family name and in putting this posting up I hope it brings honour to the family and to God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He gave gifts unto men

 

This was another awesome sermon – you may have to adjust the volume a little bit low so you’ll have to crank up the volume.  It goes with the theme God made you unique.  May the Holy Spirit bless you and touch you as you listen to this message.