What’s The Point?

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” (John 5:24 NLT)

“This is Jesus speaking. Even though I put in an appearance on earth like all mankind, I am not a man that I should lie, but I have told you the truth. If you listen to my message–a message of love and peace–and believe God sent me to encourage you and live according to all He has said, you will have eternal life. You will never be condemned for your sins, because I have come–ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for sin–so you will no longer have to make sacrifices for doing wrong–just acknowledge when you do wrong, and repent of it–turning completely away from those things that will keep you from being in right relationship with the Father.

Don’t turn back to the things that broke the connection with Him! Talk to Him and always be willing to listen to Him and you will never be alone again–not in this life, once I leave, my Spirit will return to you and keep you company, advising and guiding you every step of the way until I return and you make heaven your home for all eternity.”

Looking forward to the day of His return does not have to be a frightful experience when we know who we serve and how we have lived. But for those who refuse to hear the message of love and peace, refuse to change–never acknowledging their sin and or repenting from it–they have a reason to fear–the judgment seat of Christ–for all the evil they did in the earth.

The message of grace–God’s unmerited favor which we cannot earn–has been preached, and preached, and preached. Many have received and many have not. God’s grace is sufficient for us until the end when He returns and we are given the rewards for our deeds–whether for good or evil–He will determine and by our own actions, we seal our fate for all eternity.

Until He returns, it is not too late to hear the message, accept His love, repent of sin and live for Him. Will you consider Him today? Tomorrow might be too late and the opportunity to live for eternity with Him will be lost.

There is a point in living right (according to God’s Will, not our own), but some steadily deny it. My stance when questioned by those who refuse to believe and attempt to mock my belief is this: “If I get to the end and discover that there is no God, my living right will not have been in vain. But if I live as though there is no God and get to end and discover He is, then there is a problem.” I’d rather live—doing what’s right in His sight and not my own or in the sight or mind of man. That’s the point!

 

 

Their Mocking Results in Blessings!

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.” (Matthew 5:11 NLT)

I’ve never really experienced “mocking” the way I am through “digital technology” and perhaps, never will again. There is something about the ability to remain anonymous that really brings out the worst in people; especially those who claim they do not believe in God. Or maybe I’ve just been fortunate enough to live in communities where people were respected for their beliefs whether they agreed or not. At any rate, I’ve come to know more about what this particular passage of scripture means through my voyage in using social media.

The worst offenders through the anonymity of digital technology have been on Huffington Post. Not that long ago, I would find myself responding “to articles” written on the Christian page and then I would be “attacked” on a personal level because of my belief. For a while, it was amusing and I simply stood my ground on my beliefs. When people became too obnoxious, I ignored them. When they became downright hateful with the racial attacks as well as the religious ones, I decided enough was enough and only commented to the articles and never again to those who plagued the Believers. 

What I discovered from those attacks was fuel to use in writing my books and in my blogs. For me–those attacks have resulted in me being blessed with ammunition to keep writing and to keep encouraging other believers to stand on God’s Word, no matter what other people may say.

I am strengthened, daily by Holy Spirit to keep writing and encouraging. I have been blessed by those who “choose” to follow me on a number of social media, and in book sales. I am empowered by the comments being made to keep moving forward, always listening to God and saying what He says–to me in my blogs.

I’m not foolish enough to think that everyone who follows me via “any” of the social media agrees with everything I say, but they are at least respectful enough to either not say anything or to disagree–agreeably. That is a tremendous blessing to me and I would not have known how many people really do love The Lord, if I had not kept writing–in spite of the verbal attacks. Praise God for victory in digital media–even though there are those who yet hide behind anonymity.

What I’ve come to understand from my experience using social media is this–Satan still uses people and tries to hide his hand with the anonymity of “egg photos, cute animals,” or anything they can find other than their face. There are some believers who are hiding as well–perhaps it is because of their experiences with nastiness on social media. I choose to let the world know who I am and that I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I will promote Him, every chance I get, to whoever is willing to read and understand or hear (I’m just as vocal in public)--it is all to His glory!  Hallelujah!

So, go ahead and mock me so I can continue to be blessed by God in all I say that glorifies Him! I am blessed and highly favored and every time someone is nasty to me or has a hateful comment, God counters it with another blessing. Now, this is what the psalmist meant when he said, “He has prepared a table for me in the midst of my enemies” and now my enemies can  watch me devour the fullness of God in my life and be a blessing to others!

 

Not Like Man!

“God is not a man, so he does not lie.
He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19 NLT)

If God is not a man, why do we–human beings–attempt to give Him the attributes of mankind instead of understanding Him as a Spirit being–not needing us or anything He created? He is a Sovereign Being–self-sustaining–was here before anything else was and will be after everything is gone. He is the creator of all things and without Him, nothing, absolutely nothing was ever created. Whether we believe this or not is irrelevant–especially since theorists are still trying to prove their theories–but here we are and at some point in time–we must simply realize that there are things that are beyond our understanding and defy our limited logic in attempts to explain them.

Having said all of that–God has no need to lie.  Why would He? Think about why people lie. They lie to gain confidence over others or to undermine others, to gain control over others or to escape punishment from those in authority over them. Who has any authority over Him? He is The Authority whether we accept Him as authority over our lives or not!

God is not human, but He understands His human creation well and has created us in His image–fully capable of love, but many are influenced by the evil one and their hearts have rejected Love and are full of hate.

God does not change His mind! What He has established remains true, but we have often misinterpreted His intent to fulfill our own desires and lusts. Once we understand His intent for mankind, we have a better understanding of His written Word and The Revealed Word that comes with relationship with Him. Like the human kings who seal “their decrees” with a ring and wax, God seals His decrees in our hearts with Holy Spirit.

If we look closely at the history of mankind and all of the current events, we can see that God keeps His promises–no matter what those promise are–they do come pass and we either reap the reward or the consequence clearly stated in His Word.

God will not tolerate people mocking His Word forever. As He has done in the past, He will do again–all those things He promises for either our obedience or disobedience. We only have to look at the state the world is in today to know–that He is not playing with us. So, why are we flagrantly disobedient to Him? Do we think we know more or can do more than He can? How foolish are we to think we can openly and rebelliously defy God and not suffer the consequences of our actions?

Woe unto us who know to do better, but choose to succumb to the dictates of man, rather than obey God!

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to understand Alpha and Omega and cut away anything in our hearts, not like You so we may glorify You in everything we do and say. Spiritually, deafen our ears and blind our eyes to those thing that are not of You and keep our tongues from saying anything that is rebellious towards You. Amen!

 

What Will It Take?

What will it take to stop the foolishness?

Young men “punching” older people, just because.

Young women having sex with anyone and everyone, just because.

Old men seeking the favors of young women and being duped, just because.

Old women thinking younger men really want them for their bodies, when it’s really about the money, just because.

And we wonder why–

Crime is rampant in our neighborhoods,

Education is not important to our children,

AIDS is becoming more prevalent in every ethnicity and sexual orientation and age group,

Fewer and fewer people even know how “to train up their kids” so they’ll know what to do when they get older,

Politicians never do anything for the people for whom they are supposed to serve.

And Americans are hated and America a target for all fools,

Yet, Everyone wants to come to America to escape the foolishness in their own countries,

Just to start the foolishness all over again, here.

“We’ll rise to challenges” so people will notice us, but

We won’t read a Bible in the privacy of our own homes.

“Without Christ in our lives we are nothing, can do nothing, and will be destroyed

By the enemy–who hates all God has created–and we simply sit around, waiting

For the end that is inevitable–the destruction of mankind, because we do not want to obey God!

What will it take for us to figure this out?

When all our loved ones are lying, bleeding to death in the streets and gutters,

Or when we see the hopelessness and despair in all the eyes of people,

From every walk of life–knowing that the end is truly near–and all hope is gone?

What will it take?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

And again, I ask–what will it take for us to do the right thing in God’s sight and not our own?

Just In Case You Forgot!

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 NLT)

We all feel a certain sadness at the loss of a loved one; especially when they have died at the hands of the unbelieving for no particular reason–other than hatred. Remember this--they are not lost to us forever. When Jesus returns (and He will), those believers who have gone before His return shall rise from their graves and we who still believe, shall rise with them in the air and remain with The Lord forever! Hallelujah!  Glory to our God! Man may stop our blood from flowing earth in the earth realm for a season, but our God, who never lies and is faithful to His Word, shall give us a glorified body, filled with His living Spirit and we shall live and reign with Him for all eternity!

No, all is not lost! God will repay all those who have rejected Him, scorned His Word, and killed the body of those who profess their belief in Him.  No, there is no reward in heaven for those who are bloodthirsty, lawless, and full of hate. There is a consequence for those who defy God and it is not a consequence anyone will be able to bear.  God has promised that “all” will receive the appropriate consequence for everything they have done–every act committed–and for many–it will be too late for them to change their minds.

Hell awaits those who will join the devil–the evil one–in the lake of fire which will burn for all eternity. Nothing, by any means shall deter our God from keeping His promises and we who know–can comfort and encourage the hearts of other believers to not be dismayed with current events, but rather look forward to His return.

So, just in case you forgot–remember these words–He will return and all believers will be with Him, forever!

 

Educating Our Future!

Some schools–depending upon where one lives–are already in session for a new school year. Others are going back soon! What are the students going back to do?

Speaking from experience with Detroit Public Schools, many of the inner city students are going back to chaos–overcrowded classrooms, overused testing, and demoralized, unhappy teachers. None the chaos is the fault of the students, but they are the ones who will be negatively impacted by it the most.

First of all–PARENTS–get your act in gear and teach your children to respect authority and property of others. One of the reasons for the overcrowded classrooms is the budget allocation for textbooks which students either take home to keep or deliberately desecrate with profanity–making them inaccessible to others. The other reason for much of the chaos–ill-mannered, ill-behaved students who interfere with the process of learning. They have never learned to do school and when a teacher meets some of the parents–they know the apple truly did not fall far from the tree.

If parents truly want a quality education for their children, they need to engage in the process–get actively involved with the schools and the legislators making decisions about the schools.

The Detroit Public School district has had an assigned Emergency Manager for five years now that has not made a difference in the debt accrued. Why? Too many people coming into the system with the sole purpose of “lining their pockets” and totally forgetting about the kids they are supposed to help educate. This would not happen if we had anyone with integrity having oversight of the Detroit Public Schools. For those who know the power of prayer–it’s prayer time–pray for all Emergency Managers to develop a conscience and do their jobs–not line their pockets with the funds that should be spent on educating the children. Everyone needs to get out and vote–getting rid of all those politicians who are only interested in promoting their own–self-serving agendas–not the benefit of all the people.

EDUCATORS–FIGHT BACK–and stop the testing nonsense and spend the time–TEACHING your students. Students do not learn anything from over-testing; they learn from educators who have time to teach them the skills for which they are being tested. If they have not been taught, why are they being tested? A little common sense is needed here.

ADMINISTRATORS–grow a pair–and move out of the way of those teachers who are “still interested” in teaching children what they need to know to survive in this world. Using threats, being demeaning, humiliation and coercion will not accomplish anything other than unhappy, rebellious staff who will only do the minimum required to get you off their backs.Abusing your staff does not make you a great administrator–understanding what your staff needs and supporting them in their efforts will get the job done. If you are an administrator and are only a doormat to the district–resign! Get out of the way so our children can learn!

From observation and research, I know there is a conspiracy afoot to keep students from Detroit in a rut–for manual labor only and everyone who is involved in the system and is not willing to change the way we do education in Detroit is guilty of being a participant in the conspiracy. Our students need to know grammar–for conversational purposes as well for writing. When the District decided that grammar did not need to be taught (almost 20 years ago)–that should have been a signal for all to understand the complicity in keeping our children–illiterate. Now, we graduate functionally illiterate students who cannot read above the seventh-grade level. Where do they get to work? Fast–food restaurants and anywhere they do not have to think or read with comprehension. Just take a look at the cash registers being used today and you’ll understand my point.

So now, what are you going to do? Get mad at me or do something about educating our future?

You can read more in my book, If Parents Cared Enough, Johnny and Juaneshia Could Read  found here: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-M-Hall-Rayford/e/B00BAW31CQ/

Get mad, but get busy when you get over being mad!

Don’t Be Afraid!

“Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the LORD is going to do this to all of your enemies.” (Joshua 10:25 NLT)

FEAR–is an attitude (primarily developed out of ignorance of the unknown) that keeps people from doing the very best they can. When people “act” on their fears, innocent people are killed; hatred drives them to destruction, and nothing good ever results from it.

Perfect love–unconditional love towards all human beings–casts fears aside and opens the door to knowledge, revelation, and understanding. Just because are different or do things differently than how we do them–they are still human beings, worthy of love and our understanding.

How can we say, we “hate” someone or a group of people, when we really do not understand them? Racial strife and religious bigotry should never be part of anyone’s life who claims to know God. Did He not make us all in His image? Regardless of our racial background, nationality, ethnicity or religious affiliation–God created us all for His purposes, not our own.

There are so many cultural differences in the world that they are far too numerous for me to disseminate in this commentary, but suffice it to say, that we are “all uniquely created human beings” and if God had wanted clones, He could have done that! We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” so God gets the glory for our uniqueness and various talents and gifts that He gives so we can do all that He would have us to do.

Rather than hate people because of differences, why can’t we spend the time getting to know people and getting to understand why they do what they do, instead of assuming they are wrong and we are right? Are we always right? NO! Are they always wrong? NO! Do people have a right to be who they are rather than who we want them to be? ABSOLUTELY!

The only thing that Christians have a right to judge is “sin” (according to God’s Word), not people. We have a right to call sin what it is, but we do not have a right to hate people or to condemn them. Judging what they do (as does the law of the land) is one thing. Judging them and concluding they can never change–is not our job. In the end–God will determine where we all spend eternity based upon our works in the earth (what we actually do).

While there is yet time–open your heart and hear God–know His heart and how He feels about all of His people. Embrace the cultural differences and get to know people rather than judge them. Accept the fact that not everyone is going to see things your way or understand why you do what you do and enjoy discussion and interactions with those who are “different” from you. This is how we make a difference in the world–acceptance of people–without judgment or hatred–allowing ourselves to understand them and for them to understand us. So, don’t be afraid to get to know someone who is “different” than you! You just might be surprised at how wonderful your life and theirs will be!

“Red, yellow, black or white–we are all precious in His sight!” Jesus loves and so should we!

The “Light” Message!

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:”(1 John 1:5,6)

If God is light–everything can be “seen” by everyone at the same time, and there is no “darkness” in Him, then we can conclude that all darkness is from the one who operates in the dark and attempts to hide evil deeds.

When the atmospheric “sun” shines brightly–everyone can see the light and many, become so enamored of that light that their stay leads to damaged skin from the ultraviolet rays (over exposure). But forgetting for a moment–the damage that the sun can cause to a person’s skin, most people are more cheerful when they see the light, are better behaved in the light, and know that not much can be hidden in full view of the light.

One of the reasons people suffer from depression is because of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). During gloomy winter months when they it mostly cloudy and the sun is hidden from view, people become as gloomy as the day, but when the seasons change and the sun is seen more, their lives brighten, considerably.

When we have received, “The Son” who is The Light, we no longer walk in darkness and try to hide our deeds, but want everyone to see how God is operating in our lives. Every morning when we rise, we can rise knowing that He rises within us and all of our days are “bright” and He chases away the gloom because darkness cannot abide in The Light! Glory to God! This is why–when people are depressed, their thoughts become dark and gloomy and their is hidden in the darkness. With Jesus, there is always hope and a future that awaits us–keeping us in the light and no matter what the season is–winter, fall, spring, or summer–our light can shine so brightly that darkness and hopelessness, and feelings of defeat–flee in our presence! And in His light–no skin damage ever occurs, but healing in all areas of our lives–takes place!

This is the light message. We are to let our lights (fueled by The Light) shine so brightly that darkness never has a chance to operate and all mankind will see our good deeds and glorify God! Hallelujah for The Light!

 

 

When He Returns!

“Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.” “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.” (Revelation 22:11,12 NLT)

Although many people are fearful of the message found in John’s message about what was revealed to him, we all need to take note and heed what he says.

In verse 10, the angel speaking to John and giving him instruction warned him not to “seal the prophetic words written in this book for the time is near when Jesus will return.” Now, looking at what is said–“let them continue…” we see the warning that for those who are doing wrong–they will get their just reward and for those who are doing what is right–they will also get their just reward.  But we must understand, that God does not think people cannot change, but if we continue doing wrong until the time He returns after hearing the Truth, we have no hope for heaven.

I certainly do not consider myself to be a doomsday preacher, but I caution everyone who reads and knows the truth–to pay attention to the signs of the time. There is so much hatred in the land that defies the love of God that it is hard to imagine He will not do something drastic soon. We cannot claim to love God and hate people! We can claim to abhor wrong-doing and share the Good News with others in order to see them have an opportunity to get living right for God before He returns, if they refuse to listen–their blood is on their hands, not ours. But if we don’t warn them, then their blood is on our hands.

I refuse to be caught not having done what I was instructed to do when He returns. So whether people want to hear or not–I preach the Gospel. Whether they want to read it or not–I’ll continue to write commentaries on The Word with the goal of seeing all people loving God and reserving their place in heaven. When He returns–I will have no fear of what my reward will be, but a longing to receive it–my just reward for my deeds. This is not to say that I’m perfect, but I try always to live according to those things He has spoken to my heart and are aligned with His Word.

When He returns–what will your reward be?

Divided Loyalties!

“But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” (James 1:6-8 NLT)

When we ask Him for what? Wisdom and anything else we need, when we ask in faith, we shall have it. But we cannot waver in our faith that He will do it because if we do–we allow doubt to enter and undermine faith and doubt will negate the faith to which God responds. James, in his letter, is simply reiterating what Jesus told the disciples about prayer. He told them when we ask in faith–doubting nothing–whatever we ask for, we shall have it.

For those who criticize others for having faith in what they do not see–get over it. When we speak–in faith–those things we are believing God for–we are going to see them in His timing as long as we do not allow the “world’s way of thinking” to interfere with our faith. When we try to have faith in God and then allow the “world” to influence how we think--we have divided our loyalties and God says–we can expect “nothing” from Him.

Is this why you have not received what you have been asking for? Is your loyalty divided between God and the world?

God says, “Ask and it will be given” when we ask in faith. The world says, “Why are you expecting anything from someone invisible?”

One of the reasons why the world does not understand “our faith” is because we do not understand and exercise our faith in the manner that God tells us. Faith in Him does not waver–no matter what–whether what we ask for comes immediately or is delayed–the faith for those things we ask–remains in Him!  But the moment we start listening to others who influence doubt–we might as well stop thinking that God will do anything because He will not respond to doubt!

Whatever it is we are expecting from God–salvation for loved ones–no matter how “they” act–keep believing; financial security–no matter what our bank account says–keep believing; peace in the world–no matter how violent people get under the influence of the enemy–keep believing; for love to overflow in the hearts of all–no matter how much hatred you see–keep believing. If we ever stop having faith in God–we will never see those things for which we ask. Faith that–remains immovable in the face of adversity–can overcome anything and move mountains as long as doubt–never creeps into the situation or our minds to deter us.

Our loyalties belong to God and our faith should be in Him and Him alone–to guide us in all we must do to see faith for what we ask, manifest itself!