It was once taught that only 1 out of every 10 men finish strong in the christian faith. To walk with God means to be in agreement with Him. To agree that you are a helpless sinner and in desparate need of childlike faith & dependence on Him and His atoning sacrifice for their sins. It’s hard for men to be childlike because they are more prideful. God says in His Word that He gives grace to the humble and resists the proud. That means if you are stubbornly self-reliant He will push you away, yet keep trying to draw you to Himself. Women are more relational so walking with God comes easier, but they are more prone to be insecure and worry-which is why they need a sound spiritual leader to be their help mate. Someone who loves and fears (reveres) His Heavenly Father and loves His wife the way His Lord loves the church. Take mental illness for example; When a man gets sick, he has a harder time admitting it and receiving treatment for his illness. It’s the same with sin-the ultimate sickness of all sicknesses. In order to receive your spiritual treatment, you have to admit your need and dependence upon your Heavenly Father the way you once were to your earthly father. The reason men don’t come to their Father is because they are not ready to admit their need and receive treatment spiritually. But I also read that when a man comes to faith in God he has more of an impact on those around him. Jesus asked the beggar at the well, “Do you want to get well?” Well, do you? Then take your spiritual medication-the Bread & Water of Life, choose today to set before you a blessing instead of a curse by walking in the light of God’s salvation in repentance and faith in response to his Grace that the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ may cleanse you from all sins and you may have fellowship with your Father and other believers/worshippers. Get involved with a men’s ministry. Wherever two or more are gathered the Lord moves-imagine how powerful a men’s ministry can be when formerly prideful men come together.
Blessings & Peace,
What does God refer to as right and good? We hear so much talk about being “good” but Jesus tells us in the parable of the rich man that no one is good but God. Proverbs says something to the effect that a good man obtaineth favor from the Lord. We also know from Romans 14:23 that what’s not of faith is sin. Faith is trusting in God. Not just for salvation and forgiveness but for daily needs concerning all of life. Jesus teaches us that the poor in spirit are blessed and that the pure in heart will see God. Spiritual poverty is where you come to the end of yourself and are in total dependence on your Heavenly Father. Jesus, being the divine Son of God and perfect sacrifice for our sins that He was, was the only one who fulfilled this, and our purpose in life is to trust in God and as we do so more and more on a daily basis, He conforms us into the image of His Son by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts and lives (what it means to be “born-again”). The ever popular verse in 1 John 1:9 says God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, but if you back up a few verses to verse 7, it says we have to walk in the light as He is in the light and the blood of Jesus cleanses us and we have fellowship. Many “faith only” protestants and calvinists don’t like this verse apparently because it tells them they have to do something. We have to be “good” but God’s view of good is higher than man’s because God’s ways aren’t our ways. Man thinks he’s doing good based on his own “goodness” and his deeds. But unless he’s doing it in faith and dependence on God and His power it is an abomination before God. See the difference between Cain & Abel’s sacrifice to God in Genesis and why Cain slew his brother. Abel offered his sacrifice in faith to atone for his sins (Jesus fulfills this by His own death, burial, and resurrection) while Cain tried to offer up his own goodness and was banished from God’s presence. A good man is one who trusts in His heavenly father, allows himself to be transformed into the character of Jesus Christ. If you try to be Christlike on your own withour surrendering to God you are doing no more than trying to establish your own righteousness like Cain and many cults and false religions today. Psalms teaches the way of the transgressor is hard because when we try to do good in our own power it will wear us down. That’s why Jesus invites those who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him in Matt. 11:28-30. If we are filled with the Spirit we will never tire of doing what is good and right because He will energize us and it will overflow into the lives of those around you. The book of James (half brother of Jesus) says in Ch. 4 or 5 that if we know to do something right and don’t do it, it is sin, so God will keep hounding you till you make it right. It won’t send you to hell but will cost you a crown of righteousness in eternity. Remember your righteousness is not your own. God imparts His righteousness to those who trust (believe) in Him thru His Son. We have no righteousness on our own apart from Him so give it up and give it to Him.
God Bless and go worship on this lovely Sabbath,
Bro. Big E
I think I may have found the ultimate get-rich-quick scheme. Don’t try to get rich! Proverbs 23:4 says “Do not wear yourselves out to get rich, have the wisdom to show restraint.” Another verse in Proverbs says, “the diligent soul shall be made fat.” Not physically fat! There’s a prayer towards the end of this book of wisdom that goes, “give me neither poverty nor riches.” Although if God does bless you with material wealth He expects you to use it to bless others. And if you ever find yourself in poverty, look at life from the eternal perspective and beyond your circumstances. You may be in poverty in this life but you have an abundance of resources in your heavenly bank account according to the will of God. You will always have your needs met, and possibly most of your wants, depending on how close to Him and sensitive to the leading of the Spirit you are. Studies show you don’t have to invest a whole lot to be worth over seven figures by the time you retire in your 60′s. If you are a good steward with your finances and live below your means and give sacrificially, God will reward you. Even if you don’t make that much, He will bless you by providing you with good deals and resources most people can’t find on their own. The secret is living below your means and being a charitable giver, which Corinthians says God loves. For example, instead of making car payments, set up a transportation account and save so much a month and pay cash for a fairly new car ever few years. If you have cash you can negotiate. If you are faithful, God will reward you, for His glory not your own. Credit cards are good for emergencies if you can keep them paid off on a monthly basis. I was reading on Dave Ramsey’s site that it’s possible to buy a house cash. 1) Set aside so much a month and buy a fixer upper, then turn around and sell it for more than you paid for it (for example, foreclosures) 2) In one email, Dave was telling about one guy who invest $77K over a six year period to build his own house, then turned around and sold it for $250,000! Wanna get an education? Set up a tuition budget and pay your way through. If you honor God by living below your means and put Him first by giving to His Kingdom work, He will open doors you will never find on your own-unless you’re self-reliant which is the root cause of man’s sin.
Blessings & Peace,
In my daily reading of the One Year Bible, I was reading Jeremiah 22. The first thing that stood out is why God allows suffering and bad things to happen. From other passages in the Word, we learn that it’s a result of the curse God put on the world as a result of man’s sin nature and independent self-will. We suffer because we have forsaken the covenant with God our Father and pursued other gods. Yes, even if you know God through Jesus Christ you still have idols in your life because you aren’t perfected till the day of Messiah. That’s the purpose of spiritual growth. Suffering also keeps us dependent on our Creator. The struggling economy and moral decline of our nation is a result of chasing false gods and finding our identity in what we do or possess rather than who we are or can be in Christ. However, God promised Abraham before He destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah in Genesis that He wouldn’t destroy the land if He found even ten righteous people in it. Even though not everyone in America who claims to be a christian is, I’m sure there are more than ten christians in America. And if we seek the daily baptism of the Holy Spirit and hunger & thirst after His righteousness in repentance and faith and total consecration, thus letting go of all that hinders us (illness, addictions, etc.), the Spirit would overflow out of us and into the lives of those around us. Verses 16-17 teach us that our eyes are set only on dishonest gain (selfish ambition, self-promotion, exalting our own glory rather than our Father’s) rather than defending the cause of the poor and needy-which God teaches us in v. 17 that is what it means to know Him. Eternal life is knowing God through Jesus Christ and reaching out to the poor and needy (spiritually) around you. In doing so you fulfill the Great Commission and Great & New Commandment. In chapter 23:10, God tells us that the land is full of adulterers, and because of the curse the land lies parched-spiritually dry & dead. The remedy: Eat of the bread of the living Word of God (Jesus Christ the promised Messiah sent to deliver His people the way Moses delivered the Isrealites out of bondage to Egypt (the world)) and drink of His Living Water. Later in this chapter we learn there are people who fill us with false hopes (some preachers of the prosperity gospel and new age teachers that tell us to look inside ourselves to get in touch with our own divinity) and produce false converts and even deceive the Elect and cause them to fall away from the faith. The last verse in the chapter says the anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has accomplished the purposes of His heart. God is angry at our selfishness but He is slow to anger which is why Judgement day hasn’t happened yet. The purpose of His heart is to set free and reveal Himself to those that diligently seek Him and rely upon the Blood & power of His Son.
Blessings & Peace,
Bro. Big E
You ever stop to notice that people always confuse religion and spirituality. They say things like “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Although you never hear anyone say “I’m religious but not spiritual.” The two are different to a degree but in a way the same. Religion is defined in Wikipedia as a set of beliefs that govern one’s worldview, which is shown in their morality and the way they live their life. I also read somewhere that true religion is devotion to a higher power, God or a god. Jesus taught us in John 4 when He was talking to the Samaritan lady that God is Spirit and we must worship Him in Spirt and in Truth. In other words, we must worship the Father for who He is and not who we want Him to be. Patrick Morley, author of “The Man in the Mirror”, separates the differences by classifying them as either Biblical christians or Cultural christians. Although many churches teach you can be a cultural christian and still be saved. I cannot find that anywhere in the NT. A Biblical christian seeks to know the God who is while the Cultural seeks after the god they want. The Bible refers to this as idolatry and it is an abomination in the sight of the Lord. If a professed christian is living in sin, people of the world and church just refer to him as a hypocrite or immature. Some churches call is “living with one foot in the Word and one foot in the world.” I looked up the word carnal in my Strong’s and it defines it as unregenerate. Does that sound like a baby christian? True, if you are a baby and you’re not growing you will appear more worldly. But you still have the Holy Spirit in you by grace through faith in Christ. You’re still not going to indulge in anything that God condemns. 1 John teaches that whoever doesn’t practice righteousness is not born of God and that true children of God don’t live in sin, or continuous sin anyway. If the Lord is in your heart then you will grow, slowly possibly, but you will because you will have a changed heart. A desire to please God and put Him first. This doctrine comes from the early church fathers doctrine on perseverance of the saints. Modern translation is Once Saved Always Saved; which is a comforting doctrine but dangerous nonetheless. This leads to a doctrine on Eternal Security which will be in a later post. In closing, James (half brother of Jesus) teaches us in his book that true religion is remaining unspotted from the world and visiting widows and orphans in their distress. Meaning if you love and fear God you won’t be able to love or conform to the things of the world. Now that I’ve exhausted religion, a side not about spirituality. Spirituality is the lifeforce behind religion. You can’t be born again till you realize you are spiritually bankrupt and dead in your sins (enslaved) before a Holy God. This leads you to hunger and thirst after the true righteousness which God provides by His grace (divine influence, unmerited favor) through faith in His Son. Faith isn’t praying a prayer or walking down an aisle or getting baptized, although those are all included. Faith is a lifetime, personal commitment to trust a loving God with the details of your life. A decision that flows from a truly repentant heart out of love for God for what He’s done for you and a desire to fear Him-seek to live in a way that honors Him and brings Him glory. So, if you look up “believe” in Strong’s, it says to entrust your spiritual life to Jesus (God). Meaning realize you are dead apart from Him and trust Him to give you the life you need to love and serve God and others.
Been reading lately that a lot of what most believers/worshippers refer to as sins against God can actually be traced to a genetic defect. Now most christians will admit that sin is genetically traced back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of Good & Evil. They partook in something God forbade because it would give them knowledge they weren’t supposed to have and would make them less dependent on God. But what made them disobey God? Are Fundamentalist Evangelicals correct in that all men are evil & wicked in the sight of God? That we are bad to the core? Orthodox Judaism believes man is basically good. Calvinism teaches that man is totally depraved. Depravity doesn’t mean “bad” per say, it means helpless. Correct. We are helpless without God. Does that make us bad? Scriptures teach us that nothing God made is “bad”. And God said “It is good.” We are helpless on our own apart from God. Any goodness in us is reflection of our Creator, as the song by the Christian rock band Inhabited declares. Likewise we should not take credit for our own goodness because God will not share His glory with another. To do so is to exalt our own righteousness which is a gift from God for trusting in Him. Establishing our own righteousness is impossible and is an abomination before Him. True, God gave us a free will and along with that likewise a genetic predisposition to do the opposite of what God wants, and the farther you go in life without trusting in your Heavenly Father the more “wicked” you become. We don’t go to hell for our sins because our sins are paid for. We go to hell for not trusting in the one true and living God which is the root cause of all our sins. Think about it: God could have sent Satan right to hell but instead He allows the devil to control the Cosmos, or world. The reason the world is in the state it’s in is because Satan and his demonic forces are in charge. Satan’s the one who tempts us and God uses our weaknesses, or thorns in the flesh, to realize our spiritual poverty which leads us to total dependence upon Him. God doesn’t bring bad things into our lives, our sinful choices do when we give in to Satan’s lures and whims. But God uses all things to work together for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28). When He gave us freewill, it’s because He wanted us to choose Him out of own free will even though He gave us over to the satanic world system and we are enslaved to it until we respond to His Grace and trust in Him for our spiritual needs. Apart from God we are spiritually dead before God. When we trust in Him, His Holy Spirit indwells us by raising us up spiritually like He rose His Son physically. God knew we would sin so He set up a sacrificial system in the Old Testament which He abolished in the NT. The divine Son of God didn’t abolish the Law, but fulfills it through His life and sacrificial death on our behalf. Christians proclaim we killed Jesus. That’s like saying God owes salvation to us so Jesus HAD to die. He had to die to become a sacrifice but it was still His choice because He loved us and because it was His Father’s will to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Our Lord declared in John 10 that no one took His life, He laid it down of His own free will. Thinking we killed Him will lay a guilt trip on us and possibly enslave us to legalism (Satan’s weapon against religious people and even true followers) by thinking we have to live for our Father. Instead when God sets us free through faith in the blood and cross of Jesus Christ, He changes our hearts by softening them and enabling us to fall in love with Him more everyday if we’ll only walk with Him in daily self-sacrifice (the only thing to do with the “self” God honors). Transgressing the Law of God is sin so observing the Law (as it says in Psalm 1 and 119) is true worship if we do it with a pure heart. The pure in heart (those set free from their sins by faith) will see God. Part of the curse of sin is lost knowledge of God and the only way to gain it back is to seek Him. Deists are right that God removed Himself from Humanity when He gave us over to our own freewill, but they overlook the part by their own disbelief that He draws near to those that seek Him through the blood & Cross of His Anointed Messiah. Spiritual teacher, Ekhardt Tolle teaches about awakening to consciousness and even knows a lot about Jesus, but the part most spiritual teachers leave out is that, apart from the love & Grace of our Heavenly Father, we are helpless to do this. All God requires of us is to trust Him. We we give ourselves to Him (the essence of love as represented in marriage between a man and a woman) He changes the desires of our heart to reflect His-therefore, the closer we get to Him the more likely we are to have everything we want in life (Psalm 37, 84); All the while realizing we already have everything we need in Christ.
Blessings & Peace,
Big Brother E
Like the new Apple theme? Been reading lately about the impact Steve Jobs had on the world. Truly a great man. Because we were all made in the image of our Creator we have the ability to do great works. However if you’re not led by the Spirit and trusting in God to work thru you, any good works you do are wickedness in His eyes because it’s not of faith (Romans 14:23). Jesus teaches us that apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal significance. You can make a huge impact on the world in your own strength if you have a strong self-will but from eternity’s perspective, if you are not in a covenant relationship with your Heavenly Father thru the blood of a sinless offering that He provided and receive it by faith, you are living in rebellion. You can be a “good” sinner but you still do bad things that go against the Law of God because of our flawed human nature, and those bad things require a blood sacrifice that is provided thru Christ, the Son of the livng God, the promised Messiah of Isreal. If you are a “good” sinner, you will likely have a front row seat in hell where you can get a good view of what your missing in heaven. A “bad” sinner, such as Hitler, will likely be in the nosebleed section. Hell may or may not be a literal lake of fire that many christians make it out to be but it is a place of darkness because the light of God isn’t there. And there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth because those that reject this loving relationship by trust will be taunted by demons for eternity of their choice to reject a loving God. Even if it’s not a literal lake of fire, just being separated from God and being reminded of your sinful choices for eternity is bad enough, don’t you think? Charity & good deeds are required of true followers of the living God, but it’s not your works that makes you right. It’s the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that transforms your heart and enables you to fall in love with God by accepting the atoning sacrifice for your sins. All you have to do is seek Him, He empowers you do trust Him. You have to respond to His grace and exercise the faith He’s already given you to make it grow. When you accept Jesus, you already have all the faith you need to make it in life and live in victory, all you need to do is resist Satan and stand firm in your faith against any oppression he throws at you.
Blessings & Peace,
No I didn’t say Politics & Religion. That may be the next article. Nothing pisses more people off than those two subjects. Psychology is closely related to religion., In the world of psychology, part of self-examination (getting to know your true self) is evaluating your emotional intelligence. In my Emotions Anonymous group and in Outpatient therapy I learned that people who are abusive (whether it be verbal, physical, sexual, or emotional) are seeking to control their victims, whether they know it or not. They do this because they are deeply insecure. Also in my EA Daily Meditation book (which is mostly man-centered but a few writers sound like they may know God) I read that people who experience emotional distress haven’t experience unconditional love. Neither are they at peace with themselves and are seeking to be made whole. Insecurity, lack of unconditional love, lack of peace & wholeness are only things God can give to a person. As it says in Eph. 2:8,9; “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and not by works, it is the gift of God so that no one can boast.” God gives Himself freely to us but He won’t receive us to Himself while we are living out of harmony with Him. The essence of unconditional love is giving yourself sacrificially to someone, like Jesus gave Himself sacrificially to be our sin offering before a Holy God. You can have human affection toward God but biblical love requires more. It requires you to give up whatever separates you from God and become living sacrifice. I read in a book entitled “Tortured for Christ” that a true witness was a martyr; One who denied everything, even his personal desires and his own life for the one he loved. Do you have that kind of relationship with God? I kinda have to confess that I’m not exactly there yet and that’s likely the leading cause of my emotional problems but no one has arrived. Jesus said to strive to enter into the straight gate for few find it and many remain on the broad road that leads to destruction. You can’t give yourself to God completely till you fall in love with Him, and the Word says we love Him because He first loved us. If you haven’t fallen in love with Him then you haven’t realized how much He loves you, thus you haven’t realized your own sinfulness before Him and the depths He paid to redeem you. Being at peace with God doesn’t come automatically because our natural desires are to “look out for #1″-the essence of sin is providing for yourself rather than trusting God to provide for you. Romans 14:23 says if it’s not of faith then it’s sinful. But unlike the world believes of most religious groups, God doesn’t condemn anybody, despite the fact that some groups seem to do so. Jesus came not into the world to condemn it but to save it. From reading the gospels I don’t see Him condemning anybody. Although He rebuked sharply and warned people what would happen if they didn’t turn to God. On http://www.gracewalk.org, Pastor Steve McVeigh said one time that salvation isn’t about where you spend eternity (thought it is the end result), it’s about being made whole-the person you were created to be in God’s image before man chose to go his own way. Being at peace with God is simply by daily choosing to trust God’s perfect plan for your life and renounce your own sinful desires. It’s a childlike dependence on God (Jesus), whereby Jesus taught in Matt. 18:4 that no one would enter heaven unless he humbled himself like a little child. Being made whole is where God spiritual transforms you into the image of Himself through the life of His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. This regeneration is commonly called being born-again, or born from above that Jesus talked about in John 3:3-7 with Nicodemus and is mentioned again in Titus 3:5. Even motivational speaker Wayne Dyer says the secret to contentment is being connected to your source. That’s the essence of being lost, not just being enslaved to your sins but not being connected to your source, your loving Creator, living your own life rather than putting Him first, no matter how religious you are. I believe Jesus said about religious people that “many profess me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” The only thing I heard Wayne Dyer say that I disagree with is that “we are all gods in the flesh”. You can invite God into your life by personal invitation, by faith surrendering control of your life to Him and receiving His love & forgiveness, but you will never be “god in the flesh”. That term applies to Jesus only. You can be made coheirs with Christ, but you will never be equal to Jesus as He is with His Father. If you are born again you will be made like Him on judgement day when you are glorified but you still will not be “god in the flesh”. That just exalts the flesh to the point of idolatry and Paul said in his epistles that idolaters will never inherit the kingdom of God.
God Bless & Go serve your king in peace & love,