Wednesday, February 27, 2013

PURPOSE

BANG!!!.....And everything exploded into being, so the story goes.  If this Big Bang event is your personal view of creation, without a divine creator or God in the picture, then ALL of us have no purpose.  The great news is you cannot have an effect without a cause and something does not come about from the build-up of nothing.  Nothing times nothing is still nothing (0x0=0).  There was a cause.  It was divine.  And because their is a Creator, there is purpose.  

Now the question becomes which creation story of which faith gives us the most purpose.  Purpose is the reason for which something exists or is made.  I choose Christianity and the purpose God supplies.

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. - Colossians 1:16

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. - John 1:1-5

These verses leave no doubt about the plan of God and how IT all started.  Humanity had the right kind of relationship with God for two chapters in Scripture (Genesis 1 & 2).  There are no definite years equated with the time that elapses within these two chapters.  However, I personally believe that a massive amount of time transpired due to the number of years people like Methuselah lived - Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:27).  And this individual was born and lived after The Fall (after the relationship with God had been damaged), so people before The Fall may have lived even longer.  

During the lengthy "Blissful Time" (pre-fall) God had a specific purpose for humanity - steward of the earth, but especially a region called The Garden of Eden.  

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. - Genesis 2:8-15

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. - Genesis 2:19

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." - Genesis 1:26-28

Our purpose has increased and changed slightly since that "Blissful Time".  We made the ultimate mistake with the most precious of relationships, BUT God redeemed that relationship through His Word made flesh, Jesus. Now our purpose is to spread that awesome Redemptive news and be God's Messenger today to deliver the faith activated, purpose driven opportunity that only Father God granted through Jesus The Christ.  Speaking through His Disciples down through the ages, Jesus says to True Believers in Christ everywhere - 

"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." - Mark 16:15

More good news here - you do not have to have a degree to do this!  The cast of characters that Jesus called to be His Disciples did not have degrees, nor were they known as "learned" men.  Most of the Disciples were fishermen (Peter, James, John, and Andrew).  There was a tax collector - Matthew, a treasurer - Judas, and Simon the Zealot was a political activist within the group of twelve.  Since Jesus said, "Follow me" and "Go into all the world and preach" to this bunch, I suddenly feel more empowered by the Holy Spirit, especially with the kind of upbringing I had, occupation I have, and the kinds of resources we have now-a-days.  I was brought up in the "way I should go", I have a job in "the world marketplace" (as opposed to the church), and I have technologies at my fingertips to share The Word (like this).  I am not a preacher/teacher by trade or training, but I believe it is my spiritual gift.  Ah, there is purpose again.  A gift from God by the Holy Spirit SO THAT.....I and we, as Believers in Christ, can fulfill our purpose which is to be in line and act out His purpose(s) for our lives spelled out in His Word.  Which according to Mark 16:15 is to "Go...and preach the good news to all"!

Monday, February 25, 2013

MARK 5

This past Sunday we had a special speaker at our church, Lin Dawson, come and deliver The Word because our Beloved Pastor was out of town teaching at a marriage conference with his wife in Maryland.  The Scripture Lin drew from was Mark 5:1-20.  It is the healing of the demon-possessed man.  The following is my take on this encounter and my takeaway from what Lin had to say.

My takeaway from Sunday's message was if you or somebody you know has gone through a rough time in life, BUT had an encounter with Jesus that provided the answer - be encouraged and/or encourage that person to first - "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." (v.19)  The healed man of this encounter desired to travel and follow Jesus after his deliverance.  After being harassed and tortured and captive like he was for so long I would want to follow my Deliverer also!  However, Jesus said to "go home".  Lin encouraged us to have our lives in order as much as possible here first before launching out on mission trips.  I would go one step further and say, when appropriate, use your family, friends, co-workers and strangers in this local area as the sharpening of your witnessing ability before going on a major mission trip.

My observation of this Scripture has to do with the Immediate Compassion Jesus had for this individual.  Consider this part of the passage (verses 6-8) -

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.  He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  Swear to God that you won't torture me!"  For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!" 

So, the true order of this event is - When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.  [Then Jesus said, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"]  Then the rest - He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  Swear to God that you won't torture me!"

Stepping out of the boat and immediately identifying the situation running up to Him, Jesus spoke Immediate Compassion and Relief into that man's life.  Even though it was a commanding evil spirit that ran this man up to Jesus and used this man as a puppet, speaking through the man - Jesus spoke directly to the evil spirit and addressed the situation.   Although there had to be a discussion of sorts first between Legion and Jesus, the initial command was going to be followed!

If you or someone you know is in a difficult life circumstance right now and they are running up to Jesus, on their own or are being driven, Believe and Thank Christ for His Immediate audience to hear your plight and the the provision that is coming your way and their way.  That provision might not manifest itself immediately for whatever reason.  Be encouraged, with this man the conversation was short and the execution of the command was swift.  And with one command, Jesus told 2,000 to 6,000 demons controlled by an evil spirit where they could go - out of the man and into 2,000 pigs.  With Jesus handling this many demons like this and having Immediate Compassion on this man the way He did - makes my problems look puny but definitely answerable and certainly yours too, Hallelujah!  Run to Him!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  - Matthew 11:28-30  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FROM SLAVERY TO FRIENDSHIP

Slavery.......it has been around since humanity has had problems.  It has not gone away.  Enslaved to something or someone, this is how it has been for all of us throughout history whether we acknowledge it or not.

a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him - 2 Peter 2:19

What has mastery over you today?  Is it one thing?  Is it many?  Is your master negative?  Is your master positive?  One resource for certain that can teach all of us a thing or two on this subject of slavery is The Bible.

The Word of God mentions words and/or terms such as - slaves, slave drivers, slaves having slaves (Ex. 12:43-44), slave girls (2 Sam. 6:20; Nahum 2:7; Acts 16:16), slave labor force (1 Kings 9:21), and a slave trader (1 Tim. 1:9-10).  Scripture showcases the Hebrew people as slaves and their subsequent freedom from Egypt by The Lord through Moses (Genesis 15:13; Exodus 12:36, 40-41).  This group of people ended up in slavery again years later via the Babylonians (2 Kings 24:1-3).  One might think that these people knowing how slavery was would not have slaves of their own, BUT that is exactly what was allowed.

44 " 'Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. - Leviticus 25:44-45

Years later, God says to His own people through His "Weeping Prophet" Jeremiah - "Let my people go" or set your slaves free.  Here is the actual passage -

8 The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. 9 Everyone was to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Jew in bondage. 10 So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free. 11 But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again. 12 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 13 "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your forefathers when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I said, 14 'Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrew who has sold himself to you. After he has served you six years, you must let him go free.' Your fathers, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me. 15 Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name. 16 But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again. 17 "Therefore, this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim 'freedom' for you, declares the LORD--'freedom' to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth. - Jeremiah 34:8-17
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Scripture also records slavery as an inescapable condition because it is paired with it's master - Sin.

...everyone who sins is a slave to sin. - John 8:34

Notice how the verse gives us the plural then the singular of the word "sin".  In my paraphrase it is saying -  everyone who makes mistakes and rebels against God consistently will always yield to that nature.  However, if a person has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and chosen to Follow Him and not be just a fan - he or she "is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17  Not that the person does not ever sin again, but the judgment for all one's sins has been paid for at The Cross and new life within the new creation starves away the old desires by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hallelujah!

do not become slaves of men. - 1 Corinthians 7:23

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. - Titus 3:3 

...when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. - Galatians 4:3

Don't you just love these past tense words and phrases ("At one time", "we lived", "we were")?  Now let us consider some verses that confirm for the Believer the price Christ paid for our freedom from slavery.

You were bought at a price; - 1 Corinthians 7:23

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. - Galatians 5:1

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- Romans 6:6

Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? - Romans 6:16

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. - Romans 6:18

I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. - Romans 6:19

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. - Romans 6:22

Notice how in addition to giving Christ the acknowledgement for securing our freedom, these verses also describe better things, concepts, ideas, and/or goals -  to be slaves or servants unto (obedience, righteousness, holiness, God).  According to Matthew 20:27 and 1 Corinthians 9:19, slavery becomes an attitude and lifestyle of service.  In Matthew 20:27, the attitude or lifestyle is established in order to be first.

whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:26-28

In the 1 Corinthians 9:19 verse the attitude or lifestyle of slavery is in order to win as many as possible.

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
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It is great for a Believer in Christ to really get a grasp on the better things to service in life.  It is wonderful for a Christian to have the right kind of heart and attitude.  The Bible calls it being a slave unto....  Some translations say being a servant unto.....  However, slaves have no family rights or privileges, BUT sons and daughters do.  

So, guess what?  "I bring you good news of great joy" for all Believers in Christ Jesus - you are sons and daughters of the Most High God!  In addition, since you are sons and daughters of The King of Kings you are also heirs of an inheritance we cannot even begin to wrap our feeble, little brain around.  Consider the following - 

15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ""Abba," Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. - Romans 8:15-17

when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ""Abba", Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. - Galatians 4: 4- 7

I have heard it said that a Father must keep being a friend and being a Father separate throughout the raising of his children.  I disagree.  A true Father is one-in-the-same as well as many other supportive roles.  The Christian's Heavenly Father is the perfect example of being perfectly both.  When Father God sent His Son Jesus, He sent the perfect expression of His love for us.  Every word, every action, every thought of the Father was communicated through Jesus.  Father God did not merely say, "I love you from heaven", He showed all of us within our depravity just how much He loved us.  Through Paul, God no longer called God's Disciples slaves or servants, He called them sons.  In addition, through Jesus, God called His Disciples friends.  This is the same for Believers today.  Through Jesus, God not only calls us sons and daughters, He calls us Friends.     

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. - John 15:13-17

Wow!  We were once slaves, now we are sons, daughters, and friends of The Most High King!

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

Thank you Savior!  Thank you Redeemer!  Thank you Father God!  Thank you Son of God!  Thank you Friend!

Friday, February 15, 2013

THREE

There was an evening a few days back when I was resting on my couch after talking to Tanya about things of the Lord.  I dozed off into what seemed to be the Netherworld - that state between sleep and conscienceness.  Then I heard a voice speaking to me saying, "Three is important to God.  Look at these examples."  Then the Holy Spirit brought to mind some occasions in Scripture where 3 was key.  Right as the last example was being shown me I was waking up and speaking, saying, "Wow, Lord!  I did not know that three meant that much to you."

Tanya was dozing too and I woke her with my declaration out of my sleep and she said, "What did you say?"  So, I told her of my experience.

To many Christians and non-Christians alike numerology is not a surprise in the Bible.  Numbers bring us logic and order, definite equations with definite outcomes that can be counted on for eternity.  And Christians have The God of Order and Purpose.  The first 7 bulleted examples are the ones the Holy Spirit gave me concerning the 3's.  Afterward, the next grouping of bulleted examples are further research.
  • Shem, Ham, Japeth
  • 3 men that visited Abraham and Sarah (announcement of Issac)
  • Peter's denial
  • 3 wise men
  • Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego
  • 3 crosses
  • 3 days in the grave

  • 3 days and nights in the belly of the fish (Jonah)
  • 3 shelters or booths proposed (Moses, Elijah, Jesus at Mt. of Transfiguration)
  • a matter established by two or three witnesses
  • where two or three come together in my name there I am in the midst of them
  • Parable of the Good Samaratin had 3 examples
  • Luke 13:7 - Jesus had visited a fig tree once over the course of 3 years and each time it was unfruitful
  • Vision in Acts 10:16 happens 3 times
  • And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Cor. 13:13
  • Jesus prayed that "this cup pass from him" 3 times
  • For there are three that testify:  the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. - 1 John 5:7-8
  • Revelation 11:9 - 3.5 days they looked on the dead bodies
  • Revelation 14:5 - The Three Angels
  • Revelation 16:3 - Three evil spirits
  • Revelation 21:13 - three gates on each side of New Jerusalem
  • Past, present, future
  • Body, mind, spirit
  • Father, Son, Holy Spirit
I am not sure of the purpose or reason behind the Holy Spirit sharing this knowledge with me, but just that He spoke and you can see His words supported throughout Scripture was and is enough to get and keep me Excited!  So, I share this experience and slight mystery with you.  I have heard it said the number three represents Creativity and Communication.  What a Marvelous and Fascinating God I love and serve.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

CONVICT vs. CONDEMN

Convict.......
to prove or declare guilty of an offense, especially after a legal trial
to impress with a sense of guilt.
Source:  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/convict?s=t

Condemn.......
to pronounce to be guilty; sentence to punishment
to judge or pronounce to be unfit for use or service
Source:  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/condemn
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The Basics First

Within Scripture I view Conviction as an action meant to point out somebody's wrong with the possibility of change by the person being convicted.  The offender comes to the realization of his/her wrongful behavior or lifestyle and considers the option for redemption, forgiveness, and/or "dismissal of case".  

I view Condemnation within Scripture as a person, place, or thing labeled, damned, or cursed to a particular judgment for a long time, including eternity.  I also see condemnation usually having a destination applied with it such as jail, death row, Siberia, and hell, or the lake of fire.  

The world, which is creation and all of humanity, stands in a judged or condemned condition. 

"whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." - John 3:18

The Original Sin of one man, Adam, brought sin or rebellion into the entire picture of existence.  Holy God cannot excuse disobedience so He pronounced judgment on everything because everything was contaminated by the sin of this rebellion.

"The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification." (Romans 5:16)

For the wages of sin is death, - Romans 6:23

Fear Not!  There was another man who came.  He is the "gift" spoken about in the Romans 5:16 verse above.  He was God's Word in flesh.  His name was and is Jesus Christ (The Anointed One).  He provided Himself as The Remedy!  In addition, the second part of Romans 6:23 is....

 but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, - John 3:17-18 

The world needed a Savior and Father God sent Jesus.  Of course God has been called the "Ultimate Gentleman" and still leaves the choice up to you and me for believing in His Salvation Plan.  I highly recommend it, the benefits are out of this world!!!
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Next Level

After the Lord visited, He sent the Holy Spirit also known as "the Counselor".

Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. - John 16:7

In the next few verses Jesus describes the responsibilities or roles of the Holy Spirit.

8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. - John 16:8-11

Let us take a closer look at John 16:8-11.  Notice who the Holy Spirit convicts in this verse - "the world".  The "world" consists of all unbelieving humanity, including when we were in a fallen relationship with God -
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, - Romans 3:23.  Now observe what the Holy Spirit would convict the world of - "guilt".  Guilt in regard to sin, guilt in regard to righteousness, and guilt in regard to judgment.

Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin "because men do not believe in me".  If men and women believed in Christ then they would have already recognized their need for a Savior and realized Original Sin is the cause of all our problems.  However, because men and women do not believe in Jesus, one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to convict the unbeliever "of guilt in regard to sin".  Why would the Holy Spirit do that? "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict the world of guilt in regard to righteousness or right standing with God "because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;".  There is only one person that redeemed our fallen relationship with God and then went to sit in Father God's presence as our Advocate - He is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, The Messiah.  And now the Holy Spirit convicts or points out to the unbeliever this relationship status and draws him/her toward a restored relationship with Father God -  "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. - John 6:44

Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict the world of guilt in regard to judgment "because the prince of this world now stands condemned".  The Holy Spirit will point out that a big part of the reason we feel guilty about the judgment passed on humanity is the disobedience and subsequent distortion of God's Word and temptation of the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden by Lucifer, the Dragon, Satan, or the Devil.  Fear Not!  The world does not have to follow the lead of "the prince of this world [who] now stands condemned".  Condemned to what?  "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur,where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:10)  But take heart Jesus says - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)   "I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." (Revelation 1:18)

So, diving into these verses deeper we can see that one of the roles the Holy Spirit fills is that of "Convictor".  The Holy Spirit convicts, with the intention of changing, the world concerning guilt.  He pricks the world's heart and mind about the guilt we feel associated with not believing in Jesus Christ as the price or sacrifice for our sin - past, present, and future.  He nudges the world's spirit about the guilt that is tied to our right standing with God and shows us that Jesus is the world's only Redeemer of the fallen relationship between God and humanity.  Finally, the Holy Spirit points out the guilt the world links with judgment.  Because the ruler of this world is judged and damned, the Devil enjoys sharing his misery and spreads his guilt like a disease with the rest of the world.  Fear Not!  Jesus has overcome death, hell, and the grave.  The defeat of Satan is still to be manifested in front of our eyes -

"Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh." - Revelation 19:19-21
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Our Part As Carriers Of His Spirit

Now, as Believers/Followers of Christ, not "Fans" of Jesus, true Christians need to demonstrate the meaning of The Body of Christ on earth or The Holy Spirit dwelling within the Temple/Body of the Believer.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; - 1 Corinthians 6:19

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." - 2 Corinthians 6:16
We do not need to become the "Convictor", even though the Holy Spirit lives within each Believer.  I have observed within Christianity that as soon as some unbelievers get on the other side of the tracks, God's side, they develop a quick case of "Sinner Amnesia".  These individuals forget how far from Grace they were living and how much muck God saved them from and they start playing the role designed only for the Holy Spirit - "Convictor".  Many times in my own life I have found that the Spiritual Boxing Gloves needed to come off once again.  I keep having to learn to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work, in His time, and in His way.  In addition, WHEN He wants me involved, He will nudge/prompt me and show me what to do or give me the words to say.

Notice, when Jesus was here on the earth many years ago He walked, talked, and ministered to a select group of people.  When Jesus ascended to the right hand of Father God and sent the Holy Spirit upon and within Believers, Jesus multiplied the representation of Himself exponentially.  Back then God was alongside of "us" in the flesh through Jesus - Emmanuel.  Now, God is within and alongside "us" through His Holy Spirit.  Which makes the lyrics to Give The World A Smile a great challenge and responsibility - "Let your light so be that all the world may see the joy of serving Jesus with a smile."  Let God be God.

P.S. - In sitting down with the Scripture and the Holy Spirit on this topic of Conviction vs. Condemnation I was not planning to share this last part - "Carriers Of His Spirit".  I was only going to share the above information and another blog coming called "Convicted Believers?".  I believe with all my heart that the Lord has me studying these subjects to get a better grasp on what He says and how He views each one.  I am still in the Lord's "classroom" (in fact I'm always there), but He especially impressed upon my heart and spirit that final link and maybe that is the key to why I am here diving into this topic and sharing it with you.  God bless you.

Monday, February 4, 2013

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

"This is my one hope - that he would be pleased with my decisions."

This was a quote in a video game I was recently playing but it has become a personal goal toward my Heavenly Father ever since I heard it.  Immediately the Holy Spirit quickened it for a Faith or Spiritual Application with me.  My Lord knows and everybody else knows that I Do Not make all the right decisions (I think I heard an "amen" from some of you there).

Prayer:  Thank you Lord I know you as saving, merciful, faithful, gracious, and forgiving.  This does not excuse my poor decisions, nor give me the right to purposefully make more of them.  No.  Instead it drives me to appreciate and be grateful for your loving kindness by trying to make better decisions.

I am adopted.  My Father is God.  Because He first loved me through His Son Jesus, I find joy in exercising the encouraging words from Paul to the church in Ephesus (5:10) - "find out what pleases the Lord."  A couple of things the Scripture says "pleases the Lord" are "the prayer of the upright" (Proverbs 15:8) and "children obeying their parents in everything" (Colossians 3:20).  So, there is a start.

I don't seek to please Father God my King out of obligation.  God put the command to love Him perfectly (which we could never do) on the body of Jesus as He was sacrificed upon the cross (Romans 8:1). Now my love for God and service unto God comes from Him first loving me and His never-ending display of affection toward me still today.

So, with the help of the Holy Spirit in my life I say this also about my Lord and to my Lord - "This is my one hope - that he would be pleased with my decisions."