Sweet Somethings

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Sweet nothings are like heart-shaped bubbles that float from your heart through the air and pops on your lover’s nose, releasing a fragrant aroma,

They are ebbs that cascade over the cup of your heart from love yearning to be expressed,

They can be shared verbal kisses and caresses which sustain lovers that hunger for one another,

Sweet nothings are like little star stickers that lovers exchange that say, “I think you are fantastic”,

Sweet nothings can really make you feel special,

You know….Sweet nothings really are something!

I believe as love matures, instead of becoming more practical and toned down, it should increase in brilliance, impact, and expression. This doesn’t necessarily mean a huge display, but just the right thing at the right time or something totally unexpected but that hits the heart right were it was needed. I feel in my life at times, the Lord has often blessed me with sweet somethings right when I needed it, in a way that I knew it was only from Him and personal. I could give some examples, but it’s kind of private..you know…between lovers. Yeshua is the greatest Lover of all times. I believe that is what scriptures speak to when it says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. ”Psalm34:8. When scriptures profess, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”. Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV).

I know I started this post talking about lovers sharing sweet nothings, and I ended up talking about the goodness of GOD. It is because nothing or no one frees the heart to love like knowing that you are loved by GOD. The weights and cares of this life tend to smother the flame of love that is meant to warm one another’s heart, but the Love of GOD has a way of lifting those cares so that the flame can get air and burn fervently.

Just like the many sunsets, sunrises, butterflies, and song birds that can go unnoticed by burdened and busy hearts, so can the sweet somethings from your loved ones if you have not given all your cares to GOD. The scriptures say, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NKJV),

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Opening the Gift of the Present

The GIft

Today as I ate my lunch, I decided to do a little research regarding, “How to increase focus and concentration” and I found some nuggets to add to my treasure chest. In my search, I found that what resonated with me more was actually some information on what to focus and concentrate on more so than how to increase focus and concentration.

These days I find it increasingly rare to have someone’s undivided attention. Once upon a time it was considered rude to engage someone without stopping what you were doing to make eye contact. When someone looks directly at you it is a sign that you have their attention. These days you are often forced to share someone’s attention with personal electronics like mobile phones, laptops, and other multimedia devices. There are times when multi-tasking is the best way to be productive and then there are times when giving less than your undivided attention results in time thwarted. Sometimes when you are not fully engaged in something that is occurring, you miss cues and subtleties that give important information causing that time to be less fruitful.

We have been given life by a GOD that is detailed to an infinitesimal degree. He packs so much into every moment we live. The secret to abundant life is learning to be fully aware in every moment we are blessed to live, in order to be mindful of the present goodness. Be sure the things you focus on are worthy of your time, and if anything is worthy of your time, you should make sure you get everything you can out of it. Prudence is one of the truest markers of maturity and enlightenment.

Enjoy these exerts from an article I read from a website called “The Art of Manliness” :

“Modernity has given us a lot of comforts and conveniences, but it has also unleashed a torrent of stimuli competing for our attention. To live a truly flourishing life amidst this cacophony of distractions, mastering your attention is key. At the end of your life, who you’ve become, what you’ve learned and accomplished, and who’s there at the end with you will be the sum total of what you chose to pay attention to each year, day, and hour of your life. Will a series of cat videos flash before your eyes? Or will you look back on the deep conversations you had with your family and friends, the books that changed your life, and the little details you discovered in all the places you visited?”

“Practice attentive listening. Focus isn’t just useful for intellectual endeavors. It’s also an essential interpersonal skill. The ability to be present with a loved one or friend builds your rapport, intimacy, and trust with them. At the same time, making an effort to focus all your energy on someone else strengthens your concentration muscles overall. It’s win-win. So next the time you’re talking with your main squeeze, put away your phone and listen as attentively as possible.”

Practice mindfulness:

“Mindfulness is simply focusing completely on what you’re doing, slowing down, and observing all of the physical and emotional sensations you are experiencing in that moment.”

All the life you have is happening right now, everything beyond this present moment is a matter of faith.

 

Fire Insurance or Life Insurance

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As we approach another religious observation of Easter, aka Resurrection Sunday, what is the take away from reflection on the Cross? I have spoken with many Christians on the topic; it seems the prevailing take-a-way is “Fire Insurance”. The carnal man, as we all are initially, is mostly concerned about avoiding hell fire. He wants that fire insurance. Knowing this, many churches have parked on the gospel of forgiveness to fill the pews. Most see the Cross of Christ as a means of avoiding damnation and relieving the burden of guilt. These are great blessings, but they are not the benefits most emphasized in scripture. A gospel centered primarily on the Cross as a means of forgiveness will always promote sin consciousness. This is so prevalent that most Christians see themselves as mere sinners. What is the result of this perspective? …more sin. Proverbs states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” If you see yourself as a sinner, then you expect that you will sin. This mindset binds you to the habits of death that the Savior came to free you from. This fire insurance is a carnal interpretation of salvation from those who have failed to understand the true virtue of the Cross.

As far as fire goes Christ doesn’t save us from fire, He assures us of fire. He tells us that our life’s work will be tested by fire, we will be purified by fire, and the Holy Spirit is the Baptism by fire. In fact, He desires that we would be ablaze for Him and His Kingdom. Fire is common for believers.

When I was a teenager, I had a discussion with a man on the bus who tried to persuade me that Christianity was a religion taught to me by my oppressor. He also told me that the cross symbolized death. He went onto to say that he couldn’t understand why people would wear a symbol that represented death. While the Cross does remind us of the death of Yeshua, it also reminds us more importantly of the power of His resurrection. Yes, Christ died for all, but He was also resurrected and obtained new life for all. The teaching of the Cross in Holy Scripture emphasizes this new Life. Yeshua said, “I come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.” The Cross of the Gospel of Christ is where the eternal life of Yeshua is made available to those willing to lay down their own interpretation of living. Existence outside of the life that Christ gives is filled with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life, and fear. The life given to us through the Cross of Christ is the life of an obedient son of GOD. The obedience in this new life is rooted in Love and is lived out in Spirit and Truth. It is a life that is pleasing to GOD; a life that is centered in GOD.

When the teaching of the Cross is limited only to forgiveness, it leaves men attached to their carnal lives. It offers them compassion without a cure for their suffering. So much more has been provisioned through the Cross. It was nearly impossible to know GOD before the Life of Christ was made available through the Cross. The only life obtainable was the life inherited through Adam, which rebels against GOD and questions His Love in unbelief. This carnal life from Adam is alienated from GOD in that it has made a god of its own carnal reasoning.

We have to leverage the love manifested to us in the Cross of Christ unto a new hope and belief, and to faith in the promises of GOD’s love, which goes beyond forgiveness but also brings the promise of a new and powerful Life.

The powers of darkness don’t want you to know the fullness of the Love manifested through the Cross. It is a divine Love that breaks the shackles of sin and enables you to manifest the Light of GOD. All sin is rooted in selfishness and fear. The scripture teaches us that GOD’s perfect Love cast out fear. Fear is diminished in us as we grow in our understanding of the Love of GOD. The secure embrace of GOD’s love frees us from self-concern and empowers us to love others with divine love. Divine love being that beautiful and sacrificial love, that gives at the cost of self to benefit others.

The true sign that we understand and appreciate the Cross of Christ is that we have also taken up our own cross, by daily sacrificing carnal living, that the spiritual Life of Yeshua might be manifest in us. Just as the Spirit raised Yeshua from the dead, the Holy Spirit is present in the earth to empower new life in us. The Holy Spirit opens the life-giving teachings of Yeshua to us, and affirms the love of the Father in our hearts. He who the Son makes free is free indeed. He frees us through the workings of the Cross.

The Cost of Living

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It takes the same energy to run to life as it does to run from death. I say this because I have often heard people say, “It doesn’t take all of that,” in regards to living spiritually. On the other hand, I have seen the results of living carnally: baby mama drama, divorce, stress, poor health, financial duress, being bound to destructive cycles, and I have had the same thought…jeeez, it doesn’t take all of that! It is better to run to life without the stress of death snapping at your heels. The majority of people don’t develop a zeal for life until the reality of death cast a cloud on their horizon. Hardship is just a part of our sojourn here on earth. It can be hardships experienced in climbing against earth’s gravity toward new horizons or it can be hardships experienced in giving in to earth’s gravity and tumbling towards darkness. Living spiritually is the climb, while living carnally is the fall. Either way, it will involve some struggle and hardship. The rewards of climbing are eternal while the rewards giving in to the downward pull are temporal. In climbing, living spiritually, there is the tendency to lift others up as well. In falling, living carnally, there is the tendency to pull others down as well.

Thing is, the cost of living spiritually is a lot less than the cost of living carnally when you look at the total cost in the end. Carnal living is like the deception of a deferred payment plan where the high interest starts immediately on what you owe. When the bill arrives later, the debt is more than you can pay, then more debt is created by an act to cover the debt at hand and eventually every thing becomes due with no more extensions. Spiritual living is about paying the cost up front, as more of an investment in your life, with dividends that start showing up before you expect it and a great return in the end.

Through the light of Yeshua, I am sharing some principles of life that I hope will motivate you either to begin or to continue a struggle towards Life. The beauty of the journey to life is that Life actually loves you. Life calls to us through the person of Yeshua the Messiah who himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Yeshua has shortened the distance we need to travel because He ascended from Heaven to earth and brought Life within our reach. The distance we have remaining is the short distance to our knees where we surrender our efforts to sustain our own lives to the one who created life in the first place. Christ pays our debts and invites us to get rid of our struggles through exchanging our death for His life. That is a deal no one should pass up!

Good Things Promised

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 Psalm 84:11

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

Yahweh wants to teach us to walk uprightly so that we can enjoy and not stumble over all the good things He has created for us to enjoy. Walking upright refers to doing things in order and correctly. Being upright puts us in the correct posture to handle the gifts of GOD. We have to remain hopeful and patient through the process of being made upright. When we submit to Yahweh’s order, we are assured that we will have things for enjoyment and fulfillment and they won’t have us. We live in a society where the appetite for things is made stronger and then exploited for profit. There is a constant influx of stimulants for appetites and very little esteem toward patience, moderation, and discipline.  As a result, lives are out of order and perverted. People don’t possess material things, material things possess people. People don’t consume food, food consumes people. People don’t have sex, sex has people. The understanding of needs and wants has also suffered distortion.

 

Yeshua taught that they that seek their life will lose it and they that lose their life will find it. Many people have lost their lives in pursuit of things that are accompaniments to life, when they should have been pursuing the giver of life.  Through our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we gain the right perspective and order in which to enjoy things to their fullest, without bondage. Understanding and discipline is required before we can fully enjoy the blessings of this life. The WORD of GOD is the instruction and power to live life to the fullest. We can’t allow our appetites to convince us that the WORD, GOD’s instructions for living, isn’t crucial to getting the most out of life. It is like the disregard of the instructions that come with a new gadget due to the eagerness to start experiencing it. In the same way the teachings of the Creator are often thrown aside for the lust to experience the blessings of life

“No good thing will be withheld from those who walk uprightly.” You will not miss out on the good things in life by waiting on GOD’s timing. The reality of the scripture at the beginning of this writing needs to take root in the heart. The tone of this word from GOD speaks to the human nature. People generally live in fear and rejection, thinking that they will be overlooked or disregarded, so they strive for their piece of the pie. The Creator is saying here, “I will not with hold anything from you, just let me show you how to enjoy it in the right way.” If you happen to be a parent, then you know what the Father is up against in dealing with His children. Read the whole chapter of Ephesians 1 but it begins, “Be ye followers of Christ as DEAR children.” They were being admonished to not forsake the instructions in rebellion which leads to ruin. Hebrews 10:35-36, is such a sweet scripture to simmer in your heart, “Cast not away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after you have done the will of GOD, you might receive the promise.”

 

The Gospel of Christ, the testimony of Yeshua, the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of GOD is meant to win our confidence, towards faith, patience, and endurance, that we might have life to the full.

The devil is still telling the same lie he told in the Garden of Eden, “GOD is with holding something from you, don’t follow his instruction.”

I leave you with an excerpt from Proverbs 8, but I encourage you to read the whole chapter. It is the wisdom and understand of the upright speaking in first person:

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death.”

To hate judgment, instruction, reproof, correction, wise counsel, advice of godly elders, the laws of GOD, the counsel of the bible, TRUTH, is the same as loving death. Embrace instruction and enjoy life in abundance.

 

 

Beware Of The Kool Aid

Angry Kool Aid

Back in the 70’s and early 80’s during children programing it was very common to see advertisements for Kool-Aid brand drink mix, promoted as a great refreshment for thirsty children. To prepare the drink mix you combined 2 quarts of water and plenty of sugar, at least one whole cup, with a package of the fruit flavored powdered Kool-Aid, which was a fraction of an ounce, then stirred it until all the sugar dissolved and Voila!
This beverage was hardly suitable for children to consume at all not to mention as replenishment for children that had been at play.  When you think of it, Kool-Aid on its own merit has earned the negative connotation as a lethal mind altering toxin. OK…that’s a bit harsh but it is no coincidence that the Jim Jones association found a symmetry that has lasted for over a decade. Somehow “Tang” and “Hawaiian Punch” dodged that bullet.
The Kool-Aid of our day is propaganda. A lethal concoction consisting of plenty of political interest, mixed with plenty of charisma and less than an ounce of real human concern. This is the drink poured out from the powers that be all around the world and it is very intoxicating. The bible defines the origin of this Kool-Aid as a golden cup in the hands of a great harlot. Here is Revelation 17:4-5,
The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.
In verse two of the same chapter the bible says the Kings of the earth have committed fornication with the whore and that the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. This fornication is the opening up and receiving of many different ideas, doctrines, and philosophies all in support of feeding the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life to the detriment of truth, righteousness, and real peace. This wine is served in the fruity flavor of “tolerance,” for the sake of world peace.  If you are filled with the whore’s abominable toxins, which make all things relative, you will not be grounded enough to stand against the lying deceits of the devil and he will destroy you. In order to stand against the wiles of the devil, you need to be grounded in God’s absolute and universal truth.  This alone will keep you from being swept away by the flood from his mouth (see Revelations 12).
Though whole world is being seduced into drunkenness, we have to remain sober and vigilantly aware. The key to staying sober is through adamantly rejecting the wine of the whore. We have to be in the world but not allow the world to be in us. We have to hold on to the truth of the gospel by faith and except the persecution and alienation that comes from not conforming to this world. When we refuse to conform to the ways and ideals of the world we break uniformity which creates contrast, as a light shining out in darkness, and the Glory of God with in us is revealed. Don’t take it personal and get offended or hurt, instead rejoice because if we share in His sufferings we will also share His glory.
Romans 8:16-18,
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Embracing the Path

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Jesus taught that we enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation, so the portal to the kingdom of God is suffering and hardship. Upon hearing this, the fleshly nature goes right into survival mode and starts searching for ways to disqualify the statement. However, someone with a great deal more knowledge, wisdom,…Hold on,correction…He that IS knowledge, wisdom, and understanding has designed it this way. If you have ever seen a butterfly struggle to get out of a cocoon, or a hatchling struggle from a shell, or a plant pushing through earth to reach the light, then you have a reference for what it takes for godliness to come out of the flesh. You have a reference for the birth process of the spiritual person you were created to be, getting delivered from the bondage of the rebellious, prideful, and selfish orientation of carnal life. To the human, there are times when God seems inhumane, but the scale of humanity is insufficient to begin to weigh the body of God’s work for the eternity of man.
You will never understand the things of the spirit as long as you hold life in the flesh more dear. Paths that require suffering in the flesh will always seem unreasonable to the carnal mind. In the journey of life, trusting God will require you to accept somethings beyond your reasoning, which makes perfect sense because man does not understand half of what God has created in the physical, so to approach the spiritual is going to take faith. After you learn to value spiritual things higher than physical things, like the Apostles Paul you will count all things but loss for the more excellent things of the spirit. We can become the enemy of salvation by disqualifying suffering as a path to deliverance.
Mark chapter 8:31-38
31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
To walk with Jesus, we have to crucify the flesh, which is to mortify carnal reasoning and to stand against the dominance of sensual compulsion. So the next time you or someone else is going through a rough place in life, stop and prayerfully consider it; maybe that rough place is putting a finish on you as sandpaper does, maybe that pressurized situation is correcting your form, maybe that fiery trial is purifying your heart, maybe you are in the hands of a great potter and you are being made into a masterpiece  and he is using all of these circumstances as his tools. Look for instruction, counsel, and truth in every circumstance in life and when they are to hard find, ask God to reveal his hand at work. I hope you are able to find peace in just knowing his hand is at work, whether you can see it or not, this again takes faith.