Two Are Better Than One

The writer of Ecclesiastes makes some real good and candid points about life in general. One of the points he makes early on is about friendship or companionship. After God created Adam, He saw that man was alone while the rest of creation had another of its kind to be with. God created Eve as a companion and a helpmate, friend, confidant and more. The writer expounds on another point of needing others. Read this section from Ecclesiastes 4.

There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business!
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:8-12

God said “It is not good for man to be aloneGenesis 2:18, so He fixed that only for us to mess it up. Over the many years mankind became so trapped in human behavior that many missed the boat regarding the original intent of teamwork. In the opening statement of verse 8 we find a man who is alone. This man works his fingers to the bone and for what? Nothing. No one to share it with, to pass it down to, nothing. Instead of enjoying life, he works from sun up to sun down. Was it too late when he realized that he could not enjoy life?? This is what happens when the world gets in the way and we forget about God and His desire to have a relationship with us. We cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel because our vision is clouded by the toils of the earth.

When two people work together in a relationship as friends, work partners, or spouses; there is a blessing because two people are doing the tasks as one. The ability to understand another and have that close personal relationship is beneficial in many ways. There is laughter, a shoulder to cry on, the hugs, two minds to ensure a right way is followed (okay, not always the case). The point is that two are better than one. There was a song by Three Dog Night back in the early ’69 called “One is the Loneliest Number”. Even though the song is very secular in nature, the truth is, a person who is alone cannot function fully and may wander aimlessly.

After the Fall, we lost our close personal relationship with God. Because of the Sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, God reestablished the lines of communication so we can develop that relationship with Him once again. Do you have a good relationship with Him? If not, but you have healthy relationships with others you could be on the right track. If you would like a relationship with God but do not know how, ask us here, or your Christian neighbor, your local church. We would all be very glad to help you get to know Jesus as your personal Savior and God as your Father.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, help those who need it. Talk to someone about your personal relationship with Christ. No more delays because our time is short. Remember that the Holy Spirit will guide you. Be of good courage and God will direct your ways.

Brothers and Sisters, may God’s Love embrace you and be blessed in one accord with the Body of Christ. AMEN.

How is Your Heart Health

Our bodies are similar in that we have skin, bone, muscle, hair, intestines, etc. Our bodies differ when it comes to the shade of brown that colors our skin, our eyes, our biological gender, and other features. But there is one part of the body that is completely unique to all yet has a purpose beyond our understanding, our hearts. The heart is the muscle which moves the blood throughout our entire body which gives us life. That is the biological work of the heart. The heart is also connected to our mind in a spiritual sense that affects our physical being. When we feel negative things (anger, sadness, anxiety), our heart speeds up and causes everything to go out of sorts. When we have positive thoughts and feelings, our heart functions normal and gives us exactly what we need when and where we need it. All of this goes even deeper and we find that our heart reaction also dictates not just this life but the next as well. Let’s explore what the Bible has to say about the condition of the human heart. We Have…….

A Deceitful Heart by Nature
If our hearts truly controlled our actions then the choices made which caused Original Sin were the effect of the deceit which poisoned Eve then Adam. “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it? I, Adonai, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve.” (Jer. 17:9-10) In other words, the absence of God in our hearts allows deceit to enter and separated us from His Glory. Evil intentions are in our hearts and we must fight them so our motivations turn more good so that when tested we are found to at least have tried to fight what evil lies within. But….

An Honest Heart Receives God’s Word
But what fell in rich soil — these are the ones who, when they hear the message, hold onto it with a good, receptive heart; and by persevering, they bring forth a harvest. (Luke 8:15)
If we are ready and willing to listen, follow, and conduct ourselves according to His Word, we receive His Grace generously. This causes us to be able to reach out to others and share His Word giving others a chance to do the same… But our humanisms still get in the way sometimes which causes….

A Double Heart in Hypocrisy
David saw the fault in man and knew that there were almost no more truly righteous people in the world. Help, Adonai! For no one godly is left; the faithful have vanished from humankind. They all tell lies to each other, flattering with their lips, but speaking from divided hearts. (Psalm 12:2-3) The Israelites and others around them still had been doing what they felt was right in their own eyes and therefore their tongues were forked due to the inability to understand the need for following God alone and not the ways of man. Just like today where we have many who go to church on Sunday and then fall short the rest of the week. Everyone does it because no one is perfect but there are some that are much worse than others.

An Opened Heart Yields to God’s Hand
What happens when God is invited in…..One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in fine purple cloth. She was already a “God-fearer,” and the Lord opened up her heart to respond to what Paul was saying. After she and the members of her household had been immersed, she gave us this invitation: “If you consider me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she insisted till we went. (Acts 16:14-15) Lydia knew of God and but did not know God until her heart was opened by the saving Grace and Mercy of Jesus was spoken of through Paul. She became an instrument of God as she yielded her life completely to Him. This happens when we accept Jesus into our life, our hearts open to the filling of His Word and we can feel the hand of God guiding our every move. But without the knowledge of God in our hearts we are still deceived.

A Deceived Heart through Ignorance
Such people know nothing, understand nothing. Their eyes are sealed shut, so that they can’t see; their hearts too, so they can’t understand. Not one thinks to himself or has the knowledge or the discernment to say, “I burned half of it in the fire, baked bread on its coals, roasted meat and ate it. Should I now make the rest an abomination? Should I prostrate myself to a tree trunk?” He is relying on ashes! A deceived heart has led him astray; so that now he won’t save himself, just won’t say, “This thing in my hand is a fraud!” (Isaiah 44: 18-20) Items of the world and people who are put above all else are not as reliable for saving our eternal souls as God is. This world is full of deception and many fall victim. I myself have been deceived but I came back because I realized that God was there all along and would not allow me to fall further. Some are so deeply deceived that every time God steps in, they step away in total fear and return to the false idol that gives only a temporary comfort. But….

A Believing Heart Welcomes God’s Righteousness
It is all about trust. The respectful fear that we have of our Lord God is a part of understanding that if we put our full faith and trust in God and believe 100% that Jesus saved us through His sacrifice, we are forgiven and will live eternal in His loving arms. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” that is, the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered. For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance. (Romans 10:8-10) We must willingly openly confess our faith in Jesus that He will stand in for us at the Judgement. We must willingly confess that Jesus Christ is Our Lord and Savior. But some of us still do not get it.

A Hardened Heart through Unbelief
There are some out there that just cannot accept that there is a higher power that created all things, controls all things, has infinite wisdom and it was through that enlightened that brought us into existence. The Word is our source of nourishment. But, aware of this, he said, “Why are you talking with each other about having no bread? Don’t you see or understand yet? Have your hearts been made like stone? (Mark (8:17). The Disciples still did not understand at this point that the bread Jesus spoke of was and is the Word that gives us life. They still were in a point of unbelief. They still thought Jesus was a great teacher and would rule over them physically. They had no idea what was to come. Jesus eventually broke the stones away from their and made way for the Helper, the Holy Spirit to enter in.

A Glad Heart Rejoices in His Salvation
You have filled my heart with more joy than all their grain and new wine (Psalm 4:7). Having been blessed by God and meditating on His Word while it flows in our blood to renew our body with the Spirit. How we use this gift of life is really up to us but understand that God really does not want to give up on us even though we may think that way sometimes. When we keep the Word in our hearts, stay in conversation with Him through prayer, and live the way God desires of us then we can fully rejoice in the knowledge that we are saved.
I know the world gets us down and tries to knock us away from God with every distraction possible but we have to maintain our focus on God because He has a plan for each and every one of us that may challenge us to do things we would not normally do. He may completely turn your life upside down only to redirect and give you a new purpose which was His intent all along. What do I say to that?? Go with it. Enjoy and endure the struggle but go with it because the fullness of the Glad Heart will bring peace and contentment.
Love God with All of Yourself giving nothing to the world and everything to Him. Your heart will thank you .

 

Translations: The Christian Confusion

TranslationWe are Lost in Translation.
Translations of the Holy Scripture are made for a people group to receive the Bible in a language they should understand. The problem is that so much can get lost in translation if there is a word that has no real exact translation then the whole sentence or even sections meaning could be a risk of changed meaning. The Scriptures we have today are translated from three different previous works. There is the Masoretic Hebrew text which is the Scriptures in the original language, the Greek Septuagint (S) which was written by Hellenized Rabbis for the Greek Jews, and the Latin Vulgate (V) or Roman Text. There are many differences just in these three from the original Hebrew/Aramaic to the other languages that there is truly a lot lost.

Students of Scripture can take many years to learn the original languages and be able to interpret meanings to gain better understanding and to be able to put the Scripture into words that others would understand. I personally use the Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures), the Complete Jewish Bible (translation from Masoretic), the English Standard Version (KJV 1611, S, V), and the NIV (KJV, S, V) to give me a better understanding.

The first thing that is misunderstood for the beginning reader is how is it that God separated light from the darkness making day and night, yet did not create the sun and moon till later? Answer… The first light is the enlightenment that separated order from chaos, good from evil. When God said, “Let there be Light” this was the creation order that caused the “order” of things to settle and begin life.    

The King James Version of 1611 is a very good interpretation but there are some things that just do not work. For example, no one is converted, that is a term that means physically transformed. The original Hebrew is actually translated to turned or returned. As we change our ways and our spirits are turned and tuned in to God. Now I understand that many churches refuse, even today, to use another version but please consider the children. There are many words used that even adults these days have to look up the modern term to understand the meaning so just think of when you tell a child to read it. I observed a children’s study at a church I used to preside over and cringed at the sound of children struggling to read from the KJV. No wonder we have confused youth. And guess what, when words are translated down to modern times from this original, you have to look at over 400 years of language change!

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and the copies of the Book of Isaiah were translated, it was found that all three of the versions in the first paragraph were similar if not almost an exact translation. Others were close but not as good as Isaiah. This definitely tells us the early translators paid close attention.

Today we are so inundated with many English translations that are given to having personal interpretations which change the original meaning. This makes it easy for people to get lost. In fact, there are even versions of Scripture that are changed so much that God’s Word has been perverted to a complete mistranslation so that man can feel good about himself. This is wrong. This is against God. What makes it worse is that the versions still put in the last two verses in Revelation thereby convicting and condemning those who made the translations.

 When one talks Scripture that person should be referring to the Tenach or Christian Old Testament. Those scrolls are what the people who wrote the New Testament had and what Jesus proclaimed as truth. He did not reinvent anything but emphasized and made things easier to understand for the generation that was present in order to bring them back to God and to spread the Word to the world. 

When choosing a translation to read, do some research. What might seem like a comfortable and easy read may have many misinterpretations. If the translation has a name attached to it, research the person. Study Bibles are at most sometimes one sided with small print that shares what other translations may say to open the eyes of the reader to differing points of view or share synonyms. Remember this, words have different meanings and if mistranslated will cause confusion in what God is telling us.   What I ask of you is that you prayerfully consider the version you read. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, be blessed today and every day. Treat your fellow man with the kindness and love of God.

Who Is Your Influence

 

INFLUENCEWho are you? You are awesomely and wonderfully made to be who God designed you to be. You are made in the Image of God. Not looks mind you but Character, values, morals, etc. But who or what influences you in this your mortal life. Is it your parents, your friends, or some popular person who you do not really know even though you think you do? There is one who has influence and authority over you for all time. In fact, the influencer has known you while you were still developing inside your mother’s womb.  

For you fashioned my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you because I am awesomely made, wonderfully; your works are wonders —I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.  Psalm 139:13-16

fetus womb light.png

You are nobody but who God made you to be. That is unless you let worldly influences take you away from God. Our thoughts are manipulated to live this life to the fullest and enjoy the ways of the world. To get our best life now. Herein lies the problem, how can we live our best life now when our lives are corrupted with things that man has taught and designed that are not of God. Our best life now is in the suffering and living for the Word of God that provides direction to live an eternity in the arms of God.

The section of Psalm 139 that is seen above should tell you one thing right off, we are His. We belong to God even before we are conceived. In fact, His signature is on our DNA. When we are an embryo God shapes and designs us to serve Him. When someone takes away this life that was not theirs to take, we are taking away part of God’s Plan and His purpose for our being.

We are influenced from the day our hearts begin beating in the womb. The music, nutrients, and the sound of the parent’s voices are telling us what we will have to face in the world into which we are born. God tells parent’s in Proverbs 22:6 to teach the children when they are young the way they should go. So why not start when the child is still in the womb to prepare them to face the influences of the world.

A child’s mind is a precious thing. It is easily influenced and soaks up more than some people think. If the child is surrounded by ungodly things, the child’s influences are right away pulled from God. Lifestyle choices of the parents, other family, and friends can be a blessing or a curse. Be aware of what they see.

God sometimes gives people over to their sinfulness to teach lessons. We understand this from Scripture  and we see it today. The lesson today is the same as back then. Believers must return to God and leave the worldliness behind. Do not give in to society and keep God’s Word on our hearts.

Television and other media have influenced the thoughts of many generations, where was God in the child’s young life? On Sunday at church only? Or was God in the home daily? To be honest, my upbringing in God’s Word was not perfect but it was there. My parents were not the perfect Cleaver’s or Ozzie and Harriet, but I had Cristian influences. At a young age I knew the difference between right and wrong sometimes traveling down paths I regret but I made it through because, God. I am still not a perfect son/husband/father/teacher but I have the fear God in me daily.

I gave that glimpse in my life for this understanding. God will test us and if we fall, He lifts. If we fight, He might let go again but still is there. He is always part of us no matter what we do but if we do not follow His Word and keep it, we will have to face the consequences on Judgement Day. If we let go completely and stay in the world, then we have chosen to see darkness instead of light. If we let the world influence us to the point that we forget God, we are lost.  

These influences today are poison to our soul. Children are being told that their biological body is not their gender. Sorry, not of God. They are told it is ok to have lustful feelings for the same gender, sorry again. They are told you can be anything you desire to be even if it means living an immoral or amoral life, sorry, wrong again. Parent’s change your lives and turn back to God. You are leading your own children into darkness. Love them but love them with the compassionate tough love of the Father, not the Jesus Loves you and go on living as you want love.

There is a reason that God gave us the Ten Commandments and Jesus reiterated all the Commandments down to two Great Commandments. They spoke them not only for their glory, but for our mental and physical health as well.

If we love (worship, respect, fear, trust, etc.) the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, that means we put no other person or thing before Him. If we love our neighbor as ourselves then we will not have the problems we have today. If we pay attention to those in appointed authority (parents, godly teachers, other actual authority) over us instead of the outside influences, we will eventually be better off.

By the way, God’s Word, if you’re a Christian you know Him personally, that guy named Jesus, Yeshua, Yahushua, Eesha, Isa, and more is the right way of life. If Jesus is with you, He is your main authority and influence through the Holy Spirit leading you to God. Worship leads to God. His teachings are what we should be paying attention to and emulating. Jesus’ lessons and those who reiterated His Word is what keeps us together, not any other person/thing who demands our attention and loyalty except those appointed over us.

Jesus is Healer, Lord of Lords, Holy, Almighty, Wonderful Counselor, Savior, and Prince of Peace. His Blood saves. He is the Bread of Life that sustains us. Jesus.  

 

What is Your Legacy?

When we leave this earthly realm, what will we be remembered for? Will it be the type of car that we drove, the house we lived in, the money in the bank? Goodness, I hope not. The material things don’t matter. Our legacies are not about them. How you treat people and your general attitude are key components in our lives. Your faith in God and how you follow Jesus’ examples should be expressed in everything that you do, every day.

I was honored to be in the choir for a memorial service yesterday. When I heard that the woman was ill, I did not realize who she was. I am fairly new to the church and I am not extremely involved at this time. When I arrived at the church yesterday and saw the bulletin, I recognized her and everything clicked. Yes, I knew this woman. She was extremely nice and very personable. She always had a smile on her face and was quite friendly. However, I did not know her well.

At the “Celebration/Memorial” Service, the Pastors (yes, more than one) all had wonderful things to say about her. One of the pastors asked for the attendees to raise their hand if she had ever sent them a card, made them something or given them something. Almost every hand in the sanctuary went up. This woman was a nurse, nursing instructor, wife, mother, friend, and more to many. Even in her sickness, she wanted others to be uplifted. She was acknowledged as an encourager.

Last week in choir rehearsal, one of the men stated that when he saw her, she wished him a Happy Anniversary (it was 2 days away). Our lead Pastor said during his message that she wanted to know how his family and others were doing. She knew that her time in this world was ending, but she cared more about other people than herself.

She did not want her service to be about her. She wished that the focus would be on her Savior, Jesus. Well, she mostly got her wish. Every word that was said about her pointed to Jesus. The music was from a list that she had put together, but was about Jesus. The message was about that gifts that Jesus had given her. The invitation at the end (not common for a funeral service) was for encouraging others to know the same God that she knew.

There will be tears, there will be grieving, but the legacy of this wonderful woman of God will live on. Her legacy of encouragement, love and grace. This world may have lost a bright light, but Heaven has gained an angel.I know in my heart that God welcomed her with open arms and said “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I know in my heart that God welcomed her with open arms and said “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Fruit of the Spirit (9th Day of Christmas)

Fruit of the Spirit

 I heard someone ask, “Why are they called fruits, they are not something we eat because there is no physical nourishment that comes from these?”. Well actually we do have physical reactions to the Spiritual Fruit but first let’s examine what is the fruit of the Spirit:   

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.. Galatians 5:22-23

The Spirit within is a healthy Spirit when these emotions and actions are produced by the Believer and shared with others. Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness all produce a physical response of happiness and gratitude. When we are happy, the body responds in kind and the health improves. It is a scientific fact that the human bodily functions are connected with emotion.

Why does it take a scientist or a doctor to tell us something is healthy when it is written in Scripture. The Old Testament, written by scribes who dictated what the Holy Spirit spoke to them, has numerous indicators of healthy living and how emotional responses heal or destroy the human body. The biggest destroyer of our health is sin. God’s defense mechanism came from the physical reaction of sacrifice which made individuals feel better after they had the feeling of regret, then prayed for healing to make themselves feel better. The joy of knowing that God would forgive produced happiness.

 The ritual bathing which transformed into Baptism was also a means of good health. The ritual bath water was constantly flowing so there was no stagnation which would breed harmful bacteria. This washing was done for many reasons to include disease, viruses, and after the menstrual cycle. It kept the body healthy. Not one Levitical priest was allowed to enter the Tabernacle without the ritual washing. In fact, no one who was of ill health could bring a sacrifice without first outwardly cleansing the body.

David understood the need to be cleansed before entering the presence of God when he worshipped in prayerful song:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalm 51

 The fruits of the Spirit are evident within David’s plea for God’s Mercy on his Soul. He understood it was not the physical sacrifices of burnt offerings but the internal peace from pouring out to God. So the Spiritual Fruit does nourish our souls and our bodies.

This year as we begin anew, let us be nourished with the fruit of the Spirit as we find our Spiritual Gifts in order to receive the blessings from our attitudes by which God is pleased in us and sends blessings. Have a safe and joyous New Year.

Where Is Your Heart Directed (when looking for life-long love)

God The Right Heart Direction

 

When looking for the right someone, where do you look first? Is it their eyes, figure, bank or soul?

God desires the right man or woman for you, if it’s His plan, so looking to Him is the first step. When you don’t seek God for your heart direction, is He really involved?

The godly man is one who follows the biblical direction of leadership described in I Timothy 3:1-7 “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money’s. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he care for God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

Proverbs 31:10-31 describes a wife of noble character. “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence I her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings, she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

When God prepares you for your life-mate, don’t be afraid to look for the qualities mentioned in the verses above. Although most women don’t make linens or plant vineyards nowadays, the concept is that a noble woman is respectful and independent. She does not bring disrespect to the household. Likewise, the husband is honorable and respected. God will provide a mate that brings out and expands the qualities of both people.

Many people use Ruth and Boaz as examples for a relationship. However, Mary and Joseph seem to epitomize a truer heart foundation. When Mary was approached by the Angel, she wondered how she could bear a child as she had never lain with a man. She also knew that if she was pregnant without being married, her life would be forfeit. The traditions of the land did not allow for premarital pregnancy, except if the child’s father was the woman’s betrothed. For Mary, since she was a virgin, being pregnant would have allowed Joseph to “divorce” her and she could have been stoned. Although I’m confident that Mary was scared, she trusted in God that Joseph would not take that route. Joseph may have thought of that option, but he also trusted in God. Mary’s heart was full of God’s love and she, in my mind, held deep affection and respect for Joseph. Although Joseph had every right to end the betrothal and have Mary punished, I feel that he cared deeply for Mary. This affection made a big difference. Both Mary and Joseph followed their heart direction to fulfill the prophesies of the Old Testament.

When speaking with my husband the other day, we discussed this in length. Joseph had been married before and had children. Being married to Mary would have given him a mother for them and mate for himself. We agreed that Joseph’s heart direction was focused on God. Having that focus allowed his heart to have care and compassion for Mary. This heart direction gave us the ability to follow our hearts to our Savior.

Are you still seeking the right mate and wondering when the right man or woman will come along? Don’t despair, God is preparing both of you. Place your heart direction towards Him and He will not fail. There will be heartaches and trials and hurt, but God will provide the one for you.

A little background on me. My husband and I met in 1991. We got engaged early 1992. Broke up in 1993, and married in 1997. We have been married now for over 20 years. When we broke up, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Over the years, I discovered that neither of us were ready for the relationship that God wanted us to have. Both of us had to grow in faith and be willing to submit to Christ. We’ve had our struggles and both of us have returned to our old ways at some point. However, it is only by God’s grace and divine love that we are still together. We have had to re-focus our heart directions back on God to be able to focus on the plans that He has for us.

 

Belief In Man-Made Or Divine: The Misguidance of the Youth Today

11 18 2017

Answers in Genesis speaker Ken Ham posted an article recently on the things Millennials are turning to for answers and a belief system. The two systems have been around for a very long time but have been perverted to fit man’s desires for understanding. Now God does say that He placed the heavenly bodies out there to show signs and wonders but what signs and wonders was He talking about. These signs are placed so we would understand patterns of life, weather, travel, and our place in the world.

Man has used these signs to try and predict many things using certain designs in the sky. One of the predictors recognized by man is the zodiac which apparently dictates how we will act in certain events. People actually relied (and some still do) on as to how they will go about their day and their let the stars dictate their reactions towards others. God warns us not to do this “divination” or future knowledge seeking to rule our lives. Rather we should rely on our conscious thought which is guided by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.

Now I used to believe the accuracy of the zodiac, but when I began to trust in God I found the inaccuracy of how it dictates our social practices. Meaning, purpose, and hope aren’t found in trying to discern patterns in the motions of the heavenly bodies. If you stay within the bounds of the interpretation and the specified social circle in which the interpretation tells you to stay in and away from, you do not really experience life. Letting the stars dictate actions removes us from our God given purpose of being caretakers of this world.

Spiritualism, not what some may think! It is man’s attempt to find purpose and meaning apart from God and his revelation to us in his Word. It is man seeking truth through his/her own inner being and reaching out to the “spirits” in the world. Spiritualists do not put their trust in God but seek inner peace where there is none.       

The article states that the individuals in question are those who are in or entering college. Why are they turning from God? Part of the problem is outside influences where they are not near the comfort of their home church and decide not to find a church near them. Campus Crusade for Christ does not appear to be as active as it used to be because of other collegiate sanctioned activities which have tried to knock anything Christian and or conservative off college grounds. Church groups are not as welcome as they used to be unless the college is a Christian faith based facility.

 The largest problem that leads to youth searching for “other than God” answers is the lack of follow-up starting at the high school level. An even larger issue that turns more and more away to include those in their 30s and 40s is the lack of relationship and belonging found in larger churches. Those churches where you get chided for not tithing your 10%, not being in the right click, are never approached, or the church attendance is more than 1000 and you are a number not a name, people leave. Those that are consistently depended on somehow get the feeling that there is an obligation to be there. The church is not going to blow up if you miss a Sunday!

Another issue may be the message of the church itself. Some are so concerned with the dollar, the message becomes a constant reminder to give in the offering plate. Money does not heal the broken. Some pastors have fallen into the love trap where all you have to do is believe and the rest is taken care of by Jesus without us speaking a word or lifting a finger.

Folks, listen closely to the pastor’s messages and the delivery. If the pastor is transparent and speaks of love, tough love, fear, grace, and mercy all in the same sermon, that is a place to be. An inviting church is a loving church. A church that does not close the outer doors before, during, and after the service is a relational church.

So how do we regain the interest of those who decide they want other human means to ponder life’s questions? Stop playing the Jesus is cool with your sin game and straighten people (and some pastors) up. Yes, Jesus died for our sins by crucifixion, but He did not die so we could freely sin. Yes we are saved by grace through faith but that must be an active faith. Yes we should be inviting to all people no matter their sin, and if they get offended (convicted) it is a good thing. Let’s work with them so they can reflect and find repentance and get right with God.

 God loves each and every one of us because He created us. His love is gracious, merciful, jealous, kind, fearful, comforting, and forgiving. His love knows no bounds and unfailing but is requiring of us to love Him back as a child loves his parent. That means being obedient to His Word. Does that scare people? Yes. So why do people run to worship things that are not Him? Those man made things and beliefs are temporary fixes to a psychological misnomer when make people happy. The only way to life eternal is through Jesus. I don’t know about you but I’d rather worship the entity that has control of my final destination rather than a man thing that makes me happy till I die.     

God’s Love Comes First

God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowing the One who called us to his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us valuable and superlatively great promises, so that through them you might come to share in God’s nature and escape the corruption which evil desires have brought into the world. For this very reason, try your hardest to furnish your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if you have these qualities in abundance, they keep you from being barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Indeed, whoever lacks them is blind, so shortsighted that he forgets that his past sins have been washed away. Therefore, brothers, try even harder to make your being called and chosen a certainty. For if you keep doing this, you will never stumble. Thus you will be generously supplied with everything you need to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah. – 2 Peter 3-11
 Because God created us, He loves us. It is unconditional love from the Father but since we became separated from God, we have to go through a process in order to love Him. Think of the time you met the person you fell in in love with. The feeling of love was not immediate but there was an attraction, a feeling of needing to get to know the other person better. Once you got to know each other then friendship, knowledge, trust, deeper affections, belonging, and finally love grew.

 You see we need these things to build a relationship because we have a block called sin which stands in the way of true knowledge of God’s Love. This block causes us to sometimes mistake one feeling for another or the difference between truth and sin. In truth, we are filled with God’s love and our original nature has deep love for Him but because of our human nature we have issues of acceptance. 

All we need is God’s love but He desires us to love Him back. Just because He loves us does not mean we are good to go once we accept Him, we must abide in Him. Remember Jesus told the adult rest to go and sin no more, that was not just for her own hearing or a quick lesson in God’s compassionate forgiveness. He flat out says, once you accept me, show the same love for Me that I have for you. 

 In other words, be faithful to Him as He has faith in us. This faith grows in the desire to please Him by doing good and worshipping only Him. Having the self control to abide in His Word forsaking the desire to fall because of temptation, striving to be better and gaining the knowledge, trust, and desire to finally understand and feel the embrace of God’s love. 

Remember that commercial where people stood behind a big x-ray screen which showed different levels of love then also added in the sin that God abhors? They advertised the idea that love is love but it is not. One must be able to recognize the difference. This world is not meant for the sinfulness and things that go against God’s natural order of things. 

So yes, the idea of all we need is love is correct but not the way that most of the world now sees it. For most have made evil seem good and good is now evil. Human kindness and love for our fellow man comes with much baggage that all must work through. Showing God’s love is of upmost importance and should outweigh the human misinterpretation that has occurred. 

Remain faithful and remember that God’s love is kind of like roses and chocolate. We must recognize and dull the thorns while sweetening  the bitterness with His Word so that we can experience and share Him with the world as He commands us to do.   

 

God’s Perspective NOT Ours

Proverbs 12:15 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel

How many times are we going to go through this before eyes are opened and it is too late? Numerous times humanity has thought themselves the rulers of their own destinies but oh how they are so wrong. We are not our own and there are many who think they can test the waters. Now, Jesus will still reach out into the waters in which we sink because that is what He does. However, it still remains a matter of full acceptance and embracing the Commandments and the Teachings of Jesus.

Proverbs 21:2–3 2 Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But YHVH weighs the hearts. 3 To do righteousness and justice Is desired by YHVH more than sacrifice.

Jesus had come into this world as a member of His chosen people, the Israelites, and He changed many but there were still more who just couldn’t see God right in front of their eyes as they were blinded by the world. Are we not just as blind today? The Adversary is on every doorstep, in homes, in the media, in the government. He is the prince of this world but not the King. He has control over many souls but not all. Jesus will win them back unless there is a total turn from God. But here is the thing, Jesus needs us to show the lost, the way.

The Holy Spirit is here to help guide us to do what is right in God’s eyes but sometimes temptation is too great and the veil is closed for a time, sometimes permanently. We cannot give in to temptations much less commit the sins extending from the temptations and remain right in God’s eyes. No matter how much we say we love God and Jesus if we do not have it right in our hearts and minds, we are not right with God.

Since the 1960s carnal and drug induced behaviors have rocked society to its core. We had returned to the ways of the early Greeks, Romans, and other Pagan religious practices to include a distinct move towards devil worship. Not saying it was not around before that but this is the time in our country where we began to really separate ourselves from God.

I spoke in an earlier blog about the Ephraim warnings from Habakkuk. Well here we are again but this time taking it deeper. Let’s go back to the time of the Exodus as it was entering its final years. We see in Deuteronomy 12:8-9,     “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which YHVH your Elohim is giving you.

Because of the wandering in the desert, certain rules were in place and the Tabernacle was mobile. What is being stated above is the time when they will be settled and there will be one place of full worship of only God. It was also concerning the aliens (non-Jews) and youth among them who had not been fully integrated into the society because of the move. This will be done upon entering and settling into the Land of Promise. There will be those who refuse and God was already aware as was Moses, which is one reason this statement was made.

After Joshua the time of the Judges began. Now this was a time where people were chosen to judge and be priest over the tribes. We know that since the Israelites had not done specifically as God told them but had mercy on some of the indigenous occupants, there was trouble.

Judges 17:6

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

This happened more than once so we see it again in the exact same verbiage four chapters later:

Judges 21:25

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

So yes they did not learn. So many people died because they forgot God and His right perspective for us.

So many people today are doing the same thing, ignoring God’s Word and His Statutes. The moral behaviors and laws of the land have changed to meet the minds of those whose mental state and depravity are the “new way of thinking”. God’s rules are eternal, man is temporary so this too shall pass but for how long oh Lord how long must we deal with this immoral time. This is a time where Love is a four letter word and God is no longer the center of many lives. This must change. We must be the instruments of this change. Stop allowing these perversions from entering our children’s minds so they become the norm. I am not saying beat the Bible into them but if that is what it takes, give them God’s Love, His Compassion, His Mercy, and His Tough Love to show them what right looks like. Do not fall into the devil’s snare, evade temptation, Love and He loves us.