Being Strong in the Power of His Might

footstool 2

Isaiah 66:1
Thus saith the Lord, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…”

I was asked by a brother recently for help understanding the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh, spoken of in 2 Corinthian’s 12:7-10. When looking at this block of scripture, I have found that conversation often looms around what the thorn was, however it is not as important as why the thorn was there. The “Why” is always more important than the “What”. We look at certain frailties as deficiencies but it is often those frailties that keep us safe. People often talk about the strength of trees like the oak but never mention the palm tree, however the palm tree can survive much stronger storms than the oak, because it bends and bows with the wind. Our frailties often cause us to bend and bow to GOD, who is the true source of our strength. Many people trusting in their own prowess have fallen because they wouldn’t bow to the principles of GOD.

GOD revealed to the Apostle Paul that His strength was perfected in weakness. Based on that revelation, we should reconsider how we view our weaknesses and what we consider perfect to be. Your Creator new what he was doing when he fashioned you, with your particular strengths and weaknesses. You are made perfectly for what you are called to do. In humility, we have to surrender both our strengths and weaknesses to GOD. GOD is greatest in our lives when we live surrendered to His ability through us, instead of leaning on our own limited abilities. We are in a better position to succeed when we stay in close proximity to Him, in acknowledgement of our weakness, than when we venture away from Him in self-confidence on account of our strengths.

If people had their way, they would all be like the fictional superman, but there is a reason GOD allows man’s thorns. The first reason is that learning to love one another and building godly character is more important than anything else, because NOTHING is sustainable without the principles of Love. We learn love best through understanding relationships. Virtuous interrelationship is the dynamic of life. Learning how to virtuously interact with one another through relationship teaches us the principles of Love. If it were not for frailties, pride in selfish ignorance would keep us divided and unfulfilled. This is why Yeshua taught that the rich seldom enter the Kingdom of Heaven, because they often believe their relationship to money is more important than any other.

The second reason is because GOD has to get all the glory, because He alone is the source of life. Our allegiance, devotion, focus has to remain with GOD, first and foremost. If we are to be of any real benefit to our loved ones or the world in general, it will come from our virtuous interrelation with GOD. If we put our trust in a person because we thought our lives hinged on them, the focus on them would hinder us from reflecting the light of GOD meant to lead others to Him. GOD commands us against idolatry for our own good, and everything exalted against GOD will be brought down.

When YAHWEH is your hero you don’t need your own super powers. Anytime you experience weakness in your life, embrace it as an opportunity to encounter the strength of your Creator in a new way. He wants to show you the strength derived from interrelation with Him, to establish greater intimacy with Him and greater fulfillment through Him. I believe this dynamic is what was behind the intrepid exploits of the Apostle Paul, and also the inspiration behind what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” So, do not shy away or be deterred when you find yourself faced with a situation which seems greater than you, see it as an opportunity to grow in your relationship with GOD, which will inevitably strengthen you and bring him glory.

 

Back To Perfection

Adam

We can never obtain a thing that we don’t understand. I have heard many believers saying we will never reach perfection in this lifetime. All through the bible our Heavenly Father tells us to be perfect even as He is perfect. I heard someone say in a bible study recently, “God tells us to be perfect but He knows that we can’t.” That is not consistent with our Father’s character. If He says we can be perfect in this present world, then we can. We just need to understand what He means by perfect and stop leaning to our own understanding. In His eyes, we are perfect the way He created us, even with our perceived flaws. He made man from a lump of clay and shaped him into a man after His own image.

We were perfect until we decided to turn ourselves into a DIY project.

DYI MAN 2

Whatever is broken in us will remain broke until the Lord fixes us. We can’t fix ourselves, but we can make up our minds to sell out and surrender to His hands. When we surrender in the hands of GOD, through the Cross of Christ, we become that perfect lump of clay in the Potter’s hand. That lump of clay doesn’t look like much; in fact, it can look like a mess, however in the Potter’s eyes it is just what he is looking for. If you look at scripture, you will see that our GOD never chooses anyone perfect according to man’s definition. Look at the men GOD has chosen over the ages, from Abraham to Moses, to David, all the way to the Apostle Paul. All these men like a lump of clay, had messy beginnings, but they obtained one common trait that made them perfect, they surrendered to GOD. They were surrendered to GOD and their hearts were set on pleasing Him. This is what our Father expects of us. To be like Him, faithful, true, and single hearted; not uncommitted and double minded. Checkout these scriptures:

1 Kings 6:61

“Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.”

1 Kings 11:4

“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. ”

Here is an excerpt from my book “True Heritage” on the topic:

Let’s also look at Matthew 19:21 (KJV): “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Are we to believe that the rich young ruler was flawless in every way except for the need to sell off all of his belongings for the poor? No, that’s not it. He was not yet ready to be totally and singularly identified with Christ in his life. The Bible says that the rich young ruler went away grieved because he had great possessions. Matthew 6:20–22 (KJV) says, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” The rich young ruler was not ready to be filled with light, because his heart was divided. Every man has the potential to reach the point of total surrender where he realizes that all of life’s true riches are obtained through following God..https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47347692-true-heritage?from_search=true&qid=ivu4cNWAED&rank=1

 

 

Who Can Receive the Message of Salvation?

The Hook

To be born again, you must first die. The missionary can try to fix that up with whip cream and cherries and chocolate chips, but it will always be a bitter truth to those not fed up with their current life. If you love this current world, you will be offended by the cross. To be clear, you will be offended by anyone telling you that you have to sacrifice your life on the cross. Most people will say Christ sacrificing His life on the cross was a beautiful act of love, but when they are asked to take up their own cross to follow Him, they are offended. They know that taking up their own cross means they will have to stop fornicating and living lustfully, stop getting drunk, stop cheating and lying, stop hating their brothers and sisters. In other words, stop living in sin. I know some people will be offended at even reading this. They are offended because their stony hearts have not yet been broken by the love demonstrated from GOD through Christ. The scripture says in 1st John 2:15-16,

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

The refusal to surrender your life testifies to the fact that you do not yet love and trust GOD. That is verse 15 of the scripture cited above. You are still doing life your way, instead of putting your life in His hands. This is the reality that I had to face when I was resisting the cross. I had to come to terms with the reality that I was unwilling to surrender the things which were giving me pleasure and making me feel secure, for a chance at receiving the promise of something better in obedience to GOD. To even seriously ponder this proposition, you must know the feeling of a soul starting to buckle from weightiness of life in this world. To make that swap, you have to be convinced of two things; that Yeshua is GOD, and that He really does love you. If you are missing either of these elements in your belief toward GOD, its guaranteed that you have not taken up the cross and totally surrendered your life to GOD.  Hebrews 11: 6 states,

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Those who do not believe the Almighty Creator of all things, in the face of Yeshua the Christ, think they have more options than what are truly available. No greater love has ever been shown greater than the testimony of GOD’s love through the witness of Christ, and until you truly know that, you will always hold on to your self-life. I or know other person, can convince someone to surrender their life to GOD. That point in a person’s existence is orchestrated by GOD, where they will know who it is that is posing the question, “Will you trust me with your life?” Those that have accepted the offer from GOD and want so badly for others to have the same benefits, can only share His love as best they can, and testify to the benefits and terms of the amazing opportunity.

The message of GOD’s Salvation can’t be shared like a bad car salesman trying to get a contract signed by concealing all the cost. Christ new His target market,

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)

When the rescue beacon of GOD’s voice finally reached my stony heart, it was shattered at the awareness of how I had dishonored and disrespected Him, and how I had rejected His love in counting Him unworthy of my trust, and at the depth of my injustice at refusing to suffer, in the face of the enormous cost that this salvation was being made offered. All of that, and He continued to pursue me, understanding that He alone had what my heart truly longed for and needed. In light of this, my self-life was wrecked into splinters, like a shipped washed into a mountain side by humungous waves. From that day forward, I have been compelled to surrender all.

The Gospel of Christ doesn’t need augmenting for the 21st century, or for any period in time. The cost of Salvation will always be same, His life in exchange for your death. The proselyte can be of good cheer, because resurrection life is real, and it is far more satisfying!

Faith is not required of humanitarians, but it is for Christians.

humanitarian

I attended a bible study yesterday where we dug into the book of Galatians chapter 1. One of the issues that the Apostle Paul addresses in the chapter is the act of perverting of the Gospel of Christ. As we discussed that subject in the bible study and how it is still a problem today, someone asked, “Why do churches pervert the gospel?” This is an important question because to really embrace the solution you have to understand the problem. The problem stems from people interpreting the person of Christ and His gospel through their humanistic view point. Though YESHUA did things we consider humanitarian, His reasons and objectives went far deeper than just meeting basic human needs. Unfortunately, people’s humanistic orientation stops them from seeing the full person of YESHUA. It also stops them from grasping a full understanding of His gospel. The gospel of Christ will always create a healthy sense of hopelessness to the humanitarian or carnal viewpoint, as in Matthew 19:25, when His disciples ask, “Who then can be saved?” False doctrines come from men trying to humanize the gospel so that it fines wider acceptance. This does not minister the grace of GOD, it frustrates it. The grace of GOD comes in at that point of hopelessness and says, “with me, all things are possible”, which teaches us that we have to stop relying on ourselves and have faith in GOD. When was the last time you heard a sermon end with the words “go, and sin no more”?  Probably not ever, but it was how YESHUA closed ministry in the book of John chapters 5 and 8.

The enemy of doing what is right, is doing what we think is good. Doing what is right is a matter of faith and obedience, doing what is good is a matter of our own reasoning. Humanism is the enemy of righteousness. Humanism is focused on human values and secular concerns, while righteousness is focused on godly values and heavenly concerns. There is nothing humane about what was revealed in the book of Revelations, but it details a future we all need to be preparing for. Spend some time meditating in the book of Revelations and pay attention to the letters to the Churches. Our witness of YESHUA must reflect Him as Christ the King as well as the Lamb of GOD.

The Church needs to get away from “Febreze” Christianity. Today, Christians want to spray the blood of Christ like “Febreze” over the mess of everyone’s lives so that the smell is not as awful as it really is. I think people forget it’s not the smell that kills, rather it is the rotten hearts and deeds. Salvation is the power to save lives through “Changing” lives. That is the message that has been lost. Everyone smells good in church but people are still getting divorced, still being abused, still addicted to pornography and living in sexual immorality, still in love with the world. What we tolerate tends to proliferate. There is no fear of the Lord. That is what is missing today. There is even a false doctrine for “The fear of the Lord”. The humanistic doctrine says, “It’s a reverential fear.”

The grace of GOD is nothing less than the precious and costly blood of His dear son. The Church needs to move away from the “Febreze” mentality. Here is what New Testament scripture says to debunk the false and humanistic doctrine of “reverential fear of GOD”. Hebrew 10:28-31:

He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Those same hands are also gentle, kind, patient, merciful, healing, and life giving. Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.” Yahweh promises that if we humble ourselves, His hands will lift us out of trouble.

Sweet Somethings

bubble

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),

Embracing the Path

rugged

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 these carnal frames. 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 some things 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.