Saturday, February 14, 2015

Letting Go Versus Giving Up

This blog serves the purpose for the practicing Christian in finding answers to the question, is this all there is? Or why aren't I receiving what was promised - abundant life? (Proverbs 10:24 AMP).  For all of these entries, there could be a myriad of reasons and contrary to what you might think, it is never God trying to keep the best from you. He didn't give His only begotten Son for nothing. In that, you have received much. So here is the first thing you could stop doing for you to be grateful again. Stop complaining (Ephesians 4:31 AMP).

I watched a mother explain her life and how she struggled financially with her husband and many times they had to make due with what they had. When things began to turn around for the better and she didn't have to keep up with the Jones' because the Jones' were trying to keep up with her, she had a child. The child grew up with the best of everything and her father was only too happy to give it. While he was enjoying watching his daughter enjoy all that she had, the mother remembering the struggle is saying, she will not raise a spoiled child. While her intentions sounded good, the child was making demands of the servants and for her father to purchase everything she touched. The child knows nothing of the struggle and will never feel the financial frustrations that her parents felt. Why? Because they let go of that and will never return to it, if at all possible.

Wisdom would have planned that situation differently. No matter how much that mother would like to have her child grow up with integrity and character, that wrestling match is already over. Integrity and character lost. Wisdom would have those parents in a modest home, socking away all of the profits for their children's future (1 Timothy 5:8 AMP). If the parent's first concern is the children and not their own comfort, the children would never have the threat of being spoiled. The Jones' would be the least of their concerns along with socialites, paparazzi, and the latest fashion trends. Discipline and structure brings character and integrity. If a parent lets go of the discipline and structure in a child's formidable years, that parent has given up (Proverbs 22:6 AMP).

Another faith filled woman was believing God for her dream home. She had bought a house a few years back and paid it off. She thanked God for leading her to it. It served her and her family well. But it was always meant to be a starter home and now she was ready to get the house she really desired. She had been looking through various neighborhoods and narrowed her choices down to a couple of places. Now she believed all she had to do was wait for the opportunity to present itself. Years passed and as they did, instead of keeping herself encouraged she became distressed. The neighborhood she currently resided in had become dilapidated. Her humble abode became the half way mark of the block for the undesirable. She prayed and prayed hoping God would quicken things and put those that needed to be in place, there already. More years passed. Her children grew and moved into places of their own. When this woman was asked what happened to her purchasing her "dream" home, she said, "I just don't care anymore. Thirty years I waited on God and nothing happened. At this point, if I get a house - fine. If I don't - fine." She gave up her dream.

Wisdom would have planned this differently (Proverbs 1:33 AMP). If this woman really wished to have a home as much as she stated, she would have moved in the same manner that she did when purchasing the "starter" house. She found a Realtor, made appointments to see the inside and outside of some houses, she weighed her options and made a bid. She didn't do any of these things but expected God to do it all. Though it is impossible to please Gd without faith, faith without works is dead (James 2:18-26 AMP). All of which takes growth and maturity...which in of itself, is a lesson.

A new parent was feeding her toddler strained baby food for the first time. She had heated some fruit, vegetables and a little cereal. The toddler was used to the cereal and a little fruit but the vegetables were going to be something new. The mother gave the toddler small spoonfuls of the familiar food. Then she slowly introduced the strained peas. The baby stopped for a few seconds, squinted, and then spit the peas out. The mother tried again with the same results. She tried using diversion tactics, sad/happy faces, and even making promises for a new toy. Nothing was working. The new mother then gave up as she entertained thoughts about her child's slowly failing to get nutrients and eventually becoming sick. She fed the child the very thing that the child liked: cereal and fruit.

Wisdom would have planned differently (Proverbs 2:2-10 AMP). In introducing new food to a baby, first get the food the child is used to and with a small bit of the strain peas on the back of the spoon. Fill the tip of the spoon with the fruit. The first thing the baby tastes is the fruit but the swallow is with the peas.

Did you notice that in all 3 scenarios, there is a solution and it is with Wisdom? This is a weapon of warfare that has not been taught as often as it should be in a way that can be easily applied. The Word tells us if we ask God for Wisdom, He gives it liberally and upbraids it not. In the Old Testament, it is written and My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6 AMP). There is no measurement with that verse. It would seem all or nothing. So while we have been complaining about all that we don't have, what have we been doing to gain what we could? Has an education been obtained? Have you read any good books lately? Have we at least prayed to have common sense?

Seriously, if we were truly honest with ourselves, we could see most of our problems have come from us wanting to do what we want to do. We haven't let go of our will for a better way of doing things. If we let go that doesn't mean we have given up. Letting go of our own principles based on our limited knowledge or someone else living vicariously through us, or us being influenced by someone else's life - which ever the reason, its not God's will (John 3:30 AMP). Now you can use the argument that everything we desire is permissible (1 Corinthians 10:23 AMP). Yes, it is, but this is the problem with what we are going through; and its not just us but the way the clergy has taught us. There is a measure on that verse. You must not take it out of its context but read the entire thing. While all that we wish to do is permissible because of the new covenant, grace, and liberty; there is still boundaries, of which we can cross too (James 1:12-16 AMP). Everything that we wish to do, isn't always profitable to do it. How would we know what to do?

The only one that knows where our specific blessings are. The only one that is here and there. The only one that saw your outcome while you were still being formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5 AMP). The only one that has loved us since the very beginning and hasn't changed from then to now. The only one to trust. The only one to pray to. The only one to believe in for everything. Seriously, it is over due time to let go of you so there could be more of Him (1 John 4:4 AMP).




Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Farm Life



What if life were like living on a farm? Things wouldn't be as difficult. If you needed anything of sustenance, all you would have to do is go out to the barn for the milk and eggs and any other food items would be right out in the middle of the field. What ever you planted, that's what you would live off of. People don't do it because they think it would be back breaking hard work. But if you knew that it is more beneficial for you and that it would improve your health, would it still be hard?

I was watching this reality show where this father and husband was in a financial and legal battle. He was at a quandary as to what to do. As he pondered over the matter, he thought about his childhood and went out to purchase chickens. He remembered how simple his life used to be. His wife didn't understand why he would do such a thing since they have been city folk most of their lives and their children really didn't understand it. Later in the episode, their German Shepherd dogs that were having more of an issue then the entire family had an early morning snack even before any of the family woke up. A bloody mess and nothing the children should have seen - yet, it was an opportunity for a lesson, if he only knew. It was an interesting plight of this man, who was trying to make sense of all of his legal battles and what he found comforting was to find something in his childhood that was carefree. Yet he never taught his children those values and he didn't choose a wife with those simplistic traits. Because of his choices, the dogs, indicative to his own personality, did what their instincts told them to do. He was not surprised. The children were devastated having only seen chickens for the first time the day before.

A divorced father had partial custody of his children. While they were growing up and he was still married, he was harsh with his words and in disciplining them. He would almost always use corporal punishment. His wife warned him, if he continued in that manner, the children would become immune to the beatings and they would resent him. Believing he was doing the right thing in raising his children, he continued. Now his children are grown with lives of their own. The divorced father has grand children that he doesn't see unless he calls and pleads for them to come and visit. There are many things that his children are talented in and many things their father needs help with, yet instead of asking, he uses the fact that they have been raised as Christians to manipulate them. Resenting the predicament he created and waffling with what they know in Christ, they try to avoid him whenever possible. He is amused with their efforts.

A young man finished high school and struggled through his undergrad years of college. He made some contacts and some associates but was never close enough to anyone to call them a friend. While trying to get a job, he heard of an opportunity in a company from one of his classmates. At first chance he got, he looked into getting the job. Once he landed the position, he focused on doing well for his superiors to notice him so he could be promoted or at the least get a raise. In the mean time, his classmate asked if he could put in a good word so he could get a job as well seeing they were both in the same field. The young man explained now that they have entered into the corporate world, things work differently and he has to look out for his best interests. His classmate looked at him bewildered wondering if he meant what it sounded like. If it weren't for him telling about the job he would have never known. The young man patted the shoulder of his class mate and said, "good luck."

The Word tells us if we have the faith of a mustard seed that we could do great things (Matthew 17:20 AMP). It continues to describe all what a mustard seed can do. If sown into good ground and taken care of, that seed will grow strong and be able not only to withstand the harvest of crops but could also house nests for birds (Luke 13:19 AMP). Through out the bible, the Word continues to use sowing and reaping as analogies for us to use in our day to day lives. When there is such a struggle for everything, we are quick to believe that it is supposed to be this way. If this is true, what is the abundant life that Jesus came to give? I ask this continually because Christians believe we are supposed to struggle throughout the life we chose to live. It simply is not true.

We make decisions. If those decisions are contrary to the Word, there will be a struggle to resolve the issue (1 Corinthians 6:12 AMP). The man with the financial and legal battles had much to deal with because of his dishonest practices. He could simply apologize and make good on his promises in order for his life to resume in peace. Instead he creates a childhood memory to gain some sort of stability in his life. Yet his dogs destroy it which is indicative of the life seeds he has sown. The divorced father with partial custody of his children might be amused with his manipulative antics as he was when they were children. Yet he is already begging for his children to come see him. If he doesn't change, and sow better seed this man is already experiencing the harvest he had sown for the majority of his life (Ephesians 6:4 AMP). The young man ceased an opportunity that came upon him through information. While he can justify why the classmate didn't seek the position for himself, he was not incapable of assisting his classmate in obtaining the position. Disregarding in helping is also seed sown. Though he wished his classmate good luck, the classmate should have said the same thing to him (Matthew 7:9 AMP).

Here is a question that true believers have issues with. The flesh continually wars with the Spirit and the Spirit wars with the flesh (Galatians 5:16-25 AMP). How long does this last? If the flesh is crucified daily and we grow to be more like Christ, are we still warring with the same issues that we know better not to do (John 15: 1-27 AMP)? Aren't we supposed to do better because we know better or do we need the milk of the Word again?

With each struggle there is a lesson learned and a means by which it is manifested. The Word tells us everything that the Lord has not planted, He will pull up by the root (Matthew 15:13 AMP). So if there is a hardship that continually comes your way, ask God where did that particular seed comes from and how you can change it to receive a better harvest (Galatians 6:9 AMP). He hears the prays of the righteous. If you truly desire to be back on the right path, do your due diligence and pray. It is a command that is required anyway. Consider it the labor of a different sort of farmer. Its how he lives (James 5:7-20 AMP).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

God Said Okay Because You Said Okay

Do you meditate on an issue you are going through or do you pray about it and let it go? What if you were the reason for the issue and if you had not said, thought, or reacted in the way that you did, you wouldn't be going through what you are going through? Sounds like a riddle, doesn't it (1 Timothy 4 AMP)?

This came to me, as many things do when I write an entry to this blog or when I hear ministers preach. How can a minister, preacher, pastor, or evangelist have people come to the alter to cancel out the enemy's assignment if God told the enemy that he could be there? Let's just say that because of the power of God is on the minister, at the time, that the assignment is taken off of the person while at the alter. The person undoubtedly feels better but the moment he/she leaves the alter or the building, the issue, bad feeling, or problem comes back (Luke 11:21-26 AMP)? What does that person do?

Hmm. What actually happens, the person is distressed and/or anxious for those feelings to cease completely and begins to find some other solution. The Word tells us to seek a multiple of counselors for safety (Proverbs 11:4 AMP). That takes time not only to make an appointment but to see all of those people and hearing all of those opinions that may or may not come from God. In all of that time, the feelings or the issues continue. What is it and why is it lingering? Why didn't the prayer that the minister prayed over you stick?

Could Saul have felt that way when he was after David? There he was living in the palace and loving kingdom life when out of the blue, he started to feel anxious. David's singing and playing the lyre is what calmed him (1 Samuel 16:23 AMP). It calmed him so much that he had David travel with him. Fighting in wars, David was right there. David also learned from Saul, though he had power and strength of his own believing in God completely for everything. Isn't that the division between the two of them? We could see that when they came back from a fight and the people sung more favorably for David then they did for Saul. Saul's immediate reaction was to get rid of the very thing that gave him comfort but it also took away his notoriety in the people. When Saul was premeditating on the murder of David, and David knew about it, his focus was to protect the anointing that he believed was on Saul as well (1 Samuel 24:1-22 AMP).

Two different issues (anxiety and jealousy) and both are sin; yet one way of reacting only made the issue worse and the other destroyed the problem altogether. If you recall, when Saul was coming after David, those feelings came back. He couldn't have David come sing them away anymore and plot for his death at the same time so he sought after a psychic (1 Samuel 28:7 AMP). On the other hand, David tried to reason with Saul and even showed that if he desired to, he could have killed him. Ironically, Saul committed suicide in the middle of one of those wars (1 Samuel 31:1-8 AMP).

As Christians, we live in a palace as well (1 Corinthians 6:19 AMP). We are required to keep it holy. Why? Because greater is He that is in me (us), then he that is in the world. In so doing, we learn to be fruitful (in the Holy Spirit) and multiply. While we maintain the kingdom, we continue to do what we are called to do. This means that we continue to walk in the Spirit, crucify the flesh daily and pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP). We are redeemed, the anointed, and the salt of the earth. We let our lights shine. So where would problems, issues, and trouble come from? Answer: Thinking, doing, and saying things outside of righteousness. God said not to give place to the devil. So then, why do we? Why do we react in anger? He has told us to be angry and sin not. Why do we speak profanely? Why do we use language so casually for God to damn this or that? Why when tested, we don't use the Word that was taught when going to church services every week? We have strange ways in reacting to common circumstances. When will we be the peculiar nation that God has set aside for Himself (Deuteronomy 14:2 AMP)?

The doctor says that you have such and so disease. You thank the doctor, receive the instructions given, and get radical!!! Now that you have the name of it, it has to bow to the name of Jesus. Everyday, get that Word out and do the battle that you have been fully armed for (Ephesians 6:11 AMP). Then ask God where this thing came from so you can change your behavior (thinking, saying, doing) and pull this thing up by the root.

Your spouse comes to you and says that he/she is not happy and would like a divorce. If that was an ambush and you didn't see it coming, do as the Word says to do. If there is nothing you can say, grant the peace God has called for you to have and get to praying if you desire for your family to stay together.

You are on a diet and live with your parents. They like fast food and constantly discourage you from losing that weight. If you are old enough and have a job, move out! Do what you need to keep the abundant life Jesus sacrificed to give to you and don't let anyone make you compromise those principles (Colossians 3:21 AMP).

You are new to the area and just found a friend that you think could be your best bud for life. Yet when in a department store your new found friend just lifted merchandise and pocketed it. Now he/she is looking to you to do the same thing. No one is around and you would never get caught. But God is watching you. Is it worth loosing the benefits of righteousness? How are you going to sleep tonight with that enemy knocking on your door ready to move in with 7 of his friends (Luke 11:26 AMP)? Do you really need that friendship that badly because if he/she did this with you, it is familiar and he/she will do it again. Are you ready to have the label of criminal or can you see a better way for yourself?

Its just time out in blaming God for what has transpired in your life and for the bad choices you have made. He is the Author and Finisher of your faith, still it is up to you to use it (Hebrews 12:2 KJV). If you know to do better, why do wrong and expect God to clean it up for you? It just doesn't work like that. You accepted Jesus as Lord. He tells you to be holy for He is holy. You attend church to be taught the Word of God and a better way in walking out this life. If your patience wears thin, its no one else's fault but your own. If you become frustrated because you don't wish to study the guide by which teaches you a better way, its your fault. If opposition meets you at every turn and your answer is to run away, opposition will keep meeting you until you face it. This is life. Embrace it and allow Jesus to be Lord over it. It is the only way.





Sunday, December 21, 2014

Safe to Assume?

Depending on what Sunday School you attended, the mantra almost echoes in your ears. If not the song, Yes Jesus Loves Me, For the Bible Tells Me So, then its the Easter Pageants when you had to memorize a scripture in front of the entire congregation. Was there ever a year that a child didn't recite the easiest verse in the whole bible, Jesus wept? We dressed up for services and see the families looking oh so nice. If we are close friends, then we learn certain particulars and pray for one another, but for the most part it is a community that continues it's routine without a hitch.

When there is a visitor, the congregation forms around that person like white blood cells attacking bacteria. The mission: to find what that person is doing in your nicely functioning ministry with all of its color matching decor and newly cleaned stained glass windows. Who is this person and what are their intentions? Of course, the interrogation is diluted with insincere smiles and disingenuous hugs (Matthew 26:49 AMP). If the person comes back after that initial weird exit, then it must be from the Lord - right? Its almost like a game. Its no wonder there are very few visitors in small ministries other then families and those that the families have grown up with all of their lives. Yet, because they all know one another, there is never the same interrogation within (James 2:4 AMP). Its the assumption that because they have all grown up together in the same church, they must be born again. Of course they are...right?

A 3 year old child sang for the Lord every Sunday and his praise couldn't be anything but real. Who was this little person trying to impress? He looked so adorable. When he grew up, he started to learn how to play the organ and was the star performer of the church when there ever was a function. When he was in his 20's, the church had a musical event and assumed that their star performer would be there to play the organ. The choir was lined up and was introduced to all of the people that came to see the event, but nothing was happening because the star performer had not shown up. He had never been late before. Twenty minutes later, here he comes through the door dressed up as if he was going to an opera. He gave no apologies. He opened the double doors that was closed for the choir's entrance, walked through and down the middle of the aisle. He settled in, making noise in so doing, and when he knew all eyes were on him, he began to play. What happened to that adorable little boy? Aren't we disciplined to do better in Christ (Hebrews 12:10 AMP)? But when did he receive Christ? At home? In the middle of his praise? Who asked? Who cared?

I often thought about this when studying Job. Its like the more you meditate on certain aspects of the Word, the more you can get out of it. For instance, it never made sense to me why Job would be making sacrifices for his children. What were they doing that would cause him to be so afraid? He is a priest! Wouldn't he know what to teach his children in order for them to behave? The entire community looked up to Job. He knew what to say to them, but he didn't know with his own children? What kind of faith did he really have?

A young married man with a young family decides to have his 4 and 5 year old son and daughter to be baptized because he remembered when his mother made him do it, he was embarrassed and he wanted to spare his children the humiliation of it all. His children grew up in the same ministry but never went to the altar to give their lives to Christ like anyone else would. Did the children do so in their private lives? Did they visit another church and gave their lives to the Lord, or did the young man believe because he had them baptized at a young age, it was good enough?

Have you ever wondered why some PK's (preachers kids) act the way that they do? I thought it was because the preacher teaches one thing and acts completely different at home. The children were then rebelling against the hypocrisy. I never thought it was as simple as an assumption. Why didn't the minister know this? Why do we think the children will gain what we worked so hard to stay disciplined in, holiness? How are they supposed to obtain it, through osmosis? It will never happen that way!

A Christian married couple separated and the man was concerned in getting his wife back. Though he heard much advise, he decided to call her to ask for them to at least try. She wasn't interested in getting back together but she did agree for them to meet at a restaurant to talk. Before getting there, the woman prayed asking for God to give her the right words and for her soon to be ex husband the heart to understand what the matter was. Once at the restaurant she allowed her husband to speak first. She didn't say anything and he wasn't asking her any questions. They finished their meals and the dishes and been removed from the table. He slurped the last of his drink and asked, "So what do you think?" She hadn't listened to one word he said. She heard it all before, but it was finally quiet and he was waiting for her answer. She took a deep breath believing that the Holy Spirit was gong to say what was needed, "Receive the Holy Spirit and I will come back." He stopped playing with the straw still in his mouth. He looked at her, stood up, put on his coat, and just before he left leaving her there, he said, "No." Shocked not because the pleading stopped along with the bargains and promises, but shocked that his answer was anything else but no. Hadn't he accepted the Holy Spirit anyway? Why was he against it? Why hadn't he mentioned it before? Is the subject moot if one lives a Christian life style?

The Word does tell us that God will save the seed of the righteous, so did we believe He would do different then what He did for us (Galatians 3:29 AMP)? Because He said it, did we assume we didn't have to make the effort to teach it to our children? Did we make sure they did the action as we would have witnessed to everyone else? What kind of parents have we been that we cared for the souls of others and didn't have as much concern for the ones at home? Job went to one extreme, yet some of us went to the other. Tighten it up! As parents, we are also teachers. We are held at a higher standard - or didn't you know that? Even as single Christians dating for the purposes of marriage, it is imperative that we ask all of the right questions and watch a person's actions. Even with all of that, we must be able to discern that still small voice so we can be informed of the things we cannot see and will never know otherwise. Our salvation is in Him - more then we ever thought.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

MOVE! Your In The Way!!!

In trying to make sense of what it is we are looking for in the long scheme of things, I believe I was led to write this blog. As you have read, there are times we haven't been satisfied with the waiting and as a result start to ponder silly matters such as the meaning of life and your purpose, when if you were really honest with yourself, you already know what it is. So in reading the many entries, hopefully this blog aids in giving specific insight to those minute details we might have missed in our particular journeys (Psalm 1119:105 AMP).

In those journeys, where many of us have learned to take the scenic route to enjoy every tid-bit of what life has to offer, we have been distracted by giving assistance to others when we believe it is why we saw them there in the state that they were in. We thank God that we could be of assistance, receive their heartfelt thanks, and then we continue on with what we were doing before the distraction got in the way. Would there ever be a time when God would tell us not to be of assistance to someone? Do we make more of a nuisance when God is trying to get the other person to do something that they refuse to do? Have we stood in a gap when the gap was made by the other person in attempts to do their own will?

You see, meditating in the Word sometimes there are more questions that allow us to get deeper into seeing who God really is. It is written that He is a good Father, yet, do we know what that means? After all, His ways are higher then ours (Isaiah 55:8-9 AMP). We strive to be more like Him and there is no better way then to study what He does and ask loads of questions. For instance, Jonah refused to do as God told him to do and decided to run away to a place he thought would be better for him. As they were sailing on the boat, the other passengers could tell something was wrong and immediately asked Jonah what has he done? The boat was being tossed and it was as if a storm was brewing. Because it couldn't be controlled, Jonah knew and jumped off of the boat for the safety of the other passengers and the crew (Jonah 1).

Another part of the scriptures where pondering over why a man would do such a thing is Job. How does a priest receive an education to be a priest and then is dumbfounded as to why his family becomes a part of his punishment? He is after all, a priest! If it wasn't taught to Job that a priest (pastor, preacher, prophet, apostle, minister, evangelist) has more then one title and one of them is a teacher, then he could not have been listening. For it is written that a teacher is held at a higher standard (James 3:1 AMP). So if a priest receives a harsh punishment - there is a good reason for it. God is good.

The last example used here is Abraham. There he is with his wife and family coming upon a kingdom by which he says because his wife is so beautiful, men will want her and try to get rid of Abraham so they can marry her (Genesis 20:2 AMP). With him believing his own lies, he convinces his wife to go along with it. In so doing, upon entering the kingdom of Abimelech, they believe Abraham's lie. It doesn't take long before the king notices that his wealth is drying up including the wombs of his wives and concubines. He blesses Abraham with things and sends him on his way once he finds out the truth and his kingdom's wealth is returned (Genesis 20:9-18 AMP).

How does this have anything to do with our lives? Look over those scriptures and see for yourselves. Jonah debated with God as to why he shouldn't have to go to Tarshish. Why would anyone think that they know more then God? Of course, the arrogance is deserving of a punishment. What if the crew, having compassion for Jonah, refused to allow him to jump ship? Would they all perish? It is written, My people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6 AMP).

Job knew where his children were and what they were doing. Why would he determine in his mind that they were doing anything other than enjoying the company of their wives and family? Because his children stayed on their father's land, they were subject to anything that the father, who is a priest, had done. They enjoyed the fruit of his title. Because we do not see the hearts of men (this includes our parents), it makes more of a reason for us to move into places of our own, once we are able to be independent, doesn't it?

Abraham learned life lessons along the way. He needed to move from his kinfolk to be delivered from their bad habits. Recall, Lot and his daughters are related to Abraham. Lot's wife liked the lifestyle of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is why she was turned into a pillar of salt. Still, he lied and brought the consequences of lies with him. When the kingdom started to dry up, do you think Abraham noticed it and realized as to why Sarah had not given birth in all of those years?

We live the life that is given to us. In so doing, the previous generation is supposed to be teaching the new generation what to do and not to do so our lives would be better (Titus 2:3 AMP). Because of that action, we win and Jesus returns. Only, we don't always do as we are supposed to do. Perfect examples are like the ones given. For whatever the reason we try to keep our own agenda not asking any questions especially not to the One that created all and is all. There is no good reason behind that, only stupidity. My point being, there has to be a sensitivity of the Holy Spirit for us to have the success we would all like to have. I believe some punishment received is fall out because of someone else's nonsense and we are in the way of what they deserve. If Job's children knew what their father was doing while they were in their own homes but on his land, would they have stayed? If the crew knew that Jonah defied God would they still welcome him on their boat? If King Abimelech knew that Abraham lied before coming into his palace, would he have welcomed him with open arms?

Could any of these things (and there are others) be your reason for having the troubles that you are going through? What lies have you believed? Who do you know that has disregarded God's instruction? Who is following their own agenda believing they have a better plan then God? If you know who these people are that are around you, you have also found the toxic element in your world. Clean it up. If they belong to God, bless them and send them on their way. This is not wrong because you are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus and He has called you to peace. Selah.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Struggle Is Good?

I had a discussion with a group of believers some years ago about the struggle Christians are destined to have. I had another discussion about the same subject matter with a group of Christians online. The consensus was that those I was talking to were in agreement to be in some sort of sorrowful struggle and they were fine with this horrible thing that was going to happen to them. It baffled me then, now, and if God doesn't reveal something to me quick, it still baffles me as to why intelligent believers could make such a sound decision in making Jesus their Lord and Savior and then also accept that with Him, there will come peril and destruction? So what happened next was for me to do as I have been taught and go seek out the answer for myself as to why there are 2 opposing views with the same intent: for the betterment of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13 AMP).

I wrote about the woman before who had an ailment that she was hoping God would cure before she had surgery. She said she hoped and prayed for God to do a suddenly on her behalf. In that time; however, the woman refused to listen to the sound advise of not eating certain food items which exacerbated the ailment she was having (2 Timothy 4:3 AMP). She claimed that her doctor never told her to stop eating such food items. The woman had the procedure done of which she resented but sought no other choice. Another woman was given the diagnosis of having terminal cancer. When I asked if the doctor put her on any special diet, she replied that he had not. She continued to consume her daily allowance of chocolate pudding and diet cola. Within months, she passed away (Titus 1:9 AMP).

Both of these women had different belief systems. One is a Christian and the other wasn't. Both said the doctor did not tell them to change any of their habits for whatever the reason, according to them. Both went through horrible suffering. Was it because of the habits they refused to give up? Was it because of not using sound wisdom? Was it because of sin not confessed (1 John 1:9 AMP)? Well, the Christian is still here and can do something about her circumstances so not to be in the same predicament again. The Christian can stop the pain and the horrific struggle she is going through even after the surgery. Can you see what that is?

You see, when Paul said that we would go through suffering, it was on a scale that has not been considered or taught (Philippians 1:29-30 AMP). He said that Jesus went through suffering and if you don't as well, then you are not of Him (Romans 8:17 AMP). As I read through those passages, it bothered me (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 AMP). It bothered me more when pastors and speakers did not explain them any better then my own studies (1 Peter 4:13 AMP). They expected horrific things to happen to those who believe as well. Why? Because it has happened to them.

Why did these things happen to them? Why didn't they tell us a complete testimony so that we could understand and not do the same mistakes? Why was this lesson skipped or merely skimmed over?


Its quite simple and a matter that I have written about with the analogy of the seed coming from the ground, a chick trying to get out the egg, or a baby getting through the birth canal. The struggle all serves a purpose. The seed is blown before enabling the correct end to be propped in the soil and the elements getting it to where it needed to be (or by a farmer). In so doing the seed cannot grow into a sapling without getting rid of the outer covering. The chick struggles to get out of its shell and while doing so, it clears its lungs from any mucous and strengthens its muscles to be able to walk about. The baby squeezes through the birth canal with a host of benefits for the baby and the mother when the process is done correctly. So thank God for the struggle.

Now with the acceptance of our Lord and Savior for us to live in abundance, what struggle is left?
Jesus requires for us to pick up our cross and follow Him. He requires for us to receive the Holy Spirit and develop the fruit thereof (Galatians 5:22-23 AMP). He requires for us to crucify the flesh daily...and there it is. There is what we would be crying over. There is what we scream about and fuss and refute. There is where we cry out to God why hasn't He done this or that for us yet. There is where the separation of the lambs and the goats come in (Matthew 25:31-46 AMP). Its where He, and those who maintain, can see if the love of God is in you or is it just lip service. Its the struggle of living Holy and not go back to the life we left behind. Its saying the right thing when angry rather using the profane vocabulary you used to use that could make a sailor blush. Its being able to give you shirt to someone in need and if asked to give your coat also without so much as a hint of regret. For it is written that God loves a cheerful giver. So recognize and see when any of the aforementioned used to cause you grumbling to do....and when you knew to do better, how much effort did it take for you to actually do it?

Paul suffered. No I don't mean the thorn in his side (2 Corinthians 12:7 AMP). I mean when he was persecuting the Christians and then told Jesus that he would stop (Acts 22:1-8 AMP). How long did it take for him to stop being angry? He stopped killing people but his argumentative ways took some time (Acts 17:2-17 AMP). That had to be a hardship for him to go through. What about those that followed Paul? Did they do what Jesus did or did they do what they saw Paul do? After all, he did say would that you could follow me. Then he added, would that you could follow me as I follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1 AMP). He had to grow up and in so doing, there was a struggle for all of the wrong things he did and said in the process. He could have said all of the right words and not believe any of them. But that would only be noise to the Lord and not that sweet savor that we hope for.

Do you believe that everyone that goes to church services have the right intentions? It seems that everyone knows what to say and do, but do they believe those things for the rest of the week when they aren't in church? You see, we can't FAKE it until we make it. Faking isn't real. We have to believe it to receive it (Mark 11:23 AMP). And the believing isn't solidified without crucifying the flesh daily. How do we do this? By saying the right thing the moment we begin our day. Its the spiritual version of brushing our teeth and taking a shower. Do we struggle to be hygienic? Was it always easy to bath and get dressed or did you put your shoes on the wrong foot, skip brushing your teeth every now and again like everyone else when you were growing up? Well, its sort of like that when walking in the Spirit. It takes time for new ways to become habitual. Once they do, its as easy as Jesus said it would be. Don't be fooled anymore. You now know better so you MUST do better. Amen?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quenched

When I was a child, I used to reside in Europe. At the end of the school year, the administrators would sponsor some function where all of the students were to participate. My last year in the school, the function was a 10 kilometer walk (6.21 miles). Most of my class thought it to be boring but it was better then sitting in the classroom the whole afternoon. In the beginning of the walk, everyone was pretty talkative. Towards the middle of the event, we took on the scenes of the hot, sunny day so there was plenty of oohing and aahing. At the last few kilometers, no one was saying anything just focusing on getting it over with so we could go home. Being from the United States and again, a child, I had no idea how long a kilometer was. It was a missed opportunity for an enlightening lesson the day before the event. I guess the teachers were looking forward to the end of the school year too. Yet by the end, I felt like I walked at least 30 miles.

Oddly back then, no one had the foresight to carry a canteen of water; no, not one child or educator. So by the time we could see the school's campus, most of us ran, I assumed for the event to be completed. But they saw something I didn't. It was a table with tubs filled with ice and cans of soda. Most of the boys out ran the girls, especially when they saw that there was no limit to how much soda we all could have. I never drank a full can before but that day not only did I drink a full can, I was looking to see if I could have another for the walk home. Before I could get off of the school's grounds, I finished off that can too. I recall not quite 2/3rd's of the way there, when my mouth felt sticky and back to needing something to drink again.

I thought of this again as a grown woman studying the Word and remembering a passage when Jesus was talking to the woman at the well. He told her about herself and what she was doing with her life just after He asked her for a drink of water. He never did get the water from her; what she received from Him was an understated warning that if she knew who she was talking to, she would realize that there is a drink He could give to her that will cause her never to thirst again. She listened but her hearing was superficial. Until she heard Him tell her about herself, she changed her position, put down the water pot, and went to tell of all she heard from Him (John 4:1-42 AMP).

What Jesus gives will cause us never to thirst again. There is no want or need that cannot be met. With God hearing the prayers of the righteous, how can a believer be dissatisfied? When i was in that school event and consumed all of that soda, my thirst was still there moments later. What I was looking for in those tubs was some water. That wasn't supplied, even though it would have been a better option and my thirst would be quenched. Quenched, meaning the thirst would be gone.

The scriptures tell us in the New Testament not to quench the Holy Spirit. I didn't see that verse though it had been preached about in the services I attended. The verse I did heed to was Psalms 51 where the writer asks not to take your Spirit from me. Though it used to be one of my favorite passages, it bothered me to know that the writer believed the Spirit of God would be taken from one who believes. I pacified myself thinking the passage is from the Old Testament and has no bearing on the Christian lifestyle of today. But then I found the verse, not to quench the Holy Spirit as I read the entire chapter of 1 Thessalonians 5. The entire chapter was instruction what to do in the last days. Its funny, how this time, in this manner, I was not bothered by what we are directed to do (verse 19).

You see, in Psalm the writer is asking for God not to cast him out of His presence and to not to take His Spirit from him. Why would there ever be a time that God would do such a thing when He continually tells us that He loves and will never leave nor forsake us? But then the writer tells God what he would like for God to do and then it sounds as if there is a bargain at the end of the verse..."then, I will teach transgressors thy ways and convert sinners over to you (Psalm 51:10-13 AMP)." Is that arrogance?

Saul received gifts from God and was well aware of who God is, yet became jealous of David and resorted to seeking out a psychic (1 Samuel 28:7 AMP). Sampson was well aware of his gifts from God and was given instruction as to what to do and not to do to keep himself strong and powerful. Yet with as much knowledge as he had, he still ate honey from a carcass, gave the unclean product to his parents to eat, and kept company with a woman that did not have the same faith as him. Elimelech knew his family was supposed to stay in the land that God gave them. The whole of Bethlehem was told this, yet he took it upon himself to leave the land because of famine and go into a place with people that knew nothing of Jehovah Jireh (Ruth 1:1-5 AMP). Would not these acts quench the Holy Spirit? Would these acts cause these men to be taken out of the presence of God? In His presence, there is light, peace, and joy. What happened to these men? Answer: They all died.

Granted, that is the Old Testament; nevertheless, there are many that teach from the Old Testament and live according to it. The Word tells us that the man that lives by the law will also die by that law because it is of the old covenant (Galatians 3:10-12 AMP). If we were to put this in the perspective of the new covenant and where it can be applicable for today, it looks like it is the same as God describes Himself: the same, yesterday, today, and forever.