Let Love Continue

The war for your hearts goes on as callous evil strikes again,

Another assault to extinguish the hope of prevailing goodwill in men

Hearts plowed up by violence and broken to pieces by gun blast

The demonic seeds of hate and fear again have been cast

The fire of anger and lust for revenge rises up I will not pretend

Yet we must guard our hearts with the shield of faith in hope of justice that comes at the end

Sometimes freedom is exploited by darkness attempting to put all of our hearts chains

Let our hearts be filled with love instead for where the spirit of Love is there liberty remains

We must focus on the kindness and compassion that is being shown by people in great multitude

And be thankful for all that we still have, quieting despair the soberness of gratitude

We must fight evil with good, hate with love, and fight fear with our faith divine

Believing that goodwill triumphs in the end, as lovers we must never ever resign.

One Step At A Time

I have met men who believed that the right woman could cure them from lust and infidelity. I have also met women that believed if they could be all that a man wanted then he would be faithful and not desire other women. I have known men that adored their wife, cherished their children and were gainfully employed yet their wives had affairs. So what is really going on here? Plenty, but let’s keep it simple. My prognosis, these are symptoms of people out of balance. People that are out of balance stumble. Again, I am going to keep this really simple. There are many dynamics that lead to people being off center and not properly grounded. Like things from the past, anxieties about the future, as well as current circumstances. Most often the imbalance surfaces in the form of an inordinate appetite. The most common inordinate appetites are for food, sex, and leisure (escape).

The problem is that people become fixated on the appetite not realizing that the appetite is the symptom of a much deeper problem. The appetite can never be quenched through feeding it. Many people have become slaves to appetites that are bottomless. Some of the common excessive practices include whoredom, gluttony, drug abuse, excessive TV time, excessive video gaming, and pornography. Thank God that there is a simple fix. All we have to do is take up the cross of Christ daily and concentrate on walking through each day one step at a time. I said the fix was simple not easy. Though the task is not easy God gives us strength sufficient for each day and each step. Let me explain what I mean by taking up the cross of Christ. Taking up your cross daily refers to surrendering the outcome of each day to God through seeking His direction in life’s decisions versus trying to force your own outcome through your own methods. We were never meant to live independent from God. God desires to shepherd us through life.

It is impossible surrender your life unless you are assured of Gods steadfast love for you. He has already offered this assurance in the sacrifice at Calvary. Now you have to exercise your faith in His love by trusting Him with your life. Surrender. Surrender the issues of your past. Surrender the outcome of your tomorrows. Lay aside the weights that are throwing you off balance and causing you to stumble. Now pick up that cross as your balancing pole and walk through your life taking one step at a time. As the piece of God grows in your heart you will find that the bonds of the inordinate appetites have been broken and you will experience true freedom.

I am living what I am writing about. I have been out of work for several months and facing difficult financial times but my soul rest in God’s care. My ability to compose this post is evidence of God’s ability to keep me sober minded and balanced through circumstances that has ripped families apart. Here are some scriptures that are foundational to what I have been sharing. I pray that they increase your faith and empower you to liberty and peace.

Proverbs 3:19-24

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew. My son, let them not depart from your eyes Keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.

Psalm 37:4-6

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Luke 12:22-32

Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things[a] shall be added to you. “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Knowing The Potter

God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery, followed by imprisonment for over 2 years before delivering him and exalting him to an office only second to Pharaoh. The three Hebrew boys chose to honor God at the risk of being cast into a fire pit and instead of preventing their sentence the Lord met them in the flames before delivering them unharmed. God allowed Daniel to spend the night in a den of lions for defying a king’s ordinance forbidding him to pray; of course no harm came upon him. Given those examples and many others in the bible, what do we learn about our deliverer? There are times when God’s children have to hope and hold on to the very last to see their deliverance come. God promises that he will never leave you nor forsake you and that he will never let you suffer beyond what you can handle. There are no formulas or methods for predicting how or exactly when God will move on your behalf. There is just the assurance that He is with you in the midst of whatever you are going through, very conscience of your pain and discomfort, also the assurance that the outcome is one that He has calculated with your very best interest at heart and you will undoubtedly be better for it if you hold on and not turn from Him in fear, doubt, or unbelief. Notice, I did not say do not have fear, doubt, or unbelief…if it is there it is there; just don’t let it cause you to draw back from God. Talk to your heavenly Father about your fear, your doubt or your unbelief. The key is to stay engaged with Him and I guarantee He will give you what you need to make it another day. If you stay the course until the appointed end, you will find that the path He took you on is justified by the destination arrived at.

The Potter knows the right amount of pressure and heat needed to make vessels of glory for His purposes. We have to settle it within ourselves to endure and persevere because Jesus forewarned us that we enter the kingdom through much tribulation. Anything of worth comes with a cost, the greater the worth the greater the cost. I am grateful that the cost for entering the kingdom is subsidized by God.  We also need to realize that when we veer off course it causes us to incur extra expense. Know that the Lord is the Good Shepherd and His straight and narrow way is the path that cost us the least. What makes the journey almost impossible is when we do not share God’s values and feel that the cost is not worth it. The world we live in mostly does not share God’s values and its influence can cause uncertainty. This is exactly why Jesus says those that would follow him have to take up their crosses daily, meaning we have to die daily to the influences of this world so that our pursuit of Him is uninterrupted.  Be encouraged, everyone being perfected is going through something. The key word is through. There is an appointed end and there will be feasting and joy!

The Fear of The Lord

Proverbs 1:7 says,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Psalm 110:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”

Proverbs 2:4-6 says,

 “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

The fear of the Lord is the frame that holds the picture of God. You cannot begin to understand the first things of God until you have a frame of reference from which to approach His Gloriousness. Without the framing of the fear of the Lord you will lack the proper perspective to prioritize even the most miniscule things of God. It is easy for someone not understanding the fear of the Lord to forsake some detail of God as trivial not realizing it will tip the scale on the balance of their life. 1 Corinthians 1:25 says,

“The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

The fear of the Lord teaches you your place in respect to the one by which all things are sustained. The whole of creation is the product of His brilliance and all things have purpose according to His design. This is why it is of vital importance to understand the correct order of things, to avoid vanity, perversion, and destruction. The Lord Jesus explains in John 14:6,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

God is reality. Anything outside of God is mere deception and not real at all. To seek God is to seek life. When you are seeking God, you are seeking all things because He is the beginning and conclusion of all things that are real. When you have the right perspective from the fear of the Lord, you understand that the knowledge and wisdom of God is the key to enjoying creation to the fullest. Those unlearned in the fear of the Lord seek creation more than the creator and squander the intended blessings of creation. God made creation so good that even its misuse brings a small level of enjoyment. I say a small level because the shallow enjoyment experienced through unenlightened experimentation is nothing compared to the deep fulfillment experienced by those instructed in the fear of the Lord, who have humbled themselves to live according to the creators design. When true purpose is fulfilled the experience is optimized. The fulfillment of the soul is made possible by the enlightenment of the spirit. In order to save the world Jesus came to restore that light. The Book of John begins with a teaching on the fear of the Lord saying,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

The fear of the Lord is the first illumination. Once you begin to understand creation after the fear of the Lord, then instruction can begin. There is no randomness about creation. Everything fits together according to specific design and function. There is definite order and relationship in creation. Creation tells us many things about the Creator because creation is an expression of the Creator. Creation is even reflective of the Creator. One could no more dismiss the relationship between a piece of art and the mind of an artist than creation from the mind of the Creator. Unfortunately, people who don’t understand the fear of the Lord make this mistake every day. Though creation is specific, ordered, and intentional many unenlightened people speak of the Almighty God as if He is actually many different things to many different people instead of someone specific, with an order, and distinctive. The problem here is that people define God as they see fit instead of humbling themselves to accept God’s definition of himself. The hidden motive of the rebellious and prideful is to allow room to define themselves instead of humbling themselves to conform to God’s definition of them. This is at the root of why people use anamorphic names like “the man upstairs” and “my higher power” to refer to their deity. I say their deity because in actuality they aren’t referring to the Almighty at all. They are referring to the deity in their mind that they have concocted that fits their way of living. People may not actively seek out forgers of metal and carvers of wood to custom design their deities any longer but people very much still form images in their mind of a God they are comfortable with and make that imagined image their deity. You can easily have in the same room a Mormon, a Klu Klux Klan,  a Homosexual, a Jehovah Witnesses, a Seventh day Adventist, a Catholic Priest, and a transvestite who all confess that they know God and serve him. This conundrum is due to an overall lack in understanding the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord teaches that you must be completely willing to humbly conform to the one true and living God instead of defaming the character, nature, and image of God to fit the needs of any one person or group. This is what Jesus spoke of when he said, “If any man will follow me, let him take up his cross.” It is also what Jesus is referring to when he says, “They that seek their life will lose it, and he that loses his life will find it.” He is trying to instruct them in the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord teaches that God is life and that we should seek our existence in Him for outside of God there is only death. Anything that opposes God opposes life and should be considered evil. Proverbs 8:13 says,

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

Pride and arrogance should be hated because those characteristics support and strengthen self reliance instead of reliance on God.

Many people object to the view that we should fear a loving God and say that the bible is only referring to a reverential fear and not a since of terror. Rejecting the concept that we should actually fear God based on the idea that the word fear in the phrase the fear of the Lord was mistranslated is evil in root. Evil because it refuses to surrender its humanistic ideas of God even though God himself says we should dread opposing Him and scripture strongly supports that there is virtue in actually fearing God. It is very true that God is a loving God but it is also true that God will recompense evil. God hates evil and regularly destroys it. The Almighty God is terrible and fearful and not one to be played with or provoked. The Apostle Paul says in Hebrew 10:31,

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

In Hebrews chapter 10 Paul is trying to make sure that we do not forsake the fear of the Lord in this dispensation of amazing grace after the sacrifice of Christ. Paul is warning us not to take God for granted as if God is going to remit the sins we commit willingly after we know better. Jesus taught in Matthew 10,

“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

This is New Testament teaching on the Fear of the Lord by God himself. Proverbs 16:6 says,

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

Through the mercies of God truth is revealed. There is a lot of preparing of the heart that takes place by the hand of God before the truth is sown, much like a farmer prepares the earth for a crop he wants to harvest. The fear of the Lord restrains men from evil which keeps them alive while the truth takes root and the iniquity is purged. It is the fear of the Lord that makes man teachable. It is my hope that the teachings of this book would build upon your foundation of the fear of the Lord toward a deeper revelation of God and your life in Him.