Reflections 3: The Test of Love

“47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:47, NKJV, Pp.1000).

Last week, and in many other posts, I have said that there is one requirement that we Christians have before God. This requirement is to have absolute faith in Jesus Christ no matter where he should lead us. In fact my exact words where, “To follow Jesus we must commit our souls to Him completely, lay down our own wants and desires and follow Him with absolute faith, without question of where He is leading us.” In addition to making this point, I also gave many examples of how some people just can’t come to grips with this, and in fact one of my readers commented to me personally, “God also wants us to question and not follow along like a blinded sheep.” Admittedly, after reading this comment I was somewhat taken aback. I wondered where I had gone wrong, so after a full week of contemplation I want to bring all of you full circle on this point.

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” 41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty, 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:40-42, NKJV, Pp.1000).

I ask, “Did this forgiving of debt have anything to do with mercy, with love?” Simon is being given a test that it took Apostle Paul half a lifetime to learn. Paul prosecuted Christians in the beginning. He was actively hunting them down watching them die at his own hand. His heart was filled with anger and violence, so much so his life was overflowing with such torment. His love was little, thus he loved little. What did it take to bring Paul from this pit of darkness, and give him a new lease on life? It took a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. It took Paul the very breath of Jesus in his ear, the blinding of his eyes, in order to instill and wipe away his old habit of hatred and persecution of others, and allow himself to be persecuted in order for him to truly find faith in God. Paul’s conversion was a new found unquestionable, unshakable faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  What a radical transformation from the old angry Christian hater to the new Christ follower. Like Paul, Simon is faced with the one true test of love.

43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then he turned to the women and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this women has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this women has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore, I say to you, her sins are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:43 – 47, NKJV, Pp.1000).

This woman had a choice, she had free will, and she could have chosen not to accept Jesus in this manner. As the story unfolds we find not only did she completely surrender to Jesus, but she sought Him out, and she faced the many men of so-called faith who accused and cursed her. The word forgiven could have been replaced by accepted, but then the granting of forgiveness would have been mute. The table was prepared, the house filled with Pharisees, Jesus could have said you are accepted, and avoided criticism, but his purpose would have been unfilled. What a shame all that would have been, what a great opportunity would have slipped by unnoticed? The question, the criticism, which sparked this great test of love was one filled with scorn.

“39 This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of women this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39, NKJV, Pp.1000).

But I ask, “Are we all not sinners?”

Yes, we are all sinners, yes; we all have free will, and yes; God wants us to question why we believe what we believe. If our God was not such a forgiving God, He would not have forgiven us our many indiscretions. If our God was not a loving God he would not have given us free will, coupled by an inquisitive nature that often times gets us into trouble. If our God wanted us to be blind automatons He would not have sent His only son Jesus to open our eyes so wide to His most perfect grace, His most perfect unconditional love.

It is because we are sinners we need God’s forgiveness, His divine mercy. No matter how hard we try, we cannot save ourselves. Without being tested by love, we love little. Without God showing us love, we would never know God. Apostle Paul would have forever been blinded by his hatred of people of different faiths, Simon would have never seen the light of day, the Pharisees would have never been moved to question God in the manner they did, and our daily struggle would be unbearable, as we would truly be forsaken. Historically speaking, Rome would never been converted to Christianity, and if that didn’t happen, you and I would not be having this conversation.  Without questioning our faith, our journey with and too God would be meaningless, for we would cease to seek, and we would never find. The only right answer is to do what the sinful women did before Jesus; the only action we need to show is our gratitude. The daily walk through our lives is filled with meaning when we surrender completely, and demonstrate with every breath in our bodies’ absolute faith in Jesus. Only then are we truly set free of our earthy shackles and begin to live the many blessings God had in store for us all along, but first we must pick up our cross and follow Him.

48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Then He said to the women. “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:48 – 50, NKJV, Pp.1000).

Challenge question: Where would we be if we did not have Gods love, if we were never tested by that most perfect love? Then without Gods love wouldn’t we be even more lost than we currently find ourselves?


If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you.

Reflections 2: When We Follow Him

“24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24 – 25, NKJV, Pp.952).

Our Lord Jesus Christ is so direct, so cunning with His words I think sometimes we hear them, read them, and can even feel the emotion behind each and every phrase that he spoke, but somehow we fail to allow his message to sink in and really touch our souls. I feel we erect a barrier, a shield of shorts around our hearts that allows nothing good in, which prevents His healing touch to really work the miracles in our lives in the way they were intended too.  As I reflect upon Our Lord Jesus, His message, His longing for us all to put down our troubles and worries and pick up our cross, I have to also suggest that the faith Jesus exhibited in God is what gives meaning to His words, to His message, to His command to Follow Him.

I am also led to the conclusion that Jesus’s message was delivered in such a way that for those men and women who heard his voice, touched his skin, and who had the privilege to hug and interact with Him, they understood exactly His intent, for the message was crystal clear. Some of them, as some of us today just refuse to submit to Jesus. In fighting this unwinnable battle of wills we are also fighting against God our father in heaven. In propagating this strength test of sorts somewhere down the line we make a conscious choice. Some of us rebuke God because it is an easier road to follow, leaving our cross to rot where it is. Still others are so horrified that it is our very life we are required to willingly sacrifice that we simply panic and do everything imaginable to save it, condemning ourselves in the process.  But the majority of us are like Apostle Peter, we have no problem with the sacrifice of our own life, if it would mean Jesus didn’t have to die, and as innocent as that may sound it was against the very purpose of Jesus Christ being here in the first place, because through our death, we die a sinner, a rebel, and are ultimately separated from God Our Father. So to Peter, Jesus replied the only way he could and in doing so he also was talking to every man, women, and child that would ever live on this planet.

“22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ 23 But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:22 – 23, NKJV, Pp.952).

To follow Jesus we must commit our souls to Him completely, lay down our own wants and desires and follow Him with absolute faith, without question of where He is leading us. It is this requirement that separates the people of God from every other people in the world. It is this one prerequisite that keeps the people of God focused on the end game, thwarting any distractions.   Yet, some of us can hear His calming voice, but with our eyes we see the enemy coming closer and like Peter, we become fearful which leads us to become irrational and then we sin before God.  I find this response to be ironic, because Peter knew as did the other disciples, as we all know today, why Jesus was headed down the road that he freely chose. Yet, even armed with this knowledge Peter still allowed fear to momentarily blind him making him unable to accept the truth of Jesus’s mission. In retrospect Peter was coming from a place of earthly concern, fooled into believing this concern for Jesus was coming from a place of love. In allowing this Peter momentarily allowed Satan in, and Jesus saw it, heard it, and was responding to it. In that moment, Our Lord was also responding to each and every one of us each time we allow Satan in, speaking directly to our immortal soul as he cast Satan out.

“26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NKJV, Pp.952).

As I have stated before and will state again, it is righteous to have a healthy fear of God and a massive amount of respect for Him. For it is with His grace we continue to multiply, to live, and be so blessed. It is because God loves each and every one of us that we exist at all. It is so mind-boggling to me that some of us are so lost, so hungry for God’s love and yet run so fast in the opposite direction. Grant-it for many it is out of ignorance, but for those unlucky people who continue to practice willful disobedience in living an immoral, offensive life that which is chalked with sin, so much so it physically destroys them and hurts everyone around them, while ignoring God’s many pleas, for them we must pray for Gods mercy. For in all they do, in all their efforts they have accomplished nothing, for we are nothing when compared to God, as all things are accomplished through Him and by Him alone. I know God must really shake his head in wonder every time He looks down from heaven, hearing our many complaints, requests, and cries for help, only to turn the other cheek when He presents us the answer. Truth is Jesus asked this very question over two thousand years ago when He frustratingly announced;

“26 But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46, NKJV, Pp.998).

Jesus went on to explain the many differences in a person’s heart that does what he says, from one who does not in the following two verses, and as straight forward as His commandments are, none of them was as direct and as skillfully aimed at our human hearts as when he said over and over to the multitude, “Follow Me.” He said it because we are lost, and within Him, through Him we are found.

I am constantly inspired by those of us Christians who confess their faith and live a day-to-day life filled with God’s commandments, but I morn for those who live their lives as they see fit, absent of remorse while skillfully executing their own set of faulty morality. I can tell the unmistakable difference in a person who is filled with love from God, from one who is filled with love of self. The person filled with the love of God is peaceful, and holds a heart that strives to do good not for themselves, but for those who are around them. In their presence you feel safe, secure, and at peace, because they are humble before our God. But the person filled with selfish ambition and blind, reckless greed, well for them they betray their own self-serving intentions by the words that come from their diseased hearts.

Challenge question: Now that you know what is required what will you do in your own life today to honor God our most deserving Father?


If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you.

Reflection 3: The Choice of Love

“22 And the glory which You gave Me, I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them and You in Me: that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17: 22-23, Pp. 1046, NKJV.)

In this life we are lead down a path which at first glance tricks our eyes into believing that God does not love us, that we are alone in our pain, in our suffering, in our wants, and in all our trials and tribulations. We question God on his promise, his integrity, and his resolve in his absence in our life in being that all forgiving, merciful god his so called son, (Jesus Christ) talked about in the Bible. Under our breath we rebel against other Christians who have this unbelievable, unshakable faith and become jealous because in our heart of hearts we feel an inexplicable void which permeates our minds and souls, and forces us to ask the following set of question;

How do I rejoice when there is no real reason to in my life to do so?

How do I see the positive things in life when all there is are the negative day-to-day happenings?

Are there some people just born more positive than others? Is there some secret only a select few know about?

As found in John 17, Jesus was describing in graphic detail what he wants for every human on Earth.  He was not however making any promises that you will always feel his love, for that is a matter of faith, a choice to believe in love, and that God loves you beyond all measure.  Jesus was talking about a faith so strong  that there  would be no doubt that God loves you, this is best illustrated by his words, “I in them and You in Me” (Jesus, Pp. 1046). Subsequently there is no scripture which promises that you will always feel loved. Rather each circumstance in your life, within each trial and tribulation you will find if you have faith an unshakable connection with God. Allowing your doubts to vanish into thin air, for the negative things in life will always bring you closer to God. That journey or lesson then becomes unmistakable, exceedingly obvious that you are loved, for that is God’s simply promise. It then becomes your choice to believe in love, to believe in Him.

I told my daughter once that, “the more you love someone, especial your children, the more important that person becomes, the larger role they begin to play in your life. Because of this you cannot replace, ignore, no longer feel love for, or stop thinking about those people that you have allowed to become that important to you, no matter how badly they may have hurt you.”  So, if God made us in his image, allowed us to feel such love for each other, then it becomes an undeniable fact that His love is all around us, even if we do not feel loved by Him. It also becomes a fact that because Jesus said His Father loved us with His whole heart, so much so that God would send His only son to suffer and die to redeem man’s sinful nature, within that singular act it become apparent that God Himself has thus allowed all of us to become so unimaginably important to Him. In that, logic dictates that we are more important to God than we could ever imagine.

So, to answer these questions that make us doubt more completely we must first ask the following questions, “Why allow the negative things to have such an impact on us when we have a loving, forgiving, merciful relationship with God? Why allow such rebellion to seep into our hearts that we would give it such an important place in our life?”

As I travel the world and meet people from other cultures I am always fascinated to find how people are more willing to focus on the negative, annoying, problematic, complicated, agonizing, and even destructive situations in their life rather than to first search for the good within the bad? We as a race chose to first find fault, the proverbial “Why” behind the happening. We need to have a story, a fall guy, a person or people to blame for our own problems. The selective process we go through stops at nothing as we quickly point our fingers and utter the words that hurt feeling, start wars, and even destroy relationships. Few of us can stop before we blame and ask, “What did I do to cause this event?” Or more profoundly,  “What was it that I did wrong or perhaps not wrong but not what I should have done?”  If this was the process we clung too before playing the blame game maybe just maybe our world would be a better place to live in.

“26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty: 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; 31 that as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1: 26-31, Pp. 1099, NKJV).

Thus, through God we have the power within us to choose to build bridges that will last forever, or to destroy them before they are ever finished. Our choices in this life show more about you, how you handle unpleasant situations, and even how much you complain and moan about things you have no control over. This will ultimately unleash the truth of your character in ways your words would never be able too. In fact if the truth be told, it will be your actions here on Earth that which you shall be judged by more than your words. “Why?” you ask, because, it is your actions that are a reflection of what is truly in your heart. The sad thing is we have a choice from birth, just as Jesus did. We can chose to look at all the wonderful things in life as a daily blessing, even amidst the negative stuff. Instead of getting all down we can chose to say instead,

“Ok, I know there is something good in this pot of bad events dealt me….”

For when we make a conscious effort to find the miracles we find God’s love. No matter how small the miracle is, together they all make one big blessing from God. When we retrain our minds our spirit will take over, and the miracle in this will become apparent…trust me I know from experience. The need to have someone to blame goes away, the driving force to become the enforcer, the judge, jury, and executioner dissipates. The weight is suddenly lifted as it becomes almost effortless to see the good in any situation, just like our Lord and Savior; Jesus Christ did when being nailed to a cross.

One of my favorite stories that illustrates’ this best is the Book of Job. Here is a man who Satan unleashes all of Hell on Earth on. He lost his money, his children, his wife, his animals, his servants; more over his friends mocked him when he refused to blame God for the river of torment within his life. Job instead chose with boils on his skin to fall down before God  and warship Him, thanking Him for all the blessing he saw that God had granted. The real question here is could you do this in your life? Are you strong enough to be a Job?

Another character from the Bible which just amazes me is Moses. Here is a man who was simply born disadvantaged, as a slave. By the grace of God was he plucked from the river and raised as a Prince of Egypt. He learned all the ways of his people’s oppressors, then fell from grace. He found his way in the desert never once blaming God for his misfortune only to find favor, find a wife, have many children, and be so blessed.  As an old man Moses was called by God to free his people, (God’s chosen people). He argued with God, and according to the Bible, Moses had a love hate relationship with God and the people he was sent to free. Throughout the entire process as he was being transformed from being a mere Sheppard into God’s chosen profit Moses was a flawed, doubtful, and very much a sinful man. Throughout his life he had many reasons to curse God but never once did, rather, Moses searched for each miracle of God.  Are you strong enough to be a Moses?

However, the one greatest example God has given to us is that of Jesus. Here is a man who was given a task and carried it out faithfully, even though he knew it would lead him to a disgraceful, hideous, painful, and agonizingly brutal death. Yet there is not one word which that Jesus ever utters which would curse God. All of Jesus’s actions are peaceful and can even be described as being completely filled with love. In fact it is this love for others which Jesus spent more time preaching about more than anything else in his ministry here on Earth. If you take the time to read each passage where Jesus speaks even when he is angry, you can plainly see the love, the forgiveness, the peace within his spirit. It is so profoundly obvious just before he dies on the cross when he asks our Father in Heaven to forgive those who have crucified him. Jesus was willing to ask God for forgiveness of not just those who judged him, beat him, spit upon him,  disowned him, turned him in, and for those who did not believe in him, but he asked God to forgive every last one of us here on Earth. Jesus showed us how to look for the blessings, the miracles in all the bad events of our personal lives. He illustrated how to chose positive expression, to look at our own actions first, to put others first, to be completely beholden to God, to walk with God confidently. There is no other more perfect example found.

When we chose to look at these examples of how to live, how to act towards others we begin to see and to believe in the hidden power of God, the grace of God, and we begin to see each miracle happen, even if we have to experience something negative first. We fulfill the one true commandment left by Jesus Christ,

“35 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. 36 Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36, Pp. 998, NJKV).

Therefore, we rejoice in the love of God because God’s love gives us purpose and a profound meaning. In doing so we obey God’s law of “Agape Love”,

“10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10, Pp. 1095).

Simply put it is through this good news of God’s never ending love for us do we find the reason to rejoice. When we look within all the dark places of our lives do we receive the insight, the reason God so loved us.  Rest assured the miracle of God is there, but we must make the choice to look for it, look for God’s love, to believe Christ is in us, as God is in Christ. In the face of this evidence I now ask, is there a special knowledge needed, to think positively? Are there just some people born being positive or did they chose to be positive? Within that choice are they freer, happier, and more satisfied with their lives? Thus, with this new insight into God’s mercy, do we now see we have a choice to love each other because God first loved us? He chose to redeem us first?

So for your New Year’s Resolutions I challenge each and everyone one of you to become positive, to make the choice to become more satisfied and let Jesus fill your hearts with his peaceful spirit of God’s most perfect love. Amen

Special Posting: A Father's Pride

“God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives” (2Peter 3:9).
I am moved by this specific passage from Peter because it illustrates that our role here on earth as parents, more specifically fathers, have to show an awesome amount of patients for our children, just as our father in heaven. Following his example we find peace, love, and forgive much easier. We are promised in the bible a new birth, a new beginning through our Lord Jesus Christ. This then begins the moment you accept God, you accept Jesus. When we do not have the strength to be patient know our savior does. Thus showing an awesome amount of patience will show the world who you are, and who you belong too.
May God be with you all the days of your life, God Bless.

Reflection 7: The Many Chances God Gives

When I look at my students who often times have the capacity to being hysterically funny, making me laugh so hard my sides hurt, then on the other hand, these same students can make me feel so frustrated. Some days I have no problem getting through to them, then other days I am talking but nothing seems to come out to which they are listening too and learning from. When raising children as a parent there are those moments that are burned into my memory as being absolutely awesome, then other moments where my child has tested me to the max and seemingly enjoys every second doing it. I say these things to illustrate how God must be looking at the entire human race. Some people must really give God immense joy, then others I know he wants to help but they have not yet come to him. I imagine God looks into each and every person’s face and sees’ the multitude of varying wants, needs, and beliefs and the miracle of this is written into their eyes. We all need the same thing, no matter our age, experience, sex, or placement on the economic food chain; we all desire three things more than anything else, that being: love, guidance, and compassion.

 Ironically all these things are given to us by God. The miracle is that he so freely grants us the ability to make up our own minds, which if you think about it is the ultimate test in faith. He allows us the right to search our own souls and begin this journey upon our own volition. But the most amazing thing besides all of the things which I have stated thus far is found in the amount of times God allows us to get things wrong, and it is his patience and mercy which allows us to retake the test so-to-speak. To sin is something which is hardwired into us as sinners needing God’s forgiveness and he is so good to nurture us by allowing us to fall down like a baby learning to walk, so that one day we might stand and be able to run. God does this by shedding a light on all of our sins, and faults, and by purifying us by his light.

 “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” (Lost Gospel Q, Q45, P.79).

 In reflecting some of my worst blunders I remember how God watched me, hands off, and then when I fell I came to him. I remember he never gave me the answer, but he did give me multiple chances at getting the right answer. Some of these tests I flunked straight away, as I was either irrigate, or naive, impatient, or lax daisy about what he was guiding me to do next. In some instances he told me the test was coming, I could plainly see it was coming, but I ignored it. God is not above using other people to help us make the right decision, by moving them in such a way they cross our path, like two asteroids floating freely in outerspace. Other times I told God he better not, but he always did, with a vengeance. We are all in rebellion against God, but he is so lovingly patient towards us, holding off final judgment until the very last.

 “3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”(Romans 2:3-4).

 Without Gods patience and ability to love, forgive, show mercy, and to guide us on our journey through life, holding back his wrath, we would all most likely be condemned forever. As observes by William Barkley in the 1958 edition of  “The Daily Study Bible: Letters to Galatians and Ephesians” were he wrote, “If God had been a man, He would have taken His hand and wiped out this world long ago; but God has that patience which bears with all our sinning and which will not cast us off. In our lives, in our attitude to and dealings with our fellow men, we must reproduce this loving, forbearing, forgiving, patient attitude of God toward ourselves” (1958, p. 56).

 It is also important to understand that God is not a God based upon mercy which equals a second chance rather according to 2 Corinthians “The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians”,  is in fact a God which guarantees us success only through him.

 “17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? 18 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us- by me, Silvanus, and Timothy –was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”( 2 Corinthians 1:17-20).

The many chances God gives is found with our own search for God, for he is like a good sheppard looking after his flock. He is the light we are all walking toward, searching for, and longing to get to. We fail, fall, and make grave mistakes, but when we abide in Him, he guarantees us success through Him, with Him, in Him.


If you have been moved by this blog, I humbly invite you to leave a comment, and may all your days be filled with peace, love, and God’s eternal joy.