What is the beginning? When did everything ‘start’?
Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Time/tīm/noun (Oxford Online Dictionary)
1.the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.”travel through space and time”
2.a point of time as measured in hours and minutes past midnight or noon.”the time is 9:30″
If you are a parent who believes in the the Lord God of Israel from Everlasting to Everlasting through our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ), then you have heard this question from your child or children in some form…
“Where did God come from?”
“When was God born?”
“Who created God?”
I know most of you already know this, but please humor me so I can make my point. Besides, even the Apostle Peter let us know that we sometimes have to be reminded of what we already know…
2 Peter 1:12-13 (NKJV)
12For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this [a]tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
God introduced Himself to the world of many beliefs and many ‘gods’ through the perspective of a people He raised up to create a faith. FAITH, NOT RACE…
He created this people through a man named Abram, later changing his name to Abraham…
Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)
“Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
I love the way that the bible refers to God as “The Lord God of Israel from Everlasting to Everlasting” in so many places. Yes, it’s a mouthful. Yes, it’s a lot to type, but it is exactly who He is…
Psalm 41:13 (NKJV)
13 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.
Psalm 106:48 (NKJV)
48 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the Lord!
That is the New King James Version but, look at how the Complete Jewish Bible says it…
Psalm 41:14 (CJB)
14 (13) Blessed be Adonai the God of Isra’el from eternity past to eternity future.
I love that…“from eternity past to eternity future”. The thought of eternity past infers that there was NO BEGINNING.
God does not require a beginning. He does not require a birth. He does not require an origin. Why?
God created TIME for our benefit. So we can measure and have context to our lives, history and the future.
Galatians 4:4-7 (CJB)
4but when the APPOINTED TIME arrived (IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME), God sent forth his Son. He was born from a woman, born into a culture in which legalistic perversion of the Torah was the norm, 5 so that he might redeem those in subjection to this legalism and thus enable us to be made God’s sons. 6 Now because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of his Son, the Spirit who cries out, “Abba!” (that is, “Dear Father!”). 7 So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son you are also an heir.
Think about it. Even when scientists who say the universe BEGAN with a BIG BANG, you can ask, “Okay, what was there before the BIG BANG?”. One could very easily reason that when God said, “Let there be…” there was a noise and physical manifestation.
Some things are difficult for even the ‘greatest’ scientific minds to understand, and one of those things is TIME. After all, I think of science as our attempt to give a physical explanation to a spiritual world.
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.
But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— 2 from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.
Anyone who reads the bible knows that King Solomon is recognized as the wisest man who every lived. They also know that he loved women and had many wives and concubines. So, it very be easily concluded that Solomon’s sex drive and love for women was a weakness. He allowed the women he loved to compromise his devotion to God – the wisest man who ever lived.
King Solomon’s wisdom was his greatest strength. His sex drive was his greatest weakness. And, both of them were given to him by God.
We all have strengths and weaknesses that are God given.
I’m not as organized as I would like to be, and when I put great effort into becoming more organized…I find myself slipping back into being less organized (notice how I’m trying to avoid saying unorganized:-)
I also don’t have much rhythm. As much as I try, there are some things that I just can’t do well physically (dancing for example). I am however very strong physically.
I was born with those weaknesses. I didn’t ask for them. They’re innate…
God gave them to me.
I believe that just the same as we have physical weaknesses, we also have spiritual weaknesses. We have weaknesses in our personalities. Some have difficulty paying attention. Some are naturally poor with words, and have trouble relating with others. Some are naturally poor with numbers and can’t manage money well, no matter how hard they try. Some have learning disabilities, even if the disabilities aren’t severe, they could still be considered a weakness. Some people are poor listeners and have trouble staying focused. The ‘weaknesses’ I’m talking about are things that can’t be taught. They are just a part of who we are. Just as I mentioned about Solomon, some have an unquenchable sexual appetite, that they didn’t ask for. Some have an attraction to the same sex, that they didn’t ask for. Some have a natural propensity for violence…that they didn’t even necessarily learn.
What is your weakness? What are your weaknesses?
The good news is that God is greater than any weakness that He gave us. God can bless you and you can be a blessing to others in spite of your weaknesses.
Moses wasn’t an eloquent speaker. In fact, he considered it to be a weakness. God didn’t allow the weakness He GAVE Moses to get in the way of his purpose…
Exodus 4:10 (NKJV)
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I amslow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Remember, what the Apostle Paul had a weakness that he didn’t ask for. God gave it to Him, but also remember…
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV)
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. God can and will bless us and use us in spite of your weaknesses!
God wants us and others can know that every blessing, every success, every victory, is because of him and not ourselves. He wants us to bring Him glory and that any glory we have is through Him.
Just as Paul said, when we work through our weaknesses, God’s power is resting on us.
He wants to use our weaknesses to show us His power so we can lean on Him, depend on Him, trust Him and love Him.
Anyone and everyone that you know who is successful has multiple weaknesses. We spend so much time focusing on their strengths, talents and abilities that we think make them successful that we don’t notice their weaknesses…unless one of their weaknesses causes them to fall.
Yes, you are far from perfect, but so is every person that God has ever used.
God fulfills His perfect will through imperfect people.
So, acknowledge your weaknesses that God gave you. Pray for God to help you with them and through them. Leverage your strengths to God’s glory.
Have you ever noticed how Paul interacted with the people of Athens? He encountered people who did not believe in the God of our salvation. He took advantage of the opportunity to teach them about Yeshua, Christ Jesus.
He didn’t do as many Christians do today, allow his passion to confront them in anger and spiritual arrogance. He didn’t tell them how stupid, silly and foolish they were to believe as they did. He didn’t try to bully them into believing.
Paul reached out to them in respect and love, acknowledging that they sincerely believed in something, and he wanted to present to them the only Living God…
Of course there were some who mocked him, but others believed and wanted to hear more.
If Paul had approached them as many do today his message of salvation would not have been received by those who had a heart and mind to do so.
Do you know any spiritual bullies?
Have you ever encountered one?
Are you one?
We can’t force our faith on anyone.
We can’t allow our passion for Christ as an excuse to be self-righteous, spiritual bullies.
We must always reach out to others in love. Rather than convert sinners and those who believe in other ‘gods’ we will turn them off and confirm every negative impression they have of disciples of Christ.
Ask God each day for the anointing to share your faith and the wisdom to reach out in His Spirit of love.
It’s easy to make our relationship with God ALL about us if we aren’t careful.
God called us to make disciples of Him through His Son and our Savior Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:19-20 (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, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [b]Amen.
One of the best approaches at studying the bible is to look specifically how the Lord REACTED to certain situations, conditions and behavior.
Look at the Lord’s reaction when He silently looked upon a multitude of lost people…
Matthew 9:35-38 (NKJV)
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease [a]among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were [b]weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Now look at how He reacted at those who had hard, hypocritical hearts…
Mark 3:1-5 (NKJV)
3 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might [a]accuse Him. 3 And He said to the manwho had the withered hand, [b]“Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored [c]as whole as the other.
Above in Matthew, Yeshua, felt compassion for those who were lost. He wasn’t judging why they were in their particular situations…He felt compassion. Then He commanded us to pray to THE LORD OF HIS HARVEST to send workers into HIS harvest. How many times have you prayed for that? How many times have you had an interaction with an atheist and instead of praying for them, felt contempt. How many times have you gotten intensely angry at a drug addict, gang banger, racist, politician, someone who you consider to be a ‘great sinner’…(we are all sinners saved by grace Romans 3:23). These are all opportunities to plant seeds of God’s…
I have had to stop and ask God to help me make that a priority in my life. I have had to ask myself, “Aldtric, do you really care enough about God’s harvest, are or you just concerned about your own?”
Now, let’s quickly look what made the Lord angry above in Mark Chapter 3. It wasn’t compassion, but anger at the religious leaders were looking for a reason to accuse Him, ignored the good He was doing, and was angry at their hardness of heart. Again, this is a sign of someone who is lost and doesn’t know that they are. God expects hypocrisy and hardened hearts to make us angry, but we must respond to that anger with lifting them up in prayer, praying that God softens their hearts to His love, will, word and salvation.
Have you ever asked yourself if you hare concerned enough about those who are ‘lost’? Have you stopped to consider how you react to those who claim to be His own, but aren’t exhibiting their best behavior?
How often do you pray for HIS HARVEST rather than your own?
Would it reveal a dirty mind? Or, a mind meditating on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy?
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Would it reveal the works of the flesh or the Fruit of the Spirit?
Would it reveal malice or good intent?
How would you smell at work? At school? While sitting in your home? While looking at your smartphone?
How would you smell while sitting in church?
How often would you smell good? How often would you stink?
Unfortunately Father’s Day is a sad day for some fathers because their child or children didn’t acknowledge them or took them for granted.
It could be because the father made mistakes.
It could be because the child is estranged and holding animosity in his or her heart.
It could be the father is very stern.
It could be the child is spoiled and the father just isn’t appreciated.
The father watched his phone all day long, but no call. He walked around his house all day long, waiting to hear those words, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, but they were never spoken.
No matter what the reason, I know it hurts but let me hopefully comfort you with a quick reminder…
God has created countless children in His image who never acknowledge Him.
Even SOME of those children who acknowledge Him only use Him.
SOME only talk to Him when they want something. They may often complain about what He provides.
SOME walk on His earth (His house) full of evidence He lives, they breathe His air, eat His food, receive light from His sun ( and Son) yet claim He doesn’t exists.
But, God still has mercy on them and shows them kindness and love.
So, if you have a child who is not showing you love on Father’s Day, or any other day, think about the way God the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ feels.
Then stop and ask yourself are you showing God the love He deserves.
Finally, make up your mind to be a the minister of reconciliation He has called us to be, and work hard to reconcile as many of God’s children back to Him.
Maybe, God will do the same for you.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
18 Now all things are of God, (A)who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that (B)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 (C)ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
When you stop and take look, you can see God’s wisdom in everything…and I mean EVERYTHING!
God’s first institution established in His Kingdom was the family. He put man and woman together with a plan. He told us to be fruitful and multiply because God wasn’t going to continue creating men from dust or women from men’s ribs.
God gave us the gift of physical intimacy (sex) to bring children into the world, and to enhance our marriages. God wants us to enjoy one another just as much as he wants us to enjoy Him, and that’s very clear in the bible.
Proverbs 5:19 (NKJV)
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
Hebrews 13:4 (NKJV)
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
He even told husbands and wives to ‘take care of each other’ intimately so that neither is tempted…
1 Corinthians 7: 1-5
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
God made sex a physical crescendo that builds to a climactic, brief culmination of intense pleasure sought after by both those who are married and unfortunately, unmarried….We will use the euphemism ‘THE BIG O’. Everything God did has a holy purpose. It’s not God’s fault that we misuse His gift…and what a perfect gift!
Here’s where God’s wisdom comes in.
If we were going to ‘be fruitful and multiply’…
If we were going to have long, healthy marriages…
Our gift would need to be something we look forward to…something we crave and not something we dread.
Few people want the physical crescendo without the ‘BIG O’…
And, few people want the ‘BIG O’ to come too soon…
But, dig this!
As much as we enjoy…
As much we anticipate the ‘BIG O’.
As much as we enjoy reaching that brief moment of euphoria…God was wise enough to make it brief.
It’s brief enough for us to look forward to it, but it’s short enough for us to enjoy it.
Think about it…no one would be able to withstand 5, 10, 15 uninterrupted minutes of the ‘BIG O’. I don’t even know if our bodies could take it.
If the ‘BIG O’ was too big or too long…we would dread it.
If the ‘BIG O’ was too big we would avoid it.
There would be no ‘be fruitful and multiply’.
There would be a strain on marriages due to lack of intimacy.
Even the most holy person can admit that a well-timed ‘BIG O’ is just the pressure release valve needed sometime to relieve us of the stresses of life.
God knew just how good to make it…Just how strong to make it…and just how long to make it.
I told you when you stop and look at it, you can see God’s wisdom in EVERYTHING.
It’s easy to see why the apostle Paul proclaimed…
Romans 11:33 (NKJV)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Most people who grew up in or around church, or were raised with a belief in God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or those who have come from unbelief to belief will all quickly proclaim, “I love God!”
But, do you love Him? Or do just feel it’s the right to say? You may even be afraid not to say it. Which is a healthy fear and reverence of God, but still isn’t love.
When you love someone, you want to be in their presence as much as possible, in fact you look forward to it. When you love someone you want to know what’s important to them. When you love someone you don’t want to hurt them, intentionally or unintentionally.
When you love someone you want to grow closer to them. When you love someone, you enjoy talking about them. Many people when they are honest with themselves love their favorite team, their car, their guns, their _____________ more than they love God because that’s what they love talking about.
When you love someone you aren’t afraid to show affection for them in public. I’m not talking about kissing…I’m talking about holding their hand, hugging them…you aren’t ashamed to let the world know you love them. Some of the same people who get hoarse at a ball game are ashamed to praise God publicly even in worship. Too many Christians are too ashamed to even bless their food in public. Are you ashamed to lift up your hands in public and say ,“Hallelujah, I love you LORD!” Or, are you afraid people with think you’re crazy. Do you reason that, “It doesn’t take all of that to love God”. But, when you love someone, you aren’t concerned with what is minimal or necessary. You’re more than happy to do what is ‘extra’ for them
When you love someone you aren’t just in relationship with them for what you can get out of them. You aren’t just in the relationship for the benefits. When you love someone you can talk to them for hours. How often do you talk to God and fellowship with Him prayer, just because it’s peaceful…not asking for anything, just spending quality time with Him?
When you love someone, you love listening to ‘mood’ music with them. You love listening to music that makes you feel closer to one another. You love sharing ‘your song’. I’m not saying you have to listen to Christian music all of the time, but I wonder how many Christians are perfectly comfortable never listening to some form of Gospel music…except when they are in church.
When you really love someone, what they think about you matters to you more than anyone else in the world. You want their love…their respect…their devotion…their affection.
How can one really love God and either never, seldom or randomly read His word? God knows we have the opportunity to fellowship with Him in His word whenever they please. Many claim they don’t have time, but that’s simply not true. Many people, when their honest with themselves, love social media, their favorite fiction or non fiction book, or whatever else they love to do in their spare time more than they love the word of God. What’s the first thing you check each morning? Your social media? The news? The weather? Your horoscope? Or, God’s ‘status’ and what He has ‘posted’ in His word.
It’s in His word we fellowship with Him. It’s in His word we find out what pleases Him. It’s in His word that we find out what He loves and what He hates. His word gives us both comfort and correction.
When you love someone, living to please them is not a burden, but a blessing…
1 John 5:3 (NKJV)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
I challenge you today to ask yourself, “Do I really love God, or is it just the right thing to say”. Yes, you believe in Him. Yes, you fear Him. Yes, you respect Him. Yes, you reverence Him. Yes, you pray. Yes, You, go to church…
But do you love Him?
And finally, think about this…
Most people quickly claim that want to go to heaven or live eternally in His presence, but I contend that if you don’t genuinely enjoy reading His word, fellowshipping with Him, worshiping Him, being in His presence, even going to church now, what makes you think you will want to do it forever?
Remember, real love isn’t just state, it’s demonstrated…
Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
There are negative stereotypes of every race, gender, geographic region, culture, nationality, religion etc.
This is one article that needs no evidence or examples because as you read it those negative stereotypes of which you are aware easily come to mind.
I don’t know what’s worse, negative stereotypes or those people who seem to do their best to support those stereotypes with their thinking, attitudes and behavior.
Even in the bible, the apostle Paul mentions a stereotype that was supported by the behavior of SOME of the people of a certain group, that projected to all of them…
Titus 1:10-13 (NKJV)
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle (A)talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, (B)for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 (C)One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. (D)Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
Notice that Paul said, “THIS TESTIMONY IS TRUE”. That’s because that…
No matter hard some people work to remove negative stereotypes of their particular ‘group’, there are others who seem to be committed to helping those stereotypes to live on.
Unfortunately, some stereotypes are like rumors… most (but not all) rumors are wrapped around a kernel of truth.
Think about the many groups of which you are a part, and the negative stereotypes of those groups…
Which of those stereotypes does your thinking, attitudes and behavior help those stereotypes live on?
Be careful, sometimes our stereotyping someone fits a stereotype within itself.
Some things never change. Yeshua the Messiah made the ‘religious people’ so angry that they wanted to kill Him, and with the help of the Romans they did…at least thought they did.
Many Christians of every race claim to be His disciples, but we prove how we would have responded if we lived then by how we respond today. We prove on which side of history we would have stood by where we stand now.
The fact is that many of the people who claim to be Christians would have rejected Jesus, and here are 8 reasons why…
1. WOMEN SUPPORTED HIM WITH THEIR MONEY
Few people ever talk about the women who followed Jesus and supported Him financially, Not, just the women, but the ‘type’ of women…
Luke 8:1-3 (NKJV)
Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and [a]bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and [b]infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for [c]Him from their [d]substance.
So you had a woman who many believed was a prostitute, wives of ‘important’ men and many other women who were following the LORD and supporting Him financially — we all know that would be beyond scandalous today. How many men would co-sign on their wives following and giving money to a broke, uneducated, controversial traveling preacher?
2. HE THREATENED THEIR TRADITIONS
One of the most common complaints today is ‘cancel culture’. Too many people today are devoted to traditions, memorials, statues, etc. to the point of idolatry. Several of our modern traditions are clearly in direct contradiction to the word of God, such as swearing in officials…
Matthew 5:34-37 (NKJV)
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 [a]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Can’t get more clear than that)
…but, some people would rather die than change. To many, patriotism, nationalism, racial pride, the economy and institutional traditions have become psuedo-religions. But, Yeshua made it clear that they were prioritizing their traditions over the Word of God…
Mark 7:7-9 (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.
3. HE HELD THE ‘LEADERS’ ACCOUNTABLE
Jesus openly rebuked the Pharisees, Scribes and teachers of the law concerning their hypocrisy, arrogance and pride. These were equal to respected political, religious and professional leaders today. But the LORD called them out and pissed them off. No matter what political or religious affiliation, how to react when those whom they respect are held accountable?
Matthew 15:10-13 (NKJV)
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
Matthew 23:13-36 (NKJV)
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 [a]Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of [b]hell as yourselves.16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that [c]sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who [d]swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who [e]dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and [f]self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and [g]adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.33 Serpents, brood[h] of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
4. HE WASN’T EDUCATED OR ‘CULTURED’
How many people only hire Pastors who hold multiple degrees? How many people don’t feel leaders are credible unless they have achieved an expected level of education or status? Many people were amazed at how well Jesus spoke because they knew He wasn’t educated.
John 7:15 (NKJV)
15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
Even the Apostle Paul said we shouldn’t be overly impressed with words of man’s wisdom, but in the power of God…
1 Corinthians 2:4-6 (KJV)
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
5. HE HUNG OUT WITH THOSE WHO RELIGIOUS PEOPLE LOOKED DOWN UPON
It’s amazing how we can allow our education, achievements, connections, affiliations, social status and even our faith to arrogantly allow us to think we are ‘better’ than others. We can look down on others because of the decisions thy have made…such as drug addicts, prostitutes, or homeless people…but, those are the people with whom Yeshua the Messiah came to make the most intimate connections. Many people today would complain about the company that Jesus kept, just as the ‘religious’ people did then.
Mark 2:13-3:6 (NKJV)
13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes [a]and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, [b]to repentance.”
6. HIS ETHNICITY
The fact is that if Jesus came today of the same ethnicity, that many who so passionately claim to love Him would not accept Him as a leader. As much as it may be unintentional… cultural and racial biases are real. If Yeshua would have come during this era…born in the ‘Middle East’ (the fact that it’s even called Middle East relative to Europe) with the same skin tone, language, etc.,…how many people who call themselves Christians would actually follow Him? WHEN PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO LOVE ACCURATE HISTORY ARE COOL WITH A ‘EUROPEAN-LOOKING’ JESUS…
John 1:46 (NKJV)
46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
7. HE DRANK ALCOHOL
How many people today would have rejected Jesus because of the fact that He drank wine? Some try to ‘sanitize it’ by saying that it wasn’t fermented, but that simply isn’t true. Jesus said Himself that unlike John the Baptist, he came both eating and drinking wine…
Matthew 11:18-20 (NKJV)
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 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.”
He was called a ‘winebibber’ because He drank wine. Did He get drunk? NO! But, how many self-righteous ‘Christians’ would rebuke Christ for drinking wine?
8. TODAY, JESUS WOULD BE A MILLENNIAL
How many ‘established’ leaders and Christians today wouldn’t take Jesus seriously because of His age? He began His earthy ministry at 30 years old.
John 8:57 (NKJV)
57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
So, be honest with yourself…how would you have received Jesus if you lived back then? How would you receive Him if He had come in our generation?
If false hope gives someone a reason to keep on living…is it really false?
Think about this…
I in no way mean any disrespect to anyone dealing with the pain of a loved one suffering from any form of dementia. However, God does have a reason for everything He does. This true story showed me how what we sometimes think of as a ‘curse’ can be the blessing of hope in disguise for some.
Years ago I used to do nursing home ministry. I would visit two nursing homes, once each month. As I walked down through the halls I would see the same faces. There were some residents who had regular visits from family and friends, but unfortunately, there too many who never got a visitor…ever.
There were also varying levels of mental health. I would hear one lady in particular at one of the nursing homes say the same thing every time I visited. She would sit in her wheelchair in the entrance to her room as I walked by…she would smile and say,
“I’m going home today”.
No, she wasn’t going home. She was one of the residents who never had visitors, and her family had moved on with their lives. At first I felt sorry for her because her situation seemed so hopeless…but then God gave me an awesome revelation.
In her hopeless situation…her dementia gave her hope!
Was her hope false? Yes!
But, it allowed her to wake up every morning WITH hope.
God gave her a reason to smile EVERY DAY.
God gave her something to look forward to EVERY DAY.
God gave her HOPE in a HOPELESS situation.
She spent her last days with HOPE.
What many may think of as a CURSE, was actually a BLESSING to her.
God’s wisdom is amazing!
He can can pull HOPE out of HOPEless…
FORTUNE our of unFORTUNATE…
Of course there are times when false hope is harmful, but there’s other situations when it can give someone a reason to keep living.
Romans 5:5-7 (NKJV)
5 Now hope does not disappoint, (B)because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
There’s a very popular Comedian/Actor/Show Host who has an exceptionally successful career. One of the many hats he wears is that of a radio show host…the show is fast paced, fun and entertaining.
However, he begins his radio show each morning with a very emotional and impactful spiritual monologue. His statements are encouraging and inspirational, and he always gives God glory, BUT during the remainder of his show, he often uses strong language, frequently using profanity that the bible clearly tells us that we shouldn’t do…
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.
Ephesians 5:3-4 (NKJV)
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
In reference to ‘cussing’, he will often assert, “God is not through with me yet.” Which is true, but we ALL need to be very careful about our attitude when it comes to this statement.
First of all, I’M NOT JUDGING THIS MAN because we have all (and still do) sin and fall short of the glory of God. We all have room to grow. I have respect both for him and his accomplishments, but I have to be responsible as a minister of God.
Calling out sin, correcting, encouraging, admonishing, instructing and warning one another is not judging…it’s our responsibility.
Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
When you have a level of prominence that allows you to reach and influence millions, you bear a great level of responsibility when you are speaking on behalf of God in the name of Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
Here are two problems with sometimes FLIPPANTLY saying what we want…doing what we want…then stating… “God ain’t through with me yet!”
First of all, we must not be guilty of validating our sinful behavior and bad habits to those who may be weaker in the faith or unbelievers by ‘justifying’ our behavior at the time with, “God is not through with me yet”…
Second, we must not use “God is not through with me yet” to hold on to habits, behavior and attitudes that we simply aren’t trying hard enough to stop. Especially when we know better and can do better.
The word of God has commanded us throughout the New Testament to…
“Put off” Colossians 3: 8, Ephesians 4:22 (NKJV)
“Put away” Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV)
“Let all…be put away from you” Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV)
“Lay aside” Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
God has given us the power and responsibility to stop ourselves.
Many people pray that God will, “Take the sin out of me”…however, there’s no personal level of accountability, effort, commitment or love and dedication in being so weak that God has to make us stop.
We as believers must be very careful not to take for granted or take advantage of God’s abundant grace and mercy.
Remember what God told us through the Apostle Paul…
Romans 6:1-2 (NKJV)
6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
So many times we can find ourselves saying…
“God knows my heart.”
“I’m taking baby steps”
We want to always make sure that we aren’t taking baby steps, when God is ready for us to walk.
You don’t want God to become ‘through with you’ before you put forth enough effort to change.
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.
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.
“I think I’ll relax and study my bible over a glass of wine”. Uh oh! I’m quite certain that statement made many of my fellow Christians cringe. I’m sure it may push limits of some people’s personal theology…many of my fellow Christians will quickly tell you that you shouldn’t defile the temple of God (and we shouldn’t).
Many of my fellow Christians will piously tell you, “Ohhh no! I don’t drink alcohol”, while at the same time many of the same people consume huge amounts of sugar, fat, sodium, artificial ingredients, smoke, over-the-counter and prescription drugs etc., etc., etc., that they know are harmful to their bodies, or temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Many Christians who’ve been diagnosed medical conditions knowingly eat foods and drink beverages that even though they aren’t wine, are harmful to their bodies and adversely affect their health…but, they would never be CAUGHT drinking a glass of wine.
Yes, the bible says that we are NOT to “get drunk with wine”…
Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
…getting drunk is a sin and a work of the flesh…
Galatians 5:20-21 (ESV)
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
HOWEVER, there is a huge difference in DRINKING a glass of wine and getting DRUNK with wine.
1 Timothy 5:23 admonishes us that there are health benefits to consuming a LITTLE wine in moderation.
1 Timothy 5:23 English Standard Version (ESV)
23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
Drinking wine is not a sin, but drinking too much is…
Drinking cola isn’t a sin, but if it’s detrimental to your health, drinking too much is…
Eating candy isn’t a sin, but if it’s detrimental to your health, eating too much is…
Eating is not a sin, but eating too much is…
Philippians 3:19 English Standard Version (ESV)
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Being at a gathering where there’s wine is not a sin. There was wine at the wedding Jesus attended in Cana recorded in John Chapter 2. It was real wine…not unfermented wine as some try to claim to justify their over zealousness. Wine was a staple in the bible. Jesus was observed consuming wine because they accused Him of being a ‘winebibber’, drunkard and a glutton. (However He did not get drunk)
Matthew 11:19 (ESV)
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
Wine was consumed during the Passover Feast…the fact is that when the wine ran out during the wedding, Jesus ‘bought’ the drinks. Jesus didn’t say, they have wine at that wedding party, so I won’t attend, but that’s exactly what many Christians today would say.
Again, I’m not advocating getting drunk. Getting drunk IS a sin. But I am saying that wine, just like many other food and drinks is okay in moderation, and many Christians who ‘trip’ over drinking a glass of wine consume non-alcoholic foods and beverages into their bodies that are harmful or in quantities that are SINFUL.
Remember what the Apostle Paul said…
1 Corinthians 6:12
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
1 Corinthians 10:23
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
I must be responsible and tell you that if you have a drinking problem, that it’s BEST THAT YOU CONSUME NO WINE, just as if you have an allergy to peanuts it’s best you CONSUME NO PEANUTS. Also, if your drinking wine makes someone in the faith weaker, it’s best that you don’t drink it in their presence. Read Romans 14:13-23 as Paul explains how we must consider those who are weaker in the faith in things that are permissible for us.
The most important thing for us to remember as Christians is MODERATION – ALL THINGS IN MODERATION.
Most of us get angry at those we love the most…it’s just a part of relationships. All children, both small and adult children, get angry at their parents at some point and time…it’s just a part of the relationship.
Most of us who believe in God also claim to love Him and be in relationship with Him…We are His children.
Soooo, it’s doesn’t seem outside of reason to assume that those of us who are in relationship with God, have gotten angry with him at sometimes or another…if we are willing to admit it.
God’s children get angry at their Heavenly Father.
Have you gotten angry at God because…
You thought He ignored your prayer…
You thought He said no…
You thought He was being unfair to you…
You thought He should have intervened…
You thought He was being too harsh…
You thought He favored someone who didn’t deserve it…
You thought those who are evil continue to win…
Well, I could go over possible reasons all day, but you know why you were angry with Him…if you’re willing to admit it.
King David, a man after God’s own heart became angry with God. As he was having the Ark of the Covenant (which represented God’s presence) brought back, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled and as Uzza reached out to hold the ark steady, God became angry at him for touching it, (because no one was to touch the ark), and struck him dead. This made David angry and afraid of God…
1 Chronicles 13:10 (NKJV)
10 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.
Throughout the book of Psalms, there are hints of frustration with God…
Psalm 13:1 (NKJV)
“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
Psalm 77:3 (NKJV)
“I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.”
Psalm 94:3 (NKJV)
“How long will the wicked, Lord, how long will the wicked continue to triumph.”
Habukkuk cries out…
Habakkuk 1:2 (NKJV)
O Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. 3 Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Jeremiah 12:1-4 (NKJV)
Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You;
Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? 2 You have planted them, yes, they have taken root;
They grow, yes, they bear fruit.
You are near in their mouth
But far from their mind.
3 But You, O Lord, know me;
You have seen me,
And You have tested my heart toward You.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
And prepare them for the day of slaughter. 4 How long will the land mourn,
And the herbs of every field wither?
The beasts and birds are consumed,
For the wickedness of those who dwell there,
Because they said, “He will not see our final end.”
Jeremiah even cursed the day he was born…
Jeremiah 20: 14 (KNJV)
Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me.
Remember this…Men and women of God are merely, MEN and WOMEN of God. Only human.
God remembers that we are only human…
Psalm 103:14 (NKJV)
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 78:39 (NKJV)
39 For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again.
Matthew 26:41 (NKJV)
41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Even Jesus, Yeshua, Himself cried out…
Matthew 27:46 (NKJV)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
God allows us to have human moments, but He expects us to ‘come to ourselves’, trust Him and honor Him. He allows us the opportunity to express our humanity in reverence and respect.
When you read the bible, after these men and women of God were angry…after they lamented…after their frustration….THEY TRUSTED GOD!
In the midst of their ‘complaint’ was PRAISE. Each of the Psalms mentioned above ended in PRAISE for God.
Jeremiah 20: 11-13 (NKJV)
But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.
Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten. 12 But, O Lord of hosts, You who test the righteous, And see the mind and heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them; For I have pleaded my cause before You.
13 Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For He has delivered the life of the poor From the hand of evildoers.
They praised God in their pain to activate their faith….They continued to press in to the purpose that God had for their lives.
Anger is one of the ways we were created in God’s image. God becomes angry sometimes, but His anger doesn’t last.
It’s human and natural to become angry at God and doubt, but He told us…
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
…So it’s superhuman and spiritual to overcome our anger and trust Him.
God knows we will have PITY PARTIES, but He expects us to turn them into PRAISE PARTIES.
God is perfect and God is pure love, so that means pure love is perfect.
1 John 4:7 (NKJV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
But many times when relationships fail, when we hurt one another, or when we see the worst in human behavior, people will conclude that love has failed. When we look at someone that we consider to be pure evil, we can conclude, there’s not enough love in the world to help or save that person. When someone has betrayed us over and over and over and over again, we can conclude we don’t have ‘enough’ love to forgive them.
Yeshua (Jesus) said that in the last days because of the evil and wickedness in the world the love of many would ‘wax cold’, their hearts would begin to harden…
Matthew 24:12 (NIV)
12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
This is just a quick reminder that God’s love is perfect but ours isn’t.
God’s love is 24 karat gold…it’s pure. Our love varies from 1 karat to 23 karats, depending on the situation. Just because ‘gold’ isn’t 24 karat’s doesn’t mean it’s not gold. And, just because our love isn’t 24 karat, doesn’t mean it’s not love.
When our love has failed, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t ‘enough love to give, it just means we didn’t ‘give enough love’.
That’s the reason when people in a marriage or family hurt, betray, deny, embarrass, mistreat, and disrespect one another, it doesn’t mean they don’t love one another. It just means their love isn’t ‘pure’ ‘perfect’ or ‘mature’ enough. And, that’s a life long process.
Think about it like this. Ask yourself the following questions and fill in the blanks YES or NO.
Do I love God? __________
Have I ever hurt God?__________
Have I ever disobeyed God?_________
Have I ever embarrassed God?____________
Have I ever disrespected God?______________
Does that mean that you don’t love Him?__________________
1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)
8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
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…
Standing in the hot sun or cold winter air with a sign in your hand isn’t easy. The fact is that it can be humiliating begging others for help — it’s hard work! If I learned one thing from my experience doing homeless ministry is that many of the people on the street never thought they wold be there.
Many of those people had careers and families…then life happened. Others are mentally ill. And the fact always remains that it could happen to any of us.
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.
The beggar Lazarus – He probably got on people’s nerves just as beggars do today. People probably questioned how he lived and his choices. People probably wondered why his family didn’t help him. They most likely made excuses and justified ignoring him when Jesus clearly said, Give to them who ask and don’t turn them away…
Matthew 5:42 (NKJV)
42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Jesus also told us to give looking for nothing in return…
Luke 6:35New King James Version (NKJV)
35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
We all run into Lazarus today…at the gas station…on the street…asking you for spare change…the crumbs that fall from your table. What is your reaction? Do you react as the rich man did and turn them ALL away?
Jesus knows there are scammers and liars. He knows there are those who will use what you give them on things they don’t need. He knows there are those who will try to take advantage of your kindness. Many people refuse to give money to people who beg because they’re afraid they will use it on alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or will waste it on something wicked. I feel that’s one application of the scripture…”And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold”(Matthew 24:12), because so many people can’t be trusted, the love that many people would ordinarily show has grown cold and withheld. We must therefore not withhold God’s love, but share it with wisdom.
If someone who’s begging is lying, that’s between them and God. God expects us to be obedient, compassionate, wise and plant seeds of His love. Purchase a meal for them. Buy them medicine. Pay for them to have shelter for a night or two, while letting them know that you are sharing the love of God. All it takes is the ‘crumbs that fall from your table’. Sacrifice the cost of a lunch, coffee for a week, sodas…whatever it is that you don’t necessarily need to help someone who begs from you. I guarantee you won’t give away enough to break your, but you can hold on to enough to do so. Some times God places these people in our paths for a reason…so they can have an encounter with Him through us. So you can ask them if they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. So we can be the answer to their prayer to God for help. You can be someone’s confirmation that God hasn’t forgotten them. You could plant a seed in someone who witnesses your act of kindness….God always has a purpose for every encounter.
Remember that God warned us about turning away those who ask of us….be careful when you do because many times, just as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus…Christians and the church are the RICH MAN.
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.
What do people say when confronted with doing what God expects of them or has called them to do?
Why don’t you go to church?
Let’s go feed the homeless.
Let’s go visit and minister people in prison and hospitals…
Why don’t you give the firstfruits of all your increase to
Usually before we make an excuse, we usually give a big BUT…
“I would, BUT the people in church aren’t right themselves…”
“I would, BUT those homeless people will just spend it on drugs,
cigarettes and alcohol…”
“I would, BUT I can’t afford to…”
“I would, BUT I don’t have time to visit…”
“I would, BUT my kids have sports…”
Yeshua, Christ Jesus, gave us a parable to illustrate how
much He hates our excuses. He let us know how much He hates our BIG BUTS…
Luke 14:18-24 (NKJV)
18 BUT they all with one accord began
to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I
must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I
have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have
me excused.’ 20 Still
another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and
reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry,
said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city,
and bring in here the poor and the[a]maimed and the lame
and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you
commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into
the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my
house may be filled. 24 For
I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my
Notice that each of these excuses addressed the same excuses
we give today.
BUSINESS. WORK. CAREER
“I bought a piece of ground…”
“I bought a yoke of oxen…”
SPOUSE. CHILDREN. FAMILY
“I have married a wife…
These excuses made the master of the house (Jesus) angry.
So, He invited the very people who those who were initially invited were called
to serve instead.
He then said those who makes excuses and rejected His
invitation will not ‘taste His supper’ (will not enter His Kingdom).
Jesus hates our excuses! However, the enemy loves our BIG BUTS! He loves our excuses.
Don’t let your BIG BUT keep you out of the Kingdom of God!
11 For the grace(A) of God has appeared(B) that offers salvation to all people.(C)12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions,(D)and to live self-controlled,(E) upright and godly lives(F) in this present age,
“I’m only human!”
“I’m just a man!”
“I have needs!”
“God made me this way!”
These are some phrases we can find ourselves using to comfort ourselves or to explain to someone else when we have given in to sins of the flesh…especially sexual sin…
The bible reminds us that the ‘flesh’ wars against the ‘spirit’ and ‘spirit against the ‘flesh’. It’s a battle, therefore God knows that it’s not easy…
Galatians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Matthew 26:41 (NKJV)
41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
God designed our bodies (flesh) to have sexual desire to be enjoyed within the boundaries of Godly marriage between a man and woman.
These desires are produced and regulated by our glands and our brain.
When we allow how we react to the hormones these glands release into our bodies to control us, we are allowing our glands to become our god.
“I just can’t help myself!”
“I just can’t say no!”
“I just can’t stay away!”
There are some people who spend most of their time and energy thinking about sex. Even within a marriage, being obsessed with sex can be unhealthy and destructive.
The fact is that much of our society is obsessed with sex. It’s in television, social media, movies, music, art, literature…SEX SALES!
So, whether married or unmarried, we must control our sexual desires and not let them rule us. Because when something rules you, it becomes a priority, and it’s easy for what we prioritize to become our idols….our gods.
That’s why the apostle Paul asserts that he brought his flesh under subjection…
1 Corinthians 9:27 (NKJV)
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Remember, lack of discipline over his flesh is what allowed Esau to give up his birthright and blessing. He surrendered it to his brother for a single meal (Genesis 25:29-34).
That’s why the exercise of fasting is so important. It’s bringing our bodies under subjection so that what our bodies ‘want’ and our cravings won’t rule us…we rule them.
Sometimes telling God YES is telling our bodies NO!
When it comes to the battle of HOLY vs. HORNY, the struggle is real.
Galatians 5:16-17 (NKJV)
16 I say then: (A)Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For (B)the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, (C)so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Don’t let your glands become your God!
Titus 3:3-8 (MSG)
3-8 It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.
There is nothing impossible to Him, but there’s still a few things He can’t do…
He can’t die.
He can’t lie.
He can’t fail…
And, He can’t be a MOTHER.
Yes, I know we say He’s a father to the fatherless and a mother to the motherless…and He can fill those voids in our lives, but…
Notice what Psalm 68:5 says…
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.
It says that our loving heavenly FATHER is to the fatherless, but not a mother to the motherless.
He’s our FATHER, but,
God gave a special role to women. He gave them honor of being the first connection to every life on this earth. To nurture every life…to introduce every person to the world, and with that role comes a special bond. There’s nothing like a mother’s love.
Even when it comes to our salvation, in the fullness of time, God still didn’t step outside of the authority He gave to women by still using a woman to bring His Son into the world.
Yes, He could have made another man of ‘dust’ if He wanted, but He chose Mary to be a Mother to our Lord and Savior, Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
Galatians 4:4 (NKJV)
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born[a] of a woman, born under the law,
There’s nothing like a mother’s love!
That’s why it’s possible for some women who didn’t even physically birth a child into the world to still have the anointing to fulfill a mother’s role and love…it is a gift of God to the child and mother.
In those unfortunate circumstances when a mother does not live up to her role, even though a father can step it up or step in…nothing can ‘replace it’. Sometimes there is just a void, unless another ‘woman’ steps in (grandmother, aunt, sister, adopted mother).
So thank God for all mothers, even if yours didn’t live up to her responsibility, because that’s who God chose to bring you into the world.
We inherited all of our emotions from God…we were created in His image, so we can experience His emotions. God gets frustrated at us when we willingly sin.
So, He understands that we will sometimes feel frustrated at life… at some of His decisions… at what He allows.
Jeremiah 12:1 NKJV
Righteous are You, O LORD, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?
Sometimes we can feel guilty over our frustration.
But remember, gettingfrustratedisn’t a sin unless…
It causes us to be ungrateful.
It causes us to be in thankful.
It causes us to complain rather than lament.
It causes us to doubt God.
It causes someone else to doubt God.
It causes us to lose our faith.
It causessomeone else to doubt God.
When you feel frustrated or even angry at yourself, others, life or even God…do a Google search for Psalms of Lament.
Notice how God teaches us to responsibly express our frustrations as long as we always end with expressing our trust in Him.
Psalm 13 (NKIV)
13 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? (A)How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; (B)Enlighten my eyes, (C)Lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV)
26 (A)“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
Relationships are complicated and difficult, even good ones. But as we all know some relationships can slip into the category of ‘abusive’. And, abusive doesn’t always mean physical abuse.
When someone takes advantage of someone else’s love and mistreats them verbally or emotionally, that’s abusive.
When someone loves you enough to allow you to hurt them over and over again while always willing to forgive and move forward as if nothing happened, that’s abusive.
Micah 7:19 (NKJV)
19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all [a]our sins Into the depths of the sea.
Isaiah 43:25-26 (NKJV)
25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. 26 Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be [a]acquitted.
How many times have we taken advantage of His love by promising we wouldn’t do something again, only to do it again…numerous times?
Psalm 103:10-14 (NKJV)
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. 14 For He [a]knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
How many times have we hurt Him emotionally buy putting others and things before Him?
How many times have we provoked Him to jealously?
Psalm 78:58 (NKJV)
58 For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.
How many times has He witnessed us committing spiritual adultery right in front of Him only to stand with His arms wide open welcoming us back into His love?
Notice how sometimes in the bible, God sounded almost like a hurt lover before He got angry at Israel’s sin…
Judges 2 (NKJV)
2 Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. 2 And you shall make no [a]covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?
How many times have we put Him to open shame before His enemy and our adversary, choosing the devil over Him in our decisions.
How many times has the enemy had the same conversation with God about us that he had concerning Job? Have we always maintained God’s character through our trials?
Job 1:9-11 (NKJV)
9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not [a]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[b] You to Your face!”
How many times have we physically abused the Lord?
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
5 But He was wounded[a] for our transgressions, He was[b]bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes[c] we are healed.
Hebrews 6:4-6 (NKJV)
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 [a]if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Have you crucified Christ again today?
The fact is that if this were a marriage (and our relationship with Him actually is) many of us would have ended it a long time ago.
2 Corinthians 11:2 (NKJV)
2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present youas a chaste virgin to Christ.
Isaiah 54:5 (NKJV)
5 For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
God loves us with a relentless love. He allows us to hurt Him over and over again. Quite frankly, that’s abuse.
Never take for granted God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness to us. He endures our ‘abuse’ every day and allows gives us brand new mercies every morning.
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.
The first thing we tell people in abusive relationships is to GET OUT! Aren’t you glad that God hasn’t gotten out of His relationship with you?
Atheists love to prove not only Christians to be wrong, but anyone who they consider to be a ‘theist’.
In their passion to discredit the God, the bible, and those of us who believe wrong, many go to two sources…
The fact is that if you have had a conversation with atheists, or monitored/participated in an online or physical forum with them, they often quote scriptures from the bible…
Trying to find contradictions in them…
Trying to disqualify them and anyone who believes them.
Many of them dig pretty deep and go as far as to STUDY the bible trying to look for evidence to make their case against it stronger.
However, this tactic is not new. Even the devil himself knows the bible and tried to use it against Yeshua (Jesus Christ) in the wilderness…
Matthew 4:1-11 (NKJV)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” 5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not [a]tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, [b]“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” 11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
It’s unfortunate that many Christians are not equipped to contend against an atheist whose using the word of God because they don’t read and study it enough for themselves. It is essential that we in the Body of Christ study the work of God not only for our own relationship with God and spiritual maturity, but so we can be ready to give an answer to those who refute it…
2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)
15 But [a]sanctify [b]the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
The word of God should be a part of our daily spiritual nourishment. Any Christian who goes days, weeks, months and even years without studying God’s word along with history, culture, biblical language and anthropology…is seriously spiritually malnourished. In many ways believers who don’t study God’s word do more harm to the Kingdom of God than good.
It’s a good practice to add to you prayer life prayers for atheists who read the bible trying to disprove it, that God will let what they read be ‘good seed in good soil’. Pray that God will actually give increase to the ‘seed of the word’ that they read so that they can believe in Him through Jesus Christ. Pray that God actually makes them laborers for His harvest, and give them a passion FOR Him that is even greater than the passion they had against them…
Matthew 9:38 (NKJV)
38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
If Saul/Paul, a man who passionately worked to destroy the church can be converted…anyone can.
How often do you enjoy quality time with God in His word? PLEASE don’t dishonor God by allowing an atheist to know more about His word than you.
Many times after we have hurt someone, and they have ‘forgiven’ us, it angers us and hurts us when they bring it back up. We quickly remind them that ‘you are supposed to forgive and forget’. We remind them of how God says He will never remember our sins anymore…
Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
God is letting us know the power of His forgiveness, but do you think our omniscient, all-knowing God can’t recall what we did? Do you think He actually can’t remember it anymore?
This must be understood in proper context. God forgives us and doesn’t hold our sins against us WHEN WE REPENT. But, what is repentance? Repentance is godly sorrow over what we’ve done (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is a change of heart, and doing our best to never do that again. Repentance is making every effort to not put ourselves in the path of temptation for those sins. Repentance is an all out, sincere effort to turn around. But, Israel sometimes continued to rebel against God. Israel sometimes continued in the same sins…that’s not repentance. Israel sometimes put themselves in the path of temptation making it easier to fall.
You will notice that when Israel returned to their previous sins, that God STERNLY AND LOVINGLY BROUGHT UP THE PAST.
God was always first hurt, and then angry when Israel backslid. It’s not that they surprised Him. He already knew what they would do, when He forgave and restored them. How many times have you forgiven someone, but you fully suspected they weren’t yet strong enough to resist going back or hurting you the same way. When they did it again, you thought to yourself, “I knew it”, and it made your flesh even more angry because you expected it. You expected it because you could see them slipping back into old habits.
When ISRAEL backslid after being forgiven by God… BROUGHT UP THE PAST, HE CALLED THEM OUT, HE REMINDED THEM in a stern and loving manner. In your free time read these scriptures, and these are not the only ones, where God BROUGHT UP THE PAST. I suggest you read the entire chapters for context…
· Judges 2:1-4
· Judges 6:7-10
· Judges 10:10-15
· 1 Samuel 10:17-19
· Ezekiel 16
· Ezekiel 20
· Psalm 81
Following God’s example, when someone repeatedly hurts you with the same sin expecting you to ‘get over it’, expecting you to not allow it to bother you, expecting not to have to have anything to say…remember that, in love, God called out ISRAEL when they fell back into rebellion against Him. He reminded them of everything that He had done for them. How He delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians, gave them a land inhabited by others, made their enemies subject to them. He reminded them of all He had done for them and pointed out what they did.
When someone blatantly hurts you, just like God, you have a right to remind them of your love for them, and bring up the past responsibly….in the spirit of love, STILL WILLING TO FORGIVE. This works both ways. You are willing to forgive no matter how many times they do it (Matthew 18:21,22), as Jesus commanded. And if they care about you, reminding them pricks their hearts, hopefully leading them to repent and have a sincere desire to not do it again. God said if we delight in Him He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). If it’s our desire to not do these hurtful things again…then we won’t. It works both ways towards forgiveness and repentance.
Read the scriptures I’ve listed above. Study this topic. See how God sounds like a hurt lover when His people chose evil over Him (Judges 2:2). Notice how He sternly, but lovingly reminds them His love, their sin and their promises. Then look at how He is willing to forgive again, and how they are led to repent. BRINGING UP THE PAST IN LOVE….it all works for both parties involved.
So, if you find yourself to hurt someone in the same way you did before, and they forgave you, have enough humility and respect to allow them to remind you of their love and your promise. And, if someone blatantly hurts you again after you’ve forgiven them, ONLY BRING IT BACK UP IN THE SPIRIT OF LOVE, fully ready to forgive again…and again…and again.
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.