The Struggle

For some, the struggle to do what is right is a daily fight. This struggle includes making wise decisions, being considerate of others, standing up for justice, doing what God says to do, and do it well. Why is this struggle so great?

The struggle to do right is greater because it is so much easier to give in to temptation. It is easier to think and act selfishly. It is easier to cuss someone out than to think about how to say what you want to say. It is easier to go along to get along than to stand on principles aligned with God’s Word.

If the struggle to do right was easy, many people would be saved and living abundant lives. But it is so much easier for people to live unsaved, without thinking about the consequences of their action, and how what they do impacts others. Since there are so many people struggling to live–without fear, without concern about finances or what the economy will bring or what the politicians will do, we know the struggle is real, we know there are people who have yet to find peace with Jesus, who are yet unsaved.

Lord Jesus, help us in our struggles to do what is right and help others to do the same. Help us to fight the good fight of faith in You, not self. Help us to resist the devil and watch him flee from us.

Why Jesus said, “I Have The Authority to Judge.”

“And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of man.” (John 5:27 NIV)

Who gave who authority to judge? God the Father, gave God the Son the authority to judge based upon the Father’s Word. Lots of Word today since I know most reading this blog won’t read the entire chapter for themselves, but I’ll try to make it as concise as I can, without distorting the intent.

John 5:19-26 (some paraphrased for brevity)

v.19 The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only what He sees his father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does (or says).

v.20 The Father loves the Son and has shown Him all He does…

v.21  Just like the Father raises the dead as gives them life, the Son gives life to whom He pleases.

v.22 The Father judges no one, but trusts all judgement to the Son.

v.23 So all may honor the Son as much as they honor The Father. If they don’t honor the Son, they don’t honor the Father who sent Him.

v.24 Whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

v.25 A time will come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live (for eternity).

v.26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

In a nutshell, Jesus was responding to the religious group once again, who were trying to kill Him because He dared to heal on the Sabbath. He told them that they shouldn’t be amazed at the things He did because He was only doing what The Father said do. If they believed God the Father, then they should believe The Son whom the Father had sent to give people a choice for eternal life.

Basically, what He was saying is that if you believe God, then believe me because I don’t do anything of my own accord, but have been given authority by the Father to say and do what must be done–even to the point of judging who receives eternal life and who is not.

He goes to talk about those who will be judged–those rising after death to live and those rising after death to be condemned.

v. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear (what the Father says), and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him to who sent me.

The most important lesson we can learn from Jesus is saying is that, if we believe God the Father, then we should believe God the Son and if we don’t believe the Son, we can’t believe the Father. Instead of doing all we can to please ourselves (and pacify people), we should be more concerned about pleasing God and in doing so, assuring our eternal resting place in heaven.

It’s not rocket science and we don’t need academic degrees to understand this. We simply need to have a right relationship with God and allow Him to speak to our hearts so we’ll understand–by faith–all He says in His Word. That requires having an experience with God so He can reveal Himself to us and convict us of sin, so our desire will be to please Him.

It is not having a religious affiliation with any group that will save us. We are saved from eternal condemnation by receiving Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives and understanding the work on the cross–His blood shed for us–the ultimate sacrifice and demonstration of love, by Love.

If we claim to know God without knowing and understanding His Word, we lie. If we claim to know what Jesus said and meant without knowing God, we lie. When we know Him–Father and Son–we understand how He wants us to live by understanding His Word, and we will not promote sin as right–nor will we live in sin, expecting not to be judged.

More about what Jesus said and why, next time!

Why Jesus said, “These Words You Hear Are Not My Own.”

“Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These Words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 14:23,24 NIV)

During a discussion in which Jesus was talking to His disciples (those who followed Him), He promised them the Holy Spirit, who would come to be with them, speaking to their hearts, reminding them of all they had been taught, after He returned to heaven. This is what He said to them that led to Him reminding them, He had not said a word that had not been given to Him by His Father and that He did not speak of His own accord.

John 14: 15-21

v. 15 If you love me, keep my commands.

v. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you be with you forever.

v. 17 The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

v. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

v. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

v.20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

v.21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

v. 22. Then Judas (not Judas iscariot) said,”But Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world.”

For them who have an ear to hear and eyes to see, let them listen, and read with understanding.

Those who walked with Jesus were getting a lesson from Him–a lesson that should have answered all their questions about His authority. Basically, He let them know that He had not said anything that His Father had not given Him to say. Of course, the Father He referenced was God Himself. He was making it clear to them–those who followed His teachings then and those who follow them, now–that He and the Father were One and whatever the Father said, He said.

He made it clear to them that if they claimed to love God or Him, they would obey what they were told. If they didn’t obey, they proved they did not love Him or the Father. They are One in purpose and intent for the benefit of mankind.

For those who think–especially those whose mantra is–“Jesus just said ‘love,’ think again. With love, comes responsibility and accountability on any level. The responsibility and accountability for those who say they love Jesus, but will not obey, are also saying, they hate God. This is the attitude of the world–the unbelievers–who ignore God’s Word and say wrong is right and right is wrong. They do not know God and they certainly don’t understand they could not love Jesus, who was God in the flesh.

When parents love their children–that love is demonstrated with the responsibility they have for the care and upbringing of their children. They are held accountable by our society to do the right thing. Now, if we hold mere human parents responsible for their children, why would we ignore God’s responsibility to His children. If we belong to Him, we are His children. I would encourage all to seek God’s wisdom, and re-read all of John and I Corinthians 13 to understand God’s definition of love–what it does.

Love–that four letter word that the enemy has perverted with “lust” means more than just a carnal attraction to another person; it comes with responsibility and our accountability–beginning with loving God and being accountable to Him. If we don’t love Him–who is Love–how can we possibly say, we love anyone else? “If we love Him, we’ll keep His commandments–to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love one another as we love ourselves.” If we love God, we won’t sin against Him (first five commandments as given to Moses), and if we love one another, we won’t commit acts of sin that negatively impact each other (the last five commandments).

God loved us enough to die for us (John 3:16) and so the least we can do–for those who say, they know Him, is to live for Him, a daily demonstration of who He is in living right before Him and others.

For those who don’t know God or refuse to believe Him and obey; judgment has already been established and the lake of fire–awaits.

More on what Jesus said and why, next time.

Why Jesus said, “God’s Worshippers Must Worship In Spirit And in Truth!”

“God is a spirit and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24 NIV)

It is probably because of this passage and some others that reference God as a “spirit” that many naysayers casually belittle Believers by calling God a ghost. Ghosts are spirits of the dead, therefore God is The Spirit of life since He was neither born nor died, He simply is. For those of us who know God, not just believe “in God” we know Truth.

What was going on when Jesus had to make this distinction? Jesus had sent His disciples to purchase food and He waited for them by a well and had a conversation with a Samaritan woman–a no-no for a Jewish people to interact with the Samaritans (then). At any rate, Jesus told the woman all about herself and a conversation rose about where a person should worship. And the following is Jesus’ response to her:

John 4:19-23

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

What were the Samaritans worshipping? Idols (images) with altars set up in the mountain who served no purpose other than pagan worship. Unfortunately, the debate about where a person should worship is still going on between some factions of Christians and what Jesus said, then, is true now. God, the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in the spirit (allowing His spirit to interact with our own) and in truth (with knowledge of who He is and how He wants us to live). 

There are many people who go to church buildings out of tradition, but for no real purpose or knowledge. They go through the motions of singing songs, praying empty prayers, and listening to sermons with half an ear. I know people who attend a church service on a regular basis, but then they claim they don’t know if they believe the Bible or not. If they don’t know if the Bible is true or not, why are they wasting their time going into a building? These are those who believe “in God” but do not Believe God.

This is the point Jesus was trying to make to the Samaritan woman and those who Believe God, not just believe in Him. We cannot believe God if we don’t know His Word. His Word reveals who He is and for those who understand this, we know we do not have to be in a specific place to worship Him–acknowledging all He has done for us and giving Him praise for who He is.

For this reason, many church services are devoid of the Spirit of God, because His spirit is not welcomed due to the traditions of man, taking precedence over the leadership of Holy Spirit. None who are led by Holy Spirit would encourage anyone to live in opposition to God’s Word. None who are led by Holy Spirit would call God said was wrong, right nor what He said is right, wrong. None who are led by Holy Spirit would deliberately entice anyone to live a life apart from the knowledge of God and His purpose for our lives.

When we become so complacent as leaders in the church that we choose not to stir people with Truth and allow God’s Word to convict of sin, we are merely going through the motions of a bland, flavorless service. We are told to preach the Word–whether it is convenient or not, whether people want to hear it or not and we are to say what God says, not just teaching a “feel-good, sugarcoated messages” because we don’t want to offend sinners. If we are afraid to offend those in sin and choose to offend God instead, we place ourselves in a position to know His wrath.

Satan isn’t concerned about the leaders in some churches; he has already recruited them as commanders in his army. What they have forgotten is this–the payment for sin is death. And this is why there are so many spiritually, dead churches–devoid of life–because Satan’s job is to kill, still, and destroy. Can we not see that is exactly what is happening around us today?

Be filled with the Spirit of God and know Holy Spirit will not dwell in an unclean temple, but meditate on The Word, knowing there is life in The Word of God, leading us to closer relationship with Him and giving us power–to stay bold and courageous–to say what God says. Worship Him in Spirit and in the Truth of His Word. 

More of what Jesus said and why, next time!

Why Jesus said, “Treat Them As You Would a Pagan or Tax Collector!”

“If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:17 NIV)

So much for Jesus not talking about sin–as least that’s the mantra that some are using to justify their continual sin. “Jesus just said to love and judge not.” By the time I finish with the “whys” Jesus said something, hopefully those who are characteristically unbelievers, will have a better understanding of what Jesus said and why.

As with all other Scriptures–this pertains to those in the Body of Believers. Perhaps that should have been made clear in the beginning–The Bible is addressed to Believers, not the unbelieving who won’t believe it anyway. This is God’s way of keeping those who claim to belong to Him, on the right track.

Therefore, the passages that follow are meant for those who Believe–that’s who Jesus was talking to–not the unbelieving.

Matthew 18:15–If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

Matthew 18:16–But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

And then we get to our scripture reference for today in verse 17. Jesus is telling His followers that if they know a brother or sister in the church who has fallen to temptation and sinned, in order to expose the darkness to the light, they should let them know, they are in sin and should repent. If the person in sin refuses to listen to the first person, who’s trying to keep the matter private, they should bring two or three more people to talk to them in hopes of convincing them to cease living in sin. If they refuse to talk to the “delegation” if you will, then the matter should be brought before the entire church and if after being admonished by the church, they still refuse to listen, then they (the sinner) should be treated like a pagan or tax collector, no longer considered a brother or sister in The Lord.

Sounds a bit harsh? Sound like “love” to you? It is harsh, and it is love because where there is love, there is also correction, and rebuke as well as compassion and mercy.

Most Believers understand this and abide by it–at least in some churches or rather denominations. The church Jesus references is the entire Body of Believers–not just one denomination. But for many, the church is simply a building to which some go on a regular basis, pretty much like those who frequently patronize the local bar, or strip-club–the benefit of going to either is about the same–there is none; especially for church-goers (those just going to the building) who don’t know God.

If a person doesn’t know God, doesn’t know or understand God’s Word, then why are they wasting their time going to a building? God is not fooled. And they will understand they received no benefit when they stand before Him and they hear Him say, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity. I never knew you,” (Luke 13:27 paraphrased)

As anyone can see, Jesus didn’t sugarcoat truth when He spoke it and anyone who thinks we should sugarcoat truth, doesn’t know Jesus and they really should get into The Word, know what He said and the conditions under which He said it. Perhaps then, at least all the Believers will be on the same page. 

More of what Jesus said and why, next time!

Why Jesus said, “Blessed Are You When People Insult You!”

Why Jesus said, “Blessed Are You When People Insult You!”.

Why Jesus said, “Blessed Are You When People Insult You!”

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matthew 5:11 NIV)

In this passage of scripture, which is notably called, The Sermon on the Mount, crowds of people had been following Jesus, listening to His proclamation of Good News, and paying attention to His healing the sick. He went upon the mountain side and sat down and when His disciples came to Him, He taught them. Notice all that is said, before He gets to our scripture reference for today.

Matthew 5:3-10–Commonly referred to as the Beatitudes (What our attitude should be):

vs.3 Blessed are the poor IN SPIRIT, for theirs (strength is in Jesus) is the kingdom of heaven.

vs.4 Blessed are those who mourn (grieve over the loss of a loved one) for they WILL BE COMFORTED.

vs.5 Blessed are the meek (those who have no need to bring attention to themselves) for they will INHERIT the earth.

vs.6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS (doing what is right before God), for they will be filled.

vs.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be SHOWN mercy (new mercies every day).

vs.8 Blessed are the pure in heart (have a heart for God), they WILL SEE GOD.

vs.9 Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS, for they will be called children of God.

vs.10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of RIGHTEOUSNESS, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

I have detailed explanations of these blessings in myBook.to/IAMALLTHAT 

All these Jesus said to those who follow Him and all these are still relevant today for all who follow Him.

The references to righteousness is for those in right standing with God, not because of their own righteousness, because we no no righteousness of ourselves. These are the people who know what God has said and endeavor to obey Him in all things. When they miss the mark, they are quick to repent–turning away from the thing(s) they did which did not please God. We who choose to come to God (the disciples came to Him) and listen and obey are blessed no matter what our individual circumstances are.

Knowing how other people–who don’t know Him would treat those who follow Him–the blessings He confers are to encourage us when we are belittled, and ridiculed because of our faith in Him. And then He goes on to say in vs. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” In other words, those who have been speaking God’s Word to nations long before we came on the scene were ridiculed, and killed because they spoke what God spoke to them.

Beloved, there is so much more that Jesus said, and I encourage all who don’t know Him to get to know Him through His Word. For those of us who know, we must simply keep saying what God said–knowing that one plants the seed of righteousness and direction to Jesus, another waters, and we wait to see God’s increase.

Why Jesus Said, “Judge Not!”

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24 KJV

The NIV version states, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

In order to understand what He was referencing, we must know to whom He was speaking and why. If we read (with understanding) the verses “before” this one, we know that it is the religious leaders of that time who were seeking Him to kill Him because they did not understand who He was.

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. (John 7:16)
This is His response who wondered how He could know so much when He was taught in the Jewish synagogues.

Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. John 7:17

Here, He lets them know they can choose to examine the scrolls used for teaching and determine whether He was saying what God said or whether He was speaking on His own. Jesus never said anything that His Father had not said, because He is God, the Son. Why would He oppose Himself? This is part of the mantra and rhetoric used by those who “want to believe in half of the Bible, but not all of it.”

In order to get a right understanding of Scriptures–we have to study them and know why things were being said and to whom and when it was said. When some “cherry-pick” what they choose to quote, they are misleading others and of course, we who know God’s Word, know that it is a trick of the devil to deceive. Remember this–a half-truth is a whole lie as far as God is concerned. When we know God, we know we cannot selectively choose which parts of His Word to believe and which to ignore.

Wherever Jesus went while He was preaching, He addressed the situation confronting Him and He related His teaching to the people on a level they could understand.

Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed.Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? John 7:18-23

Now this is the conversation Jesus had with the Jewish leaders BEFORE He said, don’t judge. From all who recorded what He said, in Matthew, Luke, and Mark–The intent of His conversation, never changes God’s Word.

As I’ve said before, Jesus said a lot more than, “don’t judge,” or just for people to “love.” He also preached about sin, hypocrites, lying, fornicators, murderers, and much more. More than anything, He talked about the need for Him to be here and how a person can be saved and the benefits of salvation. He prayed for us (who Believe) in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and it was His love for us, that kept Him from coming down off that cross. His bloodshed on the cross was for those who “choose” to Believe Him as the Son, and God the Father and obey His Word.

Judge not pic

More of what Jesus said coming in the next week or two on a daily basis. We need to know so we can counter Satan’s lies.