Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

“Free At Last” – Now and Then!

February 20, 2008

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Yes, Martin Luther King had a dream, and it was to see people of all races “free at last!” This dream was also espoused by a people found in the Bible in the book of Exodus. It starts out by telling how the Hebrew Jacob moved to Egypt with his 12 sons and their families to the count of 70 souls. It is interesting to note the symbolism in the names of the boys:

Sons

1. Reuben 2. Simeon 3. Levi 4. Judah 5. Dan 6. Naphtali

7. Gad 8. Asher 9. Issachar 10. Zebulun 11. Joseph 12. Benjamin. 

Meaning of Names

1. See 2. Hear 3. Joined 4. Praise 5. Judge 6. Wrestled

7. Good Fortune 8. Blessed 9. Reward 10. Honor 11. Add 12. Strength. 

7 Days of Creation

1. Light 2. Division 3. Seeds 4. Lights 5. Animals 6. Man 7. Rest 

7 Dispensation

1. Innocence 2. Moral Responsibility 3. Human Government

4. Promise 5. Law 6. Church 7. Kingdom

7 Stages of Development

1. Punishment and Obedience

2. Instrumental Exchange

3. Interpersonal Conformity

4. Exploratory

5. Law and Order

6. Situational Ethics

7. Universal Ethical Principles

The table above illustrates the consistent manner in which God operates, and is why He can say “for I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jer. 29:11).”

In the Age of Innocence He caused the light to appear, which enables us to see. With water representing spirit, “the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament (Gen. 1:7)” can symbolize the faithful and the faithless. Recall Rom. 10:17 where the Apostle Paul said that “faith comes by hearing…”

Jacob’s wife Leah (Gen. 29) thought since she bore him three son he would reciprocate this effort by “joining” her in a more loving marriage. Reciprocation is the underlying theme of the Third Day of Creation. After the fourth son is born she decides to praise God, and in effect her focus shifts from a “lesser light” (her husband) to a “greater light” (God). This son, of course, is the ancestor of the Promised Messiah!

To be a good judge, which corresponds to the fifth son, one has to act according to established laws, and maintain order, as depicted in the way God put the various creatures in their appropriate environment. The birth of the sixth son made Jacob’s wife Rachel (whom he truly loved) felt that she had wrestled and came out “on top” of her older sister, Jacob’s other wife. In terms of Creation, Man is “on top” just as surely as the Church Age is “on top” of the Law; not by replacing it, but by fulfilling it (Mat. 5:17)!

By being victorious one may have the good fortune to enter the Kingdom (which corresponds to the seventh son), and would certainly be a blessing (the eighth son). The ninth son represents God’s reward for the successful completion of our assignments. Leah’s desire for restored honor hinged largely upon Jacob’s appreciation of his tenth son. Finally blessed to give birth, Rachel sought increase with the eleventh son, while Jacob renamed the twelfth to denote his strength.

Keep The Dream!

January 30, 2008

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Martin Luther King Jr. was from Sweet Auburn in Atlanta, Georgia where his father was a popular pastor known as “Daddy King”. Martin was known as M.L., and though he was born in a pleasant neighborhood he experienced discrimination, bigotry, and racial stereotypes. There were actual laws during his early years that made African-Americans a second-class citizen. At age six, his white friend’s dad disallowed him from further playing with M.L.

At fourteen he won a oratorical contest in Dublin, Georgia. On the ride back to Atlanta, he and his teacher had to move to the back of the bus when a white passenger boarded it. After high school he had a job working on a farm in Connecticut. On the train ride home he could ride wherever he pleased until they entered the nation’s capital!

His focus in college initially was on politics; he was actually embarrassed about the antics of his religion. However, he did find some ministers who were also learned men. He studied Mahatma Ghandi, the great liberator of India, while attending seminary. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in 1955 at Montgomery, Alabama, the then 26-year-old minister, called Dr. King, led a boycott! Although his house was bombed and his followers were persecuted, this protest was non-violent. The next year the protest was called off because of the victory scored in the Supreme Court.

For the next decade the Civil Rights Movement flourished despite the disagreements on both sides, which threatened to explode into an apocalyptic race war. This caused Dr. King to speak out against the white-on-black, black-on-white, and black-on-black violence. He was able to lead a peaceful march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery (the state capital). People from all over the country joined in this demonstration of courage, conviction, and character. A year earlier, in 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway where the Norwegian Committee noticed his work as an advocate for peace.

On March 28, 1968 he was scheduled to march at about 10:00 am from the Clayborn Temple in Memphis Tennessee. When he arrived he noticed that some of the younger people were visibly angry. He, however, moved to the head of the march, and they proceeded toward city hall. After about 10 or 15 minutes when they arrived near Main and Beale street, Dr. King realized that there was violence in the rear of this march of approximately 1,300.

The National Guard was called in and by evening the police arrested 280 people in which 60 were injured, and a 16-year-old boy was shot dead. This turn of events left Dr. King bewildered; later evidence revealed his marches were to be sabotaged (including a planned Poor People’s march on Washington which transpired on May 12). On April 3rd he checked into the Lorraine Motel in Memphis while his aides, and Ralph Abernathy, went to the Mason Temple to address about 2,000 supporters of the Sanitation Strike. When it became apparent that the people wanted to see Dr. King, Rev. Abernathy called him at the Motel. Dr King came over, and in an excerpt of his last public speech he stated,

I don’t know what will happen now. We got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. I don’t mind, cause I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. So I’m happy tonight, I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

On the following evening, April 4th, he was assassinated.

MLK Boulevard: The Concrete Dream” is a documentary of differing people views by Marco Williams, who visited many cities having a street named after Martin Luther King (Chicago being the first). He details the situation in Eugene, Oregon where officials first voted 6-2 against renaming Centennial Boulevard (a major street) to M.L.K. Jr. Boulevard. However, two days later they changed to a 5-3 vote in favor of it.

A Marting Luther King Jr. Memorial between the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials in Washington is being planned.

WE‘RE MOVIN’ ON UP!

December 5, 2007

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When we turn from the S-o-n, we get “nightfall”; God sends the symbolic “moon”, or pastors (Jer. 3:15). Also giving off light are the Deacons, ministers, etc., or symbolic “stars” (Php. 2:19-30). I do praise God for calling me, an ex-alcoholic, to ministry. During my “nightfall” I couldn’t wait for church to end, although I was careful to hide that sentiment so Pastor wouldn‘t feel the need to deliver me. Obviously I was beguiled by the devil, but I had to learn to make a choice for life, instead of the pleasurable (but foolish) choice for death.

Today (12/30/06), my Pastor’s labor of love has come to fruition, and God’s Word has germinated inside of me causing changes in my life. Where I was once a tool for Satan’s demonic attitudes, I now am ready to run for the Lord – my strong tower (Prv. 18:10). I now am ready to shake the devil off me even if I have to pull my car over, get out, and start praising God on the spot. People might think I’m crazy, but Satan will know that I will submit to God no matter how it makes me appear. Believe me, he’s not going to hang around the submitted and committed long (Jam. 4:7). I dare that snake to lift his head out of his hole so I can step on it (his head).

How did this boldness catch fire in my heart?I give glory to God and credit to my Pastor for I now am ready for my NEXT LEVEL of becoming a pastor. With seven years of guidance I make NO APOLOGIES for this desire, though it is amazing that my life, my goal, and my church family has culminated in such a noble fashion. We’re movin’ on up! Yet, there are some Biblical people whose story is MUCH MORE AMAZING because of the adversity they had to overcome. For example:

Eve is remembered for eating the “fruit”, but she delivered Seth (the Appointed) whose line produced Jesus. Moses killed a man and still became the Deliverer. Though afraid Gideon was called a “man of valor”, and delivered Israel from the Midianites. Mary delivered Jesus the Christ, though she had to explain that her pregnancy “just happened” (the only time that line has ever been true). And how does His story end?

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order; Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power (I Cor. 15:22-25).”

So, when He delivers the kingdom to God, we will really be MOVIN’ ON UP! Of course to ensure our prosperity we must avoid the misgivings the Apostle Paul expresses in the following verse. II Timothy 3:2-8

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent (lacking sexual control; lacking restraint in sexual matters, or engaging in pre-or extramarital sex ), fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”

I pray for continued grace, mercy, and maturity so that all those who love the LORD continue to keep MOVIN’ ON UP

Will you make it to – The End?

December 3, 2007

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 In the very first book of the Bible we see that everything that God does is good; we are enormously blessed that He is the Benevolent Spirit! Moreover, since the beginning we have been tested for obedience (following His instructions – Jer. 7:23), and righteousness (following His examples – Psa. 85:13). God created Man and gave him clear instructions in the Garden of Eden, and by righteousness Man was to give them to his helpmate. This he failed to do, which of course led to an ill-prepared Eve to be tempted by the serpent. When Adam also ate of the fruit of the Tree of knowledge of good & evil, he disobeyed God, introduced sin and death into the world, and thus began the ongoing battle which pits our will against God’s will. Now, instead of wanting all good as was the original design, Man is in a constant fight to overcome evil desires that ultimately leads to his demise. The question is will we submit to God’s plan for eternal life, or continue to live as is there are no consequences to suffer for living in opposition to God’s Will?

Prv. 3:5-6 says to, “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path.” What a remarkably simple concept! Yet we find that Man somehow still fumbles the ball so to speak. Instead of maintaining allegiance to an All-Wise Creator who made him good, Man would rather believe a deceptive and destructive serpent’s lie that he’d be a god by eating from the Tree of not only good, but evil as well; thus, he wouldn’t need the pure God.

The first verse of Psa. 14 and 53 both reads, “the fool says there is no God…” These are those smart ones who believe that intelligent life as we know it somehow accidentally came about. Some of the smarter ones will at least admit that this life must have come from a Higher Intellect, but amazingly they are not smart enough to realize that that Intellect is smart enough to convey the reality of Its existence. So they go to great lengths to show how smart they are by espousing a philosophy that minimalizes, or eliminates faith in God while extolling the virtues of Man (read Gen. 4:15-26). They’re SMART! However, by reading Prv. 28:26 we find, “he that trust in his own heart is a fool; but he that walks wisely shall be delivered.”

Fools intensely hate having to follow any instruction (Prv. 1:7); they may even put on a great act, however the thought of yielding their will to even God is repugnant to them. They really aren’t about glorifying Him. They generally don’t know and won’t learn what this life is really about! Prv. 11:18-19 informs us that, “the wicked work a deceitful work but to him that sow righteousness shall be a sure reward. AS RIGHTEOUSNESS TEND TO LIFE; so he that pursue evil pursue it to his own death.”

Therefore, submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee you (Jam. 4:7).” Since the devil only seeks “to steal, kill, and to destroy (Jhn. 10:10)“, it behooves us to transcend the life-inhibiting “issues” he makes us become overly concerned about so that we can have God’s peace (Php. 4:6-9). Don’t let Satan convince you that such peace is impossible because, “with God all things are possible (Mat. 19:26).” As the Day of the Lord approaches, beware as Man becomes even more apostatized (faith-renouncing), takes pleasure in unrighteousness (II Ths. 2:1-12), and disavows the reality of the First, and Second Coming (Isa. 61:1-2). Vs. 40 of my favorite passage (Jhn. 6:22-71) reads, “and this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which see the Son, and believe on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day .”

II Pet. 2:12 says that fools are, “as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their corruption.” We are not to fear them, but God for though they may kill the body, He can kill the soul (Mat. 10:28); however, let it be noted that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9). “So… be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rom. 12:2).” Become a better person, a better soul winner, and earn a chance to wear a crown:

(1) incorruptible for those who gained self-mastery (I Cor. 9:25);

(2) of gold for the 24 elders (Rev. 4:4);

(3) of righteousness for the believers of the Second Coming (II Tim. 4:8);

(4) of life for endurers of temptation (Jam. 1:12); and

(5) of glory for pastors (I Pet 5:4).

To receive these rewards take a stand and GET SAVED TODAY  (Rom. 10:9-10)! The scriptures Isaiah 55:6-7 (NKJV) tells us to “seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

KILL OR BE KILLED!

December 3, 2007

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“The thief come but to kill, steal, and destroy (Jhn. 10:10).” His job is to make sure that the Word of God, which is the Spirit of God (Eph. 6:17), is denied to the people of God. Why? “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (Jhn. 6:63).” Satan has us more concerned about this temporal life than the eternal life taught in the Bible! The irony is that without knowledge of Biblical principles many of us have very little regard for the living.

Imagine the unenviable task of having to pray for a family whose 18 year old son was shot and killed. Once again someone has lost a loved one, a friend, and though I may not have known him – this happened in my neighborhood! I do realize that this sort of thing happens even in neighborhoods that are considered low-crime areas. It has most likely happened in your ’hood also, and/or that of your loved ones and friends. In other words, this tragedy is too close to home!

In talking with young people (and even some adults) they have told me that they have a lot of anger and they don’t understand why. Even worse are those whose anger renders them to be so arrogant that they can’t be told anything. They’re quick to say “I’m grown” in spite of a nagging insecure feeling due to a lack of personal development which is covered up with machismo. Perhaps they’ve got unresolved parental issues which has distorted their views on obedience, responsibility, independence, diligence, lawfulness, personal ethics, and universal ethics.

It is sad how society is so quick to take child-caring advice from comedians than from God’s Word! Now I have nothing against them; when it comes to telling jokes I prefer them over let’s say librarians. However, adhering to their strategies is as foolish as taking money-making advice from a monkey. Now I have nothing against monkeys – as long as they’re in a zoo and not my portfolio! I prefer to know what the Creator has to say on this matter, and not just Prv. 23:13, but also Prv. 22:6 so that they don’t grow up thinking violence is the ONLY way to resolve conflicts.

Let us kill all foolishness before it kills us all! We must take care so that we (and I do emphasize we) don’t make our kids self-destructive, or psychotic. Our children are ready to kill anyone who looks at them wrong. If you think ‘love don’t love nobody’, you can be sure violence REALLY doesn’t! We are not concerned about violence when we have the upper hand on our children (when you’re winning you’re grinning when you’re sinning).

Let’s kill all abuse before it kills us all! We wait ’til the child becomes bigger, and then we try to explain that we did it all (the abuse) as “an act of love”, constructing a sort of “goose” for us, yet making our kids feel abused, bemused, and confused. They are immensely angry with themselves and others – including their parents! Does anyone of you recall Marvin Gaye, the Melendez brothers, for examples? 

Let’s kill all violence before it kills us all! Let us remember how Jesus said, “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword (Mat.26:52), and “if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mat. 6:15).” “This is My comandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (Jhn. 15:12).” 

Unfortunately, there are other dangers that aim to kill that love we’re to have for one another. To “fight the good fight (I Tim. 1:18)” you will need special authorization, and from where better than God’s Word?!

HERE’S YOUR LICENSE TO KILL!

King James Version I Cor. 15:29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead? 30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord,  I DIE DAILY. 32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 33 Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manner. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame.

What is your perspective with regards to our existence? Are you a deist, polytheist, panteist, agnostic, or atheist?

DEISM: belief in a Creator; good and evil based on compliance to His moral code.

POLYTHEISM: belief in many gods, demons, ghosts, etc.; good and evil based on supernatural.

PANTHEIST: believes everything is God; evil is due to ignorance of the Divine nature of the universe.

AGNOSTIC: believes the existence of God is unknowable due to the nature of sujective experience.

ATHEIST: disbelieves or denies the existence of God.

QUESTION: if there is no one in the forest and a tree fell, would it make a sound? An affirmative answer is an indication of your belief in a reality beyond the scope of your senses. It is in that realm that belivers claim to be the abode of the Creator. Logic (which is proven by sensory perception) suggests that if there is a Creation, there must be a Creator. When have you seen anything excellently created that didn’t start as a passion, a plan, until finally becoming a product?(Psa. 100:3) Know ye that the LORD He is God; it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of his pasture.

QUESTION: Did you create youself? Of course not!

The how is EVERYTHING the God of Glory? The Bible clearly teaches us that we did not create ourselves. In fact, to continue reding the above passage in I Cor. 15 we’ll find that glory differs from species to species. Though we are made in His image (Gen. 1:27) we fall short of His glory (Rom. 3:23), and that’s why He alone deserves worship (devotion).

The Devil’s job is to get the confused, scared, weak souls and flood their mind with endless delusions and philosophical queries. Until they tell him to, “get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, ‘thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve’ (Mat. 4:10), they will not seek THE ONE TRUE GOD! Understand this: “the thief comethh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destry; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (Jhn. 10:10).”

As Christians, we have license to kill misguided devotion to desires that distract us from devotion to the God of Life, Love, and Liberty from sin! 

Characteristics of a Good person!

December 3, 2007

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Mat. 19:16 A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?17 Jesus said to him, “Why do you ask Me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey His commandments (Contemporary English Version).”

It is significant that we understand that THE standard for good is God Himself, and this criterion entails belief in “the King, eternal, immortal, invisible (I Tim 1:17)!” Jesus said, “God is a Spirit (Jhn. 4:24), to which the Apostle Paul adds in Gal. 5:22,”God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23 gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.” Therefore, by concentrating on these nine attributes of the Good Spirit we are emulating the Standard for good.

Why don’t we readily jump at the chance to be a god-like person? There are some impediments which trip us up including: Anger, Lust, Greed, Attachments, and Ego (other obstacles include envy and laziness). Again, Paul says in Gal. 5:19people’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20 They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21 envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom.”

What the Apostle is saying is that our desires for attributes that are contrary to God’s Spirit is what get us in trouble! When tempted we have strength through Christ (Php. 4:13) to enforce godliness (Mat. 4:10) “go away Satan!” This  Scripture says: “worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.” The Standard for good says to us, “I am the LORD your God, and you must dedicate yourselves to Me and be holy, just as I am holy (Lev. 11:44).” Why should we try to be a god-like person? Well, in Act. 17:28 we are informed that “He gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. We are His children,’ just as some of your poets have said.” By being god-like we are given the power to live and move eternally because we follow God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:14)!

What about all the people who are rebellious, cantankerous, and/or animalistic? “The LORD protects everyone who lives right, but He destroys anyone who does wrong (Prv. 10:29).” Peter, a disciple, states, “God is patient, because He wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost (II Pet. 3:9).” Obviously sin is not god-like and can not make one a good person. Rom. 6:16 asks, “don’t you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die, or you can be obedient slaves of God and be acceptable to Him.”

What does it mean to be an obedient slave? It means to be righteous, which denotes that one follows the commands of God. “Obey Me, and you will live! Let My instructions be your greatest treasure (Prv. 7:2).” To be a good person involves righteously following God’s commandments – particularly The Great Commandments. Mat. 22:36Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ 40 All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Why is love so important to be a good person, or god-like? Once again referring to the Bible we learn that “…God is love(I Jhn. 4:8, 16),” and “that no one who loves others will harm them. So love is all that the Law demands (Rom. 13:10).” Furthermore, we find in I Cor. 13:4 that “love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or 5 rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. 6 Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. 7 Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. 8 Love never fails!

The question we’re now faced with is should we believe in God? Some people believe that they can be a good person without being godly, however that’s metaphysically erroneous (Psa. 14:1, 53:1). To be a good person we automatically project God’s Spirit (see above), and as Christians we are to follow His commandments with our whole heart (Psa. 119:10). Ultimately, it is our heart that determines whether we are, or are not, a good person or morally defiled (Mat. 15:11)! Are we living to just enjoy the pleasures of this materialistic world, or are we interested in becoming a truly “Good Person” in order to receive the gift of eternal life?

Jesus said “you can not serve God and mammon (Mat. 6:24).” To be a good person the focal point of our lives can not be greed, ambition, and/or money. We should be more apt to think qualitatively than quantitatively; more concerned with living righteously than being rich. We should think in terms of the infinite and not just the finite! Mat. 6:19 reads, “don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20 Instead, store up your treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21 Your heart will always be where your treasure is.”

Being a good person requires us to value the treasures of our God more than earthly “booty”. Why? Because Heavenly treasures are endless! However, why should we believe in God? Why not be a materialist who only believe in what we see? If you understand that the universe is only about 14 billion years old, than you’re faced with the question of what Entity existed during the period prior to the beginning of time and space? How do you explain the concept of how “something” came from “nothing”? “Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God’s command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen (Heb. 11:3).”

Those who consider themselves to be a “Good Person” as in being god-like may easily accept this verse; however, non-believers may still have a huge problem with it, so let’s take a scientific approach. The belief in atoms, though commonplace now, was initially met with a gargantuan amount of skepticism until Albert Einstein made his discovery in the early 1900’s. Of course since then smaller and smaller particles have been discovered, leading some in the scientific community to surmise the possibility of “something” resulting from nothing! This is significant because there are some who are entertaining the notion of the infinitude of the material plane.

By overcoming our rebellious nature we can admit that there is an existence beyond that of the physical world, and it is where the Spirit of God dwells for all eternity. Just as sure as He is able to create this plane of existence, He is able to convey to us what we must do to be a good person since He is The Standard. The following Five Steps will give us an idea of His expectations.

1. “But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what He wants. Then the other things will be yours as well (Mat. 6:33).”

2. “So you will be saved, if you honestly say, Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe with all your heart that God raised Him from death (Rom. 10:9).”

3. “Do your best to win God’s approval as a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed and who teaches only the true message (II Tim. 2:15).”

4. Mrk. 16:15 “Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world.” 16 “Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe Me will be condemned.”

5. “God will bless all who have washed their robes. They will each have the right to eat fruit from the tree that gives life, and they can enter the gates of the city (Rev. 22:14).”

So, what are the characteristics of a good person? According to the Bible, we must be Christ-like! Php. 2:5 instructs us to “think the same way that Christ Jesus thought.” We must be ready to put the needs of others – even before ours sometimes. More importantly, to be a good person we must do the things which pleases the Father.” The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a Slave who will give His life to rescue many people (Mat.20:28).” “Father, if You will, please don’t make Me suffer by having Me drink from this cup. But do what You want, and not what I want (Luk. 22:42).” To truly be a good person we must submit to our Heavenly Father, who is the Standard, and be willing to serve people! I challenge you to take those Five Steps so that you can reap the everlasting rewards for being a Good Person!

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

December 3, 2007

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Don’t question a gift’s value. When given a present, be grateful for your good fortune and don’t look for more by examining it to assess its value. Additionally, this proverb refers to the practice of figuring the age of a horse by looking at its teeth, and is also origin of the expression “long in the tooth” (meaning old).

 http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings.117000.html

Let’s examine the first example.

Who ordains ministers?

First off, let us define a minister as a member of the clergy; one who helps. Whether you’re clergy or not, you are capable of giving help, caring for strangers, and enduring more stress! I’m sure you can recall doing a service with no thought of reward though some sacrifice by you was required. Even in the beginning Man was expected to be his brother’s keeper (Gen. 4:9).

Beyond that, God intended for Man’s relationship with Him to be maintained for eternity. Even though we, as the progeny (offspring) of Adam, are born into sin – God has made a way for us to be redeemed! Since the LORD is eternal, His offspring is therefore eternal. Rom. 8:14 states, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” It would be unfortunate for anyone to think that without a title they can’t be a minister as that would hamper them from performing their most sacred duty. What duty? To be led by the Spirit of God (or Word of God – Eph. 6:17), and to help others to do the same!

Our duty is to learn the Word so that we can follow His holy commandments and enjoy life for ever, and then to help our fellow Man follow suit! Who ordained this? God did! “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (Jer. 1:5).” The only real question is will you, like Isaiah, accept His call? “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, Here am I; send me (Isa. 6:8).” Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Mat. 9:37). Have no fear, “for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7).”

What about qualifications?

Dr. Fitzpatrick, a pastor from Chicago, says, “favor ain’t fair, but it looks good on you.” Even though two workers may look quite similar, one is favored more because of his productivity! Mat. 25:29 states, “for unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Ministers who do God’s work are kings.“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter (Prv. 25:2 – my favorite verse!).” It stands to reason that to be favored you must be led by the Spirit, be free of fear, and be a student of the Bible in order to get the concealed truths (revelations) in which to minister to God’s people. Then by studying, ministers become approved by God (II Tim. 2:15)!

So, is being a good minister about numbers? Well, while we want God’s Word to reach as many people as possible, we don’t want to subscribe to a win-at-any-cost attitude. Children of God, particularly those who use their talents for people (ministry), must realize the importance of “…how you play the game.” Prv. 31:4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” Clearly this passage indicates the level of favor for kings, princes, and the miserable and invokes temperance (read Gal. 5:22-23) that leads to life. Temperance is one of the nine “fruits of the Spirit”, and the Spirit gives us life! “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (Jhn. 6:63)”.

Ministers’ do’s and don’t’s! (I Tim. 3)

1. Bishops (overseers) DO desire to do God’s will.2. DO be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, kind, apt to teach.

3. DON’T be given to wine, be a striker, be greedy of dirty cash; be impatient, be a brawler, nor covetous.

4. DO rule your own house, having children in subjection with all gravity.

5. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6. DON’T be a novice, lest being lifted up with pride you fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7. DO have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8. Deacons must also be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

9. Deacons must hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

10. Deacons must be proven, found blameless.

11. Deacons’ wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

12. Deacons must be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

13. Deacons that use their office well purchase great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

14These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

NOTE: Bishop/deacon relates to king/prince in Prv. 31:4-5.

Reward for serving God.

Deu. 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. 3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. 10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

11 And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. 13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: 14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Stop scoffing, complaining.

Psa. 1:22How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh…” This passage illustrates God’s dislike of scornfulness, however, to see how He views “cry babies” please read what happened to the dissenting Israelites in the wilderness (Num. 14). By attempting to obfuscate the mission of the minister the LORD gifted them with (Moses), they didn’t get the chance to experience God’s blessings in (The Promise Land) Jsh. 1:2! If you don’t won’t to miss out – DON’T LOOK YOUR GIFTHORSE IN THE MOUTH!

Are You Still Overlooking Your Gift?

December 3, 2007

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Could you be obedient to the one who points you to

The One who gives eternal life? Part. 2

It’s more blessed to give than receive!

Although “it is more blessed to give than to receive(Act. 20:35), there is one gift we can receive that is “better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it (Prv. 8:11).” That gift is wisdom, which is the Word of God, and is a blessing when taught by the righteous servant of God! “He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me (Mat. 10:40).” Many people won’t receive God’s gift because they won’t receive the teachings of the ministers, opting rather to look a gift horse in the mouth!

Yet if instead of judging the individual speaking, they start realizing that the Word is of God, they could IMMEDIATELY receive a “good and perfect gift from above (Jam. 1:17)” – a Rhema Word (revelation)! God’s Word is the Truth (Psa. 119:160) and it is designed to free us from stress, death, even eternal damnation (Jhn. 8:32)! Once we receive this freedom offered by the Word, we are more blessed by giving the Word!

Becoming a miracle worker.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (Jhn. 5:24 ).” There is no greater miracle for Mankind than that of the awe-inspiring gift of life, which we all should seek. Imagine the feeling of knowing that by the grace of God, those in your world have been empowered to live for all eternity! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8).” Have you told anyone, a loved one perhaps, of God’s incredible gift?

Perhaps, for some reason, you don’t have the confidence to convey the reality of God’s salvation. You could gain some by “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another(Heb. 10:25).” Most profession require meetings with like-minded people in order to help them achieve their maximum potential. This is also true in the case of the religion/spirituality field, where the adherents (supporters) are encouraged to be on one accord. Your regular attendance to a Bible-teaching ecclesiastical edifice (church building) for the life-giving message from God helps you to grow from faith to faith. That’s how you pass to life; and by sharing this knowledge with others you can become a miracle worker!

Help end starvation!

Samford University researcher Penny Long Marler states that for over the past 30 years Gallup polls have reported that about a steady 43 percent say they attended church the previous week. However, church attendance which should have greatly increased with the growth in population has failed to do so. It appears America’s spiritual fervor is being starved to death!

The U.S. may be following many other secular nations in becoming a society without rigorous systems of religious education in which churches, temples and mosques serve as moral training grounds. “It’s a valuable tool for moral and ethical training,” Marler said. Warning that a relativistic youth culture, without a core ethical tradition, could make for a troublesome society, she added: “I’m not sure what kind of person it would form. We’ve never tried it.” – The Christian Century email: main@christiancentury.org

Obviously this trend indicates that the message of God’s gift is less likely to be heard by His servants the ministers, who have been appointed (and indeed anointed) to lead us through God’s Word. The apostle Paul says that these are “perilous times”, and that people would be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (II Tim. 2:1, 7).”

As the eventuality of death looms overhead, must we be admonished (scolded) to “obey them (ministers) that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you (Heb. 13:17)?”

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you (Gal. 3:1)?

Is your hesitancy to be obedient due to a lack of belief? That certainly won’t prevent what God has already ordained! As a youngster I experienced foot pain, and yet I wouldn’t go to the doctors because I thought they were just trying to get my money. Even though the evidence of a problem was plain to see, I still didn’t want to accept the reality of my future predicament!

As a result I was unable to stave off a bunion which developed due to my inaction. I could have “saved” my foot, however I hesitated making the correct decision and now I’m suffering the consequences. This circumstance pale in comparison to the one today’s unsaved Galatians face, for their being bewitched will cost NOT just a lifetime of pain. It will cost them an eternity of suffering!

Follow who?

Know that “it is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes (Psa. 118:8-9)”, so don’t think that because you’ve heard of a bad minister that you shouldn’t attend a worship service. The reason we go to church is to be obedient, and so that we can get directions from God. If followed, God’s will anoint our lives, and empower us to overcome our tribulations.

Let’s say there’s a motorist on the expressway doing 90 mph, and you decide to follow suit. If you get pulled over after only reaching 80 mph, you won’t be able to tell the judge about the other guy! Bible Students know God expects obedience from those who love Him. We should not only be obedient, we should also be cheerful in all of our duties. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Col. 3:23).”

The GREAT God blesses hearers of His Word!

Ezr. 8:4And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:  

6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place 8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”

How great is God?

To anyone who have any other theory about the Creation I humbly ask how do you propose the origination of matter? There is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence which suggests that our universe had a beginning. Therefore Christians believe that “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Heb. 11:3).”

Unbelievers who foolishly try to use science to explain away God appear rebellious. In fact more and more, science is actually proving the reality of a Supreme Being who is truly Self-Existent (find an interesting article and its links at http://www.big-bang-theory.com/).

Revelation of God’s existence requires faith, which allows us to envision the unseen before it is manifested. Each new day, or Age, brings new problems, and by not believing in the unseen (faith) you can only see old solutions.  Extinction is inevitable since old solutions can not solve new problems which require unseen solutions, which is seemingly problematic for unbeliversThe Bible does say “the fool hath said in his heart ‘there is no God’ (Psa. 14:1; 53:1)!” 

It’s strange how Man thinks he’s so intelligent, and yet he can’t comprehend that the “created” has to have a more intelligent “Creator”! To imagine that two forces somehow banged together sending a bunch of rocks throughout the universe, and we somehow landed on this rock (earth) at the precise safe distance from the Sun, somehow make us “dumber than a bunch of rocks”. Faith gives us today’s solutions for yesterday’s problems, and the hope of seeing tomorrow. Faith-filled ministers help you to receive the gift of God’s life-giving, revelatory Word (Jer. 3:15; Mat. 4:4; Heb. 11:2)!

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 

Won’t you please accept this open invitation to attend the House of God so that you can find out: “…what must I do to be saved (Act. 16:30)“; Understand what thou readest (Act. 8:30)“; how to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (Eph. 4:29)“; that “…there is laid up for me a crown of righteousnes, which the Lord , The Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day(II 4:8)“; finally, how your greater blessings starts when you find direction to fulfill your purpose by studying the Word of God!”

Becoming A Servant/Leader!

December 1, 2007

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Jhn. 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon “Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” He saith unto Him, “yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee.” He saith unto him, “feed My lambs.” 16 He saith to him again the second time, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?” He saith unto him, “yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee.” He saith unto him, “feed My sheep.” 17 He saith unto him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?” Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, ‘Lovest thou me?’ And he said unto Him, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Jesus saith unto him, “feed My sheep.”

In this passage the tenderness of Christ should be recognized as He seeks leadership for His lambs and sheep. The first step to making a servant/leader is determining if the candidate will respect authority, and even more to the point – it is gauging the commitment of the prospect’s love. Few people realize that before love becomes mature it starts out as a mustard seed of faith! No matter what fine attributes your partner may have, it is doubtless that love will be mutually fulfilling without faith.

II Pet. 1:5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” Charity is another name for agape love!

I Cor. 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

This type of love is different from eros (sexual) and phileo (non-sexual) love because as seen in the passage it is self-less, which describes God (I Jhn. 4:8, 16). Obviously to become a servant/leader for Christ we must have the love of God!

The second step to making a servant/leader involves outlining the hierarchy by designating positions and duties. Note how Peter was asked if he love Jesus more than “these”; who are “these”? They’re the disciples including Peter, who is being asked by Jesus to become more self-less and prepared than “these” to “feed My lambs”.

This was the same apostle who denied the soon-to-be crucified Jesus three times “before the cock crowed (Mat. 26:33-34, 75)”. However, having been challenged to love the Master with a much more mature love, “the shadow of Peter” played an integral role in healing a multitude of people (Act. 5:15-16). This disciple was given a promotion after a hard lesson in love which all of us should learn, and that’s the need for humility.

Though initially he boasted of his love for Jesus, he was shown the truth of a self-promoting love which is like that of a lover who says “I love you” in the morning – but sleeps around at night. However, now Peter is to introduce Christ to seekers (“feed My lambs”), teach the congregation (“feed My sheep”), and train the core for leadership (“feed My sheep”). Even in the Beatitudes (Mat. 5:3-11) Jesus mentioned “the world”, “they”, and “ye” as representations of these three groups.

Before his love matured Peter was like a wayward apprentice trained by a well-respected owner of a business. When the owner sought to expand, he left the apprentice in charge of his operation. After receiving a lot of angry complaints he realized that the intern was not only ill-prepared, but very rebellious! Prv. 16:18Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Where’s this spirit from? The Devil of course! Let’s take a look at this “historical” figure.

Isa. 14:12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

Rev. 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

“And He said unto them, ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven’ (Luk. 10:18).

Back to the apprentice, though the novice didn’t realize it, an on-going battle is being fought for the control of his soul. In this corner is – 9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Mat. 6:9).

Jhn. 6:40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” We know that God is love (see above), and also that according to Rom. 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

In the next corner is – “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (Jhn. 10:10).” The thief won’t let you have fulfillment, or even enjoy a joke!

A preacher was baptizing people in a small stream when this drunkard came near. The preacher grabbed him and submerged the drunk for a few seconds before pulling him up asking, “did you find Jesus?” The drunk said, “no.” So the preacher put his head back underwater for a longer period before asking again, “did you find Jesus?” Once more the drunk said “no!” This third time the preacher held his head down much longer before asking yet again, “did you find Jesus?” After a considerable effort to regain his composure, the agitated drunk asked, “are you sure He’s down there?”

This joke was told to me by a friend. I actually don’t know if he ever thought that he would be a positive part of a sermon, however, the Bible says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Prv. 17:22)”, and this young man certainly gives us a daily dosage! That’s his talent which, when used properly, can aid and comfort the people in his surroundings – hallelujah! I Cor. 12:12 reads “for as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” So, how do we, the many members, attain “the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13)?

(1) Mat. 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” To be in “right standing with God” we must be:

(A) Obedient,

(B) Responsible,

(C) Autonomous,

(D) Faithful,

(E) Law-abiding,

(F) Productive, and

(G) Kingdom-minded,

which propels us to reach the pinnacle in the Physical realm (health, wealth, etc.), Emotional realm (stability), Intellectual realm (discernment), and the Spiritual realm (the Fruits Gal. 5:22-23).

The fullness of Christ brings about prosperity, peace, precisianism (concerned about correct behavior), and perpetuation (learning to fish versus eating fish for a day).

(2) Rom. 10:9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

(3) II Tim. 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

(4) Mrk. 16:15 “…go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

(5) Rev. 2:14 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

We all face a life and death decision daily (Rom. 6:16), and I urge you not to “die in your sins” (Jhn. 8:24). “If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” “This is My commandment, That ye love one another…(Jhn. 15:6, 12).” In light of this commandment, and the one to “love your enemies (Mat. 5:44)”, and also realizing that your life depends on obeying them, again I hear Jesus asking the question, “do you love me?”

INTERPRETATION

December 1, 2007

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Satan’s “tricks” include, but is not limited to, deception (fallacies), division (in-fights), and disillusionment (frustration). However, perhaps one of his biggest trick is called “interpretation”, which too many times is nothing more than opinions heavily influenced by personality quirks like a complex or a phobia. A complex is based on issues we develop by our positive or negative relationship with our parents. A phobia results from going through an intense experience producing a specific or social fear. In a specific phobia we focus on a particular object such as an animal, closed-in spaces, or people, etc. Performance anxiety, embarrassment, not being able to eat in public are examples of a social phobia.

The purpose of this discussion is to bring attention to a specific phobia that blinds readers of the Bible by justifying bias, bigotry, and hatred. It’s called xenophobia, which is defined as “fear of foreigners: an intense fear or dislike of foreign people, their customs and culture, or foreign things.” Phobias can become so crippling as to make members of the same race only trust their family. Worst yet is when trust for family members is obliterated and everyone is seen as a “foreigner”. Imagine being taught by a person afflicted with this fear; do you think that your perspective will be shaped to follow a God who is love (I Jhn. 4:8, 16)?

Jam. 3:15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.Also, “The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous (Prv. 15:29).”

Who are the righteous? Those who learn to stop:

(1) being liars and deceivers (Rev. 21:7),

(2) being unrepentant (Act. 2:38),

(3) being antagonistic (Heb. 12:14),

(4) being followers of the blind (Mat. 15:14),

(5) being unstable (Jam. 1:6-8), and

(6) being rebellious (II Tim. 3).

God’s revelations are truly not to be cast to the swine (Mat. 7:6). When you’re righteous you “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat. 22:37-39). “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now (I Jhn. 2:9).” Remember Jhn. 3:16? When Nicodemus came to Jesus he was told “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. A person whose self-worth is contingent on race will have a difficult challenge in thoroughly appreciating the universality of this widely-renown scripture.

Interpretation of God’s Word requires God’s Word! In other words, we gain true understanding of the Bible not only by reading it consecutively (or verse-to-verse), but also comparatively (or verse-with-verse). God doesn’t need our perspective – but we need His to “ know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jhn. 8:32). There are “teachers” who are hell-bent on ideologies which do not reflect love (Rom. 13:10). These blind leaders advocate a philosophy based on a faulty interpretation of God’s Word (Mat. 15:14). Why do we fall into the ditch with them?

In the Garden of Eden, Satan was able to convince the Woman to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil by stroking her Ego. That’s why when speaking of deceitful people the Bible says, “for there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue (Psa. 5:9).” When she convince Adam to rebel and eat the forbidden fruit, his nature/perspective became dualistic though initially it was unified with God only.

In Mat. 7 we are to 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

How are we to interpret this passage? In Gal. 5:19-23 the Apostle Paul states, “19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

From the above verses it’s clear that good trees are prophets/people that operate in the fruit of the Spirit. Corrupt trees (false prophets/people) are prone to the works of the flesh. The good tree tries to bring about spiritual unity, the adulterated (corrupted) tree endeavors to bring about rebellion! Understandably we must be wary of cults – a self-identified group of people who share a narrowly defined interest or perspective based on sensationalizing the Bible, and may even create their own “Good Book”.

II Pet. 1:16For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, ‘this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased‘. 18And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

19We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Why are there so many different viewpoints for the same scripture? It may appear that viewpoints are endless, however we should recognize that reality exist on Four Planes: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Spiritual! Your viewpoint of reality is based on the trusted plane that you are likely to focus on. Jesus teaches that only the Spiritual realm is eternal!“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death (Mat. 8:51).” “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Mat. 24:35).” (There a plenty more corroborating scriptures!).

For an analogy envision H2O (Word) becoming an ice cube (physical plane) in a pan heated by fire (God’s grace), becoming liquid (emotional plane), steam (intellectual plane), and finally evaporated back to the heavens (spiritual plane). Again in Mat. 7:13 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”.

That most people focus on the non-Spiritual, carnal planes is what’s inferred here; look at the passage in John 9:1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?3Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him”. Notice how the disciples saw a blind man (“ice”), displayed compassion (“water”) by inquiring about his condition (“steam”), and yet Jesus saw the works of God (“evaporation”) being manifested!

So, as we learn to “worship Him (focus) in Spirit (the nine fruits; the “…Word of God” – Eph. 6:17) and in Truth (the Bible, Psa. 119:160), the Holy Spirit will “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” to guide us throughout our lives (Jhn. 4:24, 14:26). “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams (Joe. 2:28; Act. 2:17).”

Do you realize what this all means? The most righteous interpretation of prophesies, visions, and dreams will be done by those filled with the 9 fruits and is in line with the Bible! The bottom line is that we must look at every situation as an opportunity to glorify the Spirit of our Heavenly Father, “…the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.” Amen, Amen, Amen.