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.



Reflections 6 Children & Parents (Relationships Series)

The older that I get, and the more I experience in life, the more I see that there is always two paths we as people can take. On one hand there is great temptation to do evil works in this world. Within this there is always someone who will be ready to tempt us, taunting us, scare, and even bully us in order that we might give up, walk away, and leave God. On the other hand there is the intrinsic reward of doing the lord’s work. This consists of the overpowering awareness deep within our hearts that opens our eyes, and senses to the wonders, and mysteries of God. The inescapable belief which is made manifested by the emotional outcry, and flood of feelings that is so completely satisfying it makes us want to do good over, and over again. I have always been mystified to why people chose the ways of the world as it is incomplete, and leads to damnation. I have always tried to live an honest, simple, and peaceful life, and I have not always succeeded in those in devours, though I have never stopped trying.

I open up this week with a topic that is very close to my own heart and one that I wanted everyone to understand, as this is where we all begin our journey as human beings. For no matter what the situation you may find yourself as children of God we have one obligation. That is to tell others about him, teach our children about him, so that he may be glorified, and all those whom we tell might be saved because of him. As a parent I know there is no other greater responsibility than to raise my child up in the name of the Lord. But this is a two-way-street, as all children at some point strikeout on their own and must make their own decisions and therefore must reap the consequences, be them good or bad, positive or negative. So I thought it only proper to explain the special relationship bestowed upon all children and their parents, as this relationship is the starting point in our lives as it models closely the relationship we are born to have with God.

So it is commanded of all children to:

(Ephesians Chapter 6:1-3) 1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

(Leviticus Chapter 19: 3) 3Everyone of you shall revere his mother and father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.”



In fact there are over 736,000 references listed on the internet, which are linked to Bible passages, all explaining the importance of obeying and honoring our parents, and yet there are so many children today who are filled with condemnation and hatred for their parents. One can say there is an open rebellion in our society of children rebelling against one, or both of their parents, which reflects the open rebellion man has against God. With that said I wanted to draw attention to the importance of this commandment God has laid out for all children, to honor, obey, and love your parents.



To that end I often times would tell my child as the years past that it was important to: “Love both of your parents equally, and to know who we are as people, for we both make mistakes.”



This is especially true to those children who are being raised in broken homes, where one parent has the majority of custody. In these situations it can become confusing for the child, or children, to which parent to love, to honor, to respect, and to bond with. Parents often times get wrapped up in the day to day struggles that the most important things have been taken either for granted, or forgotten all together, which is to raise your children knowing the Lord our God. In reflection, for this commandment to work, we must keep in mind and close to our hearts that all children are gifts from God, and that all children have an inherent need to love both of their parents. Hence it takes two to conceive a child, and it takes two to raise a child.



(Proverbs Chapter 20:11) 11Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.



The book of Proverbs was written and is closely linked by King Solomon, though most of the book is thought to have been written by a group of wise men, for the purpose of passing down prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young, and to make the wise even wiser. However its contents are filled with rich and relevant lessons for everyone of ever age. In this passage we find that even our children are held accountable for their actions, as so are adults. This goes back to the idea that we are all sinners in the eyes of God, and that we all must atone for our own sins. This passage also gives a grave warning which must not be misunderstood, or ignored. Though our children will be known by his or her deeds, it is up to his or her parents to have instructed the child to do good deeds in the first place, and to have been told or warned that they will be held accountable.

This can be best illustrated in the following scripture.



(Proverbs Chapter 22:6) 6Train up a child in the way he should go; and then he old, he will not depart from it.



(Proverbs Chapter 29:17) 17Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.



In this, God created it so that the parents role is one of protector, and disciplinarian, to correct, guide, and teach their children as they see fit, as long as it is in accordance to God’s will. The nexus that we face and that every civilization has faced from the being has been that children need their parents to educate them in the ways of God, and parents have this sacred duty to perform. Respect, honor, and loyalty is also a major part of the equation, as children learn these things from their parents and the relationship they see modeled in the home. If the parents do not strike this equal balance in their own relationship, then their children have no base-line in which to honor, or respect others, let alone themselves. They then become lost and are more susceptible to commit evil acts, and in general become absent and devoid of God. This is a sin, and as a parent, we are as much accountable as that of our children who find themselves in this situation.



(Ephesians Chapter 6:4) 4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.



(Colossians Chapter 3:21) 21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.



I end this reflection with this scripture from Jesus Christ our Lord and savior; found in the Lost Gospel Q, (pg70)


Q36 “Who among you would hand his son a stone when he has asked you for bread? Who would hand him a snake when its fish he’s asking for? If you, who are imperfect, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give to you when you ask.”



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 5 Guilt (Relationships Series)

In my life I have gone to many different places, have seen many different kinds of people, and have heard many great stories of heroes and heroines who struck out against the establishment. People who stood up for what is right, and fought against the evils of this world. None of them were perfect people; none of them did the right thing all the time, and all of them where sinners in the eyes of God. My last reflection was on Forgiveness, and after I re-read it I thought it vital to explain that Love comes from God, because he is love. We cannot love ourselves or others if we first do not forgive ourselves and others for what we do in our fight against what we perceive to be the evil in this world. Love is the most power word, which proves itself by our actions. Forgiveness is the second most powerful word because it leads to love. But guilt, that is a destroyer word. This week I want to dedicate this to all of you out there who is feeling some sort of guilt upon which you feel there is no escape, and I want to lead you back to God, and show you that he alone holds the keys to the doorway which leads to the path of forgiveness, and love, and which will vanquish your guilt. There is hope, there is a way if only you listen faithfully.

In the NIV Study Bible, New International Version, on page 9-Genesis Chapter 3:7, The Fall of Man, it reads:

Genesis 3:7: Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

The question I asked to a group of fourth grade students after reading this to them was simply this, Why did they cloth themselves? I got all kinds of answers but the one word that kept coming up over and over again was Guilt. Adam and Eve felt guilty for taking the fruit, for disobeying God.

The fact of the matter is, that whenever we do something that we know we should not have done, we feel guilty. Why else do we make the attempts to hide it? When we hide it we begin to nurture this feeling by justifying it. When people remind us of what we have done we get upset. Because we feel justified in our actions we refuse to humble ourselves and look into our own hearts, because if we do we know we will become, Guilty. Guilt strangles us, and prevents us from forgiving, and blocks us from Gods Love. Guilt will tear a person apart and leave nothing behind, there is no captives, and no hope once we have bought into its lies, and deception. Guilt is an absolute: meaning this word once made into action, will never go away and will always tug at your heart, refusing to let go. We as mortals do not have the power to completely vanquish it on our own. People who feel guilt often times fall into depression, and hide and avoid from the problems that arise because of the action that brought the guilt. They hide from the truth, from themselves, from others, and the world at large, and they become afraid, feeling intense fear.

Genesis 3:8-11: Then man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9: But the Lord God called to the man, Where are you?

10: He answered, I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked so I hid.

11: And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?

This story in the bible is so powerful because it tells of two people who were guilty, who saw the sin and tried to hide it. They blamed each other and the serpent, out of fear and guilt. Satan gives us this powerful word, and tortures us with it. He tries to make us feel guilt even when there is no guilt in our actions. But it becomes magnified when we have done something, when we have kept secrets. Adam and Eve where going to try and hide their sin before God, hence they hid. God’s reply to them was perfect, Who told you that you where naked?. These words placed the full weight of their guilt upon their shoulders where it belonged. Who told you? I can hear God really thinking in that moment, (I know I didnt tell you that!). As a parent I can see the frustration in those words when your child has done something and then lied about it, then tried to cover it up, holding it in their hearts as a secret.

The Holy Bible however has the answer, as the words of God are found written throughout its pages the key to vanquishing this vial of emotions is and has been staring us in the face for thousands of years.

From the Lost Gospel Q; page 79;

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.”

Fear through guilt, of the secret finally being revealed will keep us from asking for forgiveness.

Mark 4:40; And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?

Mark tells us that fear blocks faith, which will keep us serpent from God. But Isaiah gives us hope, in Isaiah 41:13; For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Because God is just, because he alone is all knowing there is only one way out of the destructive path guilt puts us on. The only right door to choose is written in 1John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2Chronicles 30:9;For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.

Isaiah 43:25; I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

My personal favorite example which shows God’s mercy is found in the Book of 1John 2:12, I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his names sake.

The real truth is Guilt and Sin where vanquished with the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We become hostage of guilt because we allow it to be so, when all we have to do is ask for forgiveness. I ask all who read this reflection to do one thing, which is to ask God first to forgive you of your guilt, then confess your guilt to those whom you have sinned against and ask them to show you mercy, and forgiveness. Simply say that you are sorry and that you love them, and your relationship will be renewed and strengthened.

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 4 Forgiveness (Relationships Series)

Forgiveness…I know that this word, ‘Forgiveness’ is a hard one to swallow when you have been in a fight with someone, or have had a nasty disagreement. It is hard to look at someone you really down deep don’t like very much and forgive them of some wrong doing they have done to you. But this week I would like to kindly remind everyone that to forgive is a direct link to Godliness. Jesus handed down to us some very powerful lessons packed with some very powerful words, forgiveness is one of the most powerful.

In the Lost Gospel Q, on page 112-Q77; Jesus explains this point very eloquently,

Q77“If a companion does something wrong to you, go to the person and point this out. But do it privately. If your friend listens and says, ‘I am sorry,’ forgive and your bond will be strengthened.”

“But how often must I forgive the same person?” asked one of the disciples, “Seven times?”

Jesus answered, “Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

In this we see numbers being placed into the forgiveness question. In truth Jesus was saying you have to forgive regardless how many times the person has offended you. If you broach the topic with a list of wrongs the person has done to you, do it in private. The main objective in this passage as it is in all of Jesus’s teachings is to be one with your brother, sister, father, aunt, uncle, niece, and nephew. His greatest commandment is to love one another, to love your enemy as you love yourself.

In reality people most of the time do not generally plan when they are going to have an argument with someone else. I know from personal experience that arguments tend to happen when one of the two or three people involved have been holding in their resentment, or anger that the slightest thing sets the ball rolling. But it is important to also note, that if we are honest, and are not accusatory, checking our own ego at the door, opening our heart to both speak the truth at the same time be willing to forgive. Doing this in private will eliminate the pressure of the moment, placing the other person at ease and more willing to see what they have done, and this in turn will have a positive effect on your relationship. Forgiveness is a very powerful tool that brings us closer to God.

How do we forgive? What is the first step?

The answer might sound a bit elementary, but this is what I tell all my students, who happen to be children. You must first humble yourself; by this I mean you need to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Understand why they did to you what they did, the reason behind it. This does not make the action right, but allows you to understand it nevertheless.

Jesus said, Q67 “Those who praise themselves will be humbled. Those who humble themselves will be praised.”

When my students cut the line and are not humbled I kindly remind them of how to become humble,

Q65“The last will be first, and the first will be last.” No one wants to be last.

To humble yourself, before God is like opening the door to a great peace, so great in fact there is no words that can describe it. There is no hatred that can overcome it, and there is no misdeed that cannot be forgiven. This is the hardest step, because it requires of you to first forgive yourself. People often times feel they are not worthy of forgiveness. That somehow their own sin is so great that it was not washed clean by the last act of Jesus on the cross. Even then Jesus held within him a forgiving heart.

Luke: Chapter 23, verse34:

34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

In the act of forgiving, remember it means nothing if you are not first and foremost serious, and that you completely surrender your will to God. Allow God to fill your heart with compassion.

Jesus reminds us of this in the Lost Gospel Q, on page 50, Q17:

Q17 “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

There is no sin that God cannot forgive. There is no wrong that he cannot make straight. What you see as a mountain is a flat plain to God. There is not one evil soul, which God cannot cleanse.

The penalty of not forgiving others is greater, than if you simply humbled yourself, and asked him of forgiveness first. Ask him for the wisdom, and the words to bring to the other person or people, do it in private, and be compassionate. For, if you do these things, God will return them to you many times over. He left us without an excuse, without a way out, other than to forgive. Our heart is made to forgive not to hold grudges. God designed us in his image.

Amen

May peace be with you all the days of your life? If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to go to the following Website: http://starkbriank.freewebs.com/ and sign the guest book and leave me a message.

Reflections 3: Gods Plan

This week I wanted to cover an element of the mission God has handed down to all of us, his children. A mission, so profound, that it is impossible to really understand, to truly appreciate, every aspect or even the tiniest single element in this wonderful blessing we call God’s plan. As a child I remember asking my parents when we’re going to grandma’s? How soon are we going to be at the cabin? How much further until we arrive? What is the plan? I remember my mother sighing as she replied, “If I had a dollar for every time you asked me that today I would be a rich woman.” I can imagine God feels the same way every time we ask, “When Lord? When are you coming back?”

The fact is God has a plan. His plan is so complete, so perfect that none of us could ever make it any better. I laugh every time I hear someone say in church; “Just tell me Lord, what’s the plan.”

I have never heard him tell those who have asked the plan…the full plan. I will go on the record and say I never will. Why should God tell us, his children the plan? How many times have you told your own children the full plan? I have never told my daughter the full plan of the day’s events. I have never told any of my students the complete plan for the semester. Why would I and give up all the fun pop quizzes? But never the less it does not stop my students, and my daughter from asking, nor does it stop us from asking God of what he intends to do next. A really good passage on this very fact can be found in Mark chapter 13, verses 32-33:

32 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”

In this passage Jesus spelled it out with his warning to be alert. Each day is a gift, each moment is not promised, make every second on this earth count. Trust in the fact that God has a plan, as Jesus had to also trust his father had a plan for him. In fact all the disciples trusted in the fact that Jesus had a plan, and even though some of them could not accept his plan, they obeyed him even still. The beautiful thing about is that Jesus, like God, never said to stop asking of what the plan was, like our parents would once they got tired of us asking.

Mathew Chapter 7, verses 7-8:

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The fact is God has a plan for every single person who has ever lived, and those who will ever live on this earth. His plan is so inclusive it includes the angels, the devil, and the entire universe. His plan was set into motion before time began. God’s plan is so sovereign, everlasting, unchangeable, and unbreakable, that it includes all things. His plan encompasses when and where we live, go, act, and it anticipates our sins and our good deeds. God has left nothing to chance, but rather it is his will, both the good and the bad. He is constantly testing us, just as he had his own son Jesus in the garden the night he was betrayed, in Luke chapter 22, verse 42:

42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

God was so generous in his plan he allowed for forgiveness, as Jesus states by showing his disciples how they should pray in Mathew 6, verse 9-13:

9 “In this manner, therefore, pray; Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day your daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

In conclusion, Gods plan is above all merciful, one filled with never ending joy and love. God has his plan for your life, and mine. He works his miracles through us on a daily basis, and if we look hard enough we can see his greatest plan in action, that of the new born baby, who breathes for the very first time. As is with life so is it just as miraculous as when we breathe our last at death. His plan has meaning, it gives us purpose, and it fills our lives with hope.

Amen

 

Reflections 2: A Real Relationship With God Part 2

In continuing my reflection from last week; of how to have a relationship with God the father, I wanted to describe to you the biblical beginning and the kind of relationship God wanted to have with us. In that I will cover the topic of relationships in a very broad sense, and illustrate this through the story of Adam and Eve.

As I had stated last week, relationships are extremely interesting, especially when we break them down to their most basic parts. Adam and Eve wanted everything we do; the difference is they had a direct relationship with God. They had a front row set in the World Series final game, free of charge. Instead of going to that final game, they gave their tickets away, but more about that later. For right now, God from the beginning wanted to have a personal relationship with you, and with all mankind. He had wanted from the start to talk with use, look us in the eye, love us unconditionally, and teach us all the wonderful things life is about. God created us in his image, and loved us beyond anything we could ever comprehend. His love is so absolute; we need nothing else. We are made to love him, serve him, and give glory to him. In that our relationship with God is complete, we are complete, and God is complete.

7And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis Chapter 2:7).

15Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis Chapter 2:15-17).

God at this point had given Adam everything; there was nothing else he needed. The tree God told Adam to stay away from was a tree that was filled with knowledge we as human beings did not need to have. It would have been a wonderful thing indeed had God had the chance to teach Adam directly the mysteries of that tree. This would have taken time, as Adam was a lot like our children, who we do not give away all the mysteries at once, but little over time as they grow and mature. Adam was truly blessed, because his relationship with our creator was a direct one. There was nothing separating him from God, and God from Adam. This was the type of relationship God intended us to have with him, a deep, personal, relationship.

18And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis Chapter 2:18).

In this God created Eve, not to be subservient, but equal to Adam, helping Adam to maintain all that God had given them. So the relationship Adam and Eve were supposed to have had is exactly what God wants from all of us today. He wants men and women to be equal helping each other, loving each other, respecting each other, in order that we all can maintain all the blessings God has bestowed to us in our everyday lives. In that we are complete, God is complete. With that stated, I find it funny how we have taken this first lesson in relationships and have so distorted it. We as human beings found a way to make it alright to make other races, genders, faiths, and just about every other differences we have in this world and justify our cruelty in making others subservient. Justifying it as if that is what God had intended all along. Biblically speaking we are complete, because we make the effort to help, love, honor, and cherish the blessing God has bestowed. We are complete, because we have given the glory back where it belongs, back to the source, back to God.

22Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man he made into women, and he brought her to the man. 23And Adam said,“This is the bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called women, because she was taken out of man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis Chapter 2:22-24; 22).

It cannot be ignored that the most sacred of all words in the bible, is also unmistakably linked to the kind of relationship God had wanted from us, and for us. The word marriage is first introduced in Genesis Chapter 2:24, it is a word that can be found in many of the other books in the bible, and is always defined as a special relationship between a man and a woman. This is a fact. I do not point this out to disqualify anyone else, but rather to define the right kind of relationship which God had intended.

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis Chapter 2:25; 25)

This denotes the underlying fact that the experience Adam and Eve had was one without shame, without devastating lies, absent of worry, and of any kind of discord. God gave them the food they were to eat, the land in which to live, and the companionship to make their lives full of happiness, and filled with love. Their relationship was one overflowing with the unconditional love of God. With this I make the argument that God still wants this for us today. God initiated this relationship between himself and of all mankind by simply creating us in his own image. His love was so profoundly endless, and selfless, he allowed us to be and to have a close relationship with him. Our God is a loving, and caring God, and we are blessed that he is who he is, and is in this for the long haul.

As I reflect on this passage of the bible I cannot help but wonder how much more heaven is, than the paradise he had made for Adam and Eve. How much more love, and happiness there is in heaven. I also cannot help but wonder why people allow themselves to be taken up in the things of this world, and ignore the blessings that God has given to them. The fact is the wants of God have not changed; rather it is us who have changed. The relationship we have with God the father is a deep, personal, giving, and sharing relationship. He desires it, seeks it out, and rewards us if we return his love with our participation in that relationship. He set the stage for us to have a human relationship between husbands and wives, one that is equally rewarding.

I end this reflection with the question; if God loved us this much, what more could we ever possible need, or want?

Amen

May peace be with you all the days of your life? If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to leave a comment.