Wasted Goods

The word stewardship is rarely used today. As human beings we yearn to possess or have something, and money is always at the heart of every situation in today’s living

Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest no longer be a steward.

Luke 16:2

The word stewardship is rarely used today. As human beings we yearn to possess or have something, and money is always at the heart of every situation in today’s living. We cannot survive without it, but can we get it unjustly, or without working for it? Maybe we should consider Mark Knopfler song “Money for Nothing.”

That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it

Money for nothin’ and chicks for free.

From lyrics of song titled “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits

You would be surprised how many people are out “to make money by doing basically nothing. “Making lots of money for doing basically nothing.” Not everybody on this planet is fortunate to get money for nothing,” stated an article from Hosbeg.com. Today we have many scams artist who are out to get money for doing basically nothing. Millions of dollars are being spent just to curb fraud, so it is big business these days especially during Covid-19. Even the federal stimulus money has been hacked and not everyone is receiving the money that they were entitled to this past year. People now want money for doing basically nothing like the delivery man to which this song refers to. What is the mind set of gaining money from doing hardly nothing? Where does stewardship enter the picture. Yet, Jesus talks about it in this parable of the unjust steward in Luke chapter 16.

The steward was cunning in his action when giving the account of stewardship. Maybe we should take a step back and investigate the meaning of stewardship. The Strong’s Greek translation for stewardship is administration. This means management of your household affairs or the affairs of others. It means you are overseeing the management of something like a business. You might say this relates to the job you are doing for someone. You get paid for the services you provide to your employer. The work you put in is of value and therefore you are compensated. I learned this at an early age when I worked in an office at the age of 16. I had responsibility to perform and complete my duties what the job required. I got paid for the service I provided. I could account for what I did because the business continued since I was doing the billing for the business. One must manage themselves to become a good steward.

The steward in Chapter 16 of Luke became worried about what he would do when he no longer would be a steward/manager. He said, “to beg he would be ashamed,” [see Luke 16:3]. Changing jobs or having to train for a new job is not always easy. But there is more to the story here and it is not always easy to understand the full meaning of what Jesus was trying to convey here. Jesus commented that the unjust steward had done wisely and then he states that those of this age are wiser than the sons of light. Jesus further says go ahead and make friends for yourself by means of unjust wealth [see Luke 16:9]. What Jesus is saying is to go ahead and carry on with your behavior, but who is going to trust you with the true riches in the future. Remember the saying, “what you reap is what you sow.” Let us think twice about deceiving our brother and sister in the Lord when we are given the responsibility of overseeing them. Let us think twice about deceiving our employer as well.

Why think twice, because what you put your hands to ends up as wasted goods in the end due to unjust wealth you have gained. Jesus said it is money of unrighteousness. Money of unrighteousness is a part of coveting, and no servant can serve two masters. The heart of the matter is that you are serving money and not God. God who is all knowing and all seeing is looking for good stewards or mangers in the Kingdom of God. God is looking for faithful servants to rule over His household. I urge you all to read Luke chapter 12 and compare it with Luke chapter 16.

And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

Luke 12:42

The Lord is expecting that those who belong to him are faithful and wise stewards over their own household and to bless them in due season. How so many have fallen from trusting God to provide a way and end up following their own way of getting wealth instead of learning to manage their own household. Be thankful for what you do have even when it is nothing. I was so thankful for housing when the manager of the apartment gave us room for no down payment when we were homeless, but we had to trust God to provide us with a job to pay for that housing. That meant looking for work. God provided the job to pay for the housing. One does not go about abusing the situation when God answers prayer for housing as was in our case. We had to be faithful stewards in managing ourselves to be faithful in what God has given and look for a job. That was the agreement made with the manager. That is being a good and wise steward. That is doing the right thing and doing it fairly and not defrauding anyone. Having the right attitude goes a long way when we as people are wise stewards for the Lord and this also includes how we manage our money. May our money not become as wasted goods. May our heart be in the right place.

God’s All-Seeing Eye

Did you know that God is all-seeing? We just do not want to think about how God sees everything and is all-knowing and wise. I’m thankful that we have a compassionate all-knowing God

O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Psalms 139:1-3

Did you know that God is all-seeing? We just do not want to think about how God sees everything and is all-knowing and wise. I’m thankful that we have a compassionate all-knowing God. The word in theology is omniscient for all-knowing, all-wise, and all-seeing. Our God is the source of all human knowledge and science. We just do not want to admit it. Some of us do believe that God is all-knowing, but we may not believe that He is all-seeing. In fact, the all-seeing part of omniscient is one of the hardest parts to believe when all you see is suffering, pain, and death. Can we believe that our God is a refuge for those who are oppressed? Does God see our tears? Yes, He does. The revelation was revealed to John in Revelation 21:4, “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.” God will make all things new, and this is our future, for He is the beginning and the end.

Our Lord Jesus spoke about how God does not forget anything not even the sparrows. All creation is seen by God, and this includes all of humanity. It is hard to believe that God would care for us on a personal level, yet Jesus said that even the number of our hairs on our head are all numbered [see Luke 12:7]. This is amazing. Have you ever Googled the question; how many hairs are on the human head? I did and found out that the “average human head has about 100,000 hairs.” Wow! And Jesus said in verse seven of Luke chapter 12 that we are of more value than the sparrows. Can you imagine the realization of our worth in God’s eye? God is definitely acquainted with all our ways for in Psalms 139 David the King goes into great length is describing God’s all-seeing eye. Nothing is hidden and darkness cannot hide from God’s all-seeing eye. Even David could not grasp the meaning of knowing that God is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-wise, yet he spoke about it down to the point of his conception.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unformed; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalms 139:16

David exclaimed that his substance was not hidden even when he was made in secret [ see Psalms 139:15]. There are many children in the world that are made in secret, but our God knows all about it. When I read Psalms 139, I was unsettled and had to re-read the passage. I could not get around that God really knew all about my conception. For some it is hard to believe when you are conceived out of wedlock you are known as the bastard child. Prior to 1960 a bastard child or love child was seen as immoral. Even in the 60’s people looked down upon a child that was born out of wedlock. The stigma of illegitimacy carried a bad report of criminal intent and social behavior that induced discrimination. This did not take into consideration conception through violence that many women experience. For the child it carries the theme of being unwanted and unloved, but in God’s eye everything about you as an individual was written down in a book.

God is all-knowing that nothing is hidden from His sight. He looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth [see Psalms 33:14]. Jesus tells us to fear the one who has the “power to cast into hell” [see Luke 12:5]. “There is no fear of God before their eyes,” said the apostle Paul in Romans 3:18. Paul exclaimed this after talking about how lost man is and how fast they are to shed blood. Can we so easily deny God’s judgement? There is a future account when we all will stand before God in judgement. The books will be opened, and judgement will be sentenced [see Revelation 20:12]. We cannot escape from God’s judgement. We must all believe in God’s Son Jesus and stay in our believe that Jesus is the way, truth, and the life. We cannot come to God except through Jesus, for Jesus is our covering from sin. His shed blood covers us so God will accept us and hear our prayers.

Make sure within your heart that you will be in the book of life and not in the other book. It is good to have the fear of the Lord upon our hearts to stir us into the right path of salvation. I praise God that he gave me a father who helped raise me here on earth. A father who feared God and had discernment to do the right thing through adoption. The Lord became our refuge in times of trouble when we had no money, no home, and little food. The all-seeing God came through because we believed in Him as our refuge. God provided shelter without no prepayment and how amazing and wonderful it was to be under God’s shelter of protection from the weather. Have you heard of the hymn written by Civilla D. Martin from Nova Scotia, titled, “His Eye is on Sparrow?”  Here is the first verse and chorus for you to read. Remember you are not alone for He watches over you.

Why should I feel discouraged, 
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, 
And long for heav’n and home;
When Jesus is my portion? 
My constant Friend is he;
His eye is on the sparrow, 
And I know he watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, 
And I know he watches me.

Refrain:
I sing because I’m happy, 
I sing because I’m free;
For his eye is on the sparrow, 
And I know he watches me.


What if I can’t Forgive ?

Suffering and pain are a part of life and nothing is more painful when we have been wronged by an individual. Offenses are committed everyday in our world and we are witnessing more violence’s in our neighborhood and on TV.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15

Suffering and pain are a part of life, and nothing is more painful when we have been wronged by an individual. Offenses are committed every day in our world, and we are witnessing more violence’s in our neighborhood and on TV. Some violence today is even becoming acceptable. Where does one draw the boundary lines? Humans are constantly trying to substantiate their own position that they are justified in their actions, yet do not see the spot in their own eye. In this text the meaning for trespass is to fall beside or near something. In other words, the individual has fallen themselves because they are holding onto a grudge. They are unwilling to seek forgiveness as they expect some kind of payment. Some even stroke the grudge for the life of the offending person because it feels good. The problem is that the grudge turns into bitterness. Bitterness stops you from going forward and it clouds your own judgement. You might say that if you cannot go forward in life, then you have fallen. Thus, the grudge has caused you to fall beside it.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Matthew 7:1-2

The grudge is the judgement you made, and it is being measured back to you. If you are a Christian this is very unsettling for, how do you expect to have mercy from the heavenly Father when you have drawn the line of boundary yourself. The apostle Paul said, “dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” [ Romans 12:19]. Having unforgiveness affects your prayers to God because Jesus said that when you pray you are to forgive anything you have against another person [see Mark 11:24]. For a Christian to have unforgiveness negates what Christ did on the cross. Whenever there was an offense in the Old Testament against an individual, restitution was to be made. Did you know about the trespass offering in Leviticus chapter 6? The trespass offerings consider the injury of an individual. Any fault found from having a false witness to stealing and cheating another is listed. The individual at fault was to make restitution. The priest made the atonement for the individual before the Lord in order that forgiveness was granted.

Let’s not forget about Job’s grievances for unfair treatment. Job had to realize his own fault about God’s sovereignty in that He is all knowing and can do anything even to the point of revealing His knowledge to refine the human character. God’s people trust and serve him because of who He is not just because of the benefits they may receive. His mercy is everlasting, and He knows our human faults. Job learned that he should have prayed for his friends despite the rebuke he personally received from his friends who had judged him. Jobs friends had to bring an offering for their lack of good sense when assuming that guilt was at the cause of Job’s distress. We can not always assume we know why God is doing something, but we can receive knowledge from His word to ascertain and receive revelations. Job’s experience may be the warning about the beam that we may carry in our own eye as it is stated in Matthew chapter seven.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

We can see that Job spoke the truth to God whereas his friends did not, but God provided atonement and gave back to Job twice what he originally had [see Job chapter 42]. Make sure that the beam is cleansed from your own eye before giving out any kind of judgement, so you don’t become a hypocrite. Failure to heed one’s own behavior also negates God’s mercy as well as God’s atonement. Do not allow the beam to become the focus. Take your unforgiveness to the Lord and ask him to change your heart. Let him know how you hurt and allow His love and forgiveness to flow to your heart. God’s atonement through Jesus Christ is for you. He alone knows the pain and hurt you are feeling? Christ took that pain on the cross and shed his blood for you. When you have fully repented, you will be free from that burden and will be able to forgive. For many Christians, this is a warning, and a reminder. Pray for those who have offended you and forgive them, so you don’t fall beside it or near it and stunt your growth in your Christian walk.

Unforgiveness is sin in God’s eye. Without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin. Jesus said, this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins [see Matthew 26:28]. The believer loses fellowship with God when unforgiveness is not dealt with through the blood of Christ. Christ is our high priest and atonement. All human forgiveness rest upon God’s divine result for forgiveness through the blood of Christ. This carries forward the trespass offerings in the Old Testament that Jesus is the final sacrifice. Unforgiveness without repentance nullifies your own forgiveness with God. You cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven without forgiveness. A believer is to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving just as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you. This is God’s condition. Think about it, only forgiven people who repent of sins and accept God’s sacrifice will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. God’s people will follow Christ in forgiving one another and not be tormented by holding a grudge. We are living under God’s grace and mercy until His coming, so repent while there is still time to do so.  Do not allow unforgiveness to hold you back from entering Heaven.

How are we Justified

How are you justified?  It seems that people make themselves justified by doing various things.

A man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:16 [beginning of verse]

How are you justified?  It seems that people make themselves justified by doing various things.  Even Christians can fall right back into working for their justification leaving Christ behind.  I pray this does not happen but when we read the word of God, God brings warnings about the subject of justification and how it is applied.  Thus, the apostle Paul in his writings to the Galatian churches gave warnings about mixing the purity of doctrine with conduct and distorting the Gospel of Christ.  The cleverness of some who exhort their authority to teach a different doctrine will in part go along with salvation is from Christ, but then insist that one should also work for their salvation as well.  It is like saying “let’s cover all our basis just in case.” just in case of what?  That our salvation is assured? That we are justified by our own efforts?

 

Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 2:6 [ending of verse]

The apostle Paul tells the Galatians that the works of the law no flesh[man] will be justified.  How do we establish the law and its meaning?  The do and don’t rules have been designated by God with the ten commandments and how the Jewish people followed the “torah” that provided instruction on behavior and conduct for living.  Tradition is the discipline in how we live and treat each other that is handed down from generation to generation.  The customs that each nation has is derived from its indigenous population.  For the Jewish population it is the establishment and the correct practice and interpretation of the “Torah.” The Jewish rule may be seen as common law even though to some it may seem as codified.  In essence it is a matter of interpretation and what is happening at that specific time.  Historians are at times baffled and continue to argue to this day.  If we get down to the root of the problem in God’s eye it will always be a matter of the human heart.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh,” [see Matthew 15:6, KHV].  This is the root of the problem our heart.  We speak of what is in our heart, what is in our mind as we personally perceived it to be. In Proverbs 23:7, it is said “as he thinked in his heart, so is he.”  We are in life is what we become through what we think.   Jesus said that it was the traditions that made the commandment of God ineffectual [see Matthew 15:3-9].  maybe we should give this a little more thought since we are so easily influenced to go back into legalistic ways of keeping a standard of rules in order for God to accept us. 

The Hebrew root word for salvation is “Yeshua,” which means the Lord is Salvation and it carries on with the meaning of freedom from that which binds or restricts.  Now if we look at the Hebrew word for justifies “sadaq,” is carries the meaning of condemnation that brings judgement.  What Paul is conveying in Galatians chapter 2 verse 16 is that Jesus is the only way that we can have freedom from that which binds or restricts us to where we will not have condemnation or judgment.  Our freedom from condemnation is only through Jesus Christ because He is the final sacrifice for all our sins.  We cannot earn God’s favor by doing or keeping certain traditions or laws of man.  This is not God’s method for reconciliation no matter how good it sounds.  We receive God’s favor through the finished work of Jesus Christ.  We receive it through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, not by any efforts we do ourselves.

If justification was by our works, then why did Jesus die for our sins?  Justification by our works nullifies what Jesus has done on the cross.  It also nullifies the ministry of reconciliation towards God and each other.  Did you know that nullify means to remove the force?  Would we deny the force of Christ sacrifice on the cross to save us from the oppression of the evil one?  Be careful to what you subject yourself too [such as any social movement], it could bring you under bondage.  Legalism in the church lacks joy because they feel they deserve something from God by doing good works.  Legalism in the church compares themselves with others thinking that they are better than others.  “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known,” said Jesus to his disciples in Luke 12:1-2.   Pharisees followed strict observance of the traditional and written law claiming that they were more righteous than other people.  The truth was that they could not even follow their own words they spoke or told others to do.

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Galatians 3:24

That is why Paul stated that the law is our schoolmaster to bring us back to Christ.  Did you know that there is power in the blood of Christ?  That power gave us His righteousness, His faith, and His love.  He gives us the victory over the evil one and even death.  He also gives us eternal life.  Let us come to Jesus and place our faith in Him alone and nothing us.  Let us ask Jesus to keep us free from that which binds or restricts us in any way from His power and from who Jesus is, the son of God, who came in the flesh, and arose to sit on the right hand of God ever making intercession for all of us.  Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.  Let us not nullify who He is or His power to save us all from the evil one, our sins, and our pride.  Jesus truly is our justification, and it is by our faith in him alone not by anything we can do ourselves that we are justified.  Let us praise God for providing us the way to reconciliation.

Listen to a Messianic classic song titled “The Sacrifice Lamb” sung by Joel Chernoff.  In the early 1970’s the duo group “Lamb,” who was Joel Chernoff and Rick Coyhill came on the scene with this wonderful song titled “The Sacrifice Lamb.”  This song has always touched my heart, and I pray it will touch yours as well.

The Mercies of the Lord

Have you sung of the mercies of the Lord?  What does it mean to sing of the mercies of the Lord? 

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

Psalms 89:1

Have you sung of the mercies of the Lord?  What does it mean to sing of the mercies of the Lord?  Has God saved you from the hand of the [evil one]?  These are important questions we must answer for ourselves because it is based upon a promise that God has made generations ago through a covenant.  In Psalms chapter 89, it is all about a covenant that God made with David.  However, God’s covenant began with the children of Israel who came out of Egypt.  That covenant was carried on through David.  In fact, it is still being carried on today, for many are being grafted into the vine through Christ [see Romans 11:23].  I do not know of any covenant that has lasted this long in history, but it is amazing how our God in loving kindness and compassion provided a way through Christ for us to be grafted into the olive branch.  It is unbelief and disobedience that detaches us from the olive branch and the covenant or promises of God.

God’s faithfulness to graft people into the vine is a mystery especially for the Jewish population, but God’s promises is a sure thing and will continue to carry on for all generations.  This is something to sing and shout about.  A covenant is an agreement between two people.  That agreement carries on a commitment of honoring a pledge.  David was a man after God’s own heart because he learned about obedience and repentance.  David had a passion for God and wanted to build a house for God like his own.  David spoke to Nathan a prophet about building that house for the Lord.  The Lord told Nathan that he did not ask for a house to be built for him.  Since the time he brought Israel out of Egypt, God has walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.  God went on to say to Nathan the prophet to tell David how He has chosen David from the “sheepcote,” which means a covered enclosure for sheep to being a ruler over the people of Israel [see 2 Samuel 7:8]. 

We can have the best intentions to do something for the Lord, but it may not always be in God’s will to carry out what we have personally planned.  Such was the case with David.  God was reminding David where he came from and what his purpose was in that he was to be a ruler over the people of Israel.  It is God who appoints people to a position.  It is God who finds the place for the people to dwell.  It is God who withholds the wicked from afflicting His children and or people.  Within the family of God is mercy everlasting in that His purpose is to restore and bring healing to all generations.  You can read for yourself in 2 Samuel chapter 7 what Nathan told David in verses 4 through 17.  It is amazing that God spoke about the past and the future with David and we can also see how God had a specific plan for David’s life.

In verse 3 of Psalms 89 it states a covenant was made with David and that his seed is establish forever. God affirms His covenant with David, and David rejoices in the goodness of the Lord. If you read on in Psalms 89, you will find that God chastened those who do not follow in His will or commandments [see verses 30-32 of Psalms 89]. Despite the disobedience of His people, God still showed his loving-kindness and faithfulness [see verse 33 of Psalms 89]. Forgiveness and restoration are in God’s hand. God will never break his covenant, nor the words that were spoken from His lips. We can have the assurance through Christ that we are grafted into the precious vine that gives us life eternal. Like David we can sing of the mercies of the Lord forever because Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. 

God is able to save us from all sins, and from the evil one who is Satan.  How wonderful are the mercies of the Lord that He provided a way for everyone to be saved.  Let me tell you how great this is.  I was born out of wedlock, and I have traveled halfway around the world to learn about the salvation of the Lord.  Today, there are a lot of lost teens who are looking for their identity.  I wanted to know who I was and where I came from.  I had no ties to my real father or my mother’s family.  There are a lot of people who question their identity, and there are those who also run from their family identity.  I found out that my grandmother was of Jewish lineage through a will after she had passed away.  I never had the opportunity of meeting my grandmother.  Today, many people are finding out about who, or where they came from through DNA testing.  My DNA is split right down the middle like two sides of the coin.  One side is the Jewish lineage, and the other side is where fables and stories of paganism come from.  Our culture can influence who we are as an individual, but we make the choice to follow it or something else.  Sometimes this can be a battle that we fight with on a personal level.  In my early teen years, I ran away from home in the city of Perth.  In Kings Park in the city of Perth, I was physically assaulted.  I cried out to God, and He saved me from being seriously hurt and from being choked to death. 

God’s love and mercy saved me.  He spoke to me and told me I had to go back home.  I was totally lost and did not know where I was, but He miraculously brought me back home. I was amazed that God would talk to me in an audible voice and that He would help me to bear the verbal abuse of my mother.  I did not understand why I got the negative verbal abuse nor why my mom was angry.   We do not always know the truth behind the situation that we are in, but God knows.  After this experience, I fully trusted in God to see me through.  I did not know about God’s son Jesus Christ.  All I knew was the ten commandments that I had memorized when I was nine years old.  God had a plan for my life, a future that as a teen, I was not aware of. I had to trust God that He would work it out no matter what happened. You may find yourself in a similar situation not knowing where you are going, or what the future may hold for you. Trust God to bring you through any situation and to place you where you need to be. His love and mercy will restore you and bring healing to your heart and soul.  No matter what danger you are in, you can call upon the Lord to save you.  He will protect you and provide shelter when you need it.  In 1974 in Seattle, I learned about God’s son who died on the cross for my sins.  It is through Christ sacrifice on the cross that we can come to the Father in prayer.   I also found out that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets [see Matthew 5:17].

No matter what you are going through, you can be assured that God knows all about it.  His Love and mercy are always available to you.  It is through Christ that we can enter the throne room of grace and mercy to ask for help.  Like David, we can also sing of the mercies of the Lord.

Everlasting Joy

Can we as Christians have everlasting “Joy” in our life every day? Is there plenty of joy in your life? Being glad and having happiness for most of us is an emotional response that only occurs occasionally

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

John 15:11

Can we as Christians have everlasting “Joy” in our life every day? Is there plenty of joy in your life? Being glad and having happiness for most of us is an emotional response that only occurs occasionally. Jesus is speaking about a joy that is lasting because it is His joy that is within our heart, and it is a fullness of joy.  Hebrew words often depend on the context in which they are used, so one must study to understand what the full meaning conveys in the written text.  Hebrew words are conveyed by themselves as concrete instead of abstract, so it is important to see the context of a whole sentence in which the word is placed.  The Hebrew word for joy is “simcha,” and means to have exceedingly, gladness, and joyfulness. In John chapter 15, the word “Joy” can be associated with well-being in that it is through Christ that we can have an everlasting amount of joy. In John chapter 15, Jesus is talking about a fullness of everlasting joy that comes from knowing him. It is based upon fellowship, and this is the key to living in the vine.

John chapter 15 is all about abiding in the vine. Jesus exclaims that we are the branches and He himself is the vine.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

John 15:5

It is all about keeping Jesus foremost in our life. Nothing should separate us from Jesus or take over in importance in our everyday life. Our life is the life of Jesus living through us through the Holy Spirit. In fact, “Joy” is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit [see Galatians 5:22]. If you read the whole chapter of John 15, Jesus explains about bearing fruit as a result of abiding in the vine. So, having a fullness or everlasting joy comes from abiding in the vine [who is Jesus] to where you will bear much fruit.  This is the act of getting to know someone personally. This is a continuous process of growth. If you are not growing, then you are dying from not receiving nourishment from the source of the vine. Something is blocking the source of nourishment from the vine.

It is like a plant I have and no matter what treatment I give it, such as misting, fertilizer, sunlight, and water, the plant leaves are dying and dropping off. The plant has disease that is causing this condition. Any kind of blockage that an individual is withholding from the Lord will cause disease to start and decay. If we confess all to Jesus nothing is withheld. Jesus assures us that if we abide in him and in his words, we can ask him anything, and it shall be done [see John 15:7]. Let us remember that love is also in the fruit of the Spirit. To have love and joy means to abide in the vine where the source of nourishment is. There is always a process of growth in the Christian walk. Like the disciples of Jesus, they grow from being a servant to becoming friends to be a brother in the Lord. This is a progression of growth and Jesus said that this growth will bear much fruit that the Father will be glorified [see John 15:8].

“Every day has enough trouble of its own., therefore; we pray every day and seek the word of God to keep the communication open for growth to occur. This is our sanctification which means to become holy. A person can only be Holy if they are grafted into the vine, and this is what the Apostle Paul referenced in Romans 11:16. “If the root is Holy, so are the branches.” The fellowship we have is through Christ and through Christ we are able to love one another. In 1 John chapter one verses 3 and 4, we have the same reference about our joy being full. John exclaims that our fellowship is with the Father, and with his son, Jesus Christ. That is why the Word of life was written, or the Word of God. The conclusion is that we are to stay in the vine which is the source of light so we can have fellowship with Jesus and each other. How miraculous this is as it takes on the evidence of our well-being and our feelings of having everlasting joy. Our wellbeing comes from Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.  Placing our faith in Jesus gives us fellowship.  Faith opens the door for the miracles to happen.  You could say it this way that Jesus who is our faith opens the door for miracles to happen.   This brings joy into our heart that will remain in us forever until the coming of our Lord. 

May His joy forever live within your heart and soul. This week is also very special for it is the Jewish New Year. The Jewish lunar calendar year now is 5782. It is also the 7th sabbath year of rest. What this means is that it is a time of getting to know our Lord better by hearing his voice. That our peace comes from the word of God. The 7th sabbath year of rest means that all debts are to be forgiven and distribution of food is to be distribute widely. There is to be no working of the land for food. The land is resting for the year in that animals may eat of what is left growing along with the people. This sabbatical year is known as Shemitah. If you like to read more about it, click on the word to go to the site: Shemitah.

Listen to the song titled “Abide in My Love,” taken from John chapter 15. Here is the link to the song at my music web site: Abide in My Love.

The Trial of your faith

Are you going through many temptations and feeling discouraged or hopeless? You are not alone and if anyone tells you to pull up your pants and bear up to your circumstances does not know the full reality that you are personally facing.

In this ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold trials. . .

1 Peter 1:6

Are you going through many temptations and feeling discouraged or hopeless? You are not alone and if anyone tells you to pull up your pants and bear up to your circumstances does not know the full reality that you are personally facing. We do not walk in each other’s shoes simply because the shoe does not always fit. Everyone has a different experience in life because they are created with different genes. It would be boring if we were all exactly alike in our DNA. I have learned and seen that in general people are gifted with different aptitude and human characteristics. I thank God for them because it gives the opportunity of helping each other out in our weaknesses. It is what a family is all about. Those within the family are the foundation that is built upon growth by the elder helping and teaching the younger within the group to become the best they can be. The family unit usually defines maturing into adulthood.

In America, we may have lost the cohesiveness of the family so many individuals must rely on other adults to help them in the process of maturing. This was true for me especially when I entered my teen years, my mother decided to leave my father. Any breakup within the family is an adjustment. Any sickness within the family is an adjustment. Any soldier that comes home from a war is an adjustment. Why? Because the adjustment means we must face change in our environment and in our emotional response. This can be the trial we face depending upon how we respond to the change. Our character is under attack, and it is not an easy thing to go through when you are right in the middle of going through it. Some call it a part of life and may just brush it off, but it is much more than that because it can define our character in who we are as a person. Any kind of suffering involves an emotional response and therefore should not be taken lightly. As Christians we are to bear one another burdens in order to fulfill the law of Christ [see Galatians 6:2]. In verse 3 of Galatians the apostle Paul said that “if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

Let us pray that we are not deceiving ourselves by thinking we are better than the next person. It is better to humble yourself as a little child before our Lord. The apostle Peter addressed this in 1 Peter 5:5.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5

Being subject to one another means to work out your disagreements. Disagreements can be a temptation and it can cause a sorrow of heaviness within our heart. Don’t allow the disagreement to annul your relationship with an individual unless it deals with doing evil or harming someone. Temptations deal with doing the right thing and not being proud of whatever you are doing. Our example is Christ Jesus who “also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,” [see 1 Peter 2:22]. Temptations can deal with devious ploys and schemes to which you should not get involved and become a part of. There should be no deception between you and the other person. There should be no deception between a husband and wife either. As a child of God, we are to live a holy life in everything we do. In fact, Peter states that “he who has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of life,” [see 1 Peter 1:15]. We must surrender to the Lord our weaknesses and ask him to intervene and guide us through our emotions and the trails we are facing.

While we go through trials and the testing of our faith in Christ Jesus, the Apostle Peter urges us to consider our salvation, the glory of our Lord’s return, and the effect of purifying our character into the image of Christ will bring the result of patience and joy. We may not be able to see the result when going through a trial, but that trial is more precious than gold stated the Apostle Peter [see 1 Peter 1:7]. It is with prayer that the trial you are experiencing may be found in praise, honor, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. We can confess and bring all our trials and troubles to God, and this is what Job did for he assured, “I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from thee,” [see Job 42:2]. Job repented from not praying for his friends and the Lord blessed him by giving back twice of what Job lost during his trial [see Job 42:10]. Remember that it is your soul and spirit that the enemy is after who is Satan. We must “abstain from all appearance of evil,” [see 1 Thessalonians 5:22]. That means to hold back, renounce, and avoid all forms of evil. Our victory is in Christ Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. This is our joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

Let us remember part of the lyrics to “What a friend we have in Jesus.”

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer

The Struggle of Two Natures

I do not know of any Christian that does not struggle between “Two Natures” that some call good or evil. We do not understand why we do what we do. We tend to do what we should not do even when we want to do good.

For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Romans 7:14

I do not know of any Christian that does not struggle between “Two Natures” that some call good or evil. We do not understand why we do what we do. We tend to do what we should not do even when we want to do good.

Man between an angel and devil

It is like the picture above which some of us have seen when we were a child on cartoons. I have seen it on Sponge Bob Square Pants as well as on the TV show “The Simpsons.” Do you ever wonder why even as a child that this struggle still carries on into adulthood. Why is it that we do not heed the warning signs? It could be that we just do not believe it is true, and need to experience it to learn the truth about it. It is like diving in to fast to eat your soup. Did you know that there is a proper etiquette to eating your bowl of soup? First of all, I do not see everyone diving into it because it may be too hot and you can burn yourself. This is why we use the spoon and scoop the edge of the bowl away from us when extracting soup towards our mouth to eat. This is so we do not splatter hot soup on us. The bible is our moral compass and if you find yourself struggling on what to do, you are not alone. Every good Christian struggles with their nature or behavior to do good or evil. The apostle Paul dealt with this subject of two natures in writing to the Roman Christians.

For that which I do I understand not; for what I would, that do I Not; but what I hate, that do I.

Romans 7:15

“I do what I hate to do,” said the apostle Paul and if he had issues with it there is no doubt that everyone has issues with not doing the right thing. So what was it that Paul found out about dealing with this issue? Paul found that there is a law present that if he did good, evil is present with him [see Romans 7:21]. In fact, he describes several laws. We have laws in place in countries in order to live a peaceful life with all mankind. For the most part civil law is supposed to be good in that it regulates concerns in private relations between members of a community. It is the principal of equality within communities. The apostle Paul who was a Roman citizen by birth received certain consideration when thrown in jail. The apostle Paul addressed six laws. The law of Moses which condemns, the law as a principle within society, the law of faith, which excludes self-righteousness, the law of the mind that tries to do good but can not do it, the law of sin within humanity, the law of the Spirit that has the power to deliver the believer from sin.

The result the apostle Paul found is in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” I hear many Christian quote up to the part in Christ Jesus, but leave off the not walking after the flesh, but after the Spirit. What Paul is saying here is that our walk in our behavior and action must match that of Christ Jesus. The end result is walking in the Spirit which means we surrender our self to Jesus who is our priesthood and our redemption. Jesus fulfilled the demands of the Mosaic law and He is the one who sends us the Holy Spirit. Paul mentions the “Spirit” sixteen times in Romans chapter 8 and therefore we should take note that this is a most pivotal conclusion to the problem of the struggle between two natures. It is the Spirit that gives us life. Listen to what Jesus said in John 6:63.

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:63

We must remember that the law is spiritual, as Paul exclaimed in chapter seven of Romans, but “I am carnal, sold under sin” [see Romans 7:14]. Our checks and balances come from the word of God and through the Holy Spirit that points to Christ. When we struggle with our old nature, we take it to Jesus and ask him to intervene and allow His Spirit to take control of our mind and actions. We ask through prayer that we put to death any feelings of hatred, getting even, anger, or anything that does not project the image of Christ. Some may have to struggle in letting it go. Remember the flesh will not profit. There are those who have gotten even, and later found that it did not bring them a lasting peace. Peace only comes through the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Reprove yourself and flee from doing evil. Remember that the Apostle Paul said to “be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,’ [see Romans 12:21].

Let us pray and ask God to help us to overcome evil by doing good. Let us walk in the Spirit of Christ knowing it is ” the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that hath made me free from the law of sin and death,” [Romans 8:2]. We must get under control our emotions and our mind by giving it to Jesus at the cross where our victory is. Sing along and ask god to renew a right spirit within you. Released in 1984 by Keith Green.

The body for the Lord

Why is the body for the Lord? Do you have control over your whole body? Those who are older may wish to be young again, and those who are younger want to be older and wiser.

Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

1 Corinthians 6:13

Why is the body for the Lord? Do you have control over your whole body? Those who are older may wish to be young again, and those who are younger want to be older and wiser. It is the catch-22 dilemma or stumbling block that each human must face. No one can escape the process of aging of our physical body. James the brother of Jesus commented that a perfect man can control their whole body [see James 3:1-3]. How many of us are perfect man or women who can control their own body? It is our mind that speaks through our mouth that pollutes our body. Whatever you put into your body is the result of its output. We are taught to take care of our bodies in what we eat and do, so we can get the best results for our physical well-being.  Science has taught us a lot and it is still investigating the theories to bring us the truth of what is happening within our bodies.  We can not ignore the importance of maintaining good health with proper nutrition.  In the Old Testament the Jews were told by God what they should eat to maintain a healthy body. 

Regarding the COVID-19 vaccines they are kosher and do not contain pork products in the form of gelatin. Kosher food refers to foods that meet Jewish dietary standards. There are many people that follow the Jewish dietary standards. Many Jewish doctors in the UK have addressed the rumors about the vaccines. The Jewish News comments that “We live in a time where misinformation is increasingly common. Rumors spread quickly, and social media has played a significant contribution in this.” It is important to be careful what you post on social media as to not become a part of the problem of spreading rumors, but to pray and seek out the truth for the questions you have. We all must have patience when seeking answers to our questions.  Plain common sense is the key to being more aware and reflecting on situations is wise before you make any decisions on what you are going to do. 

I remember in the 1980’s the Firm Believer fitness program by Bobbie Wolgemuth and Judy Moser became popular to meet the needs of those who wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. Many Christians endorsed the program, and some churches opened their doors to having a weekly exercise program.  I also remember watching the Jack LaLanne show and the Richard Simmons show that had exercise routines to help keep our bodies fit for living every day. How many of us ask God in prayer to help us to stop those crash diets, those habits of eating too many sweets, or feelings of tiredness, fatigue, and exhaustion that hamper us from doing what we should be doing to stay physically and spiritually fit. Do we really care about what we eat and what type of physical activity we do every day? No matter what age you are, taking care of your own body is a daily routine. Disease is growing at a rapid rate according to the world health organization and following that is the global pandemics. As Christians we should be aware and concerned about how to keep our body as belonging to the Lord and not for self-indulgence.

How can we present our bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice as Paul tells us in Romans 12:1. Let us not forget that the apostle Paul stated that our “body is not for fornication but for the Lord, [1 Corinthians 6:13]?  Paul also asked the question in 1 Corinthians 6:15, “know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?” How does this apply to our physical body? It is not only our mind, will, and emotion that belongs to the Lord, but our physical body as well. That is why Jesus went about healing everyone who was sick or had disease. Salvation and healing are found in the cross of Christ because he bought us with a price. The body is to be holy because it is washed and justified through the blood of Christ.

For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s

1 Corinthians 6:20

Our body is not to be used in selfish indulgences such as overeating or sexual immorality. Paul states to flee fornication because it is a sin against your own body [see 1 Corinthians 6:18]. Run away from sexual immorality and keep your own body pure and holy. Our body is part of the sanctification process through Christ and now it belongs to the Lord. That is why Paul exclaims that “all things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any [1 Corinthians 6:12]. We should not be brought under the power of anything that would degrade our body towards death rather than towards life. We are not to be conformed to the worldly ways of practicing selfish indulgences but to cease from them and be transformed by the renewing of our minds to what is good for us physically and spiritually. God is concerned for our whole being and not just a part of it.

If thy whole body, therefore, be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp doth give thee light.

Luke 11:36

The whole body is to be full of light having no part of darkness within it. Pray and ask the Lord to help heal your body and to get your appetites, desires, or whims under control. Ask to receive a new desire that is righteous and holy in the image of Christ. Ask to take steps in building up your own physical body by changing your diet to one that will support a healthy immune system. Ask the Lord to help you maintain your health through exercising on a weekly basis. Take practical steps such as washing hands, disinfecting counter tops, and wearing a mask when conditions are worsening in a specific area that you live in or are visiting. Ask the Lord to guide you and your doctor to consider natural alternatives to building and maintaining a healthy body. Ask the Lord to give understanding within those around you to support you in maintaining that healthy body. Remember He cares for you and your body, for you are presenting your body to the Lord as a living sacrifice [see Romans 12:1].

Let us labor to enter His rest

How does one labor to enter His rest? No one wants to fall short of entering His rest, yet it happens to many Christians. Why? Because of unbelief.

Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:11

How does one labor to enter His rest? No one wants to fall short of entering His rest, yet it happens to many Christians. Why? Because of unbelief. Unbelief is the number one problem and the reason why many Christians do not enter His rest.  This means we have fallen or departed from the living God. Listen to the warning sings in Hebrews chapter 3.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing form the living God.

Hebrew 3:12

In the time of Moses, Israel did not enter the promised land of Canaan because of unbelief. They had a hard time of believing in God to meet all their needs. When they did not receive what they needed, they rebelled. Their hearts were hardened, and they did not heed the word of God. They could not even wait for Moses to come down from the mountain before they went their own way. Moses had to plead to God to pardon them and the Lord said to Moses, “how long will it be before they believe me, for all the signs which I have sown among them,” [see Numbers 14:11]. The promise land of milk and honey was a land where there was lots of vegetation and bees to sustain their living. It is interesting to note that rest here means to cease from exertion. Many of us may find ourselves laboring to enter that rest.

We may believe in God for our salvation, but we may not believe in God for our healing, or as our provider to sustain us in life. We may have hidden hinderance that prevent us from fully believing in God in these areas, yet God is telling us to fully believe in him for all things in our life. We therefore labor, struggle, work at having faith in God because of a lack of teaching or knowledge in the word of God, or simply not being able to fully trust in the Lord. We wrestle through prayer also to enter that rest. It is why in chapter four of Hebrews verse 16 it states for us to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Every day we have personal needs that must be fulfilled. We need added strength to carry out our daily living. If rest means sabbath, then who is lord of that sabbath?

For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Matthew 12:8

Jesus is Lord of the sabbath and the first thing he does is to heal on the Sabbath. Wow! To me that is exciting to read about the healing of the man whose hand was paralyzed.   Jesus healed them all who needed healing. There is nothing that our God does not know when it comes to our personal needs.  All things that pertain to man is before the Lord’s eye. That is why the apostle Peter exclaimed, “grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,” [see 2 Peter 1:2]. The apostle Peter goes on to say that through His divine power, He has given us all things that pertain to life. All things, not just Salvation.  We are to be partakers of that divine nature of God since we have escaped the corruption of this world through Christ. We are to add to our faith virtue, righteousness, and knowledge. If we lack anything, He will supply. Just remember that self-control and patience are also added to our faith because we trust in God to fulfill His promises.

We can stir ourselves up by reading the word and speaking about it to each other. This will make our calling in Christ a sure thing. This will build our faith up knowing that it is on a sure foundation because Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Therefore, we hold fast our profession, for Jesus, the Son of God is our high priest, and He also intercedes on our behalf [see Romans 8:34]. Nothing should keep us from fully believing in God for all our needs.   Let us fully enter His rest even if we must work and wrestle through prayer in getting there.  Remember that He loves you and cares for you.