“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.
Think about this, God made all of us. We are all His creation. He gave us all strengths, abilities, talents, gifts and virtues to advance His kingdom and to sustain our lives…
2 Peter 1:3 (NKJV)
3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
However, if we are born with innate strengths, we are also born with innate weaknesses, inabilities, and vices. No matter how hard we try, there are some things we just can’t do, or naturally can’t help without the help of God or one another.
I think God does this to create interdependence and balance among those created in His image.
Some people are physically stronger than others.
Some people are ‘smarter’ than others in certain areas, but everyone is ‘smart’ in something. For example, some people are great at math, but horrible and writing, and vice versa. (My wife was a math teacher, I used to tease her by saying, ‘get a respectable job’ because math is my weakness, while she’s not fond of writing, and concedes that it’s her weakness.)
Some people are not mechanically inclined and need help screwing in a light bulb, but may be a genius at technology.
Some people are unfortunately born disabled.
Some people naturally have a bad temper that was even evident when they were infants or toddlers. They didn’t ask for it…it’s a weakness.
Some people naturally have trouble managing money and resources, while others are excellent at it.
Some people are born naturally predisposed to get high blood pressure or even born with chronic ailments.
Some people naturally have trouble focusing, which limits their ability to learn.
Some people have an insatiable sexual appetite…like Solomon the son of David and wisest man to ever live (1 Kings 11:1).
Now, I know this is going to mess up some peoples’ theology, but I believe that some people did not ask to be or choose to be attracted to people of his or her own sex. Just because I don’t have that particular weakness, it’s wrong for me to declare, that someone else chose it. It’s a weakness they are ‘born with’; that is no different than a heterosexual person who’s unquenchable sexual desire leads them to be promiscuous…we are all born with weaknesses and lusts that we didn’t ask for (Psalm 51:5).
Some people are naturally flirtatious. Even when they are married the find that they continue to love attention that could lead to emotional and physical intimacy. It doesn’t automatically go away if they get married. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to be married. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their spouse. It just means that they have to depend on God with the help of His Holy Spirit to fight those weaknesses. As much as God can deliver us from our weaknesses, and lusts, He would much rather we deny our flesh out of love for Him and resist our weaknesses…
Matthew 16:24 (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.
Some weaknesses may never go away, you have to overcome them just like Paul…
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NKJV)
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.
So, here’s the good news. God does not hold us hostage to the weaknesses that He gave us, He just expects us to be responsible with them, which in turn is designed to enhance our relationships with Him.
Whether it be physical, mental or even spiritual God has made provision for our weaknesses through faith and relationship in Him and through His Holy Spirit…
Romans 8:26 (NKJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession [a]for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
When we deny the works of the flesh, which the enemy uses to exploit our weaknesses, we grow stronger and closer to God.
Galatians 5:16-21 (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.
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.
God is able snatch us out of the consequences of our bad decisions and weakness, for example someone who is very poor with managing money can be blessed with success beyond their ability or education…even if He connects them with the right people. Or, God is able to pair a person who is ‘sexually weak’ with a spouse strong enough to patiently see them through their weakness with which they sincerely struggle…sometimes for a lifetime. How are you the designated strong person in your various relationships?
But check this out, God is also able to deliver us from the temptation…
2 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)
9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
But, He would prefer that we resist the enemy and willingly put forth every effort to ‘set aside’ those weaknesses of both FLESH AND SPIRIT that can come between us and Him if we allow them.
2 Corinthians 7:1(NKJV)
7 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
He wants us to do this out of the same love for Him, as we want those we love to choose NOT to do things to hurt us. Not only because of the consequences of losing possibly relationship with us, but out of genuine love, concern and the desire not to hurt us.
God has equipped us to resist the enemy with a promise…
James 4:7 (NKJV)
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
And, given us the tools and resources of prayer and His Holy Spirit to help us, even when we don’t know what to say (Romans 8:26).
God doesn’t hold us hostage to our weakness. He doesn’t condemn us for our weaknesses. He gives us power over them.
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be [b]carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the [c]carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
So be responsible with your weaknesses and lusts. Being born with them is not an excuse or necessarily a curse…
So many times we, in the Body of Christ, are very quick to blame God’s wrath and judgement on those who don’t believe and are practicing the works of the flesh. And, God has promised that those who practice the works of the flesh and continue in sin will be ‘dealt with’….
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
19Now 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.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the [a]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
However, when you carefully read the word of God, especially in the Old Testament, you will find that God’s judgment on His people was NEVER because of the sin of unbelievers, pagans or heathens…it was ALWAYS because of either THEIR OWN SIN, COMPROMISE, HYPOCRISY and ASSIMILATION or because of the SIN OF THE LEADER (KING).
First of all, remember that every thing that is written in the Old Testament, especially the catastrophic, sometimes unbelievable and admittedly difficult to understand acts of judgment, such as commanding everything alive to be killed, the ground opening up and swallowing entire families, a man being stoned for picking up sticks on the day of rest, and His people being exiled were written for our example…
1 Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV)
11 Now [a]all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our [b]admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
They were extreme examples to let us know God’s heart. It let us know how much some behavior pissed Him off.
That being said, now read carefully through Judges, 1st & 2nd Kings, 1st & 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi making a point to notice how God reacts to the behavior of His people.
Yes, God pronounced judgement on pagans, as when He told Israel to destroy Ai in Joshua Chapter 8.
But, notice that Israel suffered drought, famine and exile not because of heathens, but because of their own spiritual adultery. That’s why He made the promise to His people in 2 Chronicles Chapter 7 as a reminder of this…
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NKJV)
13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among MY PEOPLE, 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.
Israel and Judah were exiled into Babylon because of their own sin.
The entire nation suffered because of the sins of unrighteous leaders who did not seek Godly counsel nor listen to God. These were Kings who put their trust in the military rather than God…
Psalm 33:16 (NLT)
16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
The entire nation of Israel was punished because of leaders who were arrogant, ungodly, unrepentant, and vengeful. They used religion for their own agenda, such as King Jeraboam (Read 1 Kings Chapter 12). Yes, they were ordained by God. Some of them were great builders and had many successful projects, but their arrogance established the culture in the nation and set up His people to sin.
King Herod was very fond of John the Baptist. He loved listening to him and even protected him. He was a great builder and politician, but he was an enemy of Christ.
Mark 6:20 (NKJV)
20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he [a]did many things, and heard him gladly.
We all know that in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed. Yeshua even lamented about how He longed to protect HIS own people, but they wouldn’t have His protection…
Matthew 23:37-38 (NKJV)
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate;
So, here is my warning to those inAmerica or any other nation who calls themselves disciples of Christ. I know many Americans fear socialism, illegal immigration, radical muslim influence and the loss of the nation but remember this…
Even though God set the example of allowing violent judgement upon heathens in the Old Testament…
ISRAEL LOST THEIR NATION, WAS EXILED AND THEIR TEMPLE DESTROYED NOT BECAUSE OF SINNERS BUT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN SIN, COMPROMISE, HYPOCRISY andASSIMILATION or because of the SIN OF THE LEADER (KING).
Please don’t take my word for it. Take your time (because it’s not a one day read or study), pray for wisdom, read and study it for yourself.
Also remember that every prophet called in the Old Testament that had harsh warnings from God had their messages rejected by the people of God.
What they did to you hurt you to the core! It temporarily broke your spirit. It made your very soul ache. They may have totally disregarded your feelings; put you to open shame; caused you to lose money and friendships you may never get back, or betrayed you in a way that you initially felt was beyond forgiveness.
But, you remembered two important things…
One, that God has commanded and demanded that we forgive everyone just as He forgives us, over and over again…
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV)
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Two, the relationship is important to you, and you don’t want it to end in spite of what they did…
You didn’t want the marriage, relationship or friendship to end. So, in your heart was the desire to forgive…and you forgave them.
Yes, in your heart you forgave them and do everything in your power to move on beyond what happened. But, as much as you try to forgive and forget…things happen to remind you.
They may have brought up something again that you did, and it quickly makes you think about what they did to you.
There will always be triggers that will bring what they did back to your mind, and the thought will sometimes hurt you again, make you cry, make you angry, make you feel weak…and you will have to silently forgive them over and over again.
Manage your triggers, and remember this…
When the God encourages us to forget the past through the Apostle Paul, it doesn’t mean you will never remember what happened, but the frame of mind you were in.
Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [a]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
Much like when you no longer love romantically an ex from years ago, you remember the relationship, but can’t remember the affection you had for them.
So, don’t feel bad if you can’t completely get it out of your mind. Just continue to not let the thought affect your relationship with them once you’ve forgiven them.
Remember that forgiveness is a process that continues throughout the life of any relationship.
God teaches us in His word that wise counsel is priceless…
Proverbs 19:20-21 (NKJV)
20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.
21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
It’s good to get the benefit from the experience of others. But do you know anyone whose advice you really don’t want? Why? How do people feel about taking advice from you? Why?
Do people make any of these statements about you?
Is _____________ going to be there?
Is______________ going with us?
Are you inviting _________________?
Oh no! Here comes _______________?
HERE ARE 5 REASONS WHY PEOPLE MAY NOT WANT TO TAKE YOUR ADVICE…
1. YOU CAN’T HAVE A CONVERSATION WITHOUT GIVING ADVICE…
Some people don’t know how to have a conversation without giving advice. I know a young man who didn’t have his father around when he grew up. All the men in his life felt they had to mentor him. That’s fine, but not all the time.! They would never just laugh and talk. Never could just tell jokes. And, if jokes were told, it was about how the young man wasn’t doing something right. “If I were you I would…”, “When are you going to…”, “Ha, Ha, Ha, that’s not how you do that, here let me show you…” He got to the point that he dreaded when they came around. “Oh know, here comes Uncle ________” he thought. Remember this. Every moment doesn’t have to be a teaching moment. Every situation doesn’t have to be a lesson. And, people don’t learn by making fun of what they do wrong.
2. YOU AREN’T A GOOD EXAMPLE…
I had a barber once who loved to give advice about healthy eating. That was fine be he couldn’t cut my hair without his stomach rubbing against me. I also have an acquaintance who is always full of financial advice, but he is not doing very well financially himself. And, most parents get frustrated when people who have never had children try to advice them how to raise their children. I’m not saying people with children can’t give advice, or that you can’t learn from someone else’s financial mistakes, or that someone overweight can’t advice someone else on how to lose weight. But, I am saying that
3. YOU ARE ARROGANT & CONDESCENDING…
Yes, we see your level of success. Yes, we see that you’ve made great decisions. But, know we aren’t looking for advice every time you come around. Because when you give that advice you act as though everyone else is so stupid. When you give advice you belittle what they have done well. When you give advice, your tone is so mean that your advice goes unheard.
4. YOU USE IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRAG ABOUT YOURSELF & FEED YOUR OWN EGO…
These people really aren’t concerned about helping you, they just want an opportunity to glorify themselves. No, we are not interested in how well you planned, how smart you were, or how hard you worked. Because guess what, we planned carefully too. We made intelligent decisions too. We worked very hard too, but sometimes things just don’t work out. Ask any entrepreneur who had a strong business plan, researched their market, sacrificed for their business, put in ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ and because of factors beyond their control, things didn’t work out.
I’m not saying that unsolicited isn’t good sometimes, but most of the time, if people want your advice, they will ask you. If you notice that someone needs some help and aren’t willing to ask, find a way to BE an example of the behavior that you feel could benefit from their experience. Be creative. Pray and ask God for wisdom, or even let the know you’re available if needed, but blurting out unsolicited advice can be so insulting that it goes unheard.
Remember, advice is only good if it received, so stop, think, and pray before you speak into someone’s life.
The next time you get some unwanted advice, come back to this list to see how many reasons apply.
Having you ever noticed a child throwing a temper tantrum when he or she doesn’t get something that they want? This is a natural reaction that must be overcome as the child matures. The reaction is natural…innate…the child was born with it.
As you know, the debate continues as to whether people are born gay, or is it a choice. The purpose of this article isn’t to debate that question, but to address this fact…
The truth is that we are all born with innate desires, feelings and proclivities that we did not ask for.
Many Christians reason to excuse some behaviors by saying, “I or they was or were born this way”.
This doesn’t mean that God made a mistake because the scripture clearly reminds us that we were all born in sin…
Psalm 51:5 (NKJV)
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
We were all born with desires we didn’t ask for…that doesn’t make them ALL okay. Just because it comes naturally doesn’t make right. Some natural desires we must resist with the help of the Holy Spirit…
…ALL come from natural desires and they are ALL EQUALLY wrong.
Even David, a man after God’s own heart was born with an insatiable desire for women…but that did not make it right or acceptable to God. Those who read the bible know what that led to.
Some people are naturally more greedy, more lustful, more promiscuous, more selfish, more aggressive, more violent that others…does that make it okay? For those who wish to argue these are learned behaviors, some people have these behaviors modeled and ‘learn’ them, while others witnessed these behaviors and didn’t succumb to them.
Pedophiles don’t feel they ‘choose’ to be attracted to children…does that make it okay? No!
The desires of our flesh war against our spirit…and these vary from person to person.
Galatians 5:17 (NKJV)
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.
It is only by walking in the Fruit of the Spirit can we overcome our fleshly desires that displease God.
Galatians 5:16 (NKJV)
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
By the way, calling out something as sin is NOT judging. And, it’s not saying it’s any more wrong than another sin!
That’s why fasting is so powerful. It is a tool we can use to bring our flesh into subjection, overcome our weaknesses and prove to ourselves that our desires won’t rule us. It’s our tool to move those mountains in our lives.
Matthew 17: 20-21
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting
Use this as post ammunition when someone presents to you the argument, “I was born this way, so it can’t be wrong”.
Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s okay.
One of the best ways for a teacher to establish his or her classroom culture and expectations is by modeling that behavior.
The tone of our culture troubles me.
Our society has legitimized a culture of insults, profanity and retaliation.
This behavior is being modeled by too many of our leaders, while being justified, excused, ignored and mimicked by their supporters.
People are so impressed by ‘keeping it real’, telling it like it is, and avoiding being Politically Correct that many have lost the value of exercising Emotional Intelligence, tact, kindness and restraint.
Too many people see being loud, proud, obnoxious and visceral as strength, while seeing meekness, humility and patience as weakness.
Our children are having IMMATURE, NEGATIVE and SINFUL BEHAVIOR modeled and legitimized every day.
Even in our movies, we feel the ‘bullied nerd’ is weak until he or she stands up to the bully violently.
Remember, Yeshua Himself said don’t repay evil with evil, but turn the other cheek. He said don’t resist an evil person (unless of course your life is threatened). But of course, striking back if someone slaps you isn’t about self-defense, but pride. Returning an insult with an insult is about pride.
Matthew 5:39 (NKJV)
39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Adults who call themselves disciples of Christ are going to have to do a better job of setting the example of walking in the Fruit of the Spirit, which the world sees as weakness.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Our children are learning to fight instead of keep the peace…
They’re learning to argue instead of reason…
They are learning to place blame and accuse instead of looking for solutions…
They’re learning to hate instead of love…
They are learning to make excuses to satisfy their will instead of God’s will.
Could many of our childish adults be the children who were spoiled when they were growing up? It’s time to stop the erosion of decorum in leadership, business, politics…and especially in Chrisitanity.
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?
Just a quick reminder that we’re never alone, and we’ve never been ever alone. Remember Hebrews 1:13-14…
13 But to which of the angels has He ever said:
“Sit at My right
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those
who will inherit salvation?
And, what Yeshua, Christ Jesus, told us in the book of Matthew…
10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say
to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father
who is in heaven.
God blesses us with heavenly ‘bodyguards’ and ‘personal
assistants’ to minister to us and protect us.
We’ve all had dark moments when we’ve done and said things of which we are now ashamed.
We’ve all had moments of weakness and times when we were not representing the glory of God. .
Sometimes we may have been in a place or with a person or people with whom we shouldn’t or sometimes we may have been at home…’alone’.
We all haven’t had the SAME shameful moments, but we have all participated in some work or works of the flesh. Which of these have you been guilty of…?
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [fmurders, 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
Think for a moment of some of the things that your angel has had to…
Watch you do…
Hear you say…
Protect you from…
Rescue you from…
Hide you from the rest of the world to keep those moments between you, your angel and God.
Stop for a moment and thank God for your own personal angel, and tell Him “I’m sorry” for some of the things your angel had had to ‘put up with’ while taking care of you.
I know I’m not the only one who sometimes struggles with this. I’m sincerely grateful and thankful for the level of blessing and favor on my life. I’m not talking about riches. I’m talking about being thankful that I have food, clothes, shelter, good health and a sound mind…for what many people call ‘the little things’. I’m thankful that my family is doing well, thankful for freedom, peace, safety and yes, I’m thankful for salvation.
But, sometimes I want more.
I would love for God to bless me to be able to support my family well through my writing and leave behind a financial heritage for my children. Ohhhh…that would be so awesome! I would love to be able to do some of the things for my family that I know would make them happy. Who doesn’t want financial stability, good health and peace in their life.
I can’t count the times I’ve been praying to God asking Him to bless my life and stopped and just had to stop and say, “Thank you!”
Because you see, so many times when I’m asking for more, I think about so many who have less.
So many times when I lain in my bed worrying about something, I think about the fact that it’s a blessing to have a bed in which to worry. Someone, somewhere at that very moment is trying to sleep under a bridge
God tells us to be content, and I truly am…
1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV)
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, [a]and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
But, still I want more. Don’t you? I mean God also told us He would give us more, if we have our priorities straight…
Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit[a] your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Do you ever feel conflict over being thankful and wanting more?
How do we manage being content with our lives without being covetous?
If you have this conflict too, tell God thank you for the conflict. It’s a sign that you aren’t greedy or covetous.
Here’s a few simple tips on managing that conflict.
Please be careful when you…
Feel God owes you better.
Feel what you have isn’t good enough.
Ask God for more, more often than you thank Him for what you have.
Never pray for those who have less than you.
Lose that internal conflict between being thankful and asking God for more.
As a man of faith in God, I enjoy many of the benefits that have come through science. But, when it comes to the origin of the universe, how life began on earth and many other things, science and religion are at odds. In those instances, I like to define science as the attempt to give a physical explanation to the spiritual world.
Even though they are at odds, the Bible and science agree in at least 3 areas.
1. LIFE BEGAN IN AFRICA/MESOPOTAMIA
Most archeologists call eastern Africa the cradle of humankind. ‘Pre-historic’ remains have also recently been found in Morocco, which is still Africa.
Scripture also affirms that life began in Africa. Notice the location given for the Garden of Eden…
Genesis 2:10-14 (NKJV)
10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river isHiddekel;[a] it is the one which goes toward the east of [b]Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
Wikipedia describes the location of these rivers…
Genesis 2:10–14 lists four rivers in association with the garden of Eden: Pishon, Gihon, Chidekel (the Tigris), and Phirat (the Euphrates). It also refers to the land of Cush—translated/interpreted as Ethiopia, but thought by some to equate to Cossaea, a Greek name for the land of the Kassites. These lands lie north of Elam, immediately to the east of ancient Babylon, which, unlike Ethiopia, does lie within the region being described. In Antiquities of the Jews, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus identifies the Pishon as what “the Greeks called Ganges” and the Geon (Gehon) as the Nile.
2. ENERGY CAN’T BE CREATED OR DESTROYED
First of all in science, laws are absolute. They are non-negotiable. Even if we try to challenge or resist them with technology, the laws will always win. That being said, THE LAW OF CONSERVATION OF ENERGY states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but only transferred from one form to another.
God is absolute. He is non-negotiable. Even if we try to resist or challenge Him with our technology, God will always win. God is an all-powerful Spirit. He is eternal. He was not created and can’t be destroyed. And yes, He can be transferred from one form to another.
Isaiah 40:28 (NKJV)
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
Philippians 2:6-7 (NKJV)
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
To me, The Law of Conservation of Energy sounds like science’s attempt to define God.
3. LIFE SPREAD FROM WATER TO LAND
Most of us remember from school that our science books taught that the earliest and smallest life on earth was first in the waters and then on land.
Whether you believe Genesis is literal or symbolic, a literal week or thousands of years, all believers in God agree that He created the heavens and the earth in the exact order of Genesis. And in that order, God created the waters and the creatures in the waters first, just as science teaches…
Genesis 1:20-21 (NKJV)
20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living [a]creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the [b]firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both the Bible and science agree in such foundational areas. Here’s the thing. God created those brilliant scientific minds that contend He is not real. And, who can really prove that the sun is 93,000,000 miles away, or that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. Who can travel that distance or speed to prove it? It takes faith in the formulas and scientists who ‘discovered’ these scientific ‘facts’.
Have you ever been so angry with someone that you didn’t want an apology from them?
“I don’t wanna hear it!” “I’m not ready for that right now!” “You don’t mean it!”
We must always be ready to forgive as God is always ready to forgive us.
Hear are 5 reasons why we sometimes don’t forgive…
FORGIVING THEM TAKES AWAY OUR EXCUSE TO BE ANGRY
Sometimes when we’re honest with ourselves, we want to remain angry about what they have done. True forgiveness takes away our excuse to be angry at them.
Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV)
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, [a]clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
REMAINING ANGRY CAN MAKE US FEEL POWERFUL
When we’ve been hurt, it can make us feel weak, vulnerable and foolish. However, our anger can give us a perverse feeling of power and strength over the person or persons who hurt us. Forgiveness can make us feel weak if we don’t remember that it is an act of mercy that makes us look more like God.
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
FORGIVING THEM FORCES US TO MOVE ON
If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves getting a sense of ‘enjoyment’ out of lingering in the past and constantly thinking about and dwelling on what was done to hurt us. Sometimes people just don’t want to move forward.
Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [a]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Forgiveness is a selfless act that frees the offender from the offense, as it does when God forgives us. God gets nothing out of forgiving us for our sins. He does it to free us and allow us to move forward. Sometimes we can have been hurt so badly by someone, that don’t want them to be free of the offense and don’t want them to move on. We can want them to live in a state of perpetual regret for what they’ve done. Forgiving them frees them from owing us an apology. Remember what Yeshua, Christ Jesus said…
Matthew 6:15 (NKJV)
15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
When someone hurts us bad enough, we can find ourselves wanting them to be characterized as bad no matter what they do. Be careful when you feel someone isn’t sincere in their repentance or apology or not worthy of repentance.
Life can take people down many roads. As those roads are travelled sometimes people can find themselves in sinful or unhealthy relationships. It could be a spouse in an adulterous or a sinfully emotionally connected relationship. It could be a ‘boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. It could be a relationship with the ‘wrong crowd’ or with a person on your job. The bible tells us how we are to choose our relationships…
2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV)
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what [a]fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what [b]communion has light with darkness?
Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t interact with people who aren’t believers, but it does means we need to be very careful who we are in close relationship with. When two oxen are ‘yoked’ they are connected and one can’t move forward or turn without the other.
So many times people have tried to end an unholy relationship with a conversation, an explanation, a meeting, an encounter one last communication or connection for ‘closure’. But, what that actually does is draws them back in and keeps them connected.
Trying to end a wrong relationship or even help someone else when you aren’t strong enough can make you stumble…
Galatians 6:1 (NKJV)
6 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Sinful relationships do not need closure. They ALWAYS need an abrupt end, no communication, no explanation…just STOP, immediately.
I recently noticed a picture (meme) circulating on social media that shows the late Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and well-known atheist, featuring one of his quotes, “There was nothing before the Big Bang.” Most people know that many scientists assert that the universe BEGAN with a BIG BANG.
For Mr. Hawking to say there was nothing before the Big Bang still leaves to question what was that NOTHING, and how could NOTHING CAUSE AN EXPLOSION?
This is why I define science as our attempt to give a physical, biological or chemical explanation to a spiritual world. It’s how God allows to spiritual to manifest itself so it can be perceived within the ‘physical’ world and the realm of ‘time’.
So, I respond to the statement that “Before the Big Bang there was nothing”, with, “Eternity and God need no beginning”.
“In the beginning…” was written as a point of reference for the benefit of those of us who exist within the continuum of time.
Genesis 1 (NKJV)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness [a]was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
2 Before the mountains were born, before you had formed the earth and the world, from eternity past to eternity future you are God.
Notice how God described Himself to Moses as ‘I AM’…
Exodus 3:14-15 (NKJV)
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.’ ” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’
I AM! ‘I’ is a personal pronoun and ‘AM’ is a being verb. God is THE eternal BEING and defined Himself as a BEING verb. Wow! That is no coincidence.
I’ve stated in other articles that our ‘spirits’ temporarily’ exist outside of ‘time’ when we’re in a deep sleep or under anesthesia. We can doze off or be put to sleep and not notice the time that elapsed while we were ‘out’. Also notice the fact that even though we were all alive and aware, our minds can’t remember the day we were born or when we reacted to stimuli when we were in the womb.
God has promised us eternal life and most of the time we think of an eternal future. However, God IS! He stands outside of time experiencing the past and the future as if it were happening right now.
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.
God is invisible, and it’s possible that the force and expanse that science wants to call ‘the universe’ is God. Even their ‘physical laws’ correspond with God’s spiritual essence…Energy can’t be created or destroyed, that’s God’s essence. If you believe energy can’t be created, then you can believe God didn’t have to be created. If you can see how the same internet can be ‘everywhere at the same time’, accessed in your bedroom, Texas, Aruba, or in space at the same time…then you can see how God can be everywhere at the same time.
May the Lord God of Israel from Eternity Past to Eternity Future bless you and keep you in the name and authority of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
So, going back to the BIG BANG. When God created the universe and ‘said’ “Let there be…” I’m sure there was a physical manifestation of sound and an incredible release of energy in an explosion. To me, the BIG BAND only confirms God lives.
We have all been the antagonist in at least one chapter of someone’s story.
We are not always the hero.
We are not always the victim.
SOMETIMES, WE WERE THE DARK SIDE!
Sometimes we were the monster.
OUR CULTURE CREATES MONSTERS WHO THINK THEY’RE HEROES!
How many people have you given a good reason to hate you?
How many people has the enemy used you as a stumbling block?
Sometimes we were Pharaoh.
Sometimes we were Peter.
Sometimes we were Judas.
Always be willing to forgive, even when you feel they do deserve it, because there’s always someone who feels we don’t.
Think about all the times God watched us deny, and betray Him…yet He still is always ready to forgive us.
He expects us to do the same.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (CJB)
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, violent assertiveness and slander, along with all spitefulness. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted; and forgive each other, just as in the Messiah God has also forgiven you.
This article is primarily for those who call themselves to be disciples of Christ. God is sovereign. And His sovereignty is on His terms, not based on our terms and the narrative that we desire.
There are many who have judged within their hearts and others have vocalized or published that they don’t think George Floyd should be the face, or name for a movement. They feel he doesn’t deserve to be a martyr.
They feel this way because of his past, because of the mistakes he made and because of the life he lived.
I humbly submit to anyone who feels that way to consider this…
GOD STILL CHOSE JACOB (LIAR, DECEIVER & THEIF)
God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. But, most of you know what Jacob did. He lied to and deceived his father (with the help of his mother) to steal his brother’s blessing. (Genesis 27-29). God STILL CHOSE HIM to establish the blessing and heritage that He promised to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. Does Jacob deserved to be honored? If that happened today, how do you think self righteous people would react?
GOD STILL CHOSE THE 12 PATRIARCHS (SCHEMERS, LIARS, MURDERERS, FORNICATORS)
God chose the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel) to be the foundation and patriarchs of His chosen people, despite their character flaws…
They hated their younger brother so much that they conspired to kill him, but later decided to sell him as a slave and allow their father to go for years thinking he was dead. (Genesis 37)
Jacob’s fourth born son, Judah, thought he was sleeping with a prostitute but was actually sleeping with his daughter-in-law, who was tricking him so that she could have children by him. When he found out that she was pregnant, he wanted her killed until she presented his signet ring to prove he was the father. So, he solicited a prostitute and bore children with his daughter-in-law. However one of Israel’s most prominent tribes bears his name (Judah means PRAISE). God STILL CHOSE HIM despite his character flaws. Does he deserve that? (Genesis 38)
GOD STILL CHOSE LEVI AND SIMEON (DECEIVERS AND MURDERERS)
A man named Shechem, a prince of a neighboring land, sexually violated their sister Dinah, however he fell in love with her and asked if he could marry her. Of course her brothers were pissed off. But, they agreed to allow their sister to marry him if he and all the men of the land would be circumcised. He happily agreed. Three days after they were circumcised, Levi and Simeon went and killed all the men while they were in great pain from the ‘surgery’. Even in their anger, this was deception and murder. God STILL CHOSE THEM to be among the patriarch of His chosen people. Their crime did not disqualify them.
GOD STILL CHOSE MOSES (MURDERER)
One day when Moses saw an Egyptian beating one of the children of Israel, he intervened, murdered him and then fled. God STILL CHOSE MOSES even though he committed this crime. Did he deserve to be chosen to deliver Israel from Egypt, lead them to the promised land, and present God’s law to them? Was God wrong? (Exodus 2)
GOD STILL CHOSE DAVID (ABUSED HIS AUTHORITY, ADULTERER, MURDERER)
Everyone knows the account of David and Bathsheba. How David saw her bathing and lusted after her, but it didn’t stop there. He abused his authority as king by summoning her, he slept with her and got her pregnant. To hide the pregnancy, he had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, who was one of David’s mighty men of valor (very loyal to David), sent to the front lines of battle so that he would be killed. David then married Uriah’s wife. The prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin, and he sorrowfully repented. Their son Solomon, grew to inherit the throne and was the most wise man to ever live. God STILL CHOSE David in spite of this horrible sin. He is still considered to be a man after God’s own heart because of his repentance. Does he deserve that? (2 Samuel 11)
GOD STILL CHOSE SAUL, ALSO KNOWN AS PAUL (PERSECUTED THE CHURCH, IMPRISONED CHRISTIANS, CONSENTED TO THE DEATH OF STEPHEN)
Saul was passionate about persecuting the church. He was greatly feared by the early Christians, but God still chose him to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He called himself the least of the apostles because of his past. But, God STILL CHOSE HIM while he was on his way to Damascus breathing THREATS AND MURDER against disciples of Christ. Did Saul/Paul deserve this honor and responsibility.
God has always used imperfect people to carry out His perfect will. God has proven that He has the sovereign right to chose who He wants.
We are not allowed to critique who and why God chooses. We don’t determine the narrative based on what we feel the ‘qualifications’ should be.
Now back to George Floyd. Millions of people around the world of all races have been united to fight for social justice for Black people. That thrills me. Especially when I wonder how many Pastors week after week, and year after year and never preach a sermon about social justice and civil rights to their congregations. Quite frankly, many of the same people who frown on George Floyd’s past find every reason in the world to excuse Donald Trump’s who not only has never been known for his character, integrity or faith, but was unrepentant when confronted with statements he made about grabbing women by the vagina, and bragging about pursuing married women.
Plus, most of the people chosen in the bible didn’t ‘apply for the job’. And, George Floyd never volunteered to be a martyr.
John 8:7 (NKJV)
7 So when they continued asking Him, He [a]raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
One of the greatest benefits of a relationship with God through Yeshua the Messiah is our own angels assigned to watch over us…
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?
Matthew 18:10 NKJV
10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven (B)their angels always (C)see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
Think of all the shameful, dangerous, and embarrassing situations your angel has witnessed while watching over you.
Think of the battles your angels have had to fight in the spiritual world, contending against demons for you, just like Daniel…
Daniel 10:10-13 NKJV
10 (A)Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, (B)man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.
12 Then he said to me, (C)“Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, (D)your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 (E)But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, (F)Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.
So while you’re praying for peace in your life, marriage or family…
Please don’t forget to ask God to give your angels peace while they minister to you.
God created the universe and the earth to be self-sustaining. There is evidence of His work that testifies of Him since He decided to create the continuum of time…
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,
But there are some things that God creates new every day just as He did manna for the Children of Israel.
Exodus 16:17-21 (NKJV)
17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. 18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. 19 And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” 20 Notwithstanding they did not [a]heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. 21 So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.
There are some things that can’t be carried over to the next day.
There are some things that can’t be carried over to the next moment.
There are some things that even though humans can make out of something that God continues to create out of nothing.
1. A DAY
Out of all of the accomplishments God has allowed humans to achieve through science, medicine and technology there is nothing humans can do to create A NEW DAY. There is nothing that we can do to prevent the next day from arriving. Only God can make a day. No matter what may keep you awake all night making you dread tomorrow…if Yeshua delays His return, the Lord will continue to do what no one else can…create a new day for you.
Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)
24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
2. A BREEZE
Have you ever wondered where a breeze comes from? Yes, science will tell you that a breeze is a product of the difference between the temperatures of the earth and land. As air rises and grows warmer over land and forms low pressure, it interacts with cool air in high pressure…then it travels accross water and land. As land heats up during the afternoon, air above it begins to rise forming a low pressure area near the land. Then cool air, situated in high pressure areas, spreads across the water and moves in over land. BUT WHO MAKES THIS HAPPEN EVERY DAY? God controls it.
Exodus 14:21 (NKJV)
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.
Mark 4:39 (NKJV)
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace,[a] be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
3 & 4. A BREATH & HEARTBEAT
Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that every time you exhale, God has a new breath waiting for you? Anyone who suffers from asthma will remind you to never take that for granted. That’s why it’s a shame that some people who God gives breath, uses that breath to say He doesn’t exist. Yes, God has allowed humans to make respirators to breathe ‘for us’. But, there are many people who are on life support who are actually dead because they don’t have ‘the breath of life’ inside them. God gives us a new ‘breath of life’ every time we exhale.
And, even while we sleep, our hearts keep beating. After each beat God continues to give us another each and every day. Even an artificial heart is nothing without a power source. God is the power source of the heart he created.
Genesis 2:7 (NKJV)
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
5. NEW MERCIES
Grace is God’s unmerited favor towards His people, but everyone benefits from His mercy, whether they acknowledge it or not. It’s God’s mercy that prevents Him from dealing with us as we deserve. We are created in sinful flesh, and even when we try to do our best, we still fall short of His expectations. However, each day God gives us brand new mercies for each new day.
Aren’t you thankful that God doesn’t deal with you as your deserve? Aren’t you thankful that when God watched you stop and consider committing sin, knowing fully that it was wrong but still chose to do it anyway…yet God did not strike you down?
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.
Psalm 103:10 (NKJV)
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
This list is not exhaustive. There are many things that require to be created new every day. THINK ABOUT IT…(the ability to think for yourself is one of them).
2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack[a] Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
This is one of the most difficult pieces I have ever written.
If you accept the bible as the infallible word of God, then we must admit there are some difficult things within the word to understand and accept. As we view the word from a perspective thousands of years from when it was breathed into man, we find ourselves viewing it with a 21st Century perspective. This makes decisions that God made very difficult to understand and accept. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with admitting this.
One of the most difficult things for me to personally understand is when God commanded that His people kill everyone…men, women, children, cattle — EVERTYTHING! Why God? Why?
However, if we step back and look at both the Old and New Testaments from an eternal perspective, though difficult, some decisions become a little more clear.
I’m going to try and make this as concise as possible, so the scriptures I’m giving for reference are by no means exhaustive. I encourage you to please study this further for yourself.
So, let’s talk about why did God demand that Israel completely destroy everything?
1. THE OLD TESTAMENT GIVES US EXTREME EXAMPLES OF BEHAVIOR GOD HATES…
The Apostle Paul reminds us that everything written in the Old Testament was written for our example.
1 Corinthians 10:5-11 (NKJV)
5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us [a]tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now [b]all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our [c]admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Romans 15:4 (NKJV)
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the [a]patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope
First of all, let’s remember that God issues this severe judgment to His own people when they rebelled, not just ‘heathens’. Don’t forget how God allowed the ground to open up and swallow the entire families of those who were involved in Korah’s rebellion…
Numbers 16:31-34 (NKJV)
31 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. 33 So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up also!”
God also reminded believers of our accountability in the New Testament…
1 Peter 4:17 (NKJV)
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
That’s why we should never take for granted God’s grace and the fact that there is no condemnation when we truly repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior…
Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2. GOD WAS FULFILLING HIS PROMISE TO ABRAHAM
The land that God promised to Abraham’s descendants was already inhabited. The inhabitants of those lands worshipped idols and did not accept the Lord God of Israel as the only true and living God. Therefore, God dispossessed those already living in these lands as Israel crossed the Jordan river and fought the people already living there…
Deuteronomy 3:2 (NKJV)
2 And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.’
Deuteronomy 11:23-25 (NKJV)
23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the [a]Western Sea, shall be your territory. 25 No man shall be able to stand [b]against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you.
3. IT WAS GOD’S JUDGMENT ON NATIONS THAT WORSHIPPED IDOLS & REJECTED HIM…
As God fulfilled His promise to Abraham, He pronounced judgment on those nations that rejected Him as the only true and living God.
Deuteronomy 9:4 (NKJV)
4 (A)“Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is(B)because of the wickedness of these nations thatthe Lord is driving them out from before you.
Deuteronomy 20:16-18 (NKJV)
16 “But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, 17 but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, 18 lest they teach you to do according to all their [a]abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God.
There are those who try and justify the violence and genocide of colonization in more recent history (such as towards Native Americans or slavery in America, but God is no longer fulfilling that promise to Abraham. That chapter in history has ended and God’s Old Testament judgments can’t be used to justify the greed of the more recent past centuries.
4. IT WAS TO DESTROY CULTURES & OBJECTS OF IDOL WORSHIP
As God dispossessed those living in the lands He was giving to His people, He instructed Israel to destroy all of the cultures and objects of worship to idol Gods. He didn’t want His people to assimilate to the point of defiling their worship for God with heathen practices.
Deuteronomy 12:2-3 (NKJV)
2 You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their [a]wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place.
Jeremiah 10:2 (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.
Exodus 23:13 (NIV)
13 “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.(Think about this the next time you hear someone say “Happy Easter Day!”
The fact is that even though God promised to curse those who disobeyed Him down through many generations, those curses can easily be avoided and removed by rejecting the ‘sins of our fathers’: Link: THE (1) ONE WAY TO REMOVE GENERATIONAL CURSES….
But, many of those who claim to believe in the Lord God of Israel through Yeshua the Messiah, rather than reject the sins of their fathers, instead ‘whitewash’ their history, justify, excuse and even celebrate their ancestors sins as heritage. They therefore pronounce themselves guilty of the same sins and worthy of judgement, as Jesus sharply told the religious leaders in Matthew Chapter 23…
Matthew 23:29-33 (NKJV)
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and [a]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[b] of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
It is very uncomfortable to acknowledge and address God’s endorsed extreme violence in the Old Testament. But, we can’t ignore it, but must try to understand it. By ignoring it, we lose all credibility among both believers and unbelievers. Don’t expect those who don’t believe in God to understand, the truth is, it’s difficult for believers to understand God’s judgments. We just have to trust Him.
As you know banners, in the Bible standards or flags were set up to distinguish tribes. There is no record of ‘pledges’, but they were used during battle to give troops encouragement and a focal point.
Numbers 1:52 (NKJV)
52 The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, everyone by his own camp, everyone by his own standard, according to their armies;
When God is our victory banner (Yehovah Nissi) He is our encouragement and focal point from one victory to another.
Psalm 20:5 (NKJV)
5 We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
Thus, our allegiance isn’t to a piece of cloth (which can become an idol), but to our God, our Elohim, the Father of our Savior Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
After God gave Moses victory over the Amelakites he built an alter and called it , Yehovah Nissi (The Lord is my Banner).
Exodus 17:15 (NJKV)
And Moses built an altar and called its name, [a]The-Lord-Is-My-Banner;
Whenever you need encouragement, or to rally people together for a Godly cause, call on the symbolic name of God that specifically refers to that aspect of His character…and always let your first allegiance be to Him.
After Jesus died on the cross, everyone who witnessed it went home thinking that He had lost…
Luke 23:48 (NKJV)
48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.
He allowed His enemies to abuse and mock Him…
Matthew 27:27-31 (NKJV)
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the [a]Praetorium and gathered the whole [b]garrison around Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had [c]twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
He suffered embarrassment and shame in front of His supporters and allowed them to think He failed, because He knew that wasn’t the end of the story…
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
2 looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus is our perfect example of the fact that sometimes you have to let your enemies think they have won.
So, if it seems your adversaries, enemies or antagonists have the upper hand, keep trusting God.
Don’t take matters into your own hands seeking revenge, that belongs to God. But, God rise up to vindicate those who put their trust in Him…
Psalm 35:23-27 (NKJV)
23 Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication, To my cause, my God and my Lord. 24 Vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness; And let them not rejoice over me. 25 Let them not say in their hearts, “Ah, so we would have it!” Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”
26 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion Who rejoice at my hurt; Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor Who exalt themselves against me.
27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified,
Remember, revenge is taking matters into our own hands to satisfy our pride and bring glory to ourselves. But, waiting for God to vindicate us is putting our trust in Him to get His glory out of our situation…and our enemies will witness it, while our supporters praise God.
So, let them scheme, plot, conspire, mock, even strike you.
Let them fire you.
Let them abandon you.
Let them accuse you.
God is watching.
Let them think they have won just like Jesus did.
When they think they’ve won, they let their guard down. They shift their focus away from you, while God maintains His focus on you…and them.
Be patient and trust God, in His timing He will get glory from the anointing on your life and your situation while planting seeds of faith…seeds of repentance…seeds of salvation and seeds of much good fruit.
Just as Jesus claimed His victory three days and three nights later, you will enjoy your victory too in the presence of you enemies…
Psalm 23:5 (NKJV)
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
So, don’t avoid your enemies. Stay strong and work your purpose. How can God prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies if you don’t invite them to the table?
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you will never think about what they did to you anymore.
It doesn’t mean that you won’t hurt when it crosses your mind.
Forgiveness means that you won’t condemn them anymore for what they did. It means that you no longer want to get even, or see them ‘get what they deserve’ for what they did.
Forgiveness means you want them free from the guilt of what they did. But, that doesn’t mean that it still doesn’t hurt or make you angry when you think about it. Especially if it’s someone who you truly love.
Yes, the bible says that when God forgives us that He forgets our iniquities and remembers them no more…
Hebrews 10:16-17 (NKJV)
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Micah 7:18-19 (NKJV)
18 Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.[a] 19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all [b]our sins Into the depths of the sea.
But, do you think that means that God no longer knows what we did? Of course not. If our All-Powerful God can no longer remember something that we can remember, that gives us more power than Him in that area.
When God forgives ‘and forgets’ it means that He no longer condemns us for that sin as long as we have truly repented. Notice that God would often remind Israel of the sins He had forgiven when they backslid because their repentance wasn’t real.
Do you think that when the Apostle Paul said, “forgetting those things which are behind…” that he meant he could no longer remember how he persecuted the church? No. It means he no longer let those thoughts rule him or influence his future.
Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [a]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
So don’t beat yourself up because you still feel pain or occasional anger over something that you have forgiven. Just don’t linger on those thoughts. Remember, forgiveness is a continual process. You will continue to forgive ‘them’ in your mind over and over again.
If you’ve read several of my blog posts, you will find I’m intentionally redundant with this message…
I’m VERY concerned with not just the character of America, but also those who call themselves Christians.
I’m concerned with how much the sin of PRIDE has been validated, justified and excused.
PRIDE IS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED BY GOD AN ABOMINATION!
5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join[a]forces, none will go unpunished.
Remember, that even though sin is sin, some sins make God more angry. That’s not hard to understand because some sins make us more angry. It would make you angry if someone mistreats you, but it make you more angry if they try to kill you.
So, PRIDE makes God more angry than some sins we may consider greater sins.
And, pride leads to the idolatry of worshipping (giving too much priority in our hearts) that which we are proud of…
God has not given us permission to be proud of any of these things.
If your mind is immediately trying to find reasons to justify it, then you may be trying to impose your will over God’s word. That’s dangerous.
So, how should you feel about what you are PROUD OF?
It’s simple. From now on, anytime when you want to say…
Marriage is much sweeter with FLOWERS 🌺 and FRUIT 🍌!
Sex isn’t only for ‘procreation’, but it’s also for Godly ‘recreation’ within the boundaries of Godly marriage between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, from fornication, to adultery, to homosexuality, to pornography to cybersex…the enemy tries to provoke us to pervert God’s gift. However, God’s wisdom is interwoven into the ‘oneness’ of Godly intimacy.
Here are 11 of my BE BLESSTIFIED! articles about Godly sex, from a fresh “HEY, I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT LIKE THAT BEFORE” perspective…
In today’s heated political, social, religious and anti-religious climate, between good discussions, debates, dialogue, commentary, arguing and talking AT one another… people love to preface and punctuate his or her points with “I HAVE THE FACTS TO BACK ME UP!”
If I learned one thing in my years as a Marketing Manager and professional Copywriter it’s that facts can be both interpreted and applied subjectively.
Every television station, radio station, business etc., can be #1 at the same time to a different demographic.
Medical research can be manipulated and delivered to satisfy the marketing efforts of pharmaceutical companies.
People have twisted God’s absolute truth to satisfy their own agendas and narratives.
People will quickly assume that the facts and research that fits their particular point-of- view as superior.
This is why in a court case, both the prosecution and defense present their OWN experts that support their OWN story…both armed with FACTS.
After those who sought to ‘kill’ Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) presented their ‘facts’, Pilate replied…
John 18:38 (NIV)
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.(A)
John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am (A)the way, (B)the truth, and (C)the life. (D)No one comes to the Father(E)except through Me.
We must be honest with ourselves when handling ‘facts’ and the ‘truth’. Because ultimately it’s not about us proving we are ‘RIGHT’, but about us being in harmony with God’s truth.
Leaders, especially spiritual leaders , are very highly scrutinized and often criticized if they ‘don’t have it all together’. We can find ourselves expecting them to be near perfect. But, when we read our bibles, we find that many of God’s most anointed…those whom He gave great responsibility were lacking in many areas.
Moses and the Apostle Paul weren’t the greatest speakers.
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 am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
2 Corinthians 11:6 (NKJV)
6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.
Eli the anointed High Priest and Judge had corrupt, disobedient sons (1 Samuel 3).
1 Samuel 3:13 (NKJV)
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.
Peter was quick to speak before he thought, and was even rebuked by Paul for being a hypocrite to the point that it influenced other leaders.
11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
Just because one is anointed by God doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t need any help. Every great leader needs a strong support system. They need to be surrounded by gifted, anointed people they can trust to delegate responsibility and help with their weaknesses. I think that’s God’s system of checks and balances.
We sometimes see charismatic, polished and sometimes affluent leaders and assume they have ‘it all together’ and that we could never qualify for leadership in God’s Kingdom because of our personal issues and weaknesses.
But, let me assure you that all leaders…
ARE NOT CHARISMATIC
It’s easy to confuse charisma for anointing or confidence. Many great leaders are soft-spoken and reserved. There are many of charismatic leaders who can motivate a crowd but have absolutely no vision. There are others who have the WRONG vision and can motivate millions to do the wrong thing. Never confuse charisma with anointing. Check out this post for more on that… 4 WAYS TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PREACHING & A PERFORMANCE….
ARE NOT GOOD AT MANAGING MONEY
The ability to manage money can either be a gift or an acquired discipline. For those of whom that it doesn’t come so naturally, they can struggle with the discipline, detail and organization it takes to be a great money manager. Remember how one of the devoted prophets in the Old Testament died in poverty leaving his sons to be sold into slavery…
2 Kings 4:1 (NIV)
4 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.
ARE NOT ORGANIZED
Here again some people are more naturally inclined to be organized. They pay great attention to detail. They are uneasy when things aren’t in place. They even organize things in their minds as they observe them, while others struggle to be organized. They make a sincere effort, but slowly find themselves slipping into their old habits. Notice how the rich nobleman in Luke 16:1-13 had a shrewd manager hired to manage his affairs.
DON’T HAVE THE BEST BEHAVED CHILDREN
Yes, I know what the bible says…
1 Timothy 3:4-5 (NKJV)
4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)
…and this is not a contradiction. I had a friend tell me that his dad, a very sincere, devout man of God resigned as a deacon because his son, (my friends brother) was addicted to drugs and in and out of jail. Well, the devil found out how to move a great leader out of the way. We are all God’s children and we don’t always behave as He commands us, does that mean that He’s not a good Father? Does that mean that God is not a good leader? No! God set’s the standard of behavior and doesn’t waver. He tells us, “NO!” to certain things. It’s up to us to love and respect Him enough to obey. That’s what God expects us to do…set the rules and boundaries in the home. To say, “No!” and don’t waver. As mentioned earlier, Eli, a great man of God, didn’t restrain his sons in 1 Samuel Chapters 2 and 3. But, he was still highly respected and used by God.
DON’T HAVE THE PERFECT MARRIAGE
Any stromg leader will tell you that leadership itself is a challenge to marriage. Responsibilities sometimes force the leader to choose between his or her spouse and duties. Leadership cuts into quality time, occupies the leaders mind during personal time, and even sometimes affects the desire for intimacy. It was obvious that ministry took some apostles a way from their wives, which is sure to put a strain on marriage…
1 Corinthians 9:5 (NKJV)
5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
DON’T HAVE A GREAT CREDIT SCORE
Of course God expects leaders to honor their commitments and responsibilities…
Psalm 37:21 (NKJV)
21 The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
But, when responsibilities aren’t met, it not always due to intentional carelessness. It’s not necessarily because of over extending, but sometimes life happens. Sometimes illness, job loss, an unwanted divorce and other things beyond the leaders control can happen damaging his or her credit.
ARE SOMETIMES TROUBLED BY DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES
Jesus Himself was troubled in the garden the night before He went to the cross.
John 12:27 (NKJV)
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
Sometimes we don’t expect our leaders to be visibly troubled by circumstances. But, that only shows their humanity. If Jesus Himself was troubled, the greatest leader of them all, then surely we will be too.
These are only a few of the reasons is why good leaders should be honest with themselves and aware of their natural weaknesses, so they can surround themselves with the right support to carry out their vision. They must also be confident enough in themselves to not be threatened by their support, but have the discernment to know who may actually be a threat to their leadership.
And, those whom they lead must be humble enough to follow in spite of their weaknesses, offering help towards the vision where possible. They must also realize that some weaknesses don’t disqualify the leader from leading. For example, the prophet Nathan didn’t tell David that he wasn’t qualified to be king after murder and adultery. (1 Samuel 12)
Leaders are only human, and they will all have lapses in character, but overall they must be…
Calm in Crisis…
One who unites rather than divides…
One who resolves conflict…
And, most of all led by God and a student of His word.
Remember, God uses imperfect people to carry out His perfect will. All good leaders need good help.
Ephesians Chapter 5 is one of the most powerful scriptures that gives the true meaning for good preaching beyond salvation…
Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
In short, good preaching not only saves the soul, but equips God’s people to be mature, productive, in agreement and not easily swayed.
The scripture above defines ‘good preaching’, but unfortunately the opinion of ‘good preaching’ depends on the church culture. And, unfortunately, good preaching to many isn’t defined by the content, but by the delivery.
Yes, a good preacher has to be able to engage the audience and keep their attention, but there is a thin line sometimes between PREACHING and PERFORMANCE.
I’m also a firm believer that charisma helps a preacher be effective in delivery…
We must not confuse charisma with anointing. Some people can get up and recite “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with such passion and exuberance that they can have a room full of people shouting…at nothing.
Here are 4 quick ways to tell PREACHING from a PERFORMANCE
Have you ever heard a sermon that didn’t have a scriptural foundation? A text? What was that? It was nothing more than a motivational speech or a pep talk.
Beware of sermons that either have…
Not enough scripture…
Or, twisted scripture…
Remember, a sermon without a strong scriptural foundation is nothing more than a motivational speech or a pep talk…which have their place. But real preaching…
Sometimes upsets us…
It doesn’t JUST make us feel good and entertain us…ALL the time.
CLICHES & CONJECTURE
As I said in a previous post, that a well-placed cliché can enhance a sermon and really help engage the listeners. However, be very careful when you’re listening to a sermon that is…
FULL of clichés…
Full of the popular religious catch phrases of the time…
Full of language that is only intended for emotionalism and not edification.
You have to read the bible for yourself so you can know what’s scripture and what’s a cliché. I once heard someone say, “Like the bible says, give them their flowers while they live”…uhhh, that’s NOT in the bible.
You have to study the word for yourself so you can watch out for putting too much of personal opinion into how the scriptures are interpreted. To make sure the sermon is not full of conjecture and conclusions based on the preachers opinion rather than inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
DID IT APPEAL TO YOUR FLESH OR YOUR SPIRIT?
Yes, God wants us to have a good life on this earth. Yes, God wants us to enjoy ourselves according to His will.
But, be careful about sermons that ONLY appeal to ‘the good life here’. Be careful of sermons that only appeal to please your flesh and not strengthen your spirit. Many prosperity preachers have congregations full of weak and ineffective believers because they never hear…
The consequences of sin…
The consequences of bad decisions…
The necessity of self-denial and denial of flesh…
The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross…
4. LEAVE OUT/ OR MISREPRESENT JESUS
Have you ever sat through an entire message only to not hear the mention of Jesus Christ once? That’s not preaching. In fact, the Apostle Paul warned the Galatians of those who come preaching “another gospel”…
Galatians 1:8-9 (NKJV)
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Again, as sermon that leaves out Jesus Christ is nothing more than a motivational or inspirational speech…not preaching. Sometimes this is meant to entertain, or convey what the preacher wanted to say…rather than what God wanted the people to hear.
Listen carefully at how Jesus is presented. Jesus is the Living Word, the Son of the Living God…He and the Father are One.
Be very careful about those who present Him as a ‘genie in a bottle’ who is on standby waiting to do what you want. Again, those messages are meant to appeal to your flesh.
I AM NOT CONDEMNING CHARISMATIC PREACHERS…
There is nothing wrong with a preacher who can with great energy and charisma deliver a message in a matter that the congregation is entertained as well as edified is fine…but real preaching has substance.
The bible is clear that Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was tempted in ALL points just as we are. He was presented the same opportunities to sin, yet remained sinless. He was presented with the same ‘hard tests’ that are presented to each and every one of us.
Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are,yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)
15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15 (Complete Jewish Bible)
15 For we do not have a cohen gadol unable to empathize with our weaknesses; since in every respect he was tempted just as we are, the only difference being that he did not sin.
He was born into the weakness of sinful flesh, the same as ours, yet He made the choice not to sin.
Romans 8:3 (NKJV)
3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
This means that Jesus wouldn’t ask us to be tempted by any temptation that He didn’t endure and resist…ANY TEMPTATION.
Even the most vile, impulsive, freaky, passionate, carnal and visceral temptations that God allows to be presented to us…were presented to Jesus, and He resisted.
Now, I know this is going to threaten the theology of many, but this means Jesus had to have been tempted by…
Fill in the blanks…
Yep, and also _______________.
He loved us so much to allow the body He was given to be tempted by EVERYTHING, to show that we can overcome our fleshly desires and endure temptations.
The LORD did it to prove that even our most innate desires, even those that come ‘naturally’ to us are no excuse to indulge in them.
Too many times we want to twist the scriptures to fit our own perspectives, preferences, fears, ideas, and theologies. We try to sterilize our faith into ineffectiveness — we can’t ‘clean up’ the way Jesus was tempted, yet resisted.
The rich young ruler in the books of Matthew 19 and Mark 10 told Jesus that he kept all of the commandments from his youth up, but the Lord quickly reminded him that he was lacking something.
That’s true for all of us. No matter how much we may try to live upright, we will always remain lacking in some area.
You may not be a fornicator, an adulterer, a drunk, a murderer…you may go to church every time the doors open. You may be very generous in your giving …
BUT DO YOU COMPLAIN?
God HATES complaining. He doesn’t hate complainers, but He does hate it when we complain. One of Israel’s greatest, most consistent sins while in the wilderness was that of complaining and murmuring. In fact, it was their complaining that made an 11-day trip last 40 years.
God hates complaining so much he allowed His own children to suffer death to serve as an example of the level of judgment that complaining deserves…
1 Corinthians 10:10 (NKJV)
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
But, don’t we have a right to complain sometimes? Especially when some things are beyond our control? Why does God hate complaining so much?
HERE ARE 7 REASONS WHY GOD HATES COMPLAINING SO MUCH…
1.COMPLAINING IS THE OPPOSITE OF THANKSGIVING
It doesn’t get more clear than this…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Plain and simple…God expects us to be thankful and content in all things (Philippians 4:11-13). There is not one situation when one is complaining that they could not instead find a reason to give thanks or praise. In all of the Psalms where the psalmist was questioning God about troubles did the Psalm not end with praise and thanks giving. (Psalm 6, Psalm 13, Psalm 35, Psalm 94 are just a few). There is a difference in a humble lamentation and an arrogant complaint.
2. COMPLAINING POISONS YOUR ATTITUDE
If we’re honest with ourselves, complaining never makes us feel better. To the contrary if we’re angry it makes us more angry. If we’re frustrated it makes us more frustrated, if we’re discontent it makes us more discontent. Whatever our negative attitude, complaining just makes it more negative. Most of the time we even wear it on our expressions. We look angry and unsatisfied. It takes us from beyond a bad mood to a bad attitude. When we have a bad attitude long enough, it becomes our character…more on that in a moment.
3. COMPLAINING INFECTS THE ATTITUDES OF OTHERS
How many times have you felt perfectly fine and content about something or someone until someone complained? Complaining is contagious. When we share our negative discontent it can have the same negative affect on someone else’s attitude as well, especially if they are spiritually or emotionally weak.
When we spread discontent, animosity or just a negative attitude we become a stumbling block, and we must always remember that is something that the Lord hates too…
Matthew 18:6 (NKJV)
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
4. COMPLAINING IMPLIES WE DON’T TRUST GOD
This is huge! God had led Israel and promised them ‘a land flowing with mild and honey’. However, when things got tough, they continually complained and lamented that they wished they had never left Egypt.
Exodus 14:12 (NKJV)
12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
Exodus 16:3 (NKJV)
3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Complaining in difficult circumstances said to God then and still does today, that we don’t trust Him. Remember that through everything that Job went through did he never BLAME God of charge Him foolishly (Job 1:22).
Even if our circumstances are beyond our control, we must remember that God is sovereign to do what He pleases with His creation for however it suits His divine purpose, and we must trust Him in that.
5. GOD TAKES IT PERSONAL WHEN WE COMPLAIN AGAINST HIS ANOINTED
It’s God’s prerogative to choose whom He pleases to lead His people. Even though these leaders are mere men and women, He still expects us to submit to them. Notice God’s level of anger when the people murmured against Moses and Aaron…
41 On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” 42 Now it happened,when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of meeting. 44 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.” 47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people.
We must be very careful of what we say about a man or woman of God, even when they make a mistake or have a human moment. Notice that God did not tell David that he could no longer be king even after he slept with Uriah’s wife and then had him killed (2 Samuel 12). David suffered the consequences, but that did not disqualify his anointing.
6. COMPLAINING SHIFTS RESPONSIBILITY FROM OURSELVES
When I’m honest with myself. Much of what I complain about is the consequences of my own mistakes and actions. Yes, there are things that happen beyond our control. Misfortunes, storms, sicknesses etc. But, many times we will find ourselves complaining about relationships, jobs, purchases, situations and circumstances that either we prayed for or God gave us to benefit us.
As early as in the garden of Eden, rather than accept his responsibility for choosing to eat the fruit himself, Adam blamed his wife…
Genesis 3:12 (NKJV)
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.
7. COMPLAINING LEAVES A BAD TESTIMONY
As I mentioned earlier, when we express our dissatisfaction through complaining, and a negative mood and attitude, it can become our character. This is very important…
God expects us to set the standard of how to handle difficult circumstances.
When we react with negativity we have allowed that to become our testimony in that situation. When we allow our complaints to become go beyond moods to attitudes, we can allow that to become or come across as our character, especially in the limited context of other people’s exposure to us, or what they hear about us. Our character or perceived character can become our testimony.
Once we have mishandled a negative situation, our reputation may never recover. We don’t want that to become our testimony.
So, what to you do when you have a legitimate ‘complaint’?
Remember this. It’s not necessarily the fact that you disagree that makes it a complaint. It’s the fact that you disagree negatively. That you express your discontent or lament in a spirit of HUMILITY AND POSITIVITY.
There’s a difference in negative discontent and positive discontent.
Pray to God for the wisdom to handle your negative circumstances with grace and in a positive manner, and don’t get caught up in the sometimes overlooked sin of complaining.
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.