Learning to Bask In the Light

basking in light

In my office I have a Christian sister that shared a testimony with me recently. She had been praying that GOD would bring healing to a lot of people she knows. The answer to her prayer came in the form of a river of knowledge dealing with how to get healthy. She was exposed to a lot of knowledge dealing with good nutrition, natural supplements, and other cures for a host of ailments, from diabetes to cancer and has been sharing this information with those she feels compelled too. The information wasn’t mystical, just good information shared from sources like YouTube and websites.

From her testimony and my own experience, I have come to see a pattern in how Yahweh often chooses to answer prayers. It is line with Hosea chapter 4 where it is written, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Often when people pray, they are looking for a full manifestation of what they requested. Our Heavenly Father, as a good parent, takes advantage of every opportunity to help us reach fulfillment. So often when we pray, He gives us the knowledge and power to acquire what is needed. The process of acquisition will in some way stretch us beyond our comfort zones and challenge us to grow in our knowledge of ourselves and the Father. The journey is equally as important as the destination. The journey is what prepares us to get the most out of the destination.

Don’t forsake or resent knowledge when it comes and nudges you from your comfort zone. It is often answered prayer coming to provide passage to your blessing. Salvation for the world came as the Word manifest in the flesh. I have come to understand that true maturity is living your knowledge. The scripture tells us not to be merely hearers of the Word but doers also. In the season that knowledge comes to you, have the faith that your Heavenly Father has given you the power to perform it as well. One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 2:12-14:

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

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Graduating

Graduate is taking from the word “gradual”. Gradual means to progress by a degree or a level. Many of my friends and relatives are graduating this spring from colleges and high schools. Once you have met specific qualification through a rigor of study in college, you are said to have earned a degree. The earned gradual increase is celebrated with a graduation ceremony. The significance of a graduation or the earning of a degree can mean different things to different people. In almost every case it represents an accomplishment and a transition to a new level in life.

The obtaining of knowledge always carries with it the transitive powers to move you to a different level and to change your life. Though we may not always be enrolled in a college or school, we should find life to be an institution of learning. We should be allowing the lessons of life to transition us to better ways of living, and new perspectives, graduating us all the time. Class is always in session. We should always be adorned for graduation. The cap on our head should be the mindset of always seeking knowledge and wisdom, to better ourselves and those around us. Our gown should be a covering of humility in acknowledgement that we still have more to learn and we are teachable. Our tassel should move back and forward like a windshield wiper continually clearing our vision as the acquisition of knowledge increases our light and clarity. The highest learning is gaining knowledge of truth, truth about ourselves, truth about God and truth about the purpose for the life He has given us. So let’s elevate our learning, to elevate our living and enjoy the pump and circumstances.

The Music Maker

High contrast music instruments silhouette in circle shape. Vector file available. Stock Vector - 11859954

When you think of an instrument maker and how he crafts different instruments you will realize there are vastly different processes employed to produce each instrument. Take brass instruments, first the brass has to be extracted from the ground and then fired to extreme heat to be formed. Now look at wood winds, they have to be taken out of trees and be carved out with sharp tools and treated. Then we have drums and xylophones and harps and pianos, all with their unique processes. Take each instrument with its unique construction process and consider the differences in sound that they produce. Now look at your life and take a look at the experiences you have gone though and how that has impacted your unique voice, your unique perspective. God desires to make all of us unique instruments to be played harmoniously together to express His heart song. It is an inspirational song of love, beauty, and peace.

There is a scripture which says, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love the God and are the called according to His purpose.” We are all called to be instruments of God and He has begun our varied construction processes however those that love Him are the ones concerned about His purposes.  When we are concerned about His purposes we surrender our instruments to be tuned how he sees fit, whether that means tightening our strings further or loosening them a bit, whether that means we are fine the way we are or we need a few more holes drilled in us, whether that means we are formed as a tuba or a trombone. We have to trust that He is in control of the process. In the end some of us will give our sound when the hands of God seems to pound on us, some of us will give our sound as He plucks on our strings, and some of us when the Holy Spirit moves though us as a rushing wind.

What I have written here is just a metaphor to say ALL that you have been through in your life is being used to bring you to the knowledge that God has a purpose for your life and if you will trust Him and try to tune into His direction, He will bring a harmony into your life that vibrates with love, beauty, and peace.

Freedom without Liberty

I have found often what the world promotes as freedom tends to bondage. For instance, most people consider freedom the ability of an individual to do whatever he or she wants. If you take a closer look at that you will find that it is very limiting. An individual can only experience or realize what they know of or what they are aware of. That’s like someone giving you a pair of roller skates and telling you that you are free to explore the world. Another example is like giving you an airplane and telling you to go see the world with no manual or pilot training. Your freedom does not extend beyond your knowledge because you cannot enter, fully experience or partake of that which you are ignorant of and don’t understand. In order to become free you have to be educated and empowered. Our Heavenly Father has given us examples to consider for coming to a true understanding of life and the universe He has created. Consider raising a child. When are children able to be free by the world’s definition?…Not at birth, a new-born would die on its own…Not as a toddler nor for that matter as an adolescent. In fact if we equate freedom with independence then we are never really free because we are all dependent on each other. Only God is self-existent! Let that marinate. We are not even free to know what freedom is until we are taught. The devil, the great deceiver, is still up to his tricks.

The wicked forces of this world have deceived people into believing that they are free by empowering them to indulge the appetites of their flesh without restraint. Freedom is sold as having all the food you want, all the sex you want, all the libations you want, all the material things you can gather and so on. This does not lead to freedom; it leads to addiction which is essentially bondage. I know I am throwing lint on some lollipops but many of us have been suckers for too long. How free is the obese person to enjoy an active life style? How free is the sex addict to enjoy the benefits of a committed relationship? How free is the drug addict to enjoy a stable life? How free is the materialistic person to enjoy lasting contentment? In fact, the easiest person to control is the one given to their appetites? This definition of freedom is extremely visible in the mind-set of American citizens. Many Americans I encounter consider even the practice of healthy restraint an infraction of their freedom. Try talking to a smoker about quitting or smoke free public environments. Trying talking to an overweight person about their food selections or portion control. Try talking to a gay rights advocate about the sustainability of the human race. Every individual has to exercise some restraint or freedom deteriorates collectively as well as individually.

Everyone with a valid driver’s license can seem to understand the importance of traffic laws like speed limits, stop signs, yield signs, and traffic signals. All traffic laws are intended to keep us safe on the roads. What if when driving, in the name of freedom and individual rights, we all decided to disregard traffic laws along with every other person on the road and just did our own thing.  It would be catastrophic. It is easy to see the relationship between how we drive on the roads and its impact on others on the roads but it takes a little more consideration to understand the impact of how we live our lives in relation to others in our community and the world around us. You don’t live your life based on traffic law but you do live your life based on moral law that is unless you are an immoral person. We exercise restraint on ourselves through our own morality and values. Restraint is exercised on the general public through law enforcement. Any mature adult can see the importance of laws. The problem occurs when laws conflict with our appetites and desires. Who is qualified to tell us what we can and cannot have or what we need and do not need or what we can and cannot do? Governments all over the world have proven themselves to be unqualified to handle this task, including the USA. In America we have a history of employing the policy of ignorance for control and restricting empowerment to certain races and classes of people. As I said earlier, for freedom to be realized it has to be combined with education and empowerment. The governments of this world can support our freedom but they cannot secure our freedom.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

This is a reference to Lucifer and his hordes.

Ephesians 4:8 says, “Therefore He says: When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”

John 8:36 says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

John 8:31-32 says, “And Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Jesus has won our freedom by triumphing over the powers of spiritual wickedness. As I stated earlier, your freedom only extends as far as your knowledge, so Satan’s plan was to keep us in darkness, ignorant of the truth but Jesus came as a bright shining light and exposed the devil as well as opened our eyes to the truths that make us free. The life of Jesus is an example to follow.

1 Peter 4:1-3 says, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”

The only way we truly become free as a people or nation is by submitting our will to the Lord. I know this is counter-intuitive but it is written in Luke 9:23-25;

“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”

The Lord is the only one qualified to govern our lives because He alone created our lives. I am not advocating an anti-government mentality. I am advocating that we do all we can to ensure first that our individual morality and values reflect those of the Lord and secondly that our governing bodies reflect the same. It is only then that every person will be in a position to experience true freedom.

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.