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Friday, June 12, 2020

6-6-2020    Two Masters

 I apologize for the delay in this week's entry.  What I had planned fizzled at the last moment and though I felt that it was what Father wanted me to post, I have to conclude "not yet".  So, instead, we have this post may God bless you:
                      Walk with God                                                          Lured by Satan

                                                                        Who do we follow?

Matt. 6:24
No man can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other or hold on to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.

Matt. 6:16-23

16                    Moreover, when you fast, don’t be like the hypocrites for they show a sad countenance and disfigure their faces.  They appear to be fasting before men, but I tell you, they have their reward.
17                    But, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.
18                    So, when you are before men, don’t appear to be fasting rather fast unto the Father in secret and your Father who sees in secret (and knows your heart) will reward you openly.
19                    Don’t store your treasures in earthly things where moth and rust will destroy it or where thieves might break in and steal
20                    But let your treasures be worthy of heaven where neither moth nor rust can take it away nor where thieves can break in and steal it.
21                    For where your treasure is (those things you value most) that’s where your heart will be.
22                    The eye is the light of your body.  When your eye is single (focused), your whole body shall be full of light
23                    But if your eye is evil, your whole body is filled with darkness and if your light has become darkness, how great is that darkness.

Serve God and mammon at the same time?  We can’t walk down two paths, going in different directions, at the same time.  It is physically impossible for we cannot divide ourselves in two. 
Our lives should reflect what we truly believe and the true inclinations of our heart.  That means who do we follow?  Jesus or Satan?  What values do we cherish the most?  Pleasing God or pleasing the world? 

To follow the world is not just ‘doing our thing’ for Satan is the prince and the power of the air.  Father cast him down to earth (from heaven) and planet earth is now the devil’s domain (thank you Adam and Eve).  We may think ‘I did it all myself,’ but the thought to do ‘it (whatever) pops up into our little pea-pickin’ brains, is not self-generated.  It is prompted by spirits or Spirit. Good or evil.  The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.  Good is an extension of God (an extra ‘o’) while evil comes from the devil (delete the ‘d’).  Hey, it works in English!  Admit it or not, our decisions are influenced by sources beyond our being.  Thoughts just seem to be there.  ‘I don’t know where the idea came from, but there it was!’  ‘I just felt I needed to go left and not right, so I did’ and that was where I needed to go.  Get the picture?

Whether we admit it or not, we follow either Jesus or Satan.  There’s no middle ground.  Some may say “That’s pretty narrow thinking” but Father has given us the freedom to choose good or bad, right or wrong and to choose for ourselves (no matter where the thought come from).  Satan is not so loving to give us that kind of freedom.  Satan is a thief and the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  He finds things to lure us, entice us to make the wrong choice.  The choice which draws us farther from God.

The devil knows that his ultimate fate is the lake of fire and his intent is to drag as much of God’s creation with him – kicking, screaming, whatever.

God is love and (believe it or not) He loves ALL His creation (1 Tim. 2:4-6), but He will not let evil dwell with Him (Psalm 5:3-5).  I said ‘dwell’.  We know that Satan approached God to gain access to Job (Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-6).  But he didn’t stick around, did he?

Because God is love, He desires all His creation to love Him in return (Exod. 20:1-11).  But, alas, He knows that love is not love unless it is freely given.  So He gives us a choice – to love Him because He has loved us (Deut. 30:19-20).  He wants us to give that love back to Him of our own free will.  He will not force our love (Josh. 24:14-24).

I have to admit, when I met my wife, at first, I was in lust with her and I was trying to overcome my own insecurities with women so I forced myself to be bold.  My roommate (who was with me at the time) became irritated because I hemmed and hawed so much, building up the nerve to ask her for her phone number and in the deal, I got so much more.  A little over a year later we became man and wife. 

I also have to admit, I was the “weak” one in our relationship.  At first, from my perspective, my love was “eros” but later, I grew into “philia” but eventually I discovered God’s love “agape”.  If you’re not familiar, ‘eros’ is physical attraction (sex), ‘philia’ is brotherly love – a friend, a brother whom we truly care about but finally ‘agape’ is God’s love.  God’s love is loving us simply because we ‘are’ (alive, exist).  I remember when our first child (and later her brother) came into this world?  The desire to take care of them, show affection for them, to meet their needs and the desire to help them grow into all that they could be and grow as an independent person being able to function in society consumed my attention for my children.  Agape demands nothing in return, but it sure is nice when that love comes back – isn’t it? 

Agape is the example of our relationship with our heavenly Father.  There is no greater love than a man give his life for his friend, yet, Jesus shed His precious blood for us while we were yet alienated from Him.  Deep in our own sins.  Along with affection and adoration, we can show our love for God by being obedient to His Word.  Then we can share God’s love, by doing things that will edify others and encourage them to receive the Lord then grow in Him.  Love is giving, while demanding nor expecting nothing in return.  That love will come back, and even if it should linger, Father will reward us.

I have been a slow learner, but I have learned – God’s love.
I may have mentioned this before, but in High School, an underclassman took a shine to me.  She worked her free period in the school office (student files) so she did some research on me.  She discovered all that she could about me then asked ‘me’ to a dance. 

We have to discover something about God before we can make that decision to let Jesus into our heart.  But, from that moment on, our discovery of who our Father is and what our relationship with Him really is, begins.  We have an initial concept, but that image grows deeper as we grow.  As that schoolmate searched me out, who I was, what I liked, etc. we need to discover who God is, what He likes and what does He expect from me?  How can I return the love He has shown me? 

After my wife had gone to be with the Lord, I was told that my wife had told my son that if he turned out to be half the man I was, he would be OK.  I was surprised but pleased.  Over the years, I must’ve learned something!  My son has a pretty good handle on his relationship with the Lord, his family and the world around him.

When we love God, we focus on God.  As we focus on God, we discover more and more of His love abiding in our heart.  As more and more of His love abides in our heart, more and more of that love shines forth and reveals whom we follow and truly love.  Our love for our Father grows stronger and our lives are enriched.

Paul tells us that he was really perplexed, for it seemed those things he knew to do, he didn’t and those things he knew he shouldn’t be doing is what he was inclined to do.  Thank God for repentance.  When we confess and truly repent our sins, Father is faithful to forgive us those sins.  He puts them behind His back (Isa. 38:17).  Our sins are completely blotted out by the blood of Jesus so they become ‘gone’ (1 John 1:7). 

So Paul encourages us to run this life’s race with all our energy and strength, expecting to win (1 Corinth. 9:24).  Whether we are first or last across the line – don’t give up and press on and finish the race (Heb. 12:1-3).  In life’s race we are all winners (no matter who finishes ahead of us or behind us) because our prize is eternal fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.  And the Holy 

Ghost (within us) gives us that strength to cross that finish line.

We cannot serve two masters.  Will we follow Satan (world values) and end up in eternal separation from God (death)?  Or will we follow Jesus, ending up with eternal fellowship with the Father (eternal life)?  We all follow somebody.  Ask this question “Who do I follow?” 


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