Posts Tagged ‘family’

De-Termination!

April 28, 2008

KEY SCRIPTURE

Exo. 2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. 16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

Are you a fan of those old karate films from back in the day? Remember how their lips would move BEFORE you would hear the sound of their voice? And what about those plots? The hero had to: 

(1) avenge his teacher,

(2) gather his fellow countrymen to face invaders, or

(3) recover stolen treasure to list a few examples.

Usually the good guy would accomplish his mission with relative ease, exuding a high level of confidence. However, there were occasions where the bad guys would be so formidable that the protagonist would have to retreat. It was strange watching the hero getting “whupped”, running from an adversary who would laugh hysterically. We got this ominous feeling as it appeared that it would be impossible for the good guy to win. How would he be able to “save the day” if all he could do was put his tail between his legs and run away?

Everyone loves a winner, especially if we can identify with their particular weaknesses, or have had to endure their particular struggle. In the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day, our favorite Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is programmed to be as implacable (unyielding) defending Sarah Connor’s son, John Connor (man’s last hope for survival), as this new, more deadly Terminator (Robert Patrick). However, this second Terminator is more pitiless, merciless, relentless, ruthless, cruel, hardhearted, callous, rigid, unbending, obdurate, cold-hearted in its search for John. Arnold does his very best to try to help Sarah (Linda Hamilton) and her son (Edward Furlong) escape from Robert. Eventually the two Terminators engage in battle, and it looks like Terminator 1 just might prevail. However, Robert is actually able to “kill” Arnold, which undoubtedly shocked many in the audience.

Hatefulness triumphing in any way, form, or fashion somehow disquiets us, maybe because we know that if “love don’t love nobody” (as the song says) hatred CERTAINLY doesn’t! One of the root causes of hatred stems from jealousy which is “as cruel as the grave (Sg of Sol. 8:6), keeping you out of the Kingdom.” In other words, hatred is like pulling the trigger of a loaded gun pointed at your head, while hoping that your enemy dies! It’s uncanny that some people think abusiveness, arrogance, and annoyance are a sign of confidence. They prefer this sordid, repugnant path as opposed to developing true confidence, which requires overcoming trials. So, to look good they tear everyone and everything down – even the venerable standards of excellence! They can’t envision themselves making an effort to improve, so they keep seeking loopholes! Often evil seems to “win”, “but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength (Isa. 40:31).”

As mentioned, sometimes even heroes have to retreat in the face of adversity in order to regroup. We see in the KEY SCRIPTURE that Moses had to flee from Pharaoh because earlier he had killed an Egyptian. Though Moses was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, this act would be perceived as treason since this Egyptian was an operative of Pharaoh. Moses certainly realizes that Pharaoh would hear about this act, quite possibly from the slaves he was trying to defend! Jealousy, spitefulness, or the hope for an extra crumb will reduce some to a crab-in-the-barrel mentality. Ironically, despite his humility, compassion, and his anointing, Moses had to endure this mentality throughout his life.

Leaders often find themselves in conflict with their own affiliates, however that can not be an impediment to their mission. To this end, leaders must not only have faith, but the Bible says to:

(1)5 add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control

perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness

love (II Pet. 1:5-7)”; also

(2)And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily (cheerfully), as to the Lord and not to men…(Col. 3:23).”

Now, Moses escaping to Midian symbolically represents a spiritually immature person who is starting to turn from his evil ways (spiritless task-orientation), aided by a fresh anointing (“he sat down by a well”). The worship of YHWH may have begun by the Midianites, some scholars speculate, although Josephus, in “Antiquities Of The Jews,” BK IV, Chapter VI, contradicts this claim. He talks about the seduction of young Israelite soldiers during the time of Moses by Midianite women, who lured them to idolatry. An Egyptian inscription refers to “Yhw in the land of the Shasu” as a tribe or people dwelling in what would later become Midianite territory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midian).

Moses had to be prepared for his next confrontation with the ideology of task-orientation. Just like in the movies, sometimes the protagonist would have to hightail it back to his “comfort zone” to either regroup, or get additional training. By virtue of his two moms, Moses was exposed to an incredible amount of wisdom – worldly (Pharaoh’s daughter) and spiritual (birth mother). At this point he represents the spirituality of those who have yet to learn to “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 (Mat. 7:13).”

The seven daughters symbolizes self-preservation; self-gratification; self-definition; self-acceptance; self-expression; self-reflection; and self-knowledge, and represents the fullness of God. Moses taught (watered) the hampered flock (students or teachings). Impressed, the priest took Moses as a student. This, of course, is an allegorized view of the KEY SCRIPTURE.

Many of us still spiritually play the hokey-pokey with one foot in the Word, and one in the world. Some of us truly desire to mature spiritually by overcoming (1) anger, (2) lust, (3) greed, (4) attachments, (5) ego, (6) laziness, and (7) envy. Others, however, will simply give up trying to mature, which creates a situation reminiscent of the story of The Two Mice. Trapped in a cup of milk, one mouse urged the other one to keep trying to escape. The other one asks, “what’s the use when it’s too slippery? I’m getting tired of paddling!” The first one continues his exhortation (urging) to which the second one says, “forget it man, why are you trying? Just let me die!” So he stops paddling and starts to drown, prompting the first mouse to yell his name “Jerry!” The surviving mouse mourns for a minute – then he stepped on Jerry’s head and got out of the cup!

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Hitting On All Cylinders!

April 28, 2008

KEY SCRIPTURE  

Exo. 2:11 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? 14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

Why do we recognize some people as being good in their “craft”? Take a singer for instance; if he mumbles in a monosyllabic, monotonic manner, we’ll probably not be impressed. If the next singer doesn’t mumble, he’ll probably be considered better than the first one. If the third singer doesn’t mumble and has a nicer “flow”, he’ll probably beat the first two. Finally, if the fourth singer can also add melody to his voice in addition to the other two skills, he might get “4 STARS!” from the judges. As the winner, this singer could go on to bigger and better things including fame and fortune. This last singer, more so than the others, is “hitting on all cylinders”, and exhibits a higher degree of excellence.

Receiving “greater blessings” may sometime require us to overcome “insurmountable” odds, and even TERRIBLE mistakes! A young couple indulges in pre-marital sex which produces a child before they themselves were able to finish high school. This conception was not planned, and yet this child grows up and makes an impressive mark on the world! While this is only a fictional account, let’s look at the story of Anthony A. Williams (1951-) an African-American politician, this being BLACK HISTORY MONTH.

Williams was born in Los Angeles and was adopted by Virginia and Lewis Williams, one of eight children in the family. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale and went on to get a doctorate in law from Harvard and masters in public policy from Harvard. His career has been mostly in financial administration, but he also served in the US Air Force and as an adjunct professor at Columbia University. He entered the administration of the District of Columbia and rose to become its chief financial officer in 1995, before being elected mayor in 1998 (http://www.dil.aber.ac.uk/dils/Research/RFocus9/html_a_k.htm#ltrD).  

Slave mentality tries to prevent us from achieving our purpose to be “fruitful and multiply” beyond a nominal level, and may be induced by breeding. However, another obstacle to faith in the ability to generate prosperity in every area of life stems from the lack of recognition of successful members of your ilk. To see Mr. Williams reach such a high level in his education and career has to be inspirational to other disadvantaged African-Americans. Beyond that, an adoptee shouldn’t feel that life will necessarily result in disenfranchisement, poverty, or criminality. Hopefully, this story may also inspire Blacks to adopt more.

To reach parity with White & Hispanics, Blacks would have to adopt 44 kids per 10,000 families to their 6. 

Referring to Exodus 2 we find the birth of Moses (drawn out of the water) and the favor which allows his life to be spared. “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord 

 

 

(Prv. 8:35).” This verse extols the virtue of wisdom, which would truly be demonstrated in the life of this baby who was found by Pharaoh’s daughter! Remarkably, his mother is able to become his nurse for his adoptive mother. For us to appreciate the exposure he received from his moms, especially as it relates to leadership, let’s consider the following example.

While playing alone, Lil’ Johnny was approached by another kid who said, “I know how much two plus two is.” Lil’ Johnny asked, “how much?” The kid replied, “four!” An awe-struck Lil’ Johnny then asked, “for real?!” A second child joins in and says, “I know how much two plus two plus two is.” Lil’ Johnny asked, “how much?” The second child said “six”, to which Lil’ Johnny asked again, “for real?!” Another kid said, “I know how much two plus two plus two plus two is.” Once again Lil’ Johnny asked “how much?” to a response of “eight”. And again Lil’ Johnny asked, “for real?” That’s when a slightly older child approached their group and stated, “I can show you how to get eight with just three two’s.” As the other little kids argued back and forth that it couldn‘t be done, all Lil’ Johnny could do was watch intently. The older kid then put a small three on top of the two, and explained that it means to multiply two times two times two. Upon realizing that the older child had told them the truth, the younger children exclaimed, “awesome”, except for Lil’ Johnny who could only use both his hands to hold his head in amazement.

Soon Lil’ Johnny starts school, and the teacher asks, “class, how much is two plus two?”. Only he knows. In the next grade the teacher asks “how much is two times two?”, and only he knows the correct answer. Eventually he reaches a grade where the question is “what is the logarithm of two?” None of the other students bother to raise their hand, they just look to Lil’ Johnny who answered “.301029996”! The whole class went, “WOW!” By being in “good company” Lil’ Johnny was much more advanced than his class.

 

Moses was exposed to royalty and slavery, which to some degree prepared him to be Israel’s first Pastor. However, in the KEY SCRIPTURE Moses kills an Egyptian, and thought erroneously that he had got away with it. Sometimes we think that we are hiding our inequities without realizing that in a lot of cases that’s simply isn’t the case. This certainly portrays the situation Moses was in, but more importantly, it causes him to flee in humility – another necessary trait to becoming a good leader. Surely this experience taught him to have compassion, which would certainly make him a more complete leader. He must have carried himself like a man of great stature to be asked, “who made thee a prince and a judge over us? ” in verse 14

Moses was exposed to royalty and slavery, which to some degree prepared him to be Israel’s first Pastor. However, in the KEY SCRIPTURE Moses kills an Egyptian, and thought erroneously that he had got away with it. Sometimes we think that we are hiding our inequities without realizing that in a lot of cases that’s simply isn’t the case. This certainly portrays the situation Moses was in, but more importantly, it causes him to flee in humility – another necessary trait to becoming a good leader. Surely this experience taught him to have compassion, which would certainly make him a more complete leader. He must have carried himself like a man of great stature to be asked, “who made thee a prince and a judge over us? ” in verse 14

 

 

He probably had the kind of physical presence that commands respect. In short, it appears that he indeed was hitting on all cylinders!”

Another strong point to consider in the analogy of the singers deals with how well we identify with them. It is most likely that the singer we choose will be the one we feel we can, or would like to, relate to the most. Like all of us Moses made a mistake (albeit his mishap resulted in the death of a human being; this incident was of course pre-Law). He had to deal with being an adopted kid, who are usually unaware of their origin, uncertain of their purpose, and unknowing of their destiny! Even today we can identify with him as confusion plays a role in the life of everyone of us. From the beginning God had “ordered the steps of a good man (Psa. 37:23)”, Moses in this case. To just view his humble start it would have been impossible to see him becoming what he became – a highly venerable (esteemed) servant of the Lord.  

Why don’t blind people skydive? Because it scares their dogs! Seriously, they don’t have the required ocular gift of sight. God blesses us with gifts to help our fellow man out of their bondage. Sometimes that may very well mean leaving our comfort zone. Moses was raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, but he showed a compassion by intervening in a fight between two slaves in 

 

 

verse 13 of the KEY SCRIPTURE. On another level, the story of Moses and how he delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, is replicated in the story of Jesus and how He delivers from the bondage of sin. However, those of us who profess to have faith in Christ have also been commissioned to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…(Mat. 28:19).” 

Imagine how effective you could be in making disciples as God’s servant “hitting on all cylinders”. Perhaps you were the last one picked for the team, or you weren’t the homecoming queen at you school. One thing we can clearly see from this story is that your beginning is NOT a hindrance to your future!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Purpose, Pattern, and Promise!

April 27, 2008

 KEY SCRIPTURE

Exo. 1:15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: 16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. 18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? 19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. 20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.

While God’s purpose for us is to: (1) live a life that pleases Him (Rev. 4:11); (2) to “be fruitful and multiply, and have dominion (Gen. 1:28)”, His pattern includes (1) creating, (2) classifying, (3) empowering, (4) expanding, (5) regulating, (6) galvanizing, and (7) resting. It should be realized that we have to undergo this seven-step process in order to achieve our ultimate purpose! As pertaining to this story, let’s examined the first four steps. After creating Man, God reveals His “chosen people” (Gen. 9:26), calls Abram, and promises that “all families of earth…” are blessed thru him (Gen. 12:1-4). As Egyptian slaves the Israelites now seek a Deliverer, NOT just to free the Jews, but to also further God’s purpose so that all can enjoy God’s promise.

In this story, Egypt represents people who are unconcerned with Yahweh’s purpose, seeking prosperity with no regards to His promises, and is the world’s greatest civilization at the time. Their focus is bringing glory to themselves by afflicting the Jews with an ideology (belief system) of task-orientation. This system prioritizes the attaining of goals over the concerns of the well-being of people. Imagine the world of a toddler who spends the majority of his time in a care-free existence. Leisure would be the only aspect of life that would be “real” or relevant to him. As a parent you know that there’s a reality beyond his scope, and you have the duty to prepare him for it. You know, for example, that he will soon have to enter into the school system, and the question is what ideology will you employ (wittingly or not) to get him ready?

Utilizing a task-orientation system will force the child to “perform”, that is to say attend school, although it’s likely that he will do it in a perfunctory (robot-like) manner. There is little probability that the child would grasp the idea that this undertaking is for his betterment, but indeed is simply drudgery. So, as soon as he is able to overcome the fear of your “whip”, he most likely will seek to extricate himself from his perceived “predicament”. Conversely, by indoctrinating the toddler with a purpose-driven ideology, he is motivated to reap benefits by first becoming an asset. In one system he will find drudgery, in the other – rewards! In the first example there may be only little, if any, positively transference of high expectations, ideals, or standards. In the second instance the child is inspired to achieve his goal by taking the right direction, and realizes that his future gain is part of a greater initiative yielding greater compensation.

Egypt couldn’t allow Israel to have their hope for a Deliverer realized, so in the KEY SCRIPTURE we see that Israelite midwives are ordered to kill newborn Jewish sons. It should go without saying that to kill the “seeds” of a nation would kill its growth, averting it from its purpose of being blessed. Referring back to the toddler reared by task-orientation, imagine how he now has a son whose chance for completing school is also dismal. With the continuation of this cyclic occurrence it can readily be seen how it would negatively impact a community. Such a community would develop a virtual “slave mentality”, ceasing to want to be “fruitful and multiply”, while living only for handouts (personal, governmental, spiritual, etc.).  

It must be noted that the slave mentality starts with a slippage in spirituality, which is defined as the quality or condition of being spiritual or saintly. “Jesus answered them, ‘verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin (Jhn. 8:34). This mentality runs afoul of God’s desire of vitality, prosperity, and a peaceful posterity for us. On the other hand, God can bless us even when we’re in the bonds of physical slavery! Look at how He treated Shiphrah and Puah in the KEY SCRIPTURE for not following the Pharaohic decree to kill newborn Jewish boys. In Jhn. 10:28 Jesus said, “and fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Instead of fearing a mortal king, these two chose to follow “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (I Tim. 1:17).”

An important lesson that this story illustrates is that we are not righteous based on what we think is right. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts (Prv. 21:2).” Additionally, it should be realized that Egypt considered itself spiritual with 1,500 gods and goddesses. 

(http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/religion.htm)   

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered (Prv. 28:26).” When a thought enters our head we must use judgment to determine whether or not we should follow that thought. The guiding principle required for this endeavor is found in Mat. 6:33, which reads, “but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” It’s written that only God is good (Mat. 19:17), that He is love (I Jhn. 4:8, 16), and that “love worketh no ill to his neighbour (Rom. 13:10)…” Read Mat. 22:36-40.

Another lesson is that… without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).” God is NOT a man (Num. 23:19), but a Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Jhn. 4:24; Gal. 5:22-23) who influences thoughts; thoughts influences behavior; behavior habits, which creates our character. The fool hath said in his heart, ‘there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good(Psa. 14:1; 53:1).” Wisdom has varying degrees, just as foolishness, which has its affect on our perspective, ideology, character, and even our religious beliefs. Entities incongruent (dissimilar) to God’s Spirit shall vanquish! But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it (Prv. 2:22).”

THE WORLD’S MAJOR RELIGIONS BY SIZE  

Christianity       1758.8        “Follower of Christ”

Moslem               935.0        “Submit to God”

Non-religious     866.0         Unbeliever

Hindu                  705.0         Duties, Rebirth, Karma, Soul Liberation, and Yoga

Buddhist              303.0        Enlightened; 8-Fold Path

Atheist                233.0        Secularism

Other                  219.3        Skeptic

Chinese              180.0        Ethical, Moral, And Social Values

Tribal                   92.0        Local-Driven

Jewish                  17.4        Laws, Commandments, Statutes, And Judgments

These figures, taken from the World Almanac 1992, are in millions, and shows that Christianity is the most popular religion, with love as its tenet. However, Jesus did say, “when once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open unto us’; and He shall answer and say unto you, ‘I know you not whence ye are:’ (Luk. 13:25) 

Evil Blessings.

March 15, 2008
sunset.jpg
Christian studies, activities 
KEY SCRIPTURE
Exo. 2:23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.
In earlier blogs it has been established that there is a parallel between the spiritual, social, and personal levels of existence. And, of the two major types of ideologies, purpose-driven and task-oriented, early Egypt represents the latter (social level). This “afflicts” them with spiritual myopia (blindness, bigotry, i.e. spiritual level), and causes them to afflict the Israelites (personal level).
You may recall the story of The Wizard Of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West. In a sense, the Egyptians played the role of the evil Witch (spiritual level); eventually “in process of time, the king of Egypt died (KEY SCRIPTURE; “I’m melting”).” Just as the Witch mistreated others for personal gain, so did Egypt (personal level). Therefore, we should understand that after reaching a higher level of maturity (“process of time”) Mankind was in line for a less oppressive system of socio-religious beliefs (social level).
Amazingly, some times we are really unconcerned about how abusive we are to others, and at best we’ll only try to make thenn accept the fallacious justifications of our abuse. Bullies were usually themselves victimized by overt hostility, and instead of developing the moral courage to overcome the injustice, they actually perpetuate it! Sometimes though, becoming a bully is simply a case of “doing unto others before they do unto you.”
Undoubtedly, although Egypt enslaved the Jews out of the fear of having to face them as enemies, they also sought to be “blessed” by exploiting them for some 400 years. When we are myopic, we confuse an “evil” boon for a blessing. Consider the following story.
An unhappy husband (or wife) says, “if I had the money, I’d get a new spouse!” Sure enough he hit the lottery, and sure enough he gets a new wife along with a new house, new cars, and all the trimmings that prosperity brings. One evening he surveys his “kingdom”, and feeling satisfied he goes to bed happy that he had won all that money. However, the next day his new wife is jailed. Why?! For killing him for all that money!  
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prv. 16:25).”
This circumstance in Egypt was used purposely by God to illustrate to the world the sagacity (wisdom) of this verse. Rom. 9:17 reads, “for the scripture (Exo. 9:16) saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.” In other words, when we are not living according to our purpose found in Rev. 4:11 (“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”), we are setting ourselves up for judgment! (Anyone recall Luk. 22:42 “not My will but…”?).
In the case of Egypt, this judgment was predicted by God in Gen. 15:7 where it states, “And He said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” 8 And he said, “LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” 9 And He said unto him, “take Me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he took unto Him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And He said unto Abram, “know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses) they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites (Canaanites) is not yet full.
So, why did Israel end up serving Egypt after “waxing mightily” in Exo. 1:7? Reading Deu. 28:47 we find, “because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; 48 therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.”
The declination (decrease) in joyfulness will propel one to take up the LORD’s offer in Isa. 1 to, “18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
In the KEY SCRIPTURE, “their groaning” reveals that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (Jam. 5:16). Also, “the blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it (Prv. 10:22).” To have success in life without a prayer life can make us feel we’re in charge, and in the beginning we may  be grinning while sinning because we’re “winning”! However, when the pendulum swing the other way, that’s when we discard that 1-800 Self-Help number and seek Wisdom that “was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was (Prv. 8:23).” That is, if we finally get enough of stumbling over and over again!
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth (scolds) not; and it shall be given him (Jam. 1:6).” In other words, if we don’t want to be enslaved by less than purposeful ideologies which prevents us from being “fruitful”, and from loving our neighbors, we should pray to “Him that is able to keep you from falling(Jude 1:24)
My prayer is that we continue to be (Gal. 5:22-23) loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good (gracious), faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Pray for one another so that we can enjoy a new life now, and be a part of the “new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1)“!

“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!