Archive for the 'experiencing god’s love' Category

The Essence of Your God Connection

Jesus and His apostles had entered the city of Capernaum, where as usual, He drew a large crowd. Many of them were just looking for a free handout, after hearing about Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5000. Jesus perceives their motivation. Instead of performing a miracle, He begins to preach:

“Do not labor for the food that 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

What Jesus is saying is that God has placed His authority upon His Son. Thus, Jesus speaks with the authority of His Father, and that the content of His speech (the gospel) is the key to eternal life.

The crowd doesn’t get it. They’ve been brainwashed by the Pharisees, who taught them that they must earn their way to heaven. So, they ask Jesus to tell them of the nature of the works that they must perform. He responds:

“This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.” Jn. 6:29 AMP

The stiff-necked crowd wants to see a miracle instead. But Jesus tries to steer them towards a greater spiritual understanding:

“Our fathers ate manna in the desert, as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’…”Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jn. 6:31 – 33. NKJV

The crowd can’t stop thinking with their stomach. They ask Him to give them some of this ‘bread.’

Our Lord of infinite patience, love and mercy, continues:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn. 6:35 – 40. NKJV

Jesus could not be clearer. He is the ticket to eternity – the walking, talking plan and method of God’s redemption. But, Jesus is facing a tough crowd here. They still have doubts. Jesus persists:

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn. 6:44 NKJV

“…he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Jn. 6:47 – 51. NKJV

NOW, WE GET THE COMPLETE PICTURE OF THE ESSENCE OF OUR GOD CONNECTION!

When we seek God, He leads us to Christ. Jesus in turn, if we accept Him as our Savior, connects us to God, through Himself. Jesus willingly vacated His seat next to His Father in heaven, to inhabit flesh, so that we could relate to Him and to the redemption that God offers through His Son – which is accomplished through the sacrificial gift of Jesus’ flesh and blood. That’s it!

Unfortunately, this spiritually blind and hardened of hearts crowd cannot get past their literal take on Jesus’ teaching allegory. They become angry and horrified at the notion (as they understood it) of actually eating Jesus’ flesh.

Undeterred, Jesus is committed to bring His Father’s salvation to as many as possible. He pushes back:

“…unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life…He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” Jn. 6:53, 54, 56, 57. NKJV

Jesus is trying to break through the Pharisaic conditioning that binds and blinds this crowd, so that they can comprehend the spiritual implications of His death and resurrection. He’s trying to plant seeds of faith – the faith required to hold onto the hope of salvation, when these events occur.

Christ is trying to get them to see that His flesh is in reality the ‘spiritual food’ found in the gospel, that they must ‘eat’ (bind to their hearts), in order to walk a godly path towards salvation. And He wants them to understand that the blood (the life) that He is going to shed for them, must be ‘drunk’ (believed in) to acquire His atonement for their sins, so that they can receive that same salvation.

The crowd doesn’t see it, so they scattered. Even many of Jesus’ followers abandoned Him after this teaching. Thank God that the Holy Spirit brought the Apostle John all of this recollection and revelation, so that we could make that God connection and help others do the same…

Goodnight and God bless.

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December 14 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Jesus and the Religiose

One of the meanings of ‘religion’ is, ‘a particular system of faith and worship.’ Religion is a man-made construct, to attempt to explain God and have a relationship with Him.’ ’Religiose’ is defined as being ‘excessively religious.’

When Jesus began His ministry in Judea, the temple in Jerusalem was a place of worship for Jehovah God, the God of the Old Testament Bible. The New Testament had yet to be written. (Still the same God.)

The religious focus in that temple was centered around the behaviors that one would live by, to satisfy God. These were primarily found in the Torah, i.e. the first five books of the Bible, which were written by a Holy Spirit-inspired Moses, referred to as the Mosaic Law.

Those doing the teaching of the Law were called Pharisees, widely believed to be the first ‘rabbis,’ or at least their forerunners. The problem, in Jesus’ time, was that many of the Pharisees added their own personal ‘interpretations’ to the Laws. Put bluntly, they twisted the scriptures to suit their own purposes, and became fervent taskmasters over their laity – punishing them if they did not live up to them. The Pharisees became religiose.

This did not set well with Jesus, because what they did ran against God’s word with regards to keeping His word pure:

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, not take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God…” Dt. 4:2 NKJV

The first time Jesus voiced His displeasure with the Pharisees was when He was dining with His latest convert, the apostle Matthew. He did so by speaking a parable to Pharisees that were present (they’d been following Him around, worrying that their control over the people was being usurped by Jesus’ teachings and miracles):

“No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old one is good.’ “ Lk. 5:36 – 39. ESV

Jesus was describing a process that was well known and understood by the people living at that time – saying that using a new piece of cloth to patch an older one will tear away from the old if it has not been previously ‘preshrunk’ with a combination of pressure, heat and moisture. He’s trying to get the Pharisees to see that the old forms of Judaism could not contain the New Covenant message He was bringing, because His message was not a patch for the old one.

Similarly, Jesus spoke of the fact that new fermenting wine must be put into new goatskins, because the outgassing of fermentation would cause the old skins to swell to the bursting point. It is metaphorical reference to the fact that the Pharisees can’t mix His message with theirs and that they are not spiritually able to receive His.

Finally, the last sentence in the parable alludes to the Pharisees’ stubborn preference for their old ways, which will ultimately deny them the kingdom.

Jesus has another confrontation with the Pharisees in the temple – they, being angry with Him for previously healing a cripple at the pool called Bethesda. He responds by pointing out their scriptural ignorance regarding the coming of the Messiah:

“…the very works that I do – bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me…You have neither heard His voice at any time, or seen His form. But you do not have His world abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” Jn. 5:36 – 40. NKJV

Even though Jesus is chiding them for their disbelief, you can see that He is offering them eternal life at the same time. They refused…

Jesus took issue with the Pharisees again, during His Sermon on the Mount:

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

Jesus is refuting the Pharisees’ claim that He was trying to invalidate the Mosaic Law. Christ was sent from God to open the eyes of the ‘spiritually blind,’ in order to give them the full understanding of all Scriptures so they could walk their best with His Father.

He blasts the Pharisees again:

“Therefore whoever relaxes on of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 5:19, 20. ESV

He is telling the crowd listening to His sermon that the Pharisees have so distorted the laws of God that if they follow them, it will jeopardize their chance for salvation. Furthermore, He offers an example of a law that the Pharisees had twisted:

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” Mt. 5:43 NKJV

The first part of that sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor is a quote from Moses (Lv. 19:18). The ‘hate your enemy’ part was added by the Pharisees, and thus, not scriptural.

Jesus continued to have run-ins with the Pharisees throughout His ministry. He finally reveals their evil nature:

“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.’ “ Mk. 7:6, 7. NKJV

“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the traditions of men. You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of of God in order to establish your tradition!” Mk. 7:8, 9. ESV

Ouch! That must of stung. Jesus is alluding to the worthlessness of their traditions – those ascribed by them to have the same authority as the Mosaic Law, even though the Pharisees made them up.

Jesus gathers a crowd around Him to crystalize the nature of the Pharisees and their meaningless rituals:

“…there is nothing outside a man [such as food] which by going into him can defile him [morally or spiritually]; but the things which come out of [the heart] of man are what defile and dishonor him.” Mk. 7:15 AMP

Later, Jesus tells them of their ultimate fate for their hardened hearts and their fake religiosity:

“You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” Jn. 8:19 NKJV

“I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot go”…”You are from beneath; I am from above, You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die for your sins.” Jn. 8:21, 23, 24. NKJV

There are still religiose people today – pharisaical, re-writing scripture, judging portions to of it be false, seeking approval and status for their piety and denying the Christ-road to salvation. As you can see, without repentance, things will not go well for them.

That’s why it is so important to bring the message of salvation to as many as we can. What they do with it is up to them…

If we stick to God’s word and live by it, our salvation is assured.

Goodnight and God bless.

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December 10 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Jesus Pursues Your Salvation

Jesus and His apostles were traveling through Samaria on their way to Galilee. The Bible tells us that Jesus needed to go through Samaria. (Jn. 4:4) Most Jews avoided that region because they were prejudiced against the Samaritans for being a gene pool hodgepodge of Israeli and Assyrian lineage, i.e. not pure Jew, and therefore considered inferior.

So, Jesus had a purpose for being there. They came upon Jacob’s well. Jesus remained there while He sent the apostles to a nearby town to purchase food. Seemingly coincidental, a woman approached the well to draw water. I believe that Jesus’ purpose for going through Samaria was for this very meeting – so that He could reveal something to her that we all need to know.

Jesus asked the woman to draw Him a drink. Initially, she is taken aback because this ‘Jew’ is talking to her, a lowly Samaritan, and she tells Him so. But, there isn’t a prejudicial bone in Jesus. He answers:

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Jn. 4:10 NKJV

What is Jesus doing here? He’s pursuing her salvation! She responds by asking Him of the whereabouts of this ‘living water.’ He ignores her question and instead contrasts the water of the well with His living water:

“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life.” Jn. 4:13, 14. NKJV

The woman’s curiosity was piqued, and she asked Him for some of His living water. But instead of directly responding to her request, He keeps her off balance by telling her that He knows that she has been married and divorced five times, and that she is presently shacking up with another guy.

Jesus is bringing the depth of her sin to the light for examination, but not with condemnation, so that she could perceive her need for salvation. Then, Jesus leaves the subject of her sin alone.

That’s the way Love operates. Jesus knows everything we’ve ever been up to. Even if our deeds are deleterious to our spiritual health, His love for us never waivers. He faithfully waits by our side, until we choose to return to Him.

Because of Jesus’ revelations about her past, the woman now believes Jesus is a prophet. So, she asks Him what she perceived to be a relevant spiritual question (and undoubtedly wanting to turn the focus of their conversation away from her sin). She tells Jesus that the Samaritans worship God in a temple in Samaria, but the Jews maintain that He can only be worshiped at the temple in Jerusalem. She asks Him which temple was the correct place to worship.

Jesus answers in a way to plunge the woman into deeper contemplation:

“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming the you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” Jn. 2:55 NKJV

Jesus is telling her that worshiping God will no longer be limited to designated physical settings. He is also saying that Samaritan worship is a corrupted mixture of Mosaic Law and Assyrian paganism. And, He’s letting her know that He is a Jew and that the Messiah comes from the Jews. He continues:

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is a spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Jn. 4:23, 24. ESV

Jesus is saying that the time for worship is now. In addition, He reveals that God is a Spirit, and therefore occupies all space and time. Thus, He can be worshiped from anywhere at any time. Jesus is also opening her mind to the reality that God is available to all sincere worshipers – regardless of race or ethnicity.

How do we worship in the spirit? Our spirit must first become predominant in our lives when we are born again.

Jesus has worked His wonder. The Samaritan woman’s spiritual eyes begin to open and she expresses her heartfelt desire:

“I know that Messiah is coming, (He who is called Christ – the Anointed); when that One comes, He will tell us everything [we need to know].” Jn. 4:25 AMP

In response, Jesus throws the doors of salvation wide open. Turning to her in His infinite compassion, He says:

“I who speak to you am He.” Jn. 4:26 NKJV

The woman left to go into the town and tell all of the Samaritans that she knew about this ‘Man’ at Jacob’s well – whom she believed to be the Christ…

Jesus will go to any lengths to lead someone to salvation. If you haven’t made the choice for Jesus yet, He is just waiting to swing your doors wide open as well. If you have, help Him with your ministry, swing wide someone else’s…

Goodnight and God bless.

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November 30 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Making a Public Declaration of Your Faith

It is glaringly apparent that the world is becoming increasingly hostile to Christians. That should come as no surprise, as Jesus warned us of this very thing:

“Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; and all children will rise up and rebel against their parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by everyone because of [your association with] My name, but it is the one who has patiently persevered and endured to the end who will be saved.” Mt. 10:21, 22. AMP

The world hates us just because we follow Christ. Why? Because if we do our best to emulate Him, we are vicariously heaping judgment upon it as He did:

“…it (the world) does hate Me because I denounce it and testify that its deeds are evil.” Jn. 7:7

AMP

“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” Jn 3:20 NKJV

And so it is with us:

“…and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” Mt. 24:9 AMP

All you have to do is pick up any issue of the Huffington Post to validate that. Indeed, we are entering tumultuous times, where we will see both persecution and a falling away of many of the faithful:

“At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me] and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another. Many false prophets will appear and mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, the love of most people will grow cold. But the one who endures and bears up [under suffering to the end will be saved.” Mt. 24:10 – 13. AMP

The time will come when Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats. You definitely want to be in the sheep crowd. (Mt. 25:31 – 33.)

Sometimes, Christians are their own worst enemies, by letting their flesh take precedent over their spirit. For example, you have people playing with snakes, denying their children medical care, protesting outside of military funerals, killing abortion providers, advocating war over peace and putting politics over the kingdom.

We all have our human side, and fall repeatedly. This is where we must stay humble in the face of our sinful nature, take Jesus by the hand, and get up over and over to once again try our best:

“…he who comes to the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Jn. 3:21 NKJV

And we mustn’t lose sight that Jesus is depending upon God’s children to spread the gospel message for the salvation of the world:

“You are the light of [Christ to] the world…Let your light shine before men is such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Mt. 5:14 & 16. AMP

“What I say to you in the dark (privately), tell in the light (publicly); and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops [to many people].” Mt. 10:27 AMP

So, it is both what we say and do for the kingdom that matters; and the more that we can do that publicly (teach the word, evangelize, volunteer, etc.) the larger the net we will cast for Christ.

Our public outreach begins humbly, but powerfully, with our first public declaration of our faith – our baptism. Why is that an important deed to undertake?

“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.” Jn. 3:3 AMP

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Jn. 3:5 NKJV

This was Jesus’ first ministerial teaching – laying out the entire reason that He came, i.e. that there is nothing that we can do in and of ourselves that will get us into the kingdom of God. It is only open to those who allow God to birth them anew by changing what is in their hearts. Then, the continued presence in that kingdom is assured for those who do their best to live by those changes.

Water baptism is a requirement from God, through Jesus – not only for ourselves, but we are also called to help facilitate the baptism of as many people as possible:

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Mk. 16:15, 16. ESV

When we get baptized, our example of faith in God and our obedience to His word can potentially draw others to do likewise. It is an outward sign that our faith is both growing and being reinforced. Without the faith, the act of baptism would be worthless. The water is just water. It is the connection of the water to the word of God, by faith, that fulfills our requirement.

Water baptism by itself however, is not the way to salvation. It is a declaration of one’s faith in salvation through the Spirit. Baptism in water is a metaphorical demonstration of being re-birthed as a newly cleansed child of God, through the forgiveness of sins – confirming that your old ’worldly self’ has been buried (symbolized by your immersion in water) and that your ‘spiritual self’ has been resurrected and cleansed from the stain of original sin (portrayed by your rising out of the water).

The act of water baptism begins with your repentance of the actions of your flesh and ends with the declaration of your faith in the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

True salvation (having been made righteous from the cleansing blood of Christ) comes when you ask God for your Spiritual new birth by petitioning Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit – changing you into a new child in Christ. Only then, does God provide kingdom guidance and eyesight so that you can walk in His ways.

This is so BIG:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pt. 1:3 – 5. ESV

Declare…

Goodnight and God bless.

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

The Nature of Jesus Christ

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Jn. 1:1, 2. NKJV

Christ is the ‘living word of God’ – the ultimate expression of Jehovah. We can see too, that Jesus was with God in the ‘beginning.’ The beginning of what? [Because God has no beginning or end (Ps. 90:1, 2.)] Here’s two big clues:

All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. Jn. 1:3 AMP

He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP

Therefore, Jesus was with God at least at the point of when our universe was created, because we can see that God created everything through Christ. How long before time began, was Jesus created? Well, we can’t measure that, because there was no ‘time’ yet.

In addition, we have the viewpoint of many Christians that profess that Jesus was not born or created, (saying that the term ‘firstborn’ in this scripture refers to privilege, and is not literal), but rather has eternally co-existed with God and the Holy Spirit.  This is according to the Trinitarian doctrine, the scope of which is outside of this discussion.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. Jn. 1:4 NASB

So, not only did God create everything through Jesus, He brought the spark of life to His children through His Son as well.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Jn. 1:5 ESV

Christ, being the primary agent of God Himself, is a light that cannot be quenched – especially not by the darkness in this world or by its followers.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. Jn. 1:9 – 11. ESV

Thus, God sent us the image of Himself to facilitate our reconciliation with Him. However, most people who encountered Jesus, rejected Him – as still happens today. Yet, the true children of God readily receive Christ:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believed in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God. Jn. 1:12, 13. NKJV

We can see then, that there is no earthly path by which we can become a child of God; it is only through Christ and Christ alone. Only when we receive Him, can we be ‘reborn’ by the Spirit of God, to a child of God (which is when we return to our true nature).

This is the biggest and most important decision that you will ever make! Indeed, it must be made while you are still living. You can either choose to become a child of God, accepting Christ as your Savior, followed by a guarantee of an eternal life of complete love, or, you can reject Jesus, live out your allotted time on this earth, and then be thrust into an eternity that promises not to be a pretty one…

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

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. Jn. 1:16, 17. NASB

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. Jn. 1:18 NKJV

God sent His only Son, out of His great love for us. And Jesus, the ever faithful and obedient Son, consented to allow His limitless Spirit being, to be housed in flesh, to have the full experience of being human – with all its temptations and sufferings.

Christ did so, so that we could commiserate with the image of God Himself, to be able to receive the opportunity of a lifetime: to make the choice to allow Jesus to elevate us spiritually, to be conjoined with God through Him.

Our heavenly Father gave His Son, who had been by His side for eons, to cover us with His love. He sent Jesus to envelop us with the grace of God, that yields the forgiveness and reconciliation that the Law of Moses could not…

How blessed we are.

Goodnight and God bless.

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

God Lifts Us Out of Our Afflictions

God never said that life would be easy. There are many setbacks in our lives that we must overcome. We place some of them in the middle of our own path through lapses in our godly thinking and acting. Other setbacks come from other people who suffer from the same, and we get blindsided due to active interference from our spiritual adversary.

However, God is bigger than all of that; and He can lift you out of any affliction that you find yourself mired in. There is no better Biblical account of this than in the book of Job.

Job is introduced to us as a man of great wealth and one who possesses righteous character – always bent on doing his best to serve God. (Job 1:1 – 3.)

The narrative then shifts heavenward to the throne of God. Satan approaches and tells God that he has been roaming the earth. God responds by asking him if he’d seen His righteous servant, Job. The devil retorts by claiming that Job only acts righteous because He has blessed him so mightily. Moreover, he asserts that if those blessings were stripped away, Job would turn against Jehovah and curse Him.

God is so sure of Job’s righteousness and devotion, that He allows Satan to take away everything Job has, except his life. On the surface, this seems cruel and unjust on God’s part; but God is going to use Job’s upcoming trials and tribulations to show him (and all of us) His glory, in how He honors those faithful to Him and so that He can provide hope and assurance to anyone who is afflicted in life.

The devil takes away all of Job’s material wealth and even his children. How did Job respond? He grieved, as anyone would, but he did not curse God:

And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. Job 1:21, 22. NKJV

(There’s a huge lesson about the fleeting meaning of material things.)

Heavenward, God is pleased with Job. Satan protests, saying that if Job suffered personal injury, he would turn on God. So, he afflicts Job with painful boils.

Job sits in the dirt in resignation. Even his wife screams at him to curse God. Job responds:

“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:10 NKJV

Life happens. But God never throws things towards you at random. If God is placing something in your way, it has to do with spurring you on towards your highest purpose – love lessons sent repeatedly, until you get it. It’s always about bringing you closer to Him…

Three of Job’s friends come to comfort him, but Job begins to indulge in self-pity. Yet even in his despair, we find jewels of God-inspired wisdom:

“Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in?” Job 3:23 NKJV

I believe that Job was wondering as to why God would bring the good news of His love and salvation to those whose situation would seem to be hopeless. There is no doubt that some people have a rougher time in life than others, with no apparent reason. But it is how we respond to our circumstances that determine whether we expand as a human being.

We must make ourselves available to learn from the lessons that we receive, or from those that others have gotten. I also believe that God uses adversity to bring people to Him.

Job wails again:

“For the thing that I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.” Job 3:25 NKJV

Another great pearl of wisdom. Job was apparently a worrywart – even when things were going his way. Fear leads to worry, worry keeps your fear on the center stage of your mind, and what you think about comes about. You must sweep off that stage and recast it with thoughts of God, His love and abundant provision, and His protective arms.

After Job’s little fit, his ‘friends’ lambast him – telling him that it is his sins that are the cause of his situation. Job retorts with a little self-righteousness.

A fourth friend shows up and condemns the first three for their attack on Job, tells Job to quit trying to justify himself and adds that he is wasting his time trying to figure out the nature of God.

True enough. God’s big picture will always elude us to some degree because we cannot grasp plans that were made on a universal scale. Yet, God does not leave us totally blind. He tells us what we need to know, to wisely navigate through the part that He wants us to play in His grand design:

“In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction. In order to turn man from his deed, and conceal pride from man, He keeps back his soul from the Pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.” Job 33:15 – 18. NKJV

Finally, the fourth friend tells Job to be patient and wait upon God, keeping his righteousness in the face of duress:

“Although you say you do not see Him, yet justice is before Him, and you must wait for Him.” Job 35:14 NKJV

“He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous, but with kings on the throne he sets them forever, and they are exalted.” Job 36:7 ESV

At this point, God Himself enters the fray – telling Job that none of his assumptions are true. Then He asks Job if he could possibly have any comprehension of the galactic scale that He operates on.

Job does the wise thing. He humbles himself before His Maker:

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted…Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” Job 42:2, 3. ESV

“Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:6 NASB

God is a loving and merciful God. It doesn’t matter what we have done – even if it includes blaming Him and doubting His ways. He knows that we cannot grasp His ‘Big Picture’ (which always has our highest and best purpose in it).

He is demonstrating His unchanging character and His desire for us to turn around, (confess and repent). Love, forgiveness and mercy will always follow.

What was Job’s outcome?

And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10 AMP

And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. Job 42:12 ESV

Notice that Job grew prosperous again after he prayed for someone else. Notice too, that even though Job indulged in self-righteousness and self-pity, he never cursed God or lost faith in who He was.

God loves you. There is a reason for everything that is happening around you. Ask God what it is, (especially when it doesn’t make sense), so that you can learn from it. Ask Him to strengthen you, so that you can move through it and grow thereby.

There are no bad times with God. There are only lessons that we need. And God always delivers those lessons (including a way out of them) with love in mind…

Goodnight and God bless.

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November 09 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God is Calling Us Home

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens [outsiders without rights of citizenship], but you are fellow citizens with the saints (God’s people), and are [members] of God’s household… Eph. 2:19 AMP

All these died in faith [guided and sustained by it]…having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. Heb. 11:13 AMP

Children of God are heavenly citizens, living on this earth; yet strangers and exiles to the ways of the world – at least, that is our continuing goal. We live in the faith that we have an upward calling when it’s our time to exit, a call to go home.

So, while we are here, we lean on Jesus for the strength to live godly lives; and when we slip and fall, we go to Him immediately in confession and repentance for the cleansing of our transgressions. We don’t want to get caught up in the ways of a wayward environment:

I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations…No one will strengthen himself who lives in iniquity…when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it. Ezek. 7:8 & 13; 14:13. NKJV

Let’s face it, our country’s present state of chaos and moral degradation is not something we want to associate ourselves with. It is in major danger of judgment. Thank our merciful God that He loves us so much:

“But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.” Ezek. 18:21, 22. NKJV

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

God is a forgiving God, not wanting to lose a single soul. Obviously, we cannot of ourselves, keep every single statute. That’s where Christ stands in the gap for us and blankets us with His righteousness. That way, we get to go home – a promise foreshadowed by God’s promise to the repentant Israelites, to bring them back home after they were exiled to Babylon for their sinful ways:

But you, O mountains of Israel, will put out your branches and bear your fruit to My people Israel, for they will soon come [home]. Ezek. 36;8 AMP

I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Ezek. 36:11 NKJV

What God is doing, is lifting up the homeless. You can live in a physical home, but you’re still homeless if you don’t have a loving relationship with God. God offers you a home, but you must contribute a personal note to the restoration of your heart to help spread the glory of God to fill His kingdom:

“…the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.” Ezek. 36:23 NKJV

So, not only must you get right with God through Christ, you must radiate that relationship outwards to beckon those who are still lost. After all, every one of us is commissioned to gather others into the kingdom, are we not? No one can come home to know God’s love, joy, mercy and forgiveness unless they can first see it in the eyes of His children.

Just like Israel, all God’s children get to go home:

“Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.” Ezek. 37:25 NKJV

And that home will be a heavenly one:

“…and the name of the city from that day shall be THE LORD IS THERE.” Ezek. 48:35 NKJV

God is building a house for all of us to call ‘home.’ And if you are willing, your homeless days are over…

Good night and God bless.

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November 01 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Waiting on God is the Hardest Part

Sometimes we have to wait for God’s presence, or for Him to act on our behalf, because we haven’t been holding ourselves accountable for our behavior. This is especially so if our actions have run contrary to His word. In this case, He distances Himself from us, and maybe throws a little discipline our way to get us back on track. We are always just a confession and a repenting, away from God’s restoration:

Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Lam. 3:39, 40. ESV

Moreover, even in our darkest hour, we can always depend upon the love, mercy and steadfast faithfulness of our God – who covers us with the limitless grace that we could never earn on our own.

Our loving God takes no pleasure in dishing out the discipline (justice) that we (during our slip and falls) have forced His hand to administer. He only does that to save our lives:

For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. Lam. 3:31 – 33. NKJV

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lam. 3:24 – 26. NKJV

Another time that we may have to wait on God, is for answered prayer – especially because we want them granted within our desired timeline.

Jesus tells us that whatever you pray to God for, in His name, Christ will make it happen. (Jn. 14:13, 14.) The caveat is that what you pray for must align with God’s will and not be detrimental to you or others:

You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Jm. 4:3 NASB

Or, you may be holding a grudge against someone at the time of your prayer. God will not answer your prayers while you practice unrighteousness. (Mk. 11:25)

The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous. Pr. 15:29 NKJV

But God can turn you around in a heartbeat through His mercy, after He first hears your repentant prayer:

He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, he shall see His face with joy, for He restores to man His righteousness. Job 33:26 NKJV

And then the door is open:

…the Lord has set apart for Himself [and dealt wonderfully with] the godly man [the one of honorable character and moral courage – the one who does right]. The Lord hears and responds when I call to Him. Ps. 4:3 AMP

Lastly with regards to prayer, you may need to shore up your faith to get it answered:

…whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mt. 11:24 ESV

Nevertheless, even after you have met God’s conditions for answered prayer, you may still have to wait. Why? Because God loves you so much, He is going to wait until you are ‘positioned’ in your life (i.e. have the maturity and understanding) to use HIs blessing to get the utmost out of it and to accomplish His will in you – and that’s a good thing.

The last thing we may have to wait on God for, is His promises. And as far as I’m concerned, His biggest promise is about gaining the presence of Christ to usher us into eternity. In our eyes, this has been a long wait. And if we think it has been long, let’s consider our ancestors.

It was approximately 3500 years ago when people were first introduced to the Messiah by Moses – when they heard that He was going to take out the devil. (Gn. 3:15). Later, Moses also revealed that Jesus would come from the Hebrew people and speak for God. (Dt. 18:18).

The Hebrews waited another 400 years to get more information, when they find that Christ will come from the line of King David of Judah. Three hundred more years’ elapse until the people learn more about their Messiah from the prophets Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah and Daniel. Another 500 years’ pass before the Hebrews hear more about the ‘Anointed One.’ So many generations of people waited for their Deliverer. Regardless, many stood fast in faith:

By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark…and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called out to the place which he would receive an inheritance…By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child who she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them from afar off, were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Heb. 11:7, 8, 11 & 13. NKJV

They (and many more) had faith that God’s promises would manifest in the right time.

A little over 2000 years ago, Jesus did come, and many beheld the promise. Yet a little over 30 years later, Jesus was caught up to HIs Father – all according to God’s plan and promises.

So here we wait:

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lam. 3;24 – 26. NKJV

(Still, thank God that we have access to Christ now through the Holy Spirit.)

But regardless when Jesus physically comes, (and He most assuredly will), the promise will be fulfilled at just the right time:

“Surely I am coming quickly.” Rv. 22:20 NKJV

Waiting on God can be hard; but He is a promise keeper. They will be fulfilled for you at the right time. To help that time come about, prepare yourself. Just as it was said in the movie Field of Dreams, “When you build it, he will come.”

For this very reason, applying your diligence [to the divine promises, make every effort] in [exercising your faith to, develop moral excellence, and in moral excellence, knowledge (insight, understanding), and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, steadfastness, and in your steadfastness, godliness… 2 Pt. 1:5 – 7. AMP

Goodnight and God bless.

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October 26 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God is Working Behind the Scenes

“Look among the nations and watch – be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe though it were told to you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans…” Hab. 1:5, 6. NKJV

God was delivering a message to the kingdom of Judah through the mouth of His prophet Habakkuk. God’s children had turned their backs upon Him and were rebelling through pagan worship. Here, God is saying that even though they think they can go on living this way, He is bringing a mighty disciplinary act against them by sending the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to conquer them and take them captive.

In our present time, the godless will have to eventually answer for their deeds as well. Followers of Christ don’t see it, but God is working behind the scenes. He never breaks a promise; we must endure in faith:

Though the fig tree should not blossom; nor fruit be on the vines; the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the LORD, is my strength… Hab. 3:17 – 19. ESV

God always comes through; and though we may not be able to understand it in the moments of our distress, His timing is always perfect:

And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Hab. 2:2, 3. ESV

While God is behind the scenes, He continually pleads to the wayward people to come to Him and get themselves forgiven and saved before they have to suffer judgment for their misdeeds.

“Return, backsliding Israel,” says the LORD; “I will not cause My anger to fall upon you. For I am merciful,” says the LORD; “I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God…” Jer. 3:12, 13. NKJV

No matter what we have done or how far we have fallen, our confession and repentance will always place us back into the arms of our Creator. Feel His heart:

“Return, O backsliding children,” says the LORD; “for I am married to you.” Jer. 3:14 NKJV

“Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding.” Jer. 3:22 NKJV

That is the kind of love, grace and mercy that awaits every one of us when we return to Him. There is nothing that you’ve done that you cannot bring to God and receive His forgiveness for. God’s heart is always bigger than your deed.

And we can never forget that we must get right with God through Christ before we die, or prior to Jesus’ return (whichever happens first). We don’t know when either event will take place, so it is urgent that we do so immediately. God gave us His last call when Christ was resurrected.

God gives us free will. We can use that free will to either tether ourselves to Him in love, or use it to hang ourselves through disobedience.

God wants you to pick Him:

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and find rest for you souls.” Jer. 6:16 ESV

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and not anxious in the year of the drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit. Jer. 17:7, 8. NKJV

God is always gazing upon you with love. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what you are going through. God loves you. He understands you; and He forgives you when you need it.

If you stick with Him, your live will be blessed and bright, because God is working behind the scenes on your behalf…

Goodnight and God bless.

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October 19 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Your Life Changes When You Become a Child of God

We are all born into God’s grace as His children. Yet, when our brain is old enough to reason and we are subsequently exposed to the word of God, His grace is lifted as we become aware of the stain of Adam and Eve’s ‘original sin,’ that (due to our new awareness) we are now charged with getting it eliminated from our soul.

We can’t do that. We must come to God in prayer and petition Him for our salvation that He provides through the cleansing blood of His Son. Then we receive and hold onto that gift with faith, which then God accepts as payment in full for our sins; and we are once again His children. The only thing then that God asks, is that we publicly profess our faith (via baptism) and live out our days by adhering to His word to the best of our ability.

The most fabulous part? Your life changes…

You have the Creator of the Universe surrounding you on all sides through any situation:

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper…” Is. 54:17 NKJV

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Is. 43:2, 3. ESV

Not even death will be able to hold onto you:

He will swallow up death [and abolish it] for all time. And the Lord GOD will wipe away tars from all faces, and He will take away the disgrace of His people from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken. Is. 25:8 AMP

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Is. 26:19 ESV

Even the very universe we occupy will be changed for the better for God’s children – a place without war and a home, with God Himself in it:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth…” Is. 65:17 NKJV

…nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Is. 2:4 NKJV

The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light, but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Is. 60.19 ESV

What other big change comes to your life when you regain your status as a child of God? The ever-present Son of God stands by your side.

I have been using the prophet Isaiah’s Holy Spirit-Inspired revelations thus far. Let’s see God reveal Jesus through the prophet 700 years before Christ’s incarnate birth:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Is. 7:14 NKJV

The only virgin birth ever recorded in the Bible is the birth of Jesus. It was significant because only that way was Jesus able to be born without the stain of Adam’s sin.

‘Immanuel’ means ‘God is with us.’ Next, Isaiah shows us the changes that Christ will make in the lives of God’s children:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them light has shined. Is. 9:2 NKJV

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom to order it and establish it with judgment and justice for that time forward, even forever. Is. 9:6, 7. NKJV

So, Jesus will bring the light of God to His children whom have suffered at the hands of the god of this world (Satan), and will establish an eternal kingdom of peace and righteousness for all of them. Also, we see that being in the presence of Christ will be like being with God Himself.

Jesus also cleans house for the children of God:

…He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Is. 11:4 NKJV

The judgment of God will be given to Christ – who sifts the world at the end of time; and those who do not love God will not inhabit paradise. It is strictly for the children of God – a place of eternal peace, light and salvation. Praise God! These are good changes…

Goodnight and God bless.

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

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