Archives

The difficult task of knowing when not to speak

In the Bible the book of James talks about how we are to bridle our tongues.  It says how can blessings and cursings come out of the same mouth and that the tongue is uncontrollable.  Jesus said to have our speech be seasoned with salt.

There was an experience that happened with my relative a while back.  I said something where I basically just stuck my foot in my mouth, which is just an expression for saying the wrong thing, and she gave me the silent treatment for a long time.  She was an unbeliever so she had not grasped the concepts of forgiveness, but in the process she taught me a very important lesson, which as of late I seemed to have forgotten.  In the process she taught me how to respect her and to be sensitive what I say to her.  I loved my relative and I did not want her to be mad at me and hoped that she would eventually forgive me and she did.  God is the same way and His anger can be kindled so much more, but sometimes we don’t realize that.  We kind of take Him for granted and not give Him the respect that He deserves.  Sometimes we don’t give God the same respect we give to other people, and even when we are mad at other people, we don’t give them the respect not to talk about them behind their back.  I know my relative can have a bad temper at times, but God can have a temper too.  I knew my relative loved me, but she was just angry with me for awhile.  God is the same way.

Isaiah 54 says,

“With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer.

I know we should never do anything to make God mad at us, and we should never never never do that, but if in the current moment we may think that God is mad at us, it is ok, because He still loves us, and it says that He chastens those He loves.  If He loves you He chastens you.  He is not going to stay angry forever.  He may just distance Himself from you for awhile for one to see how much you will go after Him, and how much you will realize the way you hurt him, and how He feels about the situation.  We are so caught up in how we feel about what’s going on in our lives.  We are so concerned with all the circumstances, and our reactions to it, that we forget that God has a heart too, and we need to be sensitive to it, and not try to dishonor it.  I’m not saying we’ll be perfect all the time, but through life we’ll learn lessons, and learn how to trust Him, and how to depend on Him, so that we can learn how to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.  So even during these times if it seems like your walking through darkness, or that it may seem like there are no answers, God is still there, and He’s still waiting for you to turn around.  He’s waiting to pick up all the pieces of your broken life.  He’s there to restore the damage that’s been made out of your life and to give you beauty for ashes.

Sometimes when we speak out of anger or frustration or because we just don’t know how to handle the situation we are facing, and we haven’t exactly learned how to keep our tongue under control, there will be times when we’ll be reminded of what God feels like.  We don’t like it when people are frustrated and angry with us, so then when shouldn’t be angry or frustrated with God for all the things going on.  He’s in control, and so many times in our lives we’ve tried to take control and not to submit to authority, and not to discipline ourselves in various areas.  I am not even saying that I have mastered anything in application in my life, but it’s only through the grace of God that I am able to share with you all on this journey.  We need to stop beating ourselves up for our mistakes and even the things we may say out of our mouths, but before we do that we need to take time to think and make decisions on how we are going to try to work on improving our attitudes.  We get so caught up in religious activities that we don’t actually take time to think and see how we are going to apply all that we have learned in the Bible.  We have to pray, and read the Word of God, but on days when it may be even hard to get out of bed in the morning then we need to know what kind of power we have waiting inside of us to make life for us, and how we can take Biblical examples of guarding our mouth, and ask us to show us His heart.  How many days would you like to go without God speaking to you?  Not very long I’d suppose.  So in that time more than really praise or worship or any other thing that we’ve tried to seek God with, we need to ask God, and to think how we can change our mindset.  It’s one thing to read the Word of God as just words, stories, and narratives, but it’s another thing to make it an application.  Start with one thing and then see what else you can improve on.  Some people that have an issue with their mouth, like gossiping have an issue with forgiveness, which is an area where we ALL need to work on.  If you have mastered the area of forgiveness then you are miles high then most of us Christians.  Most Christians are biting each other’s heads off all the time, and it’s so sad in the Church.  There are times when we’ve had people we respected lie to us, and we forget that we’ve lied ourselves, so that needs forgiveness.  We’ve had people come and say the  wrong thing at the wrong time and not shown compassion towards us, but then we fail to see how we’ve not been compassionate toward them in their hour of need.  There was a song by Mariah Carey called, Love takes time, which I don’t usually condone of secular music, but there are songs out there that really speak to me.  It goes something like “Love takes time to heal when you’re hurting so much”  Depending on what has happened in your life and how you’ve gone through life, I’m sure you’ve had to learn how to forgive and may be still learning when not to speak.

Sometimes when we at our weakest moments, we just say things, and we can all learn a lesson from Jesus when He was on trial he just was silent, and they didn’t like it, because they wanted Him to say something to convict Himself.

There was a story of a television show where there was a man who was in jail and when he was in jail, they would question him, and all he did when they questioned him he kept silent.  I think there was a Biblical principle behind that somewhere.

There’s always wisdom in knowing when not to speak and to speak.  So we should learn the principle of when to keep silent.  There’s another secular song called “Enjoy the Silence”.  We must choose words carefully, and when we are not perfect, then we should keep things to ourselves.

 

Advertisements

Glory, Freedom, and the Ultimate Battle

In Middle School we watched the movie of the Civil War in the United States, which was called Glory. It took place during the Civil War, and showed, if I remember correctly the Northern point of view, as opposed to the Southern point of view, which Gone With the Wind seems to portray.  When I was watching this movie I was asked to define what the word “glory” actually meant.  I had difficulty coming up with an answer.  While the definition has many terms in implication in the Jewish root, and basically identifying God’s glory as the glory of the Presence of the Son – I want to take you through a journey as the Holy Spirit compels me and enables me to do so on the aspect of Glory, Freedom, and the Ultimate Battle, and the parallels between the Bible and the Civil War.

In the Bible – particularly in the Old Testament, the Israelites cried about their slavery and God heard them –

23 However, after a long time [nearly forty years] the king of Egypt died; and the Israelites were sighing and groaning because of the bondage. They kept crying, and their cry because of slavery ascended to God.

24 And God heard their sighing and groaning and [earnestly] remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. – Exodus 2:23-24

It took them a long time of trials and trusting in God to get to their Promised Land, but yet they still didn’t have freedom.

When the African slaves were taken captive in American History, they cried and sang out and they had great heroes of faith like Harriet Tubman and they sang songs of Moses in the times of their slavery.  The Battle of the North and the South was particularly a battle of ideas, the idea that people should be enslaved to make riches for the higher class verses the idea that each individual has a right to be acknowledged to an individual and has the right to Freedom.  They fought out this war with a bloody fight and it was the bloodiest fight with Abraham Lincoln leading the way seeking God through this time, and he was President.  I had to do a study on Abraham Lincoln, and I heard he suffered from depression, or maybe that was his wife, I don’t remember, but the point being that he was a man who sought God to deliver the African people freedom from slavery in the Declaration of Emancipation.

So that was the ultimate battle and that is one many Christians still face today because Christ has purchased our freedom, but through the limits of this life we are still bound, and we need to be rescued.  The beautiful thing is that Christ rescues us over and over and over again, constantly redeeming us and bringing His purpose to pass through our lives even though we may not see it.  We still have this battle of ideas of slavery and bondage to the Law, and the Freedom that is inherited by Grace.

God not only brought the Israelites out of bondage of slavery from the Egyptians, but He also brought them out of bondage to the Babylonians, and Assyrians and many times over and over again.  They waited several years for total freedom which was going to only come through the Messiah, and when Jesus came, they thought he was going to physically free them from Roman captivity, but instead He freed them from the bondage of the Law.  He became a curse so they wouldn’t have to be bound any longer anymore and when Cleopas and his companion came across Him, they were mourning, and He had not revealed Himself to them, and He was actually pretending like He didn’t know what they were thinking.  They were expecting some great physical delivery or political delivery and freedom, but they didn’t realize how much power the freedom that they did have.

Luke 24:

18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

19 And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

So this glory encapsulates the freedom that He gives.  The freedom from the bondage of sin and death is what this freedom offers to mankind.  But people can go and take advantage of the freedom, and that’s where the issue comes up.  People can get so carried away with freedom, that they begin to live their licentious lives over again.  Look what’s happening right now in America.  The rights that were once considered valuable are now being trampled upon and the rights that are of no value to a human being are exalted and proclaimed over to the point where the rights of the people that instill values that reduce crime, and violence, are now being minimized.  So then freedom has bounds.  Bounds were set for protection, but not to bind if that makes sense.

Interestingly enough the word “boundary” comes from the word meaning “mark, or delimit” which brings up a very interesting conversation topic, the there is the Mark of God, and the Mark of the enemy.  So how does a believer know which mark is which?  When referring to the mark of the enemy, where one cannot buy or sell without the mark, it seems like it is delimiting and putting more and more control.  Whereas the Mark of God, freely grants you the right to ask from God whatever you desire, knowing that you have believed in Him, and have received.  We must remember that one of the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness and in that gentleness, Jesus is so gentle with you as to not force you into any direction, but as a loving shepherd He guides you by the still waters, but even the sheep have to go into the sheep gate so they don’t get attacked by wolves.

Getting back to the Civil War, which was anything but civil, we come again to the cost of freedom.  If you want to check out my previous post on Freedom, check out my blog on Freedom posted July 4, 2011.  Freedom means that someone has to die.  In the Christian walk, it means that Jesus has died for us.  He has set us free, and we are no longer captives.  We operate in a different kingdom, which is the Kingdom of Love and in that we find the freedom.  We find the Freedom to be able to love to the max, but through our own flaws and imperfections we fail to see what demand this love requires.  This love requires pain, emotionally, and sometimes even physically, but in the end it is Christ who frees us from the law of sin and death, and that is where the Ultimate Battle is won – on the Cross. So ask yourselves where in our lives have taken up the Cross?

Bearing Fruit in the Kingdom of God

We have this gardener who came and planted a blueberry plant, and then he came back and he said the other day that he had to remove that plant because it was not bearing fruit.  It really spoke to me because I found this verse.

John 15

15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Love and Joy Perfected

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

It is very important to bear fruit for the kingdom of God, and we cannot do this without Jesus.  We need His help and without the pride coming in saying, it is my own sufficiency which comes in and does this, but there are fruits that must be cultivated and maintained in the Kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

We all have these areas to work on and to develop the character and nature in God, but we must be careful that when we are developing the fruit of longsuffering, that we do not lose the fruit of joy, love, peace, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Jesus is patient with us to see which way we will turn out, but when He sees that we are not bearing fruit in the last days, then we are at threat of having everything we so longingly desire being taken away from us.  One of the key things to focus on is Love.  Love and Longsuffering are tied together, and I am sorry to say it, but it’s true.  When we are suffering long, we may become tired and worn out, and exhausted if we do not abide in Jesus, so when you see yourself falling into that trap, then the best thing to do is spend some time, which fruit can you work on improving more.  The 9 fruit gift of the Holy Spirit is a chained link which is tied together and whenever there is one that is strong, it can help sustain, all that are weak, but the most important one is love.  Love protects the breastplate of righteousness, and joy protects the Helmet of Salvation, Peace protects the Gospel of peace, and the rest also help prepare you with the Armor of God.  When you are going through the difficult times, remember love is a choice, not a feeling or an emotion, you choose to forgive, you choose to love, you choose to have joy, and through trials you choose to have patience, but sometimes patience, is the fruit that is hardest to develop.  Sometimes in life there are difficulties and trials, but through testing of your faith, that produces of patience, and patience, produces, character, and character produces hope.  Sometimes, we don’t see the hope in our situation, so then we wallow in self-pity and murmur and complain, but then we can choose to have joy and not complain and yearn to seek ourselves, but to allow Christ to work in us though we may be living examples of Christ.  And even though we may struggle from time to time because no man is perfect, even the anointed body, we still have this treasure in earthen vessels, which is the glory of God and Christ living in us.  So we must be careful, and I believe that this plant that was taken away because that it does not bear fruit, is a reminder, of how we must train and develop and mature not to just accept our former selves and love our outward man, but to go and remember that it is the soul and the spirit of a man that God looks after and cherishes, and that He cares for and tenderly nourishes.  So if you can’t cultivate one fruit, then cultivate more than one fruit.  And with that you will have patience.  There is no Law against the fruit of the Spirit, but the Law of Love, so if you are not operating out of love then ask yourself, what can you do to see the best of the person.  Allow God to transform you and to work in you to make you into what He created you to be, and don’t wallow in self-pity and discouragement because of trials and circumstances, and try to pursue these things, which are the nature of what Christ is called us to have.  Have love, Have joy, and Have peace, but most of all don’t have pride, because pride in saying that I don’t need to change and pursue these things, will lead to destruction, and God doesn’t want that.  Thank God for what you do have, and build up the nature of the fruit of the Spirit in life.  We may not understand what it actually takes to be like Jesus, but Jesus had to submit to His Father’s will, and that caused Him great anxiety, and stress, but in the end He gave up His will for His Father’s will, and we must do the same.

Striving for perfection

The world strives in its own ways for perfection in what does or what it thinks and they way they dress, look, and most of it is pretty superficial.  But Christians also strive for perfection to be like Jesus, and to know Him better.

Jesus made this statement:

48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

When I am cooking a meal that I like, like maybe spinach curry.  I put all the right ingredients, according to their measure from what I have been trained to do, and then I find that by God’s special touch, the food has come out perfect to my taste.

That’s the way God is with us.  He is the Potter and we are the clay.  He shapes us and molds us and perfects us into His very likeness and image, and each day He is delighted in the fruit that we bear and He says “perfect.”

John 15 says:  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

Roses are very beautiful, but a good gardener knows that he has to trim the rose bushes for them to bear fruit.  He also has to water them and give them enough light.  The Word is the water, and Jesus through His Holy Spirit is the light.

Sometimes we go through valleys and ups and downs, but in the end that is because of discipline because the Word of God says, “No discipline is joyful, but is grievious and painful, but in the end produces peacable fruits of righteousness to those that have been trained by it.”

A sculptor is looking for beauty in his creation the same way God is creating beauty that comes from Himself within creation.  When the sculptor is sculpting He can mold the creation whatever way He deems fit, and when He is dealing with people, God shapes them each into a creation the way that He orchestrated and designed in His perfect will.  Some of the pieces may be abstract, or look kind of funny, or look misshapen, or may even be cracked vessels, but in them He is creating beauty.

Sometimes we are so bogged down by sin, guilt, and shame, that we do not see the beauty that God has created in us.  He’d rather us not feel sorry for what we did, then miss out on us seeing the beauty He put in us when He created us. We were fearfully and wonderfully made.  God knew us before we were in our mother’s womb.  We were knit so intricately and woven into pieces by perfect design, but He wants us to realize that design He created in us, after we accept the Holy Spirit in our life.  Before we accept the Holy Spirit, our righteousness is like filthy rags, but after we have the Holy Spirit, we take upon ourselves His righteousness, so we can no longer live in darkness, but obtain pure perfection which is in the light of Jesus Christ.

The Lord has given us joy, so we must not wallow in doubt, fear, unbelief, murmuring, complaining, and disappointments.  He is waiting for us to realize that all the time we’re missing just worrying about being disobedient to Him and being cast away from His presence.  Would a mother rejoice in a baby that refuses to love her?  Would a mother rejoice in seeing her child in pain?  No good mother would.  She would be grieved.  The same way our Heavenly Father is grieved when we don’t experience His love for us.  He is there for us when we need Him.  But sometimes when we are going through hard times we cannot see that so then in the journey to seek the perfection and complete maturity in Christ, we get weighed down by all these circumstancial things.

True perfection is a about an attitude of the heart, which can be shown by thoughts and words.  Your thoughts and words have to change before your deeds do.  You can do all the deeds, but if your intent and thoughts and attitudes of the heart are not right, then they are not going to bear the “perfect” recipe of delight to the Lord’s mouth.  He may have to go and sprinkle some more spices on you just so that you add up to that right flavor.  He wants you to be just right.  If we feed off Him, and take delight in Him, then it is a sure way channel to reach into perfection.  The more we rely on Him, and trust on Him, and just relax and not worry about trying to achieve and trying to grasp and trying and trying and trying….only to make mistakes over and over again, the more we will see it is about acceptance.  Like Hannah Hurnard says in Hinds Feet in High Places, – “Acceptance with Joy”.  The Christian life is the ultimate metamorphosis process, and without Christ people get lost in the way of finding what they are truly supposed to be like and in the end look for things that don’t really matter.  Each life is valuable and has purpose, and when we see a life wasted away, some of us look carelessly, and think, just another statistic, but to know what’s in God’s heart is a totally different thing.  That’s why Jesus had to come, because in the Old Testament God had rules for disobedience, and they did not follow, so instead, they gave a person, which is Jesus, who took on the personification of perfection and laid it down before us so we can grasp and attain it.  We are no longer living in this world of sin, but living as heirs of perfection of Christ through the Holy Spirit.

So all of this striving and reaching and attaining for perfection is in vain, unless you realize first why God created you, and your redeemed value in Christ.  It’s Christ’s mission to make you realize the redeemed value that you have in Him, and where you stand through His eyes.

There is wellspring of knowledge and insight, and presence, and perfection, of God through the Holy Spirit, only so much more than we can possibly hope to attain or seek in one life time, but Oh, to be with Christ, and to see the eternal salvation, that awaits us on the eternal side of this life, would bring joy.  We must also seek, therefore, on this earth to have that fullness of perfection in realization of the redemption of Christ, as we submit our own weaknesses and allow Him to make beauty and perfection out of them.  Because only out of Him does beauty and perfection lie.

 

You are God’s beloved

This message is for Christians who have been born again and received salvation from our Father, and Son in the precious Lord Jesus Christ.  For those that are not Christians, and who have not received the promise then God is waiting for you to come to Him.

In 1 John 4:17 it says, Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

In Matthew 3:17 it says:  16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased

Once we receive the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit, after receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our spirit becomes one with His spirit.  To explain this to people that might be new to Christianity, there are three parts to each person – there is the body, soul, and spirit.  The body is the external part of you, your hands, eyes, feet, nose, etc.  The soul consists of the mind, emotion, and will.  The spirit is the third part of the person.  The spirit once a person becomes born again, takes on a a new nature and becomes a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:16 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

We become a ransomed bride of Christ because He redeemed us with His blood, which He shed on the Cross, taking up all the sin, shame, and guilt, of everything that we have done, will do, or are doing because He is outside of time and He was crucified once and for all.

Because the Word of God says that Jesus was and is the Father’s beloved, then we too are the Father’s beloved because He truly cares for us, but what pleases God?  Is it your works, or what you do, or what you don’t do, or how you live your life?  No it’s your faith because the Word of God says that “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

“who diligently seek Him” comes from the Greek word ekzeteo and in this context it means to “seek the favor of God, or to worship.”

Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ekzēteō (Strong’s 1567)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 17 Apr 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Strongs=G1567&t=KJV >

The word “faith” here is not the word, “faithfulness”, but comes from the wordpistis in Greek, and it means “the conviction that God is the creator and ruler of all things, provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ.”

Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for pistis (Strong’s 4102)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 17 Apr 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Strongs=G4102&t=KJV >

Sometimes we get bogged down and weighed down with sin and guilt that we can’t see why God created us.  We think He’s angry with us.  Jesus is living inside of the believers through the Holy Spirit and we abide in Him.  When we become born again our spirit becomes born inside of Him, and our spirit being becomes a part of Him.

John 3 says:

The New Birth

3 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Here’s what it says about abiding in Christ:

John 3:36

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 6:56

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

John 8:31

[ The Truth Shall Make You Free ] Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

John 8:35

And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.

John 12:46

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

When you become born again you are entering into a marriage contract with Jesus.  To know the conditions of that contract, and to know what you are getting into you have to read the Word of God which is the Bible to discover the beautiful books of poems, the beautiful things it to say about your husband.  The wonderous ways that He is Jealous for your attention and your love.

When He was looking for you, He chose you, and out of His gentle gentle, Spirit, He could not force you into commitment with Him, so He said only if “this person is willing to take on my name,” then I will allow her to become part of Me. After He chooses you He is not going to let you go without a fight, and you will have to fight like a good marriage does to stay together despite all the rumors, and all the commotion that goes on all around, despite all the danger lurking in various places, despite everyone and everything around you or in you that calls Him, and what He has promised to you in His Word a lie.  You must fight to hold on to that relationship, and keep Him the center of your affections, no matter what happens to you.  He loves you so much, and sometimes He will just hide so that you can find Him all over again, but He is always within you and you are within Him.  So you can rest secure that if you belong to Him, He will keep you in the palm of His hand.  Even if you turn your back on Him, like Peter did, He’ll still love you, and He’ll always be willing to redeem you if you turn to Him, but if you can’t live with the guilt of what you did, then you might be digging yourself into a place that you don’t want to be in like Judas did.  But that is not God’s heart.  God’s heart is to let you know that you are Jesus’ beloved and he will treasure you.  That doesn’t mean that trials and testings and tribulation won’t come, but it means that not only do you put your trust in Him, but He also trusts in you and He knows you better than you know yourself because He is willing to forgive you in anything that you do.

For men who don’t want to be called a bride, which is just a symbolic to term to indicate intimacy, if you prefer you are also the sons of God.

 

 

From a greedy heart to a loving one

 

This has really been on my heart a while about the dangers of greed, and I wanted to share it earlier. In the process I changed my title.   I want to venture out and say that sin has different levels, and while I was preparing this message, the verse that someone commented on this blog became alive for me.  12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:11

Imagine running a race, when a 100 pound weight vest on.  That’s what people do on the Biggest Loser.  They sometimes run these races and they have these weights of all the weight they used to weigh and as they are running the race they drop off the weights in these containers.  Similarly, in the Christian walk, we all have weights that are called sin, which so easily ensnare us.  Yes Jesus Blood has cleansed us from sin, and removed all past sin from us, but we are still not perfect like Him, so then we have this sin that so easily ensnares us, and one of them I want to talk about today is greed. Greediness is tied into selfishness.

We know the world has greed and it can be seen anywhere, the stock market, George Fontenellis, said “operates on fear and greed”.  The world does not know any better.  Whether Christians should invest in the stock market, is not the purpose of this post.  But we as Christians should be set apart and act differently, than the world, and sadly, we don’t see that within the body of believers.  Sometimes we pray for stuff and then we get it and then the next day it’s something else, and something else.  It is also tied to not having a grateful heart or a heart full of thanksgiving.  We are always wanting more and more and more to the point that we are not satisfied.  We are always asking this and that from God, and sometimes forgetting to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

We can also be greedy about love.  We want to have all the love to ourselves, and not want to share it.  We are in turn being selfish, and while God does know us, He wants us to recognize that we do have this area to work on.  The first step in problem solving is to identify the problem.  The Holy Spirit works with you to recognize the problem, and then He helps remove this weights of sin off our lives, if we let Him.  If we don’t let Him, then He can’t work in our lives.  We all have problems, and they need to be fixed, and Jesus is the Master of fixing problems, but often times He does not do it in the way we expect.  For example when He came to Israel, they expected Him, to become King and dismantle the political system and save the Jews from oppression by the Romans, but that was not what He was there to do.  He was there for a bigger purpose.  He had to commission His Kingdom, and set the process of transformation of lives to begin with.

Many people can have spiritual gifts and anointing, ministries, and the like, but unless they allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives and remove the things that are keeping us from the glory to be revealed in us as it says in Romans 8, then all of that is in vain.  Unconditional love or Agape is the reason that Jesus died for us, and not just for our families, friends, and acquaintances, but for the whole world.  When we have this selfish greed in our heart it is keeping us from operating in the fullness of this Agape love, but since there are certain levels of greed operating in our lives, then we have to lay this sin upon the cross daily, and start renew and cultivate the love of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives.

What gets to me is when Paul says, “To be able to know what is the depth, and the height and the breadth of love, which surpasses all understanding”  We need to have more of this kind of love.  Greed is what makes people steal.  In 2 Kings 5:20 they talked about Gehazi who had greed, and the leprosy of Namaan clung to Gehazi.  Why?  Because He was not operating out of love.

This post is really not about tithing, or about money, or about possessions, but it’s about the character of God developing in you.  When you have this greed, or any sin, for that matter, it is like grime and it weighs you down so that you can’t run the race.  When you pray and you run to God to release the burden of the sin onto Him, and cast your cares onto Him, He allows it to work in your life, but you first have to surrender.

Many people think that once your saved, that’s it that you don’t have to change in anyway and that you can still be the same person, and that you cannot remove the old nature and to take on the new nature, but they don’t realize that this is all a process and a journey with many mountains and valleys, ups and downs.  Jesus is there to guide you through it all, and Thank God, for He is patient, kind, slow to anger, and merciful.  If it wasn’t for God’s mercy, we really would not be able to get away with all the stuff that we’ve gotten away with.

The power of redemption is to know what a sinner you were before, and to realize exactly what Jesus has done for you, so does that mean that once you have accepted you can continue to live in that way?  When you have redemption, not only has Jesus paid the price for your sin, but there is a transforming work inside of you that brings you from glory to glory so that you can be the shining example of victory that God has promised in your life.  Repentance, is not really just about saying I’m sorry, but like I said before, it’s about feeling remorse, and then turning, but as you turn it’s usually hard.  It’s where your faith comes in, and says if Jesus says that I can do it, then “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, and in this context is where the verse is properly applied because the context is about knowing that whether abased or abound, you can be content.

Isn’t that all that we want?  To be content.  It is the true heart’s desire for us to be content and satisfied, but in essence we are always wanting more and more and we cannot seem to settle in one direction or another, but to have that steadfast contentment in our hearts, knowing that no matter what happens as long as we have Jesus, all is well.  I know it is hard, but we shouldn’t let others’ discontentment, which can lead to issues such as anger and greed get to us.  At the same time, we need to avoid being greedy and avoid all kinds of sin around us.  Yes Jesus has removed us from the guilt of sin, so we do not keep on needing to beat ourselves up about it, but we need to allow God to transform and change us by surrendering to Him, and it’s all a little by little.  The seed is there and we are going to change, if we have the right attitude about it, and are willing to change for God.  The problem comes when we think we have completely changed once we are saved, and then our minds don’t need constant renewing in the Word of God, or that our character needs to change to develop Christ-likeness.  Then we can appreciate the Grace of God that allows us to change into the image of God because He put that seed to love in our hearts.

Heavenly Father,

We know we are not perfect without You in our lives, and we thank You that You have given your precious saints, the ability to change and to become more like You.  Guard our hearts today from any kind of sin, which so easily ensnares us, and let us lay down any weight that keeps us from You Lord God.  Transform our hearts and make us into the pure likeness of Your Spirit, and guide us all into discernment Truth.  I seal this post with the Blood of Jesus and I ask you Lord to renew our hearts daily so that we may become more like You.  Mold us, like the potter molds the clay, and make us conform to Your image Lord God.  Wherever there is violence or anger spewing in anyone’s heart, remove that and change into love, and compassion, and mercy, and forgiveness.  Teach people humility, and to be loving and giving of their time, resources, and the gifts and abilities You have given them so that they may know how they can reach out to others.  Thank You for this beautiful day for we know that whether it is sunny, or windy, or rainy, or snowy, or thundering, or shaking, You are still God and the midst of it all.

In Jesus Mighty Name I pray,

Amen.

 

 

Obedience to God is more important than Grace

Yes we know that Grace is part of Jesus’ nature, but Obedience is much more important.  I’ve already posted videos on The Call to Obey, and the Obedience to the Holy Spirit videos.  But as I am learning on the Christian walk, that your immediate initial reaction in most cases is probably the best.   God gives you many warnings, and you end up debating with God and get out of the hedges of protection.  Your angels may still be with you and this message is not to condemn.   There are many times I’ve written a blog posting or even done things in life without being obedient to the LORD, thinking that it wasn’t Him talking, it was me. Here’s what we learn about Obedience like a donkey.

12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.”

14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’”

18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”

20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.

Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel

22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. 24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again. 26 Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.

28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”

30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”

And he said, “No.”

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. 32 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me. 33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

34 And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”

35 Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

36 Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory. 37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”

38 And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.” 39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth. 40 Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.

Many times God will tell you don’t go there, and then you go, or he’ll tell you don’t take that street, and then you take that street, and he’ll tell you don’t make that turn, and  if you don’t listen and obey your going to end up in more trouble than you realize – you’ll end up in a crash, and if you listened in the beginning then you wouldn’t have had to go through all that.  Obedience is the most important thing and for obedience it takes discernment.  People have been given wisdom as it says in James to make wise decisions, and one person’s disobedience can have consequences, so obedience is very important.

Grace is very very important and vital to the Christian faith, but obedience to the Lord is very important.  We are all learning to hear the Lord’s voice, but the Lord does give you warning, and when you make mistakes – All things work out together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, but you can’t just willfilly disobey the Lord and get away with it.  He will keep warning you and warning you until you wake up and if you don’t listen, then there’s nothing you can do except get hit unexpectedly with something you thought just came out of the blue, and it can cause damage that wouldn’t have been there if you didn’t disobey.

Disobedience can cause a domino effect.  Eve’s disobedience led to Adam’s disobedience, which led to the downfall of the whole society, and when you disobey, it’s not just hurting you, it’s hurting people way down the road that you cannot see and effecting people throughout generations.  If one person disobeys in one area then it hurts people way down the road that you cannot even think about.  You have been given blessings, but even those can be taken away from you if you don’t obey.  I’m sorry to say that but it’s the truth.

For example, you have a car, but then you go and like I said in the previous example you don’t listen to him, and then your car ends up in damage.  Yes your lives are spared and that’s what is important, but if you listen to the Lord at each and every time.  Obedience is not always doing what you don’t feel like doing, or in other words just because you have a natural inclination towards something doesn’t mean you have to go against it.  As you draw closer to the Lord your natural impulses will be more like His, but sometimes He’ll tell you things that will just boggle your mind, and it’s something you don’t want to do like giving something away.

Discernment is the key and prayer is very important.  Sometimes like it says in following the Cloud example, you go where the Holy Spirit tells you to go and you do what He tells you to do, and if He hasn’t told you then don’t do it, and just wait.  Go with whatever seems good to the nature of God.

Also we need to spend more time in prayer.  The more time we pray, and really set apart time favorably in the morning especially if you are going to go outside of the house .  Now this is not going to be something where you can decide hey, this is what I am going to do, but it is something that the Lord will lead you.  Jesus said to follow Him, and that means to obey Him.  That means following the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Yes you can pray for Grace, and God will do it for those who He loves, but when you have looked back and seen where you have not gone where God wants you to go, then you will come back with regret and remorse, which is really what repentance is all about, so that you can change your mind for the better.  So this is my own personal warning for you guys.  Yes Grace is important, but Obedience is more important because take a look at Achan and Ai, the whole town was punished for one man’s disobedience, and also Balaam and the donkey is another example.  Even the Apostles were obedient to the Holy Spirit, and that’s when they found Grace, when they truly repented turned around and followed after the Lord.  We are not all perfect, and it does take discipline and discernment to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, but learn to be obedient because even Jesus said I do nothing unless I see the Father doing it. Any time you think you should or shouldn’t be doing something then it’s the best time to listen and obey.

If this is a repeat for some of you then I apologize, but this needs to be ingrained into our spirits.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for keeping each of us alive today, and thank You for the grace and favor you have given us this far, forgive us Lord for when we have not been obedient to You.  Lord God, help us to trust in You even more Lord God.  We repent for everytime we have strayed away from Your will and Your plan and Your purpose, and from every prompting of the Holy Spirit.  Thank You for protecting us and thank You for guiding us.  Help us to see the good in our situation.  May You we learn how to listen to Your voice always. Forgive us for any rebelliousness.  I apply this post with the Blood of Jesus.

In Jesus Mighty Name I pray,

Amen.