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Tidbits and Mindbytes

Small bits of words crammed together to form thoughts, with a taste of opinion.

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salvation

A study on Malachi 3:6-12

When we claim to serve God, and only give a small portion of our tithes and offerings to God, He declares we are robbing Him. What kind of tithes truly rob God? Is it just money and material items, or is it something deeper at work?

Verses 6-7

                With these verses, Malachi is telling the people that have left their one true God. Then he describes how they have done so; by turning away from the decrees or the Law. This has made the people become separated from God.

How does this work for us? This means that if we have accepted God but have willingly and/or willfully chosen to wander away from his Law and Person that we are sinning. It also means that sin builds up and causes each generation to go further and further from God especially when we are giving hollow offerings and tithes to the God of all Creation. Malachi also says that because we are faulty and fallible humans that cannot perceive our own consequences to the choices we have made, our hope is that the God that created us all is not and will never be changeable. His constancy and longevity are what make His plans and purposes eternal and solid which enable Him to keep every promise He has ever made by His Word.  So than why is it that we sin? Because we who are human had chosen long ago and still choose to this day our own paths. We can break our word to God, and as we do so we drive ourselves further from Him with each choice in the manner of self service and self-devotion. This means we are the ones turning from Him, and hiding away in the sin of our lives. However, He is awaiting our return and will embrace us again.  This is our salvation that we must return to God.  Re-turn. Turn ourselves back to God in a manner that He can embrace in all His holiness. But, how can we return?

Verses 8-10

                God answers with another question, “Will a man rob God?”

This is perplexing because God is eternal, all powerful, and does not require our wealth. He is indeed someone who has the entire universe as his possession and all in it is His. Therefore, how could a man rob God? This clearly is implying the sin of an ungrateful and greedy heart. But it is also implying the brokenness of the relationship with the Creator. We can see this from the language in verses 6-7 the sin is robbing God of His chosen people. Thus, the result of shallow practices and forms of worship and lifestyle have brought a curse of God upon those who practice this kind of ‘religion’. And the worst curse God has placed upon us all is to be cut off from Him. This is the spiritual death that occurs because of sin.

From verse 9 we see that all this built up sin and false worship, has robbed the storehouse of God. It seems God’s storehouse is running on empty. We think of storehouses as places to store and keep food, clothing, goods, and other material possessions. However, the storehouse of God is supposed to be crammed full of the universe –what would make it run on empty? Because it is the spiritual storehouse that God is referring to here, not the material. It is the supernatural storehouse of God, not just the natural storehouse.  That is not to say God’s power and realm is totally dependent on mankind because He indeed has all authority, power, sovereignty, and all the rights of the true king.  But, what is being said is that we have our part to play in the distribution of God’s power on earth.  In this case, God is lacking the believers in Him that are truly praying, worshipping, and seeking out Heaven on Earth as it should be.

Here on earth, the Temple represented God’s spiritual storehouse on earth. However, the sin in the people had caused this storehouse to leak and lose the blessings that God intended for His works and people, letting them fall into a dead land that was just taking away all the blessings.  We can look it at it as the Leaky Bucket Analogy.  We walk to the well (which is God) and dip our buckets (our prayers worship etc.) into the well pulling up water (blessings) but little did you notice that hole in the bucket. As you walk back to your home, the water leaks out the entire way onto the ground and is gone. By the time you get home, there is nothing left.  What does this mean? With the sin in our lives unrepented and the shallowness of our relationship with God, we have a giant leaking hole that bleeds out all that God has to offer which is material and more importantly the immaterial. The restoration of broken relationships, and healing can only happen when God’s storehouse is full.

Therefore, it is not just about giving money and materials to God. Even the hollow and shallow can do that, the unsaved can give away all their wealth and property. The sin is thinking that by doing all the ‘giving’ is how the blessings flow from God and that it is the way to get God to do things our way or for us. That sin is great because it hides the real reason we give. It is the relationship to God, the time invested into Him and His will that makes the blessings flow from heaven and it is from a grateful and life full of gratitude that we give our ‘material’ to Him. From a realization that all we have flows from Him, automatically makes us surrender our clutch on the material and the immaterial.  For a truly blessed and abundant life, one must be totally and utterly deeply rooted in a relationship with our Father, and we must place a high value and deeply desire that relationship. It sounds easy, but it requires a heavy price to have that kind of relationship with God; total and complete surrender to Him and to live in His definition of holiness. It takes praying, reading His Word, singing praise and worship, and sacrificing our will to His. It is more than just demanding from God what we want, but asking for and doing what He wants. It is not just the mere empty actions of an entertaining person that gains the heart and blessings of the Father, but a child who is learning and living dependent upon Him that receives deeper blessing and true prosperity.

God doesn’t need our material items; He already has them all for Himself. He demands a true and deep relationship with Him in all holiness and purity. He is the author and finisher and therefore He desires His creation to wholly His in all aspects of a spiritual and physical life. As Christians we are to be the Bride of Christ and we need to truly KNOW Jesus for us to be His Bride. Would you marry someone you had never known? The Church has currently lost her way, and is lacking in her knowledge of Jesus and knowing Him. There are ideologies, and different social pressures and requirements that have generated a waywardness that led to sin. We are a lot like Israel’s tragic history with God, but like Israel God calls to us to return to Him. He called to them over and over, as we see through the Old Testament especially in the Prophets writings.  Malachi hits on this in verse 7.  The return is to REPENT. That means cast off and leave behind that sin. Turn from that and return your eyes to God. Turn from your selfish, self-deluded, and worldly ideas about who God is and what He desires, and get to know the real God. Return to Him. Give yourself wholly a new to Him. This is through constant prayer, praise and worship, and studying the Bible. Restore your relationship with Him and then He will open His arms wide open and throw open the floodgates of Heaven.

Verses 11-12

After God has thrown open the floodgates of Heaven, after all of us have repented and have cried out to God, and sought to restore our relationship to God by turning away from the sin and disobedience that is when God will move. He will be the one to restore the rightness of a unplagued world, where pestilence is no more.  He will provide the life and bread of life for all who have called upon His name and repented. He will make water flow in a dry and empty spiritual land that is thirsty for His presence.  Only then will He turn to His people, both futuristically and presently in the Body of Christ.  But so long as there is leaking bucket, the presence of God will not be sustained.  The leak will bleed out and dissipate the presence, because all sin and any kind of it that is unrepented will create the leak and make it larger. It provides the footstep in that the Opposer needs to bring down the blessings God has prepared for His children.  As Christians, Paul in his letters encourages us to not allow such footholds and strongholds to form because they damage our relationship with the Creator and Father.

Mark 2:21-22, Matthew 9:16-17, and Luke 5:36-39

But when we are truly seeking that right relationship with God that the leak will cease. But it is interesting that God is not going to just patch up the leak. He will provide us with a new bucket. That means we can’t just patch up and old ways and hope they work. Jesus spoke of this in the New Testament with his parable of the wineskins.  However, He does not get rid of the old bucket either. He uses it for bringing glory to Himself as a sign of what He redeemed us from.  It becomes a piece of our testimony of how good, kind, and great our God is. Which than tells of how He has created and Redeemed all the old and the new.  That is how God uses our time of return and repentance. It is a reconstruction of the heart and relationship. Thus His tithes and offerings are more than just the materialistic buyoffs that are so often given by people today. It is all about the gratitude for our relationship with Him.  If you zoom back out on Malachi 3:6-12, you see more power in the scripture than just the ‘material’ tithes and offerings but it is the relationship and the heart behind the giving that is being stolen away from God. This makes the Scripture more powerful, and potent by explaining more about what is really being robbed away. But God is not finished there.

Luke 21:1-4; Mark 12

In Luke, Jesus notices the differences in the people who are giving. It is not the quantity of wealth being given which drew Jesus to notice the widow giving her all. It was her desperation, her broken life, and in her lack hoping above all hope that God is going to provide for her. It was the hope in her relationship with Creator that drew Jesus’ attention. She gave what she had in a manner that brought noteworthy praise which in turn Jesus rebuked the wealthy givers- not on the quantity of what they gave, but their heart in giving was wrong and did not hold the Lord of Israel, God of Jacob as true King. We can see from this passage it was easy for them to walk in a drop a large sum of money and leave thinking they were okay with God.  However, were they? Luke alludes to that they weren’t. Greed had overridden true gratitude and akin to the priests of old, they were consuming the fatted calf for themselves rather than giving it to God for His glory and honor.

What does this mean for us?

Your money, your wealth, your ‘blessings’ may not really all be blessings in the manner we think they are. You might be in the depth of poverty of the soul.  The poverty of the soul is where God is not alive, nor are you in a relationship with Him. However, it is this very relationship that needs to be the concern of our Christian walk.  From the repentant and God-centered life will flow deep seeded gratitude.

Tithes and offerings were designed to be given with a grateful heart. One that truly knows God and wants to see more of Him. He blesses those in relationship when their heart is truly centered on God. From Malachi we learn this. We see God calling His people to return through repentance. Many people can hand over material goods but God is calling for your time, your soul, your mind, will and emotions to be fixed upon Him. God truly isn’t looking for your things; He is looking for your heart’s condition. When you restore the proper vision of God, that He is your sole reason for your universe’s existence, you begin to understand the complexity God offers to you through giving Him all your GIFTS.  Not just the material but the immaterial gifts and talents, your time and energy. The whole person giving with a grateful heart to the Lord.

Fast. Pray. Repent. Praise. Pray. Fast Repent…these are parts of drawing closer to the God of all heaven and earth, to the Savior of all, the Lord on High. As we go through this cycle, God reveals in us the sin and destroys it.  But all the while we should be studying and reading the Scriptures where the God is speaking most clearly to us, and praying in the Spirit so that we may grow in strength, power, purity, and hope.  It draws us deeper into the cycle, and we repent more readily. It opens the lines of communication to the Creator, and it helps those floodgates of heaven to flow through us, His people. As a nation that is gleaming to the world the hope of salvation found in Jesus.

Therefore, true prosperity is not found in the richness of the material wealth but in the richness of relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father above.  We must remember that the true greatest gifts we have are salvation, redemption, and life eternal that God has given us through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.  The relationship with God should be and is the number one priority of a Christian because we should be living our lives as the sacrifice, the living sacrifice to the tithes and offerings of our walk with Christ. To only give the material wealth lacks the necessary components for a deep relationship with God. He is looking for your heart, for that is where your true self is. So, even if you’re giving and attending a church, if He cannot see your heart you have turned from Him and are in sin and rebellion. Which means that you could outwardly be doing all the right things but are lacking a right relationship with God because of your reasons for why you are doing ‘all the right things’. Are you doing out of a heart and desire for God? Or are you doing it for other reasons and motives? You could be doing them all without God as your reason, like Israel had over and over again. And like Israel, you will find yourself in a barren land.

An empty and robbed store house means an empty and robbed state of relationship with the God of all creation. If you’re filling your storehouse with a desire after God’s heart, you are filling your relationship with the God of all. It is difficult in an age where everyone is connected to anyone by instantaneous actions to see beyond the superficial connections and alliances that we make. It damages the longevity of a deep, formal, loving and spiritual relationship with God and people. It distorts our perceptions of what it means to ‘know’ someone, and what a ‘relationship is’.  True long-lasting connections and relationship are not instant. Superficial and haughty relationships are instant and fall away just as quickly.  Relationships develop with spending real time, and quality time with another person or people. You don’t make relationships based upon social networking, true relationships develop through the pitfalls, the downsides, and the upsides, the valleys and mountain tops of life. Shallow relationships develop through the moment, and can easily pass away. Therefore, when we are dealing with our Creator, are we looking at the depth or are we seeking our own best interests? To put God in the way many Christians have, a distant and disconnected being, we have limited His relational value to us. This is where another large sin resides, and is part of why in Malachi 3 God is calling out to a broken and desolated nation. Not only has Israel been robbed of their material blessings, but they as a people have gone wandering in the desert again. Malachi is trying to call his brethren back because he knows the value of true repentance is the restoration of relationship with God.

By spending quality time with the Father of all through fasting, praying, studying Scripture and worshipping Him through song and praise as we live our lives out in the world, we begin to restore and build up our relationship with God and our faith in Him. Faith is a correlation of our relationship with God and is what drives our walk. The weaker the faith is, the weaker your relationship to God is. The stronger the faith, the stronger your relationship is with Him. To strengthen both requires attention and time, like all true relationships. God, our Father, requires us to spend quality time with Him. God moves in the deep, personal, broken messes that are our real lives. He knows all of our sins and failures, but He is slow to anger and is a just God. He is a kind and enduring King who is fair to all (Joel 2:13). He desires to meet us down in the depths of our darkest corners and shine light in there to reveal to us His love, and our true dependency upon Him for all things especially our weaknesses.  To refill the storehouse of God, one must return to God fully. Our relationship with God is the factor that determines our spiritual state. If we are dry and parched, there might be something we need to repent of that is leaking out the blessings that God has for us. If we are in abundance, are we being deceived and hiding away our sins?

God still moves through our sinfulness, don’t mistake the power that God has for dependency on us. He does prefer to work through us, and therefore will use all means necessary. Because the storehouse also represents those who know God, and are His children. Through our relationship with God, we are being the lights to the darkest world where God can draw in more people to Him and create a larger storehouse of faith and fellowship. That is why the tithes and offerings are simply just an outward expression of all the gratitude we have for what God is doing, and for our personal and long lasting relationship with Him. It’s not because we wish to be solely blessed, but because we have a far more superior gift in Him. It is the conduit for more and greater blessings to flow from not the means. God is the means and control and power and authority behind all things on Heaven and on Earth.  Apart from God, we can do nothing. Tithes and offerings simply reinforce our relationship with Him, and remind us that He is the one who does all. Our lives are the offering and sacrifice that God is using for His glory and that means we need a deep and personal relationship with Him.  Pray.  Study. Sing. Repent. Pray. Live for Him.

As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”  Through our right relationship with God, we tithe our time, our materials, our talents, and we serve in accordance to God’s will. This must all first and foremost be founded on a deep, personal relationship or else it will all be empty and hollow forms of worship. The tithe and offering is simply us recognizing our deep seated relationship with God, and we can serve Him by giving to organizations and people where our money will serve the best and be broadcasting the Gospel around the world. The truly good news is our relationship with God is personal because Jesus came and died for each person. We make the choice to enter into that relationship. Your relationship is the storehouse that God is seeing robbed, and empty. Not the material tithes and offerings, but your relationship to Him.  Repent, and return. That is the call and prayer for us all.

 

Summary:
1) Your relationship with God is the focal point for all things. Not what you do or how much you give, not even your Church attendance is the focal point. God ultimately doesn’t need your ‘materials’ He wants your heart, mind, soul, and a relationship with you.

2) As our relationship with God increases, we give and serve out of a desire to return what He has done for us. This in turn allows us to spread the Gospel.

3) We are lacking in relationship because we have allowed sin to carry us away. Therefore, we are tossing money hoping to pacify God. We are doing the routine hoping that God is pleased rather than investing time with Him.

4) The fix is praying, fasting, repenting, and drawing closer to God rather than living like we always do and wishing for the best. The best is to get to know God personally, and deeply.

5) Then all the other things have true meaning, and are a sign of our deep, close relationship with Him. This the focal point, and all our ‘works’ become ‘right’ because of the focus.  Prosperity is the relationship with God not the money in the pocket.

6) Stop judging your giving as the size of your ‘relationship’. Faith is the correlation to our relationship with God. Weaker Faith, weaker Relationship with God. The stronger the faith, the stronger the relationship with God is. Faith is believing in HIM; and anything else.

7) Aim for Heaven. Stop focusing on Earth you’ve lost sight of God. Restore your relationship with God and everything else falls into place because we are focused on Him not on the problems of the World.

 

 

Thoughts on Writing

Hello everyone,

Yes. The year is now 2017 and I still haven’t posted very often.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Writing”

A Theological Look at Who Jesus was.


Jesus was conceived through the Spirit unto the Virgin Mary (Lk 1:33-36, Matt 1:18-23). His conception was the virginity, but his birth(Gal 4:4, Lk 2:6-7) was messy and normal like all other births. Jesus is fully man.  He was born in Bethlehem(Lk2:4-5), and grew up like any other normal human(lk 2:40, 52).  In fact Jesus was so normal, that when he came back from his temptations ( Matt 4:2 Lk 4:1-2, Heb 4:15) his own town did not accept him because he was ‘normal’.  He had a human mind, grew up like a human, and had all the weaknesses of a human body, for example he got tired and hungry (Matt 4:2, Jn4:6, Jn 19:28). This is why his own town rejected him as the Messiah. However in all things he did them without sin(Jn 8:29, 8:46, 15:10, 1Pet 2:21-23, 2 Cor 2:20-22, 1 Jn 3:4-6, Heb 4:15, 7:26) using human means to overcome them, such as quoting scripture, keeping a regular religious life (Lk 2:41-42, 4:16) and fellowship with believers(Jn 2:13,7:14,Matt 26:24-26 Mk 11:27)  prayer (MK 1:35, 6:46-46, Lk 5:16 6:12, Jn 17:1) and the other means of grace that we have been given as humanity.
Jesus is fully divine. The two natures of humanity and divinity are distinct but unified in the person of Jesus Christ.  He is the Son of God (Matt 27:40 27:43 27:54, mk 1:1, 3:11 Lk  22:70 Jn 20:31 Acts 9:10) who bore the full weight of our sins on the cross ( Matt 1:21), but also through obedience in life made the way for all to come to God through faithful obedience (Phil 2:6-11, 3:9). Jesus was crucified at his own free will (Jn 10:10-18)for the redemption of the World. His work on the cross made God’s entire wrath cease for the redeemed the Earth, and his sinless life is the reason why God exalted him above all others (Phil 2:10-11). Jesus fulfills the roles of the High Priest because he has given his life in atonement ( Mk 10;45, 1 Cor 15:3), but also is continually interceding for those who believe (Rom 8:34, Heb 7:5). Jesus is the ruling King because he comes from the Davidic lines of kings and because God the Father gave him all authority and power upon resurrection from death and upon ascension he fulfilled the role (Col 1:7, Phil 2:10, 1 Cor 15:34-38 2 Tim 2:11-12). Jesus is the prophet not just because he spoke the Word of God ( Deut 18:14-22); he was the Living Word of God (Jn 1:1) for the entire world to see. He was both the message of the Gospel and the bringer of this message for only through him can the world be saved and the world saw God (John 1:18, 14:6, 14:9) world by maintaining his divinity while he took on the flesh of humanity to veil his God-self to walk among sinful man to partake in their sufferings.
His natural body died on the Cross but through his divinity and in obedience to the Father, he was raised again. Jesus is still living currently in heaven as Man in flesh and God in nature at the right hand of the Father, which gives us our resurrected hope.  Jesus was given all these things because of the humiliation he suffered coming to Earth and dying as a “criminal” in a human body. Jesus during his period of humiliation (Phil 2:5-11), or his life as a mortal ( Mat 8:20,  Lk12:35-38, Matt 26:56, Heb 5:8)) where he was challenged, abandoned, and partook in death, yet he spoke with authority, as God would which is part of the reasoning for his death from the Scribes and Pharisees. He was also constantly referring to God as father, and using alluding to Daniel 7 reference to the Son of Man as his identity. He also received worship when it was given properly or denied it when it was not. When the Father resurrected Jesus, he was given the keys to the kingdom, which had him ascended beyond the World with both his humanity and divinity still unified(Rom 6:4-5, 1 Tim 3:16).  This proved that Christ was both God, because only God could rise from the dead and ascend into the heavens, as well as his humanity for he suffered and died.
              

Humanity in 3 minutes or less.


God is the creator (Gen 1:1).God created mankind to glorify himself; he did not create man out of a deficit (Acts 17:24-25, Psalm 50:9-12, Job 41:11).  God was sufficiently loved, loving, and in abundance of love within the Trinity. Therefore, when he created man, it was to crown (Isa 62:3-5) his work for man is the only created being that is made in the image of God ( Gen 1:26-27, 5:1,9:6).  Therefore man is representative of God on earth in their being.  Humanity is designed with purpose and design (James 3:8, Matt 22:37-40).  They were created to have right relationship with God (Jer 9:23-24, John17:3, Matt 22:37) and to glorify him in worship (Isa 43:7, Eph 1:11-12). However, in man’s own selfish rebellion they fell from that right relationship (Gen 3). When mankind fell from their original mandate from God, they were distorted with sin and what appears good is evil, and what is evil appears good and the soul got separated from the body and the earth groaned beneath the weight of sin (Gen 3). Man lost relationship with God because a holy God hates sin ( Deut 12:31, Prov6:16-19 Jas 4:4 Rom 5:10), man lost relationship with others of mankind (Gen 3), and lost their own soul connection ( Rom 6:23) . Through Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, tragic sin and death has been passed down generation upon generation, each new one being far worse(Rom 1:34-37) than the preceding generation (Eze 8:13, 15) which is total depravity.
Yet, man is still created within the image of God and therefore he shares some of the attributes that God has ( Gen 1:26-28). Spirituality, mentality, emotions, and relational aspects are all reflections of the immense God that created us and we are limited in these areas( Gen 5:1). However all that man does is sin, and even our greatest selfless acts are sinful. That is why there is division among people (Jas 3:8) and competition for resources, and why Christ had to come .  In Christ’s selfless act, he lived as a perfect human and fully God at the same time ( 2 Cor 4:4). He experienced all the trials and temptations that we as humans go through, and conquered them at the Cross through his death and resurrection paving the way back to God with his shed blood (Col 1:15). Jesus also restored the proper relationship between man and woman (Gal 3:28). Since the fall, there was always division between man and woman (Gen 3:16). God designed man and woman to be equal essence but distinct in roles (Gen 1:26-27), a representation of the Trinity lived out on Earth. However, with the fall man has been reigning over woman, and this has fractured their ability to relate to one another causing untold friction between them instead of unity. Christ’s work proves that man is to be selfless for his wife, and that they are to be one, like Christ and the Church ( 1 Cor 11:3).
God still is in over all the earth, and knows all things and controls all things ( Prov 16:19, James 4:13-15, Prov21:1,  Matt 10:29, Ps 145:15). However, just because God is in charge does not negate our responsibilities as people to obey God and his Laws (Phil 2:1s2-13).  That is why we see such debase actions coming out of the world, for they are shaking their fist at God and blaming him for all their own actions and responsibility and pointing fingers at each other passing the buck. Humans were designed for relationship with their Creator, and with each other not this blame game that happens. Jesus provided us with a direct access to God so that we are not captives of the World system but slaves to Christ for God’s perfect will for us.

Taking the Beatitudes Seriously

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
————
You may wonder why I have chosen to put the whole passage up instead of just the one Beatitude that I would write about. That is because context of the passage is greatly needed and under-appreciated. It makes and breaks everything in how we think about a passage of Scripture.

So, today, I am focusing my energies on the first Beatitude. “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt 5:3)
Here’s what the Amplified Bible has to say: 

Blessed (happy, [a]to be envied, and [b]spiritually prosperous—[c]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
What is this poor in spirit? What does it mean to be poor in spirit? Having just started the Doctrine of Christ, and gone through the Doctrines of God and Humanity and Sin, there is a deep revelation that humanity itself is the very essence of needy. But those who are poor in spirit must realize they are lacking in all areas of their life, and they have come to the realization that they are not superior, and are in fact inferior. They don’t have a haughty self reliance, but rather they realize they are dependent upon a Creator beyond their sight. BUT they are not hopeless, for they know that their Creator God has made a way for them. Jesus, the holy son of God and Man, has paved the way for us to have the kingdom of God. He was the one who proclaimed the ushering in of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, as he is the one who brought the kingdom, being poor in spirit would open the eyes to this revelation. Jesus Christ is the Savior, the one who brings the kingdom of God to those who are lacking. Jesus Christ is the only one who can redeem our souls so that they no longer are narrow visioned. Jesus Christ, the living God seated at the Right Hand of God the Father is EVER able to restore the kingdom of God to the poor in Spirit. THAT is what Salvation is. It is the restoration of the kingdom of God to man. We have a relationship with the Holy God because of the Sacrificial Son who paved the way to the kingdom.
So what is Jesus saying? He is saying those who are needy see, I am here and I will bring you the kingdom of God…only I can do such a thing because only God can bring what is God.

Selah

Work In Progress; Theology and Understanding.


There is always once chance that we have, one simple moment that comes with the many choices we have made. Life will present us this simple moment with the clarity of our life flickering or flashing before the eyes as they darkened on the world around them. Will you in that moment feel regret, sorrow, and despair? Will you in the moment feel nothing? Or perhaps you will find the moment thrilling, welcoming, and unafraid of the things to come? This is not about death, but what happens after you have died. Where will you be? Are you going to be eternally separated or eternally joined?
The world beyond does exist, though the finite simple mind cannot comprehend what that looks like. The infinitude of the world beyond our little shallow lives here on Earth is much more splendid, or much more hellish than we can imagine. Yet here we are…living lives that make us go to one end or the other. Yes, ends to the soul are found in Heaven or Hell. Hell is a very real place made up of souls that are forever separated from God, eternally. These souls will never find true completion, and will face fire and brimstone. Eternal torment awaits the lives that chose to seek their own god, which in most cases is themselves. It is sad that they are so cruelly blinded by their own mind, their own will, and have ceased to acknowledge the existence of their Creator. These souls will cry injustice has been dealt. They will cry that they did all they could. They will shout about their rights. They will shout about their needs. They focus solely on them…
But the reality of the world around is clear, it’s depraved and sunk. It is a failing society that needs a Savior. However, the Savior has come…and yet the Society still fails to see they are dying in their own filth. They are playing in the sewer when there is a Mansion open to them to live in. How is it possible that they cannot see this? It is purely because they do, but prefer their own ways; doing things the way they want to; choosing the life they want to live; rebels to the last. These are the people that will shake their fist at God and say “How can he exist?” when there is filth all around them, filth of their own creation. All the best human acts are failures; human efforts fail because humans are the flawed sinful creatures that breed imperfection, and insist that evil is good and good is evil. They are truly the backwards civilizations that destroy themselves and their world.
But, God did do something that we cannot comprehend. First of all He exists beyond us, therefore all means to justify His non-existence is pointless because what is beyond human rationale is always going to be ‘unexplainable’ to the exhaustive source. Creations cannot fully know their creator, humans cannot fully know their Father because he is infinite, and we are finite.  However, he can be known in part. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part,but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears,” says Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians chapter thirteen verses nine and ten, where because humans are so finite we do not understand the full love that God has poured out on the land. When we come to terms with this love, we shall be all the more happy because the Lord our God has reached down into the filth, and poured out his love so that we might be cleaned. His perfection, His grace, His love, provided us with a realization that we have something better than this.  The Owner of the Mansion has come out of the set a part realm that is clean and pure, to reach down to the sewers and pull us from the grasp of filth, rot and decay. He has taken us in all our dirty rags, and bathed us, tossed away our rags and replaced them with clothes that befit those who are living in Mansion. However, he has given us a mandate, that we are to be his hands, and he is the one who directs, as we are to reach back down into the filth and do the same to others that we had done to us. We do often find ourselves dirty again, but then we go to the Master of House and he will have us cleansed again. Therein lies the beauty of what was done for us, but more to it, we have come to the realization that there was a greater price paid. As we spend more time in the Mansion, you see this other with the Master of the house all the time. He is marred, and dirty like you once were, but beautiful and clean like the Master beneath it all. This other is the Son of the Master, who is the one who built the bridge that the master used to reach down to those in the sewers and filth. He continually is doing this act, as the Father continues to reach out.  Those in the Mansion have come to understand this is to whom their life is owed, because he bought them at a High Price; his own life. As we mature, we realize that we are also never alone. Each of us in the mansion has helper that tends to their education, their growth, and their cleanliness. This helper is also a guide, and mentor, and scout for anything when we go back into the sewers of the world. This guide stays with us constantly, without complaint.
These are the people who have freed us from the filth and sunken world…they are the ones who have sacrificed, and shed their blood for us. This is the God of the Bible who is a Triune (Three United in One) Person who has given us the road to relationship with him, pulling us from the darkness of the sinking world we live in.  So, why do we bother to think that our worldly filth is grander than the glorious nature that the Father is? Why do we say that beauty of the Son and the value of his sacrifice are worthless in comparison to the money that eats our souls?  Why do we reject the authority, and power that the Holy Spirit brings to the redeemed, and take on our own mental ascent? How can we view the flawed as better than the perfect? There is the nature of sin…it blinds us. It makes us hallucinate and see things that aren’t there; see things that don’t exist as reality and deny reality as it is. So, do you want reality or this fantastical story that the Devil, oh yes the one you have not met yet.
The Devil; the antithesis to the Purity of God, has been dismissed as myth and legend. This pleases him quite well as we do not know our enemy any more. And how does one combat an enemy that is unknown? You cannot fight something you don’t know, or think is imaginary. You’ll be over powered and slammed back into the filth of the World. Once he is invisible, he works at his best, and thus he decidedly wants you to believe he does not exist. Many people think that God couldn’t have created such a creature with the ability to disobey him…but he indeed did. Once in the Devil, the secondly in his beloved Creatures—humans; and fallen souls have been ceased without repentance for centuries.  
Just as God is revealed through Nature, so has the Devil been revealed through the acts of Sin we commit as humans. The abuse, the neglect, the blind eye to the pain that we cause and the rejection of TRUTH are clear signs that the Devil is around. Yes, sin is a human action that is exalting the Devil. Think about that for a moment…Anything that is not Godly, is Devilry. Relativism is devilry, the elimination of truth is devilry, the hatred we bear is devilry…the list continues for in our filth, we are full of devilry and exalting him by being under his power. The authority that the devil holds, only lasts until you understand that there is something beyond the world—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost exist and are supremely authoritatively and ultimately above and beyond the devil’s whims in the world. Once you realize this, why do you continue to let the devil chain you into the filth? Because that is what he is doing.
            God has provided a way out…have you found Him? Have you sought the truth, the REAL truth? Have you given up your ideas and whims to seek reality? Have you asked to have your heart opened to see reality as it is? …what will you do when you find the truth?  Will you run away? Will you come to the light of the truth?

Where is your ♥?

 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rustt destroy and where thieves break in and steal,but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Something to Think about…

Jesus doesn’t love us because we are beautiful; we become beautiful through Jesus’s sacrificial love. He is the ultimate spouse to us, his “bride,” in the gospel.The solution to stinginess is a reorientation to the generosity of Christ in the gospel, where he poured out his wealth for you. You don’t have to worry about money, for the cross proves God’s care for you and gives you all the security you need. Jesus’s love and salvation confers on you a remarkable status—one that money cannot give you. The solution to a bad marriage is a reorientation to the radical spousal love of Christ in the gospel. “Thou shalt not commit adultery”makes sense in the context of the spousal love of Jesus, especially in the cross, where he was completely faithful to you. Only when you know the spousal love of Christ will you have real fortitude against lust. His love is fulfilling—which keeps you from looking to sexuality to give you what only Jesus can give.
What is the point? What makes you faithful or generous is not just a redoubled effort to follow moral rules. Rather, all change comes from deepening your understanding of the salvation of Christ and living out of the changes that understanding creates in your heart. Faith in the gospel restructures our motivations, our self-understanding, our identity, and our view of the world. Behavioral compliance to rules without heart-change will be superficial and fleeting. The gospel is therefore not just the ABCs of the Christian life, but the A to Z of the Christian life. Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to thegospel to work it in and live it out. That is why Martin Luther wrote, “The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine. . . . Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.”14 “Wait,” I have heard people object. “You mean that in order to grow in Christ, you keep telling yourself how graciously loved and accepted you are? That doesn’t seem to be the best way to make progress. Maybe the motivation of religion was negative, but atleast it was effective! You knew you had to obey God because if you didn’t, he wouldn’t answer your prayers or take you to heaven. But if you remove this fear and talk so much about free grace and unmerited acceptance—what incentive will you have to live a good life? It seems like this gospel way of living won’t produce people who are as faithful and diligent to obey God’s will without question.” But if, when you have lost all fear of punishment you also have lost incentive to live an obedient life, then what was yourin the first place? It could only have been fear. What other incentive is there? Awed, grateful love.Some years ago I met a woman who began coming to Redeemer, the church where I am a minister. She said that she had gone to a church growing up and she had always heard that God accepts us only if we are sufficiently good and ethical. She had never heard the message she was now hearing, that we can be accepted by God by sheer grace through the work of Christ regardless of anything we door have done. She said, “That is a scary idea! Oh, it’s good scary, but still scary.” I was intrigued. I asked her what was so scary about unmerited free grace? She replied something like this: “If I was saved by my good works—then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with rights. I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if it is really true that I am a sinner saved by sheer grace—at God’s infinite cost—then there’snothing he cannot ask of me.” She could see immediately that the wonderful-beyond-belief teaching of salvation by sheer grace had two edges to it. On the one hand it cut away slavish fear. God loves us freely, despite our flaws and failures. Yet she also knew that if Jesus really had done this for her—she was not her own. She was bought with a price.

Keller, Timothy (2008-09-25). The Prodigal God . Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

Matthew 7:3-5

Matthew 7:3-5

          What does it mean to check or remove the plank in our own eye? I really believe that before we can start impacting other we have to examine our own heart and minds for sin and come to God with the motion of heart to really seek Him for change. Lip service is worthless in the kingdom of God. You need to follow through with your heart’s attitude so that through your hearts attitude your actions will speak of change. And as I keep focused on God for these changes, my own personal walk with Jesus will improve and become more and more attractive to the World. This is what the world is missing today, the attractiveness of Christ. This process is called sanctification, the process of becoming more and more Christ like. If we are claiming to be Christians, we need to be walking through this process of being transformed which means it’s very important for us to be giving up our sins rather than trying to cling to them.  And even through the process of releasing or at the end of giving up a sin, we shine the light of Jesus even more. We’re giving the World hope that they can change, and it draws them to us if we are sincerely seeking God.
You will also see the sin of others more clearly, because that is part of human nature that has come from the brokenness of this world due to sin. It started back in the garden, when Adam blamed Eve who then proceeded to blame the Snake. Our ability to perceive the sin nature of a human being is both from God, but is twisted into a blame game by sin and self-deception. Part of being a Christian is recognizing that we are still fallen because we have not been full redeemed. It is part of the already but not yet part of Christ’s redemptive work. But we also put a face on for people, and masks that defer reality. I understand that for the general population, but when you are trying to work through life as a Christian, you cannot have that same face with your ‘friends’ ‘family’ or even the body. Honesty is part of admitting the sin in our lives. However, in this culture in America honesty is considered weakness; therefore people will never admit their wrong doings. People put up fronts that they’re perfect, nothing is wrong…and when reality is directly counter to their ‘perfection’ they will try to manipulate it into being what they want. That is NOT Christian behavior, which means you’re making the plank in your eye even larger. And I honestly believe that if you’re truly going to try to help someone change, you yourself first have to. Therefore, you must be honest with yourself and others. Plus, honesty is the best policy is truth because it provides clear air. But that requires a two way belief in this application of honesty.
But honesty also moves us from this pitiful state of inability to deal with sin, to a path way to confront it in your own life. This also brings us under God’s supreme authority to deliver us from our transgressions of the sin nature, because of His divine revelation and authority. When we are honest and dealing with our natural selves, we are submitting to God. We are putting Him in the throne of our hearts, and therefore we can connect more easily to His heart. When we connect to God’s heart, we are able to have more compassion on people who are sinning and we come off less like a Pharisee when dealing with people and their sins. We show that we’re under submission to God, and we’re doing it out of love, not out of selfish nature.
There is also the feeling of needing to be perfect. That is not a requirement of Jesus, but rather one of the flesh. We are NOT perfect, but we have no license to sin. Just because we’re saved by Grace does not mean we EXPLOIT that grace. I feel like today, many Christians think that being saved is a license to sin, or not change. This is WRONG. We need to change so we can be lights that are displayed to the World that there is an END that is not the same as the World’s fallen state. We need to bring Jesus to this fallen world, and we cannot bring Him if we’re not being more like Him than the world. It’s the part where Jesus is talking about putting the Lamp under a basket to hide the light. So unchanging in your sin is like that, and you are no longer a light that is visible but one that is hidden away in the sin of the World. That is why that Jesus is so adamant with us about looking introspectively to ensure that we are not just dealing out of our own sin, but that we are rather examining ourselves for the betterment of the Christian faith and bring more of the Sinful world to His grace and salvation. That is the reason we should do it all. It’s not ABOUT just us; it’s about bringing the truth to the world we live in.
As a teacher I feel that this is even more important because I have to give an example to the students of right and wrong, and I have to be a light to them. I cannot give up self-reflection on my life, because that means I’ll stagnate and sink. Then I am no longer a light. Students learn from the actions and words of their teachers.  I want my walk and my words to align. I don’t want to be someone who gives off the attitude of “Do as I say, not as I do”. I want to be real. I want my real relationship with Jesus to guide me, and guide my students. I want it all to be a life that bleeds Jesus, not a life that bleeds Rachael. I honestly feel that life bleeding Rachael may be more damaging than anything else because Rachael is a faulty human being. Jesus IS God, and Jesus IS man, and Jesus IS alive, and Jesus IS salvation for all. This is what I was people to see, students and adults

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