PRAYERS

Welcome to this site. My prayer is that you take a look at the site and as you do, let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and reveal what God wants you to discover. (in Jesus' name)

God tells us that if we see a brother (or sister) in need we should do that which is within our means to help. Prayer is always within our means but we never know what doors Father may open through them. Should you desire prayer for anything (healing, direction, etc.) or if you want supportive prayer along with your own please feel free to e-mail that request to sharbu3@gmail.com and be assured that there are others who will be praying with or for you.


In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

At the end of each post are the options to share, forward or make a comment. Click 'comment' to respond. Let us know if you like, don't like or are helped by what you read. Comments can be made or read by anyone. All you have to do is select the "comment" at he end of the entry.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

 

2-27-2021 Temptations of Christ (revisitied)

           

  

This day (2-22-21) Father brought the “Temptations of Christ” back to my mind.  I was feeling a little “down” and I needed this jolt to pick my spirits back up.  I also wondered if anyone else also needed a little ‘kick-in-the-keester’.  Originally published June 20, 2020, here it is again with some minor adjustments.                 

After His baptism by John, in the Jordan, Jesus had a ‘little’ encounter with the Devil

Matt. 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13

1          Returning from Jordan and being full of the Holy Ghost, Jesus was led, by the Spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

2          After fasting and having been tempted by the devil for forty days, Jesus became hungry.

3          And when the tempter came to Him, he said “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.”

4          But, Jesus answered “It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

5          Then, the devil took Him up to the holy city and set Him upon a pinnacle of the temple.

6          He said to Him “If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down for it is written that He will give His angels charge concerning You and that their hands should bear you up unless You should dash your foot against a stone.”

7          Then, Jesus said “It is written that “You shall not tempt the Lord, your God.” (Matt. 4: 5-7 corresponds with Luke 4:9-12).

8          Again, the devil took Him to an exceedingly high mountain and in a moment of time showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said “I will give You all this power with their glory.  It is given to me to give to whomsoever I will.”

9          And he said to Jesus “I will give you all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”

10        Then, Jesus responded “Get away, Satan, for it is written you shall worship the Lord your God and only Him shall you worship” (Matt. 4:8-10 correspond with Luke 4:5-7).

11        Then, when the devil had ended, he left Him and behold, angels came and ministered unto Him (Jesus).

Back on February 16, 2019, I talked briefly about how the angels in heaven are organized to fight Satan’s three-pronged attack against man.  I mentioned that there are three spheres of angels, each with three choirs (or ‘subsets’).  Each sphere has a realm of operation and each choir has responsibilities within its sphere.  Origen (AD184) is the primary source who ordered the spheres and choirs of angels and though others may have adjusted it from time to time, Origen’s version is what is generally accepted.

Okay, the stage is set.

Look at the three temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness.  Note that Luke says that Jesus was tempted for forty days.  Matthew only references these temptations cited here.  If you will, these last three temptations came as the ‘icing on the cake’.

These three temptations are important because they depict the three main areas in which Satan attacks us – the body, the soul and the spirit.  All three of these areas are involved in spiritual warfare.

The first temptation, the bread:

At this stage of the game, Satan knows Father will give Jesus anything He asks so he knows that Jesus can easily command the stones of the ground to become edible bread to satisfy His hunger.  This is the ‘natural’ man, or the body.  Meeting the physical needs of our body, sustenance (where are my twinkies! Lol). 

Jesus knows there is something more important than just taking in physical sustenance.  He knows that our spirit also needs to be fed.  We do that by reading the bible to gain understanding how Father operates in our lives and then through us.  The bible helps us to qualify God’s Word and how His love operates in and around us.  Yes, we live here on planet earth and because we are temporal (temporarily here)) we need food to survive but our spirits also need to be fed.  When we don’t eat food on a regularly basis, our bodies will eventually waste away and we die.  Likewise, if we don’t feed our spirits by reading the bible, prayer and true Christian fellowship, our spirits will also waste away – become dead to God.  Just as God takes care of the animals of the land, birds of the air, fish in the sea and plants in the ground, He will take care of us and our needs.  Yes?  As we walk with God, He will give us what we need and even our heart’s, desire as we line up with His will (Luke 12:22-31).  To do this, we have to have a relationship with Him.  We have to communicate with Him on a regular basis (1 Thess. 5:17), that is don’t wait until our troubles overwhelm us to seek His guidance.  After all, He is our friend.  Do we only go our friends only when we need their help or do we also, ‘just enjoy’ their company?

We need to trust more in Father rather than what we see in a situation.  So this first temptation addresses what we can hear, see, taste, etc., our physical needs, the body.

The second temptation, Jump off!?: 

Satan knew that the angels were set in charge of protecting Jesus in everything He did.  But, Jesus easily recognized Satan’s challenge to Father’s intent (Psalm 91:11-12).  Are we flippant in receiving what Father has for us or do we take it seriously?

Paul was unaware of the poisonous snake in the sticks he had gathered on the isle of Miletus.  The snake bit Paul.  The people knew that this snake’s bite meant and it would quickly bring death.  Paul shook it off into the fire had no ill effect (Acts 28:3-5).  God’s protection! 

Israel challenged God about bringing them into the wilderness to die of thirst at Massah.  Father did provide but He was not pleased that Israel had doubted Him (Exod. 17:1-7).  God had already brought them out of Egypt and parted the Red Sea, yet they were not trusting Him for a simple drink of water.

Father tells us not to tempt Him (Deut. 6:16-18).  Jesus knows that we should always trust Father for what we need (Psalm 104:1-30) and so should we.

Paul didn’t see the snake saying to himself “Hmmm, I see the snake, but I’m going to grab this bunch of sticks anyway for God will protect me.”  He was unaware of the snake, and in His innocence, Father did protect Him. 

Knowing He would be killed when hitting the ground below, Jesus did not jump off the pinnacle either.  In short, don’t put ourselves in obvious jeopardy, then expect Father to bail us out.  But, when we unwittingly find ourselves in a situation, God will protect us.    

I bought my first motorcycle from a dealership in Hyattsville, Md.  It was a lightweight, dirt bike, a Triumph 250cc, with knobby tires which put out less than 30 Horsepower (hp).  I had never ridden a bike at that time and the salesman asked me if I wanted to take a quick test spin.  Being bold and brazen, I said “sure.”  At the time, I owned a 383, 4 barrel, Hi-performance Plymouth Roadrunner putting out @335 hp.  A no brainer, the bike had about a tenth the power of my car.  A snap, right?  I hopped on, fired it up and took off.  In the blink of an eye, I was off the lot and into the street, narrowly missing a car coming up the road, which narrowly missed a telephone pole on the other side of the street.  I had no clue how quick that little rascal was.  I let off the gas, turned around and came back into the lot.  My buddy (who came with me), the salesman and the staff were all ‘bustin’ a gut.  I didn’t even really know God back then, but, as with Paul, Father was watching over me (and the lady in the car). 

Jesus recognized the difference between being in a situation and trusting Father or tempting Him so He was obedient to Father.  He told Satan to ‘buzz off’ (get behind Me).  We may still get ourselves into stupid situations as we are learning to live in God’s will, but we don’t deliberately put ourselves there.

This second temptation addresses what I will call spiritual, the needs of our human spirit, the seat of our emotions and mental functions, our psyche aka our rationale (our soul?).

 The third temptation, the heart: 

This is also ‘spiritual’, but it is more of ‘where is our heart’?  ‘Why’ do we do things rather than ‘just’ what have we decided to do.  This is the area that connects us with our Father.  This is the area where the Holy Ghost will take up resident within us and become our ‘driving force’ why do we do what we do.  Which drummer do we listen to motivate us?  Father showed me this by having me read “Pigs in the Parlor” by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond.  ‘Pneuma’ is the Greek word translated ‘spirit’ or breath and which is mostly used in reference to the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) where ‘psyche’ is the Greek word translated ‘soul’.  I’ve always believed that a demonic spirit and the Holy Ghost cannot occupy the same space at the same time ergo a Christian cannot be ‘possessed’.  Pigs in the Parlor is written to Christians so the church could be clean.  Father had to show me that though pneuma and psyche are in the same body, they are not the ‘same place’.  As Christians, we yield ourselves over to Father.  We give our ‘self-will’ over to being obedient to Father.  That is, we bring our soul (psyche, our decision making) into agreement with the Holy Ghost (residing in pneuma) promoting God’s will within us.  We give our heart over to the heart of God, uniting our will with Father’s will.  Without Jesus, our human spirit (being easily influenced by Satan) motivates what we do.  When we get ‘saved’, the Holy Ghost motivates what we do (do we listen?).  Which empowers the pneuma and motivates our thinking in the psyche which will generate our actions in the body.   We still have free-will but we should be agreeing with the Holy Ghost?  Get the picture?  When the enemy attacks, he attacks how we think and when the Holy Ghost is not present in ‘pneuma’ what’s to stop our enemy?

Satan takes Jesus up on a high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the earth and how glorious (how powerful and magnificent) they are.  Now, the ultimate challenge – where was the heart of Jesus?  Remember, Jesus is Emmanuel (God is with us Matt. 1:23) but He was also here, in this world in a physical body (born of Mary (Matt. 1:24-25).

Satan makes Jesus an offer which would be tempting to most anybody.  A typical situation – you do this for me, look at what I’ll do for you.  So what is the offer?  Satan says “I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world AND their riches and glory.  Basically, “I’ll give you anything and everything you ask and want.”  WOW!  No more worry about ‘hitting the lottery!  Never having any needs or wants anymore.  The first ‘trillionaire’!  People at my beck and call!  Who could resist?

The choice is ours and that choice brings results – good or bad.  Jesus stood fast against the devil because His heart was always in the right place (with Father).  Yes, He is the son of man, but He is also the Son of God.  Emmanuel, Savior (our gateway into eternal heaven).  But consider, Satan thought he could tempt the human side of Jesus because He was in the flesh, like us.  But not ‘just’ like us but similar.  Yes, He was born a ‘man’.  His Father is was not human but the Creator of all things, Almighty God!  Jesus resisted because He was filled with the Holy Ghost which Father gives us.  We, too, can resist the enemy because the Holy Ghost abides in us!  All we have to do is listen and obey God, then tell the devil “NO DEAL”!

So Jesus responded that we should worship the Lord God and worship only Him.  That is, our heart should be devoted totally to Father and we should always walk in His ways.  Jesus gave the devil a command “Get away, Satan!”  Jesus knew what Satan was doing, trying to draw the Son’s attention, steal His loyalty away from the Father.  Besides, Jesus is God (John 1:1).  He created everything so everything was already His! The worlds were created through the Word of God (Gen. 1:1-31)!  Likewise, as soon as we realize Satan has taken the offensive against us, we need to do the same “Get behind me, Satan, for Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  He is my eternal salvation and I will serve only the Father through Him”.

Helping us to make the right moves (of course) is the Holy Spirit, God in us.  We don’t fight alone because we have the Holy Spirit and a multitude of brothers and sisters willing to stand with us against the wiles of our enemy.  Oh, and don’t forget, we also have angels fighting with us as well – spheres and choirs of angels.  One sphere with three choirs helps us as we fight what we see in the natural, the things of this earth, our body.  The second sphere deals with Satan’s armies in the heavenlies helping us with our psyche, our emotions, decisions and values.  The third sphere which surrounds the throne of God helps us with establishing and maintaining our heart in a solid relationship with Father.  So Father has angels helping in every aspect of our warfare as we remember we don’t fight against flesh and blood but against powers, principalities, rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:11-18). 

We get an inkling to this warfare in Daniel where the angel is delayed, by the Prince of Persia, in bringing the answer to Daniel’s prayer (Dan. 10:10-14).  God is with us!  He gives us the Holy Spirit within and angels without.  We are surrounded by God’s love!  How can we lose (Acts 5:39, Rom. 8:31)?  All we have to do is listen to the Lord and be obedient to His Word.  And remember, Father will never put more on us than we are able to handle (1 Corinth. 10:13).

Though we battle in the natural, our true fight is in the spiritual.  When our heart is aligned with our Father, our emotions and thinking processes line up with His will.  When our ‘cognitive’ processes are lined up in God’s will, the body will follow suit. 

Our body and our desires line up with where our heart is and our heart is in tune with God’s love.  Body soul and spirit line up in unity and all is focused in God’s will.  We are not serving two masters, therefore we are not divided.  Jesus tells us that a house divided cannot stand (Matt. 6:24).  So when the body, soul and spirit are lined up under the influence of the Holy Ghost (in the Father through Jesus) we become single.  Who can stand against us?

The body is more than just bread.  We need to know what our freedom and limitations in Christ really involves.  In Christ Jesus, all things are lawful but not everything is expedient (1 Corinth. 10:23).  We have to know the Word to understand our relationship with Father so we can make the right decisions. And when our hearts are knitted together with the living God, we know that we are motivated by our heavenly Father and there is nothing Satan can offer us.  We know all power and authority abide in Christ Jesus (Matt. 28:18).  We know who we are.  We know who our enemy is but more, we know we are sustained by our Lord and through Him, we know the Father!  And therein lies our victory!

Amen

Saturday, February 13, 2021

 2-13-2021 True Conversion

          With our relationship with the Lord

Can someone go through the motions of accepting Jesus and yet not truly be converted from their sin?  In other words, can someone go through the motions of confessing Jesus and be baptized in water and still have an evil heart?  Can they experience a true conversion?

In a city of Samaria, there was a sorcerer named Simon.  Now this Simon tricked the people into thinking that he was somebody great.   Some even thought he had the power of God.  Philip came preaching the gospel in this city and many believed.  This Simon also believed and was baptized.  Now, none had yet received the Holy Ghost so Peter and John came to this city.  When Simon saw the people receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by Peter & John, Simon tried to buy this power.  Peter reprimanded him for thinking that he could buy this gift with money and said “Repent for your heart is not yet right with God.  Pray God that He may forgive the thought of your heart.”  The passage ends with Simon asking Peter to pray for him.  Because he was in the gall of bitterness, Simon most likely did not repent as Peter advised (Acts 8:9-24).

Now let’s examine the situation with Ananias and his wife Sapphira.  The new disciples would sell of what they had and bring it to the apostle’s feet so they could distribute to those in need.  Ananias and his wife sold “a” possession and laid a part of its price at the apostle’s feet.  Peter immediately asked him why he let Satan fill his (Aninias’) heart and come and lie to the Holy Ghost.  Ananias had promised the full price of what they had sold but only brought a portion of that price.  Once Ananias had sold the property, it was in his power to promise to God whatever portion he desired, one fourth, half but he promised the whole amount.  We don’t know if Ananias wrestled with what he was giving, all we know is that he did not give God what he had promised.  To show how serious God is about our promises, God took Ananias’ life – he gave up the ghost (human spirit of life).  He died!

About three hours later, his wife, Sapphira came in and Peter asked her how much she and her husband had received from the sale.  Sapphira agreed with her husband.  Peter saw that she and her husband had ‘conspired’ to hold back a portion of what was promised.  The men, who had just returned from burying her husband, then saw Sapphira dead and took her out and buried her with her husband (Acts 5:1-10).

Is God serious about evil not coexisting with His children?  King Saul was told (by God) to go and destroy the Amalakites, man, woman, child and animal, everything.  However, Saul saved the best of the flocks and herds, claiming he did so for the Lord.  God told Saul (through Samuel) that He was a ‘tad’ upset for Saul not obeying His word.  Take note, here is where Samuel tells Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice and rebellion equates with witchcraft!  And, in this passage God rejects Saul for Saul rejected the Word of God which equates to rejecting God, Himself.  We see the connection between rejection and disobedience which equals rebellion!  And rebellion equates with witchcraft!  Get the picture? (1 Sam. 15:1-35)

I’m so thankful that God is so longsuffering towards us because He desires that no one perish (2 Peter 3:9).

We’ve just seen how Ananias and his wife Sapphira, Simon the sorcerer and King Saul all professed to know God.  Yet their hearts were not yet completely right.  The man and his wife lied to the Holy Ghost, the sorcerer thought he could buy the ability to give the ‘gift’ of the Holy Ghost and King Saul, though he reigned in Israel (as God’s anointed) for a time, still wanted to do his ‘own’ thing.

Could these people be in heaven today?  As you grow in the Lord, you make the call. 

Could these types of people be ‘in’ the church today?  You may say “If they are, they just haven’t grown yet!”  That could hold ‘some’ water but our passages imply that their hearts may not be quite right.  They may have professed salvation and even been ‘dunked’, but their hearts may not yet truly converted.

Again, I speak for myself, I know that Father has put up with a lot from me.  Though I have been pretty stupid over my years, when I’ve confessed and truly repented, Father has been faithful and true to forgive me.  He also had to teach me to forgive myself – let go and let God.  Once we’ve confessed and repented, God forgets (Isa. 38:17, Micah 7:18-19) and so should we.  I am so glad and thankful that He is so longsuffering.   I could have (maybe even should have) been taken out a long time ago.  In spite of myself, thank you Lord for loving me and bearing with me over the years!  

The referenced passages tell us that obedience is better than sacrifice, so just how do we demonstrate a true conversion in our heart? 

The bible tells that when the perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away with (1 Corinth. 13:10).

Paul gives some insight to the Hebrews about what it means to be perfect.  Through the things we go through we learn obedience.  Our primary exercise in obedience is being obedient to our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Word of God and this is a “growing” process (Heb. 5:1-14).  This doesn’t happen overnight.  Some are able to grasp God’s truths quicker than others (meet pokey, here) and the more of God’s truth we learn, the more we can apply into lives, the closer we walk with the Lord.  The closer we walk with the Lord is evidence of our obedience.  Being perfect is maturing in Christ Jesus.  Maturing in Christ is how much of His Word do we know, but how much Word we apply into our lives?

Paul explains his life-long wrestling match.  He recognized that both to do good and evil are present in our bodies – at the same time.  If you will, our spirit and our soul.  Our spirit is what truly motivates us and our soul is the seat of our knowledge and emotions.  Apparently Paul had a dickens of a time keeping right before the Lord (Rom. 7:1-24).  However he understood that his afflictions are what kept him humble before our Lord, in his obedience with our Lord.

We see this wrestling match within ourselves when we are tempted.  We have that desire to do those things we know we shouldn’t do, so then we exercise our free will to do or not to do.  When we persevere, choose the right path, we discover that we become stronger against those temptations which spills over into resisting others (temptations) which may come our way.  The more we yield over to the Holy Ghost, our desires become more compliant with the will of God which allows God to bring more blessings our way. (James 1:1-4).  Reflecting our maturity in Christ.     

Please understand that no trial we go through, no matter how bad we feel it may be, it will be nothing when compared to the goodness Father has in store for us in eternity. 

We desire to be in the presence of God and our trials strengthen that hope.  Yes, we have free-will but, we also have Jesus interceding for us so the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can help us fulfill God’s will in our lives.  Our bodies ae crying out to be with our Lord in heaven (Rom. 8:18-28).

So, we should not desire to be like the world around us (Rev.20:11-15).  But we need to make the effort to transform our minds to that which is good and acceptable and in the will of God (Romans 12:2).  Reading and knowing the scriptures help us to reach that goal.

God is a God who knows our heart (1 Sam. 16:7).  Those who know God, hear God and we know that He loves us for God is love.   (John 4:6-8).

Jesus tells us that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).  This is a decision we make.                       

His commandments explain how love operates in us, through us and around us.  In short, we yield our heart and soul, the natural man and the inner man (spirit, soul and body), to the will of almighty God.  Then with every ounce of energy, we decide to serve Father with the things we do, speak and even think.  Then we interact with those whom we encounter, allowing God’s love to operate in us and through us (Luke 10:25-27).There is no sin in Jesus (Heb. 9:14, 1 John 3:5), so He stands the gap for us.                  

True conversion?  We asked can a person experience “conversion” and not have a changed heart?  A better question may be did a person go through the motions and their heart not really be changed.

If we don’t truly love, how can we say we know God (again) for God is love.  So we live for our heavenly Father, in the power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit (in our heart).  As we grow closer to God, the love of God grows within us and to some degree, those around us see that love!  The obedience to the Word of God and His Will reflect our relationship with the Lord.  God’s love is perfected in us as we demonstrate our love one for another and those around us and the Holy Ghost helps us to know that we are on the right track (1 John 4:12-13).

True conversion?  Living in God’s love!

Amen

Saturday, January 30, 2021

 

1-30-2021    The Wedding Feast

       The sheep & the Lion (of Judah)                The saints & the Lamb of God

Jesus had been talking to the people in parables about the kingdom of God.  Then He explains about the marriage feast and those invited, those who came and those who were not invited.

Matthew 22:1-14

Again, Jesus spoke to them in parables and said:

The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who made a marriage for his son.

He sent his servants out to call those who were invited to the wedding, but they would not come.

So he sent forth other servants to those invited saying that he had already prepared a dinner of oxen, fatlings, please come.

But they made light of it and went their own ways, one to his farm, another to his business.

Those who were left took and spitefully beat the servants, even killing them.

Think about this for a minute.  The ruler of the land invited all those who were “somebody”, the important people of his kingdom, those whom he thought were his friends, to a wedding feast for his son.  Many said “So what?”  They couldn’t waste their time on an event the king had planned!  Others made excuses as to why they couldn’t attend.  And yet others beat up or even killed those servants who brought the invitation (get out of my face!). Where’s the respect for this king?

Consider that ‘these’ servants were the prophets of the Old Testament, the prophets of God.  That elite group of people (being invited) was Israel.  These were a people who were supposed to be familiar with Moses, Abraham, the Law and even God, Himself.  Yet they rejected the invitation!  These were people who professed to know and live by God’s laws.  These were people, who in their own eyes, enjoyed good standing in the community (Matt. 6:1-5).  The king had the authority over the land and the people ignored him.

And when the king heard about this, he was angry so he sent out his armies and destroyed those who murdered (his servants), and destroyed their city.

How did the king react?  Does the flood (Gen. 6:1-19), Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 10:1-15), Israel falling into captivity (1 Chron. 9:1) ring any bells?  Even at the foot of the mount while Moses was talking with God, the people, tired of waiting, made the golden calf and were worshipping a false God, instead of He who brought them out of captivity (Egypt).  Their actions showed either a total lack of understanding or just plain contempt for the One who watched over them.  God was ready to destroy them on the spot.  Yet Moses interceded and those who made the decision to follow the one true and living God were spared.  Those who continued to refuse God were destroyed.  Those hearts didn’t or wouldn’t yield to the Creator of all things.

Then he said to his servants that the wedding was ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.

Go into the highways and ask whoever you find to come to the marriage.

Those originally invited were dealt with and the king sent his servants out to find anyone they could and invite them to the wedding.  Anyone who would accept his graciousness.

So the servants went into the highways and as many as they found gathered them together, both good and bad and the wedding was furnished with guests.

Note that now, the invitation was extended to any who would come, no matter who they were or what they had done.  No distinction was made between the new guests.  And take note that they were not necessarily Israelites!  But there was a condition. 

And when the king came in to see his guests, he saw a man who was not wearing a wedding garment. 

The king asked the man why he had come not wearing a wedding garment.  He (the man) was speechless.

Then the king told his servants to bind the man hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

One man decided to come without wearing a wedding garment.  When invited to an important event, usually, we make ourselves presentable.  We put on our best outfit or at least a decent, clean outfit.  And for us (to whom it may apply) might even shave and splash on a little ‘Brute’ (or something).  But, this man, had heard about the feast and couldn’t bother to clean himself up a bit.  He was not really ready for the occasion.  He had not properly prepared himself.  If you will, he may have even ‘snuck’ in a side or back door.  He was quickly shown the exit.  Perhaps this man felt that as long as he showed up it would be OK?

When we prepare for the wedding - our entrance into eternity – we prepare by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.  As the people in this kingdom should have – we show respect for the One who has authority over us by presenting ourselves the best that we can.  We show lack of respect when we don’t properly present ourselves.  If we were invited to the White House, we would clean ourselves up and put on our best clothes before going, yes?  King Ahasuerus’ servants cleaned up Esther and dressed her in the finest clothes when it came her time to go and meet the king (Esth. 2:12-17),   The Holy Ghost prepares us to be the best that we can be so we can meet our King.  Once we have received Jesus, we abide in His love and confess any sins we may fall into afterwards in order to be ready.  Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me.”

For many are called, but few are chosen.

God plays no favorites on whom He invites into heaven, but there is a condition. 

Consider today’s church.  Should Jesus Christ come today, how many of us would really be ready to go?  Remember the bridesmaids - five were always ready, five were not.  Five went into the marriage feast, five were locked out (Matt. 25:1-12).  Their lamps had ‘gone out’, they were no longer living for the coming of the bridegroom.

Israel couldn’t wait a few days for Moses to come back down from the mount before they turned away from God.  Scripture tells us that, in the end times, there will be a falling away (in the church, 2 Thess. 2:1-3) from God.  Look around.  Aside from the cults which have arisen, in the established church, how many leaders have gotten involved with and stay in acts that Father says we should stay clear of (adultery, fornication, lying, cheating, etc.)?  Things that would deny our entrance into eternity as they show our true heart (Matt. 6:21).  These leaders have forgotten the first half of the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:1-17), love God with all our being and justified their involvement with the second half (thou shalt not …), giving excuses.   They may say ‘this church is mine’ (not God’s) or ‘I didn’t really do that …. or it was a minor sin’.

Too much of the church is leaning towards the ‘world’s’ values and moving away from God’s.  They are living too much like the scribes and Pharisees of two thousand years ago.  They seek their own gain and their ‘religion’ has become merely a formality (Matt. 23:1-39).

Do we seek the comforts of the world while professing to serve our Lord and Savior (I’m not talking about God’s blessings here)?  It won’t work.  It can’t work.  No one can serve God and mammon at the same time (Matt. 6:24).

John heard a voice like a great multitude, like many waters, like great thunderings saying “Alleluia, for the Lord God, omnipotent, reigns.  Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him for the marriage of the lamb is come and His wife has made herself ready.  And it was granted to her that she should be displayed in fine linen, clean and white for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints”.  And He said to me “write blessed are they which are called to the marriage feast of the lamb!”  And He said “God has truly said this.” (Rev. 19:6-9)

There is an alternative eternal existence for those who reject our Lord and Savior.  Read Revelations chapter twenty for some insight.  Satan, the false prophet and the anti-Christ, along with all those who have rejected God will experience the lake of fire and brimstone forever.

God is love and He desires that no one should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  His offer is always open to us.  There is no greater gift of friendship than for one to give his life for another.  Father came in the form of Jesus and went to the cross for our sake.

So are we ready for the wedding?  For whom should we be preparing ourselves?  For what are we preparing ourselves?

Amen

Saturday, January 16, 2021

 

1-16-2021 In Whose Image Are We?

                            Jesus or myself                                                            Jesus or Satan


Gen. 1:26
                     Let us make man in our image …

Here, Father says “let’s make man in our image.”  You ask ‘our’? image?  Father is what ‘we’ refer to as the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Ghost – a plurality in a single being.   

Being human, we naturally think oh, a head, body, arms, legs, etc.  Growing up, that’s what I always envisioned, but as you read this entry, you may conclude (I pray) that the image of God goes a lot deeper.  (Start thinking body, soul & spirit)

John 14:8-9                  If you’ve seen Me, you have seen the Father …

Philip tells Jesus that, at least he would be satisfied if He (Jesus) showed them the Father but Jesus turned it around saying “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”  Again, don’t just take this at the surface level – head, body, etc.

John 3:9-12                  … If you haven’t believed the earthly things I’ve said …

Jesus also told his those, with whom He shared the gospel, that if they couldn’t believe the things He expressed in earthly terms, how could they possibly comprehend heavenly things?  People had a hard time accepting things He did right in front of them.  How would they be able accept things they couldn’t see?

John 17:20-23              … for all who believe on Me through Your Word that they would be one in me as I in you …

I’ve mentioned the Godhead (let’s make man in Our image) so God is a plurality yet Jesus extends that out to include us – to bring believers into His body.  Jesus and the Father are inseparable (by our understanding) and He wants us to be one with Him (Jesus) as He is with the Father.  One, in unity, that when people look at us, they see Jesus/Father (God) beaming out from our lives as the Holy Ghost abides within us.  Jesus prays this prayer to the Father for you and me and all who would accept Him.

1 Corinth. 11:7            for man … is the image and glory of God (read the whole passage vs 1-12)

Paul tells us that man is made in the image and glory of God.  Now bear in mind, I want to go deeper than surface level.  Of course, this passage speaks of covering, God over man, man over woman though man come from the woman (birth) yet all are under God

Gen. 9:6                       … for in the image God, He made man

And Father Himself confirms this speaking with Noah about not shedding blood, for God made man in His (God’s) own image.  A deliberate act by God almighty – saying He made us in HIS image – to be like Him!

 

 

So, in whose image are we

John 8:42-45                … If God were your Father, you would love Me, but you are of your father, the devil …           

Jesus addresses the Jews who justify themselves as being Abraham’s seed (descendants, John 8:33, 8:39).  For us, that would equate with “I’m in the church, I’m saved, I’m OK!”  Right?  But in this case we wouldn’t truly ‘be living’ for Him (Jesus).  Jesus’ response was if you were the seed of Abraham, you would do his works and Abraham did the works of the Lord.  You are of your father, the devil and it’s his (the devil’s) works the people did and Satan is the father of lies.

But

John 3:16                     For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life

God came into this world in the form of Jesus so that we could have eternal fellowship with Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Jesus lived as we do for over thirty years, then He gave Himself for us on the cross.  No greater love has a man than to give his life for his friend (John 15:13).  Jesus calls us His friends (John 15:14).

Romans 10:9               That if you confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

To get the assurance of our salvation, we have to do two things: confess Jesus as our Lord and truly believe, in our hearts, that Father did not allow Jesus to stay in the grave. Through this we gain entrance into that eternal fellowship with God.  However, making Him our Lord means  

John 14:15                   If you love Me, keep My commandments

Simply said?  Keeping the commandments Jesus passed on to us is how we show our love for God.  Those commandments are to love God and our neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40, Mark 12:30-31).  A single commandment with two parts (direction) of love.  Father and our neighb or.  A further simple explanation of love are the “Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:1-17)

Gal. 2:20                      I am crucified with Christ … Christ lives in me …

We need to remember that we are crucified with Christ.  He bought us with His blood on Calvary’s cross.  Because He loved us that much, we owe Him that much – to live for Him.  We are not our own but bought through His shed blood.  We are His so we love Jesus.  Because we love Jesus, we live for Him and we live for Him by serving those around us so they might see His Glory and love abiding in and reaching out from us.

1 John 4:7-21               … love is of God … God is love … our commandment – if we love God, love our brother also (again).

As we truly love God, we find ourselves loving those around us, especially others who are in Christ Jesus.  John puts it simply in his letter that if we don’t love others, we are lying to ourselves (at the least).  When we ignore or even hate others, where is love?  Father’s love should be noticeable in our lives.

Psalm 86:15                But you, O Lord, are compassionate, gracious, longsuffering, merciful in truth.

Praise God for these qualities as expressed through Jesus.  If these qualities were not in our living God, I wouldn’t have been able to write this and you wouldn’t be reading it today.  Should you not understand?  Go and research the meaning of these words of this verse for a deeper understanding.

1 John 2:1-3                    … you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ …

Just after John tells us how God’s love should be alive in our heart, he gives us a caution and hope.  Don’t sin, but if you do Jesus is our advocate.  We aren’t perfect.  We’re human.  We will mess up along the way.  An advocate steps in and represents another.  Jesus stepped in for us at the cross so we would not be denied eternity and He steps in when we stumble or fall and helps us to get back up on our feet.  Paul tells us to run the race as if we expect to win (1 Corinth. 9:24).  Though we continually fight flesh against spirit (Rom.7:14-25), when we persevere, God is with us and we do win!  Don’t worry about being first to cross the line.  Jesus already did that (at the cross, the grave and the ascension).  But we always do our best so that we, too, can cross that finish line.   Should we ‘mess up’ confess what we have done (speak aloud to Father), repent, renounce, then forget it and press on.  When this is done, God forgets it and so should we (Isa. 38:17).  This is our receiving God’s forgiveness.  (I’m not talking ‘lip service’ but all this is done from our heart)

1 Corinth. 13:13          for now, faith, hope and love abide but the greatest of these is love

Paul cites three things that are very important to God – faith, hope and love.  Faith is believing God, hope is looking forward to receiving what God says and will do and His love ties it all together.  God’s love for us and our love for our heavenly Father help us to become one with Him.

Matt. 22:37-40            Love God, love our neighbor for upon this hangs the law & the prophets

Jesus tells us that love is the top key to being with God.  Everything the Law and the prophets say and did come out of God’s love for us.  Read the bible and prove me wrong (if you can - lol)

So does God deserve our devotion and our love?  For salvation?  The things He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us?  We are quick to receive His love, shouldn’t we return it?  Continually giving Him praise and glorifying Him.    

Do we live in God’s love, allowing that love to abide in us and flow through us to those around us.?

So, in whose image are we?   

Amen

Saturday, January 2, 2021

 

1-2-2021          Why Walk With the Lord?

                                      When we look into the mirror, what do we see?

Back on 12-5-2020 we talked about standing with our Lord.  “Why” was supposed to be the following entry but Father went with the ‘gifts’ instead.  So now the question is ‘why’?  Not ‘why the gifts’ but why ‘walk with the Lord’.

John 13:42-50

42        Nonetheless, many among the chief priests believed on Him (Jesus) but didn’t confess Him fearing that they might be put out of the synagogue.

 43       They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

44        Then Jesus cried “He who believes on Me doesn’t believe on Me, but Him that sent me.

45        And he who sees Me sees Him that sent Me.

46        I came a light into the world that he who believes on Me should not abide in darkness.

47        If any man hears My words and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him for I didn’t come to judge but to save the world.

48        He who rejects Me and doesn’t receive My word has one that judges Him.  The Word I have spoken is what will judge him on that last day.

49        For I have not spoken of myself but of the Father which sent Me.  He gave Me a commandment as to what I should say and what I should speak.

50        And I know His commandment is life everlasting.  Therefore whatever I speak, I speak what the Father has said to Me.

“Whatever the Father said, I say unto you.”  Jesus says that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments and that the commandments He speaks are the Father’s commandments. 

So, what commandments did Jesus give the people?  Love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul, this is the first commandment (Matt. 22:27-28).   Mark adds ‘strength’ to this list (Mark 12:30).   And Jesus went on to tell us that the second is like it which is love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39).  But, Jesus didn’t stop there, He also told His followers why love is the top commandment – for the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments (Mat. 22:40).  Everything the prophets said and did was an expression of God’s love toward us.  God is love, the prophets did as God commanded so what the prophets said and did was out of love.

The prophets brought direction to Israel through the words of God’s love for them.  And, if you go back and look at the law (Exod. 20:1-17), it speaks of how to live in God’s love.  The first four commandments give God (our Father) praise, glory and honor.  Our parents stand in God’s stead (place) in our lives (here in this world) so the fifth commandment tells us to honor our parents.  The last five commandments teach us how to interrelate with our neighbors, those people we encounter.  In short, they teach us what ‘not’ to do or how to ‘love our neighbor’. 

Because God is love (1 John 4:7), ergo, His commandment, then, IS to LOVE. 

We are made in the image of God, God is love, therefore we should be the image of God and reflect that love through our lives.

But I asked “Why walk with the Lord?”

Let’s look at our passage.

Jesus says that many of the priests believed on Him, but didn’t confess Him for fear of being kicked out of the church.  Evidence of their presence was Nicodemus (John 3:1-2, John 7:50-51).  Today’s second verse says that these Jews loved man’s praises more than God.  Jesus also tells the disciples that if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father (Matt. 10:33).  After the crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea (John 119:38) along with Nicodemus show up after the crucifixion to claim and  body of and to bury Jesus (John 19:39-42).  We know that Joseph was silent about His faith, this passage tells us so.  Yet, he still believed.  The point here, for us, when challenged, don’t deny our relationship with Jesus.  But don’t forget Peter, who did deny our Lord three times (Luke 22:54-62).  When the cock crowed, Peter went out and wept.  As Peter, we too can be forgiven.  We can be forgiven any sin save blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31).  And what is blasphemy?  Showing contempt or lack of reverence towards God, claiming His acts for ourselves or attributing them to something else other than Creator of all things and believe it in our heart.  Need I remind you to go back and read Genesis chapter one.  God said it and it came into being!  There is nothing before or over Him.  And there is nothing after God except Him and those who are His.  But, don’t forget Peter.

Jesus declares that when we see Him and believe Him, we have seen and believed God the Father.  (If we think back) Jesus declared His oneness with the Father, therefore validating who He is and what He says and does (John 1:1).

Jesus came to bring the light of God’s love to us and shares that love with us so we don’t have to live in the darkness of this world anymore but abide in His eternal light.  The more we understand God’s love for us, the more we understand why things are like they are.  It isn’t because of God’s love for us that it seems things, not so good, befall us but rather it is our refusal to receive and abide in His love!  Think about it!  Everything God does for us is for our own good, but like a good parent who reprimands his child, not everything is pleasant.  What Father brings our way is to help us to be a better person.  Now, understand that our lack of faith can open doors for the enemy to attack us but God can use any situation to strengthen us, our faith.  Consider Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16:22-24).

In His ministry, Jesus didn’t condemn people, the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42), nor the woman caught in adultery [John 8:1-11).  Jesus didn’t berate these women but told them to go and sin no more.  Neither does He condemn us for the time is coming when the books will be opened for judgment (Rev. 20:12-15).  He says His Words will judge.  Who is the Word? [Jesus]  without the precious blood of Jesus, we shall be found guilty (Rev. 29:1-15).

In this passage, Jesus attests that what He has been speaking are not words which He dreamed up, but what the Father has given Him to speak.  He knows the words bring life everlasting (remember John 1:1 & John 3:16 – Jesus IS the Word of God).

Jesus tells us several things that we should never forget.  “I am the truth, the way and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me (John 14:6).  Life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11-14).  I shed my blood for you (Luke 22:20).  And, furthermore, I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25).  

Our eternal security is totally wrapped up in Jesus.  But I’ve always been a good person!!  People will do a lot of good things in the name of Jesus but would have never taken the time to get to know Him.  Jesus’ response will be “… I never knew you, depart from Me … (Matt. 7:21-22)”

Now, understand, all this is predicated on that I accept God as creator of all things that are and Jesus is the Word of God, the Messiah.  We also know that Jesus is called Emmanuel ‘God is with us’ (Matt. 1:23), therefore He is God, the Father, come into this world, Himself.  I understand the “big bang” and reincarnation and if you choose to believe that’s how things are, that’s your business.  Go ahead and reject God if you will.  But then I ask what do you truly hope for after this life’?

Jesus prays the Father that we be with Him and to be one with Him as He is in the Father (John 17:23-26).

For any other reason to walk with Jesus, all we have to do is reflect on the many blessings Father has bestowed upon us, our family and our friends (Luke 11:28).  Yes, people who reject God do have good things happen to them.  God’s principles work (Isa. 55:11) and He does give gifts without repentance (Rom 12:29-32).  But, He does so because He is always trying to get our attention – for our sake.

The Book of Revelation tells us that he who has accused us before God is cast down and they (all believers) overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their (our) testimony … (Rev. 12:10-11).  So who is the ‘he’?  Our enemy, Satan, Lucifer. 

In case you missed it, all this is about entering into eternal fellowship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Just a few things to “chew on” while you ponder -

Why should we walk with Jesus? 

Do we recognize and share what God has done for us?  Where are our testimonies? 

Amen