Discernment: The Road of Death v. Life

The RoadQuestion: Does my belief in Jesus mean I have eternal life?

Recently a friend recommended a summer read that I have found to be tremendously insightful in this current age. It looks at common deceptions amongst “Believers” about eternal life. I have been reminded again of the shortness of this life and the transition each of us will make from this life into the next one. I want to urge each of you to examine the course you are taking on this life before your calling to the next one. You may be comfortable and happy in your present life, but God is asking us to closely examine if our present life is consistent with what God promises on eternal life. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or friends of small children you know what it is like to keep watchful eyes on children, especially in the 0-2 age, playing outside. Though they are aware of many things, they are not aware like we are that running into a busily trafficked road at any age but especially 0-2 will certainly result in death. The same is true for Believers journeying on this side of eternity. Abba is keeping watchful eyes on each of us along with His watchmen/watchwomen. He sees some of us running towards the busily trafficked road of the flesh life that will result in certain eternal death and He is asking some of His “Believers” to step in and bring you away from The Road.

1. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” – Matthew 7:22.

Here Jesus issues a warning to “Believers” that we will notice comes up many more times about the time coming when MANY not few “Believers” in Christ Jesus will be disappointed and turned away from eternal life. These individuals participated on hospitality team, the prayer team, the prophetic team, and all sorts of good works ministries but they still will not receive eternal life. What?!

2. “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:10.

The Lord explains why “Believers” in Christ Jesus will be turned away from eternal life: unrepentant. Jesus has clearly repeated the above are a one way ticket away from His Kingdom. Jesus warns us we CANNOT have eternal life and actively practice the above. For many of this current age, sexual sin is your busy road. Magazines, movies, and even family condone or tolerate what God does not. If you are not married in Christ Jesus and continue to have a sexual relationship you will be excluded from the Kingdom of God. Common law marriage is not marriage in Christ Jesus. God will not honor it. Please reconsider. The time is short. Yeshua will accept no excuses. It is a choice.

3. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:41-46.

Jesus issues a very specific warning to “Believers” about yet another deception. You CANNOT expect to receive eternal life if you persist in ignoring the poor. Each of you have opportunities to serve the poor and many of you persist in ignoring the call by God to serve them. Churches and faith based non-profits seem to always be short on volunteers yet “Christian” dinner parties don’t. Why? God tells us this is a heart matter and though we may think “that community or person is not my problem”, they are. Each time you say no or ignore an opportunity to help feed the poor, invite the homeless in, cloth those who need clothing, visit the imprisoned and the sick, you tell Jesus no. Jesus is telling you that He is a part of each of these individuals. When you persist in rejecting those God commands you to serve, you persist in rejecting Him and HE will reject you when you leave this side of eternity.

Sobering?

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” – John 15:1-11

AMEN

Related Posts: Confession ; 8 Questions to Ask Before Complaining God’s Ignoring Me ; I Never Knew You
Photo Credit: The Truth Won

Prayer: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Complaining “God’s Ignoring Me!”

God's Ignoring Me!

Question: “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

In order for God to move and answer our petition prayers, a proper prayer foundation must be made. God isn’t simply a magic genie answering prayers upon command. No, He is a loving Father who takes our requests and graciously answers them in His timing and according to what is best for us. Often we think we know what is best for ourselves, even deceiving ourselves and others into thinking we know better than anyone else in the universe including the Creator. The following are eight questions every Believer should ask themselves, if they find themselves asking “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

Continue reading…HERE

Prayer: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Complaining “God’s Ignoring Me!”

why_me_godQuestion: “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

In order for God to move and answer our petition prayers, a proper prayer foundation must be made. God isn’t simply a magic genie answering prayers upon command. No, He is a loving Father who takes our requests and graciously answers them in His timing and according to what is best for us. Often we think we know what is best for ourselves, even deceiving ourselves and others into thinking we know better than anyone else in the universe including the Creator. The following are eight questions every Believer should ask themselves, if they find themselves saying “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

• Do you believe and accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the only path to eternal life?
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” John 14:6
You may have heard the story of the world religions sharing a “belief” in Jesus with Christians. The Quran states Jesus was born of a virgin, was a revered prophet, was a miracle worker, who ascended to heaven, and will return to earth but is not the son of God. Hinduism states Jesus is a God, was a Holy Man, and was a Wise Teacher. Buddhism states Jesus was an enlightened man, was a wise teacher, was a Holy man, and was a moral teacher. Baha’i states Jesus came from God, was born of a virgin, spoke for God, had a divine and human nature, and was crucified for the atonement of humanity. Yet the difference between the world religions and the Christians is that the Believers in Christ Jesus firmly believe and rightly know that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, part of the triune God, is the only deity that leads to the eternal life. There are no other paths or gods that will lead to heaven.

• Are you born again?
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22-23
Jesus shared a prophetic vision in Matthew 25 of “Believers” in Christ meeting Him at the end of the age and being shockingly turned away from the Kingdom of God. Jesus clearly spelled out it was not belief alone that granted eternal life, it was the ongoing demonstration of His character to others in need. The man and woman turned away were the ones who did not feed the hungry, did not give drink to the thirsty, did not give clothes to the naked, did not care for the sick, and did not visit the imprisoned. Their apathy to the needy was also apathy towards God. Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

• Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He (Holy Spirit) had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:14-17

Paul said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism”. Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him (Jesus) who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they (acknowledged) were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:2-6

And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He used to say, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 11:16

“For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5

Might you wonder why scripture references Baptisms in the plural and not singular (see Baptism of Repentance, Baptism of Water, Baptism of the Holy Spirit). There are many who have performed the act of the Baptism of Water but do not know Christ Jesus. They have performed the physical declaration of faith but have not followed through in the daily transformational process of sanctification. The Believer in Christ Jesus must have the Holy Spirit living within them. When the Holy Spirit lives inside of the Believer, you will see manifestations of God’s Fruit or Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control). The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not complicated and only requires a simple prayer between two Believers in Christ Jesus such as “Leah, I declare in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that you receive the Baptism and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit work within her and transform her daily into being your daughter. Amen.

• Do you have any unconfessed/unrepented sin?
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Johns 1:9

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

• Do you hold any bitterness or unforgiveness towards anyone?
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:24-25

• Do you believe in God’s will for your perfect health (or other request)?
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

• Do you agree with your prayer partner for healing (or other request)?
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:24-25

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:19-20

• Are you praying for God’s will or your own?
There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand. Proverbs 19:21

The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23

The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. Psalm 33:10

Lord, thank you for the universal Body of Christ and your revelations. Help us to examine ourselves closely, show us personal roadblocks, and help us to move into your perfect will of obedience. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen

Resources: IAHR; The Name of Jesus; World Religions
Related Posts: Answered Prayers
Photo Credit: Bing

Discernment: What do you Treasure?

Treasure ChartQuestion: What do you treasure?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Social media is an excellent tool for exchanging ideas, promoting projects, or promoting self. It very clearly magnifies what is most important to us. For some, its business and culture that are core values, for others its politics, for others it is God and His statues, and yet for others its family and friends.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37

Part of the Christ centered life is the ongoing evaluation of what matters to us…the most. God wants to ensure that He has our complete heart. He wants no competing idols. Though we may not be worshipping a golden calf like the Israelites (Exodus 32), we may be unknowingly worshipping the various idols of life.

In college and/or professional school many of us learned about the benefits of time management. Some of us even received presentations on the Time Management Pie Chart or what I call the Treasure Chart. The purpose of the chart is to help us identify where our time goes or Biblically speaking what we treasure. It’s a simple visual tool to help us identify what really is number one in our daily lives. For example, if our Treasure Chart shows that 50% of our pie is allocated to social media, 25% is allocated to school, 10% is allocated to sleep, 10% is allocated to socializing with Christian friends sans Abba focused, and 5% is allocated to God (i.e. worship, accountability groups/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer), we could clearly see that despite our strong feelings that God is number one in our lives, our Treasure Chart hints that our time may actually be skewed towards other things and not God.

Question: How do you identify what you Treasure the most?

Take an inventory of how you spend your time using the Treasure Chart
For instance, in one 48 hour period you spent 8 hours watching television, 4 hours gardening, 4 hours on social media, 16 hours sleeping, 3 hours eating, 8 hours clubbing, 2 hours cleaning, 2 hours working out, and 1 hour honoring God (i.e. worship, accountability/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer). Then simply divide the number of hours you spent on a particular task by 48 hours. That will be the percentage of time you spent on that particular task. The task(s) with the highest percentages suggest these are the tasks you value or Treasure the most.
Examine your use of Social Media
Look back at your postings over the last one to six months and examine if the majority of your picture and/or article postings on Social Media promote the Gospel of Christ Jesus, your “smokin” hot abs of steel, your incredible lifestyle, or political happenings.
Ask a Biblical friend and/or mentor
These individuals know you the best and live a lifestyle that is a walking billboard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are the Biblical counsel referenced in Proverbs 15:22. They will be honest and help steer you towards the Cross.
Ask God
You cannot underestimate the value of prayer and Bible study with God. Daily ask God for wisdom and He will answer as James 1:5 declares.

There are many more ways you can examine if God is the number one Treasure of your heart. The key is that you take steps to identify where God lies. Some of you are thinking, “We all spend more time sleeping, eating, and working in a day than we do Bible study or prayer. Does that mean sleeping, eating, and working are number one in our hearts?” NO! God actually values work (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Proverbs 31), as it is necessary for earning fruit to maintain the home and supporting the Kingdom. God also values sleep as it is another opportunity for Him to communicate to us (see Psalm 16:7). God is simply asking us to be aware of how we use our time and take the necessary steps to bring Him to the top of our Treasure list. One can work while demonstrating the Believer’s lifestyle of service and love. One can clean the home while meditating on God’s scripture or silently praying to God about the days ahead. One can use social media to share the Gospel of Christ Jesus via words of strengthening, encouraging, and comforting others (1 Corinthians 14:3).

God repeatedly declares that Believers should treasure nothing above Him, not even parents or children (Matthew 10:37). So the challenge to each Believer in Yeshua is to ask yourself, “What do I treasure?” and then the take all the necessary steps to make God number one. AMEN

Abba, we confess and repent of all the idols of the world we have placed before you. We lay the idols of work, of self, of husbands/wives, of friends, of children, and of materialism on the altar and thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth for sacrificing yourself for us. Holy Spirit come and transform us from the inside out. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. AMEN

Photo Credit: FE
Related Post: Pastor Joe

Prayer: Confession

ConfessionWe’ve been duped! It IS true. Confession and repentance ARE required for eternal life. This is not popular opinion around the world and in segments of the Body. The Truth remains that no amount of Church attendance, Bible studies, or other Christian works can replace these tenants (confession, repentance) of the faith. Resistance to confession and repentance = rebellion = no answered prayers = no eternal life.

Abba is looking for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and transformed or regenerated Believer in Christ Jesus. The love of God and the love of the flesh are mutually exclusive. The world says the Bible and God are too restrictive. Or segments of the Faith purposely omit God’s truths regarding the necessity to confess and repent. God’s made it very simple for us, we choose how we live on this side eternity and the next. And yes my non Roman Catholic friends confession is for you too.

Choosing God:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16

Choosing Self:
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin (sorry friends I know the trends and modern world tells us premarriage, engaged, dating short or long term sexual relationships are okay but not so. Marriage is a covenant with God, any sexual relationships outside of it is outside of God’s will), or who worship idols (anything or anyone put before God), or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people–none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Thank you Abba for revealing your Truths to us. Burn away all that is not you Lord and replace our old self with the new in Christ Jesus of Nazareth. Amen

Resources: Sex and God
Photo Credit: Bing

Healing: The Invisible Scar

man_walking_awayThis tale is about a lifelong scar shared by two middle aged siblings Mark and Andrew* and how they have come to cope with a tremendously devastating scar inflicted from childhood. Mark has been married thirty plus years to the college sweet heart and produced two children who now have families of their own. Mark pursued the simple life of settling down and raising a family. The life’s work was for the raising of the next generation and the mission was to create a fun life devoted to the needs of the children, a life that was vastly different than the childhood Mark had growing up.  Andrew on the other hand never married but was esteemed with a longstanding career in the corporate world until the downturn in the economy and had a Passport filled with world travels that many could only dream of. Both experienced the same invisible scar but the personal management of the scar varied drastically, leading them down separate roads that would impact them for many generations.

As children, Mark and Andrew, were devoted to their parents. They wanted to do all they could to make them happy but did not understand that nothing they could have done or not done as children could have changed the will of their parents.  It was the heart of the “romantic” Do Wop era and “endless love”. Their parents were married for a good decade before it was discovered their beloved dad was sharing his “love” with many others. Their parents separated and eventually divorced, breaking the hearts of Mark and Andrew. Their mom began to work full time to make ends meet. Mark the oldest would see their dad with these other “loves” and often confronted him but was left either embarrassed or not acknowledged in public by their own dad (see Counterfeit Love Safeguards-The Inner Scar ). Promises were never kept, meals were scant, and bills were just covered while their dad lived the life he wanted with these other “loves”. Mark developed an internal anger and bitterness that was carried for several decades. Anyone that crossed Mark was given a verbal lashing that would send even the strongest home to cry. Mark’s family knew not to get on the “bad side” as it would not be pretty for the recipient. Andrew on the other hand withdrew and vowed never to let anyone get close of enough to cause heartbreak again. Andrew was married to work, working endless amounts of overtime to pay for the annual trip to Europe. Outside of free time, Andrew spent free time immersed in extraordinary amounts of television watching and counterfeit love (i.e. adult media).

“Honor your father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

Their mom had long ago went home to be with the Lord but as recent as the last ten to fifteen years, their now aging “Rolling Stone” dad continued in his life of other “loves”. Naturally their dad had needs of the aged and needed to be cared for. Mark being a family person and Believer, went against his own flesh desire to let dad fend for himself. Mark understood God’s Word on honor of the parents (Ephesians 6:2) and forgiveness (Colossians 3:13). Mark understood that there was no sin too great including adultery to be forgiven. Andrew, who is not a Believer, on the other hand chose to hold on the past and when given opportunities to extend grace toward their dad, opted not to. Time after time opportunities would present themselves to Mark and Andrew to extend grace but each time Andrew chose to not forgive.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

The years passed on and Mark realized that there was no freedom in holding on to the invisible scars of adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9). Mark was misdirecting the childhood anger to others and not releasing the scar to the Lord to heal. So after many decades and prayers, Mark released the anger to the Lord for Healing and is actively on the journey of taking capture the memories of the past and letting go of the stronghold of angry tongue. Andrew is still on a journey to forgiveness. Despite the encouragement of Mark to forgive and release the past to God, Andrew has persisted in the inner vow of not letting anyone get close enough to cause heartbreak or to be forgiven. This internal bitterness or unforgiveness has now manifested into what we often see at the Healing Rooms, an onset of nearly life threatening medical conditions.

Maybe you or someone you know has been inflicted by an invisible scar. You have carried this scar for many years and have yet to release it to Abba for Him to heal. In releasing the scars of your past, some incredible things occur.

• Learned a primary tenant of our faith: forgiving also known as grace
• Canceled Satan’s authority over you including his mark (i.e. sickness, disease) by forgiving
• Allow yourself to be Healed emotionally, spiritually, and physically according to God’s Word

Father, Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and Holy Spirit we ask to fill us with your remarkable grace and healing. We bind up the Spirit of hardened hearts, unforgiveness, and sickness. We release your Spirit of love, joy, peace, faithfulness, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control upon us in the name and blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Father, Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and Holy Spirit we choose to forgive ourselves for any invisible scars we may have inflicted on others by our personal pursuits of the flesh. Cleanse us Lord from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes which often precedes flesh sins, and the pride of life. Cover us in your precious blood, guard our eyes, and hearts in Christ Jesus, Amen. – Blessings

Photo Credit: The Truth Won