The Uniqueness of We

What happens when you are surrounded by many people with the same thoughts and attitudes? Nine times out of ten we concede on our own ideals and blend in with the crowd to be liked and loved. Human nature explains that we are social creatures and will do what is necessary to fit in to the situation at hand sometimes compromising our thoughts and beliefs, losing ourselves in the process.

A Danger Seen But Not Conquered

All too often the youth are easily influenced to be like others with whom they really have nothing in common. This is especially bad when certain people who have abused their gifts are given a platform to share their idealisms and agendas that are not in concert with God’s plan. Think of what has happened in the last 120 years with the event of audio/visual media. First used as a way of informing people of things happening in the local area, it has flourished into a means of delivering both true and false information throughout the world. The owners and those who make an extravagant living off of fame think they have the power and the right to influence the way people think. They really do not.  

God created each of us as unique persons with one purpose, to take care of His creation through expressing His Image through mirroring His Love. Yes we all have the same purpose but each of us has been given a gift to be used for His glory. We are not supposed to be hateful towards each other. We should not hold grudges or bitterness towards anyone whether we approve of their lifestyle or not. God gave us the opportunity to be unique and use our gifts to live together in love, not away from each other in fear.

You Cannot Be Completely Like Mike

For those who may be jealous of one person’s gift and desire to be like that person, you have to realize that God designed that individual to succeed in that gift and not you because your purpose is elsewhere. If everyone tries to be like someone else, our uniqueness and gifts are wasted and God’s purpose for us is overtaken by the devil’s desire to overthrow God.

Satan has placed His demons in areas that control those who do not know God or refuse to know Him. He has created a world where money and materialism control our lives so our uniqueness is hidden away. When we open our eyes and accept Christ as Lord and Savior, Satan loses control. Once we rely on Jesus our gifts become more apparent but we must fully submit to Christ. It is honestly real easy but it is the hardest thing to do if you remain attached to the things of your past.

Regain Your Uniqueness  

Putting your full Faith and Trust in God helps you discover the real you. For some it takes a long time but it will happen. We are all infused with a servant’s heart it just depends on the specific gift on how we are to serve others. Are you able to teach, sing, play an instrument? Do you have good business sense and can lead others? Look even the ability to stack a bunch of cards in a pyramid without it falling shows the potential for a natural gift of construction or engineering (either that or you can balance things easy). We are meant to share our gifts with specific people groups but all is for the Glory of God and His creation of which we are a part of.

Be unique, share your uniqueness with others but to not convince them that your way is the only way because you will going against God. Do not go against the Commandments nor the teachings of a right moral life or you may be easily influenced and lose your you which God made you to be.

Brothers and Sisters, Love one another as He loves us. Love your neighbor as yourself and do not hold anything against them. Be in Christ and Live.

Rob, Servant of God

Jewish Influence in the Lord’s Prayer

What I am about to talk about today may shock and challenge some people who are blind to certain facts of historical significance. There are many things about Christianity that so many have been blinded from by radicals who desire supremacy over others when the origins do not even belong to their ethnicity. There is no “Master Race”. There is no White Jesus or Black Jesus. Here is the fact. Jesus was born of Middle Eastern ethnicity in Bethlehem in Judea. His mother and earthly father came from Nazareth. Both of them are descendants of Abraham who descended from Noah who descended from Adam. When Rome took The Way and made it into the national religion called Christianity they tried to strip away all things Jewish except that one fact.  

Did you know that the Lord’s Prayer and other things we say and do as Christians have Jewish roots? In fact, we would not have Christianity except that the first people who knew Jesus and spread the faith were Jewish.     

So we ask this question, “How did Jewish Liturgy influence the Lord’s Prayer?”

Jesus taught us the model on how to talk to God in prayer. Here is the Lord’s Prayer as we know it.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
  Luke 1:1-4

For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever, AMEN was added later.

The Lord’s Prayer is by far the most central and well-known Christian prayer in the world but it has almost word by word similarities with different Jewish prayers.

First, the content of the Lord’s Prayer is the same as the key Jewish liturgical concept of אבינו מלכנו (pronounced: Avinu Malkenu). When translated it means “Our Father, Our King”. In fact, everything in the Lord’s Prayer is centered around either the fatherhood or kingship of God.

Our Father, Who art in heaven

​The prayer begins by professing our core religious belief that God is our heavenly Father who is all knowing and all powerful. Notice that Jesus didn’t instruct us to say, “My Father” but stressed “Our Father.” God is not just the Father of one or five children but the Father of the human race.

 “Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt.6:9b-13a)

Second, there are word-by-word parallels between the Lord’s Prayer and variety of Jewish prayers such as “Our Father, Our King”, the “Amidah”, and the “Morning Blessings”. Here is one example from each:

אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ סְלַח וּמְחַל לְכָל עֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ

Our Father, Our King, forgive and pardon all our sins.

נְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת שִׁמְךָ בָּעוֹלָם כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמַקְדִּישִׁים אוֹתוֹ בִּשְׁמֵי מָרוֹם

We will sanctify your Name in this world, as it is sanctified in high heaven.

ואל תביאנו לא לידי חטא ולא לידי עברה ועון, ולא לידי נסיון ולא לידי בזיון, ואל ישלט בנו יצר הרע

Lead us not into sin and transgression, iniquity, temptation and disgrace, so that evil will not rule over us.

Jesus had taken what was already known from established prayers and petitions to God and gave them deeper meaning outside of the realm of Israel as the plan was originally intended.

The liturgy of Jewish prayers, their festivals, and traditions, are the basis of all things Christian. Some modern scholars even want the Old Testament put aside but then call the New Testament, Scripture. The Word of God, Jesus, is found at the very beginning of the Christian Bible cannot be ignored. Jesus gave the two Great Commandments but they lose their meaning without understanding the Ten Commandments. The Great Commandments are the culmination of the Ten so everything in the Ten still apply.

STOP THE HATE

This Anti-Semitism and ethnicity hatred that has grown stronger must stop. We are supposed to be helping the Jews see Jesus in a peaceful manner not by killing them like the zealous Catholics did during the Inquisition. We should be spreading Love not hatred because we are all of the same flesh. Our outward appearance comes from a manipulation of dirt, clay, and water. That is what our bodies will return to. Our spirits live on after the body dies. There is no color, gender, or ethnicity, just the spirit. We are all one. Let’s start acting like it. Look at the inner person not the sinful shell. Be the Child of God He desires us to be. Love one another, give up the hatred and all things that keep us in the world. That is one of the ways we will have communion with God.

Brothers and Sisters, the time is past and we are already hurting. Now is the time for healing.

Love to All,

 Rob Servant of God     

Trusting In His Promises

Do you remember the hymn, “Standing on the Promises”? The Bible is full of God’s promises to mankind. Some of the promises were meant for specific people only but most are generalized promises meant for all humans and or all creation. If a person were to place God’s promises on the promise meter of a politician you would see the meter speak truth by stating complete, in motion, or in the works on every one of them. His truth is that He cares for each and every one of us and will do everything He can to help us make the right choice by following His ways and trusting in His Promises.

Some of the Promises have visual representations. The Rainbow, for instance, is the physical reminder that God promised never to destroy the world by flood ever again. We know He is talking about a worldwide flood and not just local ones. Earthquakes are another form of promise. I know that seems bad because of the death and destruction that occurs but Isaiah 54:10 states, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD who has compassion on you.”. His love cannot be shaken and His promise of peace remains in place.

The promises He makes remind us of His Love for us. He reiterates to Joshua that He will never leave or forsake him which was told to the whole Community of Believers earlier in Deuteronomy. Jesus mentions the same upon the Ascension. Scripture also states that He will guide us, deliver us, protect us, watch over us, and many other things that emphasize His Love for us.   

How do we know His promises cannot be broken? Well first of all, He is the Sovereign Lord over all things and He does not break a promise. It may seem that a little edge is given but that is there because of our Free Will and He allows us to choose whether to obey or deny His Words. Even if we choose disobedience, He still loves us. We have to accept the consequence of ignoring or denying His Love.

Another Hymn that comes to mind is “Trust and Obey”. In the Chorus we sing, “trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey”.  If you read the Common Jewish Bible you will notice one major difference, the word “trust” is often in place of the word “faith”. These are not fully interchangeable but at the same time they are. To have faith in someone there is a large amount of trust involved as well as obedience. But trust is of upmost importance because we are literally putting our lives in His hand.

We trust God by His Word which was written down for us in order to know it and be obedient so that we can be accepted into the Kingdom. We trust that God will make good on His promises even when we are disobedient. God does promise that He will teach us lessons that return us from our disobedience back to Him but we still must choose to trust Him.

His promises are given so we may learn to trust Him in all things we do. Even though we falter, He will fight for us and guide us home to Him. To return we must have faith that He will accept us back, which Scripture shows that He will.

Do you trust that God will keep His promises? He is not a promise breaker, but if we test Him the promise takes a back seat to discipline. Remember, the some promises are if/then and after the punishment is over we return to acceptance and live. God keeps His promises.

Brothers and Sisters we are bound by our faith in God that He will keep His promises. His Mercy and Grace are freely given so that we are assured that He will not give up on us. All we have to do is put our full trust in God. Have you put your trust in Him. If not, will you. He is waiting for you to accept Him.

Blessings and In God’s Love,

Rob, Servant of God           

 

 

 

 

The Compassionate Shepherd

ADVENTURES IN THE PARABLES lost sheepMy people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. Jeremiah 50:6

There were folks in the religious hierarchy that loved to confront Jesus. Their idea of the Word was corrupted by man-made traditions and practices that had manipulated God’s Word for their purposes and not God’s. Often, they confronted Jesus trying to get Him to slip up and say something that would condemn Him. No matter how they tried they were the ones getting the lesson and were confronted with their own mistakes and misgivings. They were the ones who were lost. Not just those in the hierarchy but all Israel was lost and Jesus even told them as, He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24). 

Bringing The Lost Sheep Home

His compassion was first for the chosen people of the Father to bring them home again. We know that this was going to be very hard especially since the people wanted earthly freedom from their oppressors and evidently were not really concerned with spiritual things. But God beats all odds and can get right to the heart.

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:3-7

Jesus, the Great Shepherd, gives this account of searching, saving, and rejoicing. Even more, we can clearly see a picture of salvation in these verses that we do not want to miss today. Even though this was meant for the People Israel, we can clearly see the redemption and salvation that God gives by His Grace and Mercy through putting everything else aside, sacrificing the safety of the rest just to find and rescue one. Jesus lifts us up so we do not have to tread in the waters or the thorns of the world alone. All heaven rejoices even when just one comes to know the Lord and returns home.

The Heart Condition

We are lost to God because of sin. He knows the lost condition of humanity and of our hearts which were given in to sin. But you see, God sent Jesus to rescue and redeem us, to discover and help us choose to repent and change the condition of our heart. All of God’s children are precious to Him, yes even the hardened sinner. We are loved so much. He professed His love in John 3:16, then Paul reminds us how He showed His Love in Romans 5:6-8.

We Are Valued

Like I said, we are precious to Him. Luke 19:10 states, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Brothers and Sisters, we are not something that is created and left to rot. We are created to love and care for one another just as He loves us. He loves us so much that He died as the final blood sacrifice. The innocent given to replace us for our sins. Our value is found in every drop of the Saviors blood which was shed so we could live.

At What Cost

The last line in the Parable speaks volumes on what is needed from us. Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Yes we are saved by Grace but there is still certain obligations. These obligations have not changed since Abraham. Better yet, these obligations have not changed since Abel. We are obligated to Keep His Word on our hearts because our strength comes from His Word. We must repent and not return to our sinful, worldly ways. God continually waits for us in patient love but if we cannot give up the world then we are forever lost to Him. It is our choice though God will continually fight for us. Jesus gave us the examples of Kingdom living and He did it outside the world. He showed us what true love is. He showed us what true compassion is. He thoroughly explained what it is to live for the Father and this generation has thrown it away. We are not perfect so we must depend on His Grace and Mercy but not without making the commitment to giving up the things that keep us away from Him.

Are you willing to peek out so He can find you or will you stay hidden and lost?
The Parable of the Lost Sheep is a tale of a lot more than just one lost person. It is the lost people Israel and the hope for redemption and salvation of all people.

Stop The Corruption

Stop the CorruptionBrothers and Sisters, Rob here and I have to tell you I am getting sick and tired of hearing about churches embracing sinfulness. The liberal churches are going too far in this love is love and that we should love and embrace all people and tell them that their sin is ok instead of telling them they must repent and sin no more as the Master Saviour says we should do. Children are innocent and very easy to manipulate. Parents who let their young children believe they are something they really are not is very detrimental to the child’s health both physically and spiritually but even more damaging to the parent.

Those who understand the meaning of Proverbs 22:6 will tell you that we are not to teach children in sinful worldly ways but in the way of God but go against it because of societal pressure are basically condemning themselves as they are causing their children to sin. This is NOT OK. Look at what Jesus tells his Disciples according to the Gospel of Mathew.

“Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won’t even enter the Kingdom of Heaven! So the greatest in the Kingdom is whoever makes himself as humble as this child. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me; and whoever ensnares one of these little ones who trust me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the open sea! Woe to the world because of snares! For there must be snares, but woe to the person who sets the snare!” Matthew 18:3-7

Children are snared into sinfulness through the evil desires of man. Pedophilia is an ever growing problem, sex-ed is being taught at a younger age with homosexual influences, We have made evil good and good evil. We have allowed this sinfulness in the church by allowing open boastfulness of sin. When a person repents they are to follow the words of Jesus when He said, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). He did not say I forgive you and you may continue in your sin and be saved if only you believe in me. That is the statement that is being taught in some churches today which is against God’s Word and will be punished by Him.

Yes we are to love our neighbor as ourselves but we should not let sin influence decisions, especially in the church. Having openly gay persons leading the church means that entire congregation accepts the sin and will allow the influence to take over their thinking on Scripture as the leader tries to validate the sin instead of repenting and changing.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:18-25

It was not too long ago that children who played with things that were meant for the opposite gender and it was called a phase. Now the second a child does this, some parents want to jump in and change their child’s gender. This has turned out very damaging for many who go through the reassignment leading some to commit suicide. We should not be playing God here. We are born a specific biological gender (gender is not a mental state) and that is who we are to stay. God does not make us LGBTQXYWhatever, but He does give us into our sins when the society is so corrupted and against Him. It happened in Sodom and Gomorrah, in Rome, and it happening now all over the world.

Society has refashioned the words and meaning of Proverbs 22:6 to suit their specific worldly desires. Instead of rearing a child in the ways of good moral and ethical behavior we have corrupted children who truly do not understand right from wrong.

How much longer are we going to let sinfulness influence our children. Gun violence is on the rise for people under 18, fantasy has overtaken reality, sexually immoral behavior is becoming less frowned upon and more accepted. We need to revive God in our lives so we can change these influences and teach right from wrong as we are supposed to. 

How???

Get off your donkey and start in your neighborhood. Everybody does not have to start in the church but it helps if some do. Find out where the outside influences are and begin to make that change. Make a difference. Bring God back to the front with Jesus at His right hand. Share the Gospel as it says in Scripture before we completely do what Israel did that caused God to send Jesus to us. Stay faithful to the words and teachings from our youth and grow in the truth of Scripture. Love one another as He loves us even if it means we have to have tough love. Be blessed today and all days brothers and sisters.
Rob

Keep His Word (Unless you deny everything Christ died for)

 

The world opened their heart to Dr. Charles Stanley and he has done so much in so many lives but he could not keep his son from denying the need for Scripture.  In a sermon from Andy Stanley, he denies the need for the Old Testament and says that the only thing we need to understand, know, and believe, is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The way the sermon reads is that everything that Scripture (that is, Old Testament) says is unnecessary for our salvation. He is bluntly denying our Father. He even states that the Scripture is only meant for the Jews; wait what??? Jesus did not come to destroy the Law, He came to fulfill. This means that we are still bound. Jesus is the Word made flesh and He came and ministered first to the Jews to put them back on track. It was their understanding of the Scriptures that enabled them to understand the need for the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.

 

You cannot fully comprehend everything Jesus said and did without an understanding of the past events and circumstances that led up to His birth. That being said, one must have an understanding of the developments, the covenants made, the history, and the story of God as it is told in the Old Testament to fully comprehend the reason we believe. That is like saying that the great structures and artistic representations of the world are there and just taking by faith that they exist. Someone had to have the idea, the blueprint/sketch, the knowledge of what materials to use to create it and give it meaning.

 

To understand why Jesus did what He did we need to know the reason for it. The fact that forgiveness is found in the flowing of innocent blood dates back to the time of Adam. The mark of faith was sealed in the circumcision of Abraham. The Day of Atonement was established by God through Moses. The need of sustaining the Word is given through the commission of Joshua. Faith and trust in God was described and demonstrated in the victory over Goliath. The need for maintaining faith and trust in God is demonstrated in the description of what happened every time the Israelites did their own thing. The list goes on and on of why we need the Scripture to understand why Jesus came.  

 

Now this is not the first time a popular pastor has denied some part of the belief system in favor of only one thing necessary for our salvation. In the past 200 years there have been more than I can count on my fingers and toes but guess what, the Word cannot be denied. They have died and most of their memories have faded but the Word has remained and its truth is unchanged. God is still God, David still killed Goliath, and Adam and Eve still made the choice that took down the path which we live today.

 

The Apostle Paul who persecuted Christians even noted the need for understanding Scripture to get the full grasp on why Jesus had to die. The explanation is simple: The flesh had to be destroyed so that the Word could live. The ascended person of Jesus showed the world the result of living with the Word ruling the heart, soul, and mind.

 

So, all this to say that we need the whole Word not just the resurrection occurrence to truly be saved. Yes we need to follow the example of Jesus but to follow His example we have to know what He is demonstrating. We are saved by Grace because we cannot be perfect followers, it is against human nature but we must persevere and give our best to follow God’s Word in our lives daily. Trusting in His mercy that we may become faithful followers through suffering and a fearful respect of the One who gave us life.  God grants us the provisions to be strong and courageous when standing in this world but under the condition of keeping His Word on our heart.

 

 “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:7-9

 

Jesus emphasized the need for this, all the Apostles reiterated it, some modern pastors deny it. Who will you believe????

 

Seasons Of Life

SeasonHow we live our life now will determine what our next existence will be (eternal life or damned). Our lives are split into seasons. Unlike the weather system on this earth having four main and a few storm seasons, mankind has many seasons that flow within our physical and emotional states. How we handle the circumstances given to us in these seasons teach us lessons for how to better handle what this life brings. The key is to live each day for God and not ourselves because our actions effect the lives of those around us.

The Book of Ecclesiastes discusses living on this earth and the senselessness of some things that we do that will have spiritual ramifications in heaven. The choices made while dealing with circumstances given us help shape us from birth to death and prepare us for our eternal existence whether exalted or damned. The writer calls all activities vanity and basically worthless expenditures or our time under the sun. In chapter three, the writer informs us of the human seasons.

For everything there is a season, a right time for every intention under heaven —
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to discard,
7 a time to tear and a time to sew, a time to keep silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Scripture tells us that God really desires all of His children to come home but He knows that will not happen. We are given choices and God guides us using the Holy Spirit and others to help put us on the road that leads home. The Devil puts potholes and bumps along the way to deter us from our eternal home.

Looking at the choices from Ecclesiastes 3, some things are unavoidable such as our birth and death. The other choices made are ways that our life is guided towards God. Some are emotional and others are physical, some are both. Think about it, planting and uprooting have many meanings from gardening to moving or staying still. Each one is relational. How we handle our relationship with others is a true test of living.

How many bridges get torn down just to get built elsewhere? How often do we feel anger and are hard pressed to pick up the pieces? How about our choice in friends and acquaintances? When do we raise our voice or stay silent letting others chose their path? How long we let ourselves stay in one negative season such as bitterness will dictate if we can ever make it to a season of happiness. We have to know when and how to let go.

Our actions and reactions towards each other determine the status of our relationships here on earth. With God in our lives we really cannot stay in the negative seasons for very long. How glorious the relationship we have with the Father in Heaven.
We can learn a lot from a wise king even though he had many troubles and made some very unwise choices in his own life which had disastrous effects on the whole nation. His teaching is wise and I bet that if he had actually stayed true to God’s Law the nation would not have suffered as it did.

This time we live in is very testing. It is hard to keep in line and on the narrow path when we are in a society that accepts immoral behavior as normal. If we are not careful, the devil’s snare will have taken everything. What can we do? Pray, stay in the Word, worship with others, keep His Word on our lips do not waver, share with everyone no matter what. Maintain a best positive attitude whenever possible and if we do have to react negatively, get out of that season quickly.

We will suffer a persecution of many kinds. Stay positive through persecution just as the Disciples did. Some will call it defiance but we should understand that we meet pain and suffering with joy and gladness. Weep for loss but celebrate what has been gained. Do not fear because if have faith, God will not leave us forsake us and we will be comforted. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, be blessed with the knowledge that Jesus died and rose for us, for you. May God shine upon you and guide you. AMEN

Oh The Joy

Jesus was on a mount in front of many who desired to hear His words. We all know that Jesus had a way with how He spoke depending on the crowd but each message was pretty much the same. The Beatitudes are really no different. We have, however, misunderstood what Jesus was saying. The selections are from the CJB so that you can understand it in a more clear translation.

and he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
“How blessed are the poor in spirit! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
“How blessed are those who mourn! for they will be comforted.
“How blessed are the meek! for they will inherit the Land!
“How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! for they will be filled.
“How blessed are those who show mercy! for they will be shown mercy.
“How blessed are the pure in heart! for they will see God.
“How blessed are those who make peace! for they will be called sons of God.
“How blessed are those who are persecuted because they pursue righteousness! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
“How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me! Rejoice, be glad, because your reward in heaven is great — they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. Matthew 5:2-12

There is something about the Beatitudes that really hits the heartstrings. Now, most would call this a progression as it takes a person from start to finish of being a Christian. Okay, well, not so much. What is seen as a bad state here is blessed by God in the Kingdom and what is seen as prosperous is seen as bad in the Kingdom. Earthly values do not matter in Heaven. Pay attention to the woes in Luke, see the change?

He looked at his talmidim (Disciples) and said:
“How blessed are you poor! for the Kingdom of God is yours.
“How blessed are you who are hungry! for you will be filled.
“How blessed are you who are crying now! for you will laugh.
“How blessed you are whenever people hate you and ostracize you and insult you and denounce you as a criminal on account of the Son of Man. Be glad when that happens; yes, dance for joy! because in heaven your reward is great. For that is just how their fathers treated the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already had all the comfort you will get!
“Woe to you who are full now, for you will go hungry!
“Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and cry!
“Woe to you when people speak well of you, for that is just how their fathers treated the false prophets! Luke 6:20-26

Humility is the Key

Jesus main message to all of us is to humble and treat each other as we are commanded to. Did you know that the word we know are preaching and teaching actually meant to demand? So Jesus commanded the joy (blessings) of the lowly, the mourners, the gentle, those who show mercy, and more. They who are those ways will have greater rewards in heaven that those who enjoy such rewarding ways on the earth.

Think about it, Jesus always flipped the script on those who thought they were going to have greater rewards in heaven because of their greatness on the earth. Boy are they in for a surprise when they get home, if they get home. Those that sacrifice earthly joy and happiness for suffering and serving will become like kings and queens under God. How great a life that will be.

So yeah, for those who suffer now and who will be suffering for Christianity, it will be all right. Have patience and accept ridicule with joyful humility. Sing praises in times of feeling weakest for we will gain the strength of all the Disciples who were martyred before us. We might not be killed for our faith but we will have a rough life ahead. I know it will be hard, but our pride in our faith will be shown through the outpouring of the Blood of Christ and His Love within us.

Seven Deadly Sins?

In the 4th Century C.E., there was a mystic who made a list of eight principle vices. Evagrius Ponticus inspired John Cassian who was a monk who wrote on these vices. Pope Gregory I in the 6th Century changed these into the seven deadly or cardinal sins of Roman Catholic theological thought. The list is a simplified overview as many sins are involved in each one listed, they are: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. As you can see the list appears to be a generalization from which many other sins follow. Thing is, the Bible does not specify a list of seven sins.
We all know that there is One unforgivable sin and that all sin leads to death. Blasphemy against the Spirit or denouncing God (Matthew 12:31) is unforgivable but all other sin can be forgiven. Listing Seven Deadly Sins is a way to remind people that continuing in these sins means death but turning to God and leaving the sinfulness behind leads to life when one believes, trusts, and is faithful through Jesus (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Proverbs mentions actions and thoughts that the Father hates and are an abomination: There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV

Paul gives numerous examples of things of the world to remove from your life: But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Colossians 3:8 ESV

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.” Hebrews 13:5 ESV

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

The list goes on and on. Paul spelled out the wrongs of the individual towns to make a point. There are many things of the world that God finds as sins against Him. Here is one major thing to notice, all these things are found in the 10 Commandments and the Statutes (Moral/Ethical Laws). Yes we need listings of sins but when it boils down to it, failing to abide by the Ten Commandments leads to death. We are incapable of always abiding by them, that is where Jesus comes in. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. James 2:10 ESV                                        Only accepting Christ and changing our lives leads to life. His sacrifice paid for our sins in full.

Living the Best We Can for God
You see, God has a plan for you. Though this message was specific towards Jeremiah, God is with us all when He says,
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
What is required of us is to guard ourselves from our sinfulness and live a right life the best we can for:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 ESV

We should replace the sins with the fruits of the spirit, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness Galatians 5:22 ESV.

Paul tells the Corinthians, Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
To sum it all up, anything that is written in Scripture as something that is against God is considered a sin and should be avoided at all costs. Today there are many who have forgotten and are living unnatural, sinful lives. The Seven Deadly Sins have become a normal way of living for many people. Please do not be deceived by the view of the new norms of society, the devil is in the mix. Those norms are against God and nature. Stand firm in the faith show God’s love whether in comfort or correction, compassion or conviction. Show God’s tough love as needed no matter how much it may hurt for our suffering now will be rewarded.

Obsession, The Unacknowledged Sin

People these days are obsessed with many different things. Some obsessions are so bad that they become a way of life and people then replace things of the Spirit with things of the world.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV

Webster’s Dictionary defines obsessions as: A persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly: compelling motivation.
What are obsessions that keep us in the world? Media and celebrity personalities, electronic games, social media, sports, fantasy related media, sexual desires, basically anything that keeps our focus away from God.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24 ESV

And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:20-23 ESV

The Adversary is Involved
Satan will do anything to keep us away from the Father and His Word. We may think some things we do are innocent distractions, which they may start out as that but the distraction becomes an obsession if it begins to take up your time so it becomes your life as you start ignoring responsibilities, family, but mostly your worship time with God. Once you start down that path, it becomes very hard to get out and the devil has won.
You see, sinful behavior can start out as something innocent that takes up your time and removes God from the heart replacing it with worldly things. What we need to do is a complete overhaul on how we use things of the world. There are some necessary evils which we cannot ignore because many cannot function without them. Things such as the internet to pay bills online for the ease of access, doing research, playing a game to exercise the mind, and reading some news is okay, just do not dwell on there for a long time.
There are many Bible apps and programs that are useful but the best Bible app is found on paper and bound as a book. All we have to do is faithfully obey the Word within.

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. Deuteronomy 28:1-6 ESV

Now I understand that some will still say, that was Old Testament and we are under Jesus. Well I have some news for you, Jesus was and is under the Old Testament, because He is the Word made Flesh. He took away the sacrifices but did not take away the moral and ethical laws. He did not abolish anything but fulfilled things of old that were meant for the covering and salvation of sins before His coming. We still must do our best to follow the Ten Commandments and the Statutes that are contained in the Law. We do this by living a right life the best we can because we are not perfect and no earthly being can do as Jesus did.

Now do not become obsessed in the Christian thinking either. It is a way of living a right life but some take it so far that they are completely fearful of worldly matters and cannot function in society. They used to be called zealots. We should be zealous but remain functional in society so far that we can survive and thrive through living a right life. Remember we will make mistakes but it is only through the sanctifying Blood of Jesus that we are saved. Plus, understanding the world without living of the world makes it easier to talk to others about our faith life so that we can do our part in our Mission via the Great Commission. That is what Jesus requires of us.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 ESV