I recently posted a message declaring that I have made the message plain, simple, and loud enough that there is no excuse. I said your heart is just so hard, and that is the only explanation at this point that the message I bring is not heeded. And honestly, I believe that still. But just […]
In reading the Old Testament, Christians often gain comfort by studying how our ancient sages addressed their problems. Oftentimes, we see one of the patriarchs such as David struggle with a plight and eventually with God’s intervention, God’s zaps the enemy and the problem is solved.
The moral here is for man to trust God and while that hasn’t changed, the outcome is so much different.
Jesus made a change.
Effectively through the words of Jesus, we are NOT to pray to zap our enemies: Quite the opposite really. We are to PRAY for them.
Now this is a major and fundamental change and one any preacher should point out when discussing the Old Testament.
In fact, I am amazed how the differences are NOT pointed out and why preacher’s focus on the Old Testament rather than on the words of Jesus.
Yet, really we should all know the reason we fail to listen to Jesus. Jesus tells us to endure: he speaks to us to forgive: to possess patience, to love them more than us and for us to serve. No, this is not good stuff when we insist on having our own way.
The way of Jesus is one of love: of giving: of yielding: of surrendering and long suffering and one of forbearance. Who really wants to respond to this? This is not peppy. It’s not cool or one with a visible prize.
Jesus wants us to love our neighbor as our self. We are to love them as He loved us and yes, this entire idea sucks.
Who in blazes wants to love those who commit evil and really, most Christians lie about all of this and simply say that “We love everybody” when in fact, they don’t.
I don’t love everyone and in the process, I sin. Jesus didn’t ask us to love everyone: He commanded we LOVE everyone.
And so we should listen to every word from Jesus. We should adopt the new change Jesus has given us and should address the differences between the relationship of man in the Old Testament to the New Testament and yes, there is a difference. Jesus made a change and indeed, it was a deal breaker for he said there is only one way of doing it and it was through Him.
What type of Christians are we? Do we bring scorn and wrath and gloom and doom to people? Are we the negative, judgmental types who casts dour and bitterness or hopelessness?
Are we the type that rails and brags or silent and revengeful? Are we the gentle ones who approach those who are in distress or do we simply keep to ourselves?
Perhaps we are those mystery people: those saints who go around providing Random Acts of Kindness. Perhaps our inherent nature is the type that simply loves to bless others for: truly what could be better than to bring people a small token of joy?
For those who are down, those who are broken and destitute and lame and poor and homeless and sick and in despair: our approach should be in bringing offerings of joy.
With Jesus there was nothing random about His kindness at all. He was all kindness and it was deliberate.
Insomuch we are to be like Him, we should also be kind and deliberate. Our acts of kindness should be continuous, perpetual.
This might lead to us simply offering out our hand. It might be that we buy someone a cola or a cold bottle of water, or offer a burger or a candy snack, or bus fare or any other number of things that would provide joy to the receiver. Truly, these are nothing more than small tokens but provide mountains of joy to the receiver.
In performing our work to others we should ask about ourselves constantly for we should desire to be known as a giver and not as merely a spectator. And in giving , our giving should come from our heart for Jesus too and His angels would also count all that we do in His name as Joy. Ask yourself: are you doing your part? If not, want you please begin and in the process you will bring joy to us all.
A few short years ago a teacher friend of mine wrote a book about being complaint free. Her experiment involved making a deliberate practice of actually not complaining for one complete day. She found out how difficult this truly was and learned in her honest approach that it took her 125 days to reach this objective. Imagine that.
Here was an individual who went about a simple journey of being complaint free and it took her the discipline of 125 days or tries to maintain just one day of being complaint free.
Wow. That is quite a statement.
And given that we don’t have that type of persistence but should be examples of patience and tolerance, can you imagine just how many complaints we express in any given day?
I know I suck at it and as much as I attempt to possess a positive outlook on things, I fail over and over again.
You are probably about as bad as I am, yet Jesus is the example who takes the lead for us to follow. And I suppose no matter how long it takes us to be only one day complaint free, this should be not an exception, but a virtue.
Okay for me to say anymore would be for me to complain about it. In the meantime, think about your approach to life and how often you complain. The wakeup call for this assignment can be a deal breaker and something that could easily change your life to the better. The benefits outweigh the negatives and in the end, it is nothing to complain about.
Nothing to Complain About: My 125-Day Journey to Become Complaint Free Kindle Edition
by Deborah Hansen (Author)
Unlike what we have been taught and often think, more or less, we have control over our thoughts to some extent. When it comes to the desire of perversion, we often think of people with brain tumors or some other unexplained mental illness or the like. We don’t generally assign the attributes of someone given to perversion as one exercising free will. Nothing could be further from the truth.
While this might be a dark side of man, it is nonetheless an extremely pronounced feature and one generally performed either under the cloak of darkness, or under the iron hand of a tyrannical despot. Even kings in the OT days thought they were not capable of many misdeeds when foretold by the ancient prophets, but alas: they fell victim nonetheless with horrid savagery.
Yes, as people, left unchecked are capable of giving way to almost any type of perverted behavior: able to inflict untold sorrow to anyone caught within their grips.
Paul teaches us that all of these lures, these temptations are nothing except those which are common to man. In other words, these things are normal day-to-day desires of which we can yield to or defeat.
We have all types of perversions and most are not normally even listed under psychological paradigms.
The greatest of these lies under sexual perversions. Perversions of incest, homosexuality, sexual mutilation, sexual sadism, death, mind and body control.
At the extreme end we have situations such as we witnessed under Nazi Germany: racism was taken to the extreme in the extermination of multiple ethnicities. There and under many other regimes around the world we see people with power hacking others to death with machetes, sexual trafficking, body mutilations of all types; raping and pillaging meanness that is undefined in human terms.
Yet, this not an anomaly. This is not only normal for man, but completely performed only under the duress of choice.
As Christians our choice is only to surrender and to surrender our soul and thoughts completely to Jesus and to abide under His direction. A sad mistake is for a Christian, in particular—a Christian leader to think he is ABOVE doing anything involving perversion. And while this mistake appears its ugly ahead all around us with examples of wayward priests and preachers fathering bastard children, we nonetheless fail to address the issues that cause it.
The cause is the lusts of our own desires and capitulating to our desires. The answer to this is simple enough: Go to God through Jesus and submit our will to His. And as simple as it is, most will fail as they will refuse to admit that we can do nothing without Him. Truly, our freedom to sin should be subjected to the stopping power of Jesus’ love. And only in that way do we reflect a true choice to do what is good through the power and love of our creator in heaven. Our choice should be His choice and His choice is never that
One of the cruelest jokes has to be in situations such as when a person suffers badly from an auto accident or the like: ends up with multiple broken bones, punctures, contusions and even greater severe injuries only to be told how lucky they are to be alive.
Of course, we all know what’s going on here and it’s how we are attempting to encourage a friend that things somehow might have been worse: they could be dead.
However: we know this doesn’t really help. Nor does it help if you explain how a similar circumstance happened to you once, or where you know of another friend who suffered the same. True enough, it might have been harder or even easier for you, but the fundamental aspect is that YOU ARE NOT THEM.
What I am saying here is rather basic. The bible says that even a fool appears to be wise when he keeps his mouth shut.
And when visiting a friend in the hospital or in aftercare oftentimes the best we can do is keep quiet and simply be there for them. Believe it or not we are not really the smartest people on earth and our words might actually cause more damage than good.
No, it doesn’t mean you have to be completely deaf mute, but it does indicate one should think before they should speak.
We can say stupid things like: You’ll be good as new in any time.
Or it could have been worse. Or Wow you really look terrible. Or if you need anything at all, just ask.
I suggest you don’t say dumb things like that unless you are really prepared to go all out and assist with anything or and everything just as you said.
That’s not probably what you really mean so simply mean exactly what you say.
Understand when one is in pain they really don’t feel all that good. Slapping them on a bandage knee and telling a joke really isn’t going to be all that effective. In fact, they’ll probably be glad when you leave.
Okay, yes. Visit your friends who are hospitalized and remain respectful. Pray with them and for them and offer services you can clearly and willingly perform. Remember, you are the one who is lucky for you are the one who was able to drop by. You are even luckier as God afforded you the time to visit with your friend. In the end, the situation is not a good situation and the only good coming out of it might just be the comfort you present to your friend. And remember, while it is indeed good they are alive: it has nothing to do at all with luck but instead by the hand of Almighty God.
Not Once, but twice with Agent X
You ever pretend? Sounds like child’s play, no? I can hear you now: Sorry, X, but I’m a grown up. I don’t pretend. Really? Ever dress up for Halloween? Isn’t that a game of pretend? Isn’t that what Tom Cruise does for a living? Pretend he is someone he’s not in blockbuster movies we all […]
The truth is: man is so sorry that once God was even sorry that he made us. To truly be sorry is to feel guilt and possess a need to change and to be granted atonement for our sins. Even sin as induced by the devil is voluntary as we read:
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Here, we read that even satan had to ask…yes, he had to ask permission to mess with Peter. God is supreme.
Our sorryness is a condition of being of a sinful nature. Our natural desire is to sin and please self. No matter how badly we’d like to attribute our bad behavior on satan, the responsibly falls squarely on our shoulders for we are the ones who call the shots of our own destiny.
We do this first with our speech…the words on our lips and then by our actions: generally our results are fairly sorry. In the sense of holiness we are a bad lot and can only be described as sorry.
In fact, for those of us we are truly sorry, we should be more often than not be discovered on our knees in gratitude towards the savior who rescued us: Jesus on the cross.
Whereas the Beatles were sorry for Uncle Albert who had to go away, we are sorry for we learn that we are nothing but dirty rags compared to Jesus and His Father in Heaven.
The trick then is to escape from our sorry state of sorryness and to rise to the pinnacle of redemption. That redemption can only be attained by route of the Cross and the blood of Jesus on the Cross.
Once establishing our guilt on the foothills of the cross we can then ask for salvation. And while we are still in a sorry state, Jesus grants that we should be spared. We are promised hope and a new life eternal guided by someone who is perfect. That perfection is Jesus and as an ally within His kingdom. In the comparison of our sorry state to that as a son of God, we learn the true nature of being sorry: and with that we drift from our sorry nature to that of joy. Our joy is nothing less that the grace from God who grants us immunity from the sorry lot of ourselves. To that extent we are no longer sorry, but transformed to the eventual child that is accepted into the Great company of God Himself with His son, Jesus. Nothing is ever sorry there
When it comes to people we’d like to think when they choose us over another that we are their first choice. Now then, for those of us who are over 12 years old, think again. Think how silly that ideal is. How is it possible our mates or boyfriends or girlfriends would ever be our first choice as we have been denied or have denied multiple times over again and again. In particular this is true if we have divorced and remarried and some many times over.
Yes, it would be good—very nice indeed to be first choice: selected as number one among all the rest in the world but the truth is: we are not even number one with God.
As Christians we are the Bastard Child, the adopted child. Perhaps this makes us a close second, but it doesn’t by any means make us number one.
The first choice was the Jews: but with the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, we were ushered into God’s selection by default as the gentiles, respectively.
In this case, we are lucky we are the alternate choice as God showed mercy on us as willing servants of adoration. Thus, being first choice is not what we make it out to be at times. Thank God for whatever reason we were chosen as His children and possess the opportunity to enter into His Kingdom. Thank God being second choice can be better than any other choice when second is the greatest of them all.
Popular among intellectuals today is the idea that a separation exists between behavior and the person. That is how some love the statement that “God loves the sinner and hates the sin.”
Actually, that was Gandhi that stated that and nothing really could be further from the truth. You are your behavior.
Behavior much like thoughts really nothing more than an extension of thoughts and are part of what we referred to as character. To separate the two would be similar to telling a violent abuser, that “I love you, but hate your violence.” No, this cannot be. A violent person is part of the violence as it is part of their nature.
God doesn’t judge the sin per se. He judges the person; and he judges the person as the person’s character is the motivation behind the person that translates into action. Take note that Jesus judged our motivation prior to the action as he stated we lusted prior by virtue of our thoughts. This judgment did not negate actions, but simply demonstrated it was inclusive and again, not separate.
Actually God is no big lover of sinners at all. That is why we require a savior through Jesus, His son. We must approach God blameless and the only way this is possible is through atonement given by grace through Jesus. In this sense our thoughts and behavior are cancelled and forgiven: to that effect made perfect and white in purity: but only because of forgiveness through Christ who stands in the gap for us to God on His Throne.
Make no mistake. We have thoughts and actions: our actions are our behavior and our behavior is us representing our character. Our character is the core, the essence of what we call man.