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.
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Fear is a faith killer.
It steals your hope.
It destroys your purpose.
It stops you in your tracks.
The enemy uses fear to get us to undermine our own future.
The fear of the shame and consequences of failure. The fear of the challenges and responsibilities of success. Some people are afraid of being promoted, afraid of being a leader, afraid of being held accountable. Some people don’t run for public office because they are afraid of shameful secrets from their past that may be revealed by an opponent. Some people are simply afraid of change.
What are you afraid of?
Do you look shamefully on the Jesus’ disciples fear during the storm in the boat, while you may be afraid of flying…afraid of water? Remember, God did not give us the spirit of fear…
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
If God didn’t give us the spirit of fear, that leaves only one source.
Facing your fears, attacking your fears is attacking the enemy. And, you can’t do that without the power of God. Never try to face your fears without prayer.
Comfort, convenience and luxury are enemies of your purpose because they disguise themselves as success. Most of us would love a comfortable, trouble free life, but that’s simply not an option to purpose-driven people called by God…
Philippians 1:29 (NKJV)
29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
Nothing of value comes without sacrifice. How fair would that be since God had to sacrifice His own Son to pay the required price for sin…
Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV)
22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
Too many of us won’t sacrifice our comfort enough to be what God truly called us to be. True ministry is rarely comfortable or convenient. People who claim they have a heart for ministry remain in the comfortable ‘four walls’ of the church because they don’t want to get their ‘hands dirty’. So many real entrepreneurs may have given up a enormous salaries, benefits, and sacrificed some of their luxuries to pursue their vision.
People stay in lucrative careers and dead-end jobs fulfilling someone else’s vision while letting their own vision die.
Big houses, fancy cars, nice clothes, impressive titles all SOUND LIKE success. But when we put all of our energy pursuing those things, how much do we really put into our purpose?
When we achieve those things what are we willing to do to keep them? If you have invested the money that you’ve put into your comforts into your vision, would you be working for yourself right now? How powerful could you be for the Kingdom of God.
The desire for comfort steals, kills and destroys your desire to sacrifice what is necessary to achieve what God has placed you on this earth to do.
Look inside yourself. Is what you’re afraid of holding you back? Look around you. Is what you have and what you want preventing you from being what and who you can be?
Should you leave your faith at home when you go to work? Remember, that Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, engaged Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew while they were busy working on their jobs.
He could have waited until they finished for the day, but he ministered to them while they were still working.
Matthew 4:18-22 (NKJV)
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Matthew 9:9-13 (NKJV)
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
Sometimes God places disciples in the workplace to be light.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Pray is such as special gift from the God of our creation.
We may not have instant and direct access to the President, the governor, the mayor, the CEO, the Athletic Director, your pastor or even one another sometimes…
But, we always have direct access to God through our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
the Bible teaches us through prayers and supplications to make our requests made known to God…
Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
There have been times that after I have finished praying, I have wondered…did I miss something?
I thanked God.
I asked for forgiveness of my sins.
I prayed for provision, protection and other things.
I prayed for others…
Did I forget something?
But, then I remembered that we are created in the image of God. That means that we can have His character…His essence.
We can love like Him. We can nurture like Him. We can take care of our children the way He takes care of His children.
So, our children don’t have to make a point to specifically ask every day for us to:
Provide the things they need.
The fact is that many times if they simply come to us, unsolicited…
If they approach us ‘out of the blue’ and with obvious sincerity expressing, I LOVE YOU…and we know that it’s real.
That sincere and unselfish expression of love provokes us to WANT to do something to show them how much we love them. Sometimes it makes us want to do something special for them.
I think we have that reaction because we are created in God’s image. Maybe He sometimes reacts the same way towards us when we bow heads prayer or lift our hands in praise and unselfishly, sincerely express I LOVE YOU! I TRUST YOU! I BLESS YOU! And, I JUST WANT YOU TO BE PLEASED WITH ME!
Remember, prayer isn’t only giving God a laundry list of our needs, but an opportunity to express our love for Him.
Every now and then, just thank God and tell Him that you love Him.
Psalm 103:1-2 (NKJV)
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
One of the most beautiful gifts from God is His gift of forgiveness. When we repent and confess our sins to Him, He will forgive of all our sins, even those we call great.
1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That’s good news for someone struggling with guilt. But, we must be very careful to not get it twisted. Many people have unintentionally taken Hebrews 8:12 and Micah 7:19 out of context and taught people the wrong thing.
Hebrews 8:12 (NKJV)
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins [a]and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Micah 7:18-19 (NKJV)
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.
Many people have taught and teach that God FORGETS our sins, and that He can no longer remember what we did wrong.
According to Strong’s Concordance, ‘REMEMBER’ here means: (through the idea of fixture in the mind or of mental grasp); to bear in mind, i.e. recollect; by implication, to reward or punish:–be mindful, remember, come (have) in remembrance.
Notice that part of that definition states, “to reward or punish”.
Bearing that in mind, and also knowing that our all-powerful, all-knowing cannot ‘forget’ anything, we can conclude that when God ‘doesn’t remember’ our sins means that He doesn’t bring them back up against to condemn us or hold against us as long as we have truly repented.
He reminded them of what they had done. You can’t remind someone of something that you don’t remember.
Also think about the fact that even when we truly forgive one another it doesn’t mean we don’t remember what they did…we just don’t hold it against them anymore. Now, if we don’t forget, are we more powerful than God?
Yes, God casts our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19), but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t remember where He cast them. The beautiful thing is that if we truly repent, He will NEVER let those particular sins ‘rise’ to hold them against us ever again.
Let me preface this piece by saying this piece is not addressing dangerous, abusive relationships.
We all encounter people who ‘get on our nerves’. We all have people in our families, workplaces, and even churches who love to cause trouble, drama and who cause us high levels of stress and anxiety.
Some people have a chronic propensity to bring negativity to every interaction.
One of the most common and seemingly practical pieces of advice is to remove the people toxic people from our lives…but does the Bible support that teaching?
It sounds good in blog posts, self help books, sermons, and motivational speeches, but how does God expect us to handle the situation?
Notice that God told Ezekiel that He was sending Him to…well a nation of ‘toxic people’.
Ezekiel 2:3-5 (NKJV)
3 And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. 4 For they are[a]impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ 5 As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.
God equipped Ezekiel for the challenge, and He is trying to equip us…
Ezekiel 3:7-9 (NKJV)
7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are[a]impudent and hard-hearted. 8 Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. 9 Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.
Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, sent His disciples into ‘toxic situations’…
Matthew 10:16 (NKJV)
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless[a] as doves.
The fact is that Jesus gave us instructions for how to handle people who intentionally antagonize us…
Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)
44 [a]But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Notice that the Lord didn’t say avoid your enemies, block those who curse you, and remove those who spitefully use and persecute you from your life.
God expects us to strong enough to be light, and a positive spiritual influence to those who are ‘toxic’. The very person or persons that you have decided to eliminate from you life might have been specifically sent into your life to benefit from your light.
Let’s say you’re one of those people on social media who announce they are unfriending or blocking the ‘negative or messy’ people from their lives. These are people who haven’t unfriended or blocked you from their lives, even though they may be sometimes annoyed by your passion or love for God. You may be the only light they see in a sea of the craziness on social media.
God expects us to be strong and grow in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness enough so we can represent His glory and image in every relationship and interaction.
This is when what God told us through the apostle Paul is the most powerful…
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me.
Before you get rid of someone toxic, why not pray for the strength, wisdom and patience to be a blessing to them?
What if Jesus had decided to reject the negative people in His earthly ministry?
Before you block their calls, what if blocked yours?
Don’t let a mistake get you down.Making things right with God is easy.Just acknowledge your mistake (sin) to Him and make a sincere commitment to never do it again.If you hurt someone else, ask them to forgive you if possible.Ask God for His help so that you don’t do it again.Don’t put yourself in the position to do it again.Even if people don’t forgive you, go forward on confidence and enjoy the fact the God has forgiven you through His Son and our Savior, Yeshua, Christ Jesus. 1 John 1:9(NKJV)If weconfess our sins, He isfaithful and just to forgive usoursins and tocleanse us from all unrighteousness.BE BLESSTIFIED!
My wife found some beautiful, fun rainbow colored curtains for our granddaughter’s playroom. After we put them up, being visible from the outside, we both thought what if people think we are supporting ‘Pride’?
The rainbow is a sign of God’s promise…
Genesis 9:13-15 (NKJV)
13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenantbetween Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Genesis 9:13-15 (NKJV)
God promised to never destroy the world again with water. Yes, there have been catastrophic floods since then, but none like the one in Noah’s time.
The rainbow is a sign of God’s promise and I believe that to be true.
In the past few years those who wish to legitimize the sin of homosexuality have claimed the rainbow as the symbol of their movement. First of all I don’t hate anyone who is gay, but I do believe it is a sin equal to fornication, adultery, and other sexual sins. I also admit that I’m not perfect…my family and God continually reminds me of the areas in which I need to grow. However, it is our responsibility as Christians to hold one another accountable, so calling out sin is not judging someone, as some love to shout when someone else calls out any of the works of the flesh…
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
That being said, I feel using the rainbow to symbolize PRIDE is wrong for two reasons…
Because the cause is a sin…
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]homosexuals, nor [b]sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
And, because pride is a sin…
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]homosexuals, nor [b]sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
So, the curtains hang in her playroom reminding us of God’s promise… we reclaim it in the name of Yeshua the Som of God.
16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to [a]Him: 17 A[b] proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
Psalm 97:10 (NKJV)
10 You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
What if God gave you unlimited financial resources…what would you do?
What good would you do?
Who would you help?
What if God gave you a voice…a platform to speak to the world?
What would you say?
What causes would you speak out for?
How responsible would you be?
What if you had unlimited free time?
No job to report to?
No clock to punch?
What would you do with your time?
How would you spend it?
You can tell what you WOULD DO THEN by WHAT YOU’RE DOING with the financial resources you have now, whether it’s little or much.
Even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you have the means to help someone in need…your $5 gift or meal can change someone’s world.
You can tell by what you’re doing with your platform now.
What do you say? What don’t you say. What you post or publish? Which conversations to ‘speak up’ and which do you remain silent. How responsible are you with your voice now? Do you speak or post without thinking… praying?
What you’re doing with the time you have now? Do you say you don’t have time? Or, is it that you just don’t TAKE time?
There’s much Kingdom work that takes place through people who have no more free time than you…they just make time.
More money…More influence…and more time only empowers us to be more of who we already are.
Luke 21:1-4 (NKJV)
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
God intends for marriage to be a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, no matter how much our modern society makes and accepts excuses to ‘get out of it’. Especially what we call ‘irreconcilable differences’ or ‘we’re just growing apart’.
Malachi 2:16 (NKJV)
16 “For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
Matthew 19:4-8 (NKJV)
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who [a]made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.”7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
God knows that no matter how much you love one another, that no two people will be the same after 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 plus years of marriage. It’s impossible. Yes, you will grow apart in some areas of your lives. But, that doesn’t have to come between you.
Think about this. If God expected the arranged marriages to last in the bible days, He expects us to stay with the spouse that we choose.
How can we be ministers of reconciliation for God’s Kingdom if we can’t even reconcile the differences in our homes?
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NKJV)
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [a]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
In the words of Al Green, “Let’s stay together”
Here are a few more of my articles on Godly Marriage:
Spiritual maturity is realizing that there are some things that caused you so much pain — you’ll never get OVER them. It doesn’t mean you don’t forgive. It just means the thought will always hurt you.
Every time it comes to mind — the thought will hurt you.
Whenever something or someone reminds you of it — you will feel pain.
People spend years of energy trying to make a horrible memory— not hurt.
That’s wasted energy.
You will never get OVER it.
But, you CAN get past it.
You can control how the pain controls you, and how you react to it.
You can prevent IT from preventing YOU from moving on.
Even God Himself felt pain when He thought of how His chosen people consistently turned their backs on Him…
Notice how God sounds like a ‘hurt lover’ as He expresses His pain against how they have treated Him…
Micah 6:3-5 (NKJV)
3 “O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me. 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled, And what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, From [a]Acacia Grove to Gilgal, That you may know the righteousness of the Lord.”
Remember, just because God said He will forget our sins doesn’t mean that He CAN’T remember them.
You wake up, reach over and kiss your spouse. You then you turn on the television to check the weather and traffic. You go into the kitchen and grab a bite to eat and promptly brush, floss and take a shower so you can get out the door and be on time for work.
What’s wrong with this morning scenario?
You acknowledged your spouse…
You acknowledged the weather…
You acknowledged the traffic…
You acknowledged your hunger…
You acknowledged your hygiene (even your ‘low’giene:-)…
You acknowledged your job…
But did you acknowledge the One who made everything else you acknowledged possible?
Did you acknowledge God? Did you tell Him good morning? Did you tell Him thanks for protecting you and your family, while you were unconscious all night? Did you thank Him for waking you up? Did you thank Him for brand new mercies..
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
This world is far too dangerous. Too unpredictable… Too evil for us to begin our day without acknowledging the God of our salvation.
Too many people say they are believers, but when they are honest with themselves, they live as if God isn’t even there.
We acknowledge, relate to and take seriously what is real to us.
I believe that beginning the day without acknowledging God first thing each and every morning is the ultimate ‘intentional’ act of arrogance and pride.
We are saying, (without saying )… “I’ve got this.” “I don’t need your protection.” “I don’t need your provision.” “I don’t need your guidance.” “I don’t need your wisdom.” “I don’t need your help.”
In as sense we are saying, “I don’t need you today!”
When you love someone…when you’re in love someone, you act like it. In fact, not only do we expect the love we give be reciprocated, we demand it of one another.
We prove how real God is to us, and how much we love Him by how we relate to Him. How we talk to Him. How we fellowship with Him in His word and prayer.
Have you talked to God today? If not, why not stop right now and…Tell Him you’re sorry. Tell Him you love Him. Thank Him for His grace and mercy. And make a commitment that God is the first Person that you talk to each morning.
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.
How many times have you done it? You jumped out of bed, and hit the ground running. You got dressed, maybe grabbed a bite to eat and started your day. Then here come the challenges…
Family asking questions they could have asked last night…
Can’t find your keys…
More horrible co-workers…
Everyone seems to be pushing all your buttons all morning long!
Then, just before lunch you realize it. How could you have forgotten? Yes, the bed felt good and you lay there a few more moments, so when you jumped up you had to get going. But, how could you get going without telling God…
“Good Morning!” (Psalm 63:1)
“I bless your Holy Name this morning!” (Matthew 6:9)
“Thank you for keeping while I slept!” (Psalm 4:8)
“Thank you for brand new grace and mercy this morning!” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
“Please forgive me of all my sins!” (Psalm 41:4)
“No matter what happens today I love you and I trust you!” (Psalm 31:13-14)
“Thank you for sending the living word as your Son to die for my sins.” (John 1:14)
“Please provide all of our needs for this day.” (Matthew 6:11)
“ Lord, I look forward to being with you where you are when you return.” (John 17:24)
“ I pray for peace and prosperity in your Holy City of Jerusalem and salvation for your people.” (Psalm 122:6-9, Romans 10:1)
“I declare to have a good day in your Name!” (Psalm 118:24)
“For yours is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory forever!” (Matthew 6:13)
“In the name of Yeshua, Jesus Christ the Son of the only living God, and you are one.” (John 14:13-14)
“I love you because you first love me…Amen!” (1 John 4:19)
Of course, you don’t have to use this exact prayer, but how dare us begin are day without talking to God first! Sometimes we forget, but sometimes we may just decide to skip praying. There are even mornings when we are going through trials that we honestly don’t FEEL LIKE PRAYING.
But, it is a foolish thing to be bold enough step out into this world (or even stay at home) without talking to God first.
If you aren’t having a ‘good day’…did you pray? And, even if you did, stop and think of how much ‘worse’ your day could have been if you didn’t.
Remember, before you ‘hit the ground running’…hit the ground in prayer!
We all notice the unmistakable silence of Yeshua, Christ Jesus from 12 years of age until 30.
Luke 2:41-52 (NKJV)
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother[a] did not know it;44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. 51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
I have heard and read much speculation and conjecture as to what happened during that time. There are even apocryphal accounts (Book of Thomas) of events that took place when Jesus was young. However, I think there is enough information given to us in Matthew 13 and John 2 to let us know that nothing miraculous happened. That, after amazing the teachers when He was twelve years old, Jesus went back to being an ‘apparently’ very good boy and young man. No Jesus didn’t sin. His ‘goodness’ ( much like Joseph in Genesis) could have led to His brothers’ initial unbelief and antagonism…
John 7:5-7 (NKJV)
5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
6 Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.
Think about what is reported in Matthew 13 when Jesus was rejected in His hometown of Nazareth…
Matthew 13:53-58 (NKJV)
53 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses,[a] Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
…If Jesus had spent His youth sharing His wisdom and His supernatural powers, the people of His town would not have wondered ‘where did this man get this wisdom?’. They would have known He was unique among His half-brothers and sisters. They would have recognized Him beyond being ‘Joseph’s son’ and a carpenter. They were around Jesus every day as He grew and would not have been surprised at His wisdom if He had revealed that He was special after 12 years of age.
In fact, this implies to me that Jesus spent His teenage years and twenties doing the work of a carpenter while He and Mary held His divinity in their hearts.
As Jesus said at the wedding in Cana after His first miracle, His time had not yet come. And, yes John Chapter 2 confirms that turning the water to wine was Jesus’ first miracle. So no miracles could have happened before that.
The fact that Mary was anxious for Jesus to do something about the wine dilemma at the wedding could imply that she was ready for Him to ‘get the show started’.
She hadn’t even told her other children about their Holy brother. We all know how hard it can be to hold some things in our hearts. How hard it can be to keep a huge secret…especially one this big.
John 2:1-12 (NKJV)
2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
PROTECTED BY ANONYMITY?
We all know how the enemy used Herod to kill baby boys Jesus’ age killed trying to prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled. God very well could have been protecting Jesus in anonymity to protect Him and His identity until His time had come.
Matthew 2:16-18 (NKJV)
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”[a]
God’s wisdom goes beyond our desire to know what happened before Jesus began His earthly ministry. As I said earlier, we can speculate and guess, but that is all it is…guessing and speculation.
Besides, what’s most important is what happened after Jesus began His earthly ministry. His occupation was carpenter but His calling and purpose was SAVIOR.
Jesus’ silent years are one of the greatest lessons in the wisdom of God doing all things in HIS OWN TIMING. And, that we should relate this lesson to our own lives. Even the Son of God didn’t begin His purpose before it was time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
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?
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