Category Archives: Christians

A CONTROVERSIAL JESUS!

December 2016

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, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6

At this time when we are celebrating the coming of Baby Jesus, we must remember: He is not a baby anymore. Jesus entered the earth as a vulnerable human infant, lived a normal human life, was guided by humans for 30 years but yet this baby came for a crucial life and death mission on behalf of God, the Father. Yes, this little baby boy came to die on the cross for your salvation and mine.

Many people express great love for this little baby at Christmas who will not accept this same baby in His adulthood. The story of Baby Jesus is so full of joy, hope, love and the magic of Christmas as if it was a fairy tale to be told to starry eyed children once a year. It does illustrate the great love of God and it was a gift to bring joy and hope to a troubled world. Much more than a fairy tale to be recited to children once a year though, it was an introductory to a new life for all mankind who would receive Him. Even in His infancy, there were those that set out to take his life.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the miracle of His birth and the mission of His Father were not important to the religious leaders of the temple. Though heralded in hope by the people as a King their hearts were soon turned to shout: “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” They were now rejecting the King of King and Lord of Lords that the Father had sent to be King of the Jews. He was controversial Savior. Those that were the governmental authority, Roman Government, had no need of a peasant king. Those that were religious leaders were well established in their religious positions and did not welcome Him or His new doctrine. Those that had experienced His miracles and healing in an instant turned their backs on Him. He was a controversial Jesus.

Jesus did not come to say that all was well and continue to live in peace and hope. Jesus came to turn things upside down. He came to be a messenger for the Father and to say that God was not pleased with their ways. God had called His children to be a royal priesthood in the land and an instrument of change but they had compromised with the people and become idolatrous. God had called them to set the captive free but they had instead extorted and imprisoned them. They had not obeyed the voice of the Father, nor had they welcomed the Savior of the World into their midst. They found him to be a stranger among them. They found him to be an interference with their ways. They found him to be an enemy because He did not agree with the religious system they had set up. Jesus came to do the will of the Father and some changes had to be made. He came to be a light for those that sat in darkness and their oppressors would not be happy about it.

This little baby had come to be a light and truth at a time when darkness was preferred and falsehood was accepted as the truth. He came to pull down the lie and to establish the truth of the Father. So he was not received by the leaders when he rode into Jerusalem, Though welcomed for a moment by some, He was rejected and cast out. We must remember the reason Jesus came: to deliver us from darkness. And we must remember the words that He spoke: the Kingdom of God is come upon you.

In this time when Christianity has become known to everyone and many assume they are living in the Christian way, we must remember Jesus came at a similar time when the Jews thought they were living according to the Father. But somehow they had allowed the truth to be counterfeited and they had established a religious way that was accepted by all but in error.

When we celebrate the coming of the Savior into the world we must remember He is not a baby anymore and that He came to turn this world upside down. Are we accepting of the message that this baby has come to bring? Are we accepting of the changes He want to bring to our lives? Are we willing to accept the baby but not the Savior He would become? Do we accept Him fully from the miracle birth to the horror of the cross? Do we accept only His beauty but shone His shame? Are we willing to embrace His entrance into our lives to turn it upside down for God?

Jesus is no longer a baby in the crib. He is a controversial Jesus that many do not want to receive as their Lord and Master. He said He did not come to bring peace but a sword (Mat 10:34). Can we welcome this controversial Jesus? Have we accepted this controversial Jesus in our hearts? Is He welcome to come into our homes to correct that which is wrong and establish a new throne dedicated to the Father? Do we welcome this Jesus who will destroy evil and bring in its place truth, love and well being? Do we welcome this controversial Jesus who has come to set the captive free or do we want merely to worship the Baby Jesus as a symbol love and peace?

Jesus is no longer a baby in a manger; He is a controversial Jesus. Not all people welcome His message or receive His love because they do not want to change. He is not an ornament; He came to work in our hearts. From the very beginning, He represented truth and He is still demanding truth today. So, let’s celebrate Christmas as the birth of the Savior in the true spirit of love the Father showed us. He gave us the best gift: His only begotten Son. Let’s celebrate Christmas with right hearts and truth. This is a time to celebrate the miracle that God gave us. This is a time when all hearts are soften to receive the baby so it is a wonderful time to remember that He came to save us and allow our hearts to be changed. While we are experiencing peace within ourselves and expressing it toward others, let’s remember that this is a time of hope that life can be improved and we can receive the liberty that Jesus came to give us. Jesus came to save the whole world and even those that do not look like us, talk like us, live like us are welcomed into His love. Yes, Christ has come. Yes, He is the Savior of the World. Yes, He is love. He is all that and more. Let’s embrace Him fully for who He is and the message He came to bring. If we can receive Him into our hearts and then live out His message to the world, then there can be: “Peace on earth and good will toward men.” He is not a baby anymore; He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

America Has a Monarchical Complex

America has come full circle.  A people descendant from those that once rebelled against their homeland of England to be individuals rather than subjects has proven to be fickle or bipolar.  After over 200 years of demanding individual rights and discarding the ideas of monarchy/aristocracy and communism, the nation now appears to want a bit of both.  America believes in having equal rights and provision for everyone but she now wants a monarchical/aristocracy personality to administer it.  Its people have become too individualistic and divided and demand a strong hand for leadership.  America wants a king or queen!  Never mind integrity, right or wrong; the only question is who best would serve as this new monarchical ruler.

Our nation has been unique in the western hemisphere because of choosing democracy, a system of rule that allows its citizens to have a voice in the governing power over them.  The founders of the nation had seen the confusion, tyranny, greed of rulers and poverty for citizens that were produced when one person solely had his or her way in governing a people.  So the founders used wisdom in dividing the power structure of the developing nation into the three sectors of legislative, judicial and administrative governing authority and gave the deciding voice ultimately to the people as they chose their leaders. American citizens have enjoyed great freedom and financial benefits under democracy as a form of government while many surrounding nations are still subjected to the rule of a single person or party and experience great poverty under their monarchy, aristocracy or dictator type of government.

When the American people fell into a time of great poverty during the Great Depression, our three-party governmental system approved a system of provision for its citizens that put food on everyone’s table.  When threaten by war, our three-party political system made the united decision with the people’s approval to go to war and defend the nation.  When the people protested the horror of unjust war and burden of its cost, our government leaders had to listen and consider cessation of war. The nation permits any qualified citizen the opportunity to become political leader or president. Corrupt leaders can expect to be exposed and prosecuted. Citizens have the right to be whatever they desire and are willing to work for while having their voice heard.  This has been the American way of life.

In any place where there is plenteous supply and inadequate accountability, people can become dependent subject to the crafty who boldly plunder the defenseless.  While the U.S. government defended the rights of the poor in America, some level of balance was maintained.  But the persuasion of wealthy companies using lobbying and payoffs to influence congressional leaders, media slant, and financing of political candidates have caused some to gain power and their way in U.S. society.   The powerlessness of people to prevail against an overpowering wealthy sector that deliberately attack the people’s rights and persuade government toward their efforts have caused the people to crave strong leadership in government for their protection.

History has always worked as a preventative weapon to keep us from repeating the bad judgment of the past.  But a people at ease and rest tend to ignore their required responsibility of ensuring sound government and leadership while they are in the midst of enjoying their leisure and pleasures.  Over two hundred years of freedom has dulled the minds of American citizens about the founding of this nation from oppressive monarchical rule in Europe and American rights have been taken for granted.  Now that the nation is headed back to that same kind of oppressive government, American citizens are seeking an answer in the same proven system of erroneous monarchical-style leadership that was previously experienced in Europe.  This error shows that our nation has failed to rehearse our history for the people and uphold these learned lessons in our school textbooks, literature and media. We hear the age-old cry: “Give us a king to judge us” (1Sa 8:6).

The primary reason the nation has arrived at its present predicament though is the failure of moral leadership which has always come through our churches.  The wealthy have influenced our political leaders but that influence has also subjected our moral leaders to laws and persuasion that bind the voice of truth through the preached word.  It was the strong voice of religious leaders that influenced the early founders and politicians of the nation in moral guidance. Laws and policies pertaining to “equal rights for all” were derived from the promises and values taken from bible scriptures that kept the majority of American citizens and politicians convicted enough to follow a moral path. The silence of preachers and their failure to confront sin and immorality in all areas of our civilian life have given license to the rise of immoral leaders from an immoral population who covet wealth as incentive rather than righteous leadership.  We have witnessed one by one the compromise of our leaders in politics, business and ministry as they sought wealth and pleasure over a life of integrity and solemn leadership.

America was begun with strong desires for individual rights, religious freedom, fair taxes and equality for all people.  These rights were promoted through the commitment of strong God-fearing, bible believing citizens who became preachers, business owners and politicians.  Now that our nation is refusing the religious and spiritual aspects of our past, we are to seeing a quickening downward spiral in morality and politics of the nation.

Where the nation started out proclaiming itself to be “One Nation under God” and seeking God through congressional and public prayer for guidance, it has now decided to throw off trust in God in favor of the personal guidance of a leader and his or her individual beliefs.  Whereas God taught us to have no other God before Him and expected the nation to evolve into a place where it realized the need for every person to have integrity and God’s personal guidance through Christ, the nation has instead decided consolidate its voice behind the head and heart of one person without any proof of a relationship with God. God rightly prophesied today’s dilemma:

“And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” 1Sa 8:7

God went on to advise Samuel to tell the people what kind of leader they would have because of asking for a human monarchical leader or king.  God, who promised to reign over them as Lord and supply all their needs with love and kindness, was rejected for a trust in man and his governmental rule over them.  We have seen a lean toward human monarchical rule in our churches for years as one-person-leadership has become the rule rather than the multi-level, multi-leader style leadership established by Christ (Eph 4:11).  Even God reigns through a three-person agreement of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We have seen the advantages and disadvantages of man’s rule as president and politicians as they have led us according to their values.  We have the advantage of knowing what kind of government we can expect from the candidates of our choice for president and lower political offices through their political statements and reports through the media.

American has come full circle by rejecting God and the best example thus far for civilian rule under God’s authority.  This nation has become more like the nations it was formed from rather than the nation it set out to be. The warnings of the forefathers have been ignored and the failed example of past nations has not deterred our people from following the same path. There is always an opportunity and hope of turn around from a destructive path; but regardless of what happens from this point forward, we all can know that we cast our vote and made our choice.

 

Why America Must Go Through the Fire

July 2016

There are many people coming from professional, religious, political and social backgrounds who predict trouble ahead for the nation of America and that it is destined to be devastating. Some have dared say that America is being judged for past and present sins against God. Our nation has rejected the title of “Christian Nation” and has chosen to throw off all supreme guidance by God. The religious community is in disarray, decline and confusion over what to do because of its failure to stay in alignment with God. No one seems to dispute that trouble is ahead and some are assuming the reigns of power to plot an overcoming path according to their own values.

Is God in Control? If So, Who Then Can Divert His Ultimate Plan for the Nation?

There is no doubt that the nation of America was founded by men of faith who sought to be free from the tyranny of a domineering church and government that prohibited man’s personal liberty to follow God and conscience. The personal writings of the framers of the Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America testify of their faith in God as Creator. Christopher Columbus, a discoverer of America, and George Washington, general and first president of America, were men of faith. Devoted leaders of many Christian religions entered the land and dedicated it to God. The name of God and Christ was called upon by men such as General George Washington during distress in war and by many others since who saw miracles wrought by God on behalf of the nation. Washington was known to have received a divine visitation and prophesy for the new nation.

Not only is God sovereign and in control; but we, as Americans, made a covenant and promise to Him to walk in obedience to His word and submit to His will. When we were weak and humble in infancy, we declared our allegiance to God in public gatherings, on our monuments, public buildings and money. Now in our strength and prosperity, we have dared to tell God how things are done.

If Americans Made an Oath To God and He Accepted It, Who Then Can Break That Bond?

The bible is our guidebook for obedience with God. The bible is written in such a manner that it tells us of our creation as humans, God’s purpose for us, our journey with Him, and the end of all things. There is no point in our lives as individuals or nation where we cannot find direction or solace in the scriptures. We are always counseled to call upon God in times of need. If we walk contrary to God, the path of our demise is also written in the pages of the bible. We are given two paths: to walk with God and live or walk in disobedience and die. Blood covenants, like ours sealed with the blood of Jesus, are only broken by the death of one of the parties; and God, of course, cannot die. God’s will for us is to live in obedience and prosper. America has seen great prosperity through many difficulties and trials because she continued to pursue God. However, now our great leaders do not want to continue the practice of pledging our allegiance to God. Great wealth and prosperity often leads one to a spirit of pride and arrogance against God and that spirit has taken forefront in the leadership of America.

How Will God Respond to America’s Rebellion?

The answer to that question is also written in the pages of the bible. America is not the first nation to start out in faith and turn its back on God. Other deteriorating and some long destroyed or forgotten nations have followed this path. World history and the bible show clearly the path ahead if our nation continues its present path of defying the God that made it great.

I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? Lk 12:49

The uniqueness of America is its origin and foundation rooted in faith in God and Jesus Christ. No other nation has had this unique experience of being formed and led by God, except the nation of Israel. Therefore, the story of Israel is a lesson that America can examine and see its claim to the protection of God, its punishment for disobedience and its destiny.

How Does God Respond to Broken Covenant?

God declared He was married to Israel but also called her a backsliding whore when she went into disobedience and prostituted herself with other gods. We see in scriptures the sufferings of Israel as she rebelled again and again while pledging allegiance to false gods. We see in scripture and history the sufferings of the Jewish people even to this day. Yet the wisdom of American leaders has led the nation down this same path.

The difference between biblical Israel and America is Jesus Christ. America as a nation from its beginning acknowledged Jesus Christ as Savior. That is something Israel never did, even to this day. Accepting Jesus Christ as Savior puts one on the mercy and grace side of God and He counts the suffering of Jesus Christ as payment for disobedience when we repent. That is the different path that Christians follow through Jesus Christ to reach God, the Father. God walks with us every step on our path if we follow His directions. Even our disobedience is a part of that path. Jesus said He learned obedience through the things He suffered, though He was never disobedient to the Father. We all fall into sin’s temptations from time to time but we also have an opportunity to learn from those mistakes. Disobedience does not automatically bring destruction if one repents through the mercy of God in Christ.

The Old Testament described how things dedicated to God had to be first purified. Animal sacrifices were burnt in the fire as a dedication to God. Anything God accepts must be purified from its evil state. Jesus is our pure sacrifice today so that we can be dedicated to God but there is still a purification process that we, as Christians, must go through as well. When we sin, we must come back to God through repentance and confession of sin and God works out the cleaning process in us. People can be cleansed of sin with little suffering through the mercy and grace of God. But disobedience and rebellion requires that God take us through a delivering process where through suffering we relinquish the rebellious spirit of sin embedded in the soul. It can be a very painful process to be cleansed this way and it is not God’s preference for His children. Stubbornness and rebellion took Israel into much suffering and is still a source of much pain today to those who still do not acknowledge Jesus as Savior. If our nation continues to take the path of stubbornness and rebellion, it too will see much suffering and pain.

Where many are prophesying the destruction of the nation of America as God’s judgment, God has no desire to destroy America. God loves America as His own inheritance. He has accepted our covenant with Him and will not renege of His pledge to us. God’s will is for America to learn obedience in its maturity and return to His bosom. This can happen through confession of sin and returning to obedience or by going through the fire. The fire will be extremely hot and painful as it burns up the chaff but cleanses and preserves the wheat. No one but God is able to see the depth of our sin. The cleansing fire will burn up idol worship as it did in Israel. It will be set to burn up our pride, prejudice, covetousness, sexual immorality, religious traditions, self dependence, rebellion, selfishness and hypocrisy.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Mal 3:1-4 (KJV)

Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger. Zep 2:1-3

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. Lk 3:16-17

The nation of America has shown great wisdom and strength through the years as it has led and advised other nations in right paths. But today it is being thought of as a fool who cannot even handle trivial matters. While other nations are reverencing God, America is shunning the God that made it great. The pride of Jerusalem’s leaders would not allow them to escape the demise of their nation. Shall the great leader now lead others to destruction as well, as they follow in example? Many on the sidelines have a clearer vision of this nation’s journey to destruction and are choosing not to follow such as erroneous path.

Where God is looking for America to remain as an example for others to follow in Christian obedience; if it continues its present path, it could see the same fate of biblical Israel. Old Testament Israel was destroyed as a nation and its people scattered around the world to suffer pain and humiliation for generations. God broke its pride in a devastating way. There is no need to repeat the stories of Israel’s humiliation; they are known worldwide. Their story stands as a testimony and witness of God’s word. Others should heed this example and choose the right path instead. The nation of America can follow the same path and be a second witness of a nation shunning her God and suffering for disobedience; or she can choose the right path and show others the way to God’s best through serving Jesus Christ. God has long declared and laid out His plan for both the blessing and destruction of nations.

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

 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: Deu 28:1

 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Deu 28:15

 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Mic 6:8

 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Mat 22:37 -40

Twelve spies went into Canaan Land but only two saw the hope for the future and lived to enjoy it. Millions left out of Egypt was only two went into the Promised Land. The right road is often lonely and less traveled but it is still the right path to take. Many of America’s leaders and its people are taking the broad road on the wrong path but wisdom advised us to search out this path that others have taken to destruction and choose yet another path: to life.

Our national leaders are making choices for the nation but salvation, blessings and protection are individually provided to followers of Christ. We must each decide for ourselves what is right and who to follow for our own soul salvation. Christ died for this nation of believers but He claims us individually as we remain true to the faith. So there is yet good news for the believer in the midst of great trouble:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.   Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:   That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 1Pe 1:3-9  

America has fought world wars and many men have died on the battlefield to preserve the right for citizens to make their individual moral or political choices. Personal liberty in the nation and in Christ allows one to examine the facts and make right choices for self. While the freedom remains, we should uphold that which is right and pray for political leaders, fellow citizens and Christian believers who may have been deceived and failed to discern truth from the lie. God is still with and for us because He has claimed this nation for Himself!

And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. Joh 6:39

 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 2Jn 1:8

 MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA!

 

RESURRECTION CELEBRATION

The Easter season that we celebrate as a holiday was not intended to be a celebration once a year as we do today. The true meaning of the season is resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; and it is a celebration that was to be realized every single day as a triumph of light over darkness. Darkness had invaded the earth and the Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus, into the earth to expel the darkness so that His children could again enjoy fellowship with God, their Father. It was to be the beginning of light coming back into the earth and a triumph of light’s power over darkness throughout the generations. Only light can expel the darkness. God empowered His children with enough power and knowledge through fellowship with Him to hold back the power of darkness. But they would only have this power as long as they held on the light, which comes from God.

As the evil one tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, he is still determined to make men doubt God’s purpose in His rule over them and draw men into his darkness. The temptation comes in suggesting to man that those things withheld and denied to man by God are more important and exciting than they are. The darkness of death is what God was withholding and denying man and what the evil one offered. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Pro 16:25, KJV).” Everything is revealed in the light and darkness cannot dwell there. The Heavenly Father freely gives His children knowledge and shared participation in all good things and the temptation of Satan is all a lie to entice man away from God.

If mankind would stay with God in the light of His love, provision and power; there would not be a need of anything else, just as there was nothing missing in the Garden. There is total fulfillment in God. As man looks for fulfillment in other places, he is drawn further into the darkness of Satan’s temptation.

We see our world today being pulled into the darkness by rejecting God’s way and accepting Satan’s enticements. That brings further darkness unless man rejects the way of darkness and return to God’s light. God created the light and dispelled darkness which had taken over the earth. The earth was in state of confusion, emptiness and a deep darkness (Gen 1:2) until God created light and brought the beauty of flowers, water brooks, sunny skies, singing birds and everything joyful and pleasant. Mankind is working vigorously through Satan’s temptations to take earth back into that past state of darkness by destruction of the earth’s beauty, corruption of mankind and threats of nuclear devastation.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Joh 10:10

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 3:19

God is still actively working in mankind and the universe to restore the beauty that was originally formed in the earth. Mankind is God’s helper in that process and Jesus has secured the way to restore man and the earth through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Joh 12:46

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Joh14:6

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Rom 8:21

Easter Sunday is more than just a time to put on our Sunday best and rejoice for one day; it is a time to realize that the Resurrected Son has brought resurrection power back to the earth to restore that which was lost to darkness. It is a celebration of man’s opportunity to be reborn.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Joh 3:3

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. Joh 3:7

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. Joh 3:16

The tempter and temptations are still here but so is the choice to return to the light of God’s love. Every day we have the opportunity to come closer to the light of the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

 

Happy Resurrection Celebration

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY – LEST WE FORGET!

That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them…these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children…for ever. Jos 4:6-7

January 15, 2016

Our nation will pause this weekend to reminisce on the life of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Many people that are living today were alive during his life and at his death, so the memory of events before and after is still fresh in our minds.  We know the importance of the things he did and what they represent for the black population of America.  But like in the book of Joshua, where God indicated that some of the miracles would be forgotten and later generations would not appreciate the past, it is important that we set up memorials to bring to remembrance those past events for generations to come.

Happy Martin Luther King’s Day to all those that have cause to rejoice over the victories won and the  battles fought for black people to realize equal rights in a country where their fore parents bore the hardship of slavery.  Blacks deserve an opportunity to rejoice after all the pain and suffering of the past.  But more important than rejoicing is the need to reflect on the lessons learned.

In the bible story above Joshua was instructed by God to set up stones to remind the people of the miracle of crossing the Jordan.  It was not just for a memorial about crossing the Jordan.  Along with remembering the miracles of that time, God wanted the children of Israel to reflect back on what God had done for them.  The miracles did not happen as a fluke of luck that came their way, but the Israelites had a God that cared for them and who helped them every step of the way.  God was not finished with His people after they crossed the Jordan, but He needed to help them learn how to prevail in the future.  They needed to know that they would not prevail by happenstance or mere determination on their part.  They had to learn that their help came from the Hand of God.  So along with the story of the crossing of the Jordan, the storyteller was to point out that it was God who led and helped them.

Lest we forget, we must have our memorials in the black community as well.  In telling our stories of victories from slave time to the present day, we must not forget to tell children that it was God who helped us.  While we remember the importance of the life of Dr. King and celebrate his life and work, we must realize that none of it was possible without God.  Dr. King was not just a civil rights leader, but he was a man of God who saw the need to rise up and do the works of Christ.

We could miss the lesson of his life and think that equal civil rights alone is the answer to the black dilemma in America.  We could miss the point of this history lesson and think that protesting the political system is the answer.  We could even miss the lesson by waiting on our next “Dr. King.”  Near the end of his life, Dr. King did sum up his life’s purpose for us in his Drum Major sermon.  He just wanted to be remembered as someone who “tried to love someone.”  He reviewed the humility of Christ as He served and told us to seek greatness through service and love.  Because he set out to bring new freedoms to black people and did accomplish it, we must evaluate his life and extract the message from it.  God knew the heart of man and that they had a tendency to lose the message or lessons learned so he made special provisions for the Israelites to set up the memorial with special instructions for the time of celebration or reminiscing.  In the times to come and when the descendant’s children would ask: “How came these stones hither?” then the parents would relay the miracles that God had done for their people.   God was preparing Himself posterity in the people.  He did not want the destiny of the people to be lost to their forgetfulness.

Lest we forget, we must not just celebrate the man and his life, but we must relay the message of his life.  It was not just that he believed in something better for himself and his family and pursued that dream; but it was that this man had a faith in God, imitated the life of Christ and sought to bring change while he continued to believe and work toward the dream.  If we pursue the dream and forget the God that gave it, then we might as well not celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day.  We could all go to Disney World instead and admire the fantasies that came from Walt Disney’s mind.

We must know and remember that there is a God that has a purpose for His people and that He has a destiny for black people in America.  We must know that God has no step children but that we are all (black, white, brown, yellow, red) the same in His sight.  We must know that we all, as people or believers, have a right to the blessings of God if we trust in Christ.  And finally, we must know that we as black people do not have to be subservient all our lives to the dominance of a white majority in America or anywhere else, but that God promotes the righteous and brings down the foundations of the unrighteous.  Dr. King showed us that it is possible to rise up and be better and do better in America.  It is up to us to move forward with progress from the possibility to the reality.  If we pursue the results and forget the way he showed us, we will have missed the lesson of his life.

God never told any people that the way to full rights and blessings was through petitioning a governmental authority.  Moses told Pharaoh what God demanded.  The Israelites had a right to be free and it was time for Pharaoh to let them go.  It was not a request but a demand from the Sovereign God coming to see about His people.  If we continue to believe and petition the Supreme God instead of a secular government, we, too, in America can see a time when: “… all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God a mighty, We are free at last.’  While remembering ML King, let’s not forget the KING OF KINGS!

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Lk 4:18-21

HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY!

CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS:THE STONE THAT THE BUILDERS REJECTED – HE IS THE LORD

December 2015

And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Lk 20:17
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Rev19:16

This is the time of year when we joyfully remember that God so loved us that He sent His only begotten son to be our Savior, born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. We rejoice at the miracle of His birth through a virgin and the promise of His reign in the earth. We rejoice because we know that this miracle was for our deliverance from sin and translation into the Kingdom of our God. The prophecy came forth from God in the Garden that there would be a seed from the woman that would bruise the head to the serpent and this was the beginning of its fulfillment.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Gen 3:15

God continued to speak through time by His prophets that a promised Messiah would come:

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. Isa 9:6

The hope and promise of the Jews was that this King/Messiah would come to save and deliver them from their oppression. Their religious symbols, service and worship to God reflected this hope of the coming Messiah. Yet when the promised Messiah did come to save and deliver them, He was not recognized nor honored by the devout religious leaders. How could they have missed this moment?

Architects design buildings with a strong foundation to enable a tall structures that will endure the times and adverse weather. They spend time testing and preparing the land for the footing. Strong enduring materials such cement or stones are used at the base of the new structure. Where stones have been used through the ages, choice stones are selected while defective ones are rejected or discarded.   The stones are examined to determine strength and detect any cracks or defects that would weaken the structure.   The stones are selected based on outer examination and a stone that looks weak and fragile would not be selected because of inferiority. A cornerstone holds a prominence place in the foundation of the building.

We judge people the same way: by their outward appearance. How many stones have we rejected because of outer appearance? Rich people in expensive apparel are preferred above people in poor apparel. People may be rejected because of appearance, language, place of origin, work, financial status or family. Many rich people now dress down in jeans and shirts and may drive economy cars making it impossible to tell who is really rich. Poor people sometimes buy and wear clothes and cars outside of their reasonable financial means. The wise counsel of Jesus was that we should not judge people by their outer appearance because it does not reveal the true value or worth of a person. Samuel, God’s prophet,  was taught that God does not see like man but that God looks at the inside of man, into his heart.

There may be people we have devalued that were God-sent blessing to us. We may have missed the very thing we were praying for because of disregarding someone based on outward appearance. God often tests the heart of his steward before sending a blessing as He did with Abraham.

And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;… Gen 22:16- 17

The Book of Hebrews has taught us: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Heb 13:2).” When Jesus came into Jerusalem He did not arrive as a rich man would in a carriage, on a horse or stallion. He came walking in sandals without a royal place to abide. The King of Kings was born in a stable because there was no room for Him at the inn. He was not born to a royal earthly family with the means to give him a palace in which to dwell. He could not be distinguished from the locals by his apparel or royal behavior. He ate and slept like the locals and yet He was higher than any rich man or king. Jesus came meek and lowly and He humbled Himself to the governing authorities of the land. Christians are taught through the teachings of Jesus to show no respect of persons but to love and treat every man as himself. Jesus walked the way that He commands us to walk: in humility and love toward everyone.

Our society today pays homage to men of wealth and status and place them above others of lesser means. And yet God is still sending great wealth in undesirable packages, undetected by man’s eye. Jesus, the Christ, was rejected by man but accepted and approved by God. Many people that God will use are still being rejected by man though approved by the Father. Jesus is still being rejected as undesirable even though He is now seated in heaven.  Those that determined that he would not rule over them will one day have to bow their knee to Him.

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. Isa 9:6
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (1Pe2:7 -8)
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Lk 20:17

Today God’s church is built upon a sure foundation where the Corner Stone is Jesus Christ the Messiah and Redeemer. We, that believe, are likely stones built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone… (Eph 2:20).   Jesus came low and walked in humility until it was time for Him to be exalted on high. And now He reigns as Lord of Lords and Kings of Kings.

In this season where we traditionally celebrate how the Savior came low to identify with  and save us, we should remember an important lesson from the story: Do not judge people because they are a stranger, poor, homeless, weak or distressed in their present situation. We do not know the destiny God has put in anyone. If we obey the royal law to love everyone without respect of person, we could possibly come to a place where we witness that we have longed for as did Anna and Simeon at the birth of the Savior (Lk 2:28-38). Some may yet be entertaining angels, their breakthrough or miracle in disguise.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

THE SAVIOR IS BORN

 

 

The Real Meaning Behind the Jewish Feasts

September 2015

There has been a lot of interest lately in the coming harvest feasts celebrated by the Jews and whether or not it has any implications for us as Christians and Americans. There have been many attempts to answer and decipher its meaning. America has seen tragedy during this time of year and some people have determined it was judgment from God. Because we as Christians have not come into a clear understanding of God’s ways, His movements have often eluded us.

It was during these seasons that I received salvation and pursued a deeper understanding of God and events that occurred during these seasons. The untimely death of a loved one got my attention as I wondered why. I became angry with a God I did not know. God did not have to vindicate Himself to me but He did because He is just that kind of God. He wants us to know that He is always righteous and good. With God’s help I was able understand death and work through the grief process. I began to observe a pattern in deaths around the end and beginning of a year. As a new Christian, the Jewish feasts were unfamiliar to me until much later so it was attributed to some phenomenal related to the end of the year. For years I observed these times of unusual blessings and loss and sought to understand. This mystery was opened up further and further as I grew in Christian knowledge and searched out the ways of God.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He established patterns in the earth and patterns for His interactions with mankind. God’s laws are universal but His ways are to be understood by His people. There are those that can break down the Jewish feasts in ways that I would not even attempt. My intent is only to understand what God wants from us and how we are to give it. Recently I wrote out a paper of my own research in this area entitled “The Offering God Wants When He Comes to Meet With Us.” Through this research I found my answer and maybe my summary will suffice others as well.

The History of the Feast Times

To understand God, we always have to go back to what He originally instructed us and see the progression of this truth through the scripture. Because God does not change. What He originally wanted, He still wants. It is our sin that has changed the equation. God originally came to meet with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on a regular basis (Gen 3:8). We saw in Genesis where the sons, Cain and Abel, prepared offerings for God (Gen 4:3). We are not told how these offerings began, just that they occurred. God was pleased with one offering and rejected the other. This story reveals that God expects to meet with His people at set times and that He wants us to offer up something of value to Him at His coming.

In the wilderness, we saw that Moses instructed the Children of Israel in the ways of God and how to please Him. The Israelites were told that several specific times during the year God would meet with them, how they would present their offerings, and that these would be times of a great celebration.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Deu16:16

The Israelites worked the land and were shepherds so their offerings to God were related to their labor during the year. God expected His people to recognize and bless Him at the end of their season of work where He had prospered them to have success. The combination of their work and God’s favor produced a crop or blessing of which God expected His credit, respect and reverence.

Man’s response to God’s expectation to be remembered at this time would show man’s appreciation and thankfulness for a good and gracious God. Cain, of course, did not show proper respect or appreciation and God was not pleased. What about us? Are we thankful? God has blessed America greatly. Are we showing thankfulness? God no longer expects animal sacrifice, but He does expect from His children thankfulness and reverence.

This coming season is about a tradition of God coming to meet with His children and bringing and receiving something of value in a time of thankfulness for all He has done for us. Will we have an acceptable offering? Certainly there will be praises and worship going up to God as we carry on church services but let us not forget other behavior.

America has recently thumbed its nose to God. The White House was lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate a practice that God hates. Our legislative branch is at war with each other. The Supreme Court has validated and made legal a homosexual life style that God specifically forbade. The nation has removed prayer and the Ten Commandments from public arenas, shunned the stranger, murdered millions of babies while the rich have decried the portion for the poor and many churches have rejected God’s truth and deceived believers. America that loves money and that has made money its god is now poised to elect a new president who appears to worship money. Shall God be pleased with what America has to offer Him when He comes to be celebrated in this season? I think not. America’s present state can be found in the book of Judges where the people were willing to say to anyone: “Come and be lord over us and take this mess under your hand.”

“Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you – Jdg 8:22-23.” (Read the rest of this chapter.)

“When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand…” Isa 3:6.

Perversion of the Season

Many false religious leaders have made a mockery of this time and required of God’s people a substantial money offering during these feasts. People looking for a blessing from God have been taken advantage of and some fallen into unbelief because of it. While God does expect us to give finances to the church that upholds His name and does His work, it is in the normal process of church obedience, not in a lottery to get future blessings. We must remember too, that there were some offering as mentioned by Isaiah that God did not want.

“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” Isa 1:11-14  

These verses were followed up with the truth of what God really wanted: Isa 1:17 – “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” God is more concerned about our heart and right behavior (New Testament Commandments) than our offering up vain offerings in an attempt to appease Him. So, like with Cain, an offering from impure or insincere hearts will not be acceptable to God. Malachi 3 helps us to see also that God will not be pleased with our refusal to give godly pastors the portion that is rightly due for the work of the Lord. The New Commandments that Jesus gave us refer to a changed heart. A right heart leads us to do right with our money.

The Expectation of God’s Coming

This upcoming season is about God coming to see what we have prepared as an offering for Him. Will it be good works, a heart of love, fellowship with Him and our brethren, an appreciation and thanks for His truth and blessings or will it be our disrespect? God will come to some in blessings for their good done toward His name but He will appear as a judge to others for their disrespect of His Word and Person. How will we meet our God?

Jewish Traditions Applied to Christians

The Jewish feast of Rosh HaShanah is September 13-15, 2015. It is the Jewish New Year and marks the beginning of a ten-day period of prayer, self examination and repentance. Jewish tradition teaches that during the High Holy Days God decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. It is a time of judgment for mankind and reconciliation with God.

The next significant feast is Yom Kippur – Atonement celebrated on September 22-23, 2015. This feast begins at sunset of one day and ends at nightfall of the next. During Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and in the days leading up to them, the Jews begin to examine their lives and repent for any wrong doings committed the previous year. This repentance is called teshuvah. Yom Kippur is when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies each year to make an offering for the sins of Israel. The Jews during this time would make amends with those they have wronged and make plans for improving their lives during the upcoming year. Many Americans follow this custom but observe it at our New Year’s Day which starts in January. Where our calendar has gone through worldly changes the Jewish calendar is more exact. Yom Kippur is the deadline for making things right and by its end, God’s “Book of Life” is said to be closed until the next year. It is a time of fasting, repenting and cleansing to renew our relationship with God.

Even though some Christians may have difficulty with these holidays because they represent Jewish traditions, we must realize that our Savior and Christian blessings come through the lineage of Jews and that we must understand both the past and the present to get a full understanding of our God. These practices that we saw exercised in the Garden of Eden were evidently established long before Abraham. Though we do not follow the laws of the Jews, we do obey the spirit of the law and some principles are timeless as are some commands God gave to the Jews, i.e. honoring God and putting Him first. We are admonished through the word:

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Pro 4:7

“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” 1Jn 2:20

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Joh 8:32

God can move at any time in the life of a person but we are told specifically about His expectations at this time.  Whether for blessing or judging, we would do well to be ready for God’s presence in love and preparedness. Christians are not Jews but we serve the same God and we have been brought into a better relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ. Christ actually taught His disciples about divine visitations and how to be ready for them (Mt 24-44). This is a time when we should reach out to and pray for all souls. While God comes to bless and fellowship with the obedient, the ungodly will find His judgment of sin. There are yet deeper meanings to the season for the believer in fellowship with the Lord and they should diligently seek God for His purposes. We have a standing appointment with the Righteous God over the earth and it is always a good idea to take some time to examine our lives and prepare it to be a time of celebration.