During The Test!

“So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness,” (Hebrews 3:7,8 NIV)

In Hebrews, new converts–followers of Christ–are reminded about what had happened with the Children of Israel during their wilderness journey while Moses was leading them to the promised land.

Just as the people hardened their hearts against Moses when he did as God instructed and stopped listening to him, people are still hardening their hearts against Holy Spirit when He speaks because He gives instructions that are contrary to fleshly dictates. Holy Spirit will only say what God says and when people don’t agree–they get angry and rebellious–like spoiled children who cannot get their way and they do stupid things (murder comes to mind).

Is that what we are today? Spoiled children trying to get our way, even though we know that God is right and He only has our best interests at heart. Children who have never been taught discipline throw tantrums to get their way with parents. Most try and the tantrums have to be nipped in the bud, rather than used to manipulate. When my children threw tantrums as toddlers, I did, too. I rolled in the floor, screaming and pounding on the floor and they ended up looking at me like I was crazy. The tantrums ended because they could not have their way. When tantrums are not stopped, those same children become undisciplined adults and think their rebellious natures will get them what they want. They think–like the child thought!

I can imagine God looking at us in the same way, shaking His head because we think our little tantrums and acts of rebellion are going to make Him change His mind. But we forget one thing--“I the Lord your God, change not.” We can be as rebellious as we want to be and we’ll end up getting the same results as those who went before us–tragedy.

In this era of people testing God to see if they can manipulate Him into giving in to their tantrums, the rest of us–who truly believe and understand God’s nature, must hold onto our faith in Him and know–this is just a test! Rebellious people do what they want to do, but the final outcome will be as it was before–disaster and then people will want to blame God for what happens to them, simply because they would not obey.

When you hear the voice of Holy Spirit speaking to you about righteousness and obedience–don’t harden your hearts–listen and obtain the best life God has in store for you!

Can We Do It?

shared creation“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (I John 4:11).

I love this passage of scripture. In fact, it is the verse of scripture we use to close every podcast on blogtalkradio every Thursday evening. It is a reminder to us–that since God loves us–in spite of us–that we should love one another–in spite of us. That’s love–unconditionally.

Now, why should we love others–unconditionally? When we truly love like God loves because He is Love, we don’t have time to think about: hating, criticizing, judging, being vengeful, plotting to kill, steal, destroy, manipulate or lie. When we see things in others that we “do not like” we pray for them, while still loving them.

I can imagine that there are many people who have stories to tell about wayward children–those who just would not listen. In fact, I was one of them. Things turned upside down for me when my mother chose to move to Michigan from a small community in West Virginia in my senior year of high school–I lost it. I rebelled and created all sorts of havoc (for myself) including not finishing high school on time. I hated the high school I was attending and finally quit–needing just two classes to graduate.

Where does a rebellious child go with no high school diploma? Anywhere they want to go–they just don’t succeed at much of anything. At any rate, I took the two classes during summer school, and went on to start a college career, but was still in a rebellious mode. Consequently, it took me twenty-five years to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, but once I went at it, I refused to stop. Hence, the completion of doctoral coursework at over 60 years old. Did I learn anything? Absolutely! My mother loved me in spite of me, God loved me in spite of me, my children love me in spite of me and I learned to love myself–in spite of me.

Can we do it? Can we receive the love of God for ourselves and yet not love others? Can we learn to love self (a prerequisite for loving others)? Can we learn to love others–unconditionally?  When we learn to love, we’ll change the world-one person at at time because love, like prayer, changes things.

Father, in the name of Jesus, speak our hearts and help us to love like You love. Show us the way to change ourselves as we work to change the world by creating an atmosphere of love.