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Showing posts from November, 2018

The Golden Rule

Jesus once taught in front of a crowd of many, "whatever you wish that others would to to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" in Matthew 7:12. We know this as The Golden Rule. Something I have not heard mentioned in a while, but believe that our society could stand to hear today.

Observation 1 - Whatever I wish for others to do to me, I do also for them.
   The word "whatever" can also be translated as "everything", thus implying the whole part, meaning, in everything do to others what I would have them do to me. If I should "wish" that someone be kind to me, then, I ought to be kind to them. If I should desire that another be respectful to me, I ought to be respectful to them. If I crave for other's to love me, then, I should love them. And so on.

Observation 2 - I should not wish for others to treat me a certain way and me not treat them the way I want to be treated.
    This is called selfishness and very much a f…

How Far Would You Go To Obey God?

How far would you go to show God you fear him? To what extent would you go in obeying God? I ask this because I read about Abraham and Isaac. God blessed Abraham with Isaac, his son, at hundred years of age and through Isaac God established the covenant spoken to Abraham. But what happens when God tests you with the child you have waited for, prayed for and desired your entire life?
    God instructed Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, whom Abraham loved, to the land of Moriah and offer Isaac as a burnt offering (Gen. 22:2). What did Abraham do? Genesis 22:3 explains that Abraham gathered the firewood and all that was needed to do as God had asked, and left for the land God had told him. What happened? Just as Abraham was getting ready to take the life of Isaac, an angel of God stopped Abraham and God provided a sacrifice. In the world today Abraham would have been considered as mentally unstable and arrested for attempted murder, then thrown into a mental institution for life.

Qu…

Love Those Who Do Not Love You & Pray For Those Who Harass You

The Lord Jesus tell's us "Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you" in Matthew 5:44. Many of us do as the old law states, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy" according to Jesus in Matthew 5:43, which He quotes from Leviticus 19:18,19. Upon reading this passage I had three observations followed with a series of questions.

Observation #1 - I am supposed to love my enemy. 
Question #1: Who is my enemy?
    They are those who feel a hatred for me. Those who desire to do me harm. My enemy is anyone who presents themselves as an opponent to my-self.

Question #2: What kind of love do I show towards my enemy? What does Jesus mean "love your enemy"?
     The Greek word for love here is agapao, and it means to actively do what the Lord prefers. So, Jesus is teaching us that He wants us to love our enemies the way He prefers and not how we prefer. And if you were to ask Jesus this question, I think, He would respond with this - "You shall l…

Faith counted as righteousness.

"And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness" - Genesis 15:6
   In Genesis chapter 15, Abram, the LORD has not yet been changed his name to Abraham, was brought outside by God and shown the heavens. Abram desired a child to become his heir. God took him outside and told Abram, "number the stars, if you are able to number them. Then he said to him, so shall your offspring be" (Gen. 15:5). 

The next statement is what I find amazing. Moses notes that Abram "believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness."  I have a couple observations of this text. The initial observation is that Abram "believed the LORD". The second observation is that for believing he was counted as righteous. These observations lead to three questions:
1. Who counted Abram as righteous?
2. Why did believing in God count Abram as righteous?
3. Does our belief count us as righteous today?

Question #1: Who counted Abram as righteous?
    The answ…

How Can Man Be Satisfied?

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." - Jesus Matthew 5:6
   The initial observation here is the word 'blessed'. And in regard to the initial observation, my first question in this would be, who is blessed? Those who hunger and thirst for worldly possessions? Those who have a full stomach or those who have a closet full of clothes? Is it those who have good health? Those who have a big family? It is none of those, but those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness"
     The word 'blessed' means happy and to be envied. The word envy has always been interesting to me here, because it implies a feeling of discontent with regard to another's advantages, success or possessions. When we think of someone to envy, it is not typically concerning the righteousness of another. Then we have the word happy, implying pleasure and joy and delight. Again, we do not think of happy regarding righteousness. We …

No Temptation Has Overtaken You

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man, God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but the the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

     Ever feel alone when you suffer? No trial, no test of your faith, no affliction, no calamity that you are facing right now is any different from what other's are experiencing. Nothing any of us face is uncommon to man. This is somewhat comforting in the fact that we know someone is experiencing what we experience in times of pain. It if were not so Paul would not have said - "no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man." 
If you are reading this and are experiencing hurt of any kind, know this, "God is faithful". Faithful is who God is. He is trustworthy. He is loyal. He is true to His promises and true to His word. This being true, God is not careless. God is not faithless, He is not…

Standing The Test

In the most two recent blogs we have discovered that the only way to "count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds" (James 1:2) is to be anchored in Christ (Neh. 8:10). Then, we discovered that we can be joyful because the testing of our faith is producing patience in us, which is important for us to have in order that we might be made perfect and complete (James 1:3,4).  Now we turn our attention to James 1:12:

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."

    When you think of someone that is to be envied or someone who is happy, who or what do you think of? You think of someone who has their life together. Someone who has plenty of money to live off. Someone who has a nice home, nice vehicles, and a picture perfect family. James says otherwise. The word "blessed" literally means to be happy and someone to be envied. Lo…

Why Patience is Important

In recent post we have discussed the fact that James 1:2 encourages us to "count it all joy...when you meet trials of various kinds", and the way to do that is only through Jesus. Joy can be had in trials of various kinds only through Christ. The reason we can be joyful in trials of various kinds is because the testing of our faith makes for genuine faith (1 Peter 1:6,7) and as James tells us in 1:3 "the testing of your faith produces steadfastness", which is patience.
    The question now needs to be asked of James, why patience needs to be produced? Why is it necessary that patience is manufactured? James writes in 1:4, "And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." 
     Before we jump to that answer, James writes, "let steadfastness have its full effect." In other words, let patience have its full effect. Often we are in a hurry to get out of trials, when what we need to learn is h…

Why Faith Needs To Be Tested

James 1:2 instructs us to "count it all joy...when you meet trials of various kinds." In yesterday's devotion we determined that to do that we must be anchored to Jesus. The joy of Christ is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10), which enables us to "count it all joy" when we "meet trials of various kinds." So why can I be joyful in trials?

    James tells us in 1:3 "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." The word "for" means because, which implies that verse 3 is the 'why' to verse 2. Look at what James says, in it he implies that as we go through trials what is happening is our faith is undergoing a test. What is undergoing a test - faith. What about our faith is being tested? Our belief and confidence in Jesus. 
   Why does my confidence in Christ need to be tested? Answer: to determine faith's genuineness. 1 Peter 1:6,7 writes, "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if ne…

Joy in Trials of Various Kinds

I am a Pastor of a church that has been flooded by hurricane Florence. The building itself was badly flooded and damaged. Right now, as it sits, it is bare bones. The people who attend are all homeless except four or five families.

    When this occurred I recall praying, praying that God would give me wisdom. This is my first lead pastorate and was unsure of how to shepherd a church in this condition. What do I say? What do I do? How do I, how can I minister to them? All these questions and more plagued my mind.

    One particular word came to mind - joy. The church God placed me over was in a trial and still is. The question became for me is how do I help them have joy in trials? Joy in trials seems odd, does it not? It does. However, joy in suffering is themed from Genesis to Revelations. And I want you to know how to have it.

    Let's go to the Proverbs of the New Testament, the book of James. His writing is practically and faithfully reminding Christians how to live. A…