A portion of what we looked at in part 3 of this recap of the last 11 months’ worth of posts about how to live a godly life, concerned itself against one of the major roadblocks to your spiritual path – the devil.
Today, we’ll concern ourselves solely with our major ally on that same path, our Lord Jesus Christ – the Centerpiece of the entire Bible. The entire Bible revolves around the promise of His coming, His arrival and completed ministry, His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to His Father, and of His return to shepherd God’s children to their eternal home.
Only the Bible can tell us accurately everything there is to know about Jesus (with the exception of possible future Holy Spirit revelation), and it does so through the mouths of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus Himself and the New Testament apostles.
Beginning with the prophets, we find that Jesus was with God (in His true Spiritual being-ness) at the time that the universe was created. In fact, Christ was God’s agent of creation for the universe and everything that inhabits it. The apostles corroborated this as well. (Gn. 1:26; Jn. 1:2, 3; 1 Cor. 15:59; Col. 1:15; Rv. 3:14.)
The prophets referred to Jesus as the ‘Messiah’ in a plethora of prophecies before they actually knew what His name would be. In those God-inspired predictions we learn that the Messiah and His followers would be engaged in a struggle against evil (Satan and his followers) until the end of time. Thankfully, we also know that the Messiah’s side is ultimately victorious. (Gn. 3:15)
We learn the He will come to earth and in His earthly incarnation will be a Jew from the lineage of King David and reign over the earth forever. (Job 19:25; Dt. 18:18; 2 Sam. 7:13, 14; Ps. 2:6 – 8 & 72:6 – 8.)
Mind you these prophecies were spoken over a thousand years before the birth of Christ. If we leap ahead to 700 years before Jesus arrives, we hear prophecies of His virgin birth, His forever and peaceful reign over all peoples and how He is the exact likeness (image) of God with all His attributes. [Is. 7:14, 9:2, 6 & 7, 11:1-5 & 10, 49:5, 6; Dan. 7:13, 14; (see also apostolic corroborations: Jn. 1:1; Col. 1:15 & 5:16 – 20; Heb. 1:3.)]
In this same time frame, God sent prophecies regarding the horrific treatment Jesus would receive when He was on earth; and yet, He would purposefully step up and give His life for the salvation of all mankind. (Is. 50:6 – 8 & 53:1 -7.)
We also learn the birthplace (Bethlehem) of Jesus (Mic. 5:2), and at 500 years before His birth, we see that this Messiah-King would enter Jerusalem on a donkey and His sacrifice would cleanse the people of their sins. (Zec. 9:9, 12:10 & 13:1.)
Through the apostles, we learn of the events that led up to and surrounded the birth of Jesus – the actual virgin birth of Mary, the name Jesus divinely given to the baby Messiah, the angelic declaration of who Christ is, and how the Holy Spirit strengthened the Child with the wisdom of God. (Jn. 1:14, 16 & 18; Lk. 1:30 – 33, 35 & 2:10, 11, 29 – 32 & 40; Mt. 1:20, 21.)
Jesus Himself had much to say about who He was and of His mission. When He was baptized, (even though He was sinless) Jesus told John the Baptist the baptism was necessary in order for His ministry to begin (for His indwelling of the Holy Spirit). And when it took place, both John and God Himself declared the identity of Christ. (Jn. 1:29, 30 & 34; Mt. 3:15, 16.)
Early in His ministry, Jesus told Nicodemus how He came from heaven and of His imminent death to pave the way for eternal life for God’s children. (Jn. 3:13 – 16 & 18.) He also revealed Himself to be the Messiah to a Samaritan woman during His first journey to Galilee. (Jn. 4:26)
Once in Galilee, Jesus enters the synagogue in Nazareth and elucidates the nature of His ministry as He professes that He is the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s messianic prophecy:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery to the sight of the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD…Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Lk. 4:18, 19 & 21. NKJV
And Jesus turned no one away who sought Him out, regardless of their past. (Mt. 9:12, 13.) His preaching brought the ire of the priests in power because He exposed them for the hypocritical, self-seeking, lying charlatans that they were. They were especially riled up when He declared His divine relationship with His Father and that He was the only open door to salvation. (Jn. 5:19-24 & 28, 29.)
Jesus also taught His apostles and an accompanying crowd at the Sermon on the Mount that His professions were an evolvement of the Mosaic Law but by no means did they do away with it. Mt. 5:17) As He continued His travels, Jesus preached about His God-given authority, the unique connection He and He only has with God, and then He humbly invited those present (and all of us) to be a part of that connection through Him. (Mt. 11:27 – 30.)
After Jesus performed many miracles, He sent His apostles out to evangelize – stressing that the message be strong and clear, and to make sure that their hearers learn that there is no middle road. We must be ready to drop everything and follow Him, tell others about Him, and step away from any worldly possessions or endeavors that distract us from that. (Mt. 10:32 – 36 & 40.)
Why?It’s because only Jesus and His message contains the way to life now and eternally. (Jn. 6:27, 31 – 33, 47*, 51 & 53; Lk. 9:23.)
*“Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” Jn. 6:47 NKJV
In the fall of 29 A.D., Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. He entered the Temple, whereupon He taught that He was the righteous representative sent from God as the embodiment of Jehovah’s salvation promise. (Jn. 7:18, 29, 37, 38; 8:12.)
But when Jesus declared Himself the Son of God and that His nature was similarly eternal, the priests and Pharisees in the Temple blew their tops. (Jn. 8:19, 28, 29 & 58.) Yet that did not deter Christ from pressing His gospel home:
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jn. 8;31, 32. NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” Jn.8:51 NKJV
(Also: Jn. 10:7 -11 & 16 -18, 25, 26.)
After Jesus taught in the Temple for the last time, He gathered His apostles and assured them (us) that He was coming back (second coming) with His angels to gather everyone who had ever lived: those who were His followers to their heavenly destination and those who were not to their condemnation with the devil. (Mt. 25:31 – 34 & 41; Jn. 15:1, 2 & 4 – 6.)
Jesus said He was preparing a place in heaven for God’s children. In the meantime, we were to rest in His peace, knowing that now He was ruling the world. (Jn. 14:1 – 3 & 16:33.)
And with that, our Savior willingly gave His life so that we could keep ours forever…
After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and filled them with complete understanding of everything that Jesus had revealed to them as well as the Old Testament scriptures, and He permeated them with the revelations of everything Christ had yet to teach them – including the grandeur of His nature.
The apostles then began to preach. They reiterated the veracity of the cleansing of one’s sins through faith in Jesus. (Acts 10:36, 42, 43 & 13:38, 39; Rom. 3:22 – 26 & 8:1, 2, 38, 39 & 10:9, 10; Gal. 1:6, 7; 1 Th. 5:9, 10.)
They reassured us of Christ’s second coming. (1 Cor. 15:22 – 26; 1 Th. 4:16 – 17.)
And they revealed the immeasurable grandeur of His person: He is the exact image of God and shares all His attributes and power (Heb. 1:3, 4.), He is our High Priest and our intercessor to His Father (Heb. 2:9,10 & 7:25; Phil. 4:4 – 7; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6.), He has conquered the devil on our behalf (Heb. 2:14), His name is exalted above all names (Phil. 2:9 – 11.), He is the head of the church (Col. 1:18 – 20.), He watches over us and empowers us (1 Jn. 5:4, 5, 11, 12 & 18.), and He places all God’s children in their victorious heavenly state (Rv. 1:17, 18 & 2:7, 10, 11, 17, 26, 28, & 3:5, 12, 21 & 22:12, 13, 20.)
That is your ally on your road to salvation and your gateway thereof. Praise God for Jesus Christ!
Goodnight and God bless.
July 02 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
What we are doing in this short series is creating a condensed recap of everything God has shown us over the last 11 months about how He wants us to live. I am especially doing this for those who have not been with us for the entirety of that time.
We have concentrated on how God created us, why we should have Him in our lives and the (godly) characteristics He wants us to express – all in preparation for a spiritual life that is centered around our relationship with God and His Son…
The biggest obstacle that presents itself to throw you off your spiritual path is the devil. (Well, that’s not exactly true. It is really yourself when you listen to the devil but that’s a lengthy investigation that we will begin undertaking in the very near future.)
God is very clear about Satan’s intentions: to steal (your salvation), to kill (keep you dead) and to destroy (your life). (Jn. 10:10)
He began his mission with Adam and Eve – convincing them that God had lied to them and that the world had better things in store for them, by making them feel that there was something ‘missing’ in them. (Gn. 3:1 – 5.)
Lucifer showed his face again when he convinced Cain to murder his brother Abel. (1 Jn. 3:11, 12.) As time progressed, he continually threw adversity at God’s children. (1 Chr. 3:11; Rv. 12:17.)
We next see the dragon as he attempts to connive Jesus into sinning against His Father at the time Christ began His ministry. The devil used the same tactics as he uses against all of us – trying to get us to fulfill the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. (Mt. 4:1, 4, 7 & 10.)
Thankfully for our sakes, Jesus came away victorious in that encounter but Satan continued to try to thwart Jesus’ mission – right up to when He was resurrected and ascended to God. (Rv. 12:4, 5.)
Jesus taught at length about the nature of the devil – showing us that he is a perpetual liar, a murderer, how he steals the word of God out of the hearts of new believers and convinces people to sin and follow him, leading to the same condemnation of destruction. (Jn. 8:44, Mt. 13:36 – 43; Lk. 8:11 – 15.)
Our adversary then convinced Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus, which led to His crucifixion. (Jn. 13:2)
He didn’t figure on the resurrection. Angry, the devil led a rebellion against heaven, which he lost and was subsequently thrust down to earth. (Rv. 12:7 – 9 & 12.) After that banishment, he has continually tried to harvest God’s children for himself and unfortunately, does have a measure of success. (Rv. 13:4)
At the end of time, Jesus vanquishes the devil forever. (Rev. 20:10 & 13 – 15.)
Until then, how are we supposed to deal with him? First we honor and live by God’s ways, in faith, so that Satan has no grounds to hurl accusations at us. (1 Tim. 5:14, 15; James 4:7, 8; 1 Pt. 5:8 – 10; 1 Jn. 5:18, 19.)
Second, and equally important, we faithfully cling to our salvation and to the Agent of it (Christ). (Acts 26:17, 18; Eph. 2:1 – 5 & 6:10 – 19; Col. 1:13, 14; 1 Jn. 4:3, 4.)
Since we know that in order to defeat the devil and stay tight with God we need to live by His ways, let’s take a little time to examine how we can apply some of them:
God created ‘family’ for us to live and thrive within and to propagate. Every family member (parents, spouses, children) plays a special part in God’s design and we need to honor His choices by honoring them as well. (Ex. 20:12; Ps. 127:3 – 5 & 128:3, 4; Pr. 12:4, 18:22 & 31:10; Mk. 10:7 – 9; 1 Cor. 11:11, 12; Eph. 6:1, 2 & 4.)
As with any gift from God, we need to practice good stewardship, e.g. faithfulness to our spouse, educating our children in God’s ways and yielding to our spouse’s desires (Ex. 20:14; Ps. 78:5 – 7; Pr. 5:15 & 17-19 & 22:6; Mal. 2:15, 16; 1 Cor. 7:2 – 5 & 10, 11; Eph. 5:22-25, 28 & 33; Heb. 14:4.)
We can take the same loving ways that we practice in our family and insert them in our friendships as well. We need companionship. (Gn. 2:18; Pr. 27;17; Ecc. 4:9 – 12.) And we need to love in order to position ourselves to attract friendships. (Pr. 18:24) It’s also through our love that we keep them. (Pr. 17:17; Jn. 13:34, 35) In fact, we must have love for all others to sustain a love relationship with God. (1 Jn. 4:21) Why? It’s because if we are actively loving, we are not practicing judgment. (Zec. 7:9; Rm. 14:13; James 4:11, 12.)
Furthermore, (just like with your family members) if a friend has committed some offense against you, you must forgive them to keep the love flowing. (Job 6:14; Mt. 5:23; Lk. 17:3, 4.)
Finally, how better to show love than to place your friend’s needs above your own… (Rm. 12:10, 11; Phil. 2:1 – 4.)
Okay, we’ve been looking a lot at how we live a life that cleaves us to God. Let’s look at what separates us from Him:
God knew exactly how He wanted us to be when He created us. There were no accidents. Yet many people lose their way in this life because they feel that they’ve done something so wrong that they could never be forgiven, or they have made themselves to feel ‘less than’ other people on one or more levels. Then they futilely waste that life trying to separate from their real self by creating a false persona they hope others around them will accept.
Guess what? God accepts you the way you are. When you try to be something other than what He made you to be, you are separating yourself from Him.
Likewise, when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we try to separate ourselves from other people, e.g. through nationalities, religions, gender, financial status or social standing. This does nothing but foster ill will and malicious deeds; and that is totally opposite of what God wants us to do. (Rm. 2:11; Gal. 3:28)
When you do these things, you are playing right into the devil’s hands. (1 Jn. 2:11 & 4:20, 21.)
Another way you separate yourself from God is when you try to shut your mind down and indulge in your flesh to run from the predicament that you think your life is. You choose addictions or distractions to live in, as opposed to living in reality. ( Pr. 20:1, 23:20, 21; Is. 28:7; Hos. 4:10, 11; 1 Cor. 10:21; Gal. 5:19 – 21; 1 Pt. 5:8.)
Instead, the only addiction we want to have (the one that draws us to God) is Jesus… (Rm. 13:13, 14; Eph. 5:18.)
Returning to how to live a godly life, every word of God that we follow to stay on our spiritual path must be girded up by our faith – faith in our unseen God, and for us present-day folk, our unseen Jesus. (Jn. 20;29; Rm. 8:24; 1 Cor. 2:5; Heb. 11:1 & 6.)
But when we say ‘unseen,’ we only mean intangible in the physical sense. (2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:3.)
God and His Son require our faith before they can move on our behalf. (Mt. 9:22, 17:20 & 21:22; Mk. 2:5, 5:36, 9:32 & 1:22 – 24; Lk. 7:50 & 18:14.)
We get our hands on faith because God gives it to us by the Holy Spirit, who sends it from Christ. Many times that comes through the mouths of Bible preachers and teachers. In fact, we even need faith to understand what they are saying while they are helping us shore it up. (Rm. 10:17 & 12:3; 2 Cor. 4:3, 4; Heb. 12:1, 2.)
Our faith alone ushers us into God’s presence, whereupon we are justified, sanctified and made Holy so that we can remain there. (Rm. 3:28). When we exercise our faith, we are filled with God’s strength, covered by His safekeeping, protected from the devil, blanketed in joy, imbued with Divine revelation and are able to receive all of His promises. (Ps. 31:23, 56:4, 125:1 & 146:5; Pr. 28;20; Lk. 1:45; Eph. 6:16; James 5:15.)
How can we depend upon our faith? It’s because God is Himself faithful – never lying or changing. (Ps. 118:89, 90; Heb. 6:18.) That includes all of His salvation promises through Jesus. (Jn. 1:12, 5:24, 6:29; Acts 13:38, 39; Heb. 10:19 – 23; 1 Pt. 1:20, 21 & 1 Jn. 5:4, 5.)
Finally, when we get that faith and depend upon it, it is time to share it and share it with love! (Acts 26:18 & 1 Cor. 13:2.)
Goodnight and God bless.
June 27 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
As we said last time, what this series represents is the undertaking that we have made over the past 11 months, covering all the things that God has said about how to live out our highest and best life; i.e. a summation. In the first part of this series, we revisited why reaching for our salvation and helping others do the same is so urgent, why we would want God in our lives, how and why God created you in His image and the way He fashioned a universe just for you, how He surrounds you on all sides, how He heals you, about the devastation of sin and God’ presents you with a way out of it, and finally, we looked at a godly characteristic that He wants you to possess and express – that of godly giving and demonstrating gratitude for what God’s given to you.
Now, let’s look at another godly characteristic: that of forgiving. God always leads by example. He is a forgiving God, regardless of what we’ve done – if we confess our transgression and repent. (2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 103:2 & 130:4; Dan. 9:9).
The only reason we have to forgive anyone (including ourselves) is because we indulge in judgment, which is in itself a trespass against God. (Mt. 7:1 – 3). God requires us to forgive that person we have judged before He will bestow His forgiveness upon us. (Mt. 6:14, 15; Col. 3:12, 13.)
Forgiveness is so important to God that He will not even listen to your prayers unless you first make reconciliation with anyone with whom you are withholding your forgiveness. (Mt. 5:23, 24.)
Forgiveness is the highest act of giving. It is where we give our love away regardless of whether or not we think it is deserved. After all, who doesn’t deserve love? When we forgive, we are emulating Christ, who went to the cross for our forgiveness and acknowledging that it was enough…
God also asks us to live in a manner that demonstrates our trust in Him – a life lived by faith, beginning with the belief that He exists and rewards those who seek Him and that every word He speaks is pure truth. (Heb. 11:6; Pr. 30:5; Is. 40:8.) That trust is completely solidified when we also place faith in Jesus as the Son of God, in the fact that He died for our sins and was resurrected to the Father. (Jn. 1:14; 1 Pt. 1:2.)
God and His Son further explained that the way we show out trust in Them is to follow their specific directives. It is how we express our love to Them. (Dt. 10:12,13 & 12:32; Jer. 11:4; Jn. 14:15; 1 Jn. 5:3.) When we do that, our present and eternal blessings abound. (Dt. 7:9, 12:22 & 28:2; Ps. 112:1; Is. 55:11; Jn. 6:63, 8;31, 32 & 51, 15:7, 8; 1 Pt. 1:22; 1 Jn. 2:5, 3:21, 22.)
Another way we demonstrate that love is by giving up our worldly notion of independence and leaning on God to see our way through this life. After all, God had every aspect of our lives planned out for all of us before we were even born. (Ps. 139:16; Jer. 29:11.) In fact, His plans far exceed our expectations. (Eph. 3:20; Phil. 4:19.)
You can lean on God because He loves to help you and He sends that loving help through His Son, His Spirit and His angels… (Lv. 26:13; 1 Kings 1:29; Ps. 9:9, 16:8, 20:6, 27:1, 32:8, 91:10, 11, 138:8 & 147:3; Is. 42:16 & 49:25; Lk. 4:18; Rm. 8:26; 2 Cor. 1:3, 4; Phil. 4:5 – 7.)
Continuing in building our godly character, our Father asks us to be holy. (Lv. 19:2; Eph. 1:4; 1 Th. 4:7; Rv. 22:11.) And yet He tells us that nobody is. (1 Sam. 2:2; Is. 64:6; Rm. 3:9, 10.)
But God does not leave us hanging. He offers us a holy transformation through faith in His redemption through Christ – whose blood cleanses us, so that we shine brightly in righteousness before our Creator. (Rm. 3:25, 26 & 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 2:16; Heb. 10:10.) Then, we are privy to every heavenly blessing. (Ps. 5:12, 34:17; 2 Cor. 7:1.)
We don’t have to be perfect. We only have to practice walking in God’s word the best that we can (in faith) and He makes up the difference… (Gn. 15:6)
All our godly characteristics emanate from our spiritual self – that portion of us that connects directly to God’s Spirit (Holy Spirit), which He places within us. (Pr. 20:27; Is. 26:9; Jn. 4:2; 1 Jn. 3:24.)
That same Holy Spirit reveals all that Christ is, all He has ever taught and unveils all that He has yet to tell us. (Jn. 14:26 & 16:13, 14; 1 Cor. 2:9.) As a result, the Spirit sets us on the path to Christ’s salvation – the path of godliness. (Rm. 8:6; Gal. 6:8.)
Yet we cannot walk this path without rendering our free-will sacrifices to God; e.g. a tithe. (Ex. 23:19; Lv. 19:5.) Another type of sacrifice is walking in righteousness in the face of a world that tells you to do otherwise – to persevere in advancing the kingdom of God. (Ps. 4:5 & 51:17; Pr. 21:3; 1 Pt. 2:5.)
Your gratitude is also a form of sacrifice. (Ps. 107:21, 22 & 141:2; Heb. 13:15.)
God receives all your sacrifices, acknowledges them, remembers them forever and blesses you eternally for them… (Ps. 50:8; Is. 56:7; Jer. 33:11.)
Returning to godly characteristics, God also wants you to sacrifice your anger so that you may live in peace with all people. It is one of a group of spiritual qualities that He wants you to possess:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Gal. 5:22, 23. NASB
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31, 32. NKJV
If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Rm. 12:8 ESV.
Anger is destructive to those who practice it and to those for whom they thrust it upon. If one practices it unrepentantly, it bars their own way to salvation. (Pr. 11:17 & 15:18; Amos 1:11; Mt. 5:22; James 1:19, 20; 1 Jn. 2:11.)
God loves you and He wants you to be with Him forever. To accompany Him, that anger must be quelled:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” Mt. 5:9 NKJV
The last godly characteristic I want to consider today is ‘living with integrity'; i.e. living by our word. (Dt. 23:23) Speaking of our words, God takes the content of them very seriously, letting us know that they can literally determine our outcomes in life. Moreover, He says that we will have to account for every word that leaves our mouths. (Pr. 18:21; Mt. 12:34 – 37 & 15:11.)
If we use our tongue to curse, lie, boast, self-serve or mock, degradation of our lives will follow. (Pr. 11:9, 12:1317:5, 19:9, 20:20, 26:28, 27:1; James 4:2, 3 & 16.)
But when we speak with the wisdom of God, our lives will blossom. (Pr. 12:19, 13:3, 15:1, 4, & 28; Eccl. 10:12; Col. 4:6.)
God gave you a voice to exalt Him and exhort one another. (Ps. 105:1, 2; Eph. 4:29; Heb. 13:13.)
The highest calling for the use of your tongue is to tell others about God’s salvation through Christ… (Rm. 10:8,9; 2 Tim. 4:2.)
So, what are we doing when we consider and act upon all these characteristics God wants us to wear on our persona? We are examining how to prepare for a spiritual life in relationship with God now and forever. (Job 22:21 – 23 & 25 – 28.)
We cannot find any valid information in the ways of the world for that path, so we need spiritual coaching. Thankfully, God provides with the Great Coach, His Son. (Mt. 7:7; Jn 6:27 & 15:5; 1 Jn. 2:15 – 17.)
It’s imperative that we embark on this preparation before we die or before Christ’s second coming (whichever comes first). There won’t be another chance. (Is. 55:6; Mk. 1:15; Rv. 3:11.)
Our preparation consists of walking in God’s word and serving Him by emulating Jesus. (Ps. 15:1, 2; Eph. 5:8; 1 Pt. 2:21 – 24.) We must train diligently, with perseverance, exercising our faith and taking on the tasks that our Creator assigns us. (2 Tim. 2:15; James 2:20; Heb. 6:11, 12 & 11:6.)
Ultimately, we will then rise in His victory. (Phil. 3:12 – 14; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8.)
Goodnight and God bless.
June 18 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
What He says about your life is essentially what we have been exploring these past eleven months. Because I cannot know for sure when each individual has come on board to read these messages and because the messages are so vital for connecting with God, living our highest and best life and guaranteeing our eternal place in God’s love, I’m presenting a condensed recap:
We began looking at the urgency of reaching for our salvation and then helping others do likewise. The urgency presents itself in our mortality. You will either physically die or Christ will first show up in His ‘second coming’ to harvest the children of God. Either way, you must choose Christ for your salvation before one of these events occurs because there will be no second chance. And because you do not know the date and time when either of these events take place, there is not a moment to waste… (Eccl. 9:12; Mt. 24:2)
Next, we considered why we’d want to have God in our lives in the first place and we listened as God told us:
God has a plan. You are a part of that plan. (Gn. 1:27, 28 & 31; 15:1 & 28:15; Ex. 15:13 & 23:26; Lv. 26:9; Dt. 7:6.) Your part is unique to you and integral to God’s plan.
He looks after you in every area of your life and does so with the utmost love and care. (Ex. 15:26 & 33:14; Lv. 26:6 & 13; Dt. 1:29 – 31; 31:8 & 33:3; 1 Sam. 14:6.)
Our Father created us to be the greatest of all His creations and to enjoy, care and have dominion over the other created things. Yes, Adam and Eve pulled us down temporarily on God’s hierarchy but He redeemed us with the crown of Christ. (Mt. 18:11 & 20:28; Jn. 3:16, 17.)
God is our eternal beacon, always there to show us the best path to take; and He surrounds us with angels to watch over our every step and He never breaks His promises. (Dt. 33:12; Judges 2:1; Lam. 3:22, 23; Job 10:12 & 31:4; Ps. 32:8 & 91:11.)
He listens to you. He comes to your aid without fail, restores you and He showers you with goodness from here to eternity. (2 Chr. 30:9; Ps. 49:15 & 56:13; Pr. 23:18; Is. 43:1 – 3 & 46:3, 4.)
Finally, nothing can keep God from delivering His love to you – unless you reject it. (Rom. 8:38,39 & 11:29.)
What’s not to love?
We also examined how God created your perfect home (with spiritual building blocks). (Heb. 11:3) He created a world that would nurture and sustain you and He put you in charge of taking care of it. (Gn. 1:26 & 2:15.)
You were made in the spiritual image of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Immediately afterwards, He blessed you and perpetuated those blessings through Christ. (Gn. 1:28; Gal. 3:13, 14.) For you to be available to receive your blessings, you must be faith-filled and obedient to God’s word. (Dt. 11:26 – 28; James 1:25.) These blessings are both physical and spiritual, for both now and eternity. All He asks is for a little show of gratitude and for you to share your new abundance. ( Dt. 28: 3 – 8 & 11; Eph. 1:3.)
We had a good look at our humanness and how (out of our weakness) we commit sins against God. (1 Kin. 8:46) Sin is what we do, it is not who we are. (Gal. 5:19 – 21.) Yet sin brings with it devastating consequences that can lead to death unless they are dealt with; and it affects God, the perpetrator and those around him or her. (Pr. 14:21; 1 Cor. 8:12; 1 Th. 4:7, 8; 1 Jn. 3:8.) In fact, it separates us from God. (Is. 59:2)
Thankfully, God gave us rules to live by so that we would know what not to transgress. He also left paths for us to follow to both overcome them and receive forgiveness when we do. (2 Chr. 7:14; Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 18:29 – 32; Mic. 6:8; Mt. 22:37 – 40; Gal. 5:22, 23.) And the path for forgiveness always involves confession of the misdeed and repentance of same, (Ps. 32:5; Pr. 28:13; Is. 1:18.) and it requires the blood of Jesus. (Rom. 6:10; Eph. 2:1, 2, 4, 5; Heb. 9:22; 1 Jn. 5 & 7.) Then forgiveness is guaranteed. (Ps. 103:10, 11; Is. 43:25.)
Then we checked out all the ways God stays related to us. The best news is that He is accessible! (Rv. 3:20) That accessibility is through Christ by our faith. (2 Cor. 5:7; 1 Jn. 4:15.)
We were chosen for this special relationship and God stays by our side when we enter into it. (Ps. 121:7, 8; Hos. 13:14; 2 Th. 2:13). This relationship also includes our Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the angels of God. (Ps. 91:11; Mt. 28;20; Lk. 17:21; Jn. 10:27, 28; 14:16, 27.)
Another benefit of our relationship with God is having access to His healing – both physical and spiritual. (Ex. 15:26; Ps. 103:2, 3 & 107:20; Is. 30:36; Jer. 3:22.) And like every gift from God, you must have faith to have it manifest. (Mt. 9:29).
Next, we spent a great deal of time looking at the (godly) characteristics that our Father asks us to possess and exhibit. First we looked at how God wants us to give. We must recognize that all our gifts (including our characteristics) come from God. (1 Cor. 7:7; James 1:17; 1 Pt. 4:10.)
He wants us to hold all of our gifts in ‘open hands’ so that we may freely pass them on to others and at the same time be ready to receive the next blessing. (Dt. 26:12, 12; Pr. 11:25 & 18:16; Mt. 5:42Acts 20:35; 2 Cor. 9;6, 7; Heb. 13:15, 16.)
Jehovah also wants you to apply the same principles to your money. After all, your money (wealth) comes from God. (Dt. 8:18; 1 Chr. 29:12; Eccl. 3:13; 2 Cor. 3:5.) The quantity of your money is not something to worry about. If you are being a good steward of it, both physically and spiritually, God will not let you run out of it. (Job 36:11; Mt. 6:31 – 33 & 21:22; Lk. 6:35; Phil. 4:19; Heb. 13:5.)
We just want to be sure that we don’t get hooked on our money – idolizing it and / or becoming miserly. (Ps. 62:10; Pr. 11:28; Mt. 19:24; Mk. 4:19; Lk. 16:13; 1 Tim. 6:9.) If that happens, our money separates us from God. Instead, we need to keep our focus on the abundance of our almighty God and of His most precious gift of all – our salvation. (Mt. 6:19, 20; 1 Pt. 1:18, 19.)
Let’s see so far. God blesses you with abundance, saves your soul from death, grants you an eternal home with Him through that same salvation through Christ, heals you and takes care of your every need – all of which He performs with love. What does He want from you? Gratitude.
He blesses you every day when you have faith in Him and love Him by obeying His word. (Ps. 1:1 – 3; 16:5 & 11, 6; 37:4; 63:7; 118:24; 145:20; 1 Chr. 16:8 – 10; Is. 61:10; Jer. 3:41, 42; Jn. 16:24; 2 Cor. 4:15; Phil. 4:6; 1 Jn. 4:19, 10 & 19.)
God loves your gratitude; and being thankful is a small price to pay in exchange for a full and satisfying life with a promise of an eternal abundance lived in the presence of your loving Creator. And you know, all that gratitude is going to rub off…
To be continued.
Good night and God bless.
June 13 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
God gives each and every one of us the same mission (through Jesus) after we ask Him to come into our hearts:
All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Mt. 28:18 – 20. AMP
This scripture is commonly referred to as the ‘Great Commission.’ All followers of Christ are called to honor it.
Jesus asked us to love God and love one another. (Jn. 13:34; 15:12; 15:17.) Our entire spiritual walk is based upon these two divine directives. If we truly love one another, then aren’t we bound to share the source of that love (God) with others? Everyone deserves the opportunity to seek and receive the limitless peace, joy, love, abundance and eternal salvation that our Father freely offers. But they can’t have that opportunity unless we tell them!
So when should we begin our heavenly proclamation? We commence it upon our baptism.
Jesus began explaining baptism with these words:
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with , and experience) the kingdom of God. Jn. 3:3 AMP
Christ is alluding to the fact that you cannot enter the kingdom of God by way of having high rank in government or social circles, nor by riches, race, place of birth, knowledge of the world, or through personal deeds. What He is saying is that the entrance into God’s kingdom is only accomplished by allowing God to birth one anew – by changing what is in their heart and by the recipient of that change doing their continued best to live by those changes.
Jesus continued: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Jn. 3:5 NKJV
He who believes [who adheres to and trusts in and relies on the Gospel and Him Who sets it forth] and is baptized will be saved [from the penalty of eternal death]… Mk. 16:16 AMP
God requires a water baptism. It is the first formal public confession of your faith. It is also a way that we show others their opportunity to have the same – through our example of faith in God and obedience to His word. Baptism is an outward sign that our faith is blossoming. Without the faith, that act of baptism would be worthless. Water is just water. It is the connection of the water to the word of God through faith, which fulfills our requirement.
Yet water baptism by itself is not the way to salvation. What it is, is a declaration made by the baptized of his or her faith in salvation through the Spirit – a metaphorical demonstration of being re-birthed as a newly cleansed child of God through the forgiveness of their sins.
You are confessing that your old worldly self has been buried (signified by the immersion in water) and that your spiritual self has been resurrected without sin (indicated by rising out of the water).
During baptism we are dying to the life that we had previously lived and to the meanings we brought to the events within it and beginning a new life – the meaning of which is found in the word of God. It begins with the repentance of the actions of your flesh and is sealed as you profess your faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The cleansing blood of Christ completes your true salvation when you ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit in order to be spiritually reborn. Then, your mission begins…
We are instructed to boldly speak of the power of our Creator to everyone around us, including our children:
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. Ps. 145:6, 7. ESV
One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. Ps. 145:4 NKJV
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. Ps. 145:11 – 13. ESV
Most importantly, because our message is so vital to the present and future state of our potential recipients, we must not judge as to who is worthy to hear it. Everyone has the potential to open his or her hearts:
…do not hold your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. James 2:1 NKJV
Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race]. Mk. 16:15 AMP
God made us and chose us for this:
…He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Cor. 5:19, 20. NASB
“What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” Mt. 10:27 NASB
“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Jn. 20:21 NKJV
…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction…be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim. 4:2 & 5. NASB
Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. 1 Pt. 3:15 AMP
Furthermore, God equips us for it:
…do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to say will be given you in that very hour and moment, for it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Mt. 10:19, 20. AMP
Don’t forget that it is our actions as well as our words that call people to God:
…in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 1 Tim. 4:12 NASB
“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Mt. 5:13, 14 & 16. NKJV
It won’t always be easy because of the resistance from the world, but we can rise above that:
Go your way; behold, I send you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Lk. 10:3 AMP
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Tim. 2:4 NKJV
And we will be blessed for our efforts:
“And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Mt. 11:6 NKJV
“Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time…and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mk. 10:29, 30. NKJV
Indeed, there is a curse for those who forsake their mission:
“…I have made you a watchman…Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.” Ezek. 33:7 – 9. ESV
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is a blessed and holy one, a matter of life or death for those who receive your efforts – a message we have the God-given privilege to bring, that opens the way for the heavenly journey of their spirit:
Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One). Col. 1:28 AMP
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… Rm. 1:16 NKJV
There is no greater mission.
Bless our Holy Father for the love He gives and entrusts us with. May we embrace a compassionate love for our fellow human beings and be driven with the zeal of the apostle Paul as we deliver it:
…the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:23, 25. NKJV
Turn to the person next to you and tell them the Good News…
Good night and God bless.
June 06 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In the first of this 2-part series, we looked at the nature of the kingdom of God, including its eternal manifestation, how it’s going to be a good thing (prepared by Jesus) and of the urgency regarding accepting Christ as your Savior and living a godly life in order to position yourself to receive it.
We also briefly looked at the horrendous set of events that will take place near the end of time, which will bring suffering upon those who don’t side with God; and we ended with questioning whether or not these events would apply to the children of God as well. Thank God, the answer is a resounding ‘no!’
Instead, God creates this vast holy city called ‘New Jerusalem’ for all of His saints to dwell within and He lives there too! In addition, the earth and the cosmos it was suspended in are both transformed into an idyllic paradise for His children to spend eternity in. (Ps. 102:25 – 27; Is. 65:17 – 19; 2 Pt. 3:12, 13; Rv. 21:1 – 7 & 22 – 27.)
The unbelievers’ outcome? Not very pretty. (Rv. 21:8)
But I know our human side. We all want to know, ‘What exactly has heaven got in store for me?’
First, you are plucked out of the moral cesspool that the world has become:
For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word] with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Is. 55:12 AMP
“They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered”…For thus says the Lord GOD, “I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out…and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered…I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest…bind up the broken and strengthen the sick;” Is. 34:5; 11, 12,15, 16. NASB
God will sift out His children (sheep) from the unrepentant sinners (goats) and harmonize them:
“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord.” Zeph. 3:9 NKJV
“In that day you will feel no shame because of all your deeds by which you have rebelled against Me; for then I will remove from your midst your proud exalting ones, and you will never again be haughty on My holy mountain. But I will leave among you a humble and lowly people, and they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.” Zeph. 3:11, 12. NASB
“The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil…a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zeph. 3:15 & 17. ESV
In that day of our heavenly embrace, we shall be transformed:
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. Is. 35:5, 6. NKJV
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way…No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it…but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Is. 35:8 – 10. ESV
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection… Rm. 6:5 NASB
It is sown a perishable body, it is raised and imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 1 Cor. 15:42 – 44. NASB
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man…For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Cor. 15:49 & 53. NKJV
Strife will be a forgotten memory:
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. Mic. 4:3, 4. NASB
Neither shall there be sorrow or unfulfilled needs:
“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev. 7:16, 17. ESV
..the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever…and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Is. 25:6 – 9. ESV
And if that wasn’t enough, we also get to hang out with everyone that was ever created who turned to our God:
“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 8:11 NKJV
Let’s see. If you accept Christ as your Savior and live out a godly life to the best of your ability, you are then chosen by God for heaven, all strikes against you are wiped out, you are filled with happiness and joy, living in a new body (all old ‘defects’ removed) that is immortal, becoming one in the likeness of Christ, living fearless and at peace with all the rest of the children of God, eating fine food and drinking fine wine and all the while you bask (up close and personal) with the Father and the Son.
Do you see a downside? Nope. Neither do I. All God asks of us is to keep our eye on the prize…
Goodnight and God bless.
May 28 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
The universe as it exists in time is finite. The life you live in this universe is the same. Then what? What happens next? This question has plagued mankind since it was aware enough to ponder it. But, it is only the children of God who possess the truth of the matter. Why? Because the Creator of this universe and all that is in it, the Author of truth and truth personified, has revealed it to them.
The urgency of that revelation was instilled in the identical messages of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ as each began their ministries:
Repent (change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mt. 4:17 AMP (see also 3:2)
The coming of this same kingdom was prophesied 600 years prior by the prophet Daniel:
…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed… Dn. 2:44 NKJV
The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is biblically interchangeable with the ‘kingdom of God.’ It is a spiritual kingdom, an inner kingdom that can only be entered through one’s change of heart ( through earnest repentance and by choosing Christ for salvation) – a spiritual state to be lived out on this earth and shared with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a kingdom on earth composed of God’s children: a family dedicated to forwarding that kingdom by lovingly attempting to gather as many others into that family as possible.
Yet it is also a kingdom that we aspire to spend eternity in, when we transition from our life on this present earth to our heavenly destiny.
And this kingdom is personified in Christ.
So, the kingdom is here now and at the same time it is coming in its full eternal manifestation:
For the outward form of this world (the present world order) is passing away. 1 Cor. 7:31 AMP
But the end and culmination of all things has now come near; keep sound minded and self-restrained and alert therefore for [the practice of] prayer. 1 Pt. 4:7 AMP
Don’t panic! This transition is going to be a good thing!
For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off. Pr. 23:18 NKJV
A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. Eccl. 7:1 NASB
In fact, Jesus Himself has already prepared for your arrival:
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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.” Jn. 14:2, 3. NASB
Jesus also forewarned us of the urgency to get right with God now because if we don’t do that before we take our last breath or if Christ returns first (and we don’t know the date and time of either) we will have lost our chance to do so:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only…Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Mt. 24:36 & 44. NKJV
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Lk. 21:34, 35. ESV
When we get right with God, (repent and receive Christ and do our best to live by His word) the coming of the ‘Day of the Lord’ will hold no terror:
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 Jn. 2:17 ESV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” Jn. 8:51 NKJV
…a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. “They will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” Mal. 3:17 NASB
…since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life. Rm. 6:22, 23. AMP
…having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Rm. 5:9 NASB
God will pour out His wrath in that last Day; yet His wrath is not like the mindless vengeance of a rabid dog. It is instead a ‘sifting’ that comes from the tender love of a merciful Father – that He must apply after having given a multitude of chances to His creations: a profusion of pleas to return to His love. God can only save those who come to Him through Christ:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” Mt. 23:27, 28. NASB
Before this world as we know it comes to an end, tumultuous events will transpire because of the continual spiritual degradation of the inhabitants in it:
…in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. 2 Tim. 3:1 – 5. ESV
Thus, we see the cesspool that the majority of earthlings will become. God has told us that bad things will come against those who rebel against Him; and as usual, God does not leave us guessing. He reveals them to us in sequence:
The first thing we learn is that many of the churches will have lost their way. (Rv. 2:1 – 3:21.) The second is that tribulation (the wrath of God / Day of the Lord) strikes the earth. The Bible strongly suggests that those who have already chosen Christ as their salvation and took on a godly life will be spared from these events. (1 Th. 4:16, 17 & 5:9; Rv. 3:10.)
The tribulations begin with the coming of the Antichrist, Israel being invaded by an ‘army of the north,’ (which God Himself thwarts) and a series of partial disasters set upon the earth to try to motivate the rebellious to return to their Creator – consisting of a burning of a portion of the earth, pollution of a third of both the seas and the fresh waters, darkening of a third of the sun, moon and stars and demonic mental and physical torment. (Rv. 8, 9 & 11:15 – 19.)
Following these ‘plagues, an ‘army from the east’ marches towards Jerusalem for the battle of Armageddon, killing 1/3 of mankind during that journey. (Rv. 9:13 – 18.) These are the last warnings the strays will get. There will be no salvation available for those who have not come to Christ by this point of the tribulation period.
The devil then wages war against those who did choose to become children of God during the first half of the tribulations. He acts through the Antichrist (who was aligned with a ‘church’ of false religion but then destroys it) who claims to be God and has a false religion built around him by Satan’s ‘false prophet.’ And yes, the rebellious worship him – all of whom will be cursed to damnation. (Rv. 12:10 – 12; 13:3 – 8 & 11 – 18; 14:9 – 11.)
During the second half of the tribulations, God gathers up all of His children who accepted their salvation, to keep them safe from His ‘final judgments’ that He unleashes upon the earth against those who have kept their hearts hardened against Him. (Rv. 14:14 – 19 & 15:1 – 3.) Thank God we don’t have to experience the plagues against the flesh, the loss of fresh water and all amphibious life, severe earthquakes and other topographic destruction. (Rv. 16)
On the last day of the tribulations, Christ leads His saints into battle against Satan’s armies at Armageddon and He vanquishes them with the word of God. Afterwards, He imprisons Satan for 1000 years. (Rv. 19:11 – 21; 20:1 – 3.)
Jesus then sets up His kingdom with His saints on a new earth and reigns for a thousand years with all of the resurrected children of God. (If there are any unbelieving people who survive the tribulations, they too will inhabit this new paradise and propagate over this millennium.)
At the end of that time, Satan is released once more to try to convince those who will listen to follow him and gather for war against the saints. Yet just as they begin to pounce, God takes the devil and his followers out of the picture forever – lining up all who followed Satan since the beginning of time in front of the judgment seat of Christ to receive their eternal condemnation. (Rv. 20:7 – 15.)
But that’s not what’s waiting for the children of God is it? No…
Goodnight and God bless.
May 23 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In other words, what does God say about who you are? You are definitely somebody. In fact, you are a divine creation – created by God in His image:
So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gn. 1:27 AMP
Your hands have made me and fashioned me… Ps. 119:73 NKJV
Moreover, your Father in heaven watches over every moment of your entire life (which He planned out in advance):
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them. Ps. 139:13 – 16. NASB
Everyone on the face of this earth (throughout the ages) were and will be created as God’s children – to have Him live in them and for them to live with one another as a single family:
…they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being…For we are also His offspring. Acts 17:27, 28. AMP
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Cor. 3:16 ESV
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth… Acts 17:26 NKJV
How precious we must be to God!
“But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Mt. 10:30 AMP
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. 1 Jn. 3:1 NASB
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Jn. 3:16 NKJV
God created you to be perfect but He knew that you were going to be tainted by the sin of Adam and Eve; so He left you His word (Bible) so that you would have a roadmap to return to Him – by becoming Christ-like through your faith-walk in Jesus’ salvation by the Holy Spirit:
For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness]… Rom. 8:29 AMP
…God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Th. 2:13 NASB
For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] Rm. 11:29 AMP
Yet God has given you free will. You can choose not to answer His call but that is a dead-end road. (Pun intended.) Answering that call puts the Lord of the Universe by your side. What does that do for you?
“…no weapon formed against you shall succeed…” Is. 54:17 ESV
So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me? Heb. 13:6 AMP
God covers us then with a spiritual invulnerability and He offers this solely through His Son, by Whom you meld with Them both:
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor. 1:9 NASB
…we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart. 1 Cor. 2:16 AMP
…your bodies are members (bodily parts) of Christ… 1 Cor. 6:15 AMP
This melding occurs when you accept Jesus as the Son of God and for what He did for you at the cross. At that point, you begin to change:
But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor. 6:11 NKJV
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will… Eph. 1:7 – 9. NASB
Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. 2 Cor. 5:17, 18. AMP
In our transformation we become more Christ-like with each passing day, more harmonious with the Father and the Son – being prepared for the day of our passage into eternity. Notice too that we are charged with passing the knowledge of that grace-empowered transformation along to others as well.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body… Phil. 3:20, 21. NKJV
This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. 1 Jn. 2:25 NASB
These are part of the promises that we need to share with everyone; and thank God that He equips us to do so:
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Cor. 2:14, 15. NASB
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Cor. 12:4 – 7. NASB
When you do your sharing, God blesses you as well as the echoes of your transformation makes themselves available to the recipient:
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 1 Jn. 3:14 ESV
(That love does not just hold for your brothers and sisters in Christ but for everyone else as well – i.e. your potential brothers and sisters.)
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20 NKJV
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 NKJV
Once God begins to transform you, (and the others that you reach for Christ) that changing will never let up until you are called at the last day:
…He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6 NASB
Even then, there is yet a prize waiting for you:
…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pt. 1:4, 5. ESV
So what have we seen? God personally created us (through Christ) in Their image and planned out our entire life for us. (Of course, many chose their free will to mangle those plans. It’s our job to help them by bringing light to their darkness.)
He created all of us to be His children and took up Spiritual residence within us, having placed the door to salvation within – sending hints and people to help us see the importance of opening that door.
God wants you to be a part of His global family – the one that He sent His Son to die for. He left an eternal covenant for you, a salvation opportunity that exists only to the moment before you die. (Seeing that you don’t know when that event will take place, it makes the timing of your free-will choice to come to Him take on an extreme urgency.)
When you make that all-important choice in the affirmative, God begins to transform you moment-by-moment, to become more Christ-like, removing the stains from your past and surrounds you with His strength and favor as He brings you into oneness with Jesus and Himself. In that harmony, the doors of eternity beckon…
You are changed for the better:
…children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world… Phil. 2:14, 15. NASB
You’re worth everything to God. He has an infinite love investment in you. He knows what and who your self is, and He loves you for it:
“The Lord knows those who are His,” 2 Tim. 2:19 NKJV
Goodnight and God Bless.
May 14 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Love is often misconstrued as a conjoined exercise of the mind or a merging of the flesh, but that is mere infatuation. True love is an employment of the heart – i.e. a spiritual endeavor.
Love is the ultimate state for all of us to attain – a place where we mirror and become one with God, opening the way for us to accept each other and all that is happening around us. (In the case of ‘negative happenings’ note that ‘acceptance’ is not the same as ‘condoning.’ Acceptance allows us to see what is real and what our part is in dealing with it. That concept requires a very deep investigation that we will take up in the near future.)
Love brings the end of suffering; it is heaven on earth.
What does love look like? God tells us; and to do so, He describes Himself:
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.
Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is every ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are faceless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. 1 Cor. 13:4 – 8. AMP
Doesn’t that sound like the spiritual path that we all seek? That’s because from the moment we are born until we graduate from this life, we are called to emulate our God – who is Love itself and loved us even before we knew who He was:
God is love and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 Jn. 4:16 NASB
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:19 NKJV
All God asks is that we love Him back. That cements our connection with Him and allows Him to move on our behalf:
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 1 Jn. 3:1 NASB
God is impartial with the doling out of His love. He loves all people no matter what. But He can only connect that love to those who seek Him out with love. Those who don’t cannot feel God’s love, nor do they understand His followers’ (saints) love for Him.
How do we show our love for God? Jesus clearly spells it out:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him…and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Jn. 14:21 & 23. NKJV
We show God our love by lovingly obeying His word; and Jesus is the living word. Thus, Christ’s commandments are God’s commandments:
“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” Dt. 7:9 NASB
“Indeed, He loves the people; all Your holy ones are in Your hand, and they followed in Your steps…” Dt. 33:3 NASB
Jesus Christ distilled all of God’s commandments down into two – and they are both about love:
You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of 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. Mt. 22:37 – 40. AMP
When you love God, He rewards you with His love, which carries with it a plethora of big dividends:
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love and kindness – trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show My salvation. Ps. 91:14 – 16. AMP
The LORD preserves all who love Him… Ps. 145:20 NKJV
But God – so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). Eph. 2:4, 5. AMP
God’s love has us covered on every side – bringing us abundance and honor, delivering us from all that stands against us and it culminates in our salvation through Christ to spent an eternal love-filled life with Him.
The Father’s love is also reflected in the Son. When we love Jesus, it is mirrored back to Jehovah, which allows us to receive the love of Them both:
“…for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.” Jn. 16:27 NKJV
…know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:19 NKJV
If indeed we possess this love, it will be demonstrated in our behavior:
…make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard on another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil. 2:2 – 4. NASB
“…love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples…” Jn. 13:34, 35. NKJV
…he who loves God must love his brother also. 1 Jn. 4:21 NKJV
A friend loves at all times… Pr. 17:17 NKJV
Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Cor. 16:14 NKJV
Out of all things, God puts love on the top of His list:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have…but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor. 13:1 – 3. ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Col. 3:12 – 14. ESV
God loves you. He pours it out like a torrent through His Son to all of His children and nothing can take it away:
…neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor thing 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 8:38, 39. ESV
Life is love, it’s what you do, it’s who you are and it’s all you need. The Beatles said it best (showing my age):
All you need is love, love – love is all you need.
Goodnight and God bless.
May 09 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
God created our universe and invested it with ‘universal laws’ that cannot be defied, e.g. gravity, time, quantum mechanics, etc. There are also universal laws in the spiritual realm. One such law applies to communicating with God. If you want to talk to Him, you have to pray.
Even Jesus prayed to His father: Now in those days it occurred that He went up to a mountain to pray, and spent the whole night in prayer to God. Lk. 6:12 AMP
When things got rough for Him on this earth, what did He do? He prayed all the harder: And being in an agony [of mind], He prayed [all the] more earnestly and intently… Lk. 22:44 AMP
Given that prayer is the only direct line we have to our Father, it behooves us to become familiar with His rules regarding creating a prayer connection. After all, if we can’t talk to Him, how would we ever gain His presence?
Fortunately, God never leaves us in the dark. He told us how to pray through His Son:
“In this manner, therefore pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Mt. 6:9 – 13. NKJV
Jesus is not telling us that we need to pray this verbatim. He is giving us a template for effective prayer. In this template (often referred to as the ‘Lord’s Prayer) we can see that His prayer begins with a preface – a declaration of just whom it is that we are praying to. (That would be God.) Notice too that we can meet Him in prayer at the most intimate level – as our heavenly Father.
Our preface is immediately followed with offerings of praise and reverence out of our recognition of His goodness and lordship over all things.
We continue with a petition to God to bring His kingdom to earth; and in doing so, we remind ourselves of our own role in forwarding it through our godly walk – asking for His help to keep our hearts open to His will and the courage to carry it out.
Following this, we then appeal to Him for our ‘daily bread’ – our necessities for living. Note too that Jesus words it as praying for ‘us.’ Thus our prayer is not only for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters in Christ as well. (My personal belief is that this is where you would also pray for whatever else is on your heart.)
Continuing with our template, Jesus reveals a third petition: for forgiveness of our ‘debts’ (transgressions we and our brothers and sisters have committed against God) so that we can bring our earnest confession and repentance before Him to restore our love-connection. Simultaneously, we ask God to help us forgive those who have perpetrated ‘sin debts’ against us – following God’s model of forgiving our sins.
The fourth petition (And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one) may seem confusing. Why? The reason is that God does not tempt anyone:
Let no one say when he is tempted “I am tempted by God;” for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Jm. 1:13, 14. NKJV
So then, this fourth petition is really about praying when we are tempted, that we would not follow through in the commission of the related sin and that He would nudge us to enlist His strength to resist the temptation.
The devil throws temptation your way in almost every moment. So the frequency of your prayers to resist should follow suit.
We conclude our prayer with additional praise for our Creator and we seal it in the name of His Son:
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Jn. 14:13, 14. NKJV
Sometimes we ask God for things that aren’t in our best interest. Thankfully, He only answers prayers that align with His will – a will that only has our highest and best life in mind. Here are the two sides of the coin:
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Jm. 4:3 NASB
…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 Jn. 5:14, 15. NKJV
God loves you so much and He wants you to have that love continually. Thus, you can do that by keeping your love-connection continual. (And why wouldn’t you do that? What could be cooler than having a running conversation with God?):
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Th. 5:17, 18. ESV
Jesus tells us how that should look:
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees you in secret will reward you openly.” Mt. 6:5, 6. NKJV
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Mt. 6:7, 8. ESV
Prayer is a sacred ‘love exchange’ between you and your Creator. You demean that sacredness if you pray to promote your piety. (Public prayer has its place, but it is generally rendered for the benefit of others.)
Prayer is also synergistic:
“…if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the mist of them.” Mt. 18:19, 20. NKJV
Earlier, we saw that there were rules for having prayers answered. One of the biggest rules is to show obedience to God’s word (and part of being obedient is to act godly towards others):
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mk. 11:25 NASB
“…pray for those who persecute you…” Mt. 5:44 NASB
…the Lord has set apart for Himself [and given distinction to] him who is godly [the man of loving-kindness]. The Lord listens and heeds when I call to Him. Ps. 4:3 AMP
The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous. Pr. 15:29 NKJV
When God refers to the ‘wicked,’ He is speaking of those who are willfully and chronically disobeying God’s word. He is not speaking of His children who are doing their best to walk godly. We all fall from time to time. Repentant prayer restores us:
He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, he shall see His face with joy, for He restores to man His righteousness. Job 33:26 NKJV
The second biggest rule for effective prayer (as with anything else regarding God) is to have faith:
“…whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mk. 11:24 ESV
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. Heb. 11:6 NKJV
Maybe you’re new at prayer and feel your prayers are a little weak. No problem. You can call on the Holy Spirit and He will buttress and strengthen them:
So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer up nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groaning too deep for utterance. Rm. 8:26 AMP
Or maybe you think that you’re not important enough for God to listen to you. Phooey!
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. Ps. 145:18 NKJV
And whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered and saved… Joel 2:23 AMP
Not only does God listen and deliver, He goes way above and beyond what you pray for:
Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]— Eph. 3:20 AMP
Wow! It’s time to get on that praying train. Prayer can bring you many things: open doors (Mt. 7:7), victory (2 Sam. 22:4), long life with deliverance from troubles (Ps. 91:15, 16.), revelation (Jer. 33:3), restoration of health (Jm. 5:13 – 15.), deliverance from sins (Jm. 5:16), restoration from loss (Job 42:10), and godly growth (Acts 4:31).
And God remembers your prayers forever. (Acts 10:4).
All the prayers that we have talked about are discursive in nature, as they require a dialogue between you and God. Now I want to consider another form, (for which I’m sure I’ll bring the hot wrath of the ‘religious’ upon me) which is the contemplative prayer.
Catholic monks first formulated this type of prayer, whose devotion I admire – especially those who, through their prayer, took their subsequent spiritual insights and wrote of them so that their fruits could enhance the God-connection of others. In other words, they didn’t just retreat from the world.
These same monks have been unfoundedly demonized by mainstream Protestants as ‘heretical mystics.’
According to the practitioners, (see www.ContemplativeOutreach.org) contemplative prayer is a silent prayer where one is trying to set all their mental distractions (and we all have a lot of them) aside and just rest in God’s presence to deepen their relationship with Him.
It’s like a 20-minute meditation with God as your sole focus. (Meditation is another word that sends the ‘religious’ off screaming of demon possession and damnation.)
The practitioners first decide on a ‘sacred word’ that they will mentally say, only if, during their silent prayer, they become distracted by their thoughts or surroundings; or, similar to meditation, they refocus on their breathing to bring them back to their intention of seeking God.
Suggested sacred words include God, Jesus, Father, love, peace, mercy, faith, trust, etc. This word is not sacred in its inherent meaning; the sacredness arises because of the meaning that the practitioner brings to it, as an expressive tool of their intent to be in God’s presence and action.
It’s not a specific prayer to get anything; it is just holding a space for God to express Himself, i.e. to see what God wants.
Unlike the religionist who would have you believe that if you try to clear your mind the devil will come in and take over, (if that was the case, you wouldn’t have had God firmly implanted in your faith to begin with) it’s actually a good thing to put your worries and the other elements of your mental chatter, aside. It’s refreshing and it can help you see where and how you act against your own best interests.
The religious again will say that those who exercise contemplative prayer are in some wacky ‘alpha state’ where the mind is imprisoned by some droning mantra. Hogwash and falsehoods.
They’ll tell you that nowhere does scripture talk about contemplative prayer, but the Bible doesn’t talk about a lot of things. Yet, I ask you to contemplate this:
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Ps. 46:10 NKJV
You have to take the time to ‘be still,’ to let your mental stuff fall away, to understand who God is and where He wants to lead you. Then you will actually be enriched in your ability to have your discursive prayers be more focused and effective and bring greater glory to God.
Personally, because I also see the enormous benefits in meditation, (a discussion for another time) I see real value in contemplative prayer, though I have yet to practice it. But I plan to give it a try and I’ll keep you posted. (Pun intended.) If it sounds valuable to you, pray about it.
Indeed, your prayer journey should always align with God. Let Him lead your way…
Good night and God bless.
April 30 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »