Being Thankful on a Day of Rememberance

This is Memorial Day weekend. What was once a solemn time of remembering those who gave their lives for our freedoms we enjoy has been reduced to a marketing haven. There are also many parties as it is seen as the official start of BBQ season. WHAT HAPPENED. Have we forgotten the blood that was shed so we can enjoy the time we have been given? Have we forgotten that relative who died in Gettysburg, Tripoli, Normandy, Remagen, France, Vietnam, Korea, Mosul, etc?

What many people do is recognize living veterans and say thank you. The truth is, do not thank a veteran but thank the person who lost someone in the wars. We remember their sacrifice but we thank the parent, the child, the grandparent for giving of their child’s, father’s, mother’s, sister’s, brother’s (I am sure you get it now) sacrifice as the individual made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Who do we thank for our salvation? Jesus ? God? Mary? The invisible spirit who is ever present reminds us that even though they are physically gone, their memory lives on as we we remember and give thanks for the ultimate sacrifice for our eternal soul.

Before you go out for that sale or big party, take some time for personal reflection of those who came before us. Do not thank a veteran unless it is known that they have family who made the sacrifice. Give of yourself for the furtherance of the Kingdom.

Have a great weekend, God Bless

Are You Giving from the Heart?

Giving

What is Your Giving Worth?

Parents spend $600.00 for the Prom Dress, $180.00 for the makeover, and $80.00 for the pre-prom meal. That look on her dad’s face when that boy brings his baby girl home early and did the right thing, PRICELESS.

These parents want everything to be right for their baby. Their daughter’s happiness is what matters most to them in this situation. Let’s say these parents are weekly church goers but not members so these questions arise. Would they do something for a complete stranger? Place money in the offering plate? Is their giving worth it?

 I was talking with someone today about my garden and he asked if I would sell the surplus. I told him that I am not into the business of selling or building up my personal storehouse. If I feel this is a good crop year even though my garden is small, I give first fruits away. I do not sell or ask for accolades because it is a survival item freely given from that which I nurtured to grow. When we give of ourselves we are to give with gladness in our hearts. We should not to seek reward of any type unless that is the only income source.

Trading goods that are the fruits of our labor and blessing one another is more valuable than running around in a fancy and extravagantly overpriced piece of cloth with someone else’s name on a label. Think about what goes into the making of dresses that cost more than cars. Does the weaver thank the animal for the wool or silk, the ground for the cotton, the mountain for the gems? Do they thank God for creating? The answer to all this, probably not. If the mountains, animals, and soil give up things for nothing, why do we put a price on items that are not ours to sell?

When we give of ourselves the only thing we should hope to receive is some kind of kindness in return. You know, things like a smile, a thank you, maybe an item we can use and get use out of. All too often what we witness nowadays are people who think they deserve something for nothing without putting any effort into even the simplest smile or thanks. To them, our giving is worth nothing really because it will be squandered in some way shape or form or even boasted about. This is what society has become.

When we give of our hard earned dollar in the church, what do we give it for? Paying the hired staff, building upkeep, that mission in some exotic land, community outreach (given so someone else can do it)? We hear the annual tithing sermons right around the time of the fiscal year of the church when they give that budget speech and coerce people into giving so they do not have to do the work. Personally, I would rather give and help than give and sit back while others sweat for the Kingdom. I would rather help supply the staff with their needs so they would not worry about bills, meals, and clothes. Pastors are to want for nothing with their needs supplied by the flock. That is how it used to be. Scripture tells us to wary of coercion in the church when approached about giving. Think of those mega church pastors or the false prosperity gospel speakers. Do you know where your money goes?  

Nothing is free except God’s Grace and Mercy given willingly to those who accept it and the conditions that go along with it. God’s Love is Unconditional. All that is required of us is to return His Love by living in His ways and sharing Him with others. If God gives freely out of love for us, why can’t we? Because we are human and fall into the Adversaries snare daily. 

Do you give of your gifts in the church (musician, dancer, teacher, carpenter, counselor, or friend)?

The Gift of Giving is a blessing from God. It is a part of God’s Image in us. When we do acts of kindness we are exemplifying God’s Love within us. By helping those in need, sharing His Word, and praising His Name we are showing His Image within us.   

So, what is your giving worth? Is it worth the smile on the face of a hungry child? The hug from that little old lady you helped take care of the yard? The flowers picked, or the fruits and vegetables that someone spent days, even months nurturing? The simple thank you?  

Giving of oneself in the Name of the Father: PRICELESS

  

 

    

 

MOTHER’S DAY

There is something very beautiful and unique about a woman who becomes a Mom. When God cursed Eve and made having a child into a painful experience it was a blessing in disguise. During the nine months a metamorphosis happens to the woman. Inside while the child is being created, the woman’s body is made stronger to withstand the changes. There are some who can handle the change with ease and others who cannot but the body is being prepared for the blessed day. All the pain and suffering is done in preparation for the growing of the child into an adult. The woman, now a Mom, is now given the strength of full compassion, protection, teaching, whipping away tears while holding in sadness and fear, laughter (both inside and out), but most of all, LOVE. The greatest power of all things is the showing and sharing of love even in the saddest times. Mother’s know when to let go even when they do not want to. They are grateful to see the child become a successful adult and know that the child will always return with gladness even in the most sorrowful times. A Mother is a gift from God. Not an easy burden to bear but God gives the strength and courage to be His Image and teach the child right.

Thank You Mom  for giving me back to God to be in His service. YOu have prepared me well.

Love to All

Are You Living in the Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

Paul writes in Romans 8:1-2, that those who are in Christ, no longer desire the flesh (anything in and of the world to include the lustful intentions of our bodies), and follow and live by Christ’s ways and means are truly free from condemnation. This is another way Scripture shares the difference in the sheep and a goat explanation that Matthew reports Jesus saying in Chapter 25:31-46.

Throughout Scripture it is recorded that Jesus spent more time discussing Hell than how to get into heaven. Why? Because there are more influences for the desires of the flesh than there are ways to get into heaven. Think about it. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24).

The way into heaven is a narrow path and the door is small. The material riches of the earth can in no way measure up to the richness of the spirit.  How many materialistic distractions do we have in order to not do God’s work here on earth?  Within the churches themselves people pay in to support other ministry opportunities and say they are good without any type of servanthood of their own. When opportunities arise there are some who desire to assist but because of other worldly commitments of their own choosing they cannot help. Sometimes it is a matter of the people who are doing the work and the feelings towards them that keep people away. This last statement can be taken two ways: the glory hounds who organize and do a little then take all the credit; and the people who just cannot stand being around another due to a personal problem which should be forgiven and overlooked while doing the Kingdom work.

Because Christ freed us from the bonds of sin and death we must not indulge in the things that keep us bound to them. Interestingly enough, the “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” portion of verse one is not found in certain texts. The removal of this portion would cause confusion and lead people to believe that all they have to do is place their faith in Christ. We know this not to be true as earlier texts include it. This leads some to believe they can still walk in the ways of the flesh because they “got Jesus” and they are good. We know that not to be true.

The opening Scripture reference here can be seen in Christ’s Word another way. Five times Jesus tells us to take up our crosses and follow Him. He also commands that we deny ourselves of the pleasures of the world and do the work of the Kingdom. We are in such a bad shape right now that there are few who can actually do this. Even if we could do a smidgen of what others have done in the past, the world still somehow manages to get in our way. What does He mean by denying ourselves and taking up the cross? The burdens of sin that we bear are slowly replaced by His Mercy and Grace. Taking up our cross partially means that we release our burdens upon Christ so that we may be free of them to fulfill our purpose for being and God’s original intent, that of caretaker. We are responsible for the upkeep and nurturing of God’s creation which includes each other.

So what does this mean for us? What can we do? The answer is clear. Live for Christ by removing the obstacles that keep us from Him. It is difficult but necessary. The time we have on this earth is temporary, His Kingdom is eternal.

Live for Christ as He live in us. Take up your cross and release your burdens upon Him so you are free to do His Will. Love one another just as He has loved us.Cross Carry

Active or Passive: How is your Faith

Spiritual Health

Which is right: Justification by faith alone or justification by works? These arguments are found within the writings attributed to Paul and James.    

Romans 10: 9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

This is great but faith is NOT passive. It is the active desire to do things which show devotion to that in which you have faith.

Jesus tells us: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The righteous faithful see a need and do what they can to take care of it. Then those who speak faith and do nothing (lukewarm) are tossed away.  

So you tell me, does proclaiming your faith alone get you in?

Paul says all you have to do is proclaim Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Jesus says that you must live as a servant (helper) to our fellow man.   It is one thing to say the sinner’s prayer and inviting Jesus in, it is a whole different thing to pray it and live in the prescribed manner set before us. Now the works that Paul spoke against are the legalisms of Judaism. Some misinterpret this to even include the Ten Commandments which is wrong. Jesus fulfilled the need for the sacrifices and feasts. He did not command us to no longer follow God’s Law which is the Ten Commandments.

The Contradiction

So Paul says faith will cause you to do the things required of you by God. He contradicts himself but then there is this understanding, having faith in something usually is followed by living it. Faith in this respect does not have to be on show. The smallest deeds done because you live by His Words and are showered by His Grace and Mercy…..  

20 So Jesus said to them …if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

James says, “Faith without works is dead”. He is specifically saying that Faith, once professed, cannot be true faith without following the commands and requirements placed upon us through the truth of Scripture. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew (above)?  James also says, “Faith apart from works is useless”. The active faith is works done in faith not meant for payment or accolades. Actively following the Ten Commandments, and attempting to live a Christ-like life, sharing and witnessing Christ are all part of being in Christ.  

True Worship and Praise shows your faith as well. When we Praise, we show our devotion by giving God the Glory. When we Worship, we share our needs with others and serve one another basking in the Mercy of Jesus (In other words Praise is TO God and Worship is FOR God). Church is not a place to showcase talent and be singled out. It is not just You and God, it is His People and God. You are standing in the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with worshipful humility. Lead others through the words or motions that come from the Spirit within.

All this is Faith in Action especially the small things. Those kind words, your presence, prayer with another when seeing the need, showing God’s love in servanthood.  

Be the faithful servant God wishes us to be. Keep striving to emulate His Image from within. Love one another. Share Jesus without Fear.

All Honor and Praise is due Him. How do you honor God?