Relationships make our lives richer….better. God created us because He wanted relationship with us.
As our relationships evolve, whether it be marriage, parent/child, siblings or friends…we are also all evolving as individuals.
For example, If you’ve been married any number of years, then neither of you are the same people you were when you first married.
The truth is some things get better, and some things don’t.
There will always be some things, attitudes, behaviors, moods, etc., that you hate about those who you love most….it doesn’t mean you hate them.
In fact, daily living and loving beyond those things is what makes it love.
Think about God…do you think He is always pleased with you?
Are there ways He is still expecting you to change?
Even at our best, we don’t measure up go God’s level of righteousness…
Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV)
But we are all like an unclean thing,And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
It’s only through God’s abundant grace and mercy that we are able to be in His Holy presence.
That’s why His gift of justification is so valuable, and should never be taken for granted. Even though we are unrighteous…through the blood of our Lord Jesus, we are ‘counted as righteous’.
Romans 3:23-25 (NKJV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
Just as we don’t measure up to God’s standard…We disappoint each other because at times don’t measure up to one another’s expectations…whether reasonable or unreasonable.
Just as we continue to disappoint God in our individual relationships with Him, we will continue to disappoint one another in our relationships with each other.
As years go by, even though we grow to know one another better, there will still be things about each other that ‘drive us up the wall’…things that ‘drive us crazy’.
Think about some things that you hate about those people who are closest to you.
Does it mean that your relationship is flawed?
Well, yes it does…but so is your relationship with God.
But, just as God loves us through our flaws, He expects us to love one another through ours as well.
So, the next time your notice your husband…wife…parent…sister…brother…friend doing something you don’t like…or even hate, after all these years remember…
Theirs something they can’t stand about you, and…
It makes your relationship normal…not over.
Love each other through it, just as God loves you.
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Have you ever noticed in Matthew Chapter 23 that the religious leaders told Yeshua, Jesus, that if they had lived in the past they would not have mistreated and killed the prophets as their ancestors did?
Many people do the same thing today. They point a self-righteous finger at the Scribes, Pharisees, Chief Priests, those who shouted CRUCIFY HIM, those who worshipped the golden calf, those who bowed to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol God, and so on. People prove on which side of history they would have stood in the past by their attitudes, actions, and behavior today.
Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, sharply rebuked the religious leaders (the system) because they claimed if they had lived in the past, they would not have participated in killing the prophets as their ancestors did. He told them that they SHARED IN THE GUILT OF THEIR ANCESTORS because of their attitudes and actions TODAY…
Matthew 23:29-32 (NKJV)
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and[a]adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.
Matthew 23:29-32 (NIV)
29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
People today claim they would have gone into the fiery furnace with the Hebrew slave boys, or lions’ den with Daniel, but prove they wouldn’t because they won’t take a stand for God at work, or conform to a sinful culture because they don’t want to lose their job.
People today claim they would have fled Sodom and Gomorrah with Lot, but prove they wouldn’t have because they support gay marriage and the gay lifestyle, when Yeshua clearly affirms that marriage is between a man and woman in Matthew Chapter 19 verses 3-9.
People today claim they wouldn’t have participated in worshipping a graven image or calling out the name of an idol, but they prove they would have by blasphemously calling a day to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior by the name of a pagan goddess (Easter, Eostre, Ishtar, Ashtoreth).
Exodus 23:13 (NKJV)
13 “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.
People today prove where they would have stood during the American Civil Rights Movement…
People today prove if they would have considered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to be a great man or a trouble maker…
People today prove if they would consider the peaceful protests to be a means to change or a nuisance…
People today prove whether they would have supported a system of slavery or against it by how they hold on to the symbols and paradigms of a sinful heritage of oppression, rape and separation of families because they feel it honors their ancestors.
People today prove whether they would have placed ‘traditions of man’ over the word of God (flags, statues, monunents, hazing, etc…
Matthew 15:1-8 (NKJV)
15 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying,‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother,“Whatever profit you might have received from me isa gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father[a]or mother.’ Thus you have made the[b]commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people [c]draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
How you respond to the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah today proves how you would have stood back then…
People today prove whether they would have shouted HOSANNA or CRUCIFY Him!
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.
Have you ever heard anyone say anything similar to that? Many times when someone has hurt us, we want to see them hurt. We can find ourselves daydreaming comforting ourselves with the thought of getting even with or even hurting them, just as Easu did his brother Jacob for deceiving their father Isaac out of his blessing…
Genesis 27:42 (NLT)
42But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you.
Sometimes when we see misfortune come upon someone who had mistreated us, we may take pleasure in that misfortune. And, if given an opportunity we may even gloat to their face…
“That’s what you get!”
“See, you got what you deserved!”
“God doesn’t like ugly!”
God warns us agains gloating in our enemies calamity, even if it came from Him, and even if we feel they deserve it. This is what God warned Edom when pronouncing their punishment for their violence against Israel.
Obadiah 12-13 (NLT)
12“You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble. 13 You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity.
Why? Because when we arrogantly celebrate someone’s misfortune, we are in direct contradiction to the word of God…
Matthew 5:44-45 (NLT)
44 But I say, love your enemies![a] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Second, it’s judgement and condemnation, judging in your heart that they deserved what they got…
Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT)
7 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others.[a] The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.[b]
We have all hurt others and sometimes we did it without knowing. Can you think of someone who you have given a good reason to hate you? Have you ever hurt someone without intending to do so? The pain is still real. When you judge someone deserves what happened to them, according to Matthew Chapter 7 verses 1 and 2, you are pronouncing that same judgment on yourself.
Also, be careful when you lie by telling someone you’re sorry to hear about their trial or misfortune when you’re really glad in your heart. Be careful when your consolation is really a celebration.
The next time you see someone getting what you feel they deserve, stop and thank God for His grace and mercy for not giving you what you deserve. And pray that their calamity brings them closer to God.
I recently shared the picture above on a social media platform. The context was just as some entrepreneurs used to frame and display the first dollar they made, I was sharing the email that led to the first music licensing contract I acquired back in 2015 with NBC Universal on behalf of The Tonight Show.
It wasn’t my skill, talent, or connections…but God suddenly and unexpectedly allowed this opportunity to fall into my lap.
I shared this on social media to give God glory, and to give hope to others pursuing their purpose, dreams and vision.
I received several positive reactions, both LIKES 👍🏾 and LOVES ❤️ .
BUT CHECK THIS OUT…
I received a private inbox message from a fellow minister who never, ever, ever acknowledges me on social media. He told me that even though I ‘blacked out’ the name of the person who sent me the licensing email, that if you BLOW IT UP, you can still see the name.
I looked back at where I posted the picture and he didn’t click LIKE👍🏾, ❤️ LOVE, or even ANGRY 😡.
He chose to ignore the reactions and BLOW UP the picture which was very intentional. It took effort.
Sooooooo, what is his behavior saying without saying?
It’s amazing how people are unintentionally transparent.
By reading between the lines, whose behavior is transparent, his or mine?
3…who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts.(A)
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.
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.
There are many ‘cliche’s among believers that have become almost as revered as scripture. Some are more common in different Christian subcultures. From “LET GO AND LET GOD” to “GOD CAN DO ANYTHING BUT FAIL”, those who call themselves to be a part of the Body of Christ encourage, admonish and hold one another accountable with several spiritual cliches. For example, saying “PRAYER WORKS” can reduce prayer to a gimmick. However, we must be very careful with how we use these phrases.
Two of the most popular of these phrases among many Christians are the cliches…
“SPEAK IT INTO EXISTENCE!” or “NAME IT AND CLAIM IT!”
These are popular spiritual inferences that are drawn from several scriptures such as:
Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Matthew 21:21 (NKJV)
21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.
We must be very careful when we take scriptures and ‘turn them into what we want’. The fact is that when we ‘add to’ what the bible says, it can often do more harm than good.
There are no bible verses that explicitly say we can simply say things and they will happen. And, inferring that some verses mean that we can ‘name it and claim it’ is a dangerous conjecture.
Here are 2 quick reasons why we should be careful before we say, “Speak it into existence” or “Name it and claim it..
1. IT CAN CAUSE SOMEONE TO QUESTION THEIR FAITH
Yes, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), told us that whatsoever we ask according to His will, shall be done for us, but, we all know that no matter how many times we pray for something that isn’t according to God’s will, it will not happen. And, having intimate conversation with God in prayer isn’t the spiritual equivalent to arbitrarily saying something out loud so that it will happen. The fact is that a prayer doesn’t even have to be ‘spoken’ or verbalized because God knows when we are speaking to Him in our thoughts without words. So, if someone ‘speaks it into existence’ through prayer, and God doesn’t do it…it can cause someone to question their faith in both God and prayer.
2. ‘SPEAKING IT INTO EXISTENCE’ CAN ACTUALLY ‘SPEAK IT INTO RESISTANCE’
Remember that Satan, his fallen angels and his emissaries on earth are not omniscient nor omnipresent. They aren’t all knowing and can’t be everywhere at the same time. The devil or demons CAN’T know your thoughts unless you make them known to them.
Notice how the bible reminds us that Mary didn’t share what God had told her verbally…
Luke 2:19 (NKJV)
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Notice how the angel of the Lord acknowledged the spiritual resistance and battle taking place in the ‘spirit world’…
Daniel 10:12-14 (NKJV)
12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
The angel of the Lord dispatched to Daniel met resistance from a high ranking, territorial fallen angel identified as the Prince of Persia. The angel was delayed three weeks!
When we verbalize…
…God isn’t the only one who hears it. The enemy also hears it, and just the same as a human enemy can respond to undermine, frustrate or harm you based on what you make known with your mouth…so can the devil.
Many times when we arbitrarily SPEAK INTO RESISTANCE, we’re inviting SPIRITUAL RESISTANCE.
Some things are meant to be between only you and God, spoken in the spiritual language of your heart. One of the beautiful benefits of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the fact that His Holy Spirit, (Ruach HaKadosh), speaks for us nonverbally when we don’t know what to say.
If God makes it so easy to join His organization (Romans 10:9), why do we make it so hard to join some of ours?
I was watching a television show in which a young lady hoping to join a prestigious college band was beaten into intensive care during her initiation, and it was swept under the rug and defended by those in authority to protect their tradition.
I’ve heard many comment and reason that such behavior is just ‘part of the process’…that some initiations and inductions are just ‘part of growing up’.
I’ve heard that enduring this foolishness with others breeds loyalty, brotherhood/sisterhood, comradery, etc.
Some of these organizations claim to be Christians organizations.
Now, I’m sure some of you reading will defend it out of loyalty to your own beloved organizations and traditions, but if you’re a Christian…if you know God’s word…if you know the character and culture of His Kingdom…and if you’re honest with yourself, you know it’s not of God and makes no sense. You know that some of the activities people are forced to participate in are clearly not Godly.
If it’s not of God, then it’s of the devil…
If it’s of the devil, then it’s straight from Hell.
How do I know it’s not of God?
Because God made joining His organization EASY for us!
It’s interesting how so many organizations, teams, clubs etc. make it so DIFFICULT to join…initiations, rituals, rites of passage, hazing, traditions…while, God makes it so EASY!
Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
The Body of Christ, His church is the most important and prestigious ‘organization’ of this earth and beyond.
The benefits of membership are eternal…
Yet, God makes it so easy to become part of His family.
So many earthly organizations feel it’s such an honor to be inducted into their ranks that some have even died trying to get in. When you think about it…it’s quite absurd that people have shed blood to join some groups but…
Yeshua, Jesus Christ, paid the price of our admission to His church with His blood…
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities;The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
One of Jesus’ greatest battles was against foolish, senseless tradition (Matthew 15:1-20).
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; [a] and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’[b]5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’[c] Thus you have made the commandment[d] of God of no effect by your tradition.7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And[e] honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”[f]
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.14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”
16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding?17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
No organization on earth supersedes God’s and should never be no more difficult to become a part of than His church.
Even though some have even perverted and complicated ‘membership’ in His church, that was never His intention.
When any organization makes potential members submit themselves to violence, vulgar and profane language, embarrassment and possible harm as conditions of joining…those activities are not of God.
This is not an indictment on all organizations that require some sort of ‘proving grounds’, but when it crosses God’s line, it’s gone too far.
Don’t get caught up trying to hold onto, defend and condone traditions from Hell.
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!
We also know that even when you’re in relationship with God, there are still real consequences for sin, bad decisions and weaknesses. And even now, many of us are living out those consequences.
It’s God’s will that we learn from our experiences, the mistakes of others, and listen to good Godly advice. We must learn those lessons of…
Repentance (Completely turning from our sins and changing our behavior. Not just asking for forgiveness, but actually changing.)
Accountability (acknowledging and owning where we need to change).
Stewardship (carefully managing the resources that God has given us).
Responsibility (owing and living up to our responsibility)
Relationships ( making sure we are doing everything we can for healthy relationships with God first, then one another)
Once we learn the lessons that God requires for our growth, even though we are living out the consequences, God can still restore all of the things we have screwed up through out mistakes, if He chooses. Time after time in the bible Israel and Judah hurt God and suffered the consequences, then after crying out, He heard them and restored what they lost….after repentance.
Check out these encouraging scriptures about restoration…
Psalm 23:3 (NKJV)
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Joel 2:25-26 (NKJV)
25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. 26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.
Isaiah 1:16-19 (NKJV)
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke [a]the oppressor; [b]Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;
Isaiah 54 (NKJV)
Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate Than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. 3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited.
4 “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. 5 For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. 6 For the Lord has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused,” Says your God. 7 “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you. 8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the Lord, your Redeemer.
9“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. 10 For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
11 “O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones. 13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children. 14 In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you. 15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith Who blows the coals in the fire, Who brings forth an [a]instrument for his work; And I have created the [b]spoiler to destroy. 17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.
Job 42:10 (NKJV)
10 And the Lord [a]restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
If you know in your heart that you have learned from your mistakes, as well as the trials that God has allowed to arise in your life, it’s okay to ask God for restoration.
God can and sometimes will…
Restore your relationship with Him…
Touch the hearts and minds of people that you’ve hurt for restoration in relationships…
Work miracles to restore money and property that you thought will never see again…
Work situations so that your credit can be restored…
Bless you with opportunities to restore your influence and reputation.
GOD CAN DO IT IF YOU TRULY TRUST HIM!
God loves you. Just like a parent who has a baby that had a horribly messy bowel movement that leaked out of the diaper and spread all over the child’s body…the parent doesn’t throw away the child. He or she gently cleans washes the child and restores it to it’s original cleanliness and beauty. That’s what God does for us.
So, begin to ask God during your regular prayer life that as you repent, learn and grow to deliver you from the consequences of you sins, bad decisions and weaknesses.
We all make them sometimes…bad decisions. Some of those decisions are sin, but some aren’t.
We make bad decisions in our…
Choices with our education…
Raising our children…
Diets, health and how we manage our bodies…
How we take care of what God has given us…
…Which way to turn at a crossroads in our lives.
What’s a bad decision that you have made, that may not necessarily be a sin, but you can clearly see that you and possibly the one’s you love are living out the consequences of that decision?
Yes, you’ve learned the lesson, and now you’re just trying to navigate your way through the ditch you have dug for yourself until you can find a place to crawl out.
Well, God told us that we can ask whatever we desire in His name and He will answer according to His will… 1 John 5:14 (NKJV) 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
John 15:7-8 (NKJV)
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you[a] will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
We also know that God is a deliverer, with a bible full of examples of Him delivering, and snatching His people out from the consequences of their sin and bad decisions…
Psalm 34:17 (NKJV)
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The fact is that some of our bad decisions are made out of our own human weaknesses. God made us all, which means He gave us both our strengths and our weaknesses.
We sometimes make mistakes and choose unwisely, even after we pray for guidance, and there are always lessons to be learned.
So, this short prayer is for those times you find yourself living out the consequences of a bad decision, and you have learned your lesson.
It’s a short prayer for two of God’s greatest benefits…mercy and deliverance.
“Our heavenly Father as I present myself to you right now please accept me in the name of our Risen Savior, Yeshua, the anointed One, Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your unfailing love and faithfulness, even when my love fails and I’m unfaithful.
I also thank you for the abundant blessing of more than enough for today.
Now, I come to you with a specific request…
Please have mercy on me and forgive me from all my sins, blot out all my transgressions, and cleanse me from all my unrighteousness. I’m so sorry for hurting you, and sometimes putting you to open shame.
Please Father, grant me wisdom from my mistakes, and please deliver me from the consequences of my bad decisions, if it be your holy will.
Please snatch me out of this painful place, bring glory to your name through my life, and anoint me to walk in the anointing, authority, influence and victory You’ve ordained for my life as a testimony of my love for You and trust in You.
I ask this specific prayer in the Name and Authority of Your Son and My Saviour, the Lamb of God, Yeshua, Christ Jesus.
Yes, sometimes we must live out the consequences and lie in the bed we’ve made. But, sometimes God will come and snatch us out of that bed, if we ask.
Psalm 130 (NKJV)
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; 2 Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
3 If You, Lord, should [a]mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning— Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption. 8 And He shall redeem Israel From all his iniquities.
One of my greatest disappointments in ‘growing up’ was realizing how much we really don’t. You can look at some adults and sometimes easily tell who was the cry baby, the know it all, the spoiled child…the one who took their toys and went home when they didn’t get their way.
You can work in an office, school, store, restaurant, or even a church and you’ll find the same thing…proof that some of us never really grow up. Many work places aren’t much different from high school…
You have the so-called…
You have those with aggravatingly high levels of ‘school spirit’ and those who ‘smoke in the bathroom’ and could care less…those who are ‘company people’ and those who spend most of their day in the designated smoking area.
You have those who ‘remind the teacher (boss) we have a test’…those who can’t wait to remind the boss of that meeting that no one wanted to have.
You have those who are always late for class and never have their assignments…those always late for work and hold up the process, the line…progress because they haven’t done their part.
You have the teacher’s pet…those who love ‘kissing the bosses behind’ trying to get noticed or get ahead, and you see it sometimes backfire on them at work just as it did in school.
You have those who keep their ‘desk’ in perfect condition…those whose desk is an organized mess…and those whose desk is a disaster area.
School should be a place where all children can go to learn in peace and safety…be challenged and enjoy rewarding friendships.
Our workplaces should be places where we can earn a living for ourselves or our families and be respected as adults.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Both school and workplaces are ruined by the same things…
People who forget the real reason they’re at WORK.
God’s word tells us that we should always be mindful to treat others not only as we want to be treated…
Matthew 7:12 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
But, also better than ourselves…
Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
God also expects us to do whatever it takes within us to get along with others…
Romans 12:18 (NKJV)
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
The bible teaches us that God expects us to be ‘perfect’. But, perfect in the bible does not mean without fault. It means ‘mature’ (according to Strong’s Concordance Greek teleios means mature or consummated).
Matthew 5:48 (NKJV)
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect
Philippians 3:15 (NKJV)
15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
When you’re in fourth grade, you should be at that proper level of development…intellectually, emotionally, behaviorally and socially. You aren’t expected to be in the fourth grade on an eight grade level…or vice versa. If you are on your appropriate level of development, according to the bible you are ‘perfect’ or mature.
The problem is that in our workplaces…too many people remained at the ‘forth grade’ level even though they have moved to ‘high school’. God expects us to grow up.
If we take God’s work serious enough in our homes to instill it within our children, we will find our schools much better places to learn, which will create adults who make our workplaces better places to work.
Let me first say that I absolutely believe that God gives us the right to arm ourselves as individuals. Notice what Yeshua, Jesus, told His disciples…
Luke 22:35-36 (NKJV)
35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?”
So they said, “Nothing.”
36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.
The Lord told His own disciples that if they don’t have a weapon they should get one…to defend themselves. Jesus made this clear when Peter used His sword when Jesus was arrested.
Matthew 26:51-52 (NKJV)
51And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will [a]perish by the sword.
John 18:10-15 (NKJV)
10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”
However, even if God permits us to arm ourselves, just as He doesn’t want us to put our faith in riches, He also doesn’t want us to put our faith in our guns…as if they are what insures our salvation when attacked.
Psalm 33:16-18 (NKJV)
16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. 17 A horse is a [a]vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy,
Psalm 44:6-8 (NKJV)
6 For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me. 7 But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us. 8 In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever. Selah
Remember God delivered Israel from Egypt without one weapon. He fought for them.
Remember also, though out numbered, God fought for Judah because Jehoshaphat put his faith in God…
2 Chronicles 20:15-23 (NKJV)
15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the [a]brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.
20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.”
22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they [b]had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
In Joshua’s farewell address, He reminded the Israel of the real source of their help…
Joshua 23:8-10 (NKJV)
8 but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day. 9 For the Lord has [a]driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day. 10 One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.
Too many people in our society have prioritized their weapons over what’s more important to the Lord…just as when Yeshua rebuked the Pharisees of neglecting compassion while prioritizing their tithes…
Matthew 23:23 (NKJV)
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.
There are some people who quickly react when they feel their guns are threatened, but are silent when it comes to JUSTICE, MERCY and FAITH.
Just as God allowed Israel and Judah to be taken into captivity, God can allow GUNS TO BE TAKEN and loss of freedom because of PRIDE, ARROGANCE, COMPROMISE, COMPLACENCY, ASSIMILATION, and SPIRITUAL ADULTERY! That’s why God said…
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The most powerful weapon we have is the word of God. That’s what Jesus used to resist the devil while He was in the wilderness. The word of God is more powerful than any weapon ever made…
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Remember God’s promise through the Prophet Isaiah…
Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.
It’s very easy to take our blessings for granted. Especially the blessings that some of us might call ‘the little things’…like water.
Plenty of water…
Anytime you want it.
There are many people in this world who consider clean water to be a luxury.
There are many people in this world who bathe and drink from the same water that animals drink from.
They just want clean, easily accessible water to drink and bathe in.
But, so many of us don’t only have plenty of water to drink, we can sometimes catch ourselves saying “There’s nothing here to drink,” if there is no juice, soda, wine, beer, or Kool-Aid in the house because we don’t want water.
So many of us have enough water to water our lawns.
So many of us have enough water to wash our cars.
So, the next time you get ready to wash your car or drive through a car wash, stop and thank God for enough water for this task that could be considered by those who don’t have enough as vain.
Then say a prayer for those who can’t go to the faucet and turn on the fresh, clean water.
Exodus 17 (NKJV)
17 Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink.”
So Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord?”
3 And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
4So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone[a] me!”
5And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with yousome of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”
And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 So he called the name of the place Massah[b] and [c]Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they [d]tempted the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
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?
How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that? But, too many times our behavior doesn’t align with that affirmation.
The reason is that people do horrible things to hurt one another. We have all done something to give someone else a reason but not an excuse to hate us. We have all had people do things to hurt us: our loved ones, people who we care about, a group of people to which we belong, or people who we feel couldn’t defend themselves.
Many people have been neglected, abused, overlooked, bullied, betrayed, cheated, discriminated against, injured….even had loved ones murdered.
But God still demands in no uncertain terms that we love EVERYONE!
Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 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, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your [b]brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the [c]tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
But, sometimes people cross that line to do something to behave in a way that makes our spirits ache!
We know what God requires and say that we still love them, but God knows that’s not what’s really in our hearts.
In our hearts we want to see them hurt.
In our hearts we want to see them embarrassed.
In our hearts we want to see them punished.
In our hearts we want to see them put to shame.
If we aren’t careful, in our hearts we want to see them dead.
And, sometimes in our hearts we can want to see them condemned to hell.
The bible tells us to examine ourselves…
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you [a]are disqualified.
1 Corinthians 11:28-29 (NKJV)
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks [a]in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the [b]Lord’s body.
The devil, the enemy, the accuser of the Saints wants to convince you that someone has done something so horrible, that their character, attitude and behavior are so bad that they deserve to be hated.
That’s condemnation. That’s judgement. And, that’s reserved for God. The Word of God is very clear in how we are to respond to people our flesh wants to hate…
2 Corinthians 13:5(NKJV)
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Doyou not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you [a]are disqualified.
So ask yourself…”Who has the devil convinced me to hate, I just haven’t admitted to myself?”
Your ex-husband or wife?
The person who abused your son or daughter?
The person who murdered someone you love?
I know it’s not easy, but God doesn’t allow us to hate them. He doesn’t love them any less than He loves us. He created them in His image too. And, He wants them to be reconciled to Him too. It’s our responsibility to pray for that and work for that. Once your enemy truly repents and becomes reconciled to Him, he or she is no longer God’s enemy…and they are no longer your enemy. Do you really pray for those who you feel don’t deserve prayer?
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward [a]us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (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.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
So I challenge you to be honest and ask yourself, “Do I hate anyone?”
If so, ask God to forgive you for hating them and repent by refusing to feed and fuel your anger towards them.
Then, call out their names every day and pray for them.
Pray for God to soften their hearts.
Pray for God to kill any bad seeds that’s been planted inside them and give increase to any good seeds… seeds of faith in God through Yeshua the Messiah, seeds of repentance, seeds of salvation, and seeds of fellowship with God and a life of bearing much good fruit for Him.
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
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.”
God also makes it clear that He HATES divorce…
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.”
However, as stated above, people divorce for many different reasons…
And of course…
God also clearly says that if one divorces his or her spouse for a reason other than that which God allows commits adultery and causes the one he or she marries to commit adultery…period.
Many Ministers quickly say they would not officiate a homosexual wedding, as I wouldn’t, but I also ask heterosexual couples if they were previously married, and if so, why they got divorced.
Matthew 5:31-32 (KJV)
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 19:7-9 (KJV)
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NKJV)
10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
That’s very strong and very clear. In God’s view, if one puts away their spouse they are bound. Entering into another marriage is viewed by God as adulterous.
So, ask yourself. Does God accept your marriage, or are you living in adultery?
But, what about the spouse that has been put away and wanted to stay married? Are they bound?
1 Corinthians 7:15 (NKJV)
15 But if the unbeliever departs, let himdepart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
Here the Apostle Paul is talking about an unbeliever leaving a believing spouse, but it makes it clear that if your spouse leaves you, then you are not bound. (Please read all of 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 for context).
This is a difficult subject, but one that is not discussed enough. God is clear in His word, and He does not expect us to justify fitting it to our will, but we are to submit to His.
So, is adultery when the spouse has asked for forgiveness an excuse for divorce? For more on that topic, read this…
If there’s one consistency between both the Old and New Testaments, it’s the fact that names matter to God. From God changing Abram’s name to Abraham to Yeshua changing Simon’s name to Peter (Cephas).
In an age when so many in the Body of Christ are politicizing sins that society considers BIG, while excusing those they consider small, the bible is clear that God takes how we identify ourselves very seriously…
Not many Christians are quick to name their children, Satan or Lucifer.
Because those names are used to identify the enemy, the accuser of the saints…the devil.
That’s why I don’t understand that while Christians are so passionately ‘campaign’ against the so-called BIG sins, why they never speak up against teams, many of which they allow their children to be a part of, that identify themselves with a devil.
They wear sports paraphernalia, fly flags, display bumper ‘stickers’ and worst of all cheer for, root for, in a sense ‘praise’…and glorify THE DEVILS!
Right now someone reading this knows in their heart it’s not right, but they are naturally inclined to do what Christians do when they want to continue doing something…look for reasons to justify it.
Do you think God is cool with you allowing your child to be identified as a ‘devil’?
Do you think God is okay with allowing a school, AAU team, or professional team to be identified as the DEVILS? The RED DEVILS? The BLUE DEVILS? etc.?
Names matter so much go God that He demands we be baptized in the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here name doesn’t mean the combination of consonants and vowels that make up ‘Yeshua’, ‘Jesus’, ‘Emmanuel’, Adonai, or even Ruach ha-kodesh (Holy Spirit). Names denote authority, character…who you are, or what it is. Think about the fact that God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.
Think about the fact that most Christians are content with calling a day chosen to commemorate Yeshua’s (Jesus’s) death, burial, and resurrection by a pagan goddess’s name (Easter), which is the same as (Eostre, Ishtar, Ashtoreth) one of the very names He forbid us to make mention of, one of the very names that Israel and Judah invoked (said) and provoked God to anger.
7 and lest you go[a] among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them,
Names matter, so we should stop trivializing what is important to Him.
I once worked with a lady who cleaned up our office building. Let’s say her name is Elsie.
She was middle aged, older than some and younger than others, and she was Black.
Out of respect most people in the office called her Ms. Elsie. Except me, I called her Elsie. She was my Elder, but I sensed she didn’t like the title Ms. before her name.
I asked several people, Black, White and other races why they called her that, and they confirmed it was out of respect.
So, I asked Elsie how she felt about it. She also confirmed she didn’t like it, and it was exactly for the reason I thought.
She was our coworker. Even though she wasn’t a Manager, Analyst, Salesperson, Director, VP, or CEO, she was a coworker. There were other coworkers older than her, of all races, that were referred to by their first name only.
Calling her MS. unintentionally designated her as a servant. It made her feel like a MAMMY.
I told everyone to please just call her by her first name like everyone else.
So many times we can mean well, but unintentionally insult, disrespect, and belittle others because we are culturally insensitive.
As we come upon the season of celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I’m compelled to share what He placed in my heart years ago…my annual reminder.
John 4:24 proclaims that God is a spirit and we are commanded to worship Him in Spirit and Truth….Spirit and Truth.
God also commanded in Joshua 23:7 that we are not to make mention of or swear by the names of pagan gods, particularly those that were worshiped by the people who surrounded Israel.
Joshua 23: (NKJV)
7 and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not MAKE MENTION OF THE NAME of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them,
Some of those names were Baal and Ashtoreth (Judges 2:12-15). One of Israel’s greatest sins was when they “did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and Asherahs”(Judges 3:7).
Well here we are in the 21st Century and the enemy knows you love the Lord and he can’t get you to reject Him for an idol, but he did cleverly find a way to defile our worship and get us to commit blasphemy every time we refer to the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
In fact, if you ask why do we call the celebration of our Lord, Easter, many Christians will admit they don’t know or have never even thought about it.
The name Easter is derived from the name of an Anglo-Saxon/Norse goddess named Ostre or Eostre. This is the same ‘goddess’ that God forbade Israel to mention her name. The name is different in different cultures…Astarte, Ishtar, wife of Baal, Ashoreth, Aphrodite, Easter.
Even though the names are different, in all of these cultures ‘she’ was worshiped as a fertility goddess.
What were some of the symbols of her worship?
Yes, you already know…eggs, and rabbits.
What better way for Satan to convince well-meaning Christians to disobey God by convincing them that they are depriving their children of some joy to keep these symbols alive for thousands of years.
The name Easter has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. It doesn’t even remotely make sense, but you can’t get well-meaning Christians to stop using it because it’s so ingrained in the way we think (head) and the way we do things (hands) (Revelations 13:16). Remember that God warned us through the apostle John that the spirit of the antichrist was already here and working (1 John 4:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:7).
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
But some may say it doesn’t matter what you call the celebration of His resurrection as long as you know the meaning…
Think of all of the names God changed in the bible. Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Paul etc…
If names don’t matter then why won’t most men take their wife’s maiden name when they marry?
If names don’t matter what man would allow his wife to keep her ex-husbands last name?
If names don’t matter, then why is it important for us to be called by our name correctly?
Don’t you prefer being called by your own name?
Mary and Joseph were commanded to name Mary’s son Jesus, Yeshua, because He will save his people from their sins (Jesus, Joshua, Yeshua all mean Savior, God Saves or God, Yahweh is salvation, but that is a different discussion).
Using the name of another goddess to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and convincing Christians to defile his worship with symbols of her worship is blasphemy, and it is in direct rebellion to what God commanded us NOT to do (Joshua 23:7).
In fact, when you think about it, calling it EASTER Sunday is no different from calling it, Mohammed Sunday or Buddha Sunday.
Let me be clear.
I think it’s a wonderful thing to celebrate His death, burial and resurrection, but we must do it in Spirit and Truth.
Call it Resurrection Day, Resurrection Celebration, Jesus Lives Day you don’t even HAVE to celebrate it at all…but please let’s STOP calling it Easter.
Because names matter to us, and they matter to God.
Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
We have wayyyyyyyyyyy too many ‘cussing’ Christians!
Our words are so powerful. Their ability to influence and shape our world is confirmed in the word of God.
Proverbs 11:9 (NKJV)
9 The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
15 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 16:24 (NKJV)
24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
Mark 11:23 NKJV For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
And, just as much as they have the power to influence, our words also reveal what’s inside of us…
Matthew 12:34 (NKJV)
34 Brood[a] of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
It’s even with our words that we acknowledge and accept God’s gift of salvation…
Romans 10:10 (NKJV)
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
So, God holds those who believe in Him through His Son and our Savior Yeshua (Jesus Christ) accountable for each and everyone of our words…
His expectations of us are very high…
Matthew 12:36 (NKJV)
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Ephesians 4:29 NIV Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
That’s why it’s catastrophic when Christians curse, cuss, insult, use vulgar, profane or unclean language!
Too many times, you can’t tell the difference in those in the Body of Christ and those who aren’t by how they talk.
Too many times, Christians choose to express their emotions through words that are displeasing to God.
Too many times, Christians use insults when they disagree.
Too many times, Disciples of Christ allow coaches and those in authority to ‘curse’ their children.
I’ve seen too many of our leaders curse in public and those who call themselves Christians cheer, celebrate and find reasons to justify it.
Too many times people who claim to represent God equate cursing to ‘strong words’ or assertiveness.
What does God consider unclean words?
James 3:10 (NKJV)
10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
What does God consider ‘cursing’?
KJV Dictionary Definition: damn
1. To sentence to eternal torments in a future state; to punish in hell.
2. To condemn; to decide to be wrong or worthy of punishment; to censure; to reprobate.
He that doubteth is damned if he eat. Rom xiv
3. To condemn; to explode; to decide to be bad, mean, or displeasing, be hissing or any mark of disapprobation; as, to damn a play, or a mean author.
4. A word used in profaneness; a term of execration.
Our words can either bless or curse. Our words can either encourage or discourage. Our words can either breathe life into a room…or suck it out!
Words can totally destroy or testimony and credibility as a Christian.
When you curse someone, it isn’t ‘harmless’.
YOU ARE RELEASING SOMETHING…
YOU ARE GIVING SOMETHING…
When you say, “God bless you!”…You’re giving a BLESSING!
When you say, “Damn you!” or “I’ll be damned!”, or even “Go to hell!”…YOU’RE GIVING A CURSE!
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.