The Mystery of John the Beloved

The writings attributed to John the Apostle have a lot to do with love and spiritual matters. There is one particular matter that has many wondering what Jesus meant. It comes from John 21:22 which states, “Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”. This verse has been taken out of context throughout history as some believe Jesus was saying that John would live and never die until He returns. But why was this statement even made by Jesus? Peter had just been forgiven for his denial and was told how he would die. My guess is that John was present and basically asked Jesus to tell of the others. When Jesus told Peter the above verse, it was not to tell of John’s future but to tell Peter to basically mind his own because at that point he had just been renewed into the family and that he was to follow Jesus.

John was the only Apostle to die of old age

The Apostles went into the world only to be killed by the world while speaking of Jesus. This was showing us how much devotion is necessary to share the Word even unto death. Why was John’s situation different?

One theory is that because John stayed by Mary while the others ran, he would be granted a long life never tasting the blade, noose, or nail. It works because the others left out of fear but John’s Love for the Savior was stronger than any fear the devil could put in his path. John was the first to see the joy in the suffering and while Paul talked about counting all sufferings as joy, John lived in Love and suffering to the fullest.  

John might still be alive

This theory has very few if any legs to stand on. Jesus did not say that John would not die but alluded to His power over creation saying that He could decide to keep John alive if He wanted. The believers of this theory often quote passages from Revelation only to realize that John’s long life was attributed to his faith and the great care of those who supported him. John will share the Word again just not as some people believe that it will be an earthly, physical form. John is alive in our memories through reading the Scriptures but so are other Apostles.

John’s body is not in stasis  

He is not frozen and hidden somewhere awaiting the return. He died of old age and was buried. He was not physically transformed into a younger version of himself. Why would people even think that God would do that. John is a witness to the end of the age through his writing. He saw Christ’s return and was allowed to write about it. John gave us insight to recognizing the end times but did not specifically give the five W’s. We know only what God needs us to know, the rest will be revealed on His time.

In Conclusion

 John was the only Apostle to live a full life giving him the ability to share God’s Love with at least four generations of people. He fulfilled the words of Jesus to Peter by living a long and joyfully suffering life and is now part of the Great Counsel of the Twelve with his brethren seated with Jesus. John, the Beloved lived to show and share God’s Love. He is alive in us through the Bible. Thanks be to God that we have discernment to be able to seek the truth of the Word.

Blessings,

Rob, Servant of God

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GOD NEVER FAILS

When times seem real bleak and we wonder if God is even listening to our pleas, He hears us loud and clear.

When we feel like no one cares and are on our last thread of hope, He lifts us up.

When we do not want to face the day, He encourages us through His Word.

When we are depressed, He brings Joy to our suffering.

He shares in our good times and comforts us in sad times.

In our sickness, He is our healer.

He is our freedom, our shelter, our strength against all foes.

He is our rock, our protector, our comforter, our guide, our redeemer, our judge, our Father.

God’s Word tells us:

 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

What Does God Require?

To be honest, the requirements that God has of us are so simple they are almost too good to be true. There are those who believe that you must meet as a large gathering in a mega church (5000 or more seated at once) because the more people raising their voices to Him in one place in one accord will get their personal prayers wants and needs answered. Some believe that God requires total seclusion as to avoid the temptations of the world. Some firmly believe that placing ten percent of earnings covers all things and they do not have to lift a finger to help another because the money will take care of them. But, God does not need our worldly possessions. These are extreme measures for a God who desires only a completely personal relationship requiring our devotion and obedience.

God desires our worship as a community of two or more, however, too many in one place means someone may be forgotten or ignored. Yes Jesus preached to large crowds but that does not mean we should try and do that today. He wants quiet individual moments but there is no need to totally ignore the suffering world. Relying on money to take care of everything, that replaces God with an idol and does not even qualify the person as a lukewarm Christian.

God’s Grace

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Titus 2:11-15

Knowing that God freely gives His grace for those who accept Him and that through His Grace, gave His Son for our sinfulness is still not what God requires. Rather, He requires our admission of guilt and seeks our desire for redemption through repenting of our shame and submission of our lives to His Son. All while understanding that the Free gift of Grace was presented to us in the form of a humble baby who would live a right life and die for us.

The Physical Requirements

All physical requirements are by products of the Spiritual requirements that are desired of us.

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:6-8

Do justice, love kindness (showing mercy), and walk humbly. Those cannot be done without the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit builds us up in order to love others as He loves us. It is the Love of God that gives us the strength to stand firm against temptation. It is the Love of God that keeps us humble. It is the Love of God that through Him, the examples of people from Scripture, and His Son that enable us to show mercy and kindness to others.

What is required of us?

To Love the Lord our God with all our Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength. This is done in our obedience to His laws and statutes requiring us to do our best to live a right life. He knows we cannot follow without stumbling so He gave us Jesus. It is through God’s Gift of Jesus that we are saved so our requirement is obedience and friendship with Jesus. Loving Him with all the love we give God because He is of God.

God also desires our worship through song, prayer, and the humble use of Spiritual Gifts. Giving of our earthly pay is good to a point but should not be considered the only form of offering. We are the offering God desires.

Brothers and Sisters, what we need to do is get back to the heart of worship and leave man’s made traditions behind. Jesus did say to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s. Caesar can have the worldly things, God has everything else.

Blessings  Rob, Servant of God 

The Company You Keep

Brothers and Sisters,

      The holiday season is coming to a close and it is time to start anew. It was a season of parties, family gatherings, meeting up with old and new friends. With everything that happened this year, relationships were strained due to disagreements on everything from life choices to politics. We let worldly things rule over us and there were many things that people became offended by even though they continue to listen, watch, or even conduct themselves in the ways and things that they found offensive (ex. Baby, It’s Cold Outside and they still listen to and idolize artists that promote sexual deviancy). With the New Year starting on Tuesday we must remember what Paul said about things that tempt us and staying away from those who do not consider those around them.

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. Romans 14:13-23

In today’s society this goes way beyond food and drink. So many boast in their sinful life choices and when we accept the life choices of others as a part of who they are, we are just as guilty (Jesus said that). This goes way beyond sexual preference and depravities, it is the materialism (love of money), addictions, fantasy worlds that become realities, life on the internet, all the distractions and idols that keep us from God. We live in a world where being sinful is the norm. This must end.  

It is time for us to welcome the Father back to our great nation. Jesus asked us to Love our enemies and bless those who persecute us but we have let them run over us. We also must remember to protect ourselves from those who may harm us. Remove, not welcome, those who do not conform and destroy our way of life. Give to those in need but ask God to lead you first. Too many seek to live off others while they are perfectly capable to be on their own.    

2019 is the year were we must take a stand against those who tempt us. Some of the things we can give up on our own but as for other things we must be vigilant and outspoken without the others thinking we are condemning and judging them. God gives us the way to helping others by opening their eyes to their sin by showing love and compassion through the Holy Spirit. We cannot let our convictions be compromised. I know many who are leading lives in sin, they know my thoughts and do not boast in their sinful ways. Some have given up their sinfulness and turned to God while others cannot escape it. By showering others with God’s Love and the guidance of the Holy Spirit we are able to protect ourselves from falling into their sin.

Rob, Servant of God

The Importance of Being Humble

Jesus had a way of making the humble feel what would normally be unattainable joy. He also had a way of humbling the proud to their material ruin and those who understood received Spiritual joy. There is something very good about not having everything the world offers. Satan offered Jesus the world but He refused. During this temptation Jesus taught Satan that he was nothing compared to the Father.

 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the templeand said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus knows the Scripture because He is the Scripture. When He took human form, He was sent to correct the proud and manmade traditions and end the sacrifices that God despised. The humbling of the Israelites was not just done in the New Testament era but the Old. Look how God humbled them in the desert.  

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:1-3

Do those words sound familiar? God was with them wherever they went even when He was silent. They bore the Tabernacle and all things put inside it carrying the Triune God wherever they went. They were humbled constantly in His presence keeping them from being proud of themselves since they recognized all things were God’s not theirs. This is a big part of humility.

This year let us return to the humility of it all by helping those in need, volunteering even when it is inconvenient, give of ourselves as Jesus and His Apostles did. Let’s show the world the true meaning of being a Christian. Are you ready? January 1st is right around the bend.

Rob, Servant of God

False Prophets and the New Year

This coming year we are headed for real trying times. The world has seen one disaster after the last and each one seems to get worse. Political and economic structures are breaking down and all we can do is sit back and watch as the people with the power try to worm their way out of dangerous roads. The way things are looking we will be seeing more and more people trying to tell us either about impending doom or that everything will be all right. So we must continue to pray for discernment in these trying times.

Micah the Prophet was told not to preach or prophesy of the truth. Many were caused to stumble because of these men as they told lies and took God’s Word in vain. Many of the false prophets had honestly no clue that they were preaching evil and the prophesies were given to them by demons. Some were so caught up in the world that they did not want to hear to real truth and condemned Micah. Though the prophet, God spoke about the false prophets and how they were ruining the people.

 “Do not preach”—thus they preach—
“one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.”
Should this be said, O house of Jacob? Has the Lord grown impatient? Are these his deeds?
Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly?
But lately my people have risen up as an enemy; you strip the rich robe from those who pass by trustingly with no thought of war.
The women of my people you drive out from their delightful houses;
from their young children you take away my splendor forever.
Arise and go, for this is no place to rest, because of uncleanness that destroys with a grievous destruction.                                                                                    If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,” he would be the preacher for this people!
I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men.                                                                                           He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it.
Their king passes on before them, the Lord at their head
.  Micah 2:6-13

There are preachers today who are so in the world that they forget their purpose. We have the common false prophets who have been exposed but they are so popular that they still get away with the false teachings. Recently I saw on an expensively computerized marque at a Christian Outreach advertising the raffling away of a Mustang GT. Sorry, we are not in the business of bringing people into a house of worship under material pretenses.

How do we fight against those who would silence the truth and continue the worldly view? Well, we must ask the question “Is it really our fight?”. Is it worth getting upset over when what we need to do is forgive and express the truth of God. Remember, God has a place set aside for the false teachers and prophets. There are so many who want to stay in the world that they cannot feel the difference when the Spirit knocks at their heart door. We must fight the spiritual battle with the Holy Spirit guiding our every move.

Brothers and Sisters, be on the lookout for the false teachers. There are many on You Tube and other Social Media outlets that are spreading false information, be careful. If it looks fishy do not give the person your ear. Spend time reading the Bible and let God speak to you through your time in the Word. He wants to spend time with you and time is something that is running short.

Have a safe and happy New Year. Let go of all your worries and let God take control. He will guide you the way you should go. May this new year be filled with Joy and Compassion for your fellow man.  

Blessings, Rob, Servant of God

Shepherds, The First Evangelists for Christ

Peace is the one thing that many people desire. It is in our nature to not want anger and war to be everywhere in our lives. Unfortunately, also because of human nature we have this tendency to want to have rule over another which means there is a period of discord which comes before a peaceful resolution making one a victor over another. The peace that God has instilled in us does not have the desires of our nature but of a Spiritual one that is beyond all of us.

Jesus Himself said that He did not come with a peaceful intention but a sword. His sword was internal and external but it was not made of metal. It is the Word of God which breaks all chains that hold the soul captive in this world. When those chains are broken and melted, all that is left is the peace that the Word of God brings. His birth began the breaking of those chains as the lines that separate the poor from the rich were made grey and faded. The first to hear the that the Word had entered the world were not kings, nobles, or persons of earthly wealth; they were poor unimportant shepherds. These shepherds then became the most important people in the world as they were the first besides Mary and Joseph to feel the peace of the Spirit enter in.  

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
 and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

According to Dr. Eddy Coakley (Pastor of Trinity Baptist in Cayce, SC), these shepherds then became the first missionaries and evangelists who shared His arrival immediately after meeting Him face to face. Imagine the peace that entered into them once the fear of the angels subsided and they met Jesus. It is this peace that we should feel when we speak about Him to others.

In fact, let’s change something right here right now. Let us truly put Christ back in Christmas not just by saying Merry Christmas but by sharing Christ with all those we meet just like the Shepherds did that night. It is really easy if you only try. Start with each other by sharing your love for Him with your family then go into the world and share Him. There is no reason to stay at home (unless you are sick) this Christmas. God’s Word is meant for all creation not to be kept inside.

What do you say? Let’s Do this. God would not want us to keep His Word in a box.

Rob, Servant of God

Joy in the midst of Sorrow

It doesn’t matter what it is; death (family friend pet), loss of a job or home; God has proven time and again that His never-ending Joy can and will fulfill us. I recently lost an amazing friend and it has been really hard for me to write for this Advent week of Joy because a thought hurt me. If we can find Joy in everything else through Christ, why is it so hard for us to find Joy for those who have gone to live with Him? Well, here is my answer, we are human and God gives and takes away for a purpose (even when we don’t like what happens). God gave us the Joy of never-ending Love, Peace and Hope through Christs Birth and that is what I know about Joy.

Joy Of Salvation

What is Joy?

Joy is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the feeling that results when the individual feels good about something. Joy is found deep in the heart and gives us the strength, power, and desire needed to carry on no matter what the circumstance.

 The Old Testament writers new Joy as something that God put in their hearts to be able to succeed in living for Him. David wrote many Psalms of Joy and Rejoicing. Isaiah spoke of Joy when he spoke of the salvation that comes from loving, and having faith in God. 

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 12:2-6

This Joy that is within us runs through our veins and radiates from us when we sing praises and worship God for His Glory. Joy is not just a Christian thing. It resides within all who know and believe in God. Loving God brings Joy to all hearts.

 For Christians, Joy is first found in Jesus. It is through Jesus that we fully understand Joy in suffering through the promise of salvation. It is because of Jesus that the Joy found in the Love of God givesus what we need to make it through the day in this sinful world.

During this season we are reminded of the Joy that filled young Mary as she was told that she would be the vessel through which God would bring salvation to the world. We are also reminded of the Joy that Joseph felt after the pain of having to decide what to do with Mary was removed by the visit and reassurance of Gabriel that the child Mary was carrying is of the Holy Spirit.

This same Joy is what we have when have suffered loss of any sort. It is the joy that comes from sorrow which strengthens us because it is of God. Our suffering is temporary, the Joy of the Lord is eternal.

Brothers and Sisters, sometimes Joy is hard to find especially in this season when we remember loved ones. It is okay to grieve, however remember that Jesus does not want us to grieve but rejoice. Take care this season to spread the Joy of the Lord because it is our strength.

Love and Blessings

Rob, Servant of God