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Do Not Love the World or Anything in it. What in the World does that Mean?

Do Not Love the World or Anything in it. What in the World does that Mean?

“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle — is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.” –John 2:15-17 (NIV)

Is God telling us not to love anything except Jesus and Himself? What about loving our family or our neighbor? Can we love our children? Is the love of country forbidden? Can you love your job? Are not all these things part of the world?

If we read 1 John 2:15 by itself without the intended context, then yes, we must not love anything but God. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to examine this passage in light of its full context and with other passages.

God’s word many times tells us, “love your neighbor as yourself and others will know you are believers by your love for one another.” The Word also tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church.

These few teachings enable us evaluate I John 2:15 with other scripture to help determine exactly what the command, do not love the world, means.  We see that God commands us to love our neighbor, one another, our spouses and our children. Yet these people are, something, in the world.

Some may think there’s a contradiction, but by evaluating all of them we see that there is an exception to the rule. The next question is why? For that we’ll examine some of Jesus’ teaching.

Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” __Matt. 10:37

In the passage we learn that loving family and other people more than we love Jesus makes us unworthy of Him. So, we are to love other people, especially family, but we re never love them more Jesus. Therefore our love for God and Jesus must be first and foremost. This may seem harsh and unreasonable, but as you live it you’ll soon understand why?

The final filter is the proceeding text of 1 John 2:15, “For everything that belongs to the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle — is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.”

The Word breaks down ‘everything and anything in the world’ into three catagories. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

The lust of the flesh is an intense longing and desire for all that which is against God and our divine purpose. It’s rather obvious that this human trait cannot coexist with God. Therefore it has to be abstained.

The lust of the eyes. Again lust is an intense longing and desire. So the human eye has an ungodly aspect in which it looks at and longs for what it sees and does not have. Certainly this too is something to be abstained.

Finally the pride of life. This has to do with accomplishments, possessions and way of life. We, mankind, think we’re something something else. Aren’t we great? We’re awesome. Nothing is greater than us in the whole world. This pride comes from neglecting to honor God for His role in creating us. We didn’t just happen to evolve from some primordial ooze. We didn’t create ourselves. We are God’s greatest acheivement. Therefore taking credit for ourselves and everything about us is a huge form of idolatry. We’re elevating ourselves to be superior to God.

To sum up: If we love anything in the world more than we love God we have created an idol. We love and worship that idol when we should be loving and worshiping God instead. Our worst idol is ourself. We idolize men and women who have become wealthy celebrities due to good looks, talent, and or athleticism. This is the pride of life. It is as though we’ve done this great feat on our own. Yet those three character traits are gifts from God. We are born the way we are born. We have no input at all. We shower those we idolize with money. Then there are those who may not excel in one of those three areas, but they’re extremely blessed in in business matters. We idolize those people too. Take Warren Buffet for instance. He’s certainly a very wealthy man who built his on empire of riches. However, he’s also been quoted as saying that if he were born in an earlier era he wouldn’t have amounted to much of anything because he doesn’t have the special abilities needed for those past eras. He didn’t glorify God, but it is God who determined his time and place.[1]Acts 17:26 So we take pride in our wealthy fellow countrymen.

In conclusion this command may seem harsh, difficult and unpleasant, but God created us and when we obey God’s Word our lives will be filled with an unbound joy that can be found nowhere else because we created to obey God. This is the exact opposite of what the world provides. Therefore, our love for God and Jesus Christ must trump any love that we have for anything else in the world and certain things as described above must not be loved at all.

God bless and know that God loves you and wants the best for you!

References

References
1 Acts 17:26
Baptism, is it Necessary for Salvation?

Baptism, is it Necessary for Salvation?

The Dilemma

The reason for this article is that some hold that baptism is necessary for salvation and others do not. This piece will be short, to the point, and will bring the reader to a decision.

In order to arrive at the proper decision you the reader must agree to the italicized statement below. It is simple, concise, and not a trap as you can see for yourself.

“If baptism is not necessary for salvation then let’s agree that baptism is not by God’s authority, and on the flip side, if baptism is necessary salvation then let’s agree it is by God’s authority.”

Can we agree upon that statement?

Good.

One day while Jesus was teaching in the temple courts the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and asked, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?”[1]Matthew 21:23 [2]Note: The important issue to know here is that the elders and the priests were NOT going accept any answer from Jesus. That is unless, of course, he said that one of them gave him permission.

Jesus, knowing that they would brush off any answer of his[3]Jesus wasn’t going to answer their question if they weren’t going to answer his asked them a question instead, “John’s baptism –where did it come from? Was it from heaven or from human origin?[4]Matthew 21:25

The leaders discussed the question among themselves and said, “If we say from heaven, then he’ll say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say it is of ‘human origin’ –we are afraid of the people, for they hold that John was a prophet.” So they said, “We don’t know.”[5]Matthew 21:26-27 In other words they were afraid to lose the respect of the people.

So dear reader I ask you, “Was John’s baptism from heaven or from human origin?”

Ok great. Let’s move on to where you may make your own conclusion in regard to salvation.

The Great Commission

After Jesus appeared to the eleven he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”[6]Mark 16:16

Dear reader, Jesus’s baptism;{Matthew 28:19, and Mark 16:16}} is it from heaven or human origin?[7]If you want to argue this conclusion then know that you’re arguing against God and not with me or any human.

Baptism is not only necessary for salvation, it is necessary to enter the Kingdom of God. I will write on this later, but here’s a link to David Bercot’s audio Kingdom of God study, he’s a former lawyer, Jehovah’s Witness and evangelical, who sought God with all his heart. The link will take you to his Scroll Publishing Youtube channel.

 

References

References
1 Matthew 21:23
2 Note: The important issue to know here is that the elders and the priests were NOT going accept any answer from Jesus. That is unless, of course, he said that one of them gave him permission.
3 Jesus wasn’t going to answer their question if they weren’t going to answer his
4 Matthew 21:25
5 Matthew 21:26-27
6 Mark 16:16
7 If you want to argue this conclusion then know that you’re arguing against God and not with me or any human.

Worship in Spirit and Truth II

 

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well their discussion quickly became spiritual. Jesus concluded by saying, “Woman, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:21-24

What does it mean to worship in Spirit and in truth?Perhaps you’ve asked yourself that question before, maybe not, but it’s time you do.

When I first began to read the Word, I reckoned it meant to worship God with all my heart, soul, mind, and according to Biblical truth. But now I question my thinking. Was that truly what Jesus meant? Could he have meant something else?

I now realize that I had never really put much thought or effort into understanding the passage. I couldn’t believe how incredibly shallow I had been. I simply read the passage and came to a quick conclusion. No research, no questions, just a conclusion. The very fact that I was now questioning my own conclusion also testified against my lack of depth, perception and understanding.

Now, determined to find the truth, I reread the passage several times disseminating the text, asking questions, and looking for clues to its meaning.

Below is a list of crucial facts and clues as to what worshipping in Spirit and Truth means:

  1. Worship will not be restricted to any one place.
  2. A new form of worship would come.
  3. The old form of worship would fade away.
  4. God only seeks those whom will worship in Spirit and truth.

Conclusion: Today it is mandatory to worship God in Spirit and truth. Any other form of worship of God will be in vain.

The first clue was rather obvious and easily answered. Today we see churches practically on every corner in America. People do worship God anywhere and everywhere. Finding that churches are everywhere validates what Jesus said. Worship isn’t confined to one place anymore, specifically meaning Jerusalem.

The second and third clues are obvious too. The time for worship change has already arrived and the old form of worshiping God has totally disappeared. Man no longer sacrifices animals at the Temple in Jerusalem, no more do people arrive in Jerusalem to celebrate festivals. No more do people have to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem

Answering those three clues is nice and all that, but it still leaves us in the dark in regard to our original question; “What does worship in the Spirit and truth truly mean?”

Because God seeks those who worship in Spirit and truth we now know that it’s mandatory. Therefore, it’s incumbent upon us to discover its meaning and genuinely put it into action. That is, of course, if we want to be accepted by God.

However, if you or I decide that it isn’t necessary to discover what genuine worship in Spirit and Truth means then there is also a good chance, based on our own logic, that we are not worshiping in Spirit and truth.

How can we be sure where that we stand in agreement with God then?

Doesn’t God say that His thoughts are not our thoughts?[1]Isaiah 55:8-9 If I am not worshipping in the Spirit and Truth then most certainly there will be dreadful consequences because I won’t be worshiping as God intended!

Yeah, that’s a scary thought, but fear is the beginning of wisdom.[2]Proverbs 1:7

Now wanting more than ever to understand what Jesus meant I decided to reread John chapters one though four in the hope that the gospel writer may hidden some clues in the text. By that I don’t mean that John actually tried to hide the meaning of God’s Word. On the contrary! John was writing to those who were already worshiping in Spirit and Truth therefore it went without saying.

Because I had taken this line of reasoning I finally did discover some clues that led to me exactly understand what Jesus meant. Therefore, hoping for you to discover the same at this conjuncture, I would like ask you to reread those chapters also before you finish this article.

When reading them please keep in mind our question. What does it mean to worship in Spirit and truth?

Read John Chapters 1-4.

OK, now that you have finished the assignment we can see that chapters one, three and four offer plenty in regard to our question, but chapter two seems sort of out of place. It seems disconnected and independent so I began to wonder why it was included and how it connects with the other three. Chapter one is about Jesus being the word, God and the Messiah. Chapter two is wedding and a miracle and chapter three is about the coming Kingdom and finally chapter four lets everyone know that we must to worship in Spirit and truth as God designed and desires.

Getting back to chapter two I realize that it is a nice story about a wedding and Jesus’s first public miracle, but it doesn’t seem to be needed. Chapters one, three and four flow nicely without it or so it seems. Go ahead read those three or at least meditate on their continuity. Chapter two is out of sync. It’s almost as if the chapter isn’t needed, but there it is because God put it there. Therefore it must flow, but obviously I’m missing something. I languished in thought for a few days unable to find the missing link so to speak.

One day without much fanfare God let me see something that I had totally overlooked. It was a sentence that all of us who read the Gospels have read over and over again without really reading it. We see the words, but our eyes flow over them, we understand them, but do not capture their significance. Once I saw them, everything clicked and came together as though some sort of vortex sucked and pulled all indiscriminate parts together.

Here it is at a glance. Jesus’s His mother and His disciples are at a wedding. The bride and groom’s wine supply suddenly ran out and Mary wants Jesus to do something about it, she puts her son in a bind when she said, “Do whatever he tells you,” but they are probably the most important words ever spoken by a woman on earth then and now!

She tells the servants to do whatever he says.

For argument’s sake; What would happen if the servants refused? Would they have witnessed a miracle? Would they have known Jesus? Would Jesus have known them.

Here is something that you, I and everyone else should never forget. Her command wasn’t just for those porters. It’s for us too! The attitude that every follower of Jesus must have. Do what Jesus says.

Now that I knew the importance of chapter two everything came together and this is what I see.

John chapter one is about Jesus being the light and that light is the life of men. Mankind is in darkness, and that darkness is death. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness does not understand it. In other words, life comes into death and the very thought of life is beyond death’s comprehension. Death cannot comprehend life because it is 100% alien.

We also need to know that some translations say darkness does not understand the light and others say that darkness does not comprehend the light.

The reason I bring this up is because it is it is imperative to know what the Greek word is really trying to describe a disparity that is far greater between darkness and light than imagined. The Greek word ‘katalambano’[3]https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/jhn/1/5/s_998005 hover over the tools button verse 5 and select linear.and discover it means to actively fight against rather than not to understand or comprehend.

We in darkness cannot understand the truth of God because we actively fight against it before we know it is true so that when the truth is finally revealed to us we reject it!

Therefore, be warned! It is when you and I disagree with truth that the darkness is trying to trap us. If and when you feel yourself fighting against the word being declared cry out, “Jesus save me, open my eyes!”

In summary John chapter one tells us that we’re in darkness and dead, but believing in Jesus we can become children of God. Let’s ask some questions about being dead.

If you are dead can you understand? If you are dead can you roll over and get comfortable? If you are dead can you breath? If you are dead can you do anything at all?

There is absolutely no commonality between life and death. Nothing! If you are dead and don’t like where your buried you can’t get up and lie elsewhere, or if you’re thirsty you can’t get a drink. Those things are impossible! You are incapable of any and all living activity. You can’t even like or dislike your situation. You are dead.

We see that Jesus comes to his people and they are in darkness. They are incapable of understanding Jesus. They are incapable worshiping God. They are incapable of understanding anything at all that pertains to life! Comprehension is beyond their grasp. They actually fight against Jesus as evidenced by their murder of Him! For the dead, the worship of God is an act of complete vanity and utter futility. The dead cannot worship God.

Note: Please keep in mind that this is God’s perspective which is the perspective of life. From our perspective we naturally want to fight against God’s perspective but it is the perspective that we need to obtain. We need to see through God’s eyes and that’s what exactly what Jesus is always attempting to do. He wants us to see.

It is into this environment that God thrusts his Son and rescuer Jesus. It is a world utterly devoid of life. He is the light, but even his own people can’t recognize him.

Therefore God sent one of their own, John, because men are willing to accept another man’s testimony. John came as a witness to the light but he himself was not the light. He came only as a witness to the light so that all men might believe. Jesus came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Children not born of natural descent or human decision or husband’s will, but born of God.

What we know so far:

  1. God is seeking those who worship him in Spirit and truth. It is mandatory.
  2. We ‘mankind’ by nature are dead and cannot worship God because we a dead.
  3. God desires to change our dreadful situation.
  4. God sends Jesus to rescue us.
  5. Those who believe Jesus is the Christ are given the right or power to become children God.
  6. Some sort of adoption or birth must take place after our belief in Jesus.

We’ve made some headway and have discovered that we have a ‘Spirit’ deficit when it comes to worshiping God. We also discover that an adoption or rebirth is necessary for us to reboot a spiritual connection to God.

We are now left with two questions.

  1. When and how does one obtain the Spirit?
  2. When and how does one become a child born of God?

Most will assert that at the moment we believe in Jesus we are born again and receive God’s spirit. But is that true?

Why would I ask such a question?

Because John 1:12-13 states that to all who did receive [Jesus] him, to those who believed in [Jesus] his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision, nor a husband’s will, but born of God.

Let me ask you a question dear reader.

You as a citizen of this country have the right to become a lawyer; does that belief make you a lawyer?

At this point dear reader you may be feeling a little uncomfortable. I know I did. This teaching went against everything that I had been taught. Let’s remember what you just read a few moments ago. The truth will make you uncomfortable. You will naturally fight against it.

Verse thirteen affirms that belief only gives us the right to become a child of God. In the original language it states that being born of God is not by the will of flesh, nor blood, nor by the will of man.

Let me ask you another question dear reader.

When you believed in Jesus who’s will, who’s decision was that? Didn’t the scripture just tell us that being born of God is not by our will, or the will of man?

You may be feeling very uncomfortable right now, but please remember it is because you are hearing the truth.

The truth is we need to discover how to actually and truly become children of God.

Let’s continue if you are still reading?

The next chapter concerning Nicodemus will help answer our question.

Nicodemus, is a member of the Jewish ruling council, he comes to Jesus at night having observed Jesus doing miracles during the Passover feast at the Temple.

Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus is from God by what he said, “No one could be doing the miracles your doing if God wasn’t with him.”

Jesus gets right to the point and says, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:3-8 NIV.

There you have it. This passage answers our questions. The reason we’ve never seen it before is because we weren’t really looking.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that none can even see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.

Earlier the scripture said we have the right to become children of God, but it that earlier passage doesn’t tell us how to become a child of God.

Here we see Jesus telling us how. We must be born again.

We already learned that believing in Jesus doesn’t equate to being born again therefore it must be something else. The earlier passage said we can be born of God, therefore if it’s not by our will then begin born again must be by God’s will. In other words the method is determined by God and not us! It is not of human descent, meaning it has absolutely nothing to do with our natural birth; it has nothing to do with a human decision or a fathers will. It is 100% from God and of God.

Nicodemus astonishingly even asks how can we be born again when he asked, “How can someone be born when they are old? Surely they cannot enter their mother’s womb a second time to be born?”

To Nicodemus’s credit he wasn’t aware of what we’ve already learned from John chapter one. That the rebirth has nothing to do with the natural birth, but he instinctively knew that a physical rebirth was an impossibility and that being reborn of God had to be something else.

Jesus desiring Nicodemus to see the truth replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’

Here we see that being born again as a child of God is a prerequisite to entering the Kingdom of God. Therefore to become a child of God we must be born again. Born of water and the Spirit.

Now many will even try to say that being born of water is concerned with our natural birth. But argument is one from darkness trying to fight against the truth.

If natural birth fulfills the requirement of water to be born again; then doesn’t that negate the Word which earlier said being born of God is not by flesh, blood or by man’s will?

A mother’s water breaking is an act of flesh, but God says being born again has nothing to do with our flesh. Therefore being born of water must mean something else.

That is why Jesus followed up with, “Flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit gives birth to Spirit.” Flesh give birth to flesh separate from that of the Spirit which gives birth to Spirit. One does not have anything to do with the other.

Jesus makes a clear distinction between the flesh and Spirit. Spiritual birth is from God and has nothing to do with the flesh.

Therefore being born of water can only mean one thing and that also comes from scripture.

On the day of Pentecost, the very first day of the New Testament times, or the New Covenant, after Jesus rose from the dead Peter preached the most important sermon to humanity which became the foundation of Christianity.

Read Acts chapter two.

Peter preached that Christ died on the cross as an atoning blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind, but he also preached that his audience with the help of the Romans were guilty of killing the very Messiah for whom they were seeking.

On hearing this Peter’s listeners were filled with guilt and asked, “What can we do?”

Peter knowing they believed his message replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

“With many other words, he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” –Acts 2:38-41

We see that at baptism, which means immersion in water, our sins are forgiven, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and we’re added to their number meaning God’s Kingdom, children of God.

These are the type of worshipers that God seeks! You must be born again of the water and the Spirit.

God is seeking baptized believers! Peter message is true.

Knowing this also helps us understand Jesus when he said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” —Matthew 7:21-23

Ask yourselves which one fits God will. Asking Jesus to come into your heart or being baptized as Peter instructed?

Worshiping God in any other way or fashion is an act of complete futility because other ways is always the way of man. Mankind is in darkness. We are dead therefore any and all of our attempts to worship are categorically dead.

Isaiah evens says that our good deeds are even like filthy rags.–Isaiah 64:6

I know this is a difficult lesson. I know that some of you may be angry. Some are embittered by this article. I was too at one time. I also had to reconcile my heart with my head. There is only one way to do that. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength! If and when you do God will open your eyes.

If you refuse to believe then you are refusing to believe God. You are not arguing with me or the article you are arguing with God. And when you do that you can’t see the truth.

If that’s what you want then have it your way. But please remember Satan has already lost there’s no sense in letting him win. He only comes to destroy.

Flee from sin and choose God’s way. God wants you to win and you can only win if you choose God’s side.

Please know that God loves you and I love you.

References

Satan’s Accusations Getting You Down?

Satan’s Accusations Getting You Down?

HOW SATAN’S ACCUSATIONS can BECOME JESUS’ AFFIRMATIONS

Have you ever heard of an accused personality? Well, I have and eerily I am one. Sometimes I feel as though I’m like the young Sir Henry Baskerville, of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of Baskerville,”  who believed he was cursed. He was constantly haunted at night by a hound whose frightful howls would mysteriously waft from a nearby moor shrouded in mist that terrified the depths of his soul.
Maybe you remember the famous line in the tale. “The curse, the curse, it comes for me!

This is type of accused thinking that can turn into a self fulfilling prophecy that will destroy you just as fast as it did Sir Henry. The thought of which brings to mind the apostle Peter.

Since Peter denied Jesus right when the rooster crowed; do you think he was haunted and tormented by that crow every morning?.

Whenever I used to think of Peter’s denial of Jesus, I always assumed that he must have felt and acted just like I do. Every time rooster crowed Peter must have constantly  beat himself over the head with it.

But would Peter have been the great apostle he was if he acted that way?

Can you imagine Peter hearing a rooster crow every morning after what he did?

If I was He I would have have these thoughts or similar to them in nature: I’m a scumbag, I’m a worm, slugs are more worthy that me. I’m good for nothin’ and will never amount to nothin’, I’m a saltless dirt bag a worthless scoundrel thrown out and trampled. The slime of a slug is more appealing than me. I’ll never make to heaven, my destiny is hell the only thing for which I am worthy.

I always imagine that Peter’s denial was in the forefront of his mind and that he would begrudgingly carry the enormous weight of his betrayal which screamed in a loud shrill telling him to quit. You worthless piece of dung. Why go on? You are finished! You are a cooked goose!

In my mind I pictured Peter as having superhuman strength and determination to continue in the fact of such daunting accusations. Every day he had to carry his burden Everyday the rooster crowed. Every day he was reminded of his denial. Everyday he would keep on keepin’ on in the midst of his great turmoil, pain, and anguish. If only I can be like him? If I can push through my dismal existence just like he did to the bitter end then maybe I too just might make it to heaven. 

Maybe I can be like him and even find some kind of happiness through my own determination. Yet in the midst of these toils I sometimes wished my life would just end. 

I even considered suicide several times, but knowing that I would definitely be cursed if I took that route I always stopped short at the thought. I was so deceived at the time I didn’t recognize this was Satan’s tactic. All I knew is that in despair I had to put my head down and push forward without hope and only with the expectation of eternal fire[1]Hebrews 10:26-27 and torment. The only comfort I was able to receive was knowing that living in this self persecution was far better than hell that awaited.

Now that is a sick mind that needs healing.

GREAT NEWS! JESUS THE HEALER STILL HEALS!

I recently discovered how to overcome that demented attitude with a more positive, encouraging and productive perspective. 

One day as I was out for one of my early morning walks I had the pleasure of hearing a rooster crow. “Err-uh-err-uh-errrrr!”

At that moment I was praying and praising God so I thanked Him for the rooster too. I marveled at how He had fashioned the bird into a morning herald to announce the dawn of every new day with an enthusiastic vigor that would rise anyone from the deepest sleep and this just when the faintest sliver of sun-light broke through the darkness and over the horizon.

rooster

Photo by Todd Quakenbush

I wondered how the rooster knew when to crow. Did he awake a few minutes early to witness the first light, or was he up half the night waiting for the crack of dawn or maybe he just woke at dawn? I really didn’t know and wasn’t that concerned at the time for I was marveling and praising and thanking God for His creation of the rooster.

Because of this early morning encounter with a rooster I couldn’t help but think of Peter’s denial of Jesus. I even thought of how Satan possibly attacked him immediately afterward with vicious and damning accusations.

Hadn’t Jesus warned Peter earlier, “Satan has requested to sift you like wheat.”

I wondered how Peter stayed faithful when Satan lambasted him every morning. “You denied Jesus! You unworthy scum bucket. God hates you. He will never forgive you. You’ve gone too far. Didn’t Jesus say if you deny Him in earth He’ll deny you before the Father in heaven. Your finished! You saved your own skin and now you’ll pay the piper.”

Accusations like those would make my heart sink faster than a lead balloon. How did Peter survive; how did he stand up under them; how did he keep going? How was Peter able to stay positive and go on to be the great leader that he was?

It was at this very moment of questioning while praising God for the rooster that I had an epiphany. I discovered Peter’s secret to survival.

I was experiencing a similar pain as that of Peter and I needed to learn how he survived, so that my mistakes, shortcomings self loathing wouldn’t be my downfall and drag me away from Christ! There are things we do that are too heavy and impossible for us to bear. We need Jesus and we need to understand Jesus’s grace at the same depth as Peter. Impossible? No, he was a man just like us.

MY STORY

When I was baptized, I died with Christ, I as buried with him in watery grave and raised up with him into a new life. I was never going to sin again, or so, I thought.

Amazingly, I lasted about a year and half or so before I purposely sinned or so I thought. I want you to know that I wasn’t without sin but naively unaware. For some reason I thought I’d never sin one of those big sins again. I thought I was beyond them. I’m in Christ and can’t go on sinning.

I was flat out wrong and flat out didn’t understand what the apostle John meant when he said, “No one who lives in him (christ) keeps on sinning” 1 John 3:6 (NIV).

As a new babe in Christ I had a lot of growing to do as we all do. Thanks be to God for His mercy, love and grace which he so lavishly showers upon us!

Anyway one fateful day I did purposely chose to sin and let an angry man cause me to lose my temper when I let loose with a barrage of bad language at him in a fit of rage. I’d be a liar if I said that moment didn’t hurt. I nearly ruined me. I couldn’t forgive myself and that led to more sin until I actually did fall away and languished in self-hatred for several years. Not a good place to be.

In my mind I had betrayed God who had forgiven me, a prodigal son who returned to Him at baptism. Now I a son of God sinned willfully against my God. How could that be? I betrayed Him! I took the lordship of my life back again. Now, I, a prodigal son who returned from a sinful life, fully embraced sin again and to my knowledge there is nothing in the Word about a prodigal son sinning twice, leaving twice and coming back twice. because of that I now believed that I was eternally condemned. 

God would never forgive me. How could He? After all that He did for me. I spurned him, I chose momentary delight and sinful pleasure over Him. In baptism I became a new creation in Christ. Well, on that sinful day too I had been changed. I resurrected my old self; thus proclaiming there truly is a resurrection having spurned my new life by raising my old self bringing judgment on my head. I had ruined myself, I was without hope. I had become utterly unacceptable and useless to God.

I thought these ideas were mine, but they actually were coming from Satan. He was sifting me like wheat and I was letting him get away with it.

But on that morning walk the epiphany which came in God’s timing after several years of self persecution taught me the same lesson that Peter had learned. Albeit he was must faster learner.

Ok, you may be wondering, he fell away. Why is the author now on a prayer walk?

As I said before I did fall away for several years, but I was miserable the whole time and desired to be with God, but still thought that was impossible as Hebrews 6:4-6 says. So, I thought if I could just go back to the fellowship maybe I could have some peace of mind. 

So I came back, but not fully convinced that I could make it to heaven. My warped thinking said if I could just prevent others from falling away and from sharing my demise then that purpose would give me some comfort and peace and put me in better place emotionally. So I came back with a purpose to warn others not to do what I had done. If could help someone and prevent them from suffering my fate then just maybe I’d feel a little better.

Anyway let’s get back to Peter and try to put ourselves in his shoes.

PETER’S STORY

On the night after the last supper after Judas would betray Jesus, He and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives.

“[There][2][mine] Jesus told them, ‘This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: I will strike the, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.’

Peter replied, ‘Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will. 

‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’

But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the other disciples said the same. —Matthew 26:31-35 (NIV)

Jesus is arrested and taken away and Peter being curious followed at a distance.

In a short while Peter found himself standing around a fire with some soldiers near where Jesus was being beaten and questioned.

“Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said. 

But he denied it before them all. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’

He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don’t know the man!’

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’

Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’

Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ —In Luke the text says that Peter and Jesus locked eyes right at this moment.— And he went outside and wept bitterly.” —Matthew 26:69-75 (NIV)

In my thinking this was the very moment Satan attacked Peter and began to sift him like wheat just as Jesus predicted.[3]Luke 22:31-33

In due time Jesus was crucified and for three days and two nights Peter wallowed in misery. Every morning the rooster crowed reminding Peter that he denied Jesus!

Then it got worse for Peter early Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came back from the tomb and claimed they had seen the risen Jesus.[4]Matthew 28:1-8

On hearing this Peter and John ran to the tomb, but it was empty.[5]John 20:3-8

Now we must let our imaginations run a little bit so that we can understand Peter’s emotional state. I see Peter as a big burly guy full of strength, virtue and bravado, but now thoroughly deflated. He was Jesus’s most trusted aide. He walked on water! He was Jesus’s right hand man. The other disciples respected him. He lived on a pedestal. Peter was the right hand man of Jesus the Messiah, second in command. He was like Joseph. What more could he ask for?

But now having denied Jesus he hurriedly ran to the tomb with John only to find Jesus wasn’t there to greet his right hand man, To be completely sure Peter went into the tomb and made himself unclean. Now unclean on top of his feelings Peter realizes that Jesus greeted a woman, but not Him! We must remember that in this era a woman’s testimony was only worth half that of a man’s. Therefore when Jesus appeared to a woman and not to Peter, he was humiliated, deeply grieved. Satan not wasting any opportune moment to pass pounced immediately and probably said to Peter, “You are the lowest of lows, you’re even less than a woman. You’re not a man, you’re a worm! 

Man those words must have really hurt a man in those days. Peter’s turmoils mount.

To make matters worse Satan probably also said, “Did not Jesus say, ‘Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.’” —Matthew 10:32-33

Peter is feeling overwhelmed with guilt and self loathing finally gives up. There’s nothing left to do, but to go back to fishing.[6]John 21:3

  And so he goes back to his old life of a hard living, hard fighting fisherman, who immerses himself in his work to forget.

JESUS TO THE RESCUE

Early one morning the disciples are out on the boat fishing but have caught nothing. Jesus hails them from the shore and tells them to cast the net on the right side and they will find some fish. 

“He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’

‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ As soon as Simon Peter heard John say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.” —John 21:5-7 (NIV)

When Peter got to the shore, “Jesus said…, ‘Come have some breakfast.’

None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.”

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’

Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’

He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’

The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. 

Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’” —John 21:12-22

When Jesus said, “follow me” it clicked inside of Peter. At that moment he understood Jesus’s love and grace. He truly comprehended the depth of Jesus’s love at a far greater level than he ever thought or imagined.

Each of us must, through our own experiences, come to personal understanding of Jesus’s love for us in the flagrant face of all our sin shortcomings. Knowing of Jesus’s love is not enough. We must personally experience Jesus’s love and when we do then our love for God and Jesus becomes genuine and intimate.

Once Peter came to this level of intimacy the morning rooster no longer bothered him. As a matter of fact it became a joy! He wanted to hear it, no he needed to hear the rooster crow!

Why?

Because the crowing had become an AFFIRMATION of Jesus’s love instead of an ACCUSATION of Satan.

Wow! Isn’t God great.

Since I was able share Peter’s epiphany Satan’s accusations only caused me to grow stronger and closer to Christ.

Here’s the thing, our misery is real, it’s painful, it hurts, but each of us must go through it and experience in order to experience the depth of Jesus’s love. The greater we hurt the greater our love for Christ will be.

Isn’t that what Jesus said, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” —Luke 7:47 

If one loves God a little then one hasn’t grappled how sinful they really are and have been. I am not advocating sin to be loved much, but I’m advocating we all have sinned much, but some are deceived, and think they sin little. When we realize the depth of our deprivation we will realize the depth of God’s love.

God said of Noah and his family, “…“Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done…” —Genesis 8:21 (NIV)

God says every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. That’s me, you, mother Theresa and everyone. If one pooh poohs that idea then I can only say you are in for a heap of trouble.

Here’s what I now do whenever I’m accused by Satan.

I imagine that I’m sitting across from Jesus at the Sea of Galilee. Jesus looks straight into my eyes as asks if I love him. He asks three times and I respond three time that I do. He gets up and says, “Follow me.” I stop my self loathing and follow him. Now Satan doesn’t accuse me so much because he figured out he’s only building me up. Satan never gives up —so never let up— seek and follow Jesus daily!

We must be like Jesus who never lets us down, never gives up, always hopes, always trusts, and He always loves. His love for us all covers a multitude of sin.

So hopefully you too will be able to turn Satan’s accusations into affirmations of Jesus’s love for you!

Now that you know this truth go teach others and do the same!

God loves you and I love you!

References

References
1 Hebrews 10:26-27
2 [mine]
3 Luke 22:31-33
4 Matthew 28:1-8
5 John 20:3-8
6 John 21:3
What Lord Means?

What Lord Means?

There is no other way to escape this life alive except through Jesus Christ. Like it or not… He has been made both Lord and Christ. Many claim him as Savior, but few even acknowledge that Jesus is Lord too!

What does the word ‘Lord’ actually mean in today’s terms?

In the United States there aren’t any ‘lords’ these days, except for landlords, but other than that there are none. For that reason we in the U.S. don’t fully grasp the concept of lordship in real life terms. Now, if we don’t understand lordship; how can we truly understand what it means to have a Lord over us, and if we can’t truly understand Jesus being Lord, then where does that leave us?

Many call Jesus lord today but most don’t or won’t do everything he says!

That compels reason Him to say, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:21-23

From Jesus’ own word we can understand that calling or making Jesus Lord is not enough. How many times have you heard, “I made Jesus Lord of my life today!” The fact is Jesus is Lord of our lives whether you recognize him as lord or not. It doesn’t even matter what you think. Jesus is both Lord and Christ even to an atheist.

If you believe Jesus is Lord what it really means is that He’s your master. Now a servant of a master must obey the master. One can’t say, “I’ll think about it, I don’t like that idea, or no.” It is not as simple as saying, “Ok Jesus you’re Lord.”

We have to know Jesus. To know Jesus we must obey his commands.

More importantly he has to know us! Just above Jesus said, “I never knew you!” to believers. In other words, “He has to know us! If he doesn’t know us we don’t know Him!

The key to knowing Him Jesus tells us to do the will of the Father. God’s will is that we listen to Jesus. Mose’s spoke of Jesus when He said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.” -Deut. 18:15 (NIV)

To listen to someone is to be taught. Jesus is our teacher of life. Therefore to learn how to live we must do what He says! Like it or not Jesus has commands that we must obey.

Here’s some questions to ask yourself.

Is Jesus really Lord of my life?

How can I know Jesus is lord of my life?

Does Jesus really know me?

How do I know Jesus knows me?

What does the Bible teach about knowing Jesus?

What does the Bible teach about Jesus knowing me?

Are you ready for judgment day?

Would you like to learn more. Please contact me at: admin@seekjesusdaily.com

“LORD, LORD,” PART II Not every Christian is a Christian.

“LORD, LORD,” PART II Not every Christian is a Christian.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.“ —Jesus Mt 7:13-14 (NIV)

THE SMALL GATE AND NARROW THE ROAD

Just how small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life? Notice that there are two things that must be found to obtain life? The small gate and the narrow road.

The Greek word for ‘small’ is ‘stenos’ meaning strait: Which is a narrow and sometimes dangerous passage that connects two large bodies of water.

Therefore the small gate is a narrow passage between two large kingdoms, the world’s kingdom and the kingdom of Heaven. It’s a very narrow and difficult to navigate suggesting (more…)

Seek Jesus Daily