The way of righteousness doesn’t stop with just simply asking Jesus into your heart or getting baptized. If it does you are still carnally-minded and drinking milk and not ready for solid food yet and could be in danger of falling away since Jesus taught in Matthew 24 that only those who persevere till the end will be saved. However God will work things out in advance (Predestination) for all those who love Him. If one chooses to not grow, He may afflict them will illnesses (mental or otherwise) to keep them unaccountable (especially severe mental illness) and also keep them dependent on Him. The secret to being an Overcomer is to not identify yourself with your struggles. As long as you see yourself as struggling you will indentify yourself according to you struggles and will struggle with the false belief that you will never overcome your struggle. If you indentify yourself according to your mental or physical afflictions you will likely be sick and need medicines the rest of your life and never get to know the God of Healing. If you identify yourself by your sexual orientation or your marital status you may never experience victory in the former (since God created two sexes for a reason-yes I said sex on my blog) and you will idolize the second. If you identify yourself by your vocation you will end up working harder than necessary until it wears you down and forces you to humble yourself before the Almighty. In closing, you want to be an Overcomer-just believe you are. Faith (in Christ) is the victory that overcomes the world. Whatever you believe is going to happen will be a self-fulfilling prophecy so to be happy (blessed) just realize who you are in the Messiah-more than a conqueror.
New heart? What is it? What does it look like? Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is wicked and we can’t trust it; however in Ezekiel it talks about God giving us a heart of flesh rather than a heart of stone. We hear that when we come to God in faith He gives us all we need to live out our new life in Christ, however we still can’t follow our hearts because of our depraved, selfish nature. Not very consistent. We either have a new heart or we don’t. When you first trust in God He gives you a new heart with new desires. Before this spiritual heart transplant our heart’s desires automatically left God out of the picture. Anything good we do as a result of following our hearts, if it doesn’t flow out of a trusting relationship with God, is selfish and sinful. However, when you put your trust in God you get visions of what He wants you to accomplish with your life. We were put here for a purpose. Not to live a mediocre life, just barely getting by, accepting the Status Quo. If that’s all God wanted us to do, then what is the purpose of faith? When you fall back into sin it’s not because you still have a hardened part of your heart towards God, it’s because you drifted away from Him, in which case your heart will start to harden toward Him again. You could easily fall back into the sins you struggle with before you even came to Him. In which case, the Bible says the last state is worst than the first and it would be better if you had never come to know Him at all. Predestination just means God will work in advance to draw you back to Him, and you still have the indwelling Holy Spirit so you have all you need to recommit to Him. God initiates but we still have to trust Him; and trust always leads to obedience or it’s not really trusting Him at all. When you recommit, God purifies your heart and you basically start over again. In essence, born again again. . .The life hid with Christ in God is often a life of commitments and recommitments. However many believers think they are backslidden when they’re not. It’s just Satan lieing to them. God doesn’t condemn anybody, we condemn ourselves enough so why would He? You may think your sinning when you’re not. Many think they backslide just because they make a mistake. From a Holistic point of view, the only sin we are guilty of is not trusting God, which is the root of all sins and causes us to trust in and live for ourselves. Even though we have a new heart we still have to spend the rest of our lives learning how to trust God with every area of our lives. A newborn baby grows and develops and learns how to function as a human being, so it’s the same with the born again believer. You grow by learning how to trust God with more and more areas of your life. Any area you don’t trust God with is a stronghold to your spiritual growth, and often times leads to an addiction in this area. No medication or support group is going to free you from this, though it could be a means of Grace God uses. True healing is divine healing and only comes through spiritual growth and learning how to trust God more and more each day-where He takes you and conforms you into the image of His Son. Where He establishes His righteousness (which is merely right-living) in you rather than establishing your own. Imputed righteousness isn’t just something you get from a one-time act, it’s something God imparts to you as you spend more time with Him learning how He wants us to live in order to be worthy of heaven. Also we are only worthy of heaven through the blood sacrifice of a perfect offering, it is the Holy Spirit which cleanses us by filling us and changing us (Titus 3:5). In closing, what is your heart leading you to do? If God is calling you to do something and you’re not doing it your heart will harden slowly and you will cease to grow until you give this area to Him. Pride, unbelief, and fear are main stumbling block to knowing God more intimately.
1) Pride-not trusting God with an area, thereby trusting in ourselves.
2) Unbelief-Not believing on God for something. Sometimes the things we want in life God doesn’t give us because of our lack of faith in Him to provide.
3) Fear-We are too afraid to step out in faith; faith is the opposite of fear. Perfect love casts out fear. Anger is fear turned inward and leads to depression & anxiety and all sorts of illnesses.
It’s amazing when you seek God for yourself and choose not to be a sheeple (someone who believes what’s being taught them and ends up being brainwashed because of their refusal to investigate) the things He teaches you. I’ve learned God is more gracious than the rigid view the church makes Him out to be. However He is still just and will have send people to hell if we fail to trust Him, but He’s made available all the means to trust in Him. He’s forgiven you of your sins, all you have to do is receive it. You can’t do this in and of yourself, you have to be spiritually empowered. This comes when you make a conscious choice to seek God above all else, not for any personal gain, but simply to know Him. As you get to know Him, you fall in love with Him because you realize how much He loves you. Then you want to serve Him more and are willing to give up anything that gets in the way (repentance). It’s all about relationship. Unitarian Evangelist, Tony Campolo said on JCTV one day that many people today are more spiritual than religious because of all the abuse done in the name of religion. However the churces are the source of religious truth, and true religion as defined by the Word is separation from the world and looking after those that can’t help themselves (which is all of us). We are to live independently of erverything but God, yet interdependent on each other. However, due to American individuality we have come far from this standard. There are some people who take advantage of people’s hospitality and this is the another reason people are reluctant to help one another. They are to be prayed for like anybody else. Sometimes that’s the only way to help them. Jesus said to the Pharisees of all people in Luke 17:20,21; “The Kingdom of God is within you.” It’s within all of us because we are all spiritual beings, but when we choose to walk according to the flesh we become children of wrath and put ourselves under a curse. When we surrender ourselves to God and admit He controls all things (whether you know Him or not) we will have true inner peace and He will empower us to receive His Son and fill us with the Holy Spirit. As long as you focus on the religious aspect you will be bound up in legalism. When you are truly Spirit filled you will subconsciously follow God’s law without realizing it, or “working”, but living by faith. Walk in the spirit, or light, and the blood of Jesus will cleanse you and you will have fellowship with God and with one another and will be ready for the return of Christ. Universal Reonciliation is the goal of the church (a Unitarian belief) but depends on your hearts response to God’s grace. Our sin nature makes us spiritually dead, but the grace of God can renew us when we offer our lives as a living sacrifice in response to His sacrifice. A friend of mine on Facebook said: “Religion, by it’s very nature, stands in the way of what it states to be seeking.”-Mike Bow. One last thing, Hell may not be a literal lake of fire, but it is as Jesus described: A place of outer darkness (because the light of God isn’t there) where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (because demons will remind one of their conscious choice to not trust in the love and grace of their Heavenly Father).
You know, it’s been said among some christians that you can be so eternity focused that you are of no good to anybody in this life. To put it in human terms. . .B.S! Was Jesus any earthly good? He was popular but misunderstood, therefore people withdrew from Him. If was was rich from His vocation, He likely gave away all His money, even His home if His neighbor was in need. Of course a friend on Facebook commented that He paid His taxes out of a fish or something like that so I doubt He had much money. Depending on how they paid their taxes back then. He may have gave away all His money first. Either way, if Jesus was no earthly good, then why is He so influential? That’s what draws me to the faith. He stands out above the others. That and when you receive Him the Bible comes alive because He’s the Living Word incarnate. Also the closer we get to God, the more like Him we become. We’re also accomplishing thru Christ what the other religions seek to accomplish on their own. He’s establishing us in His righteousness by His Grace thru our trust in Him. We will have more of an impact and be just as influential. However, people won’t understand us therefore they will pull away from us. Remember the prayer of Jabez. Enlarging your territory was one of them. We are called to make a difference but to bring glory to God by denying our sinful urges. Our thorns are the messengers of Satan, or the sins we struggle with that we are to renounce. Most “sins” aren’t bad in and of themselves it’s just that we try to get it without trusting in our Great Provider-Jehovah Jirah. He promises in Psalm 84:11 not to withhold anything good but He’s mainly referring to Himself because He is all we need. But the closer we get to Him the more we realize what we truly want out of life. We still have to pursue them because God is not going to drop a good job or a mate into your lap just because you rested in Him. You just have to pray, seek divine wisdom, and know what’s worth seeking and what’s worth giving up. Proverbs 3:5,6 says when we acknowledge God, or trust in Him, He will direct us accordingly. In closing, I’ve also heard many believers say that they are only ambitious for the Lord. Again. ..BS. Just an excuse to not accept responsibility and be lazy in your approach to life. Americans choose the path of least resistance. No wonder we’re all overmedicated and go on disability because we’re too drugged to work so we take what’s supposed to go to actual retirees. Proverbs says the desires of a slothful man will kill him. God gave you those desires for a reason, He just wants you to trust Him to provide them. Still have to do your part.
Found an awesome christian rock site called classicchristian247.com. Heard a great song called “why” by a group called Ark as far back as 1979. I remember it like it was yesterday. Little two year old hippie. The song went like this: “why do we always run from the One that matters?” Yes, even christians run from God. I did for nine years. This could be why many of us struggle with mental illness these days. We walk away from God and He allows us to be afflicted with illnesses of the mind so He won’t have to hold us accountable for our backslidden state. Medications can help in the short term but to take them for life is a form of idolatry. It’s easier to focus on meds for stability than the source of true stability because trusting God involves letting go of ourselves and giving ourselves completely to Him. This is the essence of discipleship-forsaking all to follow God. Until you come to a point where you let go of all that hinders you won’t receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. My counselor pointed out a verse in Acts that said many believers were not baptized with the Holy Spirit. So why do we always run from the One that matters? Because we don’t know God. We may have entered into a personal relationship with Him thru repentance and faith in the blood of Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior but we dont’ progress into Sanctification with a persevering faith. Thus, we are afflicted with many hardships & trials and even illnesses. Some may even go as far as to renounce their faith if a true believer with a changed heart can go that far. In psalms it says the way of the transgressor is hard. When you receive Christ and don’t persevere or abide in Him you backslide, or transgress. True worshippers will eventually recommit because Jesus promises to lose no one the Father gives Him but one may go thru hell before that point and even be taken home early. Also backsliders decrease the power of the church and make the church look impotent. One saint’s sin affects the Body either directly or indirectly. But take heart; You are not backslidden just because you sin on a daily basis. I’ve heard many believers say they backslide daily. Backsliding is a lifestyle choice of constant sin that God will chastise you for till you quit riding the fence or renounce your faith in Him. In closing, go in peace and return to God with your whole heart and seek to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and impact the world for your King.
The Bible teaches that true followers of God will be hated by the world. But what does it mean to be hated? Was Jesus really hated? From what I see in the gospels the crowds loved Him, they flocked to Him. Although many deserted Him because they thought He was too demanding (John 6:66-by the way that chapter and verse is not just a coincidence). If you see God as a rigid taskmaster who just wants to control you you will have a hard time loving, serving, and trusting Him. Did you see your earthly father that way? Maybe some did. A lot of fathers who truly love their children just want what’s best for their kids but they like it when their children come to them for advice because it acknowledges their presence and shows trust in them. (I think I just spoke to myself). Anyway, the only wants who “hated” Jesus were the people who didn’t understand what He was asking from them. All He wanted was their heart, He didn’t care about their rituals and good deeds. Those things will leave you empty and you can’t take them with you when you died. Besides, anybody can do those with a strong self-will. Because they didn’t understand them they couldn’t love Him so they relied on themselves and were enslaved to Satan; Thus they deemed Him a threat and sought to kill Him. In looking up hated in my Strong’s, I learned it means to love less. That explains what Jesus meant when He said you should hate your family or something like that. He meant you should love them less than God. If you speak truth in love from the Word of God and people don’t have spiritual discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit, they won’t understand you and will withdraw from you and go on in their sins. Some will respect you for your beliefs and most will mock you because they don’t understand why you do what you do. Or how you can love a God you can’t see because to them it’s just a duty to live for God and serve Him and not much of a relationship. Even your own brothers & sisters in Christ may abandon you if you pass them up spiritually. Don’t get oo haughty now! There’s always a lot of godly people who are more spiritually mature than you and you will probably withdraw from them like less mature withdraw from you and the even less mature withdraw from them. I heard a pastor say you either love God or you hate Him, but when you think about it you can’t hate someone you don’t know. One aspect of the sin nature is lost knowledge of God. To find something that’s lost you have to search for it. God’s not lost, He’s been around since the foundation of the world but because of our God-given independent nature we are lost and have to seek God. In return He imparts His righteousness through the blood of His Son and takes your burdens, gives you divine wisdom, and takes on your giants. He can handle 7 billionm burdens at once and be a Father and counselor to that many children. However because of the effects of sin, many may never come to know the Love and forgiveness that’s in Christ. Many christians may be held back by sins they struggle with or stuff that’s been done to them and not grow much beyond salvation. But God still is good enough to work around all that. Only a quarter to a third of the world may know and love God but God can keep some under the age of accountability thru mental illness & retardation and others may never hear the gospel but worship God according to the light they h ave received. Don’t assume just cause 80 million people die every day means they’re going to hell. That’s judging & condemning. Still try to reach them so they know what they have in Christ and can be rewarded for serving and trusting in Him. Also if you truly want to know God and reject the grace & truth that’s in Jesus you donm’t know the one true God which means according to your lost knowledge of God you are still worshipping a god to suit your lifestyle. But He loves you and is still drawing you thru Christ even if you are so hardened by sin that you can’t hear Him anymore. In closing, go find your Father and give yourself to Him. He’s calling you home spiritually speaking.
In looking up the word “corruptible” in my concordance, I come up with two words. aphthartos which means immortal. This goes with God’s promise to Adam that because of his sin he had to die when he was created to live forever. Likewise we were created to live forever but the wages of sin is death and unless you come to trust in the one true and living God you will live eternally apart from Him. Phtartos means perishable, which means fragile or easily influenced under Satan’s control, since he controls the world anyway till Judgement Day when Jesus condemns him. If you doubt this look at the world around you. It gets worse because Satan knows his time is short. God doesn’t tempt people but He allows Satan to tempt people and the deeper you get in your sins the more your heart hardens against God. So it’s not your actions that determine your eternal destiny, it’s your hearts attitude towards God that determines your actions. The further away from God you get the greater the capacity for evil you have. But the Word of God doesn’t condemn anybody as “bad”. It says nothing God makes is bad. We make ourselves “bad” when we resist God and give in to Satan. Jesus teaches us in Matt. 5:16 to let our light shine before all men that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father who art in heaven. What are our “good deeds”? It is our faith in God which results in Holy & Righteous living. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. But if you believe in your head only and it doesn’t take root in your heart then you are still spiritually unregenerate, spiritually impoverished, depraved which means helpless and worthless apart from God. Jesus said apart from Him we can do nothing. Because we are made in the image of God we are capable of many good works; As seen by many nonbelievers/pagans. Many people who don’t know God have greatly influenced the world but Romans 14:23 says if it’s not done in faith it’s still sin. Jesus was the most influential person that ever lived and many still insist He was just a prophet, wise teacher, nonexistent, or created being. The only thing that proves Judeo-Christianity is the one true religion that drew me back to the faith a few months ago is whether or not Jesus has been dead for the last 2000 when they never found the body. And when you receive Him, the Word comes alive in your heart so you can’t deny it. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit, or Ruach HaKodesh in Messianic Terms. As one pastor says, Jesus is the Living Word, the Bread of Life represented during communion on Sundays, and the living water that overflows in true believers to everlasting life. Eternal life starts in this life and is a personal relationship with the one true and living God thru repentance and faitn in the blood of the promised Messiah. Jesus also taught the Greatest commandment was to love God and love our neighbors which fulfills the laws of God. I looked up the 613 laws of orthodox Judaism. If you try to keep all of them you will be in bondage but a large majority of them had to do with putting God first and others second with no ulterior motives such as eternal rewards. We are selfish by nature because of our God-given independent nature so this is only possible with God. Jesus said all things are possible with God. But you can’t love God or love others till you love and accept yourself for you who are. You have to accept yourself for who you are in Christ and not who you are in the world. This is why many true believers/worshippers are in bondage to their sins and still remain spiritually blind to the good things of God and don’t grow in their faith and suffer from many addictions and afflictions. You aren’t set free just cause you had a OSAS experience, got baptized, asked Jesus into your heart. You are set free by walking in the light as He is in the light and working out your salvation in fear & trembling; Not working for it by the way. It’s a surrender of your will to accept God’s will for your life. Depending on how close you are to God you may or may not have to give up a whole lot in life but your faith will cost you something to prove your love for God.
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
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