Two-Sided Salvation – part 2

We were talking about the two states that we find ourselves in, with regards to salvation: the predicaments we can experience prior to salvation, versus the position that we hold after having been saved.

There are many obstacles that prevent us from reaching out for salvation. One may be ignorance, i.e. not having heard the gospel. All the other obstacles are things that we put upon ourselves.

Aside from sin, the most formidable of these is the practice of living in the past. When we occupy that timeframe, we subconsciously indulge our wounded child within, who, constantly begs for our attention with regards to its unhealed miseries.

We try to oppress those hurts with busyness, distractions or addictions, rather than open them up for the healing of Christ; and we become mentally and / or physically sick in the process.

We yearn for connection, all the while living out a life from an illusion of being separated from God, other people and our true selves, that we concoct through self-judgment over our roles (actual or perceived) in past events. That illusion gives birth to thoughts and actions that are derogatory to both ourselves and those around us – making the separation real.

This ultimately leads to a life wasted in a flurry of unfulfilling exertions to still the fear of abandonment and to attempt to survive in a world of our own making. So, we suffer. But, it is in our fleshly nature to look for pleasure and avoid suffering. That keeps us trapped in a place that prevents us from understanding, accepting and loving ourselves. Furthermore, the incessant search to soothe the flesh gnaws away at the joy in our spirit, which is toxic to the soul.

Sounds grim, yes? And that’s exactly the way our adversary wants to keep us:

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times.  That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry] seeking someone to devour. 1 Pt. 5:8 AMP

Everyone suffers from this dilemma at one time or another; it’s only a matter of degrees.

We see then, why it’s so important for those who have been blessed with salvation to reach out to everyone sitting on the unsaved side on the fence, and show them the way of God’s grace towards their own healing. Of course, to be the most effective at the ‘Great Commission,’* we must have submitted ourselves for His healing as well.

* “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mk. 16:15 NKJV

So, going back to 1 Pt. 5:8 above, we see that to ‘be ‘sober, alert and cautious at all times’  (emphasis mine), demands that we live in the present moment rather than die in the ways of the past. We cannot connect with God or receive His gifts of salvation (healing, peace, revelatory guidance and eternal life but to name a few) unless we are living in the ‘here and now’ with Him.

No one knows us better than our Creator. That’s good because so many times we bury the past that drives us under many layers of unconsciousness. So, we can ask our blessed Mediator (Christ) to search our hearts and help us see the sources of our suffering and sorrow that robs us of the life He came to bring us.

“…know the God of your Father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” 1 Chr. 28:9 NKJV

…the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weaknesses…[knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf…And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will. And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. Rom. 8;26 – 28. AMP

We’ve got to grab a hold of God while we still draw breath, praying for revelation about the strategies that we’ve constructed that keep us in the world of the past. And then we can pray with exactitude about how to take on godly characteristics to thrust that construct from our lives. Then, we will be free to serve God in freeing others with the same afflictions by leading them to His salvation.

It is in the telling of that redemption where we’ll find that the truth about salvation sells itself.

Salvation is that where God gives the breakers of His law another opportunity to reach righteousness through the gospel of Christ Jesus – freeing His children from His wrath of judgment, filling them with peace and joy of the Spirit.

It changes the recipient by filling his or her heart with love, saving them by freely granting them the righteousness the law demands that they could not possibly fulfill on their own.

For Christ is the end of the law [it leads to Him and its purpose is fulfilled in Him], for [granting] righteousness to everyone who believes [in Him as Savior]. Rom. 10:4 AMP

God loves everyone:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Pt. 1:2 – 4. NKJV

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Pt. 3:9 AMP

He is willing and waiting to bring everyone into His everlasting kingdom.

The only ones who will not gain entrance are those who steadfastly refuse to be saved. God will not violate free will, He won’t compel.

Indeed, this is why we must first teach others the Law of God so that they can see their utter helplessness to save themselves without His mercy. They must understand the deathly consequences of the contamination of sin. Then, the hearer can understand the need for Christ – first by gaining the knowledge of the gospel and then accepting it wholeheartedly by faith, whereby we receive and live under His grace and find our satisfaction in Him.

God wants you to rise above your worldly misery and accept His merciful gift of His Son’s work on the cross. He will never refuse you. He wants you to come to Him as you are, not as you wished you would be:

My [only] sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart [broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise. Ps. 51:17 AMP

God is ready and willing to work with you – because He loves you so much…

Goodnight and God bless.

Two-Sided Salvation

I don’t mean that salvation has a double meaning. You are either saved or you’re not. What we will examine here is the state where you find yourself before you are saved (that which may drive some to finally seek salvation), and the transformed reality we step into once we receive it.

We are all born into sin:

…sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one able to stop it or escape its power], because all sinned. Sin was [committed] in the world before the Law [was given], but sin is not charged [against anyone] when there is no law [against it]. Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse – Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation]…through one trespass [Adam’s sin] there resulted condemnation for all men…through one man’s disobedience [his failure to hear, his carelessness], the many were made sinners… Rom. 5:12 – 14, 18-19. AMP

Adam’s sin thrust itself generationally upon all of us. Its grip takes hold as soon as we become aware of the Mosaic Law (the foundation of which is the Ten Commandments), when we become of an age where we can grasp right from wrong, at that moment when we tap into that same Law that God put in all of our hearts:

“I will put My law in their minds and write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people…for they shall all know Me…” Jer. 31:33, 34. NKJV

Just how important is that Law?

“For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days…” Dt. 32:47 NASB

We are born in sin, born in and bound by the Law until we receive the grace of God’s salvation through Christ; and we have this Law divinely implanted and innately available. Our obedience to this Law is tantamount to the quality and length of our lives.

Furthermore, add this to the mix:

“…it is He who gives to all [people] life and breath and all things. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times…This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they may grasp Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us.” Acts 17:25 – 27. AMP

“…God overlooked and disregarded former ages of ignorance; but now He commands all people everywhere to repent [that is, to change their old ways of thinking, to regret their past sins, and to seek God’s purpose for their lives], because He has set a day when He will judge the inhabited world in righteousness…” Acts 17:30, 31. AMP

So, God put an innate hunger in us that leads us to seek out our Creator. Further, He asks us to line up with Him, in order to be saved from His judgment that He will serve upon those who don’t.

Our hunger for answers show up as, ‘Who am I? What am I? Who created me? What is my purpose? What happens after I die?’

You can see how our ‘unsaved experience’ can cause one an enormous amount of consternation.

Our initial instinct, (thanks to Adam) is to seek out answers through the flesh, adding more sin to our dilemma. We feel condemned because of the Law God placed in our spirit that revealed our sin nature. We sin some more to assuage the feelings we endure, because of our condemnation, and we draw into ourselves to hide from what we may assume is an avenging God.

The Law was a gift of mercy. It showed us what was right and wrong. All we had to do was obey it, perfectly. Unfortunately, that has proved to be humanly impossible. So, the Law condemns us to death for disobedience. It promises us an eternal life yet doesn’t reveal a workable path to get there. But what God was trying to get us to see through the Law, was our immediate need for salvation – forgiveness to deliver us from the hopeless condition created by our Law-breaking.

I say ‘immediate need’ because we have no idea when we will depart from this earth; and if we haven’t embraced Christ before that time, we don’t get to ride that heavenly bus.

What God is doing through the conviction of the Holy Spirit is to reveal these things, so that we might be led to a genuine repentant state and take on a humility of the heart.

God sends His children out into the world with the gospel message, preaching His grace and loving-kindness in sending Jesus to save the hearers from condemnation through their having faith in who Christ is and what He’s done. And who is Christ? Is He not the author of our faith? (Heb. 12:2) He freely supplies the faith that you need.

The flesh has a far greater tendency to cling to the Law and reject God’s promise through Christ. Thus, we grab hold of the faith in our spirit and declare that our sin-debt, our death-debt, has been paid by the Son of God: “I have forgiveness of sins through Christ, having faith that He has transformed me from within.”

On the other side, when we receive our salvation, been forgiven our sins, we also have to take on living in a godly way to the best of our ability. Jesus will then bridge the gap where we fall short. In addition, we need to stay connected with God through His word, prayer and meditation so that we can know His will and realize what actions we need to take.

We need to take our minds off of ourselves and live a loving life of servitude. Our spiritual perfection only comes when we forget about perfecting ourselves, amassing possessions and follow in the footsteps of Christ.

We can then release ourselves from the concept of ‘mine,’ knowing that everything belongs to God in Whom we rest; thus, everything is ours without having to fret over the ‘rightful ownership’ of it.

Indeed, we are at our most free when we love God and accept His love and peace, even if we don’t see it manifest in the world. It is there in our spirit. God facilitates our reconciliation with ourselves, so that we may return to that wonderful person He made us to be. When we achieve this reconciliation, we are also one with Him. Then our old battles within can cease…

To be continued.

Goodnight and God bless.

It Has Never Been About God Versus Man

It’s always been about how God loves Man:

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love’]. We love, because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:18, 19. AMP

God loved us first. He created us in love; and He loves us now and for all eternity.

Sometimes, it’s about Man versus God because we have misconceptions about Him, which then breeds falsehoods that we believe about ourselves. It is when we become aware of these false divisions within, (especially those we think separate us from our Creator) that we come to a place where we can finally begin to be set free.

Freedom commences when we put a stop to the tumultuous cyclone that we subconsciously cloak our lives with – running around trying to do things that we think will improve ourselves or remold what we think we are. In this endless boondoggle, we lose ourselves in meaningless ‘doings’ instead of just being who God created us to be.

But we can’t do that if we don’t take the time to nurture our God-created self, which begins when we see and rise above what the world’s truth tries to impress upon us. All of the evil in the world is produced by the thoughts and actions of the collective subconscious of its inhabitants.

It is this same collective bottled up psyche, that peppers those who might entertain another way of being, with swirling thoughts of ‘conformity or else,’  – to keep these would-be ‘free thinkers’ in shackles by showering them with a deluded mass media and an educational process corrupted by government to bend the minds of the students into becoming a co-opted pool of non-thinkers.

We are lied to incessantly by those who choose to follow the god of this world. Lies breed violence – both towards others and against ourselves. Eventually, the pain of submitting to the world drives us towards false comforts – busyness, distractions and addictions, all of which add to the death of the free-thinking soul.

We must wake up from this nightmare, which can only happen when we return to our true selves. We need to turn ourselves towards Love (God) and become aware of how to tap into His presence on a continual basis, both to experience His love and to know and live out His purposes, which is the only path to true peace and joy.

It is our spiritual duty to learn to know God and how to identify ourselves in Him. When we do this in faith, we can exist in His love and walk along a path where we can spread this good news to others. We can chip away at the stranglehold our adversary has over those who have been blinded by ruthless and loveless domination, by helping them feel the love in the face of a world that denies it.

After all, you can’t just keep this love for yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be like the servant who received a talent (sum of money) and instead of investing it, he put it in a hole in the ground, more fearful of losing it rather than growing it for his employer. (Mt. 25:14 – 26.) Jesus told this parable to illustrate the following God principle:

“For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away.” Mt. 25:29 AMP

To love is to share, yes? And when we live in God, accept His gifts (the foremost being Christ), and share them so that as many others as we encounter have the potential to receive God’s gifts as well, we will have been accepted – received His salvation, through our union with Him.

At the foundation of this peace from God, is the peace that He laid in the cornerstone of your being; and it is found when you recognize who you truly are and are meant to be, in Him. There can be no peace with anyone until you make peace with yourself, which comes by seeing yourself in the divine light of Christ.

As we’ve looked at before, God is in the business of reconciliation – so that we reconcile with Him, with all others and with ourselves.

In that healing, you will have achieved the peace that comes from finally being able to be yourself, wearing the mantle of sainthood that is conferred upon all of God’s children.

Then, there will be no more forms of  _____ v. _____ …

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. Rm. 3:22 – 25. ESV

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we we’re all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:12 ESV

…that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 1 Cor. 12:25 – 27. NKJV

May we keep this in mind and come together at the start of the new year in this country under God…

Goodnight and God bless.

Remembering Christ in Christmas

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the activities associated with the majority of the western world’s concept of Christmas (or the ‘holidays’ as many westerners refer to it), that perpetuates Santa Claus and leads them to losing themselves in the frenetic quest of purchasing the ‘right’ gifts.

The true gift of Christmas is God’s ultimate free bestowal of love to His greatest creations, which is that of the blessed hope of reconciliation with Him, both in this life and for all of eternity – granted to His children through Jesus Christ.

And it’s such a big gift. All we have to do is get out of our own way and remain focused upon the enormity of God ’s love expressed within His purposes for each of us, allowing ourselves to be the spiritual revelation of them as we are promoted, encouraged and expedited in our realization through the power or Christ within us:

I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of [facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill HIs purpose – I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infused me with inner strength and confident peace.] Phil. 4:12, 13. AMP

Focusing on the gift keeps us humble, knowing that we are, by ourselves, ineffective in God’s purposes until we recognize, invite, embrace and lay hold of God within us. And within that union, we finally attain a closeness with ourselves that we’ve so desperately sought, through the grace of Christ’s communion with us.

Only in the strength of that kinship can we rise above the fears generated by ourselves from the seeds of our exposure to this world, ascend above a frequent itch that calls us to apologize for who we are and find our fulfillment in the love of our Creator and His Son:

…present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be confirmed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. Rm. 12:1, 2. AMP

This Christmas gift of God’s grace is an offering of unity with Him as His child, which transcends us from what we’ve become to that which He created us to be in the first place – wise, free in His truth, and awakened in our fullest spiritual connection, thus knowing ourselves in Christ, conscious of the nature of God within us.

All in all, we’ve been given a part to play in increasing God’s kingdom by preparing others and ourselves for Christ’s return in the face of a worldly spirit that so desperately fears His coming.

Our Christmas gift has so many loving facets from a God who’s love towards us knows no bounds. Through Christ, He brings our lives to our ultimate fulfillment in Him – in His love, joy and peace as He sheaths us with His image. We are delivered by His grace from who we thought we were, so that we can live the life He meant us to have, through our spirit that is directed by yet another gift, the Holy Spirit.

Let us not also forget the part of the Christmas gift that is the mercy of God, which cleanses us from our sins perpetuated out of ignorance, through the blood of Christ, solely because He loves us so much, so that we can remain in His presence because He put Christ’s righteousness upon you.

All that God asks from you is to surrender yourself to His love. Why? Because He knows that there is no rest for you until you rest in Him.

Thus, we can move away from out old selves and into the living gift of resurrection, forgiveness, acceptance, peace and spiritual perfection…

Goodnight, God bless and Merry Christmas.

God Yearns for Your Return

Return from what? Your foray into the ways of the world.

God loves you, and He yearns for your love in return. That’s why He gave you free will. If love isn’t freely given, it’s not love at all.

We were born into a love relationship with God; but as we grew older, we got sucked into the maw of worldly enticements from the adversary who walks this world and creates the mayhem within it. We fell into lockstep with the example set before us long ago by Adam and Eve.

They stepped into the ways of the world when they accepted the devil’s lie, essentially turning their backs on God, calling Him a liar in the process. And man’s behavior has gone south ever since.

During the time of Moses, God stepped in and left us a signpost, a way to prepare for the salvation through Christ. Why? It’s because God loves despite our sin. He wants to save everyone.

This signpost was the Law (outlined in the Ten Commandments). Not only did He send it’s dictates through Moses, He imprinted it upon our consciences:

“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life…” Dt. 30:14 & 19, 20. NKJV

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. Ps. 16:7 ESV

In other words, God imbued the rules for ‘right living’ upon our souls. Unfortunately, the Law was grossly corrupted by man over time, so that he could feel justified as he lived according to the desires of his flesh.

The Law and the Gospel are two entirely different doctrines. Yet they are equally necessary. You cannot understand the Gospel without knowing the Law; and without the Gospel, the Law brings no blessings.

Both are required for salvation. The Law gives us the understanding of why we need the Gospel, and the Gospel leads us to salvation. The Gospel makes no sense if we don’t understand the Law and how breaking it brings us such dire consequences that we cannot undo by ourselves.

The Law (the Old Covenant) reveals both the nature of sin and convicts us when we have taken it upon ourselves to engage in sinful activity – so that we become aware of our need for salvation. Yet, the only thing the Law offers for a path to redemption, is a dictate to follow it to the letter. That is not humanly possible. Until we accept Christ as our Savior, we cannot reach that perfection.

The Law convicts the Law—breaker,  not out of malice, but to nudge us towards the gospel. Until we make that journey to be perfected in the grace of God’s salvation, that conviction will bring with it guilt and shame. And that’s what keeps so many people from returning to their Father.

So we suffer; and we try to insulate ourselves from more suffering by pushing our misdeeds into our subconscious, with busyness, distractions and addictions – all the while engaging in self-flagellation. We yearn for love, but we cannot give it to ourselves because we’re too busy running from our guilt, which only leads to more sin as we try to insulate ourselves against our hurts. In other words, we keep digging a deeper hole.

If we continue to repeat these patterns, we will become both mentally and physically sick. This is not God’s plan. We have to recognize that we cannot work our way to salvation (by living in perfect adherence to the Law), and instead open ourselves up to the grace of God.

It’s hard because we think that we are unacceptable in God’s eyes. Nothing could be further from the truth. God yearns for and works at everyone’s return:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Pt. 3:9 ESV

God is in the business of reconciliation. Other than perpetually denying Christ, there is nothing that He will not wipe from your earthly slate if you come to Him with sincere confession and repentance.

We can bring our offenses before God so that He can remove them from His memory through the blood of Christ.

Sometimes however, we bury our deeds so deep in our subconscious that we need to ask Him to help us learn to be still (i.e. to meditate in His presence) so that He can reveal the wound we’ve been trying to hide from ourselves. Furthermore, we can ask Him to help us give to ourselves understanding, compassion and the insight to rise above our old self – giving ourselves those same things that He does. When we do that, we can forgive ourselves as well instead of making the work of the Cross for naught.

We are at cause for how we live out our lives and for the future that we create. Many times, those do not turn out as we had hoped because of the persistent thorn of our transgressions. Again, we suffer; and happiness is not possible in an environment that lacks understanding, love and compassion.

Yet suffering is the path that goads us to seek God. It also brings us compassion for ourselves and others when He helps us overcome it.

It is vital that we seek healing from the Lord. Avoiding our hurtful situations will never put us in a place where we can receive the heavenly balm that we require. The joy we seek comes when we let go of our own efforts, and give our burdens to Christ. (Mt. 11:30)

As we saw, the Law leads us to the salvation of the Gospel, and what a salvation that is! It is the saving perfection that God gives you through the blood of Christ – not something that you attain by yourself, but is a continual gift of His doing. (2 Cor. 3:18)

That doesn’t mean that you won’t keep making mistakes. There are still revelations to take in, faith to build, strengthening to make us more aware and formidable (by letting Christ fight our battles).

We make our greatest acknowledgment of the gift of God’s salvation when we fully accept that it’s about His doing at the Cross, His work through each of His children through Christ’s sacrifice and completely disregard our self-importance – looking to the Godhead for our purpose and joy.

God transferred every sin in the past, present and future of every person who accepts His Son, upon Jesus. Christ paid the total price for your transformation. He laid himself down willingly to face your punishment so that you might spend eternity with Him. He gave you life when all you had coming was death.

When you make that free-will decision to accept Christ for who He is, what He’s done, and what it all means, every obstacle that stands between you and God crumbles for good. It’s done. That’s all He has been asking of all peoples.

In fact, upon your salvation, God sees you as if you were His Son; and indeed, they have both taken up residence within you. You are a new creature in Christ:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17 NKJV

So, what is your part in all of this? Thomas Merton said it best: “My job is to press forward, to grow inwardly, to pray, to break away from attachments, to defy fears, to grow in faith, to seek an entirely new dimension and perspective in my life, and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest – to really desire this and to work for it.”

You are Christ-made acceptable to God, a true child of the Father.

Isn’t that exciting? After all, Jesus is the reason for this season, yes? MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Goodnight and God bless.

We Make Spiritual Life Too Hard – part 2

There is no deed we can do that will make us spiritual. A spiritual life, in the Christian sense, is only gained when we connect with God through Christ and honor His word to the best of our ability.

As long as we do that, we needn’t have a continual dark cloud of worry over whether or not we will be the target of God’s wrath. God created you. He knows your limits and He accepts your best efforts.

The greatest condemnation you will ever experience is that which you lay upon yourself. However, if God loves and accepts you, shouldn’t you do that same? If you do that, and you walk in God’s ways, you can look forward to standing in front of the judgment seat of Christ, because all that is waiting for you is His welcome to your eternal rewards. Jesus exemplified this in the parable of the talents:

‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you a ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Mt. 25:21 NKJV

The ‘good servant’ was faithful over a few things (his best efforts), not over all things.

You are not charged by God to change anything about yourself; He is already at work in you, to bring your original perfection back to realization. (2 Cor. 3:17, 18.) In other words, you are already who God wanted you to be. He’s only removing the damage that the world has inflicted upon you.

What you are charged with, is testifying to His salvation. Period. And of course, if you are a living testimony, you are engaged in walking your best Christ-like walk. So, you can just relax and let God have the helm.

Martin Luther said, “The message of Christ was ‘Repent’ not ‘Be better!’ “

Luther also said this: “Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, just as I am your sin. You have taken upon Yourself what is mine and given me what is Yours. You have taken upon Yourself what you were not, and have given me what I was not.”

Doesn’t that make you grateful? It ought to lighten up your spiritual walk as well.

Our only major concern in this walk is to stick to the truth of God and deny that which opposes it (i.e. the lies of the enemy, who has already been defeated by the resurrection of Christ). In addition, we want to remain humble and teachable, so that we may receive God’s grace.

Satan lies in order to mold us into someone other than ourselves – to try to be something that we are not. When we attempt (and that in and of itself is always a struggle) to live out a false life with a false self, we are denying love for our true self. And that is the beginning of sin.

When we accept Christ, we die to that false self:

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Eph. 4:7 NKJV

…you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Eph. 4:17, 18. ESV

…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph. 4:22 – 24. ESV

When we die to our false image (simply by rejecting the lies of our adversary), we, by embracing our true self and our birthright, become open to receive everything that God has to offer. And when we receive the love God has for us and put in us and we reciprocate by loving God and ourselves, our spirituality will flow out of us in service to our Creator – to enlarge His kingdom and make the world a better place.

Guess what? That’s the source of limitless joy – letting Christ live His life through you.

To have that joy and peace, we must continually remind ourselves of Jesus’ work on the cross. Thus, we need to drop any self-condemnation over past sins. Christ has cleaned that up through His blood, manifested when we open the door of our repentance; and He continues to do so whenever we need to rinse and repeat.

Drop the fear, because we cannot make ourselves righteous; only the mercy of our gracious God can do that.

Thomas Merton said, “The deepest communication is not communication; it is communion. We are already one, but we imagine that we are not. What we have to be is what we already are.”

Amen. In doing so, we renounce the ways of the world – letting loose of our obsession with its busyness and with its illusion of importance.

The spiritual life is God’s gift to you. He removes all the barriers that stand in the way of your receiving it. He did not set before you an arduous, exhausting and seemingly impossible task. God only asks you to live in His love and go forth and teach others how to do likewise…

Goodnight and God bless.

We Make Spiritual Life Too Hard

Taking into account the total global population, few people practice living a spiritual life:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Mt. 7:13, 14. ESV

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Mt. 11:28 – 30. AMP

Jesus spoke both of these. They almost seem contradictory, but they are decidedly not. The ‘narrow gate’ is the only path to living a spiritual life and gaining salvation. It’s not hard to find. It’s been broadcast for over 2000 years. The gate is Christ. The way is ‘hard’ because so many people do not want to give up the ways of the world and / or are unwilling to get over themselves.

As we see, Jesus says that the exchange is easy, that the weight on our souls will be lightened immeasurably when we dump the consequences of our old ways at His feet. The spiritual life is easy, requiring only a slight burden (your compliance) be placed  upon you:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. 1 Jn. 5:3, 4. NKJV

We can do this! We do it by doing our best to walk in God’s word and staying in faith that our salvation has come now. The only obstacles in our way are those of our own making. For example, take our concerns over our ‘level’ of spirituality at any given time. We may not feel we are making progress; but if we are staying committed to making our best efforts to be obedient, our Father shows His faithfulness. His Spirit stays with us, working to keep His promises:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation, from bondage, true freedom]. And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:17, 18. AMP

So, the ‘somewhere’ you think you should be spiritually, is where you already are. It’s a matter of faith, not sight. Don’t sweat it. Just stay in contact and be dependent upon your Maker.

Most of the time you have problems on your spiritual path is when you give into the subconscious patterns of your old self. You know this is happening when you see your old injurious fruits begin to manifest again. That’s just your loving God trying to wake you up so that you can remember your gift(s):

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? …just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life…present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Rm. 6:3, 4 & 13. NJKV

Perhaps you think that you don’t know enough of God’s word as you think you should, or as much as some other brother or sister in Christ. You’re a work in progress!! As soon as you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you were united with His Spirit; and that’s the tightest connection we can have.

The only thing you need concern yourself with, is to always be in a questioning mode about your motives, i.e. ‘Is this my will, or is it Jesus’?’ Just stick to walking in the gospel and don’t give heed to anything that man has added to it.

Yield your present self to Christ and His mercy and keep your ears open.

The Godhead is beyond our complete understanding, but we can take everything it reveals to us to the bank; and that includes what it shows us about ourselves. God is not parading any of your old shortcomings in front of you to degrade you. What He’s doing is showing you how far He’s brought you.

Enjoy the ride…

Goodnight and God bless.

God’s Children Must Take a Stand for Peace

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass…For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom…all these are the beginnings of sorrows. Mt. 24:6 – 8. NKJV

Jesus is saying that right up until the end of time, there will be wars. We see it today. There are wars festering over the entire globe. Our own country has been creating a ‘perpetual’ war since 1952 in order to justify military overgrowth, to serve the associated defense contractors, to pander to ego and avarice-driven politicians, and to foster fear in our population in order to keep us in line.

Followers of Christ have received several imperatives to walk a different path:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rm. 12:2 ESV

But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Ps. 37:11 NKJV

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6 NKJV

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Mt. 5:9 NKJV

If it is possible, as much as depends upon you, live peaceably with all men. Rm. 12:18 NKJV

The world is war-like. We don’t have to be. Nor do we have to support war. We are called to emulate Christ – the Prince of Peace. Uniting in Him, we can take a peaceful stand against any form of aggression by our respective governments by offering a better way, living out a spiritual path as an example of how peace might be attained.

We cannot be caught up in the patriotic jargon and emotion slathered over the death-face of war, or we just become additional nutrients for the disease. Other than self-defense, we can never consider that a war can be justified. (And it is in those self-defense actions that we can express our undying gratitude to the brave, selfless soldiers who took up our cause.)

Simultaneously, we must not forget our Christian love and compassion – even for blind, faithless warmongers who are at the mercy of their flesh and its violent chaos:

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. James 4:1, 2. NKJV

Yes, wars simply come down to someone wanting what someone else has. It is also the projection of the evil within the perpetrator upon the innocent victim, whom they call them the ‘enemy.’

“But I say to you, ‘love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Mt. 5:44, 45. NKJV

When you love your enemy, you can better understand them, which makes them hard to hate.

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth… Acts 17:26 NKJV

Thus, we can see that we are at one with our enemy, whom is also loved by God. And, just like our secular government and its multitudinous tentacles, we can pray for them, knowing that they too need the salvation that comes from the grace of God through Christ.

Aggressive military ‘solutions’ are becoming increasingly more formidable, lethal and potentially destructive on a global scale. Even what some consider a small military ‘action,’ almost always explodes into full scale war.

Wars don’t have to be a ‘given.’ We can look for alternate ways for conflict resolution. We can start by living out our Christ-peace with everyone we know. We can elect people who want peace and let our desires for peace be made known – making it a national referendum by bringing Christ to more people.

Turn away from the mass media, who gleefully promotes misunderstanding, hate and war in order to sell news. Walk away from the ‘religious’ folks who say that God is behind any kind of war. Pay no heed to political ideology that expresses itself by saber rattling. By all means, don’t listen to the government ‘elites’ who have brought this country to the brink of ruin.

War can never bring justice. Military and governmental fear mongering is propaganda designed for instilling the desire of relief from that same fear into the populace that the monger’s say can only come through violent victory.

The one and only hope is to turn to God and pray for His intervention. He has repeatedly demonstrated that He wants to save us from ourselves and lay us in fields of peace. We can take that potential salvation to the nations, educating them about peace and create a unified movement that will demand peaceful resolutions from those who are doing the governing.

That begins by teaching and practicing peace with each other.

War is blasphemy, as is the production and sale of weapons of mass destruction. And war is always a product of the degradation of our souls.

We all suffer from fears fomented by anger, aggression, greed and insecurity:

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rm. 7:22 – 25. ESV

Thus, we transcend ourselves and take on the cloak of the peace of Christ and shine that light out into the world. After all, the world only reflects its inhabitants…

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world give do I give peace to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jn. 14:27 NKJV

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jn. 16:33 NKJV

Goodnight and God Bless.

Reconciliation in Christ

For it pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him…having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight – if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel… Col. 1:19 – 23. NKJV

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Cor. 5:18, 19. NKJV

Reconcile: ‘to restore friendly relations; to cause to coexist in harmony; to settle a disagreement.’

Human beings left on their own, have been horrific failures with regards to successful reconciliation. Presently, we need look no further than to our latest presidential election and the illogical, violent and destructive responses from the losers of that contest.

Being a Bible teacher, I take on that ‘ministry of reconciliation’ with reverence and sincerity. So I really want to understand how this kind of riotous rebellion can be fomented. I can almost always turn to the Huffington Post to gain insight as to the roots of liberal discontent. Not to be disappointed, I happened upon an article by a frequent commentator named Jonathan Walton, founder of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, which he states is primarily involved with making sure the planet and its people are not ‘exploited.’ The title of his article was Jesus Is King And I’m So Scared. I couldn’t really get what point he was trying to drive home, so I read other articles authored by him as well, e.g. Jesus, Can I Buy An AR-15 If Trump Becomes President? and White Supremacy And My Black and Asian Daughter.

Mr. Walton is an African-American. The only reason I bring that up is that he appears to be so possessed by his perception of the evil nature of those who suffer from a far greater lack of melanin.

Returning to the first article cited, Mr. Walton begins by expressing his abject fear over the triumph of President-elect Trump. And God bless him, he has every right to express himself in any way he sees fit. He claims that every brand of non-white, non-Christian and non-U.S. citizens’ very lives are in mortal danger by those infected with “White-washed, evangelical, western ‘gospel’ braided with American exceptionalism.”

Add to that an ‘indifferent government,’ and a ‘blonde blue-eyed Jesus – indifferent to the plight of women afraid to wear a hijab because some white guy will set them on fire. The author also states that Jesus is pro-life but His followers are homophobic, xenophobic, capitalistic and turn blind eyes and deaf ears to everyone else’s travails. Why? Because, he says, that they only pose as Christ’s followers.

Maybe I’m confused, but this surely sounds like ‘hate speech’ to me.

Finally, Mr. Walton says that the Kingdom of God and the U.S. are not the same thing. Okay. I agree with that, but what’s his point? He ends his tirade with a request to those that he deems to really know what Jesus is about, to pray for reconciliation. That’s kind of hard to swallow after he’s just incited them all to riot and kill the pale face.

If you have been following the news, you’ve seen the post-election riots by the paid-for instigators and the programmed students. Nobody on the other side of the ideological fence acted in this criminal fashion after Obama’s election victories. Methinks our protestors (‘brown shirt thugs’) are demonstrating severe hypocrisy.

The students are the biggest disappointments. It shows the utter failure of our government-controlled so-called learning centers to educate beyond a unidimensional agenda that tramples upon and denies any truths besides their own. We don’t have free thinkers anymore who can critically evaluate an issue.

Puppies and PlayDough in ‘safe spaces’ where new ideas are not allowed to germinate, are not the answer, and it only propagates their embarrassing temper tantrums.

But how could they be different? They’ve been taught (starting with the executive branch who is the ‘Divider-in-Chief’) for almost two decades that anyone in opposition to their ‘plan’ is racist and that it is their duty to do their best to demonize their ‘opponents.’ Some message to imprint upon our children.

Suck it up. I believe the majority of people wanted our present president to succeed. Unfortunately, he didn’t. It was never a race thing. It was his ego thing – the ‘my way or the highway’ thing.

We change horses every four or eight years in this country. That’s what makes a democracy great. If you don’t like it, you’ll get another chance. In the meantime, why don’t we all look out for one another, make the best of it, (President-elect Trump did win fair and square after all), and reach across the aisle and reconcile…

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Rom. 12:18 ESV

And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mk. 3:25 NKJV

Goodnight and God bless.   

A Little Bit of Our Human Side – part 2

We can take comfort in knowing that in spite of our human side, Jesus loves us in our sin. That’s why He sacrificed Himself – to save us from that state. (Mt. 9:13).

God loves us in spite of our shortcomings. He will still use us for His purposes in spite of the  imperfections of our flesh.

Knowing that we have such a compassionate God who loves us as we are and sees the true goodness we embody, we can quit judging ourselves and we do our best to journey in God’s direction, concentrating on what God is achieving in us when we present our willing spirit.

In that light, we can better express our love for everyone around us, knowing that they suffer the same inward battles as well – especially nowadays when we all are being assaulted by political posturing, hard biased mass media and politically correct tyrants of one-sided ideas. These same satanic attacks are being perpetrated against the Church globally as well.

As followers of Christ, we are called to rise above the status quo, to prepare ourselves for the transformation (2 Cor. 3:18) that God will work in us, by pursing Him and being obedience to His word – tossing any contradictory worldly teachings aside.

And yet, we don’t want to persecute ourselves for our human side. It is a gift from God, bestowed upon us to house our spirit, and to move us through this life, carrying out His purpose in love.

We make mistakes in our earth suit. That’s where confession and repentance comes in – accepting the love of God in His forgiveness and giving ourselves the same. God grants us the freedom to go forward in life without being stuck in our past. We are His children being perfected, not some waste dump of the errors of our history.

We have all been ‘fractured’ by our past, but God makes us whole again. As long as we are doing out best to live out God’s purpose, we can depend upon Him for everything:

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Ps. 37:3 – 6. NKJV

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret – it only causes harm…those who wait on the LORD shall inherit the earth. Ps. 37:7 – 9. NKJV

The very fact that God placed you on this earth for His purposes (and they are always about love) should motivate and inspire you. When you grab a hold of the fact that (if you invite Him) God has placed Himself within you, there will be no place where hopelessness can live.

No matter what, God loves you and He took dramatic steps to make sure you could know and feel that:

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 Jn. 4:9, 10. NKJV

And if we turn around and love others, the cycle is complete:

If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 1 Jn. 4:12 NKJV

The highest way we love one another is to spread the message of God’s salvation through Christ, to give them hope in spite of a little bit of their human side…

Goodnight and God bless.