A Matter of the Heart

There is something about calling out the name of the Messiah that shows where the heart is. 

As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Jesus. Two blind men sitting by the side of the road heard that he was passing by and shouted, “Son of David! Have pity on us!” The crowd scolded them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord! Son of David! Have pity on us!” Jesus stopped, called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, open our eyes.” Filled with tenderness, Jesus touched their eyes; and instantly they received their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:29-34

Did these two blind men really understand who they were hearing was passing by them? Why would they call out except to receive the free gift of God’s Mercy and Grace both physically and Spiritually. How serious were these men about Jesus or were they just trying to stump Him to call Him a fraud. 

The Gospel does not tell us if He went over to them right away but Jesus stopped, and sought them out. They felt the Hand of God touch their flesh and like the potter that He is, remade them on the spot. Even better He touched their hearts and renewed their spirit. Of  course some will say, “Well yeah they followed Jesus because He just healed them”. Others may say, “They were players in Jesus scheme to manipulate the masses”. I would think more along the lines of this: When God touches a person physically and spiritually, their entire outlook on life changes. There is something about knowing the Word has reentered the heart and took away the pain and sadness that once was and filled it with God’s Love. Jesus opened their flesh eyes so they could see the Master’s face, and opened the heart’s eyes to see the Majestic Unrequited and full Love of God. They were two blind men who heard that the worker of miracles, teacher, healer, was coming for them.

What was the crowd trying to do? Did they want Jesus all to themselves and bring no more in? Where they fearful of someone else’s faith that it would be stronger and more acceptable in God’s sight? Or were they just wanting to get away from Jericho? All we know is that they tried to stifle the two so that Jesus would just continue on. That whole crowd saw a miracle that they tried to stop. Jesus loves everyone but the heart tells the truth.  

If they did not cry out to Him would Jesus have maybe just walked on by? Well, yes and no. Remember, Jesus wants us to come to Him with our burdens but we have to believe and ask for His help. Yes He would have probably healed them without a word because He sees what is on our hearts, but that would have been too easy. 

Where is your Heart? Will you stifle those who want to see Jesus or will you welcome them in to be saved. Is the church so full that the doors need to be shut to keep people in or is it so empty that the Spirit passes by. If your heart is filled even the smallest bit with Jesus, open it up all to Him so He can clean it. Do not judge another when you yourself will be judged. The matter of the heart relies on the head and the hand. Will you accomplish what God wants or what man desires?

The Choice is Yours but I would recommend the way to life.

 

 

 

 

   

What Will You Bring to the Table

TableThere are songs about coming to the table of the banquet in Heaven but the question is, “What do you bring?” Better yet, what can we not bring? When Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees about the Imperial tax, Jesus responded with a great comment. Let’s see this portion of the Gospel:
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Matthew 22:14-22
There are two realms, the Spirit and the world. The worldly realm has things that we physically see, touch, use, and sometimes misuse, basically things that we rely on to survive physically. It is our current state of existence. The realm of the Spirit is where God dwells, there is no dust and clay forms, no money, no Xbox, no stressing over what Johnny said on social media, or other material things, there is only what God gave us inside the mortal shell. That is our true selves.
With that said, we know that it will not be anything physical to the table because we cannot take things from this world into the next so that cuts out bringing a main dish, drink, or dessert. We cannot bring a buddy because it is an individual effort. We only bring to God what God gave us in the first place, our very soul.
Children of God have to live in one realm while preparing for the other. That means there are many choices and decisions we have to make in this world in order to find ourselves in the Arms of God for eternal rest. Man has tried to replicate and out do only what God can do which will always backfire no matter what it is.
While in this world we have to do things in order to survive but we should not give in to things that will keep us from attending the banquet. In fact we are required to separate ourselves from the things of the world. This means not to be so involved in the world that we have no time set aside for God. In fact, there should be no time where God is not an integral part of what we are doing in all facets of our life. This means avoiding the temptations that keep us away from following His Word. If an old sin comes back to haunt you, God has already given you the tools to defeat it. You must make the choice to defeat it or not.
Let’s go back to the Gospel portion written above, specifically the entrapment attempt:
“Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
Wow, do they really know what they were asking? Who we are in this world means nothing in the higher scheme of things. They even tell Jesus that they recognize His lack of acknowledging earthly authorities above God’s Word. But then the kicker question is where they thought they could cause Jesus to speak blasphemy. Jesus’ immediate explanatory yet chastising response was perfect in explaining the difference between realms.
“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Jesus say the physical coin and used the teaching tool here. Physical material things have no variance in Spiritual matters. However, the material things in this world can be manipulated to give God the glory when used for the greater good of the soul. If the material things are used to acquire things that do not have Godly applications but only human, there is no use for it. To Caesar, our soul can be lost and discarded; to God, our soul can be found and redeemed.
What do you bring, or are you even invited? Have you given your life to the service of God? Did you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you washed by the blood and the water or just got dunked because it was a cool thing to do? Do you follow God’s Word or just say you are ok because you “found Jesus”?

A Matter of the Heart: Fasting and Prayer according to the Teachings of the Apostles, Didache 8

Fasting and Prayer

When living in the Community of Believers or Body of Christ there are times that worship is done as a community and times that worship is a private matter. Worship, as we know is a many faceted thing. The Community of Believers that received this writing had basic understandings yet needed warnings and a how to since it was a young community. One thing they did learn is that each person is known to God and wants to hear their needs, their praises, and they understood that they cannot do things which involve their eternal rest, alone.
Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. And do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in the gospel: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us enough bread day-by-day. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. Pray this three times each day.
This part has to do with devotional piety. How one fasts is a personal direct reflection of their desire to rid themselves of the world and be closer to God. Prayer is both corporate and private but not boasting nor for the attention of other people. This issue is prevalent even today where people will shout personal prayers out loud in a non-body of believers environment while boasting of their achievements and problems in prayer. One thing to note right away, this prayer was not ended with “In Jesus Name”. It is because this is a direct prayer to God as well as our way of expressing full devotion and worship of God alone. Praying in Jesus name came after the need to recognize Jesus as mediator. That aside, let us see what the writer is saying.
Fasting: A Private Matter
The writer notes that a separation between hypocrites and their fast days was necessary to make things right with God. Thing is, there were those that fasted Mondays and Thursday while the Way believers fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays. The reason, the believers fasted in preparation for the Sabbath while the hypocrites fasted after the Sabbath and not right before. The other part is openly stating and boasting of the fast. Fasting is not a public event. It is a private, physical showing of the spiritual, personal devotion to God. Jesus said that it is a private matter between the sinner and God, the same as prayer.
Prayer: Communication with God
Jesus presented a way to pray with the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer begins with praises to the Father and asks for the will of the Father to be the main activity on earth as it is in Heaven. Now the bread is a two-fold meaning, continue to sustain us with physical nourishment as the Word nourishes our soul. The debt is our sins to which we are slaves to. God forgives us but to receive ultimate forgiveness we need to forgive others as god has forgiven us. The time of trial is asking that we stay from the temptations in life through staying in the Word and understand that He is our rescuer. Basically, Praise God and know that we cannot do things without Him. We cannot save ourselves nor recover from our sinfulness without God.

The writer notes that we should pray three times a day. These prayer times were instituted by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob respectively. Abraham instituted Morning Prayer, Isaac prayed mid- day and Jacob closed out his day in prayer. Jesus proclaimed we should pray constantly and persistently.

All in all the message being revealed here is that there are matters which are of the heart that should not be boasted in public. The other piece is not to be openly zealous in presenting the fact that you are a believer, rather show by simply living life as a person of faith. Remember the story of the boastful priest versus the humble thief in prayer. Be like the humble one but in all things. Love to all and blessings.

Rob

The Day Christ Was Revealed to The Gentiles

Three Kings Day

The Christian celebration of Three Kings Day has taken a back seat in some modern societies as just another day but is it? No it isn’t. Yes in real time it did not happen this close to the birth, but since we only have a year to celebrate 33 years in the human life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, everything is condensed to fit.

So why is this day so important to the Christian year? The day that the Magi saw Christ is the because it signifies the revelation (revealing) of God to mankind in human form. It is the first time the “Gentiles” celebrated Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Magi had an Epiphany, “a sudden realization about the nature or meaning of something” recognizing that this is no ordinary child as they experienced a joy and hope that was truly beyond their understanding. Remember, they went to a palace first, thinking that the star was leading them to a prince born in a palace but the star kept moving for them and they began to wonder if the child was of more significance than just another prince.

Now Epiphany means “manifestation”, often of divine power but this time is actually given a more distinct term because Jesus is the manifestation of God, the term is “Theophany”. Now I know a lot of people do not want to get all philosophical and theological it terms and meanings and I kind of get scared of those myself sometimes (especially when I have an epiphany on what those words are defined as), so let’s talk in ways that all understand.

The Magi saw the child. The Holy Spirit awoke in them revealed who He was and who He would become. This was first of many true revealing of God in the flesh to a non-Hebrew. I would have loved to have been there to see the look on their faces when they came to understand that this humble child sleeping in a hay filled food trough would be the one who would rule over all the earth. Think about it. Can you even fathom the thinking of these men and their entourage when the Holy Spirit was awoken inside them and they worshiped Him.

Christ revealed, that is what this day is all about. Everybody in Jesus presence except the Pharisees, the Sadducees, those in power, and the people that were blinded by the Adversary would have a type of revealing about whom He is. Christ is revealed to us through those who speak of Him and when the Holy Spirit awakens in side of us. Do you remember when you woke up to His presence? Do you remember feeling the comfort and joy in understanding the truth about who He is? When is the last time you shared it to awaken the Spirit within someone else? Don’t you think it’s time to do that?

Today we celebrate the enunciation to the world of Christ’s birth through the revealing to the Three Wise Men, Three Kings, Magi, whatever you call them. In Germany, watch out for children who go door to door looking for Him (it is a tradition over there). The community gets together and feasts on this day as He is found and revealed as Emmanuel, “God With Us”.

Is He with you? Would you like to have Him walk with you, talk with you? All you have to do is believe, have faith, and trust that He is the way to eternal life. Repent of your sins and recognize you cannot save yourself. Let Him into your heart and awaken the Spirit to guide you and help you through life.

God Loves you, we love you, there is a big family, the church, the Body of Christ that welcomes you.

God Bless

The Apostles ‘ Creed (12th Day of Christmas)

Apostles CreedThe Apostles’ Creed does not mean the Apostles wrote it, rather it states the fundamental truths of Scripture as given to us through the apostles. It is said to have been formalized by the Second Century but began to take shape with the Apostles as a Baptismal Confession of Faith. This is reverently spoken in many denominations which hold traditional values. It is however becoming a rarely spoken Confession in most Baptist churches today which is odd considering it was a Confession of Faith spoken by those about to be baptized.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (some use Christian) church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Twelve Tenants of Faith

  1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;

We have a God that has a personal relationship with us. We are His Creation, His Children by heavenly adoption through His Mercy and Grace. It is He who created us, judges us, and saves us.

  1. and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

We believe in Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of God. He is God Incarnate, Immanuel Savior, Redeemer. Jesus is fully God and fully man and the Way into heaven. He is our lawyer and our substitute who receives our punishment for our sins.

  1. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary;

The seed by which Jesus was conceived was not of this world but of the Holy Spirit, God’s Breath. Born of a sexually pure young woman (translated to Virgin), Jesus was born without sin.

  1. suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.

Christians teach that the death of Christ was for the purpose of making propitiation for our sin, reconciling us to God, and paying the price for our sins in our place. This is essential to the understanding of how Jesus is able to do what He does in our lives. He had to be sacrificed to make amends for our sin.

  1. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;

So is the final mission of Christ while on earth. To defeat death’s hold over us due to our sinful nature. It is crucial to the understanding of the nature of Christ, the importance of His death for our atonement, and what will happen to us after death. It is because He rose from the dead in His physical but elevated form, the Spirit in the flesh.

  1. He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

Just as the Death and Resurrection are essential, the Ascension is vital to the faith because He returned to the Father to take His place at the witness stand next to God’s judgement throne. This is where He will witness us to the Father and erase our sins by speaking in our place. 

  1. from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

AS Jesus continues to watch over the flock we are judged. Jesus judges the living in matters of the heart (repentant heart) and of our faith activity after we die. The final judgement spoken here is upon Jesus return to earth He will reward the faithful and destroy the wicked.

  1. I believe in the Holy Spirit,

The Holy Spirit, Breath of God, Third Person of the Trinity is the Helper, Comforter, Savior, that dwells within us. He is revealed by our faith through the regeneration of our soul. The Holy Spirit grants us the Gifts/Fruit by which we are known as Believers. There is no peace within us without the Holy Spirit.

  1. the holy catholic church, the communion of Saints,

The One Church Body of Jesus Christ. In other words, all Believers are part of the same Body IN Christ. The catholic spoken here is non-specific to the Roman Catholic Church but the people, the Believers, the One Church with One Mission, and Many Gifts to accomplish it. The word catholic means “universal. The church is not the “New Israel” and we did not take the place of Israel as the nation is still God’s chosen. We are, however, an extension of Israel through our faith and belief in Jesus Christ who took over the mission that the Jews could not do.

The communion of Saints has nothing to do with the sacrament. It is the coming together in one accord as Believers in Jesus to worship, fellowship, and conduct the work of the Kingdom here on earth. When God created Adam and Eve, He had communion with them. Meaning He had a close personal relationship with them and worked with them to learn more about Him. When we commune with each other, we develop relationships, learn from one another about God’s relationship in our lives.

  1. the forgiveness of sins,

Christ pardons the sins of His people by His free grace. We are forgiven by the Blood of Jesus but we must Repent of our sins. That is, we must recognize that we are filled with sinful nature, admit to our sins and the lack of being able to rid ourselves of them eternally without the sacrifice of Jesus. Without Repentance there is no forgiveness. Another piece of this is:  “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

(Mark 11:26 NAS) Meaning, if you cannot forgive, you will not be forgiven.

  1. the resurrection of the body,

Not the Physical body as we see each other right now but a Spiritual body that leaves the flesh yet in the form of the flesh and either goes to heaven or damnation. Resurrection of the “Spiritual” body is at the instance of death. We are not held in waiting as the ancient Hebrews believed but taken up upon the earthly shells death. Yes, Sheol is real as those before Christ could not truly save themselves and they awaited the Messiah to bring them to the Father for their reward. Yes Hell is real as the place of eternal torment. The Spirit goes the direction of the Judgement.

  1. and life everlasting. Amen.

The Spirit body, once again, is eternal and lives forever either in peace or in torment dependent on how the life was lived in the body. If repentance was made truthfully then the Spirit lives with God, If there was no repentance then the Spirit suffers in the darkness away from God.

The Apostles’ Creed is an important extra biblical document that should not be overlooked or forgotten as it has been part of the faith since the beginnings of the church. Saying it is one thing, believing the basis behind it is another. This Statement of Faith should be on all Believers hearts upon Baptism and spoken as a reminder of the tenants of faith.

So ends the 12 Days of Christmas and Epiphany begins tomorrow. This celebration begins with the Wise Men visiting the Christ Child and not reporting back to Herod thereby saving Jesus life.

This coming week we will begin looking into the Didache, the teachings of the Apostles and an early guide to presenting the Gospel to the masses. God Bless you all.

Fruit of the Spirit (9th Day of Christmas)

Fruit of the Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seventh Day Of Christmas: Seven Swans of the Spirit

Seven Swans

According to the Catholic Church for whose youth the song was written these are the seven gifts: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.

Every person has a unique ability about them. Some have a mish mosh of trades they can do but have one special thing that they use extremely well. You know the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none”, well the Holy Spirit has given each of us a gift that we use in everything we do. It is that one unique part of us that most people hardly ever recognize that is within us. Peter exclaims this in his first letter:  

10 As each one has received some spiritual gift, he should use it to serve others, like good managers of God’s many-sided grace — 11 if someone speaks, let him speak God’s words; if someone serves, let him do so out of strength that God supplies; so that in everything God may be glorified through Yeshua the Messiah — to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

Some folks find their gifts and abuse them by using them for their own gain. In the long run they find that they lack a certain joy and happiness because they misused what was divinely given and their soul actually suffers. Somehow God still uses them but makes them realize their faults when others are given joy as they suffer. I know it sounds mean but it is God’s way of talking karma.

But we have gifts that differ and which are meant to be used according to the grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, use it to the extent of your trust; if it is serving, use it to serve; if you are a teacher, use your gift in teaching; if you are a counselor, use your gift to comfort and exhort; if you are someone who gives, do it simply and generously; if you are in a position of leadership, lead with diligence and zeal; if you are one who does acts of mercy, do them cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8

Paul tells us of the Spiritual Gifts and using them for God’s Glory. Do not prophesy falsely for you will lose others trust; Serve others without need for recognition; Teach right and proper, morally, ethically, and spiritually correct; Counsel others comforting their soul and leading them on a right path; Givers give without recognition and not because they have to or coerced into giving, but because they want to; Lead not with an iron fist or falsehoods but so that others will follow for the right reasons and not your own gain; Those who are compassionate be so without a contrite heart showing and sharing God’s Grace to all mankind.  

To the Corinthians, Paul spoke of these gifts: Wisdom; knowledge; faith; healing; working of miracles; prophecy; judge between spirits; speak in different kinds of tongues; and interpret tongues. Each one is given by the spirit to share God’s Word in unique ways.

To one, through the Spirit, is given a word of wisdom; to another, a word of knowledge, in accordance with the same Spirit; to another, faith, by the same Spirit; and to another, gifts of healing, by the one Spirit; 10 to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the ability to judge between spirits; to another, the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues; and to yet another, the ability to interpret tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is at work in all these things, distributing to each person as he chooses. I Corinthians 12:8-11

The Holy Spirit chooses each individual gift by deciding when and who they go to. Some gifts are permanently sealed on us while others are temporary. Now as a note, the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues (languages) and interpret (translate) them is the ability to speak, understand and share in other earthly languages to spread the Gospel throughout the world preparing Christians for missional work.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are ingrained in us so that we can do God’s work and complete the Great Commission to the world while keeping separate from being of the world. These gifts help us clear our minds to do what God desires of us and helps rid us of earthly desires and prepares us for His Kingdom. We still need to live in the world but that is only temporary. We must Live in the Spirit, Recognize, and Share our gifts of the Spirit with others to accomplish our task on this earth. Be gracious to others as God has shown His Grace to you. Love as God Loves and give of yourself. Strive to be better Christians this coming year so that we can show the Kingdom of God on this earth.

God Bless

Living For Christ in the Devil’s World

One of the hardest things to this day and age is to be a Christian. People in the past 80 years have perverted the Word so much. They created ungodly doctrines, changing Jesus and Scripture to fit their needs and desires so that their sins are ok to continue living in. Some pastors have fallen victim to the idol of money and are in the constant state of asking for it to the point that their assets are worth more than the church building they preach in. One pastor took the Commandments and said that they are suggestions on how to live and no longer relevant, he even changed them.

There are Bibles that take gender out of the equation and theologies to fit the needs of the people. What God abhors has become a common way of life making right wrong and wrong right. What was once morally correct has been questioned and immoral behavior has become a norm.  

We were warned about this in Scripture but no one really paid attention. We have become numb and have let the Prince of Darkness completely rule the land. Christians and Jews are being persecuted on a daily basis by suffering financial/personal ruin and even killed for their beliefs. Even families are fighting against each other resulting in death. 

What can we do as Christians in this hateful world? The only thing we can do is to keep strong in the faith and continue the Kingdom Commission Work that we were instructed to do. Follow the Commandments, moral codes, and laws that were given to our Hebrew anscestors as they are the right and proper way of living. We cannot give in to the love of materialism nor fall into the trappings of the transgrssions and sins of our fellow man. 

We also need to correct those who reinterpret Scripture to meet their needs. God warns us through John not to change Scripture period. We need to help people understand that the Old Testament is just as important as the New because without the Old Testament histories and teachings we would not know the reason Jesus came to us.

This is our time to fix the immoral misguidance that has occured. No bandages this time we need to fight the infection at the heart. Keep fighting the good fight and do what is right in God’s eyes not our own. The more of us there are the stronger our voice so that the wilderness is set fire because the heat from our light shines and burns through the hearts of man. Be safe let go and LET GOD.   

 

CHRIST THE KING Sunday

Today in many churches and church calendars it is CHRIST the King Sunday.  Isn’t every day His? It is the last Sunday of the church calendar year. This is celebrated as a pre Advent event. We are in Nashville at Trevecca today after visiting my mom for thanksgiving returning our daughter to school and while here we will experience the service. Should be interesting. This week we be in preparations for the celebration of Jesus’ birth and we look forward to sharing how much Scripture foretold of His coming. 

Are You of the Spirit or of the World?

MATERIAL SPIRITUALHow often do we hear of people getting rich, living mostly happy lives then dying or becoming destitute all of sudden? This seems to happen to some lottery winners especially in the last 10 years. How about those folks who amassed great wealth and lived long lives, sometimes too long, and thought they could control people by conditionally sharing their wealth to meet their personal desire for mass control? When they go they are either heralded as good or evil men. How many of the wealthy follow God’s Word? How many manipulate it for their own conscious to be satisfied? Throughout Scripture we are constantly reminded how material wealth is deadly while spiritual wealth leads to life eternal.

That being said, why have so many popular pastors fallen into a false material prosperity gospel that does not lead to Spiritual happiness? I mean think about it. Books titled, Your Best Life Now, God’s Formula for Success and Prosperity, God’s Master Key to Prosperity and others have convinced many that God wants you to have materialistic (mostly monetary) wealth. Money won’t buy your place at the banquet table of Christ. This prosperity gospel is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to scripture. Most of the progenitors of this heresy are televangelists who live lavish non humble lives. This ideology goes back to the mid-1960s and needs to stop.

Jesus tells us,  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6: 19-21

If God based a person’s faithfulness on their amassing of material goods then the poor would never even see the inside of a church. If this was true then Jesus would have welcomed the money traders and sellers of all goods (even sinful ones) in the temple instead of going on a rampage. He would have been more friendly to the members of the Sanhedrin than the poor and destitute. Get the picture yet????

How did the Catholic Church raise extra funds? Before we answer part of that let us look at Psalm 49:5-12.

Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,that he should live on forever and never see the pit. 10 For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names. 12 Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.  

 

The Catholic Church charged people money for saving a soul while in purgatory. They called it an “Indulgence” which was above and beyond the tithe paid weekly if they had a recently deceased relative. It was not covering burial costs but went into the Bishop’s and Pope’s pockets. Look at verses 7 through 10 again. We cannot ransom a soul.

 

Jesus spoke to us in parables that were clearly understood back in the time of His Ministry. Take for instance the story of the Rich man and Lazarus:

“Once there was a rich man who used to dress in the most expensive clothing and spent his days in magnificent luxury. 20 At his gate had been laid a beggar named El‘azar who was covered with sores. 21 He would have been glad to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table; but instead, even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 In time the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to Avraham’s side; the rich man also died and was buried.

23 “In Sh’ol, where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Avraham far away with El‘azar at his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Avraham, take pity on me, and send El‘azar just to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, because I’m in agony in this fire!’ 25 However, Avraham said, ‘Son, remember that when you were alive, you got the good things while he got the bad; but now he gets his consolation here, while you are the one in agony. 26 Yet that isn’t all: between you and us a deep rift has been established, so that those who would like to pass from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house, 28 where I have five brothers, to warn them; so that they may be spared having to come to this place of torment too.’ 29 But Avraham said, ‘They have Moshe and the Prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 However, he said, ‘No, father Avraham, they need more. If someone from the dead goes to them, they’ll repent!’ 31 But he replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moshe and the Prophets, they won’t be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!’”  Matthew 16:19-31 CJV

What does this tell us? Has the point been driven home yet? It does not matter what you have physically, God wants you to be humble. In the Beatitudes Jesus says that the poor in spirit are blessed. He is speaking of those who are humble in their ways, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).

When we come to God in prayer, we need to understand our own sin, our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We cannot be self-satisfied or have proud hearts, thinking we don’t really need God for successful living. Staying humble and being dependent on the Spirit for our success is more pleasing to God than how much money or stuff we have.