In Whom do You Put Your Trust?

We all want to get to the “Pearly Gates” and hear the words, “Welcome home good and faithful servant!” but how do know we are a faithful servant. Faithfulness is a Fruit of the Spirit. It is the quality of being faithful to God and His ways. 

Faithfulness: the result of the Spirit working in us. The Holy Spirit dwells in those who accept the truth that God will and has saved us from sin and death through the sacrifice of His Son. Faith is placing our trust in God that He is provider, protector, savior. It is putting our lives in His hands and choosing to let the way and will of God be the controlling factor in our lives.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:1-3

Hebrews 11 gives a long list of the faithful from the Old Testament who trusted God. The list is of people that knew God and put their full trust in Him. Some translations will see the word “trust” instead of “faith” in this portion because they trusted God after being witness to certain events which caused them to place their faith, their lives into God’s hands.

Jesus informs us that true faith the size of a mustard seed can be seen as great when it is seen by the world (active). That is putting full trust in the Lord Almighty and great things can be accomplished. This leads to the description of an active faith verses a going through the motions faith. Just going to church on Sunday and not being involved nor sharing your witness does not mean you are full of faith. You are going through the motions of being a Christian inside the walls and boxing up God. True faith is an active faith where you live it daily. You put your life in God’s hands fully trusting that living for and in Him will get you through while showing others who you are. Yes that means you will disrupt the normalcy of worldly work and be subject of ridicule but that is okay. You have God.

Trusting others is important to make it through the day but God needs your full trust more than anyone. Having this trust gives you the strength to put your trust in the right people and helps you discern who to place your trust in. Being faithful to God will help direct you to the people God will place in your path and guide you through your interactions. Be aware that some that call themselves Christian still have the stints in their eyes and will cause more pain than anything. They are concerned more for themselves and living in the world, do not trust them. Instead surround yourself with those whom you know are truly faithful or those who are searching and the Spirit will shine through you.

Brothers and Sisters, be careful and let God guide you. Place your life fully in His hands trusting in Him to give you the strength when you are at your weakest no matter the circumstance. In His Love you will be comforted. Blessings.

Rob, Servant of God   

God’s Plan Will Prevail

Proverbs is the greatest place for one line verses that can make or break a person. These little quips of knowledge and understanding have moved so many people to a right way of life. There are many things we can learn from Scripture but most of the ways of responsible and common sense Godly living are covered in this book.

One of the things covered in Proverbs is making plans. Now making plans is good to a point, but before executing the plan make sure you pray over your day that the plans are what God needs you to do.

 One can devise many plans in one’s mind, but Adonai’s plan will prevail. Proverbs 19: 21 (CJB)

God knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11) to be a successful person, the main thing that must be done is prayer. Yes God will direct us onto the right path but if we ignore God by doing our own thing then we will have to get through many obstacles before getting to the right place. When we stray from His plan and have a real bad experience we can lose trust in Him but a faithful person will stay on track and make it through to the end.

We are all sinners and the Adversary has made himself known through all the evil and influencing people to influence others astray. The worst part of the influencing has been making good evil and evil good. Common sense and responsibilities have become bad things. Our minds are clouded to the point where many are blaming everyone else for their troubles when they do not want to take responsibility for their own actions. In fact, being a God fearing, responsible, common sense minded adult has become a bad word. Adulting (the act of behaving like a responsible adult) is like a disease to many who do not want to be responsible for themselves and depend on worldly things to control them.

The influence of the devil’s power has corrupted many and the disease is spreading like wildfire. These plans are not of God but of the devil. So much sin has become the norm that even some established church bodies have caught the disease and forgotten their ways. We really cannot let this perversion of the gospel go on much longer.     

Brothers and Sisters we must do more than just pray for the souls of the lost. We must pray that our lights get so bright that it opens the eyes of those blinded by all things that are against God. The trust of the masses needs to turn back to God so that we can survive. According to Scripture, we already know that there will be many who are destroyed in the pit because their minds and hearts have turned so far away that there is no return but we can hope for change. We still have influence in this world through the power of the Holy Spirit and our faith, hope, and trust in the Lord God Almighty. The thing is to make sure we are doing the right thing so we do not go through the pains of human plans by fully relying on God.

Be Kind To One Another

bE kINDWhen Jesus walked on the earth one characteristic which bothered the Sanhedrin the most was His kindness to all people. Jesus showed this kindness just like He showed His love, sometimes it seemed a little rough but it was a kindness none the less.

Being Kind to those who are Unkind

Why bring this up? Why should I be kind to those who are not kind to me? Being Kind is one of the chief things we are to be. In order to understand the effect of showering someone with kindness as life changing one only needs to look in the Scriptures and see that is what we are to do.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Luke 6:35

Kindness is a great defensive weapon against those who rebuke you. Having a peaceful and joyfulness in suffering style nature is not a sadistic thing when being persecuted. Quite the contrary, when shown in the power of the Holy Spirit it can be life changing.

Many lives have been changed just by an act of kindness. Just look at the different people mentioned in the Gospels and Acts alone and you will see lives transformed when kindness was applied. These truths occurred because the Disciples and others believers followed Proverbs as it says:

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

Also the prophet Micah who wrote:

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Why are we to be like this?

Because that is how God wants us to be.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; Colossians 3:12

You never know who you are truly showing kindness to:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

Do you remember the song that has the lyrics, “Jesus in disguise”, or even “What if God was one of us?” How many times did the Angel of the Lord come down and talk to someone without them knowing until it was almost too late for them to figure out they were talking with a divine being? So we must Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; (Romans 12:10) because kindness really does go a long way.

Death is Not The End If You Trust God

People die in the flesh every day. What happens after? Where does our spirit go? These are questions that we cannot truly understand until the day comes that we actually die. Many people claim to have near death experiences or wake up calls in which their lives are turned around. Many people have visions of Hell our visions of Heaven. Thing is, we really do not know. According to John 8:51-59, Jesus gives us a truth in the matter that is still up for discussion. 

Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. John 8:51-59

Death to the common man means our flesh fails and our bodies stop working causing an end to life. The Jewish understanding is that when we die we enter a dream state and our souls rest until the time of the  resurrection which is why those who heard this reacted the way they did. What Jesus is speaking of here is the Spiritual Death or complete removal from existence. Mortal death is not the end, it is the beginning of life.

I am no expert in the field but all I know is that Jesus teaches us that there is life after death. That is why we should not fear it. If you have submitted yourself to Jesus then you will have life with the Father and not worry about being in darkness or thrown into the fire. This promise of Jesus does not mean that Christians should seek mortal death but approach it, when it is time, with joy.

Jesus gives clues in this passage on His eternal existence that angers those within hearing. When Jesus speaks of Abraham, He is saying that Abraham knew someday God would do exactly what He told Abraham to do with Isaac. This sacrifice would be God’s own Son who would deliver us from eternal death because of sin. Abraham’s spirit was waiting in Sheol (Purgatory) and knew that the time had come that his life would be saved and the door between Sheol and Heaven would be opened.

Jesus tells us plain and simple what we are to do to gain eternal life, He says to keep God’s Word on our hearts. Ok, sounds easy right? That is until you actually start reading God’s Word and realize we cannot fully accomplish all things because of the stain of sin. What we can do is believe on Jesus, that He gave His life for us so we would never know an eternity without God. Believing requires being in Him as He is in us by following His example in life the best we can and living it for Him. It means spending time in prayer and fully submitting your life to God trusting that all things that happen are part of His plan and He will guide you to the right way. Without trusting God you are left to the devices of the devil and will taste death.

Our Father, God wants to have a relationship with you because He loves you. You have to love Him back. As for me and my house we choose to love, trust, and follow the Father. The choice is yours. Will you Trust in Him?

In God’s Love,

Rob, Servant of God

Delight in the Lord

The Psalms sing of many different situations and emotions. One reoccurring theme is the Joy of the Lord. Joy in the Lord is our strength when we are weary and downtrodden with the world. Joy in the Lord is what keeps us afloat when the world around us is sinking. The Psalms open up with Joy  

 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither– whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1 ESV

I want to focus on the second verse for a moment. More specifically on the word, delight. What does it mean to have delight? The dictionary definition says to “take pleasure in” something. It is a synonym of joy, happiness, and other gladness terms. So in the context of the Scripture above we are to take pleasure in His Word, meditating on it day and night. The Word of God is the only that that gives us true pleasure in this life.

Delighting in the Lord grants us the happiness that is beyond our understanding. It supplies us with the calmness needed to make it through the day even in our worst moments. This Delightfulness keeps our spirits right and overrides fear in the world.

The third verse expresses the firmness and fruitfulness of one who delights in the Lord, following and sharing the Word. Having this joy, even in dry land, guides us with living water to grow and fruit spiritual prosperity.

Just as there are different descriptions that define the fullness of God’s Love; so are there many ways to describe the Joy that is found in the hearts of mankind which is a fruit gifted by God to share and grow others. What we do with these gifts is a choice we have to make on our own but joy without God is meaningless, and fruitless.

Genuine Love

All throughout the Bible the writers speak of the many different descriptions of God’s  Love. His Love is described as loyal, undying, unconditional, reckless, amazing, everlasting, and much more. This morning I want to discuss another way His Love is described and taught that in a way that we can do the same. I am speaking of His Genuine Love. Paul wrote to the Roman believers:

Don’t let love be a mere outward show. Recoil from what is evil, and cling to what is good. Love each other devotedly and with brotherly love; and set examples for each other in showing respect. Don’t be lazy when hard work is needed, but serve the Lord with spiritual fervor. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in your troubles, and continue steadfastly in prayer. Share what you have with God’s people, and practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you — bless them, don’t curse them! Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be sensitive to each other’s needs — don’t think yourselves better than others, but make humble people your friends. Don’t be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but try to do what everyone regards as good. If possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people. Never seek revenge, my friends; instead, leave that to God’s anger; for in the Tanakh it is written, “Adonai says, ‘Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay.’” On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For by doing this, you will heap fiery coals [of shame] on his head.”  Romans 12:9-20

Early Rome Community of Believers

The Word and the Way found itself in Rome. At first they were a community ignored by the Emperor and the Senate but during the tyrannical rule of Nero, Christians were blamed for the fires. This caused a great many people to be persecuted and martyred.

Paul found himself in jail numerous times for stirring up trouble. While a loyal Roman citizen would see it that way, Paul and the believers knew different. With the persecutions happening almost daily, Paul wrote to encourage the people and keep their mind on the truth of Jesus.

Let Your Love Be Genuine

This portion of Romans is literally how we are to love our Father, Savior, and one another in a nutshell. Love is not just a face we put on like make up in the morning, it is the deep inward expression from our hearts that have been convicted to care for others before ourselves. This is one of those portions that really does not need deep explanation as it speaks plainly and clearly what and how we should be.

In this portion Paul tells them that they should remain faithful to the teachings through thoughts and actions of loving kindness. We are not to sit back and let others do the work when we are all commissioned to do the same. While Jesus taught us to love our enemies, Paul tells us to also bless them through our love. He teaches that we are all on the same level being that no human is more important than another but accept our lot in life treating everyone with the same humble heart. If someone wrongs you do not return with harmful words or behaviors but instead envelope the person with the Love of God through your actions and words.   

I Know it is Hard

Look, I know the difficulties in this age to be what God desires of us to be but if they could do it back then when their actions led to their deaths, we can do it today. What is the worst that can happen to us? Yes in some countries it does mean death but in other countries it means jail, lawsuits, loss of business, etc. If we lose everything then we have gained more than the person(s) that caused it will ever understand. Yes it will be hard but we are not being literally fed to lions or being run through by a sword. Have patience, continue to love no matter the cost, keep your eyes on the prize (as Paul puts it), stay in the Word and the Word will guide you. But mostly, Love one another just as He has loved us.

Be Blessed,

Rob, Servant of God  

Love: The First Fruit of the Spirit

First Fruit LoveHow do we grow in faith? Just as fruit grows and ripens to provide us nourishment, so the Characteristics of the Spirit help us grow closer to God. With each fruit of the Spirit we grow in faith and understanding what it means to be a Child of God.

The first Fruit is Love. The Old Testament Love was that of loyal obedience or hesed. The word that covers the many levels and types of love is ahava. The love which the Holy Spirit manifests in believers is agape. There is a difference between spiritual love and the societal/worldly understanding. The Love we learn from the Spirit requires a choice. The choice to be kind, to sacrifice, to consider another’s needs greater than one’s own. Paul shares a description of the ultimate love we can show others in this verse from his letter to Philippi:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

God could have left us to our own evil ways and condemned all of us to darkness, but because of His Love for us:

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 

And because God does not wish us to be separated from Him any longer, He gave of the blood from His only Begotten Son. In His death, the Word was poured unto the earth providing the final substitution for our sins saving His most beloved of creations and reopening the channel of communication that was closed due to sin. 

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8

Paul was given the mission to spread the world to the Gentiles. In his travels he had to reform what the people understood love to be by providing the definition of God’s Love and how we are to show and share it with others.:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” First Corinthians 12:4-8

Love of all persons is what we are to show. It does not mean to condone and equip the sins of others. We are to love in all ways to include tough love.

The Love for God is the same Love He shows to us. He loves us with His entire being so as such we should love the same. This is what we are to show our neighbor. A person that does not love (have a healthy, God fearing, heart) him/herself cannot truly show love to another:

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Jesus renewed our understanding of the Commandments by summarizing them into two. This does not negate the Ten Commandments. Because He loves us, He requires us to share all His teachings, laws, and statutes through Love. This is Love:

 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 

Because if we stay in His Love we are forgiven:

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” First Peter 4:8 

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

Now this is what Love is not: Love is not a deep sexual desire that causes one to need or want to become one flesh outside of marriage, that is lust. Love is not the sexual desire that taunts persons of the same gender to have sexual relations, that is lust. Basically desires of the flesh do not equal love, they are lust which is a sin. It is rotted fruit.

Love is the first Fruit of the Spirit. It is the first part of the growth process. Love in the Spirit requires of us to choose to follow Christ and get to know the Father through a personal relationship communicated through the Holy Spirit. If we know this love then we will have Joy in all things, the second fruit.

What Do You Depend On?

On Sunday, the Beatitude discussed here was Blessed are the pure in heart. There are many things involved in keep the heart pure. Jesus does say that what leaves the lips is more dangerous than what enters but sometimes what enters the body has more effect on what comes out, especially if it causes other parts of the body to stumble. There are times in Proverbs where you wonder where the mind of the writer was at that time or if the writer was being descriptive of a personal experience. In one particular section the writer sounds like a drunken sailor sitting in a bar.

Who has misery? Who has regret? Who fights and complains all the time? Who gets bruised for no good reason? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who spend their time over wine, those always trying out mixed drinks. Don’t gaze at the red wine as it gives its color to the cup. It may glide down smoothly now; but in the end, it bites like a serpent — yes, it strikes like a poisonous snake. Your eyes will see peculiar things, your mind will utter nonsense. You will feel as if lying on the waves of the sea or sprawled on top of the mast —“They hit me, but I didn’t feel it! They beat me up, and I didn’t even know it! When will I wake up?. . . I’ll go get another drink.”  Proverbs 23:29-35

Grape Juice, The Refreshing Choice
There were so many things infesting the water that it was more common to drink the juice of fruits and vegetables, more so than not, grapes. The juice from grapes was healthier and easier to access since it was an easy crop. People carried around canteens made from animal skin and these would eventually be called wineskins because grape juice would become fermented.

People would also drink olive oil but that was not as popular and definitely not as easy to access. There are great qualities about it but not really a good choice for hydration. Many other liquids were available but grapes were the best choice.

Wine, Good For You But Not in Excess
Mankind has a way of taking a good thing and making it into something that can be enjoyable and dangerous at the same time. As mentioned above, grape juice was a healthier choice for hydration but when they ferment interesting and somewhat dangerous actions can occur. The writer apparently experienced this in one form or another either personally or by observation.

Proverbs are the writings that warn of the evils of this world. This one tells of man’s attempt to remove pain and suffering through means other than the Word, and dependence on God. Dependence on a man- made thing to ease the pain leads to other issues that cause more harm than good.

What Do You Depend On
Alcohol and other forms of “recreational drugs” change a person’s overall appearance and can really mess up the functions of the body when it is the main source of removing misery and pain. The writer expresses this in an almost comedic yet serious manner and tells of how a dependent person will turn to that thing instead of God.
When your mind is clouded, your heart becomes corrupt and malfunctions through either slowing way down or works overtime to move the corruption out of the body. Filling your heart and mind with the Word, and pouring your heart out to the listening ear (spiritual or a close confidant) is much better than depending on something that becomes controlling and does more harm than good.

What Do We Do?
This one is actually very simple. It is okay to enjoy things that give temporary satisfaction but do not take in so much that it completely clouds your judgement and changes your actions. Jesus never said do not drink, He just warns us not to do it in such excess that it becomes the substitute for God. What motivates and helps you function on a day to day basis physically has ramification on your spirit. One thing remains, which one will help you be right in the next life?

Satisfying the Needs of the Soul

O the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied Matthew 5:6

What does spiritual hunger and thirst really mean? To have physical need for nourishment means that the body is wearing down because it lacks the nutrients and chemicals found in food and drink to function properly. So it is with the soul. Our heart from the spiritual perspective has certain needs to truly make us alive. That need is the righteousness of God which truly satisfies the heart.

Hungry for Spiritual Food

The word hunger depicts a deep craving or longing. There is a desire within each of us for knowledge and wisdom. Some seek worldly and are temporarily satisfied and do not understand why they never truly feel complete. Then there are those who seek spiritual knowledge and wisdom. These are the ones who hunger for righteousness seek the divine righteousness that we are given by grace through faith in Jesus. This is a true intention of the heart as the reliance on this food is the reliance only upon God to meet our needs. Seeking God’s righteousness means that material things, though necessary for survival, are not absolutes and will not fully satisfy the longing of the spirit to be with the Father again.

Thirsting for the Living God

The word thirst is that painful need for water to stay alive. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are those who seek to know, believe in, trust, and have faith in Jesus who is the bread of life (the Word) and grants us access to the Living Water. Water is life. Our bodies need water to survive. Not just that it needs replenishment of minerals and other things found in the water that help is move. Water is the main ingredient in plasma that moves the blood cells so that the nutrients can get to where they need to go. Living Water is that which brings life eternal. Without this living water, our spirits cannot move.

This Truly is a MATTER of the HEART
God tells Joshua in his commission to lead Israel that he needs to Keep the Word on the heart not just in it. Keeping the Word on our hearts creates that barrier from the world to take over our needs and desires and provides for the Word to be in our heart so that it is what we rely on to live. What do we seek first? We are told that we should seek first the Kingdom of God for that is where true living and happiness is.

St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Which is more right, seeking spiritual experiences, material blessings, signs of the miraculous, knowledge and wisdom, or seeking the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God alone truly satisfies the heart, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:33). The Humble Heart Seeks God for only in Him will there be peace.

Heartache: Blessed are Those Who Morn

O the blessedness of those who mourn, for they shall be comforted
Matthew 5:4

When someone leaves this world there is a period of mourning that occurs by those who are left to suffer. When we mourn we are actually mourning our condition which is still mortal while rejoicing that the one who past is (we hope) now in a better place. How can someone rejoice when in sorrow? There is a feeling of loss, a tender moment that cuts to the heart, but in that moment is also a sense of relief that the pain and suffering the person had while here, is gone.

So it is with sin. When we repent we are showing our sorrow that we have lived a life outside of the arms of God. The godly sorrow that results from the mourning of repentance is the step required to move towards eternal happiness. God grieves over this lost world so God comforts those who mourn in the separation so He may give them encouragement and strength to make it through this life.

The Psalmist says, “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) How blessed are those who seek God in their pain. Those who recognize their sinful nature and repent are much better off than those who deny their sins and refuse the comfort that comes in repentance. They will not be comforted for those who deny that sin is wrong will taste death, which is permanent separation from God.

We are saved by grace through faith because we cannot save ourselves from the death that is the result of our sinful nature. We have the choice to be believe and be saved or not to believe and suffer for all eternity. To those who choose life, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven (1 Cor 15:49)”.

The site, hebrew4christians.com says this to speak the opposite of our verse this week: “O the misery of those who love this world, for they will receive no consolation in the world to come.” If you stay in the world you will be in and of the world and pass away, those who abide in the Word and the Will of God will live forever.