Lovingkindness

Jeremiah 9:24 KJV But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord .

The Lord tells us in this verse that the thing we should put the most value in is our understanding of Him. Above wealth, above might, above wisdom, the knowledge of the Lord is the most important thing. And as He describes Himself, we find that the first quality He states of Himself is His lovingkindness. Before judgment, before righteousness, God is first and foremost a loving and kind God.

In our day and age, love and kindness are not what they used to be. Many are tired of being taken advantage of by ungrateful people, and it’s difficult to know whether someone really needs help or has ulterior motives. Many have a misinterpretation of love and kindness and use them to promote sin and ungodlinesss. The Church often either joins in the sin or overreacts and becomes very unloving and unkind.

In the chaotic, sinful world we live in, love and kindness is getting harder and harder to find. But I think it’s important for us to remember that God puts this as His Primary Characteristic. God is Love, and His active expression of that Love is Kindness.

When one studies the Bible, one finds that the major difference between God and Satan is not their standards of justice and righteousness, but rather their concepts of kindness. The very name Satan means “accuser,”and his accusations against God and humanity are founded in his unkindness. If we look at the Book of Job, we see that Satan’s argument was that, if pushed far enough, Job would turn his back on God. While Job never completely did so, Satan was partially correct. However, God still showed Job forgiveness and kindness after he repented.

While I cannot prove this theory as absolutely correct, the evidence in scripture points to the idea that Satan rebelled against God because he thinks God should not have given His Creation freewill. According to Satan, giving humanity freewill was a bad idea, because it chose to turn against God and do evil things. And, in a way, he is right. However, he fails to understand that without freewill there cannot be true love and kindness.

God knew that giving His Creation freewill would open up the door for the possibility of evil. Yet, He believed that all the heartache and chaos was worth it if just one person chose to love Him. And when His creation turned its back on Him, He sacrificed Himself to give them another chance. And not only another chance, but also the Power of His Spirit to enable us to love as He does.

When we choose to look at the world and all the evil in it, it becomes difficult to understand why we should be loving and kind. However, when we look at the Cross, it becomes clear. We did not deserve His Love, but He gave it anyway. The world does not deserve our kindness, but we should give it anyway. For if only one chose to use that kindness for good, it is all worth it.

Matthew 18:12-13 KJV How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? [13] And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep , than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

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8/2/2017

Stepping down does not always mean giving up. Stepping back does not always mean retreating. Patience does not always mean idleness. Surrender does not always mean failure. Vulnerability does not always mean weakness.

1 Peter 5:6-7 KJV Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: [7] Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

7/31/2017

Lord, teach me to seek You, not only for the things I know You can do, but also for the things You want to show me, which otherwise I would have never known were possible.

7/27/2017

The greatest thing a Christian can do is to live each day at a time through the help of the Holy Spirit, trusting and following the Lord every step of the way.

Matthew 6:34 KJV Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Romans 8:14 KJV For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Matthew 16:24 KJV Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

7/24/2017

God is always working behind the scenes, both in us and around us, for our good. We must be careful to make sure we are working with Him and not against Him. Sometimes that means taking the initiative to follow the instructions He has already given us. Other times that means taking a step back and waiting for Him to show us the path He has been creating.

7/20/2017

We must be careful not to take the people who inspire us for granted. Just because they have given us hope and strength does not mean they are always hopeful and strong. Just because they supply wisdom does not mean they always make wise decisions.

No one is perfect but God. We all have struggles. We all have doubts. We all need encouragement. We all need someone to point us back to the Light.

I’ve Been Through Enough

Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. [9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As a Christian Minister, I get a lot of questions and arguments about the Bible. People look for simple, satisfying answers, and when they don’t get them, they look at it as proof against Christianity.

I admit I am often tempted to try to water down or ignore certain parts of the Bible to make it more pleasing to myself and others. And when I am reminded of something that I don’t like or disagree with, doubt sometimes creeps in. I could probably come up with theories to explain away the unpleasantness, but many times I truly don’t have a legitimate answer.

However, then I think about everything God has done for me, and I cannot deny the relationship I have with Christ and Him Crucified. Some may think that is a copout. Maybe it is. But I think everyone (believers and unbelievers) faces this same problem.

Just because we may not like something doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t right.

A person may not like what his parents do, but that doesn’t make them any less his parents. A person may not always understand the choices they make, but that does not necessarily mean he knows better than they do.

I do not understand everything in the Bible. I do not like everything in the Bible. But I’ve experienced enough to know God is real, Christ and Him Crucified saves, and the Holy Spirit leads. That is enough for me to trust that His Word is true and that He knows better than I do. And I’m pretty sure that is what faith is really all about.

“I’ve been through enough to know He’ll be enough for me. He’s come through too many times and that puts my mind at ease. I’ll stake my very life that He’s going to take care of me. For I’ve been through enough to know He’ll be enough for me.”

Doing or Becoming

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

While Galatians 6:15 refers specifically to circumcision, I believe it applies to so much more. The important thing is not what we do, but what we become. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything, it simply means our focus should not be on external results but on internal ones.

We have been called to do certain things, primarily to trust God, Spread the Gospel, and live a Holy Life. However, the doing of these things does not always guarantee an inward spiritual change. In fact, more often than not, it is our failures that bring us to our knees and softens our hearts to receive the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It will not work if we fail on purpose though.

There is no special formula. While it is certainly helpful to have explanations or diagrams, if they are Biblically accurate, they will always be vague and generalized. In my experience, every time I think I’ve got it figured out, a situation or trial comes and knocks me flat on my face. Even if my faith is in the Cross, and the sin nature is dormant, the flesh still wants to cling to some religious idea for comfort.

When we get our focus on do’s and don’t’s, we will not be open to the uniqueness of each situation of life. Jesus Christ and His Finished Work is always the answer, but how we apply our faith will need to be different for every trial. Ultimately, success is not determined by whether or not we accomplished some great task, but whether or not we allowed the Holy Spirit to make us more like Christ.

Rom 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Give Up the Ghost

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

No one killed Jesus. While the crucifixion looked like an execution, in reality, it was a willing sacrifice. Every step of the way He could have stopped the procession. He could have stopped the lashes and the torture. He could have stopped the nails being driven into Him. If He so desired, He could have hung… on the Cross for eternity and never died. Yet, at every moment, He chose to surrender His will to the Father’s. Even at the moment of death, the Father did not forcefully take the life of His Son, but the Son willingly commended His Spirit into His Father’s Hands.

Likewise, every man or woman who desires to follow the will of God must be an active participant. We can never accomplish what He desires in our own power. We must rely completely on His Spirit, having our Faith anchored exclusively in His Sacrifice. However, we must choose to yield to that Power.

The world, the devil, and even friends and family may try to get us to leave the will of God. To them, the path you are on looks foolish and doomed for failure. “You need to do something!” they may say. “Get a life!” they may say.

You do need to do something; you must stay in the will of God. The only way you can “get a life” is by laying it down for His Sake. You must give up your ghost. You must commend your spirit into His Hands. That does not mean literally dying, for Christ’s physical death has already taken care of that. However, it does mean surrendering your will, which can sometimes feel like death.

Look at Abraham laying down Isaac. Look at Jacob wrestling God. Look at Job confessing his vileness. Look at Paul admitting his wretchedness.

The Lord wants to bring all of us to our own unique test of faith. Unfortunately, we tend to fight Him all the way. He will never force us. He will never override our free will. We must choose to yield. We must choose to put our lives in His Hands.

Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luk 9:24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

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