2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, leading them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. – Mark 9:2-3New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)
A Glimpse of Glory
Many times in my life especially as a child I wondered what life would be like when I grew up. I wondered what I would look like, sound like, and or how much my personality would have changed as an adult. I often would be laying down in my bed wishing I could hit a fast-forward button and be an adult. Of course, I never wanted the responsibilities of an adult just the respect, glory without the pain, and stature without hardship. When I read (Mark 9:2-3) it reminds me of those moments because as flawed, broken, human beings uncertain of what is coming down the line in our future it is always better to receive the prize before we run the race. It is human nature to wish we could avoid the hardship and glimpse the end result. My grandma Stark called this, ‘having your dessert before fixing your dinner.’
See my brothers and sisters Jesus took Peter, James, and John up high upon the mountain out of sight from the others to give them a glimpse of the end result, the glorified Christ, and a taste of Heaven backed up by two of the greatest prophets in human history. But as flawed human beings the three disciples though in awe, was filled with fear, and so missed the bigger picture until much later. Jesus wanted to give them comfort in the knowledge that His death was not pointless, that He would conquer the world, not be conquered. Jesus wanted to strengthen them for the hardships to come. Remember, what they had been through up to this point and what miracles they had seen. From His baptism to Jesus feeding the five thousand, the earthly temptation of the Pharisees who had demanded a sign from heaven all of which was sure to test Him. From there Jesus cures a blind man from Bethsaida, then on a beach of the dead sea Peter declares Jesus the Messiah. But most assuredly what was on all their minds was what their rabbi had predicted about the ‘Son of Man’, which by now all of them agreed was Jesus, (Matthew 16:21) Jesus’s emphatic, heartfelt, and detailed description about His own suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection. In a reflection of this moment, perhaps it was His certainty that this was God’s plan for Him, that it must be done which struck the deepest cord of concern in the disciple’s hearts. None of them wanted Jesus to leave them, in fact, they wanted to go with Him, they all wanted the fruits before the labor. Perhaps, the three who went with Jesus saw the glory and power of their Lord but failed at that moment to see the true High Preist that would reign in Heaven forever. Maybe, they concluded Jesus didn’t have to suffer, die, and be raised from the dead, so in their innocents, they offered to erect three tents so this moment would never pass them bye. The three disciples reacted in a very human way, wanting to hold onto the moment rather than to embrace the hardship that would lead to this transfigured Jesus. Very much as I had wanted to be an adult before my time but without the heartache and pain of making the real world sometimes agonizing, dreadful, and sensitive decisions that all adults have to make.
Jesus – The Real-World Teacher
9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. – Mark 9:9-10(NRSVACE)
After 15 plus years in the classroom, 22 years of being a parent, and all my life being a student there are times I have given real-world examples or have been asked questions pertaining to a real-world scenario and just simply come up empty-handed. There have been times I have questioned my parents, teachers, ex-spouse, bosses, my only child, and or I have been put on the spot and still are left with more questions than answers though the real, less complicated, and the most logical answer was always right there before me. So, I can relate to Peter, James, and John as they came down from the mountain. Though they saw who Jesus was, what He would transform into after suffering and dying, they still did not connect the dots to His resurrection. I would have loved to have lived during this period and heard the questions about this resurrection Jesus was talking about. All this time spent watching Jesus perform miracles they did not connect the phrases He was using, or perhaps they did understand but refused to believe it out of love for Jesus as their desire was to be with Him forever on this earth. Ironically, it is this same stubborn human desire of Peters that was the cause of him being scorned by Jesus, (Matthew 16:23) just prior to the trip up the mountain and the same unwavering human impulse to question things that should be obvious. I truly believe that even if Jesus had given them a mental flash-forward they still would question it’s real-world relevance to them in their own lives; though I have to admit the transfiguration was an infinitely better visually.
The Message of the Transfiguration
24-25 You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-25The Message (MSG)
Perhaps one of the most overstated things people hear in church is, ‘God so loved the world… ,’ (John 3:16-18). But nevertheless, my brothers and sisters God indeed loved us so much he sent His only son, but on the flip side of this coin, ‘God did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for us all.’ – The Liturgy of the Hours, pg.294. With that said, the medal we win after living our life for Christ is one of eternal value, running on behalf of our brothers who cannot run, morally defending those who struggle mentally or spiritually, and standing up against injustice which is so prevalent in our world. We can live for others, changing their lives for the better, and giving the example of grace which brings those we touch to Christ. In a way, Jesus showed the true person He is, the true self we all have within, and the eternal reward we run so hard for and run too. See my brothers and sisters the message behind the transfiguration is one of hope and rejuvenation in the life to come. It was the promise of God that salvation is real, that He means what He says, that His covenant stands and is binding. At that moment Jesus is saying, “Here I Am!”, He is lighting the pathway, revealing Himself in such a way no one could ever deny His divinity and purity of heart and to truly find Him we must listen faithfully to the words He speaks to our hearts that will guide us throughout our lives. Our Lord and Saviour had proven His connection to Heaven while standing next to Moses and Elijah. The symbology for the Jewish people was unmistakable for Moses representing God’s divine law and Elijah representing all the prophets, both symbolizing the Old and Jesus the New. The dividing line between both halves of the story as it unfolds in real time, as one covenant ends and a new one begins. The rejuvenation of God’s promises, His Law, His love and mercy through His only Son which He stated clearly for all to hear when Jesus was baptized;
17 “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” – Matthew 3:17(NRSVCE)
Earlier I had said that the three disciples did not fully understand the transfiguration of Christ until much later, after the events of Pentecost. But when they did get it, this is what two of them wrote;
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14(NRSVCE)
Peter sometime later testified:
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.” – 2 Peter 1:16-18(NRSVCE)
God our Father, help us to hear your Son. Enlighten us with your word, that we may find the way to your glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. – The Liturgy of the Hours, pg.295.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’
Now go spread the word!
Reaffirming Our Mission
To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.
Be apart of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today.
In this life we experience so much, and so I thought it appropriate to start the new year with a new series of blogs dealing with each of life’s experiences. This posting will explore anger in the context of its usage and its qualities for both good and bad. The focus will center around the effect upon others in each category as it relates to how our God has used anger in the past. We will delve into the model left by Christ on this topic and how it applies to every single human-being today, and how Satan does his best to thwart our efforts and then to pull us down through anger.
Therefore, in our life when we feel angry it is neither good or bad. It is simply a reaction to something that has happened to us. It is logical to then state that one does not willfully make ones-self angry, but rather an external force is at work that which we are reacting too that makes us feel this natural and neutral emotion. In my life I have seen things which I have taken a strong disliking too, however by nature I am very slow to anger, but once there I am angry for a long time. In my youth as all kids do, I misused anger and in doing so said a lot of things I would later regret having ever said. In this manner anger can be used for evil deeds, but most of our children simply misuse anger for lack of training and experience. In the context of angry emotions being used for good is found simply in the recognition of the fact that you are angry, this is of course rudimentary logic. Interestingly, in our society feeling angry is often looked upon as being a bad emotion and is shunned. Ironically, the shunning of this emotion leeds to burying it deep inside and if left to fester will cause great damage to the person and all those around them as they erupt like a volcano uncontrollably. In that sense we create the evil in what was otherwise a neutral emotion. The simple act of recognizing that you are angry is a pure, honest, and healthy way to handle this feeling. In most cases it is not enough to simply recognize your angry, but rather develop the ability to know why your angry, what was the trigger, what external force brought you to this emotion. In understanding anger in this manner you bring control and wisdom to the next step of the process, which of course is the actions you commit while being angry.
In this perspective anger is the act of being provoked into action. Thus, if full control is not first asserted those who have provoked have a distinct advantage over the one who is being provoked. Think back if you will to when as a child your sibling called you a name that you disliked, or kept you from doing something you wanted to do. Most of us fired back without thinking, not to simply keep your sibling from making you angrier, but as an act of revenge. This in turn proved yourself, (not evil), but immature, lacking the ability to control your anger, and thus at a distinct disadvantage to your sibling or aggressor. In large part this lack of control is due to the rush to action while ignoring the honest recognition of being angry. Had we stopped, taken a breath, then thought it through most of us would have brushed the insult off. But by nature children do not do this because their brain is not yet developed enough to process the “why” aspect of this honest emotion. Most of us where spanked into submission and took this punishment for being angry or becoming angry, rather as it should have been explained that the punishment was not for becoming angry, but what we did with it. Therefore, the evil in the emotion is found within the action taken while experiencing this honest, natural, neutral feeling of being angry.
I have often times told my own daughter that, “it’s ok if your angry at me or your mother. But instead of acting out on your anger stop and remember that you love both of us equally. It is ok to tell me that your angry, as long as you do it in a respectful manner.” I remember having many conversations with her about angry emotions, about acting out in anger or rage. I always made her the promise that I would listen to her. In more recent times our relationship has become rocky at best, partly because of needless events that were outside both our control. There have been many things said to me, about me, in front of me, and be-hide my back which my daughter should have never been apart of or in its hearing. To some degree our hearts have been hardened, and angry emotions have been left to run rampant in our conversations. In this aspect anger is not yet evil, but is hurtful, destructive, malicious, disrespectful, and the actions taken are not pure, and thus are not controllable. Subtle changes have occurred in her language over time such as the absence of words like, “I miss you”, or “I love you”, or “I am sorry”, have all but disappeared, which reveals her anger is due in large part to the secrets she has been forced to kept from me. But never-the-less the disparity between us if left unchecked will grow more divisive and become spiteful at which point it will be pure evil. I bring this up not to disparage my daughter, who is about to be seventeen, but to point out the difficulties within interpersonal relationships built into high conflict marriages, and the pure immaturity to which anger leads to the mutual destruction of the family unit, and in this manner anger is evil.
On the other hand God has never used anger for evil means, though He is blamed for it all the time. Rather that deed belongs solely to Satan. Evidence of this in the Bible is found in how Jesus handled anger and thus left us a perfect model to follow, though admittedly it is in part shrouded in mystery.
“23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offense unto me: for you consider not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.'” ~ Matthew 16:23
In reading this specific scripture the love Jesus held for His disciple Peter is hard to find. One’s mind instantly snaps to Peters defense as the justification was not apparent that supported Jesus’s reaction to Peter’s words to him. So it is tradition in reading the Bible one must dig further and read what Peter had said that angered Jesus so;
“20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. 21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” ~ Matthew 16:20-22
If we take away the word “rebuke” and simply put, “Peter took Him aside and said to Him,” this passage would have an entirely different meaning. In fact Peter was acting with good intentions, (far be it from Jesus, that He must be made to suffer so.) To anyone else this would have been seen as a act of compassion. But because Jesus was the Christ, Peter inadvertently rebuked Him. For Jesus to not complete His mission that He had just revealed to His disciples would have been tantamount to failing God and in that Satan’s reign would be assured. In no other manner of Heavenly thinking could this be allowed, and thus in the mind of Christ, Peter proposed an abomination in the face of the living God, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This abomination rightfully angered Jesus, though this was a mystery to Peter. Waisting no time, Jesus did the following within a split second; He first recognized He was angry at Peter for having voiced this abomination; for had he not His actions might have been to smite Peter where he stood. But Christ did not smite Peter rather He answered the devilish notion Peter proposed calling it what it was; and idea placed into Peter by Satan. Therefore, Christ’s action was mature in nature and swift in scorn out of both love for Peter, and out of a mature, controlled, resounding anger that was aimed at Satan;
“23 Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offense unto me: for you consider not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” ~ Matthew 16:23
To apply this new found knowledge to life as we know it in the modern era of the twenty first century, then we must first delve into anger from the perspective of how it progresses through each stage as stated above in the example of how children perceive hostel external forces and then apply scripture to it. So as a child being picked on by a sibling or other children at school the external force is in the buttons pushed by the name calling or other aggressive action which the target child internalizes and thus begins to show a resounding disliking too.
(Note the usage of “child examples” are also relevant to how grown-ups react and thus are also very much acting out as a child would. In addition, when children are punished their is a layer of mystery to the “why” aspect of the punishment much like the “why” element Peter experienced with Christ as described in Matthew 16:23. These moments are not unique to just Parent child relationships, but extend out to envelop all relationships at all levels of life.)
When children or adults willfully pick on each other the buttons being pushed which trigger the anger is done in a willful manner. These proverbial buttons are pushed deliberately, in this example as much fun as it may be, the evil is still found in the action of the aggressors, but this evil can be transferred to the one being being picked on as these repeated actions cause real, physical, pain, and suffering. Anger swells up, emotions take over, and negative actions are bound to take place. However, in the spirit the aggressors themselves are also being prodded to commit these acts of teasing. In this example of children evidence of Satans involvement is found in the uncontrollable action to continue the undesirable behavior. Think back to how many times you teased someone, or did so without ever thinking about it. Allow yourself to remember how effortless it was and in many ways fun to keep doing it. That behavior is not intrinsic of humanity, but rather was introduced by Satan to humanity. How easily was Peter taken that he did not even realize it, and if this was easy for Satan to take one of Christ’s disciples then how much more simply will our children be influenced to commit evil deeds.Thus, applying this logic the reaction the victim will have from being teased is also uncontrollable as it can also be attributed to Satans influence. This is exemplified in how the Sanhedrin seemingly revolted at the idea of Jesus being the Christ. They, (supposed spiritual leaders), actively sought Him out to kill Him.
Now in the example of my daughter, the notion of having to rebuild a relationship, her anger with the events of her life dealing with our interpersonal relationship that has taken a beating from external forces that we both could not control, that progressively led to both of us becoming frustrated and angry at each other for allowing these external forces to have such a devastating effect in the first place, has led her to misplace her anger. Like Peter she has proposed disastrous ideas, which in large part where placed there not by me but by many other people; so called professionals in the Family Court Industry. Thus, some of what she has been indoctrinated with could have never possibly worked because like Peter those notions where of Satan, they were derived or conjured up in the spirit of division, separation, and thus destroying our relationship. But to her, like Peter everyone else wants to come to her defense when I try to correct her. (Note: I am not rebuking my daughter, rather the ideas that which she has proposed, much like Jesus did to Peter. i.e. these ideas given to her by other people who’s spirit have been influence by Satan that which she has acted out on.) Because these ideas did not originate within her, her anger is caused by the ill effects of the actions taken which did not work, thus misplacing her anger at what she thinks is the cause rather at the true source. Therefore, she becomes frustrated and angry at me when in fact she needs to direct her anger at those whom gave her those disastrous ideas in the first place. Because she is still in large part a child her brain has not developed enough to be able to decipher the complete realities and in truth she has only been told what was required to prod her into doing the things she has done that did not work, and which has forced her to simply ignore not just me, my entire family, which is indicative to an unhealthily (all or nothing) mentality. In that context abuse has taken place as she is completely left defenseless, this abuse is from all the other adults whom willfully destroyed our relationship. My justification in punishing her actions, like Jesus, is hard to see but nevertheless justified because I bared witness to all the events from their creation, (like Jesus to Peter), and in my struggle to prevent them from happening, and in the fight to protect my daughter whom I love just as Jesus loved Peter, there has been conflict that was completely unnecessary.
(Note: Jesus was not about to take this abomination from Peter, and thus no parent should ever have to suffer such evil as what has transpired through the Family Court System of our day an age.)
From a parent perspective much sacrifice is required, so it is that in the spirit of Christ who sacrificed His life to save humanity, we in modern times sacrifice ourselves, our time, and in some instance we are called to do the unthinkable no matter how unfair it seems at the moment, no matter how upset our children get at us, they are still children, (liken to Peter), and we are adults, (liken to Christ).
“And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.'” ~ Luke 4:12
The usage of anger for good is best exemplified in the the term; “Righteous Indignation.” Jesus placed himself in a position to be tested, to prove His divinity, and His rightful place next to God. Satan played the role of tempter, as he had prior to being thrown from Heaven by God. In all these temptations we can extrapolate the role of Christ as being the role of parent, and the role of Satan as the spoiled child who is trying his best to get his way. Rules have been laid down for both to follow, and when this line has been crossed by Satan, i.e. your children, then you, as Jesus the parent turn with righteous indignation to punish or present to alternative which keeps the rule intact and this both prevents the child from harm, but also teaches the lesson that all rules must be followed. Admittedly, Satan has no intention on following any rules, and thus the lesson is wasted upon. But the point of the lesson Jesus was exemplifying even Satan could not ignore. In this role play, Jesus as parent retained the right to use His anger in a justifiable manner.
Again taking from the example of my daughter, in this struggle she, like all those who have lined up to test me, to test my resolve, to test my role and right at being a parent to her, all of whom continually finds new and very interesting ways in which to dethrone my rules, (and the courts rules), my thoughts, my opinions, my wants, my desires, and to manipulate all my time for the sole purpose of wearing me out so that I will quiet trying be her father.
(Note: This drama is very much an earthly drama and open rebellion against authority and against the very laws of nature itself. Much like the drama found in the Bible as we, men, women, and children, rebel against our father in heaven.)
Admittedly this goal is not apparent to many who have been involved nor has it been apparent to my daughter who as a child naturally rebells, which is liken to Satan who disguises his attacks and methods so as to make it look like someone else or something else entirely, thus throwing everyone off track continually without end. So my reaction like that of our Lord, using His example, in my anger my response has always been to confront the problem, to address the rules, and to attempt to enforce the stated rule. Unfortunately, I am not Christ, and the courts have no backbone and refuse in enforce their own rules as it relates to my ability and right to parent, and their judgments do not follow State Statute. Thus, the frustrating no-win scenario falls to an unhealthy imbalance that swings the pendulum permanently to one side and thus no lesson of any value is taught to my daughter and there is a false sense of security built up into a false teaching that dictates there is no repercussions from your ill actions against others and you can do whatever you want to whom ever you want as no one will stop you. This is the underlying philosophy of Satan himself. This is what Satan tried against God in heaven, this is what he again is trying against Jesus found int he temptation scripture of Luke 4:12. This is at the core of all interpersonal relationship we experience when open rebellion occurs. No matter how righteous we are, we are taken Satan, as we are all sinners and thus susceptible to his influence.
Therefore, I say to all those people whom have cost me so much, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” for the Lord our God protects his children whether it is apparent to you or not. For the fact I am still here should be proof enough, thus I say these things to you with righteous indignation.
“And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” ~ Matthew 12:32
Anger can lead us all to do the most stupid of things. It can confuse us, disorientate us, and force us to commit the most grievous of sin. I teach all my children and thus I teach to all of you through my writings here on this blog, that there is one sin which God chooses not to forgive. This if you will is the surest way to anger God, to call upon yourself His most devastating of punishments and that punishment no one can erase, argue for you in your defense, ease your pain, or take it away, for this curse is so resoundingly devastating there is no coming back, there is no second chance, there is nothing you can do to make amends to God. That act is the act of blaspheming the Holy Spirit of God, to utterly reject God. Coupled with this grievous of sins which has two stages, Jesus Christ gave us a warning prior to this one about His reaction to all those people whom reject Him in public;
“33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 10:33
Therefore, to reject Jesus Christ in your life, to ignore His commandments, to place man’s law above His, to think you are better than, to spite in His face, Jesus will rebuke you to His father, to our father in Heaven. Most of the time this action is done out anger, and it at this point can be forgiven, but to continue in your anger, in your rage, in your sinful act of rebellious revenge than and curse God Himself, the Holy Spirit, to reject God completely as Satan has tried to make us do, that he himself has done, which forces God hand, then there is no salvation.
In putting this into our modern day examples the simple truth is this, children need both parents, they need our love, our guidance our understanding, our commitment to their mutual success in life. When outside forces willfully disturbs this balance built into nature then anger in both parent and child naturally occurs. It always dumbfounds me when courts ignore this and take form child a parent whom loved them. The courts mandate is to always do what is in the best interest of the child, but there actions are of the exact opposite Train professionals seem to have a an axe to grind when told something negative that which is given to them by the child, in some instances taken out context, warped twisted, and misunderstood by the child. In my personal experience the therapists social workers, lawyers, and the judges themselves have a deceived the masses into a false sense of security, and thus get away with the destruction of our families. Jesus stated he was not here to create peace, but to bring the sword. In His perfect example in dealing with ideas of Satan, or evil intonations we must reject those ideas, we must shut the door to the sin they bring with them. And when people, be them your family or friend denies you, rebukes you, spits in your face, lies about you, then they have done so out of anger, and if your a true believer in God then they have sinned against you, but also against God. Your testimony must then reflect this sin, it then must be atoned for in order for that person to be truly forgiven, the compassionate words of a sorrowful heart is the only path to redemption. It is this drama that anger brings to bear, as most of us are still very immature in handling it in comparison to Jesus. I am always open to a sorrowful person, I am always available to a person whom has sinned against me and wishes to make amends, but I am not as Jesus was not available to those who wish to keep on hurting me, for I am about our fathers business. In fact Jesus instructed us, His disciples to do the following;
“And whosoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” ~ Luke 9:5
Therefore, be slow to anger, be forgiving to one another, use compassionate words always, be ready to apologize and ask for sincere forgiveness, be tolerant of others, be mature in your actions, always investigate fully before assigning blame, always ask what your actions have done to others that which would have cause strife, and above all use the examples of Jesus when angry.
In Jesus’s name I say these things to you as a witness to His Devine mercy. May God Bless in all that you do, in all your endeavors for the rest of your life. I ask that you never stop learning, growing, walking, and listening to our Saviour Jesus Christ.
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” 15 And he said unto them, ‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.‘” ~ Luke 16:15
Life is a journey of immense struggles pitted with many victories and defeats. It is a race to the finish line of judgement, once there many will have ran a good race but will have done it without moral conscience and will be damned to hell for all eternity. Many will have ran the same race but prevailed with great love, faith, and ethics, and will be allowed passage into the Kingdom of God. The difference between the two is incalculable if coming from the filter of modern life, celebrating our many luxuries and comforts afforded those with what is termed as the good life. But if viewed from the prism of our Lord and Savior then it becomes more personal, deeply ethical, riveted with countless moral guidelines that help to forge a sinner into a born again child of God. It is not an easy path, in fact it is filled with much sacrifice and with many painful defeats. For to choose to be a child of God is not for the faint of heart and in the end, within the very hour of our death, Jesus promises for the faithful that they shall never taste death.
“47 Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” ~John 6:47
For many of us it is hard to put into place a moral life while being surrounded with such temptations which we find at our fingertips on a daily basis. It is hard to not give in to the world of excess and comfort with so many voices telling us we don’t have too. The prevailing belief advertisers drown us with daily is, “Life doesn’t have to be so hard”and “Why wait when you can have it now!” We have become a society of capitalistic carnivores devouring everything while ignoring the implications it places upon our life and our immortal soul. We make recluse justifications to explain away why we can, when the Holy Bible has clearly stated we should not. A world that places more value on things, property, and money, over relationships, love, honor, ethics, and that of our christian savior, who is the savior of every man, women, and child on planet Earth as we know it, is an abomination in the sight of God. There are so many sins, so many fruitless attempts at winning Gods favor while pleasing the flesh. People can be so awesomely good, and in the same breath find ways to be just as evil and destructive. When we look hard at who we have become, the choices we have made, the justifications for actions which caused countless others to suffer, it is then that our deeds will be told, despite the lies of our mortal legacies. For you can preach good all the days of your life, but in private do evil, it is in your heart and therefore God see’s the truth of your life. He can discern the proper judgement from the web of misleading, randomness and noise of sin which has permenantly blacked your heart.
“33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”~ Luke 14:33
Jesus warned against collecting wealth and then not sharing it but rather hording it. He warned against ignoring your own sins while calling to the carpet others sins. He warned against hypocrisy for in the eyes of God it is nothing more than “lip service”. Jesus warns against denying the poor food, clothes, shelter, and mercy. He warns against not raising your child up in the ammunition of the Lord thy God. For he also warned against excess of all kinds, depravity of all kinds, blasphemy of all kinds, and evil works of all kinds. Yet we do them daily, we ignore Him daily, and in doing so we mock Him daily!
“32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 10:32-33
Be on guard for those who refuse to speak the truth of God, who refuse to hear you speak the truth of God, be warned they are filled with Satan.There are people who get upset when they are shown their immoral ways and are convicted by the light of God, and by His son’s moral teachings and inwardly repress God, reviling against all righteousness, for they are filled with the spirit of Satan. Stand firm and do not waver from the light of God for instead bask within its glorious rays for it shall purify thy soul. Profess daily the miracles of God in your own life, for each day is a true miracle as it was not promised to you before you went to sleep the night before. Be on guard of those who would manipulate your words, the words of others, and the words of God to suit their lying ways, for such is the arch tool of Satan himself. Walk away from profane, perverse, corrupt, immoral, and impure people as they will as soon suck you down with them than to see you happy and free in the light of God. For to disown God is a rejection of the miracle of ones own birth and life; for Satan does not hold the keys to these things; for only God can create life and can bring about death; for only God can destroy thy very soul. Be on guard of those who wish to systematically take from you all the things in your life which bring you happiness, for they have no conscience, no remorse, no ambivalence to using deceit to accomplish their goals. For these people are expert in their disguise and can make the most illogical thing sound logical, the most profane thing sound holy, and the most hurtful thing look to others as self-defense. For God has no tolerance for them and though in the moment they grasp victory, in reality they have only clutched defeat because what God meant for you and was stolen, he will give to you in abundance in Heaven, a reward they shall not reap for they chose a selfish and self serving path.
“21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have I not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” ~ Matthew 7:21-23
It is truly important to not just know which side of the tracks you are on, but to also profess it, teach it, embrace it, and above all love God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul; to do all things for God with all your strenght and might. It is simply not enough to say you love God to close family and friends then in private do wicked, but rather love God enough to always do good in public and private, for there should only be one message of your life, because there is only one God. Be sure to never take credit for the things which you have accomplished in your life for each accomplishment was first a gift from God, to do so would be to say you willed it to be so and that is a lie. For remember Moses who took credit for the miracle of the rock which sprang water; for the rod was from God, the power was from God, and the very words which Moses spoke to bring forth the water was from God, for such a sin he was denied entry into the promised land. Remember also King David who committed adultery and who God took from him the first born son in payment of the life he had stole from Bathsheba’s first husband Uriah the Hittite. Rather be like Christ who complied with the will of God even until the point of his own death.
Spiritual accountantcy is the means which we review our own place with God, it is the act of asking where are we in our relationship to God. “Have I done things which God disapproves of, am I saved?”, is the question we need to ask daily and then we need to repent daily. Be assured God loves you, wants you, cares for you, and will never leave you if you never disown Him.
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“11Then I saw a great white throne, and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13And the sea gave up the dead who were in it; and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15, NKJV, Pp.1188).
The living and the dead whose names are not written in the Book of Life, according to the Holy Bible are damned, and will burn forever in the lake of fire and brimstone. Forever damned for ones sins against God. When I read this I think about those people who have rejected God, rejected the teachings of our Lord and Savior, reject morality as it is so described in the Bible, and who think there is no consequence to their actions, I want to scream out loud, “Fools wake up!” Satan as described in Revelation will burn in the lake of fire. So if this is true my logical-self demands me to believe anyone linked with Satan, doing his bidding will also parish in the lake of fire and brimstone, not for a day or two, or a week, or a month, or a year, but forever. Is this wicked behavior worth it? I dare say “No! It’s not worth it!” But for those among us who are truly lost will be blinded by their sins, which mount into a multitude, stacked so high they themselves have lost count, lost all feelings and emotions, and will burn in Hates forever. The told sum of sin-debt Jesus talked about and which the Apostle Paul wrote about so eloquently in I Corinthians bears enough testimony for the logical thinker to turn about and rethink ones actions while here on planet earth.
“8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you” (I Corinthians 6: 8-11, NKJV, Pp. 1102).
The most dramatic of these things which are of the wicked, according to the Bible and where supported by Jesus can be found in various New Testament Books such as Mark;
“18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments; Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother” (Mark 10: 18 – 19, NKJV, Pp. 979-980).
In the above verse from 1 Corinthians, Paul supports Jesus as found in Mark, by mentioning specifically, adulterers, thieves, and extortioners, or in the words of Jesus defraud.
Moreover, the unchanging word of God is supported by Jesus and Apostle Paul in the following verse from Leviticus as it relates to homosexuals and sodomites;
“22 You shall not lie with a male as with a women. It is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, NKJV, Pp. 111).
For those of you who require a less known voice as it refers to all sexual sin which permeates throughout the entire bible, and which supports the word of God, Moses, Jesus, and all the Apostles, then this one verse from Jude, a bond servant of Jesus and brother of James, sums it up nicely;
“7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality, and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7, NKJV, Pp.1173).
For it is these people to which is being referred too, that will not inherit the kingdom of God. The Bible is vast with a plethora of sins, all which are seen by God as an abomination. There are so many who live lives divorced from God, who will speak in a manner as to try and convenience the people of God that these sins mentioned above are not sins, but rather man’s nature, thus is not punishable by God. There again, my logical-self argues violently against such immoral arguments, as again God is unchanging in his will and is perfect, thus needing not to change. However, the words from Jesus as it relates to those who boast in their own works, in their own defense, and who argue matters which come from Satan because they are blind to their own sin, is indeed the most telling;
“42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murder from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:42-45, NKJV, Pp. 1035).
Jesus also points out that their will be those who will be expecting to be saved but are not;
“21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord.’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV, Pp.941).
Damnation if taken seriously is a punishment that will last forever. It is shared by those who have been fooled by Satan, which is one third of all the angels, and all those who are blind, rebellious, hard of heart, staunch in their attitudes, with the conviction they shall suffer not. It is the most twisted joke which is being played upon humanity by a master deceiver, one who has indeed deceived himself. By virtue the path of the damned is wide, but the path of the righteous is narrow. To be sure God’s judgment is final and righteous. It is absolute without blemish or flaw. There will be neither argument nor rebuttal. For God’s judgment is eternal and fair.
“23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” 24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die” (Ezekiel 18:23-24, NKJV, Pp. 818).
It so completely amazes to me that so many people rather live for their own wants and desires, all of which are a sign of contempt and selfishness. The road signs are clearly marked we only have to read where they are leading too. Jesus was very specific on this point, as is God. Our immoral behavior will be judged according to their own works. The real fear I have every time I read Revelation, Leviticus, or any passage that I recognize where I have sinned against God, I have to stop and ask myself, “Where am I when my life is done? Am I in the Lake of Fire, or am I with God?” Each time I contemplate this question it takes the breath from me, because though I have not sinned as much as others, I have sinned, and I have no other choice but to own it, as does the rest of humanity.
“23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Romans 6:23, NKJV, Pp.1089).
It is all too easy to say that if we just ask for forgiveness then we are forgiven. When hearing this message some of us nod their heads and reply, “Right… I have heard that all before.” All while discounting the simplicity of God’s love, compassion, and want for all of to join him in eternal life in the kingdom of God. But never the less, if you are sincere in you’re asking God through his son Lord, Jesus Christ for forgiveness, your name will be written in the Book of Life and your sins forgiven. The truth is there is no sin which God cannot forgive. But be warned, you must mean it, because when your sins are forgiven you can feel it deep down in your soul, and you begin to express this in your everyday life, much like Apostle Paul. However, the first step as outlined by Jesus, as written by Matthew if followed, will radically change how you act, and what you believe in;
“22 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’ ” (Matthew 22:37-40, NKJV, Pp. 959).
Challenge question: If we don’t ask for Jesus’s forgiveness and live a righteous life now, then when?
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.
“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.
As I write this reflection this week, I wanted to express that though life is not easy, and there are doors which shut for no reason there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Though there might be pitch black in every direction and the feelings of helplessness, and loneliness might be creeping in there is hope in Jesus. So I write this first to set the stage so to speak, so the raw emotions that most certainly was present upon that first Sunday after the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, there might be clarity amongst all the religious noise of this Easter season.
“44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 for the sun stopped shinning. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:44-46, Zondervan NIV 2002, p.1618).
Jesus often reminds us that the struggles we endure here on Earth, as flawed mortals, has less to do with our petty squabbles with each other, but has more to do with the war which is raging between our heavenly soul and our sinful flesh. It is not a physical war that we can use our five senses to protect ourselves against our aggressors, but rather it is a spiritual one which drains our energies making us change our minds and to give into temptation. Our bodies cannot win this war, because we were not created to win it as flesh and blood creatures within sin. Rather through our spiritual weapons made known to us as having absolute faith in God will the victory be realized. The death of Jesus was caused by physical torture, his fight however was not focused on the physical pain he endured rather the war of the soul. Our Lord and Savior died on the cross not to illustrate his so called dishonor of the Jewish faith but rather the willingness to sacrifice his life as a spiritual payment that would build faith in his true mission. Thus through Jesus Christ, and by emulating his example of perfect faith in our Father in heaven, within that very moment that he committed his spirit to God, did he then claim victory over Satan, reclaiming the world for all mankind.
“33We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of man will be betrayed to the chief priest and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles; 34who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise” (Mark 10:33-34, Zondervan NIV 2002, p.1547).
This was the second warning of Jesus to his disciples describing in detail what was going to happen, in an attempt to prepare them. It proves that he knew what was to befall him, but he went to Jerusalem anyway. Jesus had so many other avenues he could have taken which would have spared him this horror, but his fight was not of the flesh, but of the spirit. His perfect faith in God, gave his mortal body the strength to face the final showdown between God and Satan.
“8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Matthew 4:8-10, Zondervan NIV 2002, p.1473).
Spiritually speaking, even though Jesus’s disciples had witnessed his many miracles, and professed with their lips their belief that he was the Messiah, their hearts where still empty and starving. Their souls were depleted and almost ready for the final miracle. Ironically none of them got it; none of them realized that Jesus was at war, he was fighting a battle to which none of them could see with their own eyes. None of them realized the severity of his actions and teachings until the very moment he appeared to them after Easter. I find myself thinking how hard it is to accept the fact Jesus knew of the absolute pain and indignity he was going to suffer and yet he still chose to carry on with it. So we can’t really fault his disciples who loved him as a brother and did not want to see him die. But we then must ask; if not Jesus then who would have faced Satan, faced the cross? The real question is who else could have?
“3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5, Zondervan NIV 2002, p.1473).
During his trial and flogging he remained amazingly silent. He was neither defiant, nor was he smug about his actions, his mission, but amazingly humble, accomplishing this feat with precision and grace, with unearthly mercy. Yet within his final words before he closed his eyes on the cross, Jesus’s disciples where in hiding, crushed by the world, their faith dashed their souls depleted. There defeat was so absolute that even Mary Magdalene could not believe her own eyes when she saw the tome empty even though Jesus told them of this miracle. It took Jesus himself to appear before they all believed. As the word spread through the city of the miracle, still those who heard but had not yet seen Jesus could not believe. I am quite sure his disciples where recounting every word Jesus had ever spoken to them. I am sure they all felt guilty that they could not have faith in him enough to not doubt it. The words which must have rang in their minds the most before Jesus appeared to them was;
“Fortunate are the eyes that see what you are seeing. Many prophets and kings wished to see what you now see and never saw it, longed to hear what you now hear and never heard it” (Lost Gospel Q, Q33, p.67).
We celebrate Easter because that is when our sin debt was paid in full. I write about this first Sunday after Easter so that we will remember how empty our souls where as the hunt for our risen Lord began. The miracle that is Jesus, that was his resurrection, his absolute faith in our father that was revealed and proven. Even unto the very moment of his death his soul was not depleted, but from time to time ours is, so this is but one reason why we need him. I write about this first Sunday after Easter to also illustrate how God planned this event, how Jesus obeyed our Father, how we came to believe.
“A week later his disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed” (John 21:26-29, Zondervan NIV 2002, p.1671).
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. Amen.