The Illusion Of Reality

Illusion- 1: a mistaken idea: misconception 2: a misleading visual image

-From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

I did not begin this post with a Bible quote because these are just my own thoughts. However, I will refer to some Scriptures here and there in order to show you where I’m coming from. I’m going to warn you in advance, this will be “a trip down the rabbit hole”.

Freedom doesn’t mean that you have the right to do whatever you want. Freedom is about being made free from the chains that bind you. (John 8:31-34)

Let’s say that I wrote your name on a piece of paper. Or better yet, let’s say that I told you to write your name on a piece of paper. After you write your name, I tell you to give that piece of paper with your name on it to me. After you give the piece of paper with your name on it to me, I take it from you and say “now I own you”. Your first reaction would be to dispute that claim, but then I would tell you that it’s a legal contract and you are bound to the authority of it. From now on, you must do what I tell you to do because you are my slave and I own you!

Nobody in their right mind would ever let that happen right? Well, guess what, the whole world runs like that! Granted, this is a simplified example of how it works, but none the less, it works. So let me ask you, does holding a piece of paper with your name on it give me the right to claim ownership of you? How about if I said that it was a binding legal contract (that I just made up)?

Notice that I used the words “bound” and “binding” when I was talking about this legal contract.

So does that make my ownership of you real? OK, so what if I told you that I could enforce this legal contract? Would you comply then? If I took away all of your possessions and took you away from your home, would I own you then? What would it take for you to believe that I own you?

Here’s another example. Let’s say that we just met, and we had a conversation. During this conversation, we are getting to know each other. You tell me about your job, your spouse, and your kids. And then I tell you about my life, I travel all over the world, I talk to important people, I sleep in exotic places, and I don’t have to worry about money. You would probably assume that I’m rich. But in reality, I’m just a missionary.

Let’s take it a step further. If I told you that I’m rich, and you believed me, does that make me rich? Of course not because the money doesn’t exist! If I told you that I have a $250k car parked in my garage, and you believed me, does that make the car real? No! The car doesn’t exist! It simply means that I’m a liar! Just because I said something doesn’t make it real!

OK, now that we’ve established the illusion, let’s look at reality.

What was the first thing that God created by speaking? Light! (Genesis 1:3) You see, when God speaks, it’s always true. In fact, nothing would exist if God didn’t speak it! Don’t forget that the word universe means “one spoken word”, uni-verse.

Now check out John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” Go ahead and read through to verse 5, “And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Now compare that to Genesis 1:3-4.

OK, now I’m going to get to my thoughts. Please keep in mind that these are only my thoughts, I’m not trying to create doctrine here.

Jesus is Gods only begotten Son right? Therefore, Jesus had to have come out of the Father. How does our Father create? Yes, with His Word! So do you think that maybe the Light that God created in the beginning was the birth of Jesus? Go back and read John 1:1-18 and think about it.

So let’s say that Jesus was born at the beginning of creation. It doesn’t mean that God now has a baby to take care of. (Sometimes we think that everything is like our human experience.) What I propose is that The Word of God is Jesus, and Jesus IS the creation! You see, if Jesus is the Word of God, and all of creation exists because God spoke it into creation, that means that all of creation IS Jesus, and all of creation is IN Jesus!

Read the first creation story, did God create murder? Did He create idolatry? Did He create sin? No! And none of those things were ever found in Christ! It was never a part of Gods creation! So where did all of that come from? Of course everyone points the finger at Adam and Eve, and that’s true to an extent. But check out John 8:44, yea, the devil. Jesus says that he (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and there is no truth in him. So do you think that maybe death is simply the lack of truth? Think about it, if God didn’t create it, it doesn’t exist. If God is the author of life, then anything that God didn’t make is dead. Remember the separation of the light from the dark?

Now let’s talk judgment.

Why do we have sin in the world? Well, for starters remember that sin is death. Yea, no joke, it really is. How is sin brought into the world? Through people. But how can that be if God created us? Well that’s the thing, God created us in His image, with the ability to create our own world so to speak. Yes, we make our own reality. If we want to build a city, we build a city, if we want to build a bird house we build a bird house.

Satan on the other hand cannot create. Neither can demons. They need us to make their version of reality because they can’t. Do you really think that demons are guys with horns and a tail running around with pitchforks? That was an artists creation, and now that’s how we view them. (See how that works?) No, demons are thoughts in our heads. At least that’s how they manifest in our lives. They get in through your eyes and ears. Once they get in your head, they manipulate you into creating their reality in our world. In other words, they need us to create their world.

When Jesus said that we have the power to cast out demons, He really meant that, and we really do! You can get rid of a thought. Of course you need Jesus to do that because if you don’t, the next thought might be worse than the initial thought! And there are some really big bad ideas out there, just read the news!

This world has to end, because so much of it is based on lies. Remember, just because I say that I have something doesn’t make that something real, it just makes me a liar. And so it will be as judgment. The truth will stand witness, and everything that is based on a lie will fall away, because it never really existed. It was never alive because God didn’t create it, and it doesn’t exist within Jesus (the Word).

Yes, these lies do exist in our reality, because our reality was based upon lies. That’s why the world is broken, because we allowed darkness to overcome it. And men love the darkness. The problems that we have in the world today were brought into existence through evil men who let Satan work through them to bring darkness into the world. If men didn’t want war, there would be no war. When judgment comes, those men will be naked because there was never any truth in them, only lies. They will be left with nothing. Money only exists because somebody said that it’s worth something. However, that doesn’t make it true.

 

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Sights and Sounds

“Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?….”  John 18:38 (partial)

This  is still a valid question, especially during these times. Just three words separate our understanding of darkness and light. Don’t be afraid to ask God “what is truth?”, I did. Here’s what I saw:

I was pulling weeds in my garden, which by the way is a never ending job…(truth number one). As I got over to the spinach, I noticed that the weeds grow very close to the good plants, (another truth), in fact some of them look very much like the good plants, (another truth). If you don’t pull out the weeds when they’re small, you stand a good chance of pulling out or damaging the good plants if you wait until the weeds get bigger.

A plant will kill itself by trying to keep dead parts alive. This is an important truth! If you don’t prune your plants, they won’t produce much fruit!

I saw a small group of dead trees, but one of them had leaves on it. As I walked up to the trees, I noticed that the tree with leaves on it was in fact dead. The leaves were from a vine that climbed up to the top of the tree making the tree seem alive.

Some of my plants had the tops cut right off, while I was asleep, rabbits ate my pea sprouts. I had to put a fence around my garden.

I water my plants like I’m supposed to, but some of my plants looked dry. I took a closer look and found aphids chowing down on my bean plants. Somebody (who meant well) sprayed orange oil on the little bean plants to kill the bugs. It killed the bugs, but it also killed the plants too. Hot sun + oil = cooked plants.

I drove over a bridge that goes across part of a lake. As I drove across what seemed like a deep part of the lake, I saw two men walking out into the middle of it. The water was just about ankle deep.

I was sitting outside around the other day, and I heard a strange sound. I thought it was the wind picking up, but it wasn’t. It sounded like a huge swarm of bees flying by, but I didn’t see anything. The person sitting next to me said that it sounded like thunder. To me it sounded nothing like thunder, not even close, no rumbling, no crashing, no roaring. Not to mention there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I have no idea what it was, but it was big.

Talking about things won’t get them done.

I’m not going to interpret what these things mean, because that would be adding or taking away from the truth of it…(sound familiar?) Look around, see the truth, it’s everywhere even when deception runs rampant.

Make It Count

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

I know that this isn’t a new topic, but I think that it’s one that we should be reminded about from time to time. It’s very easy to get caught up in daily life, because everyday we see and hear things that keep our minds set on this world. Sometimes we forget why we’re here.

The following is a short story to illustrate the topic of this post:

Kevin was just 20 years old when the doctor told him that his heart was sick. As the doctor explained the severity of the problem, Kevin thought back on his life.

When Kevin was 16, he ran away from home because his dad wouldn’t let him do whatever he wanted to do. At 16, Kevin thought that he knew it all, and his dad was just trying to keep him from having fun. He argued with his dad a lot, usually it was about “priorities and responsibilities”.

The first couple of months were fun for Kevin. He stayed with friends while he enjoyed the party life. But before too long, the money ran out, and so did the drugs. The friends that he was staying with told him that he couldn’t stay with them anymore. Since he spent all of his money keeping the party going, he had nothing to eat.

Tired hungry and alone, Kevin reluctantly went back home. His dad was so happy to see his little boy come back home that he broke down and cried. But Kevin was not the same little boy anymore. He became hardened by the world, and the drug addiction didn’t just go away. You see, when Kevin went home, he wasn’t humbled, he didn’t think he was wrong, he was desperate. He didn’t miss his dad, he missed eating, hot showers, and sleeping in his own bed.

Naturally, after Kevin was rested up and fed, he stole his dads wallet and ran away again. But this time things were different. The money was gone within a day, and he knew that he couldn’t go back home after what he just did. So Kevin did the only thing that he could think of, he robbed a house. He didn’t get a whole lot out of it, just enough to feed his now out of control drug habit for about two days. After the drugs ran out, he robbed another house, and then another.

Things were way out of control by the time Kevin woke up in the hospital. He had no idea what happened or how he got there. The last thing he remembered was running out of a house that he was about to rob because the homeowner pulled into the driveway. Kevin had made it about halfway across the back yard when he collapsed. The homeowner called 911 and Kevin was taken to the hospital.

As Kevin looked up at the ceiling, he knew that he was in trouble. There was only one thing that could save his life, a heart transplant. There is a long list of people waiting for a heart transplant, and they sure won’t want to waste a good heart on some strung out junkie with a criminal history.

Three days later the doctor came into Kevin’s room and said, “We have a donor”. Kevin couldn’t believe it, it was too good to be true! Before the reality of it set in, they were prepping Kevin for surgery.

As the nurses wheeled Kevin down the hallway to the operating room, they stopped by another man on a stretcher. The doctor told Kevin, “This is your donor”. As Kevin looked over at the man on the stretcher, he heard a familiar voice, it was his dad! “But wait a minute” Kevin said, “I’m getting a heart transplant! If my dad is the donor, that means he’s going to die!”. The doctor looked at him and said, “that’s right”.

Right after the doctor said that, the anesthesia started to take effect. As Kevin looked over at his dad, he heard the last words that he would ever hear from his dad. “Make it count son, make it count.”

 

I know that live organ transplants that cause the donor to die aren’t legal, but this is a fictional story. The point is that Jesus did in fact die for you, so make it count!

Nightlight

“And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”  Genesis 3:10

The first time the word “afraid” is seen in the Bible is in the verse written above. It happened right after the first sin was committed. However, the spirit of fear is seen before the word appears. In verses 3:7-8 we can see that Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, and they hid from God. I find it interesting to note that Adam told God that he was hiding because he was naked, but when God was looking for them, they were in fact wearing something. The Bible says that Adam and Eve made aprons for themselves using fig leaves.

My personal belief is that the flesh was the covering for the spirit, and since Adam and Eve were created as spiritual beings, they were not naked because their flesh was their “clothing”so to speak. After they sinned, they went from being spirit-minded beings to flesh-minded beings. Now that their identity was no longer in the spirit, they saw themselves as the flesh.

So we can see that Adam and Eve did in fact die when they ate from the tree of knowledge, just like God said, (Genesis 2:17). Yes, their bodies lived for over 900 years, but their spirits died right after they ate the fruit. And we can see the first sign of death is fear. So what was the first thing that fear motivated them to do? They hid from God. Why? Because they were naked, not because they ate from the tree of knowledge. Did you notice that they didn’t say anything about eating the fruit until God asked them about it? They just said that they were naked. It’s interesting to note that the real problem was completely overlooked while they focused on the results of the real problem.

So from everything that we just read, we can say that fear is a direct result of sin. There was no fear before man’s sin. Now notice that I said “man’s sin”. Satan sinned against God before man did, but man wasn’t afraid of Satan. There’s a reason for that. It’s because Adam and Eve were very close to God, and they knew His authority. But after the fall, that connection was severed, and they were on their own. Don’t forget, the sin happened in their mind first, before they ate the fruit. The decision was made to disobey God, that’s when the connection was severed. That’s when Satan had them.

Satan can only work with dead things, that’s his dominion. Adam and Eve had to die first before Satan could have his way with them. Now keep in mind that fear is the first sign of death, and Satan is the ruler of this world, (for now). That’s why the world runs on death, literally. Think about what makes our cars run and what plastic is made out of…oil, liquid death. Our homes are made out of dead trees and stones that were never alive, or the remains of what once was. Anything that manufactures death is big business! So if we live in a world of death, it’s natural that we will fear, since fear is a product of death.

Now do you understand why Jesus says “Fear not”? Because by the awesome mercy and grace of God, we were made alive through the death and resurrection of His Son! We are no longer dead! He has called us out of the grave and wrote our names in His Book of Life! That’s why we’re not of this world! Satan does not have dominion over us because we’re not dead! Yes our bodies are still subject to death, but that’s because they were born into death. But just like Adam was made a spiritual being before the fall, Jesus has restored that original creation in us, (read Romans 5). Our lives are now hidden in the life of Christ, (Colossians 3:3), therefore we need not fear because Christ has overcome the world! (John 16:33)

Many of us will be alive during the darkest times this world has even known, and we will suffer tribulation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is no pre-tribulation rapture! To think that we won’t suffer tribulation because we’re Christians is ridiculous! Just ask any Christian living in a Muslim country. Ask any Christian living in China or North Korea. Read what happened to the first Christians, and they literally walked with Jesus! The pre-tribulation rapture idea is a lie that will lead many people to their deaths, why do you think that it’s such a profitable message? Remember, death is big business! As Christians, what we won’t see is the wrath of God. That is not the same thing as the tribulation. (I’m sure that most of you already know that, but just in case somebody doesn’t…there it is.)

So here it is, if you trust God with your life, trust Him! If you believe what He says, believe Him! It’s not enough to have a religion, you have to know Him. If you lead a religious life, that’s fine, just understand that living that way is a good way to keep yourself in check, it does not make you more worthy to God. Our ONLY salvation is trusting in Jesus. You can’t earn it, not even if you suffer the same thing that Jesus did. Only Jesus can bring you to the Father. God doesn’t want us to sin because it hurts us, it’s not because He wants us to earn our way towards Him. It’s true that God is an iron rod to those who are against Him, unbending and unbroken. But He is rich in love and mercy to those who love Him.

When I was a child, I was afraid of the dark. So my mom put a nightlight in my room, and I wasn’t afraid anymore. If any of you have ever felt the comfort of a nightlight to keep the darkness away, think about it, we’re you putting your faith in the electricity and the light bulb, or we’re you putting your faith in the light?

My friends, this may be my last post as things are changing around here. I may not have internet service for quite some time. Don’t worry, we’re all o.k. as God takes good care of us. It’s just time to plow a new field. This entire blog has been a kind of  learning journal for me, and it has always been my prayer that it encourages others as well.

May God bless you and keep you, may He shine His face upon you and be gracious. May He lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 in my own words) 

In Christ’s Love – J

 

Three Tabernacles

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.”  Matthew 17 :1-8

I like to open my Bible and read from wherever it happens to open. The last two times that I have done this, it opened to this same story, the first time was Luke 9:27-36, and the second time was the verses quoted above. (Another account is in Mark 9:1-8). If you continue reading, you will find that Jesus told them not to say anything about what they had just seen until after Jesus had risen from the dead. Then the disciples asked Jesus why the scribes said that Elijah must come first, and Jesus told them in so many words that Elijah has already come, but nobody knew who it was, (it was John the Baptist).

When I read this story, I had questions. How did Peter, James, and John know that they were looking at Moses and Elijah? Those men lived hundreds of years before they were born! And why did Peter immediately want to build a tabernacle for them?

As far as the first question, maybe they heard the names during the conversation between Moses, Elijah, and Jesus? After all, the disciples did hear what they were talking about. But that’s just my own reasoning.

But why did Peter wanted to build tabernacles for them? The Bible says that he didn’t really know what he was saying, but never the less, that was Peter’s first reaction to seeing these beings of light. Notice that God immediately came into the scene after that statement and said “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, Hear ye him!” It almost seems as if Peter was willing to worship Moses and Elijah right alongside Jesus, even though Moses and Elijah were just men. Just something to keep in mind.

So how does all of this apply to us today? Well, how many of us have been walking with Jesus, and while we were walking with Jesus, we got sidetracked by the teachings of other people? I’ll be the first one here to raise my hand. That’s how I know that it happens! There are some very good teachers out there, but when we start listening to them instead of Jesus, we’re in big trouble! The place in our heart and mind (our tabernacle) is for Jesus, but when we adopt another persons teaching as our own personal doctrine, we are in effect trying to build another tabernacle for that person. Of course we all know that there can only be one true tabernacle, just like there was only one tabernacle in the desert, and one temple on the Temple Mount.

I find it interesting that the disciples knew about the prophecy saying that Elijah would come back before the Messiah was revealed, yet they didn’t know about it when it happened. The only way that they knew about it was because Jesus told them. Another point to keep in mind.

Today there are many, many, many voices out there saying that they know what God is “really saying”. There is a reason why the first thing Jesus said was “Take heed that ye be not deceived” when the disciples asked Him what will be the sign of the end, (Luke 21:8). If you want to see this in action, do an internet search on “Bible Prophecy” and see how many results pop up.

Back to the tabernacle thing, Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, one for Jesus (the Messiah), one for Moses (the law), and one for Elijah (prophecy). However, Jesus fulfilled all of these areas. In other words, there is no need to trust in the law or the prophets to have a relationship with God. The Father has already written His laws in our hearts (Hebrews 8:10) when we received the Holy Spirit. And that same Holy Spirit will show us what God wants to reveal to us when the time is right. Now I’m not saying that we have no need for the law or the prophecies, what I’m saying is that we only need to follow Christ to fulfill both of these.

There is a movement going on in the Church that wants to put believers back under the law of Moses. It’s true that the law is good, but if you’re already following Jesus, you’re already following the law. When Christians are deceived into thinking that they must follow the laws of Moses in order to be saved, where does that leave the Cross? There are a lot of good points and interesting things to learn by understanding our Hebrew roots, but earning our salvation by keeping the law is not one of them. In essence, that would be like physically rebuilding the Tabernacle of the Old Testament and choosing only being able to worship and fellowship with God there instead of inside of your own heart! (Read John 4:23-24).

These teachings may sound good, and they may make a lot of sense, but it doesn’t mean that they’re right. Don’t forget that God immediately “corrected” Peter when he wanted to build three tabernacles. Peter, James, and John fell on their faces with fear when God corrected them (Matthew 17:6). I believe that this still happens today when we choose to trust in our own righteousness instead of our salvation through Christ. When I started getting into the Hebrew roots movement, I felt immediately afraid of God, judgment and condemnation soon followed. I put myself under the law…and the law won.

God wants us to fear Him, but He doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him. Usually when you see kids who are terrified of their parents, and they hide from their parents continually, it usually means that their parents are abusive. But when you see kids behaving and they still have a loving relationship with their parents, that’s good parenting. The children obey their parents because they understand and respect their parents authority. That’s what it means to fear God. Think about it, what did Jesus say to Peter, James, and John after they fell on their faces when God corrected them? He said “Arise, and be not afraid”. A good parent will not beat their children for making a mistake.

The next time you pray, thank God for being our loving Father. Be grateful for His love and mercy, and rest in His grace. If you love God, you will want to follow His laws, and it won’t be a forced action. It should be a natural lifestyle for us because the Holy Spirit dwells within us. And when you think about it, the only thing that we have to do is choose between right and wrong, God will give us the strength to follow through!

There is only one tabernacle, the one that was built for us by Jesus!

The Fulness Of Time

“Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth: even in Him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.”  Ephesians 1:9-1:12

The dreaded date of 12/21/2012 is fast approaching. People are “prepping” and rumors range from the plausible to the outright ridiculous. But the main goal of the whole thing comes down to one thing…fear.

Yes dark times are coming, anyone with a pulse can determine that. Those who are ignorant to it will continue to do what they have been doing, and those who are vigilant will continue to be vigilant. None of these actions will postpone the time that God has set to end this age. One day God is going to delay no longer, (Revelation 10:5-6). But do you think that day will be highlighted on our calendar? I don’t think so.

What if we changed our calendar? What if we moved all the days ahead in the summer so fall would get here sooner? Would that make the summer shorter? We all know how stupid that would be right? But yet we do it for daylight savings time. It doesn’t make the sun rise any sooner or set any later, it just tricks us into believing that we have more time or less time. But the earth is still rotating at God’s appointed speed.

If God uses a date to initiate judgment, it is only for the purpose of getting our attention. But keep in mind that it might not be God who is using that date! I sincerely believe that God is not bound by times and dates, that is a human trait. God does things on His own time, He doesn’t consult our calendar to make sure that the dates match up with what He wants to do. Don’t forget, we made up our own calendar, but only God is the author of time itself. God can use any date that He wants, but I believe that God works in the fulness of time. (Check out Galatians 4:4).

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man. No, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”  Matthew 24:36

It’s true, certain events must come to pass, they have been written by God to show us what time it is. When He handed down judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, the only people who knew about it were His own people. Maybe God knew that the people in those cities wouldn’t heed the warnings even if they were given, so out of mercy judgment was swift and unannounced. But what does that say about our own generation? We have been given warning after warnings AND time to repent! (Read Matthew 10:14-15).

So what time is it now? I believe that we are about to step ahead into the time of many sorrows. And when I say “about to”, I mean that we are already crossing the threshold. I believe that we are seeing the beginning of the Gog-Magog war (Ezekiel 38). And the world scene is about to get a big makeover. However, these are just my personal observations. But whether or not you agree with me about the Gog-Magog war, I’m sure that you know in your spirit that things are moving along toward some dark times.

So what do we do? It’s easy to say what’s bad, but what about faith, hope, and love? Does God want His people to despair? Of course not! For as dark as the times may get, God’s love is an everlasting light that will never grow dim! He put us here at this time for a purpose, and that purpose is not to freak out and hide in a bunker with stockpiles of food and guns! That lifestyle is for fearful people who don’t trust that God can take care of them. Look, we’re all going to die someday, people die in good times and in bad times. So what’s more appealing, living in a hole in the ground fearing for your life every waking moment, or going home to our Father where we can finally see Jesus face to face? (Of course that can be a scary thought too if you’re not right with God). We weren’t called to live like rats, we have been called to be the body of Christ on earth. Heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, and spread the word. Let the love of Christ flow through you and touch lives! Keep your relationship with God strong by keeping His commandments and talk to Him as much as you can!

It’s true that even in this late hour, many people aren’t right with God. I still have areas in my life where I’m not walking right, so I’m not trying to act like I’ve got it all together myself. But how do you know if you’re right with God? I’m going to make an absolute true statement. After I make that statement, stop reading and think about it for a minute.

Here’s the statement:

God knows everything about you.

 

 

How does that make you feel? The way you answer that will determine if your right with God. If you feel ashamed, guilty, condemned, convicted, scared, or even anxiety, you have some work to do. But at least you know enough to fear God. That’s a good thing. Ask for forgiveness and repent.

If you feel relief, you’re on the right track. Why? Because God knows everything about you, and He still loves you. You won’t want to hide from Him. And that’s what it comes down to, if you feel like you need to hide from God, you’re not right with God.

Just like Adam and Eve tried to run off into the jungle after they sinned, people have been trying to hide from God ever since. But the methods range from acting religious on Sunday mornings to denying that God exists at all. For most people, death means facing God, so a lot of people think that as long as they stay alive, they won’t have to face God. Just something to keep in mind if you ever fear dying. It can be a good spiritual barometer.

 

 

For Those Who Love Him

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to (his) purpose”  Romans 8:28

As always, I encourage you to read the entire Scripture. You will never know who you are until you believe what God says about you. Personally I’ve struggled with this issue a lot. I get the judgment part no problem, but the love part sometimes eludes me. We often think to ourselves “God loves everyone”, but many times we don’t think “God loves me personally”.

If you are reading this post, you probably already know about God. But do you really know yourself? If you’re like me, you know about your shortcomings all to well. But sometimes we forget about who we are to God. We see ourselves one way, while God views us in another.

A couple of years ago, I was shown that God really loves me. I guess a better way to explain it is I understood that God actually loves me. I sobbed for quite a while. I couldn’t stop crying because I’ve never really seen myself as worth loving. I hated myself, but for some reason God loved me. I’ve never asked Him to love me, He just does.

I believe that the fruit that God is looking for in us is love. If you think about it, that seed that was planted in us was God’s love. Think back to when you first “met” Jesus. Do you remember how you felt when you first realized that He really does love you? Some people get it right away, while others get it much later. But at some point, a true Christian will get it. With me, I got it years after I first met Jesus. Of course He told me over and over agin, and in many different ways, but it didn’t “click”. I guess that I knew that He loved me, but I didn’t take it personally.

If you’ve ever grown watermelons, you know that it takes a lot of water to make them grow. But what do you get from the watermelons when they’re ready to be picked? That’s right, water! But it takes time for the fruit to mature. You’re not going to get a watermelon 2 weeks after you plant the seed.

For me, it took a lot of “watering” before I understood that the Living Water is God’s love (John 4:10). But even though I didn’t understand it, the seed of God’s love had already been planted in me. And when the time was right, that seed produced fruit, and I loved Him back. But it was only because He loved me first (Romans 5:8). He was the one who planted the seed, He was the one who watered it, and He was the one who made it grow. I was only the dirt, and dirt doesn’t do anything by itself.

When the reality of God’s love became personal to me, that’s when real repentance started for me. Sure I’ve “repented” before then, but that was because I was afraid of judgment. But after He showed me His perfect love for me, I felt deep remorse for how I had been treating Him. There’s a difference between knowing right from wrong, and being truly sorry for what we’ve done. It’s like the difference between getting a speeding ticket and betraying your best friend. You know that you shouldn’t have been speeding, but you don’t really feel bad for doing it, (just sorry that you got caught). But when you betray someone who you love, the consequences are quite different. You feel genuine remorse and sorrow for your actions. You might even avoid that person because of your own shame. It’s hard to face somebody when you know that you’ve hurt them.

So in contrast, how awesome would it be if the cop decided to just give you a warning for speeding? Most of us would just be like “cool” and go along our merry way. Granted, we probably wouldn’t speed for a little while after that, especially around that same area. But you wouldn’t feel bad for speeding, you would just watch out for cops a bit more. Now if the person you betrayed forgave you, that would be quite a different feeling. Most of us would be very grateful for that forgiveness, because it means more coming from a loved one rather than coming from the law. We would feel a greater love for that person, and we would never want to betray that person ever again.

But what if we did betray that person again…and again, and again? Obviously we would have to question our own love for that person. And beyond that, we would have to admit that something is really wrong with us for acting that way! It’s a question that I’ve had to ask myself many times. If you’ve read my testimony, you already know why.

I came to the conclusion that my problem was two-fold. First, my level of love was pretty shallow. And second, I am a wretched man. I believe that this two-fold condition is prevalent in our society. We love ourselves more than we love God. But this comes as no surprise to God (2 Timothy 3:2). True repentance requires us to be honest with ourselves, and with God. Self examination can be a very hard thing to do, but it is a necessary part of growing up in the spirit.

If you know that you don’t love God like you should, talk to Him about it. He will listen to you. God is not looking for people to throw into hell, He wants us to have everlasting life in Him! (John 3:16-17) I’ve had to admit to God that I can only love Him as much as I can, but I want to love Him more. I’ve had to admit to God that my love is inadequate for Him, and that He deserves so much more than what I can give him. Did He leave me? Of course not! He showed His love for me even more!

Friend, if any of this describes your relationship with Jesus, talk to Him about it. If you know that you’re relationship isn’t right, that’s a good thing, because it shows that you do value your relationship with Jesus. Spend quality time in prayer, and make sure that you listen as well. God is not going to turn you away for being honest with Him. He shows mercy to those who are broken, trust me I know! It’s not too late, if you’re breathing, you have time!