Weekly Devotions Post

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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].

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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.

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Believe not every spirit

“Beloved, believe not every spirit,” exclaimed Apostle John. There are spirits in the world today that are contrary to the word of God. These spirits bring a false witness in the body of Christ.

 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

1 John 4:3

“Beloved, believe not every spirit,” exclaimed the Apostle John. There are spirits in the world today that are contrary to the word of God. These spirits bring a false witness into the body of Christ. As Christians we are not to be so gullible and believe every spirit we meet. In fact, the Apostle John mentions Christians as little children. John knew that as little children it is easy to go astray.  Children need help, guidance, and instruction to help them grow and the Apostle John is warning Christians to be aware of lying and deceitful spirits.    Christians are to try [test or prove] the spirits to see whether they are of God. Not all spirits are of God. I remember Smith Wigglesworth talking about voices that some Christians hear in their head thinking it is from God, but this is not always true. Not all voices or spirits are from God.

We must test the spirit to see if it is from God. The Apostle John gives us instruction on how to test the spirit by asking if Jesus Christ came in the flesh [see verse 2 of 1 John 4]. If they do not believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh or took on human form, they are not of God, but rather they are of the spirit of the antichrist.   The spirit of the antichrist is a spirit that is against Christ deity as the Son of God that came in human form, died on the cross and arose.  Christ death and resurrection defeated the power of death who is the devil [see Hebrews 2:14].   It is rarely preached about in the pulpit today, but it is a warning to all Christians to not to believe every spirit you hear. All speech needs to be tested and prove to see if it aligns with the word of God. This is because of the many false prophets and teachers that would arise in the latter days in the world. 

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Mark 13:22

To think that even the elect [a person who holds a specific public office] such as a pastor, deacon, or elder can be seduced by a false prophet is very serious especially for the Pentecostal denominations where signs and wonders can become commonplace.  These spirits come in and change doctrine that is contrary to the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All Christians should heed the warnings that the apostle John is giving, and He is not the only one in the Bible that gives Christians this warning.  Hearing any kind of voices and not testing to see if they are of God can lead to spiritual death.  It is what defiles a man that we should remember what Jesus said in Matthew 15:16-20, and he said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.” We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; therefore, we should know a little about the darkness we have all come out of. Those vain words spoken to deceive us back into darkness.

No, we must not heed those vain words because as Christians our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and we have overcome the wicked one [see 1 John 2:12-14]. Those who are in Christ have overcome those who are in darkness including false teachers. The Apostle John encourages the children of God by saying, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” [see 1 John 4:4]. It is through the blood of Christ and his resurrection that overcame the spirit of darkness. The Apostle Paul calls the darkness the mystery of iniquity in 2 Thessalonians 2:7.   Paul also exclaims to let no man deceive you by any means [see 2 Thessalonians 2:3]. There will be a falling away or [apostasy] that will take place before the man of sin will be revealed. Some well-known pastors have already given the warning of denominations falling away from the rudimental teaching of the gospel of Christ.

There will be a time when many will not endure sound doctrine but will enlist teachers who will teach what they want to hear. Some would pervert the Gospel of Christ for their own pleasure of seeking monetary gain. I have personally witness removal of pastors who had a personal agenda instead of being a true servant of Christ. Let us heed the warnings in the word of God and pray that we do not fall short of the glory of God but prove all things and hold fast to that which is good [see 1 Thessalonians 5:21]. The Apostle Paul goes on to say in 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23, to abstain from all appearance of evil and he prayed that our whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stay on the road of the Gospel of Christ in love and know that you do not stand alone, for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.  Know that the true spirit of God will always point to Christ who came in human form, died on the Cross, and arose from the dead, and now sits on the right hand of God.  It is Jesus, the son of God, who came in the flesh to save humanity.  Praise God who gave us His son as a sacrifice to save all humanity.

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Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. . .

Sometimes the grind of everyday living can bring a state of exhaustion, or an emotional drain that brings a negative response out of us.

Sometimes the grind of everyday living can bring a state of exhaustion, or an emotional drain that brings a negative response out of us. It is as if we have worked up a sweat and gotten dirty from having been exposed to the day’s activity. I have heard of decompressing from the day’s activities especially when the day has brought unexpected results of frustration. It can feel like we have been in a fight and now we need a bath to wash off the grime of the day. How do we decompress? Everyone needs space to decompress. Even Jesus decompressed by going up the mountain to pray. I can only imagine what his day brought when he went about his father’s business of sharing the gospel and witnessing negative unbelieve responses everywhere he went. He had to have time with the Father in prayer to work out those negative responses.

Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Matthew 10:14

Maybe we should take a look at what Jesus told the twelve disciples in Matthew chapter ten. It is all about keeping the peace within ourselves if we are not received well from others. Look at verse 13 of chapter ten of Matthew where Jesus said to “let your peace return to you.” How do you shake off the dust of your feet? Conflict these days seem to be commonplace and it is easy to get worked up for nothing. Everybody has an opinion and sometimes others do not want to listen to what you have to say. It is time to shake off the dust of your feet. Have you ever wondered why Jesus washed the feet of the disciples? It is a form of purification from our attitude of the days conflicts. The spiritual renewing of washing the negative grime that we have picked up during the day. Jesus said to the disciples that they should wash one another’s feet [see John 13:14]. In other words, in the process of washing another’s foot, it will bring compassion and consideration for that individual. This is the Christian response in serving one another. It means to listen and respond in love. To help each other to renew our minds by the washing of water by the word.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

John 15:3

The word is so important because it helps us to focus on what is good, pure, and honest. It is why some churches have midweek services because the pastor realized that his congregation needed the washing of the word for the renewal of the mind. Some churches have midweek bible studies to help with the renewal of the mind. It is also why we have devotionals written to help Christians to renew their mind so that their attitude may be transformed into the image of Christ. The renewing of the mind is to put on the new man that is created in God through Christ where righteousness and true holiness resides [see Ephesian 4:24]. Anger, malice, and lying is to be put away so that we do not allow the devil room within our hearts [see verse 27 of Ephesians 4]. Having been in the world, we are not to be conform to the world’s characteristics.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we can prove what is good and acceptable will of God. That we may know the will of God through the word. Just as you take a shower every day to cleanse your body, you should cleanse your mind from the daily grind of living by reading the word of God for the renewal of your mind. Like Jesus going up to the mountain to pray, we should find the time to read the word to help us to decompress ourselves from the daily grind of the world. Have you ever experienced a foot bath? Everyone should have this experience and know how soothing and refreshing it is and it also helps to relieve the stresses of the day. It is a very special time when Christians can wash one another’s foot by listening and sharing the word with each other. Remember that the world may not receive you, but let your peace remain within you, shake off the dust of your feet, and renew your mind with the word of God and relax in his love that He has for you today.

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Walking in Newness of Life

How does one walk in “newness of life?” What does it mean to be baptized into Jesus Christ death?

Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:4

How does one walk in “newness of life?” What does it mean to be baptized into Jesus Christ death? We were taught in the Christian faith that baptism means immersion or dip under water for the washing and purifying the body from the flesh [from all sins]. The apostle Paul reaerated in verse three of chapter 6 of Romans that those who were baptized into Jesus were also baptized into his death. It is hard to conceive that we were united with Christ through his death, but it is a process of sanctification. Sanctification is to be set apart for a special use or purpose. Like a vessel that is used for specific tasks. It is to be set apart for a purpose that is united with Christ. This is a holy purpose that takes on the divine nature of Christ. I ponder upon this aspect of the Christian life and understanding how we are to be complete in Christ.

How many Christians are truly set apart for Christ to be used as a vessel of honor. Does our walk-in life reflect Christ true meaning of holiness? These are questions we each need to answer for ourselves. This is an individual choice we make, and it should not be taken lightly, for sanctification is a dedication to Christ in that it is a marriage. When a husband and wife are separated because of a disaster, there is an emptiness that resides within the individual. It is like the lines in the song titled, “Dedicated to the One I Love.”

While I’m far away from you, my baby

I know it’s hard for you, my baby

And it’s hard for me, my baby

And the darkest hour is just before dawn

That separation is painful to experience. Jesus felt that pain on the cross. Jesus experienced the human condition like no man has ever done in history on the cross, and that is why he is acquainted with all our ways [see Psalms 139:3]. Myer Pearlman, a theologian, and author stated that sanctification is positional and progressive in his book titled, “Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible.” He explained that the setting apart is the beginning of the process of sanctification. Pearlman states that this is a daily process and responsibility of every Christian. It is why some Christians are still carnal [see 1 Corinthians 3:3], because they have not move on towards growth in Christ. At this stage in their Christian walk they are not fully walking into the image of Christ. A cleansing needs to take place to wash the carnal desires away.   This is the reason why we hear the apostle Paul’s statement “to mortify our sinful members, and to put off the old man.” In other words, it is the function of the human personality that is not conforming to the image of Christ.

What many Christians do not understand is that they cannot do it all within themselves. Very few can maintain their image to be perfect without some human flaw revealing itself. There needs to be divine intervention to help both the positional and progressive process along. Every person progresses at a different stage in their Christian walk until we all come to unity in Christ. Sanctification is through the blood of Christ and worked in the human being through the Holy Spirit and the word of God. The blood of Christ does the cleansing while the Holy Spirit with the word of God helps lead us into the full knowledge of truth [see John 17:17]. It is a daily task to put away anything that does not reveal the image of Christ within our human behavior. The imperfections that we have are revealed in the word of God. Deliverance can only come through faith in the atonement with the working of the Holy Spirit.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:8

John Wesley dealt with the aspect of sanctification by affirming it as another work of grace. Our position is assured but our daily walk is a dying to self and taking up the cross of Christ in daily prayer asking the Lord to guide us to become more like Christ. We must have the love of God residing within our heart to allow the Holy Spirit to work through our character for change to take affect knowing that to be spiritually minded is life and peace [see Romans 8:6]. Whatever state we are in we are more than conquerors through him that loved us [see Romans 8:37]. May we continue to walk in newness of life through Jesus Christ, knowing His love is a sure thing, and through His love we can grow above whatever imperfections we may have. We can walk in newness of life every day by faith through Christ who gives us the victory.

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Six Things the Lord God Dislikes

Do you know the six things that the Lord dislikes? Actually, it is seven things that the Lord dislikes and they are an abomination.

Do you know the six things that the Lord dislikes? Actually, it is seven things that the Lord dislikes and they are an abomination.

These six things doth the Lord Hate; yea seven are an abomination unto him.

Proverbs 6:16

Have you read Proverbs in the Bible? Proverbs was compiled in the 10th Century B.C. and is full of wisdom about life. It deals with faithfulness, honesty, business relationships, eating, drinking, and keeping bad company. Most of Proverbs comes from King Solomon, who was incredibly wise in dealing with justice in his court. It is rare that one hears a sermon taken from Proverbs, but when I read chapter 6 verses 16 through 19, I thought this should be taught for everyone would like to be treated fairly, plus no one wants to be lied to or have a false witness. We should not forget about having good manners when dealing with people in general. If we can follow the golden rule of doing unto others what you would want others to do to you, we would all be happy instead of cutting each other down. 

Do you remember “Miss Manners”?  Judith Martin was an American columnist, who wrote about etiquette. She wrote about problems about people having good manners and being polite. It is all about how we treat one another and in church it can be a big issue in how people behave around other people. Board members and committee members many times loose cohesion when they argue about a specific topic of concern. Division is just around the corner when there is no unity among members of a congregation. It is important to remember how the enemy who is Satan revels in the Christian saint’s discord.

If you behave in a way that offends the people you’re trying to deal with, they will stop dealing with you.

Judith Martin

Our behavior can offend others and these days that offence can lead to retaliation and other negative behavior we do not want to see in our communities. Judith Martin stated that “blatant greed” is the most serious etiquette problem in the United States. Keeping that in mind we can look at the seven listed things that bring disgust and repulsion in the seven things listed in Proverbs chapter 6.

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 6:17-19

A Proud look is the first on the list because it is a person who lifts himself up above others. It is all about “Me,” and no one else manners. Second on the list is a lying tongue. The tongue always gets us in trouble for saying something we should not have said. It is why James said in chapter 3, “the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” It is more than a slip of the tongue because it is what we are feeling within our heart. Many of us need healing of past hurts that someone caused. Someone who is offended can lead to the shedding of innocent blood. It can be a proud look, or something that was said that ignites like a dynamite and someone gets shot. The hands that shed innocent blood is happening all over the world. Sometimes we do not even know that what we do can cause violent outburst.

Beware of the heart that plans to harm someone and brings in others to do his or hers bidding. You do not need to be a puppet on someone else string to pull you into mischief. Learn to say no and turn away from getting involved in any plan that harms an individual or an animal. We tend to forget that God created animals for our benefit. We are to be good stewards of our pets and animals.

Then there is the false witness that is lying. They can be so nice to your face but stab you in your back by giving a false witness about you. This happens so often in churches as well as everywhere else like where you work and even among your friends. They do it in fun, but the fun turns into outrage. That is why the Bible tells us to build one another up and not to tear one another down. Do not be mischievous in what you are doing with others. Remember the saying, “what comes around goes around.” Eventually one will have to face the consequences for their actions.

The last thing is sowing discord among the members of a congregation is no way to behave. There should be no animosity, contention, or controversy among the people of God, and if there is, let us strive for peaceful resolution. Any animosity or grievances should be dealt with immediately between the individuals that are having the issue. We are to go to the person that has violated decent social boundaries and speak to them about it.

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Matthew 18:15-16

If that person does not listen, then the next step is to bring in witnesses. Hopefully, one will listen, so other witnesses will not have to be brought in. We are saved by Grace and there is liberty where the Spirit of the Lord is [see 2 Corinthians 3:17]. Do not use that liberty as a stumbling block against those who are weak [ see 1 Corinthians 8:9]. Ask God to help cleanse your heart and mind from all false witness, lies, and mischievous deeds. Ask God to forgive you and help you to forgive the other person too. Ask God for reconciliation. Allow God’s love to rule your heart again in the liberty that we have in Christ Jesus.

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Godliness with Contentment

Why is contentment related to godliness? Contentment frees us from having to focus on achieving something that may not always be a benefit to us personally.

Godliness with contentment is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:6

Why is contentment related to godliness? Contentment frees us from having to focus on achieving something that may not always be a benefit to us personally. It frees one from envy, strife, and vanity. It is what is of value or profitable in our growth that we should be concerned with. Contentment not only deals with our speech, but with our way of living. Striving after objects and forsaking our health, relationships, or personal growth is not advantages. Sometimes it becomes an obsession where the object controls you rather than you are controlling the object.

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

1 Timothy 6:7-8

As Christians we are to be content with having food and clothing for our bodies. Object and things are not a priority like food and clothing. Jesus talked about not to be anxious about food or clothing for He knows we need these to survive [see Matthew 6:25-32]. It is through faith that these things are supplied. In fact, Jesus said that we should seek the kingdom of God so that these things shall be added unto us [see Matthew 6:33]. This speaks to our devotion and reverence towards God, and that is where godliness brings the point home on what our focus should be. Godliness means to step back from something and refocus where our attention is. It is an attitude of where our commitment and loyalty are in our every day of living.

Maybe we should look at the Minimalist. Some may think it is all about restrictions, but this is not the case. It is a way of living in the moment without the added aggravation of dealing with dissatisfaction. Minimalism is all about having freedom from fear, worry, and guilt. Freedom from the consumer culture in possessing things that bring bondage. Minimalism is not just about getting rid of excessive stuff, although we probably should re-consider the extra storage that some of us are paying for just to store the excess stuff. For the minimalist it is about reclaiming time and sometimes our sanity from the constant desire of wanting or keeping things.

Consuming things is tied to the root of loving money. The apostle Paul states that it has caused some Christians to fall from faith [see 1 Timothy 6:10]. The pursuit of having things can lead to sorrows because it is not only the individual that is affected but those who are close to that individual such as family members or friends. It can cause strife among family members and friends.

Let your manner of life be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have.

Hebrews 13:5

This should be our manner in life, a new course in direction. Consume less and be more creative. Discover your mission and purpose in life and the attitude of contributing to others needs. It is sharing with others and meeting needs. You will gain back your mental health and freedom of your time when you are content with what you have.  The apostle Paul said, “whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

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Who holds the future?

Who holds the future? Many would believe that they have a stake in their future. Have you ever considered your destiny? Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the Great Depression that “this generation… has a rendezvous with destiny.”

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Matthew 24:34 KJV

Who holds the future? Many would believe that they have a stake in their future. Have you ever considered your destiny? Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the Great Depression that “this generation… has a rendezvous with destiny.” What appointment does this generation have with destiny? Most of us just do not have time to think about it, or we are too busy trying to figure out our next move in life that the future is nothing to be concerned about. I do hear some asking if we are living in the last days. I have been wondering this myself. Christianity through the ages has had many so-called prophets stating that the end is near, and that Jesus is coming on a certain date. Do you remember the Y2K bug? The bug in computers regarding the changing of dates correctly. People panicked that the worldwide infrastructures would collapse. This led to people panicking and stocking up on food, water, arms, the purchase backup generators, and withdrawal of large sums of money in anticipation of the collapse. We recently seen the same thing with COVID-19. This is known as a global catastrophic risk or an apocalypse.

What are these things referring to in this scripture verse in Matthew 24:34. One must backup and start at the beginning of this chapter where Jesus is talking about the end time or the great tribulation. These things are the false Christ and prophets who deceive many, wars and rumors of wars, nations against nations, famines and pestilences, earthquakes, lawlessness shall arise, and people’s hearts will grow cold [see Matthew 24:4-13]. Each year there has been events where we have heard about these things taking place somewhere in the world, and some of us have experienced these things firsthand, but” let us not be troubled,” said Jesus, “for these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet,” [see Matthew 24:6]. The key verse is the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” in all the world for a witness before the end comes [see Matthew 24:14]. The importance is the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save humanity from eternal punishment in hell. Those who are Christians have a voice to preach the gospel to those around them.

“Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”

Isaiah 52:8 KJV

Lift-up your voice and break into joy for your salvation has come. Deliverance is here right now through the Son of God. Let not your heart grow cold, believe in what Jesus did on the cross for you. That He delivered you from the bondage of corruption, the chains of darkness, and now you are waiting for the redemption of your body when He shall return. Oh, what a glorious day that will be. Christians are to watch and lift their voice, for no one knows the hour when our Lord will come. That’s right! No one will know the exact hour [see Matthew 24:42]. It will be as it was in the days of Noah when no one believed in Noah as he continued to build the ark. Noah believed in what God told him and he was busy building the ark until the day of the flood.  Many mocked him and made fun of him.  They knew not until the flood came stated Jesus in Matthew 24:39, so it will be the same when the Lord comes, no one will know the hour until it comes.  Let your testimony of Christ be confirmed in you, for remember in the end you will “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of your testimony, [see Revelation 12:11].  It is the blood of the Lamb [Christ sacrifice] and the word of your testimony that the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” is to go out into the world as a witness.  Every believer is a witness, every believer has a voice, for they have overcome the evil one through the word of their testimony.  This is our victory that we have through Jesus Christ.  Watch, pray, and be a witness for Christ.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

“O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever! He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood,” is the chorus sung in this wonderful hymn written by Eugene Bartlett. Listen and sing along with Lynda Randle.

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The Power of Faith – Believe, Speak, and Receive

Did you know that faith has power? Whatever you believe is what you will speak. What you speak produces the results you are living out every day of your life.

Whatever things ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mark 11:24

Did you know that faith has power? Whatever you believe is what you will speak. What you speak produces the results you are living out every day of your life. Many people do not take stock on what they say every day. In James 3:6, it is stated that the tongue defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature, or our path in life. With such a warning, maybe we should reconsider the words that flow out of our mouth. Jesus spoke to his disciples about the power of faith by believing in prayer that what you speak, you will receive. Just think about the fig tree that Jesus cursed because it had no fruit [see Mark 11:12-14 and 20-24]. Peter the disciple of Jesus, pointed it out to Jesus that the fig tree had withered away, and Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” Jesus explains to his disciples that they too can have this kind of power if they would “believe what they say”.

The power of words is amazing, and we just do not think about it when we speak every day to those who we are in contact with. Just think about the words spoken on social networks. The slandering is out of control, and many are hurt at what is being said. Today we have employers dismissing people by email, rather than facing the individual in person. Add to the list cyberbullying which is posting rumors and treats. Words are powerful and we need to check take stock of our speech and behavior to that of a more positive tone rather than a negative tone. What we speak can be in the power of God and not in the power of man. Knowing that Jesus is the author of our faith [Hebrews 12:2] helps us to understand that our minds can be renewed to having the power of faith in what we speak.

The apostle Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 4:13, “having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” [KJV]. We speak what we believe and this of itself is powerful. Paul has complete confidence in God, whom he believes that what is spoken will reveal the nature of God. We must choose blessing or cursing, life, or death, in the words we speak. Are the words we speak based upon faith? In 2 Corinthians 4:18 it states that we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” When we pray, we look at what is not seen instead of what is right before us.  I remember Smith Wigglesworth commenting how when he prayed for the sick in bed, they look to Jesus rather than the condition of the person in bed.

Can we “Have Faith in God?” Yes, we can, when we put our trust in God through His son Jesus. However, there is a condition listed in Mark chapter 11 that is overlooked.

When you stand praying, forgive, if ye have anything[ought] against any, that your Father also, who is in heaven, may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father, who is in heaven, forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:25-26 [KJV]

Many forget that to receive anything from God one must have a pure heart and motive. So, if you have anger, or unforgiveness against anyone, you must forgive them. This is one reason why we have unanswered prayers. We only look at what we want, but when it comes to forgiving it can be very painful to let go of the hurt that an individual has done to us. This includes not only actions but the many unkind words that has been spoken. Do not let those behaviors or words pull you down to becoming burdened and angry. Let it go and place it in God’s hand. Remember that you cannot change another person, but you can be the reason why somebody changes. When your heart is in the right place you can ask and it shall come to pass, but forgiveness is the key to the prayer of faith. We can believe, speak, and receive just like Jesus did.  May we grow in having more faith in God and by taking stock in what we speak.

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Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly. . .

How is our walk today? Who do we get advice, direction, or guidance from? Usually, we think about making a change after New Year by making a new resolution, but sometimes the Lord is steering us to move in a different direction at a given moment in time.

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

Psalms 1:1

How is our walk today? Who do we get advice, direction, or guidance from? Usually, we think about making a change after New Year by making a new resolution, but sometimes the Lord is steering us to move in a different direction at a given moment in time. Sometimes a move can be a blessing away from ridicule or mocking that one may experience every day. Standing in the way of sinners is to become like them. To sit in the seat of the scornful is to make fun of someone or put them down. This is the opposite of exhortation and encouraging one another. We are living in a world of gossip and sneering without confirmation of truth, and everybody is doing it. What is your moral code of living today? Is society moral code changing from that of the ten commandments? This is what we as Christians should be contemplating and thinking about every day.

Psalms chapter one is talking about two different ways of living. One is living by faith in God while the other has no faith or is wavering in their faith in God. Every day we have a choice to make on how we will walk as Christian’s. We will either choose to learn God ways, or we will choose the way of the world. We are not to be seated with the counsel of the ungodly or be friends with an angry furious man. Why? Because we may go that way instead of the way of the Lord.  Knowing your own weaknesses and how you personally may be tempted are the warning signs one needs to be aware of the possibility of falling into temptations.  It is the same for an alcoholic who is said to “fall off the wagon” and going back to drinking.  It is a snare to your own soul as stated in Proverbs.

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Proverbs 22:24

Which way will you choose? Maybe we should read more of Proverbs in the Bible for it is full of human failures and ways in which a person should not go and what one should be aware of in life. Proverbs 29:22 states that “an angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” Strife and rebellion are seen within society when a person cannot get what they want. The reason why we have laws is to have peace within society. However, laws change every year to bring new rules within society and not all rules are for the better when it comes to equality. What kind of justice can we have if we do not have the ten commandments, or the Bible? Is all about what we worship? Maybe we should look at what we worship every day.  In Matthew 6:21, it states that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  So, reevaluating where we stand is important to our walk.  This brings us to the question if we meditate in the law of the Lord, day, and night? I know I fall short in doing this and ask the Lord to draw me in and give me revelation to see and understand His way.

Psalms chapter one says that one will prosper when they delight in the law of the Lord [see Psalms 1:2-3]. That person shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water and bring forth fruit in due season. When a year of drought comes, they shall still bring forth fruit [see Jeremiah 17:8]. The person who brings forth fruit is grounded and rooted in God’s ways. When we can gain an understanding that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ and that we are justified by faith [see Galatians 3:24] as the apostle Paul states, we can begin to see that we fall short of living a gracious life in the Love of the Lord. As a believer we are not under the law but under grace. Not to sin, but to love one another. This is how we are perfected by keeping his word on a daily basis. We mature as a Christian by gaining wisdom and revelation to the meaning of His Word.

Whosoever keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; by this know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John2:5-6

God puts it in our heart through the love of His son Jesus Christ. We are to share that love with others. We are to be separate from sinners and not walk in darkness. Walking in darkness means you do not know where you are going. With Christ we know where we are going and that there is a place prepared for us in heaven. We do not conform to the world, for we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds [see Romans 12:2]. Our counsel is from the word of God, our path is the path of Christ, and we are to walk in the love of God. Our confidence is in God knowing that when Christ shall appear we shall be with him.   If there is anything in our heart holding us back from the way of Christ, put it down at the feet of Christ.  Ask him to purify your heart so that you can be blessed and be that tree planted by the rivers of water who will bring forth fruit in due season.  Ask the Lord in prayer to guide you to receive good counsel.  Ask the Lord to give you the desire to meditate and read the Bible daily.  Ask the Lord for you to not “Fall of the wagon” and go back to your old ways.  No matter what state you find yourself in, the Lord is there with you ready to hear your prayer.   

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That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection

Do we really know him (Christ), and the power of his resurrection? How can we experience the power of Christ resurrection?

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Philippians 3:10

Do we really know him (Christ), and the power of his resurrection? How can we experience the power of Christ resurrection? The apostle Paul is pressing into Christ being made more to be like Christ. Most Christians have just made it past the point of being saved by faith in Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Many have not pressed in further to really know Christ and the power of his resurrection. The Bible speaks of continued growth for those who are saved, and this growth involves the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings, and being made conformable unto his death. At least this is what the Apostle Paul is stating in the letter to the Philippians in Rome while he was in prison. “To live is Christ, to die is gain,” stated Paul in Philippians 1:21. The Apostle Paul wants to experience the power of Christ resurrection. The Hebrew meaning for resurrection is standing or rising.

Our standing is in Christ and our rising up from the dead is in Christ also. Jesus said that He is “the resurrection and the life,” [see John 11:25]. Our own life is made possible through the power of Christ resurrection. This resurrection power gave the victory over the power of death. It is the devil that had this power [see Hebrews 2:14] until Christ death and resurrection gave all those who believe a new standing over the power of death. The resurrection is also a part of our inheritance as a Christian for that future date. Now we have the down payment of our inheritance through the promised Holy Spirit to help us in our walk and conformity to Christ. The apostle Paul counted all things at a loss to know Christ more. Paul did not look at his personal possessions, his focus was on Christ and pressing on towards that high calling. Paul was reaching forward to his future as a citizen in heaven [see Philippians 3:14-20].

The Apostle Paul’s journey in life is the desire to know Christ, fellowship in Christ resurrection power, and being made conformable unto His death. Have we as Christians really thought about that fellowship we have with Christ and being made conformable unto His death?  For many, this is not what they had in mind.  Any talk about being made conformable to Christ or his suffering is far from what they think a Christian is.  Some just want the easy life, but this is not reality.  There are all kinds of real human suffering today.  What can we gain in life when it only brings death?  Can we have the mind of Christ? We must press toward the mark with the Apostle Paul for Christ asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. We need the Holy Spirit’s help in becoming like Christ in love, patience, and holiness. We need to continue to spiritual maturity daily knowing our standing in Christ that we have the forgiveness for our sins, and the Holy Spirit of promise to continue our walk as followers of Christ. Not that we have attained righteousness on our own, for it is through Christ that our position is in righteousness, and this is through faith in Christ only.

Charles Spurgeon expressed it this way, “that the less you value your own righteousness, the more will you seek after true holiness; the less you think of your own beauty, the more ardently will you long to become like the Lord Jesus.” The way to the mind of Christ is to know Him in a more personal way. Christ emptied himself of his status and took on the form of a servant [see Philippians 2:7]. The mind of Christ is to have love for one another, tender mercy, and compassion. As Christians we are not to create strife by arguing, quarreling, or gain self-glorification. We are to esteem others better than ourselves [see Philippians 2:3-5]. Our future is assured through Christ. Jesus said that if you believe on him, you have everlasting life, and He will raise us up at the last day [see John 6:40]. This is the power of his resurrection to gain victory over the evil one and be brought out of darkness and into His wonderful light. We barely know Him and the power of His Resurrection. Let us press in to know Him more like the apostle Paul.   If you want to read more about this subject click on the link below to read Charles Spurgeon take on the power of his resurrection written in 1889.

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Ask and receive that your joy may be full . . .

Ask and receive, that your joy may be full. Do you have joy in your heart? The meaning for joy is gladness and delight. Joy is tied to a person, place, or thing.

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

John 16:24

Ask and receive, that your joy may be full. Do you have joy in your heart? The meaning for joy is gladness and delight. Joy is tied to a person, place, or thing. While happiness is short term, joy is said to be long lasting. Joy is also said to be a natural outcome of your faith. As a Christian, your joy should be tied to Jesus. In this passage of John chapter 16 verse 24, it is the word of Jesus speaking to his disciples, but if you have believed in who Jesus is, He is speaking to you too. This is because we are all one in the body of the Lord. Joy is selfless since it is tied to the person of Jesus. As the disciples had a relationship with Jesus, those who believe should also have a relationship with the Lord. That relationship is based on what we know about Jesus and the Father. That relationship is carried through the Holy Spirit through prayer. Believing opens the door to understanding who we are in Christ. Jesus expresses that we are one with the Father and Jesus [see John 17:21-22]. We have been baptized into one body through the Spirit [see 1 Corinthians 12:13].

When a child comes to a father for something such as asking for a new toy, what will the father say? This depends on the situation and circumstances of the family environment. The child’s role within the family and financial ability to purchase the new toy will depend on the answer. With compassion and understanding of the sensitivity of the child’s feelings, a discussion will take place as to why the child needs this toy. How does this relate to asking our Heavenly Father in Jesus name to receive what we pray for so that our joy may be full? Parents tend to spoil a child by giving them what they want, but in real life we do not always get what we want. As a parent we desire our children to always ask even though we may not always be able to give what is being asked for. There comes a time when we know what to ask for because we know we will receive what we ask. This is knowing the will of the giver. In the case of our Heavenly Father, we ask so the Son of God may be glorified through what is being ask such as healing for the body. We ask the Father for restoration to eternal glory, for safety from the world or the evil one, and that unity in the church may prevail.  We know that it is in the will of God to answer these petitions.

We ask because we cannot change the situation without divine intervention. It is through divine intervention that our prayers are answered to the glory of God. This will bring joy within our heart and this joy becomes a long-lasting joy through a relationship of prayer in asking and receiving. Our prayers will always be answered when we ask with a sincere heart. Even if we do not know God’s will, we should still ask as a child. The answer will come if we are patience. Do not stop asking in prayer what you need including joy. Joy is part of the Fruits of the Spirit [see Galatians 5:22], so ask God for joy to come up within your heart. Ask God for the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that you may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified [Isaiah 61:3].

Let us rejoice with Joy Unspeakable and full of glory [see 1Peter 1:8] for answered prayer, receiving the end of our faith, and for salvation for our souls. Many times, I have asked God to send someone to help me and give me understanding and my prayer has always been answered. In fact, I have been amazed how my prayer has been answered through unforeseen divine intervention. This has bought me great joy to my soul that I want to sing that song titled, “Joy Unspeakable.” I have sung this song at railway stations in the city of Perth in Australia not knowing the real meaning of what the song meant. I have not heard it sung for quite a while, but I found on YouTube a joyous rendition for you to enjoy. 

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My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. . .

In Hosea chapter 4, verse 6 is one of the most quoted scripture verse. It has been used throughout generations as a warning against ignorance.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me, seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Hosea 4:6

In Hosea chapter 4, verse 6 is one of the most quoted scripture verse. It has been used throughout generations as a warning against ignorance. No matter what kind of book you read today, some kind of knowledge is being withheld, only to be exploited at a later date in time. Let’s just say that ignorance is not always bliss as the poet Thomas Gray portrayed in his poem. Even a child must face certain circumstances that is not always pleasant such as having their favorite toy taken away because they did not listen to instruction. What can we learn about what it means to have a lack of knowledge as is stated in Hosea 4:6. How can a lack of knowledge destroy people? I learned that knowledge in this verse means to be able to discern and the Hebrew word is da’at, which is taken from the Hebrew letter dalet, and comes from the Hebrew word “delet,” which means open door. Now we can understand that knowledge is an open door to discern something new, recognize, or notice something we have not known before.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7

We read in Proverbs chapter one, verse 7, that to fear the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. It is where knowledge begins because a door is open to a room where one can see something new. Fools despise this kind of wisdom and instruction. The meaning of “fools in this verse is those who are arrogant and live their life without God taking no thought to their eternal well-being. They work for money and live to be happy by what they have possessed. They are proud to be self-sufficient. This attitude is opposite from what the Bible is portraying. Our sufficiency is from God [see 2 Corinthians 3:5]. It is God who can perform supernatural power and to create and give what man needs. Can we believe that He is our provider? Can we be faithful and trust God for all our needs? The fear of the Lord means to have complete reverence and honor to God, for He is merciful and full of love and grace. If you want tranquility in your life, you must have the knowledge of God to know the purpose of man.

Knowing the purpose of man is the beginning of knowing who you are. Let us look at Hosea which means “the Lord saves.” Hosea prophecy is all about unfaithfulness. This is depicted through Hosea’s wife who was a harlot. She went back to her own way of life, but Hosea brought her back with a price. God is telling Hosea about the people willful ignorance to go their own way and eat of harlotry and wine [see Hosea 4:11]. Harlotry means illicit sex and commerce for gain. Harlotry is a spirit among those who have departed from God. Harlotry is an intense desire towards deceit and betrayal for power and gain. They deny knowledge of the truth as revealed in the word of God and have departed from faith in God to faith in something else. It is going back to a former way of life and this is called backsliding.

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him.

Hosea 14:4

The word backsliding in Hosea 14:4 means to turn back or away. God is calling for a people who have obtained mercy. Mercy is God’s loving kindness towards man. God is calling people to return to Him and be healed. There is forgiveness with God through the cross of Christ. Forgiveness from all sins no matter what a person has done in life. He hath delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [see Colossians 1;14]. This is something to rejoice in, our redemption through the blood of Christ. Restoration is on its way towards all people who confess their faults. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit,”[Psalms 51:12] David cried out. May God give us understanding in all things. Help us Lord to remember that “the merciful man doeth good to his own soul, but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh,” [Proverbs 11:16].  Help us God to be a faithful people unto the glory of your Son.  Help us Lord God to be a chosen generation, a people of God who has obtained mercy [1 Peter 2:9-10].

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Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

What does it mean to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God? The Holy Spirit of God is the third person of the Trinity. He is a person who points to Christ and is known as the Comforter [see John 14:26 and 15:26]. The Holy Spirit of God will guide us into all truth and will not glorify himself. He will glorify Christ [see John 16:14]. The Holy Spirit of God is not egotistical, for he will always testify of Christ. As a comforter He is a helper that has come alongside a person to help us in our Christian walk. We are sealed by the Spirit of God unto the day of redemption. This means that we have been delivered by a price that was paid by the blood of Christ. We are no longer a slave sold under sin but have been set free from the power of sin by the blood of Christ. We have been bought and purchased by the blood of Christ. 

The Holy Spirit is himself the seal, which is the finished transaction of ownership. A Christian is a believer of Christ birth, death, and resurrection for the remission of sins. A Christian belongs to God because of the death and resurrection of Christ. A Christian is delivered from being sold under sin through the fall of man. Therefore, a Christian should not be under Satan’s rule of sin, or falsehood. A Christian should be under the rule of God’s love and forgiveness. The apostle Paul is telling us in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 30 that we should not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by speaking evil or having malice within our heart. In verse 31 of Ephesians chapter 4, Paul tells us to put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, and evil speaking. We are to get rid of every form of malice and be kind and forgiving. As a Christian we are not to be deceived by vain words that have no value such as dirty jokes.

Acting contrary to the love of God grieves the Holy Spirit of God, who has sealed us unto the day of redemption; therefore, we should be careful how we act and ask God to take these desires from us and lay it down at the foot of the cross. Ask God to help you to walk in love as children of light and not darkness. We must recognize that no unclean person or covetous man will have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ [see Ephesians 5:5]. The apostle Paul is warning Christians about their behavior and walk as a child of God. That is why it is so important to having our mind renewed by the word of God which is the Bible. The Bible is the word of God that reveals what God’s will is. The Spirit of God helps us to understand God’s will and helps us to be formed into the image of Christ. Christ in us is the hope of glory every day.

We must remember that when we are contrary to the love of God in our action, there is a struggle of the flesh taking place against the Spirit and vice versa [see Galatians 5:17]. That is why Paul tells us in Galatians 5:24 that those “that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Crucifying the flesh means to lay it down at the feet of Jesus and ask him to change those desire. It is to surrender your will to the will of God and ask him to cleanse your desire to become the desire of Christ. This is when the Holy Spirit comes in as our helper and comforter to assure us that we are the child of God and that through grace we can come to the Father and ask for help. Like David in Psalms 139 we ask God to search our heart and mind to see if there is any wicked way in us so we can be led into the everlasting life and not death. Thank God that we are not alone and that we have a comforter that comes and helps us to walk the way of Christ and to live in the love of God.

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I Will Heal Thee . . .

Are you in need of a healing? Do you need spiritual, or physical? No manner what type of healing you need, our Lord is ready to heal you

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

Are you in need of a healing? Do you need spiritual, or physical? No manner what type of healing you need, our Lord is ready to heal you. “I am the LORD that healeth thee,” exclaimed in Exodus 15:26, the people of God had a covenant promise of healing. Do we believe that God is willing to heal today? I can remember people praying and saying, “Lord if it is thy will, heal me.” That expression was used a lot and did not get results because those praying did not know the will of God regarding healing. When Jesus died on the cross the stripes, he received was for our benefit to receive healing. Do you know the benefits of the Lord? Read Psalms 103.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

Psalms 103:2-3

Have we forgotten the Lord’s benefit of healing for all our diseases? What about the leper in Matthew 8:3 who asked the Lord, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean?” What did Jesus tell him? Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. Jesus said, I Will. Jesus went about healing all manner of sickness and diseases [see Matthew 4:23]. It is His will to heal, and it is for us today. Do you have the faith to believe for healing? What did Jesus’ brother say about healing? In James chapter 5 verses 14 and 15, James asked the question “is any sick among you?” If there was, they were to call the elders of the church to come and pray over the sick and anoint them with oil. In verse 15 of chapter 5 of James is the key to healing. The prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord will raise him up. The prayer of faith will save the sick, so an individual does not necessarily have to have faith to be healed.  Their faith needs to be built up by the preaching of the Gospel.   If a person does not have the faith than the elders are called upon. They have faith and know who they have placed their faith in. It is in Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith [see Hebrews 12:2]. The elders look to Jesus and not the condition of the person for healing of all sickness.

Jesus gave the 12 disciples power to heal the sick, and to cast out unclean spirits [see Matthew 10:1]. It is Jesus who gives the power for healing. This power is known to be the Greek word “dunamis,” which in English means explosive power. Healing is a part of the Gospel of Jesus that was to be preached to all people. Jesus told Philip, one of the disciples that those who believe on him, shall do greater works than what Jesus did at that time, because Jesus himself will be with the Father [see John 14:12]. Remember that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Healing did not end after Jesus’ death; it was a part of the Gospel to free people from the bondage of sickness because of the fall of man. We do not always know why someone is sick or why some are healed, and others are not. Only God knows the reason. One thing is clear in the Bible, it is a lack of faith that many are not healed. In James 5:15, it states that the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he has committed any sins, they shall be forgiven. Put your faith in Jesus and call for the elders of the church. It is Jesus will that you be healed.

Want to read more? Download this pdf flyer titled, “The Hem of His Garment.”

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Give and it shall be given unto you . . .

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Luke 6:38

Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed and shaken together and running over. Would we not want good measure to be running over in our life? In this verse, it is referencing to measure in return. Jesus is saying that your giving will be measured in return to you. There is blessing in your simple giving to those in need. This is part of the Beatitudes and if you read in verse 30 of Luke chapter 6, Jesus states, “Give to every man that asked of thee.” We may not always think about our state of mind when it comes to giving, or how we feel about it. The attitude of giving without return is one of the key points in this chapter, but Jesus said that your reward shall be great [see verse 35 of Chapter 6]. The Bible tells us that when you give to the poor you are lending to the Lord..

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord, and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Proverbs 19:17

Lending to the Lord, wow! When I found this scripture with the promise that it will be paid back, I could not believe it. God’s heart is on the poor and needy who need help and God will bless those who give to the poor. How Proverbs 19:17 lines up with Luke 6:38 was amazing to me, but it brought the point home. I once heard a person say to me in response to not taking a job at a mission that we always have the poor with us. That person said it was in the Bible, and yes it is in Matthew 26:11, but this is in reference to using ointment that was poured upon Jesus as a burial. Jesus said this because his disciples did not understand the good work of the women pouring the perfume upon him. Her focus was on Jesus while the disciples focus was on the money. It all depends upon your heart attitude. Remember, God always looks at the heart of man.

We should not hide our eyes from the poor, for anyone can become poor overnight by disaster. In Proverbs 28:27 is states, “he that giveth unto the poor shall not lack, but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.” Some of us need to rethink about those attitudes that would snob those who are of a lower class. I have experienced twice being homeless because of unforeseen incidents that left me homeless, yet I was not forsaken by God who supplied my every need. Whatever you measure will be measured back to you is the same as saying “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is an attitude of respecting one another. Respecting our fellow human beings is the key to living a peaceful life. God will establish the work of our hands [see Psalms 90:17]. If you are needy and poor, He will be your helper. All you must do is cry out unto God and he will provide.  Repent of any sin and ask God to provide you with the needed help that you need.  You will be surprised as I was when me and my dad were homeless in Seattle.  We walk around Queen Anne looking for apartment vacancy.  My dad knocks on the manager’s door and asks if we could have an apartment.  It was a basement apartment, but it was furnished.  She let us have the apartment with no down payment. I was praying the whole time.  My prayer was answered.

If you are given the opportunity to give, do not withhold your giving. Heed the call in your community at your local food bank, homeless mission, or those in need at your local church. Be a blessing and you will be blessed. Remember that God loves you, so lets share His Love.

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We have obtained an Inheritance . . .

We have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to His will. What does it mean to be predestined?

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

Ephesians 1:11

We have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to His will. What does it mean to be predestined? The Greek word is “proorizo,” and it means to mark out or determine beforehand. Another word would be foreordained, which is to ordain in advance according to Merriam-Webster. Some may call it fate. The apostle Paul used this word in Ephesians chapter one verses 5 and 11. We should know God’s will and testament as it is written in the Holy Bible. Many people were involved in the translation of the Bible and fate has brought it through many generations. Biblical archaeology has affirmed its historical truth, even though there are those who wish to discredit it. The debate still goes on today because of unbelief and doubt. Let us consider what it would be like not to have the Bible and know the story of man [Adam & Eve] fallen from their own desire to be something else than what God desired them to be, rulers over the earth [see Genesis 1;26].

Man is a law unto themselves. They choose what they desire in their heart to do good or evil. Those who have ruled have not all been good. Friedrich Nietzsche was an influential German philosopher, and it is interesting to note that even he commented on why people do not want to hear the truth because it would destroy their illusions. They do not want to face their own fears or demons in their life. However, the stories written in the Bible are about men who must face the reality of their own fears and or demons in their life. Maybe that is why David exclaimed, “who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults, [see Psalms 19:12]. Do you have any secret faults that need to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus? This is one thing that the Apostle Paul talked about the desires of our own flesh and fulfilling those desires that is in the sons of disobedience [see Ephesians 2:3]. Those desires are not easily given up without divine intervention. The grace of God brings salvation through his Son Jesus Christ and when we confess, he is faithful to forgive us all our sins.

We are acquainted with our own sins and secret faults. If not our own, we know about others that have sin and secret faults. We like to point the finger, but remember what Jesus said to those when they accused the women of adultery, He said, “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” [see John 8:7]. No one is exempt from the all-seeing eye of God. The realization that God is acquainted with all our ways is astounding. My substance was not hidden from God when I was made in secret and there is a book where all my members were written [see Psalms 139]. All my members being formed were written in a book. What book is David talking about in Psalms 139:16? Can it be the Book of Life? Did you know about the books that were opened in Revelation 20:12? When you are wondering about your life and how you have come so far from spiritual death, a light begins to dawn that our future is in the hand of God. Even when we cannot conceive it ourselves, we are given an inheritance that was sealed in a book.

We also have the down payment of our inheritance. When we have believed in the word of truth concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise [see Ephesians 1:13-14]. This seal is a finished transaction of ownership, which brings in the adoption of the believer to the position of a child of God. This is a divine decision of foreknowledge that is mind-boggling to many people especially to new believers. Therefore, as a believer’s one must ask God to open the eyes of our understanding as to what the scriptures are revealing. As a child of God, the believer begins to gain understanding who he or she is in Christ. Paul states in Romans 8:16-17 that the Spirit bears witness that we are the children of God. As the children of God, we have become joint heirs with Christ. We were redeemed from under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons, [Galatians 4:5]. I remember the song that was sang with gusto at the church when I was a young adult titled,” The family of God.” It meant something to me since I was born out of wedlock and then abandoned by my mother as a teen. As a teenager I wanted to belong somewhere. When I got saved, I realized that I belonged to God.

I’m so glad I’m a part

Of the family of God

I’ve been washed in the fountain

Cleansed by His blood

Joint heirs with Jesus

As we travel this sod

For I’m part of the family

The family of God

The Family of God by Bill & Gloria Gaither

I now have a family in God.  Joint heirs with Jesus as I travel this earth. No one can take me from the Love of God. This applies to you too. . .if you are a believer, you are joint heirs with Jesus also [see Romans 8:17]. Do not take this lightly. Think about the book you are written in. God has given everyone a free will to choose life or death. We are called the “sons of God” in 1 John 3:1. There is another song that was sung in the late 70’s and written by Patricia Van Tine. As a teenager I grew up on this simple song of worship. Listen and sing it within your heart. We have obtained an inheritance through Christ, and this is something to rejoice in.

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Speaking to Yourself

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:19 KJV

Speak to yourself in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. How many Christians are speaking to themselves with psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs? Are you dry and thirsty in your daily walk as a Christian? Have you gone numb or maybe you are paralyzed from seeking God further? Maybe you just do not fill like worshipping our Great God. Something has happened that closed your soul from reaching out to God. How does one get back to the joy of worshipping God? When Covid-19 came on the scene churches across the U.S. had to disband the gathering of believers for worship at church. This had devastated many Christians who were used to gathering every week, and sometimes for more than one service. Having been a worship leader, I know that there are people who come just for the worship, especially the younger generation. Even musicians suffered because they had no outlet to express themselves.

What can we learn from this experience? First, we must go back to what the Apostle Paul taught. No matter what the situation, one requirement for a Christians today is to pray always for those within the body of Christ [see Ephesians 6:18]. But let us step back and consider what happened to the Apostle Paul and Silas in chapter 16 of Acts. Paul had cast out a demon from a maid and was accused of teaching unlawful customs. Both Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail. What did Paul and Silas do? At midnight they prayed and sang praises unto God [see Acts 16:25]. When they prayed and sang praises to God a miracle happened. An earthquake rocked the foundations of the prison and the doors opened and the bands around there feet were loosened. Read the rest of the story. This is an example of what we as Christians should be doing in our home. Personal prayer time and singing praises unto God.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:18-20 to speak to ourselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. If your church records the worship service, ask for a copy of the service. I used to get copies of services that blessed me in some way, and I wanted to hear the message again. I have boxes of cassettes from pastor’s messages that have greatly blessed me. Some with the worship and special music recorded. Some churches are still doing this but may have upgraded to putting the messages along with music onto a CD. This keeps a person contemplating on the message and continuing to worship by listening and singing along with their headphones on. I have worn out tapes by playing them often, but a CD is less likely to become worn out. Some churches are using podcasts where you can view services online. You may ask your Pastor to consider having this available to his congregation.

I found it interesting how the wording had changed a little in Colossians 3:16 where Paul stated, “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” The word of Christ is to dwell in you richly in all wisdom, and this is done through helping each other to listen to psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. The importance of having a personal time in prayer and or singing to the Lord is particularly important especially during hard times. Just think, a miracle could be just around the corner for you as God manifest himself by opening doors that you may have never thought of. Get yourself into a routine and sing and make melody in your heart to God. Do not harden your heart, come before his presence with thanksgiving and praise. If you are one of those people who say you cannot sing, then read your psalms and hymn book. Speak to the Lord a psalms, hymn, or spiritual song.

Tom Kraeuter, author of “The Worship Leader’s Handbook,” stated that worship “must become part of the everyday life of believers to be valid. A life full of worship and praise has tremendous impact on our daily struggles.” Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink, [see John 7:37].” Jesus also stated that “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,” [see verse 38 of John 7]. If you are dry and thirsty, ask God to allow the living water, which is the Holy Spirit, to begin to flow through you. Get away by yourself and take that quiet time and offer up your sacrifice of praise to God. Ask God to remove any blockage in your heart that would keep you from offering up your praise. O taste and see that the Lord is good. May the fruit of our lips continue to give thanks to His name.

There are so many new worship songs to choose from. Choose one that has a personal meaning for you and sing or speak it to the Lord. One of my favorites is by Andy Park titled, “Holy Love.” I have sung this song at a men’s homeless shelter in Seattle. These men that came into the mission were tired and weary from work, seeking medical assistance, and searching to find an apartment. The shelter is just a temporary place until other lodgings could be made to be more on a permanent basis. We all need to sit in the presence of the Lord and allow His Spirit of His love to flow through us. Watch this video with an attitude of worship to the Lord. 

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Yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. . .

Who is like unto thee, O Lord? So glorious in holiness is He. Yet, the apostle Paul is telling us to yield our members to righteousness unto holiness.

Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Exodus 15:11

Who is like unto thee, O Lord? So glorious in holiness is He. Yet, the apostle Paul is telling us to yield our members to righteousness unto holiness. Through Christ we become servants of righteousness unto holiness. Holiness is to be SEPARATE, TO BE SET APART FOR THE LORD. We were purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. We were bought with a price. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:22-23, “likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.  Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” We are Christ’s servants. We respect everyone knowing the time is short, for we serve the Lord in righteousness and holiness. Only through Christ is love made perfect, anything else is consider vanity. “They speak vanity everyone with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak,” said David in Psalms 12:2.

Have you ever considered what it means to have a double heart? A double heart is one who pretends to be your friend, but deep down in his heart he has something against you. It is a form of falsehood. It is like the saying that they will be your friend to your face, and then stab you in the back. It is a breach of confidence and trust. We must be aware that there are some who fall into the double heart situation due to an unfruitful desire that they have. A desire that is contrary to the will of God. If one does not surrender that desire to the Lord, they are in danger of becoming a slave unto sin instead of a slave unto Christ. Therefore, Paul told us to set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth, [see Colossians 3:2]. We must have Christ righteousness and holiness. We are to seek after the Kingdom of God and his righteousness [see Matthew 6:33]. Through Christ, we have been freed from our sins and became the servants of righteousness. 

Let us continue to hold fast our profession in Christ Jesus. Let us not stumble and allow our faith to become useless. We must hold onto our profession with a clean heart knowing that Christ is the sure foundation for our faith. Our heart must be pure so we can see God [see Matthew 5:8]. It is through Christ that we have the ministry of reconciliation. Thank God that we have a high priest who is familiar with our weaknesses, so we can go to him in prayer.  Jesus had strong words of warning about false profession in Matthew 7:21-23. Many would ignore the warning, but my friend it is real and as a Christian we must learn and heed Christ warning about having a false profession of our faith and consider that not everyone will be entering the kingdom of heaven. Those who say I did this for the Lord, and I did that for the Lord may have a double heart. God knows who they are. James said it well in the following scripture.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

James 1:22-24 KJV

We are not to deceive ourselves. We all should look at ourselves in a mirror and behold what we see. We should not forget what manner of man we were, going our own way. Surrender all to the Lord and take the narrow road to holiness and righteousness.  Always keep our eyes on Christ. Allow Christ Spirit to cleanse your heart and mind.  Ask in prayer to be clothed into the Spirit of Christ.  That is what it means to put on Christ who is created in righteousness and true holiness. Scott Underwood song titled “Take My Life,” expresses the desire well in what we need, and that our heart, mind, and will need to be converted.

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Behold my Servant

Christ is the servant of the Lord God to bring forth justice to the nations.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth justice to the nations.

Isaiah 42:1

Christ is the servant of the Lord God to bring forth justice to the nations. Through the ages the blood of Christ will restore all those around the world who walked in the light of His Glory. Occasionally we hear the stories of missionaries who gave their all to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter what the future holds, we must remember that God’s soul delights in His servant Jesus Christ. Isaiah wrote and foretold the prophecies back in the 8th Century before Christ was born. In chapter 42 from verse one to seven we read about the coming Servant who was weak, despised, rejected, and slain, yet He was mighty and victories restoring Israel as well as the Gentiles to a new body in Christ, which is the church.

He shall bring forth justice to the nations, open the blind eyes, and bring out those who sit in darkness out of prison. Let us not cause another to stumble, let us not fall from doing what is right. Let us grow in the root of Christ love as is stated in Ephesians 3:17, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.” Let the seed take root in knowing who He is through the word and may it resonate within our hearts. May we not be offended like Jesus said in Matthew 13:21,”yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, immediately he is offended.” What does offend mean here in this scripture? It means to cause to stumble, or to hinder right conduct or thought. What did Jesus say chokes out the word? Is it not unbelief, offense, care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, [see Matthew 13:19-23]? What is the mystery of the tares in this same chapter 13 of Matthew? Jesus said that it is the Son of Man that sows the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom, which is on the earth. The enemy is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age or world. This is what we must chew on and comprehend.  We must pray to have our understanding enlightened.

Christ purpose as a servant is to bring justice and light to the nations upon the earth. Christ purpose is to call humans into his light and glory. To be free from the many chains that has bound us into a prison. This includes racism which is the belief that one color or race of people is better than another. I have had first-hand experience with this having our house graffitied, egged, and toilet papered in the 60’s due to an assumption that was not based upon the truth. We are told in scripture, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus [see Galatians 3:28]. No person or individual is better than another, for we are one body in Christ. The apostle Paul made that clear in Romans 12:5.

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Romans 12:5

Plus, all members of the body have different offices. Members have different gifts according to God’s grace that is given within the body. The apostle Paul told us not to think of ourselves highly above anyone [see verse 3 of Romans 12]. There should be no jealousy or envying among members positions in the body of Christ, for we are members of each other. In Christ there is no status quo, for everyone is willing to help another when a real need exists.

It is so easy to go to war with each other over any issue. Recent political events across America are an example of how divisions are created because of political beliefs. Violence has broken out between neighbors who were once friends. Within the wall of the church, we may find the same issues of divisions. What should a Christian brother or sister do. What did the apostle Paul tell the Ephesians to do in chapter 6:12-13, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.” Paul goes on to tell us what that armor is. Keeping it simple, it is putting on Christ, knowing our position in Christ, and praying always. We must remember that the battle belongs to the Lord. Remember that there was no sword in the hand of David when he prevailed over the Philistine. David knew the battle belonged to the Lord see 1 Samuel chapter 17. We must realize that the seed that is planted is for His harvest and that He has called us to unity within the body of Christ. We must recognize who the enemy is and pray for the light to shine forth in the darkness. Lord help us to be a light in a dark place and help us to pray for the saints around the world.  Give us all strength to carry His light for all to see, and let us stay rooted in Christ Love, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith

Jesus and the cross are common symbols today for the meaning of Christianity.

Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 KJV

Jesus and the cross are common symbols today for the meaning of Christianity. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the Cross as ” a sign both of Christ himself and of the faith of Christians.” As we are nearing the time of Easter, many Evangelicals celebrate Christ’s resurrection with a special ceremony. I always find it interesting how pagan themes attached themselves to basic Christian themes and Easter is one of them that has taken root in the theme of the Cross. In truth, Easter comes from the Germanic goddess of dawn. Did you know that Easter is based on a solar calendar? It is celebrated after the first full moon occurring after the Spring Equinox. I only mention this because to some people who view American Christianity have commented how America has become Polytheistic, which means worshiping more than one God. Maybe we should take a closer look at where or what we have placed our faith in.

Thus, the title of Jesus being the author and finisher of our faith should help us on where our faith should be placed. The scriptures tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith, for one must believe in who He is, [see Hebrews 11:6]. In Hebrews chapter 11 we have this long list of examples of the way of faith up to the chapter of 12 of Hebrews and verse 2 where Jesus is mentioned who endured the cross and now is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus who atoned for our sins. Jesus who covered our sin from God’s sight. Jesus who put away sin by the sacrifice of himself [see Hebrews 9:26]. The final sacrifice once and for all Jesus is the only one who can save humanity.

To many it is foolishness, but the Apostle Paul commented that “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God,” [ see 1 Corinthians 1:18]. This pleased God that the foolishness of the cross became the power of God to save humanity. The power of God for those who are saved is seen through the prayer of faith. The prayer of faith is seen through Christ who covered our sins. Christ who became the author and the finisher of our faith because of His sacrifice on the cross. Christ who is the resurrection and the life [see John 11:25]. Christ who destroys the work of the devil [see 1 John 3:8]. The power of God is seen through Christ death and resurrection.

This is our confidence, Jesus Christ who loved us so much to become our sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ who became the way to God, so that we may become God’s children. Jesus Christ who overcame the world and the power of the evil one who is Satan [see Hebrews 2:14]. We need to remind ourselves that we serve a living God and not a dead God. Christ is the resurrection, and the life means we have a destiny. We have an everlasting life because of the resurrection of Christ. That is why the Apostle John declared that “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world [1 John 4:4]. We have a sure foundation in Christ Jesus. Our confession in Christ Jesus is not in vain, instead it is the power of God to break the power of sin and the control of the evil one, who is Satan. The apostle Paul tells us “if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain,” [see 1 Corinthians 15:17]. Let us remember on Easter where, or who we place our faith in, so that our faith is not in vain. Let our heart not waver in unbelief in departing from a living God [see Hebrews 3:12]. Let us always look to Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, for it is the power of God.

The following worship song has been sung with exchanging the word blood with the word [Cross]. It’s the Cross that Cleanses me, It’s the Cross that gives me life. My Jesus, God’s precious sacrifice.

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The Fruit of the Spirit

Ah! Juicy sweet fruit in a bowl, but how does that relate to the Spirit?

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

Ah! Juicy sweet fruit in a bowl, but how does that relate to the Spirit? Fruit in this passage of scripture is from the Greek word “Karpos,” which means fruit of the trees. I always find it interesting in deciphering a moral or spiritual lesson of what is written in the Bible. What about the word “Spirit”? The Greek word is “Pneuma,” and in Galatians here the word Spirit is capitalized, so it means it is talking about a personality and character. It is talking about the Holy Ghost the third person of the Trinity. The Christian character is produced by the Holy Spirit working in us and not by our own self-effort. The Apostle Paul is talking about the character of the Holy Spirit, which should be a reminder to us that the true Spirit always points to Christ and has the character of Christ; therefore, love, joy, peace, along with self-control will be the character of a true Christian.

We are to be conformed to the image of the Son [see Romans 8:29], so we will have the Son’s character working through us to reveal good fruit ready to be picked from the tree. The Spirit helps us to become free from our sinful habits and to become more like Christ. This is part of the sanctification process of every Christian. The continual renewal by the Holy Ghost to be set a part for Christ. 1st Thessalonians 4:4 states, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor. This is the will of God. We are set apart for the Lord and being changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ. Paul tells us where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We must not abuse that liberty we have in Christ and go against anyone and do them harm [see Galatians 5:13]. We are not to be consumed by doing evil to one another. What did Paul say in verse 14 of this same chapter, “for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

In order to bear the good fruit of the Spirit one must receive essential nutrients. Conditions of a fruitful life for a Christian are cleansing, abiding, and obedience.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:4 KJV

We abide in Christ through faith. And it is through faith that we ask for help to have our heart cleansed on a daily basis. There is not a day that I do not ask God to forgive me for my behavior of complaining, getting angry, or acting selfish. Sometimes we ignore our behavior, but he wants us to take those things to the Lord in prayer. Abiding in the vine is also seeking God’s word. Reading about who He is and what is the will of God should be done on a daily basis. Jesus said, “if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you,” [see John 15:7]. Jesus goes on to say that we are to continue in His Love. This is where obedience comes into the picture. Read and ask, read and ask and it shall be done. Read, ask for His love to rule your heart, and serve one another through that love He has given us. Abide in Christ and stay connected into the vine and you will fine that love, joy, and peace will come forth in your life.

Take time to read the following scripture: John 15:1-14, and Galatians 5:13-26, and see how they relate to each other. Cleansing, abiding, and obedience are what Jesus is speaking out in John chapter 15. See how the apostle Paul explains the difference between the flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit and that we are called to serve one another in love.

Listen to Abide in My Love by Inge Schultz from the album “Send The Light” at https://ingeschultz.com/single/33191/abide-in-my-love . this song is taken from the gospel of John 15.

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Rest in the Lord

How can we rest in the Lord and not become anxious over Covid-19, or what we have witness within our own communities?

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any way to do evil.

Psalms 37:7-8

How can we rest in the Lord and not become anxious over Covid-19, or what we have witness within our own communities? I often wonder myself at the injustices that are taking place every day. Last year we have seen an increase of violence in cities across America and it was anything but beautiful. Maybe we should revisit the song America The Beautiful. We need God to shed his grace upon us all in America.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

There are so many voices that want to be heard that sincere compassion left the office and violence moved in. Anger rises because of unfair practices, criticism, or being threatened. When we begin to not respect other peoples feelings or possessions then we are losing the cohesiveness of humanity. Society needs to work towards the wellbeing of all its members and promote opportunity for everyone and not just a few. That is what doing good is all about. That is what brotherhood means.  It means helping one another. We need God’s grace every day to make it when we are hit with financial issues, health issues, and grieving the loss of someone, or even a pet. We need to remember that there is a higher power we can rely on that has overcome the world. God is for us and not against us.

Can we be a person after God’s own heart like David? In Psalms 37 David is telling us not to “FRET,” or become angry, but to trust in the Lord and do good. David surely has seen violence during his time, and he was hiding and talking to God about it. I am sure David became angry at what was happening around him and against him. He may have even been confused as to why circumstances were against him. Yet, we know that God had a purpose in what was happening, and God did help David through his circumstances. We will get through our circumstances as well if we remember that we are not alone. The Lord told Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7 not to look at others stature because as man they have the habit of looking at the outward appearance instead of looking at what is in the heart. God sees the heart of man. We are to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart.

Our heart must be pure when we ask for what we need. We do not ask to get something so that we can be better than someone else. We ask with a sincere heart like David who prayed and had a conversation with God. Even the apostle Paul said “be ye angry and sin not” [see Ephesians 4:6]. Paul said, “let not the sun go down upon your anger.” In other words, before the sun goes down our anger is to cease. David is warning us that doing evil is not the way to get even, for the Lord sees the heart of man. We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ on that day, and we do not want to become a stumbling block to anyone. [see Romans 14:10-12] It is better to cool our anger by talking to God about it and or confess it to someone who will pray with you to be healed of the anger. Let us continue to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him every day. Thank God for His marvelous grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled

Grace, grace, God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God’s grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace
Freely bestowed on all who believe
You who are longing to see His face
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Hymnal written by Julia Johnston in 1911

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Temptations Common to Man

Temptations common to man such as alcohol, gambling, money, possessions, and making it to the top like a CEO of a corporation seem to be common today, yet these and other types of temptations can lead to an addiction and even death.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will, with the temptation, also make the way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV

Temptations common to man such as alcohol, gambling, money, possessions, and making it to the top like a CEO of a corporation seem to be common today, yet these and other types of temptations can lead to an addiction and even death. The simple definition of temptation is a strong pleasurable desire/urge or impulse to do something. It is a short-term gratification that can be harmful in the long-term for it affects others as well as can lead to death such as a person overdosing on drugs. Temptation plays upon an individual’s mind and becomes an obsession. It disrupts your daily routine because you cannot get it out of your mind. If we look at verse 14 of 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul associates temptation to idolatry, which is the worship of an object, or thing. Such as a top-of-the-line car like the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, or a movie idol like John Wayne or Harrison Ford.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:14-15 KJV

In the book of James, we can gain a better understanding what temptation does. First, James tells us that every man is tempted. I have not heard of anyone who is not tempted to steal, lie, or cheat, have you? Second James tells us we are drawn away by our own lust. The meaning of lust in James comes from the Greek word “epithumia,” which mean strong desire of any kind. The attraction of pleasure that consumes us can become idol worship.   The object or thing is controlling you rather than you are controlling the object or thing. That is why it brings forth death because you are no longer in control, and many times it really does lead to physical death such as drugs and alcohol. The bible tells us to flee from idolatry, youthful lust, and fornication [see 1Corinthians 10:14, 6:18, 2 Timothy 2:22]. However, the apostle Paul tells us that God will make a way out of any temptation we may find ourselves in.

We must ask God through prayer to help us get out of temptation. Jesus tells us to watch and pray that we do not enter temptation because he knew that our spirit was willing, but our flesh is weak [see Matthew26:41].  Now we need to watch and pray to receive a way out.  Confess your sin to God, for He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [1 John 1:9]. Beware of any temptation with an “if” in it such as If you do this, I will do this, or if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours. Just read about Jesus’ temptation from Satan and the “if” factor to be tempted into pleasure, power, or wealth [see Matthew 4:1-11].  Know that anything or object that takes you away from Jesus as your focal point is directing you down a path away from God. The apostle Paul tells us not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices and many today do not realize the danger they are putting themselves into when following other people or desiring riches and wealth.

We must believe that God will provide for our every need, but at times it seems we want to help ourselves and forget about the consequences of our actions. Our God can help us purge our desires and to help free us from Satan’s hold upon us. Any kind of temptation we fall into is to be considered carefully by watching and praying.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.

James 1:2

It is hard to consider any temptation as joyful because it just does not feel joyous when we know we are being tempted. James tells us it is the trying of our faith to stay true to the path of our calling in Christ Jesus. That going through temptation will bring patience and that it is God’s perfect work in that we come to a place of not wanting nothing [James 1:3-4]. Have you ever considered the wording “wanting nothing.”? If we are secure in our position in Christ, we should not lack nothing, for He is our life.  This gives us something to ponder upon that when we put our faith in God, we can endure temptation and God will see us through it and provide a way out.  We may need to reconsider by evaluating what we are following today, and if that is taking the place of following our Lord.  May God help us to see what thing or object is holding us and help us to relinquish it into the Lord’s hand.  Cleanse our desire’s Lord and help us to become the people you want us to be.  Help us Lord to watch and pray that we are not lead  into temptation but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen [Matthew 6:13].

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The Glory of God

The glory of God is all around us if we are willing to see its majesty. Landscapes and seascapes reveal the glory of God in the images of color and light to which many artists try to capture what they see with the naked eye.

Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

John 11:40

The glory of a majestic sunset

The glory of God is all around us if we are willing to see its majesty. Landscapes and seascapes reveal the glory of God in the images of color and light to which many artists try to capture what they see with the naked eye. How can we see the glory of God? How can we see the splendor, beauty, and magnificence of God’s glory in our life? Have you ever wanted to see His glory? Can we believe to see the glory of God? This is what Jesus said to Martha when he yelled out for Lazarus to come forth out of the grave in the gospel of John chapter 11. Can you imagine witnessing this event? I often wondered what it was like and how many were astonished at what they were witnessing with their own eyes. Whatever we may have done, is nothing compared to what God has done.

To see God’s wondrous works among people is amazing to witness and I have seen it with my own eyes. People being healed during a song I have sung or witnessing healings of people during a crusade I participated in was displaying the glory of God. I remember watching Kathryn Kuhlman television program in Southern California in the early 70’s. Kathryn received so much criticism and skeptics were out to discredit the ministry God had given her. The very idea that God would use a woman was unheard of. Some have said it was sacrilegious. Yet, those behind the scenes saw tears upon tears flowing down her face as she laid on the floor praying to God. Let us remember that Jesus too had skeptic’s out to do him in as well, yet He went about healing sickness and every disease among the people [see Matthew 9:35]. No one really knows how many people were touched by the message of the Gospel during Kuhlman’s crusades, only God knows the truth.

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

2 Peter 1:16

Peter exhorting for people to remember the power and glory of God to whom he was an eyewitness of his majesty. We do not always remember the near misses of death we may have experienced, but these are miraculous especially if a tornado missed your house, or a car misses your car in a near accident. In 1974 on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, I was struck down by a car walking home with several friends. I always looked both ways before crossing the street, but as I step out on the street, I went a little faster ahead of my friends and was hit by a car. My friends witnessed what happened and exclaimed that the car came from out of no wear with no head lights on. I was partially under the front of the car and knocked out while they were in shock as to what happened. I came around and saw I was under the front of the car. My elbow and hip were sore, but I did not seem to be badly hurt. My friends said that the car stop so fast as if a wall was up, so it did not completely run me over. They believed it was a miracle that I was not seriously hurt. I thanked God for keeping me alive and well.

Sometimes we ignore these miracles, but they do happen every day.  Even when we do get hurt physically, God is still able to bring healing to our bodies.  His healing is still available today if we would only ask him. I am amazed at the many times I have received healing for my body. Jesus said, “whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son,” [see John14:13]. Whatever happens in your life, remember that you are witnessing God’s glory in your life. We need to pass on the glory to God as Andrae Crouch once said before singing the song “My Tribute [To God be the Glory]. Give God the glory today, for all the things he has done in your life.

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Search the Heart, Test the Conscience

Everyone can choose the path they wish to walk on, but know that whatever that path is, God will search your heart and test your conscience.

I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the conscience, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 17:10

The prophet Jeremiah stood out in making claims of God’s judgment in Judah and Jerusalem. This was in a time much like our own where people did not listen and went their own way instead of heeding the warnings. Jeremiah complained to God about his role as a prophet, for it was not an easy path. His path met with consistent friction of opposing oppositions to his preaching and warnings. Today, we have many false prophets who make money by deceiving many to go down a path that is anything but fruitful. Many are blinded to the actual truth of what is reality and what is not. We see what we want to see with our own eyes. The focus in any ministry that claims to be of God should be that of love for one another, helping parent-less children, and widows [see James 1:27]. James described this as a pure religion. According to the scriptures every word that is spoken will be tested and proven if it is true or not.

Can a man search the heart of another or test the conscience of another? We try to, but we do not always succeed in this endeavor. This can only take place when you are living daily with the person whom you are searching or testing. However, Jeremiah tells us it is the Lord who searches the heart and tests the conscience. Jeremiah also warns those who put their trust in man instead of God [see verse 5 of chapter 17]. Those who trust the Lord will be blessed. Blessed with what? Many believe with wealth, but this is not always the case [see Jeremiah 17:11]. Does prospering mean wealth? If you look at the Greek or Hebrew text for prosper its meaning is that of safety, rest, and security, or being at peace. Today we associate the word to mean wealth, but this is not the truth of its meaning. You do not have to be rich to have peace, rest, or security. It is whether, or not your basic needs are being met and if you can sustain yourself through a year of drought like what we experienced last year with Covid-19 where many businesses closed their doors for business, and people were without a job.

Is the grass greener somewhere else? Many seem to think this is true but, it does not always work out that way. Whatever our lot, it takes effort on our part to make something happen whether for good or bad. The result will display itself in how we react towards whatever we must face. I can remember the time I ran away from home. I was lost in the city of Perth and I was complaining to God. I had a strong belief in God for I have received dreams and vision in my early youth. I heard God’s voice spoke to me when I was complaining about my situation at home. He told me I had to go back home. He told me that He would be with me and help see me through the situation. He helped me find my way back home and was true to His word. Sometimes walking away from our path is not the answer and we end up going around a loop and come right back to face what we are running away from. You might say that He was testing my conscience in the situation I was in which was anything but peaceful.

I learned from the mistakes of my parents that moving to another place to gain riches only brought disparity and inequality. When an individual is set on only making money, love goes out the door for other members of the family. Sometimes it means that siblings are left to defend for themselves. Sometimes even when social authorities come for a visit, it is anything but peaceful after when they leave. I hear people exclaim does not God care. Of course, He cares. That is why He sent his Son Jesus. Jesus is God’s Gift of grace to humanity. God’s grace equals love, kindness, and favor. God will chasten those whom He loves, and it is for our own profit towards the fruit of righteousness. Being chasten by God opens our eyes to understanding the truth behind a situation. It brings revelations to our own feelings about a situation as well as those around us. Being chasten by God can mean learning about something and or educating us as to the fact about a given circumstance. Are we willing to listen and consider another point of view? If we can agree to disagree and still be friends, I consider this to be a wonderful place to be, for whatever the disagreement, it is in God’s hand to work it out to prove before our eyes what the truth is.

Everyone can choose the path they wish to walk on, but know that whatever that path is, God will search your heart and test your conscience. I pray you take the path He leads you on to where you are trusting him with all your heart as is stated in Proverbs 3:5-6. Do not get stuck in the loop, ask God to help you see the truth behind any situation or circumstances. Your path soon will be straight again. Remember He Loves You.

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

Agape love, a Greek term for sacrificial, unconditional love that God’s Son would go to the cross for humanity.

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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Take my yoke upon you. . .

Jesus speaks to those who are heavy laden. Those that carry a heavy burden, or those that are oppressed.

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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This is the Will of God even your Sanctification

What does the word sanctification mean? The Greek work [agiasmos] for sanctification means separation or setting apart.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Mustard Seed

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; Which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Matthew 13:31-32

Have you heard the story of the mustard seed? The mustard seed is the smallest seed, yet when it is planted it grows into a big tree. Does the size of a seed matter when it comes to Faith? No, the size of the seed does not matter. However, the right condition does matter. When a seed is exposed to the proper conditions such as light, water, and temperature it grows. What about Faith? How does Faith grow? First, we must establish what Faith is. Faith is conviction, assurance, and reliance upon Christ. In Hebrews 12:2, it states that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. We must believe in who Jesus is and that He is risen from the dead, for if He is not risen, then our Faith is in vain [see 1 Corinthians 15:14].

How do we get Faith? The Bible tells us that Faith comes by hearing the word of God.   We can build our Faith by reading the word, or by hearing someone’s testimony of a miracle that has happen. The miracle of sight, the miracle of hearing, or the miracle of healing from some disease shows God’s faithfulness when we believe. Have you witness a miracle? It is always exciting to hear about a miracle, and or experience one for yourself.  Miracles are always possible with God.

In all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John we can read about wonderful healing and miracles. It all centers around the person of Jesus. God uses people who are full of faith to make miracles happen. Like Stephen in Acts 6:8, who was full of faith and power, and he did great wonders and miracles among the people. Jesus said on more than one occasion in the Bible that it was unbelief that kept the healing from manifesting itself. Just look at Matthew chapter 17:14-20, where a man brought his son who was mentally ill to the disciples and they could not heal him. Jesus asked for the boy to be brought to him, and he healed him. The disciples wondered why they could not heal the boy. This is what Jesus said.

Because of your unbelief; for I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Matthew 17:20 KJV

Faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen [see Hebrews 11:1]. Divided loyalty and indecision voids faith from working. This is usually the result of fear of failure. Sometimes we do not have patience and or willingness for the healing to take place. I once read about a woman who had a large goiter and she believed that God healed her. Everyone who knew her thought she was out of her mind because they could see that she was not healed, yet the healing took place one year later. The substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen. . .she saw it, but those around her did not have faith to see her healed. No one knows why it took a year, but we do know that all things are possible with God [ see Matthew 19:26].

We can also glean some insight from James, the brother of Jesus. James said that faith without works is dead [see James 2:14-20]. James gave Abraham and his son Isaac as an example. Abraham was instructed by God to offer up his son on the alter as a sacrifice. When Abraham acted on what God told him, God provided a ram. Abraham was not divided in his loyalty to God even though he loved his son [see Genesis 22]. Each person is given a measure of faith and when we act upon it, we begin to grow and see the power of God. No matter what situation you are in, believe in the author and the finisher of our faith Jesus, and witness the wonder of miracles today. . .the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen. Place it in God’s hand and believe in his provision. May your faith grow as big as the mustard tree.

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Pleasant words . . .

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones

Proverbs 16:24

Ah! Pleasant words . . . sweet as honeycomb. Do you ever feel like your missing the honeycomb? Have you ever tasted the sweetness of the honeycomb. In Proverbs 24:13, states to eat the honey, because it is good. Honey has many benefits for the body since it is an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help lower blood pressure as well as lower triglycerides. Honey is also said to have healing properties to heal wounds and burns. A little honey can go a long way to healing our mind when we use pleasant words. Our mind is linked to our heart. Studies in science have shown that there are connections from the brain to the heart. The mind response to a threatening situation brings on stress where the body response is to increase blood pressure, heart rate, and perspiration. If the body is under constant stress, this puts the body at risk to side effects such as heart disease. Words can be toxic to our soul and produce negative results.

No one should have to endure constant put-down of negative statements or humiliating remarks. Yet, it seems to flow out of our mouth like water. This kind of water is not pure or clean. In the early 1800’s washing out the mouth with soap was punishment for profanity and lying. Today, profanity and lying seem to be almost commonplace. Profanity and lying lead to selfish desires in getting what you want. It also causes frequent interpersonal relationship problems. Sometimes we have to limit our exposure from people who have negative behavior so we do not become like them, which at times can be easy to do by just giving in. Let’s remember that the Bible states that it is the wicked with a proud countenance whose ways are always grievous, and his tongue is full of cursing and deceit and fraud [see Psalms 10:7].

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Proverb 18:21

Let us be careful of what fruit we are eating when it comes to the power of the tongue. Words can hurt and destroy an individual, or it can bring love and healing to an individual. Do not become ensnared by someones tongue. Stand back and take note, where or what is causing it. Gently rebuke words that are negative and withhold your own tongue from speaking evil. Proverb 21:23 states, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” That is the key to the tongue, to keep our soul from troubles. Use our tongue for good with pleasant words goes a long way towards healing for our mind and body.

Honesty, forgiveness, and liberty are found in Jesus because He bridged the gap of cleansing our heart towards purity, so we may have an open door to the Heavenly Father. We can not come to the Heavenly Father without the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The only way to cleanse the heart of behavior is to have faith in who Jesus is. Through Jesus we have deliverance, safety, healing, and forgiveness. This is what salvation means. There is no other name under heaven that we can be saved accept through Jesus Christ. When we accept that Jesus died for our sins, and that God raised Jesus from the dead, we have the answer to becoming whole in our body and mind.

It is a matter of believing in the gospel of Christ. What is the gospel of Christ? It is the work of Jesus on the cross and Jesus‘ resurrection from the dead that brings reconciliation between people and God. This is “Good News.” We all need some good news around the Holidays. We need to hear sweet words to bring healing to our souls and health to our bones. Christmas brings together people of all backgrounds. The amazing nativity scene can bring a rebirth to the meaning of Christmas. The remembrance of love, gratitude and devotion to God, family, and friends. Will you not believe and bring healing to your own soul? I pray that this will be the day. Pray for peace, love, and joy to resonate within your heart and in the heart of others.

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Thanksgiving is Prayer

Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude to God, our Creator and Provider, whose guidance and care go before us, and whose love is with us forever. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the changes, to remember that we, too, grow and change from one season of life to another. Thanksgiving is a time of changing seasons, when leaves turn golden in autumn’s wake and apples are crisp in the first chill breezes of fall. Let us remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving. As we see the beauty of autumn, let us acknowledge the many blessings which are ours, let us think of our families and friends, and let us give thanks in our hearts.

— Author Unknown

The real meaning of Thanksgiving is gratitude, especially to God. During Thanksgiving day say a prayer of thanks to God for all the blessings you have such as a home, food, family, friends, and even for your health. If you can not be with your family on Thanksgiving Day because of COVID-19, say a prayer for them to keep them in His care and to bring healing to their bodies.

Remember He Loves you and He listens to your heart. “He will make a way” sung by Don Moen gives us hope for a new day. May it bless you today.

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Let us do Good unto all Men

As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10

Do you have opportunity to help someone? How do you define what it means to do good unto all men? I remember reading a book about a writer who started a blog before Christmas about her neighbor who was stealing her newspaper. Someone mentioned doing random acts of kindness towards the neighbor who was obstinate, discourteous, and gruff. The writer started doing just that and shared the results on the blog. What happened was that the writer learned to break through the barrier of the neighbor and found out the neighbor was mistreated by a co-worker who used him to get a promotion at work. This is known as being devious and it does not help with building relationships where there should be trust and integrity. People react negatively towards others because they have been mistreated.

Today the world is facing the virus Covid-19, and this virus has brought on a strain that everyone must face. How to cope with social distancing, general cleaning habits, and adjusting to a new work environment has been frustrating. What about those who are shut-in due to a physical disability, or the elderly who needs meals delivered to survive. What about the grieving individuals who lost someone to Covid-19? Some of us have the means to help others get through the struggle of everyday living. Some of us are learning to help each other to cope with the changes that Covid-19 has brought to humankind.

The Apostle Paul does not exclude anyone from doing good to others. In fact, this is known to many as the Golden Rule. Do you know what the Golden Rule is?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Matthew 7:12

The Apostle Paul goes on to state, “especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Why did Paul make this statement? Let us remember that Paul is addressing the church at Galatia regarding purity of conduct to that of their confession of faith in Christ. No one should be neglected in the household of faith. If there is a need for food, clothing, and or transportation to any place, that need should be fulfilled through the loving care of those who are of the faith in Christ. Some are gifted in this area, while others need help in doing good towards others. No one should be exempt from doing good. Even children can learn to do good by doing chores around the house, or helping by giving a neighbor baked goods, and or doing small chores for a neighbor like pulling weeds in the yard.

As we begin the Holiday season, doing good seems to be more on the forefront, but this should be done all through the year and not just during the Holiday season. Covid-19 brings about a new challenge during the Holiday. How can we do good with social distancing? Here is a list of some ways to reconnect.

  • Call them on the Phone and share about your struggles
  • Connect digitally such as Facebook messenger
  • Join a virtual party for a music show or movie
  • Attend a virtual tour such as a museum or the local zoo
  • Reconnect within your own household by bringing out the board games and puzzles. Teach the kids how to cook or involve them in some new crafts.
  • Neighborhood hangout block party drive through such as Christmas lights, or bake goods swap

Think of opportunities in how you can connect with those you care about including your neighbor. Random acts of kindness can go a long way to bringing a smile on someone face. What was it the Apostle Peter said about Jesus? How God anointed Jesus who went about doing good [see Acts 10:38]. Jesus was the example of doing good, by providing for the needs of the people he encountered. We can even pray for each other during this time of uncertainty. Let us think about the Apostle Paul’s words of advice this week before Thanksgiving. I pray that your heart will be full of joy this Holiday season despite the current situation we are all in. Let us help each other with words of encouragement.

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
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As He Thinks in His Heart

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is He

Proverbs 23:7

What is on your mind? That is a question we all must ask daily.  In Proverbs there are many wise words to consider and this scripture is one to consider, for it states, that whatever is in your heart, that is what you will be. The process of using your mind is the comprehension of working things out that is rational, logical, or sensible. But what if you are not rational, logical, or sensible? We each have a choice in the path we lead and sometimes we need a little help along the way to stir us to the right path. Those who are older and wiser and who have experience life generally have insight into the human conditions. Every person in life concludes that human beings have a weakness of selfishness. Selfishness leads to all kinds of bad behavior such as lying or stealing to get what you want. Are we setting a good or bad example in our behavior? This is our  moral compass. Listen to the words of Jesus in Luke chapter 6:45, which is right after the Beatitudes.

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.

Luke 6:45

What is our mouth speaking of today? The weather, the news, who done that or this, etc. It is so easy to make fun of someone or bring them down on some moral issue, but the fact remains we are all at fault, for no one is perfect. The greatest need we have is for someone to accept us and generally care for us. The one thing that mothers are known for. If one has love in their heart they will not be thinking of evil. Evil is a bad report or false statement. It is abusive in the act of mistreating others. Have you ever heard of the song from Three Dog Night titled, “Easy to be Hard?” The song released in 1968 and was fourth on the Billboards Top 100 in 1969. Ask the question of how can people be so heartless and so cruel? Here is an excerpt of the lyrics.

How can people be so heartless?

How can people be so cruel?

Easy to be hard, easy to be cold

How can people have no feelings?

How can they ignore their friends?

Easy to be proud, easy to say no

And especially people who care about strangers

Who care about evil and social injustice

Do you only care about the bleeding crowd?

How about a needing friend? I need a friend

Is it easy to be hard, cold, and cruel? We must think about this seriously, for actions like this can lead to violence and it puts everyone at risk when it comes to personal safety. In Proverbs 4:23, it states that one should work at doing what is right when it comes to the heart, “for out of it are the issues of life.” Plus, it goes on to say to “put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips.” Many times, it is our mouth that gets us into trouble. If we can learn to listen carefully what a person is saying, usually you will begin to understand what the issue is in their heart. The issues of life are what we face every day when it comes to coping with how to survive. The current situation with Covid-19 has changed our environment and many are dealing with the loss of a family member or friend, loss of job, and in some cases loss of a home. We need to have compassion in our hearts for those who are hurting.

Jesus tells us to even love our enemies, and do good, see [Luke 6:35]. Is this possible to do today? Some may be able to do it while others have a difficult time trying to do it. That is why we need a Savoir to change our heart and cleanse what is in our hearts that bind us towards evil. We have a merciful God that provided a way to cleanse us from all our sins. That way is through His Son, for God so love us that He gave us His Son, who died for all our sins. Amazing as that sounds but it is true if we believe and accept this gift. We pray for forgiveness and ask God for help with our character. Have you asked God to change your heart? Let us pray and sing along with King David for God to clean our heart, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” Psalms 51:10.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Confession is the key to forgiveness, and we have the assurance that our hearts will be cleansed, for He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The weight of our sins is lifted through Christ, so do not forget to ask in prayer and ask him to help you daily to live in His love.

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I Am the Living Bread

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:51 KJV

“I am the living Bread,” stated Jesus, but what does that mean? What makes bread so wonderful? Let’s just think about homemade bread fresh from the oven. The smell of the bread permeates the house and brings a hunger to partake of its richness of the flavor of its grain. If we look at the ingredients of bread, which is grain, water, and salt, we will find that these ingredients speak symbolically of who Christ is. These words were said after the feeding of five thousand from the five barley loaves. Those five thousand people ate and were filled from what they received. It was a wonderful miracle and one of many done by Christ.

When we are hungry, we want to be filled of the substance that gives us life. Whole grain bread is known for its nutrients. Whole grain has higher fiber and antioxidants, and it has been known to lower cholesterol levels and reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to cancer and heart disease. Jesus exclaims in verse 32 and 33 that his father gives to those the true bread from heaven and that bread comes down from heaven to give life to the world. It was the Father’s will to send Jesus as the bread that would give life to the world. This incredible statement was hard to swallow for those who heard it so many years ago. Even today, we can not conceive it in our minds let alone our hearts to believe such a statement. How can we eat of this bread and not die?

To make bread, you must ground the grain into flour, and then you add water, salt, and yeast. Jesus is the grain, water, and salt, for God has put all things under Christ’s feet [see 1 Corinthians 15:27]. The water is symbolic of water baptism and the Holy Spirit that signifies the cleansing from all things that is contrary to the meaning of what love is and all that is evil in the world. Yeast is the active ingredient that makes the bread rise. However, yeast is often associated with sin because the word leaven in the Bible means fermented yeast, which in Hebrew means to be pungent. Fermenting yeast greedily devours things and is associated with extortion.

Humanity in general seems to ferment like yeast and devours its environment. Greedy for specific resources without thinking about the consequences of others or future generations. The word extortion is trying to get something through force such as blackmail. We are witnessing this more and more within society. The division between the have and have not. The inequality within society through race, religion, and income. Just bear in mind that inequality is regulated through specific policies within governing agents around the world. This is one reason why we must pray for our leaders, so we can lead an quiet and peaceable life [see 1 Timothy 2:2].

Do we need this living bread that came down from heaven? The answer is “YES.” Man needs a sincere conversion from the sin of selfishness, greed, and all the other evil characteristics that plague humanity like disease. Through Christ we have the everlasting life and forgiveness of all our sins. We have the assurance of new life working through our mortal bodies and a future life of immortality where death is swallowed up in victory [see 1Corinthians 15:54]. This is what the born-again experience is all about. It is what Ezekiel states in chapter 36 verses 25 through to 27. We are to have a new heart and be cleansed from all things that has held us in bondage for so many years.

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out for your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 KJV

Christ becomes our living bread and resides within our hearts through the Holy Spirit. We are changed into the image of Christ in our daily actions. This is the daily process of surrendering our will to that of Christ. The dying of self to live for Christ. The food we need is Christ, for He gives us eternal life. I pray that you believe and receive this new life into your heart and mind. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent,” [John 6:29]. The living bread not only gives us life, but it nurtures humanity towards what love is. The living bread fortifies a lasting relationship with God and mankind. I find this a miracle in itself that mankind can be changed through the power of Christ sacrifice on the cross. Will you partake of the living bread?