Monday, January 25, 2010

The essence of love.

We have known love from the beginning. We are also very intimate creatures in nature. We were created with the need for partnership. When God created mankind, he intertwined love into our DNA. The Scriptures say God is love and we were created in the very image of our Father. But, with love comes the most intense emotional attachment of all, the emotion of feelings.


Our feelings are one way of expressing our love whether consciously or subconsciously. We feel loved when we are receiving attention from someone who holds value in our life. We feel loved during acts of intimacy. We feel the love when we observe our children, our own flesh and blood. We feel love when love is in action. And we feel emptiness when love is out of action.
Our ability to love is based off of our past experiences. It is also derived from our upbringing. People from loving homes and childhoods normally end up in stable relationships with generally stable lives. They emanate love through their behavior and norms. They know the value of self-worth and importance. While people from abusive homes end up becoming very disconnected and distant in their social interactions. They don’t know what it “feels” like to be loved and henceforth don’t know how to show these feelings to other people. A lot of times they do not even know how to love themselves. This usually reveals itself in their behavior and actions. They have low self-esteem and appear defeated and lost in their lives. They often display an attitude of helplessness or carelessness. There is almost always an obvious lack of ambition for something better because they only know what they have, not what they lack.

When we have an active relationship with God and recognize His presence in our lives, we know love because God is love. And the Scriptures say that we are children of God and share in His glory, therefore we are love. Love always has a deeper meaning with God and we tend to avoid situations which are destructive in nature. There can be no darkness where there is light. Then there can be no emptiness where there is completeness. Love gives us a feeling of completeness. It humanizes us and provides a feeling of well being.


To love is to live. Life with love is life lived. We should always seek out God and where we find Him, there will love be also. You will find it better to have loved and lost than not loved at all. Amen!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Its good to be a Christian!

I have found that being a Christian is not everything I thought it would be. Actually, it is nothing close to what i thought it would be. Its better! Its sooooooo much better..........................................

I fought my "demons" for years prior to my recent life re dedication to God. I had my share of demons like anyone but I didn't have the foggiest idea on how to handle them. I had no inkling of an clue on how to manage my stress and I definitely didn't have any coping mechanisms in place for battling Satan and his vicious attacks. I was at a dead-end street in my life and falling rapidly. My world was spiraling out of control and I was scared. Scared of why. Scared of what to do. Scared of who to go to. I needed help!

Not until recently with my ugly divorce did I realize what was wrong in my life. I finally came to an understanding that the problem was not why but what. What I was doing that was causing all of the turmoil and pain. I was living in sin! Kill it, cut it, and can it anyway you want to, I was living in plain old sin. I was serving myself and Satan. I was so wrapped up in what I thought was making me happy and with who I thought was keeping me sane when God had a much different plan in mind for me.

You see, I believed that I was in control of my own life and therefore, my own destiny. I had created this idea years before and years of self-indulgence and following fleshly lusts had not helped. I honestly thought that I was the one who had complete control of my life and no one else but me. I didn't think for one minute that Satan, the Devil, the Serpent could possibly control me or my actions. I didn't think that God has blessings in store for everyone but it is up to them to seek Him out to receive those blessings. What I failed to understand and only recently discovered is that Satan loves to manufacture feelings of lust, hate, envy, resentment, offense, and so much more in our lives and through our experiences. It is Satan who was the first to sin and Satan who convinced man that we could be "like God." After all, he thought he could be like God and this is the root reason for his fall in the first place. Did you know that he was second in command to God? That he was adored by God and cherished in Heaven prior to his fall? Isaiah and Ezekiel talk about how God mentions, then Lucifer, in an endearing manner. But this once Chief Angelic Being became the most sinful being to ever exist. His own pride and lust for God's power and idea that he could be his own god became a deadly mistake. He fell from Heaven and brought sin to earth. Yes, man did have choice and chose sin, but Satan was the major player in that incident. His whole existence as Satan has been to convince man that we don't need God and that we should choose self over salvation. I did for years. Those were the most lonely and painful years of my life.

Then I discovered that even though we are automatically born into sin, we reach a point in our lives where we can decide if we will continue to sin or start to live. In choosing our path, many of us have peer guidance while some have influencing situations, but in some way or another, we all reach a point where we are able to choose life or death. As Moses addressed Israel, "Oh that you choose life!" We are all responsible for our own salvation, our own "destiny" and we will all have to make that decision. People prayed for me for over twenty years. Over two decades, they patiently prayed, never interfering only praying. God always answers our prayers. He doesn't always give us the answer we want, but He will answer them. He says if we ask, we will receive, if we pray, He will listen to us. Oh, the power in and of prayer, but I will get to that in an upcoming post..........

Looking back in hindsight, I realize that I could have made much different decisions which would have ended in much different results. I could have saved myself allot of pain and allot of grief. But we weren't given the ability to redo our lives, only the privilege of reviewing them. God gives us more than one chance to choose life, "Oh, that we choose it!" I come to tears and hit my knees when I think about all the times I could have died and should have been hurt because, I know that "But for the grace of God" I would not be here today. And I realize that as short as my life has been, I still have a future of eternity with Him. Here is a poem I came up with about the power of prayer.

I'm in need of a miracle, some money to buy,
a little morsel of bread for the hungry, the child who's mother will die,
The lame who's never walked, the blind who can't see,
the deaf and the mute and the widow to be,
I pray for the cold, the young and the old,
all God's children with stories untold,
I thank God for shelter and food on my table,
I thank Him for health and just being able,
to give to the poor and provide them a sight,
Of God's awesome grace and powerful might,
so give me the strength to face the new day,
And give me a plan, a path, and a way,
to spread kindness everywhere, with everyone in every way,
God give me what I need to show them your love,
just one little miracle that comes from above......................

I pray for miracles every day. I pray that I can continue to soldier on with God in the lead. May He bless all of you as much as He has blessed me. Please pray for me also because you can never get too much prayer. Amen!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What is a gift?

What is a gift. Paul lays the gifts out quite extensively in 1 Cor 12:4-11 (KJV) "4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

These are gifts given us by the Holy Spirit. Jesus had utilized all of the above gifts during His ministry while on earth and before His sacrificial death on the cross which resulted in a victorious resurrection from the grave! Before ascending up to the Heavens to be with the Father, Jesus informed His disciples that when the Holy Spirit comes to them, they would receive power and witness to the world. John 14:12-14 (KJV) "12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

To be endowed with any of these gifts from the Holy Spirit and to possess the ability to perform the same miracles as Jesus our Savior is an awesome thing indeed! To be given the ability to use our faith in these ways is also a very humbling responsibility and sobering reality. I am still trying to determine which of these gifts I have................but I know that I will soon discover what I seek. I have faith that what God says will happen will happen and I stand on God's Word. I know that God has a plan for my life in ministering for His Kingdom. The exact details are not written in stone but I patiently await my gift. What is written in stone is our mandate to go out into the world and preach the Gospel. How we go about that should not be a stumbling stone to us, the believers.

We must ensure that we are taking every opportunity to testify to other people and we must always be prepared to answer one's questions when they are asked. Col 4:2-6 (KJV) 2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak (to walk wisely toward those who have not yet come to the true knowledge of Christ). 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

God has been pruning me ever since I rededicated my life to Him in 2008. He has been purging me of my imperfections little by little to bring me out of the fire to the point of clarity so I am able to establish my credibility as His soldier and servant in the world. Although the process will never be completed here on earth, I grow closer to Him daily and mature in my walk with Him as I approach every hill in my life and then crest it just to move onto the next one. But this is the experience I was talking about. This is the Journey of Faith! My Journey of Faith. I am excited about being His child and I am ever hungry for more spiritual food as each new day comes. I have learned so much just in the last year that I never knew existed. I am learning more by the day and fervently look forward to a life a happiness and contentment despite any set-backs or issues which might arise. Why? Because my God reigns! He is in control.............................. Amen!

A little story about my coming to understanding. Part 2

So, after coming to the understanding that we all have an end, whether we believe or not, I continue on to my furtherance of the faith. Readers should note that these are my own personal angles, views, experiences, and opinions. No thought of condemnation is considered or should be considered in the writings of my own hand. I am simply giving some insight to my walk with God, the One true God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth. I am revealing wonderful and awesome things God has entitled me to and given me the privilege of experiencing. I thank Him daily and am grateful for the ability to be able to write for Him. I refer to my understanding of the present, seeing as how I will never come to completion of understanding, I write about the journey to the day when my Savior comes back, a glorious day that will be!

I realized that to forcefully disregard any notion of a higher power is simply to admit that I am in control of my own destiny and that thought scares me. The thought of having to decide my fate based on my own actions, whether good or bad, is frightening. I would assuredly fail if this were the case. But it is not the case. The idea of self-deity is hard because so many find it so difficult to make a decision or decisions about their life-after-death on their own. Just the thought of life-after-death makes most people change the subject or at least very uncomfortable. Why is that? Why do we put so much stake into right now and so little thought into where we are going after we physically die. We are supposed to not worry about what tomorrow holds, but we were never instructed to throw our final destination to the wind either. We can live for today while securing our tomorrow. I mean this in an eternal sense of course. I am referring to the "Where we go" part of tomorrow. To think otherwise is insecurity and much to the disadvantage of the thinker. We must stand on God's Word when He says that to those of us (the Saints) who hold fast to the faith, the "second death" has no power.

I also discovered, after much trial and error on my part (ongoing to this day) that Jesus Christ died on the cross to give us life! Not just to give us eternal life, although that is the main theme, but to give us life..........................life now, life here, life of present! Jesus' sacrifice took some things away, fulfilled others, and implemented yet more. He was victorious by His atonement for our sins so we can be victorious. He took our pain away so we could be pain free, I say this in a literal sense. I have spent most of my life in and out of hospitals, and under the knife so much I have that smell, that sterile hospital stench which is permanently embedded in my nose. I have undergone multiple surgeries and Ive completely lost count of the times Ive visited the doctor's office. Even so, even with all of these worldly medical procedures and diagnosis', Ive still maintained that I am not destined to be in pain for the rest of my life. I am convinced that through the power of the Blood of the Lamb and nothing more, I am healed and I am victorious! By His stripes we are healed, He bore our weaknesses and through weakness we are made strong.

No amount of pain or diagnosis or "professional opinions" will ever keep me from believing in the Word of God! No doctor or expert or professional is better or bigger than God! If there was one thing in this world that I could grab and hang on to, it is the Word of God. Why? Because I have seen it fulfilled in my short life. I have been witness to it's miraculous and mysterious authority. I have seen others healed from their "permanently disabling sicknesses" and even my own powerful and encouraging testimony of healing. Nothing can keep me from the wonderful love of our Father, not even earthly death. It has no control over me or my soul. I have already dedicated my soul to God thereby putting my foot on the head of the Serpent. I am a child of God and will, therefore, participate in the future of His Kingdom! He says so in His Word. He ensures those of us who believe that we will partake in His riches. We will all have a room in His house. What an honor. What a future to hold onto.

Why dissect the existence of God when the existence of God carries so much happiness and love? Why argue senselessly over the very purpose of Jesus Christ when He died for all of us. He died for us and bore our sins so we can receive Him and the Father and everything good that follows. He died for everyone and offers eternal life of fulfillment to anyone who wants it. Anyone who makes the decision to get it. You have to want it before you can get it and get it before you can experience it and experience it before you will understand it and understand it before you can live it! I am so thankful for God's grace and eternal mercy. I am grateful for the people He has decided to place in my life. I live to worship Him and serve Him and nothing else really matters. Everything else is just extra..............................................Amen!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A little story about my coming to understanding. Part 1

While conducting my Bible Study for the day, I read Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house,and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (KJV) This is a true mandate of God which has a direct bearing on tithing and the principles behind tithing. If followed, this mandate will show itself to be a reality and is very self-evident in nature! I, for one, have tested this in obedience to the Almighty God with results which show His absolute miraculous capabilities. *It should be noted I struggled with this in understanding it and actually realizing its intended meaning for the first few months of my new life with God. It wasn't until after recently realizing the true meaning and following the rule that I began to see fruits.

And it was also not until complete obedience to this mandate did I realize the extent of God's promises for my life. After tithing faithfully for a couple of months I began to notice very real changes in my life. I began to receive; a new vehicle, raised compensation from the Veteran Affairs, ability to move from one state (of which I spent most of my life trying to escape) to another, and noticeable betterment in my health status. All of which were only achieved after my complete surrender to God and obedience to God. All of which I have been recently praying on and asking for, and in the past, attempting to accomplish myself under my own ill-conceived efforts through years of hard effort and worn-out patience in the forwardness of these endeavours. Although I exhausted every avenue of approach in my own futile attempts to better my own life, I only served myself in going nowhere. Only after realizing my own personal attempts were taking me nowhere did I begin to seek out God and read and meditate on His Word daily, even hourly. It is also important to understand that I began to fall into line with God's Word and listen to the Holy Spirit. This was also made possible due to very patient people in my life who served as spiritual mentors to me namely my sister who I love so dearly, and my unsuspecting brother who is an atheist. He has unknowingly been used by God to help me in times of need. Oh, if he only knew the power of faith in God.

Yes, after years of waiting and hundreds of man hours of sweat-inducing work did I start to realize I was headed down a dead-end street. I reached my point of self-realization that I could not make these things happen any more than I could control the weather. It was after meeting my rock-bottom that I gave my own spirit up and threw in the gloves. After my recent divorce in which I was the divorcee, and only then did I seek out God and guess what? He answered! It was confusing, surprising, intriguing, and deboggling all in one wrapped up present. But, I found this peace. A peace that was better than any physical enjoyment I have ever had. I no longer felt the desire to please myself or indulge in my own interests and pleasures. I lost all sense of control but somehow I knew that the end far outweighed the means and everything I was and my entire identity as a human was amazingly recreated. I was a new person.

I cannot explain this feeling in words but it far surpasses all feelings of anything we know as people or anything which we could even imagine. I was never so comfortable, never so at home with myself. If there could be just one phrase to sum the feeling it would have to be "Spiritual Extasy!" By no means can it be summed up into one, simple phrase, but if it could, that is how I would phrase it. Yes, "Spiritual Extasy."

You see, God doesn't just have certain "kudo's" that are attached to His grace called salvation. No, it goes so much deeper than that. God ensures that once we get a true taste of His glory and splendor, we will want more and more and more.....................And we do, I do! God has this whole program allotted for our lives irregardless of what our final decision will be. Eternal Life or Eternal Death! That is ultimately our decision because God so graciously created us with the ability to choose. But, despite our own insecurities, God has security for us. Not security in the sense of human needs, security with so many more strings attached. All of them bonuses. All of them better than the last and less than the next. God is a game plan. God is a religion. God is a job. God is a way of life so that we may obtain life. In other words, a life lived with God in control is a life lived to the fullest. He doesn't just have this bonus called Heaven waiting for us in the afterlife, He has a life full of fullness and contentment awaiting us now!

We can spend our whole lives running around busying ourselves in our own vices and pleasures. But, from experience, I promise you that we will NEVER receive completeness in anything we do or anyone we meet. No number of people in our lives or money in our bank account can give us the feeling of completeness at the end of the day. All the riches in the world brings with it so much heartbreak and emptiness. At our death beds, you won't hear the father requesting his current number of IRA's or the amount of equity he has accrued with his home. He won't ask his son for a list of accomplishments on the community board. No, he will ask to see his family one last time. He will cry for the crumbling relationship between him and his prodigal son or daughter. He will be saddened by the small number of family members present for his upcoming funeral. He will have this nagging sense of something missing in his life and then he will weakly ponder his impending future in death that is getting progressively closer by the minute. Where am I really going? Who is on the other side of my one last breath? What awaits me? Who awaits me? Wait...................Did I treat everyone with respect? Did I contribute to society in a positive way? How about all those transients I treated so harshly years ago................That was a lifetime ago, but it seems so close now........................What if there really is a hell?????

This is something I dealt with for years in my youth. The mere mention of death triggered this shockingly but very real fear in the pit of my soul! For years, I worked around dead people as a police officer, I saw the worst possible scenarios; dead baby call, woman who had attempted suicide by using a .38 Smith & Wesson only to have half of her brain and skull fragmented on the wall behind the bed she was sitting on, a boy-somewhat of a local favorite-drowned in a residential lake with a maximum depth of 8 feet, and the wife of a cheating husband who drove off a 90 degree angle cliff of approximately 200 yards in height in a mini van. These are all very real incidents which I had the unfortunate luxury of observing on a daily basis. I was on the local Special Reaction Team and one day on a hostage situation call to a local school to intercept a man with a gun only to be called off seconds after the man took his wife's life then his own. Luckily, his son was in a different classroom at the time. I was the point man or shield-man of the team and I would have been the first to engage the disturbed man.

All of these very real, all of these very sad. Did the woman go to heaven? Did she have a conversion during the three days she was hooked up to life support with only her organs functioning? Was the boy right with God? Did the parents of the baby ever survive the ordeal? All serious and necessary questions. Serious because reality is much different than the television! Necessary because salvation and damnation are the only two alternatives! The most important question you should ask yourself is "Am I ready to face God if I died tonight?" I know that this might stir some emotions, some of you might have experienced similar situations, and others may just be wondering and asking the same questions. But the important point I am trying to make is that God is the absolute only way of ensuring that when and if that time comes, we are prepared. God is the only answer to our problems and because of His grace and the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, are we able to look forward to eternal life with Him. Because of the pain endured at the cross are we able to bypass the pain here on earth while we approach our lives eternal in the New Kingdom.

So, let this be sobering but serious. Let each of us take a step back and reevaluate our lives and ask ourselves, are we ready? God has offered us eternal life, but we must understand that this offer does not limit our ability to enjoy our lives here on earth. We are meant to have good and prosperous lives while we borrow this worn out piece of dirt called earth. So let us take every thought captive, bring all of our problems, pains, and issues to God. And most importantly, let us show by our own lives who we serve and who we love as He first loved us. Amen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

VICTORY!

One of the most important aspects of religion is "where", where are we going when we die? Most cultures have norms, traditions, and religious beliefs. But of those varying religious beliefs, which ones tell of what the long term goal or purpose is? What do they say about our souls? What do they say about where we are headed? Have you stopped to "ponder" your future life or death?

I have. When I was very young (about 5 or 6 years old) I began to develop this fear of death. Coming from an over-zealous and very cultish religious background, I was taught that death was imminent and hell was the alternative to Heaven. I was taught that sinning lead to a death more horrible than anything that could humanly be imagined. I'm sorry to state that, in hindsight, I believe my parents used the Bible and Hell to scare religion into me. It worked........for a few years more.........then I began to slip into a life of confusion, sin, and fear. But still, with all of my sinning and rebellion against God, I still had the fear of death and eternal damnation of Hell. Images of burning for infinity always haunted me and the fear of dying became a regular nightmare throughout my early years and into my twenties all the way up to rededicating my life to God! It was not necessarily a bad thing to believe in hell as the alternative to Heaven, it was just used as the tool to convince me to become a Christian, versus salvation by the Grace of God.

I only recently realized how "hell" fits into the schematics of our eternal future. Hell is the alternative to the New Heaven and Earth. Hell is reserved for Satan and his followers. But, those of us who have a relationship with God and are true believers have a reservation waiting for us in this New Kingdom with the Father, Jesus, the Heavenly host, and all the other Saints. Jesus told us that he is preparing a place for us in His New Kingdom. And God told John (Revelation) that the second death or "hell" has no power over us. Christ's "death" on the cross was the elimination of eternal death for those of us who believe. He took away Satan's tool called "death" and replaced it with a privilege called "Life!" What an act of grace!

So, we know there is a place called Hell or Hades and we know who is bound for that place because it says so in the Bible. We also know that if we are walking with God and our faith is strong, we are lined up with the Word and Holy Spirit, then we have salvation awaiting us and the "second death" or place called hell has no power over us. We have VICTORY over death by Christ's sacrifice for us. By the GRACE of God we are saved, not the wonderful acts of kindness we perform or amount of time we spend in the pew or reading the Scriptures. We can now approach the Throne of God, the Most Holy of Holy's through His Son, Jesus Christ!

Let us now activate our "boldness" in everything we do and everything we say. Let us not waste anymore time and start telling the world the biggest newsflash of all, eternal salvation comes through knowing and believing Jesus' and through God the Father. There does not have to be anymore confusion or fear. No more frivolous fighting or pointless arguing. As the old adage goes, Why beat a dead horse with a stick? Let us pursue life and life eternal. But let us also enjoy life while here on earth and prepare ourselves for life in our future. Let us look forward to a future of love and happiness, not anger and sadness.

If we can't believe that there is something better in our lives and for our lives and that we have a future, then why believe in anything at all? If we can't spend our short time here on earth happy and content, then why wake up in the morning? What good does the pursuit of wealth and status do us if gaining it takes away our very souls? We can all be prosperous and happy. Really! No joke folks! We are all intended to have wealth and status, but not our own way. We are all "destined" to have a place of importance in our lives. This can be achieved only through the wonderful grace of God, the God of heaven and earth. The one true God. The Lord Almighty.......Slice it, dice it, and add some pepper..................................It always comes back to God. He is the only true way of "living" while we are living. Achievement is only possible if we have a future to look back on our past of achievements. A future is only possible if we "believe" that there is something better out there for us to experience than just living and we don't just settle for a normal life. Something better is only possible if we live according to God's plan for us and not our own plan for us!

Let God tell you what to do, what to say, and how to live. We already have a place in His Kingdom, He is just waiting for us to acknowledge this and accept it at the same time. Once we do this, He will show us things that we never knew were otherwise possible. We will not always agree and might not always understand but we will definitely enjoy. A life with God in control is a life lived. He wants so much more for us and will give it to us if we give us to Him. Amen!