What they did to you hurt you to the core! It temporarily broke your spirit. It made your very soul ache. They may have totally disregarded your feelings; put you to open shame; caused you to lose money and friendships you may never get back, or betrayed you in a way that you initially felt was beyond forgiveness.
But, you remembered two important things…
One, that God has commanded and demanded that we forgive everyone just as He forgives us, over and over again…
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV)
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Two, the relationship is important to you, and you don’t want it to end in spite of what they did…
You didn’t want the marriage, relationship or friendship to end. So, in your heart was the desire to forgive…and you forgave them.
Yes, in your heart you forgave them and do everything in your power to move on beyond what happened. But, as much as you try to forgive and forget…things happen to remind you.
They may have brought up something again that you did, and it quickly makes you think about what they did to you.
There will always be triggers that will bring what they did back to your mind, and the thought will sometimes hurt you again, make you cry, make you angry, make you feel weak…and you will have to silently forgive them over and over again.
Manage your triggers, and remember this…
When the God encourages us to forget the past through the Apostle Paul, it doesn’t mean you will never remember what happened, but the frame of mind you were in.
Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [a]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
Much like when you no longer love romantically an ex from years ago, you remember the relationship, but can’t remember the affection you had for them.
So, don’t feel bad if you can’t completely get it out of your mind. Just continue to not let the thought affect your relationship with them once you’ve forgiven them.
Remember that forgiveness is a process that continues throughout the life of any relationship.
It happens to all of us. A situation arises where we feel we deserve an apology…but don’t get it.
Think for a moment about Jesus on the cross. As He was being brutalized and mocked, He still had enough love to say, forgive them… Luke 23:34 (NKJV)
34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[a]
And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Think about the fact that Jesus offered this forgiveness and love, without an apology. It’s one thing that the Romans crucified Him, but His own people…those closest to Him consented to and called for His death.
One of the most difficult things to do is move forward with people that we feel owe us an apology…especially if they’re someone close to us.
Yes we still have to work with and relate to people who aren’t close to you, but how do you avoid the lack of apology turning into resentment and becoming a wall in your close relationships.
You may find yourself thinking…
“How can they be so content acting like nothing happened…acting as if they didn’t hurt me?
You may have said to yourself…
“If they loved me, they would apologize.”
Yes, it’s not easy, but here are 9 tips to help you move forward in your relationships without an apology…
BE READY TO FORGIVE IF AND WHEN THEY APOLOGIZE. Sometimes if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t want an apology…because it takes away our excuse to be angry. If they apologize and you don’t accept it, the burden has shifted from God to you.
DON’T JUDGE THEIR APOLOGY IF AND WHEN THEY GIVE IT. When they come to you and apologize, don’t judge their apology by saying that they didn’t mean it or it wasn’t sincere. Especially if you didn’t like the tone. Don’t find yourself saying their apology wasn’t good enough. Even if they weren’t sincere…many times when we do what God has told us to do, we ‘don’t feel like it’, but God still honors our faith, effort and obedience. Sometimes when we apologize, we don’t feel like it, but in our heart we want to do what’s right.
DON’T LET THE ENEMY ‘FLIP-THE-SCRIPT’. Realize that when you remain upset because you haven’t gotten an apology, the enemy has tricked you into not forgiving them for not apologizing to you.
REALIZE THAT THEY MAY NOT BE AS SPIRITUALLY MATURE AS YOU. Apologizing isn’t easy. It takes spiritual maturity to do so. If you feel they ought to be strong enough to apologize, realize that they might not be as spiritually as you. In fact, the bible tells us the strong must bear the failings of the weak (Romans 15:1 NIV).
REALIZE WHEN YOU ‘VE GOTTEN SOMETHING BETTER THAN AN APOLOGY. Even if they haven’t apologized, if they have stopped the behavior that hurt you…if they aren’t doing the same thing anymore…if they have clearly moved on as if nothing happened…if they’ve completely turned around, but not apologized, you’ve gotten something better than an apology – you’ve gotten REPENTANCE. Think of all the people who actually apologize to God, but don’t really change.
FIND A ‘REPLACEMENT THOUGHT’ WHEN YOU THINK OF HOW THEY HURT YOU. Of course you’re going to think of what they did sometimes, which can make you angry all over again, So, when you think of what they did…When they don’t seem to appreciate your kindness…find a replacement thought. Think of the good times…the best times… Think of the sacrifices they’ve made for you…Think of kindness they’ve shown you in the past…Think of the times they made you smile…or, Think of how you’ve hurt someone and regret it.
REALIZE THAT YOU HAVEN’T APOLOGIZED FOR EVERYTHING THAT YOU’VE DONE TO HURT OTHERS. Have you apologized for everything that you’ve done to hurt others? No! Because there are some people you offended and didn’t know you offended them. You can’t apologize for what you don’t know. Sometimes our words hurt, and we didn’t even know it…Sometimes our tone was not taken as we intended…Sometimes we did something hurtful and we didn’t even realize it. Those people are going on without an apology from you.
PRAY ABOUT IT! Ask the Lord to give you the desire and strength to ‘love through’ the lack of an apology. Ask God to give you a heart that doesn’t NEED an apology to move on. This is another situation where Philippians 4:13 is most powerful…”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Moving on without an apology isn’t easy, but it is possible. This is another situation where Philippians 4:13 is most powerful…
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Forgiveness isn’t easy. That’s because there’s a spiritual battle going on in our mind. The battle comes from the anger, shame, embarrassment, disappointment resulting from the betrayal or whatever was done, said, (or not done or said) to hurt us.
But, you can win that battle. You can chose what you think about.
Stop focusing on what they did to hurt you, and think about they ways they have shown love to you…
…every time those painful thoughts enter you mind. When you find yourself thinking about the ‘unforgivable’ things they said, think about how they comforted you in the past when you were down. Think about the good times you’ve had with them.
Remember, you control your thoughts…
Philippians 4:8-9 (CJB)
8 In conclusion, brothers, focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy. 9 Keep doing what you have learned and received from me, what you have heard and seen me doing; then the God who gives shalom will be with you.
If there’s one consistency between both the Old and New Testaments, it’s the fact that names matter to God. From God changing Abram’s name to Abraham to Yeshua changing Simon’s name to Peter (Cephas).
In an age when so many in the Body of Christ are politicizing sins that society considers BIG, while excusing those they consider small, the bible is clear that God takes how we identify ourselves very seriously…
Not many Christians are quick to name their children, Satan or Lucifer.
Because those names are used to identify the enemy, the accuser of the saints…the devil.
That’s why I don’t understand that while Christians are so passionately ‘campaign’ against the so-called BIG sins, why they never speak up against teams, many of which they allow their children to be a part of, that identify themselves with a devil.
They wear sports paraphernalia, fly flags, display bumper ‘stickers’ and worst of all cheer for, root for, in a sense ‘praise’…and glorify THE DEVILS!
Right now someone reading this knows in their heart it’s not right, but they are naturally inclined to do what Christians do when they want to continue doing something…look for reasons to justify it.
Do you think God is cool with you allowing your child to be identified as a ‘devil’?
Do you think God is okay with allowing a school, AAU team, or professional team to be identified as the DEVILS? The RED DEVILS? The BLUE DEVILS? etc.?
Names matter so much go God that He demands we be baptized in the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here name doesn’t mean the combination of consonants and vowels that make up ‘Yeshua’, ‘Jesus’, ‘Emmanuel’, Adonai, or even Ruach ha-kodesh (Holy Spirit). Names denote authority, character…who you are, or what it is. Think about the fact that God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.
Think about the fact that most Christians are content with calling a day chosen to commemorate Yeshua’s (Jesus’s) death, burial, and resurrection by a pagan goddess’s name (Easter), which is the same as (Eostre, Ishtar, Ashtoreth) one of the very names He forbid us to make mention of, one of the very names that Israel and Judah invoked (said) and provoked God to anger.
7 and lest you go[a] among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them,
Names matter, so we should stop trivializing what is important to Him.
WHEN POLITICS & SCRIPTURE COLLIDE (THE HOLY CITY OF JERUSALEM)…
In this case in regard to the city of Jerusalem SCRIPTURE WINS (as in every case) (Psalm 122).
This particular scripture isn’t quoted or preached as much as others, but it still gives very powerful insight into what’s in God’s heart, and gives us guidance in where and how to stand concerning the Holy City of Jerusalem. Of course those who don’t esteem the entire bible as the inspired, written word of God will not agree. It is my prayer the we can learn to disagree in peace.
Yes, there are implications for taking this stand, but that’s where faith in God comes in. Faith that even in the midst of the chaos that’s sometimes created from standing on the bible as the inspired word, that our God, Yah, is in control.
Remember, Yeshua (Jesus) Himself said that He didn’t come to bring peace, but the division that is sometimes created when it comes to choosing Him…
Matthew 10:34-36 (NKJV)
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
This chapter is a beautiful reminder in scripture that God wants us to include praying for Jerusalem as a part of our prayer lives.
Psalm 122 (NKJV)
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” 2 Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem is built As a city that is compact together, 4 Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the Lord, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the Lord. 5 For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. 7 Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.” 8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.” 9 Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.
My wife found some beautiful, fun rainbow colored curtains for our granddaughter’s playroom. After we put them up, being visible from the outside, we both thought what if people think we are supporting ‘Pride’?
The rainbow is a sign of God’s promise…
Genesis 9:13-15 (NKJV)
13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenantbetween Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Genesis 9:13-15 (NKJV)
God promised to never destroy the world again with water. Yes, there have been catastrophic floods since then, but none like the one in Noah’s time.
The rainbow is a sign of God’s promise and I believe that to be true.
In the past few years those who wish to legitimize the sin of homosexuality have claimed the rainbow as the symbol of their movement. First of all I don’t hate anyone who is gay, but I do believe it is a sin equal to fornication, adultery, and other sexual sins. I also admit that I’m not perfect…my family and God continually reminds me of the areas in which I need to grow. However, it is our responsibility as Christians to hold one another accountable, so calling out sin is not judging someone, as some love to shout when someone else calls out any of the works of the flesh…
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
That being said, I feel using the rainbow to symbolize PRIDE is wrong for two reasons…
Because the cause is a sin…
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]homosexuals, nor [b]sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
And, because pride is a sin…
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]homosexuals, nor [b]sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
So, the curtains hang in her playroom reminding us of God’s promise… we reclaim it in the name of Yeshua the Som of God.
The enemy told God that if he could provoke Job to curse Him to His face?
Job 1:9-11 (NKJV)
9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
Can the enemy provoke you to curse God? Most of us will quickly say “No!” Most of us fear and reverence God too much to look up to heaven, shake our fist and curse Him…and the enemy knows that. But if you read your bible you know that the enemy is devious and clever.
Has he tricked you? Has he provoked you to indirectly curse God?
Remember what our Lord, Yeshua, Christ Jesus tells us in Matthew 25…
Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
God makes it clear that whatever evil we say or do to our fellow-man, woman and child, He sees it as if we are doing to Him personally.
Have you ever gotten so angry that you cursed, ‘cussed’, used profanity in anger to someone else that God created in His image?
Have you ‘cussed’ anyone in your family?
Have you ‘cussed’ your spouse?
Have you ‘cussed’ your boss?
Have you ‘cussed’ a politician you don’t care for?
Have you ‘cussed’ your enemy?
The word teaches we can’t love God while cursing those whom He created in His image…
James 3:8-9 (NKJV)
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
How many times have you claimed you love God, but felt perfectly comfortable and justified cursing someone who hurt you or that you felt was wrong.
Has the enemy, just as he did with Job, presented conditions (much less harsh) to try to provoke you to curse God. Did he brag to God he can get you to curse Him to His face?
When you get angry, or frustrated please stop before you open your mouth. Pray! Ask God to help you keep your cool! Ask Him to help you ‘set a guard over your mouth’.
Psalm 141:3 (NKJV)
3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Remember, when you curse people, you are cursing God!
A well-placed cliché makes conversations, speeches and even sermons more interesting. One very popular cliché used when people have misfortune is or difficulty is, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”.
BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY SUGAR?
What if you have a health condition that doesn’t allow you to have sugar?
Sometimes in life we have to faith our way through some difficult days…
Sometimes we have to take some medicine that just doesn’t taste good…
Sometimes you have to swallow a really big pill that’s hard to get down…
Some people can’t have sugar in their diet…
Sometimes your healing comes from something bitter.
AREN’T YOU GLAD THAT JESUS DIDN’T MAKE LEMONADE ON THE CROSS?
2 Timothy 2:3 tells us to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:2 teaches us to look to Jesus, who endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him.
People love quoting Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me” when they are trying to make their dreams come true, but this verse is most powerful when we are enduring life’s most difficult situations.
God wants us to always be able to make something good out of difficult situations, and to always see His will in them. As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, sometimes there’s nothing to make some situations feel ‘or taste’ better.
We just have to faith our way through and learn to sometimes drink lemonade without sugar.
Psalm 3:19 (ESV)
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
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When you’re sharing God’s love, it frustrates the devil.
But, he has absolutely no power over your life except that what God allows…
Job 1:12 (NKJV)
12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your [a]power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
God gets glory out of our lives when we overcome the devil, just as He did when He allowed the enemy to have temporary access to Job.
He bragged on Job, and sometimes God is bragging on you…
Job 1:8 (NKJV)
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you [a]considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and [b]shuns evil?”
That’s why sometimes frustrations come from nowhere…
Frustrations to your health…
Frustrations to your finances…
Frustrations in your relationships…
Frustrations on your jobs…
Those aches and pains. That boil on your behind. That person who has been frustrating you in traffic for the past 20 miles. That co-worker who continues to conspire against you. Those people who are insensitive, inconsiderate and unapologetic.
The devil see’s when you’re not letting those frustrations get to you. So, he sends another frustration…and another…and another, until God tells Him, “That’s enough!”
The enemy knows He has no real power over your life, so those frustrations are just him ‘giving you the finger’…
He’s flipping you off because you’ve pissed him off.
So, don’t let him get the best of you! Keep your cool. Praise God. And, let God get glory out of your story.
One of the first lessons that God teaches us in the bible was the responsibility that comes with knowledge…
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one
of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also
of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God
sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was
taken. 24 So He
drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden
of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the
tree of life.
God has blessed us to be created in His image. One aspect of that is the ability to acquire knowledge. He even told us that in the last days there would be a great increase in knowledge…
4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the
time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
God has allowed us to have incredible advances in science,
technology, medicine etc. Unfortunately much of the knowledge that we have acquired
has convinced many that the one source of all knowledge, Yahweh, The Lord God
of Israel from Everlasting to Everlasting does not exist. They have used that
knowledge to decide for themselves that Yeshua, Christ Jesus was not God’s Son.
There is only one God and one Savior, and the two are One.
Even on a personal level, there are things we want to know.
Always ask yourself are you ready for the knowledge that you are seeking.
“What have people been saying about me?”
“What are they whispering about?”
“Is my spouse being unfaithful?”
“Who are my real parents?”
“How many threats are there really to our national security
on a daily basis?”
When you find out someone needs help and you have the means
are you willing to help them?
When you find out what’s wrong with someone are you willing
to be there for them?
When you begin to realize what God’s purpose is for your life, are you ready for the responsibility that come with it? Learning God’s word comes with great responsibility.
If you already knew the day you would die, would you spend
your entire life obsessing over it?
“Have you ever gained some knowledge or information and then realized after you got it, “I’m not ready for this!”???
Approach all knowledge prayerfully and through the lens of
God’s word. God doesn’t intend for us to have knowledge until we are spiritually
mature enough to handle it.
1 Corinthians 3:2
2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now
you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still
One of the most disturbing and confusing accounts in the bible is that of when Uzzah reached out to prevent the Ark of the Covenant from falling and God struck him dead.
2 Samuel 6:6-8 (NKJV)
6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out hishand to the ark of God and [a]took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his[b]error; and he died there by the ark of God. 8 And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place [c]Perez Uzzah to this day.
Wow! That seemed so unfair. Uzzah obviously meant well and was paid with death.
Remember this…the Old Testament gives us numerous extreme examples of how God reacts to our behavior. These reactions teach and and leave examples of not only what He loves and what He hates, but also to what extreme. For example, when we totally forsake His day of rest every seven days, even under grace, to do work we could have easily done another day…God considers it worthy of death (Numbers 15:32-36). Yes, Yeshua said it’s okay to remove an ox from a ditch, but too many people have ‘oxen’ that fall in the ditch during the middle of the week and wait until The Lord’s Day to remove them.
Notice what God teaches through Paul about Old Testament examples…
1 Corinthians 10:1-10 (NKJV)
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us [a]tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
So, what about Uzzah?
God said very clearly that no one was to ever touch the Ark of the Convenant, period. God said DON’T TOUCH IT.
When God says NO, He means NO!
Even though Uzzah was doing it for the right reason…NO still meant NO!. God left behind an example that we can never do something He told us never to do for what we judge to be the right reason.
Is it confusing? Yes. Even if it doesn’t make sense to us, it’s God’s word and remember what He told us through Isaiah…
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
One contemporary example of people doing the wrong thing for the right reason is when a parent gives their adolescent daughter birth control because they don’t want them to get pregnant, or gives their son condoms so they won’t get a sexually transmitted disease. If God commands no fornication, parents must as well. If the child choses to be disobedient, then that’s between them and God.
Can you think of when you many have done the wrong thing for the right reason?
This short piece isn’t a debate on the validity of calling crime in the Black community ‘Black on Black crime’.
It’s simply coming from a Black man with a wife, a daughter, two sons and a granddaughter.
Every time I hear a headline about someone who looks like me senselessly killing someone else who looks like me, it pisses me off!
Does poverty breed violence? Yes.
Are there some residual affects of decades of institutional racism that contributes to violence? Yes.
No matter what’s going on externally, it’s time for an INTERNAL SPIRITUAL and CULTURAL REVOLUTION!
There is absolutely no excuse. Every culture has to address its internal threats as well as external. While some communities must face their own pride and arrogance, others must address the violence within their subcultures.
God demands excellence from all of His children no matter what situation they are in. Look at what He told Israel and Judah when they were exiled in Babylon…
Jeremiah 29:4-14 (NKJV)
4Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens andeat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.
10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
They were exiles in a foreign land who had lost their freedom. But, God still expected them to thrive and live up to His standards. He expected them to pray for the peace of the city in which they lived, not contribute to it’s destruction.
I encourage everyone who hates racism, don’t give ammunition to a racist’s argument or hatred with the bullets that come from YOUR gun.
Matthew 26:52 (NKJV)
52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will [a]perish by the sword.
Have you ever heard anyone say their decision was based on being…
THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS?
By whose standard?
Ours or God’s?
When we make decisions that are reserved exclusively for God’s authority, it’s dangerously close to idolatry or putting ourselves in His authority.
It’s amazing how people decide for God which sins are BIG and little.
The fact is that God considers abominations more evil than many sins we call less evil.
Proverbs 6:16-19New King James Version
16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to [a]Him: 17 (A)A[b] proud look, (B)A lying tongue, (C)Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 (D)A heart that devises wicked plans, (E)Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 (F)A false witness who speaks lies, And one who (G)sows discord among brethren.
To be clear, this short article isn’t excusing any sin, but warning against the sin of hypocrisy.
Matthew 16:5-12 (NKJV)
5 Now (B)when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, (C)“Take heed and beware of the [a]leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”
8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you [b]have brought no bread? 9 (D)Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 (E)Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the [c]leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the [d]doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Listening to the news I was again amazed at a gentleman who says he’s a Christian who was proclaiming how passionate he is about keeping his OATH to defend the constitution.
I have absolutely no problem with defending the constitution…it’s our duty.
I do however have a problem with TAKING AN OATH rather than ‘affirming’ to do so.
Because Yeshua, The Messiah, (Jesus Christ) implicitly, unmistakably and irrevocably FORBADE it…
Matthew 5:33-37 (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of [a]old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [b]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
James 5:12 (NKJV)
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into [a]judgment.
It doesn’t get more plain that those two verses.
It’s amazing how some sins such as homosexuality and abortion are politicized, while swearing and taking oaths are not only ignored, but done blatantly in the face of God demanding that He accept it.
Article 2, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution prescribes the oath of office.
From Senate.gov website:(https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Oath_Office.htm)…”The Constitution contains an oath of office only for the president. For other officials, including members of Congress, that document specifies only that they “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution.” In 1789, the First Congress reworked this requirement into a simple fourteen-word oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.””
Many people’s minds immediately go to looking for excuses and reasons to justify a tradition that clearly goes directly against what Jesus commanded, just like the Pharisees…
Mark 7:7-13 (NKJV)
7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—[a]the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
9 He said to them, “All too well you [b]reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Quite frankly, this tradition is directly from Satan (“37 But let [b]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.“) however, it continues for generations because, just like the ‘system’ during Jesus’s earthly ministry, the system excuses, justifies and expects it.
Is homosexuality a sin?
Is abortion a sin?
Is adultery a sin?
Is idolatry a sin?
Is taking an oath of office, or in court, or into public service as in?
Yes, just as much as those mentioned above.
So, why are Americans content with that? Where is the passion for removing the stain of this sin from our country?
Before you blame the the wrong in America on the two or three big sins you hate…God could be pissed off at the sins you accept, such as oaths and pride.
The reason many people can’t swim is because they were taught
fear of water rather than respect for water.
I remember as a child when at the lake as I went near the water
being told, “Get away from there!”
I was taught at an early age to be afraid of the water.
The disciples became afraid for their lives as the storm
raged while Jesus slept in the lower parts of the boat. When Jesus woke up,
before He rebuked the winds and the waves, He rebuked their fear and lack of faith…
23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great
tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He
was asleep. 25 Then
His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save
us! We are perishing!”
26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He
arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled,
saying, [a]“Who can this be, that even the winds and
the sea obey Him?”
I’m sure there were many people in those days afraid of boats, just as many people today are afraid of planes.
What are you afraid of?
How did you learn to be afraid of that? It’s one thing to have a healthy respect for the power of something and another to be afraid of it…even your enemies.
Too many times it’s our fears that come between us and our
purpose, our vision, our calling, our destiny, our potential…being everything
God called us to be.
Remember what God told us through the Apostle Paul…
2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and
of love and of a sound mind.
Too many times, “Fear is how the enemy convinces you to
customize an attack against your own future.”
How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that? But, too many times our behavior doesn’t align with that affirmation.
The reason is that people do horrible things to hurt one another. We have all done something to give someone else a reason but not an excuse to hate us. We have all had people do things to hurt us: our loved ones, people who we care about, a group of people to which we belong, or people who we feel couldn’t defend themselves.
Many people have been neglected, abused, overlooked, bullied, betrayed, cheated, discriminated against, injured….even had loved ones murdered.
But God still demands in no uncertain terms that we love EVERYONE!
Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 [a]But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your [b]brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the [c]tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
But, sometimes people cross that line to do something to behave in a way that makes our spirits ache!
We know what God requires and say that we still love them, but God knows that’s not what’s really in our hearts.
In our hearts we want to see them hurt.
In our hearts we want to see them embarrassed.
In our hearts we want to see them punished.
In our hearts we want to see them put to shame.
If we aren’t careful, in our hearts we want to see them dead.
And, sometimes in our hearts we can want to see them condemned to hell.
The bible tells us to examine ourselves…
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you [a]are disqualified.
1 Corinthians 11:28-29 (NKJV)
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks [a]in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the [b]Lord’s body.
The devil, the enemy, the accuser of the Saints wants to convince you that someone has done something so horrible, that their character, attitude and behavior are so bad that they deserve to be hated.
That’s condemnation. That’s judgement. And, that’s reserved for God. The Word of God is very clear in how we are to respond to people our flesh wants to hate…
2 Corinthians 13:5(NKJV)
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Doyou not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you [a]are disqualified.
So ask yourself…”Who has the devil convinced me to hate, I just haven’t admitted to myself?”
Your ex-husband or wife?
The person who abused your son or daughter?
The person who murdered someone you love?
I know it’s not easy, but God doesn’t allow us to hate them. He doesn’t love them any less than He loves us. He created them in His image too. And, He wants them to be reconciled to Him too. It’s our responsibility to pray for that and work for that. Once your enemy truly repents and becomes reconciled to Him, he or she is no longer God’s enemy…and they are no longer your enemy. Do you really pray for those who you feel don’t deserve prayer?
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward [a]us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (NKJV)
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [a]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
So I challenge you to be honest and ask yourself, “Do I hate anyone?”
If so, ask God to forgive you for hating them and repent by refusing to feed and fuel your anger towards them.
Then, call out their names every day and pray for them.
Pray for God to soften their hearts.
Pray for God to kill any bad seeds that’s been planted inside them and give increase to any good seeds… seeds of faith in God through Yeshua the Messiah, seeds of repentance, seeds of salvation, and seeds of fellowship with God and a life of bearing much good fruit for Him.
There are many in the Body of Christ who love quoting John 10:10…
John 10:10 (NKJV)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
But, we must remember that this verse applies to those of us who are being led by the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-17). Those who are ‘walking in the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16-26). Those who not only believe, but are responding to being the ‘called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28). To those who are laboring for His Harvest (Matthew 9:37-38). And especially those who are connected to the vine and bearing good fruit (John 15:1-8).
It is God’s will that we add to His Kingdom…that we make disciples (Matthew 28:19), and that every interaction brings glory and honor to His name, that’s bearing good fruit.
So by default, if we aren’t bearing good fruit we are either bearing no fruit or bearing bad fruit. God’s word addresses how He feels about those of us who are being nurtured by His love, grace, mercy, provision and protection and bear no fruit (. Many of us only use the resources that God gives us, not just money, but our anointing, gifts and talents on ourselves. It’s like a fruit tree with all leaves but no fruit (Luke 13:6-9),(John 15:1-8), and dig this one…
Isaiah 5:1-7 (NKJV)
Now let me sing to my Well-beloved
A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:
My Well-beloved has a vineyard
On a very fruitful hill. 2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
He built a tower in its midst,
And also made a winepress in it;
So He expected it to bring forth good grapes,
But it brought forth wild grapes.
3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. 4 What more could have been done to My vineyard
That I have not done in it?
Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes,
Did it bring forth wild grapes? 5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard:
I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. 6 I will lay it waste;
It shall not be pruned or dug,
But there shall come up briers and thorns.
I will also command the clouds
That they rain no rain on it.”
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression;
For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
So, I think the word of God establishes it well that it is very possible to believe but to be of no use to Him in the Kingdom. Even to the point to tell us that if we have faith, but are always sitting on it, that our faith is dead (James 2:14-26).
By deductive reasoning, we can also conclude that if we are not benefiting God’s Kingdom that we are…
NO THREAT TO THE DEVIL
That being established, and so-called believer who is no threat to the devil IS a threat to the Kingdom. They justify being an inactive, apathetic believer.
There are those also who claim to believe but have allowed the devil to manipulate them into pursuing his agenda, for example the scribes and Pharisees claimed to be God’s representatives but were actually working for the enemy, they sought to kill Jesus unknowingly fulfilling scripture (Matthew 12:14, John 5:18, John 7:1, John 11:53, John 16:2).
The Ku Klux Klan claimed and claims to be a Christian organization, but they are actually pursued and are pursuing the enemy’s agenda.
SO IF YOU ARE OF NO USE TO GOD’S KINGDOM OR EVEN HELPING THE ENEMY WHY SHOULD HE TRY TO STEAL FROM YOU, KILL YOU OR DESTROY YOU? WHY SHOULD THE ENEMY TRY TO HARM YOU IF YOU ARE BENEFITING HIM?
Do you have a genuine concern for those who are lost? Are you acting on it? Are you letting your light shine? Can people really tell you’re a Christian by how you live daily?
Remember the words of the 12-year old Jesus, “…I must be about my Father’s business.”(Luke 2:49).
Are you about your Father’s business? If not why should the devil fight against you? In fact, if we aren’t about our Father’s business, then again by default who’s business are we about?
John 8:44-45 (NKJV)
44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources,for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
If your life seems to be too easy…it may be for a reason.
There are few things more valuable than good advice. It’s one of those intangibles that can help us grow and mature. Whether it be that we ask for it ourselves or it’s given unsolicited, listening to and accepting good advice is an act of humility that can be very rewarding.
Proverbs 19:20 (NKJV)
20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.
Proverbs 12:15 (NKJV)
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.
Matthew 23:12 (NKJV)
12 And whoever exalts himself will be [a]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be [b]exalted.
Fortunately, we all have people in our lives who are always full of advice.
Unfortunately, sometimes these people have too much advice. There are no humorous, fun, carefree conversations…it’s always advice.
If the advice is good, take it. But, remember this…
WATCH OUT FOR PEOPLE WHO ALWAYS HAVE ADVICE BUT NEVER HAVE ENCOURAGEMENT!
Watch out for people who always have an…
“If I were you…”
“I tell people all the time…”
“You don’t need to do this…”
“You don’t need to do that…”
But never have a…
“It’s gonna be okay…”
“We all make mistakes…”
“I’m praying for you…”
Many times these people are more concerned with their EGO than helping you GROW.
Proverbs 16:24 (NKJV)
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
We all encounter people who hate us. speak badly of us, and work against us.
Sometimes it’s because of nothing that we have done, but, other times we’ve given them a good reason to be pissed off at us.
It may be someone who hates you, your family, your race, your faith, your nation…
It may be someone you know, or someone you’ve never met.
The success of their efforts is partially determined by our reaction.
When we waste our energy reciprocating anger, rage, wrath, and revenge…we are rewarding their efforts. That’s what they want.
DON’T ALLOW THEM TO REJOICE IN YOUR RANT!
Channel that energy into learning from your enemy.
Learn what they did well…
Learn from their focus and discipline…
Learn from their resilience, resolve, and persistence.
Absorb the blow, and fight a spiritual battle of humility and wisdom.
That’s how you get God, The Lord of Hosts, Yehovah Sabaoth to fight for you.
Uncontrolled anger and thirst for revenge are distractions, but Emotional Intelligence is a spiritual superpower!
Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)
11 A fool vents all his (A)feelings,[a] But a wise man holds them back.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)
31 Get rid of(A) all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.(B)32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,(C) forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.(D)
I’ve been blogging for a little over four years now, and has God allowed this platform to help me share what He places in my heart with people all around the world.
I feel so alive and ‘in my purpose’ when I’m writing. I think most of you bloggers out there will agree with me on that. It’s never a burden or a task.
From an associate minister’s perspective, there’s no excuse for any person to sit around waiting on opportunities to ‘hold the microphone’ behind a pulpit to share what God has placed inside them.
Smart devices are televisions, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, bibles, commentaries all rolled up in one. Bloggers have access to people while sitting at home with their televisions on, while they are waiting at the doctor’s office and DMV, while they are waiting at a traffic light, and of course while they sit up in bed at 3am. Blogging is an ideal way to reach those who are engaged to the author’s interest.
But, there is one incredible awesome incremental benefit to blogging…the blogging community. Wow! This community is so supportive. So helpful. So encouraging. So many talented, gifted writers who support one another.
The encouraging words. The unselfish advice of what’s worked for them. The support. And, what’s truly amazing is that I have met so many people who I haven’t actually ‘met. So many people I consider to be friends who are literally more supportive than some people I have known all of my life. Other than my wonderful church…
This virtual community is virtually the most supportive community I’ve been a part of…
I have found not only an extremely supportive Christian blogging community, but bloggers who don’t necessarily share my beliefs treat discussions with such a high level of respect and civility. It gives me hope that people can disagree without insults and dysfunction. This community is almost a church within itself that submits to Yeshua, Christ Jesus as Pastor and Chief Shepherd. People of various denominational beliefs reason together with respect. Of, course sometimes there are those who are insulting or disrespectful, but I would define the overall culture and character of the blogging community as supportive and encouraging.
Without calling any names, I want to give a collective ‘THANK YOU!” to everyone who has commented, shared, nominated me for an award or just read y posts without even reacting.
I love being a part of this community and thank God for each and every one of you. I encourage you to continue sharing the gift God gave you, even on the days you feel no one is reading. He made two promises that I don’t want you to forget…
Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Proverbs 18:16 (NKJV)
16 A man’s gift makes room for him,
And brings him before great men.
I think the blogging community proves that this scripture is true even ‘virtually’…
Matthew 18:20 (NKJV)
20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
September 26 with mark 33 years of marriage for my wife and I. If you’re like us, music most likely played a huge role in bringing you together.
Nothing deep or profound here. Just a reminder to keep your marriage fun, and always use ‘your songs’…those songs that brought you together to keep you close.
Don’t wait until your anniversary. Celebrate your marriage EVERY DAY! In the words of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, keep it “Solid as a Rock”!
Mark 10:9 (NKJV)
9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Matthew 19:5 (NKJV)
5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
Ecclesiastes 9:9 (NKJV)
9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.
One of our responsibilities as believers in the God of Israel through Jesus Christ is to share our faith to make disciples…
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
However, we have too many so-called believers who are doing more harm than good in HOW they share their faith…
Showing signs of hate for the ‘sinner’ whether that hate for the ‘sin’…
Seemingly forgetting that we are ALL sinners saved by grace, many of whom have created more or greater sins since they’ve been saved rather than before.
Too many people in Western culture has allowed the equating of toughness, aggression and machismo to strength to creep into how their faith and how they share it.
We will convert or convince no one by being mean, insulting, and self-righteous.
Check out these verses…
Colossians 4:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Galatians 6:1-4 (NKJV)
Brethren, if a man is [a]overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
2 Timothy 2:24 (NKJV)
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
Ephesians 4:2 (NKJV)
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
Now look at how our Lord and Savior described Himself…
Matthew 11:29 (NKJV)
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [a]gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
There are too many “Christians” who feel justified in demeaning those who sin differently than they do.
There are too many believers who beat people up for the sins they ‘cherry-pick’, while excusing those they ‘have decided for God aren’t as serious’…
The ‘Fruit of the Spirit must be displayed and evident when we share our faith…
It’s easy for the enemy to highjack our intentions if we aren’t careful. Sometimes it’s less about what God wants, but more about what we want and what scriptures can we find to back it up.
Always be honest with yourself and your motives. And remember this…
Matthew 7:22-23 (NKJV)
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
If my blog blesses you, I gladly accept donations of $2 or less. 1 Corinthians 9:14 (CJB) 14 In the same way, the Lord directed that those who proclaim the Good News should get their living from the Good News.