Category Archives: Christian thought

Christianity and Boundries


I find it strange that those who take the Bible literally, find it so hard to accept those who are “different” from themselves. In the Prophets we are told to be kind to the strangers living in our mists, Jesus told us to love one another as He loves us, Paul speaks of being one body under Christ. This to me implies that we are a people with out borders, without conflicts and most assuredly, without boundaries or limitations in the capacity of Brotherly love.

I was reading Malachi 3:5; “Then I will draw near to you for judgement. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, the adulterers, against those who swear falsely,against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages,the widow and the fatherless,against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear Me, says the LORD [Yahweh] of Hosts.”

To me this is a clear mandate for us to treat everyone with fairness and brotherly love. There is no limitations to the ability to love the homeless,the immigrant, the children fleeing from violence and parentlessness. Especially those who are refuges from wars, civil wars,and criminal oppression. Yet to many of those who say “I know Jesus” have not expressed any desire to reach out in love support fair wages for migrant workers, for single parents for just about anyone in need. Jesus also said, “as you do for the least of mine,you do for Me.” Yet is is to easy to walk by the very people we should be reaching out to.

There should be NO boundaries in our desire to love,to justly help, to even pray for every one who is suffering from any form of oppression. The LORD goes on to say in Malachi, “Your words have been hard against me….You have said it is vain to serve God….Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.” And, “Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked,between one who serves God and the one who does not serve Him.” (Malachi 3:13,15,18)

We cannot just sit back and wait for God to tell us to do Right and to seek Justice. We are to be the forerunners of His grace by reaching out every time,in every way possible to NOT put God to the test. Test instead the spirit that says, “Send the refuges back,cheat the workers, cut the health benefits for the veterans,the elderly, the children.” Test them ans see that they are not of God, for God said Love one another as I have loved you. 1 John 4:9-12 is the cornerstone of the love we should have for everyone. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us,that God sent His only Son into the world, so we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He has loved us and sent his only Son to be the propitiation [to be rendered atonement] for our sins. Behold,if God so loved us,we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”

It goes to say then, in my mind, if you do not love one another, the maybe God doesn’t abide in you. “If anyone says ‘I love God.’ and hates his brother,he is a liar; for he who hates his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:20,21 So then who is my brother? Every man woman and child created by God. Who then are the kinsmen of Christ? All who have called upon Him and repented. Does this include immigrants, refugees, single mothers, elderly who are non-believer? Yes! It include all who have not yet know Christ because through us they may be shown Christ. But most importantly, it includes those who are of Christ,because failing to see to them in love is to fail to love God.

Blessed are those who are peacemakers, who see tot he needs of others before themselves, who give unselfishly to the causes that restore others. Blessed are those who show their love of God with works of kindness. Are you to counted among them? So to the Question if there should be boundaries, the answer is absolutely not! Let there be no limit to the love we have for everyone, let no spirit blind or bind you into rejecting love for or from anyone.

The Cross and the Atonement: Confession, Contrition and Repentance.


One thing I learned from science is that before the creation of the Universe there was a void. A vacuum that contained no matter, no time and no space as we understand time space and matter. In Theology we call this Heaven. Taking that concept and applying it to the Cross When Jesus as wholly man died and Jesus Wholly God took our sins out of this world, we see that the Atonement is also out of Time,Space and Matter.

We have to accept this premise to understand about the wonder of the Atonement. and why Confession, Contrition and Repentance are all linked to it. The first thing to accept is that we are not the atonement, Jesus is. There is nothing we can do that will completely atone for our sins. I want to add one more thing that I left out of the title; Absolution. The Atonement offers total Absolution, the removal of guilt and shame. What God means when He said I shall remember their iniquities no more. Only Jesus could do that, as the perfect man, He was able to take the burden of our sins, without shame, without guilt. When Jesus said. “it is finished.” He had taken the whole burden of sin upon himself and in the flesh died. He took the guilt and the shame out of this realm into the next. he took them into a realm without time or matter.

That brings me to the point of our confession, repentance and contrition. The Atonement is not in the here and now, it is outside of time. So when we confess our sinfulness, repent of it, and strive to be contrite (turn around and away from sin), we are giving it over to the Cross, the Day of Atonement. Our sins are atoned for on the cross as if we were there. Jesus died and took our sins he took all of them that are confessed, all sins repented, all held in contrition. The Absolution comes from the Cross, as a grace. In the Catholic Church, it is taught that this absolution come from Christ under the authority He gave the Disciples after His Resurrection. It is not the priest that absolves our sins, it is Christ Himself. This is the teaching. And the absolution is taking place on the Cross, not in the present. Just as the sin is forgiven, the repentance accepted and the contrition validated not in the present but in the place without time, heaven.

The Atonement is complete, it is”finished” and a New life has begun. But still confession of our sinful nature is essential to the Absolution, Repentance is vital, for God can not, will not forgive what is not repented. And the desire of contrition is a grace of the Holy Spirit. What many have failed to grasp is that confession, repentance and contrition are all gifts of the Holy Spirit,for we can not be trully repentant and, desire to confess and to be contrite unless motivated and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. We can confess what we are not contrite about but then it is not true confession. And like wise we can be contrite for a moment, but without the Holy Spirit, that contrition is incomplete, for it is through the Holy spirit we are able to “turn away from sin” as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation but [turn] away from evil.” For it is not us but God who is “The Power and the Glory now and forever.”

But as it is not in the present nor in that past that our sins where taken by the Perfect Atonement, it is neither a then nor a now but in the Eternal Moment of the Eternal Grace that all sin is removed, all guilt and shame is forgotten and contrition can come. Praise be to God in the Highest! In that Eternal Moment, God accepted the Perfect atonement and it is everlasting, never having a beginning nor an end. A moment that remains outside of time and Matter, a moment that is not relived by our confession but is the same moment for all, those who confessed to Peter and Paul, those who confessed to a priest, for all confessed to Christ and by Christ were made One with Him. What we confess today is forgiven in eternity, forgotten, never to be remembered. For many this will be hard to accept, not only those who reject the Priestly confession, but those who can not comprehend a place without time or matter. But as Paul said that when he would receive his Crown, the others would also receive their crowns, and all will judged at once, so it applies to the concept that there is not Yesterday, today or tomorrow in the everlasting heaven. There is no morning nor evening, time does not exist. so Christ’s Death can offer Absolution and Atonement to all who seek it once even though they are not asking at the same time, even though some asked for on Pentecost another yesterday, and some will not ask for until some future date, some on their deathbed. The Atonement happened on the Cross and it is somehow still Eternal,everlasting and in the Moment asked for.
God Bless us all, thank you dear Jesus for being the eternal Atonement, Amen!

Resurrection Sunday 2014

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,’Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when He said this He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy spirit. If you forgive sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.'” John 20:19-23

In the Resurrection come great Glory and Power of God. Jesus is giving to the disciples, His power, His grace and His forgiveness. And in that we come to the fullness that what God has forgiven, we are instructed to forgive. He has breathed His Holy Spirit into us that we are enabled to use the gifts as Jesus used them. Nothing is held back.

As This time, the passion of Christ is to commemorate the forgiveness of sin, let us also forgive. As it is the time we remember the gift of the sacrifice of Love, let us love. Not for a day, but for eternity. As He has shown His glory to us, let us show His glory to others. As Jesus was sent by the Father, let us go out and be a blessing to all.

Prayer for this Day: Glory to God, Christ has risen! Glory to the Heavens above, let us rise up and greet Him who comes in the Name of the Father and by His spirit, heals and forgives. Amen and amen!

Who Is Invited To The Lord’s Table?

He then told the guests a parable, because he [Jesus] had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, ‘give up your seat to this man’. And then, to your embarrassment, you will have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, ‘My friend, move up higher’> In that way everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone how exalts himself will be humbled and every one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then he said to his host, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relatives or rich neighbors, for fear they will repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot repay you back means that you are fortunate, because repayment will made to you when the virtuous rise again.”
“The Jerusalem Bible” Luke 14:7-14

I find this lesson, or rather two lessons, to be very important in our understanding of the invitation to Christ. The “Religious” feel they have an entitlement to “places of Honour”. The “Church People”, yet it may well be that the widow or the janitor may be more worthy of honour than they are. This is a battle I faced many times. Several times when offered a place of “importance” within a church, I felt unworthy and often refused it. Sometimes almost forced to take the office against my will. And every time I did bend to pressure, it caused friction and discontent within the church memberships. Even when I resigned from the office, still friction remained. So I have always been mindful to study carefully the office or placement of services until I was assured by grace and the Holy Spirit to accept.

As a guest at the Lord’s Table, the Table of Salvation, we tend to exalt ourselves as gifted and ‘special” but it is in the Heart of Jesus that we are honoured. And although we are all blessed, none are to be exalted over others. Many times I was asked to seek after a position of ministry and each time, I heard the Lord say, this is not your place at the table. Since it is the nature of man to seek success, and the vanity of men to reach for the highest spot, so it is in the churches. But Jesus said, be humble, be gracious. Let God exalt you before man.

Now to the second lesson: Who is invited to share? For generations there has been a gospel taught that reached out to say, some are destined to be condemned. For a critical generation, it was even taught that the poor deserved to be poor they way they were because they were “sinners” who were born to die in sin, unworthy of salvation. It is obvious that the perpetrators of this false gospel did not read carefully the messages of Christ. But in today’s teaching of society, much of this attitude still persists. Efforts of political parties seek to cut aid to the poor, the sick, the elderly and the lame (disabled). They preach in their pulpits, the weak need to stand up for themselves. Yet in this verse we are taught that we are to invite them into our homes, we are to treat them as honoured guests.

Now to the Spiritual venture of this verse. Christ invited us when we were lame, blind and crippled to come to His Table. He said, Come all you who hunger and thirst after Righteousness. He said Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, the peace makers. He did not say blessed are those who seek honour and fame, or Glory before God. No, it is the weakest, the lowly, the humble who are honoured. Our churches are to be open to the least fortunate among us, Our gifts and grace is to be given to them as treasures of God. We are to share our bounty as Christ shared His Bounty with us.

As Paul told the people of Colossi, “And you who once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he [Jesus] has reconciled in his body of flesh by his death in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” (Colossians 1:21) So then we were once the lame, the blind and the poor. But by Christ inviting us to ‘eat at His Table”, we are now no longer poor, or blind or lame. BE STRONG, be brave, be bold! But at the same time, Be vulnerable, be humble, be cautious. Walk humble softly and quietly before Our Lord so that he might take notice of you and bring you forward to his right side, a place of high honour. Come in as a lame person and leave your crutches at the doorway for at His Table you are healed. For at His Table we are made one with Him who is Life.

May God give us grace and the Spirit of Faithfulness to hear His words and apply them to our lives.

Make it Personnal: A short Study on Romans 14:23-24

“Hold onto your own belief, as between you and God – consider the man fortunate who can make his decision without going against his conscience. But anyone who eats in a state of doubt is condemned, because he is not in good faith; and every act done in bad faith is a sin.” Romans 14:23-24 Jerusalem Bible

I have not posted for quite a while because of the death of my wife and she was my guidepost. But this message is strong in me to share. I will be short about it and try to be precise. Taking each part of it by itself and then tying it together.
“Hold onto your own belief.” Done let others confuse you with dogmas and doctrine that are tied to manmade conceptions. Let The Holy Spirit speak to your heart. Dogmas, doctrines and church teaching can distract you from the meaning that God has for you. Each time you read scripture, pray or speak with others, you may find something to hold dear to your heart that is not what has been previously taught. This is God making it personal.
“As between you and God.” All knowledge of God comes from God. In all the years of study, all the years spent in Church schools, all the time searching the world for the “True meaning” it was because God wanted a personal relationship with me that I canto find Him.
“Consider the man fortunate who can make his own decision without going against his conscience.” When you came to Christ, it was to do Good, serve Christ and be reconciled with the Father. It was not to live by other men’s rules and rites. it was because you found a new love, a greater love. And as people with godly consciences we can see the differences between god’s Choices and men’s desires or opinions.
“But anyone who eats (take Communion) in a state of doubt, is condemned.” Doubt is the lack of Faith. Doubt is being a half believer. This is not the doubt as to your own state of being in relationship to God, but the doubt of the Divinity of Christ, the core beliefs that make us a unique people. Erase al doubt about belief, accept what is right and has been shown to be true. Is Christ present among us? Did he rise from the grave? Is he the everlasting Savior? Of this there can be no doubt. “Because he is not in good faith; every act done in bad faith is a sin.” Every act done in bad faith is a sin. Perhaps this line is to all of us, who claim faith but fail repeatedly. Every time we act in bad faith aren’t we acting against True Faith? When we eat together, whether it be a church function or a social gathering in the Lord’s name, we are called to be of the True Faith.

so the point in the making is that to be of Good Faith, it is not the matter of what we eat, or what we accept but of what we hold dear and true. I tis a matter of our Faith, of how God has made Himself Personal to us. it is a matter of loyal and true understanding of how God want’s us to believe, not the dogmas and traditions, as in the Temple or
Church Schools, but how Jesus Christ has effected our lives to live with Him in Harmony with the Holy Spirit and reconciled to The Father. Be Blessed this Day, be as Christ calls you to be, for it is He who called you to Himself.

Ephesian 1: 15-23; the Triumph of Christ’s Entrance in Our Life

“That will explain why I, having heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love that you show toward all the saints, having never failed to remember you in my prayers, and thank God for you.” Eph.1:15-16. Paul sees in this Gentile church a love that is founded on faith. It is important to remember that our Faith in Christ is grounded on Love, not on reason,nor on emotions but purely on Faith. As was evident to Paul, the young church was not separated by ideologies or traditions but united by the one true Faithfulness that came from the Spirit of God and the embracing gift of the Father, through Christ.

It is not a love that causes us to divide ourselves into groups but a love that binds us together as a marriage to God. In this new relationship we are the brides of Christ, united by the Holy Spirit to grant love to one another and to share in that same love with each other as the family of God. But in that love we are called to serve with loving-kindness each and every member of those “elected to serve” in Christ.

Paul continues with the love thought with the next line. “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed.” (vs. 17a) What a glory it is to be granted wisdom and perception! No longer are we held up in darkness and living in a void because of the sin of Adam that separates us from the light of Salvation. While the wisdom of the ages was still not grasped as obtainable to many of the Jews, these gentiles, these lost souls, now to hold on to it with understanding and confidence. This is something that many today still struggle with. We only need to search out the scriptures, our hearts and to seek after the mind of Christ, we receive a full knowledge, perception and reality in the Wisdom from God. We can just by entering a prayerful and spirit filled attentiveness, grasp what was not understood for ages before Christ.

And to what purpose? the rest of verse 17 says, “…TO BRING YOU TO FULLKNOWLEDGE OF HIM.” This is the whole of the word, the complete story in what was contained in the first 14 verses of chapter one: That we have understanding, wisdom and perception of the meaning of life given by the Blood of Jesus. We are to seek after the fullness of Jesus, we are to seek the Completeness of His Way, we are to understand with godly wisdom the history of the people of God that we can live in Christ. God gave us a spirit that reveals to us what was separate from those who lived before Christ. He gave us the Spirit who is our comforter,our counsel and our guide that we can know without any doubt of what path we are to walk, what ventures we are to undertake and how we are to live with one another.

This brings to my mind a question that we should consider very carefully. If those gentiles, the people whose backgrounds are from Hittite, Persian, Medea, and Assyrian, who were once enemies of the God’s chosen people of old eagerly welcomed the message of Jesus as there own, why do we find it so hard to love as they did? If these people who worshipped strange gods, the creation of the imaginations and idolatry of the Persian, Greek and Roman gods of lust and war, these people whose fathers and mothers prayed to idols and who once engaged in lewd acts as a praise to these false gods, now worshipped a god who came down from heave and gave them peace, spiritual gifts and a heart of love never known before, why then do we still practice to deceive ourselves by engaging in unkind acts toward each other. How can we change those things about ourselves that continually show others that we do not really act in the faith of these ex-pagans?

So as Paul tells these new and eager Christians how well they are doing in their walk, he brings even more encouragement to them with these following words. “May [Christ] enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope His call holds for you, what rich glories that he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that He has exercised for us believers.” Ephesians 1:18-19a. He tells them that they are to be enlightened, to see through the eyes of the Lord and the Spirit how to live, what to seek after and how to build up each other and those who have been weakened by the trials of the world. They are to continue in their efforts to aid the fellow believers among the Jews, and the people who have tried to discourage them. They are to see with the mind of Christ how to bring unity of the Spirit to all the saints. And they are to see just how great the infinite greatness of Christ’s power is in them. And he also encourages them to remember that this power in Christ is to there into eternity, because He is infinite justice and all Power of God is infinite.

I ask another question of you now. How great is our effort to see with the mind of Jesus? Can we see the true riches that is our infinitely from God? Or are we still seeing the incarnate world and seek after those what is are temporal and finite? How enlighten are we when we pray, or when we try to grow in faith? What is there that is holding us back, what is preventing us from opening our minds to see what is God’s desire for our lives? Are we trying to grow unearthly prosperity when we should be seeking to grow in spiritual prosperity?

The next sentence is very long and needs to be taken apart then joined together again. I will write on each point then put it together. Starting with the rest of verse 1:19, “This you can tell from the strength of His Power.” God is the almighty, the all powerful. In Him all riches and glory are due. But what strength are we celebrating? The next part of the sentence, “at work in Christ, when He used it to raise Him from the dead.” The Power to cause what is dead to be alive, but in Christ, He raise Himself up from the grave. Perhaps it was easier for the the Gentiles to accept this miracle than the Jews but it is still an astounding thing. When so many today reject the possibility of the event ever happening and call believers fools and deceivers. But this event was true and to Gentile Church, it was the core of their Faith. and because of it called them to be generous in the sharing of the love through gifts and aid toward others. How strongly is your faith in the reality of the raising up of christ by His own Power and the Equality He shared with the Father? Does this tug at your heart to be generous toward the needs of the weak the hungry and the disproportionately disadvantaged?

Continuing with the sentence, “…to make Him sit at His right hand in heaven,” This gentle reminder that Jesus is the Right hand of God, a representation that the right hand is the hand of Justice, of mercy and of condemnation. All Judgement that lies in heaven is from the Lord God and through Jesus it is administrated. He is, by the Power of the Father of the heavens and Earth, our Justice. To the Gentile Church this a wondrous thing, to know that Justice is handed out by the one who chose to redeem rather than condemn them. In the past the Gentiles who wanted to accept the God of the Jews were required to become Jews first. But through Jesus this was no longer the way. The New Way was through accepting Jesus.

We add to this new Justice, new authority. Verses 21-22, read, “far above every Sovereignty(earthy powers), Authority, (Angels, spirits), Power (Satan, demons), Domination ( spiritual oppressions, injustice and the like),or any other that can be named, not only in this age but also in the age to come, HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET, and made Him, as ruler of everything, the head of the Church.” In this we are told that the present age, the age of mortality and the next age, the age of the new kingdom with God, Christ is the head, He is the sole authority, He is the Power, the dominate ruler not to be questioned or denied. We are assured that His reign is forever even into eternity. We are granted that by His Supreme
Right, we are subject to His Law and to His judgement. To the the Gentile Church, now counted as a part of the Holy Family of God, this was great news. For them the acceptance was not welcomed with fear or trembling but with rejoicing pleasure. To know that the One Whom you call God, and your redeemer has everything put under His feet, is to understand in their culture, that the world, the heavens and everything that claims any power is a footstool to Jesus, nothing more and nothing greater.

This brings to mind a question for us; are we treating Christ as a slave to our whims or are we being subject to His Mercy, kindness and desires? Do we accept that Jesus has all the Power, all the Authority and all the Domination to do as He chooses? Are we being good subject or are we being whining pests bringing to him our selfish wants and greedy desires? do we treat Christ with the same devotion as did this small Gentile Church, surrounded by pagans, hard-line Jews and powerful men from Rome? Are we dealing with everyday life in complete trust of Jesus?

And this brings me to the end of the sentence. the end of Paul’s prayerful statement of hope and good will to the small group of devote believers. The last verse of chapter 1; “which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills the whole creation.” Ephesians 1:23. Jesus fills both the whole of heaven but also the whole of earth. There is nothing that escapes His attention. While we live in a world filled with strife, one soaring with hate and animosity toward the believer, it was much the same for this church. Yet they held strong to their beliefs, they worked with godly intentions, with a Christ filled purpose. We by comparison seem to be much less in today’s world. We give grudgingly, we complain about paying taxes so the poor can eat and have medical attention. We gripe about our government and the intrusions into our lives. We want to be independent. But that is not what we are to be. We are completely dependent on Christ! We are under His headship! We are to accept His fullness into our very being. The Churches of Ephesus had no problem with this, and that is why Paul loved them so much.

From the very beginning of this passage, it is a prayer for the people of the Church as a whole, a prayer of gratitude for the faithful Love of this community of Believers and a hope for the Church as a whole. Paul wanted the people to see that they are all given the Spirit and Perception to act with godly wisdom and mercy just as Christ have graced them. He wanted the whole of the Church to see with the mind of Christ exactly what they must do, how they must live, think and dream. he wanted them to understand that Jesus is the One Power over all, that Christ is the Authority of all they do and they should continue to work for the Good of Salvation. Having been accepted into the Family of God, having been adopted as the Chosen of Abraham and of Issac and Jacob, to be no longer exiled form Grace and Salvation, they are overwhelmed with the desire to what is pleasing in the sight of the Lord. Paul wants everyone of us to see this message with a clear and open heart. He wants us to grasp that Jesus is not just a fluke of good fortune but the sole authority of everything that is in the heavens and on the Earth. He wants us to rely on the prayer as our own that we go to the Father with the expectation that Christ is the one who fulfills our every need and is providing us with complete justice and mercy. Paul’s prayer is the we are to be filled with the enlightenment and full knowledge that Christ fills the Universe with His Justice, His Mercy and His Grace.

That is the message I have for all of you this Christmas, that As Paul wanted the Children of Ephesus to be knowledgeable in the vastness of the Power and Grace of The Lord Jesus, we are also filled with the same awareness in our day to day living. It is my desire that we can open the eyes of our mind to see the vast Glory of Christ’s reign in heaven and over Earth. That even in the strife and battles of the world that tend to drive fear and sin at us from all sides, we remain faithful to the Promise that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, adopted by the Father and promised by the Blood of Jesus to be His Own! I pray that we not only accept this Divine Hope with pure Faith and devote Love but that we seek to share what we have in the spirit and in the flesh with those who seek after peace and desire to have the love that we have already obtained.

Merry Christmas to all

Bible Study: Ephesians 1:9-14 God’s Plan, To Share the Mystery of Salvation

Continuing in the study of Ephesians from the Jerusalem Bible: What joy it is to see that God had a plan from the very beginning that included us. In the first eight verses we saw the gifts of Blessings to the faithful, the plan of adoption into the family, the chosen of Israel, the Redemption of the Gentiles and the giving us the wisdom and insight into His word and purpose. Each of these gifts of God where ordained from the first. His plan when he began the creation of man. Now we enter into the really great stuff!

The other four gifts are found in the next verses. In fact if we wanted to we could divide these gifts into even more. As I go through them we will expand on these gifts and maybe call them six more gifts instead of four. But I prefer to still call them four gifts. Starting with verse 9; “[God] has let us know the mystery of His purpose, the hidden plan He so kindly made in Christ from the beginning to act upon when the times had run its course to the end:” It was the intention of God that we should know what he has planned. It is His desire that we have an understanding that everything that happened in the past had a purpose and that the purpose was that Christ would be offered up for us that we might become acceptable to the Father in Grace and Love. And it was the right time for these things to happen. Not only did Christ have to be presented as the perfect sacrifice, He had to be presented by the Gentiles (Romans)so that we could be included in the reconciliation. And that was the plan from the beginning. The course of man’s history had to reach this point, so that the sacrifice of Jesus would include us, the Gentiles. Verse 10 continues with this thought with another gift, God’s choice for the Gentiles. “That He (God the Father) would bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in heaven and on earth.” (verse 10) In this verse we have the establishment of the “Church under Christ”. Jesus is the Head of the heavenly Church and the earthly church. Jesus is the One who Unites both the Jews and the Gentiles under the mantel of Salvation. The question for us is, are we uniting under Christ or are we contending with one another. Do we exhibit a Unity of Spirit with each other or are we questioning each other. If God intended us to be united as one people under Christ, why then is there so much non-conformity among his followers?

Thus we are brought together under the fifth gift; the claiming as God’s own chosen People. “And it is in [Christ] that we were claimed as God’s Own, chosen from the beginning, under a predetermined plan of the one who guides all things (Holy Spirit?) as He decides by His own will.”(verse 11) While many will claim that many are chosen not to be redeemed this passage does not claim that at all. It claims that it was predetermined that it was God’s plan to claim Gentiles as His own just as He had claimed the children of Abraham. It is not a setting aside but a joining together. And it is a joining by the will of God as to whom He chooses. And it sets aside some to be the evangelists, the preachers and the teachers. It calls to the Believers of Ephesus to become the extenders of the promise and the sharers of the word. While it does not express that in words here the evidence of that intention to be the examples of Christ and His workers is clear in the later potions of this letter.

We who have gained freedom and to be blameless in the eyes of God are now called to set ourselves aside for His purpose. We have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to be the chosen of God to his pleasure and purpose. We are shown the mystery of His Love and His Salvation to bring everything together through Christ. It is also God’s plan to guide us in the living of the Unity with Him. He does not leave us to fend alone but He has provided us with a support system called the Holy Spirit. So there we have it; not only have we been planned for from the beginning to be in Unity with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit, but we are guided by the Holy Spirit to be in one accord with the Father of Mercy and Grace.

But the gift does not end there! No, it continues right into the next gift! Verse 12 tells us; “(We are) chosen to be, for His greater glory,the people who put their hopes in Christ before He came.” Now here Paul Is talking to the gentiles who had become “good fellows” or believers of Israel’s God but not been circumcised according to custom. They had the hope of salvation promised them in the teachings of many of the Jews. Just as many today want to believe yet still lack faith, they have hope of salvation but still have doubts. To them still is promised Christ. Just as the faithful among the Jews and the Gentiles who wanted to believe that Christ would come to restore them to the Father, we have many who yet still cling to fear that they are worthy of God’s Salvation. They have put their hope in Christ, but to the people of Ephesus, who had not known Christ, their hope was in the coming. Here’s the question; Having seen the Hope of Salvation, what can we do to ensure others may see the Hope Realized in Christ?

So it is the second part of the gift of Hope Promised that the next verse completes the promise, verse 13. “Now you too, in Him, have heard the message of truth and the Good News of Salvation,” This is the greatest part of the gift. And perhaps to some the greatest gift of all! And the end of the gift, in what is also a part of its wonder, is “AND HAVE BELIEVED IT(!)” Having the hope to believe in the Salvation, having heard it and now by the grace of God being able to believe it! there are many millions of people who have heard the Word yet do not have Hope of God, or Faith to believe and for those we must pray, but for those who did have hope and did hear and did believe, God has set them apart to be His own! What effort are we putting into the sharing of the message of Salvation? Do we let the world know that we believe? Who is to bring the message of Salvation if we can don’t demonstrate the Word in our homes, our jobs or the places we congregate?

Yet to me, as great as the gift of the message of truth is, it is not the one I want on my tombstone. Because it is the next gift that binds them together. It is verse 14 that completes it. In the Jerusalem Bible these verses are written as a poem. From verse 3 through 14, almost as a song to be song from the heart. And to me it is also a song to my heat for the last gift that sings to my soul. “And you too have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit of the Promise,, the pledge of our inheritance which brings freedom for those God has taken for His own,to make His Glory praised.” We have a contract with God! This is the covenant that has been promised, that we are called God’s chosen people to praise Him. Promised of God the father, paid for by the Blood Sacrifice of Jesus and signed and witnessed by the Holy Spirit. A threefold covenant of God given to us without our having to do anything but praise Him! A contract of God given to Man for eternity, irrevocable because it is signed, guaranteed by God Himself in the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit! have you accepted as truth the Gift of the Trinity? That it is the Threefold Godhead that presented you with all the gifts? That it is God’s Plan that very aspect of His is in the Salvation, adoption and acceptance of man into His grace?

So here is the questions:
1) On gift four, how has God shared his purpose with you? Do you see yourself as a part of His purpose? What do you intend to do with your gift from God of having a purpose?

2) How has gift five,God’s predetermined plan guided you? As God has chosen to guide you in all things, what direction in your life do you need to redirect to reflect God’s guidance?

3) In the sixth gift, God put your hope in Christ and gave you the message of Salvation to believe. As it was the Hope of mankind to hear the Word, and to believe, what in your life leads you to expand on the faithfulness Christ has placed in you? Where are you best suited to share the Hope and the Promise and the Salvation the tChrist has given you?

and 4) And the seventh gift, the Holy Spirit’s stamp of approval and witness,is it fully accepted and used? As God is the provider of the Promise, the giver of the Promise and the Guarantee of the Promise, how can you show God that you are a respecter of the Promise And give Him the Praise worthy of Him? what changes can you make in your life that can demonstrate the praise and thanksgiving of the gifts?

A Study on EPHESIANS: Mystery of Salvation, Chapter 1:1-8

Chapters 1 through 3 of Ephesians deal with the Mystery of the Church and the wonderful Mystery of the Salvation of God. I want you to put aside the preconceived ideas you may have been taught and start fresh with an open mind to what this wonderful letter has to offer. I am using the Jerusalem Bible because it is concice and because most if not all of you have never seen this translation that was provided by the Roman Catholic Church for its rich penetrating word usage. When using other more popular translations I will make note of them.

In the beginning, Paul starts as he often does with a blessing and greeting. He is very proud of this church filled with gentile Christians and with what they have done with their faith. But this letter to all the churches and was written from th prison of Rome. We must take into account the conflicts that have risen the early church between the Judaisms, Apollos and the Gnostics that have brought false teachings into the churches. There is much today that is similar to the problems Paul’s small congregations faced. We want to re-examine our faith to see if what Paul was presenting them is still what the churches today present to their congregations. Does it uplift or does it tear down. Does it Unify or does it divide? So Paul opens his address with; “Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings of Heaven in Christ:”(Vs. 3) Blessing to ALL Spiritual Gifts. Blessing of Heaven, of Christ and of each other. but even before this His opening is a blessing to all the churches of Ephesus who are “Faithful to Christ Jesus.” He wishes them peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. He sets the stage of the inclusive relationship of the duality of God the Father and Jesus with the church of faithfulness.

Verse 4 states clearly: “Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,” We are blessed (made happy) from the beginning. We were chosen of God to be Holy! To live Blameless. To Live through Love. And to be in the presence of God through Jesus. While it is popular to think that we are a select or privileged people, I want to convey here that this is a Gentile church Paul is writing to. He is conveying to them that they, by electing to follow Christ, to take up the burden of Faithfulness to Him. They are exercising nothing more that the will of God had for them from the creation of time, that They would be included as His Own just as the Jews were before them.

So the question is: If we have been blessed to be holy, blameless and without blemish of sin, what are we doing with this blessing? If we are to be chosen from the beginning, where is the proof of our election in Christ? If we are to be set apart from the world to be in the presence of God, what then do we have to show for it? As we study this book, we need to examine what it means to be a follower of Christ. We need to ask of ourselves if we have shown that we are living in the Love that Jesus shared with us. We need to live with the blessings that have been promised from the first that Christ is our Salvation and the One who Rescues me.

Verse 5 and 6 continues with the plan of God from the first, “determining that we should become HIS adopted sons, through Jesus Christ for HIS PURPOSES, to make us praise the glory of His GRACE, His free gift to us in the Beloved. It was the plan of God when He called Abraham to be the father of a nation of messengers, that the Gentiles, the rejected of God, be made acceptable and worthy through the Blood of Jesus. It was for God’s purpose that we are now included as the children of God just as were the sons of Israel. And the purpose of our adoption is so we can praise God for His Grace and Mercy.

The question now is: Do we show true praise to God for this wonderful gift? Do we accept the adaptation of the Father as grateful children or do we abuse the gift with callousness and disregard? We need to not be boastful of the gift of Salvation and adoption but humble for it was a gift uncalled for. And now that we are adopted as His Children, we are also His messengers. Just as the Jews were the messengers of the Law, we are messengers of the Love.

So far I have mentioned two gifts given of God to us through Christ that have come from the beginning of time. These Gifts are the Blessings of being chosen to be in the Family of God as the Israelites, and the Blessings of becoming holy and spotless before Him. The third Gift is found in the rest of the sentence found in the seventh verse, “in whom, through his Blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins. …” This is the double gift, and in the light of the purpose of God, the most important one. This gift from the beginning was fulfilled on the cross. For it is by the cross we achieve forgiveness. Many will claim it is Faith and that is partially right but the truth of the matter is that without the sacrifice of the Cross, there could not be forgiveness. Our Faith allows us to receive the redemption but still it was the shedding of the Blood of the the most perfect Sacrifice that fulfilled God’s promise.

The second part of the gift is the Redemption, the Reconciliation that came with the sacrifice. The verse continues with, “Such is the richness of the grace which He has showered on us in all wisdom and insight.”(verse 8.) And this brings more questions to mind. Why? What did we do to receive such gifts? Who are we to be forgiven and reconciled with God? Well the answer is nothing! And now that we have been reconciled and redeemed, forgiven and included, how are we expressing that gratitude so undeserved?

What is the evidence in our lives that we are redeemed? How are we demonstrating to the world that we are free from sin? What is it that shows that we have the freedom of God’s Grace to walk in His righteousness? We must be able to show that by the new life we have with God that the gifts He has showered us with in His Wisdom are not wasted. After all God chose us in Christ to be His own just as He chose the sons of Israel to lead a people in righteousness, we are also chosen to live as a nation of Children of God to love our Father.

So the questions for us as a people of God are:
Have I lived to be a holy and sin free person as God wishes,or do I still seek after other desires?
Have I lived as a child of God, or am I still living as a child of the world?
Have I accepted in complete accord the freedom I have to be forgiven, or have I walked back into the bondage of worldly desires?

These Questions we must ask of ourselves. For to be truly free, and to fully accept the gift of the cross, we must act as the chosen of God with complete and impartial commitment to His Will and Way.

The Good Christian vs. the Bad Christian: A study of Colossians 3:1-17

As is the case in many of Paul’s Letters, he has set forth a contrast in “bad behavior” and “good behavior.” In Colossians 3:5-10 he lists some of the things of human nature that need to be put to death. The very attitudes that cause believers to become “bad christians”, unfaithful to Christ. I want to spend time examining these attitudes, these things that tell the world that we are not of godly principles, but of earthly ones instead.

But let us begin with the opening verses of Paul’s problem. Verse 1 states, (ESV) “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1. Just as Jesus is raised up into heaven and seated with the Father, at his right hand, we to are lifted up. And that right hand is the hand of Authority. The hand that gives commands, that hold judgement. Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you [God] will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 NAS). And that is the very thing Paul is concerned about, the believers having lost faith and returning to the ways of deprivation. So Paul tells them, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are here on earth.” (Colossians 1:2 ESV). To much is given to the people today AS WAS EVEN THEN, that are materialistic and carnal. We have too much to tickle our senses and not enough to inspire our thoughts to righteousness. We must remember what Jesus told the twelve in Matthew 16:24-26, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what should a man gain in return for his soul?” We equate this to taking up the burdens of faith, but it also applies to forsaking Christ for the things of the world. If our constant desire for pleasure, wealth or power are greater than our desire to be humble, contrite and holy, aren’t we selling out to the devil? If we are truly of Christ,then we want to live in Him. We want only to live for Him and by His Word. Paul is telling us that we have power to live for Christ now and in the future. Verse 3-4 say, “For you have died (to sin) and your life (eternal) is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears (in the end days),then you also will appear with Him in Glory.(ESV)” The question then is, are we giving all of ourselves to Christ or are we holding onto the world? Will we, by our example and expressions of Faith, bring glory to God so that we can come again with Christ in full Glory as he will? Or will we be lost to the world and indeed, be dead to grace?

The next question is why then keep sinning? What does it gain us? Paul brought this up to the Romans, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 NLT). Paul also told the Corinthians (2 Cor. 5:14-15 NAS), “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and if He died for all, that they should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” That is the question that I have for you today. Why, if we have turned ourselves over to the control of Christ, do we still seek to court sin like a lover? We no longer should seek to please ourselves but only to please God. Let us prepare ourselves for the true Glory that only comes from God by setting our trust and our obedience in Christ. If we are to be true to God, we fight the things that separate us from Him. We work with diligence to preserve what is right and holy before God and cast away the desires of the world.

So Paul writes to the disciples in Colossi, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” And then begins the list of offences he is aware of. He lists sexual immorality, impure thoughts, evil desire, covetousness and obsessive passion as idolatry. Now I noticed that ALL sexual immorality as one sin, being no difference between types; adultery, rape, homosexuality, incest, fortifications are all the same. Impurity is not just actions against the body and mind but also lust, greed, envy and pride. These are all sins of impurity. As well as obsessions like hoarding, addictions and selfishness are sins of passion and covetousness. Envy and hate and revenge are among the many sins caused by evil desire. And Paul claims that these all are sins of idolatry. And He is right! For by these sins, God is placed below and the desire of the mind and the flesh are worshipped in His stead. The wrongful desires of the World override the Desires of Grace.

Paul warns us, as he did the citizens of Colossi, “On the account of these the wrath of God is coming! (Colossians 3:6 ESV). Not to be left unaware, Paul is telling them that if they continue to live in the ways of the past, the attitudes they had before coming to Christ, they will suffer the judgement of Christ. God is coming! Christ is going to judge the living and the dead. And those who are dead to Him because of continued sin will suffer His Just Wrath. Peter also warns us of the sins against Christ that will fill the churches. “Many will follow their evil teachings and shameful immorality. Because of them, Christ and his true way will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get a hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago,and their destruction is on the way.” (2 Peter 2:2-3 NLT). But Peter also gave us the answer to the dilemma in his first letter, “So get rid of all malicious behavior and deceit. Don’t just PRETEND to be good! Be done with all hypocrisy and jealousy and backstabbing. You must crave Spiritual Milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your Salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s Kindness.” (1 Peter 2:1-3 NLT)

Jesus carried our sins on the cross personally, not so we could continue to live in sin but so that we might be free from the power of sin. We are called into righteousness and to live blameless in Christ. When tempted by sin we must take a stand and resist, we must flee from the desires of man and Satan and run to Godliness and the Truth of Jesus. We must, as preaches Paul, “…put them all away: wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk [trashing and vindictive language] from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing you have put off the old self with its practices,and have put on a new self, which is being renewed [made fresh] in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:7-10. ESV) Our behavior must be in the very example of Jesus, living and loving the ways that God designed us to walk in. Paul also told the people in his letter to the Ephesians (whom he held in high regard), “But you did not learn Christ in this way (referring to sensuality, greed and impurity), if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you have been renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which is the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:20-24 NAS). If we are renewed, refreshed and created in the image of God, why then would we seek after the image of Satan? If we are, by the blood of Jesus, a new creation in the true image of our Creator, why seek after the ways of our past sins against Him. Are we then also no longer Friends of Jesus but friends of deception? In every way, at every time, seek after the righteousness and cast down the sins of our past as dead and corrupted into decay and ruin. No longer should the desires of evil, lust and greed occupy our minds but we should be filled with generosity and mercy and kindness to each and every one. Grace and loving kindness should fill our hearts. and we should also cast out the things that separate us into classes, nationalities and religious pasts.

In the very next verse, Paul reminds the believers that they are no long considered to be Greek (Pagan), or Jew. No longer ruled by customs and tradition asked of God to be a sign of the covenant of obedience and service, but under a new covenant of usefulness and generosity and mercy toward each other as one people under the banner of the Cross. No longer separate and different from each other but one under Christ as Christ is all [God] and in all [believers]. Yet even today, churches slander each other, hold malice and contempt for each other, and cast out those who refuse to follow obscure laws and dictates that man has invented to replace the true Spirit of the Gospel. Many times inventing sins that God has never declared, and other times excusing sins as irrelevant that God has declared as evil in His sight. Jesus changes us, and Paul told the Romans, “But thanks to God, you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18 ESV). But the key here is we are to become willing slaves (bond servants) to the Word and the Way of Jesus. We must turn ourselves completely to His Grace with every desire to serve Him completely in this world. Our freedom in Christ remains in the obedience to the Way of Christ.

Just as Paul has told us to put sin to death forever in our lives he asks us, no, demands of us, to put on a new life. Just as Jesus told the disciples and the Jews that when the demon is cast out of a “house” (our life) he will seek to return to it if it is not filled with the Spirit of God. And if the house is still empty, he will bring seven friends with him. In the same manner Paul tells us to put on a new life, to fill our house with the things of the Spirit of Christ. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience,” Colossians 3:12 ESV). We are to be new creations, renewed in the Spirit, laying aside the falsehood of our old life, speaking truth with each other in compassion for we are members of one another (see Ephesians 4:21-26). Peter begins his first letter to the church as a whole with, “…to those who are elect…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with His Blood:..” (1 Peter 1-2 ESV). I want you to note three things here; The foreknowledge of the Father (God knows who will accept Him And He will reject Him). The Sanctification of the Spirit ( As to those who hear and accept His grace, He gives by the Holy Spirit a Sanctified Grace to seek after righteousness). And Obedience to Jesus Christ (by His blood, shed for us). And this last is vital to your spiritual growth and our maturity in God’s wisdom. With a complete desire to be obedient to Christ by striving to live outside of the sinful nature of our flesh and the desires of carnal minds. We need to seek after those things told to us in the Gospels of Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) to the prayer of Jesus in the Garden (John 17). We must welcome the burdens and the trials as Christ welcomed the cross, by yielding to the total will of the Father.

Paul continues his sentence with, “..bearing with each other.” It is necessary to be forbearing, to show mercy and to put up with each others faults and weaknesses and to help each other through the tough places in life. Not all are strong, many have weaknesses that cause them to stumble. Those of us who are strong should not be among those who condemn, but those who uplift and encourage in righteousness. We must guide and correct with the heart of Jesus. The rest of the sentence goes; “…and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving as the Lord has forgiven you, so that you must also forgive.” Colossians 3:13b ESV). What offence can any one commit against us that could equal God’s complaint against us? What offence is equal to any sin we have committed in the name of Jesus? It is clear to me that every offence committed against my name is nothing to the offences I have done against Christ, especially those I have done since I received the mercy of Christ. The most important thing we must do, what is foremost in the heart of a true believer is what Paul tells us next; “Above all these put on LOVE, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in you hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:14-15 ESV.) As Paul also told the Ephesians, we are to live a life filled with love for one another following the example of Christ Jesus, who loves us so much that he thought His sacrifice for our sins a sweet perfume to the Father. (See Ephesians 5:2) The burdens we carry for each other should smell as sweet. We should not look at the thorns that each of us bare but at the fragrance of the flowers we have become in Jesus.

In Ephesians 5, Paul tells us not to tell off-color jokes, obscene stories, or enjoy foolish talk. In verse 5 he states very clearly, “You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God.” This bears much thought as many of us still indulge is such activities. This one point that many avoid teaching as it goes against the thinking of once saved always saved. But in reality it is saying if you indulge thus, you were never saved but still live in the flesh. Having come to Christ in the fullest, we leave such things behind. But let us concentrate on what Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:8-9 (NLT), “For though your hearts were once filled with darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light with in you produces only what is good and right and true.” What then is our goal in life as followers of Jesus? It is to do what is good, right and true! To be kind to each other, to reach out and help those who need us. To speak with gentleness and mercy and to avoid everything that is evil in the sight of God.

Our behavior is to be mature, ever reaching toward godliness. As I wind down this lesson on Good behavior vs. bad behavior, I need to strongly advocate focusing our lives toward Christ. We must seek after peace, harmony and gifting each other with love. The greatest gift from God in our Salvation and Sanctification is the Gift of Love. The unconditional love that only God can give. But we must also express the brotherly love toward one another. It is through the combination of the Philo (Brotherly love) and the Agape (Unconditional love) that is from Christ, that binds us as one people. It is clear that Paul wants the people of Colossi to be bonded together in perfect love for each other. His desire is my desire that all who call Jesus their Lord and their God be bound in a harmonious relationship with Christ Jesus. We must if we are to be in harmony with God, learn to endure each other with love. We must embrace each other in perfect peace and with the Joy of Our Creator and Redeemer.

When Paul states in the letter that we should, “Let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16) What is unsaid but implied is that these be done with thankfulness for each other’s fellowship. Everything he speaks of prior leads to this point. Be thankful for the richness of Christ with each other. We cast off our bad behavior and join in good behavior in praise and thanksgiving for each other, being in the presence and good company of Christ our Lord. We are not left without resources in this. Jesus told us that, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach all things and bring to your remembrance all things I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My Peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:26-27 ESV) Since we can not avoid the carnal desire alone, Jesus has given us His Holy Spirit to instruct us and our minds.

And the final words of Paul in this matter to the believers, and to us, is these wonderful words, “And what ever you do, in word, or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him Casting away the bad behavior of our past, growing in maturity in the Spirit of the Word and the Hope, accepting the grace and the gifts and living in the perfect Way of the Living Word. Putting aside as dead the pattern of our past, the confines of the carnal world and embracing the eternal and blessed ways of our Redeemer, living in the Spirit of God, sharing the Love that God has for us. Let us then make every effort to conform to Christ and to cast out as ruin, the ploys, distractions and folly of Satan. Leave as dust under our feet the obscure ways of the world and seek after the path of Jesus, the True Way. Look to one another as we would look to Christ. Look after each other as the Holy spirit looks after us. Provide kindness and forgiveness without regard of what the offence is as the Father forgave us our trespasses. That is the true liberty of Christ, the freedom from sin to serve the perfect God in pure love and obedience. We must live in the good behavior of Christ, as His representatives in the world. We are to lift the Lord Jesus in our behavior toward each other, not seeking after ourselves or the desires of the world, but the desires of the Heart of Jesus. Live kindly with each other, speak justly and with mercy. See in one another what Christ sees in you. Be Blessed by blessing others, praying for them and lifting up together the glory of God.

God’s Dominion of the “god-kings”:Psalm 82

“I say, “You are gods and children of the Most High. but in death you are mere men. You will fall as any prince. for all must die.” Psalm 82:7 (KJV)

Psalm 82 is a song of the scribe Asaph, and while we may not know when he lived it can be assumed that this psalm is written for the benefit of the Children of Israel suffering from oppression either by their kings, abusive priests or by their neighboring kingdoms. As all the kingdoms surrounding Israel/Judea believed their kings to be gods it is fair to make such conclussion. The Psalm begins with, “God presides over heaven’s court.” (NLT) and that is a reminder that no god-king or false prophet or despot can create a law or rule that is greater than that of the Most High God. This Psalm is timely for every age because Israel has always been surrounded by those who set their own law above the Law of God.

We, as those who are the heirs of the kingdom by the blood of Christ, are also surrounded by unjust law, evil rulers and oppressive governments. If one of the children of God are suffering for His sake, we all suffer. If one of His People, Jew or Christian are endangered, all are in danger. There are three types of god-kings today. Those like the rulers of Zimbabwe, North Korea and Burma proclaim themselves as “gods” and demand to be worshipped. Others who created theocracies and impose ruling that impose hardships, slaughter and oppression on their own people and declare war on others who refuse to follow thier ways blindly as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya other such nations are also ‘god-kings’ Those who repress all other religions or consider Religion to be detrimental to their oppressive ways have set themselves up as “god-kings”.

The Psalmist, Asaph, proclaims a message directly from God (YHWY), that is both blunt and cynical of them. Psalm 82:3-5 reads, “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”(ESV). While this pertains to the rulers that have set themselves up as “gods” it also pertains to us as members of society. I have heard many good christians complain that it is not the responsibility of government to care for the elderly, sick, poor, orphaned or the weak and needy, this verse clearly speaks directly from the voice of God that it is the goal of good and godly government to be the caretakers of those who can not care for themselves. But the issue I write on is not about that but of the “god-kings” that are causing much harm to the Christians, Jews and even those who do not proclaim God. Asaph says from the voice of God, “They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness.” (Psalm 82:5 ESV). And it is in darkness that they live. They know nothing of the Compassion of God, nor do they understand that a people who live without fear and eager to serve their kings.

At each turn, nations, even those who proclaim freedom, seek to oppress Christ, to reject the Law of God, to oppress the weak and to steal from the poor. They refuse to obey the command of God to care for the elderly, the widows, the orphans nor to they care that they let their subjects go hungry and homeless because of their greed. While we look at nations like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, China and others as our “friends” we excuse their atrocities to their own people. We call Pakistan good neighbor even though they have oppressive laws that allow innocent people to be killed, women and children to be raped and their own subjects to be treated as slaves to Muslim thugs.

There are many verses in Psalms that tell of God’s retribution and His Justice. He will see that even the mightiest will fall. As has the leaders of land throughout history. In the end no tyrant, no despot, no villain as outlived God. All have died, most by the violence they lived by. The Psalmist finishes his song with a cry and a call to God to judge the earth for God (through Jesus) will inherit all nations. Remember the words of Paul, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” Colossians 3:23-25(ESV)

To the many who live as the “god-kings”, you are doomed to die while we who live and serve Christ have life eternally with the True King.