Archive for the 'experiencing god’s love' Category

How Do You Worship God?

A psalm is a sacred song used for worshiping God – a love song designed to help us connect with Him so that we may share our innermost thoughts and concerns.

King David was God’s master psalm writer. In fact, he wrote most of the psalms in the Bible. Here’s a part of one that he wrote for the daily services in the sanctuary of the Temple:

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! Ps. 105:1 – 3. NKJV

We see then that worship both glorifies God and shows our gratitude to Him for His providence.

God so loves it when you sing to Him:

Oh, come let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise with songs of praise!…Oh come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Ps. 95:1, 2, 6, 7. ESV

How you worship is your own personal affair. Some worship in private, some in church. Some sing, others may play music or dance. If you’re not trying to appear pious, God loves to see you express your worship in the presence of others as well. It’s yet another way that you can help Him connect His love to more people for the sake of their salvation, when they see the love pouring out of you. It advances the kingdom of God:

Sing to the LORD, all the earth Sing to the LORD, bless His name, proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all the peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised. Ps. 96:1 – 4. NKJV

Even our (godly) behavior can be a form of worship. After all, Christ told us that the way we love God is by living by His word:

…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Rm. 12:1 ESV

So, how often are we to worship?

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall be continually in my mouth. Ps. 34:1

As we are doing that, we are continually loving God and being bathed in His love simultaneously. Because God’s love is boundless, we can afford to let His love flow out of us to the people around us so that they might get a taste of Him as well.

When we bless God with our love and obedience, He blesses us back:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the paths of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper. Ps. 1:1 – 3. NKJV

In fact, God will surround us with Himself…

…let all rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor you will surround him as with a shield. Ps. 5;11, 12. NKJV

Goodnight and God bless.

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June 22 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Where Can You Find the Truth?

Many people wake up from slumber and tell themselves they’re hungry. Is that the truth? Of course. A mother or father may gaze upon their child and tell them that they love them. Is that true? Yes. On some level, every parent loves their children.

But what about the weightier things of life – such as the truth regarding right vs. wrong, life and death, or how to achieve your highest and best life? If you’ve been living on this planet for any appreciable time, you know that there are a plethora of opinions regarding these. Some people will tell you that to know the truth is impossible because the truth is relative. (Remember Pilate when He answered Jesus in frustration from his dilemma regarding what to do with Him, saying, “What is truth?” Jn. 18:38).

Is the truth relative? Absolutely not! People only use this ‘untruth’ to justify their aberrant behavior. The ultimate truth is only found in one place – the word of God.

After Joshua had led the Israelites into the Promised Land and divided it amongst the tribes, he addressed them with the Holy Spirit-inspired word of God for the last time:

“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you.” Josh. 23:14 ESV

If none of God’s words fail, it means they can be totally relied upon, thus meaning that they are the truth:

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Num. 23:19 ESV

God’s word is an extension of Himself. Therefore, God is truth. And as we’ve seen, if the word is truth, it does not change, and neither does God:

The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. Ps. 119:160 ESV

For I am the LORD, I do not change. Mal. 3:6 NKJV

For His mercy and lovingkindness are great toward us, and the truth and faithfulness of the Lord endure forever. Ps. 117:2 AMP

God is truth. His word is truth. Truth does not change. It’s the same as it was yesterday, as it is today, and it will be the same for all tomorrows. God wants you to have the truth. Why?

Behold You delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Ps. 51:86 ESV

…God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:3, 4. ESV

Thus, God plants the truth within those who seek Him so that they can walk His walk for laying hold of their salvation, which grants them eternity with Him.

God began making His truth crystal clear with Moses, continued doing so with the prophets, and culminated the telling of it through His Son:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jn. 14:6 NKJV

Moreover, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to His apostles (just like He does to His present-day followers) to give them a greater understanding of the truth and of all the benefits that are accorded to those who possess it:

“If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” Jn. 8:31, 32. AMP

So, truth frees us from death, liberates us from the corruption that is festering in the world, sets us loose to love and be loved, and opens our heart to hear the voice of God:

“Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Jn. 18:37 NKJV

Finally, let us not forget that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8); therefore, truth must be a requisite part of love:

Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and sincerity). 1 Jn. 3:18 AMP

All truth ultimately lies within Love…

Goodnight and God bless.

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June 15 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God Does Wondrous Things Through Our Spirit

Provided that we connect with Him; and to do that, we must turn a deaf ear to the desires of the flesh:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Rm. 8:5 – 8. ESV

When we do that, we can connect to Him and His love 100%.

One of the wondrous things God does through our spirit is to use it as a channel to get to know us at our most intimate levels:

The spirit of the man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart. Pr. 20:27 NKJV

How much God loves us! And because He does, He takes special care of that spiritual connection and uses it to guide us in life as well:

You have granted me life and lovingkindness, and Your care has preserved my spirit. Job NASB

You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them… Neh. 9:20 NKJV

…and admonished them by your Spirit through your prophets… Neh. 9:30 NASB

The only way to get to know and understand God is by living a spiritual life:

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

God never said life would be easy. Sometimes, this world overwhelms us in its continual onslaught against our spirit; yet, that’s the time we need to turn to God to plug into the strength and love of His Spirit:

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18 NASB

Never forget that we live in a spiritual battleground. We must continually exercise our spiritual discernment to be sure to align with those spirits that are in alliance with God:

Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and strategies and deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Eph. 6:11, 12. AMP

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. 1 Jn. 4:1 – 3. ESV

Another wondrous thing that God does with your spirit is that He connects the Holy Spirit to it. Why is that?

But the Helper the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you in all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Jn. 14:26 ESV

Thus, the Holy Spirit connects to keep you Christ-centered, keeping you God-centered by guiding you in the ways of walking in the spirit – transforming you daily to be more like God, so that you are ready to enter the gates of heaven:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is is the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18 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

How do we sow to the Spirit? We do it by listening to Him and acting upon His unction. How do we know it is the righteous spirit we listen to? It’s the One that reminds you how much God and Christ love you. It opens your eyes to deeper meanings in scripture, always looks out for your welfare, and never belittles you in any way.

It’s a love-filled voice speaking into your heart, loving you with a love you’ve never thought possible…

Goodnight and God bless.

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June 08 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

What Makes the Children of God Special?

It’s not because we are better than anyone else. God loves all people equally:

For God shows no partiality [no arbitrary favoritism; with Him one person is not more important than another.] Rm. 2:11 AMP

Every human being that has ever existed or that ever will, starts out as a child of God. You’re created that way because God loves you so much. However, there will come a time in your life (if someone exposes you to who God is and you are mature enough to process that information), when you will have to make a choice whether to actively seek God if you want to remain His child.

Why? It’s because when you become aware of God’s salvation, the generational sin-taint that Adam and Eve brought upon themselves and passed it down to all generations, manifests in you as well, and it must be removed by the atoning blood of Christ.

Your choice to seek after God and subsequently receive His salvation through His Son has eternal consequences. You must accept God while you still draw breath in this life. Given that no one knows when that last breath will come, it is imperative that you make that choice today. You may not have a ‘tomorrow;’ and then the chance of being a child of God is lost to you forever.

Everyone has the potential to become a child of God, but they must first establish a relationship with Him to receive that mantle – by confessing their sins, repenting, entering into a salvation relationship with Christ by faith and do their best to live by His word. Then and only then, will they be transformed from a human being back into your original lineage as a child of God.

Does that make you better than someone who does not make that choice? No. What making the choice for God and Jesus does, is that it removes any barriers that prevent God’s love from reaching you. That makes you ‘special’ in His eyes because of the new ‘love reciprocity’ in your holy relationship with Him.

God chooses those who choose Him, not for their special qualities, but simply because they loved Him back – just like He did for His children in the desert with Moses:

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you… Dt. 7:6 – 8. ESV

God accepts us not because we are superior, but because we make an ongoing choice to be holy:

Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments… Dt. 7:9 NKJV

Being a child of God has its advantages:

And because you listen to these rules and keep them and do them, the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. He will love you, bless you, and multiply you…You shall be blessed above all peoples. Dt. 7:12 – 14. ESV

We get to live a blessed life! Look at how God blessed His ‘first children’ during their exit to the Promised Land:

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he…fed you with manna…that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but lives why every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Dt. 8:2 – 4. ESV

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land…in which you will lack nothing. Dt. 8;7, 9. ESV

God steers you on a path that leads you to your greatest good. With God, it’s always about the love. He provides you with your best life when you partner with Him – letting nothing stand in His way of giving it to you:

Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours…No man shall be able to stand against you. Dt. 11:24, 25. NKJV

And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you. Dt. 12:7 ESV

Finally, a child of God not only enjoys a blessed life, but he or she is also guaranteed an eternal life of complete love – gathered up at the end of time by Jesus Himself:

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:’ Mt. 25:34 NKJV

Choose to be a child again…

Goodnight and God bless.

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May 31 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God’s Rules for Living

“…what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear 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 today for your good?” Dt. 10:12, 13. NKJV

Yes, God set down rules (laws, commandments, statutes) to live by; and as you can see, He did it for your own good. These laws began with the Ten Commandments. Let’s look at how they help you.

1. You shall have no other gods before Me. Ex. 20:3 NKJV

God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), making this a commandment of love. All love comes from God; even if others love you, it is God loving you through them. If you make a god out of anything other than Jehovah, you are cutting off the Source of love.

If you give in to pride, you make a god out of yourself. If your focus is on sensuality, you’ve made a god of your flesh. Anytime we shift our glory from God and / or our dependency upon him onto someone or something else, we’ve made it or them a god.

If we stick with God, we remain immersed in His love.

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the water or under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God… Ex. 20:4, 5. NASB

All man-made representations of Him limit His glory and they dishonor Him.

God is benevolently jealous for your love. He knows what’s best for you, which is why He wants you to stay on His channel. God recognizes that you suffer when you don’t, and that breaks His heart. Our Father has far better things in mind for you. (Jer. 29:11)

3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Ex. 20:7 NKJV

God is love and all that is holy, and deserves reverence for all that He does for us. When you use His name in petty oaths that you don’t keep or when you couple that name with profanity, you are using God’s name in vain – demeaning His character. Subsequently, you are severing your love-connection with Him and you will have to answer for it. Keep the commandment, keep the love.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do not work… Ex. 20:8 – 10. NKJV

God set this example for us when He created the universe, resting on the seventh day. In our case, we are living in the world for 6 days, but should dedicate the 7th to God. It’s His intent to have a day to bond with you – giving you both physical and spiritual refreshment and covering you with His love. The Sabbath was made for you. (Mk. 2:27)

5. Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the LORD our God gives you. Ex. 20:12 AMP

Regardless of who your birth parents may be, God saw fit in His grand design to use their unique combination of gene pools to create the one-of-a-kind special person that you are. Even if you don’t know your birth parents, you can still love and honor whoever stepped into that role for you.

Some parents are swayed by the ways of the world and become unsafe to be around. Pray for them and love them (from a distance), for who God intended them to be.

Notice too, that this commandment is the only one of the 10 that adds a blessing to it.

6. You shall not murder. Ex. 20:13 NKJV

‘Murder’ is defined as ‘the unlawful premeditated killing of a human being,’ or ‘the premeditated shedding of innocent blood.’ God alone is the Lord of life. He chooses when it begins and ends. If one purposely snuffs out a life, they are cutting the flow of God’s love off of that victim and the part he or she was to play in God’s plan of spreading His love.

7. You shall not commit adultery. Ex. 20:14 NKJV

God created the sacrosanct institution of marriage as the only place where a man and woman become one – to nurture love between spouses and between spouses and their children.

One of Satan’s desires is to destroy marriage; and one of the best tools for doing that, is to convince one of the partners to commit adultery. Moreover, it usually distances one or more of the family members from God. Adultery is the antithesis of love.

8. You shall not steal.

Personally, I feel that when one steals, they are denying the love of God by renouncing their faith in His promise to meet their every need if they seek His kingdom first. (Mt. 6:33)

9. You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).  Ex. 20:16 AMP

People only lie when they’re afraid – either of looking bad, trying to protect themselves from the judgment of others, or they are trying to make others look bad, which is a projection of their self-judgment. Whatever the reason, if you lie, you are not expressing the unconditional love for yourself that God gives you, which hurts you and everyone around you.

Love always tells the truth. (1 Cor. 13:6)

10. You shall not covet…anything that is your neighbor’s. Ex. 20:17 NKJV

Covetous behavior is rooted in jealous and envy, both of which are forms of the fear of scarcity, concomitant with lust and hatred – all of which result from a lack of faith in God’s largesse. These behaviors are anti-love. (1 Cor. 13:4)

Many people believe that ‘Old Testament’ laws are no longer applicable. Jesus denies this outright:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass away from the Law until all is accomplished.” Mt. 5:17, 18. ESV

Moreover, Jesus evolved the Law into its final state:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Mt. 22:37 – 40. ESV

So, everything that God has ever commanded regarding righteous behavior is distilled down to these two commandments: that when you practice love for God (by way of being obedient to Him), it will also show in your love for yourself and your neighbor – acting as a loving person would.

Does that negate the Ten Commandments? No! It is the final fulfillment of them. Jesus’ first commandment embodies the first four, i.e. if you’re loving God you would be walking in those statutes. As far as Jesus’ second commandment is concerned, if you really loved someone, would you dishonor or kill them, commit adultery against them, steal from them, lie to them, or want what is rightly theirs? Of course not.

What is Christ teaching? He is revealing that all of God’s laws are ways to keep the love flowing, to keep you from harm’s way, by helping you to be more like Him so that your gateway to eternity remains open. (Ps. 19:7, 8; Jn. 12:50.)

Lastly, you know you’re going to break some of them. You’re only human; but God knows that. That’s where your confession, repentance and faith in God’s merciful forgiveness comes in. (Dt. 4:30, 32.)

It’s always about the love…

Goodnight and God bless.

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May 24 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Who Were the Miracles For?

God turned Moses’ walking stick into a snake and then back again into a stick. Similarly, He afflicted Moses’ hand with leprosy and turned around and healed it. He did that to convince Moses that by being equipped with the ability to call down the power (miracles) of God, he’d be able to convince Pharaoh to let His children free from their slavery in Egypt to pursue the Promised Land.

When Moses clashed with Pharaoh, God struck Egypt with ten plagues: He turned their water into blood, filled the land with frogs, lice and flies, struck their livestock with disease, covered the Egyptians with boils, brought invasions of locusts, deluges of hail, blotted the sunlight out for 3 days, and ushered in death to all the firstborn Egyptian population and livestock.

Who were these miracles for? First, they were for Pharaoh and his subjects:

“For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. For by now I could have put my hand out and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” Ex. 9:14 – 16. ESV

God used His miracles to show Pharaoh His sovereignty over every aspect of the earth, its inhabitants and the immediate cosmos; and He proved that no other ‘god’ could stand against Him. Much more importantly though, the plagues were to demonstrate His same supremacy to the Hebrews and to all the future children of God.

When Pharaoh finally let God’s children go, He also parted the Red Sea to provide them with a route to escape the pursuing Egyptian army when Pharaoh’s heart had hardened once more.

Again, these miracles are meant for you, so that you may get a glimpse of His wonder and power and how He brings it all together to show that He is always there for you and will let nothing get between you and His love:

“Do not be afraid! Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.” Ex. 14:13, 14. AMP

There is no mountain that God would not move or Red Sea that He would not part, that blocks your path to Him and His designs for you. He delivers you from your circumstances to bring you closer to Him:

You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. Ex. 15:13 ESV

Miracles upon miracles. God provided for the Hebrews as they trekked through the desert towards the Promised Land: He made brackish water potable to slake their thirst; He fed them with manna and quail; called water out of rocks, and at the end of their journey, He stopped the flow of the Jordan River so that they could enter Canaan.

God miraculously prepared a fish to swallow His prophet Jonah, so that he could be transported to the city of Nineveh to save a pagan nation with His words. He miraculously uses the pagan King Cyrus of Persia to save His wayward children from Babylon, repatriating them to Israel.

Finally, God brings us the greatest vehicle for His miracles – Jesus Christ, who freed us from spiritual darkness, healed the sick and the demon possessed and raised the dead. Jesus performed these at the behest of His Father to show us who God is, what He wants from you, and He painted a picture of what God’s eternal miracle looks like that awaits you.

Our Father implores us to ask for His miracles:

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” Ps. 50:15 NKJV

God always responds; and when He does, He delivers way beyond what you expect. You can count on God because His word is unbreakable:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph. 3:20, 21. NKJV

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Num. 23:19 ESV

Goodnight and God bless.

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May 18 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God Is with You in the Darkness and Makes Light of It

I don’t mean that He’s making fun of your troubles. In fact, God is with you in the midst of all your dark phases in life. Moreover, even if you can’t see it at the time, God is using your hard times to shape and strengthen you, as He is preparing to shine His light upon those phases to bring you out of them.

One of the greatest examples of His dark-to-light liberations lies in the account of the life of Joseph. He was the second youngest of Jacob’s sons, who would later become the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph was also his Daddy’s favorite son, and his elder brothers hated him for that.

Adding coals to that fire, at the age of seventeen, God sent Joseph a vision, whereby He revealed that Joseph would rule over his brothers in the future. Joseph shared this revelation with his brothers. This infuriated them so much that they sold Joseph off to slave traders – later telling their father that some wild animal killed him.

This was the beginning of a very long dark season in the life of Joseph. He was sold into slavery into the house of Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh. Yet even then, God was with him:

The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man… Gn. 39:2 ESV

…the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake… Gn. 39:5 NKJV

Every task that Potiphar put upon Joseph brought God’s blessing upon his house. Therefore, he put Joseph in charge over his entire household. God shed light into Joseph’s darkness.

Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife got the hots for Joseph, but he rejected her advances. In retaliation, she accused him of trying to seduce her. Subsequently, Joseph was thrown into prison. Yet the chief jailor had the same observations as Potiphar – seeing that Joseph brought success to whatever he was instructed to do. God was spilling the light for Joseph again:

But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Gn. 39:21 ESV

During his incarceration, Joseph encounters two prisoners from the house of Pharaoh, both locked up for offending the Pharaoh. During this encounter, Joseph used his God-given gift to interpret dreams, to reveal the meanings of those that were troubling these prisoners. He tells one that he would be killed by the Pharaoh for his offenses, and informs the other would be released and reinstated to his position. Joseph asks the latter to tell the Pharaoh of his innocence. The freed prisoner forgets for two years, until the Pharaoh had troubling dreams of his own, whereupon he tells Pharaoh about Joseph’s talent.

Joseph was 30 years old.

Joseph accurately interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, which allows for the saving of Egypt from an impending famine. In response, Pharaoh, also seeing the hand of God upon Joseph, makes him second-in-command over all of Egypt. More of God’s light filling Joseph’s darkness…

God has a purpose for everything. The famine hit the surrounding countries, the land of Canaan being one of them. Jacob’s brothers were sent from there to Egypt to buy grain, whereupon they encounter Joseph, this now powerful agent of Pharaoh, and they are frightened to their core. Surprisingly to them, he reveals God’s purposes in him:

“And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Gn. 45:5 ESV

“And God sent me before you to prepare a posterity in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God…” Gn. 45:7, 8. NKJV

Furthermore, because of the favor of God, Pharaoh told Joseph to bring his family of seventy Hebrews to live in the abundance of Egypt; and they became the seeds for the future nation of Israel:

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So, do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Gn. 50:20, 21. ESV

Joseph’s long season of trials and tribulations were reversed – used by God to achieve a far grander purpose for good, both showering His light upon him and making the way for the future of His children.

The first thirty years of Joseph’s life were harrowing, but because of his continuing faith in God despite his adversities, God showered him with love.

Can you relate to Joseph? Have you gone through (or going through) a stage in your life that doesn’t make sense? Are you having trouble seeing the hand of God in your life? Would you like your life to be different? Tough questions.

God never said that life would be easy. What He said was that we’d have both good seasons and hard ones:

“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Job 2:10 NKJV

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity, consider: God has made one as well as the other… Eccl. 7:14 ESV

Yet, if you stick with God, no matter how dark your trials, God has a better endgame:

For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11 NKJV

God is truthful, faithful and He wants to lovingly lead you into a wondrous future. Why then does He allow the dark phases in our lives?

One reason is that it brings you closer to Him. I believe that if you suffer in life, God wants you to change – back into whom God created you to be before the world stomped all over you.

He wants you to understand the seriousness of your choices and the consequences that they bring. It’s up to you to choose life or death:

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity…” Dt. 30:15 NASB

Your choices good or bad, have consequences. God never gives up on you. He lets you experience the repercussions of your bad ones to build character, faith and strength so that you can turn away from making bad choices in the future:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let the steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2 – 4. ESV

When consequences of bad decisions lead you to make good choices, you are learning the ways of God:

It was good that I was afflicted, that I may learn your statutes. Ps. 119.71 NASB

…He disciplines us for our good, so that we my share His holiness. Heb. 12:10 NASB

When you turn to God, everything changes:

“Yield now and be at peace with Him; thereby good will come to you.” Job 22:21 NASB

Other dark moments in life may be no fault of our own, and the ‘why’ of them may seem hard to see; e.g. experiencing a death of an addict in the family who chose not to give up their addiction. Or perhaps someone was born into the family with a physical or mental challenge.

We want to rail against God for what we perceive as immeasurable injustices. But we can’t see the big picture that God sees:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Is. 55:8, 9. NKJV

I believe these unfortunate individuals are gifts given to us to have a chance to grab hold of a deeper understanding and compassion for our brothers and sisters and ourselves – to teach us that no one is unlovable. It also helps us to touch our own pain and learn to love ourselves by tapping into the love of God.

Furthermore, I firmly believe that these ‘challenged, addicted’ people will be made whole in the heavens.

God wants you to have a life of complete love and contentedness. Sometimes that life will have a dark season. That’s the time God is asking you to look inside and ask, ‘What can I learn from this?’ It’s usually about a change that needs to be made that steers you towards your greater good. When you look to God in your dark seasons, they will come to an end:

For the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever. Ps. 9:18 NASB

God will see you through every peak and valley for the whole of your entire life…

Even to your old age, I will be the same. And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you. Is. 46:4 NASB

Goodnight and God bless.

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May 11 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God Calls You to Further His Kingdom

I don’t know how He’s going to do that for you, or what part God will want you to play; but call you He will…

Way back in antiquity, the earthly reflection of God’s kingdom was in tatters:

The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. Gn. 6:5 AMP

God’s initial thought was to wipe the earth clean of His wayward creations, and have a do-over. Yet God loved them so much that He decided to scan the planet to see if He could find anyone who might help Him further His kingdom. He still does this today:

God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Ps. 53:2 NKJV

Fortuitously for us, He found one:

Noah was a righteous man [one who was just and had right standing with God], blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked (lived) [in habitual fellowship] with God. Gn. 6:9 AMP

This would infer that it helps us to be prepared for and active in our walk with God to be available for advancing His kingdom. Thank God, that Noah was available, giving God a vehicle (through Noah’s obedience) to give mankind a second chance to populate that same kingdom.

God called on Noah to build an ark to house him, his wife, his three sons and their wives, and a male and female of every living species of animal. Why? Because God said He’s going to flood the earth – an event that wouldn’t happen for another 120 years!

The inhabitants of the earth at that time had never witnessed such a phenomenon. Can you imagine the ridicule Noah and his family must have had thrust upon them by anyone who had met them during this construction period? In explaining their actions, they would have responded by effectively preaching the word of God – even if the hearers rejected it. How did Noah respond?

By faith [with confidence in God and His word] Noah, being warned by God about events not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his family. By this [act of obedience] he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith. Heb. 11:7 AMP

So, we also see that having faith in God, is necessary for us to be candidates for furthering His kingdom. The fact that you and I are here, is testimony of Noah’s right preparation and actions in advancing God’s purpose.

Ten generations after Noah, God called upon Abraham to enlarge His kingdom:

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing…and in you all of the families will be blessed.” Gn. 12:1 – 3. ESV

This is an enormous test of faith. God is telling Abraham to take his wife, his nephew and a few of his servants, and leave all that he’s ever known – to make a 1500-mile trek to Canaan, a land that he’s never seen, to be part of God’s seminal nation, to propagate it. Mind you, he and his wife were in their 70’s, but Abraham takes God at His word, i.e. exercising more of that kingdom-advancing faith.

Abraham, who is considered the biblical paragon of faith, did waiver in his faith a few times, but he always got back on track. This should give us encouragement, knowing that God will strengthen our faith (if we ask Him to) so that we can transcend our shortcomings.

There was also the matter of Abraham’s promised child. He waited 25 years for that promise to be fulfilled. Like Abraham, we too need to keep faith in that God is using our efforts to promote His plan, knowing that we have no idea when we will see the fruits of our labor.

Now, let’s consider Moses. He had escaped Egypt to flee the wrath of Pharaoh, settling into a new life as a sheepherder in what is now modern-day Saudi Arabia.  As you know, one day Moses is out tending his sheep when God manifests Himself to him as a burning bush; and He charges him with the task of freeing His children from the Pharaoh’s oppression and leading them to the Promised Land.

Moses immediately lets fear lead him to resist God’s imperative. He wails about what He should do if the people don’t believe that he is representing God. God in turn displays miracles for Moses to convince him of His power, as a demonstration of what He will do through Moses, to convince His children.

Unconvinced, Moses pleads with God to send someone else because he is not a good public speaker. God tells Moses that He will teach him how to be. Moses still doubts, and God grants him a slight concession by sending Moses’ older brother Aaron to speak for Him.

What is God doing? He is equipping Moses with the skills and power to accomplish His purpose. God takes this frightened sheepherder and transforms him into a leader, who, through God, frees His children, performs a plethora of miracles while leading them to the Promised Land, and Holy Spirit-inspires Moses to write the first five books of the Bible.

God worked all of this through someone who was deathly afraid of answering God’s call. There are several other examples of this in the Bible, but I believe we have a good picture by now. The question is, ‘Will you answer God when He calls?’

We’ve seen that God can use anyone, at any age, with whatever fears they may have, to accomplish His kingdom purposes. One reason that is possible is that God has already equipped us to do so:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10 NKJV

We are all part of God’s plan. He makes sure that we are up to whatever task He assigns to us. Still, to best serve God, we must prepare our awareness, so that we can hear His summons. We do that by becoming intimately related with Him through His word:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17. NKJV

God would never ask you to walk a path (your part in His plan) that you could not traverse to attain His end goal. He will supply the faith that you need through His Son (Heb. 12:2); and through Christ, He will give you every skill and power to make it happen. (Phil. 4:13).

God will call each and every one of us. It may be at a time or in such a way as we never would have guessed; it may be a task that seems overwhelming, or what appears to be simple yet vital for the completion of the kingdom of God. And if we keep our spiritual eyes and ears open, we can be ready when He calls…

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther. 4:14 NKJV

Goodnight and God bless.

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May 05 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

We All Slip Sometimes

There was only one sinless man that ever walked this earth – Jesus Christ:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor. 5:21 NKJV

The rest of us? Well…

Adam and Eve began the practice of slipping (sinning) when they used their free will to indulge in pride, acting out their desire to be like God.

Cain majorly slipped when he killed his brother in a fit of rage that was rooted in envy.

King David and King Solomon surrendered to the lust of the eyes and of the flesh.

The apostle Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament (previously a murderer of the church), said this about himself:

…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 1 Tim. 1:15 NKJV

What chance then, do we have?

We only have one, but it’s a mighty BIG one – it is found in the immeasurable grace of God.

God wants you to live your perfect highest and best life, full of peace, love, joy and happiness. But you’re not living that way when you slip. Slipping is when you allow yourself to get lost in your base desires, those that have been proscribed by your Creator. He hates to see that because it does you harm; and what hurts you, hurts Him.

You were created innately good:

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. Gn. 1:31 NKJV

Unfortunately, everyone that was or will be conceived on this planet has been tainted by by the error (sin) of Adam and Eve:

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… Rm. 3:23 NKJV

But, it’s the very next two verses that brings hope:

…being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed…

Rm. 3:24, 25. NKJV

When we accept Christ, we are transformed, our spirits becoming one with Him as we return to the original creative intent of God, being restored to life:

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jn. 10:10 NKJV

We receive His resurrection power, freed from the death of sin, motivated to take godly action. Our eyes are opened by the faith that Jesus brings to us by the Spirit. Thus filled, we begin the stepwise transformation towards our Savior’s image, which invites God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in our spirits.

We can lean on Christ to strengthen our will to walk in His footsteps and to live for Him. And this process is not one of bondage, but of liberty – to live free as God intended. We get to make the free will choice to live in His love by moving in His will.

That very same love from God is found in His statutes. He did not lay down laws to be dictatorial, but instead set them before us to protect us from the shortcomings of our flesh. Our obedience to them propagates our transformation.

Yes, this walk is one that is opposite of the way the world moves; and that’s a good thing. The world revolves around lies set forth to justify sin, so that the agenda of the adversary may be manifested. Unfortunately, that manifestation will be achieved in most of the world.

That’s why the telling of the salvation message is so imperative. God sends His children to the lost to show them the Christ they have within, Who, is freely available to all. We are emissaries for the love of God, brought forth not only to enrich those consciously receiving that love, but also to decimate the evil in those who feel that they are not.

Yet, even the followers of Jesus are not spared temptation. The devil plays no favorites, but I’m sure he is especially delighted if he can influence believers to indulge in apostasy. Thus, we must be vigilant with regards to our thoughts and actions. We must keep them centered on love, on Jesus.

When we slip, and we all slip sometimes, it is crucial that we get down on our knees before our Father immediately, to confess and repent. We can be motivated to do this by His mercy (found in grace):

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lm. 3:21 – 24. ESV

God wants to forgive you. He knows that you have slipped into your flesh, and that sin is satanically sourced. Therefore, it’s deadly, and if left to its own devices, death-binding.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. I Jn. 3:8 ESV

That’s not what God wants for you:

“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…? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, “says the Lord GOD. “Therefore, turn and live!” Ezek. 18:31, 32. NKV

Life is not always easy. We are points of light, set living in an ocean of darkness. We must stay alert to keep from drowning. But if we start to succumb, God always has His hand outstretched:

‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, i will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Is. 41:10 NKJV

He strengthens us in our faith, in His word and through prayer He bolsters us in our self-discipline to help us regain our toehold on our spiritual path. We respond with gratitude and love, and the acknowledgement of our need for His grace.

God puts His salvation in place (Christ) and you are freed once more…

“I, even I, and He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Is. 43:25 NKJV

For the death that He died, He died to sin one for all… Rm. 6:10 NASB

Goodnight and God bless.

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April 27 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Created by Love, Created in Love, Created to Love

Are you feeling unloved? Let’s tackle that myth right now.

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 Jn. 4:8 NKJV

He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature… Heb. 1:3 ESV

So, what do we know? God is love itself. Jesus is exactly like His Father; therefore, He too is love personified.

…I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ… Eph. 3:8, 9. NKJV

God created through Christ; thus, they are co-begetters. What did They create? Everything. That includes us:

“Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” Gn. 1:26 NKJV

So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gn. 1:27 AMP

What kind of image is that? Jesus tells us:

“God is Spirit…” Jn. 4:24

Jesus, being an exact image of His Father was a Spirit-being as well before His incarnation. Thus, we are created to conform to God in our spirits. Taking that further, if God and Christ are love, then we in our spirits are created as islands of love, by Love.

Okay. But how do we know that we were created in love?

We love Him because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:19 NKJV

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God… 1 Jn. 3:1 NASB

We were loved in advance, long before we took our first breaths.

Moreover, the love of God can be seen all around us. He formed a planet we can live on, that sustains us in relative safety. He created us initially to be immortal and eternally joyful in Him. He created opposite genders so that we could be complete. He covered us with abundance and wisdom, and gifted us with children. We were made complete in His love.

Even when we broke that completeness, He continued to love us by sending His Son to heal that brokenness:

“For God so loved the wold that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Jn. 3:16 NKJV

By this we know [and have come to understand the depth and essence of His] precious love: that He [willingly] laid down His life for us [because He loved us]. 1 Jn. 3:16 AMP

The Father and the Son love you in orders of magnitude that are beyond human measure.

And, God will let nothing get in the way of His love for you:

…neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Rm. 8:38, 39. ESV

Finally, we were created to love:

“ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others.]’ “. Mt. 22:37 – 39. AMP

How do we love God? By keeping His commandments:

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.” Jn. 14:21 NKJV

Time and time again, we are called to love:

“…the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.” Jn. 16:27 NKJV

“…love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Jn. 13:34 NKJV

A friend loves at all times… Pr. 17:17 NKJV

Let all you do be done with love. 1 Cor. 16:14 NKJV

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. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Col. 3:12 – 14. ESV

That’s a whole lot of love, thank God. You are a bundle of love, steeping in divine love; and when you express that love the way in which God expects you to profess it, your love will first resonate with God’s love, fill you with the same, and you will become an irresistible target for the love of others.

Still feeling unloved? You just need to do some expressing…

Goodnight and God bless.

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April 20 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

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