Do Faith, It Pleases


“How many of you think God is really pleased with you?” In the natural a person can choose to love you because of his or her own goodness, but to be pleased with you, they actually have to like your performance. Right?

With God, no one could ever be pleasing to Him based on performance. His standard is perfection, and no goodness on our part can ever compensate for our sins. We may please man with our actions, but “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Once one becomes more thoroughly aware of the exceeding sinfulness of sin within himself it calls up the question, “What must one do?” Notice the word “do.” Does this not indicate activity of some kind? In other words, are we willing to expend some measure of energy—work—to begin stopping actions of sin in our lives?
The way we receive the forgiveness that’s available through Jesus’ blood is by faith (Rom. 10:9-17). When we put our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are pleasing God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.”

Faith comes from the heart (Rom. 10:10), and God looks on the heart — not the actions.

It’s our hearts that really concern God, and faith in Him (trust, reliance) is what He is searching the heart for.

A person whose actions are not right but who trusts the Lord is more pleasing to God than an individual who is doing the right things but has no faith in God. It’s not a case of those who act the best will get accepted, and those who act the worst get rejected. That would put some of the followers of other religions ahead of many Christians, but that is not what the Bible teaches.

This is exactly the point Paul is making in Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” The amplified says it this way “6But if it is by grace (His unmerited favor and graciousness), it is no longer conditioned on works or anything men have done. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace [it would be meaningless].” It’s one way or the other but it cannot be a combination of the two. We’re either saved by God’s grace through what Jesus did for us, or we’re saved by what we do without Jesus, but not a combination of the two.
If God used performance as the basis of whether or not He was pleased with us, no one would ever pass the test. “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps. 130:3).

Satan used to accuse me and say, “What makes you think God will use you?” The truth is that none of us are perfect. We don’t deserve the blessings of God. We must put our faith in Jesus. It’s hard for some people to accept this. It has been ingrained in us that if we aren’t holy, God won’t bless us. When God looks at you, He doesn’t see your goodness — He sees Jesus. If he saw us we would all be doomed.

If you’re walking in faith, God is pleased with you even though your actions don’t measure up. The worst sin is self-righteousness. The attitude that God owes it to you because you’ve been good is erroneous. When it comes to God, your performance can’t earn you anything. Because you have, do and will sin, you need a savior. It is your faith in the FINISHED work of Jesus that will grant you access to God.

I’m not advocating sin. Your actions are important. Your holiness is important because it changes your heart toward God but it does not change God’s heart toward you.

The actions and consequences of sin will hurt you. Even though God will love you just as much, you won’t love God as much. It will harden your heart toward God. If you constantly live in sin and never feed yourself spiritually, it will kill you. I am not saying you should ignore your actions. You will never do everything perfectly, but don’t let it keep you from receiving the blessings of God.

Look at Peter during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. He denied the Lord three times. He cursed and blasphemed God, and yet Jesus prayed that his faith wouldn’t fail. Jesus’ prayers were always answered. Peter’s actions failed, but not his faith. He was restored to God and went on to become a pillar of the church.

Some of you may be thinking, this is great — I can live like the devil and still get what I want from God.” If you think that, I would ask are you truly born again, because a True Believer wants to please God. This word is for Believer’s who have a desire to serve God and live by FAITH in His completed work.

HH&MC


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all.

Joy to the WORLD, the Lord has come, let earth receive her KING! For unto us a son was born, a Son was given. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) – “ For to us a child is born,to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He is our Wonderful Counselor – Wonderful (extraordinary, hard to understand thing), Counselor (to advise, consult, give counsel, purpose, devise, plan). The name “Counselor” speaks of His wisdom (Omniscient-ALL KNOWING). Do you know when wisdom is worthless? It is when it is not available and when it cannot be applied to your Life. But with Jesus it is available and can be applied to your life. As the Wonderful Counselor, God Became Available to us. He became a personal God. As Wonderful Counselor, Jesus came with an assurance of hope in a world that sometimes seems hopeless; Jesus brought hope to those who had no hope. No situation or problem is too difficult for Him to solve. With that truth surely He has brought JOY to the world.

I declare upon every readers life the prosperity of His WONDERFUL Counsel, Joy, Peace and prosperity, as we begin our exit of 2014 and the entry into the awesome prospects that await you in 2015. I speak a blessing over your health, finance, families and life. No matter your nationality, race, creed or color or religion leanings, He THE wonderful counselor is available to you. For some 2015 is going to be LIFE CHANGING as you begin to walk in His counsel.

Be Blessed and God Bless the WORLD and cause us your children to be a blessing!!

Reeling and Rocking, Rocking and Rolling


Division, separation, disunity, disease and destruction seem to be the order of today. Probably in our history of mankind have we not seen such a state of chaos, especially here in America. Not to say this is new, because history will support the treacherous actions of mankind, however in this age of “enlightenment” we are amazed at how these atrocities still exist in such a great percentage. And it is happening all over the world. Your nation is not excluded.

Jesus says a “truth” that is not religiously based, because you must remember He was not a “religious” man. Here is what Matthew 12:25 state. “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:” Every kingdom? Every city? Every house? Yes, every, every!

When we look at the word “divide” there are 2 meanings. The first definition can be a good thing meaning to bestow or impart as in bestow money to a charity or imparting wisdom to the next generation of life students. The second meaning is to split into factions, separate into parts or parties, or to cut into pieces. Let’s look at it this way. When healthy cells divide and reproduce they can impart positive traits and genes and cause growth and life. The dividing of the egg cell produces life. However a cell can also be divided and produce a cancerous result. This is the meaning Jesus was inferring.

It is a simple yet profound truth that somehow we do not grasp or at least tend to forget. In America, we have a government who for the last 6 years would rather be consciously impotent than productive. This has nothing to do with political parties or biases. It has nothing to do with the race of one or the creed of another. It has nothing to do with the old order versus the new reality. It has to do with the entity, in this case government being productive able to stand for the good of its citizens. Stand means to be upright and in a place of balance. It means to be firmly established and have the ability to be mobile. Standing illustrates strength and unity between parts needed to be progressive.

There are so many examples today of division:

Nations (Civil wars)

Religion (Denominations and factions)

Politics (Government)

Families

Human Race (Nationality, creeds, race, sexes)

These are kingdoms that cannot and will not stand. They might exist and appear strong and right in its ability to separate, but it is still impotent and crippled in it reality. The only final result that occurs is death, in its many forms. The first biblically recorded separation was recorded in in Genesis when Adam became impotent when Adam broke from his source of life, God the Father. The result was even forewarned, “the day you eat, you will experience a death, a separation. Even when our human house becomes ultimately divided, our spirit will depart, separate from the physical body leaving and empty shell unable to stand.

So the question is where is the kingdom, the house divided in your sphere of life? Oh and do not go to far down this road of searching because it might be good to look in the mirror first. I know, I know, impossible, but just maybe, just maybe there might be a potential division to inspect. The Bible speaks of a double minded man in James 1:8 stating that man is unstable or divided in his own interest, in all of his way.

At the time of this writing is the 25th anniversary of the taking down of the Berlin wall. This wall symbolized division that separated friends, families, father and sons. The wall not only kept people out but kept people prisoners or confined…on BOTH the east and west side. Oh if we could know true unity and live it out, especially those who label ourselves as believers. I rephrase President Reagan’s request to the Russian President at the time, Mr. Gorbachev. Believers…encompassing all nations, creeds and colors, tear down this wall. John 17:20-21 says it better through the words of Christ, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

I can understand why the world does not really believe in the Jesus they see every day illustrated by us. I can almost understand the dissolution of our young people that they search for the answers of life through drugs, cults or false religions. They turn to gangs and other demonic promises that say join us and feel free. They say believe in our human ideology because the one you have been shown is falling short on what is being preached. Love for ALL mankind? Yeah right! What Christ are we illustrating? One of bigotry, racism, sexism and preference? To do so would make our Father the same. We see that in our churches where we label churches, music and ministry. We have the Hispanic church, the black church, the oriental church, and the Protestant church, the Catholic Church. There will be no white, black, brown, yellow or red church in Heaven. There will be no favoritism of music of praise being sung. This leads to the labeling of music. Gospel music, which is different then southern gospel, which is different, then hymns which is different then sacred liturgy. How dare we!!! Each really is all the same to the Father because there is only ONE CHURCH and your INDIVIDUAL preference of style of song does not indicate HIS preference. Yet we continue for the MOST part I want to believe unconsciously divide the representation of even HIS Kingdom so thus the church is impotent. Father I hear you… and thanks for already forgiving me BEFORE I came to this realization and my need for repenting, turning, doing a 180, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

U DO U Soooo Well!!


What does that look like? “You do what you are”. That line I heard in an old movie called “Along Came A Spider”. The response was “you mean you are what you do”. No…you do what you are. I thought about it and I understood. You see, the character that has been developed and established in you determines what you are. The gifting that the Father has given you helps determine who you are. America likes to say that we are a Christian nation. I would beg to question that description and say we are a “church going” nation. The reason I say that is because you can look at what “Christians” are doing and at times.. we must wonder… if we are to take the term “Christian” to be Christ like, we would be amazed if not be wilder by the image presented and displayed. You find “church going” people of all denominations have racism, bigotry, prejudice and classism pervading in dominant display, is that Christ like? You find “church going” politicians and company executives who do not give a “fe, fi, fo, fum” about the average worker barely making ends meet on $7.20 an hour yet their profits and bonus are in the 6 and 7 figure range BEFORE the decimal point, is that Christ like? What you consistently do, is who you are.

If I were to ask you “Do you know who you are?” your immediate answer would be, “Of course I do.” Well, it is also a necessity that you know who you have become in your spirit. You are a new creature in your spirit (2 Cor. 5:17), and you have to reeducate your mind to think that way before the perfect will of God will be made manifest in your flesh (Rom. 12:1-2). We are more than conquerors through Christ, and once we realize that truth and until we convince ourselves of it and walk in it, our “doing will not align to who we are. We must know who we are in Jesus (in our spirits) and of the rights and privileges that are ours. Our doing will then illustrate who we are in Christ, and are we not to be transformed and changed?

Keeping believers ignorant of who they are has been Satan’s strategy against the church. As Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” What is the knowledge that they lack? It is the knowledge of who they really are.

First we must understand that we are not of this world but of a different kingdom. Being citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom gives us the knowing of what we are sent to this earth realm to do. Romans 12:2 says it this way, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Paul didn’t pray that they would receive some new thing from God, but rather that they would renew their minds and prove (or make manifest to the physical senses) what was already there. ” Ignorance of who we are, has made it impossible for us to act in faith accordingly and do. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.” We are world overcomers (1 John 5:4). So, what are you doing? Who are you, that you do so well?

She did What? WOW!!!


The more I look, the more I realize how the Word of God is synchronized. Sometimes because of our lack of understanding of the culture and times of 2 thousand years ago we put things in the context of our own specific culture and reasoning. Obviously that presents a problem. Each culture, each country produces its own uniqueness and to really appreciate the history, the music, the tradition and other nuances one must try to become acquainted with those different aspects. So when we read the Word of God, for an example, we must understand the culture, the time and the people the Scripture is addressing. How does it line up with other factors found in Scripture?

We will be in the season, within a few weeks, where Christians will be remembering the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Christ, commonly known as Easter. It is also the same time of the Jewish Holiday Passover. Coincidence, no I think not. Maybe, just maybe in order to bring even more clarity of the perceived ending chapter of Jesus’ earthly life, we need to go back to the beginning.

Luke 2:6-14“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger. Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.””

As an American, chances are one of the first songs you learned as a child was “Mary had a little lamb”, remember? “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb…Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow….” I believe upon close inspection we will find yes, it is true. Mary indeed had a little Lamb.

Have you ever wonder why the shepherds were out watching over their sheep at night? Who were these Shepherds that the angels made the announcement found in Luke 2:11-12? How did the shepherds know where to go to find this babe? Why did they not have any hesitation or discussion as to what direction to take? After all it was not like the angels gave them a location. The answer is simple. These were not ordinary shepherds. They were “Priestly Shepherds” and the sheep they were guarding were “Sacrificial Lambs” which were used during the Passover. Because these particular sheep were used for sacrifice they had to be watched 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These sacrifices had to be perfect and anyone wanting to buy a lamb for the Passover would come to Bethlehem to be guaranteed of getting “the best”. Bethlehem was considered in that day the “Holding Pen” for the “Sacrificial Lambs” so on this night Bethlehem became the “Holding Pen” for God’s Sacrificial Lamb, Mary’s baby. Is it no wonder that the angels would appear first to these “Priestly Shepherds” and they would be the ones to first join Mary and Joseph in welcoming “THE ULTIMATE” sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ. If this indeed is true, then the nativity scene we traditionally see at Christmas with the baby Jesus surrounded by cattle, and sheep and donkeys in a lean to shelter is not a reasonable picture of this birth event. I point back to my initial comments in understanding the times and culture. If truly Christ was born in a special place for special sheep for a special event then the environment would have to be favorable for the expected outcome.

MICAH 4:8 “And thou, O tower of the flock (Migdal Eder), the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem, O tower of the flock” –

Migdal Eder was the watchtower that guarded the Temple sheep that would be the sacrificed in Jerusalem. Again these were not just any sheep and the shepherds who watched over them were specifically trained for this job. They were educated in the requirements and it was their job to make sure that none of the animals were hurt, damaged, or blemished.

Migdal Eder was where the shepherds would watch over their flock from the second story and the first story was where the newborn lambs were placed from the fields of Bethlehem. The shepherds would wrap the newborn lambs in SWADDLING CLOTHES to protect the body of the lambs which would be offered as sacrifice at the Temple just about four miles away in Jerusalem. Swaddling clothes were used to tightly bind the new lambs from being bruised and injured by thrashing around. I imagine it provided a form of comfort just like when a human baby is wrapped in a blanket at birth. The lambs would be laid in a manger until they had calmed down. They immediately understood where to go to find the newborn Messiah, Jesus Christ. He would be found where the angel had told them, wrapped in SWADDLING CLOTHES lying in a manger in the lower floor of the tower of the flock, Migdal Eder. Jesus was born in Bethlehem where all sacrificial lambs were born, and died in Jerusalem where all sacrificial lambs were killed. He was born as the Lamb to be sacrificed to take away the sin of the world.

Abraham saw the arrival of the Lamb. When he was going to offer up Isaac, Isaac asked where was the sacrifice. And Abraham said, my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:

In order for Christ to be the Passover Lamb of God, He would have had to fulfill the role in its entirety. The Lamb had to be born in Bethlehem, without blemish. He would have to be a male and in the prime of life as a one year lamb was accept to be in prime strength. A man in his early thirties is to be assumed to be in his prime.

In John 1:29 – John proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” In other words this is no ordinary man, this is the “Lamb of God”. Yes it is true!! Mary really did have a little Lamb! What other events significantly point out the fact that He indeed is the ‘sacrificial’ Lamb of God? We shall see next week.

Briefly, a couple things I saw in writing this blog post. First, the shepherds were not watching the flock from the comfort of the second story of the tower at night. When the enemy, wolves, bears and lions are most likely to strike in the darkness of night, they were in the field to protect. They took their call to guard, protect and serve seriously, boots on ground, realizing the value of those charged to them. What say you Pastors and Ministry Leaders? Second let’s give the innkeeper a break. There was no room in the inn because there was not supposed to be any room in the inn… and it’s not the innkeeper’s fault. In order to fulfill and satisfy Christ’s end, Mary and Joseph could not get in at the inn. Here a thought some of you have tried to get in with the in crowd and try as you might, you never really get in. It could be because you are pregnant with something special and it cannot be delivered in the company of the “inn” crowd.

I am in SOOOOO Much Debt!!


royalty-free-bank-check-clipart-illustration-216711

The other day, I retrieved my monthly budget excel folder. I keep a log of all of my financial obligations. I list what I bring in and how much is going out to those I owe and what I am able to save or invest for that proverbial “rainy day”. It helps me to maintain a handle on what must be done, what I should prioritize and focus on. No one desires to be in debt. All of us would like the experience of being “debt” free. While I was looking at my natural budget file, the thought occurred to me, what does your budget folder look like, spiritually? How much debt have you incurred? Who and what do you owe? To owe some one is to be in debt, or even more sinister it means to “be bound to”. Think about it, when you are in debt to someone or something, you are bound and even in part a slave to that which you owe.

Just like I recognize my natural debts, what does my spiritual debts look like? Am I being diligent in this responsibility or am I accruing late charges and interest? In my personal budget folder I categorize my file into two categories, “one time pay offs” (ie. medical bills, furniture, clothing, repair expenses, credit cards, etc.) and “on going and revolving” (ie. food, gas, credit cards, car payments, insurance, mortgage, utilities, rent, etc.). Spiritually what expenses are in my two files? Wait… there not two files, only one. It is “on going and revolving”. All of my debt can be placed under this category. What are some of the expenses found in my spiritual file? Well, I owe you prayer, I owe you a smile, I owe you a shoulder to cry on, I owe you the gifts and calling on my life, the poem inside of me, the song, message, book, play, compassion, listen ear, a safe harbor, encouragement, recognition and validation. These are just a few, BUT they are not just my expenses, they are yours also. You owe the world the same.

The Bible says in Romans 13:8 to “owe no man anything, but to love one another”. So let’s call this one category “Love/ Forgiveness”. Why is forgiveness mentioned in this category? In order to truly love there must be perpetual forgiveness. The need to pay on our personal forgiveness expense is huge. There is a need to forgive the past and even present hurts that we have buried and tried to ignore but not forgiven. The old relationships, friends, parents, ministries, the ex’s, the ones that just walked away without any explanation or goodbye. Oh here is one we do not like to confess that is on our expense docket. We need to forgive…wait for it… GOD! I was talking to my wife on just yesterday and she was telling me about a friend’s 10-year-old son who is very mad at God because for over a year, the boy has been praying to God to heal his father who had a stroke and God has not done it. I told my wife that if I would have conversation with that young man, I would say that it understandable and okay. God is not upset with you for how you feel. In fact, (a confession)… even in my fifties, I have been angry and mad at God and needed to “forgive” Him. Do not look at me funny, be honest…you have felt the same way. There has been many times when God in our own estimation, disappointed us and let us down. Understand it is really not the person or persons you are forgiving, it is the perceived (real or imaginary, intentional or unintentional) offense you are forgiving. Many times an individual have no idea that you are harboring that debt.

In order to “owe love only” we must first realize the definition of “forgiveness”. It means to “abandon, forsaken, to let die, leave destitute and irretrievably broken”. We cannot truly realize Romans 13:8 unless we handcuff love to forgiveness. We cannot obtain the “new” if we are still in debt, bound and enslaved to the old. The latter part of Romans 6:4 reads “…even so we also should walk in newness of life”, so through what the Father did through the sacrifice of His Son we have access to the “new”. Understand not only did Jesus take our sin, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he who had not known sin made himself to become sin in your place”. AWESOME SAUCE! We are no longer bound to the penalty and power of sin. God, the Father “forgave” abandon, forsaken, let die, left destitute and irretrievably broken, the offense, the sin (noun). JESUS! (read 2 Corinthians 5:21 again) Did not Jesus cry from the cross, “Father why have you FORSAKEN me? (just something to think on

We too can pay our debt of love, through our resolve to forgive, freeing ourselves from what has us shackled, enslaved and obligated to the pain, memories and power of past and even present offenses. Paying this debt is a conscious effort, especially in the beginning. Just as in the natural it must be planned and purposed. It just does not happen through mere happenstance. How much better our world would be if every man, woman, boy and girl began to make payment on their debt of love and forgiveness. Would we see so much conflict in our world? Would there have been and continue to be the countless numbers of wars where nations are against nations, tribes against tribes, races against races, brother against brother? Would those who espouse different religious beliefs treat each other so inhumanely understanding God have given all men free will and choice? Would there be the crisis in Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan and countless other locations that have not been in the international spotlight? When will we pay on this “Love/Forgiveness” bill? I did write “we” didn’t I? Well anyway… let me pull out my checkbook! I am late with my payment. Not to just Christians or Americans… but to the world! “For God so love the WORLD that He “FOR” gave His only begotten Son…”