Stand Strong: fight evil with good

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God help us! Exercising wisdom is even more important when such evil events as these [Paris bombings and shootings, ISIS barbaric slaughtering, and senseless murders like that of Amanda Blackburn] stir us into considerations of retaliation.   Naturally our inner being cries out “Why?!!” and “they’ve gotta pay for this!” Justice is a Godly trait found in mankind… but God also teaches us to trust His ways over our own so that matters are not amplified by our impromptu, even well-intentioned foolishness.

It takes great restraint at such times as this! It truly is more than we can bear! That’s right; don’t you think history shows that these things drive people to search out the Almighty? Doesn’t it cause people, tribes and nations to fall before Him, broken beyond any human help, souls crying out to the God who has been longing to save them from the power of sin over their lives? Such horrific events are redeemed by the redemption of previously lost souls.

God help us all to respond in the Spirit as Jesus demonstrated with His life and teachings in the Holy Scriptures. Self-sacrificing, obeying God’s instruction and loving even those who persecured him, Jesus showed compassion for the people, and stood up against the pious and evil with the truth and love.

Likewise, we can face evil with preparedness and the steadfastness in God, faith, hope and love. Jesus said we can do this to. Being a true Christian means we strive to be like Him. It is easy to forget how very much Jesus was a “man of sorrows, aquainted with grief”…scorned, rejected…persecuted. Are we willing to do that? Really?

If so, we must remember it is not accomplished in our power, oh no, it is God’s and His alone. His truth assures us. His love encourages us. His Holy Spirit empowers us. How else would it be possible to go on?

Only through Jesus and the work accomplished on the cross, can we even see that God forgives every sin that is delivered to the washing of His blood. God is a delivering God! His forgiveness is far beyond our human, justice-demanding understanding. Truth is: ALL of us have sinned against holy God and deserve to die. Praise God, His mercy provided the payment for my sins at Calvary! Have you received that precious gift?

I pray for all those suffering, including those deceived by the lies of ISIS, who both willingly and unwillingly serve the evil which damages so many lives, including their own.

Unfortunately, there have been and will be further innocent lives lost in the battle between good and evil. Jesus’ sacrifice showed that such things are not outside God’s plan to overcome. He uses even these tragedies for God’s greater glory.

Not one of his lambs is lost. Some are moved from this world to their heavenly home sooner as God deems best. We who choose not to reject His lordship can be sure that we remain in His care throughout all eternity. Our beloved will be missed here on earth, but we can only imagine the utter fulfillment they are experiencing in their heavenly home. Comfort is felt when we look forward with even more anticipation to be rejoicing with them in the future.

My prayer is that every life lost has a soul ready to meet the Almighty, face-to-face, and give an answer for how they lived when He delivers the true judgement and makes all things right again.

There WILL be true justice, comfort, and endless goodness for those who live as our Maker intends. There will be holy retribution delivered to the deceitful, wicked and evildoers. It just isn’t likely to be realized in the world we live in filled with evil.

Shouldn’t we pray all the harde? Should we not pray with more fervency…more turning to God for His direction, mercies and power to persevere in seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our Lord…inasmuch as it depends on us, live at peace with all men…be a good reflection of Christ to the world? After all, this is not just a physical/emotional/political battle but a hightening spiritual war. Just as from man’s beginning in the garden, Satan’s evil is working to get man to act selfishly, in his own power, without regard to God and fellow man.

God’s Word tells us that spiritual battles are only won spiritually… best fought by every child of God being ready and equipped: suited up in full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), standing in unity through prayer and enpowered by the Holy Spirit. God promised that His Church will not be overcome even if all hell comes against it. So, God help us, let’s STAND STRONG and give glory to God who is our all in all.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

Let the Church of God be a strong tower for those struggling in walking by faith and a bright beacon to shatter the darkness.

 



True Peace

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“No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” -1 John 2:23

Examining 1 John2:23 in light of people who believe Satan’s lie that they can please Holy God without having a true relationship with Jesus Christ…a pulpit commentary (via http://biblehub.com/philippians/4-7.htm) presents these points for our verification:

Verse 23. – Every one who denieth the Son not only does that, but οὐδέ doth not possess the Father. To deny that Jesus is the Christ is to deny the Son of God, for the Christ is the incarnate Son; and to deny the Son of God is to deny the Father also, for the incarnate Son is the Revelation of the Father; and not only so, but to deny the Son is to cut one’s self off from the Father, for “no one knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.”
To emphasize this great truth St. John uses his favourite motive of stating it both negatively and positively. To deny the Son is not to have the Father; to confess the Son is to have the Father (comp. 1 John 1:5, 8; 1 John 2:4, 27; 1 John 3:6; 1 John 4:2, 3, 6, 7, 8; 1 John 5:12).
Note the solemn asyndeta. There is not a single connecting particle in verses 22-24; the sentences fall on the ear like minute-guns. “Every one that denieth.” There is no exception. Even an apostle, if he denies that Jesus is the Christ. thereby also loses all possession of the Father. The history of philosophy verifies the statement. Deism has ever a tendency to end in pantheism or atheism.//

–Definitions——via the Dictionary App
Deism
(1)belief in the existence of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation (distinguished from theism ).
(2)belief in a God who created the world but has since remained indifferent to it.

Pantheism
(1) the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God’s personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.
(2) any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.

Atheism
(1) the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
(2) disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Sadly, there are many who remain deceived into thinking they are on good terms with God although they deny the Savior. It is not our going to a temple, shrine or place of worship, knowledge, our good deeds, nor anything that comes from us that saves us. It is not a prayer, a ceremony, nor our ascending into a higher state of consciousness, or obtaining some great degree or status. It’s definitely not our own senses or feelings that testify to our soul’s state before God. No! It is not about us and what we’ve done! It is ALL about Jesus and what God has done/ is doing/ and will do for us.

It’s a relationship with Jesus and our devotion to that relationship that many unbelievers mislabel as an “organized religion”. That’s akin to calling the passionate love of my life just “an okay human being”. Or our “marriage vows” to one another just a business arrangement that is only a piece of paper that could be undone with a lawyer and a few bucks!
I’m sorry to say that those who are fixated on dissing Christians as being “religious” just don’t know what a Christianity really is. Unfortunately, unless they allow themselves to intelligently examine facts and dispel lies with truth, they will likely remain in opposition to the very people who try to help them.

Those that don’t really know Jesus do not really know peace. Their souls deep down know that they are at enmity with God. Something is not right. They search and cannot find it. They try the world’s way of selfish ambition and self-rule. The Bible refers to this as the man who built his house on shifting sand. There is no solid foundation, because when the current scheme, relationships, pursuits fail (and they will) they simply try something else and start the cycle all over again.
Our rock-solid, devoted & loving relationships with God and other people is in very strong contrast to their hate for our proclaiming the truth of God’s word.

Christians are accused of being “judgemental” when all they may have done was state truth. It is the truth…God’s truth that judges. The soul that remains unsaved knows it is not right with God so it attacks the messenger. Do you notice how much venom is thrown toward a Christian by a non-Christian? Satan fight’s hard to keep an unsaved soul from being redeemed. As long as Satan can convince a person to remain in sin, he retains damned souls. Those who remain under the curse of sin because of their rejection of God.

God talks about that in the book of 1st John as well. They love the darkness and hate the light. The light of truth exposes lies, sins and that which they want to keep hidden. Those that live in darkness do not SEE all that they are missing. They remain in fear of the unknown. But there is a certainty that awaits all of us…One day …and it could be at any moment….EVERY knee will bow, and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is LORD. There will be those who will rejoice at being in His presence and others will trembling when they realize that they have been spitting in the face of the Beloved who came to save EVERYONE who would put their faith in Jesus.

There are only two ways for any person to be:
(1)Lost=dead in our sins, an enemy of God=No Jesus, No peace OR
(2)Saved
=redeemed by Christ putting to death our sins at the Cross & giving us grace greater that ALL our sins, a new life IN Him, a child of God=Know Jesus, Know Peace.

I so love knowing Jesus (and the grace, joy, love & hope God has given as a result) that I cannot help but sing His praises and introduce others to the Love of God. Out of love for all people I cannot help but ask:
…do you know Jesus? Not just “about” Jesus
…do you really know Him?
How do you know Him? Is He your Savior?
One day, when you are in Holy God’s presence, being accused by the Evil One, what hope have you?
On what basis do you believe God will accept you into Heaven to live with Him forever?

I’m telling you where I pray that your faith & hope rest…
In the name that is above ALL names…Jesus! For He alone is the Christ, the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the Only Begotten Son, the propitiation for all of our sin, the ONLY way to obtain forgiveness and enter into a right relationship with Holy God forever and ever. It’s not about if we are good enough to get into heaven; because none of us is. BUT GOD– (my favorite two word phrase) MADE A WAY and his name is JESUS!

If you are not experiencing the peace and joy of being in harmony with your creator and the love He has for you, may I suggest that you ask yourself why you are rejecting God’s will for you? Why do you reject God? Do you think you have got a better way, that you know better, or that you are more powerful than the Almighty? Has Satan convinced you that your sins are “not that bad”? Well, all of that is a lie!

Even a small sin is sin. It is disobedience and an affront to Holy God, therefore deserving of His punishment. God’s word tells us that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That means me. That means you. That means the Pope, Mother Teresa and Billy Graham too. ALL of us are sinners in need of a Savior.

Jesus came with the promise that all who will repent (admit to sin of living contrary to God’s perfect, loving intent) and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be forgiven and saved from the just punishment which awaits those who will not accept God’s provision of deliverance.
The Holy Scriptures tell us God does not want to punish us, but to love us. However, as a righteously just and Holy God, sin must be atoned for under His perfect judgement! Yet God has never stopped loving us; He always wants what’s best for us. So merciful God provided a way of escape. Either we release our sins to Jesus Christ as having done that for us OR we hold on to our sins and continue to reject God which will ultimately lead to damnation.

Forgiven sinners are at peace in their own souls because they know that God has given them a way to enter into love that casts out fear as Children of God. Having been forgiven, Children of God, just like Jesus, seek to save the lost, help the hurting and show God’s love to a world full of turmoil and hopelessness.

Jesus is the one who said to His disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

Peace comes through having a right relationship with God. God Himself provided the way…His name is Jesus. It is very likely true that if you have a lack of peace that your soul has not been cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus who left Heaven to come to earth, lived a perfect life so that He could be the perfect sacrifice to take all of God’s wrath toward our sins in order that Christ could save our souls through the greatest love of all.
Jesus died once so that we may live forever! The power of God that brought Jesus back to life is the same power that God allows us to partake in through His Holy Spirit, His Word and prayer. We now belong to the family of God. Every human being is His workmanship, but not every person is His beloved child. I, for one, am forever grateful to be His and praise His name! I have the desire that you dear reader will experience this same exhilaration and eternal peace.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”–Philippians 4:7 (ESV)

—I believe that the love of God is ours IF we accept it…IF we accept Him.
You see a gift that is given is of absolutely no use unless it is accepted, unwrapped and utilized. God offers the perfect gift…have you accepted?

I welcome comments and respectful conversation. Be blessed.
May God grant you His mercy, grace, love and peace.

Good Friday: The Crux of the Matter

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Exactly why do we call it GOOD Friday? It’s because as horrific as it was; in light of the truth of the Hy Bible it was/is/and forever will be good when coupled with Easter! That’s also why we call the Gospel, the Good News.

It is no wonder why I delight in the Word of God and celebrating the Lenten season so much: THIS …. JESUS …is what it’s ALL about!!

Look at all that happened as Jesus ministry on Earth was coming to a close, with teachings, parables and miracles. The mobs of self-seeking people; crowds, anger and betrayal.

Look at ALL the fulfillment of scriptural prophecy (only a small part of it can I list here):
•There was The Arrival of the Messiah on a donkey colt (Palm Sunday);
•the Passover being celebrated with THE Lamb Himself in a new way at the First Communion (Maundy Thursday), Jesus demonstrating servant leadership and giving the New Commandment;
•the Garden of Gethsemane (the Winepress) on the Mount of Olives where our Lord was hard pressed as He prayed in anguish to His Father while His dearest friends slept & the betrayer delivered a kiss along with His captors;
•the denial of Peter and fleeing of the disciples; the mock trial and real ‘Silence of the Lamb’ as they brought false accusations, injustices and forced physical defilement, spitting, beatings and torturous scourging
•A weakening Jesus trudged up The Via Dolorosa (Latin,”Way of Grief”, “Way of Sorrows”, “Way of Suffering” or simply “Painful Way”) the road to Calvary a.k.a. Golgotha (“the Skull”), at one point collapsing under the weight of the cross he bore;
[ASIDE: I enjoy the mention of the comfort given to Jesus by Simon of Cyrene (carried the cross part of the way) and Lydia (who wiped His face with her scarf) ]
• finally, Jesus was nailed to the cross and lifted up naked, in the middle of the criminals also crucified;
•the punishment for All sin of those who would be redeemed for all time!

The CROSS — that is the crux of the matter. Really, not so much the wooden symbol of crucifixion; rather the One who willingly died there for us —the Messiah…Jesus Christ: Savior, Redeemer, Lord!

That is where we were redeemed (bought with a price) and received our salvation (saved from God’s wrath for our sins) and were granted God’s forgiveness through His righteousness (Jesus lived without sin so He was exchanging His right standing with God for our sins). That all happened on the Cross.

His death was unlike any other in all of history! Every detail was fulfilled exactly as God had foretold. His body bore the “stripes” and “wounds”. He was counted among the transgressors. In all that torture, not one bone was broken. He died before the need of Romans to break his legs to hasten the dying.

IRONIES
There are a few ironic items I must acknowledge.

Even as Jesus was being so mistreated; actually WHILE He was dying on the cross, He demonstrated His top priority was the care of others!

He had provided for future care of His dear disciples at the Last Supper. He reattached the ear of the soldier (an enemy) that Peter had severed in the garden.
He assured the proper care of His mother Mary who was at the foot of the cross with “John, this is your mother. And to her He said “this is your son.”

The very work Jesus was doing was the ultimate care of others— many, many others. This was not just a passing “I hope it goes well with you,” or as we might say “have a nice day”. This wasn’t just a toss of some spare change into a beggars hand. This wasn’t even simply physically tangible “help”. Jesus provided self-sacrificing– for God’s glory and your good– true SOUL care.

With His Words “Father Forgive them for they know not what they do,” He was the executing supernaturally self-sacrificing act of forgiveness…even to those who caused His pain. Such a deep, all-consuming pain! Not just physical or emotional pain, but soul wrenching anguish. At the moment when Holy God turned His face away from Jesus who cried out “Father why have you forsaken me?” we cannot really grasp that, can we?

Amidst all the horrid smells the beaten bodies and soldiers were putting out; blood, sweat, excrement and urine, it is not lost on me that Jesus likely was still smelling of the large amount of perfumed ointment the women applied to His feet with her tears and hair earlier in the week. I hope that smell rose to His nostrils as He endured the torture on the cross. Perhaps it in some small way reminded Him that there were still those who loved Him present even during this terrible time.

The phrase “a fragrant offering being offered up to God” comes to my mind as I reflect on what was happening here on the cross and compare it with God’s Old Testament declarations to His Chosen People of Israel about what was an “acceptable sacrifice”.

Just before He died Jesus asked God to forgive us and then declared “it is finished”. Then He died.

BUT GOD!!! Stay tuned for the next post–

In the meantime please sacrifice a moment of your time to give your thoughts (and if you see mistakes; corrections) on this post.