The Truth In Love…

pic of dove

I read a post earlier on facebook that compelled me to comment. This action normally requires no explanation. Unfortunately, this is one of the few that does. It was all about a famous pastor and first lady who presumably are false teachers. It caught my attention because of who the pastor and first lady were; Individuals who have been instrumental in my spiritual growth. I can also get a word of encouragement from them.

When we have so many who are preaching sin and condemnation, encouragement and exultation is like a breath of fresh air. We also have way too many that spend way too much time being critical of others instead of rightly judging themselves.

We have Christian brothers and sisters on the other side of the world who are literally being killed in the streets because of their faith. Their murderers are radical zealots who practice hate as religion in the name of their god. This malicious abuse of religion (more correctly referred to as a cult), is note worthy. This should be brought to the attention of all believers. We as believers are to watch as well as pray.

On the other hand, for us to criticize another Man’s servant(s) is wrong according to the Bible. God gives all of His children work to do and we should all be about our Father’s business. We are all part of one body and our actions should reflect that truth. When you stub your toe on a table leg, the rest of your body doesn’t laugh or mock at the pain. In fact, the rest of your body feels the pain as well.

Similarly, if and when a fellow Christian is in error, the rest of the members of the body are to correct them in the spirit of love. We definitely aren’t to put them on bast on facebook even if we strongly disagree with what they have to say. Who are we to say that what someone preaches didn’t come from God? We use the Word of God, The Bible as our guide. Not our own personal interpretation of scripture but what the Holy Spirit tells us He means. When we trust Him as our Teacher, read the Word in faith, and give our whole heart to putting it into practice, we will all be saying the same thing as the Word commands us to.

Division in the Church body not only hinders us from walking in the power that we should, it also makes us look bad to the world. Remember that the Word says that the world should know us by our love for one another. Faith works by love. It’s impossible to please God without faith.

Back to the blog in question. It mentions how the pastor believes that our obedience and worship are more for us than for God. For the opposite to be true, our obedience and worship would have to be more for God than us. But what does that mean? That God needs us to obey Him to satisfy some hidden need to be the boss or to feel important? That His ego is so big that it needs to be stroked with our praise and worship? God said if we don’t praise Him, He’ll cause the rocks to cry out. No, God does not need our obedience or worship. We do. When you can forget about all of your problems and concentrate fully on God, it changes us for the better. God needs no improvements!

Everywhere that I read in the Bible, God promises us good things when we do as we are told and bad things when we disobey Him. God didn’t give Israel all those laws so He could be entertained by their attempts to keep them. But so that they would be blessed as a result of it. For anyone who wants to know, God does love us and wants the very best for us. He wants us to prosper in every area of life. Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. He gave all things that pertain to life and godliness for us to enjoy. God’s Word says that He can do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think. What a cruel God He would be to be able to do, but not willing. That is not the God we serve!

The blog described the teaching as a ‘feel good’ gospel. I found the term laughable in light of the meaning of the word ‘gospel’ (the good news). Verses of scripture were given to ‘prove’ the false teaching. Verses such as: We don’t worry about  our lives, we give it to God in true worship…We are to finish our course with joy…We are to bring glory to God.

How do we bring Him glory? By being accusers of the brethren? No, but by being a living example of Jesus Christ. We are to further the gospel. How do we do this if we are broke or sick or not walking in love as our Savior commands? We can’t. But we can criticize a pastor who has been blessed to have his own plane to go into all the earth with the gospel?

We are to testify of His grace. But how can we do that when most of us don’t know what the Bible word ‘grace’ means? It means God’s undeserved kindness toward us ( Like when He loved us enough to give us His Son when we least deserved Him). “Thank You Father!”

We are told that those who cause division are ravenous wolves who don’t know the difference between the truth and a myth…

God’s Love is being (presently, not just when we get to heaven) poured out on us. We are to ‘count it all joy, rejoice and be glad that the life of Christ may manifest in our bodies, that we have peace. We are to make music with our heart! We are called to serve with gladness. ”His greatness, no one can fathom” Ps. 145:3 (this verse was listed twice in the blog so I wonder why the author of it didn’t follow the natural implications of it: That God is limitless love expressed to us as big as our faith allows Him. If you disagree with that statement, how can you justify saying as the scripture says, that God is love?

I must also say that I wasn’t just disappointed by the blog, but also by how it was shared. Not by a non believer or an atheist, but a fellow minster of the Word of God. One who also has been a blessing to me and my family. We are family!

Yes, we are called to correct those who are in error and to bare the infirmities of the weak. If we obey the law of love which is the commandment of our Master, we won’t get delight out of a brother’s error (if we see it as such).

When we love as God loves, we pray for our brothers and sisters. We want them to get it right as much as we want to get it right ourselves. We don’t want anyone to be lost do we? Of course not.  And when they have it wrong, we don’t refer to it as a ‘great blog’ but a ‘sad’ one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On True Christianity

There are many Christians who believe it is our job to reform the world. It is not. Many think they are to spend their time trying to get the devil to behave himself.  This also is not the case. When we live our lives in a way that pleases the Lord, those who are in the world will either be drawn to Christ or the opposite will occur. Persecution and ridicule is as old as the church itself. This is part of what we sign up for when we place our faith and trust in the Lord  Jesus Christ. The world hated Him and it hates us also.

Not only are we not to oppose or fight against this evil with more evil, fight fire with more fire, but we are called to rejoice! Yes, rejoice that we are called worthy to suffer with Him. This suffering we are told can’t be compared with the glory that will follow. 

During the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil was so that God  saw fit to intervene.  The father of faith Abraham,  who was a friend of God, protested it. We know he was God’s friend because He shared His plan will him. This is significant. If Abraham were to respond as some well meaning Christians would today,  his response would’ve been something like this: “Well,  it’s about time! I would’ve killed that bunch a long time ago if I were You!” But that was not his response. He responded with love and compassion: “Will You destroy the righteous with the wicked?” There obviously were no righteous among them and God destroyed the cities. But notice Abraham’s heart, not quick to judge and act.

Faith works by love and is impossible to please God without faith. It’s fair to say that one cannot please God without love. Love is what holds everything together. The body of Christ has yet to manifest this level of love. It is the heart of God manifest to the world. 

When we see all manner of evil taking place,  we aren’t to be quick to judge but quick to pray. Evil hasn’t reached its full maturity. What’s more important,  neither has the Church. We are to be just like Jesus. This is how God sees us right now! When we renew our minds with the Word of God, we will become the living Word. As the Word first became flesh and gave light to the world. 

Jesus is our example. He was not a reformer, He was and is a redeemer. Those who are lost can be found. Salvation is a gift of God that saves from sin, death and eternal damnation. When we confess our sin and Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are saved. This is the core of the gospel we are to share with the world. The only law we have is the law of love. When this is accomplished,  all other laws are fulfilled.

As far as attempting to get the devil and his hosts to ‘act right’, we would only be wasting our time. He is doing his job, it’s up to us to do ours. 

Personally, I don’t sign petitions or go to rallies. It is not fruitful. The Word of God says evil will reach its limit, the Church will grow to the full stature of Christ, the gospel will be preached to all and then the end will come. No, we can’t expect to reform the world unless we make God’s word a lie. The only place I want to see my name is in The Lamb’s Book of Life. Come Lord Jesus!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Righteous Judgement

I look at life and see all manner of things. Good and bad. I see people living life to it’s fullest, those who lead and not follow. There are those who look smugly at those who have less than they. Some who actually brag about the things they have-all but laughing at those who have not.

Some are concerned with the have-nots. By concerned I mean that they think about them more than they’d like to. They think things like “What happens to the children who don’t have anything to eat?” To answer their curiosity, they die. Some 16,000 children world wide die because they have no food. Not to mention the ones who die from war, thirst and general neglect. They die.

There are those who live to cause sorrow and pain to others. These are those who have been shown no love. If they had been shown love, it was not the genuine kind but a counterfeit. Without love, there is only hate left to suffice.

There is the sorrowful. The ones who care about all living and feel all but helpless in assisting them. Those who are compassionate about others have the hardest time with life outside of themselves. Life is cruel and cold to say the least!

Take a step back from life for a minute. The good and the bad. The right and the wrong. The haves and the have-nots. See life as it is outside of your own cozy realm of existence. There is a greater purpose behind the scenes. Life is a test. Will you pass?

The giver of this test is the Creator of all life. The test is to see who will have love in their heart at the end. Will you only care about yourself, family and friends? Or, will you love all as God does? This is the summation of all. Does not your heart go out to the starving child half way across the world while you ‘pig out’ at the buffet? What about the citizens of third world countries who are in the cross fire of political upheaval? Are we immune to the violence that shake the world simply because we’ve heard it all before? Does our hearts go out to the victims, or do we just say it because that is what sounds appropriate?

If we do not – at the end of life here on this earth, learn to love all living as we do ourselves, we will die. Not one death but two! We will die from this flesh that clothe the real ‘us’, then, the real ‘us’ will die forever in eternity with no hope of ever being redeemed or saved. For those who think this is not fair, righteousness is not fair! Nor should it be!

We will receive from the Father that which is due us. Whether good or bad, we will receive life or death, perfect judgement. The world only makes any sense in the light of love. If you’ve ever wondered why you were put here on earth, but never came up with an adequate answer, think about love. Love covers a multitude of sin. It takes your mind off of yourself and puts it on others. It causes you to transcend and grow. That is the purpose of life.

Don’t let God come back to judge the world before you get the chance to know Him and become one with Him. This is the deep desire of the Creator God, my heavenly Father. He loves you and wants a relationship with you, not religion. He wants you to spend all eternity with Him, but will you?

Take a step back and look at life anew. God will judge all living according to their deeds. There is no way around this, it must happen. Come to know God and you will judge the world with Him in righteousness!Image

 

Do you know God?

There is a God. I know not everyone knows that, but it’s true. There is an intelligent being, more intelligent than our brightest geniuses can comprehend. Before there was a such thing as time, He existed. In fact, there was never a time when He didn’t exist. He is the ‘programmer’ of all living things. As far as knowledge goes, there is nothing that He doesn’t know. True wisdom comes from having a reverential respect for Him.

There is a God. He is all powerful. There is nothing to hard for Him. Nothing is impossible. Nothing you could think of would even be a challenge for Him. He moves mountains like one would unknowingly kick a pebble under their feet. The vastness of space we have so little knowledge of is known to Him entirely. He created the universe and is still in the process of creating it.

There is a God and He is good. God is perfectly holy, righteous and just. He never does wrong and is incapable of lying or failing at anything.

There is a God. He is love. He does not have an abundance of love, nor is He full of love, but love is actually who He is! This Love that God personifies is a light to all who dare see Him as He is. And imitates Him with all their heart. How can mere humans imitate a perfect God? We are in darkness and know not who we are or why we are here. We just float around going with the flow, acting as if we have a clue. We are good actors, but not good enough to fool an ‘all knowing’ God!
Sin separated us from His love. Because of our sin, we can no longer fellowship with Him as He intended, unless we are cleansed from our sins. We are totally incapable of cleansing ourselves and were hopeless creatures. But God still loved us.

He gave us a ‘go-between’. Someone completely human that would show us what true humanity is all about as concerns God’s plan and purpose for mankind. God also gave us someone who was completely God that could show us a loving Father in all His glory and splinder.

There is a God. His name is Jesus. He came to this earth over 2000 years ago though He existed for all eternity with the Father. He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect sin free life, did signs and wonders wherever He went. Died for the sin of the whole world. He was in a grave for 3 days and was brought back to life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us his children.

There is a God. And He is coming back very soon for those who call Him Lord. All others are not known to Him and will be lost. Since He is love, He is very patient and doesn’t want anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance.

Hell fire awaits those who do not know God when He returns. He’s giving us all the time we need to get ourselves right with Him. But, He won’t wait forever. He will end needless suffering and pain. He will judge in righteousness.

There is a God. Do you know Him? If you do not, now is the time to find out who He is. He loves you and wants you to come home to Him. There is a place in you that is empty and you’ve attempted to fill it with all manner of things. Nothing else but God will do. He programmed you to be filled with Himself. Since there is nothing or know one like God, there isn’t even a close substitute!

Do you know God?

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Today is my spiritual birthday! On August 8, 1982, my brothers and I were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins. It hadn’t dawned on me at the time that most of the sins I’d commit against God would happen sometime after I got saved. I was only 14 years old and was the oldest of my brothers.
I can remember sitting in church during what was called testimony service. During this time, anyone who had something good to say about God and how He had helped them in their lives recently, were asked to stand and share with the conversation. Some would sing songs, others would tell long boring stories that had to be cut short like an over rehearsed speech at the Oscars.
One common theme of such testimonies went something like this: “I thank God for saving me from my sins. When I was in the world, hooked on drugs and miserable, Jesus took my messed up life and gave me a brand new start”! I remember thinking how some people seemed to ‘get saved’ simply because they had done all the partying and club hopping that they wanted to do. It appeared to me that they had done all they wanted to do and were now old and couldn’t keep up even if they wanted to. To be fair, most would express a lack of meaning in their lives due to the aimless way in which they lived it.
I thought it convenient for these people to tell the world (at least the ones in our little store front church), how bad life had been and how grand it was now with the Lord on their side.
I was curious about the world they talked about as if it were a dirty, nasty thing. Soon, I began to participate in activities I knew were wrong in the sight of God.
I to proceeded to experiment with illegal drugs and alcohol. I became sexually active though I knew it was against God’s law.
After years of behaving as someone who had little or no knowledge of God, I began to feel like I had cheated myself out of something wonderful. In a true way, I had.
Church politics and fake christians had given me a sorry excuse to stop following Jesus. I hadn’t turned away from Him totally, but had done much more in rebellion than in obedience.
As I look back, I can’t help but wonder how much better my life would be had I followed God with my whole heart. How much pain and frustration could I have avoided simply by listening to and learning about my savior? The good news is that I can start over right now. I can repent and live the way God intended for me to live all along! I appreciate God’s patience and undying love. I’m also glad that I’ve experienced all I have.  I wouldn’t be the person I am without all of my experience. ImageI can say, along with all the saints “I was blind but now I see, I was lost, but now I’m found”!

My Spiritual Birthday!

A New Creature

I grew up in the single parent home of my mother, who successfully raised 6 children. If we were the Brady Bunch, then I’d be Greg. Though, my sister Joy (or Marsha), was 5 years older than me.

We weren’t rich, but we weren’t poor either. Then again, by some standards I suppose we were living in poverty but just didn’t know it. We had a nice 6 bedroom house with 2 bathrooms. My mom usually worked 2 jobs and wasn’t home most of the time. My sister Joy was more like a mother than a big sister in that she took care of us. She fed us, clothed us, made us behave as best she could.

I was the man of the house even though our stepfather was around seasonally. He’d show up when it was convenient for him. Meaning, he was broke or one of his many ‘women on the side’ didn’t want to be bothered with him. He wasn’t a bad guy, but he was considerably younger than my mother and didn’t know how to commit to having such a large family.

By the time I was 14, my mother decided that we should go to church and we got involved with a small Apostolic congregation on Detroit’s east side.

The pastor, District Elder Jessie Baggett was a gentle soul with a caring heart. He was a simple man around 60 years old. He probably had little formal education but was passionate about the Word of God and people in general. I learned from him how humanity was in dire need of help and rescue. Not only did we have a mutual enemy (namely Satan), who wanted to kill us all from the face of the earth. But he also wanted to make sure that when we leave this planet that we would spend all eternity with him in the lake of fire that is too hot to put into words. A suffering so everlasting, the mind can’t comprehend it.

He told us that the only way one can be free from the enemy was to have a savior. A savior who would be willing to take our place in judgement for our many sins. He told us that only one person in the whole world even qualified as a suitable substitute on our behalf. “Only Jesus could pay such a price with His precious blood”, I can still hear him say. I remember wondering why someone would willingly give their whole being for someone who didn’t ask for, or deserve such favor. I can remember so vividly the moment after having such a thought that my mind stopped, and all I could do was feel. What I felt was a love so overwhelming that it presently brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Feeling those same emotions right now just as big as the universe brings unspeakable joy .

The love of my heavenly Father is awesome, powerful, ever reaching and growing faster than the speed of light. The Father of light took children of the darkness and brought them to Himself. Now, we can be children of light! This is an amazing fact that can not be understood with the human mind. The human heart is too frail a vessel to contain such a love. So, the loving Father gave His children new hearts. Hearts that could feel what He feels, love what He loves and hates what He hates.

Though my mother loved us with all her heart, she wasn’t always kind. She would yell and cuss when we got on her ‘last nerve’. She’d occasionally throw things at us that weren’t meant for that purpose. But this was all before she knew God. Before we became members of Soul Deliverance Church. Before we were members of God’s family. After she got ‘born again’, she was an entirely different person. Peace, joy and happiness were the characteristics of this new woman who looked like my mother. I was in awe.

I saw the change in her almost immediately. Soon after, my baby brother James, decided he wanted to get baptized and give his life to Christ. To save face, my other brother Dorian and I decided to join him. When we were baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins, something drastic had subtly taken place; New creatures were being born at that very moment.

Is my mother an angel who has never said a harsh word since meeting Jesus? No. Are my siblings and I perfect in every way simply because we made a confession of faith and got baptized as a public symbol to the world that we had done so? I wish. What happened to us over 30 years ago has be a gradual, outward change that reflects an inward transformation that is beyond any human comprehension. The more I get to know the God I serve and His boundless love, the more I want to share Him and it with everyone else. I want the whole world to know the love of God that surpasses all knowledge. It takes a superhuman to know the unknowable. And that is precisely what God has done for those who put their trust in Him. He makes us new from the inside out.

Pope, be perfected!

It appears to me that believers in the Word of God have not only gone astray from it’s original teachings, but have also encouraged others to do the same! This is nothing new, and is mentioned prophetically in scripture to occur. Our collective teacher, The Holy Spirit, in all His wisdom, started us all on the same path. Guiding us to the wisdom of eternal truth as we are sensitive and obedient to His voice. Yes, we have taken different paths leading us to the same Master of love and peace. The heavenly Father is the Father of us all! Yes, Jesus Christ is our ‘collective’ yet personal Savior. But the scripture also tells us to come to the unity of the faith. This faith will bring us back together again as we look pass our differing views and embrace one another as dearly beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord.

We do have differing views and interpretations of the Bible which is the main reason we have so many different denominations all believing that theirs is the right one and all else is simply falling short. To a great extent, I understand this and do not think it exceptionally odd or destructive to the Christian faith. I am open minded enough to – not only respect other Christian theology but also to understand that though ones thoughts and beliefs are different from my own, they may to be a Christian nonetheless, and destined for the same heaven that I will spend all of eternity.

Nevertheless, I must comment on the irresposibility of the leader of the Catholic Church; The Pope said ‘Who am I to judge Priests with deep seated homosexual tendencies?’ Though we are not to judge anyone but ourselves, we are to use the Word of God to correct, reprove and rebuke all false teaching and behavior that claims as it’s source to be the Word and Will of the Father. The implication is that it is alright to be gay and a leader in the Christian faith. This is far from being true! Though it is true that one can be gay or have homosexual tendencies and still be a Christian, it is not true or right that one can be a leader in the church while practicing that which is in opposition of the word they teach. One of the most beautiful things about the Word of God is it’s ability to change a person from how they were, into what God intended for them to be. This can only happen when sound doctrine is used as a guide to spiritual enrichment and transformation. It’s one thing to know of your shortcomings and have a willingness to change. It is quite another to think one is walking in God’s will as best one knows how, without having a clue of ones abominable acts and absolute failure to please God with their very life!

I read in the book of James chapter three verse one that teachers will be judged with greater strictness than the rest of the body of Christ. We are to practice what we preach. But, if our preaching is not in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ then the Father is not pleased. On the contrary, we would do good not to preach at all, than to preach or teach practices that are opposed to those of our Savior. We are to use the written Word of God as our guide and standard of living regardless of our particular denomination. But let us rightly divide the Word of truth! If we do not, how will we ever become as our Savior; Perfect, complete, lacking nothing? After all, He is coming back for a church without a spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. What a glorious church we will be…Image