Category Archives: African American

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What Is God Saying Through the Worldwide Pandemic?

June 2, 2020

I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men… 2Sa 7:14 

We were all birthed in a parental environment and most people can identify with the scenario of a good parent who disciplines a child.  The parent wants to teach the child a lesson from the disciplinary experience on how to become a better person and grow into a mature adult.  We also can probably imagine what the child is seeking from this ordeal: how never to do that again!  If God is sending discipline into all the earth over His anger and disappointment with His children, what might the lesson be?  It is not difficult to figure out the lesson because we have merely to go back to His original intent and instructions.  Discipline comes when the child breaks the rules or instructions given by the parent.  God’s intent was that man and woman would live in a place where they could grow and mature while having fellowship with the Father.  He wanted them to be fruitful and replenish the earth as a loving family and community that supported each other under the loving authority of their Heavenly Father.  He supplied all their resources and their responsibility was to duplicate His authority in the earth, enjoy life and be thankful. 

When we look at God’s intent and then at the results we have produced, it is not difficult to see why God might be upset with His creation.  We live with warfare in our homes, community and world, and are facing the breakdown of our world even while distressed over the very air we breathe.  Mankind has brought our world to the point of collapse.  Of course, those people who do not recognize or accept God as author and Sovereign ruler over the earth will not be able to see this dichotomy.  When we recognize that a parent is angry over our behavior, there is an expectancy of discipline.  Discipline is not enjoyable to us but the parent is in control and calls the shots, just as we know God is in control over mankind.  The best thing the child can do is to humble himself, plead for mercy and admit to the wrong.  God, of course, is much more loving than the average parent and has already built into His discipline provision for mercy.

With the understanding of parental discipline, we have the tools necessary to understand what God is doing in the earth.  Who could possibly put a check on the world system that would bring every single person to a halt with fear for his very next breath?  Who could possibly make the whole world to focus on something as intangible as the air in front of our faces.  There have been sicknesses for which man has found a cure and there have been storms that man has learned to maneuver safely.  Mankind has developed witty inventions and gadgets to make life safer and more comfortable for himself.  From the north to the south and from the east to the west mankind has majored in finding his enjoyment and comfort. 

While man has enjoyed his comfort even at the expense of others, the Father from heaven has had a front row seat looking into the earth and watching mankind. Imagine the view from heaven as the Father sees men frolicking and enjoying all the pleasures and benefits of life that He has provided.  Imagine though when He turns His head a few degrees and sees hunger, disease, slavery, abuse, idol worship and a plea going out for help.  Surely He waits to see if someone will respond because He gave man authority to care for his family in the earth.  When there is no answer to assist the cry for help, God is moved to respond. “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know (Gen. 18:21)”.

Long after the days of Adam or Abraham, a prophet named Isaiah gave us a window into what God was seeing:

Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!  And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?  Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. Isa 10:1-4 KJV

Because man has responded like he did not see the wrong and shown little or no concern for the weak and disabled, God is bringing the evil He sees directly in front of man’s eyes.  Every day on the news, we see a catastrophe that is happening in the earth brought before our eyes.  We cannot turn away because it comes over and over again in our news, social media, and conversations.  Every electronic device alerts us of the latest news.  Our response is either approval or disapproval.  The contrast that God sees He wants us to see, so He is putting us in a position where no one can claim ignorance and every individual will have to answer for his role.  As our God, He wanted to smell the sweet fragrance of our praise in worship service because of His goodness, but instead there was a stench from sin and evil. Through the Old Testament prophets, God spoke to the chosen people to let them know how He felt: 

Isa 1:4  Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 

Isa 3:24  And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. 

Amo 4:10  I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

Isa 5:4  What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

In these scriptures and so many more in the bible, Father God has shown His displeasure with His people.  Because people have failed to understand the words of the bible through gospel preaching or from warnings sent through turbulent weather; God has allowed the judgment of Corona virus to touch the whole earth. It is as if He was saying surely someone will hear.  He is allowing us to experience the grief He feels when a stench comes to His nostrils rather than a sweet smelling savor.  We whine: “When will it be over?”  We see people at various levels trying to respond to the troubles we are experiencing but they have no understanding.  They can try to manage what God sends but they will have to admit they have no control. They try to use secular wisdom to solve problems that stem from spiritual disobedience. Spiritual leaders that should have led and guided people through these times chose instead to smooth over God’s warnings and place their emphasis on church enlargement and financial gain, making them incapable of solving the problems. They have been further silenced by their compromise with a secular government to protect their worldly resources.  In the absence of their righteous leadership, people are looking for leadership and have found none.  Imagine the heart of the Father who established righteous leadership under Christ authority as He watches our confusion and disobedience in the earth.

Because truth has fallen in the streets and cries are going unanswered, God has taken up the case against sin and oppression.  While people are wondering whether or not the pandemic would let up so they can go back to a normal life, God is observing whether or not mankind and particularly America will understand His complaint and fix the problems.  America is waiting for the problems to go away, but God is waiting to see if He will have to increase the trauma to get the nation of America and others to turn around.  America carries the greater guilt because she has been given the greater liberty to know the Father and His Son, Jesus.

All of the problems have been brought to the surface again and again and have been discussed and debated by groups that are religious, lawmakers, social media, law enforcements, news media and around our kitchen tables.  Talking has not resolved the problems, because hearts are unchanged. We have appointed leaders who will not take decisive action to lead the people into resolution and healing. Some people with greater power have assumed themselves safe because of their power and removal from the trauma being experienced by the  poor and vulnerable, but perhaps they have not realized that God owns them and their power.  We have had bad times before when the conscience of America would be pricked and new leaders came to the forefront to lead the nation into a better future.  Where are those that see the error of our way?  While God waits and the people are in distress, evil consequences disrupt our lives until we acknowledge our sin and rise up to confront evil.   

In the midst of this vacuum of human leadership, God has tried to turn people back toward Himself, His promises and His unfailing love.  Surely when we consider the crises of the hour, senseless loss of life to the pandemic, the hazard of the air we breathe, poor leadership, violence in the streets, and distress over daily provision; we will turn to the God who provides life, the breath of life, resources for sustenance and Divine guidance.  America is on trial and the case is being presented before us all.  The world is the jury and God will render the final verdict for America’s future.

God’s purpose in bringing seemingly unsolvable problems before us is to make people acknowledge their inability and turn to His Sovereignty.  The American Civil War fought over black slavery caused white people to stand up against other white people to oppose evil.  It was a battle between right and wrong and people took sides and stood up for righteous principles.  A lot of lives were lost but righteousness won against evil.  Unfortunately, the anger and hatred merely went underground for a time and has resurfaced over and over again in expressions of hatred that still threatens to destroy the nation.  This hatred today has found a place in the highest office of the land where it is serving as authentic government authority and is seeking to lead the nation backward into the rule of evil.  Where are those that will stand up on principle against the evil we all see?  Has Americans completely relinquished their authority in the land to a rule of evil dominance? Where are white Christians, a majority in this nation, that should be standing up in righteousness for Christ and truth?  Are they selecting majority rule to dominate in power over the choice of Christian virtue they have proclaimed?  America has had time to utilize all of its resources of religious guidance, mass media, government systems and finances to deal with the problems of racial hatred, greed and inequalities. The ploy of the enemy is the same as it has always been to make people bow down to his evil ways and serve him through evil acts in exchange for his temporary gifts of fifty lucre, power and fame.  It is the same temptation that came to Jesus after His wilderness journey.  Jesus showed us how to overcome the enemy’s temptations and serve God for pure and eternal blessings that are valued above gold.

 The beauty of the book of Isaiah is that it tells of the anger and wrath of God because of the evil in the land but continuously expresses the mercy of God:  “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still (Isa 9:12, 17).”  Isaiah also tells us of the birth of the Savior, Messiah and King that would come and Who has come to redeem every lost soul who will trust in Christ.  “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up (Hos 6:1)”.  God, the Father, has put it upon Jesus Christ to pay the price for all our sin through His crucifixion so that we can escape the penalty and punishment that we rightfully deserve.  Now the door is open for everyone to receive forgiveness and mercy through Christ and be transformed into the nature of Christ.

True faith and conversion will bring true peace to our community and world whereas hypocritical faith and false religion has brought disillusionment, poor leadership, division and chaos.  In the midst of all our sin, the Father is still willing to forgive, restore and guide us into His perfection and peace. He has given us the life of Jesus Christ as our example to imitate and follow.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. Joh 3:16-17

Note: Join me on YouTube channel as Truth and Life Ministries with Joyce Reba Payne for more spiritual content and insight.

America Cannot Define “Equal”

May 7, 2020

Vulnerability of Empires

A popular phrase of past generations was: “The sun never sets on the empire”. It was used to describe the greatness of the British Empire and also described a few other past kingdoms. The phrase once included Great Britain’s possession of America, but today America is known as the greatest nation in the world. Some people have described America as an idea that birthed a nation, an idea of freedom and justice for all. America is thought to be a nation where anyone can come and find success. It is a wonderful concept that has inspired many foreigners to relocate to the nation.

A national news report recently described a very contrasting picture when a foreigner who frequently visits commented on America’s internal struggles and stated his nation and others pity America. Great nations come and great nations go. There have been many nations that believed no one would ever surpass their power or authority. Decline seldom occurs overnight but its withering away is best seen from without. History records many great nations throughout the ages that fell from within because of pride and corruption. Most people have heard of the greatness of the Roman Empire, Ancient Greece Culture, or of Timbuktu in Africa around the 15th-16thth century, famous for its gold, salt, learning, and cultural centers that were a wonder in its day.  They all eventually went into decline and serve as lessons for nations that follow.  Of course, one has only to turn on the news to hear of current struggles in Great Britain and Brexit.

The 13 British colonies that formed America won independence from Great Britain through the American Revolutionary War (1775), a victory that started the present “greatest nation on earth”. The idea of free people, free to choose their own destiny and religion apart from a king was a novel idea. America has survived many internal and external struggles but has remained a beacon of hope for many nations and people who seek the liberty it exudes.

The Dirty Little Secret

The dirty little secret that America kept in the closet is that it does not really want freedom for everyone. There was a type of elitism in the nation at its beginning that never left. If one was to look carefully at the pictures of the original negotiations for the Declaration of Independence and the forming of the Constitution of the United States one thing might become apparent: all the participants were of one race and one gender. The signers and negotiators were all white and men. It would have been unconscionable at that time to include in those negotiations women, let alone black people. The coming of other immigrants later such as the Irish was despised. Immigrants from all over Europe and the world came to settle in America but white Americans of European descent had particular disparagement for immigrants from Japan, China, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Asia, etc. Black people fall into a whole different level of prejudice because of being brought to America in chains for slave labor. The noble speeches written in the founding documents regarding God, freedom, equality, and justice for all were the thoughts of European white men seeking a place to live out their idea of freedom that never fathomed women or African slaves as their equal.

The American Civil War (1861-1865) did not, unfortunately, settle the issue of white hatred against the rights of black people in America. Neither did black uprisings, demonstrations or civil rights laws persuade white men to willingly allow blacks into the inner sanctum of American society as equals. The election of the first black president did not signify the end of black prejudice as some had hoped. The women’s rights marches and the progressive movement of white and black women into politics in 2018 seemed to have done more to ignite the inner rage of American white men than subdue it. To be fair black men and other races also deny equality of women with them, so some issues are inherent in the male ego.

The Problem of Arrogance and Elitism

The arrogance and elitism of American white men have long roots that reach all the way back through the pride shown in the likes of Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, some European Kings, and up to today’s American President. From the error of Adam in the Garden of Eden to the madness of Adolf Hitler (whose ideas were inspired by American racism) to the lawlessness of America today, we have seen the pride of men blossom out of control. And yet with all the history and its consequences behind us, men today still do not seem to comprehend the flaw of male pride or the God who subdues it. The arrogance of men defies submission to Divine authority greater than him but yet, as present American politics proves, men willingly submit under male leadership they consider unreasonable or weaker than them when it promotes male dominance. The bible that predates all the men aforementioned clearly states that: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Pro 16:18). Just as Lucifer continues his attempts to disprove God’s sovereignty, so man continues his attempts to prove his superior power. The Lord who has already defeated Satan laughs at man’s attempts (Pro 1:26). God spoke His conclusion on the matter of pride before the campaigns of Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, tyrant European Kings or Trump. Yet each man dared to believe he was different or would have different results. Men keep challenging the Lordship of God and God keeps overthrowing man’s arrogance because he refuses to stay in proper alignment.

Greatness has been granted to men who recognize first the greatness of God, walk in humility, and practice respect for others. God gives us a biblical history of great men, their power and successes as well as their failures for the purpose of our learning and to prevent the futility of experiencing the same falls others suffered. It is the fool that does not learn from history, but God gives us examples of right and wrong ways and then advises us to choose the right way. What could be clearer? God has shown men what authority looks like in Himself. He has revealed Himself as a warrior in battle, tender and compassionate, willing to listen and make an agreement with subordinates, willing to show meekness and vulnerability in the flesh, kindness and patience with children, having a readiness to defend the weak, knowledgeable and wise in decisions, equal with counterparts, a good provider, husbandman and Father. Out of all the characteristics God has revealed as examples of leadership and authority, many men have only learned ruthlessness toward others and greed for more power. Those are the characteristics we see in American male leadership today and that is the reason why America is failing as a leader.

America has prospered while mistreating people because of race, gender, nationality, and economic status but the only learned lesson appears to be: do it again and with greater zeal. White hatred of other ethnicities and the abuse of their children show that America’s arrogance and elitism continues to the present. Regardless of the lessons from other nations who oppressed the vulnerable for wealth; the elite of America think: why not. Regardless of the past repercussions of oppression and slavery, the lessons learned seem to be: do it again. Regardless of the ultimate overthrow of many arrogant tyrants of the past, American elitists see only the wealth and power yet to be won. News reporting and public rebuke along with protests appear to be the only hindrance that prevents the repeat of past atrocities. Poor leadership ruins people from the top because leaders set the pattern that people follow. Past economic downfalls resulting from misuse and abuse seem to have taught this elite generation nothing. Everything that has a beginning also has an end, and the end of good things always seems to come too soon. A bible story tells of a man who had too much grain to store that he decided to pull down his barn and build a bigger one. God saw and despised his pride so much that He declared: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Lk 12:20)” The lessons God teaches us through the bible and history are to keep us from being greedy fools, but America’s fatal flaw seems to be greed for more wealth (“For the love of money is the root of all evil…,” 1Ti 6:10). The fact that other nations are expressing pity rather than admiration for America reveals a nation in decline from greatness and becoming a fool.

The arrogance of America is not a new practice but the same as other nations led to ruin and downfall. When decline starts, inertia makes it difficult to stop. The culture of America is derived from a history of aristocracy and nations who suffered decline from similar issues. The best of kingdoms who impoverished and enslaved people were subject to destruction from internal and external forces because God stands against oppression. King Solomon taught us about the futility of seeking pleasures that lead one’s heart astray: “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied (Pro 27:20)”. The lust for money and power brings its own downfall because its thirst  cannot be quenched.

Equality Defined

The words “equal” and “equality” denote a sharing or dividing with others the comparable opportunities and privileges of life that are freely provided by the Heavenly Father. If God “…maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Mt 5:45)” who is a man to make a distinction. God does not withhold His bounty because of race, nationality, or gender. The scriptures states:

But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Act 10:35

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28

It is clear from scripture that every nation and person who accepts God and does right is acceptable as an heir of God. It is man’s greed and prejudice that goes against God’s will to provide equally for all His children and it is God who pulls down a man and his systems that perverts God’s plan for equality. The gospel reveals protection for the poor and vulnerable through human leaders but when they fail, God brings His own justice.

He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead. Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways: …So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted. Job 34:24. 27-28

At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee. Deu 24:15

The cry of the oppressed and the abuse of a wife are also attended by God:

And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. Mal 2:15

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1Pe 3:7

The submission of a woman to her husband is backed up by the strength of God when a man uses his power to abuse her. The scriptures above reveal that misbehavior of any man in authority against the vulnerable should be judged by man’s authority but if not, God will in due time administer His judgment. When men insist on ruling this nation alone, they carry the responsibility alone for its failure. God originally gave authority over the earth to both male and female and that authority has been restored in Christ Jesus, but even Christian men refute it. Nations deteriorate when God has to come in to judge leadership who dishonor Him by manifesting a wrong image of authority that brings no glory to God, the Father. If America cannot learn and walk out its promise of equality and justice for all men under God as promised, then the nation makes void its purpose for existing because that was its primary distinction from other nations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. Ps. 33:12

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Pro 1:7

Repentance

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:8

March 2020

Time for Reflection

Many people recognize this time as the season of Lent (Feb. 26-April 9, 2020).  It is a time when some people, particularly of the Catholic faith, will spend this time in reflection with fasting as they prepare for the celebration of Easter.  Various religions have their own rites for celebration at this time but every nation knows the story of Jesus Christ and His crucifixion on the cross.  Christians recognize Resurrection Sunday because Jesus died on the cross in our place for sins we committed.  Now our sins are forgiven through His death because we accept Him as our Lord and Savior.  However we choose to celebrate or recognize this time, it is a historic occasion, worthy of us taking note.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  Joh 3:16-19

Christians, in particular, know that their sins are already forgiven through Christ’s death and they may take this time lightly, feeling as if they are ready for the season.  Worldwide we are seeing the devastation of the Coronavirus as it takes the lives of mostly the elderly, whose bodies are too weak to resist the devastating virus.  That alone is a reason to begin to pray and seek God for ourselves and others.  We are reminded in scripture that the death angel passed over the Israelites in Egypt when God came in to destroy the Egyptians.  All the first-born in the land of the stubborn Egyptian pharaoh died while the Israelites went unharmed.  God protects His faithful ones.

God knows us one by one and the very sequence of our DNA.  He made us and knows all about each one of us.  We may think we know where we stand with God, but he alone has our scorecard and our accounting is written in His book.  Many people may confess their sins daily but we still cannot imagine all that is on our record.  God is a forgiving God and the blood of Jesus Christ was given to atone for all our sins and Christ still intercedes lovingly on our behalf.

My writings have been online for the past seven years and I have always written that we need to repent.  As Christians and Americans, there is a lot to repent of as a nation.  While I have realized our nation needs to repent, I did not forget about my own soul. I know about others in part only because God has shown me myself and I am thankful.   It is encouraging when the Holy Spirit brings to my attention things I need to correct while I read and study the word.  I readily welcome His correction and work toward eliminating my faults, of which there have been many.  There are some areas that I know of and have struggled with.  Two particular areas God brought to my attention very recently; and I am not claiming I have only two issues, but I recognized them immediately.  I have been through several trials over a problem area and then realized that in the end, I had repeated the same error.  I had not sufficiently learned the lesson.

It is important to stop here and explain that God is a good Father and He loves His children. He is always teaching us so we can do better and be better to do more for Him in the earth.  We know He is patient because He has put up with a lot in us.  It is also important to know that He is willing to teach us again if we are pliable under His hand.  That means we have to acknowledge that we messed up.  Remember David; he messed up a lot but God forgave him, brushed him off and put him back on the throne.  God will do the same thing for us if we repent. Yes, there may still be consequences, but God will see us through them.

Men! Men!

The sad thing is that a lot of people, mostly men, will not say I was wrong and I am sorry.  There is something about men that makes them want to believe that because they are men and in charge, they can do things and not confess to sin.  Bear in mind again that KING David messed up a lot and God forgave him. God called him a man after His own heart (1Sa13:14).  We should take a moment and meditate on that.  That is the kind of child God wants.  Yes, a Man-Child that knows how to go to the Father and repent.  He will forgive us and cleanse us of our sins (1Jn 1:9).  Then He will help us by teaching us principles to live by.  He is loving enough to help us in private, one on one, within the veil.

I want to take a moment as a prophet of God to explain something.  Many people have said God put Donald Trump in office as president. Surely there nothing going on that God did not allow, but everything going on is not necessarily God’s perfect will.  I, like many, was being tempted by the enemy to express hatred rather than love. We all agree His behavior is outrageous.  So why did God allow such a horrible behaving person to become president?  As I struggled with strong emotions about him, God began to show me why he behaves the way he does and my strong dislike of him began to mellow out to the place where I was able to pray for him.  I still have to minimize my time listening to him speak but I don’t hate him.  My sins are just as egregious to the holiness of God.

My understanding of the purpose of Trump in office is that he is there, in all his outrageous behavior, to show us ourselves.  He is in the most visible position to show us what an egotistical fleshly man looks like.  He has been described as arrogant, a liar, a thief, an adulterer, hard-headed, boastful, ignorant, a poor leader, disloyal, untrustworthy, impatient, unsympathetic, and a narcissist.  The list is incomplete but every man can find himself in Trump’s outrageous behavior.  Actually, women can find their personality there too, but men need to see themselves personally and up close in Trump because men do not like to receive correction.  People either love or hate Trump when they see themselves in him.  That may help to explain why our emotions are so strong about him and why the Republican congress stands by him.  How can one deny himself?  He is their mirror and many people are seeing their reflection in him as strength, wealth and power. God is exposing and pulling down the strong men that have exalted themselves through sin.

God as Teacher

Some things we are smart enough to know better, but cannot seem to comply when called upon.  I recognized my sin and I repented being remorseful that God had to bring it to my attention again.  God is so good!  When we fail the test, it is time for more teaching.  So God is taking me through the lesson principles again. None of us are perfect.  We have all sinned and have come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).  Most of our failures are love failures as are mine.  How do we love like Jesus loves?  He has put love in our heart by His Spirit and His Word, but we still must be converted in our mind and soul and then walk it out.  All the while there is an enemy tempting us to fail.  God said no weapon formed against us shall prosper, so it has to come down (Isa 54:17).  It is defeated in Jesus’ name.

We are made stronger through our trials.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.   And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;   And patience, experience; and experience, hope:   And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Rom 5:1-5 (KJV)

We may have overcome some things, but there is more.  We are being perfected in Christ and we shall come forth as pure gold.   Ideally, God wants us to see ourselves in the word when we read it to ourselves.  When we spend time in the word, God will show us our sin and then we can confess: “That’s me.”  When we acknowledge our sin, God is willing to remove it and we are continuously being cleansed through the word.  But the test will still come.  Jesus was tested and we will be tested.

Leaders Need To Imitate Christ

If men insist on being the leader over women and other people, then men must learn to be like Jesus.  We don’t need any help being like the other entity (Satan).  We already know that side, but we need some help in being like the Lord.  Men were to represent the authority of God.  If God cannot use you as a man to help make your wife and children be more like him, what is your purpose? Every man is first called to be head over his own home and only if he excels at that should he be promoted to higher positions. Pastors need to know that they are either the biggest aid or hindrance to the church seeing Christ; and it is time to discover which through seeking Christ.  In Christ and through grace, women can also represent the image and authority of Christ because in Him we are neither male nor female (Gal 3:28).

Ultimately, God is looking for us as His children to be transformed and made perfect or mature through the process He uses in our home, church, and environment to cleanse us of imperfections and be made like Christ, to enjoy life and spend eternity with Him in heaven.  Christ has come and died for every person and every sin to give us access to Father.  Apostle Paul stated: For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Co 11:2).

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Eph 5:25-27

The Law Still Stands

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I 
am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till
heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass
from the law, till all be fulfilled. Mat 5:17-18

February 14, 2020

It has been a while and it seems that people have forgotten about a little boat called the Ark or its builder named Noah.  It has been a while and the stories of Moses and the Lawgiver are seldom recited.  It has been a while and people seem to have forgotten.  There was a city called Sodom and there was another city called Gomorrah but where are they today?  There was Someone who walked in the garden and talked with man.  He was an Instructor; One of wisdom, kindness, and compassion.  He gave man rule over the bounty of the earth and was a source for knowledge and endless wisdom that man could draw from.  Do people remember Him?  There are great stories that are told, some are dreams, some are fables drawn from someone’s imagination but then there are stories of old handed down from one generation to another to preserve a history and a people.

All the scenarios  mentioned can be found in a book, a best seller written by Father God, Creator of the whole world.  He is the Writer of the book and the stories above.  After giving man the lease for planet earth God simply expected in return love, obedience and respect from man.  The chaos we find in our world today is evidence that man has forgotten the most important lesson: to love and honor God.  Man was warned not to make idols of any man or entity, lest God’s wrath turn against man.  Creator God was and is the One who first instructed man with great wisdom and told man, no warned man, to never forget God or these stories that supply lessons of wisdom for eternity.

It was not long after man’s original instructions that he went astray but he had an excellent instructor who led him back to the right path.  How soon we forget!  Where are the ancestors who used to counsel their children and warn the youth?  Is the book of stories still guiding man or are men writing their own stories and fables for entertainment?  Does anyone remember anymore the way it used to be? 

This discourse started out asking if anyone remembered the story of Noah and his Ark because when people remembered there was a fear of its reoccurrence.  There was a godly fear of doing wrong.  We now live in a time of unjust laws and privilege for the wealthy and it becomes almost a moot point to talk about the Law, which is reserved only as restraint for the poor.

When one hears the story of Noah and the Ark it brings to remembrance that there is a God who gave man instructions and laws to follow and who will ultimately bring the penalty of His Law upon our entire world.  When we remember that judgment and destruction have fallen before on this entire world because of the disobedience of mankind, it should straighten all of our backs and put a godly fear in our hearts.  The absence of judgment has brought contempt for the Law; and, in America, justice delayed is considered justice denied because of demand for speedy trials.  With God, justice delayed is not justice denied.  Noah built the boat and preached for 120 years about a storm that was to come and a rain that no one had ever seen.  Because no one had ever heard of rain, they laughed at Noah’s story, his boat and his preaching.  Much time had passed since Noah first started telling his story so people forgot, but then came the rain.  It rained and it rained until the flood washed away all signs of the laughter and only eight people were spared.  The story had been true and the warning real.

It is interesting to read in scripture that the Lord repented of some judgments He rendered or thought to render (Ex. 32:14; 2 Sa 24;16; Jer 26:19; Jon 3:10), nevertheless, the Lord has given us a promise that the next worldwide destruction would be by the even more devastating and destructive instrument of fire.  Those that remember or consider this promise have cause to chasten their own conduct.  When the verbal instructions from the Master could no longer guide man, He wrote out guidelines called the Ten Commandments to instruct mankind in the right way.  First and most important of those Laws was the instruction for man to remember and not forget his God: “…thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might (Deu 6:5).” 

The second part of the Law dealt with love for his fellow man.  God told Moses to put the book of the Law into the Ark of the Covenant.  The Law was God’s precious words on how man could please his God.  God was holding man accountable for his actions while he lived in the earth and gave a promise of judgment at the end of life for his eternal destination.  He was by no means allowing any man to escape punishment for evil under the old covenant or under the new covenant of grace.  Some punishment is dispensed by the Lord in ways that we cannot reckon while man lives in the earth but eternal punishment still awaits man after death. 

I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:… 2Sa 7:14 

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment… Heb 9:27 

God is just in His rewarding of punishment for evil and blessing for good.  The Law was God’s word, a symbol of truth and justice backed up with His power.  The words that God speak have within them the ability to bring about its performance.

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isa 55:11 

The book of John gives us a clearer understanding of what the word of God is:

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  Joh 1:1

John makes it clear that God who spoke the word embodies the word that He speaks which  reveals that the word can no more be destroyed than God can.  Now if God’s word is eternal and established law then there is no possibility of getting rid of God’s law.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Mat 5:17 -18

Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.  Luk 21:33 

Jesus said he did not condemn His accusers but the words that He spoke did.

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. Joh 12:47-:48 

New Testament saints are not under the law’s penalty because Jesus fulfilled the Law’s demand to punish believers for breaking the Law.  Unbelievers are not delivered, however, from the Law’s penalty. 

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…1Ti 1:9-10 

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Joh 3:18-19

The law is not evil but good; the intent of the law was to bring men to consciousness of their sin and need for God.  Jesus explained that those who have not received Him and His deliverance from the penalty of sin are still under the condemnation of the Law.  The Law is still intact for the lawless and unbeliever and God still enacts and levies the wages of death as the penalty for sin.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 6:23 

The civil law in America is based on the tenets of the Ten Commandments that have been adjusted for modern practices but it is still part of the moral law God gave to Israel.  The New Testament commandments to love God and love his neighbor as himself encompasses all of the Ten Commandments into the two commandments Jesus gave to His disciples.  The New Commandments can be summed up as love; and every sin is a failure to love.  God fully expects us to fulfill His commandments and it is possible through the power of our Savior.  Christ’s  blood atones for our past sins and provides power to live for Christ.  Though there are people in positions of power to enforce the domestic and civil laws of the land, ultimately God oversees every authority and will judge every disobedience.  “…behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out (Num 32:23)”. 

We have seen in history, men of great power and authority who ruled in terror over and did great harm to multitudes of people but they were all eventually brought down in defeat or turned over to punishment of man and God.  Even though obedience to civil law or God’s Law is not recognized everywhere; God, as the Caretaker of this world, rules over every providence to bring all things under His submission.  Some people may believe that God is sleeping, taking vacation or stopped caring, but He determines the duration of  evil’s reign.  God has a purpose even in the disasters that happen.  Everything has a teachable moment.  He may seem to linger long with some transgressions, but we are assured every knee will bow and tongue confess to His Lordship.  While He tolerates or judge the wicked, He equally protects the righteous.  We have assurance that Christ watches over His church and our job is to keep our eyes turned toward the Lord.  The birth of the Son of God into the earth centuries after the prophecy is evidence that God keeps His promises.  He is stable and unmovable even when our world is shaking.

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2Pe 3:8-9

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 6:23   

ooooOoooo

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Its Impact Today

January 20, 2020

There are times in our lives and in our nation where we come to clarity, enlightenment or a revelation because of the trial of past days.  It is a time when we understand why we left the peace, went into darkness and now have arrived at a point of resolution where we understand it all.  It was a journey we had to go through to come out enriched by a walk into a new wisdom.  Man had from the beginning marked these disruptions of time with markers to help us remember the discoveries of this time so that we would not have to go back through that trial again.

Today is one of those markers.  We marked this day as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  We marked it as such because there was a dark place where many lived and it came to a disruption of time and a climatic death of a man who was a dreamer of better days for us all. He was one who had seen beyond the darkness of racial oppression to a day where there would be racial acceptance and harmony among us.  He tried to teach us and lead us into the vision he alone had seen.  We were divided in understanding of whether it was even possible.   There was resistance to progressing beyond the darkness so someone snuffed out that little light that was purposed to deliver us all.

In the darkness of the death of that light, we arrived at a time of enlightenment.  We were brought into a time where we reflected on what had happened.  We saw that there was a light for a brief moment that represented a hope and that gave us a glimpse of what was possible.  Then we cried at having lost the hope of that light.  We continued to cry for a period of time as even those who had not seen it before saw the hope diminished.  But some arose and said let’s not lose that hope but let’s plant a marker so that we will not forget what we have experienced.  Each year we are reminded of the great trial between darkness and light and how we must never again snuff out that light in anger.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was that marker.

Like in Egypt, there came a day when there was a generation that did not know Joseph (Martin) and the great work he had done and so the people returned  back to the times before Joseph’s (Martin’s) light.  Woodrow Wilson is quoted as saying: “The history of liberty is a history of resistance.”  Winston Churchill said: “Victory will never be found by taking the path of least resistance.”  When we rise up to resist the bad we must continue until the good is accomplished.  Dreamers know that they are only the light, not the candlestick.  The light is the brightest point at the top of the candlestick that supports it; and it is the candlestick that must continue to supply strength for that light.  Joseph knew he would not see the prophesied deliverance and he left a proclamation for his remains when deliverance came.  Even Dr. King stated he would not see the deliverance but he gave visions of hope that others would be the candlestick supplying oil to light the way for future generations until the dream was fulfilled.   Thomas Jefferson said: “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be kept alive.”  John F. Kennedy said: Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”  Jesus said: “…Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth (Joh12:35 KJV)”.

Dreamers have hope that others will arise to carry forth the light until the dream is fulfilled but we have been those that have enjoyed the benefits of the light without catching a vision for ourselves.  We are therefore seeing the last glimmers of the light being diminished and leaving little hope for future generations.  We saw what happened to the biblical people of Israel.  Moses brought them to the mountain but few were able to hold on to that hope and enter into the Promise Land.

Joseph never lost sight of who he was even in a strange land and he foresaw even his bones traveling to the Promise Land.  Joseph made way for his family to survive even in his death and he did that by passing on to them a hope that lived beyond him.  He told them of the source of his hope: that Eternal Spirit that is the Light that never dies.  Our people have had the practice from ancestry of telling our history to the children.  When we stop telling the stories of our history, journey and its goal, then the light begins to diminish.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a minister and a prophet of his time and his people.  He took us as far as he could but we must continue the journey with the lessons and examples he left us.  He was not the light, as John the Baptist stated that he was not that light.  They were only a reflection of He who was that Light that lights the world.  We must follow the Lightgiver that Moses had, which was the Father.  Moses pointed the way to the True Light that is Jesus Christ.  Christ is that perfect Eternal Light that we can have intimacy with and follow all the way to the true Promise Land.  Let us now arise to stand in that light that has been shown us and catch our own vision of the Light and Truth that brings true liberty which man can never destroy.

“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” – MLK

If you enjoyed this article, go to Truth and Life Ministries at joycerebapayneministries.com for more insightful reading.

And The Government Shall Be Upon His Shoulder

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Isa 9:6-7 

The Greater Carries the Lesser

The title and scripture above signifies someone with great power who carries something smaller than Himself.  It seem curious that the scripture starts out talking about a child who does this but it continues the description of a prince, a counselor, the mighty God,  and the everlasting Father which makes more sense to  us.  The mighty is able to carry the lesser and the matured Savior taught us the principle of the strong caring for the weak. 

The title suggests that there is a strong one who carries the government upon his shoulders.  That may be something of an enigma for this generation and in America, where government seems supreme. The scripture signifies that it is God who is supporting and upholding the government but America no longer thinks of God that way.  The nation of America and others declare the greatness of America and how powerful she is with strength above any other nations.  America’s weapons are so great that other nations fear its power of destruction.  America has excelled in knowledge, inventions and wealth above many nations.  We sing and boast of the greatness of America and yet there is someone greater than America who carries her.

It is not that America has a god but rather that God has America.  God who inspired and established this nation through the inspiration, knowledge and strength of various people from its beginning, is still the One who hold the reins that keeps the nation from falling apart. The nation is made up of people of various faiths but it was faith in the One True God and His Son, Jesus that guided the building and sustaining of this nation.  It is so that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance (Ps 33:12).”

People from various nations of the world have come to America to investigate and enjoy the greatness that is America and they have brought their own cultures with them.  But if their practices and ideologies ever overtake the faith that is the foundation of this nation, it will cease to be great.  Those that are descendants of the founders of the nation, who believed in an unseen God, must carry on the faith and traditions of a faithful people who loved a faithful God.  Modernization must never concede to the disruption of the true foundation upon which we all stand or we will all fail.

Loving parents always warn their children of potential dangers ahead to keep them safe and this they have learned from God, the Father, who has done this for his children:

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations Deu 7:9  …

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons… Deu 4:9 

Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. Deu 4:23

Loving parents also build barriers of love and protection of which their children are to live within the confines. They know that danger lurks without those confines and God knows the dangers that await us outside the barriers he has built for us.  Children will test the barriers set for them as we have often done as a people and nation; but discipline, if not danger, awaits the disobedient that breach those barriers.

It is a comfort to be carried by someone stronger than you and it is a comfort for a nation to know that there is a God big enough to carry us and all our concerns and needs.  God, the Father, foresaw all that the nation of America would encounter and require and He prepared a course of protection and provision for it as longs as it walks in obedience.  Just like children who reach an age where they want to rebel so does God’s people from time to time.  It is unwise to “kick against the pricks” as Jesus told Saul, the Pharisee that later became Apostle Paul. God taught us through Prophet Samuel that obedience is better than sacrifice.  Though God does forgive and restore, it is better not to test his restraints. God is carrying the nation of America on His shoulder through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and our nation should never forget the sacrifice of our Lord or the sacrifice of those who died for our right to enjoy it. 

Christmas A Symbol of Love

The Christmas season is a time when the focus is on giving of gifts to loved ones. It is a time when we celebrate the love of the Father who gave us His only begotten Son to be born into a world of sin. We celebrate the birth of the baby and marvel at the story but we should also remember at this time the cross that he was born to die on to save us.  It is His love shown for us that has generated a love that we share with others.  That is the love Christ expects us to share year round with our neighbors as proof that He still lives because he is loving people through us.

Christ is big enough to love us and everyone around us and the more love He pours in us, the more love we have to share with others.  Love is not selfish. Love grows as we share it and it returns back to us in one form or another.  People often refuse to give because they do not want to lose what they have; but love is something that we can give and never run out because God replenishes shared love. 

The fact that Christ carries this nation upon his shoulders means that He is supplying our needs so that we can help captivate the whole world with the love He has given us.  We should be exporting the love he has given us so that he can pour on us more to give.  The fact that he carries us is proof that we need not worry about running out of anything as long as we choose to walk in obedience and keep him as our God and foundation.

This is a time of love and sharing and it is a time to remember that God is the source of love.  He sacrificed for us to prove His love and we should strive every day to imitate and be more like him.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (Jo 3:16). 

If we stop and focus on the true meaning of the season, it should help us to realign with the Father’s plan for us.  He planned for us to experience his love and then to share that love with others; and we can do it because He is carrying us.

Merry Christmas!

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A Day for Thankfulness

A day to stop and think on all the goodness we’ve been blessed to have
The memory of things past and the joy of things that are
It could have been different and it could have been worst
But thankfulness recognizes the grace of this moment.

Grace recognizes that God has worked it all out in His time
Blessed to have known joy and peace, experienced love and some pain
To have shared with friends and known protection from foes
God has brought us through it all still with the presence of mind to be thankful.

Our past is a window to look through to see all that occurred
It was not all good; it was not all bad
God tempered it so that we could bear it; but when we look back at it all,
We realize that we survived it all and we are thankful.

He never promised that it would be easy
Just that He would be present with us
Like the poem of the Savior carrying us through the storm
We realize that we were never alone.

Life is full of hope and opportunities
And though we go sometimes from sunshine to shadows
The knowledge of someone who shares and cares
Makes life worth living.

We are stronger; we are wiser; we are more caring
Because we went through
And because we went through,
We can help someone else going through the struggles.

We see them; we reach down to give them a hand
Because we remember when we walked through that same path
Someone was with us
And we are Thankful!

by joyce r payne
Thanksgiving
11/28/19

We Should Never Forget the Lessons of This Day!

October 22, 2019

The Way of the Righteous and the Way of the Wicked

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.   And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.   Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.  Ps. 1:1-6 (KJV)

We have to mark days like this one, lest we forget.  There are days when good and evil are clearly aligned on opposite sides and we have to look at both to see the difference between the two.  We have to look at these times because it will not last long.  Evil will waste no time in trying to muddy up the waters again so that we cannot see the difference.  Evil never wants to be exposed so it changes quickly like a chameleon to hide out among the righteous.  But while it is exposed, look at the evil in it so that you will never be fooled again.

There is a judgment going on now and the brave, patriotic and righteous are taking a stand against the wicked.  But do not be fooled, there are plenty of the wicked that are still undercover.  They stood to raise their voices and defend the wicked in a time of controversy.  We must not forget who they are because some of them will go back into hiding until the next time they have a chance to force their hand.  You know who they are if you have been watching and consider.

There comes a time when God exposes the wicked so that all can see and so that the righteous might have some peace when the wicked are gone. That is the reason why the righteous must stand even in the difficult days and believe that God will, in due time, bring it all out.  That is faith and God is still faithful!  In difficult times to come, we must remember what we learned.  Some people will say that good people saved the day but none of us can preserve ourselves in a day of great wickedness.  God does it and we just lean on His power during the trial.

The bible tells us that “…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ep. 6:12).”  Yes, it is that old devil that destroys the lives of those that listen to his seductions.  But we do not see the devil and we do not see God. They are spirit. Yet they both whisper in our ears and we decide whom we will listen to.  Our lives can look like one of the good guys who held on to integrity or it can look like one of those that has gone to jail or will go soon.  We still need whistle blowers no matter how many times someone tells you that you are squealing.  People who did not blow the whistle helped us to get into this mess that we see in our homes, churches and government, where people have been afraid to speak up against evil doings.  Children must be told to tell someone.  Adults must stand up for what is right.  If we do not do what is right, we end up with the mess our current government is in: hanging off a cliff.

It is the mercy of God that holds on to some people that will remain faithful in the midst of the crisis and whom He will use to turn it around before it is too late.  Yes, the devil always thinks he has won this time, but God is wiser and omnipotent.  He made this world and everything in it. He holds the reins.  Yes, it is time to say, Hallelujah!  It was the Spirit of God working in men and women to save our world and there is still much to be done and many who still need to share their story.

The righteous will stand and the wicked will blow away like the chaff (dry casing of seeds from grain or flowers, etc.).  We learn wisdom from observing life and learning from it.  Don’t miss the lesson.

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.  Job 28:28 

—O—

The Great Equalizer – Jesus Christ

October 2019

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus…There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:25-26, 28 (KJV)

Many have heard the words that the ground is level at the foot of the cross whether written in an old gospel song or the thoughts expressed in the book of James:

Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. Jas 1:9-10 (KJV)

There is no person higher or lower than another person in God’s eyes.  Everyone that comes to the cross of Christ is a sinner in need of a Savior.  Any good thing one may think to boast of is as filthy rags.  The rich man that comes is no better than the staggering drunk.  Jesus accepts all that come to salvation in repentance by His grace regardless of race, gender, nationality or past sin; and they are all accepted as children in the family of God.  As family, they are freely and abundantly loved by the Father; they no longer have to seek love through fame, material things or performance.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph 2:8-9(KJV)  

In the Old Testament, God showed preference for a specific group of people called Israel.  Everyone outside the family of Israel was considered as a heathen or dog (Mt 15:26).  There was a special love and place set aside only for Israel because of Abraham, the patriarch of Israel who chose to believe God.  This special love God bestowed on Abraham’s lineage alone throughout the pages of the Old Testament eventually brought God’s love to everyone through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament.

A world that was engulfed in oppression, bondage and obvious abuse of power toward the vulnerable was the normal way of life in nations before Jesus came.  The rich and powerful exploited the poor and vulnerable because no one dared defy their evil power.  The powerful had the ability to lift up men to places of authority, regardless of their lack of moral character, and bring humiliation and destruction to whomever they chose. God never approved of abusing the vulnerable but the wages for Adam and Eve’s sin brought a curse upon all men everywhere.  Jesus came to break the curse and end oppression.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.   Joh 3:16-18 (KJV)

Jesus died to set all men free.  He left his disciples a commandment to announce throughout the world that now men could come back to God as His children.  Jesus proclaimed for all men that the truth would set them free.  It was not a difficult message and today we have the means to get the message to everyone.  Yet there are leaders ruling as tyrants in places where the first disciples taught about Jesus; and, in our nation, truth and freedom are often manipulated for the benefit of some one’s power. In America, we are seeing men with ill-gotten power change the rules and moral values of the nation while insisting on their right to do so because they are in charge.  Any tyrant or brute can take power from the weak but  righteous authority comes from God.  Righteousness is God’s standard and no leader has authority to change God’s standard. God’s moral law is backed up by His power and it will stand at long as God stands: for all eternity.

Without real Christian believers revealing the Living Christ of the gospel, words are without power to save.  Apostle Paul said:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom 10:13-17 (KJV)

Spirit-filled believers who live and teach the word of God are necessary to persuade all men everywhere that Jesus yet lives. They must do it in the midst of a popular culture with a diluted message of Christ being preached to promote church size and finances.  Erroneous teaching may cause people to lose interest or become lukewarm but the gospel truth preached with power can draw souls back to God.  The gospel message is simple and effective when delivered properly.  The word of God is a transforming message that saves and delivers to set souls free from bondage.

Without faith in Christ our nation would return back to the pagan days of old where corrupt men lord over the people.  Jesus is still reaching out to save souls and save our world.  One believer can turn his world around for God like Paul did, like Daniel did and like Elijah did and, of course, like Abraham did because he believed.  Invested in every spirit filled believer is the same power that raised Jesus up from the grave.  Far too many believers underestimate the power Jesus has given them.

While men of influence are today trying to persuade people of their wisdom because of wealth or position, the believer must remember that all of God’s children are a royal priesthood and have within them the ability to move mountains.  We will all have to give an account for what we have done with our talents and God will require more of those to whom much has been given. Of the utmost importance is what we do with the message we heard about Christ.  That word developed a seed of faith on the inside of us that contains great hope.  The enemy of our soul sets up men of power and wickedness who use threats, fear and intimidation to  suppress righteousness, faith and hope; but the believer in Christ has a new place and source of power:

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Eph 2:4-6 (KJV)

The believer in Christ as a child of the Great King with all its privileges and has become an heir of all that belongs to Christ.  This position is available to any person at any level of life who will believe the gospel.  We all must come in the same door through simple faith in Christ’s sacrifice. He died on the cross in your place and in my place and for the souls of the whole world of sinners.  It should have been us who died on that cross for all of our sins; but Christ who knew no sin, died in our place so we could go free.  What a wonderful Savior He is!

What Christ did on the cross leveled the ground for all men to come into equal position as brethren.  Christ, as God in the flesh, called disciples His “brethren.”  We observe in scripture that Christ came in a lowly estate and walked in humility and meekness while administering help to others.  Apostle Paul said: “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (Rom 12:16).”  Our culture and worldly self always want to be exalted or rewarded for every deed but that is contrary to Christ’s way.  It is Christ who examines the life of His disciples and chooses to raise some to higher callings as he did with the first apostles, where they took on additional duties and risks for the kingdom.  Christ gives no place for any legitimate Christian leader to be proud, arrogant, abusive or demeaning. Those characteristics and others listed in Galatians 5:19-21 are traits that help us identify Satan’s servants who connive, bully and cause fear, intimidation or evil deeds to enforce their pretense of superior power.  The God of love backs up the strength of His people and they have the greater power because of son ship with their Great King. That power is not for self-exaltation over others; but we can, by His power, condescend to men of low estate.  The commandment to love our brethren should cause all of us to assist the less fortunate.  Jesus taught that those who desire to be first will be last and servant to all (Mk 9:35). Adherence to such Christian principles is what causes people to consider the needs of the poor and vulnerable of our community.

The power men use to rule over others is power that ultimately comes from God and every tyrant in history has ultimately fallen under the power of God.  Powerful names such as Alexander, Napoleon, Caesar, Hitler, Stalin and others are only a whisper from our past. We are all like pieces on the chest board that are set up and moved at God’s command.  Our very next breath is at the pleasure of God.  Psalms 24:1 states:  “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”  Though mankind may be reluctant to acknowledge God’s sovereignty, He, nevertheless, will have the final word; and He will use His authority to pull down all forms of evil.  The glory that some men have taken for themselves belongs to God and He has said of Himself that He is jealous over His people and that He will not give His glory to another (2Co. 11:2; Is. 48:11).  Knowing that the All-Powerful God demands His glory and is jealous over His people, who would in foolishness dare take upon himself the glory that belongs only to God or harm the vulnerable that is “the apple of God’s eye” that He protects?  Fear of God helps one to stay in a place of humility and obedience because God puts down oppressors and lifts up the meek while He judges the earth and defends His word.  The wise will hear the word of God and believe in God’s power while the unbelieving may choose to learn the sovereignty of God the hard way through experiencing His anger.  The love of God allows everyone the opportunity of choosing to be an equal partaker of His grace.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren…Heb 2:9-11 (KJV)

But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. Mat 23:8 (KJV)

—O—

We Hold These Truths…

August 2019

Pursuit of Power

The intrigue of mankind has caused it to make many great discoveries in the earth but among the greatest is that of the atom that has promoted use for both good and evil.   Still a mystery to some is the question of what great power created the atom.  Surely a greater power than the atom must have created it.  Search for such power has driven men to far shores, extraordinary and dangerous efforts seeking a way to harness such power for advantage over other men.  Explorers have dived into the unknown and gone to the ends of the earth to find out how things work.  They seek an elusive power that is above them and that they have no ability to control.   Men throughout history have sought and claimed the power of an unknown god while some have dared to take on divinity for themselves.  Search for power has driven some men mad as they have sought to manipulate power for personal advantage.  Great power still beacons man because he knows he has a potential for greatness.  But greatness without discipline is very destructive as has been proven through the power of the atom.

Exposure of Illicit Power

The news media in America is reporting at this hour on abusive power by men who have position, influence and wealth above average and who use it to engage in illegal and lascivious acts against the most vulnerable in our society. These men are discovering too that their undisciplined desires have the ability to disrupt their position of power.  And while they should be held accountable for their actions; their position, wealth and power provides them a shield and means of escape from being held accountable to those they consider beneath their status.   Their attempt of a god-like cover of their actions assumes that there is no God watching and measuring their deeds. The media has unveiled for us the illicit sexual exploitation by the hierarchy of the Catholic, Pentecostal, Evangelical, and Mormon churches.  From the Bernie Madoff and Enron financial debacles to those of present day business leaders, we have seen business leaders corrupt with power and wealth exceed the boundaries of decency and morality.  American government leaders are being exposed daily for corrupt use of government power for personal advancement.  Men of corrupt minds have not only been found to cause unwilling women to submit to their undisciplined sexual desires but the Jeffrey Epstein prosecution reveals that they have gone on to organize hidden groups of the rich and famous where they cause innocent children to submit their deprave desires.  Corruption is so pervasive until these leaders are establishing their own exploits as normal while casting off the guardrails of integrity and truth on which the nation set as its standard.  World history is replete with stories of great military, religious and civil leaders who ruled the world and yet it all tumbled down through abuse of power.  Biblical Moses warned tribes of Israel that if they disobeyed God their sins would find them out (Nu. 32:23).  In the New Testament, Matthew tells us that when one is cleansed of evil but goes back into sin, the repercussions of evil reaped is seven times worse than before(Mt. 12:45).  America is seeing a depravity in leadership because God is exposing it and because America is now imitating the type of sinful autocrats who ruled over peasants in Europe.  America should be moving forward, not backward.  The accumulation of wealth in business, religion and government has caused callousness toward everyday citizens who have little recourse against tyrannical rule, reminisce of European rule over peasants.

Foundation of American Power

The colonists to America and their forefathers had seen tyrannical abuse played out in their lives and were sick of the oppression of overlords who pillaged the poor to fuel their extravagance.  They sought a better life in the New World away from the ruthless power of European kings and kingdoms.  They realized that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Like most things, power can be used for good or evil.  Some European religious believers had caught a glimpse of true greatness in their encounter with God and were willing to pursue it at all cost. (Ps. 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.)  They risked their lives to pursue something greater than the corrupt power of their nation.  They imagined a life where God reigned and where a liberty and freedom they had never experienced could be enjoyed.  While enlightened with this pursuit, they penned these words:

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

 “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

The United States of America was established with very noble ideas derived from scriptural convictions and oppressive European experiences.  They had seen the ability of even Christian governments ruled by totalitarian leaders corrupt the very best of intentions by greed.  They, therefore, thought to bind themselves to an agreement where citizens could rise up in protest, denounce and remove corrupt leaders.   It must have been beyond their imagination to foresee a time where a free people would strive to return to the sick society they had fled.  The sorrow of our nation of America is that having found the comfort of this nation, few men will peril their lives like the original colonists who risked life and limb to resist corruption and pursue righteousness at all costs.  Americans believe they have an inherited right to a life of ease, freedom and wealth because their forefathers fought for it, yet Christianity and the law both make us aware of those who would subvert the rights and privileges of others for their own benefits.

Corrupt Power

While men of power in the nation use their position, wealth and authority to overwhelm the rights of everyday citizens, it is true that both the American legal system and Christianity grant liberties to the individual citizen to protest solo or with others and remove corrupt leaders.  The legal system authorizes it and the bible compels it.  The only question that remains is whether or not Americans still have the will to fight against evil.  It appears the seeking of gold has corrupted even the most disciplined mind.  America above every other nation has the tools necessary to insist on truth and integrity in its government, church and business communities; and we must not allow men of power to suppress that right.  God will stand with us if we stand with Him.  Our nation has the witness of corruption in other nations, people and times throughout history as a lesson to avoid the same destructive path.  No other nation has had the opportunity, liberty and knowledge that Americans possess to maintain its freedom as a people.

With a wealth of advantages, Americans have, nevertheless, slipped back into the worse sins of their European predecessors.  That is why the Europeans can look on America with such disdain, because there is no excuse for falling into the same sins.  Britain had already fought wars for the right to be Christian, welcomed ethnic groups and had denounced slavery.  Their great sin was aristocracy, maintaining wealth and privilege for only the few, is the current snare of American elites.

There has always been a temptation and problem of strong and powerful leaders abusing the most vulnerable but the American establishment of democracy for the exercise true liberty and faith in Christ was supposed to change that.  God allowed European peasants to catch a vision of Him, liberty, and a place of freedom but it has quickly been returned to the mire of the past oppression.  Without discipline, a close relationship and adherence to the Lord, freedom turns into lasciviousness.  We saw it displayed at the foot of the Mount Sinai when Moses went up to commune with God.  As soon as Moses was gone, the children began to play and choose other gods.  And now that America has chosen to push God to the background, to serve money and pleasure rather than God, the leaders have decided to give the people a new god and rules like Aaron did for the children of Israel.  But God, who is in covenant with the people of America through signed declarations and prayers, will have the last word.  God directed Prophet Elijah to denounce the false god called Baal who the people had set up as their new god (1Ki 18).  In a test of truth, God was proven All-powerful and all the false prophets were humiliated and killed.  Baal was an ancient god of the biblical Canaanites.  This false god was thought to be a god of fertility and the people offered gifts to Baal to prosper in areas of lack. They did animal and human sacrifice to prosper rather than depending on God for their supply.  Much like today, people are sinning and choosing to serve other gods because they want things God has not yet given them.  The Israelites would choose a false god or gods to satisfy their greed for things and even Christians today are choosing a god of wealth and material things over the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  The name of this new god is called prosperity; new name, same god.  The new Aarons have set up gods to please the people’s lust.  It’s an old story with a familiar ending.  A lot of lives were lost before the people of Israel returned to the True God.  Christ has come so that every individual can be a child of God and inherit the wealth of Father God, their King (Jo. 3:16).  We can expect God to pull down the foundation of lies in America that has tried to take the place of truth and we can expect God to pull down the false god of money that America has become ensnared with.   God has not changed His First Commandment that we should have no other God but Him or bow down to worship other gods.  How long will it take and how many lives will be lost before America returns to her God?

Encouragement to Stay the Course

It is important for America to remember:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? Heb 12:6-7 (KJV)

It is our lust for things God has not yet given us that tempts us to exceed the boundaries of God’s provision but if we obey and wait on the Lord’s timing we can have His favor and those things too.  May God’s mercy and compassion remain with our nation until we willingly return to His grace!

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Ps. 33:12)