Parenting level 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest…
What level parent do you think you are?
By what, and whose objective and/or subjective standards should be used to determine this?
As a parent, what if the decision as to whether or not you can keep your children was based on a standardized test that your children took? What if that test was based on how you managed your children at home and how they performed outside of the home?
What if your child or children were given a test based on everything you taught them as a parent throughout the course of a year?
As a parent, are you able to control how well your child or children master what you teach them? Are you able to control what they watch and listen to all of the time? Are you able to control their behavior? Do your children always comply and submit with humility, or do they sometimes give you attitude? Does your child or children ever rebel against your rules? Do they ever sneak and do things they aren’t supposed to do?
How many macro issues are going on around the world that influence and affect the culture of a home and how children learn and behave? How much is beyond a parent’s control?
The truth is that every adult still struggles from some behavioral, social, intellectual and emotional issues inherited from their home no matter what the race, culture religion or socio-economic status may be.
So, what if in everything you did as a parent, your name was accompanied by a number/score by which you would be judged?
Why do we have this unrealistic, unfair and highly-subjective metric placed on our educational professionals?
Many educators are parents too, with the same struggles and challenges.
Yes, test children to get a snapshot and benchmark of what they’ve learned. But, don’t base the EFFECTIVENESS of someone who has to share the dedication they have for their own children with two to eight dozen other children who aren’t their own.
How many good parents would lose their children based on a test score?
For those of you who consider yourselves to be Christians, there’s no better parent than God our Father right?
Do we base His effectiveness as God and a Heavenly Father on how well His children obey Him and master His expectations?
James 1:17 (NKJV)
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning
You wake up, reach over and kiss your spouse. You then you turn on the television to check the weather and traffic. You go into the kitchen and grab a bite to eat and promptly brush, floss and take a shower so you can get out the door and be on time for work.
What’s wrong with this morning scenario?
You acknowledged your spouse…
You acknowledged the weather…
You acknowledged the traffic…
You acknowledged your hunger…
You acknowledged your hygiene (even your ‘low’giene:-)…
You acknowledged your job…
But did you acknowledge the One who made everything else you acknowledged possible?
Did you acknowledge God? Did you tell Him good morning? Did you tell Him thanks for protecting you and your family, while you were unconscious all night? Did you thank Him for waking you up? Did you thank Him for brand new mercies..
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
This world is far too dangerous. Too unpredictable… Too evil for us to begin our day without acknowledging the God of our salvation.
Too many people say they are believers, but when they are honest with themselves, they live as if God isn’t even there.
We acknowledge, relate to and take seriously what is real to us.
I believe that beginning the day without acknowledging God first thing each and every morning is the ultimate ‘intentional’ act of arrogance and pride.
We are saying, (without saying )… “I’ve got this.” “I don’t need your protection.” “I don’t need your provision.” “I don’t need your guidance.” “I don’t need your wisdom.” “I don’t need your help.”
In as sense we are saying, “I don’t need you today!”
When you love someone…when you’re in love someone, you act like it. In fact, not only do we expect the love we give be reciprocated, we demand it of one another.
We prove how real God is to us, and how much we love Him by how we relate to Him. How we talk to Him. How we fellowship with Him in His word and prayer.
Have you talked to God today? If not, why not stop right now and…Tell Him you’re sorry. Tell Him you love Him. Thank Him for His grace and mercy. And make a commitment that God is the first Person that you talk to each morning.
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.
While many Christians are conscious of ‘politicized’ sins and feeding conspiracy theories, there’s 3 sins and conspiracies that have slipped through their radar and been accepted.
Yes, abortion is sin. Yes, homosexuality is sin. Many people who identify as Christians are passionate about rebuking and rejecting these sins, as they should be. However, these aren’t the only abominations in the bible. The fact is that many evangelicals reject some sins while excusing those that either don’t bother them, or that they want to continue committing.
So, if you want liberals to accept that abortion and homosexuality are sins, are you willing to accept…
1. Allowing your children to participate in Halloween is symbolically sacrificing them to idols?
God became very angry at Israel for adopting the customs of the heathen and sacrificing their children to Molech and allowing them to ‘pass through the fire’. Halloween’s roots are undeniably pagan. Either a Google search or scholarly research can easily prove that. The devil knows he can’t get Christians today to ‘sacrifice’ their children literally, so he does it symbolically to spite God. The easiest way for the enemy to allow sin to continue through generations is to make people feel as though their children are missing out on something, and that’s what he does. God made it clear that we are not to ‘learn the way of the heathen’…
Jeremiah 10:2-5 (KJV)
2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them?
If you want liberals to accept that abortion is wrong, are you willing to accept that Halloween is a pagan practice that should immediately be removed as a National holiday (holy day)?
2. Calling our celebration of our Lord and Savior’s resurrection ‘EASTER’ is blatant blasphemy?
It’s undeniable that the name EASTER has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ, (Yeshua the Messiah). It is derived from the name of a pagan goddess named Eostre, who is the same goddess as Ishtar, and Ashtoreth who God continually rebuked and punished Israel for worshipping. The devil has allowed this worship to continue by defiling the celebration of Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection. Notice what God told His people before they entered the promised land…
Joshua 23:6-7(New King James Version)
6 Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, 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,
God is very clear here. DO NOT MAKE MENTION. But, the devil has convinced Christians to do exactly that EVERY TIME they refer to a day set aside to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. Putting any name where God’s name belongs is BLASPHEMY. Look at how angry God was at His people acknowledging idol Gods when they were rebuked for worshipping Tammuz who is directly associated with Ishtar…
Ezekiel 8:14-18 (NKJV)
14 So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the Lord’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for [a]Tammuz.
15 Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.” 16 So He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.
17 And He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose. 18 Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”
These are the abominations that got His people exiled into Assyria and Babylon. It’s amazing how Americans who are so concerned with losing their freedom ignore the sins that actually made Israel lose their freedom — the Spiritual adultery, not the actual heathens in the land themselves.
If you want ‘sinners’ to accept that abortion and homosexuality is sin, are you willing to accept that calling our Savior’s resurrection celebration ‘Easter’ and continuing the customs of hunting eggs, especially in church is blasphemy and an abomination?
3. Celebrating our Savior’s birth by erecting a tree in your home is setting up a shrine to an idol in your home?
It is also clear that the origin of Christmas trees is pagan as well. I myself had vacillated about this for years. But, notice what Encyclopedia Britannica says concerning Christmas trees…
“according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, “The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmas time.”
It is clear what God told His people in Jeremiah when referencing how they harvested trees to carve idols…
Jeremiah 10:2-5 (NKJV)
2 Thus says the Lord:
“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are[a]futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. 4 They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers So that it will not topple. 5 They are upright, like a palm tree, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, For they cannot do evil, Nor can they do any good.”
Too many Christians are perfectly comfortable telling their children that Santa Claus is watching them all year. They are comfortable letting their children think that Santa Clause “knows when they are sleeping, and knows when they are awake…knows if they’ve been bad or good.” Only God can do these things! This again is blasphemy. The devil has convinced Christians that it’s harmless, but notice that God states in Ezekiel 8:17 that God doesn’t see anything as trivial…”Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here?” Again, one of the enemy’s strategies to allow sins to go on for thousands of years is to convince people that their children are missing out on something.
The fact is that if God forbade all of the three practices above, they are symbolically very much like the ‘accursed things’ that Achan coveted from the heathen people of Ai. He took it and hid it bringing the wrath of God on himself and his family. Please go back and read Joshua Chapter 7.
If you find yourself searching for excuses to prove the above statements wrong, if you’re ‘pushing back’, then you’re no different than the ‘sinner’ who supports abortion or homosexuality — they are all equal abominations to God.
Too many people, as the Apostle Paul said, have a zeal or passion for God, but not according to knowledge. And, just like the people of that day, we have gone about to ESTABLISH OUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Romans 10:2-4 (NKJV)
2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Too many people politicize the sins that bother them, while excusing those that don’t. They excuse the sins they wish to continue. Many of these sins are the very sins that provoked God to enough anger to send them into exile.
I have heard so many people give the reason for their political choices based on ‘sins’ as ‘the lesser of two evils’. In God’s eyes sin is sin, so there is no lesser of two evils.
Let me first say this is NOT a condemnation of football. I enjoy football. I enjoy playing and I enjoy watching. But, the purpose of this article is for my fellow Christians who enjoy football to give themselves a self-examination…
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 are disqualified.
I’m talking about going beyond enjoying football to loving it. I’m talking about going beyond loving it to allowing it to become your God.
How? At what point?
Football may have become your God when…
You put regularly going to or watching games before going to worship (whether you worship on Saturday (College) or SONday (Professional)…
Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV)
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
You know all the players on the roster of your team – all their stats from high school, college and professional, but you can’t name the 12 disciples…
When you do more evangelism and witnessing for your team than you do for Christ…
When you talk more about the game on Saturday or SONday and say absolutely nothing about the sermon, worship or spiritual seed that was sown in you over the weekend.
When you become more offended when someone disrespects your team or favorite player than when they disrespect God…
When you lift up your hands and shout, cheer and celebrate your team but are ashamed to or claim ‘it doesn’t take all of that’ for God…
Psalm 134:2 (NKJV)
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the Lord.
When you don’t mind sitting through triple overtime for a game but complain if the preacher preaches ‘too long’…
When you teach your children that football (games, practices and discipline) is more important than worship by allowing them to miss church for it…
When you allow a coach to use profanity and unholy language to get the ‘best’ out of your child when the bible forbids use of this type of language…
Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers
When people can tell that you’re a fan but can’t tell you’re a disciple…
When you regularly put it before your family…
When you’re more proud of your team than you are your Savior…
You get more angry at your quarterback getting sacked than you do about Jesus being nailed to the cross…
When this cross…
Means more to you than this cross…
Be honest with yourself. Enjoy football, but God knows what comes first in your heart, and He refuses to come second.
We must be careful that we treat EVERYONE in our facilities as respected coworkers, including the professionals who keep our buildings clean… and those who serve food.
I once worked with a lady who cleaned up our office building. Let’s say her name is Sara
She was middle aged, older than some and younger than others, and she was Black.
Out of respect most people in the office called her Ms. Sara Except me and a few others. We called her Sara. She was my elder, but I sensed she didn’t the title Ms. before her name.
I asked several people, Black, White and other races why they called her that, and they confirmed it was out of respect.
So, I asked Sara how she felt about it. She also confirmed she didn’t like it, and it was exactly for the reason I thought.
She was our coworker. Even though she wasn’t a Manager, Analyst, Salesperson, Director, VP, or CEO, she was a coworker. There were other coworkers older than her, of all races, that were referred to by their first name only.
Calling her MS. unintentionally designated her as a servant. It made her feel like a MAMMY.
I reminded everyone to please just call her by her first name just like everyone else.
So many times we can mean well, but unintentionally insult, disrespect, and belittle others because we are culturally insensitive.
In His darkest moment, those closest to Him abandoned Him…
Matthew 26:31 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But, I think that Jesus was cool with that. I know He wasn’t surprised. It was prophesied and He knew they would all scatter.
He knew Peter would follow, but far away. He knew he would deny Him three times to the point of cursing…
Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Many times, in the comfort and conveniences of our 21st Century lifestyles, we will read about or hear in a sermon about the disciples scattering and deserting Jesus just before He went to the cross. We may even think to ourselves, “What a shame”.
We may wonder what we would have done had we been in that situation. I can quickly and confidently answer that…we would have done the same thing.
How do I know that?
Because it was God’s will that they scatter.
What could they have done to prevent Jesus’ crucifixion? Nothing…because it was God’s will.
What good would it have done if they had died with Him, because that’s exactly what would have happened had they stood with Him.
Had they stood with Jesus at that time and were crucified with Him, how would we have gotten the Gospels? Who would have told us of what they experienced while they were with Him?
He was preparing them to spread the Gospel, not to die with Him.
He was preparing them to GO….not DIE….at least not yet.
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)
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,
Think about it like this…
Jesus could have stayed here longer. He could have put off the cross until His disciples were stronger…but He didn’t.
Jesus left them while they were WEAK enough to scatter and desert Him, but STRONG enough to get it back together and continue.
I believe that Christ was glad they scattered.
So, stop worrying about those who have…
Stop and look for God in it.
The next time that someone leaves you…look for God in it.
And, remember, that sometimes we must share in His sufferings…
Romans 8:17 (NKJV)
And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Yes, they deserted Him and scattered, but that’s not how the story ended…And, that’s why I believe that Jesus was glad they left Him alone.
We have all been hurt, wronged, betrayed, mistreated, let down, disappointed. used and abused.
It’s a part of life.
Sometimes we feel we have been wronged when the other person of people actually meant no real harm.
Sometimes we feel we were wronged when the other person or persons was actually doing something for our own good.
Sometimes it’s us who was in the wrong.
In many situations we can’t change how we are treated, but we can always control how we react to when we are treated badly….ALWAYS.
So, I have a quick reminder for you. God expects to not only forgive, but have an attitude of forgiveness, even when the other person doesn’t seem as though they are sorry.
Have you ever had a person apologize to you and you weren’t ready to hear it? You want to remain angry…
YOU’RE HOLDING A GRUDGE, AND GOD AIN’T HAVING THAT!
Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV)
18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God inChrist forgave you.
Romans 12:17-21 (ESV)
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
GRUDGE (Oxford Online Dictionary)
Noun: A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.‘she held a grudge against her former boss’.
Grudges are birthed from pride.
Grudges require huge amounts of mental, emotional and spiritual bandwidth.
You can’t be grateful, thankful, forgiving, joyous, kind, or love the way God requires while holding a grudge.
Grudges our a spiritual drain and they ruin your testimony.
It is impossible to move forward while you hold a grudge.
The fact is…
THAT GRUDGE THAT YOU ARE HOLDING IS ACTUALLY HOLDING YOU!
How many blessings is God trying to put into your hand, but He can’t because you’re holding tightly to a grudge?
One of the favorite arguments of atheists is the ‘foundations of the earth’ language in the bible. And, honestly, this is one of those things in the bible that’s difficult for believers to understand explain too.
Let me help with a very practical explanation.
First of all, the bible acknowledges that the earth is round…
Isaiah 40:22 (NKJV)
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
I think everyone will agree that circles are round. But, what about all the language referring to the ‘foundations of the earth’ such as…
Psalm 104:5 (NKJV)
5 You who[a]laid the foundations of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever,
Think about this. Even though the earth is round, the home in which you live still requires a foundation. Every building that we build requires a strong, immovable, preferably flat foundation. The very flat ground that we walk on, build on…live on has it’s own layers or ‘foundations’.
The fact that the world is round does not prevent the ground from being flat and requiring foundations.
Did people in the ancient world think the world was flat? Yes. But the fact that God didn’t reveal the fact that the world was round to everyone at that time doesn’t negate the fact that He is real and He lives. Think about all of the mysteries of the physical and spiritual worlds that WE still don’t know.
Don’t allow your blessings of intelligence and sense of logic be a curse to prevent you from understanding and accepting the mysteries in the word of God.
Posts and statements like the one in the image are encouraging, get a lot of amens, and ‘LIKES’, but they are dangerous.
BE CAREFUL when people QUOTE FOR GOD as if He said it word-for-word.
Be careful when people say, “God told me to tell you.”
It’s not scripture.
It’s too universal. It’s not true for everyone who reads this… “THIS WEEK” as stated in the image. Some people are going through storms, discipline, and ‘dry seasons’.
God doesn’t bless everyone the same way at the same time.
If a miracle doesn’t happen this week, it can cause people to lose faith. It can cause people to lose faith and discredit our faith much like television ‘faith-healers’ who seem to never go to the hospital. There’s a difference in being inspired by God and QUOTING as if He said it verbatim.
Even Old Testament prophets weren’t always able to give the exact how, when and where.
There’s a difference in being inspired by God and quoting Him with our words as if He said it verbatim.
2 Peter 1:20-21 (KJV)
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
No prophetic statement will contradict God’s order.
This is not scientific or philosophical, but it is God breathed. And, there is some degree of randomness as it is for the most part stream of consciousness…
More and more people are falling into modern, popular culture pantheism. They are replacing God with ‘The Universe’.
“The universe will bring it to you.”
“The universe is on your side.”
“The universe will judge you.”
“The universe has heard you”
“The universe sees you”.
This doctrine is straight from the devil (who loves the fact that many don’t believe he exists).
In short, rather than acknowledging the one true, living and sovereign God, these people say everything is determined by the natural laws and natural order establishes and ‘maintained’ by ‘the universe’.
And, there are some who try to actually give the universe ‘consciousness’. However, they don’t even imply that God is the universe, but that the universe is God.
GOD IS NOT THE UNIVERSE, NOR VICE VERSA.
God created the universe..
Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)
3 By faith we understand that the [a]worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Even Hebrews Chapter 3 says, “the worlds were framed”.
God is an eternal, invisible Spirit. Quite frankly, He is not an ‘old, bearded, grey-headed white dude’.
Colossians 1:15 (NKJV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
John 4:24 (NKJV)
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Romans 1:20 (NKJV)
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [a]Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
Science contends that the universe had a beginning. God had no beginning. Yes the bible says, “In the beginning” for our benefit to reference when God began His relationship with our perception of reality and man, but an eternal God needed no beginning. It that was so, what happened before the beginning.
If the universe had to have a ‘beginning’, by what or whom did it begin?
The universe is not alive.
The universe doesn’t have a will.
Here’s the problem, science and our ability to learn and draw conclusions from what we learn is only as good as our ability to understand.
Even the brightest human minds are incapable of understanding the infinite deep knowledge of God, or even the universe.
In fact, I define science as our attempt to give a physical explanation to the spiritual.
Think about this, God is has not beginning and has no end. He cannot be created or destroyed. Sounds a lot like the Law of Thermodynamics…
This law states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed,
but can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another. sounds a lot like God doesn’t it?
Science looks for planets similar to earth that can sustain life, but God can create and sustain life that can live in -200 degrees below zero and breath methane gas if He so desired.
Science, philosophy and all this world’s knowledge will never be able to understand the mysteries of the universe, and definitely will never understand the wisdom of God…
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
People think there is no God because they feel earth is too small relative to the entire universe. But, if God chose to have life on a million planets, that would still be small relative to the entire universe. The fact is that ten million light years away, God is still God.
And, just as you can’t see the internet, but can be ‘on’ the internet in your Tennessee, while millions of others are on the internet all around the world, while someone else is on the internet in space, God can be everywhere at the same time.
I’m saying all that to say this. God is alive and He is bigger than the universe. It takes just as much faith to believe in ‘the universe’ as it does to believe in God.
Just open your heart and believe.
1 Corinthians 1:25-31 (NKJV)
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For [a]you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many [b]noble, are called.27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the [c]base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Salvation is a precious free gift of God, that cannot ever be taken away by anyone. This gift provides us with eternal security…
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV)
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[a] is the [b]guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
This inheritance is reserved for those of us according to how we manage our walk on this earth.
1 Peter 1:7-9 (NKJV)
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not [a]seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
Yes, we can never lose the gift of salvation. It is always available as long as we are alive on this earth no matter what we have done.
However, we must not allow the syntax of “once saved always saved” confuse us of its application.
Every day of our lives, God is preparing our spirits for eternity.
He’s conditioning us to freely surrender our free will to His will.
Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
When our lives are over on this earth, our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, to be replaced with new spiritual bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 (NKJV)
51 Behold, I tell you a [a]mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Our bodies will be new, but our spirits will not be renewed when Jesus returns, they are being renewed right now.
2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV)
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
We have a lifetime of refining our spirits for eternity. It’s our responsibility. He’s encouraging us to remove those things from our spirits that come between our relationship with Him. We are all born with ‘stuff’ that we don’t need. That’s what circumcision represented, the cutting away ‘flesh’ that we don’t need.
Romans 2:29 (NKJV)
29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose [a]praise is not from men but from God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV)
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
God is teaching us to allow our new nature to overcome our old nature.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
God has kicked those who allowed their spirits to be corrupted out of His Kingdom once, but He’s not going to do it again.
Isaiah 14:12 (NKJV)
12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O [a]Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
Ezekiel 28:16 (NKJV)
16 “By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
Revelation 12:7-9 (NKJV)
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they [a]did not prevail, nor was a place found for [b]them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
If your spirit isn’t worthy, you just won’t get in.
Manage your health, manage your money, manage your relationships, manage your life, but please don’t neglect managing your spirit.
Now is the time to get resist all the filth that corrupts our spirits…
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.
Your salvation is not a license to do wrong. Remember, the warning of Galatians 5:19-21 is not just for the sinner, but it’s for the church…
This is huge and often overlooked. Galatians, and all of Paul’s letters were addressing the church and all those who are ‘saved’ in the church (as well as both of Peter’s letters). Notice the greetings to each letter…
Galatians 1:1-5 (NKJV)
Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3 (NKJV)
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are [a]sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the [a]bishops and deacons:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father [a]and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the [a]pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
2 Peter 1:1 (NKJV)
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have [a]obtained like[b] precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Notice that the greetings to these letters address ‘the brethern’, the ‘sanctified’, ‘the saints’ ‘the elect’, ‘in sactification’, ‘those who have obtained precious faith’. And, every warning in each of those letters applies to them, not just the unsaved. I encourage you to go back and read through each one thoroughly.
And, remember this, no one can be an apostate to something that they were never a part of…
2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NKJV)
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of [a]sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
Please never forget the warning that Jesus gave us…
Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 [a]Because narrow is the gate and [b]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
So, honestly ask yourself this question, “Is my spirit ready for eternity?”
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.
We as writers and ministers can find ourselves seeking to share something ‘deep’. Something profound that makes one sit back and say, “Wow!” If we aren’t careful we can feel pressured to validate our anointing or education with quotes, discourses, and words of wisdom that confirm God speaks through us. The fact is, when we are fortunate enough to do so, it IS God and not us.
Have you ever been around someone who never talks normal, but feels every word must be a divine revelation? Every sentence must be crafted perfectly? Every moment is a teaching or mentoring moment…they can’t just have a simple conversation?
Have you ever noticed how a very charismatic speaker can make something really simple sound deep? That’s why we should never confuse charisma with anointing.
But, even God Himself isn’t always DEEP.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life…
Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…
Luke 6:31 (NKJV)
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise…
Even the Apostle Paul admitted he wasn’t always deep either…
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (NKJV)
2 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony[a] of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
It doesn’t take much reading to discover God’s word is full of simple truths and expressions of His love.
God knows how to feed us with milk, and how to feed us with meat. He knows what we need and when we need it…
1 Peter 2:2 (NKJV)
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,[a]
If God can humble Himself to sometimes keep things ‘simple’ for us, then we can to.
And, don’t get to the point that your expectation of the deep allows you to miss what’s profoundly simple.
Do you know anyone who seems to love drama? Dysfunction? Chaos?
Do you know anyone who confuses peace with boredom?
Some people can become so used to toxic environments, cultures and behaviors that they consider that to be normal. They are so used to negativity that they begin to unknowingly enjoy it. They enjoy creating it. They enjoy watching it. They enjoy talking about it….that’s why I think reality shows are so successful now.
They can create their own poison to what would be a good relationship…friendship…job. They sometimes aren’t even comfortable with peace within themselves because they anticipate something bad is going to happen.
I hope this is not you. We must be very careful that we don’t reject the very peace that God seeks to GIVE us. We must not be uncomfortable with the peace that God GIVES us through our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Not only does He give us peace…He gives us HIS peace…
John 14:27 (NKJV)
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
His peace is more powerful than any trouble or fear that we have the tendency to allow to overwhelm us.
Think about it. The enemy, just as he did in the book of Job roams around looking to disrupt the peace that God has given you…
Job 1:7 (NKJV)
7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
God has given you the power to ‘be the peace’ in any given situation.
Matthew 5:9 (NKJV)
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Claim your own peace. Be comfortable with it, and walk in the authority God has ordained for your life.
However, we were created in God’s image, meaning that we are capable of having His characteristics and attributes. One aspect of His character is Godly jealously. Our emotion of jealousy is an example of the fact that we are created in His image.
Exodus 34:14 (NKJV)
14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
Deuteronomy 4:24 (NKJV)
24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Jealousy becomes a sin only when it’s perverted through our own pride.
God gets jealous when we put sin and other priorities before Him. We get jealous over the same thing sometimes don’t we?
So, that’s why I don’t feel so bad about the fact that I’m jealous of much of some of the foolishness that gets so much attention, and the success people enjoy from it.
As a blogger and published songwriter, of course I want my writings and music to be read by and listened to by millions upon millions.
I want people to be inspired, informed, challenged, admonished, amused, encouraged, entertained. I want their relationships to be enriched. I want them to grow with me as I struggle to master Emotional Intelligence. And, I want us all to be brought into more intimate relationships with God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah).
I also admit that I want to enjoy seeing people blessed by what God releases through me, YES, I want to get credit for the work that I have done…
Proverbs 3:3-4 (NKJV)
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and [a]high esteem In the sight of God and man.
Furthermore, as much as ‘foolishness’ could be considered a subjective term, I’m using it to describe behavior that is in direct contradiction to what God demands of those who consider themselves to belong to Him.
The fact is that some of the ‘stuff’ that ‘goes viral’, influences behavior, and leads to ‘success’ does so because of the support it receives from people who call themselves Christians. Some of those who overtly promote lifestyles clearly contrary to the word of God are encouraged and positioned as ‘wise’ by many believers. For example…
Yes, everyone has a right to live as they choose and endorse what they choose, but if many of the same people who claim to be Christian would give the same support to much of the Godly writing and music, it would boost the influence of writers and artists like myself.
I sometimes envy the success that people enjoy through what God considers sin. I admit that my jealousy vacillates from Godly jealousy to my own sin. f I’m a work in progress…
Psalm 37:1 (NIV)
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
Yes, I know know that ultimately God will make sure those who He intends to see or hear what I release…and I do trust Him with that. But, sometimes it’s good to vent responsibly, just like the Apostle Paul did when stating His rights as an apostle…
1 Corinthians 9:1-18 (NIV)
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas[a]? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”[b] Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
So, if someone reads this and says, “He’s just jealous of the success of others.” I readily and humbly admit, “Yep, you’re right”.
God demands that His name always be handled with reverence and respect…ALWAYS!
Matthew 6:9 (NLT)
9 Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy
Exodus 20:7 (NLT)
7 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
Remember, God’s name is not GOD. And, yes He has names that describe attributes of His character, (Yahweh or Yah, Yehovah Yirah, Yehovah Sabaoth, Yehovah Shalom, etc.) but God’s name is also His authority, His essence, His heritage,…and that of His Son and our Savior Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). His name is WHO HE IS.
Exodus 3:13-14 (NKJV)
13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)
19 Go [a]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
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Those of us who claim to be called by His name and belong to Him….Those of us who claim the responsibility and honor of representing the authority of His name, his character and reputation… most of us want our names handled with respect. Most of us want people to respect the names of our parents, and those who are a part of our heritage with respect.
So, it’s unfortunate when the children of God think it’s okay to ‘play with the name of God’ by referring to Him with disrespect, in jokes, and even playing with prayer.
In conversations, movies, songs, comdey, memes, GIFs etc. people misuse and reduce God’s name to silliness for jokes for impact…
‘DEAR BABY JESUS’…
‘LAWD HAM MERCY’…
Shouting ‘JESUS CHRIST’ as an exclamation…
The list goes on and on.
One popular Writer/Producer/Director/Actor has made ‘HALLELU-YER’ extremely popular.
The fact is that the YAH syllable in HALLELUYAH is actually one of God’s names…
“Hallel- TO PRAISE OR GLORIFY Yah- SHORTENED FORM OF YAHWEH
When people jokingly pray to ‘BABY JESUS’, the Jesus that died for our sins wasn’t a baby. Our salvation at the time He was a child had not yet been secured. It’s silly and irreverent to pray to BABY JESUS for the sake of a joke. That’s not keeping His name holy.
What’s also unfortunate is that when called out on this rebellious behavior, many who claim to be Christian will immediately look for reasons to justify it, and explain how it’s not a bit deal…it’s not that serious. Too many times Christians ignore what the word of God explicitly says and finds excuses to do what they really want to do.
This equates to telling God what He must accept from us, rather than submitting to His clear expectations.
Even though we can’t tell those who don’t believe what to do, those of us in the Body of Christ should be the first to KEEP HIS NAME HOLY and hold one another accountable in doing so.
I love having fun, but some things need to left alone….Especially by Christians.
Throughout the history of the world people have committed horrible atrocities to one another.
In His sovereignty and for His ultimate purpose, whether it be for example or judgement, if you believe in God, just as with Job, you have to accept that God allowed those atrocities that were provoked by the devil to happen.
The devil has to submit to God’s power, and he gets no access unless God allows it.
Job 1:12 NKJV
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
Even today, the most vile, evil and remorseless people are being influenced by the devil, the adversary…Satan.
There’s a world of evil, crime, oppression and opposition that many people like me only know about from the news or movies.
So, when we get upset at how the devil is allowed to frustrate our lives in many ways…our families… our jobs and careers… our finances… we must stop and thank God there are horrible levels of evil that God doesn’t permit the devil to release into our lives.
This isn’t meant to diminish any level of resistance someone may be facing right now, but for most of us… it could always be worse.
Stop right now and thank God for how He restrains the devil and His emissaries from your life.
Stop and thank God for YOUR angels who minister to you and fight for you in both the physical and spiritual worlds.
Hebrews 1:13-14 (NKJV)
13 But to which of the angels has He ever said:
(A)“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?
14 (B)Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will (C)inherit salvation?
And, remember to release prayers for those who are under a more severe level of attack than you.
1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
8 Be [a]sober, be [b]vigilant; [c]because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 (NKJV)
7 For (A)the [a]mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [b]He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
Even though the scripture below contextually applies to ministers, we should also consider it for those who teach our children…
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NKJV)
12 And we urge you, brethren, (A)to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and [a]admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. (B)Be at peace among yourselves.
43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
Anyone who believes in God and the influence of His holy angels must believe in the devil and the influence of his unholy emissaries, both physical and spiritual…
Hebrews 1:13-14 (NKJV)
13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV)
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
We also know that our bodies are temples for God’s Holy Spirit to inhabit…
1 Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
There are many times when we as believers make a genuine and sincere effort to ‘clean our houses’ in order to enhance our relationships with God…
There are areas in our lives in which we want to do better…
There are strongholds in our lives that need to be broken…
There are generational curses that need to stop with us.
So, we will make an attempt to do some ‘spiritual housecleaning’ by diving more into the word of God… Being more faithful in worship… Even praying more.
In doing so we may find brief periods of success and peace, only to have it broken when we slip back into our spiritual rut, slump or backsliding.
Because while we were more devout, those evil spirits that we made comfortable in our ‘spiritual houses’ temporarily left as described above in Matthew 12:43-45, but eventually returned.
Why did they return?
Because when we did our ‘spiritual house cleaning’ we didn’t ‘move the furniture’.
Just as we make our homes comfortable places in which to ‘abide’ through air conditioning and heat, we make our bodies ‘comfortable for demons’ through our thought life, moods, habits and behaviors. We make our spiritual houses ‘cool and comfortable’ or ‘warm and cozy’ through our mindsets and the behaviors that are a result of those mindsets. Through what we allow our eyes to see, our ears to hear etc.
Revelation 18:2 (KJV)
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV)
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
So, when we do the ‘spiritual house cleaning’ of reading our bible, praying more, and going to church without ‘moving the furniture’ of changing our thinking, our motives, our habits, our moods and behaviors, we make our ‘houses’ a comfortable place for demons to ‘hide behind the furniture’. They ‘hide behind’ what we watch, what we listen to, where we go, who we associate with, what causes we support. When our behaviors and lifestyles don’t change with our ‘outward, surface changes’ demons are hiding behind the furniture. And, those that do leave find our ‘spiritual houses comfortable’ again for their return.
When you effectively clean our homes, we have to clean the areas people don’t see too.
We have all had people speak badly about us behind our backs. Sometimes it was true, and sometime is wasn’t true.
If we are honest with ourselves, we have all done it ourselves at sometime or another.
Many times we will hear something said about someone we care about, someone we love or someone we respect and rush to let them know as soon as possible. But, is that always the right thing to do?
Is it always good for the wife to tell her husband what her dad said about him?
Is it always good to let one co-worker know what another co-worker said about them?
Is it always good to let one friend know what another mutual friend said about him or her?
Yes, I said ‘mutual’ friend. Some would contend to say that if they were a real friend they wouldn’t say anything negative, but that’s not true. Our love for one another isn’t perfect. Our friendships, marriages, families and relationships are not perfect. We all say and do things to hurt those close to us. When this happens it doesn’t mean that there is no love, it just means that our love isn’t perfect.
Loyalty is not always telling EVERYTHING that was said about someone. When is it appropriate? That’s where wisdom, discernment, discretion and restraint come into play.
We must also examine ourselves and our motives for telling them. Do we want them to know? Do we enjoy the excitement of telling them? Do we want them to dislike the person who said it? Why are we repeating it?
This is why God gave us this powerful, but often overlooked wisdom through these two Proverbs…
Proverbs 17:9 (NKJV)
9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends
Proverbs 16:28 (NKJV)
28 A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
So many people today feel there is such strength in, TELLING IT LIKE IT IS…GIVING THEM A PIECE OF YOUR MIND…or, KEEPING IT REAL!
Yes, there are times when that has its place, but there’s also great strength, dignity and maturity in keeping some things to yourself.
When the angel appeared to Mary to let her know that she had conceived of the Holy Spirit, and what was going to come to pass…she kept it to herself. She knew some people wouldn’t believe her, she knew some people wouldn’t understand, she knew it wasn’t time.
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
You don’t have to tell them how pissed off you are…
You don’t have to be the first one to share bad news…
You don’t have to tell them how attracted you are to them (especially if you’re already married)…
You don’t have to tell them how wrong you think they are…
You don’t have to tell them what someone said about them…
We need to stop and think of the immediate and long-term results of sharing what we feel we must say…especially if we are ‘in our emotions’ (anger, lust, disgust, jealousy, fear, sadness, envy, shame, etc…)
Remember what Proverbs says…
Proverbs 17:9 (NKJV)
He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
Even God Himself doesn’t reveal some information to us until we’re ready for it, in other words…He leaves some things unsaid for a season.
1 Peter 1:10 (NKJV)
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
Right now, stop and ask God for wisdom and discernment of…
Notice what Jesus prayed for before He went to the cross in John 17. Notice how many times He said,”ONE”.
John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Now, notice how many times He said I and my father are ONE.
John 10:30 (NKJV)
30 I and My Father are one.”
Think about what who bears witness in heaven.
John 5:7 (NKJV)
7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one
What did Jesus Himself say about marriage?
Mark 10:8 (NKJV)
8 and the two shall become one flesh’; [a] so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Notice that we’re told to speak the same thing and there be no divisions in our churches…
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NKJV)
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Also notice something significant about the demons cast out of the man in Mark Chapter 5.
Mark 5:9 (NKJV)
9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”
Take note in Matthew Chapter 12 what demons do when they find a comfortable dwelling.
Matthew 12:43-45 (NKJV)
43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
Notice what atrocities Hitler was able to accomplished by getting people to agree with His agenda.
Look at what the LBGT community has been able to accomplish contrary to the word of God by banding together in agreement.
Because no force other than God and His love is more powerful agreement.
Oneness. Agreement. Unity. Works for both GOOD and EVIL. RIGHT and WRONG.
Think about it…
All are only successful through ONENESS. AGREEMENT. UNITY…a force so powerful, it works for good and evil.
Why do you think the devil works so hard at trying to divide people who love one another…people who have so much in common?
God is love, and satan is not (yes, lower case on purpose.) Love covers all and conquers all…
1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)
8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
God’s love is all powerful, but think about this…
UNITY, (AGREEMENT or ONENESS) is the only force and power that the enemy can use to try and RIVAL the power of God’s love on earth to accomplish his agenda.
That’s why in John Chapter 17, after praying for Himself, then praying for His disciples…He prayed for us (vs.20), and He prayed that we are ONE in Him and in one another.
Because other than love, there is nothing more powerful on this earth than UNITY.
Okay, I consider my wife and I to be experts on marriage, licensed by over 34 years of ups and downs. Is our marriage perfect? No, but we are perfect for each other.
Even the marriages in the bible were far from perfect. Just go back to Genesis and read about Abraham and Sarah. Neither of them always made the right decisions.
Genesis 16:1-4 (NKJV)
16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall [a]obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. 3 Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. 4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her [b]eyes.
Experience has taught us however, how to make the UPs in marriage higher, and the DOWNs less low.
Keep your marriage fun as much as you can through…
What’s ‘your song(s)’? Always remember those songs you used to listen to when you fell in love. Make the music you both love the soundtrack of your marriage, time stamping the years with fond memories that only the two of you share together. No matter how spiritual you are, enjoy romantic, fun and festive songs in your marriage. No matter how much you love God, He doesn’t expect you to get romantic while listening to “Amazing Grace”.
Remember, without music, life would be all talk!
Laughter is a gift from God. Never stop doing things to make one another laugh. The longer you live together, the more you learn how to make each other’s smiles turn into sometimes uncontrollable laughter. Make the most of every opportunity to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourselves too seriously.
Your laughter will be a testimony to the world of the joy in a Godly marriage. Others will notice and be encouraged.
Psalm 126:2 (NKJV)
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the [a]nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
A LITTLE WINE
So many Christians think drinking alcohol is a sin. They are quick to proclaim, “I don’t drink!”
However, when you read the bible in both the Old and New Testaments, wine is a part of life and enjoyed in the bible.
One of the reasons that the religious leaders called Yeshua a ‘winebibber’ is because He drank wine. The fact is when, the wine ran out at the wedding party where he performed His first miracle, He provided the ‘next round’.
Matthew 11:19 (NKJV)
19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a [a]winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her [b]children.”
John 2:6-11 (NKJV)
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and [a]manifested Hisglory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Is it a sin to get drunk? YES, YES, YES, YES, YES! Getting drunk is forbidden by God…
Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV)
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
However, there are many scriptures that let us know we are free to drink wine as long as we do it responsibly.
Deuteronomy 14:26 (NKJV)
26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.
Psalm 104:15 (NKJV)
15 And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man’s heart.
1 Timothy 5:23 (NKJV)
23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent [a]infirmities.
So, find time to enhance the mood by enjoying some drinks together as long as you don’t get drunk.
As a minister, positive feedback makes preaching easier. However, from the Old Testament prophets to the New Testament apostles…the bible confirms that preaching and ministry will not always be easy, convenient or even safe.
It is easy however, for us as modern-day preachers to become spoiled and even intoxicated by…
…people eagerly and happily receiving what we have to say.
…’amens’ and people showing their approval.
It’s easy for ministry to become a means of validating ourselves and having our egos fed. If we aren’t careful we can not only find ourselves whining and complaining, but even fussing at people for not listening to us… agreeing with us… making ministry easy for us.
This is when we need to remind ourselves of the apostles. Notice the response to the Apostle Paul in Iconium in Acts Chapter 14 after healing a lame man and receiving praise from the people…
Acts 14:18-20 (NKJV)
18And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
He was stoned and presumed dead, but he didn’t stop preaching…
Acts 14:21-22 (NKJV)
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
No whining. No complaining. No fussing at the people for not listening…just continuing with their calling.
When WE preachers find ourselves whining and complaining about not getting enough ‘Amens!’. We owe Peter, Paul, James, John… the apostles… the martyrs and most of all Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) an apology.
Churches aren’t our little kingdoms and the members our subjects. The church is the Body of Christ.
When Andrew Jackson was elected president in 1828 the phrase, “To the victor go the spoils’, was used by New York Senator William L. Marcy referring to the ‘spoils system’ (patronage) in the early days of American politics…the practice of giving civil jobs to supporters and friends. Of course, well-qualified, high-performing people have to be fired to do this.
However, we all know that new leadership getting rid of good people is by no means exclusive to politicians. Countless people have fallen victim to loosing their job because new leadership either wanted to give jobs to people who they felt better suited them, or just didn’t like the incumbent group.
When someone makes up their mind that they want to get rid of you, there’s no good you can do to change it.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever done this as a new leader? Is it ethical? Is it godly?
Is there a biblical example?
Joseph of Genesis was strategically placed 2nd in command to Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) in order to save His people. Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams and god-given management abilities gave him favor with the king and Joseph was given the power to make decisions and only answer to him…
Genesis 41:37-44 (NKJV)
37 So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?”
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be [a]over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
But, despite Joseph’s favor with the King that ‘hired him’, when a new Pharaoh arrived, he didn’t value Joseph and could care less about his influence…
Exodus 1:6-8 (NKJV)
6 And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. 7 But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and [a]grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
This king subjugated Joseph’s people, the nation of Israel which led to 400 years of bondage in Egypt.
Have you ever had a Pharaoh come along who didn’t know you?
But, back to the question, for ‘bosses’ who call themselves Christian, is it ethical? moral? is it a sin? Let’s refer to the words of Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ…
Luke 6:31 (NKJV)
31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
How many times have you heard someone say, “You aren’t going to change my mind”?
As Christians, we say that to anyone who tries to convince us to reject Jesus. So, as we strive to promote the love of Christ, and to convince people to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, it’s easy to understand how some people who were born and raised in other faiths or no faith will say the same thing.
But, we must understand that our challenge as Christians isn’t to change MINDS, but to touch HEARTS. When you touch someone’s HEART with the love of Christ, their THINKING changes.
In Jeremiah 33:31, God promises us,
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their HEARTS. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Notice, God didn’t say He’d put His word in our minds, but hearts.
How many times have you struggled to change someone’s mind?
Some have even married people determined to change their MINDS and thinking.
Any effective social movement such as the Civil Rights Movement was successful because it changes hearts. You can’t FORCE people to change how they think, but when you touch their HEARTS, their thinking will change. The NON-VIOLENT protests of the 50’s and 60’s were designed to change hearts.
People will tell you, “You can talk to me until you’re blue in the face, you won’t change my mind!” And they’re right. Talk makes people defensive of their thinking, but God’s love has the power to change their heart. Talk is CHEAP, but LOVE is action.
Don’t beat your head against the wall trying to change someone’s mind.
Don’t rely on LOUD talk and FORCE to change someone’s mind.
LIVE out loud and LOVE out loud to change the HEART, and the MIND will follow.
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.