That’s right. Your devil. Why do I say that? It’s because the devil makes it his personal business to try to steer every human being (throughout history) onto a path of destruction – one that leads to death without salvation. You are continually in his crosshairs; and his purpose is not a good one. Jesus put it this way: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” Jn. 10:10 NKJV
Many people in this world (at every historical point) deny the existence of the devil – relegating his place to one of a fairy tale boogeyman, conjured up to keep us in line. There are even some church denominations that say that the devil is only a metaphorical representation for evil. However, denominations (always a sore spot with me) are only some human founder’s ideas shellacked over God’s word.
God says the devil is the real deal. In fact, the Bible shows him to be present throughout history and Jesus talks about him more than anyone.
He has many names in the Bible: adversary, devil, dragon, serpent, Satan, wicked one, darkness, evil, father of lies, prince of power of the air, thief, devourer, destroyer, and tempter.
We first meet him immediately after the creation of Adam and Eve: Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘you shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Gen. 3:1 ESV
We get confirmation of the devil’s identity even at the opposite end of the Bible, when God sends an angel to subdue him: And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years… Rv. 20:2 ESV
Notice too that the first words we hear out of the devil’s mouth consist of an attempt to twist God’s word to Eve, i.e. to lie. Jesus tells us that all Satan speaks are lies: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Jn. 8:44 NASB
Getting back to Adam and Eve, the devil ‘was a murderer from the beginning’ because it was his lies that led to Adam and Eve losing their immortality.
God immediately held Satan accountable: So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed…And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Gn. 3:14, 15. NKJV
God is saying that the devil will forever be at war with God’s children. There cannot be any reconciliation between the two. He is also prophesying that Jesus would be ‘bruised’ at His crucifixion, (but we know He triumphs through His resurrection), but Christ will eventually bruise Satan’s head, i.e. bring about his final demise.
After Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the devil [a rebellious (fallen) angel], continued to comb the earth to perpetrate his deadly schemes: Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:6, 7. NKJV
Satan’s next recorded act was his role as an accomplice in Cain’s murder of his brother Abel:
…not be like Cain who [took his nature and got his motivation] from the evil one and slew his brother. And why did he slay him? Because his deeds (activities, works) were wicked and malicious and his brother’s were righteous (virtuous). 1 Jn. 3:11, 12. AMP
And as the history of man progressed, so did the devil’s evil meddling in their affairs: Then Satan stood against Israel… 1 Chr. 21:1 NKJV
Even when Christ came to be born on earth, the devil was there to try to thwart God’s plan of salvation for His children:
And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Rv. 12:4, 5. NKJV
Remember that the devil tried to kill baby Jesus through King Herod, but God had Joseph take Him to Egypt for safety. Satan would continue to try to make Jesus’ life miserable, to try to make Him abandon God’s charge to bring salvation to all the people of the earth. He especially came against Jesus after His baptism, when He went into the wilderness to fast for 40 days – to sharpen His spiritual focus for His Father’s mission:
THEN JESUS was led (guided) by the [Holy Spirit] into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil. Mt. 4:1 AMP
And like Jesus, when we are Holy Spirit-filled by God to perform His unique mission for us, we too will come under attack from Satan – in the same manner as Christ was assaulted.
The devil first tried to tempt Jesus into sinning, by trying to convince Him to turn stones into bread in order to relieve His hunger, after having fasted.
This was the first part of his classic three-fold strategy. Satan was trying to entice Jesus (as he does us) into fulfilling the lust of the flesh. Jesus warded off the devil’s attack by speaking God’s words: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “ Mt. 4:4 NKJV
(In other words, we are to look to God to align with His will regarding things of the spirit first, then God will see that our appropriate physical needs are met as well. The strength that we need to stand tall in the face of the devil is found when we lean on God and do His bidding.)
Having failed at his first attempt, Satan took Jesus to the top of the of the temple in Jerusalem and told Him to prove that He is the Son of God by throwing Himself to fall to the ground because (the devil says) God’s word asserts that He will send His angels to keep Jesus from harm.
This is extremely important to see. The devil will even try to use the word of God against you by twisting its meaning or the context in which it was meant to be used. That is why it is so important to continually remain in God’s word, so that you know how to accurately apply it.
Jesus responds: “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’ “ Mt. 4:7 NASB
Christ is putting God’s word into laser focus for the devil to see that He is firmly rooted in God’s will. It is one thing to know what God says He will do, it is another thing to try to demand it of Him. Jesus is demonstrating for us the nature of Satan’s second plan of attack: to get one to submit to the sin of the ‘pride of life.’
Finally, the devil takes Jesus up to a high mountain and shows Him all of the kingdoms of man throughout history and he offers them to Him if He will worship him.
The first thing to notice is that the devil is saying that all of man’s kingdoms are his to give. That’s something to think about. It tells us that the devil is working behind the scenes of all the governments. Hmm…
Jesus answers: Begone, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve. Mt. 4:10 AMP
We see then that God must come before all things in our lives. Jesus has just defeated the devil by using God’s word to thwart his third component of his spiritual attack strategy: the sin temptation to yield to the ‘lust of the eyes.’
So, Satan’s strategies against you are the same: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life; yet you can beat them all by standing with God.
The devil left Jesus at that time, but he would return. Stay tuned…
Goodnight and God bless.
December 13 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Most endeavors in life require preparation if you are to have any success in their outcomes. Relationships, scholastic achievements, business, wellness, prosperity, and godliness all call for preparedness to have favorable results.
In fact, life itself, in order to be lived to its fullest, demands preparation. The most important facet of that preparation is to have an established and ongoing right relationship with God:
Acquaint now yourself with Him [agree with God and show yourself to be conformed to His will] and be at peace; by that [you shall prosper and great] good shall come to you. Receive, I pray you, the law and instruction from His mouth and lay up His words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty [and submit and humble yourself before Him], you will be built up; if you put away unrighteousness from your tents… Job 22:21 – 23. AMP
And make the Almighty your gold and the [Lord] your precious silver treasure, then you will have delight in the Almighty, and you will lift up your face to God. You will make your prayer to Him, and He will hear you, and you will pay your vows. You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you; and the light [of God’s favor] shall shine upon your ways. Job 22:25 – 28. AMP
You cannot find the way to spiritually prepare yourself for life in the now or for eternal life anywhere in the ways of the world – because those ways run counter to God’s ways:
Do not love the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eye and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 Jn. 2:15 – 17. ESV
We need spiritual coaching in order to prepare ourselves for our journey on the spirit-filled path. As always, God provides. He gave us a Spiritual coach in Christ Jesus, who coaches us for free:
“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” Jn. 6:27 NKJV
“He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Jn. 15:5 NKJV
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Mt. 7:7 NKJV
Even as your Heavenly Coach is preparing you for your spiritual life on earth, Jesus prepares a place in heaven for you as well:
“In My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.” Jn. 14:2. NKJV
There is also a vital time constraint on your spiritual preparedness. Once you’ve been exposed to the gospel message, it is imperative that you receive it, embrace it, and live it out to the best of your ability; because if you reject it and maintain that rejection until you die, (and we have no idea when that time will come) there are no second chances. Death for you will be permanent:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mk. 1:15 NKJV
“I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Rev. 3:11 NASB
Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Is. 55:6 NKJV
What is the goal that God seeks for your spiritual preparation?
…you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Pt. 2:5 ESV
O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart… Ps. 15:1, 2. ESV
Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Eph. 5:8 – 11. ESV
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Pt. 2:21 – 24. NASB
We prepare ourselves then for serving the kingdom of God by walking in righteousness and serving God by emulating His Son – being beacons for His salvation, and exposing the dangers of living in the worldly ways.
That preparation requires diligent and persevering training; and as with any godly endeavor, it requires faith and deeds that reflect that faith:
…show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Heb. 6:11, 12. NASB
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15 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
…are you willing to recognize…that faith without works is useless? James 2:20 NASB
…and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; James 2:22 NASB
Living a spiritual life is the training ground for eternity. It is a race of and for victory – a victory promised by God; and if we stay in relationship with Him, He will shower us with the spiritual gifts that we need to live that life:
Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called. 1 Cor. 7:24 NKJV
Therefore brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fail. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Pt. 1:10, 11. NASB
We saw earlier how God’s ways are not the world’s ways. Be forewarned that living God’s ways convicts those people living worldly ways, and they will hate you for it (for reminding them of the wrongs they commit). However, God has got your back through Jesus:
“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” Mt. 10:22 NKJV
Prepare. Train. Smell the fruit of victory and keep the finish line in sight…
Not that I have already obtained it of have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:12 – 14. NASB
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not only to me but also all who have loved His appearing. 2 Tim. 4:7, 8.
Good night and God bless.
December 06 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Speeches. Books. Recordings. Conversation. Our entire reality is expressed in and through language. The ability to communicate this reality is a gift from God and He takes the way that you use that gift quite seriously:
“Who has made man’s mouth?…Is it not I, the LORD?” Ex. 4:11 NASB
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. Pr. 18:21 AMP
The Son of God also imparted to us the seriousness of what we exercise our free will to utter with our mouths; i.e. there is a definite accountability that we have for what we speak into our world:
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Mt. 12:34 – 37. ESV
“Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of a mouth; this defiles a person.” Mt. 15:11 ESV
We see then that how you speak, how you use your tongue, can have a powerful effect on the outcome of your life. As with anything, if you misuse your tongue it has detrimental effects:
Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell…no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. James 3:4 – 6 & 8. NASB
It also behooves us to remember that none of our words get by God:
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it all together. Ps. 139:4 ESV
God is listening and keeping track of your verbal transgressions – e.g. when you lie (if you are unrepentant of it), because your lips are incongruent with your spirit. God knows this practice is detrimental to you and warns you against committing it:
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. James 3:10 NKJV
The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor… Pr. 11:9 NKJV
A lying tongue hates its victims and a flattering mouth works ruin. Pr. 26:28 ESV
A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish. Pr. 19:9 NKJV
The practice of pride is another malicious use of the tongue:
DO NOT boast of [yourself and] tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Pr. 27:1 AMP
…you boast [falsely] in your presumption and your self conceit. All such boasting is wrong. James 4:16 AMP
After all, isn’t the expression of pride an act of lifting oneself above others – making oneself in effect a god? That is totally against what God expects from you; and what He expects is for you to acknowledge only Him as the Source of your good fortune (the salvation that makes all things possible):
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, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8, 9. ESV
Another misuse of the gift of speech is to use it to curse or mock others:
Whoever curses his father or mother, his lamp will be put out in deep darkness. Pr. 20:20 NKJV
He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; he who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. Pr. 17:5 NASB
Lastly, there are those who speak in ways to puff up their piety. God is not amused:
Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote…” Is. 29:13 NASB
God places great value on your words because your life becomes an expression of them – for good or bad:
The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips… Pr. 12:13 NKJV
…idle talk leads only to poverty. Pr. 14:23 AMP
Obviously then, our welfare is dependent upon exercising wisdom in our speech, speaking words that has God move on our behalf. Indeed, He won’t move unless we utter them:
You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:2, 3. NASB
When we speak with the wisdom that God teaches us, good things happen:
A soft answer turns away wrath… Pr. 15:1 NKJV
A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life… Pr. 15:4 AMP
The heart of the righteous studies how to answer… Pr. 15:28 NKJV
Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious… Ecc. 10:12 NASB
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life… Pr. 13:3 ESV
Truthful lips shall be established forever… Pr. 12:19 NASB
If we are speaking with God’s wisdom that means we must first check in with Him before we wag our tongues:
“…whatever the LORD says to me, that I will speak.” 1 Kings 22:14 NKJV
God never fails to give us His guideposts for living rightly, and that includes the exercise of right speech:
Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be as a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you.]. Col. 4:6 AMP
“Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace…” Zech. 8:16 ESV
“You shall be careful to perform what goes out of your lips…” Dt. 23:23 NASB
God also expects us to mature in the spirit and wants to see that maturity reflected in our speech:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Cor. 13:11 ESV
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29 ESV
…be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Tim. 4:12 NKJV
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. Ps. 37:30 NKJV
The highest calling we receive for our words, is the use of them in our relationship with our Creator:
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! Ps. 105:1, 2. NKJV
Through Him, (Jesus) therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name. Heb. 13:13 AMP
Part of that highest calling is to speak God’s salvation message into the lives of others:
…the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; Rom. 10:8, 9. NASB
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. 2 Tim. 4:2 NKJV
Your words carry weight; they stand on their own:
But I tell you, do not bind yourselves by an oath at all…Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; Mt. 5:34 & 37. AMP
Your words fulfill:
A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Pr. 18:20 NKJV
Your words can even be synergistic when you combine them with the prayers of other believers:
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” Mt. 18:19 NKJV
Talk isn’t cheap. It is people who cheapen talk. Your words are powerful – backed up by God Himself through Christ:
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven. Matt. 16:19 AMP
Your words move God, and He moves heaven and earth to deliver on your petitions.
Nice talking to you…
Good night and God bless.
November 30 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Anger is a natural human response. It is part of the emotional array that we inherit from our Heavenly Template. Yes, God gets angry too but He expresses it far differently than most humans: For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Ps. 30:5 NASB
Therefore, as it is the children of God’s goal to emulate Him, our anger should only be given a fleeting moment to exist.
For another example of this godly trait, see how God tempers His anger when dealing with our disobedience: But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath; Ps. 78:38 NKJV
“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away…” Hos. 14:4 NKJV
What that says is that most of the time God is compassionate towards us during our slips and falls. He gives us a little leeway towards our transgressions (provided we confess and repent). We are expected to exercise similar patience, compassion, and forgiveness to those who may transgress against us. They, just like us, suffer in kind – embroiled in the human condition, going about unconsciously projecting that suffering onto others. We should be expressing a faith behavior that is based on love…
If we practice our faith-based walk, we will relent from hair-trigger responses to that which upsets us. We will ruminate over what would cause a person to behave in that fashion instead of striking back (i.e. taking vengeance) – trying to find a place where we can apply mercy (just like our Father): …for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Joel 2:13 NKJV
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rom. 12:19 ESV
Unrelenting anger leads to destruction (both to self and to others):
The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh. Pr. 11:17 NKJV
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger appeases contention. Pr. 15:18 AMP
…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19, 20. NKJV
Yes, anger will assuredly come again and again; but you can step back and observe your emotion, acknowledge it, and make the fact that you are experiencing anger known to whom has offended you. However, as a follower of Christ, at that point it behooves you to look for solutions rather than adding the sin of doing that person some kind of retaliatory physical or mental harm:
When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]. Eph. 4:26, 27. AMP
So, as we’ve already seen, God asks us to keep our anger short-lived; but also look at the last part of the above scripture. God is telling us that unabated anger also invites the devil into our heart and gives him room to roost – not a good thing:
But he who hates his brother is in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 Jn. 2:11 NKJV
So their are spiritual ramifications for unchecked anger, and they include Divine retribution:
“…I will not revoke the punishment, because he pursued his brother with the sword and cast off all pity, and he kept his wrath forever.” Amos 1:11 ESV
“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment;” Mt. 5:22 ESV
One must also be wise enough to refrain from entertaining the expressions of other variations of anger as well, i.e. pride, envy, and jealousy. When you practice pride, you are lifting yourself above another, effectively oppressing them; and envy and jealousy are forms of anger born out of a lust after something someone else has – while simultaneously holding them in disdain for their good fortune.
By pride comes nothing but strife… Pr. 13:10 NKJV
For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices. James 3:16 AMP
With regards to anger in all its forms, what is it that God is looking for from you?
But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feelings towards others, curses and slanders, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! Col. 3:8 AMP
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God my perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:24 – 26. ESV
THAT’S THE BIG PICTURE! You have no idea whether or not God has sent this offending person to you for you to guide into His salvation.
We will run into angry people from time to time. We can offer our best understanding and overtones of comfort and peace, but if they refuse to change their behavior, we want to keep our distance: Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul. Pr. 22:24, 25. NKJV
But other than the chronic offenders who have no desire to coexist with you in peace, we must first offer up love:
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” Mt. 5:44, 45. NASB
It requires you to take on a new mindset – the mindset of God through Christ and the Holy Spirit:
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
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Gal. 5:22, 23. NASB
The long and the short of it is that if we want to get anger out of ourselves, we must practice a life living the opposite, i.e. a life of peace:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Rom. 12:18 ESV
…live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Cor. 13:11 NKJV
Ultimately, we can choose anger and die inside (anger kills its host) or we can choose peace and live. Choose peace…
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Mt. 5:9 NKJV
Goodnight and God bless.
November 21 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Many people want the benefits associated with walking on the Spirit-filled path, but few want to participate in the sacrificial behavior that is required to stay on it.
To sacrifice means ‘to give something up': I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God of that which costs me nothing. 2 Sam. 24:24 AMP
So if an action does not cost you something, it’s not really a sacrifice is it? Yet many avoid making a sacrifice solely because they lack the knowledge of and faith in what God will reward that sacrifice with. For example, God always rewards one’s sacrifices with blessings: ‘You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings…in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.’ Ex. 20:24 NASB
Yet God will only receive your sacrifices if you give them of your free will instead of giving grudgingly – i.e. out of duty or out of fear: “And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, you shall offer it of your own free will.” Lev. 19:5 NKJV
In addition, God requires that you to offer your sacrifices exclusively to Him – not to idols: e.g. to your job, to your past, or anything else that you’ve made a god of over your life: You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them. But you shall [reverently] fear, bow yourselves to, and sacrifice to the Lord… 2 Kings 17:35, 36. AMP
Those who pay regard to false, useless, and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness. Jon. 2:8 AMP
We’ve already seen that it is a lack of faith in God’s provisions that prevent some people from bringing their sacrifice to Him. We often balk at sacrificing because we see what we think is our overriding immediate need, as having a greater urgency of needing to be met, than first giving our gift to God. Yet, it is that very faith that God wants to see in you – faith that He will meet and exceed all of your needs, regardless of how your circumstances appear and faith in that He will reward you with much more than what your sacrifice costs you:
“You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God.” Ex. 23:19 NASB
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” Mal. 3:10 NASB
We see then that the ‘tithe’ for example, (10% of any new found increase in your abundance) is to be offered up / sacrificed to God before you distribute the other 90%; and that He promises your subsequent blessings will eclipse your expectations.
Finally, when you make your sacrifices to your Holy Father, you must simultaneously be in earnest in making your best efforts to walk in His ways, in order for Him to receive them. In fact, God places a higher priority on those efforts than in the sacrifices themselves: To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Pr. 21:3 NKJV
(Indeed, your very efforts constitute your sacrificing the ways of the world and God will honor you for them.)
During the Old Testament times, the priests sacrificed animals in the temple of God because blood was required as an ‘atonement exchange’ for the sins of the people. God changed all that when our High Priest, Jesus Christ, became our ultimate sacrifice at the cross. The blood of the Messiah was and is the final atonement for sins for all people for all time, that have come to accept Christ as the Son of God and the import of His redemptive act for all humankind. (See Eph. 5:1, 2; Heb. 10:12.)
Yet God still asks you to make a personal sacrifice as well – one that acknowledges all that He has done for you: …present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Rom. 12:1 NASB
This would appear to be a burden at first glance, but it only feels that way because the devil feeds your desires for the things of the world to lead you into making the acquisition of them a priority: the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. These things represent ‘tarnishing agents’ that drive a wedge between you and your Father. It’s only your spiritual walk that makes for your acceptable sacrifice: My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent]… Ps. 51:17 AMP
God is not asking you to be a broken person, but instead one who has a softened and teachable spirit – sacrificing your pride so that you can hear His voice. He is looking for your spiritual sacrifices that you present through Christ, so that He can in turn advance your standing in His kingdom: …you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 2:5 NKJV
One form of our spiritual sacrifices consists of thanksgiving:
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his deeds in songs of joy. Ps. 107:21, 22. ESV
Let my prayer be set forth as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Ps. 141:2 AMP
Other forms of spiritual sacrifice include praising God and doing our best to walk in the path that He lays out for us:
Through Him, (Jesus) therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name. Heb. 13:15 AMP
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. Ps. 4:5 NKJV
Jehovah God places all your sacrifices before Him and He preserves them from corruption forever:
“…every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.” Mk. 9:49 NKJV
“I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices…which are continually before Me.” Ps. 50:8 NKJV
Hold on! Let’s indulge our human side for a moment. God accepts our sacrifices*, but what do we get out of it?
*(When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 Chr. 7:1 NKJV)
We get to receive eternal joy in the presence of our Creator:
[There shall be heard again] the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing as they bring sacrifices of thanksgiving into the house of the Lord, Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good; for His mercy and kindness and steadfast love endure forever! Jer. 33:11 AMP
All these I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar… Is. 56:7 AMP
Ultimately then, God presents Himself personally to accept our sacrifices, and in doing so, fills His temple with glory. Thus we [being ‘living temples of God’ (see 1 Cor. 3:16)] are filled with the His glory.
As I see it, our sacrifices consist of doing our best to live by God’s word, to be teachable, thankful, and to live joyful lives. In turn, God blesses us with His eternal joy and fills us with His indescribable glory…
God is good.
Good night and God bless.
November 15 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
It has often been said that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather spiritual beings having a human experience. When we examine the nature of our Creator and His creations we can grasp the profound truth in that statement.
Christ Himself revealed both His Father’s true nature and how we must relate to that nature: God is a Spirit (a spiritual being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality). Jn. 4:24 AMP
At night my soul longs for You, indeed, my spirit within me seeks you diligently… Is. 26:9 NASB
Thus, Jehovah God is the Spirit; and we must have a spiritual component as well because our worship (a major form of our interaction / communication with God) must take place on our spiritual plane, utilizing our spiritual characteristics, e.g. faith, love, and holiness. Our spirit connects us with God.
It’s also how God connects with our inner selves: The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart. Pr. 20:27 NKJV
The Bible actually begins by addressing the actions of the Spirit of God as He creates our world: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Gen. 1:1, 2. NKJV
We were also created by God, who gave us a Spiritual portion of Himself: Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: Zech. 12:1 NKJV
He lives in us through it and unifies His children by it:
We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. 1 Jn. 3:24 NASB
There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all in all. Eph. 4:4 – 6. ESV
That God-part within us is separate from our flesh and is so wondrous in its nature that it is incomprehensible to us: “…for a spirit does not have flesh and bones…” Lk. 24:39 NKJV
“You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” Lk. 9:55 NKJV
Besides watching over you Himself, God also sends other spirits (angels) to do the same and to guide you into His salvation: Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Heb. 1:14 ESV
Over 2000 years ago, when it seemed that man was beyond redemption, (due to his unrepentant sin obsessions) God sent an extension of Himself, a Spirit-being, simultaneously separate and distinct, His Son Jesus Christ, to the earth to bring salvation to His children.
The Spirit-Jesus was incorporated with His mother Mary’s flesh (prepared for Him by the Holy Spirit) to become the God-Spirit / Man: …she was found to be pregnant [through the power] of the Holy Spirit. Mt. 1:18 AMP
It was this same Holy Spirit who entered Christ upon His baptism and empowered His 3-year planet-changing ministry. (See Mt. 3:16; Lk. 4:14 & 18.) When Jesus ascended to His Father after His crucifixion, He returned to earth for 40 days as a new Spirit / Transcended + Transformed Man that sits at the right hand of God this very day.
The ‘Holy Spirit,’ like Jesus, is also a separate and distinct Spirit-extension of God – who resides (if one imagines He only lives in one place – not true) in the heavenly throne room of God: …in front of the throne seven blazing torches burned, which are the seven Spirits of God [the sevenfold Holy Spirit]; Rev. 4:5 AMP
The Holy Spirit is a gift from God, at Jesus’ request, that He sent to live in His children who have faith in His Son. (See Jn. 7:9; 14:16, 27.) The task of the Holy Spirit is to bring continuing revelation about Christ: how to know Him and be like Him – walking in the ways of God:
But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby) Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. Jn. 14:26 AMP
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you of things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” Jn. 16:13, 14. NKJV
But as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 1 Cor. 2:9, 10. ESV
And what is the truth that the Holy Spirit reveals? Is it not the word of God? (See 2 Pet. 1:20, 21.)
We can’t even begin to experience the revelation and salvation of Jesus without the aid of the Holy Spirit: …no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:3 AMP
Then we can walk the God walk; but hey, we’re still human aren’t we? Thank God the Holy Spirit also lifts us up in our walk when we slip and fall, and He enables us to complete our journey:
…the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. Rom. 8:26 NKJV
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18 NKJV
We are born innocent (with regards to present sin) and remain that way in God’s eyes until we reach an age of accountability – which occurs at the time we hear the message of God’s salvation and decide whether or not to accept it. If we accept, we must begin to cultivate the expression of our spirit – living a spiritual life that places the will of the spirit (God) over the will of our flesh: But it is not the spiritual life which came first, but the physical and then the spiritual. 1 Cor. 15:46 AMP
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14 ESV
As we build our spiritual prowess, we must also come to recognize that not all spirits are from God. Some come from the devil, which he sends to us to try to make us fall from our spiritual path of righteousness. Fortunately, God told us exactly how to recognize Satan’s spirits. Those are the ones who refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God. (See 1 Jn. 4:1 – 3.)
Living a spiritual life is truly a matter of life or death: For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6 ESV
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Gal. 6:8 NKJV
The spiritual life yields the spiritual promise of eternal life through the salvation of God through Jesus Christ. Isn’t that the message we are to share with everyone? And we are Holy Spirit-inspired to do so: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NKJV
“…it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” Mk. 13:11 NKJV
The Spirit of God made our universe. It brings life to God’s children and then watches over them until it is time for them to transcend their earthly bodies – whereupon God invites them into His heavenly eternity through His Spirit and His Son:
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Rev. 22:17 ESV
That’s the Spirit!
Goodnight and God Bless.
November 06 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
Presently in America, a slight majority of the population still treasures their independence, their rugged individualism, and their ability to ‘go it alone.’ The other half of the people, for one reason or another, has given up their independence for a dependency on the welfare state. Many of the first half sees themselves as the captain of their destiny; the other half sees the government as the god of theirs.
In either case, when we look at the tumultuous world, as it exists today, it is painfully clear that neither of these ideologies / lifestyles are creating the type of environment that we had hoped we would live out our lives in.
Sometimes, even in spite of our best efforts at trying to gain enlightenment, to walk a godly way, we still fall upon hard times – times where we may encounter poverty, loss, despair, weakness, attack, and may give up and give in to transgression.
Many times trials and tribulations also await those who live outside of God’s will.
You may look for support from family and friends, but they too are swimming against troubled currents of their own.
Trying to ‘do it your way’ or do it the government’s way (i.e. placing you dependency upon yourself or a worldly entity) doesn’t work because it runs contrary to God’s plan for you. He wants you to depend on Him.
You might think that it would be presumptuous to bother the Creator of the Universe with your problems, with those things that keep your life from working out for you. However, let’s go to that Source; let’s see what God has to say…
Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before they ever took shape, when as yet there was none of them. Ps. 139:16 AMP
Therefore, our Heavenly Father has our entire life mapped out for us before we were ever born. What kind of map is that?
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Jer. 29:11 AMP
So it’s a good map; and not only does He lay it out for you, but He helps you navigate it to help you gain all that is impossible for you to do by yourself. Moreover, He takes hold of your desires and satisfies them in ways that lie beyond your imagination:
“With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mt. 19:26 NASB
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
God always knows what you’re up to, and He’s willing to give you the wisdom that you need to succeed in whatever situation you find yourself in:
You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings. Jer. 32:19 NKJV
He answers your every need through His Son:
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 NKJV
And it’s God’s pleasure to do so:
Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Ps. 20:6 NKJV
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Ps. 32:8 NKJV
Our Father’s help comes in many ways. One way is through the Holy Spirit:
So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness… Rom. 8:26 AMP
Another way is through His angels: No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. Ps. 91:10, 11. NASB
Of course, there is God Himself:
The Lord also will be a refuge and a high tower for the oppressed, a refuge and a stronghold in times of trouble (high cost, destitution, and desperation). Ps. 9:9 AMP
“…I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.” Lev. 26:13 NKJV
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3 NKJV
“…for I will contend with the one who contends with you…” Is. 49:25 NASB
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction… 2 Cor. 1:3, 4. NASB
“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.” Is. 42:16 ESV
Finally, as we’ve pointed out, there is Jesus:
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 of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed… Lk. 4:18 NKJV
Even when we fall down, Christ is there for us:
And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 Jn. 2:1 NKJV
Of course, as with all things you ask of God, you must ask in faith in order to receive them: “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Mt. 21:22 NKJV
With all this ‘heavenly help’ available to us, it’s time to take on a new attitude!
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:5 – 7. ESV
…because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8 NASB
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me… Ps. 138:8 NKJV
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Ps. 27:1 ESV
“As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity…” 1 Kings 1:29 ESV
Now that’s attitude. That’s love, strength, contentment and deliverance through dependency. Furthermore, your dependency on God will also bring you independence – being independent of the prince of this world (Satan) and his evil work.
Goodnight and God bless.
November 02 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
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 »