Archive for May, 2017

TRUTH: God is Good, so why did He…

May 30, 2017

Let’s face it, we cannot fully comprehend God because He is incomprehensible. Furthermore, how could a finite being, man, confidently assess, value or judge an infinite being, God? We cannot fully make an assessment, value or judgement beyond our comprehension; however, we can make assessments, values or judgements on what we do comprehend. Where we get confused, off-base and in trouble is where we do know or comprehend one part of God’s character, but we cannot understand some other circumstance that seemingly competes with what we know. TRUTH: God is Good, so why did He… is what we typically hear in those situations.

For those who have any type of affirmation that God is, very few, if any, would contend with a statement that is ubiquitous in my network of people. The state goes like this – God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Despite the essence of God’s character is good and in no need of a modifier, people use the phrase to further cement in people’s mind of the character of God – His goodness. What do we mean by good? Let’s see two verses that are widely used to convey God’s goodness.

Psalm 84:11
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.

Romans 8:28-32
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

In Psalm 84:11, the Hebrew word used for good is towb (tōve). In the Old Testament, towb is used in the following manner: good (361x), better (72x), well (20x), goodness (16x), goodly (9x), best (8x), merry (7x), fair (7x), prosperity (6x), precious (4x), fine (3x), wealth (3x), beautiful (2x), fairer (2x), favour (2x), glad (2x), miscellaneous (35x). Towb has been defined as good, pleasant, agreeable, a good thing, benefit, welfare. In the 361 instances where the towb was used, it was used as “good”. Which we all have no limitations on understanding.

In Romans 8:28, the Greek word used for good is agathos (ä-gä-tho’s). In the New Testament, agathos is used in the following manner: good (77x), good thing (14x), that which is good (with G3588) (8x), the thing which is good (with G3588) (1x), well (1x), benefit (1x). Agathos describes that which, being “good” in its character or constitution, is beneficial in its effect; it is used of physical things e.g. a tree, in a moral sense, frequently of persons and things. God is essentially, absolutely and consummately “good,” and of the neuter of the adjective with the definite article signifies that which is “good,” lit., “the good,” as being morally honorable, pleasing to God, and therefore beneficial.

I provided all of that background information to say the TRUTH: God is Good, so why did He… I cannot count the number of times people have asked me or I have heard If God is good, why did He….  The first mistake is that we take an absolute – God’s goodness and translates it into a conditional matter. By saying if God is good or by merely questioning the goodness of God, one is, in his mind, taking a sure thing and making it into a questionable one. In doing so, that person allows himself to consider false circumstances and conclusions. The premise that God is not good is false, so everything after that is false leading the person to wrong and improper conclusions about God. When one asks that question out of seeking to understand i.e. why, the person understands the conflict between what is – the essence of God’s character versus what he does not understand – seemingly an instance of God not demonstrating the essence of His character i.e. good in this sense.

In Psalm 84:11 and Romans 8:28, we are provided clarity. In Psalm, we are told that God does not withhold anything good from those whose walk is blameless. Our premise is that we are blameless which we are not. Nevertheless, it is used to describe the genuine follower of God whose intent is to pursue God. I will only mention that we do not deserve anything from God except the consequence of our sin. Romans provides a greater application and understanding of conflicting experiences in our lives with the goodness of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,

It presupposes and affirms that God is good, so any option to the contrary is taken off the table. Those verses give a context, the why if you will, for seemingly conflicting circumstances in our lives. All things happen for God’s purpose – to conform all whom He foreknew and predestined be be conformed to the image of his Son. All circumstances are designed to conform us to the image of His Son. Conform is having the same form as Jesus, similar, conformed to His form, nature or character. Dictionary.com defines conform as to act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices,

TRUTH: God is Good, so why did He… The answer is that God desires us to respond like Jesus would in that situation – in complete TRUST and dependency on the Father which manifest itself in obedience to the TRUTH i.e. Jesus Contrary to popular belief, God is not primarily concerned with our pleasure, comfort and happiness. Philippians 1:29 tells us “29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,” God is primarily concerned with our godliness. God wants us to reflect the character of Christ in this world. 1 Peter 2:21 tells us “21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, ” TRUTH: God is Good, so why did He… to follow Christ

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TRUTH: Memorial Day

May 29, 2017

Memorial Day has been instituted in the United States of America to remember and honor those who have served this country. According to usmemorialday.org, Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in serMemorial Day - A Sacrificevice of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.

Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

 

It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Most people do not have a problem memorializing service men and women for their sacrifice. I have had a father, brother, cousins, friends and students who have served in one branch of the U.S. Military service. Let me be clear: I am not minimizing, disrespecting or devaluing their sacrifice. What I am doing is calling attention to TRUTH: Memorial Day.

As already stated, a memorial is something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc.,as a monument or a holiday; thus, TRUTH: Memorial Day is my effort to provide clarity to and in contrast with the quote in the image here. One’s life is considered the ultimate sacrifice. Our Memorial Day only recognizes those who have lost their lives in service to the United States, but there is one who has sacrficed His life for those of every people group on the face of the earth – Jesus Christ. 

TRUTH: Memorial Day is my attempt to redirect our thoughts of honor to where they should ultimately end – with Almighty God. No matter the victory of our wars, they were all given by Almighty God. The greatest battle has been fought and won by Jesus. The battle of providing eternal life to those who TRUST in Him as Savior and Lord. Listen to the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15):

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the deadwill be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

It is through Jesus Christ that God offers eternal life to mankind. Jesus’ defeat of sin and satan guarantees anyone who TRUSTS in Jesus as Savior and Lord life eternal with God. Now, that is something that truly needs to me memorialized.

God has long called for Memorials (zikrown) a reminder and/or a remembrance. We see that in the following verses.
Exodus 3:15                Exodus 12:14
Exodus 17:14              Exodus 28:12
Exodus 30:16              Leviticus 2:2
Leviticus 5:12             Leviticus 24:7
Numbers 5:15             Joshua 4:7
Isaiah 55:13                 Isaiah 56:5
Acts 10:4

The reality of TRUTH: Memorial Day is that every day we should be reminded or remember what Almighty God has done for us through the Lord Jesus Christ. “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:14 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemptionHebrews 9:12 It is clear that without Jesus man does not have the opportunity to be redeemed.

TRUTH: Memorial Day is rooted in the fact that God has always served and sacrificed for us. Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2TRUTH: Memorial Day

TRUTH: How to Stay Strong

May 25, 2017

In the post TRUTH: How to be Strong, I stated that I realized that there was a progression going on from one being weak to one being strong found in Psalm 31. I concluded with the process describing How to be Strong. We find the answer to TRUTH: How to be Strong?  We take refuge in Him relying on His righteousness and love for His children who call out to Him in their moments of need. The Father comes to His children when we call on Him. We also know that Jesus is praying for us in those trying moments. Lastly, we must remember those of FAITH who have gone before us as examples and models to be encouraged to take heart and stand strong because we know what God has done and will do in our situation.

Remembering the examples and models helps us know what God has done and will do in our situation. The end result should be praise. Praise of who God is and what God has done is the key to the TRUTH: How to Stay Strong. In Hebrews 12:28-29, we are told “28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”” Thankfulness is praise.

We are told in this in Hebrews 13:15

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

In those verses, we again see the TRUTH: How to Stay Strong. The first step to Stay Strong is to open your mouth to praise and profess His name – Jehovah and His Son Jesus. Next, we are told to do good which is reminiscent of the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor. Lastly, we are share what we have with others. Those are the sacrifices that please God. As a consequence of God being pleased, we will be pleased with our lives and Stay Strong.

King David is often an example that we use as God placed him in His Word for that very purpose. After his trials, David often arrives at a place of personal confidence in God and encourages other saints of God to love the Lord. David is encouraged and knows that God will give strength. Since we are told to consider those who have gone before us in the walk of faith, we would do well to listen to David. In Psalm 54, he says,

 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
    I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.
You have delivered me from all my troubles,
    and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

TRUTH: How to Stay Strong – praise and profess His name, do good and share with others. Those are the sacrifices that please God.

TRUTH: How to be Strong

May 24, 2017

As I began reading Psalm 31, I realized that there was a progression going on from one being weak to one being strong. Of course, I am not speaking in physical terms. I am primarily speaking spiritually and emotionally. Our emotions are driven by what we think. If we are thinking improperly, we will have improper emotions like fear, envy, malice, rage, etc. If we think right or righteously, we will have proper dispositions like  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  In essence, this tells the TRUTH: How to be Strong.

How is it that one experiences emotional or spiritual weakness? We all know the answer to this one. There are a myriad of life experiences that challenge our thinking. It could be related to our health, a relationship, a financial situation, a vocational situation or any area of our lives that frequently is under siege. That fact makes the TRUTH: How to be Strong all the more important to find out. Fortunately, God has provided that for us over and over in His Word.

Simply, we get the answer in the first verse which says “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.” The verse tells us to take or seek refuge in God. Then, wait for His deliverance that springs from His righteousness. Sounds simple doesn’t it. It is simple; however, it is difficult to navigate because we are so feeble and frail in our thinking and spirit. We hesitate, waver, stumble and fall because our spirit does not connect with the Spirit of God to hear, see and think right thoughts about who we are and who God is to us as children of God who have been given rights. TRUTH: How to be Strong?  

Take refuge in God. Let’s look at other verses that show us the way.

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (NIV)
Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord. (NKJV)

Psalm 29:11
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. (NIV)
The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace. (NKJV)

Psalm 138:3
When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me. (NIV)
In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul. (NKJV)

Isaiah 35:4
say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.” NIV)

Colossians 1:9,11
ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives…  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, (NIV)

Luke 22:31-32
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.”

Hebrews 12:12-13
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

James 5:10-11
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

From the Word of God, we find the answer to TRUTH: How to be Strong?  We take refuge in Him relying on His righteousness and love for His children who call out to Him in their moments of need. The Father comes to His children when we call on Him. We also know that Jesus is praying for us in those trying moments. Lastly, we must remember those of FAITH who have gone before us as examples and models to be encouraged to take heart and stand strong because we know what God has done and will do in our situation. That’s the TRUTH: How to be Strong?

TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor

May 23, 2017

TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor is of significant importance to me because of the work I do. Moreover, it should be important because of what my Lord has said about the matter. In the New Testament, neighbor takes on a meaning beyond the person that lives in the house next to yours or on the same street. When asked “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus explained it in a parable in Luke 10:30-37. In summation, a neighbor is anyone whom you come into contact in your daily affairs.

Since that is the case, what is the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor? The New Testament is filled with scriptures that answers that question. Primarily, we are repeatedly told to “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NASB) That is of the understanding that you want the best for yourself, so you should want the best for your neighbor. There are times in our lives that we do not know what is best for us. Barring those circumstances, the general consensus is that we should love your neighbor as yourself.

Not only in school, which is my line of work, but in life should we practice loving people as ourselves. Already this morning, the Manchester Bombing is dominating the news cycle. At the present moment, there are 22 people who have been killed 50 injured through the suicide bomber attack. There are hardly any of us who would not see this as an extreme non-example of How to Treat Your Neighbor. Those types of circumstances are obvious, but let us look at a less extreme example Jesus gave in Luke 10

30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (NASB)

From the passage, we see that Jesus expands our idea of neighbor to anyone whom we come into contact. How we treat them is driven by the one who needs mercy shown to him or her. The Greek word for mercy in verse 37 is eleos (e’-le-os ) which means to display kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them; as it relates to God, in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ. In the passage, we see the Samaritan demonstrate mercy to the Jewish man. The implications there are that Jews did not like or value Samaritans because Samaritans came about as the result of foreigners intermarried with the Israelite population that remained in and around Samaria after the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Assyria (2 Kings 17). Jews did not value them because of the intermarrying but more so because of their failure to worship Jehovah, the one true God. It is tantamount to a KKK or Neo Nazi helping and caring for a person of color when their own race walked by and did not help.

The point is that we are to show kindness or good will to anyone whom we are able to provide. That is the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor. We should not be engaged in tearing down but building up. Romans 15:2 says, “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” 1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” That is the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor.

Who has God brought into your space that you did not show kindness or demonstrate good will? More importantly, be on the look out for the opportunity to show kindness and good will to those who will come into your space today, tomorrow, next week, next month and henceforth. Be ready to do good to those who need it. That is the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor.

TRUTH: Conquering the Futility of Worry

May 22, 2017

This post was the title of the sermon at church yesterday. Pastor Robert E. Benson Sr. gave this sermon which may be found in a day or two here.

TRUTH: Conquering the Futility of Worry. It is futile to worry as we cannot alter or change a single thing by worrying. It only complicates our lives and violates the Word of God while distancing us from the joy and peace that is ours through Jesus Christ. I am just wired to loath futility. I really hate doing or being involved with anything that seems to have no viable purpose. In fact, that is one of the things that God used to drive me to salvation. The other was a by-product of worry – no peace. The root of my salvation comes from the TRUTH: Conquering the Futility of Worry.

After reflecting on my thoughts about graduating high school and going to college, I remember writing in my composition book how futile the prospect of life was as I contemplated the purpose of life. I asked God to show me what life was all about, why was I here because I did not see a purpose in going to college to get a job to buy a house and car to get a girl. I had all of that save my own house already. I did not see in purpose in moving forward in life. That’s when God showed me my purpose was to know Him through a personal relationships with Jesus Christ and to make Him known through what He says in His Word and does in my life. NOW, that was a purpose I could get behind and an escape from futility.

TRUTH: Conquering the Futility of Worry resonates with me because it reminds me of a great benefit of knowing God as Lord and Master. I DON”T HAVE TO WORRY. That is what the sermon was about that Pastor Benson presented to us from Luke 12:22-34

22 And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NASB)

As a follower of Christ, I do no have to worry. In fact, we see from the passage that we are commanded not to worry; therefore, worry is a sin. Sin separates us from God. That is why there is so much tension in worrying. Pastor Benson gave this quote that expressed it another way.

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Corrie ten Boom

Since God is my Father and God, I know the TRUTH: Conquering the Futility of Worry. While it does not mean that I will never experience worry again, it does mean that I have an out, an escape – TRUST the Almighty God instead of taking on a load that is not mine. God is sovereign and in complete control. Whatever He allows to assail me is designed to build and purify my faith while giving Him glory through His divine and powerful work as He strengthens me to either endure it or evade it. Regardless, God gets the glory and I have the joy of seeing God work in my life which is living out my purpose. That gives me peace among many other benefits.

Do you see the benefits of the TRUTH: Conquering the Futility of Worry? Read the passage. See the value that Jesus expresses and the absolute surety that He conveys to the disciples that they will be cared for because of their high value to God. When we question God’s goodness and holiness or even our value to God, we give worry a stronghold in our lives. Free yourselves – TRUST God and experience the TRUTH: Conquering the Futility of Worry.

TRUTH: If You Are Unclean, You Will Be Cut Off

May 18, 2017

My wife and kids think that I am obsessive about being clean and touching nasty things. My daughter and son tell me all the time that I have OCD. Even my mother joined the prevailing perceptions as she tells stories of how as a baby I could not stand having a soilded diaper. Back then, they were made out of only cotton with no materials to pull away wet waste. I do not think this is strange. Who likes to be dirty or unclean? In my mind no one. This also points to a spiritual TRUTH: If You Are Unclean, You Will Be Cut Off.

We first see this TRUTH: If You Are Unclean, You Will Be Cut Off in the Old Testament. In Numbers 19, there is a clear example. Let me give you an excerpt from the passage.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: “This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting. While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and intestines. The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer. After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening. The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening.

“A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin. 10 The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the foreigners residing among them.

11 “Whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days. 12 They must purify themselves with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then they will be clean. But if they do not purify themselves on the third and seventh days, they will not be clean. 13 If they fail to purify themselves after touching a human corpse, they defile the Lord’s tabernacle. They must be cut off from Israel.Because the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, they are unclean;their uncleanness remains on them.

14 “This is the law that applies when a person dies in a tent: Anyone who enters the tent and anyone who is in it will be unclean for seven days, 15 and every open container without a lid fastened on it will be unclean.

16 “Anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed with a sword or someone who has died a natural death, or anyone who touches a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days.

17 “For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them. 18 Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there. He must also sprinkle anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave or anyone who has been killed or anyone who has died a natural death. 19 The man who is clean is to sprinkle those who are unclean on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify them. Those who are being cleansed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and that evening they will be clean. 20 But if those who are unclean do not purify themselves, they must be cut off from the community, because they have defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. The water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, and they are unclean. 21 This is a lasting ordinance for them.

“The man who sprinkles the water of cleansing must also wash his clothes, and anyone who touches the water of cleansing will be unclean till evening. 22 Anything that an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and anyone who touches it becomes unclean till evening.”

In the New Testament, the principle is the same. Sin is what makes man unclean. Consequently, all mankind is unclean because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. TRUTH: If You Are Unclean, You Will Be Cut Off . Where do we see this in the New Testament? All throughout the New Testament; however, John 3 gives us a poignant example as Nicodemus who wanted to know how could a person be born again. Here is a portion of what Jesus said.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God…

31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth.The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

The last underlined verse (36) conveys the TRUTH: If You Are Unclean, You Will Be Cut Off. Jesus, whom the heifer or other acceptable animals used for sacrifices foreshadowed, is the ultimate and final sacrifice. Those who TRUST in the fact that Jesus is God incarnate who lived a perfect life, died on the cross for the sins of man, was buried and raised on the third day and later ascended to be seated at the right hand of God will be saved from or spared from the wrath of God which ends in eternal separation from God. That is the true meaning of being cut off. Jesus’ sacrifice cleanses man. Hebrews 10:10  “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” There are no more sacrifices because Jesus’ death fully satisfied God’s requirement for the penalty of sin.

Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? If not, the TRUTH: If You Are Unclean, You Will Be Cut Off. Trust Jesus and avoid being Cut Off.

TRUTH: Whom Shall I Fear, Whom Shall I be Afraid?

May 15, 2017

Let’s face it, we all experience fear. Fear is to be afraid, frightened, alarmed or to be in awe. Afraid can be internalized as dread for someone or something. Dictionary.com defines fear as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc.,whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. Afraid again is feeling fear; filled with apprehension. 

We are fears that relate to our health, family, finances, job, and generally our own well-being. The bible is clear on who we should fear, be in awe of and be afraid. TRUTH: Whom Shall I Fear, Whom Shall I be Afraid?  The answer – only GOD.

In Matthew 10, Jesus says,

26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

God is giving us a remedy for the uneasiness, anxiousness, alarm and dread from whatever assails our heart and mind. God intends and expects for us to be at peace as a consequence of being in relationship with Him. Let me give us a few examples:

Job 13:15
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 56:4
In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 118:6
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Hebrews 13:6
 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

In Matthew 10, Jesus raises the question that they already knew. The disciples were already aware of those texts. Jesus is accentuating and reinforcing the expectation of how to deal with their fears of facing their world. Likewise, the scripture is there to do the same for us. We face many things in our world that can evoke fear in our hearts and minds. Despite that, Jesus categorizes fears in terms of their eternal significance. Man’s greatest fear is of loosing his life. Jesus contrasts man’s greatest fear with the greatest fear – the destruction of one’s soul. Jesus said, “28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” TRUTH: Whom Shall I Fear, Whom Shall I be Afraid?  Jesus answers and says God Almighty. 

For those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, it does not matter whatever you are facing today as it cannot rob you of your freedom from the sting of death, from being eternally united with God. Consequently, that person or thing should not dominate your heart or mind i.e. what you feel and think. Meditate on the TRUTH: Whom Shall I Fear, Whom Shall I be Afraid?  and be at peace. Jesus said, “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

TRUTH: Who is God to You?

May 13, 2017

We all have an idea of who God is. All of our concepts of Him are flawed because we are flawed. Since we have sinful and warped minds, it would benefit us greatly to reshape our thinking of who God is, His character, and what God can do, His power. We face difficulties in life that I call Moments of Faith. What we believe about who God is and what God can do will dictate our response and more importantly how God is engaged in those times with us.

The Word of God is provided, so that we can “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Why is that important?  “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

In Psalm 62, we learn from one whom God placed in His Word as an example for us. We can identify with David, because, like us, he had many flaws; however, God highlights and heralds him as one for us to learn from and possibly emulate in terms of continual turning to God in faith to be our God, refuge, shield, deliverer and salvation.

Let’s see this in Psalm 62

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
    Would all of you throw me down—
    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
    from my lofty place;
    they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
    but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
    the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
    together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
    or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
    do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
    two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12     and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
    according to what they have done.”

Extract what you can from the Word of God. Apply one thing to your life today and be different for it.

TRUTH: Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

May 12, 2017

Much has been said and written about hope. Wikipedia defines hope as an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.

We all know what is like to have a hope deferred or even dashed. It is sickening to have a hope deferred or defeating to have a hope dashed.

Let’s listen and meditate on what the Proverbs 13:12 has to say about the matter.

Proverbs 13:12

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (NIV)
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (NASB)
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. (NKJV)

We also know what is like to have a hope fulfilled. The tree of life is an allusion to the garden God created intended for man’s full life without sin and perfectly provided. It is refreshing.

All of us presently have hopes. Some times, those hopes are delayed. Other times, those hopes are denied. God desires for us to live a life where all of our hopes will be met in Him. He should be our greatest hope. His way and His will should be our greatest hope. This is the true meaning behind TRUTH: GOD, My Shield & Very Great Reward.

As I challenge myself this morning and for the next few weeks of meditation, I want to focus on knowing Christ as Savior and Lord which affords me the privilege to have a relationship with Almighty God. For with out Christ, I have no way to God. Focus on Christ being our reward, our riches, our treasure. He is the gate to God. Join me in taking our expectations off a bigger house, a better relationship, a better car, a higher paying job, a desired prognosis or any desired expectation beyond knowing Christ.

Here is how Paul said it.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:7-11)