First we must ask ourselves, ‘What does it mean to be holy?’ In the Hebrew, ‘holy’ means ‘to set apart,’ ‘dedicated to sacred purposes,’ ‘morally pure,’ and ‘sinless.’ That’s a tall order. On the surface, I don’t know anyone like that. Do you?
What we do know is that God is the embodiment of holiness and that all holiness emanates from Him: “No one is holy like the LORD, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.” 1 Sam. 2:2 NKJV
God surrounds Himself with holiness as well:
…holiness adorns Your house, O LORD, forever. Ps. 93:5 NKJV
That would include the personage of His Son, as He is the exact image of His Father (see Col. 1:15). Christ declared Himself thusly: “These things say He who is holy, He who is true…” Rev. 3:7 NKJV
All of God’s children are also called to enter into this holy presence of God:
“In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in your strength you have guided them to Your holy habitation.” Ex. 15:13 NASB
Yet there is a caveat. In order to enter into God’s holy presence, we too must be holy: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’ Lev. 19:2 NKJV
For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 1 Thess. 4:7 ESV
In fact, God personally chose us for holiness before the world was even created:
…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love… Eph 1:4 NKJV
It’s not only for a one-time event; we are to remain holy: “…he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Rev. 22:11 NKJV
There is holiness ‘components’ (that the Father and the Son possess) that we must take on to ourselves, in order to find and keep this holiness. The first component is ‘righteousness,’ which means to be in ‘right standing with God,’ ‘virtuous,’ ‘justifiable,’ and ‘morally right.’ So we are called to be righteous as well:
For the grace of God that brings salvation to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. Titus 2:11, 12. NKJV
There are also big heavenly perks for those who are righteous:
…the LORD loves the righteous. Ps. 146:8 NKJV
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield. Ps. 5:12 ESV
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles. Ps. 34:17 AMP
…righteousness delivers from death. Pr. 10:2 NKJV
The question that begs an answer then is this, ‘Are we, in and of ourselves, able to walk in this pure righteousness?’
…both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one…” Rom. 3:9, 10. NASB
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags… Is. 64:6 NKJV
Yowza! Looks like we are defeated from the get-go. However, never underestimate the love that God has for us. He would never ask something of us that was not possible to attain. He Himself helps us by bestowing righteousness upon those who have faith in Him: And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Gen. 15:6 NKJV
We have to have faith – the faith in God’s salvation through the sacrifice of His Son; and that is the way that we receive our perfect righteousness:
For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who know no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. 2 Cor. 5:21 AMP
…much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Rom 5:17 ESV
The second holiness component we need, is also a free gift from God through His Son. That gift is ‘justification.’ To justify means ‘to be free from blame or guilt.’ It’s obvious that in our flesh, it is a state impossible to attain. Once again, God provides:
…a person is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ…by the works of the law no one will be justified. Gal. 2:16 ESV
We cannot justify ourselves through our own attempts at perfect behavior. We are human and we fall short. Thank God for Jesus:
…in His divine forbearance He has passed over and ignored former sins without punishment. It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus. Rom. 3:25, 26. AMP
The final holiness component is ‘sanctification,’ which means ‘to set apart,’ ‘to dedicate,’ ‘to consecrate,’ ‘to make holy,’ ‘to make free from sin.’ Thus, you can see that all of the components are interwoven to create the whole of holiness.
And as with the other components, God provides this sanctification through Christ: And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One). Heb. 10:10 AMP
God loves us so much that He chose us for this salvation path: …God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth… 2 Thess. 2:13 NKJV
Let’s not forget however, that while our holiness is a gift of God’s grace and not from something we can achieve with our works, we are still charged with living out our life, to the best of our ability, at the level of our greatest good:
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. 2 Cor. 7:1 ESV
…a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24 ESV
With knowledge comes responsibility. Yet God knows we have failings, that we slip and fall. He only asks us to do our best to practice righteousness and He will make up the difference: …the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous… 1 Jn. 3:7 NASB
Thank God through Christ that we are justified, sanctified, righteous and redeemed. So, what does God say about your holiness?
He says to stick with Him and He guarantees you’ll have it…
Goodnight and God bless.
October 25 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
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 AMP
God tells us then that the only way to approach Him and walk in His favor is to have faith in that He is God and that He answers your prayers. To have faith means to have complete trust. If we have complete trust in God we must have complete trust in His word: Every word of God proves true… Pr. 30:5 ESV
So we can have faith in God because we can place our trust in every word that He speaks.
There is yet one more vital ingredient that is required if we are to have full and effective trust in God in the manner that He requires:
For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. Gal. 5:6 AMP
When we ask Christ to come into our lives, we are asking God to become part of our lives because Jesus is the only way to make that connection. It doesn’t matter if we follow God’s word explicitly (not likely) or slip and fall from time to time. What matters is that we are putting forth our best effort to walk in faith, to have complete trust in God – commingled with our love for Him.
Jesus made it very clear regarding how that trust and love should be expressed:
If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. Jn. 14:15 AMP
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. 1 Jn. 5:3 NKJV
Ultimately then, our trust in God is expressed by our loving obedience to Him. It’s not an option if we are to have a working relationship with Him:
“Obey My voice, and do according to all that I command you; so shall you be My people, and I will be your God…” Jer. 11:4 NKJV
“…what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear (revere) the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” Dt. 10:12, 13. NKJV (Emphasis mine.)
In fact, the apostle Peter, (speaking for God), tells us that His ‘elect’ (God’s children) were made for obedience:
Who were chosen and foreknown by God the Father and consecrated (sanctified, made holy) by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and to be sprinkled with [His] blood… 1 Peter 1:2 AMP
To obey God is to emulate to the best of our ability the only example of perfect obedience to God – seen in Christ Jesus, who rejected every worldly thing that stood in opposition to His Father’s will:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war in the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… 2 Cor. 10:3 – 5. ESV
The act of obedience makes us presentable before God:
…you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love… 1 Pet. 1:22 NKJV
And the best way to do that is to take God’s word literally:
“Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor talk away from it.” Dt. 12:32 NASB
Our obedience to God’s word demonstrates our trust in Him, our faithfulness; and God is faithful in return – blessing us in the process:
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…” Dt. 7:9 ESV
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments. Ps. 112:1 NKJV
“…blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God.” Dt. 28:2 AMP
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments… 1 Jn. 3:21, 22. NKJV (There is no condemnation with obedience.)
Here’s an added perk! When we put our trust in God by obeying Him, our descendants are blessed as well:
“Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.” Dt. 12:28 ESV
It is human nature to rebel against rules, to think that we know best. I believe that the state of the world argues against the best that man has to offer. Fortunately for the believer, God’s commandments (rules) are not burdensome; they are guidelines for getting the greatest life of love, peace, joy and enlightenment and our adherence to them guarantees our place in His eternity:
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever, the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. Ps. 19:8, 9. NKJV
Your statues have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Ps. 119:54 NKJV
The other thing is, we can trust in our God because His word never changes:
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Is. 40:8 NKJV
God also extends His word through His Son, so we can put our trust in Christ as well:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Jn 1:14 NKJV
Life, now and eternally, is found in the word of God:
‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ Mt. 4:4 NKJV
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Jn. 6:63 NKJV
“…if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” Jn. 8:51 NKJV
The word of God is our path to truth, freedom and abundance:
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Jn 8:31, 32. ESV
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” Jn. 15:7, 8. NKJV
God’s word fills us with revelation, purpose and comfort as well:
Through your precepts I get understanding…Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Ps. 119:104, 105. NKJV
Finally, the very power of God resides in those loving words where we place our trust:
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Is. 55:11 NKJV
What else does God’s word hold for you if you trust in Him? Everything…
…whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. 1 Jn. 2:5 NKJV
‘In God We Trust.’
Goodnight and God bless.
October 11 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
One of the greatest things about God is that He always leads by example. One such example is the way that He forgives. In fact, He is the source of forgiveness: But there is forgiveness with You [just what a man needs], that You may be reverently feared and worshiped. Ps. 130:4 AMP
God’s willingness to forgive never waivers:
To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. Dan. 9:9 NKJV
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities… Ps. 103:2, 3. NKJV
Moreover, God wants you forgiven, but it’s up to you to do your part, which is to take on a serious attitude and behavioral adjustment, i.e. to confess and repent:
…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked was, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land… 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV
The path to our greatest good is to emulate God by walking in His steps. God forgives; we should do the same…
The only reason that forgiveness becomes an issue is because humans indulge in judgment. God also judges, but He has no choice in the matter. God is sinless and He cannot tolerate its presence. When it is present, He must judge.
We on the other hand, are not sinless – which disqualifies us for being able to judge anyone. Indeed, God commands us not to: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:1-3. NKJV
You see, if we didn’t judge, then we couldn’t blame; subsequently, there would be nothing to forgive.
Judgment is a chronic stream of mental chatter that the devil uses – lies, which if you believe them, will bring you a life filled with dissatisfaction and unhappiness. In that chatter you find ‘He did, She did.’ ‘They can’t, I can’t.’ ‘Life is horrific.’ ‘They made me / my life this way,’ etc. You end up viewing your life and other people through the lens of your personal preferences – predilections built upon those satanic deceptions that have shaped your (false) reality.
You shape your judgments within your tunnel vision, a vision of how you think the world should be – a product of blindness induced by your obsession over your own self-importance. Ironically then, when you judge, the only thing you define is who you are.
Your tendency to judge is perpetuated by your attachment to being ‘right’ – exhibited by your clinging tenaciously to your point of view. You become immersed in negative stances, e.g. being against war (enter your hot button here), rather than being a force for good by taking a positive stance, like being for peace.
When we can suspend judgment, then the burden of self-judgment is also lifted. Only then can we have the space for forgiveness – first for ourselves, and then for all others.
Keep in mind though, just because we come to a place where we can see how we have been being and what we have been doing, and how that judgment is counterproductive to what God wants for us, we are still human. Regardless of our best efforts, we will slip off of our God path from time to time and we will judge. Thus, we need to forgive.
In fact, our forgiveness must first be exercised for the target of our judgment before God will forgive us:
For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Mt. 6:14 AMP
“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you your transgressions.” Mt. 6:15 NASB
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 must also forgive. Col. 3:12, 13. ESV
Sometimes, the tendency to judge is seemingly impossible to turn away from – especially if someone enters your life and does something that you perceive not to be in your best interest. You might even view their word or deed as an outright injury.
The truth is that people are not inherently bad. They only know how to be the way they are being at that point in their lives, and they believe that way is significant for their survival. They deserve compassion (e.g. forgiveness) for projecting their inner suffering outwards. You just happened to be there, a convenient target.
When you don’t forgive, these ‘injuries’ and the stories that you build around them (which contain your judgments), hold you in bondage.
How does God want you to respond? …on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow…reaffirm your love to him. 2 Cor. 2:7, 8. NASB
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to what is honorable in the sight of all…Beloved, never avenge yourselves… Rom. 12:17 & 19. ESV
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” Mt. 5:44 NKJV
Our Father in heaven places such a high priority on forgiveness, that He will not even hear your prayers until you make reconciliation with your object of un-forgiveness. (See Mt. 5:23, 24.)
Furthermore, Christ told us that we are to forgive everyone perpetually. (See Mt. 18:22) There is never an excuse for judgment. We are trapped spiritually unless we forgive, and our life will suffer for it.
Forgiveness begins in the mirror. After all, most of the things we do not forgive in others are the things we don’t forgive ourselves for. Without forgiveness, we build a barrier between our Creator and ourselves.
Forgiveness comes from the heart. It is a Spiritual endowment – completing our relationship with ourselves, each other, and with God.
Forgiving is the highest act of giving – where we give our love away, regardless of whether or not we think it is deserved. After all, who doesn’t deserve love?
Forgiveness emulates the characters of the Father and the Son. Jesus went to the cross for our forgiveness. When we forgive, we honor His sacred sacrifice; we acknowledge that it was enough…
Good night and God bless.
October 04 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
He does not talk about that holiday in November. No, God is talking about you expressing an attitude of gratitude towards Him, for the things He does for you. You might ask yourself, ‘What are those things that I should be grateful for?’ or ‘What has He done for me lately?’ Let’s take a look…
How about the fact that God infuses every single day of your life with the potential for your happiness? This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Ps. 118:24 NASB
Or, think about how God gave us a Life Manual (the Bible) filled with His word that blesses our lives when we follow it?
BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.
But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. Ps. 1:1 – 3. AMP
Pause and reflect over how much God loves you:
“The LORD your God is in your midst, the Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17 NKJV
“I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. For thus says the LORD: …I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them.” Jer. 3:41, 42. ESV
That is one loving God; and out of His love, comes His provisions:
O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. Ps. 16:5, 6. NKJV
For you have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. Ps. 63:7 NASB
…ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete. John 16:24 AMP
His greatest provision is our redemptive path to Him – our God path:
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Ps. 16:11 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Pet. 2:9 ESV
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation… Is. 61:10 NKJv
Moreover, this wondrous love of God was manifested towards us even before we were born – before we knew who we were, before we knew who God was:
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:9, 10 & 19. NKJV
Are you starting to feel a little grateful yet, a little thankful? I hope so, because all of the things that God does for you out of His love, is provisional / reciprocal. Although, all He wants from you in this cycle of love, is to gratefully love Him back and then leave all the details of living in His hands:
The LORD preserves all who love Him… Ps. 145:20 NKJV
Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:4 NASB
When you love God by showing Him your loving gratitude, it glorifies Him:
“…you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.” Dt. 12:7 NASB
For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 2 Cor. 4:15 NASB
He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me… Ps. 50:23 AMP
God asks us to show Him our gratitude regardless of how our present circumstances may appear:
In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider that God has made the one side by side with the other… Eccl. 7:14 AMP
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:1 – 4. ESV
Moreover, God asks us to demonstrate our faith by showing our gratitude before we receive the fruit of our petitions – faith in the faithfulness of God:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God… Phil. 4:6 NKJV
So we see then that God is asking for our gratitude to be continuous:
…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… Eph. 5:18 – 20. NKJV
And when you’re showing God your gratitude, it’s no time to be shy!
Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon HIs name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to HIm, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! 1 Chr. 16:8 – 10. NKJV
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet…with lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance…with stringed instruments and flutes! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! Ps. 150:3, 4 & 6. NKJV
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. Ps. 95:1, 2. NKJV
How God loves it when we celebrate Him! When we celebrate, we are thanking Him for our most precious gift – our life, which is an extension of His love.
Your style of thanksgiving is your own affair. You have seen that God loves it when we sing, shout, dance and play music. The word ‘thanksgiving’ is translated from the Hebrew todah, which means to extend out your hands.
God loves for us to rock His house in gratitude.
Being thankful is a small price to ask for, in exchange for a full and satisfied life with a promise of an eternal loving abundance in the very presence of our Creator. Besides, that grateful attitude spills over and makes for a joyful journey in the here and now…
Good night and God bless.
September 26 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
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 »