Friday, March 23, 2018


At the end of Ephesians 4 and through the beginning of Ephesians 5 - Paul instructs the believers in Ephesus on how to live as Children of The Light. Here are some Don'ts that Paul lists -
  1. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth
  2. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
  3. Do not sow bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander or malice.
Paul also delivers some Do's -
  1. Speak only what is helpful for building others up
  2. Be kind
  3. Be compassionate
  4. Be forgiving 
However, there is some strong language that Paul uses in Ephesians 5:3 that stands out from the rest of the Do Not's that I noticed. The verse reads, "But among you there must not be even a hint of....". Let me stop right there. Did you read and feel the forcefulness and toughness in the phrase "even a hint of"? The original Greek word for this phrase is onomazo, meaning anything you have to confess, designate or call categorically a name. The list that comes afterwards is as follows -
  1. Sexual immorality
  2. Any kind of impurity
  3. Any kind of greed
  4. Obscenity
  5. Foolish talk
  6. Coarse joking
So, if you take the strong language out of the equation, out of the reading - you have a normal encouragement to stay away from these things. However, the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to emphasize "there must not be even a hint of" the above characteristics in the believer or Christian community. He says, this ESPECIALLY, should not be an identifier of the Children of The Light because it is "improper for God's Holy people" (v. 3).

The substitution for all the possible negativity is Thanksgiving. Paul says, "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." (v.4) Thanksgiving to God for anything and everything that comes to mind places our focus back where it should be - God.

Thanksgiving is a big part of making sure there is "not even a hint of..." the sinful in our midst. If you keep reading in Ephesians 5, Paul mentions an additional help. If you live as Children of The Light, as he has laid out, and "find out what pleases the Lord" (v.10), then you will have "fruit of the light". You have heard about The Fruit of the Spirit, now read about The Fruit of The Light. Paul says, "Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." (verses 9-10).

Living this out may be a challenge, but understanding it is not. If you choose to - 
  1. live as Children of The Light, as a person and as a Church
  2. especially heed to what is said about what among you there must not be even a hint found
  3. Keep Thanksgiving and what pleases God out front
- then you will see manifested "the fruit of light", which is goodness, righteousness and truth. And all of us know we need more of each of those in our world today. For us to be better Children of The Light, for us to bear much fruit of The Light - it all boils down to being Imitators Of God (Ephesians 5:1).

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Let's pretend that we all are parents of not only blood-born children, but adopted kids as well. The adopted kids are paid for by us to have the right of ownership. The blood-born kids are continually bought through their life by provision until they realize this form of love and reciprocate. 

The kids are going to rebel, disobey and/or sin. Are you going to kick them out of the family and re-instate them after a probationary period? Of course not! Both blood-born and adopted kids are family - once and for all time. You are not going to go back and repay for the adopted or start over with your other children. So it is with God when we rebel, disobey or sin against Him.

In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Jesus is teaching The Way we should live to His Disciples then and now. This part of Christ's Way of Living -  if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. - does not concern the believer's overall Salvation. Paul reminds us - "He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:12) His Redemption restored our relationship with Him and secured our destination with Him also.

The word "sins" in this passage comes from the Greek word paraptoma, meaning trespass or transgression. And the Lord is using this word in a knowing-way. Knowing that we, as believer's in Christ, will still sin. So, He requires us to be the the example now and forgive SO THAT afterwards when we ask Him of forgiveness, we are in the proper spirit to receive His forgiveness. Another excellent story that Jesus tells about this living out forgiveness is The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant found in Matthew 18:23-35. Forgiveness must be given before it can be granted. So, you are going to be forgiven, you just need to make sure you have forgiven all those who have grieved, transgressed and/or trespassed against you first.

Even though Christ has not died for them at this point in the narrative, He considers them part of His Family already. As their Rabbi, Lord and Most Senior Brother - Jesus re-emphasizes what was declared earlier in the Lord's Prayer, "forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." (Matt. 6:12) 

Notice something? We are still in His Family. He has not kicked us out for not forgiving others. Christ's forgiveness,  which is a blessing unto itself, is simply withheld. Other favors from His Hands might be withheld to move us in the direction of forgiving others SO THAT we will seek forgiveness in the right spirit. The forgiven know how to forgive and come humbly before their God for their forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15 is about The Life We Live In Light Of Our Salvation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


The famed physicist Stephen Hawking died today at age 76. For all his supposed intelligence, a Yahoo article pointed out -

In 2011, Hawking appeared on the Discovery Channel TV series “Curiosity,” in which he reflected on the origins of the universe and rejected the likelihood of both a God and an afterlife. (He once dismissed the latter as “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”) Only in confronting the finite nature of death, he said, do we appreciate the remarkable beauty of life in the present.

“There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either,” Hawking said. “We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”


It is interesting Mr. Hawking gives credence to "the dark" and emotions of being "afraid" tied to "the dark" because you have to know that there is light in order to know that there is dark. Jesus left no doubt about who the Light of the World is, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Darkness is not a fairy-tale. Darkness is the absence of not only physical light, but spiritual light also. And both of these - light and darkness are eternal.

There-in lies the rub for Stephen Hawking - eternity. He saw things, especially death as "finite". That is interesting - a major point of all the major faiths in the world is that there is  hope for an eternity/afterlife that is better than this present existence. In Christianity the hope of God and God on His Throne in Heaven should influence the way we live and treat others. If this is not enough, the destinations of our souls should spur us to action - Lake of Fire for those who reject Christ and New Jerusalem/New Earth for those who accept Christ. This leads me to conclude that there was no weight placed upon faith of any kind in Hawking's up-bringing. This is sad because Science is the Confirmer of a Creator or Designer.

It seems Mr. Hawking was a confused individual when it came to The Creation and transition of death. He says about the existence of Heaven and the Afterlife - "There is probably...". "Probably" is a word of doubt. There is a great truth that would have helped Mr. Hawking out if he had known it earlier - "I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't and to die to find out that there is." - Albert Camus This speaks about mainly how we live our lives now, but does address death, afterlife, God and not only the belief in the them but their reality. As a believer in Christ, I choose to live my life knowing there is a God and expecting to see, speak and dine with Him one day in the near future. The Christian finds hope and assurance in Christ's words of promise in John 14:2-3...My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

The confusion continued for Mr. Hawking and anybody who took his words as truth when he said, “We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful.” First, he mentions "the grand design". Well, you cannot have a design without a designer. So, when talking about "the grand design of the universe" we have to have The Designer - God. 

Second, Stephen says he is "grateful". Who is he grateful too? He is speaking about "this one life". So who does he credit his existence too - his mom and dad? His mom and dad did not make the human body and all the systems and cycles thereof for him to be born. God tells us in Psalms 139:13-16..."For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

On the eve of this scientific thinker's death, I encourage you - there is one God, made-up mysteriously and supernaturally of three persons - Father God, Jesus Christ (Son of God) and The Holy Spirit. The lie that there is no God holds no water at all and hasn't since the beginning. James 2:19 affirms this by saying, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." There is an afterlife too. Many testimonials confess to this fact, including Peter's revelation that - "He [Christ] was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built." (1 Peter 3:18-20)

Nobody can lie and say, "There is no God." In addition, nobody can lie and say, "Then God must not care, because of all the mess in the world." God is not causing the mess in the world, we are. Plus, we are not looking and seeking Him out for help and answers. We are kicking Him out of our lives and society. Where is this practice of "Start being the change you want to see."? 

There will always be lies about God. However, the standard lies are falling in the face of truth. The decision comes down to an accepting or rejection of not only the existence of God and the afterlife, but the redemption of humanity's relationship through Christ Jesus and His promise of an awesome afterlife with Him. The Price, Christ's life, was too great for there not to be Hell To Pay for rejection of His love gift. Until we accept Christ's gift of Salvation, we are damned to a path of destruction that ends in the Lake of Fire. John 3:18 states, "whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." So, it comes down to - will you continue your life of condemnation or take advantage of a life of freedom. What is your decision about Jesus Christ?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


You can set something or someone aside as special or different and NOT give them the proper respect that is due their station in life. But with the word Holy or Holiness you must have both the person set apart from all others WITH sacred care, levels above respect, being administered to that person.

God fulfills this role of being Holy. Long before He created humans, God was set apart and received the sacred care due Him by the angelic host. From then to this very second and beyond their are Seraphim encircling The Throne proclaiming at every new glorious characteristic of God - "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of your glory." (Isa. 6:3). Thank you God that your character never changes. You God will forever be Holy.

Several times in Leviticus (11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7; 21:8) God challenges us to take on this Mantle of Holiness. The reference with the wording I want to share is Leviticus 19:2 - "Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy." Notice two things here - (1) God issues a challenge - "Be holy" and (2) God declares something about Himself in the justifying of why you should meet that challenge - "for I am Holy".

However, now-a-days I observe a terrible lack of His Holiness in the believer's life. There is not a difference that would make me want to consider the Christian lifestyle. People do not reverence the name of Jesus Christ, instead it comes across as a exclamation, slander or curse. Interesting that of all the faiths in the world, that the name of Jesus Christ is singled out to use disrespectfully. Because I belong to Christ, to hear someone in the faith or out of the faith misuse The Lord's name - spears my spirit and I cannot hang around them for long.

With God's help, Christians can do a much better job of living a life of differentiation or Holiness. This is not an I'm better than you because I am a Christian mentality or attitude. Being Holy is a lifestyle of difference, a positive option for others to consider choosing because they can see and sense The Source (God) in you. God is the believer's Holiness. 

"Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, 'I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.'” - Hebrews 2:11-12

Being Holy, separate and sacred because of Jesus, in front of everyone else is not easy, but it is the essence of the believer's identity in Christ.

If we as believers in Christ do not live set apart from the world AND tend to our lives with Sacred Care, then respect for God's Sacrifice and our witness as His followers goes down the drain. But if you flip the script with God's help we can be Holy as He is Holy - Set Apart With Sacred Care.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Are you A Friend Of The Paralyzed? Would you be so kind and considerate to take the time and energy to assist someone who is paralyzed? Would you help someone who has a limb paralyzed or perhaps their speech or the speed of their functions is paralyzed? I certainly hope so.

There was a paralyzed man, helped out by most likely his friends or family and Jesus, that is documented in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26. Both Mark and Luke thought this particular miracle and the way it transpired worthy of inclusion in their recorded Gospels. Please take time here to pause and read these two accounts of this event.

Notice that the men carrying this paralyzed man traveled to the location of Jesus. When they arrived, they were late because the place was packed in, packed out and packed around. This suggests that their journey was great and so must have been their relationship, not only because of the journey but because they would not be denied an audience with Jesus. So, with every avenue blocked on the ground, the men went to the roof, removed enough of it to lower their friend or relative through and lowered him down right in front of Jesus. 

The next words are CRUCIAL. Scripture records "When Jesus saw their faith...", He spoke and acted. First, Christ forgave him then Jesus healed him. But not before being moved by the faith of the friends who brought the paralyzed man - "their faith".

To all my Brothers and Sisters in Christ - symbolically you are the "those men" that helped the paralyzed man. You and I have people in our lives that are paralyzed in their mind, attitude and spirit toward Christ. As followers of Christ, knowing His Love and Power to change lives we need to make a joint effort and bring them to Jesus. 

Where was Jesus in this event? In a home. Where is Jesus available to the paralyzed now? In the believer's home. We can start there, by bringing them into our homes and sharing Christ's love with them. Eventually, we need to get them into the church where the next level of growth and care can occur in their lives. If they do not accept the salvation of Christ in your home, perhaps in the church. In front of many, Christ forgave the paralyzed man and healed his affliction, but it was because of the faith of his friends that Jesus moved. But they have to be brought or at least invited into the presence of Jesus. Show Jesus you have the same compassion for the mentally, spiritually and physically incapacitated, be A Friend Of The Paralyzed.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


The title of my previous post was The One Relationship Above Them All. This writing is The One Relationship To Rule Them All. The previous one was to convey the importance of having the relationship above all others, esteeming the connection we have with our Savior the most. This post is to encourage believers to use their relationship with Christ as an influence on all other bonds.

Two major hurdles with me in this influential effort are (1) to imagine my relationship with Christ as intimate as a marriage where I am the Bride and He is is the Groom and (2) deal with His invisibility in that relationship. I can conceive Jesus as my Best Friend who will never leave me nor forsake me. Plus, my heart, mind and spirit has no problem in reconciling Jesus as a corporate Groom for the Church. Jesus being my Groom as an individual is a challenge. 

However, all the characteristics that the marriage relationship shares is the kind of accord that I have with my Lord and Savior. His intimacy (lover of my soul), proximity (never leave me), access (boldly come before God at any time), counseling (Wonderful Counselor) and helper (our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble) traits are really magnified when I look at my relationship with Christ in this manner.

The lesson I am learning from my marriage to Christ is that all these qualities of my relationship with Jesus can and should be shared with others. Just as He is the lover of my soul, I too should have the same level of compassion for the souls of others. Just as He is always by my side, I too should be by the side of those that need me. Just as He is accessible at any time, I too should be accessible by those who need me for listening, counseling and helping like my Lord is so excellent at doing. My relationship with Christ should not only be the one I cherish above all others, my relationship with Christ, your bond with Christ should be The One Relationship To Rule Them All.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Life is all about relationships. If you were the only person on earth, you still would have relationship with nature, animals and things. We could keep stripping away the different relationships until it was only yourself and then you would just have existence.

However, before Creation, God had perfect existence and perfect life by Himself. Yet, here we are in His Plan of Love, Life and Eternal Significance. All of the aforementioned is not only created by God and sustained by Him for His purposes, but they are also another name for God and found through Relationship with Him.

In 1 John 4:8 we read God is Love. John also states in the Gospel he wrote that Jesus proclaimed, "I am the way, and I am the truth, and I am the life." (John 14:6) John also tackles the Eternal Significance of life with God and life without Him. John 3:36 says, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them." Luke stated those who receive all these things do it through Relationship with God - "For in Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28) 

Notice that the living and moving and having our being is "in Him"? Sure, everyone can live, move and have their being in or through other relationships other than one with God. However, this is just delaying recognition of the One Relationship that counts for eternity. All other relationships in life pale in comparison to a relationship with Father God (Yahweh) through Jesus Christ, His Word made flesh. We either accept this relationship and feed it OR neglect and starve it.

When we are born, we are defaulted with a broken relationship with God because of a rebellious nature in our hearts, minds and spirits. Because of this God's Wrath/Judgment is upon us because He will not allow a corrupted being into His Heaven and into an eternal relationship with Himself. Therefore, He sent Christ Jesus to Redeem our relationship through Christ's death on the cross and victory through His resurrection! However, the decision is still ours to accept or reject. This is what John was saying in the verse above with consequences listed. "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them."

So, how about a relationship with the person Love? How about a relationship with Life and life more abundantly? How about a relationship with Eternal Significance? Of all the relationships you will have - involuntary (blood family) and voluntary (spouse you choose) - whether the relationships be with people, places or things - I encourage everyone, to consider a relationship with Father God through Christ Jesus - The One Relationship Above Them All.