Forgiveness 101- Chapter 1

I was doing a You Version Bible Study Plan again. First in 2013 and here in 2017, I find myself studying it again, for the Holy Spirit told me to do so in the wee hours of the morning.  Here’s the link to the plan: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/75-forgiveness    Day 1 verses are: Proverbs 18:19; Micah 7:18-19; Matthew 5:23-24

The first verse given me by the Holy Spirit was Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”.  The verse was not listed in the plan of verses to memorize, but God. Praise to His Spirit for leading me there first. Therefore, I have concluded that His first message to Shelia is to “lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset”.  “Ya heard me?”  Here are 7 synonyms of beset to make us think deeper about the spiritual healing of forgiveness: 

  • Affected(unnatural)
  • Plagued( snowed under)
  • Tormented(tortured)
  • Overwhelmed(dazed)
  • Harassed(stressed)
  • Surrounded( walled)
  • Full of (crammed with)

 

Proverbs 18:19 (KJV) – A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

This plan started off with a powerful Proverb. It is fact.  We are a people controlled by our feelings which in turn cause us to react heartlessly to what we see as a violation to us. We react heartlessly because our heart has been hurt. Admit it.

We don’t forget being hurt my people close to us, our sisters and brothers, our children, our friends from school, work, and church or from wherever the friendship began.  We are even offended by people we don’t have a relationship with. What is our first reaction? You guessed it.  We put up a guard against the person(s).

Think about relationships in your life. Is not this proverb true to its words? The sad thing about this is that this happens in the Body of Christ.

What did I learn from studying this verse? Let me tell you and I’ll make it short.

offended1Admit and say it out loud “I am offended”. The Holy Spirit guided me this morning to admittance being the first step on my path to forgiveness. Now whether you say it to self or to the person that offended you, that’s something your heart will have to declare.  I was offended by my son’s dog barking as I was studying the bible this morning on the back porch. I wanted to slap the dog and bar up his mouth.  😛

Yes, the Lord’s children get offended. We Christians will put bars up plus walls. Some will remove self from the situation/person and/or plot to repay for the offense.  No one likes to be hurt over and over again by the same situation -different scenario and/or person, especially those with intent to hurt and those controlled by evil spirits.  We do not look to the operation of evil spirits, but to the person we SEE in person as the culprit of the offense. This is our first natural reaction.

Questions to think about. (TYHS)

  • Does the bible show God as being offended? If so, how did he react?
  • What sin doth so easily beset you?
  • So how do we remedy an impasse (standoff, gridlock) when offended?

Share your wisdom. Thanks for stopping in. You are appreciated in Jesus name.

 

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A Good Soldier – Pastoral Counsel from Paul

Surprise, I’m back home…here at WP.  😛

As I was studying 2 Timothy, it hit me that in many churches there is a lack of pastoral counsel. I don’t know why it didn’t hit me in 1Timothy study. (I’ll accept it as the timing of the Holy Spirit.) I believe that there exist a lack of pastoral counsel because of what I’ve experienced, listening to the voice of many Christians and noticing the behavior of sheep and shepherd on Christian broadcasting shows via YouTube and other televised Christian outlets. I read a lot and hear so much about diluted and “anemic”(missing the blood) sermons; otherwise known as “watered down” and “sugar coated” sermons. Ahem.

I also read and hear a lot about/from Christians not being able to speak with a pastor to receive pastoral counseling. Hence, they end up going outside of the church for “worldly counsel”. Most churches are too busy with “busy work” instead of edifying work. I’m just saying. It seems to me that these are some of the reasons within the church that quite a few Christians are confused about what God requires of them; hence division and non-Christ like behavior exists within the body of Christ. Some even leave the church and pursue other entities. Then again, perhaps some pastors may have the thought of being sued on their mind if the wrong counsel is given. I say, be strong in the Lord and speak nothing but the truth to those that need and seek pastoral counsel. America has become a nation overflowing with lawsuits. Yea? Just something to ponder there! With that being said, let us begin.

What is meant by the term pastoral counsel today? Read article here Pastoral Counseling

Per Wikipedia: Pastoral counseling is a branch of counseling in which psychologically trained ministers, rabbis, priests, imams, and other persons provide therapy services. Pastoral counselors often integrate modern psychological thought and method with traditional religious training in an effort to address psychospiritual issues in addition to the traditional spectrum of counseling services. “What distinguishes pastoral counseling from other forms of counseling and psychotherapy is the role and accountability of the counselor and his or her understanding and expression of the pastoral relationship. Pastoral counselors are representatives of the central images of life and its meaning affirmed by their religious communities. Thus pastoral counseling offers a relationship to that understanding of life and faith. Pastoral counseling uses both psychological and theological resources to deepen its understanding of the pastoral relationship.”

For the sake of this blog, I will go by my biblical understanding of pastoral counseling: “In the Bible, pastoral counseling prototypes include ministers assigned by Moses to guide the Hebrew people in family, community, and religious life; the prophets Samuel, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; Jesus of Nazareth; and the apostle, Paul.”

In his second letter to Timotheus aka Timothy, Paul continues to give Timothy counsel. He starts out by telling him to “…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  What a powerful admonition, don’t ya think?  Simply put, it is a reminder that in our weakness, the Lord is strong. He is our strength. That was a hard and much needed lesson for me to learn. I/we can do nothing by ourselves. I/we need the Lord’s help when we are feeling helpless and/or weak. Think. Did Jesus not say that He “The Son can do nothing of himself…”? Did Jesus not say “It is written” when hounded by the devil? It is clear that a “good soldier” should be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Now, in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 Paul said, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” And these are the lead verses we are going to receive counsel on since the Holy Spirit put it in my heart and on my mind. I am going to tune them in with other bible verses and my thoughts.

Let me share three (3) important points on being a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” aka a Christian soldier: 

(1) Read   Jeremiah 20  A “good soldier” will understand how Jeremiah felt. The words of God are like fire shut up in our bones when we don’t speak up about and for the Lord.  He/she will know that we are at war daily between the flesh and the spirit just as Paul was, just as Adam and Eve was, etc.

(2) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.-Matthew 22:37-38 I used to put as a signature on my email accounts “To Know Me is To Love Me” This verse reminded me that to know the Lord is to love Him. It is written.

(3) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.- Ephesians 6:12(KJV)  There are many out there that do not believe that Satan exists. A “good soldier” needs to know that he does exist and he is capable of disarming us. Take a close look around the world, what do you see? Unforgiveness, hatred, gender issues, murderers, false doctrines/bibles, flowered beliefs, watered down sermons, etc. are all disarming works of Satan. Crouching sin have crept into the mind and heart of  many Christians. It is written.

crouching sin verse

Those points helped me to understand why pastoral counsel is important for the body of Christ. Paul also helped me to understand that a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” will endure hardship. A shepherd and other church leaders should be equipped to provide counsel period to congregants about enduring hardships. It brings to mind the expression “War is real”. In this day and time, war just seem to drop out of thin air. The people of God are turning against each other. That is why we need to acknowledge what is stated in Ephesians 6:12. We have been forewarned in the Word…a good soldier must prepare him/her self for this battle by putting on the whole armor of God.  Read Ephesians 6 because :

wrestle demons

BE Aware of Such Demons

Paul also reminds us that a “good solider” does not get entangled in living a worldly life. When a soldier is called to duty in an armed force he/she is no longer considered a civilian (member of the public). Right? Do you think that soldiers think about missing a television show, sex, or partying while a war is going on? A soldier’s primary focus and training becomes that of one thing and one thing only…winning the war.  A “good soldier is one that no longer lives his/her life as a worldly civilian.  Their focus is on the Word of God. A “good soldier” is one that carries his/her weapon (The Word of God) at all times. A “good soldier” should be well trained in using this weapon of  burning fire. War is not watered down nor sugar coated so a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” in training should not have a watered down nor sugar coated mindset. He/she should be filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit and be “ready to rumble” as they say before a wrestling match.

A Note– For some reason the word fire reminded me of Daniel 7:9-10(KJV)  “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”

Enough said. Understand the message. Beloved, a war like none before will take place. It’s inevitable. We have received counsel from the Holy Bible. A “good soldier” will be prepared for battle and will overcome. It is written.

Thank you for stopping in. May you and I learn and apply these lessons to our lives daily. May you and I as a good soldier be ready for the Lord’s return. In Jesus name. Amen.

My Journey through Romans 14

What’s On Our Plate?

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

Parts of the speech by Patrick Henry

“But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. …It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”
“……It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

 

plateWhen studying Romans 14, the first thing that came to mind was the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech made by Patrick Henry. Tis true that “different men often see the same subject in different lights…”  Tis also true concerning the word of God. Paul said in verse one (1)  “Him that is weak in faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”(arguments) In short, we as Believers are to help others who are learning the word of God. Do not argue points about what you know versus what they are beginning to know. Their plate is just beginning to be prepared. Help them to rightfully know what to put on their plate. Well, that’s what it says to me. 😛 

The word on the street is that those (bible scholars) academically taught about the word of God arguably have more knowledge about what the Holy Bible and its references contained thereof. (What’s on their plate? Is it practiced?)

It is also arguable that there are also many who study on their own that can be considered bible scholars. (What’s on their plate? Is it practiced?)

It is unarguable that many can read the same book, study the same subject and see it in “different lights.” We do it here at WordPress i.e., share our views; some are the same and some are different pertaining to the same bible verses. We exercise our liberty of thoughts on many subjects like many before us. Nothing has changed.

Surely you know that we have all been fed milk before meat. As Believers, we also know that if anyone is without understanding(feeding), we are to feed them properly when leading them to the truth. “For no man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” (vs 7)  We should not be like the scribes and Pharisees that placed stumbling blocks, so to speak, on the plates of those wanting to sup with the Lord. Please read Matthew 23

Thinking Inside the Plate Moment– You have taken the liberty to eat French cut green beans on your plate with pork seasoned with iodized salt and I have taken the liberty to eat Italian cut green beans with beef seasoned with pink salt. Which one of us is seasoned for hell’s feeding plate?

Now, I gathered that this chapter revolved around the argument of what is lawful and unlawful to eat. To this very day, some Believers follow certain dietary rules and point toward the Holy Bible as their reasoning.  Some still argue about the observance of the Sabbath day and will climb a mountain that is not there to prove their point of view. I must ask. Do we as Believers not realize that these things are not reliant on us having access to the Kingdom of Heaven?  The bible tells me that if we practice following the commandments and we break one of them, then all are broken. What is your understanding? and What is your understanding of Matthew 15:11? Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

The most important verses that stood out to me were- 8-“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, WE ARE THE LORD’S.” 12- “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”Knowing this, would you as a Believer still argue over and judge others according to their personal beliefs about what is biblical to eat?  More importantly we may want to ask ourselves, Is God a God of technicality? When we meet Him on the day of judgement do you think He will say ‘Technically, you have been a good and faithful servant except for the times you ate the wrong food, and you worshiped me on a Sunday, off to hell you go’? I don’t believe so. The adversary would like us to think on those terms; arguing about what God said and didn’t say. Remember he has a line that will catch the weakest of us “Ye, hath God said…?”

And I close with some last thoughts and another portion of Henry’s speech:

“They tell us, sir that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.”

Though we read the same thing and have different opinions, the time is upon us to arrive at the truth together, that which God “hath placed in our power.” We are in need of a plate filled with spiritually seasoned food. I refuse to be fed by and chained up by the devil on the subject of what’s on my plate. The Lord rebuke you Satan.  As Patrick Henry asked “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” Beloved, let not our minds become a slavery breeding plate for the adversary about what is not to be eaten nor argue about what day the Lord is worshiped. For sure what’s on our plate that is eaten or not eaten is not something that determines our liberty or death in Christ. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”(vs11) Amen. That’s my belief unless the Holy Spirit tells me otherwise.

Thank you so much for blessing me with your visit.

My Journey through Romans 12:9-21

1walk

 

An Exercise on How to Overcome Evil with Good- Walk Daily with the Spirit of God           
Get on your Nike’s on because we are going to “Just Do It.” as the slogan says. I personally prefer Under Amour sneakers. We are going to practice our walk daily with the Lord as one in the body of Christ. Let us begin.
Exercising Our Personal Behavior (vs 9,19) Read Luke 10:30-37; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-18
  • Let love be without dissimulation (pretense). We should be what they call “Keeping it One Hundred” real with one another in the sincerest of ways. Let us not be two-faced but genuinely one-faced. If a person refuse to acknowledge your sincerity, do as Paul said do not regard them as an enemy. Be not in your heart an avenger. That’s love. Keep walking in the Spirit of God and stay focused on the love you have inside for God. I find myself walking away from people because I am so against fakeness. It’s a childhood thing. 🙂
  • Abhor that which is evil. From our experiences we know that hate is a heavy-duty dislike for things and people and it separates the best of us, more importantly it separates us from God when dealing with those in the body of Christ. Note it says hate “that” which is evil, not the person that is evil. That person can always “turn again” to the Lord whether or not you’re a part of their life. Forgive yourself and forgive them if you harbor any spirits of hatred towards them. I’m still waiting to hear present day keeping it one hundred sermons on this matter. 😛
  • Cleave to that which is good. The best vivid picture I can give here is one of baby animals clinging to their parents as they move about, even in rough terrain. Those little creatures hang on for dear life. If they fall off through rough terrain or attacks on parent, notice that the parent will either pick them back up or the baby KNOWS by the parent’s bodily stance to cling to them again. (TYHS) We should have enough love for others to treat them in this way when they are going through some stuff and the person should be comfortable enough to want to cling to us in such a time. They are only going to cling according to our sincere stance. It amazes me that some animals are more caring of their self and their own than most humans.
Exercising Our Behavior towards Family Members & Church Members – brotherly/ affectionate (verses 10-13) John 13:34-35; Galatians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 12:26
  • Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love… We should show members of our family and our church family that they are of great importance to us. I must reiterate as I have done in several posts…Don’t tell people that “everybody is going through something” especially when they confide in you about their issues. That is so not Christ-like and it shows no affection whatsoever towards the person(s); to them it is as though you are casting whatever they are going through to the wind without any cares.  Please understand this. 
  • Be not slothful in business; be fervent (passionate) in spirit serving the Lord. Serving others is a business.  A spirit of slothfulness is a difficult spirit to work with. It comes down to you either don’t know how to or you don’t want to work with others because of past dealings. If you find serving in your church is not for you, then be sure to serve others on your own as God leads you to do so. I’ve found there are many out there who do not want to be affiliated with a church because they have been asked to attend the church in return for their service. This should not be so. As a Christian, just do your part. Either way, we are told to;
  • Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and continue instantly in prayer for others. Yes, one can hope, be patient, and pray on their own. However, when we sense something is not right with someone, we need to call them up or visit with them to let them know they are not alone. Pray with them. It may give them hope to rejoice in. Don’t say what to them? “_____________________”When one feels left out or alone, regardless of who or what caused it, what hope do they have to rejoice in?  What hope do they have to pray?  Some people are just not at a spiritual level to see the unseen. This is real stuff that affect families in the body of Christ a lot more than we are willing to admit. What are you going to do about it as a member? Warning!!!! Avoid gossip, church cliques, false prophets and false doctrine.
  • Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. If we see a need, fill it, especially for the homeless, the poor, the widows, the sick, the jobless, your family and church members. This type of hospitality has fallen to the wayside with that bad seed mentality planting by thinking “I gotta worry about me and mine.”
Exercising Our Behavior towards Others- (verses 14-21) John 10:16 says And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
  • And this is why we should bless and curse not those that persecute us in Jesus name. There are still others out there who need to be brought to Jesus.
  • We should rejoice with them because there is a way God will reach them through us.
  • Be of the same mind toward them, because we don’t know what others have been through and why they may not believe in God. Hence, we are not to be wise in our own conceitedness. Yeah, we think we know everything about why a person is this way or that, when the truth of the matter is we know nothing of the sort. We can’t fit in their shoes to know their walk; which is why we as Believers need never to look down on others and gossip about the things they are going through. Hell is never full.
  • Return to no man evil for evil. Separate yourself from people that do you harm or just flat out bring you down all the time. Let nothing separate you from God. Live peaceably with all, and let the Lord take care of the rest. The Lord knows better than us on how to stop an enemy in their tracks.

12walkBecause we are not perfect, we will get a leg, mind, or heart cramp during our walks. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good(vs21). Get back up, overcome and “Just Do It.” Read Proverbs 16:1-9 and let the Lord God our Master direct your steps. If people don’t want to communicate and/or be cooperative, walk away. I pray that we all choose to walk daily with the Lord, because we are all on the Devils’ hit list.

Thank you for visiting.

 

My Journey through Romans 12:1-8

Guidance for Building One Another Up – An Exercise in Training the Physical Body to Become A Spiritual Body

Additional Reading : 1 Timothy 4

fitness-buildInside of each and every one of us is the ability to build something. It begins in our childhood with us piling stuff on top of other stuff, taking sticks and leaves to build a campfire or birds nest and building a step to reach snacks sat upon a high shelf by parents. Most of us have built mud cakes and little mud huts when playing with mud and sand castles out of sand. To my knowledge, toy building blocks and upgraded sticks have become very popular the last 30 plus years. I also enjoy building with the grands. Lo, if only we were builders like the ants, birds, and bees. And, throughout our lives we build relationships with others. 

In this chapter Paul focuses on not just building something but on us building one another up in the church. I am glad you asked. How is that possible when we have issues with one another?  How is it possible when people ignore you?  How is it possible when people refuse to work with and communicate with you to get something done?  It is obvious that some of us cannot be friends forever with others and some are just passing through our lives as a lesson.

fitness1Paul gave us several ways to build upon when dealing with such people, especially those within the body of Christ.  Let us remember who the letter was written to: the called of Jesus Christ, to all in Rome who were beloved of God called to be saints, and those he considered “brethren”.  The present day people would be all of those who call themselves Believers, Christians, Children of God, those who are in the body of Christ and those who have received God’s mercy and grace. Clear?

Let us begin.

  • The first and the biggest building up is that we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. This is our reasonable (makes the most sense) service. In reading the Holy Bible, you will find that God dealt with us as individuals first while teaching us accountability. (vs10) (1 Cor. 3:16-17 ; Ephesians 4:23; Pray Psalm 141)
  • We must not be conformed (dressed to please) to this world. We are to make a spiritual change to be in line with the Spirit of God. (vs. 2)(Exodus 23:2; Leviticus 20:23; 1 Peter 1:14; Pray Psalm 19:12-14)
  • Transform (change) ourselves by the renewing of our mind. (vs 2) (Ezekiel 18:31; Pray Psalm 51)
  • Do not walk around thinking you are higher than God. Remember the Tower of Babel. Think soberly (vs 3) (1Peter 5:8, Titus 2:12;Pray Psalm 131)
  • Remember that we are many members in one body having not the same office( this is diversity of gifts) Think of it this way, you work in an office building shared by many, your tasks are different ,you have an office to self, but all are working together as a whole for the company. It is important for us all to be on one accord according to these verses. Some preachers don’t like this message coming from the pews. I wonder why? (vs. 4-5) (1Corinthians 12:12-14 & 12:28; Ephesians 5:30; Proverbs 27:17; Pray Psalm 133)
  • Realize that there is a diversity of gifts imparted to those who art in the body of Christ according to God’s grace. God created more than one planet in the universe and they all revolve around each other. When God created Adam, he said what?  “I will make a help meet for him.” Each apostle Jesus chose had different gifts. Amen. (vs.6-7) (1 Cor. 12:5; 12:11; Pray Psalm 20)
  • We are to use our gifts accordingly. Those who have the gift of encouraging should encourage those struggling in the body of Christ. Don’t reiterate a fact that “Everybody is going through something.” God never did that. Those who have the gift of giving of time and resources should do so with simplicity to meet the needs of others. It is true, we’re not all cut out for this. If it causes you problems it’s obviously not your gift to use at the time. Those who are in a position to shepherd over others, lead others, and/or instruct others should do so with diligence (carefulness and attentiveness) and be mindful that this gift is not only imparted to them. Those of a compassionate character should show mercy to others with cheerfulness. (vs. 8) (Hebrews 3:13; 2 Corinthians 8:12; James 1:17; James 3:1-3; Luke 6:36; Isaiah 30:18; Pray Psalm 23)
Each of these verses clearly display that we as the body of Christ are to be on one accord with the Lord.  Isaiah 30 also gives us a lesson on what happens when we are not on one accord with the Lord.  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+30%3A1-33&version=KJV 

fitnessYour church may be struggling with the ability to save souls by sharing the Gospel, to build bigger, to keep lifelong members, and struggling with ongoing stress among and between members, hence a sign of discord instead of being on one accord. The church has got to stop covering this up and acknowledge it. Let us stop having so many “ministries” that we lose focus on both the people in the body of Christ and the Spirit of God.  Anything that interferes with worshiping God is discord and shows rebellion toward God.  We need to be very attentive to Isaiah 30:1: Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: I confess I have had my moments of rebellion. It’s good to regard that old aphorism “once you know better, you do better.” Therefore, I encourage both you and I to exercise this physical body until it become a spiritual body by setting our affection on things above and not the things on this earth. (Col. 3:2)

Thank you for taking time out to visit this blog.

My Journey through Romans 11

God’s Remnant To Remain Through It All – An Olive Tree Lesson

Romans 11:1-6- I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”?  And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
(vs. 24) After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

When we read about the olive tree in the bible, we probably think of it as being a big tree or don’t give a thought to it until we read the book of Revelation. Surprisingly, I’ve learned it is a rather small tree.  Per Wikipedia : The olive tree, is an evergreen tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 m (26–49 ft) in height.  The silvery green leaves are oblong, measuring 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.  Olive trees are not native to the Americas. Olives like hot weather and sunny positions without any shade while temperatures below −10 °C (14 °F) may injure even a mature tree. They tolerate drought well, thanks to their sturdy and extensive root system. Olive trees can live for several centuries and can remain productive for as long if they are pruned correctly and regularly. (Bingo! News for the year.)

Bible facts that I noted and four lessons learned while studying this chapter:

I. The olive tree stood through the great flood. (Gen.8:11)It is the tree the dove picked a branch off of.

Lesson learned: We are a small people regardless of our stature or status in today’s world. We as believers in Christ should have much faith to endure great floods that come upon us and encompasses us round about. We can stand through it all and watch the Lord rescue us TODAY.  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. (Exodus 14:13)

II. The oil has to be beaten out of the olive. (Lev 24:2; Num. 28:5; Grapes were smashed.)

refiners-fireLesson learned: We as believers in Christ must go through a beating with fire and a wash with fuller’s soap to be separated from the crap that grew within us and on us before the return of the Lord. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,  and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years. “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:2-5)  Let us not be forgetful of what Jesus went through for us. What we go through is just a dead limb falling off of the olive tree. The place where the limbs break have the opportunity to reshoot(new growth) once it receives the proper nutrition(the knowledge and love of God). May the Holy Spirit give you wisdom concerning that thought as He gave it to me in writing this thought upon my mind and heart.

olive-treeIII. The olive tree is wild by nature (Rom. 11:17)

Lesson learned:  Like the olive tree we are gnarled and twisted at times, yet we are still capable of producing good fruit. (TYHS) We go through many stages in life of disobedience to God due to our wild sinning nature. We need to grasp the truth, NONE of us as shepherds and sheep’s are perfect.  When we have been refined in God’s fire and stood through floods what we should not do is let what others think of us and our past keep us in a position of disobedience like the Israelite’s did because the word says “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

I think the olive tree is so representative of our personal family trees (ancestry listings) and church family trees(membership listings). It gives me an understanding of our similarities. Some of us have a sturdy trunk and extensive root system. All are twisted and even as mature adults we get injured. We are not as holy as we think we are with our falling leaves and broken branches. However, we can tolerate a drought with the help of the Holy Spirit. We can stand through floods; we will be beaten to smatterings and we are wild by nature. We need and we should desire correction from the Lord. The word from the Holy Spirit- “Shelia, it’s about the pureness of the oil.” (TYHS) (Read Romans 11:11-24)

storm-calmBreak Time: Have you ever noticed how quiet things are after a storm? Can you imagine the quietness Noah experience after the storm?  Imagine the quietness of the Israelite’s when God opened up the earth to put thousands in check. (Read Numbers Chapter 16 & 26) When we believe and receive correction – in the end we need to remember this: But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:1-3)

AND

IV. Heed the voice and teachings of God. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things; to who be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

Lesson Learned: Listen for the Lord’s voice when He calls you and be obedient, Wherefore COME OUT from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.(2 Cor. 6:17)

Beloved, with this new year that is upon us,it is my prayer that we work to make this a true verse representative of who we are in Christ before His return, for we shall be God’s Remnant To Remain Through It All – Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.( 1 John 3:9)

Note 2 Self- There ain’t nothing wrong with being God’s leftover (remnant)

 

My Journey through Romans 10

Just Zeal Ain’t Gonna Get It. Wake Up All Ye Believers. It’s Time to Know God.

Grab your hot cup of cocoa and warm gingerbread for this read.It’s kinda long.  This message is precisely for those who art in the Body of Christ. Though many may not find this as an encouraging blog, I assure you that if you look honestly within self and your churches, this blog is meant to encourage you and set you on fire for the Lord. As you know, I’m not a “tone it down” writer. Did God “tone it down” to the church in Laodicea? (Rev. 3:14-21) (TYHS) Let me start with Paul’s reality of many, even TODAY that say they “know God”:

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (Romans 10:1-2)

Paul was a unflinching writer of what he had done, what he had seen and what he had heard. It is for these reasons that he could say: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”(Romans 10:3-4)  Paul came to know God.  He did not just go from city to city preaching and writing to Believers for entertainment like a Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus show. Lord knows if we are honest with ourselves, we know in our hearts and minds that we have become a congregation that does not know God in the way He wants us to know Him. We can’t even share our confessions with one another in church (James 5:16) without being whispered about. Some rely on being entertained in the church by too many circus acts. These  are just a few things showing that we are not submitting to the righteousness of God. That’s a no-no. And now we move on to the real stuff. 😛

A Real Moment

lukewarm-church-2There are many a time I’ve fallen short of knowing God when under attack by family members, church members, and illnesses. Let’s call the shortness self-sufficiency- the natural stress response when we all tend to forget that God is in the midst. Get the hence, Satan. In this world, there are too many (Believers included) who are the protégé of evil, and way too many shepherds misusing (double-tonguing) the word of God as though they were a professional at using every wind instrument in an orchestra. It is exhausting and sickening to know, to see and to hear of these non-Christ like behaviors that continue to go on in the church. If we knew God, our behaviors would be different. Amen. Daniel fell sick for a reason knowing the outcome of disobedience for the Lord’s people. (Read Daniel 8)

lukewarm-3I came to the conclusion that there are many members sitting in many churches crying out to know God. There is a suppressing of the knowledge of God going on. How do we stop suppressing the knowledge of God? By faith first. Paul said, But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (vs. 8-9) And  “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (vs. 17) Begin with faith when you preach, teach, and learn the truth of and about God. (TYHS) EVERY BODY in the church needs to wake up and start believing in this truth 100% that Paul shares with us. We have the zeal, yet we are not feeling the burn of the knowledge of God. Not only do we show that we have not faith in God, but we also show that we have not faith in each other in the church.Stop playing church.

I wish shepherds knew what is really on the mind and hearts of their members. I wish members knew what is really on the mind and hearts of their shepherds. This would eliminate gossip, the uncommitted and hardened hearts within the body of Christ. All are afraid to speak the truth in love to one another. Until truth is communicated within the body of Christ, we present-day Laodicean’s (most churches if not all) will continue to be naked without the covering of God. Personally, I’d rather have hurt feelings instead of walking around both blind and naked all the time in church. It would do us good to heed this message for “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  (Rev. 3:14-17)

lukewarm-church-1Because we are lukewarm, we are sickening to God and he has become very nauseated with the church.  It is natural for us to spit out anything bad tasting from our mouth, is it not? God prefers us to be either for Him or against Him, does He not? When you have a close friend, is it your wish for them to be for you or against you?  Jesus is the Believer’s husband, we are the bride, should we not agree to “ride or die” (to be down with your husband/wife no matter what, through it all the good and the bad.) with Him? Yes there are members (individually I might add) who are committed to “ride or die” with God; the problem is that we, the church as a WHOLE have become spiritually uncommitted and we lack the knowledge of God.

Stop the “Self-Sufficiency” teachings that teach us to rely on self first. Stop the “Leadership Training” that limits the gifts of others within the church. Stop avoiding and frowning upon the testimony of Christ that others have to share. Without testimonies, over half of the bible would be missing.

Stop having church favorites. The church is NOT a catering business in which one caters to a select few because of so-called church positions. The church is not a business entity period. We need to use the heart of God. He is no respecter of persons.(Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11)  He gives visions to many in the church. Did he give visions to only one person in the bible? We all have to share these God-given visions with one another. If shepherds open the doors of truthful communication in love with all church members, gossip would not rear its ugly head from the pulpit and the pews. The church is not a venue where the ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ mentality  should be taking place. Favoritism shows a lack of knowledge present within the body of Christ. We all have to work together using the knowledge of God. In many churches, even the zeal is gone. BB King would say “the thrill is gone.” Change the setting of your hearts to show favoritism towards the mind of God.

The church is not a theater. In many churches, people who ACT as though they know God can come across as friendly to visitors, but have a problem being friendly with their own members. Stop it with the wearing of a Christian name tag in the church for visitors to see. Let us stop with the man-made teachings and the micromanagement in the body of Christ. Stop these things because they are not in line with His word. (Read Isaiah 29:13 ; 1 Timothy 6:20-21; Titus 1:16) May we begin to obey the word of God. His question found in Luke 4:46 pertains to us today :And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

We are just like Israel, up and down, all day, every day. ‘But to Israel he saith, “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (vs. 21) We need to get back to the bible to have God’s kingdom mentality. The Lord said “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:19-20)  Just zeal ain’t gonna get it. Wake up all ye believers, it’s time to know God. There is going on in the world a widespread planting of in-home churches as in the days of old with many that know God and those that truly want to know Him.

I came across this message while looking for something else: It is written by Steven H. Atherto. I’m not sure why it popped up in my search. 🙂

http://www.thefishermenministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/How-should-the-Church-Operate.pdf

Prayer Moment– Lord, we repent of our sins committed within your churches.  Help us Lord, we who are offended by this message to come to know you spiritually and to become obedient to your word. Come into our church doors Lord. Set us on fire with the knowledge of you. Cover our nakedness in Jesus name. Amen.

My Journey through Romans 9

All You Need to Know About God’s Mercy- A Choosing of One Over the Other

Read slowly the following verses:

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Ref. Malachi 1:2-3)
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

So what say you of God’s mercy? We often cry out loud, “Lord have mercy…” when tragedy happens or when someone does something outside of their character. We ask quietly in prayer, “Lord have mercy…” when things are not going the way we want them to go in our lives and/or in the lives of others.

Some of us as Believers wrestle with believing verse 13 as being something God could do. Even though Esau aka Edom was hated, we find in studying God’s word that Esau (Edom) was still blessed. Know the spiritual meaning of the events between Esau and Jacob to understand God’s statement so I don’t have to go into it here. (Read Genesis 25- 27) We know that everything starts “In the beginning, God”.  We know that Esau and Jacob (Israel) were twins. We know from God’s mindset, there can be only ONE ruler that He chooses to oversee and follow through on His will. That I firmly believe and Jesus is the CHIEF model for my belief.  There have also been many a times, God has stepped in to put a chosen person back in line with his will; Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jonah and even you and I, are just a few that he chose to have mercy on. From the beginning to the end of the bible, we are shown that there is always a choosing of one over the other.

Years ago, I purchased a book titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. It was a book written about lessons learned in the authors’ life. As for me, all I really need to know about life and how God operates I learned in the book of Genesis. The events found there clearly show why He had to come down to earth as Jesus in the NT face to face to show us what we need to know. Is that not the mercy of God leading us back to Him as in the beginning?

quote-4In some cases, we show mercy upon those we do not know but hear about via news reports and those that don’t seem fitting to receive our mercy, but God. When we see others that we truly love losing their way in life or hurting do we not choose to show mercy by helping the one that is lost and in pain? There are also those who some choose to harden their hearts against (last U.S.A election is a prime example) as God chose to harden Pharaoh’s heart against God’s own people.(TYHS) A quote came to my mind made by General Thomas Jonathan Jackson aka “Stonewall Jackson” of the Civil War, that reminded me of our election outcome. He said “Duty is ours; consequences are God’s.” Many exercised their duty to vote, enough said.  Isn’t that eerie, Stone Wall and here we are about to inaugurate a President that wants to “build a wall.” Get ready to Watch God Work is all I can say. The Holy Spirit led me to say more about our election than I wanted to. Thank you Holy Spirit, there must be a message in here for someone out there. 

Wisdom Moment– There’s a message here for you. Grab it!  God is about to do some great things in teaching the world who He is once again. It’s his H.M.O. (holy modus operandi) He made the choice. The bottom line is that God chooses to works through whom He wills. Being a preacher’s kid, a doctor, or a church goer doesn’t necessarily put one in the line of God’s will to lead. Remember that God chose Paul, a murderer of His chosen people.(TYHS) Question to you beloved reader: What did you learn about God’s H.M.O when he chose to show Paul mercy? And what did Paul teach us about ourselves in 1Timothy1:15? “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

clapNow beloved, go back and read the verses at the beginning of this blog; add verses nineteen(19) through twenty-nine (29) to get a blessing. It is a truth for me in reading this chapter that ‘All You Need to Know About God’s Mercy- A Choosing of One Over the Other’ is a message that we all need to be attentive to. It’s not about hate, but about righteousness and God’s choice to fulfill His will and promises.Glory Hallelujah!

I leave you with some quotes from the author of All Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum:

“I know what I really want for Christmas. I want my childhood back.
Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn’t make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of or hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded and terribly vulnerable to joy.”

My Journey through Romans 8

No Condemnation – A Pardoning of the Lord?

Let me begin by sharing a few scriptures that speak about condemnation. I’ll start with the three most important verses (KJV) first to give us the Root that oversees the act of condemnation.

John 3:17- For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18- He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 12:47-48- And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
  • 1 John 3:20- For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
  • James 5:12- But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
  • Psalm 103:12-As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
  • Isaiah 55:7-Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

In Romans 8:1, we will find three (3) requirements necessary for Believers to receive “no condemnation”: (1) one must be in Christ Jesus, (2) one must not walk after the flesh, (3) one must walk after the Spirit; of which a daily practice of these requirements will be advantageous to us for our walk with God.

With that being duly noted, we can better understand this fact. Not all Believers walk after the Spirit. We all experience unexpected wrestling matches because of the law and sin against the spirit and the flesh.  But, then there is God’s grace and mercy. Per Peter, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)  And, John tells us that “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)  We should look at these two verses as encouragement for the Believer when Satan tries to set us upon the pedestal of condemnation as he tried with Job. Thank you Holy Spirit!

Thank you Jesus! And why should we thank Jesus?  Because what was a mystery to the people in the OT is no longer a mystery to those of us today.

Knowledge Moment – Thomas asked Jesus what was the way and “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:5-6) Paul confirms this in his letter to Timothy concerning the “knowledge of the truth”: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Please read the full chapter to understand the depth of the glory to come. I close here with the knowledge Paul shared with us: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  (Hence, a good reason for us to follow the three(3) requirements listed above- that’s just my view.I’m working it! 😛 )

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:34-39)

The Final Proof of No Condemnation and that there will be A Pardoning of the Lord – (Revelation 22:3-4)-And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. Now that’s very encouraging, ya think? And you say, “I agree with you Shelia in Jesus name. Yeah!”

condemnation

Mission Possible 4 U – 1 Peter

Great blessed morning to you. I’ve been up with God since 4 this morning. Poof, how time flies when you’re having fun. It is now 9:34 am. That’s my testimony. I love spending time with the Lord. 

As I was finishing up my study plan this beautiful and cold Sunday morn with 1 Peter, I noticed there were four questions asked in this letter he wrote “to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:…”

Let me put on my Mission Impossible voice. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves (fill in the mission- see below) and should any member of your team be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.”

5-sec-timer

The Mission (2 Part)

(A.) Answer each question that Peter put forth? Of course you’ll have to read the corresponding verses on your own.

  1. 1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
  2. 1 Peter 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
  3. 1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
  4. 1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

 

(B.) Rejoice! rejoice

Poof!  The end of all things are at hand:be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.(1 Peter 4:7)