Life in Eden


 

The whole concept of life beginning in a garden is a fascinating brain storm from God Almighty.

In the beginning, the entire proposal to man was life and a prosperous, joyful life.  Evidence of coexisting life was the garden filled with greenery, flora, plants, fruits and animals of every kind.  A special firmament ‘fed’ the environment with water where apparently, rain was not necessary.  Producing food required no resistance as God had amble supplies to furnish all man’s needs.

When I tend to my gardens, I’m always amazed at the creation process and how life is the end product, or at least the desired result.  Sometimes, there are mishaps and the opposite occurs and the flowers die.

While out camping I look to the expanse of God’s universe to discover life and awe at the handiwork of our creator’s craftsmanship.  And as much as I love to gaze at God’s physical scenery, the real life should be focused on his primary creation, the creation of man.

Sadly, both sin and death came by route of Eden.  Since then, often when we examine mankind, we see death, disease, riots, mayhem, war and every known form of vice.

God intended we have life and after we ruined that, he sent his son.

Everything about Jesus vibrates life.  Christ provides life through forgiveness, renewal, love, tenderness, joy, happiness: he provides peace through the core of our spirit, or soul and spares us from our only true just reward which is death.

Jesus said that he came in order for us to have life and have it more abundantly.  All he asked is that we believe on him and follow his commandments.  I think if one word had to sum up Jesus, that word would be “Healing.”  For Christ provides a living potion that heals, that regenerates, that grows and benefits all people.

Today, rather than botanicals, we should be harvesting people.  People are the treasures of life that reflect God’s kingdom.  In today’s world, our own setting is the new Garden of Eden.  If we give, then we see that life resound, echoing it’s goodness all over the universe for the entire world to see.  As Christ gave us, we too should give to others, freely.  At that point, we step out of the sanctity of the Garden to embrace all of God’s universe as it was meant to give life to all who are willing to accept it. As with any new growth experience, it is all about life.  Join this paradise of Eden now, today.

We are Nobody


 

Jesus said that the least of these would be the greatest.  In a very real way, most of us are not Donald Trump or really anyone considered to be of any real consequence.  We are simple minded, ordinary people: that is all.

Meeting us would be just like meeting anyone else.  We are ordinary, normal people who care about others and who love Jesus that is all that may be different about us. However, that does not mean you are NOT important.

The truth of it is: you are more than likely to assist or to acknowledge me than any of those others.  You are more than likely to meet me on the streets and say hello to me.

And in my time of need:  you probably would be the one that would know me at all.

To that effect, I am glad you are no one.  I am glad that you don’t matter, for you matter to me.

You matter insomuch that you are willing to give yourself, your time to me.  You matter for you expose yourself to me and to others.  You matter, for you are real enough to be real in a time of our world where there are so many phonies.

You are not phony, you are real. And you are real because you give of yourself.  And since you give what is real that merit is counted to your favor and to my good.  For what you gave what you give, is real and assists me.

Because you considered yourself small, you had the time to give to me, to know me. Because of that, I loved you and love who sent you.  And who sent you is beyond saying, for it is obvious.  It is God through his Son, the living Christ. Thank you, for being nobody but everyone that is important.  The world is better off because of you!

God & Man as the Singular Organism


 

Once Christ established his premise of the church based on Faith, he explained his relationship to man on earth as a servant.  In this respect, he also erected himself as the head of his church with the rest of his believers as additions, members and even spoke of his Christian disciplines as friends.

The point here is that there is unification among Christians in respect to standing in God’s Kingdom. A oneness exists as one complete organism.  What’s important here is that the organism, the entity is alive, not something merely of the distant past.

Therefore, those who embrace Jesus as the Savior, are permitted access to God, the Father, but of course, are subject to Christ and his system of elders as we work out our path of salvation with each other for a positive future.

This means, that we don’t wait until entering heaven prior to embracing the qualities of the Spirit World, but are fully expected to participate in it now, here in the flesh while awaiting the ultimate life eternally in heaven for believers.

As in ancient days of the tabernacle, there was one entrance pathway to approach God, now one pathway through Christ is provided for a living pathway for our concerns and fellowship with God.

Yes, too, as Paul spoke, we are to contribute via our spiritual gifts, one to another, but as Paul also spoke, this is all part of a body that gravitates around a whole, which is the Church through Jesus as the Head of his spiritual body.

Again, the wonderful news is that this process is alive, vibrant and fully accessible to believers, the only requirement which is belief through the element of Faith. Returning to God then only means that we must engage ourselves within the body of Christ to experience the reality of his wonderful gift, the church.

Consequently, our announcement to the world is that not only is God alive, but too, his Son and his Holy Spirit as it is revealed and shared to others through his brethren, the Church. It is then with great comfort that we are active and then rested with the assurance that all that we do is with God’s great kingdom in mind.  Through this, we are to obey the words of Christ-and the greatest is to love our God with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul—and to love our neighbor as our self.  The eventuality of this effort is the oneness with others and with God.

You Shouldn’t feel That Way


 

How many times have you been upset or depressed or angry or feeling dejected or inadequate and someone tells you, “You shouldn’t feel that way”? Of course, by any intellectual reasoning we should never feel downtrodden or out of sorts, but the simple truth is:  from time to time, we all feel bad about something. James encourages us during trying times:

 

James 1:2-3King James Version (KJV)

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Naturally, when we are going through extreme times, it doesn’t stack up very high with us when we are told that these situations provide patience.  What we want at the time is relief.

During these times too, for someone to simply recite a slew of scriptures also provides little help.  What we should do really is first talk to people for who they are:  people here on earth struggling.  We need to speak to people on earthly terms, terms that have understanding and meaning as people to people.

I think it was great that Abraham was able to accomplish what he did or that Moses was who he was or Joshua had the fortitude and courage he possessed, but while the scriptures do point out the high marks of many of these great patriarchs, there is a lack at times in the recording of their struggles with their doubts or faith.  We do get a glimpse of it at some intervals when it comes to David for he appeared to go from an extreme high to a dismal low with his attitude.

No, we should feel bad.  We shouldn’t feel many ways at different times, but we do nonetheless.

Spouting off how you handled something easily really doesn’t assist me at all.  It probably doesn’t assist other people either for we all have different makeups and perceive reality differently from one another and thus, respond to events differently.

The core truth is that none of this is really an intellectual or cogitative problem. The problem we endure is spiritual in nature.

Romans 15:1-11 ESV

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, …

Yes, we lift up one another through scripture and by our consol. This involves being there for our brother when they are in need.  Mostly, in times of crisis it isn’t even words that are needed, it is simple companionship.

Join the Hypocrites


 

Lately I think Christians have more or less received a bad rap.  In more than one way, it is pointed out that Christians are often not able to perform that which is believed by the Christian faith.

Do you think it is easy?

Matthew 5:44

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’44“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Come on now.  This is not exactly a piece of cake. Loving those who harm or hate you is more than a supernatural feat, and yes, at times, this can be done and even tried by many a
Christian, but not easily accomplished.  At times, this may even be impossible by any human norm.

Or another found in Mark 12:31 to “…love your neighbor as yourself.”  Anyone alive knows there are times when it is most difficult even to love yourself, much less your neighbor.  If your own needs are pending, then of course, it is hard to think outside of yourself.  Nonetheless, Christians often give outside of their self even when a personal loss is the outcome.

In Matthew 5:39 and also in Luke 6:29 Christians are instructed to turn the other cheek.  There are times when this fails to happen, but then again, often when it does.  Another most difficult accomplish that requires supernatural intervention.

We can look at the instruction to the rich young ruler who was told to divided all his wealth and give it to the poor:  (No, he did not do this), but then again, who could argue that Christians are not the most generous people in the world?  Christians all over the world give generously to many others who are in need all the time.

Two other elements are critical to the Christian experience.  Those involve love and forgiveness.  Within these commandments, we find that the Christian must perform service to others rather than seek out that commodity for themselves.  And yes, Christians give much of their time, talents and substance to others who benefit from this kindly gestures.

Therefore then, are Christian HYPOCRITES?  Of course, we are!  Out of devotion to Christ, Christians attempt to perform the impossible. By definition then, Christians are hypocrites of the highest order as we are unable many times to perform to the maximum of our beliefs.

As a consequence, should Christians not bother to fulfill the commandments of our Lord, Jesus?  Of course not!  Yes, Christians should continue to attempt to perform the impossible, and also continue to induce others to follow the discipleship of Christ. In short, anyone who thinks being a Christian is easy is welcome to provide an example in leadership.  To the betterment of all people, and to our Christ, we ask you also to join us as hypocrites.  The world will be a better place as a result.  We can attempt to do the impossible together!

Dead Men’s Bones


 

An old country preacher preached that a home was blessed by God and in the advent the home was vacated and empty, it would soon rot, decay and fall to the ground. Our own experiences prove this to be the case for once a building becomes vacant, it isn’t long before the roof and ceiling gives way to mold, the element and perhaps falls apart.  This is true even for rather new buildings.  It requires life within the building in order for it to flourish.

The same is true for people.  We can become so acclimated to society, our environment that soon we adapt and change into more or less, walking dead people.  We learn how not to feel, how not to laugh, how not to be genuine to ourselves or to others.  In a sense, then, we become dead.

We learn to respond, “Yes Sir.  No Sir.” That the customer is always right, to blend in, to fit or to even become invisible.  We learn not to offend nor to assist and in this way, in every fabric of our soul, we are lost and dead.

It becomes so bad that we never know the day of the week or the month or what time it is or the last time we felt vibrant or alive-filled with gusto and spirit.

In Matthew 23:27 Christ attacks the lawgivers of approaching life with beauty on the outside, but inwardly possessing an existence of nothing but those of dead men’s bones.

IN a very real way, our own lives are similar.  We live with deceit in order to advance ourselves, our careers.  We adapt, never making trouble for we attempt to become model citizens on this earth with a reputation of good repute.

In working so hard, we become stale.  We become empty and long for the good old days that never were. We pretend to be tough, to be hard.  Our every movement becomes nothing more than a rationalization or a justification of why we can’t really be real.

To that extent, we are fake.  To that extend we are imposters, phonies who fail to express anything that is real-that emulates the truthfulness of who were are.

In the confines of who we are-we are actually vulnerable, fragile.  We actually hurt, bleed and at other times feel joy and require the need for others. No, we never want to admit these needs, but they are real nonetheless.

Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly.  His desire was to remove the hopelessness of humanity as he found us.

As our body, our psyches, our souls fall apart for being vacant, we should instead turn to Him, our Lord to invite life that builds and grows, gaining us confidence through Him that came to save us from ourselves.

Stepping outside the deadness of our lives requires courage.  Stepping outside to embrace the fullness of life requires faith.  It requires a passion, a love of our Father in Heaven who loves us even more.

Thus, we have a choice.  We can live in the emptiness of our personal shells, or engage the wholesomeness of our creator.

Believe in Jesus who promises life here on earth and afterward in heaven.  Start today by affirming your belief in Jesus, the son of the Living God.  The alternative is easy enough.  We can go back to reduce our spirits of nothing but the empty rooms of dead men’s bones.

More Than We Can Handle


 

The truth of it is: we really can’t handle much if anything at all, properly or the right way on our own. Isaiah 55:8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof the ways of death.

Yes, many times we think we have it all figured out.  At times, it seems easy enough.  And upon that reasoning with the simplest of tasks, we met failure. The reason is because of the aforementioned scriptures above.  We as people see things one way, but in actual reality, it is often much more than what we know.

In this way we also become involved with everyday tasks that are way above our heads, and yes, it can be too much for us. But not is all lost if we trust God.

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Jesus told his disciples that “You can do nothing without me.”  This is clear enough.  And Yes, where we might not be tempted except from which we can bear, we can easily become overcome with the perils of this earth.

One only has to look at the causalities of the holocaust or the 35 million civilians lost in WWII. Notice the latter were civilians and not combat soldiers.  Everywhere we look we continue to see war and devastation. And yes, things can easily get way above our heads and more than what we can bear.  Simply examine the 6,000 lost at the Bataan Death March or on the Beaches of Normandy or the loss of those at the World Trade Center.

What?  Are we to suggest that all these people and so many more simply suffered from disbelief and doubt?  Of course, not!

Despite these terrible occurrences, Christ promises us that he is with us even unto the end of the world. Paul assures us that nothing, absolutely nothing-even death can separate us from the love of Christ.

And thus, to that effect, the good news to us is that we can persevere to the end, knowing the unfailing love God has for us.

Nothing is sugar coated upon this exclamation.  Christ and all his disciples died a horrible death for the issue of faith.  Following, thousands of early Christians suffered at the hands of the Romans.

It is no different today: for those who believe-we are promised eternal life upon the end conclusion.  Much of this at some point can easily be too much-more than we can handle.  To that end, we place our faith in Christ.

Change Yourself


 

In fashion today with our modern society is the modern plethora of self-help books on changing whatever attribute one wants to change.  Probably more frequent, and more popular for a long time is our need to point out other people’s negative traits and attempt to impose our own.  It is all for their own good, of course.

Yet, the greater virtue lies within us to attempt to change our self to a more palliative person for others.  The idea itself seems easy enough.  We discover whatever character defect there is, change it from a negative to a positive.

Still believed by many and postulated in the seventies in the absence of any real science is that any habit either good or bad can be broken in a mere 21 days.  Naturally anyone that has lived long enough know some people change bad habits overnight.  Some quite the opposite, go from positive to negative.

In fact, some people believe that people never change at all and if there is any change-it is for the worse.  I think most people believe the bad in a heartbeat and never hold their breath to learn of the bad.

To the contrary of most belief systems, I maintain that the greatest prize of change is that of a positive one in character.  The position of character is not a psychological one though, it is one that merits a spiritual transformation.  Any real character change comes about as they encounter Christ for we are told that one must be born again in order to be received in the Kingdom of Heaven.

This transformation of the mind, or the renewing of our mind via the spirit is a process that is accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.

How then does one accomplish this?  Whereas belief on the Lord Jesus is a requirement, the change is a direct result of a free gift of God’s spirit even to our salvation.

Change then, a spiritual change is a consequent of either sin or grace.  Grace is a free gift of Jesus that transform our very soul.

Thus, wishing change for others is at times, noble.  Desiring change for our self can be a virtue.  But any real meaningful change is a result of engaging our spirit with Christ.

At any time, we might look at our self in the mirror and not like what we see.  We can only come to our full value through the blessing of Christ as he counts us not guilty to sin. In that way we are made unto righteousness through Christ: and by that virtue we are made blameless and acceptable unto our creator. Once all that occurs, we become not so quickly to impose change on others or even upon our self.  We come to a point where we finally accept our self for who we are in Christ.

The Anointing


 

Some preachers sermonize that possessing a special anointing is an indication of special favor with God or perhaps even as an added blessing indicating a special status with the creator. For those of us lacking any such favored relationship status, we should comfort ourselves with two primary scriptures in the New Testament:  The first is 1 John 2:27 and the other is 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.

In these scriptures it is clear that ALL Christians possess an anointing at the time of conversion.  The actual anointing is really a special knowledge of God that All Christians possess which is fundamental to being a Christian at all.  That is the fact that we recognize God as our Supreme Being and Christ as His Son who came on the earth in the flesh, was crucified, was buried and after three days rose from the grave, conquering death.

Proverbs 3:4 illustrates how to gain favor with God and with man.  Here, the consistency between the Old Testament and the New is that we are to revere our Lord and to obey his commandments, a relatively simple exercise: at least intellectually.  Actually, performing all of this, of course can be problematic to say the least.

However, the point here is to establish that neither you nor I are more anointed that the other.  We are equal in this sense and with our status within the Kingdom of heaven. Truly, we are simple members, required members within one singular body: the church. Of course, the church itself represents our Lord, the Christ.

So then, the next time someone wants to elevate either you or themselves with a testimony of anointment, we are better edified by the call to service to others. By so doing, then as others also become Christians, they embrace the full riches of the anointing the same as you and me.

Send All Your Money to Me!


 

Every now and then some so-called ‘Profit’ turns up predicting the end of the world.  For whatever reason, and convenient enough, some want you to sell all your stuff and send the money to them.  They tell you, you don’t need the money and stuff because the world is going to end.  Naturally, this doesn’t explain why they need the money, but those are the usual instructions.

Other Profits love to cite, Malachi 3:8-10 and ask, “Will a man rob God?”  They cite the other part of the passage and announce that somehow you are robbing God by not tithing.  Never mind the fact they fail to mention that the passage was directed to the PRIESTS from the tribe of Levi, but none of that makes any difference because the want your money.

Sending your money to them disregards several other factors about tithing:  The first is that money was not part of the equation, almost forbidden except in unusual circumstances and then you had to pay a penalty. The second aspect is that tithing was 1/10th of the increase per year, not monthly or gross or net.

Prosperity preachers teach to multiply by 10s as illustrated by Luke 6:38, disregarding any other time when they want to tell you that Christians are not bounded by the law and in this instance, Christ was clearly speaking to the Jews who were bounded.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give, that you shouldn’t support the church.  To the contrary.  Paul left ample instructions in accordance to giving, and we should take and run with it.  We should be cheerful givers, should give with love and out of our abundance, but without the expectations pronounced by modern evangelists as often viewed on TV. Somewhere along the line, Jesus taught a more selfless love, a love that better emulates the love within our Lord.

Aside from all of this:  many churches in their non-profit status offer all types of goods and services, all for a price-of course. One could turn to the passage where Christ confronts the money changers, but then again, we have our own today.  Even one church that I know has its own ATM machine at the narthex of the church.

It appears to me if one really wanted to give, and give big to include the organized church:  one must also step outside of the church and give directly as well to God’s people.

Our attention then should be on motive and substance:  In the interlude, we would also concentrate on the difference between a Profit and a true Prophet of God.  More or less, the latter will NOT involve money at all.