Money is an alluring thing. People work for it, they gamble for it and some even steal it. Many idolize it and their obsession with it has brought countless lives to ruin.
Yet money itself has been given a bad rap. All it is, is a medium of exchange – whose value is determined only by what a society agrees it should be through general consensus, or by runaway governments who have turned their backs upon the governed in order to benefit themselves.
Money is not the root of all evil (an often misquoted scripture). The quantity one has is but a measure of their material wealth, which ultimately is a gift from God Himself: “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you the power to make wealth…” Dt. 8:18 NASB
In fact, all of our abundance comes from our Creator – generated by the unique talents that God gives to each of us:
Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God. 2 Cor. 3:5 AMP
Both riches and honor come from You… 1 Chr. 29:12 NKJV
In addition, God wants us to enjoy His gifts:
…everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man. Eccl. 3:13 ESV
Our part in this gift exchange is to acknowledge God as our source, love Him, seek after Him, and walk in His ways; then our well-being is guaranteed:
“…Your fruit is found in Me.” Hos. 14:8 NKJV
And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 AMP
If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity… Job. 36:11 NKJV
If we acknowledge God as the source of our wealth, we are in essence exercising our faith; and we gain that wealth as a byproduct of our faith, through our efforts to seek after our Creator:
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ … for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But first seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mt. 6:31 – 33. NASB
“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Mt. 21:22 NASB
There is a caveat however; God does not pour abundance over us by happenstance. He only blesses us with our desires if by receiving them they will increase His purpose in us to forward His kingdom. King Solomon’s prayer request and God’s response is the best example of this: whereby God asked him what it was that he wanted, telling him he could have anything; but Solomon humbly asked only for wisdom and knowledge, in order to help him effectively rule God’s children. God not only granted him his request, but He also heaped wealth and honor upon him – an additional reward because Solomon’s prayer focused upon God’s kingdom purpose. (2 Chr. 1:11, 12.)
Furthermore, God works with you, not just for you. You have to express that talent He imprinted you with in order to lay claim to your abundance and you must express it with integrity: A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. Pr. 10:4 ESV
Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase. Pr. 13:11 NKJV
When God sends His blessings your way, they come to you with a responsibility – which is to be wise in your dispensation of them (i.e. be a good steward):
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Tim. 6:17 – 19. ESV
But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand. Is. 32:8 NKJV
You can’t out give God. He gives you more than enough abundance so that you can share with others – thereby serving Him:
“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Lk. 14:13, 14. NKJV
“…do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.” Lk. 6:35 NKJV
God also asks that you do your sharing discretely, rather than publicly for the purpose of pridefully puffing yourself up:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven…but when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” Mt. 6:1, 3 & 4. NKJV
And don’t forget last week’s lesson about tithing back to God a portion of your new found abundance. (See What Does God Say About Your Giving?)
All of God’s abundance is good and He wants you to have it. The danger comes when we let our focus shift from our gratitude for His riches to the riches themselves:
…if riches increase, do not set your heart on them. Ps. 62:10 NKJV
He who leans on, trusts in, and is confident in his riches shall fall… Pr. 11:28 AMP
“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Lk. 12:15 NASB
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” Heb. 13:5 NASB
The danger of making an idol out of money is that it separates us from God:
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Tim. 6:9, 10. ESV (Emphasis mine, so that you see where the priority of the correct scripture lies; i.e. it the love of money, not money itself that is the root of evils.)
“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Lk. 16:13 ESV
What is the danger of being separated from God? It is the possible loss of our salvation:
“…the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Mk. 4:19 NKJV
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. Pr. 11:4 NKJV
“…it is easier of a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mt. 19:24 NKJV
Every material blessing from God is a wonderful and marvelous thing. All we have to do is remain grateful, share our abundance, and keep our focus on our greatest treasure – God Himself:
For the one who sows to his own flesh from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap eternal life. Gal. 6:8 NASB
“Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Mt. 6:19, 20. NKJV
Our greatest treasure is expressed in our spiritual journey – the one that begins with our acknowledgment of our redemption:
…you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Pt. 1:18, 19. ESV
Our ultimate abundance is found in God. When we stay with Him, everything is taken care of. God wants you to have the fruits of His earthly abundance (including money) as one of His ways of showing you His love. He just doesn’t the fruits to have you…
Good night and God bless.
September 19 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Giving is a God thing. Our very lives and livelihood are gifts from God: I perceived that a there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man. Eccl. 3:12, 13. ESV
When we give, we are giving the gift of ourselves – each of us a conglomeration of gifts we have inside of us that were gifted to us from God:
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights… James 1:17 NASB
But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 1 Cor. 7:7 ESV
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 1 Pet. 4:10 ESV
In fact, God loves to give. All He asks of us is to give a little of our abundance back to Him, to show our gratitude and to acknowledge God as the sole source of our blessings:
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 1 Cor. 3:7 ESV
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! 1 Chr. 16:29 ESV
Giving back to our Creator can take many forms: the dedication of your time, your talent, or your purse – applied to forward the kingdom of God by bringing people the salvation message of Jesus Christ, or to assist the church in doing so.
In addition, you can apply one or more of those same three avenues of your abundance to assist the more unfortunate in our society, to lift them out of their poverty, looking to their well being, so that they can come to a place where they can transcend the urgency of their survival in order to be able to hear about the promise of Christ:
Through Him (Jesus) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Heb. 13:15, 16. NASB
When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase…and have given it to the Levite (priest), the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before the LORD your God: “I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them…according to all Your commandments… Dt. 26:12, 13. NKJV
When we give to and for God, our gift is referred to as a ‘tithe,’ which means a tenth. In the Old Testament, God told His children to bring their tithes into His house (church) which were to consist of 10% of any new increase (the ‘first fruits’) in their lives. For example:
“The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.” Ex. 23:19 ESV
To refuse to tithe then, is to go against the word of God, which is to refuse to take part in His pathway for providing you your abundance by violating His law of fair exchange: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me…” Mal. 3:8, 9. ESV
We know that moving against God’s principles, regardless of where they apply, is not beneficial for us. Thus, it behooves us to choose to live according to His plan. God wants to reward you for your compliance. With regards to tithing, it is the only principle in the entire Bible that God asks you to test Him in His sincerity:
Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Mal. 3:10 AMP
Many people, even in some church denominations, dismiss the principle of tithing – calling it an Old Testament law that no longer applies, believing that it was done away with by God’s new covenant with us through Christ. However, Jesus Himself addressed this mistaken belief when He admonished the Pharisees for their public pretensions of piety:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe…and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” Mt. 23:23 NASB […without neglecting the others. (e.g. tithing)]
Yet the only time our giving has meaning to God is when we give with a willing heart, not with a reluctant one:
[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings my come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving]. 2 Cor. 9:6, 7. AMP
When we give, we serve God by showing Him our gratitude for His abundance. (2 Cor. 2:19) Through this same giving, our own life blossoms:
A man’s gift makes room for him… Pr. 18:16. NKJV
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 NKJV
The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Pr. 11:25 NASB
Giving is not always easy. Many times it takes a leap of faith – having faith that God will take care of our own needs as well. Often it is an immediate sacrifice, something that in the moment looks like an act that will rob us of our livelihood. Yet Jesus Himself observed an example of this very action and made sure that we understood the full weight of the faith behind it and the value He put upon the giver’s effort:
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” Lk. 21:1 – 4. NASB
Not all of our giving for God has to be monetary. We can share the nature of God through the salvation message of His Son, and we can emulate Them both with our words and deeds. The apostle Paul did this when He channeled the healing gift of Christ through his words to a crippled man:
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6 NKJV
And he did…
Our gifts are to be shared with anyone in need (as long as they align with God’s will / word):
“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” Mt. 5:42 NASB
Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. Pr. 28:27 ESV
“…give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven;” Mt. 19:21 NKJV
The greatest gift that we can give is the gift of ourselves from the heart – a loving sacrifice of faith. Whatever that gift, it will bless others, which blesses God, and He in turn blesses us back. What a beautiful cycle…
Goodnight and God bless.
September 11 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
God’s plan for your life is perfect, but that perfection must be chosen. If you make a decision instead to follow a different plan (i.e. a worldly one), the outcome will be a life that is decidedly less than perfect, less than what God intended for you. Wounds will result and they will require healing.
We heal when we open ourselves up to receive the restoration that comes with aligning with His plan, the one He laid out for us that is found in the Bible – the entirety of His word. In that plan, God tells us that He is the source of our healing: “For I am the Lord who heals you.” Ex. 15:26 NKJV
Even when we make the choice for the wrong path, God continually calls us back to Him so that He can set us on the right one; and heal us from the wounds that He painfully had to watch us inflict upon ourselves by ignoring His word:
…the Lord binds up the hurt of His people, and heals their wound [inflicted by Him because of their sins]. Is. 30:26 AMP
“Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness.” Jer. 3:22 NASB
Where is the healing found? It is found in God’s word:
He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction. Ps. 107.20 AMP
Therefore, we too can make use of God’s word – both for the healing of ourselves and for others through prayer; and like any prayer, we must first clean up our bad choices before our petition is granted:
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16 NKJV
In order for God’s healing power to continue manifesting in our lives, we need to try, to the best or our ability, to permanently fast from our worldly ways and walk in the words of His instruction:
“Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily;” Is. 58:6 – 8. ESV
When Jesus walked the earth, He personified the healing power of God, He channeled it; and He warned us that if we wanted our healing to stick, we’d better stay on our God path. Walking the walk seals the heal:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” Jn. 5:19 NKJV
“Behold, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” John 5:14 NKJV
Jesus kept on healing – long after He left this earth to ascend to the right side of His Father. On one occasion, the apostle Peter called upon the power of the name of Jesus to heal a paralytic:
Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up. Acts 9:34 NASB
That gift of healing is imparted to some of God’s children today as a portion of the gifts God imbues us with through the Holy Spirit, when we connect with Him. Some of us receive the privilege and duty to be His healing channels:
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, to another the utterance of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit… 1 Cor. 12:7 – 9. ESV
For that healing to flow and have its desired effect, both the one channeling the healing and the recipient of it must have faith:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Jn. 14:12, 13. NASB
According to your faith and trust and reliance [on the power invested in Me] be it done to you; Matt. 9:29 AMP
God’s blessing of healing through Jesus is effectual on many levels. One level is the healing from sickness:
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases… Ps. 103:2, 3. NKJV
Obviously, not all wounds are due to straying off your godly path. Accidents may occur, you may be a victim of traumatic crime, or you may succumb to mental, chemical or physical stress. Whatever the source, God provides the healing.
Indeed, God even sacrificed His own Son in order to give the entire human race (that ever lived or will live) the opportunity for being healed from the wounds of their sins so that they could be reconciled to Him for all of eternity:
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. Is. 53:5 NASB
In addition, God sent Christ to heal our hearts: He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted… Luke 4:18 NKJV
Jesus repairs out soul, He takes our pain upon Himself, He stands with us when the tears fall; and when loved ones leave us, He loves us through the subsequent loss. He also compassionately accompanies us through our graduation from this earth.
Finally, when the kingdom of God is established for His children, God promises global healing in paradise: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations. Rev. 22:1, 2. ESV
Praise God for the healing. Take joy in the heavenly blessing that allows us to be a part of it…
Goodnight and God bless.
September 05 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Let’s hit the concept of loneliness right between the eyes first. One of the most common roots of modern-day loneliness stems from the advent of so-called communicative technologies. We have smart phone texting so that we don’t have to engage in real time voice-to-ear or face-to-face communication. Home computers have all but removed the necessity of classrooms or even working alongside others in group endeavors. Tablets and gaming devices create environments whereby we can stimulate / entertain ourselves by ourselves.
The ultimate outcome of using these tools that were supposed to bring us closer together is isolation. People are losing the ability to focus on anything other then themselves. Then, when they run out of ways to fulfill their most basic needs (love and acceptance) they find themselves alone with no clue how to remedy it. They’ve lost their social skills. In fact, many families cannot even communicate at the dinner table, as all of the members have their eyes and ears glued to some machine.
Death of friends and other loved ones often press the specter of loneliness on those who consider themselves ‘left behind.’ Yet those feelings are only generated by one’s attachment to their flesh. We have to look at the fact that no flesh (or anything material) as we know it, survives the journey on and off this earth: As he came from his mother’s womb, he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. Eccl. 5:15 ESV
…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 15:50 NKJV
If you really look at it, you can see that it was not the flesh of the other that brought us joy, it was the state that he or she brought to our heart. Looking deep within your heart, you will find that the same state of joy still resides there – waiting for you to caress it and re-live it as many times as you need.
Finally, and most frequently, loneliness is something that we generate ourselves. At the root of it, is a loathing for ourselves because we believe that either we lack something that we are sure that everyone else has (not ever true) or because we believe we have committed unforgivable acts. (God is always ready to forgive.) Regardless, we project this inner shame, fear, and anger outwards – making ourselves undesirable to befriend. We drive others away…
A man who has friends must himself be friendly. Pr. 18:24 NKJV
As with all things, we need to look to God to help us make this change in us by learning how to relate, by stepping into the ultimate relationship – the one He asks us to make with Him. All we have to do is answer His request that He makes through His Son: Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me. Rev. 3:20 AMP
When you invite Christ into your life, God is not far behind:
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 1 Jn 4:15 NKJV
Now, you have the Creator of the Universe living inside of you, as well as the Son through Whom God made it all happen; and it changes you:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Tim. 1:7 AMP
For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance. 2 Cor. 5:7 AMP
Who wouldn’t want to be related to a God like that? Moreover, God meant for you to live this way even before you were born; and then when you do chose to relate in love with Him, He has every aspect of your journey here and beyond covered:
…God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth… 2 Thess. 2:13 NKJV
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. Ps 121:7, 8. ESV
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” Hos. 13:14 NKJV
You can take this to the bank because God never breaks a promise:
“My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.” Ps. 89:34 NASB
Furthermore, God adds bonuses!
For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. Ps. 91:11 AMP
That includes the presence of His Son as well:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. Jn 10:27, 28. NKJV
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:20 ESV
Finally, God also fills us with the Holy Spirit!
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever – The Spirit of Truth…you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. Jn. 14:16, 17. AMP
So, when you enter into a relationship with God, what is it that is within you?
For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you]. Lk 17:21 AMP
How can you ever be lonely again once you link hearts with your Creator? You have become a heavenly house – filled with promises of love, the presence of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the angels – walking calmly in the love and protection of God forever.
And guess what? You cannot be filled with those things without radiating it outwards all about you. You will become a magnet for love and friends; and loved ones old and new will come out of the woodwork to abound in your life – just to be with the walking promise that you are…
Good night and God bless.
August 30 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
God concerns Himself with the mistakes you make against Him, (sins) which ultimately have deleterious effects upon your welfare. In part two of this three-part series, we saw just how deadly sin can be. In fact, it is so deadly that God devoted the majority of the Bible to teaching us how to extricate ourselves from its clutches. Let’s take a look:
First of all, God gave us ground rules for living a good life, rules that are not challenging to follow: For this is that love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. 1 John 5:3, 4. NKJV
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Mic. 6:8 NKJV
So it’s by walking in God’s word that provides our best defense against the world’s devilish ways – walking in love, justice, mercy and humility. God loves us so much that He continually pleads with us to follow that path so that we live a life of transformation:
“…the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord GOD. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live!” Ezek. 18:29 – 32. NKJV
The Israelites (Hebrews) were God’s first designated children; and this entreaty from God is every bit as relevant to all of His wayward children today.
God gives us some practical advice as well:
Depart now from the tents of these wicked men Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all of their sins. Num. 16:26 NKJV
God is talking here about hanging out with willful chronic sinners. It’s guilt by association; it rubs off on you.
There is a mandate however, that every child of God has from his Creator; and that is to try show everyone the way to salvation – to be saved from his or her sins. Once we ourselves have received salvation through Jesus Christ, it is our duty not to judge, but to make a sinner aware of the danger he or she is in, and to reveal the way out of it. God Himself holds us responsible for the dispensation of our ‘great commission':
“…I have made you a watchman…therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked ,’You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” Ezek. 3:16 – 19. NKJV
Yet God is always compassionate towards the sinner. He knows we are not sin; it’s something we do. He still looks at us with loving eyes; He looks at our potential:
“For the LORD does not see as a man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7 NKJV
He knows that as long as we inhabit this present earth, we are engaged in a spiritual battle against the adversary, who is continually stirring up our flesh:
…walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these…those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Gal. 5:16, 17 & 19 – 23. ESV
There you have it. It is our spiritual pursuit of God and His ways that keep us on the right side of life. Indeed, here God has given you a list of what sins consist of as well as how the opposing spiritual ways manifest.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT GOD FORGIVES OUR BOUTS OF SHORTSIGHTEDNESS AND HEALS US FROM THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE!
“…if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV
God is telling us how to deal with sin – by coming to Him with confession and repentance:
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Pr. 28:13 ESV
I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord [continually unfolding the past till all is told] – then you [instantly] forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin. Ps. 32:5 AMP
God wants to reconnect with you because He loves you so much and He wants you to occupy that space by His side that He has prepared for you in eternity:
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…” Is. 1:18 NASB
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Is. 43:25 NKJV
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love toward those who fear him… Ps. 103:10, 11. ESV
That is one loving, compassionate God – who takes on amnesia where your confessed and repented sins are concerned, who does not practice an eye for an eye, who does these things so that He can have you near, to love…
God eliminates your sins in a special way. He provides atonement for them. (Ps. 65:3) We may not completely understand the why of His method, but God washes your sin away with blood – an act of sacrificing a life so that you can keep yours: …without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Heb. 9:22 ESV
When God sent the angel of death against the Egyptians before Moses led his people away, the Hebrews spread blood from a sacrificial lamb over their doorposts so that the judgment of the angel of death would pass over them. The blood protected the Hebrews from the judgment of sin for one day.
After the Hebrews were led out of Israel, God established a ‘Day of Atonement’ for them: one day a year where an animal sacrifice was made to protect all of Israel from the judgment of sin for one year.
Much, much later, God sent His final atonement for all sins for all people for all time -the blood of His Son on the cross: God is light…if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 5 & 7. ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, (devil) the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- Eph. 2:1, 2, 4, 5. ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works… Eph. 2:8, 9. ESV
For the death that He died, He died to sin one for all… Rom. 6:10 NASB
This is the central salvation message of the entire Bible. It’s your ticket to heaven. We are asked to walk as best we can in the light (God’s path), and place our faith in this monumental gift from God that delivers us from death into His kingdom of Love through His Son. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY!
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NKJV
When Jesus shed His blood on the cross, died and was resurrected, the power of His blood was unleashed – the final sacrifice, the eternal atonement made available for everyone who has faith in the Son of God for who He is and what He’s done. He’s paid our sin debt for all time – past, present and future.
Be forewarned however, that our salvation is not a license to repeatedly sin at will: For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins… Heb. 10:26 AMP
Christ covers our mistakes when our walk with God is in earnest. Again, it is the faith in the blood of Jesus that is the final pardon for our sins. All we have to bring is our confession and repentance. No more animal sacrifices, no begging forgiveness from imaginary Saints, no rubbing of inanimate objects, no exchange of money for sin absolution from priests.
It’s the blood that sets you free! It washes you clean from all sins but one: “…every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven…whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matt. 12:31, 32. ESV
That is why I told you that you will die in (under the curse of) your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He [Whom I claim to be - if you do not adhere to, trust in, and rely on Me], you will die in your sins. John 8:24 AMP
The only way to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to deny its message of salvation through Christ – effectively shutting the door on the only path for your redemption.
Your Savior makes all other sins null and void. With that one exception, a sin is a sin. There is no hierarchy of them.
Sin is an act. It is not who you are. We sin repeatedly because we are humans being perfected. We will miss the mark. The blood of Jesus restores our aim. Jesus stands between us and God as our advocate. When we fall, Jesus picks us up, cleanses us and tells His Father, ‘It’s okay. I have this one covered.’
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free… Gal. 5:1 NKJV
Now you are intimately aware of your mistakes, (sins) of what they are, how damaging they are, how to minimize their occurrence, and how to wipe your slate clean and help others to the same.
Goodnight and God bless.
August 23 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In the first part of this series, we looked at the mistakes we make that consist of thoughts and actions that run contrary to God’s ways. God calls them ‘sins.’ We saw that a sin was an act that forces us to deviate from God’s plan for us and separates us from His love – a serious offense that may cost us our eternity.
God gave us guideposts (marks) with which to live by, and He evolved them through His Son into the ultimate direction to follow in order to live our highest and best life. That path has three components: love God, love ourselves, and love everybody else. If we live that way, we can minimize the encroachment of sin…
Why is sin so deadly?
To begin with, sin is the opposite of love: He who despises his neighbor sins [against God, his fellowman, and himself]… Pr. 14:21 AMP
It stands to reason: to despise is to hate, hate is the opposite of love, God is love (1 Jn. 4:16), to despise is sin, sin is the opposite of love, thus contrary to God Himself.
Our God is a God of peace. Sin on the other hand, is born out of unchecked emotions: When angry, do not sin…Leave no such foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him.] Eph. 4:26, 27. AMP
As you can see, unexamined sinning invites the author of them, the great enemy of Man, the devil himself. Believe me, your welfare is not what he has in mind. Satan lords himself over those people who follow him by way of giving into their insatiable desires for what the world has to offer, regardless of the two grim realities that accompany such a practice – enslavement and death:
Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? Rom. 6:16 AMP
Again, sin is an automatic result of chasing after worldly desires instead of pursuing spiritual growth. Sin is associated with the world, not with God:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:13 – 15. ESV
That desire for what the world offers comes from a perception that most of us have that we inherently lack something within ourselves; so we try to satiate our desires to fill this perceived void. This perception was handed down to us from Adam and Eve themselves, who swallowed that lie from the devil when he told them they could be gods – inferring that being God’s crown of creation was not perfect enough.
Yet the very chase to satisfy this false ‘missing’ separates us from the only real missing we will ever have, and that is the love of our God – the separation which is induced by the act in the first place: …your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. Is. 59:2 AMP
So, sin separates you from God. He is pure righteousness; He cannot commune with sin. When you sin, you tie His hands. You sever your love-connection and your prayers fall upon deaf ears.
Sin is of the world, so it is satanically sourced. Be aware that the devil cannot make you sin; he just makes suggestions. You make the choice whether of not you will act them out: Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. 1 Jn. 3:8 ESV
We also separate ourselves from God when we listen to the advice of Man and give it and the giver precedent over what God teaches us: “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, (the words of His prophet) because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 1 Sam. 15:24 NKJV
Another deadly facet of sin is that it never involves you alone. You are always hurting someone else as well – be it another person, Christ, or Jehovah God: For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God… 1 Th. 4:7, 8. ESV
…when you thus sin against the brethren…you sin against Christ. 1 Cor. 8:12 NKJV
Moreover, when your sin also involves your body, you deny the very sacred nature of the God-given gift that your body is, and you denounce the sacrifice Christ made on your behalf:
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Of do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”
But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside of his body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:15 – 20. NASB
Finally, the sin of any individual has a trickle-down effect upon the entire planet:
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. James 4:1, 2. NKJV
We see then that sin has a plethora of destructive facets; and if we sin repeatedly it causes a continual degradation in the quality of our lives:
“Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” John 5:14 ESV
What is the application for today’s examination of the word of God?
It is to see and own the vile nature of sin so that we can develop a godly aversion to these acts.
Yet, as we know, we all sin. How can we minimize its effects? Next time…
Goodnight and God Bless.
August 16 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
We all make many mistakes in our lifetimes. Every one of them has the potential for teaching us something, be it something we learn that is best not to repeat, or something that reveals to us the way to a better path.
Some mistakes bring with them severe costs; and sometimes we are clueless about these costs until they claim our very lives. A major group of these mistakes are those that we make when we act contrary to God’s ways. God refers to these mistakes as ‘sins.’
[You'll notice that I didn't use the word 'sin' in the title of this post, because the very word sends people running. Why? It's because most people (with the exception of sociopaths) know that they commit sins, and the word convicts them.]
Do we need to feel convicted? Let’s take a look…
‘Sin’ is translated from the Hebrew word chattath, meaning ‘offense,’ and from the Greek hamartano, meaning ‘to miss the mark.’ Other biblical terms used interchangeably with ‘sin’ are: ‘trespass’ [from the Hebrew masar (meaning 'to set apart') and from the Greek paraptoma (meaning to 'lapse' or 'deviate)], ‘iniquity’ [Hebrew avon (moral rebellion) and Greek adikia (injustice or wrongfulness)], and finally we have ‘transgression’ [Hebrew pesha (rebellion) and Greek paraptoma (same as for 'trespass' above)].
Breaking this down then, God says that sin is an act that causes one to miss the mark that He has set for him or her to reach in order to live the highest and best life that He has planned for them. It is an act of rebellion against God, a lapse in one’s moral character, a behavior that deviates from His word, a volitional perpetration of injustice that offends God and separates the offender from His love.
God never intended for sin and its consequences to be a component of His plan for you. You were meant to live eternally in His presence – wrapped up in His loving arms. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve blew that for us when they committed the ‘original sin’ by rebelling against God’s one rule; and by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they invited sin in and around them. (Gen. ch. 3)
Ever since that time, it has been perpetrated through the generations: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… Rom. 5:12 ESV
…for there is no one who does not sin… 1 Kings 8:46 NKJV
We first encounter the word ‘sin’ in the Bible in the account of the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. (Gen. ch. 4) In that account, Cain is angry with God because He did not accept his worship sacrifice. (Cain had not prepared his sacrifice in the manner that God had prescribed.) God addresses his anger: “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Gen. 4:7 ESV
In other words, every time we turn away from the path that God sets for us, sin is waiting. Yet we have the ability (through the strength of God) to use our free will to turn away from sin and pursue righteousness.
The glory of man manifests itself when he reaches for the highest good; and in doing so, he becomes a reflection of the glory of God. Our Father in heaven wants that for all of us. He knows we miss the mark. Does that mean we sin? Yes. Does that make us evil? No. Missing the mark is part of being human. Yet we also see that sin is potentially lethal; so our compassionate God dedicated the entire Bible to you, so that you could recognize His ‘mark’ and live by it.
In the Bible, God gave us the mark by way of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3 – 17.) When He sent Jesus to walk the earth, Christ distilled / evolved these ten marks into two:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets. Matt. 22:37 – 40. AMP
Jesus is telling us that everything God teaches us in His word revolves around these two commandments. Thus, sin is any behavior (mental or physical) that does not reflect love for God, ourselves, and everyone else, i.e. when we turn away from our higher purpose.
Well, now that we know the mark, will that make us sinless? The answer is unfortunately ‘no.’ We will give into the desires of our flesh again and again.
The question that begs an answer then is, ‘When are we held answerable for our mistakes against God?’ First we have to take into account that God gave us an innate knowing of the difference between right and wrong: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jer. 31:33 NKJV
Yet God still does not hold us accountable until we gain an awareness of His commandments through the study of His word.
…sin is not charged to men’s account when there is no law [to transgress]. Rom 5:13 AMP
This too is why very young children are not held accountable until they mature from living from instinct to gaining the ability to grasp the mental awareness required to make a choice to connect with God and live by His ways.
That is why it makes no sense to baptize someone in this early age group until they are aware and can grasp the concept of the spiritual transformation taking place and the reason behind their free-will decision to be baptized.
For most of us however, we have that awareness that sin is an act that we commit against the truth of God – an act that can have eternal consequences.
What is the application for these words?
It is to begin looking at the fact that no one is immune to sin. We want to become intimately familiar with God’s ways so that we can minimize the frequency of our transgressions. Finally, as we will see, we want to learn how to come to God to get our sins forgiven.
Goodnight and God bless.
August 09 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word ‘blessing’ to mean: a special favor generated by God; something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being or prosperity; to favor as with talent. It is derived from the Hebrew word barak, meaning to congratulate, to thank, and from the Greek eulogeo, meaning to thank or to prosper.
The very moment following God’s creation of Adam and Eve, He blessed them: Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…” Gen. 1:28 NKJV
This is the first blessing that God had given, and it applies to all of humanity as long as they live on this earth. God is giving us the right to prosper and the means for doing so. We receive this blessing at birth. Afterwards, our blessings are a product of our faith in God’s willingness and ability to do so:
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Heb. 11:6 ESV
That includes having faith in His Son: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 NKJV
Abraham was a paragon of faith and God blessed him mightily for it – even extending those blessings forward to all of his future generations as well. (Gen. 12:3) That’s you! Two thousand years after, Christ perpetuated these blessings for everybody with His promise of salvation:
Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified); to that end through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit. Gal. 3:13, 14. AMP
God loves us through His blessings whereby we become favored with talent and abundance. But, He also wants us to be wise stewards of these blessings – which are generally tools for forwarding His kingdom and they bless our own lives when we use them.
Our God wants us to prosper, enriching our lives both physically and spiritually: It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it. Pr. 10:22 NASB
As we’ve seen, blessings require faith in order to receive them; and if you have faith in God, you’ll have faith in His word and do your best to live by it. Thus, you must be obedient to God’s word to receive your blessings:
“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse if you do not…” Dt. 11:26 – 28. NKJV
…the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets, but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25 ESV
God has a lot to say about how to live a good and godly life, showing us many avenues that our obedience garners His blessings. For example, when we turn to God and confess and repent for our moral slips and falls, He rewards us with a blessing. (Ps. 32:1) God also showers blessings upon us when we look out for others, e.g. caring for the poor (Ps. 41:1), helping them receive justice (Ps. 106:3), sharing your blessings with them (Num. 24:9; Acts 20:35), and being a humble provider of peace and mercy. (Matt. 5:5, 7 & 9.)
Blessed are you as well when you stand up for Jesus regardless of the circumstances. (Matt. 5:10 – 12 & 11:6.)
How many blessings does God have in store for you? Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… Eph. 1:3 ESV (emphasis mine)
Just how BIG are those blessings?
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in and when you go out.
The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you…The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake…the LORD will make you abound in prosperity… Dt. 28:3-8 &11. ESV
Our ultimate blessing comes when we are redeemed to God for all eternity through His Son – a reward for our diligent and faithful preparation for that time. (Matt. 25:34; Rev. 14:13, 16:15, 19:19 & 22:14.)
We keep these blessings flowing when we express our gratitude for this ever-giving God by getting on our knees and blessing Him back. (Ps. 34:1 & 103:2.)
So where is the application of these words today?
Jehovah God blesses His children with holy talent and a holy trust. We are His channels for bringing His blessings to others by serving them – touching as many lives as we can. We can be transmitters of those blessings by having a strong faith in this almighty God who sends His power coursing through us. That power nurtures the spark of life that He implanted in those we lay our hands on, provide our smiles to, and open up our hearts with.
Our blessings come when stay in gratitude for having received them and when we subsequently give them away to love the people. We are all a blessing because we are a reflection of God, who is the Blessing.
God promises to prosper you for your efforts – to shine upon you when you place your trust in Him by walking in His word. If you walk by faith on the Principled Road, you are guaranteed an abundant, joyous, loving journey with a heavenly destination.
God calls you His child. How blessed you are…
August 02 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Three years elapsed as we journeyed together from the beginning to the end of the Bible. In the first post after that, It Only Happens In God’s Time, I said that our journey would now shift from what the Bible said, to one of how to apply it in our lives. Preceding this ‘how,’ we first explored the urgency in starting that application, (because we only have a limited time frame in which we can connect with God), and then followed with a three-part series of posts, Why Would You Want God In Your Life?, to show you the supernatural advantages of having God steer your path in life so that deciding to make those applications made sense…
Now we are going to begin learning how to walk with God. We are going to start by building a strong ‘home base’ for our faith-based journey, so that we can have a powerful foundation behind our walk. We begin by looking at the immeasurable lengths that God went to, to establish your presence:
Your galactic home:
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Gen. 1:3 ESV
BAM! That is the beginning of everything we know. God spoke and an entire universe came into being! Don’t let anyone tear down your faith. We have a God, the Prime Mover, who with a word, created everything we know from nothing. He is the Big Bang:
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Heb. 11:3 ESV
God used spiritual building blocks of His own making.
Don’t be put off by atheistic scientists either. The Bible does not conflict with the scientific evidence for the sequential formation of the universe and of our world in it.
God tells us that He took six days to create everything. However, God was being metaphorical. (1 Pet. 3:8) Each day consisted of eons. Oh, we have some hardcore fundamentalists who claim the ‘six days’ only refer to a literal six thousand years, but there is a plethora of evidence refuting that. The very rate of the expansion of the universe since the Big Bang, tells us that it is approximately sixteen billion years old. The Bible does not deny that.
Your earthly home:
God describes the formation of your earthly home too. He formed dry land masses > plants > marine life and birds > land mammals, and finally > Man. (Gen. 1:1 – 26.)
God wrote this through Moses approximately four thousand years ago, yet it is describing the exact sequence of creative events that science would formulate and believe in only about one hundred years ago. If God knew it, He did it, and you can throw the evolutionary approach of happenstance out the window. Statistically impossible. Faithless fiction.
God created this entire universe, and especially this galaxy and our earthly home in it, for you – to sustain you, to bless you, and for your enjoyment. Then He gave it all to you for safekeeping:
God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. Gen. 1:26 AMP
Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Gen. 2:15 NKJV
Yet, as wondrous as our home is, it is only a temporary one:
…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself… Eph. 1:4, 5. NASB
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God… Eph. 2:19 NKJ
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth…they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. Heb. 11:16 NASB
God has a final heavenly home for you after this earth passes away, a place called New Jerusalem; and that has been His plan since before He created this universe. Even those faithful to God, yet born too early to have experienced the coming of His Christ, knew innately of God’s plan, and were assured by God that they were included. You are blessed by having direct access to Christ through the Holy Spirit, and your inclusion is first hand.
Your incarnate home:
Let us go back to the scripture above (Gen. 1:26) where God tells us that He made us in His likeness. We are made in His image, as well as in the image of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. What is the commonality between Them? Well, by virtue of His name, the Holy Spirit is a Spirit. Jesus tells us that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and that a spirit has no flesh. (Luke 24:39) Jesus too was a Spirit prior to His incarnate manifestation on the Earth. (John 1:14)
Thus, the part of us that is made in Their image is our spirit. Our body is only a temporary house until we are refitted with our immortal, incorruptible heavenly body. (Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Cor. 15:42 – 53.)
What does all this have to do with applying the word of God?
It’s all about training your thoughts in faith (For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Pr. 23:7 NKJV) It’s about strengthening your Christian attitude as a result – knowing that you can move those mountains in your paths because the Creator of the Universe is working through you and for you.
It’s about being secure in your God foundation with a security that will color everything that you do in this life. God created a universe for you. You were appointed its caretaker. He gave you the most special rank in it; i.e. to live as the image of Him. You were given the charge to advance His kingdom by bringing His promise of salvation to others, and He has fully equipped you to do it.
Finally, this wonderful life God has placed in you will yet be eclipsed by an eternal existence on the heavenly plane. You can live out your earthly life from beginning to end as a win-win if you invite God in your life through Christ.
“…with God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26 NKJV
Strike a godly attitude. Be bold for the kingdom. Know that you and everyone else are special to God. Walk like a son or daughter of God. Be faithful to living out His word. You’ve got what it takes…
Goodnight and God bless.
July 26 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In part two of this three-part series, we continued in our journey in examining reasons for having God in our lives – listening to what God Himself has to say about it. The reasons we saw include the fact that God has made Himself a refuge for us in times of trouble, along with a guaranteed deliverance from them. God is always trustworthy; we can rest assured all of His promises are kept. Our God is always merciful to us when we slip off of His path if we return to Him.
Finally, God keeps His eyes on us, returning us to the rich and righteous road of life that He has paved for each and everyone of us. He teaches us the right ways; He surrounds us with guardian angels, and opens the eternal doors of heaven…
Now, let’s peruse more of God’s reasons for grabbing a hold of Him:
…God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me. Ps. 49:15 NKJV
For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off. Pr. 23:18 NKJV
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to the end. Eccl. 3:11 ESV
He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken. Is. 25:8 NKJV
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Is. 43:1 – 3. ESV
Listen to Me…you who have been borne by Me from your birth, carried from the womb: Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you. Is. 46:3, 4. AMP
And it shall come to pass that whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. Joel 2:32 NKJV
Yes, I know; a whole bunch of scripture. However, this is one of the biggest reasons people seek God – to grab a hold of eternal life. Let’s face it, this stretch of time we are allotted on this earth is a short one, a blink of an eye on the cosmic timeline. By the time we’ve accumulated enough wisdom to make a difference in this world, our physical body and brain begins to slow down. Our earthly journey is painfully limited.
God never meant it to be that way, but Adam and Eve threw a wrench into our original gears of infinity. So because God loves us so much, He devised a plan for our redemption – a plan where we never have to see death, a real heavenly alternative.
Our Creator placed an innate knowing about this available eternity, in our hearts, even though we can’t as mere mortals quite figure out how He is doing His thing. Still, God gives us snippets to hold onto because we cannot perceive of the supernatural glory of that day when He brings us to our eternal home. We can see that God will be right beside us during that transition, and that our eternal home is a happy one. In fact, God is with us every step of the way – from the womb to the tomb if we partner up with Him.
What we do know is that the centerpiece of God’s redemptive plan for Man is Jesus:
For the Son of Man came to save [from the penalty of eternal death] that which was lost. Matt. 18:11 AMP
Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free.] Matt. 20:28 AMP
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” Matt. 25:34 NKJV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16, 17. NKJV
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NKJV
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” John 10:27 – 30. NKJV
I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live… John 11:25 AMP
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to show us the way back to the paradise lost, back to our Creator Himself. He accomplished that by speaking the final elements of the truth of God in the gospel – our heavenly road map. Moreover, His seal and guarantee of our redemption from death came through the shedding of His blood on the cross for the atonement of all of man’s sins (for those who accept His sacrifice) as well as through His resurrection.
As we can see, Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. There is no substitute. Believe me, you don’t want any part of the outcome waiting for the people who don’t side with Christ. Jesus is the essence of His Father. If you reject Jesus, you reject God, and there will be no hope coming your way.
What kind of God would submit Himself to the ultimate agony of watching His Son die? It’s the kind of God that you want in your life because He went to the greatest lengths to ensure you a life of eternal love with Him. That same kind of love, because it is His love, is expressed in Jesus:
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:10, 11. NKJV
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2, 3. NKJV
I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. John 15:9 AMP
Jesus loves you with the full strength of the love of God. It courses through Him. He laid down His life for you, and has prepared heaven for you – all because He loves you.
Just how strong are the love of God and the veracity of His plan?
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38, 39. ESV
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Rom. 11:29 NKJV
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:13, 14. ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights… James 1:17 NKJV
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:1, 2. NKJV
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 NKJV
Nothing can get in the way of God’s love for you unless you reject it. God has delivered all of His children through His Son from any sort of evil and condemnation. He showers you with His perfect love and transforms you daily into the perfection of His Christ.
More than anything, God loved us before we ever knew He existed.
I hope that I’ve been able to convey the wondrous majesty of God’s love and all of the blessings that it entails. Hopefully, you now see the wisdom of seeking after Him through His Son. It’s the only eternally living game in this universe. God loves you so much that He has planned your outcome even before He created this universe, just so He could give it all to you forever. He wants you to bask in His love for all of eternity; and frankly, I’d like to have you there with me.
Goodnight and God bless.
July 19 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »