Life is in the Blood

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“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

Leviticus 17:11

       Over the course of my ministry and Christian walk I have had the opportunity to discuss the subject of blood with many people. I have found that there are mixed opinions concerning blood from believers and nonbelievers alike.

        Concerning nonbelievers, there are several points of view ranging from not much value given place to blood, it is considered a “gross” subject, and value is given in the course of satanic rituals. As far as most believers are concerned, blood is given the value of whatever they were taught or told by various ministers.

        Not many have studied or given much thought to the subject for themselves. They just accept whatever so and so has said and taught. This breeds a shallow understanding of the value of blood which actually retards an understanding of the gift of God through Jesus Christ. Nonbelievers have also told me that they thought God was “barbaric” and “blood-thirsty” because of the emphasis He placed on the blood in the Old Testament. This opinion only serves to confirm serious lack of understanding about who God is and why He places the value He does on blood.

        There is no doubt that the blood of Jesus is precious and to be appreciated with our sincere adoration, but it’s subject and value go much deeper than most have been taught. Our understanding of this precious substance as viewed in the eye of God is of paramount importance. I would never intentionally take away from the value of the blood of Jesus and what it means to every born again believer. I only point out that “the blood” has more depth, meaning, and symbolism than most have committed to study. Life is in the blood!

        As disciples of Jesus and students of His Word, it is our duty to know and understand the importance and value that has been placed on blood, both spiritually and naturally. The two are balanced in perfect harmony and without an understanding of the blood naturally, the symbolism and meaning spiritually is distorted.

        Consider the blood physically as it flows naturally throughout our bodies. This syrupy red substance carries oxygen and nutrients to every organ we possess as well as eliminates waste in our bodies. Our very life begins with but a single drop! In fact, our entire genetic identity is hidden within the blood. The God given blueprints of each one of us first resides in blood before we become physical beings! One single drop of blood contains our DNA, the genetic code of our complete identity. God proves His point in the ability of medical professionals being able to examine our blood and determining the condition of our bodies both positive and negative. Life is in the blood!

        As the blood is significant and life sustaining to us naturally or physically, it is equally significant and life sustaining to our spiritual reality. The blood contained in us sustains but a single life, ours, but the shed blood of Jesus sustains the life of all who will receive freely its gift! The Word of God does not tell us how much of His blood had to be shed to give life to a sinful world consisting of generations past, present, and future. Personally, I believe a single drop would have sufficed, but the Book of Isaiah gives us a glimpse that much blood poured forth from His pierced body.

        As He hung upon Calvary’s cross, life giving blood feel to the parched ground. Where our blood fails and eventually gives way to death, His blood secures and sustains our life for all eternity! Have we found our answer as to why God values and emphasizes the blood as He does? It appears so. What value do you place on the blood? Blood is the ratifying substance of the old and new covenants. Its meaning remains the same but its effects greatly differ. Old Covenant blood was temporary in its nature, but New Covenant blood is eternal! Life is in the blood!    

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Subtle Mercies

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

A question, that it is often posed, and used as an accusation of lack from God, is the question of mercy. Believers and nonbelievers alike often question if God is a merciful God. It is easy to live the blessed life when the big paycheck comes in or the loved one we have been praying for is suddenly healed and no longer at death’s door. The point is that we believe and receive the blessings and mercies of God when things are seemingly going well for us. But, what do we do when it is our season to suffer and bear our crosses? Are we able to still see the mercies of God, His justice, and unending love for us? Are we willing to even see His love and mercy in our times of trial? Many of us are not! As soon as trial comes or our season of suffering has arrived, our faith becomes shipwrecked and our belief that God is merciful and loves us is cast wayside. Why me Lord? What have I done to deserve this? Sound familiar? It should, we have all said it at one time or another! But, even still, God remains merciful and His love for us never changes!

The title of this article, “Subtle Mercies”, was chosen with purpose. It rightly suggests that at times we have to intently and with purpose look for the mercies of God. They are not hidden from us; we only have to dig for these nuggets of truth and love. Their subtlety suggests that we are required to pursue God and seek His mercy and love to find them. In our quest we do find mercy and love and a new closeness to our God. If it is worth possessing then it is worth searching for. Personally, I believe God planned it this way. Sometimes His mercies are as obvious as the smile on our face and at other times we must search for them with deliberate determination.

Allow me to share with you one occasion of these subtle mercies I refer to. It is documented in the Old Testament of our Bibles. I’m sure we all remember the story of Moses and how God used him to deliver the Israelites from the hands of slavery under the captivity of Pharaoh. But, do we see the whole story, the “big picture”, and beyond the obvious miracles, blessings, and mercies?

God began His call upon Moses by laying on his heart an unexplained love for his own people and distaste for Pharaoh and the Egyptians. In a sense, God was bringing Moses back to his “roots”. Ultimately, Moses was used of God to deliver His people Israel from the captivity of Pharaoh. These were a stiff-necked people with constant complaints and serious disbelief that Moses or God had their best interest at heart. Let us not forget that God had responded to their cries in the first place. Their prayers for deliverance were being heard and granted. Nevertheless, they remained an infantile bunch and wondered the desert for forty years with Moses in tow as God’s called leader.

During these forty years Moses faced many trials in leading his people for God. Sometimes He was pleasing to God and other times displeasing. Sounds a lot like us too don’t it? Nevertheless, God always remained faithful and merciful to Moses. Several times Moses did quite the opposite of what God had commanded him and furthermore in an angry burst, intentionally broke the tablets of stone that had God’s law inscribed by His own finger! Again, this sounds like us, huh? Foolishness in the wrath of our anger! God was still faithful to extend love and mercy to Moses and He does us too. How many times in our lives have we deserved the wrath of God? Equally, how many times has He extended the hand of grace and mercy to us even though we did not deserve it? Countless, concerning both!

Although there are many, let us note some of the mercies extended to Moses. He (Moses) asked to see God’s glory. God allowed him to see His back as He passed by from the cleft of a rock. Mercy! God allowed Moses to make two new tablets of stone like the previous ones and rewrote His commandments on them for Moses to deliver to the people of Israel. A second chance! Mercy! Although God had told Moses He could not enter the Promised Land because of his disobedience concerning the water and the rock, God did allow him (Moses) to look upon the land of promise in all its beauty. Moses saw with his own eyes what he had suffered and fought for in bringing Israel to the land flowing with milk and honey. Some say this was a cruel act of God and went along with the punishment of Moses. No, I believe it was an act of mercy by allowing Moses to see the fruit of his work and reasons for leadership, although not perfect, were not in vain. Mercy! God had taken Moses atop a mountain to see the land and when Moses had beheld it, he died. God Himself buried Moses and the location of his grave was never revealed. Mercy! Moses is the only person in history that has ever been buried at the hand of God. Burial is an act of honor and respect. Mercy!

Let us not be disillusioned or misinformed. Although God is a merciful God, there are still consequences for our actions. But, we must always remember that the punishment and chastisement of God is in itself merciful. God is many things, but above all He is loving and merciful!

The next time we tend to doubt the mercies of God, let us look upon the life of Moses and view fresh that our doubt simply isn’t true. God is not looking for perfect people, He is looking for those who will believe and receive His love and mercy. All honor, glory, and thanksgiving are to our God, for His love and mercies endure forever! Amen!

Sympathy in Our Weaknesses: Surviving Temptation

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“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

(Hebrews 4:15)

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Greetings and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! I pray all is going well with you and that you continue to experience the abundant blessings of God.

In this article, I will share on a subject that I believe is often overlooked in the basic teachings of Christianity. Because of this oversight, Christian’s are often left to “fend” for themselves, thus the flock scattered and seemingly left without hope or answers. This is tragic because the end result is often discouragement heaped with a healthy dose of condemnation.

The subject I refer to is “temptation” and believe it or not, it is not a dirty word. Every child of God faces, and will face, temptation numerous times while upon this earth. It is of utmost importance that believers understand that temptation in and of itself is not sin! What we do with the temptation we face determines it becoming sin or not. All temptation, regardless of form or how it is received, comes from the enemy! God never tempts anyone with evil!

Our enemy knows well the weaknesses of humankind! He is not referred to as the “most subtle” without good reason. Like any good shoulder going into battle, knowledge of the strategies of your enemy gives great advantage. Through the scriptures the Lord has prepared the Christian soldier for warfare.

First of all, the enemy always cheats, and will attack by appealing to the desires of human nature! These desires include appealing to our love of beautiful things, pride, and hunger. We can call these areas of attack, “the lust of the flesh”, “the lust of the eyes,” and “the pride of life”. (I John 2:16) Every temptation that comes at us will appeal to one or all three! In the Garden of Eden, Eve was tempted with all three and so was Jesus during His period of temptation in the wilderness! This brings me to the main point, the temptation of Jesus and how that relates to us.

Our enemy holds no punches and will attack from all directions. Sometimes multiple directions in one assault! He tempted Jesus from multiple directions! We find the account concerning the three ways Jesus was tempted in Matthew chapter four (4). The serpent of old hurled three vicious temptations at Jesus: “command these stones to turn to bread”, appealed to His hunger; “throw yourself down”, appealed to His pride, and “all these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me”, appealed to His like of beautiful things, all three fall under the desires of human nature, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Now, we have learned the strategy employed by our enemy in assaulting us, but what about our counterattack and weapons of war? Let us go back to Matthew chapter four (4) and see how Jesus handled the situation. In corresponding order, let’s listen to Jesus’ reply to each assault: “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”; You shall not tempt the Lord your God,” and “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve”. Alas! Jesus used His Sword, the Word of God, to counterattack the enemy! What was the end result? “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him”.

Temptation is a serious matter and can bring great distress to the believer. The attacks are often very intense and always strike at our most venerable weaknesses. That said; we are not left orphaned without the care of our Shepherd. It brings us great comfort to know that “we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, was in all points tempted as we are, yet remained without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

Of equal comfort are the words of the Lord in I Corinthians 10:12-13: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This scripture does not indicate that God is the tempter, satan is, and God will not allow him to go beyond what we are able to withstand.

Beloved, God, in His mercies, has taught us the strategy of attack employed by our enemy, as well as, the weapon we use to overcome him. Remember, temptation of itself is not sin; it is how we respond that births sin. I pray that in our time of temptations, we use them as a means to strengthen our Lord’s overcoming power in us, and not allow them to merely be the exposure of our weaknesses. We are engaged in the battle, but the enemy has already lost the war! Beloved, “fight the good fight of faith”!

The Mercy of the Father: An Underserved Gift

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“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Greetings and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! The love and beauty of God within the scriptures never ceases to amaze and leave me awestruck! Even in the seemingly harsh encounters we read of in the Bible, I am still able to see His love and mercies abound. Oh, what a treasure He is, and a life lived without Him is certainly void.

I wish to share with you one of the greatest, if not the greatest, acts of mercy that the Father has bestowed on us. The merciful act I speak of concerns our redemption as well as one of the first major prophecies of the Bible.

Please join me on a journey back to the Garden of Eden. Here we find the creation of the heavens and the earth, the birds, animals, and more importantly the creation of mankind. Isn’t the garden wonderful, so much beauty to behold and lovely scents to smell? Do you see it? Even the birds and animals are at peace with man and all creation is in harmony! The presence of God fills the garden as sweetly as the aroma of a gardenia shrub on a summer’s eve. No wonder this place is called “paradise”!

God has demanded obedience to one major rule; “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat”! He even provided a reason for His demand; “in the day that you eat of this tree you shall surly die”. In these scriptures alone we find that God recognized man as a free moral agent.

Now we find trouble in paradise! The serpent has deceived Eve into eating from the forbidden tree and she shares her bounty with Adam. In an instant, mankind is fallen, made aware of good and evil, inherited a sin nature, and died spiritually! The two that would have lived forever, now later experience a physical death. Although conditional on obedience or disobedience, the death of mankind was among the first major prophecies of the Bible.

The disobedient acts of Adam, Eve, and the serpent did not go unpunished and ultimately the first couple was banished from the garden. Let us look closely at the punishment given the serpent and then Adam and Eve being banished from the garden.

God pronounced a curse on the serpent more than all cattle, every beast of the field, and he was to eat dust all his days. In concluding the judgment passed on the serpent, God reveals His redemptive plan for humanity! “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel”. This prophetic Word of God was fulfilled by Christ Jesus on Calvary’s cross and His resurrection from the dead was the final blow delivered!

Now, let’s consider the first couples banishment from the garden. Was this just part of the justified punishment of God, or was it one of the greatest acts of mercy given to mankind? Carefully read God’s Words: “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”- therefore the Lord God sent them out of the garden of Eden…”

Beloved, I submit to you that this is the greatest act of mercy bestowed upon mankind from God! Why? If God had allowed Adam and Eve to remain in the garden, eventually they would have eaten from the tree of life. If they had eaten from the tree of life after having eaten the forbidden fruit, they would forever, through all eternity, live in a fallen state, subjected to all the heartaches, pains, disease, sadness, evil, and spiritual death (eternal separation from God) that frail humanity now endures for a short season! Being that Adam and Eve are the beginning of all humanity, and that we inherit our fallen nature from them, we to would have lived in this un-formidable state for all eternity.

The pains, disappointments, and despair we have in this life are only for a short season. We are not destined to live this life forever and we are promised entrance into paradise on the condition of our receiving the sacrifice of Jesus. Beloved, will you join me in raising holy hands to heaven and thanking the Father for His unbound, endless love and mercies? We have indeed received the greatest of mercies and they are new every morning!

From Weeping to Joy: There is Hope

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For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

 Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Greetings and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! My most recent articles were centered on confession, repentance, apostasy, and the general degrading of our world. Although these things are true, and we are living in evil and turbulent times, it is not my desire to leave you orphaned without a shepherd, or hope for a brighter tomorrow.

It is true that Jesus warned us that perilous times would come. There would be wars and rumors of wars, nation will rise against nation, and lawlessness will abound. But, He also told us not to be troubled, that these things had to come to pass! He did not predict uncertain times and leave us hopeless. No, He promised that He would send the comforter, His Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and lead us home. He promised to never leave nor forsake us and that He would always be with us.

As each day passes across the globe, it is easy to become discouraged, distraught, and loose the joy of our salvation. Another innocent life taken, another bomb detonated another massacre, and another bad governmental decision. We all face these things in our daily life and some people and countries more than others. Oh, but beloved, we have an eternal hope! An eternal promise of a life without sadness, pain, suffering, disease, war, and one of constant and eternal peace! The Lord Himself says, “Fear not for I am with you”, and “Be still and know that I am God”! What promises! In these promises He reminds us that He is control and never caught off guard!

Beloved we must keep our eyes on heaven and our focus on Jesus. He commands us to “be of good cheer as He has overcome the world”! We have nothing to overcome beloved, only to remain “in” Him! He asks us to persevere, “hang in there, I have everything under control”, as we patiently await His return. We are promised to pass from suffering into glory! Let the words of the Apostle Paul become ours: “For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”. Notice the word choice, “shall” be revealed, not might, maybe, or possibly, but “shall”, a single word with a firm promise! Although we may endure weeping for a night, we are promised that joy will come in the morning!

We cannot find comfort and encouragement in the things of this world. Money, possessions, relationships, addictions, and status simply will not do. If any comfort and security is found in these at all, it is only temporary, as God alone gives eternal comfort, security, and joy. The relentless pursuit of these things only leads to a broken heart and shattered dreams. We find what we lack in the giver of the gifts and not the gifts themselves! Happiness is an earmark of Christianity, but this happiness cannot be found in the world. It is only obtained through Christ Jesus! If you find your life in turmoil and happiness has far escaped you, then maybe it is time to acknowledge your Creator and Savior.

I have found that in times of dryness and discouragement, I am brought back to peace and serenity through the hope and encouragement offered in the scriptures. The Word of God is living, needing no qualifications and speaks for itself. I am going to yield to the Holy Spirit and use the remainder of this article to share with you some scriptures of promise, hope, and encouragement. I pray that you will read each one slowly and carefully, thoroughly chewing and digesting every precious morsel. We can’t claim the promises we don’t know, and we can’t know them unless we read! Sit back, relax, and allow the Spirit of God to speak through the power and love of His Word.

Father, I pray that as every person reads these scriptures, you will speak to their heart. I ask you to reveal peace, comfort, encouragement, and reassurance as we read and meditate on Your Word. Hope can only be found in You, and we come now seeking Your face and voice. Thank You for loving us, securing our future, and delivering us from evil. With thankful hearts we pray, in Jesus’ name, ~Amen

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

(Jeremiah 29:11-13)

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!

There is no want to those who fear Him.

The young lions lack and suffer hunger;

But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”

(Psalm 34:8-10)

 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower;

The righteous run to it and are safe”

(Proverbs 18:10)

 “But those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.”

(Isaiah 40:31)

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends”

(John 15:13)

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

(Romans 8:28)

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

(Romans 8:31)

 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Romans 8:38-39)

 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

(I Corinthians 13:12-13)

 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

(II Corinthians 4:16-18)

 “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

(Ephesians 3:17-19)

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”

(James 1:2-4)

 “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,

But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

(Psalm 34:18-19)

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me,

Your comforts delight my soul”

(Psalm 94:19)

 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

(Isaiah 43:2)

 “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,

Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

” Therefore I hope in Him!”

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,

To the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly

For the salvation of the Lord”

(Lamentations 3:22-26)

 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope”

(Romans 15:4)

 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

(Romans 15:13)

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14)

 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”

(II Thessalonians 2:16-17)

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”

(I Peter 1:3)

 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away”

(Revelation 21:4)

        Beloved I pray for your continued blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ! No matter where you find yourself in this world, He knows where you are, and all His promises are for you. I hope you read the above scriptures. I promise that they contain life and are a sure cure for what ails you. ~Amen

“Apostasy”: A Solemn Warning!

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! I have recently found myself looking to the grace and mercies of God afresh. As I watch and perceive the world around me, I notice that evil and calamity abounds globally. No, this is nothing really new for our generation, but has become so much more frequent. We are at a place in humanity where we no longer wonder “if” the next round of destruction will come, but instead wait for “when”. There is no escape from becoming aware of tragic news! The world has been saturated with media in all shapes and sizes!

Throughout the world we have witnessed the rise of hatred, violence, and selfishness. The darkness and gloom have reached unfathomable proportions, and if not for the comfort and love of the Holy Spirit, we would not be able any longer to endure and withstand our present world. Most Christians sense the “antichrist” spirit that is lurking our streets and knocking on our doors. Because of these living conditions, people have become angry, which only leads to further lawlessness and violence. There currently abides in our world hurriedness, suspicion, paranoia, impatience, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and uneasiness. Tension and stress have become our everyday realities and no longer is there care or concern for “others”.

The attitudes I describe above are not found in the “world” alone. We have allowed the “world” and its influence to infiltrate our churches. The lack of sound doctrine, the love of money, the senseless killing of innocent churchgoers, the rape of our children, the flirting and entertaining of known sin, and a love that has waxed cold, are also among the contributing factors of our evil world. The church is not the “salt and light” that it is called to be. The vision of the church, as given by Jesus has a mission to influence the world, not be influenced by the world. Where is the voice of reason? Where are those that will preach, “Repent and prepare the way of Lord”? Where are the faithful, who love the Lord, our God, and will boldly declare His love and righteousness? Where is the cloud of Christians, that will follow the example of the Apostle Paul, forsaking all to gain Christ?

Beloved my heart hurts! We are watching a dying world headed straight to hell and are not fulfilling the lifesaving witness we are called to be. We, right along with the world have the attitude of “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”.  Do the words I write resonate within our spirit? Do we still have hearts of flesh or have they turned to stone?

Although what I write may seem harsh, blunt and, smothered in doom and gloom, I write with sincere Christian love. Then why so pointed, blunt, and seemingly harsh you may ask? Because whether we are paying attention or not, prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes! The prophecies I speak of were given by the Apostle Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These predictions are most serious, and therefore lay the reason for my being forthright. Did Moses, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, and even Jesus “hold any punches”? No, because their message was most serious and demanded our attention!

The Apostle Paul reveals to us certain conditions and attitudes that will exist throughout the world before the return of Jesus. These are not the only ones given, but are major, and will serve my purpose in writing.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self- control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (II Timothy 3:1-5) NKJV

Beloved do we not see these things before our eyes? Is not the world drowning in perilous times? Have not some “wolves in sheep’s clothing” crept into our churches peddling “a form of godliness? These traits do not belong to the world alone as the church must acknowledge its intercourse with the world! We are told in the last sentence “from such people turn away”! In this scripture, Paul is warning young Timothy, that his teaching will come under attack as men and women desert the truth for ear-tickling words.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (II Timothy 4:3-4) NKJV

Now, shall we consider the end results of this abandonment of truth and sound doctrine? “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first…” (II Thessalonians 2:3) NKJV

In the above scripture, “that day” refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The “falling away” is the apostasy of the church! Apostasy means a total desertion of or departure from ones religion. Beloved there is only one way out of the church of Jesus, by renouncing our salvation. That is the end result of the apostate church and is also known as “the great falling away”!

Beloved I share this warning as it is not the will of God that “any should perish”. I implore you to study diligently the above scriptures and repent where needed, as it would be a most terrible thing to fall victim with the apostate church. God himself has warned us to persevere. He is a merciful and loving God, and He turns none away that come to Him!

The Spirit of the Lord says “Church, awake from your slumber and rise in the power and strength of your God!”

The prophecies of God are as sure to be fulfilled as the rising and setting of the sun! Will we heed His warning or continue in ignorant deception? Jesus has declared that He is “the good Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice.” Will you listen and allow Him to lead you home?

Father it is the prayer of my heart that those with ears to hear and eyes to see will heed Your loving warning. For those that are blinded by deception, I ask that You pour out Your Spirit upon their heart and remove the scales from their eyes. The hour of Your coming quickly approaches as we reach the fullness of the Gentiles. Give us Your strength, power, and encouragement as we press on toward the goal to win the prize and fulfill the high calling in Christ. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the world at large. Provide fresh waters for Your laborers in the fields. Forgive us individually and as nations for our sins against You. I pray you spare if only one righteous can be found. With love for you and thankful hearts we pray, in Jesus name, ~Amen

Free Will: Blessing or Curse?

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! Freedom is a peculiar word that means something different to each and every person on the planet. In the United States freedom is more or less based on constitutional law depending on the specific interpreter of the law at any given moment. Another term with equally differing opinions is “democratic society”. Although constitutional law outlines a citizens (U.S.) freedoms and liberties, they are still subject to one’s interpretation and application of the law.

In other countries freedom is unheard of and the citizens are subjected to a dictatorship. A “democratic society” is often a farfetched dream and can only be realized by relocating to a free society, and calling it home. As with most things, as pertains to life on planet earth, there are positives and negatives to contend with. A major negative in a democratic society is that often a certain “freedom” is surrounded by a certain moral ethic. One group is opposed and another group is accepting. This causes major divisions in free society that seem to somehow branch off into other smaller sub-divisions of conflict. I suppose this is the equivalent of starting several small fires until you have one huge out of control fire. We should be able to agree, that freedom and free will, are not problem free! Free will is both a blessing and a curse! In its purest form it is a love gift from God. Exercised wrongfully and it can become a weapon of mass destruction in the hands of Satan!

I have laid this small foundation concerning freedom, as freedom and free will go hand in hand. To exercise your freedom is to exercise your free will. We, as humankind, have the capacity to choose to rightfully or wrongfully exercise its use.

I believe we can all agree that we are free moral agents possessing the ability to make our own choices and decisions concerning any matter we may be confronted with. Agreed, but where do we follow the roots of our free will? Contrary to what many governments would teach us, our free will was instituted and given to us by God Himself. Although scripture doesn’t state this verbatim, it is implied, as I will show you.

Let’s journey back to the Book of Genesis into the first few chapters. These chapters teach us of the creation of the heavens, earth, and mankind. Now, let us consider Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God spoke to Adam saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” God then created Eve out of Adam and she became his wife, and the two became one flesh. Therefore, as one flesh, what one chose affected the other and vice versa.

I do not know how long Adam and Eve had occupied the Garden of Eden prior to the appearing of the serpent, but he did appear on the scene and approached Eve. The serpent asked Eve if God indeed said “you shall not eat of every tree of the garden”. Listen to her reply: “And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” The serpent sealed the deal of deception by telling Eve that they would not die, and that God knew that if they ate of that tree, they would be like God, and have knowledge of good and evil.

The case for free will is hereby established: If Adam and Eve did not have free will then there would not have been any reason for God to tell them what trees they could and could not eat of. Furthermore, through deceptive tactics, the serpent presented Adam and Eve with the choice to exercise their free will and eat of the forbidden fruit. Also, Eve acknowledged to the serpent that God had told them not to eat of that particular tree. Our free will and freedom to choose originated in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve! As a result of their disobedience, Adam and Eve became aware that they had the ability to exercise their free will for good or bad. The choice they made, opened wide for us all, the knowledge of good and evil, along with the ability to exercise our free will, rightfully or wrongfully! God gave man free will, and I believe that before the “fall” Adam and Eve knew it a pleasure and something easy to do, in obeying the commands of God. Furthermore, if man was not a free moral agent, would God encourage us to choose His will?

So, Adam and Eve, influenced by Satan’s deception, chose to eat the forbidden fruit and their eyes were opened to good and evil.  The first thing they noticed was their nakedness! This should be interpreted in the literal sense, but let’s spiritualize it just a bit. I believe that not only did Adam and Eve realize their physical nakedness; they also came to a realization of their inward nakedness. They also had an epiphany of the inward man (woman) without the presence and Spirit of God. This new ability to choose wrong was overwhelming to them! Up to this point, they naturally chose right, as they just trusted and obeyed God at His Word!

What Adam and Eve do next is the fuel on the fire! They heard the voice of God in the garden and they hid from Him. God called out to Adam asking where He was, not because He didn’t know, but because He knew that Adam had sinned. Adam answered by telling God that He had heard Him and hid because of their nakedness. God in turn asked if they had eaten from the tree He had commanded them to avoid. Now, the “blame game” begins. Adam blames Eve and in a sense God and Eve blames the serpent. Adam and Eve tried to side-step their disobedience, refused to hold themselves responsible and accountable, and attempted to pass the blame forward. In the end God punished all three, Adam, Eve, and the serpent. He held each accountable for their individual actions.

The disobedience of our ancestors has had catastrophic results on humanity throughout generations past, and will continue through those to come. We have seen how humanity inherited the inability to “always” do what is right. Every one of us at one time or another has blamed someone else for our own actions.  Free will started out as a complete blessing, but as a result of the fall of mankind, it has been intermingled with curse. Now, we have what I call “hybrid” free will. Just as gold is not pure before going into the furnace! Think about this, we do not have to teach a child to be selfish and misbehave; we have to teach them to respect others and to behave. The point is that this side of mankind is what comes natural and effort has to be exerted to do differently.

In society today, it seems that accountability and responsibility are fashions of the past. The “blame game” is one of the most used tools for selfishness and the lacking of holding oneself personally accountable. We tend to blame the bad things in life on our parents, grandparents, children, employers, employees, government, police, and who or whatever else we can think of. The most hideous of blame casting is when we throw it at God! Have we forgotten that He is our creator and if He chose to, could wipe all humanity out with one stroke? We are His and He can do with us as He desires. The truth is that He means us no harm, but somehow we still find reasons to blame Him. Maybe finding reasons to “blame” Him is just another way to try and reject Him?

In the United States, and in most states throughout the country, criminal law recognizes misdemeanors, felonies, and capital felonies. This means that misdemeanors are the lowest form of crime and capital felonies are the highest. As we see, man has determined that some crimes are petty and others are heinous. How does God view the law and our behavior? Sin is sin is sin! There are no differences in the eyes of God! A crime of murder is the same as petty theft, and is the same as not doing what we know to do. God tells us in His Word that the lack of belief is sin. Now, is that a misdemeanor or felony? Neither, it is the same as murder!

Another fascinating fact concerning our free will is that God will not revoke it or interfere with our exercising it. It is a gift from Him and the “gifts and callings of God or without repentance. Now, if we have received Jesus, and are considered a child of God, then through His Holy Spirit He will encourage us to do right and guide us in making the right decisions, but will never force us. Our free will is just that, free! Every one of us is responsible and accountable for our own actions and decisions. We have no right, it is never proper, and is always sinful to blame God!

We must all understand that here on earth bad things will happen, evil will exist, and people will make senseless, neglectful, and even evil choices. Jesus never promised any of us an easy ride. In fact, He told us that “through much tribulation we will enter the kingdom of heaven”. Why? Because man has free will, God is just, and therefore He cannot revoke free will or it would make Him unjust and a breaker of His own law!

In this world there has been much tragedy since the beginning of time. There has been domestic and international wars, religious persecution, bombings, shootings, catastrophes, mass destructions, mass taking of lives, and terrorism to name a few. All nations and people of the world have been victims and none are immune. But, beloved, I must be truthful and tell you that God is not the blame for any of this! Mankind, corporately and individually, are the responsible parties! Often, when tragedy strikes, and no answers are found, God is blamed and a torrent of questions rush forth; “Why did God allow it”, and “Why didn’t God stop it” among many others. I can’t tell you the answer to either question, but I do know that a reason exists in heaven and God knows what it is. I can also assure that He is not to blame.

The next time evil and tragedy strike, take a moment to think before you raise a clinched fist to heaven and blame God. He has promised “good to those who love Him” and that He will take the bad in our life and use it for our good. You can find this promise in the Book of Romans chapter 8 verse 28. God cannot be our Savior, Deliverer, and oppressor at the same time.

As we should have been taught, and hopefully have taught our children, there are consequences to our actions. Sometimes these consequences are serious and effect many lives. One single incident can have devastating consequences upon the whole of humanity! As we learn not to blame God and to turn to Him instead, let us remember these small and simple definitions: “Obedience” is rightfully exercising our free will and “Disobedience” is wrongfully exercising our free will. Free will can be a blessing or a curse depending on how we choose to exercise it! I pray the God of peace to protect and keep evil far from you, In Jesus name, ~Amen.