Friday, May 30, 2014

ABIDE

When Scripture speaks on this topic of abiding with God and Him abiding with us the meaning does NOT carry with it a sense of visitation.  The Holy Spirit does not spend a vacation weekend every Sunday away from Heaven with Believers to hear our praises, petitions, and give us Holy Ghost goose pimples only to retreat back to Heaven. Abiding with God means much more and for a much longer period of time.

Just like there is a Tale of Two Temples - one structural, Solomon's Temple (1 Kings 8:12-13), the other biological, our bodies (John 14:16) - there is also a Tale of Two Abides.  In 1 Kings 8:12-13, King Solomon speaks of the temple he has built to house the awesome presence of The Lord.

Since the first coming of Christ, God's presence - His Holy Spirit - can be found in another Temple as well - the Believer's body.  Unlike the first, structural, temple the Holy Spirit does not stop dwelling or residing within us EVER. Now that is a Comfort!  (John 14:16)

Two Senses of Abiding
Many of you know the word, Abide, to mean - to stay, dwell, live, co-habitate, remain, and reside. Psalm 91:1 is a good example of abiding in the Old Testament. However the original Hebrew word, lûn  lı̂yn (loon, leen) adds a qualifying mark - the staying is permanent (NIV says "rest").
  • He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide [stay permanently] under the shadow of the Almighty. 
There was another Hebrew word for abide that I found in my research.  The word was Yashab (haw-shab) meaning to sit down, dwell, remain, and marry.  This word has behind it the sense of a cause to settle-in, possibly as a judge, husband or some other motivational reason to sit down, dwell, and remain.  This is the word used in 1 Kings 8:12-13 when Solomon built The Temple for the presence of the Lord to dwell.

Abiding In The New Testament
The New Testament or Greek word for Abide, Meno (men-o), goes a litter further than just dwell. This word means to stay, endure, remain, tarry or as I like to say - buckle down and work with me on this thing.  This has the feel of God saying, "You're in the army now son/daughter. You are in it now boy/girl. I've moved in and you and I are soul mates forever.  It is time to do some spring, summer, winter and fall cleaning around here." And why wouldn't we desire this abiding to be more of a development process for us than merely a "God's Parking Only" space to fill and sit dormant.

What Abiding In Christ Looks Like
This kind of abiding in Christ means Christians produce much "fruit", the kind that endures (John 15:4).
According to John 15:7 abiding in Christ results in (1) His word sitting, dwelling, living in us and (2) Him giving us bold access to His throne for requests.  Abiding in Christ means that we are following Christ's commandment to "love one another" (have compassion - John 15:10-12).  His Holy Spirit makes sure we reap what we sow, especially in obedience. If we are a channel for God's love/compassion then we shall experience God's love/compassion in our own lives.

Abiding Aides
As my research on Abide was drawing to a close, I abided with John and he supplied some help to keep close to God.

Make it a priority to keep listening to His Word, remain in or abide His Word (The Bible, The Scriptures) either through reading it aloud yourself or The Bible on CD.  Feed your ears, heart, mind and soul His Word and you "will remain in the Son and in the Father."
  • See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. - 1 John 2:24
As long as you remain in Christ and His anointing, the Holy Spirit will continue to teach you in ALL things.
  • As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him. - 1 John 2:27
Finally, continue in Him or be active and found doing His work when Christ comes again for His church. Prove to yourself and others of the hope that you have had by abiding or continuing in Him, then His appearing will justify your confidence.
  • And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. - 1 John 2:28
So, with this research I now encourage you in The Lord - allow God to abide more in your life.  Allow God to be and do more in and through you by abiding or living with Him and not simply existing with Him.  As I said before - buckle down, work with Him on developing a better you by tarrying with Him, enduring with Him, remaining in Him, Abiding with Him.

"THE MIRACLE OF DELIVERANCE" (Termed by Winston Churchill)

The Spirit was upon them to pray, so they prayed.  All 400 of them prayed out loud the 91st Psalm. The sound from the camp as the British-American mixed group prayed was faith-building. Listen, in your minds ear, if you will, to 400 men reciting Psalm 91, one particular day in May 1940.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." 

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. 
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the LORD, who is my refuge-- 
10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 

14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

The LORD answered their prayers and honored their respect of God's promises in this passage. Trapped on one of the beaches at Dunkirk, bombs were dropped and machine guns opened fired from German fighter planes overhead, but through the deafening roar of the explosions the only thing being disturbed was the sand. War correspondent, C. B. Morelock was quoted as saying, "I lay with four hundred men who were machine-gunned systematically, up and down and bombed by sixty enemy aircraft, and in the end, there was not a single casualty."  

The LORD's faithfulness was their shield (personal defense) and rampart/bulwark (corporate defense). Praise be the name and faithfulness of the LORD!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

THANK YOU NOTE

Ephesians 5:20 
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father.

Thankful Heart
Words by Bob Hartman and Dino Elefante
Music by John Elefante


I have a thankful heart that you have given me
And it can only come from you


There is no way to begin to tell you how I feel
There are no words to express how you've become so real
Jesus, you've given me so much I can't repay
I have no offering


There is no way to begin to tell you how I feel
There's nothing more I can say and no way to repay
Your warming touch that melts my heart of stone
Your steadfast love - I'll never be alone


I have a thankful heart that you have given me
And it can only come from you
I have a thankful heart; words don't come easily
But I am sure you can see my thankful heart


Help me be a man of God
A man who's after Your own heart
Help me show my gratitude
And keep in me a thankful heart




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

GOD BLESS AMERICA

We sing the following, we pray the following, and many Presidents have ended their speeches with the following - God Bless America.

God Bless America, but first, America Bless God. As a nation we desperately need to fulfill 2 Chronicles 7:14. With this challenge comes instruction for Christians nationwide followed by a promised response by God.
  • If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray , and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
This conditional If...Then statement is a national "hearing", "forgiving", and "healing". However, it must start with the individual Christian being "humble", "prayerful", "seeking His face" (not His hands), and "turning from our wicked ways", then it will have a great opportunity to spread like wildfire in the congregations of our churches.

Choosing to look upon God for one's blessing, as an individual and as a nation, also means that you have some level of trust in God. James said it nicely when he stated, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17). However, unlike the slogan on the American currency - In God We Trust - there have been some whom we can learn from their distrust in God - namely Naaman.

Naaman's story concerning this topic is found in 2 Kings 5. If you have the time pause here and read the the whole chapter. The Pritchard Paraphrase of events is that Naaman's journey to Israel was fraught with many instances of distrust in the Lord's provision of healing for leprosy.
  1. Naaman did not trust the "man of God", Elisha, first thing and went straight to the King of Israel with riches and a letter of recommendation/explanation concerning his disease.
  2. Naaman shows up at Elisha's door with expectations of how to be treated. When he does not trust that "the man of God" knows the will of God, Naaman's healing is delayed.
  3. Naaman goes a step further and begins to compare his home waters with the waters he was instructed to bathe in. This still gets him nowhere as he stammers off into the dust, angry and leprous.
It takes one of his own kind, a soldier, to bring Naaman back to his senses. The officers question how hard it would be to fulfill Elisha's request. Then Naaman baptized himself seven times in the Jordan River and he was cured.  

When Naaman finally got his vision for healing and God's vision for healing synced - which in this case was the use of Elisha and the Jordan River - then Naaman's healing came. For Christians corporately and individually we need to do the same - trust God - "turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His Glory and Grace.". If we Trust In God and America Blesses God then God will Bless America.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

REGRET

Rehabilitation Officer: Ellis Boyd Redding: your file says you've served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you've been rehabilitated?

Red: Rehabilitated?... Well, now, let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means.

Rehabilitation Officer: Well, it means that you're ready to rejoin society, to—

Red: [Interrupting] I know what you think it means, sonny. To me it's just a made-up word. A politician's word, so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really wanna know? Am I sorry for what I did?

Rehabilitation Officer: Well, are you?

Red: There's not a day goes by that I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I gotta live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a [sorry] word. So go ahead and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a [hoot].

The Shawshank Redemption
(http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Shawshank_Redemption)
______________________________________________________________________

Regrets, we all experience them. Something we should have said or done that we did not say or do. Something that was said/done that could have been executed better. Regret always lives future-present with eyes always looking at the past. Regret is like somebody walking backward in life and always pointing out the missed opportunities. 

I think it is important to distinguish between Regret and Unfulfilled Dreams. Regret deals with negative implications producing end-of-the-line consequences. Regret comes from a decision by which we cannot reverse. Recovering from regret is definitely possible, but changing the past is certainly impossible.

On the other side of the coin we have the more positive outlook. Unfulfilled Dreams are personal expectations that still have hope. It is like a flicker of a flame that has potential to become a roaring bonfire! 

Another perspective to consider is to learn from Regret. This means we take the time to have reflective moments and notice the supposed "regret" that has lead us through our experiences and relationships to now! The choices we make, even the ones we consider "regrets" later-on, shape us. For example, what I might see as a regret of not sticking with piano lessons as a young kid and probably ending up with a band or musical group somewhere has landed me with all kinds of other decisions with positive outcomes. Decisions that kept me on a path that lead me to meet my wife, all the friends I have made and the life experiences that have transpired since then. However, Regret should not be done in order to have these reflective moments. It should never be a lifestyle, merely a possible tool in a tool-belt of life that is used as a character-shaping instrument.

What then is living? Answer: In the simplest of forms - a constant stream of decisions. What is the quality of our life if those streams of decisions are spent mostly second-guessing our every move? Answer:  Not a very high quality, enjoyable life. In fact, life is more paranoid and caught in a web of confusion, despair, and side-roads of wasted time.

There are a hand-full of places where Christ says the words - "I have come...". This declaration and the words that follow them are some of the highest prized words to me. In John 10:10, Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. In the King James Version, the word "full" is "abundantly". The original Greek word for full/abundant is perissos (per-is-sos'), meaning superior or excessive in quantity AND quality.

Christ's coming, teachings, death, and resurrection have provided for all who choose to follow His way - a life of abundance. Regret does not live long in the light of this truth. So, live life, make your decisions, adjust, adapt and as Red put it in Shawshank Redemption - "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'."

Friday, May 16, 2014

WHEN THE LORD WHISTLED

In my studies while reading The Bible today, I came across the word whistle(s). According to the word search I performed on www.crosswalk.com, these words - whistle/whistles - appear once, each in the same book - Isaiah.

Evidently it is Not A Good Thing to hear this whistle. The whistle originates from The Lord and has some kind of judgement following it in each event.

  • Therefore the LORD's anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily! Not one of them grows tired or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal thong is broken. Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses' hoofs seem like flint, their chariot wheels like a whirlwind. Their roar is like that of the lion, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue. In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, he will see darkness and distress; even the light will be darkened by the clouds. - Isaiah 5:25-30
The verses before the above passage, especially verse 13, speaks about this judgement being an exile of God's people because "they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of his hands."

The next verse deals with the invasion of the king of Assyria on the land of Israel.
  • The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah--he will bring the king of Assyria." In that day the LORD will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thorn bushes and at all the water holes. - Isaiah 7:17-19
Not a big life lesson or blog today, just an observation from Scripture that it was not a good thing When The Lord Whistled.

Monday, May 12, 2014

"DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!!"

In the same way that the robot of Lost In Space warned Will of impending danger, so I take this opportunity to do the same with my brothers and sisters in Christ. 

The Name It and Claim It doctrine or movement or whatever you desire to call it is not Scriptural. 

If you are a parent, do you give your child everything he/she names or claims that would seemingly be impossible to live without? Remember back to when you were a child - did you receive everything you named and claimed that you thought was vital to continuing with your life? The answer is a loud, resounding - No! Nobody has ever received everything they wanted, from this world, otherwise we would be told how to master the desire or disease of want

Similarly, God does not always award the Christian whatever is named or claimed. Many people quote the James 4:2 - "You do not have, because you do not ask God." - as a means to justify their Name It and Claim It mentality. However, people lift verses like that, taking them out of context and especially disregard the very next verse - "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:3)

The way to turn-off the alarm button that I have activated hinges on how you respond to James 4:3. Allow me to paraphrase the verse - Whenever you do get around to asking God, you are still not going to receive because God knows whatever you receive, you squander on your own pleasures, which is the wrong motive for asking in the first place.

The rest of James 4:4-12 deals with Association and Attitude. Having a correct and healthy association with God instead of the world grants the Believer a wonderful foundation from which to approach God and ask. Hand-in-hand with the appropriate association with God is a correct and healthy attitude - submissiveness to God (v.7), closeness to God (v.8), cleanliness, purity, and focus before God (v.8), grieve about what saddens God's heart (v.9), humbleness before God (v.10), and an attitude of non-judgmental speech (v.11).

So, all of James 4 could be summed up, in my eyes, as saying - You could have the desires of your heart IF you ask the right person first - God, in the right manner, with what is on God's heart concerning your request. Again, the two "A's" are key - associating with the right person and offering the proper attitude.

Another verse that supports this is Matthew 6:33, Jesus encourages us with what to do in the first things - 
  • But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. - Matthew 6:33
IF (Huge IF here) God's kingdom and God's righteousness are the first things we seek in our asking.....observe....."all these things will be given to you as well."

Whatever Scripture states that Christ has paid for, then that is what we can ASK for from Him. Jesus is the one that paid the price for whatever advantage or blessing that may come our way, now it is up to us to trust in His plan and timing of His plan for that blessing by ASKING and SEEKING Him, not naming and claiming.

Some may use John 14:14 as an example of a verse supporting the fact that you can name it and claim it.

  • "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
I see three errors with this.

  1. Notice the verse says we have to "ASK" God for "anything". There is no naming or claiming.
  2. Jesus is always going to glorify God The Father. The prior verse (v.13) speaks to Jesus granting any request "so that" the Father will receive Glory through the Son. If Glory is not going to be delivered to Father God, then the request will not be granted. 
  3. Surely you have tested these waters and know there is more to this statement than meets the eye. There have been blessings I have thought God would have desired me to have and asked Him for, but did not receive. So there has got to be more to this statement.
The Christian is often times associated with a soldier on a battlefield. Soldiers have all kinds of rank from Private to General. Each soldier has different responsibilities as well as different levels of authority. The General is the top dawg, so it would follow that all other soldiers, no matter their rank, would still have to follow the General's Master Plan while authorized and executing their piece of the many-faceted, complex war puzzle. This would mean that while desiring to name and claim a territory on behalf of the General, the subordinates must still ASK the General and/or inquire of His Master Plan. It could be that this is not the time, place, or resources that the General desires to use or it might be - but He must be consulted first.

In the same light, just because we are seated together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus does not give us permission to go shooting off spiritual guns or applying our position to material things all the time. Just because you are a son/daughter of The Most High God doesn't mean that you name and claim a new house, car, job, etc... Just because you are a child of God does not mean an attitude of gratitude, humility, and PETITION go out the door!
So, do as Philippians 4:6 says, Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Remember what Christ taught about worrying - Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? - Matthew 6:27 But ASK, require of the Lord with the right motives - seek His kingdom and His righteousness. Don't simply name it and claim it. You might think something is best for you at this time in your life, BUT Father Knows Best - Inquire of The Lord Always!

Friday, May 9, 2014

TRADITION

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. - Colossians 2:8

Although seemingly shrinking, there are good and sound philosophies out there. However, there are some hollow and deceptive philosophies that have grown up and are standing alongside the decent ones "which depend on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." 

"Human tradition" says - That is how WE have always done it, no need to change now. - even though change may be greatly needed. 

The "basic principles of this world" orbit around me, I, or self. If the enemy of our souls can use "hollow and deceptive philosophy" to sway our attention and affection onto the things of this world "rather than on Christ" then he is succeeding in his goal of spiritual blindness.

The Pharisees and teachers of the law were seduced by tradition. Consider this account that Jesus confronts them about in Mark 7:8-13 (New Living Translation) - 
  • you ignore God's specific laws and substitute your own traditions." Then he said, "You reject God's laws in order to hold on to your own traditions. For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.' But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, 'Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I could have given to you.' You let them disregard their needy parents. As such, you break the law of God in order to protect your own tradition. And this is only one example. There are many, many others."
Do you have traditions that have nothing to do with living the Chris-like life? Are there National traditions, Southern/Northern/Eastern/Western traditions, Family traditions, or Personal traditions that have a say in your Christian walk? Are there traditions in your life that when you use them as a defensive or offensive tool against others, the behavior DOES NOT line up with Scripture based Christian behavior?

There needs to be a serious Spring Cleaning of our holdouts. Some retrospective work is in order to find out what we cling to that is not needed to live a victorious life in Christ and give it to Him. Jesus knows exactly what to do with the nonsense-baggage we fiercely clench. If it comes to it, we need to allow Jesus to pry our fingers open one-by-one until we expose our tradition and He can receive it as we offer it to Him - For Keeps!


THE WAY

I am almost afraid to ask this question, but - when you give directions for someone to drive to your location, do you provide them a slew of options they can choose from or do you equip them with the most direct route? Hopefully it is the later - the more direct route. In the same vein I desire to supply Scripture supporting the direct route to eternal life in Heaven with God to both my family in Christ and unbelievers.

There is a saying that states, "All paths lead to the same god." This is true IF you do not know and/or claim Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, King, and God. Many, many paths have been laid out on the broadest of roads to accommodate those who desire to live for self. Satan, fallen god of this world (Luke 4:5-6), has attached himself to the end of the self-made road of life. In the New Living Translation, Jesus explained it this way -  
  • You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
The original word Jesus used to describe the "highway to hell" was euruchōros. This means spacious. Jesus makes it plain that choosing "the easy way" is an option. It is definitely not the wiser decision. The New International Version goes a step further and defines "the easy way"For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. The easy way is destructive and destruction itself. Why wouldn't Satan make every path on the broad road to hell an opportunity to strike back at God. The Father of Lies (John 8:44) mode of operation is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The path of "self" steals a life away from God and potentially leads it down a road of destruction to eventual death.

On a completely different set of tracks you have The Way to life eternal with God in Heaven. The road that these tracks are lying on does not leave any space for wiggle room. The original word Jesus used for describing the - "narrow" - road was thlibō. This means to crowd. It is a straight-and-narrow, narrow-minded way. To this lifestyle Jesus adds a sad, qualifying remark - "and only a few ever find it". Be one of the few, the humble, a Christian (said in the voice of "Be one of the few, the proud, the Marines.") who find it.  

Allow me to help you find the narrow road. Permit me to set you on the tracks that will lead you to eternity with God in Heaven. Prayer:  Dear Jesus, you said it best. Please speak to people's hearts and minds once again from what you told John and set us straight.
  • Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Amen.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

SIN-LESS

Except for Christ, nobody is perfect or has lived a perfect life. Even Christians can only hope and strive to live a Sin-Less life. Matthew 6:14-15 screams this fact at the top of it's lungs! Speaking to potential believers, including His disciples, Jesus said,
  • For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Jesus was preparing to pay with His own life for the "wages of sin" (eternal death or separation from God - Romans 6:23) when He said this. Again, notice that Jesus, says to future Christians, they will still make mistakes - "your heavenly Father will also forgive you(future tense). However, note who is listed first to act in this verse - Believers. Observe what the Believer reaps, the Believer will also sow. Living the Christian life begins with us giving first not receiving. In discussing this with my dad, he agreed with it nicely by saying -

  • "We do have a part in the process. If we live in an atmosphere of unforgiveness we cannot enjoy the freedom of God's forgiveness. I believe rather than God's refusal to forgive, it is our own behavior that limits us from enjoying His forgiveness already purchased at the cross."
Matthew 6:14-15 does not touch the salvation of the Believer. Salvation deals with the saving from the eternal Penalty Box/Hell/Lake of Fire. The wrath or judgement of sin is atoned, however this does not mean Christians live a life free from sin. Jesus prophesied men will rebel and hurt you by saying "when they sin against you". He also prophesied the Believer will stumble a time or two when He said "your heavenly Father will also forgive you". However, there are "ifs" in this verse that point back to the condition of who acts first and what kind of behavior is that?

My challenge to my brothers and sisters in Christ is NOT to have you count your sins or go hunting for them to confess them. The Holy Spirit will help you in that area. My encouragement to live a more sin-free or sin-less life is from the pen of Paul -
  • Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. - Romans 12:9-18
As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ should you die with unconfessed sins I believe those unforgiven mistakes go against the Believer's Reward in Heaven.
  • But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. - 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
Notice that last sentence - "If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved,...."  The last part "he himself will be saved" is certainly the most comforting part of this passage but what is the "it" that is so closely knit to us that is being burned up?  "It" is our deeds/works/ministry for The Lord -
  • his work will be shown for what it is 
  • the fire will test the quality of each man's work 
I believe our deeds may be judged in two main areas.
  1. The first area our deeds can be judged is in the unforgiveness we hold in our heart toward others (Matthew 6:14-15). 
  2. The second way our deeds can be judged is by the misuse or non-use of God's skill/talent in us so that we miss spreading His Good News (Matthew 25:14-30).
So, accomplish the forgiveness spoken of by Christ (Matthew 6:14-15) and the additional Christian lifestyle details supplied by Paul (Romans 12:9-18) by NOT being a bench warmer (someone who is inactive all the time). That warm, comfortable seat is only a position on the team. If you have not contributed your part then you will be "as one escaping through the flames" (1 Corinthians 3:15). There is much more to be had. Are you sold out and radical for Jesus? He sold out for you! A great start is to love always, forgive often, work for Him constantly and follow the Romans 12:9-18 instructions above for a life more....Sin-Less.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IMPRINTED UPON YOUR SOUL

In my minds-eye I see two doorways in the heavenly realm. Both doorways are so active the doors themselves have been taken off their hinges.

One door opens from God in Heaven to earth below. From behind this door, through this door, and to the intended recipient goes The Holy Spirit with a life in His hands. When He arrives at His destination, The Holy Spirit creates his/her's "inmost being", He "knits" him/her together in their "mother's womb" and "fearfully and wonderfully" makes them (Psalm 139:13). As The Holy Spirit finishes molding His creation within the mother, I can almost see an imprint of a question upon the soul - "What will you do with or believe about Jesus Christ of Nazareth?"

The other doorway with empty hinges is the one humans pass through when we die. As we approach the doorway, the imprinted question we have on our souls from birth is answered. Passing through the door one type of individual will hear - 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. (Matthew 25:34) This person has confessed with their mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believed in their heart that God raised them from the dead, and is saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

Saved? Saved from what? If you did not confess with your mouth that "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead - you are the other type of individual passing through the doorway and will hear - 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

The human nature is a rebellious nature, especially toward God. But there is hope. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2) Have you answered the question Imprinted Upon Your Soul?

Monday, May 5, 2014

MY LITTLE BLACK PANTHER


I have a feline friend at home whose name is Gabriel (after the angel in Scripture) but who I like to call every now and then - My Little Black Panther. Sure, it might be cute and appropriate because he is an all-black cat, however, the reason I mention it here is that if Gabriel could really understand me when I call him that, maybe he would start, just start living toward that potential.

For me as a "cat parent", the joy of observing Gabriel develop into a stealthy, cuddly, mysterious black panther - would be awesome. It would be equally awesome, if not more-so, to discover how God views us and start to live in God's potential for our lives. That is an incredible amount of hope and an amazing future to testify about - when we live out God's potential for our lives. God has that potential, that plan for us to execute.

  • For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

One of the ways God places us on His track for great potential is to rename us.

  • Abram ('abrâm - high father) became Abraham ('abrâhâm - father of a multitude). 
  • Jacob (ya‛ăqôb - heel catcher, supplanter, cheat) became Israel (yiśrâ'êl - he will rule as God). 
  • Simon (Simōn - hearing) became Cephas or Peter (Petros - a piece of rock, pebble).

One of the ways the enemy likes to get us off of God's track for great potential is to copy God. So he uses others like King Nebuchadnezzar and renames us.

  • Daniel (God is my Judge) becomes Belteshazzar (whom Bel favors)
  • Hananiah (God is Gracious) becomes Shadrach (illuminated by Shad - a sun god)
  • Mishael (Who is like God?) becomes Meshach (who is like Shach - a love goddess)
  • Azariah (God is my Helper) becomes Abednego (servant of Nego - fire god)
The key is not to give-up on your name-sake! Look at Daniel and his posse of Godly men. With all that they went through, they kept their God-given perspective on living and with God's help lived up to the name given them. They did not accept, nor believe in the new names given them and God honored that.

Chadwick means "God's Warrior". God has equipped me in this spiritual manner to spread the message of His Good News through singing, teaching, praying, and loving. I have not filled my full potential by any means. I will always be a work in progress. However, I am well on my way on the journey - going from glory to glory with the guidance of His Holy Spirit.

What is your little black panther potential? "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7 Remember God has great plans for you and it might start with a name-change to reveal your God-given potential!


Friday, May 2, 2014

A GOOD WORD OR TWO

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. - Deuteronomy 31:8

No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. - Joshua 1:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5

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It is good to hear or read something repeated a few times every now-and-then in life. For example, I believe we all like to hear - I love you.  Other phrases of positive reinforcement are I respect you and I think highly of you.  These are all wonderful to hear or read about yourself and they mean even more when you know they are coming from God.

Daniel was a man of God that heard "for you are highly esteemed" twice from God's chief messenger angel - Gabriel (Daniel 9:23; 10:11). Gabriel also visits Mary, the mother of Jesus, years later and honors her with these words - "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." - Luke 1:28 Somewhere along the line Lazarus and especially Lazarus' sisters got the message that Lazarus was loved by the Lord Jesus very much. John 11:3 says, So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."

God loved Moses and Joshua enough that He declared to them, as you have seen in the verses above, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". Later, the writer of Hebrews while instructing believers on the trappings of money, reminds his audience that Jehovah Jireh, God Our Provider, displays the same nature, blessings, and promises toward us that He did toward Moses and Joshua.

The Hebrew word for "leave" in Deuteronomy 31:6 is râphâh (raw-faw'). This means to slacken (in many applications, literally or figuratively): - abate, cease, consume, draw [toward evening], fail, (be) faint, be (wax) feeble, forsake, idle, leave, let alone (go, down), (be) slack, be still, be slothful, (be) weak (-en). [provided by e-sword.com]

The Hebrew word for "forsake" in Deuteronomy 31:6 is ‛âzab (aw-zab'). This means to loosen, relinquish, fail, forsake, leave, or refuse. [provided by e-sword.com]

The Greek word for "leave" in Hebrews 13:5 is aniēmi (an-ee'-ay-mee). This means to slacken or desert. [provided by e-sword.com]

The Greek word for "forsake" in Hebrews 13:5 is egkataleipō (eng-kat-al-i'-po). This means to leave behind in some place, that is, (in a good sense) let remain over, or (in a bad one) to desert: - forsake, leave. [provided by e-sword.com]

With this promise, with these great words toward Moses, Joshua, and now years later to us - we have the assurance that as a child of the Most High God, who has redeemed us with the highest price, He will never leave us nor forsake us. Never means never. At our conception and birth - He was there. In the still, quiet moments - He is there. In the times of discipline - He is there. At the moment of death - He is there. Think up any situation or circumstance you wish, but "never" still eliminates the threat of there ever being anything that could make Him leave us or forsake us as His Father, Shepherd, Savior, King, and Friend. Praise God! He is Always There!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

WORTHY

I have heard many people lately and some persons in particular declare to an assembly of believers - "I'm not worthy of God's.....!" I understand the posture of the heart and mind that these individuals have when they say this - humility. We do not have the right to stand before Almighty God and demand anything, especially our redemption. BUT the statement - "I am not worthy" - is no longer correct because of God's intimate dealings with humanity.

Worthy:  having value; deserving. Read how God views this - God chose him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, he was sent to the earth for all to see. And he did this for you. - 1 Peter 1:20 (New Living Translation) 

This is how much God thought of our worth. "Long before the world began" the All-Knowing God chose my worth, your worth, everyone and everything's worth. "Long before the world began" I have been on God's heart and mind. the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. - Revelation 13:8  Now, through Him whom God chose for this purpose, Christ Jesus, everything and everyone is Redeemed.

For me to say, "I'm not worthy" is a slap in God's face. What was all that Jesus said, did, and died for if we are not all worthy of His love-gift and sacrifice? Think of all that The Word of God made in human form gave up and endured to show how much He loved us and how much He thought we were worth! And then you have someone to say those words. The statement might as well be a refusal or rejection of His provision of grace, love, and mercy.

Christian brothers and sisters - the price Jesus paid was too high for us to continue to say these words.
The condition of our relationship with God before Christ deserved nothing short than God's Only Son. Our value, our worth was that high from before creation - "God chose Him for this purpose". He is worthy of all our praise because He thought and showed us we are.......WORTHY.