God Wants You to Live!

…’As I live, says the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back (change your way of thinking), turn back [in repentance] for your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezek. 33:11 AMP

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jn. 10:10 NKJV

God is telling the Israelites that if they straighten up and return to His ways, they will preserve their life. This is still applicable today. Yes, God also has a focus on the eternal aspect of our lives, (after all, that is the total focus of the Bible), but here, He is telling us to adhere to His words so that we can have a good life while on this earth!

Jesus is the centerpiece of God’s salvation for your entrance into eternity. Yet also here, He is telling us to embrace Him, so that we can have a full life in present time! You don’t need a more abundant life in heaven; you will have everything at your fingertips when you make that transition.

You’ve all known well-meaning Christians whose lives are in disarray for one reason or another; who stay locked in that confusion and chaos, instead of actively trying to remedy their situation (with God’s help). Many of them repeat some form of this mantra: “Oh my life is horrible. Nothing can be done. I’m just waiting for Jesus to take me to heaven.’

That’s a slap in God’s face. Life is His greatest gift to all of us. He obviously wants us to enjoy it to its fullest.

So why don’t we?

It’s because we become indifferent to life. We’ve lost our thirst for the awe and wonder that life used to bring. Why? Because life hasn’t turned out the way that we though it should, and we feel a helplessness when we contemplate the possibility of changing that outcome.

The problem is almost always because we are locked in the past.

Our past begins with our parents. We didn’t pick them; and many of them consciously or unconsciously indoctrinated us with some version of what they were brainwashed with. And some of this indoctrination may have been harmful – words and actions that instilled a sense of self-doubt.

Perhaps, mom and dad, through their own lack of self-awareness, spoke harmful words, such as: ‘What’s wrong with you?’ ‘When will you ever learn?’ ‘How could you be so stupid? There are multitudinous examples of bad parental behavior. And a very common result is the formation of children branded with these two damning sentences that curse them for life if they don’t wake up:

“I’m unlovable,’ and / or ‘I’m not good enough.’ Yet they pretend to be, by trying to present themselves to others as someone they are not – a totally ineffectual and sad way of being.

Further, children are then thrust into schools where other unhappy children are trying to survive that environment of through fight or flight. Then they get their minds twisted up by the dysfunctional social engineering being passed off as education these days.

Ultimately, many of these lost souls waste their lives away searching for something to fill ‘what’s missing in their lives’ – e.g. addictions, erratic behavior, cheap sex, etc.

Our past can be tense if we don’t learn to keep it in past tense. No one makes the conscious choice to be wounded. However, those wounds will continue to fester if we don’t shed that past.

Whatever happened to you in the past may or may not have been your fault. It may or may not have happened in the way you remember it. Whatever happened, it doesn’t matter! What matters is that you learn from it and move on.

You can never get that time back, or undo what has been done. You must ask God to help you let the past go.

Most human misery is a product of their own making. That was not God’s plan. Thus, the world is not a very happy place. What’s to be done? Stop doing things the way the world does them:

…do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Rm. 12:2 NKJV

What God is saying is to get the garbage out of your mind and listen to your spirit.

God put us here and gave us a choice:

“…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, so that 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 and the length of you days…” Dt. 30:19, 20. NKJV

God asks you to choose life by choosing Love, instead of just surviving the ways of the world. It is an appeal for you to follow your heart. Ask God to show you what’s haunting you so that you can give it up to Him. He promises to help:

“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

We must build a relationship with God in order to be free of our mental fetters, so that we can build a healthy relationship with ourselves, which makes us great material for have relationships with others.

Start with bringing your ‘willingness’ to take your life back – to return to the authentic ‘you’ that God made, before you were corrupted. People think that they can do this without God, but clearly, the world reflects the fruit of this lie.

Given that most people are swimming in the same soup, the only guaranteed help comes from God. With God on your side, you can get your slate made clean with Him (through confession and repentance – Jer. 31:34; Is. 43:25, 26 & Heb. 10:17.) with regards to anything you may have committed that was contrary to His word, that has been ravaging your life. In fact, if you’re a child of God, it was already made clean; but you forget that because of your suffering – even though it is mostly based upon illusions.

Why is it so important to clean up our thinking?

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Pr. 23:7 NKJV

We literally become what we think! If we are carrying the baggage of the past, we can be sure that we are re-living it in our minds over and over, which freezes us in time and gives us the life that we have. Why? It’s because we are world-focused instead of God-focused. Not a good place to focus, because in the eternal scheme of things, this world will not survive. (2 Pt. 3:10)

When we focus on God, what happens?

…those who seek the LORD understand all things. Pr. 28:5 NASB

And if we don’t?

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hos. 4:6 NKJV

We look to God for the true meanings in our lives instead of the fiction that we built around it. When we engage in ‘right thinking,’ we can let go of our obsession with the past (which we don’t accurately recall anyway). Then, we will be predisposed to living right, and we can start living anew in present time..

Most of how you’ve handled your past has been an unconscious process. Not really your fault, but neither is it a reason to make yourself a victim. it’s time to dig into your head to see what you have been cultivating.

Questions are powerful. They put those voices in your head on notice that there is a new sheriff in town. Take a week and write down everything you hear in your head that denigrates you. (That will be your ego). Question everything it says, answering to yourself, ‘Is that so?’ ‘Is that really true?’ ‘I’m far better than that.’ ‘What would my life be like if I didn’t believe this lie?’ If it says you don’t deserve something, go get it for yourself.

When you feel the mental jabs, ask yourself, ‘What is real, true and important in this moment?’ That voice will begin to whimper.

Interrogate yourself to find out what your unconscious self has been up to: knee-jerking to your past and living it out in the present. Ask yourself these questions:

1. What is it about other people’s behavior that bothers me? (Note that we tend to reject in others what we don’t like in ourselves). People who irritate us can be some of our best teachers.

2. What keeps you from being happy? (The answer is ‘you,’ because of your obsession over a dead past that you haven’t buried). Happiness is a choice. You have to think happy thoughts.

3, What makes you sad? (‘Being sad is what we do when we consider how a loss of something or someone affects us). It’s a hurt that needs to be healed so that you don’t cling to it and have it morph into ‘suffering.’

4. What is your Life Story? (You know, that embellished past that is used to justify your present station in life.) It’s mostly a lie; give it up to God and return to the present moment.

5. Who is in your life? (Who you hang out with our don’t says a lot about you). Are they ‘safe people’ who don’t call you out on your unconscious shenanigans? Are they abusive because you have a low opinion of yourself? Is it toxic family members? Not worth keeping.

6. Who are the people who cause you pain? (Big hint: you must choose to be hurt). These are the same people who you have chosen not to forgive, who you consider to be your enemies.

7. What are you afraid of? (You’ll be found out? Failing? Relationships? Dying? The unknown?)  Fear is only based upon unexamined beliefs from meanings that you made up as a child.

Don’t waste your present by waiting for a future when you’ll finally get it all together. No one gets it all together.  Life is a training ground; we are all a work in progress. There is no goal! Life is the goal!

Discover the meanings that you brought to life that aren’t working for you and disgorge them. If your dissatisfied with life, look at the meanings you brought to the events in your past that is shaping your present life.

Drop the meanings and how you act them out.

You are a child of God. Have compassion with yourself and your journey of actions and thoughts that you thought you had to do and have to survive. Once you have compassion, you will finally come to accept yourself.

Yes, you are a child of God – a gift to everything in this universe that no one else possesses. God put you here by design. You bring that gift by just being who God made you to be, special beyond measure, like everyone else as well.

The past is dead, the future unknown. Life is now, and God wants you to live it! You do that by living in the present moment – where life lives and works and where love, peace, contentment and joy are found. And when you’re quiet in your head, you will be able to hear the voice of God.

Our life is lived best when we let God drive:

You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Ps. 16:11 NKJV (see also Ps. 16:11 & 36:8, 9; Pr. 12:28; Mt. 16:25 & Jn. 1:4)

Happiness is what happens when we accept and love ourselves, and when we embrace God through Christ – letting all that love and peace flow through us. Then we can see life as the incredible gift that it is; and it’s always available when we stand in truth and reality. living as our genuine selves by walking with God.

Happiness is always available when we accept our experience of life rather than a belief about it – when we trust Jesus and drop the suffering over the meaning-less meanings we brought to life, take nothing personal, give up the search for happiness and just be happy and at peace. It’s our natural state…

Goodnight and God Bless


Raising Godly Children – part 4

The best way to raise godly children is to lead by example. Do Mom and Dad portray a strong commitment to their marriage? Life has its peaks and valleys. The valleys are filled with tough times. During those times, do your children see you and your spouse coming together as a team to weather it out? Or, do you let those same times buffet you, leaving you worn and frayed – taking it out on your spouse with anger, disrespect and threats of divorce?

If it’s the latter, you are showing you children that love, marriage and family is fragile and does not last. They lose their foundational grounding for dealing with life. If you don’t want to send those messages (and who does), turn to your spouse and ask them how you can be a better mate. Re-commit to your vows.

Do your children see that you and your spouse love each other, and do you demonstrate it often? You are the first example of godly love that they are exposed to. When an altercation arises (and they will), do you get over it quickly with respect, forgiveness and engage in the search for solutions?

Children do what they see. If you argue and show disrespect, they will do the same. Worse, they will come to think that this behavior is normal, and actively seek it in a future mate. Doomed to failure.

Your partner should be your best friend, as well as your lover:

This is my beloved and this is my friend… Song of Solomon 5:16 NASB

Listen first, to understand. Be loving in speech and have your words reflect your integrity. Do not shut your spouse out (silent treatment) to either manipulate or avenge.

If one is aware, they know that their ‘silent treatment’ has the whole family walking on egg shells. We have been talking extensively about how communication is everything. The silent treatment is the antithesis of that.

Teach your children about money through your own frugal example of godly application wisdom with regards to finances – how you save, spend, investment and give.

Be available and be patient. Let your child speak all of what is on their mind before answering.

You and your spouse must present yourselves as a solidified team with regards to discipline, already having decided on what the consequences will be. For this to be fair to the child, you must have clearly defined the rules for the home and defined boundaries for behavior. Consistency for transgressions is vital; don’t let them off the hook at times. Have the punishment fit the crime. And always deliver it with love.

The focus of all discipline is to build their godly character.

Let them know that your values are God’s values, which is what you expect them to have as well, and teach them. For example, have the sex talk when they are approaching puberty! Show them what God says. Give it to them piecemeal, matching their level of understanding. Listen to their feedback.

In the end, if we want to raise godly (conscious) children, we ourselves must become conscious first. We don’t want to infect them with our old ways of the world. How does that look?

There would be a mom and dad who co-create a home that provides an environment of peace, love, joy and exhortation for all. The home would nurture a thriving family where hostile conflict would be a foreign concept. It would also afford a space where children could immerse themselves in the experience of being a child for as long as possible.

Besides being committed to each other, mom and dad would also be committed to the children: spending time with them as they grow up, rather than shipping them off to preschool, after-school programs, or forcing them to play organized sports that they have no interest in – just to satisfy a parent trying to live vicariously through them to fill some perceived hole in their own childhood.

We don’t want our children to suffer the pain of unconsciousness that we had thrust upon ourselves. That’s we don’t engage in, and discourage in our children as well: criticism, sarcasm, nor disrespect. Instead, we practice selflessness and compassion, hopefully instilling it in our children’s hearts, so that they are filled with a desire to reach out and help others work through their pain.

Children are mini versions of us – but not extensions; we are all unique. Even so, we all want the same things: love, acceptance, and acknowledgment. The kids need to see Mom and Dad give that to each other first.

Breaking bread as a family at the dinner table is essential. It provides structure, routine, bonding, increased communication, lessons in civility, better vocabulary, healthier eating habits, and a deeper understanding of who they all are as a family. It also provides a forum for problem-solving.

It is sacred time – not to be interrupted with any type of media distraction, which only promotes inattentiveness, aloofness, and a loss of connection with the juice of life.

Give your children reasons for wanting to stay home – making it fun, interesting and exciting through your interactions with them. Strive to make their experience of childhood better than your own.

A child cannot get too much love. Praise them for who they are, letting them see the joy that they bring you. You are their world; they are lost without you. That’s why it’s such an abomination when unconscious parents choose to be cruel to them. The child does not blame the parent for the cruelty, they blame themselves.

He or she needs to know that you are a safe space to go to in times of trouble. If they don’t, they will go to someone or something else for what they think is comfort.

Give them your full attention so that they learn to live in the present moment. Channel their interests into beneficial and moral pursuits. Teach them to love learning.

As we teach, we must evaluate the contents by asking ourselves, ‘How is my child likely to interpret what I”m saying? ‘What will it cost my child to do what I want?’ The answer to both should be, ‘In ways that will make them grow.’

Finally, teach them to trust the guidance of their hearts – seeking their true value from God.

We cannot be a perfect parent, but we can give them perfect love…

Goodnight and God bless.

Raising Godly Children – part 3

Our children are extraordinary gifts. God did not create them to just be ‘acceptable:’

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirt of God dwells in you? 1 Cor. 3:16 NKJV

If our children are doing their best to walk in God’s ways, they don’t have to bother with questioning themselves – other than to make sure they are in alignment with Him. Moreover, when they have questions about living that godly life, they will look within, rather than outwards to the opinions of the world.

We can also help our children to realize that all life consists of and is contained within relationships; and that here too is where they want to bring their inner Guide into play:

“HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others]. Mt. 19:19 AMP

…let each of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:33 ESV

“You shall rise before the gray-headed and honor the aged…” Lv. 19:32 AMP

A man who has friends must himself be friendly. Pr. 18:24 NKJV

“…give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven;” Mt. 19:21 NKJV

“Judge not, that you not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Mt. 7:1, 2. NKJV

Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, and it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment]. Pr. 19:11 AMP

God created all people to be equal, and He loves them the same way – equally. God shows no favoritism. (Rm. 2:11) And in our quest to be godly, we do our best to emulate Him. So, we exhort and honor all people: friends, parents, spouses, other family members and all other acquaintances, regardless of age, gender, race, etc.

If we have a chance to lift someone from their station in life, or out of an unfortunate situation, we are called to rise to the occasion.

Teach your children not to pass judgment, so as not to bring blame. Tell them that when they judge, the only thing that they define is who they themselves are being. When they can suspend judgment, then the burden of self-judgment is also lifted.

That creates the space for forgiveness – first for ourselves, and then for others. After all, everyone is subjected to their humanness, and will slip out of their goodness from time to time. We all have need of forgiveness, and we are required to forgive:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Col. 3:12, 13. ESV

Healthy relationships only form, take root and flourish if they are founded on love – love that is freely given. And relational love must come from the love that you have for yourself. You can never find what you don’t already possess in your own heart. Thus, you must become what you seek. The good news is, that deep down, you already are that lovable person. You only have to let him or her come out to express themselves.

Happiness is what happens when you experience peace, love and joy.

You are the only one who knows exactly the how you need to be loved. Love yourself that way first. Then, you’ll be able to go ‘out there’ and have loving relationships with everybody else. As you bring your love, bring too your acceptance and compassionate understanding.

Begin each day by asking yourself, ‘How can I make this day extraordinary for your friend, family member, partner, etc?’ The only way to true personal happiness is to share with and contribute to, the happiness of others. Give to them first, what it is that you want for yourself.

When you fill yourself with love, you create an open space for others to choose whether or not to love you; and it will not matter to you what choice they make. If they choose to love you, you have an opportunity to co-create a new love relationship; if not, you won’t take it personally. Instead, you’ll bless them inwardly with your love and wish them the best life possible.

When we do enter into relationship, we cover our partner with our gratitude. Relationships only break down when one or both partners aren’t thankful. Everyone needs appreciation and acknowledgment. Gratitude brings healing.

Even in the best relationships, there will be times when you don’t feel love for your partner. You need to have the freedom to feel that, because then you can make the free-will choice to love them anyway. Anything else is slavery.

All relationships have conflict from time to time. The partners must look for ways to live with each other’s differences, constructing new ways to find clarity in the conflicts, instead of running away.

However, NEVER stay in an abusive relationship. If someone tells you in one breath that they love you, but in the other they try to control you, treat you with disrespect, or become violent, that is not love. You never deserve to be mistreated in any way. Be thankful for the lesson and go!

Healthy relationships have solid boundaries, where both partners’ yes and no are honored.

Teach your children that ultimately, the keys to successful relations are:

1. Stay in present time and drop the past; love and forgive.

2. Let go of guilt and shame; acknowledge your mistakes and take responsibility for making amends.

3. Always search for truth.

4. See the differences between you and your partner as building blocks; don’t try to change yourself or your partner.

5. Free yourself from the need for approval and from the concern of the opinions of others.

6. Choose healthy partners, someone with good character, not a potential partner looking to have you heal their wounds.

7. Be responsible for bringing 100% of your happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment to the relationship and hold your partner accountable for bringing theirs.

8. Finally, release any form of dependency – you don’t need anyone. It only puts you in a position where you are always preoccupied with the potential loss of them, and it robs you of your ability to be present. Just be thankful for each moment…

We’ll wrap it up next time.

Goodnight and God bless.

Raising Godly Children – part 2

All problems are rooted in self-induced episodes of spiritual deafness where our hearts are concerned. It likewise applies to our children. At these times, we can calmly sit down with them, and help them see where the right and wrong sides of their issue lie, as well as help illuminate the ‘rightness’ in pursuing the correct outcome.

When a child can wrap their head around the quest to grow as a person on the journey that God has laid out for them, he or she will find God’s favor everywhere. Life just works better. Moreover, your child will begin to internalize this correlation and act accordingly. For the parent to help facilitate this, it’s always about stopping whatever they are doing, and communicate with their child until they can recognize how they are being.

If they can clearly see that they themselves went astray from their path for having the highest and best life, they’ll take ownership of that, and make the necessary corrections.

Most assuredly, calling them ‘stupid’ won’t accomplish that. Again, who they are being will determine what they are doing; and every action has a consequence. In their hearts, all children would rather that it be a good one.

Another important foundation to teach our children, is about present-time consciousness. The past has passed and cannot be changed. With confession and repentance, that past is forgiven. So, other than remembering the lesson, the event is in past tense. The future is unknown and fretting over it changes nothing. All of life happens only in present time.

There may be times (will be times) when your children will point out your mistakes in life, to justify wanting something that is not good for them. Those are the times for frank honesty – pointing out how you were not listening to your heart. Give them the reason why and tell them of the undesirable effects that had on your life. It would also be a great time to share how you eventually overcame that situation, how you forgave yourself, and how you made amends for your transgressions.

In addition, it’s a wonderful time to point out that you just don’t know everything, and never will. So, you’re letting them know that the school of life is never ‘on hold; it always has to be dealt with and grown into.

This is also the time to suggest that there is great joy in learning, because all new wisdom promotes a better life.

These discussions make you human and gives them the room to confess and repent for their own humanity.

Children too, bring guilt and shame upon themselves. They need to know that they can clean that up with God in a moment’s notice. It brings them back to a place where happiness and joy can thrive:

“I , even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.” Is. 43:26, 26. NKJV

Help your child understand that who they are in God’s eyes, is what’s paramount. If they’re doing their best to walk His walk, He has everything covered – they will be walking continually under His love lamp. This assurance armors them from anyone whose opinion of them is contrary to what God thinks; and He thinks immeasurably good things about His children.

The godly child is also the one who is engaged in life. In today’s world, they meet with continual challenges against that engagement. The media is telling them how to think, how to dress, to smell, what mores they should align with (many of which are far from godly) – passing all of this excrement to our kids through a vast array of electronic devices.

Ever seen families out to eat, where everyone at the table is staring into their phones; or teens at a table texting each other instead of having verbal conversations? It’s a wonder that their tongues are not atrophied from non-use. Eventually they’ll be able to lift barbells with their thumbs.

Because so many kids (and adults) stare down for hours at these toys of distraction, they are losing the proper curvatures of the spine in their neck – similar to a presentation of one who has had a rear-end auto collision. Not good…

It’s so important to try to encourage our children to read enriching material – first by reading to them when they’re young. And to impart the skill of critical thinking. They sure as heck aren’t going to get that in what passes for public education these days.

‘Definitions change as knowledge increases.’ Carlos Castaneda

The art and use of conversation is vital to one’s mental health. At the heart of mastering it, is the ability to listen and ask questions. They are also the key to learning. This is how your children grow and shift their focus from themselves and place it on others – by shedding self-obsession.

Our primary tool for communication is language. In fact, you can’t think of anything without putting a ‘word’ to it. All reality is based in language. Coming from the mouth of an awakened person, communication becomes a tool of limitless, loving creativity.

We teach our children to speak with kindness, love and compassion, by impressing upon them the need to give these same things to themselves first. As they fill themselves with these godly traits, it will naturally spill over onto others as they nurture their innate desire to share their love.

Tell your child about the solidity of words, how they can inspire and exhort, or downgrade and injure. Inform him or her that when they’ve said something unkind to another, that those words are etched onto the hearer’s spirit. Thus, they must admit their error and restore the love.

Teach them about the negativity that surrounds complaining and tell them to avoid the people that they complain to – those who enable them to play the victim. Moreover, help them become self-questioning sleuths so that they can find out why they are bringing the things to their lives that they complain about and what their payoff is for complaining. Perhaps it is to bring attention to themselves, to express an assumed helplessness, or to hide the fact that it may be their actions / inactions that are at the heart of their needs not being met.

Communication works the best when it is infused with love. In that context, we can teach our children that they don’t have to worry about always ‘being right’ in their opinion, and not having to defend their position. It is always best to stop blaming outwardly, and instead to look inside to see what is in our hearts.

Help your child see that if a communication problem presents itself, that they are far better served if they ask themselves, ‘How can I communicate more clearly?’ ‘Is there a hurt in myself or in my listener that I can help me / them get past?’

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is! Pr. 15:23 NKJV

In addition, we can impart the need for integrity within our child’s speech. Life only works to the degree that the one living it, aligns with their word.

We all fall out of integrity and break agreements at times. Without self-judgment, we just need to acknowledge that we broke a commitment and make the necessary corrections. Then, we can recommit to our agreement and go on with life. Every time we keep a commitment, our ability to stay in integrity gathers strength, which also grows our self-confidence.

Obviously, to remain in integrity means that we must stop telling lies.

Finally, real communication begins when you realize that you don’t know what’s true for another person. That’s why you must first listen and seek clarification so that you can understand ‘what is so’ for them.  If a particular communication is not progressing well, look for what might be ‘missing’ in the conversation rather than what is ‘wrong,’ and be willing to change your approach.

When your child grasps these principles and masters them, then any conversation they have (with God, themselves, and others) with be steeped in joy, meaning, revelation, enrichment and growth.

More to come…

Goodnight and God bless.

Raising Godly Children

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Ps. 127:3 NKJV

Children are a gift from God. In addition to that blessing, God has a personal stake in them as well:

…she is your companion and wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. Mal. 2:14, 15. ESV

Why should our children be godly offspring? The entire Bible tells us that living a godly life yields the highest and best life – both in this life and the eternal extension that is afforded to those who do so.

So as parents, we have a heavenly mandate to bring them up that way:

Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], even when he is old he will not depart from it. Pr. 22:6 AMP

If you plant the seed within the child and nurture it, he or she will blossom as godly fruit. However, you cannot plant that seed unless it has first flourished in you:

The righteous man who walks in integrity and lives life in accord with his [godly] beliefs – how blessed [happy and spiritually secure] are his children after him [who have his example to follow]. Pr. 20:7 AMP

After all, after a child has reached the age where they have grasped their innate knowledge of right and wrong and come to know the gospel, they too are responsible for their deeds:

Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right. Pr. 10:11 NKJV

As far as we are able then, we must help them grasp all of God’s promises:

“For the promise [of the Holy Spirit’ is for you and your children and for all who are far away [including the Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself.” Acts 2:39 AMP

They have the promise to share in all phases of the kingdom, e.g:

“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy…” Joel 2:28 NASB

As parents, it is our duty to prepare them, to strengthen them, by teaching them to draw upon God’s strength when they go out into this hostile world that is clamoring for their souls. We will be held accountable. Today’s world is not any less formidable than it was in the days of old, when some were devil-driven to sacrifice their own children:

“I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name.” Lv. 20:3 NASB

We are responsible for beginning to teach our children how to acquire their spiritual armor.

How do we begin this journey? First, we lead by example, which will in itself confer a blessing on them – through our obedience:

Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. Dt. 12:28 ESV

So, we must begin biblically educating our kids, weaving the gospel into the everyday events in their lives:

You shall teach them diligently to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. Dt. 6:7 AMP

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Ps. 78:4 ESV

Yet, we have to be wise and clever about our instruction. While we teach, we want to help them experience and preserve what should be the joy of childhood:

Therefore, remove sorrow and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, for childhood and the prime of life are fleeting. Eccl. 11:10 AMP

But that joy, wonder and awe doesn’t have to be fleeting. You have surely seen that those who live life the largest, are those who have never lost that sense of child’s play. Moreover, they position themselves to be closer to God when they retain some of those child-like traits, e.g. faith and trust:

“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self – your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 18:3 AMP

Yes, we must be an authoritative figure for our children, but in a way that we are not lording it over them, so as not to foster rebellion – a war of the wills. We slowly begin to relinquish some of the authority by leading our kids into the direction of listening to their own hearts, that spiritual center of their souls.

We are not here to ‘clone’ our children. God has given each child unique gifts, and we want to help them on their path to the discovery of them. Where we help lead them, is in the realization of themselves; and we can only do that through effective communication. We have to talk to them. What a concept!

But while we are talking, we have to lead them in such a fashion that we present the information and guide them into realizing the answers for themselves. That is the best way that all people come to learn and believe.

Moreover, we have to help them grow their godly character. Their actions are borne out of who they are being. So, we need to assist our children in developing and embracing their authentic self – not some twisted derivative thrust upon them by the world view and its purveyors.

It all comes down to getting our kids to see that all choices must be first examined before acted upon; and that all choices should be made within the framework of a single question: “Am I honoring God with my goodness and obedience at this moment?”

I would wager that in most if not all situations, the answer will always be a no-brainer, i.e. the answer will be clear. Let’s face it, when you honor God, it’s because you’re doing the right thing; and He then honors you and your situation.

Children need to be inspired by their goodness. So, we have to appeal to their good character and commend them when they exercise it. Oh, they’ll make bad decisions, just like everybody else. And we must discipline them for their own sake; but hopefully, our previous leadership in their upbringing will minimize the damage:

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him. Pr. 22:15 AMP

Yelling, cursing, or shaming never produces long-lasting desirable outcomes. In fact, it can result in the undesirability of rebellion and / or flight. When we do that, we are only giving in to our exasperation. Instead, we can teach them the godly foundations for obeying their parents, as well as their own hearts, which hopefully are on the same page:

Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or exasperate your children [with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive, nor by favoritism or indifference; treat them tenderly with lovingkindness], so they will not lose heart and become discouraged or unmotivated [with their spirits broken]. Col. 3:21 AMP

Children, obey your parents [as God’s representatives] in all things, for this [attitude of respect and obedience] is well-pleasing to the Lord [and will bring you God’s promised blessings]. Col. 3:20 AMP

They have to learn that there’s stuff we don’t want to do, but that the outcome for doing them is far more favorable. If we help them build godly values, it will strengthen them against the wiles of those who follow the ways of the world. They will regularly tap into the innate virtues and graciousness that God placed within their hearts, all of which will be reflected in their actions.

Ultimately, the best parent-child partnership will come down to Mom and Dad using as many of their child’s decisions and experiences as opportunities for learning, by stopping whatever you are doing and giving him or her your undivided attention. Let them speak all of their mind. Reflect it back to them for gaining greater accuracy of your understanding and pray together to see what God has to say about the situation.

You know, it will take some of the heat off of yourself if you ask for God’s help. Duh!

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mt. 11:29, 30. NASB

To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.

Deepening Your Relationship with God – part 3

We are creating a receptive mindset for experiencing God’s presence at a deeper level and for having a better understanding of His will in our lives. It is a meditative prayerful method to get to know Him; and in that knowing, we will have a greater understanding of ourselves. We are following the natural craving of our spirit, for connection with our Creator.

We can steep in the wonderment of our God, thankful that He put us here and that we have a part to play – through reflecting this deeper understanding and embracing of His love to everyone around us. It is God’s gift; but we can’t get it without working with Him, so as to receive a greater assimilation of Him, which also helps remove the shackles of our worldly thinking in the process.

In other words, we need to get our old self out of the way, and let God fill us with Himself. God is always ready to spend more time with us. When we do that, we get a better idea of how He works through us, and how He works around us and for us. To facilitate this, we must practice the art of surrender, yielding ourselves to His love, that we may also greater exalt Him.   

It is a time for ‘Spirit-to-spirit’ talk. We cannot learn it. It is an experience that is cultivated by staying in God’s presence. In that presence, we let go of all non-biblical notions of who God is – this indescribable force, who calls Himself ‘I Am.’ He is beyond description.

God is in continual conversation with all of His children and HIs potential children. We need to learn to listen; and to scrutinize our lives to see how He is working in them. All of this is revealed in our contemplative time with Jehovah God. We are allowing Him to remove the weeds in our soul that get between Him and the life that He has for us.

The more we fill ourselves with God, the greater our ability to serve Him – in a life where our vision is brought to greater acuity, so that we better understand how to advance His kingdom in all circumstances.

We have to steer our free will in the right direction, so as to make decisions congruent with our authentic self (that self who has God living in him or her, not some apparition that we have been calling ‘me’) – in step with God and in consonance with His truth.

“You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” Lk. 9:55 NKJV

God is waiting for all of us to ‘clean house’ and invite Him in:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Rv. 3:20 NKJV

When your mind is clean, you are ready and prepared to serve Him. It is a humble walk that puts others before ourselves, relying on God to nurture us for the task. Love is not love if it is not shared, yes? It requires acts of contribution.

The love of God empowers us; and we know that God loves us:

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rm. 5:5 NKJV

And in that love, we bring God with us when we serve, so that it transforms both who we are being and how we are acting:

…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 conformed to the 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

Spiritual discipline is required to get closer to God. It takes godly thinking and acting, as well as having patience with God’s timetable. We must have faith that God knows what He’s doing, and not be vexed that His timespan may not match our expectations.

Our journey to get closer to God will be interrupted at times by our humanity, with its inherent doubts, frustration, sins, egoist power plays, and uncertainty.

In the face of all that, we tough it out, (with His help), and continue to seek His will and drink in His love.

In this deepening of our relationship with God, we continue to apply our faith, even as it is being bolstered by our time with Him. It must be embraced in a fashion that supersedes our logic, knowing that our Father never lies.

“Whoever receives His testimony has set his seal [of approval] to this: God is true [and he knows that God cannot lie].” Jn. 3:33 NKJV

…it is impossible for God to lie… Heb. 6:18 NKJV

Faith builds the bridge between our spirit and His. It confers His likeness upon us so that we can meld with Him and comprehend what He would reveal to us. In that coalescing, we become beacons for His glory – radiating His loving invitation all around, fulfilling our heavenly mandate.

And all this comes to play when we spend more time with God, quietly listening for His will, asking Him how to carry it out, and jump into the chaos of the world with His peace.

As always with God, any interaction with Him begins with a relationship with His Son – our God-channel. Jesus makes that connection: Spirit-to-spirit. We must also exercise faith in embracing Jesus, who turns around and perfects that faith through the Holy Spirit. Indeed, God reveals Christ to us through the Holy Spirit.

It’s a three-sided relationship we are attaching ourselves to. You can know them all on the deepest level and your life will be changed in wondrous ways.

But, it takes a commitment of your time, focused-listening with your heart, willingness and faith.

A deeper heavenly relationship is a gift offered to everyone.

Prepare and receive…

Goodnight and God bless.

Deepening Your Relationship with God – part 2

Last time, we talked about establishing a relationship with God, through Christ, by exercising our God-given channel to Him – which is fervent, continuous, heartfelt prayer. It is the foundation of our relationship with God, leading to a wondrous, satisfying life. Of course, one must act out what they learn in these prayer exchanges.

Let’s say that you might also be interested in knowing God on a deeper level. That requires a some additional ‘positioning’ on the seeker’s part; training if you will. You can start by planning each day at the outset, by seeing how you can, to the best of your ability, live it out in the context of (i.e. to satisfy) the two ‘great commandments:

“‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or highest good for others].’ Mt. 22:37 – 39. AMP

In this position, you help yourself and others, and break down as many barriers as possible between you and God, (i.e. ‘sin’ – things that distort, distract and discourage).

Second, you must set aside time daily to swim in God’s word. That is fundamental to getting to deepening your relationship with God. It is one of the greatest concentrations of His identity that He left for us; the other would be the universe around us and every created thing in it.

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handing and skillfully teaching the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15 AMP

We stand alone before God. We must spend that ‘alone time’ with Him to prepare ourselves to be His vessels, which draws us closer to Him.

Finally, we always want to keep His long-suffering, merciful, abundant, gracious, unconditional and immeasurable LOVE in the forefront of our thoughts. He loves us even if it is not returned. He loves us in spite of our sin. He loves us because He is love and we were created in His love; and no one can separate us from that love. (Rm. 8:38, 39.)

Once we have positioned ourselves, we need to humble ourselves before God. We can take on that humility be understanding just how BIG our God is.

God is the ruler of the universe; and through Christ He created all things and continues to sustain them. He is the Life-Giver. (Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2.)

All truth is found in God. All love comes from God and He loves all of His creations. All goodness comes from God.

God is all-powerful; He knows all, He sees all. And this immeasurably vast expansive God reaches down to love every man, woman or child that was ever or will be born. That is a mighty BIG God. Remarkably, He wants to relate individually to each one of us.

It is a bit humbling, isn’t it?

Now, we’ll begin investigating a possible path for a deeper relationship with God, now that our soul is ready (our spirit has always been ready). Up to this point (see part one from last week), we’ve only discussed prayer that is discursive in nature, i.e. a dialogue between us and God. Let’s consider a different form of prayer – the contemplative prayer.

This type of prayer was formulated by Catholic monks. (Remember, divine insights transcend the denominations. God is not partial to whom He reveals a piece of Himself to, if the seeker is willing and positioned to see it).

Unfortunately, these same God-fearing monks have been demonized (unfounded, I believe) by other ‘mainstream Christian denominations’) who label them ‘heretical mystics.’

Contemplative prayer is a silent prayer, whereby one attempts to lay aside their interior chaos and just rest in the presence of God. It’s like a 20-minute meditation with God as your sole focus.

The practitioners first decide on a ‘sacred word’ (e.g. God, Jesus, Father, love, peace, mercy, faith, trust, etc.) that they will say mentally, if and only if they get distracted during prayer – speaking that as they concentrate on their breathing, both to bring calm and bring them back to their intention of seeking God.

The sacred word is not sacred in its inherent meaning; the sacredness arises because of the meaning that the practitioner brings to it as an expressive tool of their intent to be in God’s active presence.

The contemplative prayer is not for getting anything; it is just holding a space for God to express Himself – to see what He wants.

Religionists would have you believe that if you try to clear your mind, the devil will come in and take over. If that was the case, you wouldn’t have had God firmly implanted in your faith to begin with. It’s actually a good thing to place your worries and all the other elements of your mental chatter aside. It’s refreshing, and it can help you see where and how you act against your own best interests.

Religionists will also say that those who practice contemplative prayer are in some wacky ‘alpha state,’ where the mind is imprisoned by some droning mantra. Nothing but lies to justify their own denomination.

They’ll likewise tell you that scripture does not talk about contemplative pray. So, I ask you to contemplate these:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. Ps. 1:1, 2. NKJV

Be still and know that I am God… Ps. 46:10 NKJV

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Ps. 63:6 NKJV

My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes Ps. 119:48 NKJV

…be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity…give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress be evident to all. 1 Tim. 4:12, 13 & 15. NKJV

You must take the time to ‘be still,’ (regardless of the method you use to naturally achieve that), to let your mental stuff fall away in order to understand who God is and where He wants to lead you. Then, you will also be enriched in your ability to have your discursive prayers be more focused, effective, and bring greater glory to your Father.

Still more to come…

Goodnight and God bless.

Deepening Your Relationship with God

All relationships begin with communication. Your relationship with God commences with prayer.

Until we learn more about who God is and what He wants for our lives, our prayers tend to revolve around ourselves. And sometimes we ask for things that don’t serve our best interests:

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Jm. 4:3 NASB

Fortunately, God only answers those prayers that align with His will – a divine mindset that only provides that which promotes our highest and best life:

…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 Jn. 5:14, 15. NKJV

God loves you so much that He wants your relationship to be a full-time affair. So, this must also be reflected in your prayer:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Th. 5:17, 18. ESV

Coming back to your prayer being in alignment with God’s will, you must pray with a forgiving heart, because He will not hear you if you bear malice towards anyone. (Mk. 11:25) Also, you must first get right with God yourself (through confession and repentance) before He will hear you. (Ps. 4:3) And, you must have faith in God’s ability and desire to answer your prayer. (Heb. 11:6)

God loves you and wants to grant you your heart’s desires. You don’t have to be ‘special.’ God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t practice partiality. Everyone is special to Him. What He wants, is your authenticity:

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. Ps. 145:18 NKJV

Even in our weakness, God sends the Holy Spirit to us to strengthen and perfect our prayers for the greatest effect / response. (Rm. 8:26)

The only thing that gets in the way of our praying is when we give into our humanity. Sometimes our prayers are not answered (at least not in the way we imagined), or it seems that God is taking His sweet time in doing so, or we think that He has rejected them altogether. We begin to think that prayer doesn’t work.

It exposes the weakness in our faith. Instead of asking Jesus to strengthen our faith, [because He always will (Heb. 12:12)], we put shame and guilt upon ourselves and pray even less, or not at all. We get more hung up on the ‘proper mechanics’ of prayer rather than keeping our focus on the Father and the Son, to whom we are praying to.

Prayer is your God-connection. Because life happens to us continually and at full-speed, we want to be having that running conversation with Him. Prayer is like any other endeavor; it improves with practice. It’s a part of your spiritual make-up. God placed that channel in you; but you have to start the communication. He’s always right there. (Mt. 28:20)

God is in control of everything. He’s the one you want to talk to. The more that you make your needs and the needs of others known to Him, the more God is going to show up to answer the prayers that bring you closer to Him, which is where you will find your highest and best life.

If some prayers aren’t answered, they didn’t meet that criteria. Doesn’t make Him neglectful; God is looking out for you. The ones that are answered will bolster your faith, increase the efficacy of your prayers and embolden you to pray all the more – simultaneously advancing the Kingdom.

Concurrently, God starts removing the dross laid upon you from your foray into the world; then your true shining self begins to emerge.

God does not expect you to show up as a perfect person or prayer-giver. Your time spent with Him will get you there. Your ‘authentic self’ is who God wants to meet face-to-face. If you ask Him, He will reveal your inauthenticity. And that’s a good thing, because then you can see what you need to step away from – with His help.

Neither does God want you to come to Him in prayer as cool and calculated. You can approach Him wild and weepy. He wants to meet you wherever you’re at because He wants to deliver you from your problems, and then meet and exceed your needs.

“…I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the LORD. Jer. 1:19 AMP

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us… Eph. 3:20 AMP

If you could have had that perfect life as a perfect person, you would have done that already. But nobody can. Why? Because our lives cannot be whole until they are lived with God inside of us. Prayer invites Him in, and our continuing use of them is what keeps Him there. It cements our relationship. Thus, you must set aside regular intervals to do that.

And remember, that channel to God can only open and flourish when we invite Christ in our heart. Also keep in mind that there is someone (Satan) who does not want you to pray. He wants your relationship with God to be dead. So, if you’re struggling with prayer or you don’t think it has any value, remember that those thoughts are from the pathetic squawking of that enemy on your left shoulder. But we know that Jesus has overcome that liar (Jn. 16:33)

So, shrug those doubts off, like water from a duck’s back. Take a deep breath and call out again to your Maker. Knowing that you have Jesus at your back will encourage you to be dauntless and audacious in your prayer. Expect answered prayer and be thankful before and after that answer comes.

…I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Ps. 20:6 AMP

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name [in prayer]. Make His deeds known among the peoples [of the earth]; proclaim [to them] that His name is exalted.” Is. 12:4 AMP

God always wants to work with you, but you must bend your will to His. When we come to Him in humility, we can ask and keep on asking, until the answer comes. And remember that Jesus is your conduit to the Father. When we ‘seal’ our prayers in Christ’s name, they are presented to the Father in their proper ‘Holy Spirit wrapper’ – guaranteed to be considered.

God never said that life would be easy. At times, we all suffer. In those sufferings, God is trying to get our attention, to pray to Him because He has something to work out with us. Maybe our character needs a little tweaking, we might need greater clarity as to how we might be contributing to our suffering, or we need to pray for others around us to help with their suffering, both to help them and to keep it from spilling over on us as well.

In all suffering, God delivers us or shows us the way out of it. As a bonus, He molds us to more like His Son in the process.

What is prayer? It’s a gift from God – a communicative channel through Christ to access them both. When we do that, we invite them to live in us, which they are more than happy to do.

They accept you just as you are. The only qualification, (and it is a continuing one), is that you confess and repent when find yourself straying from and or actively being contrary to God’s plan for your highest and best life.

When we stay in continuous conversation with God, humbly laying our will aside and living out His instead, walking in forgiveness for everyone, including ourselves, placing others’ needs above our own, and showing up as our true authentic selves in gratitude, God shows up in a HUGE way.

Your joy will be abundant and your life extraordinary.

That’s the kind of relationship God wants to have with everyone.

There can be more to the depth of your relationship by getting to know God more intimately. It’s not required, because our finite minds can never grasp His magnificent infinite magnitude. Yet it is interesting to explore what we can.

To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.

Can You Explain Your Faith – part 2

The center of our faith is Jesus Christ. It is Him – who that He is and what He came to do, that we must convey to others:

He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP

All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. Jn. 1:3 ESV

Christ is part-man and part-God in ways that we can only scratch the surface of in our understanding; and He was with God at the beginning of time, as co-creator of this universe and everything that is in it.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance the is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pt. 1:3 – 5. ESV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jn. 3:16 NKJV

God loves us so much that He has given us a chance for a ‘do-over,’ an opportunity to return to God’s grace, by placing our faith in the salvation made available through the death and resurrection of His Son. Jesus took on all of our sins and paid the price, so that we wouldn’t have to.

In order to position ourselves to receive this remarkable gift, we must surrender our will to God’s will. As a Christian, we do that first by confessing our transgressions, and then repenting of these ways that we behaved that run contrary to God’s ways. ‘Repent’ means to express true regret to God for our actions and to turn away from our transgressive behavior to the best of our ability.

God loves us up close and personal. That’s why He sent His Son – to gain the greatest empathy for His children living in the spiritual battlefield that envelops this earth. Jesus was the only sinless man in history, making Him the perfect sacrifice for the saving of all peoples willing to embrace His salvation. After we accept Him as our savior, the faith-building journey begins:

…Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity]… Heb. 12:2 AMP

As we live in godly ways, we became the mouth and arms for Christ, helping others come into the fold to feast on our Father’s love. We do that because we believe that there is a finite point in time, that if you have not accepted Christ before it arrives, your chance to do so will have run out – definitely not a good thing.

In order to be a beacon for Jesus, we must make the daily choices that promote goodness and righteousness. We accomplish that with kindness, fairness, honesty, love, helpfulness, respect and being amiable and reasonable.

A Christian also keeps his or her own house in order by practicing moderation in their desires and passions. They must also be purveyors of charity, truth, forgiveness and fairness:

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Lk. 6:31 AMP

God judges our behavior; and there will be an accounting for everyone. God loves us so much. Christians know that if they do their best to work God’s will, He will work with them – setting them up for eternal life:

…we will all be [completely’ changed ‘wondrously transformed], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [who believed in Christ] will be raised imperishable, and we will be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]. 1 Cor. 15:52 AMP

…He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]. Phil. 1:6 AMP

We can’t go to heaven by ourselves. We can’t earn our way, work our way, or get there by our best efforts to be godly. We’re human, we will always come up short. That’s okay, because Jesus closes that gap. So, we have to set our pride aside and lean on God. (That’s a good thing, because all sin is rooted in pride, i.e. the practice of self-worship.)

A Christian is thankful for his or her life yet places their greatest hope on the Day of the Lord, when heaven and the new earth awaits. Until then, they walk by faith and gather with other Christians to strengthen that faith. That’s why they attend church, study the Bible, do good works, and pray – all of which are faith-builders.

Even when we fall, we use that faith to talk to God and be reconciled with Him through confession and repentance. He promises to take us back. Faith-building faith.

A Christian knows that God lives within them, as well as surrounding them, which also includes the persons of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. It is a great source of strength, comfort and hope; and it helps keep us accountable. At that point, you are already poised for eternity – sons and daughters of God.

God is waiting for those who do not know Him, to invite Him in. It’s our job to inform those people who are willing to hear, about this invitation and why it’s so important. They need to know that Jesus lives, and is ready to take them into His arms and seal them in His love.

The Christian life is not an easy one. You have to continually sublimate your old worldly self that still cries out for wanton self-satisfaction; and you have this ‘devil’ on your left shoulder, who is always berating and enticing you, so that he can berate you even more. He wants you dead.

However, God never asks anything of us that we could not accomplish (with His help). When we step up to obey God, we are demonstrating our love for Him, and He pays that back in limitless abundance, readying you for a future that is indescribable.

Are there poor examples of Christianity out there? Of course. They just haven’t fully embraced their transformation. We all have potential. When we fully put on the mind of Christ, it will be the moment when we finally realize who God made us to be.

We know we walk a wondrous road even now, whose terminus will be breathtaking. That’s why we have and confess our faith…

Goodnight and God bless.

Can You Explain Your Faith?

After accepting Christ as our Savior and doing our best to live a godly life, the most important directive Christ gave us, was to spread the gospel to as many people as we possibly can. (Mt. 28:19, 20.)

The only way to be the most effective in that endeavor, is to have faith in what it is that you are preaching / teaching. Moreover, you must also be able explain to the hearer (layman, agnostic, atheist, follower of false religion, etc.), why you have embraced your faith.

The gospel is no different than mathematics, physics, or any other kind of study, with regards to relating it to others; i.e. you must begin with the ‘basics.’ Look to teach and invite, not to make wrong and divide. You’re helping facilitate a possible love-relationship between them and God, by relating how you got one, what that has meant for you and what it can bring to them.

We can begin this conversation towards salvation by talking about cause-and-effect. For example, there are universal laws that we cannot break. Oh, we can try, but calamity usually follows. If we leap from a plane without a parachute, the law of gravity is merciless. SPLAT!

Physics tells us that a force is created when a mass is accelerated. Thus, if we stand in the face of an oncoming train, we are going to have an intimate exposure to its force. MORE SPLAT!

The same holds true when we violate the laws of God. He implanted the law of right and wrong within each and every one of us so that we could avoid transgressing them:

“For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not [a secret hidden] in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and obey it?’…But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it.” Dt. 30:11, 12 & 14. AMP

Thus, in our discussion with an unsaved individual, we can point out that everyone has an innate knowledge of right and wrong, and that bad things happen when we make the wrong choices. In fact, we are sure of it, because everyone makes the wrong choices at times – some more than others.

If this innate law of right and wrong transcends our behavior, who set the standard and why do we feel remorse when we transgress it?

We can interject at this time, that as a Christian, we believe there is a God who both created and directs this universe, and who also takes a great and loving interest in the behavior of the people that He put here. He left us a plan for getting the most out of our lives:

“…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding closely to Him; for He is your life [your good life, your abundant life, your fulfillment] and the length of your days…” Dt. 30:19, 20. AMP

We make the choice for life or death on a daily basis. And so, as a Christian, we believe that it is imperative to choose life, by obeying that power (God), through doing the things that He deems as right. It is our desire to be living in His favor rather than being in enmity with Him.

Some people don’t believe in a ‘god.’ If that’s the case then, they must believe that the universe and everything in it occurred by happenstance. In that scenario, life really has no meaning, and this short span of years that we have on this planet is all we’ve got.

However, a great majority do believe in a God (e.g. Jews, Christians, Muslims), who is righteous, loving and long-suffering with regards to the inhabitants of this planet, and is concerned when they go astray.

We as Christians believe that God gave us a ‘good’ world, but that some people in it have chosen bad paths, contrary to His will. We attest that God is good and all that He creates is good. Furthermore, we hold it to be true that some people rebel against Him because the have fallen prey to an evil influence. This influence is a good angel gone bad – Satan. So, God did not create evil; it is a perversion of HIs goodness.

“He was a murder from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him When he lies, he speaks out of his own character; for his is s liar and the father of lies.” Jn. 8:44 ESV

We believe that all the chaos in this world stems from that angelic rebel and his followers, and that this condition will persist until God puts an end to time.

Why does the all-powerful Jehovah God that we profess, allow such a state to persist? Because the world’s condition is a result of a gift that He gave us – free will. We have the ability to choose between good and evil.

Given that God knows evil is persisting, why did He give us free will? Because God loves us; He created us and the only thing He asks of us is to love Him back. Of course, real love must be expressed voluntarily.

We love, because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:19 AMP

The problems occur because of those who choose not to love God, but instead to deify themselves – a lesson that they learned from the devil himself. There is no peace or happiness in the end for them.

We were created to consist and coexist with God:

“I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” Jn. 15:5 AMP

God spent centuries driving these messages home to His children, but evil persisted and many people were (and are) headed for death with no escape. Because He loves us so much, He sent a part of Himself, dressed up as a human, to deliver His children from themselves.

To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.