At this particular time in our world we are under siege by an invisible, minuscule yet powerful opponent. Hitching a ride through unsuspecting carriers, this enemy has swiftly yet stealthily, attacked nation after nation with no regard to race, culture, creed, dialect, language, religion, age, sex, sexual tendency, royalty, pauper, rich, middle class, poor, famous or barely known, political party affiliation, believer or atheist, doctor or patient. Its main mission is to affect, effect and infect. And we must admit it is doing its job. A lot of people have proposed this epidemic is coming from God, bringing judgment upon the earth and going after the “gods” we have erected in our different societies. I, personally, do not ascribe to that theory as it is not Biblically supported. I personally would not want to be the one to point at Him and say to both the “believing” and unbelieving” world He did it! Does He allow things to happen, yes… possibly. For example, when teaching babies to walk, we allow them to fall, but we do not during this process push them and make them fall. Yet when we allow them to fall we also allow them to understand the lesson of getting back up.
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.
One of the situations we have today, not only affecting and infecting the United States but also across the world is the remembrance of history. The remembrance of how we got to the point of where we are. We have lost sight of connection and human brotherhood. Yes, our past has many injustices and atrocities that cannot be ignored, but when we choose to learn from them, we can garner added benefits.
Exodus chapter 1 gives us an example of how this ignorance of history can lead to the downfall of a nation. Exodus 1:6-8 speaks of the death of Joseph, of his brother and their generation. It speaks of the fruitfulness of the children of Israel and the prosperity of the Egyptian nation but there is a problem. The passage states that a “new king” arose which knew not Joseph. Joseph’s name means “Jehovah was added”. In other words increase, exceeding and continued abundance was added just because of the presence of Joseph. The reason that the nations of Egypt prospered was because of the children of Israel who lived and operated under the covering of Joseph. Yet all the “new king” of Egypt could see was a growing immigrant culture of people who were infiltrating his land while completely ignoring the benefits and fruitfulness that they were producing not only for themselves but the nation of Egypt as a whole. The unlearned “new king” instilled into the nation of Egypt a mindset of being overran by the “immigrant” enemy. The “new king” knew not Joseph. He did not know that Jehovah adds. Don’t forget to remember where all your blessings come from. How is it that the “new king” knew not Joseph? How do you not know your history. When the “new king” issued edicts to undercut and enslave the very people that contributed to the success of the nation, things began to falter. Where were the “new king’s” advisors? Were they also ignorant of Joseph? We sometimes tend to believe that new is better so we ignore the wisdom, the taste, the aroma of that which has been aged by time. When you as “new king”, fail to see the hand of God on your nation and how He through His own sovereignty is blessing you, you then begin to negate and forget Joseph. Soon you drift into a state of tribalism. It becomes an us against them, even within the same community. We forget it was the “us” along with “them which was added” that made the nation great, prosperous and fruitful.
Understand, in the seven Jehovah titles there is not one that illustrates that He brings division. It is the nature of Satan to bring the opposite of what the Father desires. Always with the addition of Jehovah connotation there is peace. The Father delights in adding, that it might be even more fruitful. Herbs, spices and salts adds to the flavor of the original food . How is it that we miss that concept in community, governance and yes even ministry? Wake up world. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Across the globe division seems to be the preeminent call for today. The word diversity does not mean division, it means variety, assortment, mixture, range and multiplicity. The nation is strengthen when we remember Joseph, Jehovah was added. Jesus prays to the Father in John 17 His desire for us to be a s one even as He and the Father are one. If the message is division and “us against them” then we have failed to remember Joseph. Don’t forget to remember…
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.
“But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25)
Attacked, stripped, beaten and thrown in the INNER prison; in stocks; bruised and bleeding; in pain and extreme discomfort, surrounded by the very worst criminals, in the worst of places. What does one do? Pray and sing praises to God, of course!
Well, ok, perhaps not for most of us, but these two men had a different mindset. They were more interested in pleasing God than men, more interested in Kingdom principles then social edicts and perils. God had given them great boldness and confidence even in that horrendous, I do not want to be here, God how could you allow this to happen to me, place.
I have not written to my blog in a couple of months. I have just been sitting, listening and thinking on the events that are taking place in our world today. From the circus act we now call politics, police actions, humankind on humankind criminality and greed, acts of terrorisms, we as a people across the globe are in a time of midnight. In the natural, midnight is the starkest period of gloom and darkness and it is made to appear that the sun has gone away. However, the real truth is the earth has turn away from the sun. Whether you realize it or not, darkness, extreme intense gloom is covering our world today and it is made to appear that the Son has gone away. However, the real truth is the world has turn away from the Son. Not only are we in a dark time but also we have been thrown into a dark place, prison. Not just prison but an inner prison. What is an inner prison?
Inner prisons in the days of Paul were not pleasant or healthy. In the mind of the people, prison was equal to death, despair, sickness of mind and body, and humiliation. They did not have TVs and cable. They did not have commissaries and work out areas. They did not even have windows. It was devoid of light. There was no natural light at all. Sometimes we find our lives can be that way. Naturally we cannot see a light at the end of our proverbial prison tunnel. We struggle to bring a light of solution to our place of darkness and entrapment. Prisons, in the time of Paul had no air conditioners or heaters. The minimal comfort needed for sleep, were nonexistent. The floor was their mattress.
But far worse was the psychological and spiritual impact of total darkness on the prisoners. Some prisoners chose to commit suicide. They purposely decided to QUIT where they were. They purposely sabotaged their own life… BUT it still did not get them out of their situation. You know what I am talking about. God did not come through like YOU wanted Him to so now you do not believe in Him. Now you quit serving Him and going and BEING the church. You refuse to pray and bow the knees of your heart to Him because He failed you in your darkness. Spiritual suicide but you are still in locked up in your situation, dead. In Paul’s time dead bodies could lay in the inner prison for weeks at a time.
The bleeding, suffering apostles uttering their prayers and singing the praises of God must have amazed the other prisoners.
They sung hymns to God at midnight. In there location they could not be aware of time so the fact of it being midnight to them did not matter. They chose to BLESS the Lord at ALL times, in ALL times, through ALL times so the time of the times did not matter. It was not just midnight for Paul and Silas. It was midnight for everyone. It was midnight, not merely in that inner prison, but throughout the Roman Empire outside of prison, also. It was a midnight of morals, humanity, justice, forgiveness, kindness and TRUE love as well.
We are living in a time of midnight and the whole world knows. What song are you singing? And how are you singing it? How convinced of you of your own song? You can sing the right words but not be convinced of those same words! You sing “I Trust in God”, but do you? You sing “Great Are You Lord”, but are you convinced? You sing “You’re a Good Good Father”, but do that come with favorable conditions? You sing about loving Christ and Him loving you and wanting more of Him, but are you loving others with the same passion He possessed and displayed. Yeah you know, I am talking about that, “Father forgive them cause they know not what they do”, type of love.
Imagine the impact of the things heard in prayer and hymns on the jailer and the other prisoners. It was a far cry from the wails, threats and curses usually heard in such places. The message, the song, had its effect on the listeners, it always does. The kind of effect depends on each individual heart, but there will be an effect. What is the “world” hearing from you?
What is your song? “Nobody knows the trouble I see?” “Take this job and shove it?” “We can’t go on?” “Crash and Burn?” “Let’s Build a Wall, ten feet tall?
We understand the main objective of chains is to restrict mobility and prevent escape. Chains were made of rough iron that would eventually rust with the perspiration of the prisoners, causing infectious pain, saying nothing of the weight of the chains. Finally, chains were noisy, and that clanking noise of chains prevented even less sleep for the prisoners. Paul and Silas’s chains become apart of their song and provide accompaniment like a rhythm section, tambourines.
Every link became a part of their praise. The link of failure, PRAISE, link of pain, PRAISE, the link of plenty and the link of lack PRAISE. The Link of bad choices PRAISE, the link of right choices, PRAISE. Everything that is weighing heavily on my mind and causing me to lose rest and peace and feel fearful and powerless will be an accessory to my song.
I am certain that Paul and Silas didn’t feel in their natural man like praying and singing praises unto God. They were going directly against all their natural feelings and deliberately exercising their will to enter into praise.
Notice this final point, the prisoners heard Paul and Silas praying and singing praises unto God. This explains why none of the prisoners escaped when the earthquake came and their prison cells were opened. They had apparently been so moved by Paul and Silas’ demonstration of faith in God to such a degree that they recognized the earthquake as an intervention of God and followed Paul and Silas’ leading in not fleeing the prison. What a song, what a message they must have delivered in that “midnight” hour.
Paul and Silas had the audacity to forgive, before they were asked, to trust where they could not see and sing a song that shook the world.
It’s midnight… what are you doing? What song are you singing?
I Samuel 1:11
Verse 11 – And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
Mom, you’ve got a tough job regardless of the role you play in society. It’s a tough world…difficult society…and a harsh reality that we face today. Everything is against the home and motherhood. Today’s mother does not face the normal situations that mother’s of previous day’s faced.
Today you face drugs, alcohol, sexual diseases, crime, violence, divorce, and abuse. Today you have to guard your children from everything harmful and these are things that your grandmother did not have to face.
There are struggles in the home that have never been seen before. There are disciplines in the home that never have been observed. There are pressures in the home that have never been placed there before. So to say a mother’s job is difficult is to say much. Yes and sometimes you have to face down your child with the WHOLE world watching as in the case of the Baltimore mother a few weeks ago. LOVED IT!!
Even though it is difficult how do you succeed in accomplishing the daunting task of motherhood? Through this snapshot of Hannah’s prayer, we are being shown a blueprint for success.
You might be saying I am not a mother or I am not trying to have another child, or I’m a man, or I am not married, or I’m too old, or I’m too young so how is this blog relevant to me?
You see the real truth of this text is not about having a child per say. But the real truth of this text is about the desire to birth something, to be productive, to produce life and all of us whether male or female, young or old, single or married should have a desire in the inner core of our belly, the city our soul, to be PRODUCE.
If we are part of the body of Christ and the body of Christ is the bride, then the very nature of the role as bride indicates that we be female. If that be true, then the very nature of being female says we have a womb, which then has the potential to nurture and produce life. We as the church, the bride of Christ, SHOULD desire to PRODUCE!!!
You must have a Desire.
What about you? Is something stirring inside of you to propagate, or increase? Is there something growing and moving in your belly or are you satisfied with earthy things? Hannah went to the temple yearly, when allowed.
She was at church every time the doors opened. She was on the usher board, sang in the choir, taught Sunday School and baked pies and cakes for the bake sell, BUT she was not producing. INSIDE she was empty and the things that her man was giving her just wasn’t enough anymore. Inside, she had a desire. Do you have a desire that earthy things can’t satisfy?
You Must Pray.
In verse number 10, we see her praying and weeping before the Lord.
The desire in Hannah became more than an “I wish”, it became so strong that it became something she has to verbalize. And she takes it not to her husband, not to the priest, not to her girlfriend or to the pastor but she goes to the one that can open up her closed womb,
We have a desire to produce, and we want to be productive. We recognize that earthly religious things just are not fulfilling and life producing BUT ARE WE PRAYING? Are we not seeking Him? Who else can fill this void, this empty womb within us? We have tired many earthy things but all it was a feel good, that still left us empty. You must pray and seek HIS face! NOT ONLY PRAY BUT SEEK TO BE IN HIS PRESENCE. It was not enough for Hannah to pray at home, she came to the temple where the presence of God was. There is a place where we need to be, this place where we know God hovers. She did not have a “God come see about me” attitude, but she sought Him. Verse 15 says she poured out her soul before the Lord. Hannah, her name means Grace, is pouring out before the FACE of GOD.
You Must Commit.
Verse 11 Hannah… made a vow. Hannah is not only making a vow, a commitment, but she is being very specific about it. Before we are ready to receive many of God’s blessings, we must commit them to Him.
To all mothers WORLD WIDE, even if your country does not celebrate this day.. I wish you a Happy Mother’s day and thank you for all you do.
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!!!
It is amazing that in 2015 we are still emphasizing our uniqueness in race, culture, politic, age, nationality and preference. Why in this age of supposed enlightenment do we as passengers of this ship called earth have the audacity to think one is better than the other? Are we so impoverished in our own self esteem that the only way we can feel good about ourselves is to down play the uniqueness of others? Understand the GOD given truth, we are not different, we are just unique. He said “in the beginning” let us make man in OUR image and after OUR likeness. Let us make man, which by the way, includes both male and female as ONE, not just the gender male. We are made in His image, all of mankind male and female. Yet as “man” we espoused the uniqueness by mislabeling it as different. Once a difference is perceived then it becomes easy to be judgmental, prejudice, separate and “superior”.
In my country, the United (catch that word) States of America there is so much separatism that it is becoming destructive. We are hardly “united” in anything, it seems. Look at how we describe ourselves, Latin Americans, Native-Americans, African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American. Why can’t we all be American? Why when we fill out forms for almost anything do we have to describe as to what “category” of American we are? That does not indicate “united”. I would love to hear my country described as the “United People of America”. How powerful would that be? These last 2 decades our political cultures has been a travesty in how we have allowed a culture of division to arise and invade our land, egged on by religion and economic status. I know that many read this blog from other countries and I so appreciate it and am humbled by it but I wonder do you face the same division? If so, in what aspect?
You can say that is just the way it has always been and always will be and that is true, I guess. BUT there is one GREAT arena this should not be found. That is within the body of Christ. Sunday mornings are one of the most segregated days of the week. You don’t believe me, when you attend your worship service on Sunday, what does the congregation look like? Are other cultures incorporated in your worship? I am a musician and what really disturbs me is the labeling of music. Southern-gospel as oppose to Black gospel, contemporary Christian as oppose to traditional Christian as oppose to Christian rock as oppose to countless other labeling. The sadness of it all is that because one’s personal preference, the uniqueness of the others fall within a “difference” category which again leads to the path of superiority. We negate the oneness of the message, based upon what WE like PERSONALLY.
In John 17:22 Jesus in praying to the Father said “and the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” One not necessarily ALIKE, but one. My prayer is that the world sees a “unified body of believers” encompassing every nation, creed, race and color presented as “one”. That the display of our “uniqueness” is as colorful and captivating as a bouquet of beautiful flowers that will show the tapestry and make up of what Heaven will be…no that is not correct, what Heaven is NOW made of. I do not envision that Heaven will be sectioned off by race, nationality, creed, political leanings and economics. I seriously doubt that we will hear “our” music of preference.
Strive for unity be one…many different ages (but ONE), many different races and ethnic groups (but ONE), many callings, gifts and talents, (but ONE), many different life backgrounds, (but ONE), many different personal likes and views (but ONE). If the church can once again be as they were in Acts 2:1 “with one accord and IN one place (not physically but with their SPRITUAL MINDSET) what would happen in the world in which we all are locked into? ONE! Understand we are not different just unique in the Father’s eyes, and He is the author of uniqueness, and if you doubt that just look at nature wherever you reside on this planet ship. There is but One God ..who is above and rules over ALL. He stands as King of kings, Lord of lords, and through all.. he acts through all, permeating every thing, is present with every thing, supporting everything… it is in Him do we live and move and have our being. God is over all, as Father, through all; by the Logos, the Word; and in all by the Holy Ghost. Through the Word He has made our hearts His temple, His dwelling place. We have been enlightened, quickened, purified and comforted by the energy of His Holy Spirit.
Personally I have been enriched by having immediate family members that consist of at least 3 races and it is a blessing. We are not different, we are a unique family of one…and I LOVE IT!
Well….we’re going back on the grid…
I have been away for a while doing other projects. i am currently working on a music CD and was a little focused these last few weeks. The world has been presenting a lot of unpleasant situations both here in this country and abroad. ISIS is murdering under the guise of religion and trying its best to intimidate. As I looked at these event and more importantly listened to different commentary, it appeared to me that a basic principle was being attacked. That principle is HOPE! The news people, the radio talking heads, the “we should be worried” people all propagate hopelessness. I applaud the Jordanian nation as they said to ISIS because of the cowardly way you murdered our pilot, you have not only invigorated our hop, but also stirred our righteous indignation. What you were hoping produced the opposite effect.
Romans 8:18 – 8:25
What is hope? Hope is usually defined as a longing, a desire, or an expectation of fulfillment. It can be passive or intensely active. It can be for evil or for good. It is vitally important that we have the right hope because the Bible says that along with faith and love, it is one of the three timeless and enduring eternal values. There will never be a time in eternity when hope is not on our minds! Think about that! It is that important.
Hope is a powerful motivator. What we love, we pay attention to, , our hope will motivate us in that direction. Hope influences us either to take or not to take certain actions, depending upon what we hope for. We will generally do all that we can to make sure that what we hope for happens the way that we foresee it happening. If we hope something does not happen, we generally do what we can to see that it does not happen. Hope motivates us to move in a certain direction and to do certain things.
What if we hope for something that is beyond our immediate control? We will still pray that what we hope for will happen. If there is nothing else we can do, we will still pray. That is how powerful hope is. It will make us do things even subconsciously, bending us in a certain direction because our hope is so strong. At the very least, even if we do not pray, we will at least wish, fret, and worry about it until something is resolved. Our hopes, whether we are conscious of them or not, are constantly playing on our mind.
No matter how difficult or how desperate our situation seems, Paul says we can face it with hope.
You don’t have to be real sharp to notice that we live in a world that struggles against hopelessness. If you talk to people at all, you are going to get in a conversation with someone who is going to tell you that they are discouraged. Listen to any of the radio talk shows or watch the news and you are going to hear people who are cynical about life. They think the world is going down the tubes. And on a world scale, it seems that we go from crisis to crisis. Some here acutely remember things ISIS, just to name a few of the highest profile conflicts. And in spite of our best efforts, we know there will be more conflicts. Plus, there have been economic crises.
Right now we live in a world that is less than perfect. This world is subject to a law that states that everything in this universe is decaying. What seems fresh and new one day will someday be old and broken down. Something that is growing and vibrant will someday shrivel up and die. To use Paul’s language, this world is in “bondage to decay.” But it wasn’t always this way though. In the early days of the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis, we see the sin of Adam and Eve caused several things to happen that were previously nonexistent.
So Paul tells us that creation is frustrated and it even groans for the day of redemption. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Now we groan and become frustrated because of evil in the world. We long to once and for all time rid the world of evil. We long for the time where the world will be free of evil and corruption.
Hope is not just an optimistic and positive outlook but also the drive to persevere, to endure whatever comes, to push us forward. Only the hopeful will do this. The hopeless will give up. For the Christian, there is no such thing as a hopeless situation. It is true that we will endure suffering in our lives. Hopefully it is for Christ and not our own foolishness. But the great news is we have a hope even though we suffer.
We as Christ followers have hope because we are God’s adopted children. We can look forward to the blessings ahead. We have an inheritance that is not of this world. We know for certain that it will not always be like this, something better is coming, we will be made new!
And now we come to one of my favorite verses: Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
That hope gives us the ability to turn our eyes away from our pain to God’s glory. The good news for those who are in Christ Jesus is that YOU ALWAYS HAVE HOPE. Through Jesus we have hope. Hope of better things to come. We can know even though this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, things are going to get better for those who follow Christ.
“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.
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!!
There is no question about the great need for thankfulness in our day. I firmly believe that much of society’s ills today are the result of a lack of gratitude. I am not just talking about lip service, but I am talking about an attitude of the heart from within.
Here in America on the last Thursday of the month of November, we celebrate the landing of the Pilgrims and their first celebration dinner that they had with the Native Americans who were very instrumental in the survival of the pilgrim settlements. It is a holiday that we call Thanksgiving. It is a time to gather with friends, family and eat to your hearts content and to be thankful for the time that the year has brought you to. One of the things we as believers should be cognizant of is to always have a spirit of Thanksgiving.
I Thessalonians 5:18 clearly state, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” So we should be grateful for everything that transpires in our lives the good, the bad and the ugly. I know, I know, it is easier said then done. If we believe the Word of God, it says that all things are working together for our good according to his purpose to them that love the Lord. We should be compelled to always have a heart of Thanksgiving and to be grateful. One of the hardest things I have learned personally is to keep this attitude of Thanksgiving. During the month of November I try to consciously be more aware and be more thankful. For instance, I try not to ask God for anything but to thank him for all things even for the things that I might not desire. It is many times through those things that come to break us, is the catalyst for making us. In asking, we must understand that we come from a position of not wanting but possessing and if we have that mindset then we know we already posses what we have need. Otherwise we are saying we do not possess it and it is just in the realm of possibility. But if we come from a position of possessing then we can have an attitude of Thanksgiving.
For instance in praying and simple prayers as such as blessing your food instead of asking God to bless it thank Him for already blessing it even before it reached your dining table. Instead of asking God to heal you thank you for the healing that was already made available through his dying on the cross for He took upon Himself our diseases and infirmities and by his stripes we were, not are but were healed. Everyone who has breath no matter the circumstances can find a reason to be grateful and thank God for life, for strength, for family, for health, for being able to understand your surroundings. You might not have everything that you want but you understand that you have a hope and you have a Father that is there to hear, to undergird and to provide.
One of the signs of the end times is that there will be a time where man will be ungrateful ungodly. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 points out at that in the last days perilous time shall come for men should be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, UNTHANKFUL.
I know we all recognize that we are living in those times but I want to stick out like a sore thumb with the glow of thanksgiving. How about you? During this time take the time to be thankful and offer unto the Father a heart of Thanksgiving. After all, we should be able to give thanks because He has made our heart, our body His temple. I am THANKFUL for that truth!
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)
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.”
The world has seemingly lost its moral sense of decency, love, care, and humanity. Murder, mayhem, destruction is an everyday common occurrence. Mothers against daughters, father against sons. The more gruesome, the more heinous, the more exposure, the more people garner attention to themselves. WHAT? Decapitation and cannibalism has become Internet entertainment.
ISIS, yeah we are hearing about your barbaric actions, supposedly in the name of Allah, but it is also the grandfather who lives a few miles away that murders his 6 grandchildren and daughter, the Cartel drug gangs that are fighting for territory and money. It’s the teenagers seeking to see what the real thing of killing feels like after being dulled by video images and games. It’s the demented co-worker influenced by what they see on television that seeks the same glory and exposure.
“There is a generation…” A foolhardy and foul generation (30:11). It is a generation that curses their father and mother. Now the word “curse” is not a meaning of “cussing them out” as in calling someone out of their name. No, the Hebrew term is means to discount, to bring to contempt, to dishonor, bring their influence to insignificance. The proverb is saying there will be a generation that will devalue the values of the forefathers and mothers. They will count them trivial. The father and mother is not necessarily someone’s immediate parents, because the scripture does not say “parent”. Let’s be honest some of our “parents” were far from being a Godly example and many of us had to overcome many obstacles despite our upbringing.
“There is a generation…” A filthy and faithless generation (30:12). This is a generation of people who are pure in their own eyes but morally filthy in the eyes of a Holy and Righteous God. Note, the scripture does not say “dirty” but filthy. The word here is used for “excrement”. Think dog poo! Great Dane poo not Yorky. Before we start condemning others let’s quickly look at ourselves, however. The prophet Isaiah in chapter 64 says “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags…” In other words even when we do everything right by human and mankind moral standards, to God they are as clean and pure as a woman’s menstrual pad or a baby’s dirty diaper. That is the reason for the GREAT exchange that took place on the cross. “Christ exchanged HIS righteousness for our sins. No, when God the Father looks at us as believers He sees us righteous THROUGH Christ Jesus. So if we think our works will some how earn merit in the eyes of God then we are members of this “F” group. Filthy! Their faith is in their own means and abilities. When one rejects Jesus, they reject the GREAT exchange leaving them to their own righteousness.
“There is a generation…” A fearless and self-flattering generation (30:13)”. It is a generation that has no respect for authority whether it comes from God or man. They are filled with pride, self-flattery and conceit. They think that their own ideology is the one they should govern their lives. The problem is that we all can have our own ideology. Then the question arises which one is “right”. And as we now see with ISIS, dictatorships and other oppressive groups, one tries to FORCE through fear, intimidation and violence the acceptance of rule. What they want, they take having no regard for human life. Deep inside the valley of their reasoning they see themselves as being superior. Mere men trying to rule as the supreme head over billions of people. I am always amazed by the so called experts that have a solution for everything yet are responsible for nothing within in the context of their “solution”. “If I were the President, I would”…. Yeah whatever. The simple truth is you are not the President, so you are just pontificating without accountability.
“There is a generation…” A fierce generation (30:14). A generation that has become dulled and addicted to murder and violence. Cannibalism, decapitation, rape and debauchery have become the norm. Nothing is shocking to us anymore. Zombies, walking dead, real life murder documentaries showing actual bodies have dulled our senses. We feed our society’s psyche this junk and wonder why we have reaped this strange bitter fruit. For the weak minded, it is a catalyst to explore the realm of evil. Do not be deceived this realm is real.
IT IS THIS GENERATION THAT WILL OCCUPY THIS EARTH JUST PRIOR TO CHRIST RETURN.
Matthew 24:37-39 – “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” What was significant in those days? Spiritual Decline, shameless depravity, demonic delusion, increase in crimes, exploding population and sudden destruction. All signs say we are living in the same vain as the “days of Noah”.
What are we “the followers of Christ” to do in this perilous time?
Do not fear, but stay strong with no possibility of quitting. Why… because He has overcome the world, even the condition of this time and generation. Psalm 91 implores us to decree, “I will not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day… and with my eyes I shall behold and see the reward of the wicked.” So let’s counter this “evil” generation and be the “fearless, fervent, faithful, formidable” children of the God of ALL victory. Let’s up our game and SPEAK and declare into the atmosphere the “flood of Noah”.
Luke 23:34 – “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
I have been prompted through various indications to touch on the subject of forgiveness. First, this scripture was something I was hearing on last week when contiplating what to blog. Then by mere happenstance I was watching a movie with family that we randomly chose called “The Railway Man” (good movie) and the concluding theme and focus was forgiveness. To top that, we happened upon an estate sale on Saturday of this past weekend and my wife purchased some items that I went to pick up on Sunday. After obtaining the items, the man who was with the company conducting the sale walked out with me and began to talk about the goodness of our Lord. He had suffered a dibiltating injury and he was in some pain and discomfort physically but he was delighting in how the Father had bought him through the valleys of life. He and I had a conversation for about thirty minutes but near the end he described how his brother had stolen $350,000 from an inheritance he should have had. He said at the time of this incident eight years ago, he had given his life to Christ. He indicated I could be in prison at this moment if it was not for the words that Jesus implored from the cross. He said to me, I heard in my spirit, “forgive them; for they know not what they do .” Now you must understand I had not discussed ANYTHING about that scripture with him but it was to me confirmation to touch on this subject.
The first question that comes to my mind is who is the “THEM”? This request seems to be nondescript, plain, indistinct. “Father, forgive them.” He does not say, Father, forgive the priest that rendered false accusation. He does not say, Father, forgive the soldiers who have nailed me to this cross. Neither does He say, Father, forgive my disciples who have seemingly forsaken me. From His lofty position on the cross seeing the distant future He does not say Father, forgive those who will in the ages to come l turn their back to me and reject your sacrifice and sin against You, yet with those ten words He includes them. He does not mention a specific accusation or accuse a specific person, race, culture or group. Even though He being God knew the names of the soldiers that nailed Him to the cross He does not mention their names for prosterity to ridicule throughout the ages. AND no, He is not willing to mention their descriptive mission saying, forgive my murderers. There are no words of specific and directed accusation, only “Father, forgive them.”
Again, who is the THEM? Because it is not descriptive we can be included. He made room for us, too. I know the tendancy is to think that the “them” is the Roman soldiers and Jewish priests and the Roman government and it was, but it was also you and me. “For they know not what they do”. They think they know but they do not.
I am glad that He made it possible for me to live under the umbrella of the Father’s forgiveness that covers my purposefull and ignorant actions that documents my guilt and reveals my “filthy righteousness”. Yet we do not know the shallowness of our self-righteousness. We think, because we go to church regularly, or we were christened or were baptized or say our prayers or read a chapter in the Bible every day; that we do not merit His forgiveness. We think our religiousness outward performances, makes us exempt from His forgiveness but I still hear Him saying “They know not what they do.” They are trusting in their own actions and performance thereby negating my redemptive work through the cross.
The timing of the prayer is intriging also. It is in the midst of His pain, His humiliate His ultimate challenge that He petitions for “us” requesting our sanctuary, the Father’s forgiveness. Would that be our request or would it be “get them” Father.. look at what they are doing to me? Today what is our prayer for those who are terrorizing this world today. ISIS, brutally murdering innocent people of all cultures.. what is our prayer? Abusers, both governmental and domestic, viciously beating those we should be protecting, what is our prayer? Those who are being abused, tortured, and victimized in ALL countries by ALL tribes, nations,races and cultures. What is our prayer? Father, thank you for your undeserved forgiveness towards us, because we still do not realize what we do and how short we come to Your GLORY!! The heart of religion seeks and desires to control other men, cultures and nations. Jesus wants to set men free to live through Him, free, whole and forgiven. Oh how He loves us…
The real take away is also realizing IF we say the same petition it will release us to live life and not be painfully chained to the wrong visited upon us. I pray this was a highlighted message even if for just one person.
There is a series of commercials that are playing here in Florida advertising the Geico Insurance Company. I love the commercials taglines. One of the taglines is “did you know that old McDonald was a bad speller”? (I love that one) There is another commercial that’s asks, “Did you know that Pinocchio is an awful motivational speaker”? There’s one more that I saw that that sparked my heart and initiated a thought. This tagline asks the question, “Did you know that there is an oldest trick in the book”? This centers around the trick we all have played when we were younger, remember? You would say to a friend or a sibling, look over there is a (fill in the gap) and the other person would turn their head and look. Then you would start laughing and say, “I made you look”.
What came to my mind was the event that took place in the Garden of Eden between Eve and the serpent. I said to myself there is an oldest trick in the book and he made her look. Unfortunately many today are still falling for this ploy. Understand this truth is not relegated to just religion so if you are reading this blog entry and not religious keep reading. Truth is truth. In Genesis 3:1-6 we find the serpent saying to Eve “has God indeed said”? He must first get you unstable; he must get you to second-guess yourself. Verse six says and when the woman saw or when the woman “looked” and interpreted in her own mind and heart that this tree was good for food, (something that would sustain her), pleasing to the eye, (something that would externally validate her choice) and something to be desired to make one wise, she took some and ate of it. Just in looking, window-shopping, can make you discontented in what you already have. The primitive root word for Serpent means, to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell; generally, to use enchantment. This also is the same word, which means bronze in Hebrew in Numbers 21:9. It means shiny as brass. Side note… why did it not appear strange to Eve that this creature was communicating with her? She did not appear to question the source, let alone the directive.This particular creature unlike any other had a mesmerizing effect on Eve. The real spirit, within this serpent that approached Eve was the shining one, presenting an aura of beauty and smooth words of half-truths. He sold the adventurous yet false possibilities but clever left out the devastating destination. You shall not surely die, he said. What concept did Eve have of death? She had never been down this road before, she never even seen death, so how could she understand its ramifications. His beauty awed her, his “hiss” enchanted her and she listened to his whisperings. Question…how many times have situations, circumstances, curiosity, frustration, boredom, successes, inferiority complexes, pride, fame, fear, familiarity, and impatience “hissed” and “made you look”? Why did it seem strange to other people in your life that you, one who have so much going for themselves, would listen to the “hiss”? Smoke this, do that, sleep with them, snort this. How many of your acquaintances tried to warn you not to “look”? And while you were looking, something far more valuable was being taken from you, not by force but by your choice.
In our childhood whenever someone fell for that trick nothing usually was lost but juvenile pride or maybe sometimes a piece of candy or a cookie was taken while your head was turned. However, in the case of the oldest trick in the book, the woman lost sight of who she was. She averted her focus from her position, her value, what she already possessed, to submit to the “hiss”. The “ hiss” of the serpent enticed Eve to listen to him and to seek something falsely greater. It caused her to lose sight that she was already one with the Greater One.
What do you think is more powerful: physical strength or the power of words? Words have a way of affecting us. Words can hurt or energize. They can either bind or release you. Words can strengthen or tear down. Words can worry you or set you free. The power of a few words is amazing.
Generally, when people get their own way with others or wish to deceive or enslave others, they do it with words; they want others to agree with their point of view, give them what they want, do what they ask and buy what they are selling. From the car salesman’s hard sell, the hammering of TV commercials, the relative’s request for a loan, the seduction and/or assault of words is continuous.
Words have the power to manipulate other people’s thinking, behavior, and focus. The world has been affected in many ways as a result of voices. Voices speak to you daily to sway you from the fold of rightness, fairness and integrity. You hear the “hiss” on the job. You hear it at home. Our kids are hearing conflicting “hissing” voices. Our lives are being filled with unnatural “hissing” voices from the entertainment world. You can’t take in the sound of these voices and not be affected. They will cause you to look. The voices of the world tell us that you can pull the trigger on a gun and you won’t be held accountable. These voices promote promiscuity, adultery, pornography, the chase of money and unethical lifestyles. The voices say you can be anything, say anything, or do anything and you will be all right in the end.
When it seems your life is bombarded with voices after voices and your soul is confused, all you need to do is listen to the VOICE that speaks clearly. There are many voices that vie for our attention, but only one voice that calms the troubled waters of our soul. It is God the Father’s voice that can resurrect the dreams, calling and purpose that we have given away. We were created to reign over His creation not to be enslaved by it. It is his voice that can call light into a dark situation. Even if you may have “looked”, His voice will still search you out in the cool of the day and ultimately reconcile you back to Himself. There are many voices in our world today. Who’s voice are you listening to?