TRUTH: A Report on Who is the Enemy

April 25, 2018

Chicken Little said the sky was falling. The Little Boy cried the Wolf was coming. We all have read stories that are not true, but let me tell you the TRUTH: A Report on Who Is the Enemy.

I knew as soon as I began writing the post TRUTH: The Armor of God – Who is the Enemy? that I would be attacked, ambushed, assaulted, and as we say in the vernacular, He snucked me. I was quite sure that the devil and his minions would be out in force to make a mockery of me in my desire to not respond to people in fear, anger or vengeance.

The prince of demons used some bump stops or automatic weapons. Well, the wicked one started close to home. First, it was my daughter, who without provocation, had an attitude with me as we started devotion with her brother and me. I am not sure why her attitude change, but I was sure who was behind the influence of it. As I got to school, there were strange situations where a couple of adults and kids were agitated with me for whatever reason. Next thing I know, I was raising my voice at a kid for having his pants so low that I saw the gathering of a cotton blend in a place I should never see. As I was talking, I mean exclaiming, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Do you see what is happening?” I toned it down a bit. Next, I got a phone call from a parent who was borderline irate and threatening. Then another adult told me that a decision I made was not sufficient. She wanted more blood from the turnip of the student. I was accused of informing a few people incorrectly about completing a process. I will not get into that. Another parent used so much hyperbole about her daughter’s safety that I thought I was in a journalist workshop for creating headlines.

I could go on and on, but the coup de grâce was contention between my wife and me. For almost a year, I had been talking about purchasing a bedroom suit for my son. Two weeks ago, we went to a place that makes all-wood furniture. We have a number of pieces in our home that we have purchased over the years. Let’s just say, I walked out of the store asking myself what did I just commit to. Well, the miscommunication hit a crescendo. It went back to what was said in the store. As I shook off the cobwebs, I just know that I was in a John Q moment. I had to do something. Just as life imitated art, I did something and then that created a bigger problem. How could I have been told to do something about the problem and get in more trouble for doing something – John Q. LOL Nevertheless, I knew that as the evening was coming to a close that I had been tried all day as to how I would respond to the taunts of the wicked one. Did I recognize who the true enemy was in those situations or not. I won some. I lost some. What was more important was that God was with me still. He was there to prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment

Hallelujah, He has won the victory and for me. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” I know who the enemy is, but God is greater and He is my friend, shield, guide, protector, strength, etc. That is the most important part about the TRUTH: A Report on Who Is the Enemy

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TRUTH: The Armor of God – Who is the Enemy?

April 24, 2018

A Knight in Shining Armour (armor) is someone who saves you from a difficult situation. The Old English tales of knights are indicative of God’s work in our lives through Christ Jesus. When Christ left the disciples, He told them, and subsequently us, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18 Jesus was inferring that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with them and to empower them. When Paul said, TRUTH: The Amor of God: Be Strong in the Lord, that is what Paul was referencing. Paul shared with us how recognize the TRUTH: The Armor of God – Who is the Enemy?

Ephesians 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

TRUTH: The Armor of God – Who is the Enemy? The enemy is the devil, the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I will get back to those, but it is really important that we recognize who the enemy is not.

WE CANNOT miss this. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood”. We hear this but we don’t hear this. We don’t truly understand. God, through Paul, is telling us plainly that man is not our enemy. Our struggle is not against man. Struggle is also used as wrestle. The word for wrestle is palē.  According to the Blueletter Bible, wrestling (a contest between two in which each endeavors to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck). The term is used figuratively or transferred to the Christian’s struggle with the power of evil.

When your spouse, child, parent, friend, co-worker, person driving next to you does something that angers you. Remember, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood” When we remember, we have the right mindset. We will not attempt to exact justice or even to think that way when we are acutely aware of who our struggle is against. God wants us to know that our enemy is the devil. We need look any further than Jesus to see how this works. Whether betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter or crucified by the Jews and Gentiles, Jesus did not see them as the enemy. He was completely lucid on who the enemy was. 

Luke 22 tells us how the devil used Judas –  Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus…. 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.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Paul shared with us how recognize the TRUTH: The Armor of God – Who is the Enemy?

Now, it is our responsibility to walk in that truth through the power of the Holy Spirit.

TRUTH: The Full Armor of God

April 23, 2018

In 1 Corinthians 9, we are told “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” James 1:12 tells us “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” God reiterates that in Revelation 2:10 which says, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”

In the Christian life, we have a battle, a war if you will, that we face daily. How are we to fight that battle. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 tells us that “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” we are told in the post TRUTH: The Amor of God: Be Strong in the Lord, the first step in being strong in the Lord is to walk in the Spirit. TRUTH: The Full Armor of God

In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us we are to be strong in the Lord. He outlines the weapons that we have to fight this battle. The weapons which “have divine power to demolish strongholds.” Strongholds such as pride, anger, greed, selfishness, lustfulness, addiction, and generally sinful behavior.  In readying themselves for the battle of faith, Paul tells the Ephesians 

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

We are to “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” This is a battle between forces of light and forces of darkness. There is armor that the believers are asked to put on. We all know that armor is designed to protect one in battle. There is Christian or spiritual armor that we are to equip ourselves. The Greek word for armor is panoplia (pä-no-plē’-ä)  In the strictest of sense and in conjunction with the Greeks, the full armor or complete armor included a shield, sword, lance, helmet, greaves, and breastplate. TRUTH: The Full Armor of God

In a spiritual sense, the full armor includes all of the spiritual helps supplied by God for overcoming the temptations of the devil. It is implied that the first weapon is our faith over which this battle wagers. Furthermore, God has given us the other weapons so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground (V11,13). Because of one’s faith in Christ, we become an enemy of the devil where as those who have no faith in Christ are enemies of God and the Gospel. TRUTH: The Full Armor of God

Over the next few entries, we will look at each one of the items listed in the full armor or complete armor included a shield, sword, lance, helmet, greaves, and breastplate. This is stated because every believer is expected to remain faithful to Christ, so that they will not shipwreck their faith. Having a faith that endures to the end is the goal of the TRUTH: The Full Armor of God.

TRUTH: The Amor of God: Be Strong in the Lord

April 18, 2018

The World’s Strongest Man is a strongman competition that ranks competitors based on placing in the top three at the four to eight Giants Live events each year. Men are asked to demonstrate tremendous physical strength and endurance in those events. The common definition of strength is the ability to exert a force against a resistance; however, not all strength is physical. Just ask a mother who endures 17 hours of labor or the Prisoner of War (POW) who is held captive for more than a year. We all would agree that we need different types to strength to overcome the challenges of life. TRUTH: The Amor of God: Be Strong in the Lord

In the bible, God calls on man to exhibit spiritual strength. A common word for strength/strong in the Old Testament is chazaq (khä·zak’). One examples is when Moses was conferring leadership of the Iraelites to Joshua. Moses said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”(Deuteronomy 31:6)” Another example from the Old Testament is where David supported Solomon as God’s man to build the temple in 1 Chronicles 28. David said, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” While there are many other accounts of strength/strong, I want to end with Zechariah 4:6 where he is told ““This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” The message was not military strength or any other form of power, apart from God, is to be depended upon. God’s people were repeatedly told not to depend on military power and foreign alliances to accomplish their calling (Is. 31:1–3Ps. 20:7–9). In the Old Testament, The Spirit of God is often portrayed as the One who enables God’s servants to do God’s work and overcome obstacles. Even Jesus, the prophesied Servant of the Lord, the Messiah, is described in such terms (Is. 11:242:161:1). TRUTH: The Amor of God: Be Strong in the Lord

In the New Testament, a common word for strength/strong is endynamoō (en-dü-nä-mo’-ō) which means to be strong, endue with strength, strengthen or to receive strength, be strengthened, increase in strength. Paul uses an Old Testament figure, Abraham, to communicate how we are strengthened in Romans 4:20. The verse says, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,” We see Paul say that in Ephesians 6 which has been our text for the past few weeks. TRUTH: The Amor of God: Be Strong in the Lord

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

In Ephesians 1, Paul prayed for the Ephesians, so that they would know the exceeding greatness of God’s power towards us who believe. He noted that that it was the same power by which Christ was raised from the dead. With physical strength, we measure the difficulty by the weight or pounds one has to lift or move. With spiritual strength, we measure the difficulty by the ability of God who does the work, and when God is the one who does the work nothing is too difficult/hard or impossible. Again, Paul confirms the notion that believers and followers of Christ are strengthened through the Holy Spirit in Philippians 4:13 which says, “ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

TRUTH: The Amor of God: Be Strong in the Lord. Paul wants the believers to know where their strength or power comes from for this fight or battle that he is about to tell them about. We are in a fight, but just as God told King Jehoshaphat and all who lived in Judah and Jerusalem! “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

TRUTH: Offer Yourselves as Servant Masters of Christ

April 13, 2018

In the post TRUTH: Offer Yourself as Slaves (Servants) of Christ, we saw that, as followers of Christ, we have an obligation or a debt (OD) to God for the gift of Jesus Christ through whom we have salvation, the redemption from sins. Paul was addressing the believers in Ephesus who were slaves or servants because of a debt or obligation. His primary admonition was for them to “7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.” When dealing with an authority who gives out direction, we typically wonder about the other party. Jesus recognizes that so He tells the TRUTH: Offer Yourselves as Servant Masters of Christ

Paul had just addressed slaves in the earlier part of Ephesians 6. Now, he is addressing the masters.

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

The Greek word for master is kyrios (kü’-rē-os). It means

he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

  1. the possessor and disposer of a thing

    1. the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

    2. in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

  2. is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

  3. this title is given to: God, the Messiah

 As with the slave or servant, Paul establishes who the true authority in the slave/master relationship. The Greek adjective, (kuros), is used as a noun signifying “having power”  or “authority,” The true authority, Almighty God, is referenced to the  master. Paul reminds the master that God has not favoritism between he who is slave and he who is master as both are supposed to be servants to Jehovah, the Most High God. Listen to what Paul says that clearly defines that expectation. Paul wrote that “he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” TRUTH: Offer Yourselves as Servant Masters of Christ

The master is reminded that his position before God is the same as the slave – servant. One could say that the slave/servant is called servant servant and the master is called master servant. This is apropos as Jesus Christ demonstrates that He is the servant King in several places in scripture. Perhaps the most poignant is John 13 where he washes His disciples feet. He concludes by saying “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14 Philippians 2 is another passage that reveals that we should be a servant just as Jesus our professed Lord and Master who made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.. and ultimately dying on the cross.  This is why we should live the TRUTH: Offer Yourselves as Servant Masters of Christ

If you have been given any authority on earth, it has been given to you by God. Whether older sibling, parent, supervisor, manager, owner, etc, all positions of authority have been given to you by God. He expects you to honor Him by having the servant’s mindset. Work for the good of the other – TRUTH: Offer Yourselves as Servant Masters of Christ

 

TRUTH: What’s at the Heart of Your Service?

April 10, 2018

“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” This was a truth and a lesson that the Prophet Samuel learned when God commissioned him to anoint the next king of Israel. Saul had been rejected by God because of Saul’s disobedience wrought out of fear i.e. a lack of trust in his heart for God. TRUTH: What’s at the Heart of Your Service? God’s criteria was a man after his own heart. David, was “after God’s heart” in the sense of being committed to His will and purposes.

Similarly in Ephesians 6, God, through Paul, is addressing the hearts of the believers in terms of their service to Him. Whether slave/servant or master, God had the same expectation for them both. Let’s hear the voice of the Lord.

Ephesians 6

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

God often has a multiplicity of purposes that He addresses in one statement or groupings of words. The text above in Ephesians addresses many things, but I believe God would have me to look at the TRUTH: What’s at the Heart of Your Service? 

God answers that here in verse 7 which says “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” God does not want us to serve out of wrong motives which is founded in attempting to please people. God wanted the believers to remember that it was Him that they were to work for out of their appreciation of what He did for them on the cross. He repeats this in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”

Serving God with your whole heart is God’s criteria for service. When we input doubt, fear, ourselves or others, we jeopardize the privilege we have to serve God and to see Him at work in our lives and in the lives of those to whom He has appointed us to serve. With that, I ask you to consider the  TRUTH: What’s at the Heart of Your Service? 

 

TRUTH: Offer Yourself as Slaves (Servants) of Christ

April 9, 2018

As stated by National Geographic, “slavery in what became the United States probably began with the arrival of “20 and odd” enslaved Africans to the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619.” It officially ended with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Considering the history of the United States, the word slave or servant has a great propensity to be taken the wrong way. Slavery existed long before Africans were brought to the new world. In times that predate the Great Exploration, a person could sell himself or his wife into slavery because of poverty or debt (2 Kings 4:1Nehemiah 5:1–5Amos 2:6). We see that in Exodus 21 which comes right after the 10 Commandments. In the text, we see that text that the servitude was for six years. The need to survive is why many voluntarily became slaves. TRUTH: Offer Yourself as Slaves (Servants) of Christ

We know in our history in the United States that some used involuntary slavery as a means to gain free labor. Furthermore, we know that many used the bible as a means to substantiate that servitude; however, that is not what God intended. Unfortunately, man has a tendency to grossly misrepresent God all while presenting it as God’s will. TRUTH: Offer Yourself as Slaves (Servants) of Christ

Remember a slave was one who had sold him/herself because of poverty or a debt. In Ephesians 6, Paul is addressing slaves as believers in Christ Jesus.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Clearly, Paul was addressing those who had some obligations to their masters. The Greek word for slave is doulos (dü’-los) and the Hebrew word of the same ilk is `ebed (eh’·ved).  Doulos is defined as 

a slave, bondman, man of servile condition

  1. a slave

  2. metaph., one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men

  3. devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests

Because of slavery in the United States, the context or notion of being a slave is not well received. However, the more appropriate word is servant. Paul had already clarified the matter of slavery in terms of one whom we served in Romans 6. Listen to what Paul said,

16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In a spiritual sense, we all are slaves or servants. We are either slaves to sin which leads to death, or we are slaves to righteousness which leads to life. This is why I submit the TRUTH: Offer Yourself as Slaves (Servants) of Christ. Slavery or servanthood is a given. Remember, those in earlier times offered themselves as slaves because of poverty or debt. As such, we are impoverished in regards to righteousness and goodness.  Romans 3:10-12 says, “10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Many think that we are good, but the Word of God says that none of us are good. We are poor as good is considered currency.

Furthermore, we owe a huge debt to Christ. “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:8-13 NKJV)

As followers of Christ, we have an obligation or a debt (OD) to God for the gift of Jesus Christ through whom we have salvation, the redemption from sins. That is why I am urging you in the TRUTH: Offer Yourself as Slaves (Servants) of Christ. Otherwise, you stand condemned already because you have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Christ paid my debt of sin on the cross. I will gladly offer myself as a slave or servant of Christ

 

TRUTH: Did You Miss What God Said?

April 5, 2018

Have you ever been talking to someone and heard what they said but didn’t hear what they said? Whether with my mom, wife, kids or students, some times my full attention is not directed to the one speaking to me. When I do that, I miss vital information that is communicated to me. Other times, I give my full attention to the speaker, but for whatever reason, what they say just glides past me without recognizing the significance of what was said. This same circumstance happens between God and man too – the TRUTH: Did You Miss What God Said?

Matthew 20:17-19

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

Did you catch that? Jesus was speaking to the disciples. He foretold, predicted or prophesied His betrayal, FAKE NEWS where he was condemned to death, beaten, crucified and resurrected. In fact, this was Jesus third time telling the disciples the events of death, burial and resurrection; yet, they still did not hear or understand what He had plainly told them. The first two instances, according to Matthew, can be found in Matthew 16:21 and Matthew 17:22, 23. We know that the disciples did not hear the TRUTH: Did You Miss What God Said?

How many times has God been speaking to us and we did not listen? I know there are countless times. Take today for example, God told me that was investing time in everything else that did not matter. That included getting my wife’s car looked at for repairs. He did not say she did not matter, but in comparison to Him, she does not when He is not given ample time to build our relationship. God wants our time. Our obedience and time are the greatest indicators of how much God means to us. If we are not willing to invest time with Jehovah, we seriously need to confess, repent and ask for forgiveness. I know, we get busy, but who gives us the time? We get busy, but who gives us the strength, ability and resources to indulge in what takes priority over Him at the time. One reason we miss what God says is that we have our minds on ourselves.

In Matthew 16, Peter heard Jesus, but Peter’s mind was not on the things of God. Look at how Jesus’ and Peter’s interaction after Jesus told the disciples of His death and resurrection.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Similarly in Matthew 17, the disciples were just filled with grief. While grief is a natural emotion, it really centers on self. I once subscribed to the notion that the enemy of faith was fear. It is an opposite action of TRUSTing God, but after hearing from God today, I am reconsidering my perspective. I believe that serving self over God may be the truest enemy to our faith. It robs us of the mindset that Jesus demonstrated in order to bring about God’s plan for man. Likewise, we exempt ourselves from the plan of God when self is our first priority. Self prohibits us from hearing and obeying God. Jesus reveals victory over self in the garden when He said, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

TRUTH: Did You Miss What God Said? If we are thinking about ourselves, the answer is yes. Yes, we missed what God said because we were thinking of ourselves. Look for one opportunity today to say no to yourself and yes to hearing God and obeying God.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV

TRUTH: Easter is Over, but Jesus Still Offers Life.

April 2, 2018

Like most things in America, Easter is over commercialized, and its meaning gets often overlooked. Contrary to Madison Avenue, it is not about bunnies and related products that have the image of a rabbit somewhere in its appeal. Debate abounds over the origin of the day; however, If you want my opinion about it, we should reflect, celebrate, and demonstrate our appreciation of the resurrection of Christ daily, certainly weekly. After all Jesus, according to Luke 22:19, said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” TRUTH: Easter is Over, but Jesus Still Offers Life.

Matthew 20:17-19

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

Jesus was raised to life indicating His victory over sin and death. His victory conveys that He is able to offer victory over sin and death for those who trust Him as Savior and Lord.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Romans 3:23-25
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
Romans 7:4-6
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ,that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
For since death came through a man (Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man (Jesus).
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
John 11:20-27

20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.  21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God,who is to come into the world.”

Jesus said to Martha and says to us “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” That is the TRUTH: Easter is Over, but Jesus Still Offers Life.
Jesus still offers life to those who would believe that He is God incarnate, the Son of God who died on the cross but was raised from the dead to offer us life. In John 5:24 Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
Will your believe the TRUTH: Easter is Over, but Jesus Still Offers Life?

TRUTH: Two Roads for Fathers in Rearing Children

March 28, 2018

God’s knowledge, wisdom and insight are so vast that I can hardly relate. For over a week now, I have been contemplating the role of a father in the life of his child. My wife tells me that I am an all or nothing type of guy. While that is one thing that she loved about me, it also has been a snare for her at times. In some respects, she is right because I am either all in or not, black or white, close to you are far away from you. Life is better defined and simpler for me when I stay out of the middle in favor for either side of the pendulum. TRUTH: Two Roads for Fathers in Rearing Children.

Similarly, God said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” (Revelation 3:15) God desires for us to be all for Him or against Him. My desire is to be for Him, but honestly, with the sinful nature, I agree with Paul who said, “So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7TRUTH: Two Roads for Fathers in Rearing Children.

This notion of two roads or paths surfaces for fathers in the rearing of their children as Paul speaks to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (NASB)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children;instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (NKJV)

TRUTH: Two Roads for Fathers in Rearing Children are either hot or cold for God. As Paul instructs fathers, there are two paths or roads that surface – provoking them to anger or pronouncing training and instruction of the Lord. The portion about provoking them to anger really hit me hard, so hard that I had to let it ruminate in my spirit before writing. I had to take a look at myself. Like with many areas of my life, I prefer to reside in the extremes, but I tend to pitch a tent in the middle. God has no room for that. More importantly, my kids suffer from be being neither hot or cold. For years, I taught Sunday School and Children’s Church at my church. That was before my children were born and after. I even had lessons for my kids when there was a lull at my church for kids. I engage them in reading the Word, memorizing the Word and have tried teaching them the inductive bible study method. While I have not been as consistent each Sunday morning in Sunday School, I have engaged them the past four years in daily devotions most days.

On the other hand, I have provoked them to anger by being overly critical. One’s strength can certainly become a weakness. In that light, my penchant for being able to identify what is a challenge, area to work on or weakness has been over developed as it relates to child rearing. I find myself more patient, kind, honoring, less angry, forgetting wrongs and more protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering with my students at school than my children at home. Simply, that is how love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13. God, through people who have traveled this road before me, has encouraged me to change my ways in mid stream. God cares deeply for children and me and me as a father.

Just this week, God challenged me to be more motivating to my kids. Find a positive and accentuate it. God challenged me to find ways to stimulate or spur them on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Deflate or stimulate, those are the two roads for me as a father. I must choose to encourage my children and not discourage them. That is the TRUTH: Two Roads for Fathers in Rearing Children