Roberta, Tina…what ya saying?


Roberta Flack – Where is the love? (I don’t know)

Tina Turner – What’s love got to do with it? (EVERYTHING!!!)

There is one, true nature of God clearly represented in and of the Word, and that is LOVE!

1 John 4:16 says,

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

In other word, God does not love, love is the nature of God, yeah God is love, inseparable! Jesus gave us the greatest representation of the true nature of God. Love, unbiased and free flowing. God’s love for us is the most important thing we can receive. First Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (God’s kind of love). After all, think about it, faith will be gone one day, because we will be with the one we fully trusted in. Hope will be gone, because we will see the Lord and being with Him will fulfill all expectations and aspirations, but love will never end. Love will exist forever and ever, because God is love eternal.

Believers should have more than just a superficial knowledge of God’s love. In Ephesians, chapter 3, Paul prayed that the Ephesians would get a greater revelation of God’s love for them. He said, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:14-19).

Notice in verse 18 that God’s love isn’t just one-dimensional. There is height, depth, length, and breadth to it. Many Christians only see God’s love as one-dimensional. They’ve never seen the multi-dimensional reality of God’s love. It includes all space and time. It also encompasses all people. John 3:16 “For so loved the World…“ not just Christians, not just people of a specific culture, not just an explicit nation, race or creed. His love encases the world, His whole creation. Let me say this, anytime we see a preference of who is loved based on religious beliefs, color of skin or any other external factor, as believers you do not represent Him.

In verse 19, Paul said as we experience God’s love, which is superior to mere knowledge of God’s love, then we would be filled with all the fullness of God. Experiencing God’s love equals fullness.

We think we have to do something to earn God’s love and we tether it, like a work contract to our human performance. I need to pray more, read His Word more, do Christian acts more. We have to merit God’s love. That is not what the Bible teaches. We are not employees of God. Our reward is not based on our job performance. God’s love for us is unconditional. Understand, God doesn’t love us because of some virtue we possess. God loves us because He is, not because we are.

Religion is one of the biggest broadcasters of the conditional love of God propaganda. Many “Christian churches” teach that God’s love for us is conditional, based on performance. If we pray, go to church, pay our tithes, etc., then the Lord loves us and answers our prayers; but if we fail, then the Lord won’t answer our prayers. There is no Biblical truth to that theory pertaining to the New Testament church. Remember we are no longer under law but Grace.

People who love one minute and then act the opposite way the next minute simply don’t operate in God’s love. God’s Word tells us to even love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). It is a command. He didn’t say to do it if you feel like it. A command given by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords does not generate an optional, what do you think, response.

Galatians 5:22 says that love is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. This is specifically speaking of the Holy Spirit; and our new man was born of the Spirit, so it has to be true that God’s love has been shed abroad in our spirits too. We have the capability to love as He loves. God’s kind of love is a choice that you make on the basis of what God said, and then you act on it through faith until it becomes a reality in your whole being.

Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth ( committed) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love wasn’t based upon what we had done for Him or what we deserved but upon His choice, His free choosing to love us. We didn’t do anything to merit God’s love. He just chose to give it. We can receive His kind of love and then give it to others in the same way. The Word (John 13:35) says “By this shall ALL men know that ye are my disciples, my students, my apprentices, my representatives that you have love one to another”. What is the “this”? That we love one another, even as He has loved us. (verse 34)

His love was extended toward Hitler just as much as it was toward Billy Graham. The difference is our acceptance or rejection of it, not His offer of it. God’s love is unconditional. What about your love for the “world”? Can you walk in lock step with God “so loved the world”, recognizing that He is in you and you in Him which would indicate that you too should unconditionally love the world…and ALL of its inhabitants or are you caught up in this spirit of tribalism introduced by the demonic great opposer, Lucifer? I leave with this… 1 John 4:20-21, “If a man says, I love God and hateth (disregards and show little empathy) his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath seen? And this commandment (not suggestion) have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother (another creation of God) also.

No..He is NOT in Control


If He Is In Control, It’s Out of Control.

One of the things that we hear especially when things go chaotic in life is that God is in control. To our human intellect this would ring true. After all He is God and we are mere mortals. But to have that thought introduces several questions that we cannot answer especially from the unbeliever. Why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? Why did He not intervene in the Sandy Hook situation or the Las Vegas situation or the church shootings? Where was He when slavery and racism took the lives of millions of people? How could He allow His own to die under the hand of the Nazis? He is in control and He is our Father but millions have died via illness, disease and starvation? Children, babies are innocent victims yet bare the ultimate penalty? Where is your God? Where is this Heavenly father? Why, does He let the wicked prosper and allow others suffer? These are valid questions that we sometimes must field from the unbeliever and if you are honest with yourself, ones you have asked yourself. To be honest these questions creates a wrestling in your soul that struggles to produce an answer that is Biblically supported, an answer that makes sense. If that is how He looks after His children, His creation then something is wrong.

But and because He is a good good Father how do we reconcile? I would submit for your consideration that God is not in control. Before you hang me from the highest tree let’s consider if the Word supports this conclusion. Logically, a good place to start is in the beginning. In Genesis 1:26-28 through we read “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He Him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. So what I am hearing that He gave man the authority the edict to run things and rule over His creation. While He is in charge, all powerful, and sovereign that does not mean He is in control of the earth.

Now I know you are probably saying to yourself wait a minute, the Bible says that “the Earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwells therein.” (Psalm 24:1) True…but there is a notable difference between ownership and sovereignty and being in control. As I was thinking on this point, the Father showed me an example. He said you have a car that you own. It is yours, however if you give the keys to someone whom you allow to drive it, say to run an errand, who is in control of that car? What if an accident takes place? Who is in control, the one who owns it or the one who possesses the keys and is behind the steering wheel? A king can be sovereign over a nation having not to answer to anyone yet still not be in control of the activities of his subjects. Consider Psalm 115:16. “The heaven, even the heavens, arethe LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” Yes, the Father created it for man’s use supplying everything needed for man to live and thrive, howbeit retaining ownership. Understand, He has given control of the earth to men and we will have to give an account how we maintained it. I am afraid, however, that we have advocated our responsibility of being a mindful tenant. Being a renter of my place of residence does not mean that my landlord is in absolute control of the residence. It is given to me.

There is a point in the New Testament that many miss that illustrates this point. When Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by Satan in Luke 4:6-7 Satan declares that he would give Jesus the kingdoms of the world along with their authority and splendor, because it was given to him…through the fall, but with the resurrection of Christ ALL power was given to Him. His desire is that God’s will be done on EARTH as it is being done in Heaven. This would point to a probable fact that His will is not always being done on earth. We have advocated our responsibility in parenting, in governance, in the earth maintenance, and nature itself. Sadly we have not demonstrated loving our fellow man. Even to those proclaiming the banner of Christendom have advocated our call, our duty to love our fellowman with the unshakable, the unbiased love of Christ. As a renter it is MY duty to maintain the property as I am answerable to the owner. We Are answerable to the Owner and will one day give an account for that which He left in our hands. God’s sovereignty and ultimate ownership does not abate or eliminate man’s accountability.

 

 

Riddle Me This!!!


Whom do men say that I am…no wait… whom do YOU say that I am?

Mt 16:13 “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” The original Greek is more specific, and means, “Who do the common people say that I am”? He does not ask for the opinion of the religious people, but of the everyday people.

Of course, there was a reply to that question. “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah (a strong man, a great prophet) and others say Jeremiah (someone who lifted himself up, or an appointed prophet) or one of the other prophets.” Curiously though all of these responses from the common people still reduced Jesus to being just a man. There is nothing really special about Him, in their mind, when you come to the finality of their response. Yes, He is strong, exalted an appointed prophet, like Jeremiah and Elijah, but there was already a Elijah and Jeremiah so they saw Him being in the same category. Their opinion cannot be faulted, that is the conclusion they came to because of the lack of relationship and closeness. He is a good man, He is a prophet who is a good speaker and seems to have a good heart. Some one who came from impoverished beginnings and lifted Himself to some notoriety in society. What other answer could He expected. I am one who is imaginary in my thoughts so hang with me. I imagine Jesus saying with a smile saying, “that’s cool, but tell me guys, since you have been with me for about three years, whom do YOU say that I am”.

I can see the disciple’s faces now as they hear His question. Can you see John, the youngest follower, slightly turning his head to Thomas saying “oh snap, dude…say something”. Thomas might have responded “no man, you answer Him, beside you, Peter and James are always taking those side trips with Him. If anyone should answer it should be one of you three”. John’s head, I imagine, is spinning to give an answer to Jesus’s question, but then John hears Simon (Peter) answering, and I am sure a sigh of relief came upon him. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. What? What did you say Simon? I can see the other disciples whispering to each other, “did you hear that?” What hat did he pull that rabbit from?” I can see them looking at Jesus, then looking at Peter, then looking back at Jesus, waiting for a response to that blasphemes answer. OMG, Jesus is getting out of His seat and walking towards Simon Peter, it is about to get interesting now. “Matthew leans towards Andrew and says “See that is why I was not going to say anything”.

They watch as Jesus slowly approach Simon and (in my imagination) put His hands on Simon’s shoulders and says “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And upon that solid truth, that rock I will build my church…” Not upon you Peter, but upon the Truth you uttered without really understanding what you just said.

Ok, that is when I, Douglas, asked the Father what are you talking about? This is what He said to my spirit. “The Father, through His Holy Spirit will INSTILL the truth to you, but it is your life’s walks that REVEAL the Truth of what you proclaim.” Ok… explain. He then said many have accepted me as their Lord and Savior… They “say” I am the Christ, the Son of the living God and I AM, know that. But what do their life choices; decisions, motives, words, and attitude say about who I AM. It is in hard times, under pressure in the work place, in finances, in relationships, in their society where they reveal their embracing of that truth. Look at Peter after that spot on answer, he soon followed up by denying me 3 times. He lied, he cursed, reneged and recanted the instilled Truth. That is why I built my church on the TRUTH of the revelation not the one who uttered the revelation.

Today, many who have the instilled truth of Jesus, when asked the question of whom do you say that I am, are strangely answering, You are prejudice, You are heavy on homophobia but not overly concerned about lying, adultery, fornication, greed, envy, lust and a multiple of other “lower class” sins, as if. You are only for one race, one creed, one denomination. They say, through their life, that You are impatient with those who do not measured up to their standards. You are judgmental, you are intolerant and you are vindictive. You are disrespectful to those whom you, through your divine decision, given to rule over us. However, on the other hand we expect you to be patient, tolerant and delay judgment on our obvious sins. We say you will treat us differently for the same faults we condemn our fellow men. We say You are not the God of the second, let alone the two hundredth chance.

Who do YOU say that He is? Peter later through his life revealed that he embraced and yes cherished the Truth of his statement. What true answer will your life reveal? I am reminded and confronted by the life’s revealing Truth of those who have recently been beheaded in the Middle East because they would not recant of their revealed Truth. He is the Son of the living God. Even as recently as a few days of this blog there were university student in Africa who would not denounce “the Christ” but were brutally murdered because they chose to stand on that Truth. But sadly today we see others who so easily abandon against much lesser challenges and opportunities turn their proverbial backs on the instilled Truth, which they espouse. Who do you say that I am? No not the readers, Douglas… you!!!

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.”

A “Selfie” of Jesus


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In the 1990’s there was a very popular phrase centered on a gifted and highly touted basketball player named Michael Jordan and every young basketball player wanted to be like him. He had a signature look and a habit of sticking out his tongue as he drove towards the goal of scoring a basket. He could score seemingly at will. So advertisers, seeing an opportunity, coined a phrase for all who played basketball. The phrase was simple. It said, “If I could “be” like Mike”. Everyone who played the sport wanted to “be” like Mike. That was their aspiration, their ultimate goal, to “be” like Mike. To this day, none have attained that dream.

The other day, examining my own spirit and life as a follower of Christ, I asked myself, why am I not like Jesus? After all that has been my aspiration, my spiritual goal, to “be” like Jesus. Do not all believers want the same? Have we not been told to aspire to “be” like Him? Yet walking down the corridor of my life, I found myself falling short many many times. While in the midst of those prodding thoughts I heard something most powerful. I heard you can’t “be” like me BUT you can allow me to “be” in you. With my lightning quick ability to comprehend the deep incomprehensible, I asked, “what are you talking about Father? (lol) This is what I heard…

First, you must look at your starting point. To want to be like says you are not a part of, so that makes you separate from. So for you to want to “be” like me says you and I are not one, not in unison but we are separate. Does this line up with the Word? I came to dwell in you, my temple, and for you to dwell in Me. I came to have unison. Just as the Father and I are one, we are one.”

During this time I was looking into a full-length mirror and the question came to me, what do you see? I said I see me. The response came back, no you don’t, to which I responded yes I do, to which I heard no… you don’t. What you see is a reflection, an image of you. There is a big difference. Secretly, hoping He would not hear me (hahaha) I thought, now you are just splitting hairs Father. BUT since according to Matthew 10:30 He knows the number of hairs on our head that would give him the adeptness to “split” them. (lol) But as I reflected on that image, that reflection, He continued to speak, and I slowly began to understand why I, Douglas, cannot “be” like Jesus, BUT He can “be” in me.

As I looked in the mirror I saw one head, a torso, two arms, two legs and hands with fingers. I saw my image with all its strengths and weaknesses. Head and body fitly joined in unison, as one entity. Then I heard how and why would the hand or arm or leg desire to “be” like the head? After all who are you? I am the body of Christ, the church according to 1 Corinthians 12. Ephesians 5 says Christ is the head of church, the body. Just as with the natural there is a need for only head. The hand should never aspire to “be” like the head, it will not happen.

You and I are an intricate part of a wondrous and mysterious body called “the church”. However there is a question we have all asked ourselves no matter what our faith or religious belief. That simple question is why am I here? What is my purpose? I think the answer is found just by examining your passions. What sets your heart aflame? Are you the hands of Christ showing compassion reaching out to others applying healing ointment and gentle touches of love? Are you the arms that gather the downtrodden and gently lay them to the breast for comfort and nutriments? Are you the legs that stand as strong pillars of support or means of advancement? Whatever part of the body we are, how do we allow Him to “be” in us? By walking in our call and being directed by His Spirit, which according to Scripture came to lead and guide us. This might not look like what we commonly associate with religious ministry. Someone passion is making quilts and blankets. They are not a preacher or Bible scholar, but how would the reflection of Christ look to the world if that person made little blankets for new born babies in crisis at a children’s hospital that are freely given to parents who are blanketed with fear for their child? How would the image of Christ look to the world where business people who understand the corporate world offer interviewing, resume writing and other training classes to those who otherwise would not know how to enter that world, for free. What about restaurant owners occasionally providing free meals to the homeless in their neighborhood? It is not all about money, it’s about Him. There is a young woman who just this week asked for me to fill out a reference form so that she might go on a foreign missions trip to a third world nation. Since she was a young teenager her desire has been to do missions. She is artistic, beautiful and talented and could be anything she wants to “be”, but the call, the pull to which she is submitting is to let Him “be” in her. Whether your passion is sports, acting, singing, writing, baking, cooking, sewing, entrepreneurism, teaching, preaching, music, nursing or missions, whatever your niche, how can we allow Him to “be” in us? That is His desire. There is a blog I am subscribing to by a young lady who just have recipes of Holistic healthy foods. That is ministry. How many physical live can be improved even saved by her passion?

http://stepheusebi.com

What does a “selfie” of Jesus look like? What is the image, the reflection the world sees? According to 1 John 3:2 only when He shall appear will we “be” like Him. Let’s strive to walk in our gifting. Let’s “be” the church allowing Him to “be” in us.

It’s official. I’m no longer a Christian!


I am giving up my “Christian card”. The term “Christian” is no longer what I want to be known as. Before you turn away hear me out. The word “Christian” is only found 3 times in Scripture, none of which Jesus’ uses. It was initially used as a derogatory term, like the “N” word. It was not a term of endearment. Gradually, through acceptance of it’s meaning “Christ like”, the word “Christian” became a standard for a religious viewpoint. For me, it is not the word, “Christian” that I can know longer align myself to, but it is the definition and the illustration of that word. Have you been paying close attention to our world today? Answer me this, what as an unbeliever would inspire you to become a “Christian” today? What can you point to that is universally the indisputable and unshakeable standard of the word Christian across the board? If the word’s initial definition is “Christ like”, then why does “their” Christ like, and “your” Christ like and “my” Christ like look different from each other’s? Is Christ schizophrenic? Is it denominationally or culturally, or racially or politically based? It appears to be the case based upon its nature of separatism. I am personally so ashamed of how so called conservative “Christian” have either bought into the ploy of politics or are treacherously hypocritical in order to reach a political goal. Their actions of name-calling, lying, denigrating, fighting, etc., is that “Christ like”? What is the draw to a un-believer? The word “Christian” has become a joke to the world because it leaves so much too one’s interpretation of the “word” and the personal manipulation of the one using the “word”. This too is also where the real problem lies. We argue and differentiate between the “interpretations” of the words of Christ instead of what He ACTUALLY did. I heard an “evangelical Christian” politician quote the Old Testament verse” “if you do not work, you do not eat” as a reason for not helping the poor and unemployment increase etc. Hhhmmm! I seem to recall Jesus saying in Matthew 25:33 – 40, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me…. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. How can one misinterpret or remotely over look that as a “Christian”? John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples (not Christians), if ye have love one to another.”

Let me say this, I want to be identified only as a “disciple” and follower of Jesus Christ. He never once said become a Christian, but over 90 times He says, “follow me”. The word “follow” in the Greek does not just mean “trail” as we know it in the English language. It also means to be a particle of union or to be an attached piece to the whole. It means to copulative, bonded, yoked as one. His footsteps are my footsteps. His actions are my actions. His words are my words. His showing of love is my showing of love. If we mirrored Him completely and became His reflection in the earth would there be so many different “Christian” images? You might have your own interpretation on what He said and what He meant but you cannot question what He did. No I am no longer a Christian. I want to be a follower of Christ. I want to be one of His disciples. I also learn I cannot “be” like him, but He can “be” in me, but that is next week’s thought. So from this day forward… let me be a “follower of Christ”.

It’s Uncomfortable, But I’m Still Standing


Having done all to stand… stand! I was once again reminded of that scripture in two ways recently. First I saw soldiers guarding the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was a TV news clip I saw during the snowstorm in D.C. The snow and sleet was falling and the temperature was below 15 degrees, yet the 3 soldiers remain at their post undaunted, moved or phased by the external attack. The only thing that matters is their internal commitment and their resolve to guard the remains of someone(s) whom they do not know.  How much more should we be as diligent in our commitment? Letting go of our personal ego, the thought that I am doing it. Letting the compassion, the expression of love to all people, arise and have dominion. In doing this we will have the passion to stand in the strength of God.

I personally have faced the onslaught of a winter storm very recently in my professional life. Being committed to stand and display honor to my employer yet enduring an external assault from within. Having done all to stand, I stand even till this day. I heard in my spirit Isaiah 59, “when the enemy shall come in like a flood, then the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a STANDard against him. Do I understand? No! Is it fair? No. But I know that my Dad is in control. In order for Him to rule my life I have to let go of me, my ego and allow Him. Dr. Dyer describes ego as “edging God out”. Man isn’t that true. Whatever you are assigned to do, do it with willingness, compassion, commitment, and love. Having done all to stand… STAND.

more, More, MORE


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I would like to start this entry with two questions. Everyone knows the answers to them so it should be relatively easy. First question… how many words are there in the English language? The second question is what is the commonality between all of the English words identified by your answer of question one? I will wait while you answer. (I am in my mind hearing the Jeopardy game show music. If you are familiar with what I am talking about…(lol)) Ok, what did you come up with for the answer to the first question? One hundred million, one trillion or infinity times infinity? Well the answer to the first question is I don’t know. That is because there can always be a new word defined. I could call “tretyiudi” a word and it could have a definition that is accepted in society. So the number of words is endless, yet there is a common thread, a mutual link that connects every English word to the other. Do you see it? Every English word will be comprised of a sequence of letters between A and Z. There will be no English word found, past, present or future that will not follow that rule. Think about it. Everything you need to describe, define, illustrate, communicate, or articulate is capsulized within 26 letters. There will never be the need to “create” a 27th letter so a new word can be spelled. The resource has already been provided, the “new word” might yet be awaiting discovery and manifestation but all that will ever be needed has been provided.

Let’s look at Genesis 1:1. In the KJV it says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In using a more accurate interpretation of the Hebrew word “bara”, we should read it that God “fattened” or “filled” the heavens and the earth. Notice that the remaining chapter is about this “filling” of the heavens with sun, moon, birds and the “filling” of the earth with animals, plants and man. I love how Young’s translation says this verse. He interprets it this way, “In the beginning of God’s preparing the heavens and the earth…” Oh…one more thing. The word “bara” is written in the “perfect” tense. This indicates a “one and done” scenario. In other words, it is complete after the first time, no do overs. (smile) Hang on to this thought; it will come into play later on in the read.

Okay, here we go. Hidden in the phrase, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, is an untranslatable word. The significance of this word, one that we cannot afford to miss or ignore, is written to indicate that it will go with what is coming next. In other words, there will be a direct correlation to what is following. That untranslatable word is “et”. It is spelled “aleph – tav”. “Aleph” is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and “tav” is the last letter. Here is the placement of that word in the verse. “In the beginning God created “et” the heavens and the earth”. If we were to say it in English it would be “in the beginning God created (filled) “A – Z” the heavens and the earth. Now…because God did this BEFORE creating the heavens and the earth, the untranslatable word “et”, comprised of the letters “aleph – tav” is the foundation of ALL creation. Remember it was written to indicate that it will go with what is coming next. Take away the foundation, take away the “aleph – tav”, even for a brief moment, instantly you will have nothing, no creation. Go back to my example of the words comprising the English language using the 26-letter alphabet. Take away the letters “A through Z”, what English words will you have? None! (and “none” would not even be a word(lol))

Fast forwarding to the New Testament we hear Jesus saying this through the writing of John (see verse 16), in Rev. 22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” “Alpha” is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and “omega” is the last… He is the “aleph – tav”, “A” through “Z”. He is the foundation, the building block. In John15:5 “Jesus says “I am the vine, ye the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Wow take away Him, the “aleph – tav”, the “A through Z” and you are left with no-thing. The key point to understand here is that the “et” the “aleph – tav” is created BEFORE all creation. He provided all that would be needed by the creation before creation in the PERFECT tense, one and done. He is not going to say “oops, I forgot to create…” Complete provision has already been made. A dear friend of mine and member of RWC, Ms. Lisa T., would sometimes sing a song that says “He has already provided, everything you need he has ALREADY provided”. Ok, a thought just came to me. (oh-oh could be trouble…) Rev 1:8 says “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME, the Almighty.” So I can know that whatever point I find myself, the “IS” point of the now, the “WAS” point of the past (because we sometime live there… quit playin’) or the “IS TO COME” point of the future… HE has already provide because He create the provision, in the perfect tense, once and for ALL times, places, situations, peoples and creation.

All of the above was to bring support to a “NU MIND” thought I had addressing me. If I declare what Paul declared to the Philippian church in chapter 4 that “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”, how can I go to Him in prayer, song or declaration saying I need MORE? To suggest a need of more would then indicate a lack. It would say I ran out, or you shorted me, or you did not anticipate this situation. I cannot apply that to the character of God. He is the key and only player on the All-Star omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient team, so how can I say I need more of Him, I need more of His power, more of His Spirit, more of His Grace, more faith indicating He did not realize what I would need? I understand the human intent of the statement, however it is a declaration that our “adversary” is so willing to allow, if not inspire us to make. Why? Because how can I FULLY trust someone when they cannot meet my “need” not wants, need.

Well for me the “light bulb” moment came from realizing it is a matter of my starting position. What I mean by that is IF I always envision my starting point from a position of lack then I will always be in need, thus nullifying His “already” provision. However if I come from a starting point of provision, because I am in Him and He is in me and there is NO LACK in Him then I eliminate “need”. Let me illustrate it this way. A few months ago my sister and brother-in-law visited us in Tampa. One day we went to the beach and he and I decided to get into the ocean. It was a warm day so he and I stepped in the water and the water was cold. It chilled… no it didn’t… being silly… ANY WAY we waded into the water about ankle deep and then mid-calf deep. After a while we went a little further out until the water was around our waist. After getting acclimated to that experience, we wanted “more”. Now it would have been silly of us to say to the ocean I need more of you. All of the ocean we could ever need we were standing in, duh! So to appropriate the “more” because it was refreshing from the heat of the day, we walked further into the “more” until it was around our shoulders. The “more” was not coming to us it “WAS” and I dare say “IS” waiting on us. The truth is the depth of the “more” already provided would absolutely overwhelm and crush us. I watch the Discovery Channel a lot and on the episodes describing the oceans I learn that man can only go so deep before the submarines would be crushed like tin can run over by a steamroller. Man cannot even remotely survive the more of the ocean, how much more is the more of GOD waiting to overwhelm us? Did the ocean need to supply more water for us to be refreshed? No, we just needed to step further out into what was already provided. We could have stayed on the beach where there was no water at all and asked the ocean to come to us. We would still be there, asking and being frustrated because our starting point would have been from a position of lack. Now this is important even if your starting point is from a position of provision (even if you are only ankle deep, you are still in the “more”) however you must continually step further into it. As long as my brother-in-law and I stayed at the ankle deep or calf deep level, we would have never experienced the shoulder deep refreshing that “WAS, IS and IS TO COME” waiting on us. I can’t swim so I was very hesitant at experiencing the “up above my head” more. Just saying (smile).

My point is God either has already provided or He hasn’t. What will be your starting point of reference? Let me end this rather long entry (sorry) with this. In Luke 17:5-6 we read something that I think supports what I have written. “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you”. In other words I hear Jesus saying to their “sincere with right intent” request…dudes if you just used or walked into the more of what you already possess, you would find that you have more then enough already. So we need to begin from a point of victory and abundance even if it is not physically or spiritually manifested to where we recognize it. God has already done the completed and perfect work. He did not forget one thing concerning you. He does not have to provide more, we need to step into the already provided more… more.

“In the beginning God created “et” the heavens and the earth”. He provided for creation and all that creation would need BEFORE He created the Heavens and the earth. Even the “Lamb” was slain BEFORE the foundation of the world…say what????? Yeah you’re right…He has already provided Sis. Lisa.

ALL comments are welcome…thoughts?

I’m Going Through…you?


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This thought came to mind earlier this week. I do not know if you watched the high wire event this past Sunday or not. When I went to the Discovery channel to watch I was like, this is crazy. Who in their right or wrong mind would do such a thing? What in Nik Wallenda’s mind made the reward of the accomplished goal greater than the risk of the journey? (Ooohhh that was good right there, I have to stop and think on that myself) Here is this 34 year old man, husband and father with so much to lose walking a cross a 1600 foot gorge over 1500 feet high on nothing but a 2 inch wide suspended steel cable. No big deal, right? You could not pay me all the tea in Walmart to do what that young man did. No safety line, no net…. no way!! Dangerous yet intriguing, frightening yet mesmerizing, crazy yet challenging, impossible yet possible…and these were my thoughts and emotions and I was just sitting in my comfortable chair. What in the world was he thinking? To top it all off, the television would occasionally show shots from a camera that was hanging from Mr. Wallenda’s neck that focused on the wire he was walking and his foot placement as he himself would see it. HOWEVER, you could not help but see pass the wire and see the arms of the canyon bed rock 1500 feet below that waited to embrace him, yes even gleefully beckoned him if he would have just one misstep. Oh and in the midst of that canyon bed view there was woven a river, curving, snarling, almost smiling to welcome his misfortune. What a walk, what a sight!! My old mind said crazy, stupid, what the what…but my “nu mind” said learn the lesson, dig, find the hidden treasure. Ok since this is a Word blog and not a TV show review blog I guess I should insert a scripture verse or two. (smile)

2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV) say “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” I like how Young’s Literal Translation says it, “For we walk through faith, not through sight.” As you can see what jumps out at me is the word “through”. Somehow to me it has a different connotation, a different meaning then the word “by”.

In the English language the word “by” denotes the using or the medium of the route. “By” denotes the agent in a passive way or conveyance. “Through” designates particularly immediate agency or instrumentality or reason or motive. Here is something else, “through” denotes a means, but it also denotes a place and even time. I can denote the ground or reason by which something is or is not done.

Walking through faith is not ignoring the reality of the “sight”, but faith is looking beyond the sight to the reality of the substance, the evidence of the not seen in manifestation YET! Hebrews 10:38 – “Now the just shall live by faith:” Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So our walk, our journey through this life should not be predicated on the reality seen but the reality not seen.

Question how is faith obtained?

Paul in Romans 10:17 says in the KJV, “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So it is by the trust in the word of God that faith (trust) comes? Yes and no! What I mean by that is this. The original Greek does NOT say “and hearing by the word of God”, it says “but hearing through the word of Christ”. The same…no, there is a BIG difference. Ok, I heard someone say “what you talking about, Willis?” (hahaha)

Read Leviticus 26:13 – 33. It begins “I [am] the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.” Who is speaking? God!! Throughout this passage He says… “If ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then…” Then what? “I will punish you, I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you” OMG!!!! “I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children”. That’s God talking.

Somebody HELP!! I am not capable of hearkening to all God’s commandments! I am TOAST!!! Sssshhh! Quite! Listen! Do you hear it? A voice, listen… “And, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” “And I if might be elevated from the earth, all (the consequences of sin’s judgment, I will haul to myself”. Thank you Jesus!! “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child (me speaking …what is the greatest attribute of a child? COMPLETE trust (faith)!), the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven”. “…Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck…” Same entity (3 in 1), dissimilar position…different lesson. Which “hearing” words build faith? Just saying!! (Moving on, smile)

What Nik Wallenda’s walk illustrated to me was lesson in concentration, focus, dedication, preparation, determination and confidence (trust). As I am sure you are aware there were many comments and conversations, both negative and positive about that feat. And even though he had to stop, kneel and let the path settle, he did not quit pursuing the ultimate goal. Even though there was the distraction of the wind gusts he remained vigilant. I hear the Psalmist in Psalm 23 “Yeah though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil (failing, falling or loss)…because THOU art with me.” Did you hear his declaration throughout his journey? It was televised and heard by over 13 million people in over 210 countries. Thank you Jesus. You are good Lord. I love you Jesus. Over 13 million people heard him speak those words as death eagerly had her opened mouth waiting to receive him below. What are the words people in your house or on your job or in your school hearing from you as you journey “through” a challenging time or place in your journey?

The reality is we are all on a wire, high above a gorge, untethered, no net… walking one step at a time. Who are you calling on? Who is with you? What are you declaring to the atmosphere, to the world, His greatness or your weakness? Remember death and life is in the power of the tongue, your spoken declaration. We are all going through…but how? Through faith (trust) or through sight? (Don’t look down)

His Mind, Not Mine


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1 Corinth 2:16 – For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Phil 2:5-6 – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Romans 12:2 – 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.

The mind is the key to living a successful Christian life. Our thinking must be changed (transformed) from an old, un-Christ like way of thinking into a new way. What we know in our minds to be true forms a conviction in our hearts of that truth, and that conviction in our hearts translates into action. The scripture back this up by saying in Proverbs 23:7 “As a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he”. Therefore, it becomes imperative that we renew our minds. The question then becomes how do we renew our minds? How are our minds to be transformed? Most of us have lived our lives with a certain mindset, a way of thinking that has controlled our conversation, our plans and our choices. Even Christians have lived their lives according to a certain denominational doctrine yet has it been based upon the truth if God’s Word? The only way to replace the error of the world’s way of thinking is to replace it with God’s truth, and the only infallible source of God’s truth is found in His revealed word. Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them (purify and separate) in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

In 1 Corinthians 2:16, Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13 and then makes a statement concerning all believers: “We have the mind of Christ.” The believer then has a responsibility to allow the Spirit to transform and renew his mind (Romans 12:1-2).

As we begin to change the way we think, it will open the door to the blessings that God had for us. We actually limit God by our natural mind, how we think. If, at your core, you have a negative way of thinking, it will manifest in your life. If you see yourself broke, sick, or a failure, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, if you see yourself prosperous, healthy, and successful at your core, that will be what manifests in your life. So it’s important that your philosophy be based on the truths of God’s Word. We also must understand that what is in our core is generally what we speak. Death and life is in the power of the tongue. If you are always talking about your problems, do not be surprised if you are constantly living in a state of perpetual defeat. The nature of the world is to see the problem and wonder about a solution.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed…” According to Webster, you don’t have to CHANGE to conform to something. You just have to be INFLUENCED! Paul was telling us, don’t be influenced by the world, but be transformed…
Being transformed is a COMPLETE change, not just being influenced. Second Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” All things? Yes…all things, including how I think.
Philippians 2:5 – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
The question is how do we do it? “Lord, what do I have to do? How can I ever be like you and have your mind?” We must meditate on God’s Word.
When we meditate in God’s Word for one day, we can’t expect to see results the next day. Having our minds being renewed is a process. And we can’t meditate in His Word one day and then live differently the other six days. We must continually meditate, which means to “murmur” on His Truth.
The Word will transform us so that God’s perfect will for us comes to pass. That’s the promise of God’s Word. Roman 8:6 says, “To be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Being spiritually minded is being Word minded and God’s Word is the seed. Our hearts are the soil. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
One of the most needed things among the body of Christ today is for the rich knowledge of the Word of God to be revealed to us so that it might be manifested in us. Not a religious concept or philosophy, but His Word. It is through His Word that our born-again spirit is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him, Col. 3:10 says “And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”. First Corinthians 2:16 says “But we have the mind of Christ,” and 1 John 2:20 says “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” These scriptures show us that our spirit man is complete in Jesus. Eph. 4:22-24 – “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Our soul, the place where we think, plan, and experience emotions, is the master control over our whole person. For the born-again man, the spirit is the life-giving force, but the soul has the last word, it makes the decision, the choices because of free will. God will not violate our free will. Therefore, it is necessary that we get this “mind of Christ” (which we have received in our spiritual man) functioning in our soulish minds so we can make the right choices. We only can be transformed in our minds by studying the Word of God. However just to have knowledge of God’s Word is not enough. We must have spiritual understanding because God’s Word is spirit and it is life (John 6:63).

Again, how do we receive the Word of God being made alive and powerful in our lives? By meditating on God’s Word. This can explain why the Word of God seems to work for some people and not for others. The Word of God must be allowed to transform our thinking so that we think like Christ. Christ always came from a perspective of victory not defeat. If our starting point is the opposite of His then we need a mind renewal. Reject the “lying” symptoms of your “old” mind. Who are you really? What is your new mind confession? In the next entry we will take a look at some of our confessions and see if they line up with a transformed mind. They can be well intended but do they line up with a renewed transformed mind?

If I Be Lifted Up


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Jesus said in John 12:27-33: “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all (men) unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

Many think John 12:32 means that if God is properly glorified in our preaching or singing, then He will draw all people to Himself. But that is not what this scripture is saying. If that is the case why then would He have us go and compel men to come? If you look in the King James Version, notice that the word “men” in verse 32 is italicized. That means it wasn’t in the original language. The translators put this word in italics to let people know this was their addition, but it wasn’t a part of the text. If you take this verse in context, I believe the Lord was saying that He would draw all JUDGMENT, PENALTIES, and PAYMENTS to Himself. Jesus attracted all of God’s judgment for all of mankind’s sins for all time unto Himself. Let’s look at the word …DRAW. There are at least 6 different Greek words for the English word draw. John 4:7 (draw) “antleo” meaning to bale or pump out as in water. In Acts 20:30 (draw) “apospao” meaning to tear away causing separation James 4:8 and Hebrews 7:19 (draw) “eggizo” meaning to bring near in place or position. Hebrews 10:22 (draw) “proserchomai” meaning to come to, approach Hebrews 10:38 (draw) “hypostello” meaning to shrink away, conceal THE FINAL WORD IS “helko” found in John 6:44, James 2:6 and John 12:32 meaning to lead, drag off, choose or elect, and also meaning. …to take by force from another what is his or committed to him. Which definition of “helko” would most fit John 12:32? And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all (men) unto me. All “pas”, the whole, everything.

The original text in Greek reads like this “and I if might be elevated from the earth, all I will haul to myself”. John 3:12 – And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.

God the Father forsook Jesus so that you and I would never be forsaken. All that we would have suffered through billions of years in eternity—the grief, the pain, and worst of all, the complete separation from the presence of God—Jesus experienced. And He experienced all of this for us. The judgment was made and the sentence carried out. The price was paid in full, once for all. He did not pay the price because of His sins, because He was sinless but He took the penalty, the sentence, the punishment, the separation that should have been mankind, all mankind upon Himself.

We could never pay for our sins. We could never become our own sacrifice. That goes against the very plan of God from the beginning. Christ is the lamb slain before the foundation and His plan is seen in the Old Testament. In it we see animal sacrifice for sins, even for the sins of the nation Israel. Why the animal and not the person? Go back to even when Adam sinned. His remedy (fig leaves) was not good enough, an animal had to be slain, why not Adam? In typology IT COULD NEVER BE YOU TO PAY THE PRICE. Yet we still in the church feel there is SOME price we must pay, some penance.

When we say God is still judging us for our sins as individuals or corporately as a nation, we are saying that the price Jesus paid wasn’t enough. Therefore, a judgment must again be made and a sentence passed. That would be “double jeopardy,” and that is not what the Bible teaches. The “noun” and more importantly the penalty of sin have been removed. Jesus paid it all. If Jesus did not pay it all and we still must pay, what is left to pay? How much? “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son, The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life.”

Sin Taken Away, Yet remaining…?


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In my last entry I asked a question, if the sin of the world were TAKEN AWAY then why is there still sin in the world? I’m just saying. What does the Word of God have to say? Just because we are redeemed and born again do not mean that we are to leave our capacity to think. These might be the questions we face as we witness to the world the “good news”. Not all will be Bible illiterate. By nature I am analytical so I have natural tendency to look for logic. So when I look at the redemptive work of the cross and what Christ died for and what He became and the price that was paid and the Word illustrates that not only did He die for my sin, He became sin, BUT He also TOOK AWAY, washed away, not just covered, my sin, not only mine but ALL mankind, both past present and future. Then why is there sin in the world? I do not know if you’ve seen the true story of Apollo 13 where the space capsule that is due to land on the moon experience an explosion on board that cripples their vessel after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module. Despite great suffering caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, they survive. But one of the memorable lines by heard by the astronauts is “Houston we have a problem”. For me logic says, when I ask why is there sin in the world, “Houston we have a problem”. Now is God mad at me for that? No, I would think He would be delighted in me for that thought. Number one it shows that I am thinking, enquiring, and seeking His Truth. He is not intimidated by my questions. If He were then He could not be God.

Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Today, I believe we misappropriate this scripture which contradicts the Word of God. The free gift was given and the gift gathered the FULL payment of sin. The free gift (Jesus) gathered the full wages of sin (death and total separation from God)

John the Baptist proclaimed when he saw Jesus approaching the river of Jordan, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin (not sins) of the world.” The Greek word for the phrase “taketh away” is “airo” which means to take off or away what is attached to anything. So what is being taken away that is attached to the world? Sin. Yet sin exists in the world. How do we reconcile it in our minds? Again I do not believe the Bible contradicts itself so the explanation is there. One of the things I must constantly remind myself is not to interpret the Word of God through my 2013 American mindset, which includes language. What words were used in the original text? The New Testament majorly uses two words in Greek for our one word “sin”. Hamartia, which is a noun and hamartanō, which is a verb. We all learned in grammar school that a noun is a word that describes a person, place or thing. A verb is an action word. Hamartia, the noun, is a principle or source of action, or an inward element producing acts. A governing power or principle. The Lamb of God took away the governing power off the world along with the wages that governing power paid… death. Jesus own words found in John supports this truth. John 12:32 says and this is Jesus talking,” And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.” This from the King James Version. Has this verse ever bothered you? What I mean by that question is have you known people who have lived their lives and was NEVER drawn to Christ as their Lord and Savior? If anyone of us can think of one person then that negates the word “all”. If the word “all” is negated then what are we saying about Jesus’ proclamation about drawing ALL men unto Himself? (to be continued)

YOSA, Gift Given, Wages Paid. – 2


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I was asked just a few days ago, if Jesus was crucified on a Friday at 3pm, how does Him being raised and alive by Sunday morning equals 3 days? Good question and a great sign of someone who is thinking. So, how does Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday add up to make three days and three nights (72 hrs)? It doesn’t. The period between ‘good Friday’ and ‘resurrection Sunday’ does not equal three days and three nights (72 hrs). Buried at sundown on Good Friday (night), Saturday (day), Saturday (night) Resurrection (Easter) Sunday (day) and Risen by sunrise, the Total = One day and two nights! (36 hrs)

So was Jesus crucified on Friday? What does He say about this upcoming event that will change the course of man eternally? Jesus Himself described “the ONLY sign” that He would give that He was who He said he was. In Matthew 12:40 He says these words “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Since we know that God is not a man that He should lie or the son of man that He should repent, what have we missed? After all three days is three days. Someone told me once that it does not matter when He dies the important thing is He got up. I agree without the resurrection then all else is useless and meaningless, however to validate the Holy Scripture and the immutable, undisputable Word of God, how could we take a position that knowing when He died is not important? Scripture will always confirm itself. We must take the time to find it. Proverbs 25:2 says “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.”

One place we must start is to get out of the mindset of 2013 Western Culture interpretation of the Bible. This is ALWAYS important when reading and studying the Word of God. Otherwise we will get lost in meaning and application. For instance, the days on the Jewish calendar BEGAN and ENDED at sundown, not midnight. And they viewed a day as NIGHT and then DAY, rather than viewing a day as DAY and then NIGHT as we do in our culture. This is important when it comes to counting the three days and three nights of the crucifixion.

The fact that this event happened during the feast celebrations is no coincidence. The most complete description of the feasts is found in Leviticus 23. Each of the feasts has a historic and a prophetic implication. They not only celebrate the exodus of Israel from Egypt but also it is a picture of future events which will be fulfilled. The first four feasts were satisfied by Jesus Christ during the actual celebration of those feast days, with Passover being the first four days.

Passover- Lev. 23:4,5 – On the 10th day of the first month, Nisan, which is the time of late March early April today, every family of Israel was to take a lamb, without blemish that was male and one year old. On the evening of the 14th the Passover lamb was killed, cooked, and eaten during the night. This feast celebrates the Exodus from Egypt.

Jesus fulfills this feast symbolically and literally. On the 10th of Nisan, Palm Sunday, Jesus rode down the Mount of Olives on a colt. He was crucified four days later on Passover.

The first and last days, 15th & 21st of Nisan, were “High Sabbath” days. “High Sabbath” days are mandatory rest days which occur during the feast days.

The day before any “Sabbath” is a “preparation day.” This means Passover, the 14th, is also the “preparation day” for the “High Sabbath” on the 15th. Jesus was crucified on Passover. His body was laid in the tomb just before sunset, when the “High Sabbath” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. His body was in the tomb for the first three days of this feast, from the 15th through the 17th of Nisan.

Enter the women who wanted to anoint the body of Jesus. What took them so long?

Luke 23:54 – And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath (the High Sabbath or Holy Day – the Feast of Unleavened Bread) drew on (the sun was going down).
Luke 23:55 – And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how his body was laid.
Luke 23:56 – And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.

So the women had to wait till the High Sabbath passed, before going to the market to buy the embalming materials and then they would had to prepare everything. It was not like they were expecting Jesus to die. This preparation would have most likely taken most of the day. At the end of that day the women had to again wait for the regular weekly Sabbath (Saturday) to pass as well as the night time portion of the 1st day of the week so that they could go to the tomb in daylight.

The first night and day was the Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread

The first night and day has passed.

The next night shops are closed. The next day materials are bought, transported and prepared but sundown begins the regular weekly Sabbath.

The second night and day have passed.

The next night and day are the regular Sabbath, (Saturday), exactly 72 hours after Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb –

When the third night and day had passed – Jesus rose from the dead.

Luke 24:1 – Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning (at sunrise), they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

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. He would need to be examined for 4 days and be found faultless. Did not Pilate say I find no fault in him? On the last day of the Feast of Passover the lamb was slain and blood was put on the door posts. The last day of Passover would indicate that Jesus died on Wednesday at 3pm and He was laid in the tomb before Thursday morning the beginning of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (remember that would be 6pm on what we know as Wednesday evening). Behold the Lamb of God that comes to TAKE WAY the sins of the world. YOSA, Gift Given, Wages Paid. I have a question though, if the sins of the world was TAKEN AWAY then why is there still sin in the world? I’m just saying. What does the Word of God have to say?

YOSA….Gift Given, Wages Paid


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YOSA?? What is that? I will tell you later… but first!!!

MICAH 5:2
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Today, Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. This religious holiday commemorates the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his crucifixion. The people cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Hosanna meaning: “save I pray thee; keep; preserve” (whenever a person would come to a king for help with his needs, he would use the word Hosanna….. so here the people are acknowledging Him as king and deliverer. The one that is able to help them with their needs)
It was a common custom in many lands in the ancient Middle East to cover, in some way, the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor with branches and leaves.

All of the Gospels report that people gave Jesus this honor. In Mark, Matthew, and Luke they are reported as laying their garments and cut branches on the street. John is the only Gospel to specifically mention palm branches. The palm branch was a symbol of success and victory. (Revelation 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and PALMS in their hands;”). Because of this, the detail of the palm branches and the scene of the crowd greeting Jesus as he entered Jerusalem by waving palm branches, and carpeting his path with them, has given the day its name. Palm Sunday. But who was this King? How can we verify His purpose for entering Jerusalem at this time? Was it to heal and deliver? Hhhmmm!!

Let’s go back to the known beginning of this “King”. Let’s take a look at the angels’ joy at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Luke 2:13-14 says, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,(not singing), Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

This scripture is very familiar to most of us, yet there is a lot of misunderstanding about what it’s saying. Some translations say they were proclaiming “good will among men” or “peace to men of good will.” Basically, this passage has been interpreted that Jesus was bringing peace on earth among people. WRONG! Looking at the world today, that cannot be right. There is no peace (no conflict, no unrest) in the world, the nations, the cities, the towns, the neighborhoods, or sometimes even our own families. That’s not why these angels were praising God. If that interpretation were true, then Jesus’ own words in Matthew 10:34-36 would contradict this. He said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Jesus Himself said He was not sent to bring peace on the earth among people. The peace that the angels were praising God for (Luke 2:13-14) was peace BETWEEN God and man. They were announcing the end of God’s war on sin. Peace now reigns between God and man.

Prior to Jesus’ coming, God’s wrath was against man for his sins. But yet it wasn’t total wrath. Even in the Old Testament, we see God’s mercy and grace towards us. Yet the Old Testament Law was a ministry of wrath (Rom. 4:15; 2 Cor. 3:7, and 9), and man’s sins were held against him. The Law came not to save mankind but condemn mankind. But when Jesus came, God quit holding man’s sins against him. This is exactly what 2 Corinthians 5:19 and 21 say, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation…”For he hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

The word “reconciliation” is talking about making peace, bringing back to a previous time of togetherness. God would no longer hold us accountable for our sins. Instead, He imputed our sins to Jesus, making Jesus accountable for our sins. Jesus became what we were so we could become what He was—the righteousness of God. Jesus drew all the judgment of God unto Himself. He not only bore our sins; He actually BECAME sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Bearing or carrying our sin and becoming our sin are two different things entirely.

Isaiah gives us a clear declaration of who Jesus is. He says “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” (Isa 9:6).

But who were these Shepherds that the angels made the announcement found in Luke 2:11-12? How did they know where to go to find this babe? There did not seem to be ANY hesitation to where they went. After all it was not like the angels gave them a location or direction to go. 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. The sacrifice had to be perfect. Anyone wanting to obtain 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”. On this particular night, Bethlehem became the “Holding Pen” for “GOD’S” “Sacrificial Lamb” in the person of Jesus Christ. How appropriate then that the angels would appear first to these “Priestly Shepherds”. How even more significant that they (the shepherds) would be the ones to first take watch over “THE” sacrificial lamb Jesus Christ. If this be the case, the nativity scene we see at Christmas with the baby Jesus surrounded by cattle, and sheep and donkeys is not a reasonable assumption to make.

MICAH 4:8
And thou, O tower of the flock, 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 (see photo) was the watchtower that guarded the Temple flocks those who were being raised to serve as sacrificial animals in the Temple. These were not just any flock and herd. The shepherds who kept them were men who were specifically trained for this royal task. They were educated in what an animal that was to be sacrificed had to be and it was their job to make sure that none of the animals were hurt, damaged, or blemished.

The tower of the flock was where the shepherds would watch over their flock from the second story and where they birthed the newborn lambs in the lower portion of the two story tower there in the fields of Bethlehem. It was in the lower portion of this watchtower that the birthing of the lambs would take place. 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 four miles away in Jerusalem. Wrapped in swaddling clothes to keep the new lambs without spot or blemish, they would be laid in a manger until they had calmed down. The prophetic significance of Migdal Edar is understood by the priestly shepherds. They immediately knew 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, and He would be there as the Lamb to be sacrificed to take away the sin of the world. Our Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem where all sacrificial lambs were born, and our Lord Jesus died in Jerusalem where all sacrificial lambs were killed. Oh now we see why Jesus is arriving at this time, HIS ordained time, in Jerusalem.

In John 1:29 – he says “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”. So why was this “Lamb of God” going to Jerusalem at this particular time, the time of Passover? What other events significantly point out the fact that He indeed is the ‘sacrificial’ Lamb of God? We shall see.

How Ya Living?


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I want to continue a little with where I ended on my last post. I do not know about you but I want the Word of God to be manifested in my life in all areas. I believe that His Word is true and if that be the case we should experience the fullness of it. This is a journey with infinite possibilities through Him.

Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” So my question is….. How ya living? No, not if you are a believer or not. Not if you are saved or a follower of Christ, but how are you living as far as faith is concern? In the past entry I said there is a difference between having faith IN someone and having the faith OF someone.

When I have faith IN someone I look for them to accomplish whatever I might need. When I have the faith OF someone it does not negate my faith in that person but it empowers me to know I can accomplish the same as the one I have faith IN. Yes, we can maybe understand this when we look and have faith in each other, but dare I think I can have the faith OF Christ? Well that question can be answered by your belief of your position. Are you outside of Him, separated from Him? What does Acts 17:28 say? “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;” We cannot be “in” yet separated “out” at the same time. Not only are we in Him but He is in us. Christ lives in me…wow! So I must always start from a position that I am in Him, and He in me and I then have access to the source, even the source OF faith.

The Apostle Paul after giving credibility to his call says in Ephesians 3:12 that “we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith OF him.”

Ok, maybe some are saying what’s the point, “in or of”? The only important thing is having faith? Hhhmmm… I do not know about that. Let me speak for myself, MY faith has more often fallen short more times than I want to admit. The Father said to me one time, “Douglas… YOUR faith gets in the way.” Go figure.

This might appear simplistic but let’s look at the definition of the 2 words, “in” and “of”.

The definition of “in” is multiple. It is used to indicate inclusion within space, a place, or limits. An example would be John went for a run IN the park. The word “in” is used to indicate inclusion within something abstract or immaterial, such as the trees will blossom IN the spring. “In” can be used to indicate inclusion within an occurrence during a period or limit of time, such as” back in the day” or “I need for you to have that task done IN ten minutes”. Finally, “in” can be used to indicate limitation or qualification, condition, relation, and action, such as to speak IN a whisper or to be similar IN appearance. In all of these definitions of the word “in” what stands out to you? What is the common thread running throughout this definition? You are correct…..LIMITATION and SEPARATION!

The definition prescribed to the word “of” is also multiple. It is used to indicate derivation, origin, or source such as a piece OF cake. “OF” is used to indicate cause, motive, or reason such as to die OF hunger. Finally, “of” is used to indicate material, component parts, substance, or contents such as a scarf made OF silk or a desk made OF mahogany wood. What is the common thread running throughout this definition? You are correct again… SAMENESS and CONNECTION!

When we take a look at the “in faith” versus “of faith” using the above definitions it would appear the “in faith” definition would provoke a question. How long do I have faith “in” someone? What is the limit? Even though I am “in” it, I am not a part of it; in fact I am apart from it. (Hhhmmm, that is good… I need to stop and think on that myself). So, if I only have faith “in” Jesus is there a limit to this faith based upon condition, relation and action? Is there a time limit? You know what I mean. Lord, I am waiting and trusting on You BUT if You do not bring me a mate by January 2014, I might have to go find one myself.

When we are not of Him, or outside of Him, we walk by our own faith, our own precepts, but Paul in Galatians 2:20 says wait a minute, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” When I am in Him, I must have a “nu mind” to see that I no longer live and no longer walk by my own faith, which vacillates and is EXTREMELY fragile but I live by the faith OF the Son of God, which is of the same substance and component parts of the whole. My “nu mind” faith then says if God never fails and I am a part of Him, then I never fail. All I do is win! (..that is a message I ministered on a few years ago.) My faith says I can’t but the faith OF the Son of God says “I can do ALL things”, on my own… no, through Christ who strengthens me. The original Greek text (Philippians 4:13) says it this way, “ALL I am strong in the one EMPOWERING me.

I think that is what the Apostle Peter understood when he meets the lame man sitting at the temple entrance in Acts chapter 3. Notice Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” What did Peter have? I believe he had the “faith of” Jesus Christ. Again, we must understand that His Name is given to us to use in authority, as representatives, as a source. I notice Peter did not pray to God. He did not ask the Father to do it. He used his authority given to him by Christ. Once we grasp all that Christ has given to us, we will see our mindset change and we will not have a “let’s get Jesus to do it” mentality but we also will walk in a “rise up” faith OF Christ. We will speak to our mountains, our storms, ourselves. 1 John 4:17 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have BOLDNESS in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.” I pray that the Lord helps us to live by the faith OF the Son of God. So…How ya living?

It’s raining, pouring, yet Jesus is snoring! (Part 3 of 3)


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PART 3

So what have we seen so far? On a sunny day, we have Jesus teaching along a seaside shore. We have a boat ride invitation with the destination being the other side. We have willing people accepting Jesus’s invitation to get on the boat. We have others who are intrigued just enough to follow along in their own boats. We have calm seas, and then in an instant we have stormy weather. We have wind and waves that are threatening to overtake the boat. We curiously have Jesus sleeping and the disciples panicking. We have TROUBLE. Oh, we also have accusation. Let’s not leave that out. There is nothing like being accused of being unjust, uncaring and judged unfavorably when it is nowhere near the truth. Most importantly we have Jesus who is on board and in the midst of all that is going on.

Storms, I am sure on the sea are no fun. I have never experienced one when I was in the middle of the sea and hope not too. The closest I have gotten to that experience is through the movies. I remember watching a movie called “The Perfect Storm” which is about fishermen who are caught in the midst of a horrific storm on the ocean. The scenes are so realistic you almost get seasick just watching the movie. It is good. One curious question comes to mind. How is it that the disciples are so fearful in this storm? After all they should be used to encountering storms on the sea. Some were fishermen and I am sure that this is not their first storm experience. What is it about this storm that brings them into such a panic? Oh I am beginning to see it now. It not necessarily the storm itself that causes such panic but is the circumstance that surrounds the storm that can bring new depth to the intensity of the turmoil. I am sure you can relate. When you are given a pink slip from a job and it is just yourself that you are responsible for, however uncomfortable and distressing the situation is, it does not compare to having the same situation to happen but this time you have a wife and young children you are directly responsible for. Circumstances have changed. Circumstances like the natural changes of life precipitated by getting older that are beyond our own control, the changes on your job, financial struggles and setbacks and health problems. In the midst of this we sometime forget that God is the God of any circumstance we might face and the circumstances of the storm will not compromise, nor negate the destination, the goal, His word has declared for your life. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God will help you get through your current set of circumstances that you are facing right now. All we must do is WAKE UP THE WORD within us! Bolts of lightning, loud thunder, strong winds, waves and torrential rains were all circumstances trying to derail the preordained destination, but those things did not stifle the faithfulness of Christ.

Did you know that storm winds are mostly counterclockwise in circulation? The winds in a hurricane, tropical storm, cyclone, and any cyclonic storm in the northern hemisphere blow in a counterclockwise direction.

Let’s look at Mark 4:39-40. These two verses are where I want to pull my final three points. The King James Version says “And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”

1 – “He arose and rebuked the wind”
2 – “And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
3 – “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”

Point 1 – “He arose and rebuked the wind”

“Jesus, wake up! Get up Jesus!” Can you hear them above the external storm? Jesus rises up and rebuked the wind. “The original Greek said “having been thoroughly raised He admonished the wind and He said to the sea be silent, be muzzled.” The disciples are made conscious of their fragile humanity in the presence of this storm. Jesus, the Lord of the winds and waves, deepens His relationship with His disciples by using His power in the service of compassion for them and by using the storm to build up their faith. “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind and the waves died down and it was completely calm and serene. Here the kicker, a Nu Mind moment, maybe it’s just how I think, but Jesus says “Quiet! Be Still!” His words are so powerful that ALL of the storms ceased their howling and became calm. Yes in my mind there were two storms represented at that moment. They are the external storm which is easy to see and recognize in this story and the internal storm that the disciples are illustrating. I wonder which storm is more important for Jesus to address. Again, this is just me thinking in print, so to speak, so bear with me. Could it be His main target was the internal storm but because of who He is the external storm recognizes the authority in His voice and it lines up also? I was thinking of a situation where the kids and the dog are yelling, barking and disturbing your peace. (smile) You cannot take it anymore and you just say, sit down and be quiet and both the dog and the kids sit and become quiet. There is one command, yet two different entities obeying the one command, recognizing the voice of authority and lining up with its directive.
One more thing, the Bible states “He arose and rebuked the winds”. Why did He not just say those same words “peace, be still” lying down, turn over and go back to sleep? I told you, I think of stuff, real stuff. Would not His words have been just as effective? I am just saying. What is the significance of Him standing? I believe Jesus stood in order to give illustration that He stands alongside His people, in every situation, to give them encouragement, peace and strength. He does not consider Himself so much, so Holy, that He refuses to stand alongside you in whatever circumstances you are in. Just to know He is standing with you, by you and in you should encourage each follower of Christ. Not only does He stands but He speaks, not from a lazy, I really do not have time to be bothered position, but He speaks from a position of authority, dominance, togetherness and power. Standing alongside you!

Point 2 – “And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

Jesus arose and said “Quiet, be still and calm down”. Remember I said storm winds are mostly counterclockwise in circulation. To be counter is to be against something else. Which storm REALLY was counter to the destination given by Jesus? I submit to you it was the storm inside that was creating the hindrance more than the external. Can you not hear the winds howling, “We are not going to make it?” “This looks bad.” “We are going down”. “We are finished”. “In all of my years, I have never seen something this bad”. “We are going to die.” All these affirming words are creating reality. The more they talked, the worse it got both in their minds and imagination and ultimately their reality. When we recognize the difference between the external and the internal storms we will find that the internal is much more powerful than the external. What if Jesus ONLY spoke to the external storm in this story? Not that the sea had any perception, but to show that the power of His voice can reach the elements which are without feelings and the ability to make decisions. Would that have abated the internal storms of the disciples? What if Jesus NEVER spoke to the external storm in this story? Could He not have called a “quiet, calm down” result to the internal storm raging within the disciples? Fast forward to today. What if He does not change the external circumstances in your life? Can He not give you peace that passes all understanding? Can this peace be so impacting that friends and family wonder how you are making it through and how you are so calm and content even in the midst of the storm? God still reigns over the storm. The voice, the expression of God will still prevail in every aspect of every storm we might encounter. The “peace” He speaks is not an exemption from storms but it is being assured in the Word of Jesus and His plan for you and a knowing that He is with you, in the boat. King David put it this way, “yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me”. Let me add… standing! In nature, storms of all types have created the beautiful landscapes and sceneries we now find so breath taking. Let’s have a “nu mind” set and be grateful for those storms that are in His control and allow them to shape and create us a more perfect vessel to illustrate His Glory.

Point 3 – “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”

Ok here, you have to allow me to be me. In my mind I can imagine at least one or two of the disciples saying to themselves or whispering to each other “No he didn’t. Tell me I did not hear what I heard him say.” The original Greek puts Jesus words this way. “And He said to them, why cowards are you? Not yet you have trust?” Maybe this is Peter’s thought, “Ok Jesus, who are you calling a coward? Just because my voice was as high pitched as an eight year old girl on a roller coaster ride, does not mean I am a coward, well not really… I am just saying.” ((Smile)… I know, pray for me)

Before I proceed, there is something significant in the order of Jesus’s actions. He speaks to the storm first before speaking to His disciples. Jesus is considerate enough to remove the danger or at least the noise of the storm before administering the rebuke and ultimately the lesson presented by the storm. The disciples would not have been in a state of hearing and listening if the storm causing the distraction, either external, internal or both had not been addressed. Now that He had their full attention He says “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” In today’s vernacular He says “What was up with that?” I do not think it was their natural anxiety of danger that He is addressing. After all we are not robots. (I just heard somebody reading this entry say…thank you) But I believe He is addressing their mistrust, their unbelief, while in the midst of the storm, concerning what He had previously said about their destination before the storm arose. Most interpretations of this verse say, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of LITTLE faith?” You see they had to have had some faith IN Jesus. Who did they wake up? Who did they turn too? But they only had a LITTLE faith. Their faith fell short in the power to dispel fear, mistrust and unbelief in the presents of the storm. I am personally not condemning them. How many times have my faith fallen short, or even yours? The strength of our faith is shown in our actions despite our natural tendency to be afraid when we are in a storm.

The disciples had a little faith IN Jesus but they did not have the faith OF Jesus. There is a difference. Now LITTLE here is not dealing with the quantity of the faith they possessed from the Father. It is dealing with the extension of the faith they possess. I am always confused when Christians pray like the disciples in Luke 17 “Increase our faith”, as if the Father rations it out a little at a time. Jesus in His response in Luke 17 said if you had faith of grain of a mustard seed you could move this tree, this mountain. You just need to use the measure of faith He has given to all men. Use what you got and you will find you have MORE than enough. For the past few months the Father has been speaking to me about how about how OUR faith gets in the way. This is just me and I would appreciate any feedback on this, but I can have faith IN Jesus, yet lack the faith OF Jesus. If the disciples had the faith OF Jesus, the storm, with its waves and rocking back and forth would have lullabied them to sleep like it did Christ. Why? Because He said let’s go to the other side. His faith is not dissuaded or detoured by circumstances. That is why He tells us to “say to the mountain” not pray and ask Jesus to say to the mountain. When we have faith IN someone we rely on that person to do the work, when we have the faith OF someone we walk in the authority of that person to do the work.
I wonder what would have happened if the disciples full in the faith OF Jesus would have said to storm “Quiet, be still….. SHADD UP!” Hhhmmm! I am just saying! Paul says in Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Even when we pray and we use the phrase “In Jesus name”, we must understand that is given to us to use in authority, as representatives. Before leaving Jesus told His disciples “in my name, ye shall cast out devils, in my name ye shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover… in my name. You have the authority of my name. With this authority we must not only have faith IN Jesus, but the faith OF Jesus.

Conclusion: Let’s keep our mind on the destination He has set, knowing He is with us. Wake up the Word in the midst of our storms and despite our natural tendency to fear have faith IN Christ and the faith OF Christ.

PLEASE Feedback and comments are welcome.

It’s raining, pouring, yet Jesus is snoring! (Part 2 of 3)


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Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew…. (Uh, oh stop the music…courage, fearless? Not on this voyage, and probably the lyrics to this 1960’s sitcom is an exaggeration concerning Gilligan’s Island crew, also (ha-ha))

As I wrote in the previous entry, Trouble! Hard times! Stuff! One moment things seem to be sailing pretty smooth then the next moment chaos. It comes out of nowhere. Normally, you do not decide to go sailing when you know there is a storm brewing on the high seas. That would be absurd. But on occasion, even though you start your journey in the warm summer breeze, the weather starts to get rough, unexpectedly. Trouble! Hard times! Stuff!

In the previous entry I attempted to highlight 3 points.
1 – “On that same day [when] evening had come, He said to them, Let us go over to the other side [of the lake].”
2 – “And leaving the throng, they took Him with them, [just] as He was, in the boat [in which He was sitting].”
3 – “And other boats were with Him.”

This scene is taking place when all is good. The disciples receive an invite from Jesus to a specified destination, He has secured the mode of transportation and was joining them and there was an entourage. Smooth sailing. But then out of the blue comes a “are you kidding me” moment or as a good friend of mine likes to say “what the devil” moment. Let’s look at this moment through the lens of the next three points I would like us to consider:

1 – “And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.”
2- “But He [Himself] was in the stern [of the boat], asleep on the [leather] cushion;”
3- “and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Point 1 – “And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.”
As I was thinking on this verse, the Father would refer me back to the beginning of this chapter time and time again. Remember, Jesus is teaching the multitude via parables. He starts with a parable of the sower sowing seed and the different types of ground that the seed lands on. Later on in a private more detailed explanation of the parable Jesus describes the seed as “word” to His disciples. On the same day of Jesus teaching not only the multitude, but His disciples also, a storm arises later that evening. Wow, same day teaching, same day storm. Then I heard five words resound in my spirit that I use to hear quite frequently in middle school, “ok class, close your books”. At that time I would think “oh no a pop quiz”. Wait a minute, EUREKA! That’s it! Pop Quiz!!! You know, where the teacher spends a good portion of the time in class teaching you an important concept or lesson and they go into detail and you are able to ask questions and you think you got the concept but then they spring it on you, before the class is even over, the same day, the same hour …Pop Quiz!

What was the lesson? Mark 4:15 – 17 “And these are they by the way side, where the Word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts.”
What was the pop quiz? “And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose…”

In times past I interpreted “Satan cometh immediately” as the angelic character that we commonly call Satan. In doing so I limited my mind into thinking narrowly and locking me into a religious concept which prohibited me from having a “new mind” transformation. In its primitive root, the word Satan means “to be or act as an adversary, to resist, or oppose.” This does not limit its definition to be a person or as we identify, the devil, but it can also be a circumstance, a storm. Now do not get me wrong, it can be the one we commonly call the devil, or Lucifer (which is Latin) or his Hebrew name Heylel, but the definition of Satan is not limited to this angelic being. In its purest, simplest form the word Satan means “an adversary”. Now with this definition we open up a plethora, indeed a surplus of possibilities to fill the role of adversary.

So what “word” was sowed? Jesus said “let us go to the other side”. What was the opposition to the Word? “And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose”, an adversary act. You know it has happened to you many times. You leave your place of worship on a spiritual high because of something said “about loving one another and forbearing one another and after the service you get in your car on your way to Red Lobster and some “idiot” cuts in front of you causing you to have to swerve from hitting them and then on top of that they flip you a gesture as if you did something wrong and suddenly you do not feel that feeling of love towards all mankind but of rage and anger. Satan cometh immediately, and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts”.

Now, hold on, just because there is a storm that does not mean there has to be failure. Jesus Himself gives an example. After Jesus is baptized of John in the Jordan, a voice is heard from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. Then immediately led by the Spirit He is taken to the wilderness to be tempted of the devil…STORM, opposition. The adversary says “if thou be the Son of God, notice he left out the word “beloved”…then do these things to prove it. The “word” from Heaven said Jesus was beloved and pleasing, the opposition says prove it. Jesus did not fail the “word” although the adversary, Satan, came to challenge it.

So in Mark 4, Jesus says, let’s go to the other side… the adversary says “I don’t think so! Storm”! My question to you is what “word” have you heard from the Father? You feel you trust in this “word” but a storm, an adversary, an opposition to what you know you heard has arisen. I know I heard what I heard with my ear but did I RECEIVE and lock in what I heard in my heart? I submit to you the emphasis should not be on the storm that you WILL encounter, but the emphasis, the focus should be on the sowed “word” which you have heard and it being received, locked in on good ground.

Point 2- “But He [Himself] was in the stern [of the boat], asleep on the [leather] cushion;”

It’s raining, pouring, yet Jesus is snoring! I can relate a little bit. I have always loved thunderstorms even as a child. (I know …weird) When I lived in Indianapolis, I had a house with a huge covered front porch and many days I would sit on the porch watching the rain, listen to the thunder and see the lightning. In fact I do my best sleeping when it is storming outside. Do not ask me to explain it, I can’t. People would sometimes ask did you hear that storm last night and I would respond what storm? Again, I have no explanation, so just pray for me. (smile)

But we see Jesus, in this verse, sleeping, in the midst of a horrific storm, where the Bible says, “The waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.” Ok, now He has me beat. I can sleep through the noise of the thunder and rain, but with water splashing on me and around me I think I would wake up. I found it curious that the Bible takes the time to give the location of where Jesus is sleeping. The original Greek says “And Himself was in the stern on the head rest sleeping.” I am not a sailing man, but I do know that the stern of a boat is the rear part of the boat, sometimes called the aft. The stern can carry the added weight of a motor, fuel tank, passengers and gear brought on board. Also the stern is where the rudder is located, the thing that controls the direction of the boat. Do you see it? He is located in the part of the boat that is able to handle the extra weight and where the rudder is located which determines the direction of the boat. He IS in control, and it is no strain on Him, He is resting. One more thing, moving the weight aft or stern is significant because it helps keeps the forward part of the boat, or the bow high to deal with oncoming seas. The bow is designed to break the waves. What are you saying, Douglas? I am saying Jesus has strategically placed Himself in a position to guide your ship, despite the weight, despite your stuff, despite good days, despite stormy days to raise your bow high enough to cut through the oncoming waves of life.

I do find it interesting that the Bible does not give the location of the disciples on the boat leaving me to believe they were all over the place. As my mother would say running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (smile) This leads us to the third point of this entry;

Point 3- “and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do you not care that we are perishing?”

There is another type of ground described by Jesus in His parable which He taught earlier that day. “And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”

One Greek definition of the word “offended” means to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey, to cause one to judge unfavorably or unjustly of another. They awoke Him saying do you not care? The disciples, the ones that should have had the most intimate trust in Jesus began to judge Him unfavorably. They began to unjustly accuse Him of not caring about them. WHAT? HOW DARE THEY!! Oops, my bad. I need to repent; I have done the same thing a time or two in the midst of some of my storms. Now this is important and we cannot miss this. The storm, the problem, the issue did not awake Jesus. God is not moved by our problems, the storms of life, again He is in control. This might be a controversial statement but your crying, complaining and tears do not wake Him. Visualize this scene. All of that wind, all of the lightning and thunder, all of the rocking and rolling of the boat, all of the water from the waves that was beginning to fill the boat did not awake Jesus. The disciples woke Him up. So what am I saying? In the midst of your storm, when He does not seem to be concerned about what is going on around you… WAKE UP THE WORD…that is within you, inside of you, on board. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper”, WAKE UP THE WORD! “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” , WAKE UP THE WORD! “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”, WAKE UP THE WORD! “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ”, WAKE UP THE WORD! “By His stripes I am healed”, WAKE UP THE WORD! “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ”, WAKE UP THE WORD! “For whatsoever is born of God over cometh the world: and this is the victory that over cometh the world, even our faith”, WAKE UP THE WORD!

Now wait… you must have the Word on board in order to wake it up. The disciples physically had Jesus on board who John described in the first chapter of his gospel. He says “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. Then John brings it even more closer in verse 14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Today the Word can dwell in us and we can still behold His Glory, full of Grace and Truth.

I am curious about something though. What about the other boats that went with Him? They were in the midst of the same storm, without the Word on board. What was going on in their minds? OMG! It was not like the storm was only affecting the boat that the disciples were on, that would not be logical. Here is another thought. What about the wife on shore whose husband is on one of the boats that is following the boat that Jesus is on? What is her demeanor as she worries about the safety of her love one as he is in the midst of the sea in this storm? Is not the storm affecting her, also?

What I am saying is the storm that is affecting you many times affects others as well. Super storm Sandy that hit the east coast in November of 2012 affected the nation. The devastating implausible storm that hit Newtown, Connecticut and the Sandy Hook Elementary School affected and is still affecting the nation. Storms are all around us, but what are we doing? Are we waking up the Word? We have heard the Word, but are we “doing” the Word? Or are we “offended” by the Word? It’s raining, pouring, yet Jesus is snoring! Well then… WAKE UP THE WORD!