Working Together in Truth!

Working Together in Truth!

The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth. 3 John 1:1-8

There are a couple of things I wish to emphasize about John’s letter and how it relates to our lives in 2017.

It is apparent from the content that there is a great deal of affection between Gaius and John and the work they do promoting the truth of the Gospel. John’s praise for his friends hospitality and concern for others should motivate us to know how we are to treat others and what not to do (if we continue reading). It would appear that love and truth go hand-in-hand for those who love The Lord and it is because of the love He has poured into us that we are filled to overflowing, willing to love others. And when we truly love one another, we can work together–unified by love, walking in truth.

Notice that John wishes him good health and prosperity as his soul prospers. Too many times we equate prosperity with material possessions, but true prosperity resides in our health and knowing our soul (our conscience decisions) will always be on the side of right.

Why should we be concerned about our souls? The Word tells us when we die, our body returns to the dust from which it came, our spirits go back to heaven which it came and our soul is judged on that great day.

Whenever we look into the eyes of others or they look into our eyes, it is said, the depths of our souls can be seen. What do people see when they look into our eyes? Is there joy or bitterness? Is there love or hate? Is there concern or derision?

I’ve looked at people lately–seeking what resides inside–especially those politicians who claim to be followers of Christ, but their actions don’t match their words. In fact, upon close inspection–looking into their eyes, all I see is emptiness or a great void–which would explain their attitudes towards others.  And since there is a void, there is no truth and certainly no love.

I would urgently challenge all to look into the eyes of those who claim to love and see if you can see into their souls.

For those who truly love, there is a light that shines brightly from deep within and it comes forth in any individual as joy and delight in life. They love to show affection to others, there is nothing hidden in them that makes them lie or promote falsehoods and they have no problem–looking back–open to full inspection–no guile in them.

When people don’t want to look directly at you or their look is furtive (always looking from side to side), as if expecting the worse to befall them at any minute, they have a void in their souls and they’re anxious about everything. People who are always trying to please people more than God are never at rest and it shows in their demeanor.

The eyes–regardless of color–are truly the gateway to the soul and if there is no light within guiding anyone–they struggle in darkness, trying to feel their way in life, never enjoying the fullness of what life has to offer.

I wish everyone reading this today, the joy of the Lord, overflowing onto all who come into your presence. I wish you good health and that you prosper as your soul prospers. Above all, I wish you the peace of God–allowing it to abide within no matter how chaotic the world is around you.

When Souls Are at Risk!

When Souls Are at Risk!

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:19-26 NIV

Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.Proverbs 16:8 NIV

Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool— how much worse lying lips to a ruler! Proverbs 17:7 NIV

How do we lose our soul? By trying to live according to man’s dictates rather than living by The Word of God and obeying what we hear Him say to us.

When man thinks it is more important for people to listen to them, than to God, souls are at risk. Since I’ve never been one to try to please people, I try to make sure my soul–my soul–remains in position to be blessed by God, knowing where my eternity shall be spent. All is well with my soul!

Now, because of my love for God and the desire to please Him, what I do is often misinterpreted as being an act of disobedience by some who think they know more than God. I realize that God has given us all a gift–specifically–purposed by Him, for Him. Though I did not recognize the gift as a child when I was always the one trying to maintain peace among kids on the playground and in school, I do recognize it now. He has always used me to fight for the underdog–those who were not capable of speaking up for themselves or not willing to do so because of fear.

Looking back at the endeavors I’ve undertaken, I can see how I was being prepared for such a moment as this. I’ve always been a community activist–fighting for justice and equality for the oppressed. I’ve never had a lot of money, but what I had, I often used to help others in need and God has tremendously blessed my life. So, I know when I hear God speak to me and another–I will not hear. I will not be tempted by religious affiliation to steer others onto a path that is not of God.

When trying to choose between two job offers–one that paid more money and was fairly secure and the other that paid less and offered no job security, but involved defending the rights of poor people. I prayed and found in His Word the right path for me–taking the job that paid less, but enriched my life.

I’ve spent years volunteering my time and skills to help others who could not afford to pay for the services I rendered, but the joy of the Lord was kept alive in my heart by their gratitude, not their money.

As an educator–my purpose was to give those students I taught what they needed to succeed beyond the walls of a classroom and when I see some of them now, they let me know how much they appreciate me–pushing them to do their very best.

And now I understand more than ever how important it is to hear God for ourselves and obey what He’s telling us today. I am still an avenger for justice and though I lose the approval of man, I know I have the approval of God when I obey Him, rather than man.

Until the end comes–the end of life or the end of my ability to type–I will obey God because my soul is too important for me to heed the words of mere mortals over the voice of God. My soul belongs to Jesus and another will not cause me lose my place in eternity, simply to pacify another mere mortals with religious rhetoric.

Lord, I thank You for giving me another opportunity to glorify You in all I do. Forgive my reluctance to act even sooner, not obeying what I heard You say, out of concern for what others might think, because I didn’t understand, clearly. I will hear and obey–whether I understand it or not so people will not have to live under the dictates of fearmongers and hatemongers who pretend to know You, but don’t. And now I ask Your continued blessings and wisdom to be poured into all who desire to please You as we continue our journey to defend the rights of the poor, needy and oppressed.

Taking A Stand Against The Devil’s Schemes!

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV)

Since the first man and woman were deceived in the garden by Satan, evil from high places have influenced the minds of those who do not understand God.

The first step to understanding God and His plan for mankind is to understand who He is and His intent for mankind. Creator God–the God of heaven–is not an evil ruler or man that He should lie or change His mind about anything He’s said. It is only those who choose to pacify fleshly desires and ungodliness who think there is no God or that He should not be heard. That is their choice.

For those of us who have established a right relationship with God, understanding who He is and His plan for mankind, and having accepted His Son’s sacrifice on the cross, we know (not believe) that God’s Word is His plan for mankind and we agree with God.

We know that the enemy has influenced those in places of authority by clouding their minds and putting scales on their eyes. They are blinded to God’s truth because of their own aspirations to be “somebody” and to gain the approval of man. But the Word reminds us that we have gained nothing winning the approval of people if we lose our souls in the process (Matthew 16:26).

My soul delights in the Lord and all His teaching! For I know that nothing He has said was intended to harm me, but to make my life a cause for rejoicing in Him. No matter what the enemy does to influence people to live in opposition to God, I agree with God–from Genesis to Revelation–and will proclaim from the mountain tops to the depths of the sea–Our God reigns!

I love the Lord because He first loved me and I will love all of His children and pray for the redemption of all who oppose Him that they will see the light of His love and be not conformed to this world and its delusions, but they will be transformed–willingly–into everything God would have them to be and walk the narrow path–escaping the destruction of the broad path.

We must remember that men–mere mortals–do not have a heaven or hell for us; they do not define or redefine what God has said is sin, and we do not have to obey sinful governance–declared by anyone. Remember Daniel and all who came before and after who chose to obey God rather than man. Remember Achan (Joshua 7) and the sin committed by his daughter’s hiding the idol in their tent that brought destruction upon their entire household. Is God like fickle-minded man that He changes His mind and approves every wind of doctrine that man contrives? NO! God is not a man that He should lie and He will have the last word about everything man does.

Believers–put on the armor of faith, salvation, truth, righteousness, and lift high the sword–The Word of God and proclaim it in all the land, whether the unbelieving believe it or not. Pray in the spirit so the enemy cannot hinder your thoughts and know that God has a plan and His plan will be fulfilled and He will not forget the remnant who remains faithful to Him.

Soul Lifting!

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 42:11 NKJV).

What happens to us when our souls are cast down? You know, that inner man/woman, that will be judged for all eternity. Why should we be concerned about the troubles of the world and allow those troubles to change our attitudes and the looks on our faces? The answer quite simply is, we should never allow the world’s troubles to cause us to look like we have lost hope in God.

When things get so chaotic that you allow the frustrations to get you down, remind your soul–Soul, Soul, our hope is in God and there is nothing that He cannot fix.

When children/grandchildren get out of hand, remind your soul–Soul, Soul our hope is in God and in His strength I will be the Godly parent or grandparent I need to be.

When a doctor brings you a negative report and your countenance falls, remind your soul–Soul, Soul- our hope and trust is in God and our entire body is healed by His stripes and nothing shall by any means, harm us.

No matter what happens, remind your soul that while all the stuff going on around you is out of your control, it is within God’s control and you can praise Him, smile, and laugh at the devil who wanted you to cry and pout! Laugh out Loud! Praise God! Hallelujah, Glory to God! God is able! No weapon formed against me shall prosper! I can do all things through Him who loves me! There is nothing to hard for God, absolutely nothing! I am a child of the most High King and I am all that He has said I am! I am never defeated because of His love! I am always victorious in all things! God is my shield and my banner, in Him will I trust!

Sing a lively praise song, loud and long, whenever things in life attempt to get you down! Don’t know any! Turn up the radio to contemporary Gospel and sing-a-along! Can’t sing? Dance to the music! Lift up your heads, O you servants of the Lord, and sing His praises loud enough for the sound to reach the heavens and see God smiling at you!

Feel like dancing yet? I do! Hallelujah for our risen Savior!

And remember this, “When nothing else would help, Love lifted me!”

God loves us and only wants the best for us–receive and act like you have everything you need!

Be a Light!

“…Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).

If we look at the this entire passage of conversation in which Jesus is telling us how our roles should be seen, we get the picture of being a person who is absolutely necessary in bringing others into the knowledge of God.  In verse 13–we are salt–we have the ability to preserve and stop the bloodshed.  In verse 14–we are light–the light that must shine brightly in a dark world so others can see their way back to Christ.  If they see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven, they are more likely going to accept God’s way of doing things.

So, are the problems we face in the world the fault of the people who don’t know God and deny His existence or is that we have not fulfilled our role?  Are we being the preservative of others’ souls we’re instructed to be (instructing, advising, being an example)?  Are others seeing our good deeds so we can win them, not by what we say, but by what they see?

This is not an accusation, but it is intended to ignite reflection about how we–who say we believe–do things.  If we are just talking the talk and not walking it, we’re wasting our time and the time of those we are attempting to convince.  In the minds of some–we are hypocrites. In the minds of some–we are crazy.  I’d rather be thought crazy–because of my public proclamations of God’s goodness than a hypocrite because I’m talking too much or too loud and saying and doing nothing. I’d rather be the light than a partaker of the darkness.

Lord, help me to become a beacon of light in the dark places of souls of all those around me so they will glorify You.