Having Everything We Need!

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).

Peter reminds us that Holy Spirit is God’s divine power, working in us and through us so that we can live the life that God intends for us to live–through our knowledge of Him.

What is Holy Spirit’s role? His role is to guide and instruct and to bring back to our remembrance all that we have been taught, according to Jesus through John’s Gospel. If we are listening to Holy Spirit and obeying Him, we have no need to worry about anything and that includes the things that are happening in this world, in which we have no control. People–because of their self-interest without the knowledge of God–will do exactly what they are doing.

But we who are called–out of darkness and into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ–are without excuse; especially when we proclaim to know God. We are to be the example to the world. Our light (the light of love) should shine so brightly that it dispels darkness and the works of darkness where ever we go. The joy of the Lord should be so overwhelming in us that it flows from us onto others so they too will gain understanding. Our peace–should stand as a model for others during times of restless economy and uncertain attitudes that start wars.  We are the ones who should be able to put ten thousands to flight when we know we live the life that God has ordained us to live. We should not fear what the enemy can do because we have the greater one living within us.

If we are indeed clothed for the battle of spiritual warfare–we are protected from the enemy’s fiery darts and we are armed with the Word of God--that two-edged sword that cuts going in and coming out. If we are fearful in the midst of chaos, what else could we expect from those who do not know God? Fear–leads to confusion–which leads to uncertainty and making wrong decisions.  “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.”

Our confidence is in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and in knowing that we can do all things through Him. Where there is confidence, there is no need for fear to have room to operate.

Now, let’s get ready to move out–in the spirit–and do battle to the glory of Glory, knowing we have everything we need to obtain victory in Christ Jesus! Move ’em out! It is time for those of who have a relationship with God to show the world how to live and love as God does–openly; not behind closed doors or by being secret agents. Hallelujah! God is using us to show up and show out on our behalf–let Him have His perfect way in your life today! We win!

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Judge The Whole Matter

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiates 12:13).

News media will print anything to get your attention and broadcast things that are not totally true.

Before we judge anything we see or hear, we should investigate the truth for ourselves before we find ourselves being judged in the same manner as what we judged–people forming opinions without the benefit of full disclosure. Remember this–a half-truth is a whole lie! Satan is the father of liars and the master of deception. Don’t be drawn into his folly!

Let us endeavor to please God for we simply cannot please man!

Special Consideration!

To have respect of persons is not good: for a piece of bread that man will transgress” (Proverbs 28:21).

Just when I thought I had just about heard it all, I discovered that I had not.  When the media is bored and there is nothing else to report, why must they deliberately set out to ruin a person’s reputation?

My reference is to the story which has garnered much discussion both on a local and national level regarding Pastor Marvin Winans http://www.christianpost.com/news/is-famed-pastor-marvin-winans-wrong-for-refusing-to-bless-womans-baby-before-congregation-because-she-is-not-married-106950/ .  The story about the woman in question has been appeared on Huffington Post, Fox News, Washington Post, and other venues.  Why? After reading the aforementioned story, I can only say that there has to be more to this story than is being told.

Churches, like any other entity, have a right, no—an obligation to establish certain policies of procedure and they should be enforced. No one should receive special treatment or expect the policies to be ignored. Since the church’s policy (not Winan’s specific policy) was explained and an option offered, I fail to understand the uproar.

I’ve had this conversation with a few people and some of them disagree, but that notwithstanding, I do not understand why people think a “policy” should be ignored, whether fair or not.  Is it a “just” policy intended for everyone, across the board or are exceptions being made?

If this mother did not like the church’s policy, it would have been so simple to go to another, without all the whoopla! Since church attendance anywhere is a volunteer event, with no strings attached—just leave.  Find a place that will accommodate your lifestyle and leave others out of the drama. The real question is—why make a big deal of this unless she wanted to be given “special consideration”? What makes her think she deserved special consideration? And since she claims, she simply wanted the child to be dedicated to God, why not accept the private dedication service offered? For Christians, those who profess to be true believers, to support this kind of behavior (respecting persons), is a mockery of God’s Word.

Wisdom and Instruction

“but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm” (Proverbs 1:33 NIV).

In the very first chapter of Proverbs–commonly referred to as the book of wisdom–we are see the importance of knowing God. In fact, Solomon begins by reminding us that, “the fear (reverential respect) of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:1 NIV). Throughout this conversation, we are told what happens when people refuse to hear God and obey and God’s reaction to our disobedience.

James tell us that “if any lack wisdom, ask of God who gives it liberally without condemnation” (paraphrased). Wisdom is mentioned 234 times in the KJV and instruction 33 times and knowledge 172 times, obey 69 times, pray 313 times, God 4,447. So, what’s the point? Wisdom, knowledge, and talking to God are important to Him.

Scoffers have always rebelled against any knowledge of God because they simply want to live their lives any way they choose. This is the way it has been since the beginning and this is still the way in the hearts of many. Any time a person or groups denies the credibility of The Bible or God–it is because they do not want to live a righteous life. By refusing to acknowledge moral values, they exempt themselves from the consequences of disobedience–they think.

When people violate or ignore “man’s laws” there are consequences when caught and man’s law states, “ignorance of the law is not an excuse to violate it” and fines or the consequences for breaking the law must be paid. What the rebellious have forgotten is that most of “man’s laws” were based on biblical principles. And now that lawmakers are changing laws, they think they are changing God’s principles, but when the consequences come due, they will understand that ignorance of God’s principles is not an excuse to ignore them or violate them. For those who have the mind of Christ, look around at our society right now and see the destruction already coming upon the land and know that when it’s over, God will have pronounced His judgment upon all because we refused to hear and obey.

What can we–who know God–do? We can continue to pray. “If my people, who are called by my name, would humble themselves and pray, turn from their wicked ways, and seek my face, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal the land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). The Believers must act with wisdom and follow God’s instructions–love Him and love others, and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ by our actions.  We must become the true ambassadors in order to save the lost. When we think we lack wisdom in doing the will of God, we must ask Him for more wisdom and He won’t think less of us when we do.

Before the trumpet sounds, we must make sure we have built our faith on a solid foundation and know without a doubt, we have attained the right to enter into our eternal place of rest, to be with The Lord. When we listen to God, we have no need to fear what the enemy might do because the enemy is already defeated for those who know and hear God.

Help us O God, to always hear You and obey!

Saved (excerpt 2)

Sinner vs Wicked

“The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).  Some people have used this scripture to support their belief that God does not hear the prayer of the sinner (not the wicked).  If this were true, then no sinner could be saved.  We know that God indeed hears the prayers of sinners (who are seeking repentance) because if he didn’t, where would we be?

The sinner is one who knows the way and chooses to take short cuts along the way; sometimes getting lost, but finding their way back. The wicked have never come into the knowledge of who Jesus is or what He has done for us and will persecute those who do believe.  The wicked are those who do not have a conscience and could care less about how their actions affect anything or anyone else. The wicked are totally self-serving and narcissisticThe only thing that matters to them is them. The wicked are found in high places and in low places.  They are found in church and outside the church.  The wicked see themselves as a god and acknowledges no other authority than themselves. (Psalm 36:1) These are the truly wicked.

Sinners have to know the will of God in order to subvert it. The wicked do not know the will of God, nor do they care to know it.  They are a law unto themselves.  Indeed the Lord is far from the wicked because He has never been acknowledged by them and as such, has no obligation or relationship to honor with them.  The difference then is the sinner can be saved while the wicked has no hope. We have to remember that the Word of God tells us that He has created the wicked to fulfill His purposes.  Once we know the difference between a sinner and the wicked, we must determine who we are and what it is we want or where we want to spend eternity.  It is now time to make a commitment to be in a position to receive God’s best.

This excerpt is from, Saved, But Not Yet Delivered! available on amazon.com

 

 

Saved, But Not Yet Delivered! (excerpt)

What happens to people who succumb to the influence of the evil one after belief and confession?  This common occurrence is known as backsliding.  For the most part, we acknowledge backsliding as a common occurrence, but backsliding should not be promoted as a way of life.  The backslider is one who after having confessed Christ, repeatedly submits to the influence of past temptations.  They become backsliders because they have yet to submit their desires to God and become delivered from their ungodly ways.

Picture this:  Children on a giant slide love to climb up the slide and usually keep sliding backwards; making getting to the top difficult, if not impossible for some.  God states, in Jeremiah 3:14, that He is married to the backslider.  Since God established the institution of marriage, surely He can determine how he feels about the backslider and the consequences.  There are indeed consequences to being a backslider.  The backslider who comes to himself and repents of his sins  retains his position with God just as a couple reconciles their relationship when problems arise.

The fate of the backslider who never repents falls into the hands of an angry God.  The bible tells us that this person can expect an even greater terror than the one who never confessed any knowledge of Christ.  On the other hand, we are told in I John 1:9, 10  “that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

If God forgives us, should we care about the forgiveness of others? Who is it that we should be concerned about as it pertains to our status with God?   It is without a doubt, the most fruitless exercise in the world to try to please people.  Therefore, our only concern should be in pleasing God. According to God’s Word, we, who choose to care about what God thinks, are wise because He is the only one from whom we are seeking acceptance.

Unfortunately, many people attempt to seek acceptance from entities—church folks and institutions—who could care less about a person as an individual.  Although there are some churches and other individuals who genuinely care about people, they are too few in number to make a real difference.  Consider the following:

A young lady, who did not begin her life’s journey with any understanding of the Word or God’s way of doing things, falls short of the mark, in a number of ways.  However, once she has been shown the light and comes to a place in her life where she has now established a right relationship with God, should she not be accepted into the fold as though she has never sinned? [This example uses a young lady because females are often scrutinized more often and judged more harshly for their past sins than males.]

If we truly believe the Word, then we have to acknowledge the fact that once God forgives us, He tosses our sins into the sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:18, 19).  Since our sins are cast into the sea, who has a right to go fishing for them, in an attempt to bring them to the surface? We must forever be on guard against the wiles of the enemy.  We cannot allow him or his minions to superimpose their views into our lives.  Therefore, whenever anyone attempts to bring our past to the surface, we must remind them—tactfully, if possible—that our past shortcomings have been confessed and forgiven.  They do not have a right to fish in God’s sea.

 

This is an excerpt from:  Saved, But Not Yet Delivered! available on amazon.com

Holiness (excerpt 2)

What is it that every born-again believer should be doing?  We should be living a life that is pleasing to God at all times (good or bad).  What does living a life entail?  Living a life that is pleasing to God entails:  acknowledging God in all that we do; operating with integrity in every area of lives; being mindful and considerate of those who are less fortunate than we are; assembling ourselves together with other like-minded believers on a regular basis; contributing support for those who work diligently to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to preach the word whether it is convenient or not (as Paul instructed Timothy); and to be a witness for the Lord at all times.

 

No matter what state we find ourselves in, we must acknowledge God in all that we have or don’t have.  He is our provider and when we truly come to an understanding of that fact, we can then give Him praise for all things.  Our jobs are not our providers.  Our church leaders are not our providers.  God is our provider—in the natural and in all spiritual matters.  This does not mean that we should not hear church leadership.  It means that we should listen to make sure that what they say,  lines up with God says and within the context God intended. 

We should remain in constant communication with God through prayer for ourselves and others; for those we know and those we don’t. (I Timothy 2:1-3).

When we wake up each morning, our first thought should be to thank God.  Throughout the day, we should thank God for the good and bad that comes our way.  Our last thought each night should be to thank God.  When our minds are constantly on Him (not in neglecting our responsibilities, but in allowing Him to help us stay focused on all that we must do), we come closer to living a holy life than we would, if we just thought about Him every once in a while.

 

This is an excerpt from, Holiness, Not a Look, But a Lifestyle! available on amazon. com

 

Holiness (excerpt)

How does one define holiness?  According to Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary, “personal holiness is a work of gradual development.  It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance” (I Corinthians 1:30; II Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:23, 24).  Simply put, true holiness is being as much like God as we can.  We can exhibit love for all, compassion for all, and maintain a right relationship with God so that He may guide us in all that we do.  If we refuse to obey His Word, we cannot be in a right relationship with Him.  We must also remember that we are not gods and we do not have the right to tell Him what He can or cannot do either with others or through others. 

Holiness is not defined by man’s inept attempt to keep people bound to legalism.  “If a woman is truly holy, her clothing will completely cover her extremities; her hair will be covered, and she will be void of make-up and jewelry.”  There are no specifics as to how to define how a man is holy as far as how their dress goes.   So says legalism.

What is legalism?  Legalism is the way of the Pharisees and Sadduccees.  These are the rules by which people determine (not by the Word of God) who is holy and who is not.  Legalism is another word for bondage.  Bondage hinders and prohibits the Holy Spirit from directing and guiding an individual and keeps people controlled by other people based upon their traditions.  Jesus gives us warning about such people when talking about the Pharisees.  “Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on.  And many things of this kind you are doing” (Mark 7:13 Amplified).  In this particular passage Jesus is referring to how the

Pharisees attempt to control men as it relates to the care of their parents.  It also holds true for much of the church world’s attempts to establish rules.

How many rules does a church have?

There are rules for dressing in order to come into the sanctuary.

There are rules for committing a portion of one’s income to support the church.

There are rules for what one can do outside the church building.

There are rules for which one can hold associations or affiliations.

There are rules for when to come to church.

There are rules for who can teach or preach.

There are rules for where one can sit in the church.

There are many rules for the women.

There are some rules for the men.

There are rules for the young people.

There are rules for the rules.

Does all of this sound familiar?  If one looks closely at all the rules, the majority of the rules are directed towards women.  [Remember when the Pharisees brought the woman who was “caught in the very act” to Jesus?  What happened to the man?  The “law” states that both should be stoned to death.]  This discovery should not be a surprise since the majority of churches are established by men for men.  Women simply become an after-thought in the consideration of everything that goes on around them.  This is a fascinating phenomenon since most churches could not continue to function if it were not for the women involved.

 

This is an excerpt from Holiness, Not A Look, But a Lifestyle! available on amazon.com

Where Are The Wise Ones?

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives” (Proverbs 11:30 NIV).

In the Kings James Version of this verse of scripture, the words are slightly different. the last part states that “he who wins souls is wise.” The bottom line regarding both translations–it takes a wise person to win souls and save lives. Where are the wise ones?

In order to win people to Christ, we must be wise in our approach–“drawing people with loving kindness,” not brutal criticism.  If we teach The Word, based upon The Word, and demonstrate the love of God in everything we do, we will give people a reason to want to know Jesus!  If all they ever hear from us is criticism about what they wear, what they do, and when they do it, we will not draw them, but drive them far from us and any desire to want to know Jesus.  People who are able to demonstrate the love of God, accept others where they are and bring them into a fuller knowledge of Jesus Christ. People will change when they see a need to change, not because we want them to change.  Our role as Christians is to help them to want to change to honor God, not us.

In order to save lives–of all people, especially those who are not in a position to defend themselves, we must have wise people in elected positions or other positions of authority. But before we can elect wise people, those voting for them, must be wise. Voters need to know the person for whom they are voting. They need to know their positions regarding the poor, the needy, the vulnerable, senior citizens, veterans, and everyone else. For a person to vote for someone simply based upon name recognition or religious affiliation is pure foolishness. This is especially true for those who say one thing with their tongues to entice and deceive and do just the opposite with their voice and vote in legislation. Voters–the everyday people need to research and investigate the candidates running in any election. Judges need to make decisions based on the law and not popular opinion–giving into the special interest groups simply because…whatever the reason. Lawmakers need to do the right thing for all people–and stop caving to special interest groups–corporations or the mighty rich in dollars, but poor in spirit and soul. They have already been deceived by the enemy when they attempt to “buy” the rights to rule legislators

Where are the wise ones? Where are the people who truly know God and how He wants us to live? Where are the wise preachers who know how to draw people to Jesus and not drive them away? Where are the wise?

I pray that most of us need to look no further than our mirrors to see the wise, but if that is not the case; if we have been deceived and influenced by the enemy, I pray for recognition of the hand at work and willingness to do something about it–change for the better.

Lord, help us to exercise more wisdom in all that we do. Help us to recognize the enemy’s influence and to shut it down–within us and where ever we have opportunity to do so. Help us to stay focused on promoting Jesus and the Agape Love that overflows onto all who are willing to receive. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!