Posts Tagged ‘religion’

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.

Check out those curves!

November 30, 2007

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As I sit here at my desk, I hearken back to my ol’ school daze taking the incredibly intricate course called calculus. Now, this course is soooo difficult that few students have a clue as to what it’s all about. In fact, it was years later that I began to understand that we were trying to figure out the rate of change between two sets (whatever that is). The definition for calculus is: a branch of mathematics dealing with the way that relations between certain sets (functions) are affected by very small changes in one of their variables (independent variable) as they approach zero. It is used to find slopes of curves, rates of change, and volumes of curved figures.

I also remember another course called differential equations, and it is defined as: a mathematical equation that relates functions and their derivatives. And now years later – I still have absolutely no idea what it was about, except that it’s used by rocket scientists. In fact, this course was so absolutely baffling that the school dropped it. Apparently they realized that instead of making fine minds they were breaking them! It’s possible that the teachers couldn’t “do the math” so to speak and thus school officials wisely withdrew the course. In the cases of both of these courses we poor befuddled students were graded – on a curve!

By grading us like that our morale was able to miraculously and immensely remain uplifted, keeping discouragement (for the most part) out of the proverbial “equation”. In some cases however, a number of students who received this boon from the teachers did not show appreciate of this grace by studying more. This, of course, rendered them ill-prepared for the next course needed for their academic development. This time around there was no grace given, and I noticed that attendance dropped off precipitously (sharply)! Perhaps if they’d been made aware of the difficulties of the next step, they would have hit the books more urgently.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8).” Grace is good stuff (unmerited favor, or goodness – Psa. 23:6) God gives us although we don’t deserve it. Mercy is “bad” stuff (punishment) God doesn’t gives though we do deserve it. Grace and mercy are the acts of love that enabled God to send Jesus to die for Man, thereby entitling us to be redeemed, or to have at-ONE-ment, with the Heavenly Father. It’s the LORD’s way of grading Mankind on a curve because Rom. 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Having grace, shouldn’t we “…prepare ye for the way of the LORD(Isa. 40:3)” so that we can be ready for the next level? What is the next level?

Let’s start with Step 1, which is to keep My commandments, and live (Psa. 7:2).” “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” – Deu. 6:5. This is the First Great Commandment; “and the second is like unto it, ‘thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’ (Mat. 22:39-40.” There is no need to concern ourselves with any other step if we are not obedient to these commandments. No matter who we are, or where we are from, obedience is the pre-eminent way to show love to God! This type of love is based on a decision – not just an emotion! God told Cain, If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him (Gen. 4:7).”  Therefore, when we follow the commandments to love we have dominion over sin, and the damnation Satan wants for us (Jam. 4:7; Jhn 10:10).

Step 2 requires us to be morally responsible, and not to shift blame for our misgivings and self-imposed deficiencies as Adam did in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:9-13). We need to understand that the LORD “…neither slumber nor sleep (Psa. 121:4)so it really and truly behooves everyone of us to be “…ambassadors of Christ (II Cor. 5:20).”  

However, let it be noted that our responsibility is not just for us to do the right thing, but also to forgive so that God can forgive us of our manifold sins (Mat. 6:14-15). Then, He can resurrect those of us who have decided to accept His Plan of Salvation, to live eternally in the Kingdom by breathing life into us (Gen. 2:7). Disobedience incurs or burdens us with the need for discipline so that we can understand how to be morally responsible!

 “Eat the flesh of Jesus” is Step 3 which is the LORD’s way of saying that we are to be taught Divine Reconciliation by a salvific God (Jehovah), who sent His Sacrificial Lamb (Jesus) to redeem and show us how to live holy lives (Jhn 6:45-51; Mat. 16:6)! Why should we live holy? So that we can  live free of impending death as His disciples (Jhn. 8:31). While some think that they can flimflam their way through life, Christians understand to, “be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Gal. 6:7-8).”

Furthermore, blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be fill“righteousness tends to life” (Mat. 5:6; Prv. 11:19). Hopefully, we now understand that our blessing of eternity is generally related to our desire for “right” actions (Jhn. 6:27; “Job experiences” excepted Jam. 1:12 – ” quality control”). This understanding is necessary for us to achieve discipline, self-control, and autonomy. As we LEARN BETTER we DO BETTER! In other words God expects us to act like Him for He says, “be holy for I am holy (I Pet. 1:16).” If what you say, do, or think isn’t holy, then your first step is to get rid of those hindrances to spiritual reward, even if YOU think they’re inconsequential because it’s written a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (Gal. 5:9).”

In Step 4 the focus is on improving our environment by faithfully walking the path God has revealed to you for His glory (Psa. 85:13). That may mean the dissolution of some cherished relationships, activities, our habitat, etc. (Mat. 10:34-39). Notice how in the 4th dispensation (Gen. 12:1-4) Abram didn’t begin to really be blessed until his relationship with Lot was culminated (last mentioned in Gen. 14). Besides being obedient, responsible, and autonomous, Abram had to be faithful (steadfast) (Heb. 11:6).

In the 25 year span from his pioneer journey to the Land of Canaan, up to the birth of his son Isaac, the Bible says that it was his faithfulness (which God “counted it to him for righteousness” – Gen. 15:6) that empowered him to hold on to God’s promises. Sarai did convince Abram to have a child with Hagar her maid as opposed to waiting on God to fulfill His word (Gen. 16). However, in Gen. 17 God made promises, and gave instructions for circumcisions to Abram after commanding him to “…walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” We know that “Abraham” faithfully endured in his relationship with the Lord.

Step 5 is attained when we develop character as a result of our faithfulness to being righteous, responsible, and obedient. We make it a point to do what is expected of us whether or not we get attention, awards, or any such accolades. This is especially true with regards to the law of the land as we understand that all authority comes from God (Jhn. 19:11). While there may be those who rationalize criminal behavior, that tendency dissipates as our character becomes more defined. For example, we may have been tax cheats, adulterers, involved with illegal contraband, etc.; however, by God’s grace things of this nature have lost their appeal.

In life sometimes we are faced with “gray areas” which are dealt with in Step 6. When we are confronted with issues that are not covered by the law, we have to still maintain our ethics. Healing a blind man on the Sabbath infuriated a lot of people, however Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath (Mrk. 2:27). There are those occasions when the situations determine the appropriate ethics, where we must fulfill the greater good. The LORD does not expect us to be so legalistic that we become negligent of our neighbor.

I remember a situation where my Pastor who, while on the way to church, had to stop a conflict between a battling couple and pray with them before things became severely violent. As important as it was to “feed the flock”, bringing peace to these two souls understandably took precedence. It is also vital that we realize that while we need to be law-abiding, we must have compassion for any given situation.

In Step 7 we become new creatures (II Cor. 5:17) by becoming God-centered as opposed to being self-centered. Overcoming problems relevant to any complex or phobia we have, we’re now ready to help someone in their struggles because Php. 4:12 tells us to “know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; every where and in all things I am isntructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!” 

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister…(Mat. 20:28).”

ACKNOWLEDGE/APPRECIATE GOD’S PROCESS

November 30, 2007

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Christian studies, activities 

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn”- Mat.13:30.

To get an idea of God’s Process we should have some understanding of who He is. Those of the Judeo-Christian faith know God by many names. Here are some examples:

a. El, Elohim (plural) – (Creator – Gen. 1);

b. Jehovah-jireh (The LORD will provideGen. 22:13-14);

c. Jehovah-rapha (The LORD healsExo. 15:26);

d. Jehovah-nissi (The LORD is our BannerExo. 17:8-16);

e. Jehovah-shalom (The LORD is peaceJud. 6:24);

f. Jehovah-tsidkenu (The LORD our RighteousnessJer. 23:6);

g. Jehovah-shammah (The LORD is thereEze. 48:35).

While these and other names give us an idea of His capabilities, we should understand that His nature is Love (I Jhn. 4:8, 16), and that these names describe Acts of Love! Remember Jhn. 3:16? Moreover, Moses called Him I AM THAT I AM in Exo. 3:14 to let us know that He is all we’ll ever need.

The Will of God (from which we were created – Rev. 4:11) is threefold: Sovereign, Permissive, and Pleasure. Although His Sovereign Will determines how we are made and His Pleasure Will defines our duty, it is His Permissive Will that allows us to make the decision to obey Him. The Bible says Adam decided not to obey Him and thus relinquished his immortality (Gen. 3:24), along with the idyllic life he was afforded in the Garden of Eden (it was so serenely beautiful and happy, or blessed). However, Jehovah has a Plan of Salvation to redeem Man back to Himself, and it involves an Act of Love!

PASSAGE #1: GOD IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA

Rev. 21:6And He said unto me, ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son‘.”

                 PASSAGE #2: JESUS IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA

Rev. 1:7Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” 8I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,” saith the Lord, “which is and which was , and which is to come, the Almighty.”

The name of Jesus also denotes a capability of God, and it is also a name we should indeed cherish because of Rom. 5:8 – “but God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” It’s stated in I Cor. 15:45And so it is written, ‘the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit.”

Due to the disobedience of the first Man sin was introduced into the world, and now a life (“which is the blood” – Gen. 9:4) is required for our iniquities. God certainly didn’t want to kill off the only Man (Adam), so animal sacrifice became necessary; however, the glory of animals is not rated the same as the glory of Man (Gen. 3:21: I Cor. 15:39).

And yet, it’s said in Heb. 3:9but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” In other words, and it must be stated unequivocally, it took the glory of God to redeem Man through the sacrifice of Jesus (Jehovah savesMat. 1:21)! Now Man only has to “take up his cross and follow Me” to attain God’s salvation (Mrk. 8:34-35)! What does this entail? For starters…

Heb. 11:6 says, “but 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.” Additionally, our glorious Redeemer tells us to, “…. seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” – Mat. 6:33. Also, Psa. 100: 3 reads “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. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” To complete this point, add also I Cor. 3:16 which reads, “know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit dwelleth in you?

So, to get into God’s kingdom we need faith (to please God), the highest standards of morality (God’s righteousness), and be willing to give Him thanks and praise (to worship God)! Moreover, we must look within ourselves to find His Spirit of  love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23) – NOT in the world with its various temptations. Realize, though, kingdom-mindedness aspires to reach the pinnacle in its endeavors, be it in the Physical, Mental, of Spiritual Realm! To reach that plateau spiritually, you also need to know…  

“That 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 (Rom. 10:9).”

Did you notice that even before our personal salvation, we must seek God’s kingdom first! As important as salvation is, God expects us to emulate His Spirit before we are concerned with ANYTHING else! A God “who is not willing that any should perish (II Pet. 3:9)” will surely take care of ALL of our needs (Php. 4:19). Don’t act like the rebellious Children of Israel who, after God used signs and wonders to free them from Pharaoh, complained when they thought Pharaoh would recapture them. Know that our God is able to deliver us from any affliction, any addiction, and any circumstance that causes us undue stress (II Pet. 2:9)! The grace that gives salvation (Eph. 2:8) is the grace which keeps us until we realize that “…no Man cometh to the Father but by Me (Jhn. 14:6)!” Thirdly…

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

We must learn His commandments (Prv. 7:2), the First and Second being 37 thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Mat. 22:26-40).”

Find a Bible-teaching church to get a strong spiritual foundation, and stick with it so that God can take you through His process in the most efficient manner. Many times people are either too busy church-hopping, or too inconsistent in their attendance for the Word to develop properly. They get a ”seed ” and before it can be “watered” (let alone grow), they’re gone! We need to “be still, and know that I am God(Prv. 46:10)” Read Mat. 11:28.

Wouldn’t you like to be with your loved ones for all eternity? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see them grow into the type of people that live according to the Fruits of the Spirit?! You may be the only person who can reach them. That’s probably why you are together with them. So, after you have been able to lead them to Christ, you will develop the skill to help other people who are lost and without a clue. Then, you will be able to…

“GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE (Mrk. 16:15).

Understand, if we:

(1) seek God’s kingdom first;

(2) if we believe that God raised Jesus from the grave;

(3) if we study His Word;

(4) if we testify of His Good News; then

(5) we will be blessed because…

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 (Rev. 22:14).”

The ultimate blessing is that our name is written in the “Book of Life(Luk. 10:20). It is truly unfortunate that too many of us seek so many things, and not the gift of eternal life. So I, a lowly pastor, asked that you remember to put God first; that your thoughts, words, and actions are holy (Lev. 11:44), so that on the last day He will see fit to breathe His Holy Spirit into your soul (Gen. 2:7).

Proverbs 3:5-6 says to, “5 trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Please understand that the LORD is leading us to salvation, deliverance, and His eternal providence because of His great unfathomable love for us. If you haven’t ask God to forgive your sins, why not do it now. My prayers are with you all!  Amen, Amen, Amen.

M A N U P!

November 30, 2007

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There is a desperate cry being made to the missing segment of society that is blatantly absent from the House of God. What ever happened to the time when a man would actually lead his family in praise and worship? It appears that a large portion of the male population has become overly enthralled with attaining the finite “rewards” of this life as opposed to the incorruptible inheritance that awaits those who seek the Lord.

I praise God for all the women who fill today’s church, and are raising our families; however, we need a stabilizing male presence in our sanctuaries or this generation may not only be seduced by apostasy (rejection of beliefs), but many will be lost to it. That may lead us to becoming devoid of morality, direction, and hope. How can we begin to rectify this downward spiraling trend?

It’s time for men to love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind; …and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mat. 22:37-40).”

It’s time for men to not only love God, but to project His Spirit of “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control (Ga. 5:22).”

It’s time for men to act as stated in Eph. 1:4, “according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

It’s time for men to be thou strong and very courageous…that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest (Jsh. 1:7).” 
 Hebrew 10:24-25 has an important message that I would like to inculcate (impress) on the male populace: “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…”

TO ALL THE MALE READERS, PLEASE JOIN THE WOMEN, AND FIND YOUR WAY BACK TO CHURCH, because…

 It’s time for all of us to

M A N   U P !

WORDS TO LIVE BY

November 30, 2007

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1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘behold, the tabernacle of God is with men’, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.

5 And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘behold, I make all things new’. And He said unto me, ‘write; for these words are true and faithful.’

6 And He said unto me, ‘it is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.’

7 ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.’

8 ‘But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death (Rev. 21:1-8)‘.”

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Mat. 11:28).”

9 That 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. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:9-10).”

38 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).”

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish (Psa. 1).

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup funneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (Psa. 23).

1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

2 Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing.

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.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.

5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations (Psa. 100).

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, forever. Amen (Mat. 6:9-13).

HALLEJAH! 

Beguiled

November 30, 2007

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Christian studies, activities 

And the LORD God said unto the woman, “what is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, “the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” (Gen. 3:13).

1. Charm: to win and hold somebody’s attention, interest, or devotion.

2. Deceive: to mislead or deceive somebody.

3. Cheat: to rob somebody of something.

4. Passtime: spending time in a pleasant way.

If the saying “there’s success in unity” is true, then conflictual disparity (e.g. fire and water, cats and dogs, or a “bad” diet, etc.) must lead to some form of failure. In Gen. 2:24 God said, “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” The bond that exists between the Man and Woman was supposed to be life-long, and stronger than any other bond, EXCEPT for that of the Creator. And since He loves us unconditionally surely nothing can break this bond.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear (Isa. 59:2).” Well, maybe one thing can break this bond. This verse also gives us some insight on what took place in the Garden of Eden. In Gen. 3:9, the usual focus on this story makes God “appear” to  be looking for Adam in the Garden. However when God asked “where are you”, it was to get Adam to gauge himself, especially now that sin has disrupted their relationship. And where was Adam?

“Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit (Jhn. 15:2-3).”

First, when we don’t live the holy life that Jesus exemplified we become spiritually dead (…He taketh away…)! Sin forms a barrier, which in the case of Adam was the result of eating from the “wrong” Tree, and it separated him from the Creator. The “fruit” of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil gave Man, who was created good, a duplicitous (double-minded) nature which is NOT in the glorious image of God. Now, instead of being in sync with God (Gen. 2:19) man can say one thing and mean another, although the cost for this ability is life (Rom. 6:23)!

When Adam was all good, God could ask him to name all the animals and it not be a problem. He saw the animal doing horse tricks and called him a horse; the animal doing monkey tricks he called a monkey. The animal he saw doing card tricks – he called him a shark!  

All levity aside, can you feel the conviction of David, a man after God’s own heart who said, I hate the double-minded…” (I Sam. 13:13-14; Psa. 119:113 New King James Version). So we see that a “bad” diet in Eden produced a conflictual disparity – an unholy Adam, eating unholy knowledge, being barricaded from a holy God (Gen. 3:8).

Second, to regain our state of glory and eternal life, Christ reveals to us that God cleanses our Mind (branch) as we undergo, and overcome life situations by His Grace (…He purges…). When we’re “going through”, that’s the time to take stock of “where are we” and realize that our Father is “purging” us, and that He will give us the grace we need to “make it through” (II Cor. 12:9)

Third, as surely as we make the realization that a Gracious and Merciful God cares about us (I Pet. 5:7), we’ll understand that “all things work together for good to them who love love God(Rom. 8:28).” We will be able to “trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thine ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Prv. 3:5-6).” If we “…not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,” we will bear more of the Fruit of God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control!

What led to Adam’s indigestion (oops – indiscretion)? Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had madeGen. 3:1. Imagine the charming serpent “wrapping” around the branch (Mind) of the Woman to keep her focus locked in on “the field” (the world or worldliness, especially the carnal “Tree” in the Garden). After besieging her Mind in a stronhold, he commands her focus and leads her to eat of the forbidden Tree, saying that it would make her a god (life-giver Gen. 3:5). She then entices Adam, who calls her “the mother of all living things (Gen. 3:20),” to eat from the evil Tree (Gen. 3:6). After their “fall” from grace the “field” is corrupted with: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, dissent, jealousy, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such traits that are listed in Gal 5:19-21.

Realize the Devil fell from Heaven (Isa. 14:13-15), and seeks to deceive us into disobedience, and to war against God (Rev. 12:7-9,16:13-16). He wants so badly to block our royalty (I Pet. 2:9) which is, to be sure, predicated on our following “peace with all men, and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).” Jesus taught, “blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God” in (Mat. 5:8).” To be holy is to be pure which is to be incorruptible, unadulterated, and without deception, and is also God’s command (Lev. 11:44-45, I Pet. 1:16).

Satan, though, very cleverly uses the ones close to our heart (Gen. 2:21) to manipulate our Minds to cheat on God. The “world” may think that’s chic, however “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)‘.” Unfortunately, we became consumed with expectations of a scintillating passtime; we’re like a duck who hears the hunter’s whistle! Blinded by temptation, we’ve been lured to an impending “death” by our carnality or physical needs (Rom. 8:5). And yet, now that “we are not ignorant of his devices (II Cor. 2:11)“, let’s do what Eve eventually did and dedicate our passtime to the the LORD (Gen. 4:25), so that the rest of our life be the best of our life!