Love

Behold what manner of love the Father has Bestowed upon us. . .

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1John 3:1

I am remembering back to the late 70’s when this song was sung in church with joy in our hearts for what God’s Love has done,” that we should be called the children of God.” The meaning of Agape love was beginning to spread throughout cities in Washington State in the 70’s. Agape love, a Greek term for sacrificial, unconditional love that God’s Son would go to the cross for humanity. Those who believed, received His Love within their hearts and shared that love to others. It is more than just an emotional experience.  It was a movement among the younger generation that witnessed a change within their heart that God was real.  They wanted more of God and worship was the key to sensing His presence among us.  There was a thirst for more of God in our lives.  I have very fond memories of this time because I witnessed a change in my heart and seen the evidence of my friends changing and having that” joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  Some of us young people went to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Seattle and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit after Reverend Dennis Bennett laid His hands upon our heads in prayer.  We did not fully understand what was happening at that time, but we knew the love of God to be real and that love was making a difference in our personal lives. 

It was a genuine experience knowing that we are now children of God. It did not matter how old a person was, all inhibition were lost in believing in the name of God’s Son and His love for us. We were forgiven and cleansed. We no longer had condemnation within our heart. We had confidence instead in knowing that God would answer our prayers because God had given us a new position of sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus [see Ephesians 2:6].  Through the Holy Spirit God was moving through denominational lines and people were getting saved.  It was a work of the grace of God, for many could not change themselves, but when the Spirit of God got a hold of you something happened.  It was truly the gift of God as the Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 2:8.   It was a revelation that being a Christian could be more then just a work in progress of trying to change yourself.  We needed God’s gift and anointing, and the Apostle John talked about it as an “unction from the Holy One” that we know who Jesus the Christ is [the Messiah, the anointed one. . .see 1 John 2:20-22].

“God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in Him” exclaims John in 1 John4:16. We have His love living inside us, for perfect love drives out fear [see 1 John4:18]. If we are afraid, then we are not perfected in His love. If we are not perfected in His love, then a breach has occurred. Something has broken the fellowship we had with God.  If we no longer have confidence that God will hear our prayers, we stand alone.  Our assurance is in the Love of God; therefore, we repent and ask God to cleanse our heart and renew us to that position we had in Christ. We ask God to change our heart if we have hatred, bitterness, and envy residing in our heart instead of love for our brother.  We must surrender our self to the Love of God, for the love of God helps us to keep his commandments and it should not be burdensome [see 1John 5:3].  If there is a yoke of burden, then we are not under the love of God.  We have placed ourselves under a different system that is not of the love of God.  In the world the cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure are the characteristic of a person seeking self-gratification rather than loving a brother or sister. Have we lost our first love from God?  Is a question we all must answer.  The world does not know love because it does not know Jesus.  Let us pray for God’s love to continuously rule our hearts every day.  May His Love not be a burden, but rather a gift to all who would receive and believe. Pray and receive His Love today into your heart.

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Burden

Take my yoke upon you. . .

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:29

Jesus said that His yoke is easy and not burdensome [see verse 30 in Matthew chapter 11]. In verse 28 of the same chapter, Jesus speaks to those who are heavy laden. Those that carry a heavy burden, or those that are oppressed. Jesus invites us to take His yoke, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Have you ever been burdened? Maybe you carry the weight of taking care of a family member, or you are under a harsh and authoritarian treatment. Whatever the case may be, it is time to lay down the weight you carry upon Jesus.

What is a yoke? A yoke is an ox bow, a pole or bands that is tied over your shoulders like what you see on oxen that plows the field. Sometimes the task master of the oxen can be harsh with whips flying to make the oxen move across the field. Thus, the wooden pole becomes the weight of the burden you carry. When David was hiding in the cave, he cried out in Psalms 142:4, “no man cared for my soul.” Unfair treatment from others can mean you have no one to turn to for help. David was praying and asking God to bring his soul out of prison. Are you feeling distressed or stuck in a cave like David?

A careful look at our burdens needs to be addressed, but whatever the burden, know that Christ can lift that burden when we begin to learn who He is and know him as a friend rather than just know about him. I googled “what does Christian mean today,” and the site came up with “A Christian is someone whose behavior and heart reflects Jesus Christ.” If our behavior and heart is to reflect Jesus Christ, then we must know what His will is. It is more than just a confession; it is a way of living.

A person may carry a burden that may be given by an individual who is oppressing them to work for them as if that person was a personal slave. I personally went through this situation in my family where I had an extreme number of duties to perform at home. When I got a full-time job at the age of 16, I had to give up my wages to my parents. It became embarrassing when I did not have decent clothing to wear to work such as a skirt, dress, shoes, and even panty hose. A friend at work provided me with shoes, dress, and panty hose. It was not the fact that we were poor, but that greed had entered in the pursuit of wealth. When I prayed and talked to God about it, He told me that He would help me through it. I did not know how it all happened, but a social worker showed up at our home and spoke to my parents about the fact that I needed a certain dollar amount of wages for personal items such as shoes and clothing. My burden was lifted, and I could retain certain percentage of my wages.

I only share this as an example of how a yoke can be placed upon an individual. This is something that the scribes and pharisees did by putting heavy burdens and laying them on men’s shoulders in making demands into an obligation [see Matthew 23:4]. Whatever the demand may be or the obligation it becomes burdensome because it becomes the focal point that tears at the fabric of humanity. It brings strife into a situation rather than repairing the breach. Isaiah the prophet spoke about putting away the yoke that pointed the finger at those who are impoverished.

If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity, and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise in obscurity.

Isaiah 58:9-10

Let us put away the pointing finger and not hide from the mirror of our own flesh/reflection. When we begin to see who Christ is, it is a pivotal point in knowing His genuine love for us on a personal level. This love is felt in our broken spirit. He answers our prayer and healing comes to all who were oppressed. Let us learn the truth and seek the Lord and find how to remove the yoke through prayer and find rest for our weary soul. Let each person voluntary help those who are in need and see the blessings of His love unfold daily in our lives.

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Sanctification

This is the Will of God even your Sanctification

For this is the will of God even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication; that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

What does the word sanctification mean? The Greek work [agiasmos] for sanctification means separation or setting apart. The Hebrew word is [qadosh] which means to “to be set apart for a special purpose.” Those who have a confession of being a believer are separated unto God for a special purpose, for it is God’s will our sanctification. How to we possess our vessel in sanctification and honor?

Another way of expressing sanctification is to be made Holy in the sight of God. Sanctification is rarely talked about these days, yet it is one of the most important doctrines of the Bible that the Apostle Paul teaches. Sanctification is only possible through the cross of Christ. It is a part of every believer’s salvation experience. A turning away from darkness into the light of Christ. A turning away from sin to living in the love of God. A believer is set apart to God through conversion and is now dedicated to God in holiness. The process of holiness is a daily surrendering of our selfishness or sinful conduct to relinquishing our will to the will of God. Sanctification in turn becomes our daily walk that the end result is living a holy life.

God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:13

Look at what the Apostle Paul states in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Paul exclaims that from the beginning of time God chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit. Sanctification is done through the Holy Spirit to establish our position in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit sanctification results in holiness or purification from guilt and the power of sin.

If we believe that Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, and arose from the dead, then we enter into the process of God’s divine grace. Grace is favor from God through Jesus Christ. Sanctification takes on two key points. The first point is in the person and the finished work of Jesus Christ and the second point is the provision by the working of the Holy Spirit who testifies and points to Christ. The Holy Spirit works in the souls of men, leading them to the full knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When men received the revelation, a birth takes place in their heart and they receive the inheritance and promises of God. Our sanctification is based on our faith in the Cross of Christ. It cannot be obtained by our own efforts. God only looks at the one perfect sacrifice which is Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit is given as our helper to point us to Christ and to help us move and live through Christ. The Holy Spirit works as an agent in the process of sanctification.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2 Corinthians 4:7

The vessel is our body, and we are to take care that it becomes a vessel of Honor and not sin. Fornication is an unlawful practice of sex outside of marriage. It is unlawful outside of marriage because it lacks commitment and responsibility for the sanctity of human life such as the unborn child. Many times, sex is used as a form of abuse like slavery. The focus is on self-gratification rather than on becoming a pure vessel for God’s ministry. The sanctity of marriage is to speak of true love for each other in consideration of each other’s bodies as being bought with a price [see 1 Corinthians 6:20] through Christ sacrifice on the cross. There is to be respect and honor for each other’s bodies in marriage.

Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.

1 Corinthians 6:19

To think about what Paul is stating regarding our body being a temple of the Holy Ghost is seldom talked about today in many churches. In essence it is speaking of our body being a dwelling place or inner sanctuary where the Holy Spirit can reside. The Holy Spirit can only reside in a clean body. That is why it is so important to have a clear conscience before God. We yield ourselves to God and ask for help in cleansing and making us whole again. We present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, Paul states in Romans 12:1, for this is our reasonable service.

Paul is stating that this is a rational/logical thing to do. This is a mental process that we start with in seeking God, so will we find Him [see Matthew 7:7]. We are always warring with our self-life and we must continue to lay our self-life down at the feet of Jesus. I remember Smith Wigglesworth stating if there is not a continuous change or growth happening in your life, then you are a dead person spiritually. Wigglesworth called it backsliding because there is no growth in a person due to that person going his own way rather than God’s way. That is why we must consider daily where our vessel/body is. Is it for sanctification and honor or is it for something else like our own selfish gratification? I pray that we lay it down so the glory of God’s light can shine through our body as we learn to serve a wonderful loving God. I pray for spiritual growth to start this day as our eyes are open to see the truth of His word.

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Holy Spirit

The Comforter is the Holy Spirit

The Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto you.

John 14:26

The Comforter is the Holy Spirit said Jesus, and it is the comforter that will teach you all things. The Greek word for comforter is{parakletos}, which translates to mean counselor, consoler, and advocate. What would the believer do without the Holy Spirit for help and comfort? Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them comfortless [see John 14:18] or alone. He would pray to the Father to send the Holy Spirit who was to abide with them as well as with all believers. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. The Trinity consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the least understood member of the Godhead within Christendom. Many churches have taken an approach of controlling the Holy Spirit by excluding its works within their congregation.

Not all churches took the approach of denying the works of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the first Pentecostal movement began in the 18th century and its origins were British. John Wesley founder of the Methodist was an Anglican priest in England. Wesley not only included sound doctrine but the working of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life to be transformed to a new person in Christ and to live a holy live walking in the love of God. We also have Smith Wigglesworth also a Methodist who spoke about the importance of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. Wigglesworth was adamant about the importance of the filling of the Holy Spirit to guide the believer’s life to be effective in living out God’s will. He exhorted believers to repent and make things right with God to get the gumption of the Holy Spirit back into their life.

Both Wesley and Wigglesworth were moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel of Christ to bring renewal and healing to a person’s life. They were man filled by the Holy Spirit to do the work of evangelism. The importance of the love of God and faith are key to the workings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will always testify of Christ [see John 15:26], for Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. The Holy Spirit will only come when a person desires to repent and be made whole. “Being made free from sin, and becoming servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life,” said the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:22. In fact, Paul exhorts to yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness in this verse and not to iniquity.

Many forget the threefold work of the Spirit in the world as Jesus exclaimed in John 16:8, “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” If you continue to read verses 9 to 11, you get the full picture of the work of the Spirit.

Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

John 16:9-11

The comforter speaks to a personal relationship of being one with Christ in teaching us and helping us to remember the word of God. In verse 20 of John chapter 14, Jesus said, “I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” For many the concept of being one in Christ is hard to conceive, yet we believe it in faith, and it becomes a reality when we sense the Holy Spirit in our life. It becomes an experience that we know without a doubt that we have the Spirit of Christ residing within our body. Living as a Christian becomes more then just a confession. It is a turning away from all the negative characteristic of humanity and living a new life that is born in the image of Christ. When we yield to the Holy Spirit we die to self. It becomes as Paul exclaimed in Philippians 1:21, “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The comforter helps us to pray and to live for Christ. May we all pray for the comforter to come and guide, teach, and bring healing to our body , soul, and spirit in Jesus name.

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Doing Good, Peace

Live Peaceably with all Men

Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Romans 12:17-18

Is it possible to live peaceably with all men? The answer is yes, but it takes effort on everyone involved to keep that peace. An agreement must be made. During the 60’s the peace symbol was displayed against the war in Vietnam. It is still used today to speak against violence. For a Christian, honesty and integrity go hand in hand because of the light of Jesus shining in their hearts. The apostle Paul learned from the Gospel of Jesus the true meaning of love and living in peace with all men. He wrote about it in the book of Romans. As Christians we may forget that we were called out of darkness and brought into His marvelous light [see 1 Peter 2:9]. It is by faith that Christians walk in the Spirit of Christ and not in the flesh. When Christians walk in the Spirit there will be no jealousy, strife, envy, or hatred, for these things are dead, for they were a part of the old nature of man. We pray for these things to die in our being so that the Spirit of Christ may rule instead.

To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:6

For a Christian, the desire is to live a life in peace, and not be waging war, or have hatred against another human being. In a Christian’s life the old nature is put to death to continue living in the new life of Jesus. Paul states to “mortify the deeds of the body,” [see Romans 8:13]. The Greek word mortify means to put to death. Any negative action that is contrary to love, joy, and peace must be put to death, for the new nature that is born through the Spirit of Christ to move in a believer’s life. The believer’s mind should be on spiritual things and not on strife, jealousy, and vengeance. In fact, if we read pass Romans chapter 12:18 to verse 19, it states that” vengeance is the Lord’s.” We put to death the things of the flesh by taking up the Cross of Christ, which is the power of God.

It is through the Spirit that we are victorious and nothing that we have done within our-self. We put on the Lord Jesus Christ because victory is at the cross where all sins are forgiven, and bondage broken because of the sacrifice of Christ to bring deliverance of the old nature of man. We do not overcome evil by doing evil [such as to get even], but we overcome evil by doing good [see Romans 12:21]. We go back to the place of presenting our body to the Lord, for this is sanctification, to know the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and to be obedient in allowing His will to reveal the truth of who we are in Christ. We yield our life to God for the working of Christ’s character to come forth in love and peace. This is surrendering to God and repenting in order that we might live the life of peace.

This is the Spirit of adoption whereby we can come to God through prayer because we have been grafted into the vine. That vine is Jesus. Our focus is on Jesus and doing good works.

These things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:8

Paul tells us in Titus 3:8 that if we believe in God, we are to maintain good works, for it is profitable unto men. We should be mindful of our everyday actions as to not allow another person to stumble. Many times, we do not fully know or understand those who live around us. We are so consumed on our own needs that we forget those around us. This happens a lot in families. Sometimes mom and dad work so hard to keep the family going that it becomes overwhelming and children may be neglected. Take time to have a break and refocus. Think it through and ask God to help you through whatever you are struggling with. Talk to those in the family to solicit help. The stress is less when we refocus our everyday actions to perform a good deed. It brings a smile upon someone’s face. It also allows a moment of happiness when we have satisfied a basic human need. Take time to refocus and help someone out today and let the peace of God rule your heart.  Ask for forgiveness of the person you have upset or injured.  Ask in prayer for God’s spirit to intervene upon the situation to bring peace to all involved.  These are simple steps to take to grow daily in His love and learn to live in peace with all men.

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Darkness, Light, Love

Coming Down from Heaven

For the bread of God is he who cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

John 6:33 KJV

Coming down from Heaven is the light that breaks through the darkness of the storm. When we see it with our own eyes, there is hope for a bright sunny day. Recent events in America such as Covid-19, civil riots, and domestic terrorism has put a lot of people on edge. The shocking events of the violent break-in at the U.S. Capital on January 6th bought on the concern for the safety of other U.S. citizens at the White House. This was not a peaceful demonstration. When your fellow citizens life is endangered, it is no laughing manner. Darkness and evil are present when violence takes place for its motivation is to bring ruin and destruction. The U.S. Capital symbolizes the American people as a whole and not one individual or group. Those at the U.S. Capital were voted in by the people to ensure the purpose of creating peaceful and prosperous communities in their hometown or cities.

Let us consider that it is a thief that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. We know this to be true throughout human history. Even in the Bible Jesus himself states what a thief does in John 10:10 then Jesus goes on to state that He came to bring us life. This life is a life of love and not death. “This is the work of God, that we believe on him whom he hath sent,” John 6:29. Jesus came to save man and not to destroy man [see Luke 9:56]. If we believe that there is a God, then we should believe on the one who came down from heaven to save the world. Jesus is the living bread that came down from heaven [see John 6:51]. The living bread is alive and not dead. He is continually giving life. We cannot comprehend it, let alone fully understand the meaning how Jesus is the living life for all humanity. Especially if we have tendencies towards hatred, unforgiveness, and bent on destroying someone’s life to get even.

We have laws in place because of those who are lawless and disobedient. The apostle Paul talks about this in 1st Timothy chapter one. If we lose our moral compass, we lose the peaceful coexistence within society. We do not have a pure heart or a good conscience anymore. What does a person do to change this condition of living in darkness? Let us consider what the apostle Paul exclaims in Romans 13.

Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Romans 13:9-12, KJV

We are to put on the armor of light. That light that shines in a dark place. That light who is Jesus, who came down from heaven to save our souls. Salvation is near to each person. Today is the day of Salvation. We repent and ask Jesus to save us from the darkness that has taken over our soul. We renounce all evil deeds in Jesus name. We ask forgiveness and for Jesus to heal our soul from hatred, abuse, and any other evil deeds. We ask for Jesus to come and purify our hearts and cleanse us from all sins and to clear our conscience. We ask Jesus to bring in His love into our heart and to help us to walk in the light of His Love. We ask Jesus to help us to walk in love since it is the fulfilling of the law. Praise be to God for His Son Jesus, who is the final sacrifice for the world and deliverer of mans sins. He gives humanity eternal life. Let us put on the armor of light that came down from Heaven.

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Light, The New Man

The New Man

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Ephesians 4:23-24

The new man is a new beginning, or like a new growth from the bulb of a Tulip. In the New Testament of the Bible the Apostle Paul talks about the new man in Ephesians and Colossians. What does it mean to put on the new man? Each New Year many decide to have a New Year Resolution to change some undesirable trait or behavior. To accomplish a new personal goal such as losing weight or achieving a new skill on the job. The emphasis is on improving yourself to grow and become what some might say a new individual. It is challenging yourself to a new position by gaining what is necessary to achieving this new goal. No short cut here, for that does not count since the goal is to continue with good practices and not bad.

Paul states that we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works [see Ephesians 2:10]. In Colossians 3:10, Paul instructs us to “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him.” How do we put on the new man? I have always wondered about this process and how it could be achieved. So many humans work hard in their own way to achieve and accomplish and become the perfect new women or man. Today, we have so many new scientific ways of changing our bodies to be a more desirable form to look at that it is unrealistic for those who are not in a specific job that requires it, yet some would go to great feats to emulate their favorite icon that they wish to become. Sometimes after achieving such feats, one may find that they did not achieved the desired effect they thought would be the result. In the long run it did not produce satisfaction or happiness. How do we find peace with who we are as humans? Can we find satisfaction or true happiness?

A seed is planted, and growth takes place because it is watered and heated by the sun. There is the “wow” effect when a bud of a flower starts to open to reveal its wonderful design. As Christians there is to be a continuous growth into the image of Christ. What happens when there is no growth? No growth means you are dying. When a flower is dying it means that something is happening to cause the decay of death. There is a substance that is blocking the growth, and this is producing an early death of a flower. One needs to investigate to find the cause of the decay.

I remember reading about Smith Wigglesworth’s warning about a Christian not growing means death. He stated that one should immediately get right with God, for something has separated you from Christ. He was adamant in stating that at all cost to pray for forgiveness and remove what detoured you from growing in Christ. Watchman Nee comments on how Christ is life itself. Without Christ, everything is dead since Christ is the resurrection and life. We cannot achieve righteousness or holiness on our own. Becoming a new man is also not achieved in our own strength. Our mind is to be renewed by the spirit of God to see the unseen truth of Christ, for he is life. Christ is the resurrection and the life. Christ achieved what man could not do. Christ became the perfect sacrifice to create a new man making peace with God. Jesus is the gift of God.

As Christians we are to put on Christ. In other words, we are to put on the coat of Christ. We do this through prayer by asking God to help us surrender what it is that is holding us back from seeing the true image of Christ. Whatever undesirable character that we have, we must surrender it and lay it down so we can put on the image of Christ. If we do not have love, joy, forgiveness, or peace in our life then something is keeping us from receiving the full gift of Christ. We surrender whatever it is to God and allow the life of Christ to rule our heart and mind. We ask God to work the change within us since we cannot do it in our own strength.  Through Christ we can be reconciled back to God. We ask God to help us become what we are meant to become. Through Christ we become transparent, for we have nothing to hide. Transparency is the light that shines through the petal of a flower. There are no lies or secrets, for all is revealed in the glory of the light of Christ. Our path becomes the shining light as we put on Christ and become the new man.

the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Proverbs 4:18

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Giving, Love

Every Good Gift

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

James 1:17 KJV

It is Monday and it is three more days to Christmas. Last minute preparations are being made for this wonderful day of celebrations for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It may be the only time that some individuals receive gifts during this time. It is a time of remembrance of those who we love, and those who have helped us along our path. It is a time of family and friends to share with each other and to know the meaning of belonging. I can remember as a teen being somewhat alone on Christmas Day with no mother or brother, but at-least I had a stepfather who cared and accepted me for who I was with no strings attached. To me this was the perfect gift “acceptance and love.” When you have nothing to give in material possessions, you find the meaning of what the perfect gift is. It is the heart of love that keeps on sharing no matter what happens in our everyday life. Sharing a simple meal in love goes a long way in realizing that as humans we are meeting our basic need.

The word gift in this scripture is the Greek word for dosis, which means the act of giving or the thing given. As a child, it was always exciting to see what was under the Christmas Tree on Christmas Day. So much anticipation and hope came upon us as children that, if we were good throughout the year, we would receive our hearts desire. Of course, this did not always happen, but a gift was still under the tree if we would receive it.

We may be uncomfortable receiving a gift if it came with strings attached when growing up. Parents tend to put conditions on children to perform in each task to meet certain expectation. You may have heard the saying, “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Sometimes a person cannot meet that expectation because it is unrealistic and only feeds upon a selfish desire of the person who is giving the conditions. It takes away from the act of receiving with humility and appreciation of the gift being given.

Did you know that receiving creates a connection with the person who is giving?  Sometimes we shy away from it to put a distance between the person giving the gift. If we can let go of the fear of past judgements and begin to see the generous heart of the giver whatever the intentions of promoting a self-image of being good, we can welcome the gift with a true heart of compassion. Compassion is a gift we all need today in the world we live in. How we view the world is in our actions we project towards others.

Receiving a gift may also bring the pressure to reciprocate. A person may want to protect themselves from being in another person’s debt. The actual part of giving had no debt attached, but rather the understanding that humanity has many faults. Therefore, the attitude of an individual should be one of love and forgiveness, which releases a person to receive the gift with open arms.

God’s gift coming down from the Father of Lights had no conditions, for He did not ask us to do anything to pay for our sins. Christ paid the debt in full at the cross. Are we ready for the perfect gift that came down from the Father of Lights?

“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.”

John 3:16 KJV

God’s Son is the gift that was given to the world. It was given out of a heart of love and compassion. Can we receive His Love and Compassion? I pray that the answer is “yes.” We must receive the gift as a child in hope that He will bring healing to our soul and body that we may begin the walk in living daily in His Love. The greatest gift the world has is in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

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Darkness, Light

Light over Darkness

Light over darkness is a symbol given for the Festival of Lights during Hanukkah. The beginning of the Festival of Lights was this last Thursday December 10th with the lighting of the menorah. The Hanukkah lights are lit at sundown and is generally placed in a window so it can be seen from outside the house. Sometimes the menorah is placed in a special location within the home. It is the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees defeated the Greek Syrian army. The real miracle was the olive oil in the temple that lasted for eight days when there was only one day left of the supply of oil. Olive oil was used in the temple to light the menorah. [see Leviticus 24:2]. Olive oil was also used to anoint priests giving them the authority on behalf of God and the Holy Spirit [see Exodus 30:22-33].

The invading Greeks over the Jews would of been devastating because of the different social cultural beliefs such as monotheistic worship of a God verses polytheistic worship of many Gods. The root of all Jewish belief is to worship the one and only true God. Let’s consider the following quote in the Bible.

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5

The menorah is meant to spread light to others with the center light being represented by God in the standard menorah, which has only 7 branches instead of nine that is used for Hanukkah. There is a separation between light and darkness. When one is in darkness they can not see where they are going. There is no specific direction and a person ends up stumbling along the path because there is not enough light to light their path. In Proverbs 4:18, it states that “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” No one should hide the light that our Lord has given.

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

Luke 11:33

Light is needed to see where one is going. That is the importance of any candlestick, to light the path in which we walk. If you read further in Luke chapter 11 in verse 34-35, it states, “The light of the body is the eye: therefore, when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” Many Rabbi’s today, are saying that we despairingly need the light to shine over darkness during this year “Festival of Lights.” We are living in a time that is changing the way we live. Some call it a time of shaking things up. Whatever your belief, heed the warning of your eye if it is in the light or darkness. The true light today is in the face of Jesus Christ.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

As the Holiday Season is upon us, let us prepare our hearts for the Savior that was born in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ who is the light of the world, and the way towards peace with God and humanity. Let Christ’s light shine within our hearts today and always, for “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” [see 1 John 5:11].

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Weekly Devotions Post

Welcome to Weekly Devotions

If you found your way here, most likely you are looking for something genuine, real, and truthful. It could be that you need some positive insight or some good news. Our world is changing all around us and sometimes nothing seems real anymore. How can there be peace when there is so much pain and suffering.

Have you ever questioned humanity’s purpose and what will the future hold for coming generations?  Have you felt neglected, abused, and lonely?  Do you need something good to hold onto?  You are not alone my friend, for many feel the same way and even fear what will happen next. 

In our day of uncertainty, we look for hope, something to hold on to that is stable. We like the truth and not fake news like we see today. We want to know what is real so we can respond appropriately. How should I live in a world where there is no consistency and where moral values are changing to new acceptable norms. As a Christian I ponder upon these issues that we as humans must face every day.

My experience is vast when it comes to the human condition. I have experienced hate crimes, assault, verbal, and physical abuse and have witness what drugs and alcohol does to your body and mind. I have also experience homelessness for a short period of time, being jobless, and having scarcity of food.

I have found my way down at the Bread of Life Mission in Seattle in the 70’s and later as a chapel coordinator through a local church. Sharing my testimony about the Love of God and how it changed my life is something I enjoy doing. Now with COVID-19 virus on the scene, we have seen more changes around the world and it is impacting every human being.

Weekly Bible devotions is a time to read, ponder, and consider how we should live daily in His Love. A key scripture will be presented, explained, and how it may be applied to our daily life. The devotional is meant to encourage and edify each person in their Christian walk. Basic common themes such as bitterness, believing, doubt, and righteousness will be address and more. The principal theme will always point to Christ, for He is our foundation as the scripture states, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Your voice in response is important; however, any vulgar language will not be tolerated since this blog is about daily living in His Love. It is about how we can share and live in God’s love.

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