Tag Archives: crucified

Where is love?

Years ago, before common core math was implemented, I had an algebra class in high school. In that class, we were taught that If (A + B = C), and if D = B, then A +D will also = C.

1 John 4:8 and 16 tell us “God is love.”

In the early 60s, we took God out of school. Students were no longer able to use the literature that our forefathers used as their primary text book. Children were forbidden to hear the historical writings of our ancestors.

Since the early 60s, God was taken out of schools, God was taken out of the public arena, God was taken out of government, and God was taken out of the military. In addition, in our attempt to be politically correct, God was also taken out of our speech. Most recently, we have attempted to keep God out of marriage.

In algebra, if A + B = C, then it is also true that A = C – B. Now if A = me, C = my life, B = God, and D = love. ‘me’ = ‘life’ without ‘God’. Since B = D, it is also true that ‘me’ = ‘life’ without ‘Love’.

Now people wonder why kids are bullied, why kids disobey parents, school officials, and other authorities. If my algebra teaching was correct, what we have done is take ‘love’ out of school, take ‘love’ out of public, take ‘love’ out of government, take ‘love’ out of our speech and take ‘love’ out of marriage.

Anytime we begin life by considering only “me”, we will end with a life without God and without love.

As a country, we do not need more gun control, more bullying policies, more social workers, more psychiatrists, more counselors, more juvenile correctional facilities, more jails, more police officers, or more government. What we need is more love. For us to get more love, we need to put God back into our lives.

Ironically, when the Bible – God’s word – was taken out of school, society wanted more love. This was the hippy age and we had songs like “Love, Sweet Love”, “I’m Still in Love With You”, “Never My Love”, and “I’ve Been Loving You too Long (To Stop Now)” etc. . Society was looking for the meaning of love. Love was being defined as not having anything regulating your behavior rather than accepting God into our lives.

God defined love when He crucified His only son to pay the price for your and my sins. Love is what God did when he adopted you and me as his own. Love was restoring the relationship that was lost when Adam and Eve sinned. Love is preparing an eternal home in heaven with God. God demonstrates love as ‘giving’ and not ‘getting’.

Love is available to everyone. There is enough love to go around. Love will never end. Here is what the Bible says about love:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13(NIV)

It is time to put love back into our lives.

 

NOTE: Scripture used in this blog was downloaded 8.26/15 from: Biblegateway.com

Prosperity and You

First, let us look at the word ‘prosperity’. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary says that prosperity is the condition of being successful or thriving; especially:  economic well-being.

A recorded example of prosperity was recorded over 3000 years ago. It is found in the Book of Job.

 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. Job 1:1-5 (NIV)

Did prosperity come to Job because he was only thinking about himself and always being happy?  According to the Bible, he attained it by fearing God and shunning evil.

As we read the book of Job, we read that Job lost everything!  So Job cursed God and said: ‘I am going to do it my way!’ I don’t find that any place in the book of Job. What you will find is that Job kept trusting God.

Job’s prosperity was not about Job. It was about God. Just like our prosperity is not about us. It is about God and what he is doing for us. In fact, after Job prayed for his friend, the Bible says that God restored his prosperity. Because Job believed God, he was given twice as much has he had to start with!

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years. Job 42:12-18(NIV)

Prosperity Gospel, as I understand it, is the idea that we use God to obtain our fleshly desires. We can have whatever we want, because God will give it to us. Prosperity Gospel also uses the notion that the Holy Spirit is there for us to use to our advantage. We can use the Holy Spirit for whatever we want because God wants us to be happy. It should also be noted that the prosperity we get following our fleshly desires is only good for our time on earth.

We can have a ‘be happy attitude’ and expect to be prosperous…and in fact some people are prosperous without trusting God. But the truth is that this prosperity is only for a short period of time. People die. Then, what good is the prosperity?

The first example of prosperity gospel is found in Genesis 3 when Satan told Eve that she didn’t have to do things God’s way. God was holding out on her. If she ate from the tree that God told her not to eat from, she wouldn’t die but would be like God. She could do it her way and have ‘prosperity’.

However, Eve already had prosperity. She had everything she could want but Satan made her believe there was something more. Because Eve listened to Satan and did it her way, she actually lost the prosperity that she had.

God sent his Son to be crucified for our sin and to become victorious over death. He made a way for us to once again have the prosperity that Eve had before she ate the forbidden fruit.

Another problem with our prosperity is that when it is gained following our fleshly desires, it is only good for this lifetime. The prosperity that is gained by following the Holy Spirit is good for eternity. You see, the prosperity that God wants for his children is for them to share his wealth for eternity.

Who are God’s children? Galatians 5:24(NIV) says: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. You see the children of God have crucified themselves. In other words, they have become nothing, so God could use them to do His work rather than expecting God to do their work.

We can pretend to be happy, and can even deceive ourselves into thinking we are happy, but it doesn’t guarantee prosperity. In fact, it may even lead to a feeling of guilt because you aren’t becoming prosperous. The Bible says that when we follow our fleshly desires, we get involved in ‘sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like’. (Galatians 5:19-21, NIV)

However, when you follow the Holy Spirit, the actions you demonstrate are ‘love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’ (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).

Perhaps the real question about prosperity is: How important is prosperity?

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36(NIV)

Is it really prosperity we are looking for or is it love, joy, and peace?

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15-16(NIV)

Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIV unless otherwise noted.

Going Home

Easter is always a special time for Christian families as they celebrate Christ’s resurrection together. I had special plans this year for my son and his wife to come spend Easter with us. However, illness prevented it from happening. As I thought about my situation, I began to think about Jesus and his Father.

Even though God raised Jesus from the dead, he didn’t go back to his father immediately.  For forty days, Jesus gave instructions to his followers through the Holy Spirit.  During that time, He appeared to many people so they could witness and know that he had been raised. One of the people that Jesus met was his brother James. You see, James the brother of Jesus wasn’t even sure who Jesus was until after the resurrection.

The disciples that Jesus had taught during his ministry on earth were not certain of what Jesus had taught them. But when Jesus was raised and appeared to his disciples, the teaching became clear. Jesus was the Messiah and was going back to be with his Father. Just before going back to his Father, Jesus gave his followers one of the most important instruction that Jesus gave his followers. The instruction was to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5(NIV)

Jesus also made it clear that he would send the Holy Spirit to help them. He made it very clear to his followers that they could not live a Christian life without the Holy Spirit instructing and guiding them throughout their life.  Jesus never told them that they would be able to live a Christian life in their own strength.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father. ”The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17(NIV)

What does“…share in his suffering” mean? How do we share the suffering that Jesus suffered what he was crucified?  We share in Jesus suffering by crucifying our ‘flesh with its desires and passions.”

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

Sacrificing ‘our flesh with its passion and desires’, can be a very difficult task, It may require developing different friends, learning new hobbies, changing our life style, losing our jobs, etc. These changes can bring some real suffering. This suffering will happen until the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and gives us a new life in Christ.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. Romans 6:4-10(NIV)

The Bible tells us that someday soon, God is going to send his son back to earth so he can gather all of His adopted Children. He is going to take them home to be with their Father. I can only imagine the excitement of a loving father waiting for all of his children to come home.  Have you sacrificed your sinful desires? Are you one of the Father’s children? If you are one of the adopted children, I will see you when we get home to enjoy the communion with our Heaven Father.

Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIVunless otherwise noted.