When you’re sharing God’s love, it frustrates the devil.
But, he has absolutely no power over your life except that what God allows…
Job 1:12 (NKJV)
12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your [a]power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
God gets glory out of our lives when we overcome the devil, just as He did when He allowed the enemy to have temporary access to Job.
He bragged on Job, and sometimes God is bragging on you…
Job 1:8 (NKJV)
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you [a]considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and [b]shuns evil?”
That’s why sometimes frustrations come from nowhere…
Frustrations to your health…
Frustrations to your finances…
Frustrations in your relationships…
Frustrations on your jobs…
Those aches and pains. That boil on your behind. That person who has been frustrating you in traffic for the past 20 miles. That co-worker who continues to conspire against you. Those people who are insensitive, inconsiderate and unapologetic.
The devil see’s when you’re not letting those frustrations get to you. So, he sends another frustration…and another…and another, until God tells Him, “That’s enough!”
The enemy knows He has no real power over your life, so those frustrations are just him ‘giving you the finger’…
He’s flipping you off because you’ve pissed him off.
So, don’t let him get the best of you! Keep your cool. Praise God. And, let God get glory out of your story.
Our challenge is to love the sinner without condoning or justifying the sinful lifestyle…while we struggle with our own.
Our challenge is to call out sin and warn of it’s consequences in spite of our own imperfections, faults, failures and weaknesses.
We must remember that calling out sin, warning about it’s consequences and holding one another accountable is not judging…it’s our responsibility.
Condemnation and stating what we believe is in someone’s heart is judging.
None of us are perfect. Far from it. But, God still expects us to warn about the consequences of sin.
The truth is that none of us are never at any moment, ‘sinless’. Does that make us all hypocrites?
Nope. God justifies us and ‘views us as righteous’ only through faith our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 5:1 (NKJV)
5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
The key is to never be content or satisfied with our own sins. To constantly allow His Holy Spirit to convict us of our own wrong, working diligently to ‘lay them aside’…
It’s your attitude about your sin that prevents you from being a hypocrite.
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,
Pray for God to give you wisdom, knowledge, understanding, discernment and revelation for how to be His image, His voice, His representative in this generation. And, leave behind a heritage of good fruit for the generations to come.
Colossians 1:27-28 (NKJV)
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which[a] is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 71:18 (NKJV)
18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.
But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— 2 from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.
Anyone who reads the bible knows that King Solomon is recognized as the wisest man who every lived. They also know that he loved women and had many wives and concubines. So, it very be easily concluded that Solomon’s sex drive and love for women was a weakness. He allowed the women he loved to compromise his devotion to God – the wisest man who ever lived.
King Solomon’s wisdom was his greatest strength. His sex drive was his greatest weakness. And, both of them were given to him by God.
We all have strengths and weaknesses that are God given.
I’m not as organized as I would like to be, and when I put great effort into becoming more organized…I find myself slipping back into being less organized (notice how I’m trying to avoid saying unorganized:-)
I also don’t have much rhythm. As much as I try, there are some things that I just can’t do well physically (dancing for example). I am however very strong physically.
I was born with those weaknesses. I didn’t ask for them. They’re innate…
God gave them to me.
I believe that just the same as we have physical weaknesses, we also have spiritual weaknesses. We have weaknesses in our personalities. Some have difficulty paying attention. Some are naturally poor with words, and have trouble relating with others. Some are naturally poor with numbers and can’t manage money well, no matter how hard they try. Some have learning disabilities, even if the disabilities aren’t severe, they could still be considered a weakness. Some people are poor listeners and have trouble staying focused. The ‘weaknesses’ I’m talking about are things that can’t be taught. They are just a part of who we are. Just as I mentioned about Solomon, some have an unquenchable sexual appetite, that they didn’t ask for. Some have an attraction to the same sex, that they didn’t ask for. Some have a natural propensity for violence…that they didn’t even necessarily learn.
What is your weakness? What are your weaknesses?
The good news is that God is greater than any weakness that He gave us. God can bless you and you can be a blessing to others in spite of your weaknesses.
Moses wasn’t an eloquent speaker. In fact, he considered it to be a weakness. God didn’t allow the weakness He GAVE Moses to get in the way of his purpose…
Exodus 4:10 (NKJV)
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I amslow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Remember, what the Apostle Paul had a weakness that he didn’t ask for. God gave it to Him, but also remember…
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV)
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. God can and will bless us and use us in spite of your weaknesses!
God wants us and others can know that every blessing, every success, every victory, is because of him and not ourselves. He wants us to bring Him glory and that any glory we have is through Him.
Just as Paul said, when we work through our weaknesses, God’s power is resting on us.
He wants to use our weaknesses to show us His power so we can lean on Him, depend on Him, trust Him and love Him.
Anyone and everyone that you know who is successful has multiple weaknesses. We spend so much time focusing on their strengths, talents and abilities that we think make them successful that we don’t notice their weaknesses…unless one of their weaknesses causes them to fall.
Yes, you are far from perfect, but so is every person that God has ever used.
God fulfills His perfect will through imperfect people.
So, acknowledge your weaknesses that God gave you. Pray for God to help you with them and through them. Leverage your strengths to God’s glory.
Have you ever noticed how Paul interacted with the people of Athens? He encountered people who did not believe in the God of our salvation. He took advantage of the opportunity to teach them about Yeshua, Christ Jesus.
He didn’t do as many Christians do today, allow his passion to confront them in anger and spiritual arrogance. He didn’t tell them how stupid, silly and foolish they were to believe as they did. He didn’t try to bully them into believing.
Paul reached out to them in respect and love, acknowledging that they sincerely believed in something, and he wanted to present to them the only Living God…
Of course there were some who mocked him, but others believed and wanted to hear more.
If Paul had approached them as many do today his message of salvation would not have been received by those who had a heart and mind to do so.
Do you know any spiritual bullies?
Have you ever encountered one?
Are you one?
We can’t force our faith on anyone.
We can’t allow our passion for Christ as an excuse to be self-righteous, spiritual bullies.
We must always reach out to others in love. Rather than convert sinners and those who believe in other ‘gods’ we will turn them off and confirm every negative impression they have of disciples of Christ.
Ask God each day for the anointing to share your faith and the wisdom to reach out in His Spirit of love.
It’s easy to make our relationship with God ALL about us if we aren’t careful.
God called us to make disciples of Him through His Son and our Savior Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
19 Go [a]therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [b]Amen.
One of the best approaches at studying the bible is to look specifically how the Lord REACTED to certain situations, conditions and behavior.
Look at the Lord’s reaction when He silently looked upon a multitude of lost people…
Matthew 9:35-38 (NKJV)
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease [a]among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were [b]weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Now look at how He reacted at those who had hard, hypocritical hearts…
Mark 3:1-5 (NKJV)
3 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might [a]accuse Him. 3 And He said to the manwho had the withered hand, [b]“Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored [c]as whole as the other.
Above in Matthew, Yeshua, felt compassion for those who were lost. He wasn’t judging why they were in their particular situations…He felt compassion. Then He commanded us to pray to THE LORD OF HIS HARVEST to send workers into HIS harvest. How many times have you prayed for that? How many times have you had an interaction with an atheist and instead of praying for them, felt contempt. How many times have you gotten intensely angry at a drug addict, gang banger, racist, politician, someone who you consider to be a ‘great sinner’…(we are all sinners saved by grace Romans 3:23). These are all opportunities to plant seeds of God’s…
I have had to stop and ask God to help me make that a priority in my life. I have had to ask myself, “Aldtric, do you really care enough about God’s harvest, are or you just concerned about your own?”
Now, let’s quickly look what made the Lord angry above in Mark Chapter 3. It wasn’t compassion, but anger at the religious leaders were looking for a reason to accuse Him, ignored the good He was doing, and was angry at their hardness of heart. Again, this is a sign of someone who is lost and doesn’t know that they are. God expects hypocrisy and hardened hearts to make us angry, but we must respond to that anger with lifting them up in prayer, praying that God softens their hearts to His love, will, word and salvation.
Have you ever asked yourself if you hare concerned enough about those who are ‘lost’? Have you stopped to consider how you react to those who claim to be His own, but aren’t exhibiting their best behavior?
How often do you pray for HIS HARVEST rather than your own?
Would it reveal a dirty mind? Or, a mind meditating on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy?
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Would it reveal the works of the flesh or the Fruit of the Spirit?
Would it reveal malice or good intent?
How would you smell at work? At school? While sitting in your home? While looking at your smartphone?
How would you smell while sitting in church?
How often would you smell good? How often would you stink?
Unfortunately Father’s Day is a sad day for some fathers because their child or children didn’t acknowledge them or took them for granted.
It could be because the father made mistakes.
It could be because the child is estranged and holding animosity in his or her heart.
It could be the father is very stern.
It could be the child is spoiled and the father just isn’t appreciated.
The father watched his phone all day long, but no call. He walked around his house all day long, waiting to hear those words, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, but they were never spoken.
No matter what the reason, I know it hurts but let me hopefully comfort you with a quick reminder…
God has created countless children in His image who never acknowledge Him.
Even SOME of those children who acknowledge Him only use Him.
SOME only talk to Him when they want something. They may often complain about what He provides.
SOME walk on His earth (His house) full of evidence He lives, they breathe His air, eat His food, receive light from His sun ( and Son) yet claim He doesn’t exists.
But, God still has mercy on them and shows them kindness and love.
So, if you have a child who is not showing you love on Father’s Day, or any other day, think about the way God the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ feels.
Then stop and ask yourself are you showing God the love He deserves.
Finally, make up your mind to be a the minister of reconciliation He has called us to be, and work hard to reconcile as many of God’s children back to Him.
Maybe, God will do the same for you.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
18 Now all things are of God, (A)who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that (B)God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [a]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are (C)ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
When you stop and take look, you can see God’s wisdom in everything…and I mean EVERYTHING!
God’s first institution established in His Kingdom was the family. He put man and woman together with a plan. He told us to be fruitful and multiply because God wasn’t going to continue creating men from dust or women from men’s ribs.
God gave us the gift of physical intimacy (sex) to bring children into the world, and to enhance our marriages. God wants us to enjoy one another just as much as he wants us to enjoy Him, and that’s very clear in the bible.
Proverbs 5:19 (NKJV)
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
Hebrews 13:4 (NKJV)
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
He even told husbands and wives to ‘take care of each other’ intimately so that neither is tempted…
1 Corinthians 7: 1-5
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
God made sex a physical crescendo that builds to a climactic, brief culmination of intense pleasure sought after by both those who are married and unfortunately, unmarried….We will use the euphemism ‘THE BIG O’. Everything God did has a holy purpose. It’s not God’s fault that we misuse His gift…and what a perfect gift!
Here’s where God’s wisdom comes in.
If we were going to ‘be fruitful and multiply’…
If we were going to have long, healthy marriages…
Our gift would need to be something we look forward to…something we crave and not something we dread.
Few people want the physical crescendo without the ‘BIG O’…
And, few people want the ‘BIG O’ to come too soon…
But, dig this!
As much as we enjoy…
As much we anticipate the ‘BIG O’.
As much as we enjoy reaching that brief moment of euphoria…God was wise enough to make it brief.
It’s brief enough for us to look forward to it, but it’s short enough for us to enjoy it.
Think about it…no one would be able to withstand 5, 10, 15 uninterrupted minutes of the ‘BIG O’. I don’t even know if our bodies could take it.
If the ‘BIG O’ was too big or too long…we would dread it.
If the ‘BIG O’ was too big we would avoid it.
There would be no ‘be fruitful and multiply’.
There would be a strain on marriages due to lack of intimacy.
Even the most holy person can admit that a well-timed ‘BIG O’ is just the pressure release valve needed sometime to relieve us of the stresses of life.
God knew just how good to make it…Just how strong to make it…and just how long to make it.
I told you when you stop and look at it, you can see God’s wisdom in EVERYTHING.
It’s easy to see why the apostle Paul proclaimed…
Romans 11:33 (NKJV)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Most people who grew up in or around church, or were raised with a belief in God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or those who have come from unbelief to belief will all quickly proclaim, “I love God!”
But, do you love Him? Or do just feel it’s the right to say? You may even be afraid not to say it. Which is a healthy fear and reverence of God, but still isn’t love.
When you love someone, you want to be in their presence as much as possible, in fact you look forward to it. When you love someone you want to know what’s important to them. When you love someone you don’t want to hurt them, intentionally or unintentionally.
When you love someone you want to grow closer to them. When you love someone, you enjoy talking about them. Many people when they are honest with themselves love their favorite team, their car, their guns, their _____________ more than they love God because that’s what they love talking about.
When you love someone you aren’t afraid to show affection for them in public. I’m not talking about kissing…I’m talking about holding their hand, hugging them…you aren’t ashamed to let the world know you love them. Some of the same people who get hoarse at a ball game are ashamed to praise God publicly even in worship. Too many Christians are too ashamed to even bless their food in public. Are you ashamed to lift up your hands in public and say ,“Hallelujah, I love you LORD!” Or, are you afraid people with think you’re crazy. Do you reason that, “It doesn’t take all of that to love God”. But, when you love someone, you aren’t concerned with what is minimal or necessary. You’re more than happy to do what is ‘extra’ for them
When you love someone you aren’t just in relationship with them for what you can get out of them. You aren’t just in the relationship for the benefits. When you love someone you can talk to them for hours. How often do you talk to God and fellowship with Him prayer, just because it’s peaceful…not asking for anything, just spending quality time with Him?
When you love someone, you love listening to ‘mood’ music with them. You love listening to music that makes you feel closer to one another. You love sharing ‘your song’. I’m not saying you have to listen to Christian music all of the time, but I wonder how many Christians are perfectly comfortable never listening to some form of Gospel music…except when they are in church.
When you really love someone, what they think about you matters to you more than anyone else in the world. You want their love…their respect…their devotion…their affection.
How can one really love God and either never, seldom or randomly read His word? God knows we have the opportunity to fellowship with Him in His word whenever they please. Many claim they don’t have time, but that’s simply not true. Many people, when their honest with themselves, love social media, their favorite fiction or non fiction book, or whatever else they love to do in their spare time more than they love the word of God. What’s the first thing you check each morning? Your social media? The news? The weather? Your horoscope? Or, God’s ‘status’ and what He has ‘posted’ in His word.
It’s in His word we fellowship with Him. It’s in His word we find out what pleases Him. It’s in His word that we find out what He loves and what He hates. His word gives us both comfort and correction.
When you love someone, living to please them is not a burden, but a blessing…
1 John 5:3 (NKJV)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
I challenge you today to ask yourself, “Do I really love God, or is it just the right thing to say”. Yes, you believe in Him. Yes, you fear Him. Yes, you respect Him. Yes, you reverence Him. Yes, you pray. Yes, You, go to church…
But do you love Him?
And finally, think about this…
Most people quickly claim that want to go to heaven or live eternally in His presence, but I contend that if you don’t genuinely enjoy reading His word, fellowshipping with Him, worshiping Him, being in His presence, even going to church now, what makes you think you will want to do it forever?
Remember, real love isn’t just state, it’s demonstrated…
Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
There are negative stereotypes of every race, gender, geographic region, culture, nationality, religion etc.
This is one article that needs no evidence or examples because as you read it those negative stereotypes of which you are aware easily come to mind.
I don’t know what’s worse, negative stereotypes or those people who seem to do their best to support those stereotypes with their thinking, attitudes and behavior.
Even in the bible, the apostle Paul mentions a stereotype that was supported by the behavior of SOME of the people of a certain group, that projected to all of them…
Titus 1:10-13 (NKJV)
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle (A)talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, (B)for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 (C)One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. (D)Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
Notice that Paul said, “THIS TESTIMONY IS TRUE”. That’s because that…
No matter hard some people work to remove negative stereotypes of their particular ‘group’, there are others who seem to be committed to helping those stereotypes to live on.
Unfortunately, some stereotypes are like rumors… most (but not all) rumors are wrapped around a kernel of truth.
Think about the many groups of which you are a part, and the negative stereotypes of those groups…
Which of those stereotypes does your thinking, attitudes and behavior help those stereotypes live on?
Be careful, sometimes our stereotyping someone fits a stereotype within itself.
Some things never change. Yeshua the Messiah made the ‘religious people’ so angry that they wanted to kill Him, and with the help of the Romans they did…at least thought they did.
Many Christians of every race claim to be His disciples, but we prove how we would have responded if we lived then by how we respond today. We prove on which side of history we would have stood by where we stand now.
The fact is that many of the people who claim to be Christians would have rejected Jesus, and here are 8 reasons why…
1. WOMEN SUPPORTED HIM WITH THEIR MONEY
Few people ever talk about the women who followed Jesus and supported Him financially, Not, just the women, but the ‘type’ of women…
Luke 8:1-3 (NKJV)
Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and [a]bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and [b]infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for [c]Him from their [d]substance.
So you had a woman who many believed was a prostitute, wives of ‘important’ men and many other women who were following the LORD and supporting Him financially — we all know that would be beyond scandalous today. How many men would co-sign on their wives following and giving money to a broke, uneducated, controversial traveling preacher?
2. HE THREATENED THEIR TRADITIONS
One of the most common complaints today is ‘cancel culture’. Too many people today are devoted to traditions, memorials, statues, etc. to the point of idolatry. Several of our modern traditions are clearly in direct contradiction to the word of God, such as swearing in officials…
Matthew 5:34-37 (NKJV)
34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [a]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Can’t get more clear than that)
…but, some people would rather die than change. To many, patriotism, nationalism, racial pride, the economy and institutional traditions have become psuedo-religions. But, Yeshua made it clear that they were prioritizing their traditions over the Word of God…
Mark 7:7-9 (NKJV)
7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—[a]the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”9 He said to them, “All too well you [b]reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
3. HE HELD THE ‘LEADERS’ ACCOUNTABLE
Jesus openly rebuked the Pharisees, Scribes and teachers of the law concerning their hypocrisy, arrogance and pride. These were equal to respected political, religious and professional leaders today. But the LORD called them out and pissed them off. No matter what political or religious affiliation, how to react when those whom they respect are held accountable?
Matthew 15:10-13 (NKJV)
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
Matthew 23:13-36 (NKJV)
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 [a]Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of [b]hell as yourselves.16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that [c]sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who [d]swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who [e]dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and [f]self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and [g]adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.33 Serpents, brood[h] of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
4. HE WASN’T EDUCATED OR ‘CULTURED’
How many people only hire Pastors who hold multiple degrees? How many people don’t feel leaders are credible unless they have achieved an expected level of education or status? Many people were amazed at how well Jesus spoke because they knew He wasn’t educated.
John 7:15 (NKJV)
15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
Even the Apostle Paul said we shouldn’t be overly impressed with words of man’s wisdom, but in the power of God…
1 Corinthians 2:4-6 (KJV)
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
5. HE HUNG OUT WITH THOSE WHO RELIGIOUS PEOPLE LOOKED DOWN UPON
It’s amazing how we can allow our education, achievements, connections, affiliations, social status and even our faith to arrogantly allow us to think we are ‘better’ than others. We can look down on others because of the decisions thy have made…such as drug addicts, prostitutes, or homeless people…but, those are the people with whom Yeshua the Messiah came to make the most intimate connections. Many people today would complain about the company that Jesus kept, just as the ‘religious’ people did then.
Mark 2:13-3:6 (NKJV)
13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes [a]and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, [b]to repentance.”
6. HIS ETHNICITY
The fact is that if Jesus came today of the same ethnicity, that many who so passionately claim to love Him would not accept Him as a leader. As much as it may be unintentional… cultural and racial biases are real. If Yeshua would have come during this era…born in the ‘Middle East’ (the fact that it’s even called Middle East relative to Europe) with the same skin tone, language, etc.,…how many people who call themselves Christians would actually follow Him? WHEN PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO LOVE ACCURATE HISTORY ARE COOL WITH A ‘EUROPEAN-LOOKING’ JESUS…
John 1:46 (NKJV)
46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
7. HE DRANK ALCOHOL
How many people today would have rejected Jesus because of the fact that He drank wine? Some try to ‘sanitize it’ by saying that it wasn’t fermented, but that simply isn’t true. Jesus said Himself that unlike John the Baptist, he came both eating and drinking wine…
Matthew 11:18-20 (NKJV)
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a [a]winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her [b]children.”
He was called a ‘winebibber’ because He drank wine. Did He get drunk? NO! But, how many self-righteous ‘Christians’ would rebuke Christ for drinking wine?
8. TODAY, JESUS WOULD BE A MILLENNIAL
How many ‘established’ leaders and Christians today wouldn’t take Jesus seriously because of His age? He began His earthy ministry at 30 years old.
John 8:57 (NKJV)
57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
So, be honest with yourself…how would you have received Jesus if you lived back then? How would you receive Him if He had come in our generation?
If false hope gives someone a reason to keep on living…is it really false?
Think about this…
I in no way mean any disrespect to anyone dealing with the pain of a loved one suffering from any form of dementia. However, God does have a reason for everything He does. This true story showed me how what we sometimes think of as a ‘curse’ can be the blessing of hope in disguise for some.
Years ago I used to do nursing home ministry. I would visit two nursing homes, once each month. As I walked down through the halls I would see the same faces. There were some residents who had regular visits from family and friends, but unfortunately, there too many who never got a visitor…ever.
There were also varying levels of mental health. I would hear one lady in particular at one of the nursing homes say the same thing every time I visited. She would sit in her wheelchair in the entrance to her room as I walked by…she would smile and say,
“I’m going home today”.
No, she wasn’t going home. She was one of the residents who never had visitors, and her family had moved on with their lives. At first I felt sorry for her because her situation seemed so hopeless…but then God gave me an awesome revelation.
In her hopeless situation…her dementia gave her hope!
Was her hope false? Yes!
But, it allowed her to wake up every morning WITH hope.
God gave her a reason to smile EVERY DAY.
God gave her something to look forward to EVERY DAY.
God gave her HOPE in a HOPELESS situation.
She spent her last days with HOPE.
What many may think of as a CURSE, was actually a BLESSING to her.
God’s wisdom is amazing!
He can can pull HOPE out of HOPEless…
FORTUNE our of unFORTUNATE…
Of course there are times when false hope is harmful, but there’s other situations when it can give someone a reason to keep living.
Romans 5:5-7 (NKJV)
5 Now hope does not disappoint, (B)because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
There’s a very popular Comedian/Actor/Show Host who has an exceptionally successful career. One of the many hats he wears is that of a radio show host…the show is fast paced, fun and entertaining.
However, he begins his radio show each morning with a very emotional and impactful spiritual monologue. His statements are encouraging and inspirational, and he always gives God glory, BUT during the remainder of his show, he often uses strong language, frequently using profanity that the bible clearly tells us that we shouldn’t do…
Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Ephesians 5:3-4 (NKJV)
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
In reference to ‘cussing’, he will often assert, “God is not through with me yet.” Which is true, but we ALL need to be very careful about our attitude when it comes to this statement.
First of all, I’M NOT JUDGING THIS MAN because we have all (and still do) sin and fall short of the glory of God. We all have room to grow. I have respect both for him and his accomplishments, but I have to be responsible as a minister of God.
Calling out sin, correcting, encouraging, admonishing, instructing and warning one another is not judging…it’s our responsibility.
Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
When you have a level of prominence that allows you to reach and influence millions, you bear a great level of responsibility when you are speaking on behalf of God in the name of Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
Here are two problems with sometimes FLIPPANTLY saying what we want…doing what we want…then stating… “God ain’t through with me yet!”
First of all, we must not be guilty of validating our sinful behavior and bad habits to those who may be weaker in the faith or unbelievers by ‘justifying’ our behavior at the time with, “God is not through with me yet”…
Second, we must not use “God is not through with me yet” to hold on to habits, behavior and attitudes that we simply aren’t trying hard enough to stop. Especially when we know better and can do better.
The word of God has commanded us throughout the New Testament to…
“Put off” Colossians 3: 8, Ephesians 4:22 (NKJV)
“Put away” Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV)
“Let all…be put away from you” Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV)
“Lay aside” Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
God has given us the power and responsibility to stop ourselves.
Many people pray that God will, “Take the sin out of me”…however, there’s no personal level of accountability, effort, commitment or love and dedication in being so weak that God has to make us stop.
We as believers must be very careful not to take for granted or take advantage of God’s abundant grace and mercy.
Remember what God told us through the Apostle Paul…
Romans 6:1-2 (NKJV)
6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
So many times we can find ourselves saying…
“God knows my heart.”
“I’m taking baby steps”
We want to always make sure that we aren’t taking baby steps, when God is ready for us to walk.
You don’t want God to become ‘through with you’ before you put forth enough effort to change.
What is the beginning? When did everything ‘start’?
Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Time/tīm/noun (Oxford Online Dictionary)
1.the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.”travel through space and time”
2.a point of time as measured in hours and minutes past midnight or noon.”the time is 9:30″
If you are a parent who believes in the the Lord God of Israel from Everlasting to Everlasting through our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ), then you have heard this question from your child or children in some form…
“Where did God come from?”
“When was God born?”
“Who created God?”
I know most of you already know this, but please humor me so I can make my point. Besides, even the Apostle Peter let us know that we sometimes have to be reminded of what we already know…
2 Peter 1:12-13 (NKJV)
12For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this [a]tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
God introduced Himself to the world of many beliefs and many ‘gods’ through the perspective of a people He raised up to create a faith. FAITH, NOT RACE…
He created this people through a man named Abram, later changing his name to Abraham…
Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)
“Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
I love the way that the bible refers to God as “The Lord God of Israel from Everlasting to Everlasting” in so many places. Yes, it’s a mouthful. Yes, it’s a lot to type, but it is exactly who He is…
Psalm 41:13 (NKJV)
13 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.
Psalm 106:48 (NKJV)
48 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the Lord!
That is the New King James Version but, look at how the Complete Jewish Bible says it…
Psalm 41:14 (CJB)
14 (13) Blessed be Adonai the God of Isra’el from eternity past to eternity future.
I love that…“from eternity past to eternity future”. The thought of eternity past infers that there was NO BEGINNING.
God does not require a beginning. He does not require a birth. He does not require an origin. Why?
God created TIME for our benefit. So we can measure and have context to our lives, history and the future.
Galatians 4:4-7 (CJB)
4but when the APPOINTED TIME arrived (IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME), God sent forth his Son. He was born from a woman, born into a culture in which legalistic perversion of the Torah was the norm, 5 so that he might redeem those in subjection to this legalism and thus enable us to be made God’s sons. 6 Now because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of his Son, the Spirit who cries out, “Abba!” (that is, “Dear Father!”). 7 So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son you are also an heir.
Think about it. Even when scientists who say the universe BEGAN with a BIG BANG, you can ask, “Okay, what was there before the BIG BANG?”. One could very easily reason that when God said, “Let there be…” there was a noise and physical manifestation.
Some things are difficult for even the ‘greatest’ scientific minds to understand, and one of those things is TIME. After all, I think of science as our attempt to give a physical explanation to a spiritual world.
One of the favorite arguments of atheists is the ‘foundations of the earth’ language in the bible. And, honestly, this is one of those things in the bible that’s difficult for believers to understand explain too.
Let me help with a very practical explanation.
First of all, the bible acknowledges that the earth is round…
Isaiah 40:22 (NKJV)
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
I think everyone will agree that circles are round. But, what about all the language referring to the ‘foundations of the earth’ such as…
Psalm 104:5 (NKJV)
5 You who[a]laid the foundations of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever,
Think about this. Even though the earth is round, the home in which you live still requires a foundation. Every building that we build requires a strong, immovable, preferably flat foundation. The very flat ground that we walk on, build on…live on has it’s own layers or ‘foundations’.
The fact that the world is round does not prevent the ground from being flat and requiring foundations.
Did people in the ancient world think the world was flat? Yes. But the fact that God didn’t reveal the fact that the world was round to everyone at that time doesn’t negate the fact that He is real and He lives. Think about all of the mysteries of the physical and spiritual worlds that WE still don’t know.
Don’t allow your blessings of intelligence and sense of logic be a curse to prevent you from understanding and accepting the mysteries in the word of God.
How many times have you heard someone say, “You aren’t going to change my mind”?
As Christians, we say that to anyone who tries to convince us to reject Jesus. So, as we strive to promote the love of Christ, and to convince people to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, it’s easy to understand how some people who were born and raised in other faiths or no faith will say the same thing.
But, we must understand that our challenge as Christians isn’t to change MINDS, but to touch HEARTS. When you touch someone’s HEART with the love of Christ, their THINKING changes.
In Jeremiah 33:31, God promises us,
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their HEARTS. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Notice, God didn’t say He’d put His word in our minds, but hearts.
How many times have you struggled to change someone’s mind?
Some have even married people determined to change their MINDS and thinking.
Any effective social movement such as the Civil Rights Movement was successful because it changes hearts. You can’t FORCE people to change how they think, but when you touch their HEARTS, their thinking will change. The NON-VIOLENT protests of the 50’s and 60’s were designed to change hearts.
People will tell you, “You can talk to me until you’re blue in the face, you won’t change my mind!” And they’re right. Talk makes people defensive of their thinking, but God’s love has the power to change their heart. Talk is CHEAP, but LOVE is action.
Don’t beat your head against the wall trying to change someone’s mind.
Don’t rely on LOUD talk and FORCE to change someone’s mind.
LIVE out loud and LOVE out loud to change the HEART, and the MIND will follow.
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.