JESUS CHRIST is the LIGHT of the world! The LORD does not want anyone to walk in darkness. HE has given us HIS WORD JESUS CHRIST & HIS COMFORTER HIS HOLY SPIRIT! ‘HIS WORD will be a lamp unto your feet and a LIGHT unto your path”
This is what HIS WORD teaches:
“Unless I go away, the COUNSELOR, will not come to you; but if I go, I will send HIM to you. When HE comes HE will convict the world of guilt in regard to SIN & RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUDGMENT, in regards to SIN men do not BELIEVE in ME; in regards to RIGHTEOUSNESS, because I AM going to the FATHER where you can see ME no longer; and in regards to judgment because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when HE, the SPIRIT of TRUTH comes, HE WILL GUIDE you to ALL TRUTH…” John 16
All around and throughout this world our Lord has created there is much Spiritual Warfare about us. Because of Jesus Christ death upon the cross we have been given the opportunity to have Eternal life. It is upon the cross Jesus Christ overcame the forces of darkness and redeemed us from the penalty of sin of the original sin that entered the world via Adam & Eve. No one else was able to do this! We who believe can now look forward to one day living with God in Heaven forever after we have completed the course of life or once Jesus Christ returns for those of us who remain before the RAPTURE! This is only possible once we truly accept Jesus Christ into our hearts as our personal Savior & Lord. Praise God!
Upon the profession of our Faith we receive the precious Gift of His Holy Spirit It is through an ongoing committed intimate relationship with Him we are able to grow in His wisdom, Grace & knowledge. God has given us His Word which is our necessary Spiritual Food to nourish our eternal souls. We are then better able to recognize and discern when something or someone is not of Him as we implement the principles of His Word within our daily lives. We must continually as often as necessary asked to be filled by the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit! “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be SAVED. For it is with your heart that you BELIEVE and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are Saved.” Romans 10
The prince of this world who is satan has already been condemned to eternal damnation. Therefore he does not want any of us to know the TRUTH and he daily continues to try and deceive and confuse the inhabitants of this world any way he can… The reason why we are seeing so many things going awry within the world is because so many are turning away from the Word of God. Many are ignorant and do not know GOD. Many are doing what is right in their own eyes and seek to fulfill the lust of the flesh. This is true in the world and also to a degree within God’s Church! God created this world that was spoken into existence through Jesus Christ. Everything that He made was good. Through man’s disobedience it was corrupted by sin. “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God. He was God from the beginning..” John 1
God has given us the BIBLE which is His infallible Holy Word! It consists of the Old & New Testaments. A good acronym to remember is: BIBLE = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth! It is here in His Word we better learn what life & living is all about and its history and origins. When Jesus Christ came He fulfilled the laws and all the requirements of the Old Testament. In the New Testament we learn how He now wants us to live. We have a Covenant relationship with Him. Here is what His Word teaches us: “This is the Covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord, because they all will know Me, from the least to the greatest…” Hebrews 8
This is why it is so very important to know the Word of God for yourself. We are under the Covenant of Grace. The invitation to accept Him as Lord and Savior that was given to Israel has been extended to all nations. We as believers are not to use grace as a license to sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God. “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” We are not supposed to practice sin. Nor or we to excuse sin in ourselves or others… We are to readily repent of any sin and start anew walking in the Light of His Word. Spiritual growth is an ongoing life long process. We can do this through the Power of His Holy Spirit which is; the Spirit of Truth!”
The Holy Spirit the Comforter is a precious Gift from God to lead us to all Truth! To help us navigate through the Spiritual Warfare that has been designed to entrap us and pull us away from God’s purpose & plan for our lives. It is important that we learn to become better focused, stay connected to the Lord and “pray without ceasing” throughout our day!
KNOW this: JESUS CHRIST IS THE WAY THE TRUTH & THE LIFE! Do NOT be deceived there is NO OTHER way to HEAVEN! “Through Him all things were made; without HIM nothing was made that has been made. In Him is life, and that life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1
If you ever want a powerful defense for the Christian Faith Jude is an excellent book to refer to. Defending the Faith is not something new. Jude teaches the importance of not compromising the Word of God! The Word of God is priceless! You cannot manipulate God nor His Word no matter who you are! There are a lot of worldly influences that from the very beginning have tried to twist the Bible and its teachings! Many have been deceived, this is still the case today! Many worldly ways, concepts and methods have been embraced and embedded into the organized church system that are not of God. This is why it is important to know God and know His Word; of Him you can be certain and sure!!!
Jude tells us to “Contend for the Faith!” What does this mean? Contend means to strive against difficulties, to be persistent and assert yourself. Faith means believe without seeing. “FAITH is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By Faith we understand that the universe was formed at GOD’S command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible…” Hebrews 11 The Bible gives us the real facts! It is was not misconstrued circumstantial evidence. Many today attempt to use the Word to control others, justify their behavior and lifestyles but are really only promoting sin!
God is powerful as a matter of fact He is OMNIPOTENT meaning He is ALL POWER! He is SUPERIOR and SUPREME! Think about it with all the millions of organized church assemblies opened in the name of God, what is going on in this world should not be! It certainly is not because of GOD! It is because there are so many wolves in sheep clothing. “They are godless men who change the grace of God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” Saints are supposed to be believers! Not followers of the world. But, followers of Jesus Christ!
Today too many want to be leaders that are served, rather than Servants of God! All too often you now find that many in the church instead follow the latest trends and adopt the ways of the world. No need to be jealous! Disengage from the messiness and focus on GOD! Make it your goal to share the WORD and truly live everyday to please GOD! Come what may in the end you will have VICTORY through JESUS CHRIST! ALL you will ever need you can discover in the LORD! “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it…” Psalm 24. Want what GOD wants for you! When you “STAND” on GOD’S WORD you never have to stand alone! “GOD WILL FIGHT YOUR BATTLES” Take some time and think about it? Who are you really following and where are they leading you to? Truly; “The LORD is my SHEPHERD!” & “HE leads me in the path of righteousness for HIS Namesake…”
We must TRUST GOD! When you know that there is a lot of false teaching going on what do you do? When you know that you have helped those that no one else would help, and they turn on you, what do you do? When you know that you have been mistreated and maligned and falsely accused what do you do? Do not have a pity party! PRAISE GOD!!! Know that you are in good company because this is what happened to Jesus! When you know that manipulation and deception is present you still must remain faithful to God and His Word! Don’t let anyone pull you so low that you hate them… Don’t settle or compromise your godly principles to get access or support by the majority… Christianity is really not a popularity contest or a social club. Yes we are supposed to fellowship and Worship & Praise God! But don’t get caught up in the gossip… Anything you say about someone when they are not present you should be willing to say to their face.
Everyone will have to answer to the Lord at some point! So get right with GOD! God knows what you have or have not done. Don’t become bitter! Become BETTER! Guard your heart! God is more powerful than what any man or woman can EVER do to you! You must draw closer to God and TRUST HIM! Seek Him above all else! God will give you a strong sound mind! He CAN KEEP you from falling! “Do not be conformed to this world. But TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind!” Your true security and significance can only be found in the LORD! “If GOD is for us who can be against us!” THANK YOU LORD! & PRAISE GOD!
The Word is often used to justify lifestyles and wrong behavior that are not sanctioned by God! Minimizing sin and embracing tolerance. Often justified under the guise of unconditional love! God never intended for Christianity to become a legalistic doctrinal concept of rules and regulations. The House of God is supposed to be the Pillar of TRUTH! It is written! Christ died so we could have an abundant spiritual life! As a matter of fact it was the religious leaders that conspired to discredit JESUS and secretly sought to destroy Him. How ironic they called Him evil. Does this sound familiar? The Bible is the inspired Word of God! “It is a lamp unto our feet and a Light unto our path…”
The gift of Eternal Life is one of the most precious gifts one can ever receive! Along with that gift comes the promise of His Holy Spirit. The Comforter and ultimate internal Teacher! Jude extends to us Mercy, Peace and Love in abundance! When Jesus ascended to heaven He promised that the Holy Spirit would come. Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure. He told them “Nevertheless I tell you the TRUTH. It is to your advantage that I go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin, because they do not believe in Me, of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, BUT you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of TRUTH, has come, He will guide you into All truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come…” JOHN 16
Jude known as the brother of Jesus Christ tells us that we have a duty to fight for GOD’S TRUTH! Not in a physical carnal way! Our weapons are not carnal! We must stay adorned with the spiritual armor! “PRAY also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the GOSPEL, for which I am an ambassador in chains. PRAY that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” See Ephesians 6 Know that your body is a temple of GOD and GOD is everywhere that you are! Without doubt we are in the last days and the Word of God is being fulfilled! We need not be afraid but prayerful! It is important to persevere knowing that God is with you! Jude says:“But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times, there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you. Who follow mere natural instincts and DO NOT have the SPIRIT. But you, dear friends build yourself up in your most HOLY FAITH and pray in the HOLY SPIRIT. Keep yourselves up in God’s LOVE as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh…”
One must only watch the news, read the newspaper or search online to see that time is near! “Anything goes!” There was not only been an Economic Recession but a “SPIRITUAL RECESSION” as well! Just look around and see the extremity of things that are happening in and about the world… Many of our congregations are also allowing carnal worldly teachings. Bible study on many occasions has turned into group think and mind conditioning sessions to tell people who they should or should not associate with… This is a cultist mentality. No wonder there is so much havoc within the homes, schools, work places, entertainment events and communities. Ministry goes beyond the walls! Please do not just go to Church! Be the CHURCH! I always say; “Character is who you are when no one but GOD is watching!” We must not just read and talk about the Word. We must actually apply it within our daily lives. “Do not walk in the counsel of ungodly people…” Psalm 1 It is important to know that the LORD is with you wherever you go and one must constantly seek the direction of HIS HOLY SPIRIT! Healing & deliverance is truly possible! Quite often respect for God and His Word are all too often are laid aside; carnality takes the forefront because somebody says; “I’m human” The time of increased Apostasy is definitely here! Meaning the abandoning of Faith! “Without Faith it is impossible to please God!” We must encourage believers as well as non believers to get to know the LORD in an intimate up close and personal way. LORD HELP US!
Anyone can be subject to error therefore PRAY for SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT! This is why we all need His Holy Spirit to convict the heart of sin and point us to righteousness. What is righteousness? It is right living in the eyes of God! It is walking in the path of righteousness for HIS NAMESAKE! Sin is anything that separates us from God! Sin is missing the mark. The world says do what you feel is right and the majority votes to change the rules to suit its carnal desires. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? God really will set you FREE! But not to do as you please. God has a better way. We must daily strive to delight ourselves in the WORD of GOD! Exercise your Faith in GOD as you PRAY in the HOLY SPIRIT! This means as you pray in power & strength you turn your focus to the LORD and seek HIS WILL above all others! Jude says:”Contend for the Faith that was once entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of GOD into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Lord as Sovereign and Lord” Jude 1 God wants to reveal to us daily HIS WILL & HIS WAY This is another reason why Jesus left us His Holy Spirit! “But dear friends build yourselves up in your most HOLY FAITH & PRAY in the HOLY SPIRIT. Keep yourselves in GOD’S LOVE as you wait for the mercy of our LORD JESUS CHRIST to bring you to ETERNAL LIFE…” Jude 1
Everyday, “To GOD be the GLORY!” The LORD wants us to, “be in the world, but not of the world!” Having an encounter with God regularly will bring you closer to Him! It will continually open your “spiritual eyes” This is also why we must contend for the Faith and stand firm! If you have grown slack in your commitment to God; He can speak renewal and strength to your heart! We must humbly and diligently pursue TRUTH! God can bring a plan and a purpose into your life like no other! “To HIM who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great JOY to the only GOD and SAVIOR be GLORY, MAJESTY, POWER and AUTHORITY, through JESUS CHRIST our LORD, before all ages, now and forevermore! HALLLELLLUJAH, SALVATION & GLORY HONOR & POWER to THE LORD our GOD!!!”
Christianity is much more than just a religion! It is so much more than a social club. In general, for many, religion has turned into a manufactured system where rules are dictated, regulated and policies are made. Quite often there is an ever increasing list of do’s and dont’s to conform to, which sometimes go so far as to require a staunch or restrictive dress code. To the other extreme often a very lax dress is encouraged in order to make everyone “feel” comfortable and simply “come as you are!” Rather than present oneself in a somewhat tidy respectable manner. Often actually forsaking the Power of the Holy Spirit’s ability to transform the individual’s life from the inside out! Think about it for a moment how would you present your self if you knew that you were going to be in the company of the Queen? Certainly a balance is needed in this area.
The Holy Spirit is the ultimate Spiritual Guide and Teacher! The Word of God teaches us that true worshipers worship the Father “In Spirit and in TRUTH!” John 4.
Keep in mind that the LORD is the most HIGH GOD who desires to continually transform the lives of devoted believers and reach out to the world! Above Him is no other! Without the Lord one is disconnected and is but a wretched lost human being, living aimlessly in the flesh without promise of eternal life! Once we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we then have purpose and are adopted into the family of God! We embark upon a life of becoming enlightened, spiritual growth and being renewed as we apply His godly principles to our own lives. The Promise of Eternal Life waits as we grow spiritually realizing that we are forever “becoming…” As long as there is breath in the body there is Hope! NEVER underestimate the POWER of the LORD! “What is impossible with man is POSSIBLE WITH GOD!
God intended for Christianity to be a daily lifestyle centered on Him! Christianity consists of the process by which we can learn the origins of man and draw closer to our Creator and Governor of the universe! We can discover more about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and commence to live life to daily please the LORD! It is the “GOOD NEWS GOSPEL!” The central tenet in the Christian Faith is our belief in JESUS CHRIST and HIS WORD. He actually was God incarnate within sinless human flesh. The world was spoken into existence through Jesus! He actually became the WORD wrapped in flesh! “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with GOD, and the WORD was GOD. He was with GOD from the beginning. Through HIM ALL things were made; without HIM nothing was made that has been made. In HIM was life, and that life was the LIGHT of men…” John 1. Acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior is a definite requirement for all Christians. He reconciles us to the Most High God and gives us the gift of Salvation and the inheritance of Eternal life!
Let’s take a momentary glance into the secular perception of religion from a widely respected source. Dr. Sigmund Freud, who is well known for his psychoanalytical theories, perspective on religion says:” Religious faith produces a repression of impulses and thus keeps the personality secure at the expense of honesty.” He is recognized as the father of “Psychoanalysis.” He also developed many of the concepts in *Psychology.” It is here the mind and behaviors are studied.
“Psychology is the study of the mental processes and behavior. The term psychology comes from the Greek word psyche meaning “breath, spirit, soul” and the logia meaning “study of.” Psychology emerged from biology and philosophy and is closely linked to other disciplines including sociology, medicine, linguistics and anthropology.
Freud believed that the actual drive-oriented nature is overlooked because the aspect of human nature has long been suppressed by religion. People in their insecurity begin to look for a cosmic father in order to compensate for their feelings of inferiority and insecurity. Freud also believed that religious activities are rituals of compulsive behavior that are employed to temporarily ease the intense guilt feelings that are fostered by religion. Likewise Christians neurotically try to free themselves of guilt feelings by performing religious rituals. Freud also maintains that the dependency fostered by religion causes infantile regression.
Much to my dismay there is a minuscule element of truth in what Freud believed in regards to religion. I do not personally embrace his theories of psychology. But many do hide behind the guise of religion. There is a tendency to project a façade where things appear to be alright. They often go along with the majority and conform in order to feel connected to their particular group but remain insecure within themselves as an individual… There is often much ambivalence and unrest in their conscious relationship to God personally. They feel distant from Him trying to fill the inner void with some of everything!
Whenever the soul is not really anchored; the philosophies in regards to the origins of man becomes a playground for answers.
Whenever GOD is not the center of religion one can regress into this sea of uncertainty. Nothing is infallible and there is much doubt as to what has already been proven to be true! What was wrong becomes right and therefore one becomes polluted by the world. The world continues to migrate further and further away from God as Creator and the principles of His Word. Many religious folks modify His Word to adjust to the current desires of society. We can learn much from the Word of God. When His principles are abandoned there is a downward shift in the overall moral standards.
The Bible does not contradict itself! The New Testament has fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament! There is no other book like the Bible! It is an extraordinarily remarkable library of infallible spiritual wisdom that is inculsive of 66 books! It cannot be fully grasped by the intellectual mind alone. One must solicit the Holy Spirit to intervene and illuminate the significant meanings of its plethora of Scriptures. It is also the all time best seller! In order to not be lead astray it is important to know for yourself what the Word of God says! We as Christians believe and accept the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD by FAITH! This is why we are called “Believers.” When Christians follow the ways of the world rather than embrace the Word they usually have not actually taken the time to build an up close personal intimate “one on one” relationship with the Lord.
It is only with the Lord can one discover true “Security & Significance!” There is a tendency to encourage focusing on the outer rituals and traditions rather than to intrinsically search within to see where the true problem lies to resolve any inner conflict. The inner anxiety or unresolved issues can then become ongoing baggage that is carried throughout life producing anxiety when it is not addressed. God wants us to become whole! He wants us to take responsibility for our actions and take a stand for our rights. He wants to write His laws upon our hearts! Inner Peace can be experienced when one readily repents (turns from) any wrong behavior and moves forward… God does not want us bogged down in guilt nor shackled to any uncivilized or inappropriate behavior. He wants us to be FREE! There are very good reasons why He has said DO NOT do some things! The world says do as you please! God wants us to become disciplined! A disciple is a learner! God wants to deliver us from whatever hinders us from growing spiritually and becoming all that He created us to be He wants us to; “Take My yoke upon you and learn of me. For I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your soul…” Matthew 11. This is why He has given us JESUS CHRIST to “SAVE” us from the power of sin reigning within our daily lives! GOD IS MORE THAN ABLE!
Jesus died to take upon Himself the sins of the world and make it possible for us to become directly reconnected back to GOD! Sin had widened the abyss between God and man. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are One! Jesus His only begotten Son humbled Himself to come to earth. He was completely Divine! Shaped in the image of GOD in the form of a man covered in sinless flesh, He overcame sin for us because He loved us so! Jesus bridged the gap between God and man and became the only “PERFECT” flawless example! He arose with ALL power and took away the sting of death and sin. His Holy Spirit is our Comforter! We can now go straight to GOD wherever we are at anytime. He knows everything past, present and future about everyone and everything! This is why we all need Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD! He can and will make a significant difference in our life! God wants and up close and personal relationship with each one of us! We were created for HIS GLORY! Now that’s LOVE!
Prayer is communication with GOD and we need to regularly spend quality time with Him! His Word tells us in I Thessalonians 5; “Pray without ceasing, give Thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is a continual mode of interacting with the Lord! We are able to consistently become aware of HIS PRESENCE! There is nowhere we can go that God is not… As the people of GOD, there must be a growing daily focus on our personal relationship with the LORD that becomes more an more natural. We are able to grow spiritually each day. God’s Church is collectively all over the world made up of a diverse multiplicity of people of all races, colors and creeds that believe His Word! Whenever are wherever we come together and assemble as His Church we will be much more effective when we have spent time with Him throughout the week! We are to apply His principles to our own lives and allow Him to guide us as He works out the kinks in our lives. Life is about becoming “perfected” which means to become completed in Him! We can invite Him into the “Messiness” of our lives! We can also worship Him more freely as we draw near to Him! Worship becomes a part of our daily lifestyle.
I truly believe that it is the intentions of many to have God’s will done in their life. The desire to please man and to be accepted often supersedes the spiritual responsibility to be led by the Spirit. This is where the conflict lies… There is much spiritual warfare to entice believers away from GOD and to keep non believers from embracing God personally and intimately! We learn in Genesis that God created us in His own image. (I don’t mean looking like Him) In essence we are spiritual and relational beings. We have been created for God’s purpose. Until we arrive at the point that helps us realize just that, we can often unconsciously create more adversity and anxiety in our lives trying to adapt and please man. This in turn can and will at times create a mental deficiency because the deep void remains. This void can be filled by many things. But they never really will quite satisfy. God has a place within us that only He can fill. Ideally speaking; did you know that if we were all following the Lord we truly would be on one accord. There would also be a lot less schisms and division within the Body of Christ!
Religion ritualistically practiced often focuses on the exterior. Encouraging others to worship in a way they deem appropriate by their denomination or non denomination at a certain time rather than ascertain a truly intimate relationship with the Lord. What do you mean? A few examples! If you are too quiet you can be perceived as standoffish and unemotional! If you don’t speak in tongues you don’t have the Holy Spirit! If you wear makeup you are being carnal… If you don’t pay tithes… If you do not wear long dresses or cover your head… If you don’t come to the service every Sunday… If you shout and pray loud you are… If you are quite emotional it can be perceived as being more spiritual… If you are… The point is worship is personal and the object of our worship should be the LORD. The wonderful thing about God is HE KNOWS ALL of our hearts! God wants you to be the best You! Conforming to be accepted can leave one with an ever greater void. The Word tells us the proper way to worship God is to be led by His Holy Spirit! Remember! “GOD is a SPIRIT and HIS worshipers must worship HIM in SPIRIT and in TRUTH!” John 4.
In many cases it is not said in an audible language, yet there is a penalty for not adhering to what is expected, sometimes resulting in labeling or alienation. Many are far few and in between that have truly experienced the unconditional Love that is so often spoken of. This is nothing new, way back when even the Samaritans, Gentiles and Jews differed in their concept of worship. This is why we currently in this 21st century have so many denominations and varied places of worship. It is important that your chosen place of worship does not compromise the Word of God! Know that ultimately God who is Love is really the only source of unconditional Love! He Loves us because HE is LOVE! It is in HIM you can experience TRUE LOVE, inner fulfillment and PEACE! Spend time each day growing closer to the Lord! The LORD has a purpose and plan just for you…
Life is a cavernously deep expeditious journey. It is a complex menagerie of diverse emotions, feelings, thoughts, interactions, relationships and occurrences! How long or short will each of us be here no one really knows! As we grow we encounter a multiplicity of experiences that cause us to look deeper into what life is really all about. Each day is a new opportunity to discover something new no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential! As we grow it becomes evident that there is so much more to life than meets the eye! We embark upon a remarkable quest of discovery; but where does or will it all lead? We discover that we are also spiritual beings…
How do we get to know GOD?
The spiritual journey leads us to the realization of our Creator! God the Father the Great “I AM.” The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! This is what we as adherent believers believe! (I realize that not everyone believes the same.) As we begin to relate to the Lord properly He will free us more and more from the things that misrepresent Him. As we grow spiritually our spiritual eyes are opened and we become more conscious of why we do what we do! Our conscience becomes much more sensitive to the things that are contrary to His Will and His Way! Our desire should be to live to please Him as we grow spiritually. Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ is an ongoing continuing life process! The Canonical Gospels which we know as the WORD contains a wealth of wisdom regarding the history and origins of mankind! This is why it is so important to spend time in HIS WORD! Here we are able to ascertain the invaluable, priceless and precious TRUTH!
Through a plethora of life lessons we grow! We all have areas in which we are lacking! It is within our deficiencies we can discover a need for something greater than ourselves for survival. How do we cope with life, living and the anxieties that come along with it! As we become aware the discovery of a supernatural existence greater than ourselves and the ongoing need for spiritual growth and balance becomes apparent! It is a continual learning process.
God did not create us to be or become robots. Each of us is uniquely different with varying temperaments! He has given us the free will to choose… The world also offers many choices as well. It’s important to know the difference and then choose wisely. There are both good and bad consequences for our choices. Sin is what separates us from God! God is the Creator and Maker of mankind and ultimately knows what is best for each of us. It is our choice to draw closer to Him or look to the world and society for direction. The ways of God and the ways of the world often conflict, here lies the inner conflict…
God sent us His only begotten Son; JESUS CHRIST to redeem us from the curse of sin! Sin separates us from GOD! Jesus came as an innocent babe wrapped in sinless flesh. He overcame sin in the flesh. He went through all the stages of life, yet He never sinned! He was crucified, died and was buried and then He arose with ALL POWER! He came to point us back into the right direction that once again unites us to our Creator. The Narrow Path is the Way that leads to Him! Jesus is the Door back to the Father! Jesus is the only perfect example! Living for the Lord is meant to be a way of living daily! No one knows when but the LORD is going to return for HIS CHURCH!
GOD NEVER INTENDED FOR RELIGION TO BE A CRUTCH!
Why is there so much confusion about religion! What is religion?
Religion consists of cultural views, beliefs and various systems worldwide. Religion in itself is not bad but for many it means different things. It takes on many forms depending on the particular culture! Christianity, Islam Buddhism and Hinduism are considered the four major religions. There are thousands of religions throughout the world. Within those religions are varied and diverse practices and an assortment of rituals. What, whom, why and how we choose to worship is where the problem lies. What we believe varies… We must become aware of the mixture of misconceptions in order to know what true godly religion really is according to the Word of God.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about religion: “
“The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Some religions have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural), and/or scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. However, there are examples of religions for which some or many of these aspects of structure, belief, or practices are absent.”
Technically by the worlds standard you can elect to worship just about anything. For some religion is just a commitment to an organized institutionalized system of beliefs and doctrines. The beliefs vary and often adapts and changes as the world changes…
CHRISTIANITY & RELIGION
Christianity goes beyond just being a religion. It is also the main focus within the context of this narrative! Religion is an essential important fundamental aspect of Christianity. Let’s take a look at The WORD of GOD’S definition for religion! “If any one considers him religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that GOD our FATHER accepts as PURE and FAULTLESS is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to KEEP oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1. These verses are quite self explanatory.
Christianity is a way of living, it is meant to be a daily lifestyle! Being a Christian simply means to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings! Jesus is the promised Messiah! We who are called believers, through FAITH believe the Bible to be the intrinsic infallible Word of God! Christianity is monotheistic! We believe in one GOD! The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are ONE! We are supposed to actually apply the principles of God’s Word to our daily lives! It is the barometer by which we determine right and wrong! Yes! It was divinely inspired by dedicated followers of God! As mentioned earlier the aspects of pure religion are explained in the Book of James! For many religion is about conforming to the beliefs of the masses without really personally taking the time to know what is actually in the Bible. Sometimes often embracing the traditions, doctrines and beliefs of a denomination over the Word of God!
GOD’S WORD IS ALIVE! It can sometimes be so simple we miss the intended message. The closer you or I draw to GOD the more we can increasingly understand the simplicity and powerfulness of HIS WORD! His Holy Spirit further opens our spiritual eyes and illuminates His Word so we can better comprehend the intended message. His Holy Spirit is the eternal inner Teacher and spiritual interpreter that reside within us as believers! To lead us to ALL TRUTH! Listen closely to what Jesus said! “I have much more to say to you, more than you can hear now bear. But when He the Spirit of TRUTH, comes He will guide you to ALL TRUTH. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what he hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it made known to you. ALL that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the SPIRIT will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” John 16.
During Jesus’ last days on earth He talked quite candidly with His disciples. He warned them that they would be misunderstood, mistreated and persecuted. He also told them they would not be accepted by the world. But most importantly He assured them that they would not be alone! He has given us His Comforter, His Holy Spirit to be with us always! This is why it is so important to know HIS WORD! We can call on the LORD anytime and anywhere! Think about this for a moment; when JESUS left the earth and ascended to Heaven there was not an actual physical Christian Church as far as a building! The disciples and His followers met in homes, they knew then as we should know now that they themselves were the CHURCH! GOD’S CHURCH is universal!
I recently attended a “Marvelous” poetry reading! The Library in Lincoln sponsored a “VOICES OF LINCOLN POETRY CONTEST!” It is an annual affair! There was a very good mixture of poems from a plethora of categories. There were poems about mysteries, to make you laugh, about people in the news, about relationships and poems to make you think? There were poets of all ages from (10) ten to (90) ninety. There is something special when all ages, cultures and colors are able to come together and share…
It was a beautiful afternoon and truly a delightful treat!
I want to share with you one poem in particular! Sharing this means a lot to me because;This poem was written by my grandson; Julian M. Ogans II. Writing is becoming a growing passion for him. I/we are so very proud of him and believe that he is on the right road to discovering his life purpose(s)… He is an editor for his school newspaper! Here he writes an ongoing column as well… This poem was selected for the “DREAMS & FANTASIES” category! He was quite encouraged and well received by all ages. Presenting…
The Journey Of Life By Julian M. Ogans II
I hike my way up the mountain of self-confidence
Fighting through the bitter cold blizzards of brutal honesty
Wondering what awaits at the top
But very quickly do I lose sight of the trail and fall down into the river of disappointment
The water reflecting nothing more than my past sins
I slowly drift into a cavern of darkness
The pitch black enveloping me in a dark cloth
Suffocating me with the toxic smell of failure
Whispers from my past slowly invade my mind
Growing louder and louder echoing inside my head
A ray of hope cut through the darkness
But it didn’t reach me
For a dark hand pulled me under the water
And drowned me in self pity
I open my mouth to scream, but the black water rushed down my throat
Choking me with all my fears
I gave into my self pity and allowed it to pull me into its deep dark depths where all my broken dreams lie
Each one shattered into a thousand pieces
The gravity of my self-doubt pushed me further down towards the bottom
While carnivorous nightmares ate away at my body and feasted on all emotions
They tore away my eyes, preventing me from seeing any sign of hope
Ripped away my ears, stopping me from hearing words of encouragement
And cut out my tongue so that I couldn’t scream for help
Little did I realize that not all of my forgotten dreams were broken
Blind, deaf, and muted to the world I grab on to one fragile dream
And use the one weapon that no man, monster, or rushing water can’t take away
My hands began to grow warm as the dream came to life and sent confidence shooting through my veins
I felt the water rise and part as it shot up in the air
Breaking a hole in the ceiling of the depressing cave
I felt a brilliant ray of hope come down from the sky
Restoring my vision, hearing and my voice!
I rose up from the ground and entered a valley of happiness
Where dreams grow on colossal trees of endless imagination
However, my days here are numbered in this land of prosperity
For I am just one soul, embarking on the journey of life!!
*His poem won first place in the Young Poets division!
In this day and age it is becoming increasingly difficult to find reliable people. This is an interesting, fascinating 21st century indeed! Commitment to promises have become vague or they either are thrown into the sea of temporary amnesia. Did I say that? But I thought that you were supposed to… You have heard the saying *“When the going gets rough, the tough gets going.” These no doubt(s) are some difficult times. But God knew way back when from the very beginning what would be happening now! This is why GOD is so AWESOME! In spite of what is going on if we just continue to look to Him, He will and can see you through whatever comes your way. For sure one thing remains the same; GOD STILL is, was and always WILL be RELIABLE!
Remember,* “When the going gets rough, the tough gets going.”
Those who you thought were reliable, quite often; you have now found out that was only in the moment. In order to keep your head above water you have to stay focused. It is so easy to agree to something when you are on the receiving end. But when the rubber meets the road and things are not turning out the way they thought. Be prepared. When a person has not really invested themselves into something it is easy for them to just walk away. You know and they know that you have put yourself out for them. You have invested time and money in them and they did not do their part. But things just have not worked out like they thought …. So what do you do? How about having a pity party? Do you bury your head in the sand like an ostrich?
No, instead you must look inward and upward. God really does know all and sees all! You realize that they are much more concerned about how things appear rather than how they really are. Commitment has become a fleeting virtue. Nowadays people commit and say “I DO” until death us to do part. But they “don’t.” Actually they initially mean “I DO”; but it’s really until we do not feel the same way about one another anymore! Then it’s time to move on… In order to survive in these tuff times you are going to have to develop some tough skin to guard your heart! Remember *”when the going gets rough, the tough gets going”… So now is the time to really get to going…
A good strong committed marriage is possible! But you must allow GOD HIS place! GOD is LOVE and HE wants HIS LOVE to continue to flourish within your marriage!
One must become resilient! This will help you to “bounce back” from, protect and cushion you from any future unforeseen bruises, bumps, disappointments and burns ahead. Some days may be harder than others but regardless of what is going on it is important to know; God still has everything under His control! Life is a test; with God there is no failure. This is why it is so very important to seek Him above any and everything else. Nourish your inner self with the delightful Fruit of HIS SPIRIT! His Fruit is always ripe for the picking. Self control, love and patience are a part of His viable life sustaining Fruit. These are dependable quality attributes to nurture in oneself. They also are reliable traits that will help you weather any unforeseen pandemonium that’s ahead!
Life has a way of presenting challenges. When this happens many readily abandon Godly principles, selfishly regress and result to doing what is best for them. They lay aside what God has to say and do “what is right in their own eyes.” This has been true from the very beginning. There has been an ever increasing shift away from God’s principles for life and living. Now, high blood pressure, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and or impatience rules instead, they begin to operate in a survival mode.
Many have resorted to simply compartmentalizing their spiritual life to a weekend pastime. During the week they proceed living life and engulfing themselves in a secular worldly lifestyle where just about anything goes. Laying aside “thus says the Lord” and embracing whatever feels right in the moment. Operating in a survival mode embraces, anesthetizing and indulging in any type of self satisfying pleasure, fantasy or recreation that suits their fancy. Come Sunday they “go to Church” not really realizing that we the people are the Church…
The world has lost the lid and “Pandora’s box” is wide open. Denial has clouded and shrouded discretion and deceived many. Caught up in a seductive whirlwind of curiosity, many have found their place dipping and dabbling in all its self gratifying pleasures. Many of which are quite often addicting pleasures. Reliability and valor abandoned. Have you ever heard the term “Pandora’s Box has lost its lid”? Greek Mythology has taken on somewhat of a reality in this 21st century. Ponder this for a moment, according to Wikipedia;
“After Prometheus theft of the secret of fire Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create the woman Pandora as part of the punishment for mankind. Pandora was given many seductive gifts from Aphrodite, Hermes, Hera, Charites, and Horae (according to Works and Days). For fear of additional reprisals, Prometheus warned his brother Epimetheus not to accept any gifts from Zeus, but Epimetheus did not listen, and married Pandora. Pandora had been given a large jar and instruction by Zeus to keep it closed, but she had also been given the gift of curiosity, and ultimately opened it. When she opened it, all of the evils, ills, diseases, and burdensome labor that mankind had not known previously, escaped from the jar, but it is said, that at the very bottom of her box, there lay hope.”
There is no reason to think Pandora acted out of malice in opening the jar, for she was exercising her curiosity, and when she saw what was let out of it, she quickly closed it.
God never meant that life as “His child” to become drudgery. Nor did He intend for us to be unhappy dissatisfied or wanting. He did mean for us to be responsible and reliable and keep our commitments. As Hid children we should “forever becoming.” Meaning continuously growing spiritually, emotionally, responsibly and… Jesus came to point us to a better Way. He came to clear the path to the “Narrow path” that leads to Him. Although life takes its turns with Jesus Christ as your personal Savior you have an ever present Guide and Comforter. His promise to “never leave or forsake you/us” is TRUE!
Due to the lingering aftermath from the global recession many are still impacted directly or indirectly on many levels. The rich, middle class, poor and in between… The secure reliable future “nest egg” that was stored and supposedly safely tucked away in many cases was drastically dwindled. That cash reserved for emergencies that has helped to offset the climbing monthly budget, or taxes is gone. The cost of gas, food, clothing and living expenses have skyrocketed. Although the price for gas has begun to decrease; it will never be as cheap as it once was! Have you noticed how the portions or content sizes as well as the amount of ingredients have changed in a lot of items? We get less for more. Bargains are fewer. Who would have ever thought? It is very important to put or begin putting your TRUST in GOD. In HIM is where true security and significance lies. For sure, one thing that remains the same GOD Still is, was and always WILL be RELIABLE! Draw closer to the HIM! Know that ultimately GOD has everything & everyone under HIS CONTROL!
* It was Joseph P. Kennedy (1888-1969), the father of (U.S.) President John F. Kennedy who said it originally. It was however popularized by Billy Ocean’s song
“Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Faith is so important that it is mentioned over three hundred times in the BIBLE. Faith means to have a firm persuasion. Having Faith means much more than just to say you believe. It goes much deeper! Faith is developed through Prayer, Devotion, and Bible Study and the actual application of God’s Word to your daily life. Faith is also part of the Lord’s spiritual armor. It is “By Faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible.” Hebrews 11:3. Faith is NOW not after the fact has materialized! “For we walk by Faith not by sight.” II Corinthians 5:7
When you truly trust God your Faith will see you through any and all circumstances or situations. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,Joseph, Moses and Rahab, are just a few examples of the many that trusted and had Faith in God. Deborah, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets beheld many miracles, faced jeers, were stoned, saw walls fall, led many in victories, were persecuted, misunderstood, and mistreated. Yet they all accomplished their life purpose by trusting the Lord. Notice how they all sincerely aspired to live in the presence of the Lord. They had a personal and deep intimate personal relationship with Him. Hebrews commends them all for their Faith; “yet none of them received what had been promised.” It is by Faith we are strengthened inwardly! Jesus Christ dwells in our hearts through Faith.
FAITH is NOW!
Hebrew defines Faith as something you cannot see. “Faith without works is dead.” When your Faith is truly in GOD you trust that in His time He will fulfill whatever it is that He has said or promised. Take a moment to take an open and honest personal inventory of everything that is happening in your life. Guess what God already knows as well! Despite your circumstances; good, bad, or indifferent you can rest assured that your Faith makes all the difference in the world as to how you will now proceed. In order to successfully run the race of life we must keep our focus on the Lord. Laying aside any weight or sin helps us to run with endurance. When life hurdles appear God will impart to you His patience and direction. You can not change anything that has happened “it is what it is” As you fix your eyes on “Jesus, the Author and perfector of our Faith” He will help you arise to the challenges as well as the celebrations of life. Your daily trust and reliance on God is where your true security and significance should reside. This will give you sure footing and strong solid rock foundational spiritual roots to help you withstand the storms of life. Your Joy in the Lord is where you will find strength when you keep your eyes on Him. The joy of the Lord is not contingent on your circumstance. FAITH is NOW!
The key to being a Christian is the Faith we have in Jesus Christ. Do you know the importance of His sacrificial death on the cross that atoned for our sins? It was so we could live life to please Him! Did you know our lives, our homes, our marriages, families and our worship should reflect we are His children? How do we do this? Titus tells us that “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self controlled, and sound in Faith, love and in endurance. To teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good…” The natural man or woman does not accept, value, nor understand the things of God. This is why the Word says to “let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” In order to understand the things of God it is crucial that you lay aside your way and your will and let His Word be a “lamp unto your feet and a Light to your path.”
Having the proper perspective will teach you how very important it is to live life to its fullest and study His Word for His approval and not the approval of man. This is why we are told to “Trust in the Lord will all of our hearts and lean not to our own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our path.” Proverbs 3: 5&6. Too often God is an after thought or optional choice when dealing with life. This compromise often has favorable results with man; yet results in moving you away from God. Learn to wait on God and patiently seek His way.
God’s way will give you peace and contentment that surpasses the understanding of man! God wants to be the Primary Force in your life. Being a Christian is really a chosen lifestyle. God does not force His way upon you. Faith produces commitment and faithfulness. It means to sincerely and earnestly attempt to live life to please God. Commence to truly Live, Sing, Worship and Praise Him. It really makes all the difference in the world! “LET the WORD of Christ dwell richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving THANKS to God the Father through Him” Colossians 3: 16&17.
God always has a better way. According to Ephesians He has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. As His child we have been sealed and promised the gift of His Holy Spirit. God truly is faithful you can always count on Him! Now you must trust Him and step out on Faith. Remember Faith is not something that you can see. Always remember, you must exercise patience and your Faith and trust must rely in Him. He tells us if our Faith is “as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” Matthew 17: 20. The key to this is you must desire His will to be done. It is with God we can do the impossible. This way He receives the credit. To GOD be the GLORY! God keeps His promises. You can fully trust God to work everything out for your good.
Always keep in mind that absolutely nothing gets by God. He knows all that is past, current and will be. Be encouraged knowing “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” It is by Faith and patience we inherit His promises. We can patiently endure whatever is necessary because we know that God in His time will work everything out for our good. It is by Faith we accept His precious gift of eternal life. One of the most important elements in life is having Faith in GOD. “Without Faith it is impossible to please Him, for he, who comes to GOD, must believe, that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Romans 1:16& 17.
GOD IS FAITHFUL in His time you will reap the promises and He will give back, restore, refuel and replenish you in His time. God knows when you are sincere. We are living in interesting times. Just keep your eyes fixed on the Author and finisher of your Faith. God is able to “keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great Joy!” You can say Hallelujah anyhow! God is awesome! As I mentioned before Hebrews records in its “Hall of Faith” many Old Testament heroes who trusted in God and displayed their Faith in unique ways. Lay aside every weight and anything that hinders you from going forth in the Lord! Many seek the approval and acceptance of others. God’s approval is what matters most! When you truly believe; it will be a priority to daily live your life to please GOD! Faith results in faithfulness. Who or what are you faithful to? “Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” FAITH IS NOW!