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.

A Little Bit of Our Human Side

We have an innate thirst for God that persists even when we try to deny His existence. Why? It’s because deep down we know that He is the source of unconditional love. Yet many think that love is hard to connect with.

The only reason it is difficult is because our human side wants to wallow in the ways of the world. When we do that, we are bound by the anxieties that are weaved within the present culture, which reflects the ongoing demise of this system of things.

Those who have not reached out to God face the real potential for drowning in meaningless chatter, falling prey to the fantasies of pagan idolatry, suffering the world’s negativity and of frittering away their short time on this planet on empty busyness, projects and causes – all designed to try to impart some self-worth upon the doer. None of these activities glorify God, denying them the love, acceptance, security and recognition that they so desperately seek.

The ultimate outcome is a life that is not lived.

We all live in a world that is under the sway of the devil himself, who is actively trying to recruit us in every moment. Thus, even though we live in it, we have to stop being at the effect of it. The only way to do that is to seek out our Creator in simple stillness. Regardless of how the world has humbled us, or even our own behaviors have humiliated us, there continually remains a loving, compassionate God that looks to restore us with His outstretched hand:

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Is. 41:10. NKJV

God also knows that because of pride, many need this humbling before they can see their need for Him. It’s what draws them to the truth, making them ready to take on a new way of being. It requires that one gets to know what their attachment points to the world have been so that they can ask God to help them let those go. And it’s easy to find those points, because they exist in the areas of life that are not working, where the mistakes are made – showing up in self-defense and aggression. This is especially so in our attachment to the past.

When you connect with God through Christ, your past is forgotten in His eyes. (Jer. 31:34) So if God forgets it, you should do the same.

Yet even when we walk our spiritual path – studying the word, meditating in His presence, and do our best to bring light into the darkness, we will feel that we have failed God from time to time. Only God knows whether or not you were successful and He honors your earnest efforts regardless of the outcome.

And it is here where we can begin to shift our thinking. First, we can let go of the burden that we can of our own become a good person. Jesus says that we cannot (Mt. 19:17); He says God confers His ‘goodness’ upon us when we walk in obedience. He places the gift of Himself within us through Christ by His grace.

We can acknowledge that by ourselves (in the flesh) we are empty – painfully clinging to the scraps of life that fail to fulfill. When we accept God’s invitation through Christ, the Holy Spirit fills us with the Godhead, imparting a love that that permeates our soul and spirit with such abundance that it spills out of us as well. As we stay in the presence of that love, we will stop clinging to the old way of life that left us wanting.

Our human side will not go away. It’s part of us until our eternal transformation. Yet when we continue to seek out our spiritual side, we’ll be able to place our flesh in it’s proper hierarchy, which is where it is in submission to the spirit.

Remember that your spiritual maturation is an ongoing process (2 Cor. 3:18); it will take time. Christ is the author and perfecter of your faith. (Heb. 12:2) Your faith is from Him! It is He who believes for you. You can always tap into Jesus to shore yours up.

In this maturity, we begin to take our minds off of ourselves so that we could dive into the unique purpose that God created for each of us – which always involves selfless service to others, which brings glory to our Father. It is the sharing of oneself. It is looking to God for our satisfaction.

Finally, to keep us empowered in our quest in advancing God’s kingdom, we give the Holy Spirit’s leading unctions pre-eminence in our lives for directing our actions, so that we speak God’s truth and spread HIs love. And we can do that when we place a little bit of our human side aside…

Goodnight and God bless.