Reflections 16: The Trap of Rebellion (Relationships Series)

Historically speaking, we have idolized people who have rebelled against what they saw to be an unjust, or  oppressive situation, thus they rebelled, using their call to war that singular wrong, or perceived hardship as justification. However, we Americans have taken this idea  to the next level, we pay homage to outlaws, and glorify mobsters. We make movies which glorifies violence, and dumb-downs horrific accounts of sexual perversion, and if the hero is doing the killing, or raping, it is seen as self defense or is otherwise justified, but if the villon should do the same thing then we become incensed. Consider those who feel the terrorists of 911 where courageous, as it took belief in their god to do what they did, vs those where killed by the terrorists. It all becomes shades of gray, and we are becoming immune to the real threats, the real evils which surround use.To those who ignore this real threat and glorify self interest and continue to blur reality from fantasy I say this: so did Satan, believe he was the mightiest, most beautiful, most wise, in all of creation, and thus became selfish. So also did Satan feel stifled, putting self first, and thus committed a grave sin, thinking himself above God, his creator. So also did Satan convince with his powers of persuasion one third of all the angels in heaven to fall into the same trap he had fallen into, that being the trap of rebellion.

This week I would like to talk just a bit about rebellion, and show how this word can utterly destroy everyone, and everything that was “once” the most important things in your life. I say, “once”, because within the act of rebellion, priorities seem to change as the justification of rebellion consistently needs new fuel, and thus needs new ever evolving reasons to maintain it. Because of this fact, the word “rebellion”,  is very much a sink hole, that has no bottom.

12Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Trye, and say unto him, Thus says the Lord God:
     “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”
16By the abundance of your trading, you became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing, Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.”
17Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you” (Ezekiel 28:12,16-17, NKJV).
Satan committed the original sin of pride, and because of this his rebellion against God, forces him to make all of us have doubt in God, in his word, and in his actions. Thus when we fall into rebellion against whatever the unjust, or oppressive situation is we also fall into rebellion against God, and we begin to have doubt that God can really help us, or that he really cares at all for our situation. But rather than to speak in generalities let me be more specific; How many times have you rebelled against, say, your parents, (one or both of them), husband or wife, teacher or professor, a police offer when they have pulled you over, or anyone in legitimate authority over you? How many times have you chosen to do exactly what you where told not to do, or did something knowing all the time it was wrong?How many times have you rebelled out of anger, or pride? Or worse yet, how many times have you rebelled because you where told to it, out of coercion, thus being threatened to do so? How about rebellion out of peer pressure? How many times have you rebelled then later, many years later asked yourself why did you rebel in the first place, or had simply wished you had not done it, and sought forgiveness? Satan, the deceiver is the master of lies, making his rebellion against God, our rebellion against God, and disguising  it to make it look like our own rebellion, our fight for what we have perceived is right, when in fact it was a hugely profane, unjust, needless war which destroyed all your relationships with all those around you, and in the end helped to push you farther away from God. 


Lying is a form of rebellion, as is manipulation, envy,  hypocrisy, slander, and reproach, self-righteousness, pride, lust, anger, laziness, the lack of humility, faith, hope, forcing others to feel fear, guilt, and shame, and the inability to exhibit comfort, charity, grace, love, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, or worse yet, to purposefully shut off your own faith in God and willfully teach others to follow you. In all these ways Satan uses our humanistic, wants and desires so that he may cast you into rebellion, tempt you into a pit that which is next to impossible to climb out of. The same shameful pit he has been cast, and lead millions of other angels, and people alike, lost souls which shall be tormented forever. Satan knows how we tick, what we want most, and as the author of SATAN and His Kingdom, Pastor Dennis McCallum explains, “People need a sense of purpose, and goals toward which they can strive. Failure to develop and pursue spiritual goals produces apathy and spiritual depression that makes the world’s playthings irresistible” (McCallum, 2009, p.117).Thus Satan’s goal is to tempt you with the things of this world, so you ignore the riches of heaven, and the never ending love of God, by sucking you into a needless rebellion.


How exactly is this done you might ask? By allowing Satan to have a place to which to work from. By ignoring the commandments of God.


29Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.31Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29-32, NKJV).



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By not praying, and by ignoring the wisdom of King David

3Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.4Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies”(Psalm 141:3-4, NKJV).

By ignoring the none violent, peacemaking words of Jesus Christ:

27But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.29To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:27-31, NKJV). 
Ultimately by not knowing your bible, and by refusing to listen to your own heart when it tells you to go the other way no matter what.
Rebellion is an act which you exhibit by force, and thus reject what others have said, done, or suggested. The taking to arms to a teaching, idea, or ideology, suppressing faith. When you are in rebellion you can not openly love yourself, or others, and can not control the out come. Rebellion takes on a life of its own, and feeds off the negative thoughts and feelings which are lite within your heart. There is no peace, balance, order, but only chaos, mayhem, and destruction. Rebellion breads hatred, anger, violence, and thus separates you from God. The open justification of rebellion is the bate to which Satan uses to reel you in like a fish caught on a hook.The blinders he fashions to your head like a horse so you shall never see what is going on behind, or to the sides of you. Thus becoming ignorant of the hell you are in, or that you are causing. 
This then begs the question; How can I tell if my actions are in Christ, and my rebellion is justified by God? Is there really such a thing as a good rebellion? To answer this completely I will say this, a rebellion lead by Christ is preceded by the word of God, as it is illustrated by the birth of John the Baptist who preceded Jesus. 
3For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, 
 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 

  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight'”(Matthew 3:3, NKJV).

28For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he”(Luke 7:28, NKJV). 

Because Jesus
did not lead an army, nor took up arms he did not lead a rebellion. Though the religious leaders at the time
would like to have accused him of this, thus history records it was the religious leaders who where in open rebellion against Christ. 

 This is a two edged sword which is extremely hard to justify, being in rebellion. One could argue, for example, that the early Americans where in Christ for rebuking the English, or the North defeating the South, or America taking up arms against her enemies in WWI and WWII. One could even say Americas defense of the people in the two battles zones in the middle east is justified in Christ. When in reality, to the Kingdom of God, these examples are not as much viewed as rebellion but more to the fulfillment of Gods larger plan, as it was with the creation of the new State of Israel on may 14, 1948. It is more of a case of freewill which God bestowed upon all living things. It is freewill Satan also distorts to prove his case against God, and forces you to actively seek to disobey, and to become disobedient.
The trap of rebellion that which I have described is a personal, and spiritual rebellion, the domain of Satan. It is the interplay that which will either bring you closer to God, or leave you destitute and helpless continually at the mercy of Satan. Satan would so distort Gods perfect truth that nothing is sacred in his fight for your soul. He would go so low as to make one parent force their children to hate the other parent, set husband and wife against one another, make girlfriends doubt their boyfriends truthfulness.The evidence is all around us, and permeates out twenty first century society. Satan seeks to confuses the issues of abuse, child endangerment, and sets the social systems at war against innocent parents, and grand parents. The perversions of  Satan so stains our hands once we buy into it, that only by the mercy of God are we cleansed. 

In an attempt to clarify the mark of righteousness, and Godliness, I will simply state: if you are helped by walking away from an abuser, then your personal rebellion to your oppression was justified in Christ, as Jesus does not want anyone to be held hostage. But if you forsake your family, or friends, and this act was done buy coercion, forcing you to give away your freewill which God so graciously had given, then it will not stand and is not of God. For this too is a form of rebellion. 

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1Timothy 5:8, NKJV). 

Amen
May peace be with you all the days of your life. If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.


  

 

Reflections 15: Gods Divine Mercy (Relationships Series)

“I look up into the night sky, I see all the stars in heaven, I wonder if they are watching us, seeing with a peaceful eye. How long O Lord must we wait, how long O Lord must we stare out into the empty blackness wondering when our judgment will come. O God, Creator of the Earth and of the Heaven, of all the angels, and saints, have mercy upon us.” (Brian, 2009)

I would  like to think that every single human being who ever lived prayed a prayer such as this one at some moment in their life. I would like to think that our trials and tribulations are really not that different. I would like to believe that everyone in this world realizes that we need Gods divine mercy. Sometimes this hope of mine is out of the longing to identify, and to be identified with my fellow mortals. Then other times these hopes and aspirations are rooted in shier selfishness, as I do not want to be the only one being tested by God in such ways. I say that because we sin, because we are born sinners, all of use will wither away and die, turn to dust, and we all whether we like it or not, need desperately Gods divine mercy.

22Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.” (Lamentations 3:22, NKJV)

This week I would like to describe why we should ask for Gods mercy, why it is important. But moreover I think it also important to illustrate for how long has God really been merciful with us. Each and everyone of us needs Gods mercy, from the lowliest of people, to the highest of Angel. There is no one who is as perfect and as righteous as God. With this knowledge comes the feelings of inadequacy, depression, the feelings of not being good enough. The mortal mind is left asking over and over again, “How could we ever measure up to God?” The truth is I am glade we can never measure up to God, I am glade he made us imperfect, gives us these trials and tribulations, because that makes me come closer, want more, ask for more of His divine mercy. It might sound crazy, but I am not alone in this feeling, for even King David felt this way, let us not forget his profound words;

1Have mercy upon me, O God, According to your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2, NKJV)

8The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8, NKJV)

12I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. 13For great is Your mercy toward me, And you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.” (Psalm 86:12-13, NKJV)

There is no denying it, David begged God for mercy, he asked for mercy, he thanked God for showing him mercy. David wrote lamitations in honor of Gods divine mercy. But King David was not alone in this celebration of receiving Gods mercy, In fact God came down from heaven to proclaim his name to Moses, as Mercy.

5Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6And the Lord passed before him and proclaiming, “The Lord , the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, abounding in goodness and truth, 7keeping mercy for thousands , forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5-7, NKJV)

Gods divine mercy is written into His very character, and in His nature. It is through His overwhelming love and compassion He has for us, His children, that He does not punish us, as we so rightfully deserve. Moses was always asking God to have mercy on his people, asking God to forgive them each time they sinned against God. You can hear the frustration in Moses’s voice each time he made the long arduous journey up the mountain to intercede for them. The most amazing thing is that God did show Moses mercy, the people mercy, as he still does for us today. God for thousands of years has shown mankind mercy. This word; “Mercy”, God has placed so much of his divine wisdom upon it that it is easily the second most powerful word, under that of Love, forever linking them into the same Godly nature. This truth has been proven over and over again throughout the Bible, and in doing so, has shown that our God, the God of Adam, Moses, David, and Jesus, New and Old Testament alike, has indeed spent vast amounts of energy proving to all of us that He is truly merciful.

King David knew Gods mercy, as did Moses, but neither of these two men where ever put directly into the path of Gods fury, as like Job. Test after test, after test, God allowed Satan to take things away from Job, and Job remained in favor of God. Gods mercy in the end was poured out upon Job in ways that would, and did baffle the human imagination.

12Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13He also had seven sons and three daughters.” (Job 42:12-13, NKJV)

This giving nature also reveals Gods mercy, as what was taken was given back, but not just one for one, but in the thousands to one. Gods divine mercy is so perfect, and longsuffering that God departed this merciful nature unto mankind within his only son Jesus. The amount of energy and due diligence God placed within that one single act, and then as to drive home the point Jesus’s message, like Gods, was that of mercy;  

Q12 “Happy are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see the face of God. Fortunate are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (also see; Matthew 5:7-9)

As a matter of record, God delivered Jesus up to be crucified to vanquish our sins, the ultimate act of mercy unto a world filled to the brim with sin, and sinners. Love, compassion, and yes mercy is all the predominate characteristics of our God, as He had so proclaimed to Moses. I also would like to mention for the record, that as Moses had prayed for mercy for his people, an act which exhibited his selfless nature in line with Gods, that this was but a common theme in line with  Jesus’s character as well. This is important because Jesus came to deliver the New Covenant with man, as Moses had delivered the old one, these teaching of Jesus are a command that we, in current times are to follow:

35But love your enemies, do good , and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36Therefore be merciful , just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36, NKJV)

So I like to think God hears our cry’s for mercy, he responds to them, and understands them. He tests us and then in the end shows us mercy, kindness, and love. The very nature of God is proven through His thousands of ye
ars of patience, His ability to wait, His mercy in not delivering our punishment so soon, being slow to wrath. Indeed God is a just, and righteous Father, and everlasting, longsuffering, merciful God. This is also the same God who wants to have an active relationship with us all, each and everyone, without discrimination, prejudice, or bias. For God has his hand outstretched, ready, willing, and able to lift you up into the most perfect, merciful relationship you have ever known.That in-and-of-itself is both a miracle, and a testament of our Lord, our God, it is also, in reality His divine gift, His proof of His sincerity in delivering everlasting mercy.

Amen,

May peace be with you all the days of your life. If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflections 14: Gods Strategy of Patience (Relationships Series)

How many times has it been said, “Patience is a virtue”? How many times have you said it to someone who was acting rash, and thus needed to be calmed down? What does it really mean to be patient? For how long are we to be patient? The questions go on and on and what is more perplexing is that there seems to be no real solid answers to these questions. But to God, his strategy is built upon the foundations of patients. To be godly in your life is to be patient, because that is the legacy you leave to your children, family, and your husband, or wife. In that we are to be patient all the days of our lives, no matter how long you shall live.

13But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13, NKJV).

This week I wanted to talk just a little about something that occurred to me while flipping through the bible, as I was praying for strength in my personal life this past Sunday in church. See as a human I want things which I cannot have in my life, at least in this moment. We are constantly looking for instant gratification, wanting more and more until we have what we want then we want something else. But in this cycle there are some things we should never have in the first place. Some of use are like a child in a sand box, wanting all the other children’s toys so badly until, they reach out a grab all of them, snatching them away from the other children. What does this have to do with patience you may ask? Well God lets none of these acts stand, and with patience the other children will redeem what they have lost. What drives us all crazy is that time laps, between our rights being violated, to when we get back what we have lost. It is in that time laps that we are being tested by God.

3And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4, NKJV).

That single moment in time, which to use could be hours, days, weeks, and even years, but to God is a single moment of injustice, and tribulation which rocks us to our very core. It is this which God wants so desperately to see we to can show restraint, and patience for those around us who are incapable of patience. He wants us to show we are mature in our faith by testing us, using those people in our lives who know not of peace, kindness, tolerance, compassion, and love. It is quite fascinating to see how God uses other people as like a skill saw, or hammer, to drill into our personality those things which we lack. His method, his strategy builds within us the characteristics of perseverance, loyalty, compassion, and hope. Because when we do show patience we exemplify God, and we give him glory.

2My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4, NKJV).

Gods perfect foundation of his kingdom could never have been laid without patience being the rock, the corner stone as it takes great tribulation to test and to purify that which is imperfect. His strategy is clear, but to us as human beings, it is so convoluted and intermixed with agony, suffering, and moments of personal grief, and pain. Often times the pain and heart ache is so great we entertain, however brief, turning away from God, quitting, and walking away from Him. In our hearts we feel no hope, and we often times blame God for our own sin. The true want in that moment, is for the pain to stop, but if it does will we not learn the lessons God wants us to learn? Will we not come to the true understanding of patience, and help build the solid foundation of heaven?

20For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps” (1Peter 2:20-21, NKJV).

 
“All things are difficult before they are easy” (Thomas Fuller, 1608-1661).

Suffering is but momentary, and this that we may look at or take as being punished is in reality the nurturing hand of God. For how much did Jesus suffer for us, how much did he take for us, how many times did Jesus stand up and was ridiculed and put down in our name? How many sins did Jesus take upon his shoulders and bared for us so that we might be saved? How patient was Jesus with his disciples, with the church leaders, the people who asked for healing? No where in the bible is there a rash judgment or act done which was not first proceeded with Jesus being patient. Everything Jesus did form the being to the end, was done purposefully, and patiently. Our earthly trials and tribulations are given to us, and are individually specialized for us to achieve what Gods wants us to achieve. Consider a life time of tribulation handed to John Milton, and English poet who went blind. Consider his poem which reflects his blindness, referencing the moment he no longer could see:

On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.
                                         John Milton (1608-74).
All these things could never have been done without patience. The virtue is found within the act, the moment, that time laps which we have been wronged, and have to wait for justice. “All things come to those whom wait.” (1530 A. Barclay Eclogues (EETS) ii. 843)
 
9The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2Peter 3:9, NKJV). 
 
Simply put in the end we are commanded to be patient as Jesus was patient, and as God is patient with us, an imperfect lot.
 
2with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2, NKJV).  
 
14Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NKJV).
 
7Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord, see how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7-8, NKJV). 

Amen

May peace be with you all the days of your life. If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.


 
 

 

Reflections 13: Fear (Relationships Series)

Fear; this emotion is so powerful it can make the most honest person lie, the most calm person strike out. It can be debilitating, keeping us locked up like a prisoner. Fear grabs a hold and refuses to let go, utilizing other powerful emotions like worry, doubt, and dread, leaving us feeling oppressed. People often times us fear to manipulate others into doing their bidding in some evil or vial act, knowing how the other person will end up feeling in the aftermath. As an educator I am sworn to report such actions as child abuse, and take this very seriously. Fear strikes at the hearts and minds of our children and forces them to see evil, making them grow up quicker forever destroying their child-like incense. Fear is equally damaging to adults, and in most cases can render the most outspoken person silent. Fear is used to threaten what we love, and is the devils favorite tool to use, because of its potency. Tell a man his child or wife will be harmed if he does not stay quiet, or a women that her husband will be killed, or a child that your parents will hate you forever, and see how quickly we all are to shut up.

This week I wanted to explore an emotion that we all have felt, some more so than others, for various reasons, an emotion which has the power to make your steps stumble, and loose the focus on your personal walk with God. Fear is such a common emotion we sometimes don’t really give it to much attention. We do not analyze things which scare us, rather we allow it to take affect and we just respond. Some people have even attained some level of tolerance to fear, and instead of it activating the “fight or flight” mechanism they have become dare-devils, and adrenaline junkies. However, or whatever your specific case, fear can be lethal and it can become the major controlling force in your decision making process if it is not recognized and swiftly dealt with.

This then leaves the question how to see fear for the damming tool of Satan that it is? By no means is this a guide or a professionals opinion, but this is simply how I control fear in my own life. I first ask why am I so fearful of whatever I am afraid of that is affecting me that moment. I remember that God has control of ever aspect of my life. This in turn gives me great peace.

“But He said unto them, 40Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith? (Mark 4:40, NKJV)

Jesus just moments before had been sleeping in a fishing vessel with his disciples out on the great Sea of Galilee when a storm came from nowhere and about sank the boat. In fear they woke him.

32Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32, NKJV).

In this Jesus was teaching his disciples not to ever worry about such things as what to eat or drink, and to not be worried about their own lives as our Father in heaven shall surely take care of us. In both of these examples fear is being defeated by the very words of Christ. In these words Jesus is assuring us that God’s kingdom is where we shall forever dwell. In that fact Jesus defeats fear, worry, doubt, and even dread.

25Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence, 26And will keep your foot from being caught” (Proverbs 3:25-26, NKJV).

With faith in God we are promised to have his guidance, his confidence. When fear grips my heart, I remember how much God loves me, and how He will take me by the hand and walk with me. In my greatest moments of darkness and fear I have always looked to God for comfort, and have never been left hanging. God has always been there, has always been the constant guiding force in my life. No matter the struggle, the fight, the task, or the obstacle, God has always been there to help me, to calm my fears and to squelch my panic.

5Let your conduct be without covetousness: be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6So we may boldly say: 

“The Lord is my helper; 
I will not fear. 
What can man do to me?”

7Remember Those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (Hebrews 13:5-7, NKJV).

The next thing that must then be done when fear has been recognized as the tool being used against you is to simply humble yourself in a quiet place and pray to God for help. Be specific and know with each thing being asked it is being considered by God, back each item up with these words, “I know you have power over this, that which I have so humbly asked.” pause…then just ask God for the next item.Following it up the previous prayer. Exhibit faith in God, and know he is there with you in all your troubles and tribulations.

28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28, NKJV).

By believing all things are possible in Jesus Christ, we gain the power to over come our fears, and hesitations, we are then able to step outside that zone which cripples us. Remembering that God has defeated fear for us, and has faced death for us. In the end God is with us, guiding us, and helping us. 

“But whosoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:33, NKJV). 

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; Not as the world gives I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, NKJV).

Amen

May peace be with you all the days of your life. If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflections 12: Meekness and Grace (Relationships Series)

I have always been instructed to take the proverbial high road, meaning in all my encounters with other people I continually, almost automatically, look for the good in the evil act which has been perpetrated against me. I have always been driven to understand why someone would say the horrible things they have, thus cursing my very name. What is the mentality behind their words, the motivations within their false accusations, and even the anger which has stained their heart? I have always been told it takes a bigger man to walk away from a fight than the one who stands and fights. I guess that is why I have never liked getting into arguments with others, and or verbal contest we call sarcasm. I have only been involved in three physical fights, as a child. I walk away before I get to that point where I throughout the word of God and start hitting, I show restraint, I show respect, and I always try to make peace first.

The attributes to my character in faith are known to God as meekness, and grace.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

My reflection this week is on the character God wants all of us to emulate, as Jesus was the perfect example for meekness, and grace. I have said this many times and I still believe that Jesus set so many examples, simultaneously, that it is hard to really grasp the true depth of each message as each of Jesus’s lessons teaches us different things each time we read them. No other teacher, educator, or professor has ever taught a lesson which can be applied to every aspect of your life in such riveting detail as that of Jesus. What is really mind blowing is that his lessons where as relevant when he spoke them, as they are to us today.

Meekness is not weak, nor is it a symbol of being scared to engage in a physical brawl. Rather it is the conscious choice to make your point without ever landing a blow. It is the invisible force of God that which makes people stop, stumble then fall down and ask for forgiveness as the Holy Spirit convicts them of their grievous act. To be meek is to be in tune with Gods plan for your life; one which you realize is not of your own will, but that of God’s will. A plan you do not know each detail, but trust in his wisdom that it is good, just, and absolute. A plan which is so perfect it is inconceivable to what the outcome will be, an outcome not of your design, but that of Gods. Through God’s plan we are shown he can make all things miraculous, magical, and to us in the beginning what was impossible, God proves that for him all things are possible.

Q11 “Fortunate are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.”

This verse is also found in the bible in Matthew 5:5, and in Luke 6:20. This message was so powerful and meaningful that Jesus spoke them aloud so that we might know them and obey them. That his example of meekness would be emulated by all of humanity.

3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 6:3-12).

Jesus stated clearly in the Beatitudes that meekness is rewarded by God, for he blesses the meek, their battle has already been won, and the fight is over before it begins. However the act of being meek is also exhibiting love that resigns in the heart, this is linked to meekness and it is called grace.

The MerriamWebster dictionary defines grace in this fashion; 1 a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b: a virtue coming from God c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.

Through Gods grace we receive something we otherwise would not, that being salvation. Because God promised salvation to the meek, these two words work in tandem and have a holy bond. Through his grace, Jesus exhibited and clearly defined how our relationship with him and with others is to flourish. Someone who is graceful in their acts towards others is at peace with the word of God, they receive peace in their heart, mind, and soul, thus the meek are filled with grace and are blessed by God. A graceful act is one which shows mercy to others. Thus grace and mercy are also inexplicably linked. Grace is found within your words which come from your heart, it can be found in the actions which are governed by your heart. Grace cannot be found in the harsh words of condemnation, nor in the violent acts of persecution, and sin.

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20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21).

Jesus showed us how to be meek; his actions were filled with grace. God forgave us our sins so that we might be saved out of eternal love, which flowed from his heart, showing us grace within our salvation. Both meekness, and grace are powerful words, they are defined within our choices, and attitudes we chose to exhibit to one another. What fills our heart also fills our mouth, and the actions which result is what we are judged by. We are commanded to love one another, to love our enemies, to feed the hungry, to cloth the nagged because in these things we exemplify God, bringing him glory. We prove that being meek is stronger than being vicious; being graceful is stronger than being overbearing and malicious. We prove that Jesus loved us more tha
n he loved himself, and that God loved us more than he loved all of creation.



Amen.

May peace be with you all the days of your life? If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflections 11 Trust and Confidence (Relationships Series)

When I talk to people about relationships the one word that comes up more often than most is, “Trust”, for this word is so important, and we place so much emphasis on it, that we come to have an emotional attachment to it. We give it importance because of the significance it plays in our relationships. Trust is so important that it can destroy our relationships if broken. On the other hand it can build relationships and make them strong, and rich with joy if respected. But what people fail to understand is that this word is also linked to another word which you do not hear very often, that word being “Confidence”. This word is a secret keeping word, as it works in the background, propping up the legs of the relationship. How often have you heard someone say, “I have all the confidence in the world you will win.” when they could have also said, “I trust you will be successful today.” The later is more of a question, where the word confidence in the first statement relays that the heart is also involved. How powerful is it when you hear both words in the same sentence?

“I trust that I have your confidence.” What was really conveyed was, “I am now going to trust you with something very close to me.”

This week I want to reflect on a situation to which I have been placed, which deals with both of these words, “Trust”, and “Confidence.” The deep emotional pain that is caused when I thought I had someone’s trust, and confidence, but in reality, I did not. I wanted to share this deep sadness that cultivates the mistrust that eventually follows, and the since of panic which races through the heart as the confidence in the other person melts away into nothingness. Though I will not reveal to whom I am referring, I will say that it could not have been a person any closer to my heart. I say this because I want to illustrate how this hugely painful, and negative act, can be turned into a fruitful, and magically positive one, with God’s strength, and wisdom.

“Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust.” (Psalm 40:4)

Recently I was given a writing of a woman whom was extremely wise, and loved people, and loved serving God. She did not have access to millions of dollars, nor did she aspire to become wealthy. Her gift was kindness, and her wisdom was directly from God. Before I tell you to whom I refer, I want to share with you her most peaceful advice for those whose trust and confidence has been shaken.


IT’S BETWEEN YOU AND GOD

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it never was between you and them anyway.”



Be Blessed,

Mother Theresa


After reading this I woke up from the fog, I saw where my next few steps where going to take me, and I changed my course. I am not any different than from all of humanity, and in this one simple statement, I too need faith. My reflections are from my own walk with God, which may mirror others, and because of this we are all inescapably linked, because we all need God. Trust can be over rated, and can be broken into a million pieces, but how much more will God give if those pieces where sewed back together, and used to build a stronger relationship?

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

As people we place so much emphasis on material things, and forget to worry about what is really important.

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin: and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothed the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30)

The simple truth is our trust can be misguided, and we can so freely give it, that it is bound to be broken from time to time. If God can so openly place us within his confidence then who are we to judge others when that trust is broken, despite the pain it causes? How many times did Jesus say to people, “Do not be afraid…”, and yet here we all are, scared, and afraid of losing what we never truly had in the first place. The only true confidence we will ever have in this life is that which rests with God.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:3)

The greatest of gifts has to be what comes from the heart. The trust we freely give to God is ours to give, for he gave it first to us. The pain caused by failing to keep someone’s confidence is akin to keeping secrets, because in truth when you ask someone to keep something in their confidence, and use the word trust to ceil it in, you are in fact asking the other person to keep your secret. This is outside of God, and what is not within His confidence will be shouted out for all to hear.

Q51 Jesus spoke to his disciples: “Don’t be anxious about your life. Don’t worry about getting enough food or having clothes to wear. Life means more than food and the body is more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant seeds or gather a harvest. They have neither storehouses nor barns. Yet God feeds them. Aren’t you more important than birds? Can any of you, for all your worrying, add a single moment to your life? If worry can’t change the smallest thing, then why be anxious about the rest?”

Like Jesus, Mother Theresa gave anyway, and so should the rest of us.

Amen.

May peace be with you all the days of your life? If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflections 10 Lying & Secret Keeping (Relationships Series)

I remember when I was a child, my mother would call me by my full name, summoning me forth to explain a particular deed and before getting to her I would break down crying. I did so because I was guilty, and I did not want to lie to her, but I also did not want to get into trouble. I was faced with a dilemma, lie and blame someone else, or tell the truth and be punished. On extremely rare occasions where it was warranted in my house there was a long leather strap my parents would use, and written on it was these words from: (Leviticus 19:12), “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.” With each strike of the leather strap upon my rear-end, I would hear my mother profess that this was hurting her more than it was me, somehow I took argument with that statement. My older sister would boldly reply with what I was thinking, “Not in the same place.” I learned very early on that keeping secrets, and lying where very wrong, and I referred to the truth more often than which I would lie. In truth I could never really lie to my mother, because she could always look into my eyes and know the truth. I hated that feeling more than I hated the leather strap, thus I would not lie to my parents, or any other adult. I respected what my parents would tell me, as much as I respected and feared the word of God.

This week I have been moved to write about those who lie, and keep secrets. I want to use this personal story to testify to the wrongness of these two actions, how destructive they can be, and how they separate people from each other. It is to the latter of that statement I will spend the majority of my time explaining because it is such a veil scheme of Satan’s to divide us from each other, and then to devourer us as if we had never existed.

I am simply going to state for the record that God hates liers. God hates those who actively practice deceit. He hates those who teach children to lie, and disrespect their parents, and he curses those who set obstacles that mislead his followers.

Q76 “Obstacles to faith are sure to arise, but beware to the one who creates them. It would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around the neck than for that person to mislead one of my followers.”

“A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.”(Proverbs 14:5)

God takes such offense to this one simple act we call lying because it shows something extremely disturbing about our character. To lie is equal to building obstacles’ to God, thus widening the already huge separation that which excites between you and God. To lie is to reject God, even if it is a simple little white lie. A lie that surely could not hurt anyone, but in truth it hurts your personal relationship with God, and over time can cast doubt upon your character. Other people will begin to deem you untrustworthy, and soon you fall into a pit, that which there is no escape. To lie is to sin as we have been told not to lie, but rather tell the truth.

“Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.” (Exodus 23:1)

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Proverbs 19:9)

For the record God hates those who keep secrets. To keep secrets is the equivalent to lying. To have knowledge of something, then making a conscious choice not to revel it to those who would need to have that information is lying by omission. Just for the sake of argument even if that information was not required and the choice was made not to reveal it is still lying by omission in the eyes of God, because within that choice there has then been placed another obstacle between you and God. The key concept is that anything which falls short of telling the truth is lying. Again a very disturbing revelation about ones character will be shown for all to see. As surely as it is impossible to remember each lie, and the web gets bigger and bigger, so does the secrets that one keeps. They grow and grow until there is nothing but guilt, and loneliness within the heart of the one which practices to deceive. Profane words spew like rivers and the heart is filled with utter darkness. Life becomes a chore, not a blessing, and this road only leads to misery, and despair. The weight of this act of keeping secrets will alter the mind and spirit in such a way that one cannot be with those who know the truth. Thus the separation is as much out of guilt as it is the desire to hide from the multiple sin.

Q45 “There is nothing covered up now that will not be exposed. Nothing is secret that will not be revealed. Every secret you’ve kept will become known. What you have whispered in the hidden places will be shouted from the housetops.”

The other fact about this practice of lying and secret keeping is that they are one in the same. I laugh when people say that they are Christians and then proceed to lie. To these people Jesus referred to as Hypocrites. It saddens me each time I see one of my students be influenced to lie by another student. I have recently come across a very disturbing practice among divorced parents who teach their children to hate the co-parent; to this I will say that God hates those who mislead the children. Personally I do not see how you could call yourself a parent and be actively engaged in such practices, and such self indulgence. To lie, keep secrets, is tantamount to building obstacles that which will barricade yourself in, separate you from God, and all those whom you love and cherish. If you lie, cheat, and steal, plot, plan, mislead, manipulate, and otherwise practice dishonest tactics to get your own way, and to rob from others things that otherwise do not belong to you then know this, God can forgive you if you only ask.

By asking God first, you honor him. You will recognize his power is absolute, and he is all knowing, for God alone is the Alfa, and Omega. You will acknowledge that he send Jesus, his only son to die for all those sins which you have so actively perpetrated, and willfully committed. Then once he has forgiven you, the asking of forgiveness of others whom you have alienated will rebuild your bonds, and help you to set a good habit, one absent of these sins. For what is inside your heart, is what will flow from your lips.

Q21 “No good tree produces rotten fruit and no bad tree produces good fruit. Each tree is known by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, nor gather grapes from blackberry brambles. Good people draw what is good from the treasure of their hearts. Bad people produce what is bad from the evil within them. A person’s words flow from what is treasured in the heart.”


Amen.

May peace be with you all the days of your life? If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflections 9 Humility (Relationships Series)

Most people I think get confused when they are told that they need to be more humble. What they are hearing is that by becoming humble something is lost, they will have to become less than in regards to pride, give up what they want, and in becoming humble will somehow make them weak. On the contrary, humility was the very thing Jesus exemplified when he was taken to the cross. He was not weak, nor was he powerless, or less than, and or even prideful. No, Jesus Christ, our lord and savior was very much in control of his future, and fulfilled scripture by his faith, and ultimate strength by being humble and obedient to God’s will.

This week I want to talk just a little about humility because it is one of the hardest things to practice. I sometimes fall far from this state of mind, and belief, when pushed past my desired limitations. I sometimes lose my since of humility and fall short of what God desires of me in this area. So I felt it important to explain that everyone does, because no one is perfect. It requires a great capacity of love, and honesty of spirit. It takes an extraordinary amount of energy, to dig deep down inside ourselves to find that tiny thread of humility, and then to exercise it. In saying that, it also takes a great amount of courage to find because it requires that we become one with our heart, soul, and our father in heaven. To be completely successful it is a habit, state of mind, force of will, and or even a regimen that is practiced from morning till night, each and every day until our last breath. It is a complete 180 degrees in our attitude, and in how we view life in general. It is as much a skill, as a blessing, and I truly believe that there are people who are blest with this gift of humility, as they make it seem effortless, hiding their daily struggles, and inspiring the rest of us to work harder at it every day. I thank God that he sent his only son Jesus to show us how to be humble, and what it looks like when others are humble towards us.

According to (Matthew 18:4) Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus was addressing his disciples who had asked him a question which I think we all may have wondered about at some point: “Who is the greatest in heaven?” It is human nature to ponder such truly trivial things, but it was perfect for Jesus to respond by calling a child over to him, and with this child, illustrate our attitude, and what is truly required. We as human beings can accomplish miracles, with the right attitude. Paul J. Meyer wrote in his 26 page booklet, Attitude Is Everything! – If you want to succeed above and beyond! “Attitude is a habit of thought. Whenever the Olympics or some other sports competition takes place, we hear incredible tales of people who have changed by overcoming insurmountable odds – gunshots, failures, birth defects, accidents, cancer, and more – to win first place.” (pg. 6)

Humility is looking at your boss after getting chewed out and wishing him or her to have a nice day in return. Or when your child screams out in anger, of how much they hate you for not letting them go somewhere or do something they wanted to do, and simply smiling and reassuring them that, yes even this feeling too will pass with time. Humility is hard to practice, but be warned there is most certainly punishment for not leading a humble life.

(Matthew 18:7) “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!”

This warning is tied to a later chapter in (Matthew 23;12), which reads, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

(Lost Gospel Q) Q67 “Those who praise themselves will be humbled. Those who humble themselves will be praised.”

Jesus again refers to humility as an attitude, an action, a bold statement that carries with it great reverence, respect, and power.

(Proverbs 16:19) Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

In (1Peter 5:6), we are promised reward for our humility, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”

The message is clear; humility is prized, and is rewarded by God. Jesus talked a great deal about those who are humble, and how they will fare much better in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus was well aware of our own human nature and our outright rebellion against taking the high-road, the morally justified path, being considerate, and forgiving of others, and lest we not forget to even loving our enemies. He knew when we transform our words into actions, we then take responsibility of our deeds, which becomes the most powerful part of communication, and the most powerful expression is that of humility.

By simply following Jesus’s many examples of prayer we find the true grace of God, in that prayer is an essential part of being humble. The reason is found with his own journey to Gethsemane, where he prayed to his father in heaven, where the weight of all humanity’s sins was poured out onto him. He could have refused, gotten mad, thrown a fit, and walked away, but he did not. Instead, through all of it, even unto his torture he remained humble. The power he received to accomplish this was through prayer, to be more specific, his mind set in the garden when praying reveals another huge key to humility; the ability to follow by faith.

(Matthew 26:39) Tells us; Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Jesus was not concerned about his own safety, his own life, or his own wants or needs, but rather the will of his father, our God in heaven. After checking on his disciples a second time, we find that his prayers are still filled with obedience, (Matthew 26:42) He went away a second time and prayed, “My father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

Humility was part of the nature of Jesus which is so evident in his actions while being arrested. He knew that he faced certain death though he remained humble by making the comment found in (Matthew 26:50) “Friends, do what you have come for.”

Even unto the very minute of his death, he remained humble, and was filled with forgiveness, for while on the cross he said, found in, (Luke 23:34) “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Within his humility Jesus paid the debt for our sins, his mission was fulfilled and he knew through this act he reclaimed the keys to the entire universe and saved our immortal souls in the process. He promised that the humble, merciful, and righteous will be first in Gods kingdom and will sit on the right hand of God.

Q11 “Fortunate are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Q12 “Happy are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see the face of God. Fortunate are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

These things which matter the most shall be given to those who humble themselves, who are faithful, who pray, and who take action. These things are given to the holy and to the righteous, to the pure of heart. Jesus within his life gave us so much to examine, and to talk about, only when we put his examples into practice will we truly reap the rewards of his humility, and all his labor. Becoming humble is not weak, but strong, it is not being less than, but rather allowing yourself to reach new heights and to attaining higher levels of peace than ever thought possible.

Amen.

May peace be with you all the days of your life? If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflections 8 Hypocrites & Hypocrisy (Relationships Series)

This week I wanted to reflect on a word which, I in my personal life have dealt with for the past sixteen years, and which I have come to know well. A word that is so repulsive to God that he hates those who perpetrate it. This single word is tied to a large degree to my past reflections, and possesses one of the biggest obstacles to the agape love of God. This message is directly from Jesus Christ as he spoke on this topic many times and had left no doubt to how he felt about it. In reading the bible extensively this week I also wanted to mention that the references to this word are so numerous and posses such a grave threat to your heart, and belief in God that it is Satan’s favorite weapon, which he uses very often.



According to the Bible one cannot be a hypocrite by simply practicing the principles of double standards. Instead a hypocrite is a million times worse, but to live your life filled with double standards is the first step to becoming a hypocrite. Because I have made this distinction I want to illustrate how this translates in the real world.



The online Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the phrase, Double Standards, as: a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another; especially: a code of morals that applies more severe standards of sexual behavior to women than to men.



Another example of this can be found in the very act of slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, which freed the slaved in theory, but if you where Black you still did not have in principal the same rights as Whites. The single act by itself is not hypocrisy, only until this principle becomes practiced on a daily basis, and corrupts the hearts of men then does it fully become hypocrisy. Everyone knew slavery was wrong, but perpetrated it anyway, day after day, year after year. This was only corrected in the mid-nineteen sixties well over a hundred years later, and one could argue that this issue still is lingering in today’s society.


The online Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word, Hypocrisy, as: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially: the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.



Mathew 15:7-9; 7Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 These people draw near to me with their mouth. And honor me with their lips, but their hearts is far from me. 9And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.

Jesus was talking directly to the Pharisees, but he was also addressing everyone else who was not a religious leader but also lived within the grips of this sin.



So how does one become a hypocrite in the first place? Well Jesus Christ laid out his definition as being someone who purposefully deceives others by acting one way in both your words and actions, but in your heart you believe the exact opposite. In public you say one thing, but in private you say another.



Paul defines this by stating, They profess to know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.(Titus 1:16).



People just do not wake up one day and become hypocrites, but rather is a gradual process, which slowly erodes all notions of right and wrong, and as time passes one finds they have sunk deeper and deeper into a web of lies, and false hoods, which without warning they find that they have maligned even their own core belief systems. They in fact have become something other than who they thought or where in the beginning. Deceiving others and leading everyone around them into a bottomless pit of abominable, and disobedient acts, which they know themselves in private to be wrong. This takes time to become, and takes vast amounts of time to perpetrate.



Those who engage in this play-acting, exhibit the following personality traits: manipulation, willful justification, they see nothing wrong with lying if it gets them what they want, distorting of known facts to suite their own purpose, actively practice keeping secrets that will later be used to bring harm or falsehood against their perceived enemies for the purpose of confusing the issues, enlisting others to do their dirty work, always being surrounding by those who willing buy into the deceptions, they show off what they have or have done and thus is boastful, spend lots of money to purchase others affections, they skew reality and warp it until it is no longer recognizable, and among the chief character flaws these people avoid the truth, avoid the word of God like the plague and they become angry when confronted with the truth when stated as known facts. Paul said this disqualifies them from every good work, and shows them to be untrustworthy.



The saddest end result of living this sinful way of being a hypocrite is that what one begins to see is all the weakness, and sins of others and do not, or cannot look at their own sins, and discretion’s that which they have committed against others.



Q20; 20Why do you notice the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and not the wooden plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, Let me take out the sawdust from your eye, when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Remove the plank from your own eye first; then you will see clearly enough to remove the sawdust from your brothers eye.



Jesus also stated this grave warning for all those hypocrites which willfully seek to mislead his people by saying;



Q76; 76Obstacles to faith are sure to arise, but beware to the one who creates them. It would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around the neck than for that person to mislead one of my followers.



Hypocrites and those who propagate hypocrisy will not see heaven, unless they repent. It is tantamount to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit as it attacks the whole person, and takes such strong efforts on a persons behalf to commit, that it can be considered as planned actions to support lies, and malicious deeds that it stains a person emortal soul. It is such a grave sin because it willingly seeks to plot, and plan, to deceive others as if a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Life is too short to indulge in such acts against thy brother or sister, mother or father, husband or wife, and or children nor grandchildren. Jesus talked extensively about it, and God hates it! This will most certainly place a huge road block in your personal walk with Christ, and keep you from having a wondrous relationship with God.

Jesus offered this final thought on those who openly practice hypocrisy, and blasphemy.

Q38: 38Anyone who is not with me is against me. Whoever does not help me gather scatter.



Mathew 12:31; 31“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.”


Amen.



May peace be with you all the days of your life? If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.



Reflections 7 Love (Relationships Series)

When someone close to you says, I love you, what does this truly mean? How should it make you feel? How many types of love are there anyway?

I open up this week with this one startling fact, the word “LOVE” first appears in the Bible in Genesis chapter 22:2;

2Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

In this verse Abraham is told by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac to prove his love for God. How ironic it is that God would ask this of Abraham with the intent of never allowing him to complete this task, but yet is a task God himself had accomplished for our humanly sins in the sacrifice of his only son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This example of God’s is perfect in that in all of his actions and words, God has proven how much he loves us, and how much he is willing to do for us out of love. Some have described Gods love as being more than human beings can understand, and thus to express this in Latin God’s love is called, agape, which literally translates as describing the highest level of love known to humanity, one that is selfless, and unconditional, a love that was passionately committed to the well-being of others, and the love God holds for all man kind.

How often is it that you tell those people in your life that you love them with God’s perfect love, agape? Some would argue that actions speak louder than words, and if this were true then why do we have the need to express how we are feeling in both words and actions? This then when using only the model of actions count more than words, accounts for the justification of believing that when people use the word love in their everyday speech, it begins to loose its meaning and affect. In fact I argue the exact opposite, for when we do not use the word love in our everyday speech, those who are the closest to use begin to wonder if we truly love them. Our actions do not always coincide with our words, so it is important to use the example set by God, and reaffirm, through our words, our feelings as often as humanly possible.

We also need to remember that Jesus Christ used the word love to illustrate the connection we have with him, and to God, and from the stories in the New Testament he used this word daily. God loves us; this was the message of Jesus, and it startled people to hear this. But what startled people more than that was when he proclaimed that he loved them personally. It stirred up emotions which were confusing to them because people by enlarged lead a very conservative life. The word love is the most power word God created for man to utter. It relays a message which when received holds so many consequences and emotions it can be very scary to those who do not know it, or have never truly felt it before. Some people, who are uncomfortable with this word, will scoff as they reply, Really? The word love is so powerful it invokes some to immediately question it, and for those who have known love, they will openly accept it saying in return, “I love you too”.

The great misunderstanding or misconception about love is that it is conditional, and can be given as reward, and this is simply not true. Keep in mind as you read further, I will attempt to draw a line between what is love, and what is not love, and my first point in regards to relationships and the word love, is that love is anything but conditional.

If someone tells you to do something for them by saying something like, You will do this if you love me. Or, If you love me you will do this. Where the word, this is a command, then they are really saying that their love is conditional, hedging on the act you are commanded to perform. If this is the case then you never truly had their love in the first place. They are using this powerful word as like a carrot, to control your actions, and love is not controlling. Love comes from God, because God is love, and because he loves all of us equally, the word love is not conditional.

1John 4:16; 16And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

So if God’s love is not conditional then why did Jesus say the following, found in John chapter 16, verse 27?

John 16:27; 27 No, the father himself loves you because you have loved me, and have believed that I come from God.

Jesus said this because as human beings we have free will, and so we chose to love God, much like God has chosen to love us despite our sins, and imperfections. It is not God who walks away from us, rather it is us who walk away from God. The door is always open to Gods love it is up to use to keep it open. It is our choice, Jesus merely extended his hand out of love so that we might know him, and be filled with God’s perfect agape love.



1John 2:15; 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


John warns not to love the world, and all it holds because this world is temporary, and like us will pass away, and God does not love what will pass away but what will be forever. Gods love is forever, in fact he loved us before we where ever born. His love is overflowing, and eternal, and makes us eternal when we accept it. When we accept God into our hearts, we then know love, and can give freely love to others. John’s warning is that if you love the world, you have closed yourself off to God, and thus are incapable of loving yourself, or others. Instead you use love like a carrot dangling it over the edge of the cage you have put the people that are the closest to you. You are cut off from them, yourself, and God.



Mathew 6:13: 13No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.(Mammon translating into wealth.)



People who fall into this category suffer daily, and they typically are searching for God, but for whatever reason reject him each time they get close. Their relationships last only for short periods, because their manipulation cannot be suppressed forever, and people who are in their life, like children, or spouses are the ones who suffer the most from this soulless exchange of loveless commands, and double standards.


1John 2:16-17; 16For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world.17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.


Doing God’s work here on earth does not automatically equal living for ever as a condition, but rather as a logical consequence to your choice to doing God’s will, living for God, rather than living for yourself. It is not a carrot dangled before us, but rather a choice that we willing make. The same can be said about love, it comes freely from God, but only when you chose to open the door. Showing love to others and receiving love back is also the simple consequence to the act that you chose to do. Everyone regardless of age, color, or belief is equal in these things which God had intended for all of us to have from the beginning, unto our very end, and proves he made us in his image, as like God we have the capability to feel, and being loved.


The example Jesus gave to use was radical in that we as people are naturally afraid of the unknown, and the word love, for that reason invokes the fear of the unknown. Thoughts run wild in our minds that warn against becoming to close with curtain people or befriending others from different ethnic backgrounds and races. We are naturally prejudiced against others because of their costumes, and customs, or religious beliefs. So when Jesus said,


Q14; 14 Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who treat you badly.


We as human-beings cannot understand this radical logic, but in truth this act of loving even your enemy, purifies your heart, and keeps it from becoming hard. In practice could we by showing this kind of love to our enemies make them our closest allies? If we do it once, could we then do it seven more times, a hundred, a thousand more times? This act demands respect, honor, and loyalty, and it makes us humble before God. In that God truly blesses us and he truly lives within us, in short we exemplify his love. By loving even our enemies, our love is proven to be unconditional, and we prove God is unconditional. By accepting others to eat at our dinner table we prove we are with God, and that God is with us.


The other even more radical thing about Jesus and his examples is when he said;


Q13; 13 Fortunate are you when people hate you, exclude you, abuse you, and denounce you on my account. Celebrate when that day comes and dance for joy-your reward will be great in heaven. Remember that their ancestors treated the prophets this way.


God’s love is so complete it moves us do extraordinary things, and accomplish extraordinary achievements, and reinforces our belief in him. It exalts him, glorifies him, and we are given more and more blessings, and love as we chose to open the door to him wider and wider. Love is the core, it is the one constant and cannot be given as a reward, but is the logical consequence to God, to loving others, and to loving and respecting yourself. Love is bliss, it is happiness within the strife of your everyday life, it is finding God, and receiving from him the strength and courage to continue to utilize love as it was intended. It is showing compassion to those less fortunate, giving food to the hungry, healing the sick and dying, and it is forgiving others of their transgressions against you, all without expecting anything in return. That is what love is.


Amen.

May peace be with you all the days of your life? If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to become a follower, and learn to Listen Faithfully to our Lord Jesus Christ.