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Isaiah 14:12-14, Lucifer, Pharaoh, and every other entity claiming to be God. According to Egyptian history the King of Egypt, Pharaoh, was a god. However, Pharaoh was a false god among a pantheon of false gods. Just as Lucifer was before him. Every false god is an adversary of the One True God Most High. (Psalm 82)
Exodus 12:1-51, God's instructions to Moses re: Passover.
Leviticus 23:1-8, God ordains festivals, beginning with Passover/Unleavened Bread
2020: The Passover celebration begins on Friday April 10 at sundown. It continues until Saturday at sundown.
For the Jews Passover commemorates the day Adonai delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. After warning Pharaoh with 8 other plagues, God finally killed the first born son of every Egyptian family. But the angel of death "passed over" the homes of any family, Jew or Gentile, who followed God's instructions.
For Christians Good Friday commemorates the day Jesus shed His blood and died on the Cross, to deliver them from a life of rebellion against God, and reconcile them to God.
To participate in Passover we must follow the instructions:
1. Each family must choose a male lamb, unblemished, and hold it for four days. After four days Kill the lamb, roast it, and eat all of the meat. In the meal include bitter herbs, and matzah.
2. Eat it quickly, while dressed to leave immediately; shoes on, belt fastened, staff in hand.
3. Using a bunch of hyssop leaves smear some of the blood of the dead lamb on the two doorposts of your home, and apply some of the blood to the lintel as well.
4. From now on this month will be the first month of your calendar year.
5. Observe the Passover annually, from generation to generation, to remember the Absolute Authority, power, grace and mercy of Adonai.
6. When you enter into the land Adonai is giving you through this deliverance, you are to reenact this ceremony. (Christian too)
When your children ask, "Why are we doing this again?" You are to answer, "This is the sacrifice of Adonai's Passover when the angel of death passed over our home, saving us from harm, and confirming us to be Adonai's people."
G. pa-skha: pass over,
Luke 2:41: Every year Jesus and his parents observed the Passover with their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When he was twelve years old they visited as usual.
18 years later
Luke 22:7: The day came for the Passover, so Jesus sent Peter and John to find a room for the celebration.
22:14: During supper Yeshua told His disciples, "I am so glad we are celebrating Passover together. This is the last time I will celebrate with you until the Kingdom plan is completed."
Matthew 26:26-29: During supper Yeshua broke the matzah into pieces and handed it out to his disciples, announcing, "This is my body, broken for you, eat it." Then He took a cup filled with wine saying, "This is my blood, drink it. This is the last time we will drink wine together until I drink the new wine with you in my Father's Kingdom."
Passover or Easter? Do you celebrate Adonai, the sacrificial lamb who died on the Cross to reconcile you to God?
Or the Easter Bunny bringing gifts to children in baskets, hiding colored eggs, and lots of chocolate?
Dear one, you must decide. God loves you so much that He made a way for you to receive His pardon for your crimes against Him. If you have received His pardon then we encourage you to live a lifestyle that reflects your renewed condition. Christians are those who "are like Christ."
If you have not made the jump to the cross, today is the day to change that condition. We hope pray and trust you will do so before its too late.
October 4, 2019, was the worst day of my life! I had some pretty bad days before that one, but that day will remain on the forefront of my mind for quite a while. It started out like many days before it. The early morning sun had not yet crept over the horizon as I poured my first cup of coffee. I planned to drink it on the drive to the beach. My plan was to surf a few glassy waves before the appointments of the day began.
As I drove through the quiet town to the beach I reflected on the wonderful life I was living. Since I had met God in my living room 37 years earlier my life had slowly become more purposeful and peaceful. My lifestyle had become less cluttered. I was becoming less interested in material pursuits, the accumulation of non-essential stuff, and much more interested in my developing a personal spiritual reality.
I have dedicated the past 37 years to knowing God personally and helping other people do the same. My encounter with Jesus Christ in my living room all those years ago had a profound impact. I had not just been "born again," I had begun a new life. At the age of thirty-nine I went to college, received two degrees, and was ordained as a Christian minister. I have subsequently travelled the world from Maine to Miami and New York to New Zealand with stops in Warsaw, London, and a dozen trips to Latin and Central America. All by invitation and all for the purpose of helping others know and love God.
On this morning I was as dedicated to helping others with their personal challenges and relational struggles as ever before. It felt good to be helpful to people struggling to recover from their pain. My life had meaning and purpose. I was good at my job and many people attributed their success in life to my help.
I watched the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. The red, orange and gold light spread across the surface of the sea and canopy of sky in glorious fashion. I stood motionless, sipping my coffee thinking, "How truly blessed I am." At my age, to be this healthy and physically fit. To be free to surf, to be strong enough, fit enough, and motivated enough to ride waves, at age 71! I said aloud to no one, "Truly I am a blessed man among a world of men so very stressed about so many things." I raised my coffee cup and toasted my best friend, fitness guru, Sal, for getting my body in the healthiest condition of my life.
I walked back to my truck, slipped into my board shorts, pulled on a rash guard shirt and finished my coffee. Smiling with quiet joy, so thankful for my health and the surf I was about to ride, I picked up my favorite surfboard, tucked it under my arm and walked back across the beach to the edge of the sea.
The waves were small by international standards. The largest ones were no more than two or three feet. The surface condition was glassy, no wind ruffled the faces of the waves. This was a dying swell, having been larger and choppier the day before. I loved this particular sand bar, having surfed it hundreds of times for so many years that my friends referred to it as, "Mike's office."
And many times like this morning I surfed it early just after dawn, and I surfed it solo, sharing my joy with no other riders but the dolphins and pelicans. I walked out across the sand-bar noticing how truly shallow it was. The tide was as low as it was going to get. I slid onto the board and paddled the rest of the way to the line up. As I did I reminded myself, as I often did at low tide, "No head-butts, no face plants.". And I thought of the many times my daughter and I surfed these conditions sharing similar warnings with each other, "No face-plants, no head-butts."
I sat in the line-up for several minutes watching the waves come and go. I absolutely love sitting in the line-up watching waves. I thanked God for the pure joy that wave riding gives me. Finally, I stroked into my first wave, jumped to my feet, turned right, and shot past the cascading crest of white water. I glided out onto the shoulder, redirected, dropped down again, and trimmed for about 50 yards. Kicking out, I smiled, and said, "Thank you Lord." I was amazed that I was physically fit enough to do what I had just done! In the grand scheme of things wave riding has no value. But for those of us who do it, riding waves is essential to a life lived well. I try not to think of a day when I might not be able to carry my surfboard to the water or paddle out for one more wave.
I paddled back to the line-up feeling the satisfaction, the peace and joy that comes from surfing early morning glass. The next wave was as good as the first. And my joy increased. Paddling back out I smiled, thinking to myself, "I got this. Heck yeh, the old guy can still surf!" But the third wave of the morning changed everything.
The third wave was a left, I was a little late getting into it but pulled off the drop-in, turned back up to trim high across the lip. Then in an instant, when I figured I had it under control, disaster struck! The lip pitched in front of me and my board was launched into the air. Violently my board and I were thrown out into what I thought would be a typically uneventful wipe-out. But instead of that my trajectory was straight down, head first, into the shallow water. Very shallow water indeed! Less than three feet deep.
When my head hit the bottom, the impact nearly knocked me unconscious. There was a cracking sound in my head and my upper and lower teeth were slammed together, chipping a tooth. The pain was instantly more excruciating than I can adequately describe! I have tried to describe the severity of the pain many times since then, to make sense of how hard the impact was. But words cannot do justice to the frightening impact and the resulting pain. One word that gets close is, excruciating, another word is, blinding!
Immediately after being assaulted by blinding pain something very wonderful happened. One second after the pain wracked my head and neck and shoulders, I saw myself lying face down under the water. Was I seeing it from outside my body? Was I seeing it in an unconscious state? Was it really happening or was it a vision? I don't know for sure which it was. But as I gazed at the scene, peace flooded my body, the pain evaporated instantly and was quickly replaced by the deepest calm I have ever felt. I smiled as I encountered a most sublime peace. It was like being cuddled in my favorite blanket on a cool winter night in front of the fire.
While I was floating face down below the surface of the sea, I heard a voice speaking to me. The voice was very clear, it was calm and reassuring, but at the same time the tone of the voice was emphatic. He said, "You need to make a decision, right now."
I recognized His voice. I had heard it many times before during the previous thirty-five years. On one occasion many years before I even heard Him audibly as I sat quietly in prayer.
This time as He spoke, I knew inwardly the decision He wanted me to make. And I also knew I did not want to make it. He wanted me to live and not drown. I wanted to drown, to stay with Him. I did not want to rejoin that horrible pain. I did not want to embrace the uncertainty of my future. I knew I had suffered a very serious injury. But knowing He wanted me to make a decision to live I said, "Yes, I choose to live."
Instantly that excruciating pain attacked me again. I was under the water being tumbled by the waves, and I was running short of oxygen! In that moment, and quite intuitively, I began to fight for my life!
Blinded by the pain I forced myself to resist slipping into shock. "I must breathe. Get to the surface, escape this horrible tumbling." Popping up above the water I gasped a lung full of air, instantly crying out in anguish, "Jesus, You gotta help me with this!" I tried to focus my eyes on the beach, which was still a hundred yards away. But it was hard to see. The pain was literally blinding me! I was gasping for breath, groaning uncontrollably between each gasp of air. I was hyperventilating and going into shock.
I grabbed my board leash and pulled my board back to me. I flopped on it and began to push and paddle toward the beach. Every passing second, every minor movement sent an electrocuting shock of pain pulsing through my head and neck. I knew from my years as an ocean lifeguard, my first aid training and ocean rescue training that my situation was very serious. I knew it was life-threatening, I needed help and I needed it now!
Needless to say I did not drown, pass out, or die on the way to the beach. Why not? Truly, it was only by the will of God and with His personal assistance that I survived. The walk across the beach to the parking lot seemed interminable. Even though the sun was shining, the beach was deserted, the beautiful morning light was gone, the peace and the joy, of only moments ago was lost in a very dark cloud of pain and fear. Every step caused pain, every gasping breath forced a groan from deep within as the hyperventilating continued.
Finally, I reached my truck, stowed my board, and somehow changed into dry clothes. I then rolled up one of my beach towels and wrapped it around my neck twisting it to form a brace to hold my head and neck motionless.
Again, only by the divine will of God did I make the fifteen-minute drive, through morning rush-hour traffic, to my friend Sal's gym. I texted him on the way informing him of my condition. I wanted him to be ready for me when I got there. Why didn't I drive to the Hospital emergency room? Confusion or distress, I don't know. But for some reason, I drove right by the entrance to Flagler Hospital!
When Sal saw my condition he knew this was serious. However, Sal is a very calm in the midst of a crisis. We had been friends since the week I gave my life to God. Sal was the first Christian I met after I made the decision to let Jesus Christ run my life. As a former high-school athletic trainer Sal had seen many injuries, including head and neck injuries and he knew how to handle them. And as horrible as I was feeling just then, I felt better by just being in Sal's presence.
From then on for the next grueling 12 hours my life was preserved by God again and again. No doubt about it, I made the decision to live and not die, and He empowered me to do just that. I could have died and maybe would have died except for God. The x-rays and CT scan revealed significant fractures of C-1 and C-2 vertebrae. There was also a tear of the vertebral artery. In addition, the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the neck and shoulder were damaged, and the esophagus swollen.
After the scans, the radiologist ordered an ambulance. I was then carried by Paramedics to the Hospital ER. Stabilized and then scrutinized by the director of neurology it was decided that I should be taken by helicopter to the trauma center fifty-five miles away at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida.
Literally every medical person I met during that traumatic day told me things like, "You are very fortunate." Some used words like "blessed," or "lucky." One even said it this way, "You are a very lucky, or blessed, man. Which do you choose?" I answered, "Very Blessed, indeed!"
Several times I heard the doctors attending me say, "Most people do not walk away from these kinds of injuries." Yet, incredibly, I suffered no paralysis, I did not drown, I was not in a coma! My arms and hands, legs and feet were working just fine!
As I was left alone, lying on an examining table in the Trauma ER at Shands, contemplating my future, He spoke again. "I have given you a beautiful gift in a very ugly package." This simple statement spoken very compassionately brought tears to my eyes. And a quiet sob caught in my throat. As I lay there trying to grasp the meaning of His statement, I thought, "You honor the giver of any gift by accepting it gratefully, and appreciating it's value."
Can there be anything about this pain that glorifies God? Is there anything about this horrible event for which I should be thankful? Well, yes there is. The most obvious is; I am still here on planet earth! My arms and legs still work! Additionally, my wife is not a widow, struggling to find an answer to that frustrating question, "Why God?"
Is it reasonable to ask; "Well, if I must give God the credit for saving my life, can I then blame Him for not preventing the accident?" If He prevented me from drowning or worse, why didn't He prevent the whole painful thing? Does He derive some sick pleasure from giving me challenges during this life, when He could just as easily protect me from all harm? The answer to these and many more questions is simply, "I don't know."
Over the more than thirty years I have lived as a disciple of Christ I have come to the realization that quite often the "Why?" questions do not get answered! I have accepted the vulnerability in which I find myself. I do not claim to know everything. But I do know the One who does know everything.
I signed on to become a disciple of Christ. He is not simply my teacher, neither am I simply His student. A student wants to know what his teacher knows. A disciple wants to be like His teacher is. I believe Jesus Christ is the role model for life on earth. He is a man, He lived each day for thirty-three years like a man. He ate and slept, walked and talked, and laughed with His friends, and cried with them as well. His life both in Heaven and on earth is revealed in the New Testament of the Bible. It was written by eye-witnesses of His life. So, I can read His story and find out how He reacted to life around Him.
I look at the life of Christ as the model for life on earth. And for life with God. I see in His life, as I see in mine, things don't always go well. We experience pain, and frustration. Friends or family turn against us. We are criticized for doing good. Our intentions are described by others as being selfish or foolish, even when we know they are good. We are glad some days and sad on other days. At times we see the miraculous provision or protection of God. And at other times we don't see it. At times we seem to be left hanging out there all alone. There are days filled with extreme pleasure and days when the pain is so intense we wish we were dead! And then we cry out, "Where are You, God?"
My point is this; even though Christ is God, He suffered excruciating pain. Scripture tells us things like, "For the joy He knew would result, He endured the Cross, and hated the shame of it." In another place it says He, "learned the value of obedience through the suffering He endured." And we are also told, "Obedience is of more value than sacrifice."
Therefore, while I currently remain under the care of physicians, still wearing this neck brace, still sleeping in a chair, watching the once athletically-fit muscles in my arms and legs, chest and back atrophy from lack of use, still having bouts of severe pain in my neck, yes, while still recovering from this unfortunate and painful accident, what have I learned?
Bottom line here? God is good! He is amazing! His love for us cannot be fully comprehended this side of Heaven. Each person is so very special to Him, so loved by Him. He sent each one of us on a mission to planet earth. And we chose it, I chose it, you chose it. And we must choose it every day.
Additionally, if you believe Jesus Christ is Who the Bible declares Him to be, and that it declares Him to be The God Who Created the Universe, then your life belongs to Him. You gave Him your life when you confessed your rebellion against God and thanked Him for granting you His pardon. The apostle Paul says we died and our "life is hidden with Christ in God." His Spirit came into your body at that moment, to help you understand God, Christ, the past, the present, and the future, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and pleasure, pain, and choices.
If you call Him your Savior, He is also your Lord, an old word for, Master. He says "I am your Father. You are my child." Therefore, He knows what is best for you. Every day, every where, for every person alive, He sees every movement, hears every word, and knows every thought. He wants to help you to help other people discover His love like you have, to help them know Him personally like you do, so they too can live for Him. He wants you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind so you will be transformed and conformed to His character.
How can this horrible accident be a gift given by the great and loving God? I am determined to discover the truth of His statement. This gift is first of all very personal, given by Him to me. Chosen for me for His reasons. You may not see in it what I see in it. That is to be expected and it is okay. Why He gave me this particular gift I cannot say just yet. But be encouraged dear one, He may not give you a similar gift. Sincerely, I pray He doesn't.
Already, in the past two months of convalescence I have begun to see this gift is a many faceted gem. It radiates the warmth of His love and the light of His truth. Regardless of how I hold it, or turn it, this gem shines brightly. Its radiance helps me see His light in the darkness, helps me encounter His peace in the chaos, and it helps me feel His loving presence in every painful moment.
What is to become of me? When will I be given a clean bill of health? How long before I enjoy surfing the next wave? I do not know the answers to those questions and to many others that could be asked at this moment. But I am convinced of this; my life belongs to God. He has seen every day of my life since He formed me in my mother's womb. And I am so in love with Him right now that I am determined to treat every day of my life as a gift. For truly I do not know how many days are left for me. But this I will do; I will do my best to honor God, The Great Gift Giver, by being a blessing to the other humans He directs across my path. I will do so regardless of the pain and limits of movement I experience during any of the remaining days of my life.
I am here by God's design. I am here to represent Him to my fellow humans. I am here temporarily to share His love with them. What could be better than knowing I am here for Him and for them? I will leave here when He says so. Until then, I will find the strength to go on in the supernatural beauty surrounding me.
When things go wrong. When I don't get what I believe is rightfully mine. When I am mistreated, misunderstood, I will go on sharing His love.
I will see the beauty surrounding me and be inspired by the Holy Spirit within me. To love God and love my neighbor like I love myself. It's pretty simple really. Not too difficult to understand. Love God, your fellow man. Here on earth there are so many opportunities to demonstrate His love. Every new day brings new challenges. New conflicts. New chances to do life better, to be more kind, more patient, more gracious, forgiving, gentle, more like Him.
Soon life is over. Then the opportunity to love is gone. Filled with God's love there is no need. I will be immersed in His love, filled with His love, surrounded by His love, never again to need or to want, never again to lack, or to regret, to wish or hope for anything. I will be eternally free to enjoy His love.
May God be pleased by your effort today dear one.
May He smile as you do your best to respond to the world around you like He would.
Please always remember; God loves you just because you are you.
And that is the truth!
Thanksgiving Day, 2017
William Bradford Governor of the Plymouth Colony, wrote following lines in 1621 to describe the pilgrims. He likens them to the pilgrims described in Hebrews 11:13-16
"So they left that goodly and pleasant city, which had been their temporary home for nearly 12 years; but they knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on these things; but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits."
After surviving 65 days on the Atlantic Ocean crossing they sighted land. William Brewster led the ship in giving thanks to God Almighty. He used Psalm100 as the basis of his prayer.
Today we give thanks to God for leading our ancestors to this beautiful, bountiful land. We hope you and your friends and family will join us in giving God our deepest heartfelt thanks.
May your day be filled with praise and the giving of gratitude to our awesome Heavenly Father!
with our love,
Mike and Michele
Dear Fam and Friends 9/7/17
We are all in this thing, life on planet earth, together. Like sailors on a ship. We all are going to the same place, carried on by the same ship. But while we are sailing we are also going about the ship doing our jobs helping the ship sail her course. We all have different jobs, different skills, different instructions, different schedule, etc. And we are among our mates, other sailors, near us working in their respective departments.
While at sea the ship encounters storms, rough seas, strong winds, counter-currents, dangerous coast-lines, all of which increases our work load, and increases our anxiety.
But the ship is going to make her intended landfall. We will arrive, if we stay on the ship. Don't abandon ship! As difficult as it can get during the voyage we must press on in our task aboard ship, whatever that task is. Some of us trim sails, some of us work on the engines, some cook in the galley, or attend in the sick-bay. And together each of us aids in the efficient sailing of the ship and in the wellness of her crew.
So, we sail on, regardless of the weather, or the variable condition of the seas and winds and currents. We sail on, trusting the Captain to use each of us as He wills, because He knows what is needed and when, knowing He has the right sailor in the best place to do the best job.
As hard as it is to comprehend, He selected you and me to sail with Him on this voyage. I really do not know why He selected me for a position on His ship. But He did. So I am grateful for the opportunity even though there are days when I feel or think He is unhappy with my performance. On the easy days at sea I feel pretty confident in my own ability to do my job. But when the storms come, which they always do, I get nervous, I begin to doubt my ability to perform successfully. And I become conscious of voices in my head criticizing my performance, my skill, and my fitness for the voyage. And this is the main thing; I must never ever forget that He, The Captain of the ship selected me to sail with Him.
I am His choice. I am on this ship because He wanted me on it. And He will get the ship safely through the storms. He will get the ship safely past the rocky coastlines, He will bring His ship to it's intended landfall. He will.
So I find, in the end, regardless of what I think, or what I feel, or what I do or don’t do in the midst of the storm-tossed voyage, I am blessed beyond description because I am a member of His crew, a sailor on His ship, and as such I will share in the profit when the cargo is offloaded at the dock.
And that’s the truth as I see it. My confidence is not in my ability to chart a course, to navigate the channel, to do the right thing at the right time. My confidence is in Him, my Captain.. Because I know even though it might take a very long time to bring the ship to port, my Captain love me and He is delighted having me among His crew. And, that’s good enough for me. He loves me just because I am me!
And He loves you, just because you are you! And thats the truth!
Bon Voyage, Y'all!
Dear Fam and Friends
Thanks again for providing me with the opportunity to share my thoughts. Amid the chaos and turmoil of the “external” world in which I am immersed, I continue to keep the "big picture" as the foundation of my view of life. I try to remember I am living in God’s world. My life on the planet is a gift from God. I live here temporarily. This is my situation because I am trapped in a physical body. My body, this fleshy vehicle which carries me from place to place, appointment to appointment, is subject to wear and tear, decay and decline. And one day this vehicle will cease functioning and I will be finally and happily released from it’s constraint and ascend into the presence of Almighty God, the Father of all life on planet earth. That is what I mean by the “big picture.” I am constantly aware of this perspective as I trudge along this muddy path. I am in God’s game, playing according to His rules, and for no longer than the divine time-keeper’s watch ticks.
A.W. Tozer once used the following analogy when describing the omnipresence of God. He knew, as I have come to know, a true understanding of God is beyond the limits of the human intellect. Tozer explained it this way. Imagine, if you can, a one-gallon bucket immersed in the pacific ocean at a depth of one mile. The bucket represents the Universe, and the ocean represents God. The bucket is immersed in the Ocean and it is filled with the Ocean. Such is the omnipresence of God. He created the universe and everything in it. Therefore He is outside of it, bigger than it, if you will. He is smarter and more powerful than anything He created, because He is smart enough and powerful enough to have designed it and created it. Why? Because He wanted to. And He can uncreate it anytime He wants to. He once showed me that He was responsible for my next breath! If He decided I should not take one more breath, ever again, it would happen, and there is nothing I could do to successfully resist. Understand God? I don’t think so. Amazing Grace? Absolutely!
But what does this mean to you, me, or anyone else for that matter? Just this.
Until a man receives a revelation (given only by God) of the incomprehensible true nature of God, that man will not possess an understanding of the true nature of man. And until then the man will, if he possesses even a reasonably healthy intellect, merely wander through life trying to resist time and decay, make himself more comfortable, and try to develop some kind of reliable security in order to protect himself from harm. An intelligent man’s life goal is to increase and preserve his level of comfort and pleasure. That’s it in a proverbial nutshell. The best of men will do this in a manner that does not harm other men. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, educators, insurance salesmen, etc. are but a few examples.
Yet with God’s assistance most men can develop an accurate view of God, and God’s plan for man. The "believer" will be empowered to live with the goal of learning more about God, experiencing a growing intimacy with God, and thus lovingly serving God, by lovingly serving his fellowman. For indeed Jesus said, “the greatest command is this: ‘To love God with all of your mental emotional and physical power.’” And then He added, and the second “greatest command is identical to the first: “Love your neighbor like you love yourself.” Did you hear that?
The God Who created the universe and everything in it said, “Love Me with total commitment, and prove your love for me by loving your fellow-man the same way.” You see the secret of life, the wisdom which all men strive to find, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, shangri-la, nivana, enlightenment, is this; “Love God and love your neighbor like you love yourself.” Yes. As difficult as it may seem to grasp it, happiness comes from lovingly serving God by serving one’s fellowman.
The goal of loving God and loving others is not manifested by simply serving in a humanitarian profession or career. It is living a lifestyle that is harmonious with God’s mandate to love; that is; serving God in a true selfless commitment for the benefit of others and for the glory of God.
Now for a word of caution here. None of us, well, not many, will embrace such a life, totally surrendering to the service of others without expecting some material reward. However, even though martyrdom is the highest form of service to God, it is not a requirement. If it comes to you, you would be wise to accept it cheerfully. But for the vast majority of humans, dying in God’s service is rare.
So what can we do? Well, to achieve success in any endeavor we must begin. In the quest to fulfill God’s love mandate we should “begin” with those closest to us, our bio-fam, spouse, children. And then we can share that love with the larger social structure of our neighborhood, our community and global human family.
Be kind, gentle, thoughtful, compassionate, merciful. With others be patient, forgiving, generous.
For truly, in the end, when a man breathes his last breath and then slips out of his temporary mortal habitat, when his spirit/true self sees God's true self, he will instantly realize nothing he did on earth mattered more to God or to others men than loving God by loving his fellowman. Nothing, not your career, not your financial statement, not education, vacations, theme park visits, a collection of guitars, surfboards, cars, homes, shoes, clothes, nothing. All of that stuff is temporary, subject to decay and decline, just like you. And furthermore it is truly harmful, if it interferes with your goal of blessing your fellowman. Jesus said so. Jesus did so. And Jesus is God in the Flesh. He is the King above all kings. He has more power and more authority, more wisdom, more creativity than anyone who has ever lived! And He modeled for us the life He wants all of His disciples to live. Above all, He pursued a lifestyle of loving God by loving His fellowman. And He did it even though doing so caused His death.
Jesus Christ, Yeshua messiah, is the ocean, manifested in the flesh. Compared to GOD, every man born to a woman throughout the ages is but a microscopic molecule of water in the eternal universal bucket. Man is, we are, I am, truly insignificant, useless and worthless until he, you, and I, each one discovers the true nature of GOD and embraces our divinely ordained role in God's plan.
In utter frustration Jacob Marley screamed at his old friend Ebenezer Scrooge, "Business?!! Mankind was our business!"
To know and love God; And to help others do the same. All of the Law and all of the Prophets, all religious behavior, worship, devotion, yes this is the pinnacle of human achievement, this is the very goal of human life.
I hope I have said something helpful. I pray you will draw closer to God in prayer and in meditation of His Word. I know your life will be a little more enjoyable if you do.
And never forget this; God loves you just because you are you. And that’s the truth.
mike and michele
Dear Fam and Friends
I want to remind you of the Truth. We live in a world of men who have lost the desire to know the truth. We live in a world of pleasure seekers, comfort seekers, and money grabbers. Our world is a world of competition. “I Me Mine!” Dog eat dog! “After me you come first.” A world where only the strong survive. Our world is one filled terrorized men who each day face the threat of loss, pain, sorrow, destruction and premature or accidental death.
However, the Truth is this:
God is Sovereign. He has a plan. His plan is to dwell with Man on earth. His plan will be fulfilled. Man was led to rebel against the plan of God by the original rebel.
Man became estranged from God. Therein Man lost connection with the blessings associated with companionship with God. God's plan was interrupted. Yet God did not abandon or change His plan. He will dwell with Man on this planet. For-ever.
Men will then reign and rule with God, as God's administrators. Men will judge the affairs of other men and angels. God’s government is not yet manifested in the physical realm on earth. But it is established in the spiritual realm. Men can join His government now. How? By being re-born by God’s Spirit. How? By believing, that is by intellectually agreeing with, GOD's TRUTH. And then by living in harmony with God’s plan; His plan to redeem mankind, to punish all rebels, and to manifest His government on earth with Men as His administrators.
So what does all this mean to you in your present situation?
You have established yourself as an administrator of His government, by your confession of faith in the miraculous birth, the holy life, the atoning death, and the glorious resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. You belong to God’s family. Right now you are one of His representatives on earth. You work for Him. You are engaged in the work, yes the fight, remaining faithful to God’s plan of rescuing other men from the bondage of ignorance and the terrorized lifestyle resulting from their ancestors' rebellion.
Unfortunately, you must do your work while being trapped in a vulnerable body, and a compromised mind. This condition makes your work difficult. Very difficult indeed! The world of terrorized men surrounds you. It’s empty promise of pleasure and comfort engulfs you and threatens to destroy you. Yet you are determined, so faithful, so courageous, that you continue to press on in the battle of rescuing other men, regardless of the counter-attack launched against you by God's enemies.
And that is why you are my hero’s! You are a champion! You will, one day soon, see the reward of your faithfulness. And the reward will be equal to the courage you displayed while you were here. Thus your reward will be something far beyond your current expectations!
I pray for your strength to be renewed each day. I pray for your doubt and fear and weariness to be removed miraculously. I pray for you to find fresh strength and even more courage to fight to the end. You are victorious! You are a champion! And you will share in the rewards that every one of your brothers and sisters, your true co-workers, will receive.
Sit with Him. Pray. Read the WORD! Psalm 23, Psalm 91, Psalm 139, Psalm 145.
And never forget, God loves you just because you are you! And that’s the Truth!
In Christ Forever
Mike ad michele
Dearest Fam and friends
I arrived in Addy, Washington on July 17. The mission? To ordain Matthew and Lynn Pecquex with Bless God Ministries. And what a special event this is! Michele and I have known Matthew since he was assigned to our mentoring group when we were teachers at Christian International Ministry Training College. That was way back in 1998. We have maintained a pastoral relationship with Matthew and Lynn since their wedding in 2004. Matthew and Lynn are medical professionals. Matthew has been a Physical Therapist since 1987. Lynn is a Registered Nurse.
We are excited about this new season of ministry. For Bless God Ministries and for Matthew and Lynn. They have been set in as pastors of Summit Valley Community Church in Addy. And they are the first couple ordained by us. However we are not surprised by this development as the Holy Spirit has been nudging me for about three years about BGM ordaining others. Of course we had no idea when this would occur or who would be our first. But we are very pleased with Matthew and Lynn's dedication to the work they are called to and we are honored that they would seek ordination with us.
In the group photo above Matthew and Lynn and I are with Walter and Ida Cowart. The Cowarts' are the Directors of The RTF Healing House Network here in the Pacific Northwest Region. Under their leadership the Northwest Region is growing and helping many of God's kids receive the healing, freedom, and deliverance He has for them. Walter and Ida have been missionaries to Guadalajara, Mexico for many years. Walter functions in the office of prophet also.
So dear ones, rejoice with us as we bless Matthew and Lynn in their new assignment! Our prayer is that our Lord and Savior will be pleased with our efforts and His children will be blessed with our love.
Dearest Fam and Friends
I thought it might be a good idea to write to you as a follow up to our previous conversation. Regarding the cause of, as well as the solution to, spiritual warfare. About this very important subject most humans, and far too many Christians, are ignorant. However, spiritual warfare is the a significant problem in the life of men on the planet. Spiritual warfare is experienced by everyone born on earth. Yet the majority of men and women from every culture around the globe have little or no knowledge of the subject.
To begin to understand the subject of spiritual warfare we must understand the true nature of human life. To understand the true nature of human life we must understand God. Well, at least we should try to understand God, and His plan for earth. His plan for man contains the authority and power to represent God on earth.
God made Earth to be the location of His relationship with man. He made the Garden. He placed man in the Garden. And He told man to “be fruitful and multiply.” The two objectives are; First; “Be fruitful,” meaning; be productive, create, grow, take care of, manage the earth. Not just the Garden, but the whole earth. Second; “Multiply,” meaning to increase the number of your species, to pro-create the family of man.
The Garden was made by God. Every mountain, river, tree, bush, animal, and rock. Eden was perfect and it was the model, God’s example, for man to enjoy and for man to replicate throughout the rest of the planet. Yet is that what we see when we look around us; a Garden populated by peaceful healthy God-oriented citizens? No. We see chaos, confusion, violence, competition, strife, pride, greed, wars and rumors of wars between men made by God to be His representatives of peace and productivity. Why is that?
All Christians and many non-Christians know the model was ruined, the mandate was rejected, because the man was deceived by ungodly spirit beings. Those divine enemies of God hated man because they hated God. Everyone knows there are good angels and bad angels. But many men do not understand the power they have and use to help or hinder mankind. These spirit beings work in secret, behind the veil that separates the spiritual world from the physical, the “unseen from the seen.” Their work however, is evident being manifested through the relationships of men. The influence and affect of the spirit beings in the unseen realm is demonstrated by the behavior of men; either good, or bad, godly or ungodly. In this case “good or bad” refers to behavior that is either as God intended or in conflict with what God intended.
To combat the influence of bad spirits men should enlist the aid of the good spirits. That’s what prayer is for. The apostle Paul reminded us, “we do not wrestle with flesh and blood,” but with spirits of wickedness in heavenly realms.” Therefore to fight against these spirits, operating in or through our fellowman, our weapons must be spiritual not physical. “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee.” “And take the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God…”
Jesus said; “I have given you Authority over ALL the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm you.” That is; Nothing which spirit beings attempt against you can be successful if you use Your Authority, by speaking the Word of God, through your mouth, with complete confidence. Jesus modeled this for us when He “spoke” to the devil, satan, as well as lepers, the deaf, the blind, the dead, the fig tree, the storm, etc.
Spirit beings will respond to the commands of a Christian when that Christian speaks with confidence, convinced of his or her right (authority) to do so. Why is that? Because Jesus Christ granted Christians that right, the right to use His Authority. Through His sinless life and sacrificial death, He restored to mankind the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and the corresponding Authority to represent His Father, God Almighty, on the planet. This is very good news!
However Christians must use this divine authority. They must know the Word of God so intimately that they are convinced and confident regarding their true nature as sons of God. They are the citizens of God’s Kingdom on earth. They are empowered by His Spirit to work on earth representing God “on earth as it is in Heaven.” They are empowered by His Spirit, to use His Truth, to be fruitful and multiply. And the primary tool and weapon for carrying out this dominion mandate is their confidence in His Word. They are to speak the Truth whenever they are confronted by a lie of their enemy. Is that what you do dear one when confronted by evil spirits? Do you understand that it is happening when it happens? And if you claim to understand, do you respond according to God’s will for you? Or do you like so many others, sigh and wonder why life is so hard for you? Or maybe you ask, “Where is God when I need Him?” Or if you are religious you might respond to evil with something like, “Well, it’s my fault, I probably sinned so I am just getting my just reward!”
Yes, your behavior could be the source of your pain. Driving too fast on a rain-slick highway can have horrible results. But the question is this; Knowing how dangerous it is to drive too fast on that rain-slick highway, why are you doing it? What is the source of such reckless behavior? Could it be evil spirits functioning in the unseen realm, without your knowledge, and influencing you to bring harm to yourself and to other drivers on the same highway? These spirits will use whatever means they can to destroy humans, “to kill, steal, and destroy,” Jesus said.
I believe the most neglected power available to the body of Christ today is the Word of God, The Bible. Ignorance of God is the result of ignorance of His Word. Conflict with God is the result of ignorance of His Word. Estrangement from God is the result of the ignorance of His Word. Ignore His Word and you are ignoring His presence. Subsequently you reject His Truth, neglect His authority, miss His Wisdom, and lose His Power to fight your enemy.
To successfully fulfill the “dominion mandate” (Genesis 1:26) Christians need a relationship with The Holy Spirit, and a relationship with the Word of God. One without the other is not enough. You say you are “Spirit-led” yet you do not know the Word of God. Then how do you know if the “spirit” directing you to act is the Holy Spirit? You say you are a “Word guy,” yet how do you know you understand the Word correctly without the Spirit’s assistance? Isn’t that where all denominations come from? And isn’t that the reason people place their faith in their particular interpretation of scripture? Paul said our faith is to be “in the power of God, not the wisdom of men.”
Christians are called by God to live a lifestyle that glorifies Him by providing for their fellow man. They are expected to help others come to the knowledge of the Truth. They are to populate the earth with offspring that will embrace the lifestyle of their Christ-like parents. Do you have Christ-like parents? Are you a Christ-like parent to your children? To participate in God’s plan for mankind Christians must understand the importance of spiritual warfare.
So, then how do you apply this knowledge of spiritual warfare to your life? Simply put, humans are comprised of four parts; spirit, emotion, intellect, and physicality. The highest quality of life is one lived with awareness of and in submission to the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit. Men should not be driven to act (physical) on every thought (intellect) or feeling (emotion) they encounter. They are to act upon thoughts and feelings which promote goodwill among their fellows, health in their body, peace in their minds, and calm in their emotions.
If thoughts and feelings are less than Christ-like, according to Paul, it is the responsibility of the Christian to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” To do so requires that the Christian enlist the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help relieve thoughts and feelings which are counter-productive to the Christ-like lifestyle.
Once again, to prevent un-Christ-like behavior one must resist the temptation to act upon ungodly thoughts which are often the result of ungodly emotional responses to the influence of spiritual enemies. There is a simple way to assess these ungodly thoughts and feelings before you act upon them. Ask yourself three questions.
1. Is what I am thinking or feeling something I want to think and or feel?
2. Is what I am thinking or feeling something Jesus provided for me through His death
on the Cross?
3. Is the behavior I am contemplating engaging in going to promote God’s will on earth?
If I answer “No.” to the first three questions then I ask a fourth question.
4. “What is the source of these thoughts and feelings, and the contemplated behavior?”
The answer to this fourth question is; “ungodly spirits operating in the unseen realm.”
Yes. And you, dear one, if you are a Christian by virtue of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, have authority over all the power of God’s evil enemy and his meddling associates.
You can then with the aid of the Holy Spirit declare something like this:
“I use my Authority now, as one of the representatives of God on this planet, and command all spirits associated with these ungodly thoughts and feelings to be quiet, and to leave me alone. I bind you as I have been given the authority to do by Jesus Christ. I refuse you any right to act, speak, or bother me in any way! Go away now and leave me alone. I choose this moment to worship God Almighty, and Jesus Christ, my Savior, and The King of kings and Lord of lords! For His glory and my benefit on earth as it has been done in the unseen heavenly realm.”
I truly hope and pray for each of you who listen to my pod-cast, or read my blog. We live in an age of amazing communication technology! I exhort you to use these technologies to build your faith in God. To share the good news of God’s plan to redeem mankind. To increase your knowledge of God’s Word, His Truth, which is the power ou need to fight and to win the battle against the evil power which is determined to steal your destiny, to kill your body, and to destroy you in everlasting estrangement from God’s love.
And please, never forget, “God loves you just because you are you. And that’s truth!
Dear Fam and Friends
I have been praying for you. I am sincerely concerned about the quality of your life. I truly desire that you find peace amid the chaos. I hope you will discover calm in the midst of the storm. Is that the goal you are seeking? Or are you simply trying to accumulate more stuff? Then again maybe you are one of those unfortunate citizens who are constantly struggling to “get by?” Either way I hope your life is becoming more peaceful, as a result of your lifestyle becoming more harmonious with God’s desire for you?
I hope you know peace is His will for your life. Jesus said, “My peace I give to you. Not the peace the world gives you.” He is also known as the Prince of Peace. He makes available His peace but, do you receive it? That is the important question. No? If you believe He can give it to you and you do not possess it yet, what must you do to get it? He gave instructions for that situation as well when He said,
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary from carrying your heavy burdens. Come, and I I will give you rest.”
Do you believe He was sincere? Do you believe He was offering you an invitation? He was in fact doing just that. But, will you come? Yes? Some of you may believe the “rest” He is speaking of to be nothing more than escaping the agony of the flames of hell? You may mistakenly think He is simply speaking of the rest you will encounter one day in unseen realm.
I suggest, He is offering rest, here, and now, in the temporary present, not in the unseen future. Will you come to Him today? If you come to Him, how long will are you willing to stay? Until you find the rest He speaks of? Or until you feel satisfied that you have completed some religious ritual? Will you stay until you experience the peace He speaks of, or until the oppressive demands of earth life come crashing in once again demanding your response?
The wonderful value of His omnipresence is you can come to Him any time, any day, and you can stay as long as you like. How amazing is that! You can meet with Him, The Prince of Peace right here on earth. You are not required to leave home. You can receive from Him the peace, strength, and courage required to “do life better,” now.
Jesus gave us the method to live well on earth amid the stress and chaos when He said, "If you continue in my Word you prove to Me you are one of my disciples. By doing so you will encounter the Truth. By encountering the Truth in My Word repeatedly you will slowly, surely, be transported into the Freedom I desire you to experience." Freedom? You may ask, “What freedom?”
What did He mean by His statement? I believe He meant this: freedom from the stress that is common to life on earth. Each human can and must regularly withdraw from the stress of life. We must choose time to go away from the people and things that cause stress. Each disciple needs more time with Him. I suggest the easiest way to enjoy time with Him is to sit quietly, reading His Word, meditating on His unfathomable majesty, and on His never-diminishing love. This activity disengages us from the physical realm so we can participate in the spirit realm. The spirit realm, unseen though it is co-exists with the physical realm. The spirit realm is available.
But far too many Christians, if they think of peace or rest at all, attempt to shed stress in other ways. They erroneously choose the methods ungodly men use for the same purpose. Vacations, drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, entertainment, church meetings, ministry, work, etc. Yet none of these methods can offer anything more than temporary distractions to the stress of the world. None of these methods accomplish the goal of transporting men out of the chaos of the physical world and into the peace found only I His presence.
To experience peace amid the turmoil man needs to do as Jesus suggested. The method He suggests is the same He modeled for us. His highest priority was spending time with His Father. If you will read the gospels often enough you will eventually discover His need to slip away from the demands of the crowds to pray. He knew by experience that if He was to fulfill His Father’s will He needed to spend time in His Father’s presence. His work in the world drained Him, exhausted Him. So, to refresh Himself, He spent time with His Father. Alone. Quiet. And He found rest, and He found peace. His strength increased. He courage returned. His confidence in God soared. As He rested in His Father’s presence, His Father soothed Him, calmed Him, reassured Him. And after peace returned, when His Father was satisfied His Son was prepared, His Father gave instructions for the next assignment. Then, the Son went back out into the chaotic stressful, dangerous, violent world of men and did the job His Father had asked Him to do.
Dear one, you and I are no different. We are men, like Jesus. The son of man, He called Himself. He was in every way just like you and me. He took seriously His calling, His mission. He worked hard, against great odds. He pressed on to fulfill His Father’s will. Above all He desired to be pleasing to His Father.
If you, dear one, are tired, burned-out, anxious, fearful, worried, then you need to spend more time with Him. The easiest way to do that is to sit quietly. Learn to withdraw consistently, dedicate time to reading His Word. Meditate on what He reveals to you as you read. Especially read and re-read the four gospels. By doing so you will discover His solution to the stress and anxiety of earth life. And what is that solution? Will you find a new method, a new formula, a new activity? No. You will find Him. He is the solution.
The solution, the antidote, the medication, the magic elixir you seek and which is the most effective in relieving you of the stress of earth life is, “Time With Jesus.” This antidote is free. This medication costs nothing. Acquiring this solution requires no drive to the pharmacy, no Dr’s prescription, no sweating at the gym, no new equipment or apparel. And perhaps that is why meeting with Him lacks appeal to most humans. This activity of sitting with Him is a personal and private discipline. No one sees you, affirms you, or compliment you on your new look, your new thing. “Ooh, ahh, look at you!”
Dear one, every day, every hour, anywhere on earth, He awaits. He is not over there or out there. He is right here right now, every day, all the time, 24-7-365. Will you come? Will you accept His invitation? I certainly hope so. When will you come? When you have had your fill of the self-destructive, non-productive, peace-stealing, carnal methods of the ungodly world in which you live.
I hope you will come soon because I know you will discover the rest, the peace, and the comfort found only, and always, in His divine presence. And I know your time with Him will inspire you to come often.
I hope you find encouragement in what I write. I am committed to continue to pray for you. And I hope you never, ever, forget; God loves you just because you are you. And that's the truth!
Righteousness Peace and Joy
Previously I offered my thoughts on the concept of Kingdom of God. I defined the concept by defining the word, kingdom. As a reminder I reiterate now, a kingdom is a “realm of rule.” A kingdom is a community built upon the foundation of compliance with moral and ethical behavior determined by the King of the Realm. The King has declared rules guiding the behavior of the citizens of His Kingdom. He knows if all the citizens in His community act in accordance with His rules they will experience peace and prosperity. This peace and prosperity is a gift of His providence.
Accordingly, the Kingdom of God on earth, at the present time, is a community of citizens, those living beings, either human or divine, who are consciously and willingly subservient to the governing authority of King God Almighty. These citizens know, having discovered, or having been taught, the rules governing the behavior of kingdom citizens, and are willingly living a lifestyle which reflects both their knowledge of the rules and their compliance with the rules. However, those who claim citizenship in the Kingdom but do not know or are in conflict with the rules set down by the King, are not citizens. In fact, they are aliens. And they do not deserve and will not receive the same reward of peace and prosperity as their compliant neighbors. (Matthew 7:21-23)
Even a casual reading of the history of Israel in Canaan will illustrate this point quite clearly. God intended the nation of Israel to be His nation, His community of citizens who would represent to all other people groups His unlimited power, His sovereign authority, as well as His compassion, and His willingness to protect His nation from enemies, and provide everything the nation needed in the way of food, clothing, and shelter.
However as scripture describes, Israel failed to “do” what God, The King of the Nation, desired them to do. They refused to behave, act, and interact with Him and with their ungodly neighbors as He desired. And in the end, because they had rejected Him, they not only lost their citizenship but they also lost the benefits of His providence.
So, you may ask, “What does all this mean to me?” Good question. I am happy to offer the following answer.
According to our blessed brother Paul, the kingdom of God, “is righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17). And now I ask you, is this your definition of the Kingdom of God? You may call yourself a Christian and even give your reasons why you feel confident in doing so. But do you know what God expects of you regarding morality and ethics? No? Then I further ask, “Does your lifestyle, the life you live day by day, reflect the qualities of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit?”
Or like so many other misinformed Christians is your life filled with chaos, stress, uncertainty, immorality, and unethical behavior?
Paul also said, “For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20). I believe his intention was to inform us that it is not what we say about Christ that defines us as Christians but how we behave. After all, a Christian by definition is, “one who is like Christ.” A Christian is one who thinks and acts like Christ. Truly, Christ is the role model for all Kingdom citizens.
The truth is, professing Christ as Lord of your life is pointless and worthless, if you are living a lifestyle which demonstrates your ignorance of His rules for righteous living. Whether you are intellectually ignorant of or arrogantly rebellious to His will for your life, you are not a Kingdom citizen. And more than likely you are not now enjoying, nor will you later receive the benefits shared by those who are both informed and intentional.
If I haven’t disturbed you enough already with my thoughts, let me for a moment press the issue a bit further, and at the risk of ruining your opinion of me. Paul also tells us:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy persons, drunkards, revilers, swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Those named above are not experiencing the righteousness, peace, or joy in the Holy Spirit God desires for Kingdom citizens. Why? Because they are not kingdom citizens, not being submitted to the rules He ordained for Kingdom life.
Furthermore, and to reassure the diligent citizens reading (listening) this brief note, life on planet earth is difficult and for many people down right dangerous. To live well in relative peace and prosperity on earth takes careful planning, years of preparation, and decades of practice. You may have done all that and are now living in relative comfort, peace, and prosperity. But, are those benefits the result of your own effort and skill and hard work? Or are they the result of doing life God’s way? There is quite a difference between the two methods.
If it is the former then I say “congratulations” to you. But regardless of how well you do it on your own, if you have not done it according to God’s rules for Kingdom citizenship, not so good. Why not so good? You are still in conflict with God. And at the end of your life you will lose all you gained, and you may discover you don’t have citizenship in heaven.
Additionally, if you are a Kingdom citizen living on earth you are still subject to the pain and suffering consistent with life on earth. The stories of martyrs makes this point very well. Yet there is peace amid the turmoil and pain and suffering for those who are intimates of God.
Therefore I must ask a couple questions. Using a scale of 1-10, with ten meaning it cannot get better, rate the following:
1. Evidence of joy in your life. How often do you feel joy welling up from within the deepest recesses of your inner being? Is the feeling of deep inner joy growing more prominent in your life, on a daily basis?
2. Evidence of peace in your life. How many times each day, amid the stressful chaos of life, do you feel an indwelling calm? How about each week, or month? Is the sense of inner peace growing, becoming more noticeable? Or less? Or staying the same?
3. Evidence of righteousness in your life. Do you even know what is meant by the term, righteous? If you don’t know the definition then I suggest you can not know whether this particular Kingdom quality is present.
In conclusion may I offer this encouragement. Righteousness, peace, and joy is available to you. God is in fact omnipresent. That is He is everywhere all the time at the same time. His Word, the Bible is available in whatever language you speak and understand. His Holy Spirit is available to teach you about God and about the rules for living kingdom life.
If you are not sure your life is a demonstration of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, you can do something about it. And only you can do something about it. I cannot do it for you. Neither can anyone else on earth. Not your mom or dad, pastor, or any other preacher, prophet, apostle, or evangelist. Why is that?
Let me use this illustration. Recently, after a particularly taxing work-out I thanked my fitness coach for making me more fit, strong, and healthy than I have ever been in my life. He replied with a smile, “I have not done one push-up, pull-up or crunch for you. All I did was lead the way. You did the work.”
Dear one are you still waiting for God to make your life better? Are you expecting Him to fill your heart with desire, determination, discipline?
Long ago I was whining to Him about my continued struggle to grow in righteousness. I was asking Him to make me a better Christian. He replied, “Why do you keep asking me to do what I have already done? Why do you keep asking me to give you what I have already given? Why don’t you instead start taking advantage of what I have done by using what I have already given you?” I have learned by experience He meant, “Read My Word, pray, and then do what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.” One day at a time.
I will continue to pray for you and to counsel with you at your request. But I cannot do the work He expects and empowers you to do to enjoy the benefits of Kingdom living. That’s up to you.
The Blood and Body
On the night our Savior was betrayed
He enjoyed supper with His friends.
He spoke with tender words of love and said,
"Until we meet again, this is my body broken for the new covenant
This is my body, broken to forgive your sin.
Take and eat, all of you, who desire to live in me."
On the night our Savior was betrayed
He enjoyed supper with His friends.
He spoke with tender words of love and said,
"Until we meet again, this is my blood given for the new covenant
This is my blood given to forgive your sin.
Take and drink, all of you, who desire to live in me."
This is my blood, this is my body
Take as often as you desire to remember
the depth of my love.
Remember the depth of my love.
Life is Fragile
Human life is a fragile thing. The human body can appear so resilient and yet it is so delicate. It is often treated as invincible by those who take unnecessary chances. Cave diving, rock climbing, race-car driving, drunk-driving, tow surfing, are but a few ways in which man tempts fate and the fragility of his own body.
The inner workings of organs and glands are involuntary. They do what they were designed to do. The heart pumps blood without any commands. Glands secrete hormones, lungs process oxygen, hair grows longer, each following the procedures in an unwritten operating manual. But the outward movements of the body are directed voluntarily. The body is at the command of the mind. The body is the vehicle and the mind it’s driver. In the administration of the body the mind of man is both protective and destructive. A man decides to click into a seatbelt when driving his car. Protective. But he does so while driving to his skydiving lesson! Destructive. A woman buckles her two-year old into the safety of a car-seat, before driving to her appointment with the abortionist.
There would appear to be no end to the ways man devises to protect his body from its untimely demise from accident and disease. This is a good thing because simultaneously man continues to discover new ways to stress and abuse the body to its limits. Think kick-boxing, iron-man competition, as well as excessive alcohol consumption and hot dog eating contests!
Given that man can depend on his body for a relatively brief eighty or so years one would think he would do all within his power to live cautiously. A responsible routine of nutrition and exercise beginning in adolescence will provide the body with its greatest opportunity to perform well and to last long. Laziness, gluttony, processed sugar-filled food, accidents, disease, criminals and wars routinely assault and destroy the body, and often without warning. But even if a man follows a strict regime of diet and exercise, in the end, his body ceases to function. Then what?
Most reasonably intelligent people would agree that a human being consists of more than the two most obvious elements, mind and body. There is a third element to be considered. There is no doubt that man has a body. It is that thing we feed and clothe and by which we are identified. The body is the thing that separates every individual, one from another. And as mentioned above the mind is the part that, for the most part, directs the actions of the body.
Depending on the reader’s religious or philosophical perspective the third part of man is called by one of two names, spirit or soul. Some believe man to be 2 parts, physical and psychological. They would consider the spirit/soul/mind to be one part, the unseen, and the body to be the physical part.
But when considering man’s life from God’s perspective, as outlined in the Bible, the existence of the third part, the spirit, becomes very important. Why? According to the Bible it is this part, the spirit, that makes man like God. Animals have bodies and they have minds. Like man their organs and glands function involuntarily. Like man they learn by repeated experience. However, and until man is able to communicate with animals using their language, we will remain unsure of the role their spirit plays. Additionally, if animals do possess a spirit, as differentiated from the body and soul, their spirits are certainly unlike God. God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Later, He made animals. Then after He made man, and the animals, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We must assume regarding design, there is much that separates mankind from members of the animal kingdom.
The mind of man includes the memory, the thought processing components, and the emotions, the feeling places. With the mind man learns through experience to pursue pleasurable activity and to avoid painful activities as much as possible. The mind is the part of man that handles the decision- making, the planning, and the responses to life. The emotions are unseen but are demonstrated physically through behavior, movement of arms, legs, eyes, mouths, voice, tone, volume, etc. At times the emotions overpower the mind and drive man to act in ways that are harmful. The response man knows to be the best one, the one he should do, can be ignored due to the power of his emotions. At that point the emotions have wrestled the benefit of rational or healthy, safety-producing, reaction away from the mind and have prompted behavior that is unplanned, irrational, “emotional” and often counterproductive or self-destructive.
From God’s perspective it is man’s spirit/soul, the unseen part, which is the most important. God knows the physical body is temporary. It came from the earth, is made of the same material which the earth is made, and after it loses its ability to process oxygen it decomposes and eventually returns to the earth. The spirit however is somewhat more resilient. Being made of material not of this earth the spirit is ethereal.
Those who consider such things at all might erroneously think of man’s spirit as eternal. Yet eternal means, without beginning or ending. Therefore, only God is eternal.
But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. (Jeremiah 10:10).
Man’s spirit, his true self, once created may or may not be “everlasting” or experience unending life. Unending life is available only if man’s spirit has been reconnected to God. The Spirit of God is the entity which originally caused man to be unique, and unlike any other created thing. It is God’s Spirit which originally gave man his life. Man is alive only if God’s life, in the form of His Spirit, functions as an integral element within him. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:11,
And if the Spirit of Him (God) who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.
Unfortunately, by man’s rejection of God’s authority through original sin, his connection with God’s Spirit was severed and he lost his former God-likeness. Man’s physical body appears as it did originally, before sin, with slight modifications due to aging. But his connection to the former guiding force has been severed. Man is no longer guided by God’s Spirit. Therefore, for centuries, man has made decisions about his life, lifestyle, and socio-economic and cultural development without the wisdom of God. And as good as life on earth seems to be for the very fortunate ones, those dwelling at the top of materialistic societies, it remains far less than enjoyable than what God intended it to be. For those unfortunate enough to have been born into the disease and violence filled squalor of third-world nations life is virtually a “living hell.”
All men who draw air into their lungs share two things in common. They are born and they die. Due to the diversity of their birth circumstances their lives may share very few other similarities. Yet every man, regardless of social status, political preference, national allegiance, or religious conviction, will die. Then and only then will each be confronted with the true composition of human life. Then each will discover whether or not his spirit will continue to live the unending life. Yet, according to the Bible, unending life will be achieved only if God’s Spirit has regenerated a man’s spirit prior to the time of his death.
The simple and very clear message of the Bible from cover to cover is that God is calling out to man to repair the severed connection between the two of them. Consider the following as evidence.
“But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9).
"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18).
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20).
God offers to restore man to his original condition. And God alone possesses the power to do it. God knows man’s body functions far below its designed capacity. Regardless of his attempts to protect and prolong life, man’s body lasts a relatively short span of time. And the body of man is limited in its ability to accomplish truly remarkable things. For example, we may impress our friends and fans with our athletic prowess or artistic creations. But what might their reaction be if they saw us walk through walls, walk on water, instantly transport our bodies from one geographic location to another, or remain impervious to sudden and extreme changes of cold or heat?
Sadly, since man’s spiritual insight has been blurred by his rejection of his original God-likeness, he no longer views his life from God’s perspective. Yet, one might ask, “Why is this a problem? After all, man can still create a fairly comfortable life for himself.” But the comfort man creates is relative, and it is temporary. God’s view of man and of human life is undisputedly the most accurate. He created man. He knows what man is capable of and how truly limited man is in his temporary physical form.
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
God knows that the day will surely come when man draws his last breath of air on earth. And God is trying to spare man the most unimaginable and devastating of all surprises! Having lost his divine composition man’s spiritual blindness puts him in the greatest peril imaginable! His God given opportunity to experience a pain-free, disease-free, ageless and truly unending life is continually at risk and he is not even aware of it!
The best of men, the highest thinkers, grandest dreamers, most romantic of the poets do not know how pathetic their most imaginative view of man’s life truly is! The best athletes, most gifted musical prodigies, the strongest, fastest, most intelligent among men will always fail to produce anything close to the accomplishments of a man in his original unmarred most God-like form. And in the end, regardless of his highest accomplishments, an unredeemed man will eventually, and surely, lose the ability to process oxygen. Yes, every man born, will die.
For the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23).
Pause for a moment to reflect on your life thus far. Stop for a moment, right now, and take a reflective look back toward your past. What do you see as you turn the pages of the photo album of your life thus far? Pleasure, or pain? And now look off into your future. What do you see? Pleasure, or pain? Is your life today better than it has been in the past? Is it the same? Or is it worse? What do you feel as you think about your life. Joy or frustration, happiness or sadness, fulfillment or regret?
As you turn the pages in your photo album, do you see your life from God’s perspective? Or, do you see only the obvious, the physical? Do you understand life from God’s design? Or does your view take in only what you have been trained by the world of men to see? Truly your understanding of life comes either through man’s flawed perspective or God’s perfect perspective!
Hey Fam and Friends
When did you last hear someone use the phrase, “Jesus is coming back again.” Have you ever heard it? When you hear it, or see it in print like this, what thoughts does it prompt in your mind? Maybe your response is something like; “So Jesus is coming back again, so what?” Or even if you do find hope in the statement, you still wonder, “What good is it to believe He is coming, if I don’t know when He is coming, or why He is coming?” Those are good questions. I’m glad you asked.
The truth is; He is coming again. The key word here is, “again.” Again means once more, indicating He has been here before. Actually He has been here many times. When people use the aforementioned phrase they usually refer to the fact that He was here during the early years of the first century AD. But He had been here before that time, many times. He had simply not been here in the flesh, like a man. To be born, to live, and to die like men do.
He spoke to Adam and Eve face to face in the Garden of Eden. He spoke to Noah, about a boat and flood. He spoke with Abram, Moses and Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, and many more, including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel.
Jesus is his name in English, Iesous in Greek, and in Hebrew his name is, Yeshua. Yeshua, like Joshua, is a derivative of Yehovah. Yehovah means “The Existing One.” Yehoshua (Joshua/Yeshua) means “Jehovah is Salvation.”
We are also told by the prophet that the child born to the Virgin is Immanuel, “God With Us.” (Isaiah 7:14). The same prophet says the son to be given is “The Mighty God” (h.El,) “The Everlasting Father” (h. Ad ab), and The Prince (Ruler) of Peace (Shalom). (Isaiah 9:6.).
Jesus told His disciples, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9).
When arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane He declared His name to be “I AM.” (John 18:6). This is the phrase God used to introduce Himself to Abram (Genesis 17:1). And to Moses. (Exodus 3:6). It means “I Am as I Always Have Been.” There is no other like Him. He is unique. One of a kind. "Ever Existing" (Never-not-existent) "Almighty God."
So, yes God has been here many times and He is coming again. The last time He was here it was to be the sacrificial Lamb. Meek, mild, innocent, and non-combative. However, this next time, He comes as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the conquering King of All Kings! As the Lamb He willingly sacrificed His life for His friends. That is; for all who would believe that He had done it for them. (I hope that includes you). This next time He is coming to shut down all rebellion, to incarcerate all rebels, and to set up His government on Earth, in Jerusalem. Then there will be peace on earth. God will dwell with men as He originally planned to do. And those who are faithful to Him now will be the administrators of His government, "kings and priests to our God," (Revelation 5:10) and they will judge the affairs of men and angels (1Corinthians 6:2-3).
All the Old Testament prophecies about the return of Jesus have been fulfilled. All that was prophesied to occur before His return has been fulfilled. One of the most significant of these prophecies was fulfilled in April 1948 when Israel was recognized as a sovereign nation, resuming life on their native soil, which had been given to Abram by God in about 1900BC.
Dear ones, the bottom line is this; You must decide. Do you know and believe God is coming again? Do you believe He is coming to judge the rebellion of mankind? Do you realize time is counting down? Are you aware the deceiver, God’s adversary, the devil, satan, Lucifer, the serpent, the great dragon, knows his time is short? (Revelation 12:7-12).
The greatest event in human history since the birth of Jesus Christ is about to occur? Are you ready? I sure hope so.
Today, right now, make sure you have surrendered your life to Him. Ask Him to forgive you, He will. Ask Him to cleanse you of all unrighteous, ungodly, un-Christ-like behavior. Then do your best to live a lifestyle of peace, kindness, mercy and patience, and generosity. Make Him proud of you. Those who believe Him have been given the honor of being known as the children of God. (John 1). When we act like our Savior we honor Him, and perhaps we will help other people get to know the truth about Him too. (Matthew 16:27).
We’re praying for you.
Life With God
If you are a frequent listener to me you probably recognize a theme running through my thoughts regarding the Christian life. That theme is the importance of viewing life on earth from God’s perspective. Developing a view of earth life, a worldview, which is harmonious with the Biblical record is essential for understanding your place in the family of God, and your mission as a family member.
Quite often so much emphasis within the Church is placed on sin and repentance that many Christians remain ignorant of the purpose of their redemption. Many mistakenly believe the purpose of redemption is to escape the wrath of God. Actually that wonderful benefit is a by-product of receiving the message of the Cross. The purpose of your “born again” experience is to enable you to understand the will of God, and by understanding, to find and fulfill your role in the global, yes universal, application of His will.
You have become born again from above by the Spirit of God. You received a rebirth by the Spirit of God, just as Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the same Spirit. Just as Sarah was supernaturally impregnated with the “son of promise,” when she was past menopause.
The church, ecclesia in Greek, are human beings from every nation on earth who have been reborn as citizens of God’s kingdom on earth, by His Spirit, for the purpose of being His representatives on the earth. We represent Him by being different than those who are not born again. We should think, speak, and respond to the people around us like Jesus would. And mainly to do all that with compassion.
The best word used to describe God’s character is HOLY. And holy means “to be separated from.” Another way of thinking about holy is to think of being “other than.” God is completely different than any other being, terrestrial or earthly, spiritual or physical. And Christians are expected to be the same. Different than, other than, separated from, the ungodly world’s carnal mindset. Christians are humans who have exchanged loyalty to their birth culture with loyalty to God’s Kingdom culture.
God will one day take up residence on earth (again) like He had before man rebelled. As you might imagine God is Spirit. But as Jesus revealed, God is flesh as well. God walked with man in the Garden of Eden. They had a dialogue, God giving instructions both before they rebelled and after. But as you know the tempter tricked them through his own clever dialogue. They rejected God’s authority, and hence they rejected God’s vision for Eden, the earth, and for His relationship with them. They lost their “otherness” and became like the one who had inspired their rebellion. That one, by the way, had rejected God’s authority previously.
This is the theme of earth life. God desires to share life on earth with people made in His image, His sons and daughters. He does so spiritually at the present time. But He will one day do so physically, as He has done many times in the past. He met in the physical realm, earth with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Daniel and many others.
But here’s the point. Adam rejected God’s authority, as had the one who tricked him into doing so. Mankind, as a race, rejected God’s authority. Think about the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. At the Tower of Babel incident God was rejecting man as a race. Yet He was not canceling His plan to rejoin man on earth in Eden again.
After rejecting mankind in general, God chose to birth a new nation among the nations. This new one would be different, “other than” all the other nations. God’s new representatives, His new nation was birthed by the faith of Abraham. Yet, though it began well enough, eventually that nation, the nation of Israel, rejected Him as well. How did Israel do this? By becoming like the citizens from the other nations. The Israelites became like the other “ites,” who were living in Canaan when Joshua led Israel in. They intermarried, they worshipped other gods, etc.
You, dear Christian, are destined to be God’s representatives on the earth, during the span of your life. Until you die. Is that your vision for your life as a human, as a believer, as a Christian? If it is not your intention I encourage you to think about what I am saying, and pray about it. See if your lifestyle is harmonious with God’s will for the Christian life.
Love is the language of the people of God, of the citizens of His nation. Truth is the dialect of that nation. Light is analogous with God and with His truth. Are you shining the light of truth as you go about your day? Are you concerned for the ones around you who are ignorant of His Truth and too blind to see His light? Then do what is within your power to share the compassion of Christ with those made in His image. It might be smile, an encouraging word, a cup of cool water, a ten dollar bill.
Jesus was very clear about loyalty to God being the primary demonstration of right standing with God. Rejecting the religious elite with their rules and rituals, He instructed His disciples to, “Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Is God part of your day? Do you talk to Him? Do you think of Him as the source of your supply? Do you credit Him with your success? Do you depend upon His Spirit to fill you with His love for others? Do you know for a fact He is pleased with your lifestyle? I certainly hope so. As I pray for you, I ask Him to open the eyes of your heart, grant you the understanding, so you can help open the eyes of those still blind to His light. For that is the will of God for your life.
A young woman asked me recently to recommend a few "conservative" media sources so she could read some “positive” things about President Trump. And certainly there are many such sites I could refer to her. However, as good as they might be, they would still be political in nature, and for the most part they would be simply one more source of the opinions of other frail infallible human beings. Additionally, if those opinions were not offered from a godly perspective I consider them of little value.
Jesus told us, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." I am pursuing God because I long to see Him face to face.
Writing to the Pilippians Paul tells us,"whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, whatever are of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy, meditate on these things."
Writing to young Timothy Paul says, "Flee youthful lusts; pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
From decades of listening to them, I have come to the conclusion that the opinions of the unenlightened media (or anyone not living with Christ) are not pure, wholesome, good, virtuous, or in any way helpful to those who seek to be like Christ. Additionally, those opinions tend to be devisive, critical, demeaning, slanderous, sarcastic, and unkind.
After I listened I would think, "Is this the truth? And how would I know which source is telling me the truth." In the end I realised, each reporter has an agenda. They are biased. They are trying to get me to think about their subject like they do. And most of them are making lots and lots of money telling people what they think, and what to think; that is why they do it. That is why media people do what they do. To make money. It is their job.
So, rather than expose myself to all their confusing deceit, and their conflicting facts, I stopped listening. My news and information source is the Bible. I simply study the Word, pray for peace, and try each day to be a blessing to someone other than myself. I truly hope and pray everyone naming Christ as Savior will do the same. As far as media messengers go, read or listen to whatever you like. But assess the impact their information has on you. How do they make you feel? Glad, mad, bad or sad? Therein lies the value of their report.
Pray for your nation. Pray for those who oppose godliness. Pray for the men and women in power, that they too will have an encounter with Jesus Christ.
As I was sitting in the early morning darkness I was prompted to review the story of Cain and Abel. What I found was not surprising. In fact in this passage is revealed the ongoing struggle of good and evil. For what is good, but obedience to the Authority of Almighty God? And what is evil, but the rejection of God’s authority? Please allow me a moment to share what I found in my perusal of the section of scripture.
The first question we must ask about the event is this: Why was Cain’s offering rejected? And the answer is simple really. Because it was not what God desired. However, knowing the goodness of God, which is most often revealed by His mercy and grace, we must assume one of two things.
1. Cain had been instructed by God, or by his own parents, the kind of offering God desired, and hence he was being blatantly disrespectful.
2. Cain had not been informed and thus was ignorant of his error.
I will address each assumption in the order they are presented above.
1. It is not preposterous to assume Cain had been instructed by God or his own parents regarding the right way to demonstrate submission to God’s authority. Why? Because Cain was born after Adam and Eve’s rejection of God’s authority and God addressed their rejection and punished them for it. Out of the Garden, into the world, and the world would be a harsh place to live. “Pain in child-birth,” “thorns and thistles,” and “the sweat of one’s brow.” We must assume He had given them further instructions regarding how to live in harmony with God’s authority, even though it would now be difficult to do since they had become aware of, had encountered/experienced, the knowledge of good and evil.” And knowing this we must also assume they instructed their first two sons.
In fact, for all men that is the issue. First man must discover the truth about God’s authority, and then man must willfully surrender to His authority. Jesus Christ is the supreme example of this. “Not My will, but Yours be done.” Even if doing Your will causes me pain and suffering, or even if it causes my death.
Therefore, if we accept the possibility that Cain had been instructed, (and this is my personal view) then He was either being willfully rebellious, or ignorantly disrespectful. I say willful or ignorant because there is a difference. If I do not know what is expected I am ignorant, and that is one matter. However, if I know what is expected but I am ignorant, by lack of experience, of the consequences of not complying with those expectations, that is another. (This was Adam and Eve’s case)
2. If Cain had not been informed by either his parents or God before he brought the offering to God, then he was acting in ignorance. Yet if this is the case, and it may be, but I don’t think so, God tried to inform Cain of his error. “Don’t you know if you do what is expected of you, you will be okay?” Yet if he had not done it before, Cain rejected God’s authority at that point.
Summarizing; Whether Cain’s behavior was one of ignorance or rebellion, Cain rejected God’s attempt to correct his behavior. And the “sin” (satan/the serpent) which was crouching “at the door” got the better of him just at it had done with his parents.
So what did I learn from this time of study? Man’s dilemma is simple. “Will I choose to make God the absolute authority of my life? Or will I choose some other one or some other thing?” I believe this is the cave in which all false religions are birthed! All false religions tell people what their version of god expects. But which “god” do they promote? All those who know Christ also know, “There is One God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent.”
Because of original sin each man is ignorant of God’s Absolute Authority and/or, ignorant of the consequences of rejecting His authority. Each man must become “born again.” Each man must receive the Spirit of God Who is the messenger of God’s Authority. He is the One of whom Jesus said, “ He will take those things of mine and disclose them to you.” Any attempt to know God, to worship God, to please God, by any other method than by personally and daily surrendering personal authority to God’s Absolute Authority is vain, worthless, and in the end, a horrible uncorrectable mistake.
God’s will is the right way. It is called the everlasting way. The world of materialism (the knowledge of good and evil) clashes violently with God’s Kingdom on earth. Mankind tries vainly to find comfort, pleasure, and security during his entire life. Each man determines what he will do to earn, buy, or steal those trophies. Each one determines how much money he needs to live the life he considers personally fulfilling or rewarding. Do I need a mask and gun, a college education, a million dollars, a beautiful wife, a five thousand square foot home, twelve or twenty-four guitars? Jesus said, “What value does a man truly find if he finds every comfort and pleasure he can imagine and in the end loses his own soul?”
Jesus did not mean we should not live well, comfortably, and enjoy pleasurable things. He said there is a danger in making those things more important than knowing God’s will. And what is God’s will? Jesus said it was this; “Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love (treat compassionately) your neighbor as much as you love yourself.”
Cain loved himself more than he loved God, and he murdered his brother.
There is nothing about me or about my life on earth that recommends me to God. Jesus Christ is the Only One, and His death on the Cross is the Only Thing that can do that. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by my faith in Christ. I live to be pleasing to His Father just as He was. “Not my will, Father, but yours be done.” In my life, in my actions, in my speech, in my thoughts, today, Lord God, show me Your will and empower me by Your Spirit to follow the example set by my Savior.
I am always thrilled when the Holy Spirit speaks so clearly to me! I wish He would do so more often. And I wonder why He doesn't? Or maybe He does, but I'm not listening? More on that later.
AFter more than 30 years of developing it, I am still amazed by God's willingness to meet and interact with me. Yet I have learned even in the midst of my incredulousness, He does in fact desire to meet with me. God my Heavenly Dad wants to meet with me! That is the best message of the Bible. God is personal. He loves us. He knows mw and He wants me to know Him. Why me? Because He loves me!
And He loves you too. Yes you. Regardless of how you think of Him, if you think of Him at all, He thinks of you and He does so with affection! Wow! Yes, He loves you, has affection in His heart for you, and He desires to bathe you in His affection. Isn't that incredible? Incredible yes, and it is the Truth. I pray for you today. I am asking our Heavenly Dad to do whatever must be done to help you understand His love and to receive His affection. Today. Why? Because He loves you and wants the best for you. And so do I.
We are thrilled to announce Mike's Podcast! Since we did not generate enough local community support to continue to pay for the radio broadcast we have moved on to a venue. We have also shortened the time of our audio message. This way we can continue to share with others the message of God's Truth through Jesus Christ. How our hearts burn for many more to hear the Truth and to come into His Kingdom as a result of our efforts to share the Truth.
To hear Mike's Podcast posts:
1. Go to www.soundcloud.com
2. Click on the Search icon
3. Type in, And Thats The Truth with Mike Green (no apostrophe used in the word, Thats)
4. Once on our page select: "Follow" and please select "Like" as well.
If you select "Follow" you will be notified via email each time Mike adds a new podcast message.
We will also post each audio message on our FaceBook page and on this web page, Audio Message.
"Happy New Year!" We wish for you a very prosperous, happy peaceful and healthier 2017.
In prayer, as we intercede for you, we are asking our wonderful Heavenly Father to bless you with regular personal encounters with Him. After all He is the Source of Life, He is the Way to Life, and He is the Truth regarding life. And He tells us, "In all your seeking, get understanding."
We remind you, earth-life is over quickly. This earth-suit we wear has a limited life-span. Use it wisely my friends. Maintain it well, oil it, polish it and protect it from the harsh elements associated with temporary physical life. If we can assist you with more than our prayers please contact us. We're here to help.
(Our radio programs are available on our web page.)
Above all we hope 2017 to be the year you know God better, love God more, and determine to help others to do the same!
With our love,
mike and michele
The Chosen Vessel
The Master was searching for a vessel to use.
On the shelf there were many,
Which one would he choose?
“Take me,” cried the gold one, “I’m shiny and bright.
I’m of great value and I do things right.
My luster and beauty will outshine the rest
and for someone like you Master,
gold would be the best.”
The Master passed on with no word at all.
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall.
“I’ll serve you dear Master, I’ll pour out your wine.
I’ll be at your table whenever you dine.
My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true.
And silver will always compliment you.”
Unheeding, the Master passed on to the brass.
It was wide mouthed and shallow and polished like glass.
“Here, here,” cried the vessel, “I know I will do
Place me on your table for all men to view.”
“Look at me,” called the goblet of crystal so clear.
“My transparency shows my contents so dear.
Though fragile I am, I will serve you with pride.
And I’m sure I’ll be happy in your house to abide.”
The Master came next to the vessel of wood.
Polished and carved it solidly stood.
“You may use me dear Master, the wooden bowl said.
“But I’d rather you used me for fruit, not bread.”
Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had this vessel that the Master might choose.
To cleanse it, and fix it, to fill, and to use.
“Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find
I will mend it and use it and make it all mine.”
“I need not a vessel with pride of itself.
Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf.
Nor one who is big-mouthed and shallow and loud.
Nor the one who displays his contents so proud.
Nor the one who thinks he can do all things just right.
But this plain earthen vessel filled with my power and might.”
Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay,
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
He spoke to it kindly “There is work you must do.”
“Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”
John got his head chopped off!
Jesus’ cousin, the one who baptized people in the Jordan River got his head severed from his shoulders, at the neck. Have you read this passage of scripture lately?
Matthew 14:1-13. I know this is not a very pleasant passage of scripture. But He has had me meditating on it for several months. And I believe I am beginning to see why.
I wonder though, when we read about this event, do we just read words on the page and never stop to think, “What!” Yes, John who served God all of his life (that is; until he died at the hands of godless men and women, and at the age of about 30!) got his head chopped off as a result of his dedication to God’s will and destiny! Are you kidding me? His beheading wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a mistake, overlooked by God, the One Who could have prevented it, right? So, what do we, you and I, learn from it?
It is a very serious thing to desire to know and love God. It may cost you your life. It may cost you your reputation in the community. You either serve God or you serve yourself. If serving God is scarey, you can shrug it off, tone it down, not be so serious, and follow your own will, which is apparently, safer.
When Jesus came to John to be baptized, John was reluctant, saying, “Hey cuz, are you kiddin’me? I need to be baptized by You!” But Jesus answered, “Yo, Johnny-boy, lets do what Dad wants us to do. That’s always best. Even when it doesn’t make sense.”
And you know the rest of the story.
Later, John’s disciples came to report John’s death to Jesus (Matt 14:12). “When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place to be by himself.” Why did He do this? I can imagine He was pretty shaken by the news! This was His cousin, son of His mother’s sister, Elizabeth. He had known John all of his life. He got his head chopped off by Herod’s order, just because John scolded Herod for having sex with his brother, Philip’s, wife.
So Jesus, I imagine being pretty shaken by the news, goes off to grieve, by himself. And I would also imagine He needed some answers from God. You think?
“What? He got his head cut off! Hello? Is this where this is going? Was that absolutely necessary? Why didn’t You stop it? Man! I don’t get it! Help! I need some answers.”
Have you made a commitment to know and lovingly serve God? Really? Does your life and lifestyle reflect that choice? Jesus tells us eternal life is “knowing You, the One True God, and Jesus Christ,” whom He sent. How much have you lost by knowing Him? How many friends or family members have died as a result of their desire to know love and serve God?
How often do you complain about what God is doing, has done, or won’t do for you?
My friends, if you know God, as He desires you to know Him, then love Him and share His love. Because this is a very serious business, knowing God, or claiming to know Him. It may cost you your life! And yet, it may only cost you your place in line at the next traffic light!
Paul tells us “the suffering of the present time is not worthy to be compared to the glory to be revealed!” (Romans 8:18) John found that out. So did our Savior. How ‘bout you? It was said of Jesus, that for the joy He knew would come He endured the cross despising it’s shame.” (Hebrews 12:2)
I encourage you to praise God and thank God daily for His goodness mercy and grace. Because you know Him, personally, nothing can happen that will rob you of the eternal joy He has destined you to receive. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which was demonstrated through Christ our Savior.
Dear Friends and Fam
God is so Good! Is that an understatement? Or what? We are continuing to spread the good news; "God loves you just because you are you." Our radio audience is growing and the feedback we are receiving is very encouraging. Of course we would be blessed by increased financial support, and we will soon be, as the Lord has provided for us for more than thirty years. We so appreciate those of you who send us financial monthly contributions. It helps us plan our budget. If you know us well you know we do not want to be "one more ministry asking for money." However, the Lord has directed us to inform our friends and fam of our needs so they can participate in our mission. So, thanks.
We will soon be adding Mike's books to the store page on our web site. Please be patient as we develop our web site, this is a learn as you go deal.
Also we will be sending out our new bumper Sticker to all of you who do support us. If you want a sticker, please email us with your correct address.
We pray for you and hope you are blessed!
hugs to you all
Mike and Michele
Dear Friends and Fam
Is God the source of your supply? God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. The One, the Holy One, the Originator and Sustainer of all that is in Heaven and on earth, is He the One you look to for your daily bread? Is God, your Heaven Father, truly your Father? Have you come to a place in life where you trust Him, rely upon Him, and cling to Him when everyone and everything other than Him fails to protect and provide for you?
Does anyone or anything have the power to take care of you better than God? Who or what do you rely on to provide and protect you? Your money, your business, your job, your ministry, your education, your spouse, family, friends, the economy, the government, the church, your doctor, your lawyer, your accountant? What is it that you fear losing the most. Which person do you believe you cannot live without? The imagined loss of who or what causes you the most anxiety?
When you look back through the pages of your history what or who do you credit with your success? Or blame for your failure? Your choices are limited. They are: your self, other people, satan, or God.
My friends there is only One trustworthy source of security. And it is not the media, the federal government, a social network, friends, family, money, career, multi-level marketing plans, real estate investments, a retirement portfolio, or an international currency.
Jesus told us the truth when He said, "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and 'all' these things will be added to you."
I wonder if all these things we seek to possess, control, and consume are actually hindering our experience of God's provision and protection. I wonder if by putting all of our energy and effort and time and money into securing our safety actually limits our experience of God's provision.
The word of God tells us that due to the glorious splendor of His majesty "You open Your Hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing." God simply opens His hand and supplies the desire of every living thing; man, beast, angel, and demon. Everything you need, every thing, is found in the tender hand of God, your Heavenly Father. His compassionate heart is for you. He desires that you live a life He describes as, "more abundantly." He promises to supply such a life to any and all who "trust" in Him, who "lean not on their own understanding," those who "delight" in Him, "who ask" Him confidently, believing that He wills to supply it.
Look to Him today my friends, for He alone is truly trustworthy. He alone has the power and the desire to supply your needs and to do so in ways you cannot even imagine. He has promised to supply your "daily bread," give "seed to the sower." And to do "exceedingly abundantly beyond all you can ask or think."
Our prayers are for you because you're on our minds and in our hearts.
Why Is My Family So Dysfunctional?
The question was asked again recently, "Why is my family such a mess?" The one asking was serious and needed some understanding. So...
Yes, the family of man is a mess. No doubt about it. Personally I don't think it's getting better. And at the risk of sounding pessimistic, I am pretty sure it is getting worse.
Why is your family a mess? Simply put, the Bible tells us rebellion against God’s authority is the cause. Yet rebellion against God’s authority is not only the cause, it is the effect as well. Rejection of God is the ongoing issue perpetuating the dysfunction. Whatever form the dysfunction your family takes on from mild selfishness to violent crime, godlessness is the issue. Sin (godlessness) is nothing more or less than the desire to be "in control" of my reaction and response to the action of the world upon me. The idea is that I feel I must assume the role of god, be the decision maker, the manipulator of people and programs, so I get what I want. My quest, my goal, my purpose, is to get what I want. And the thing I want most is protection from the discomfort caused me by the demands, and needs of others.
All men want what they think they need to feel safe, secure, and significant. This is the primal goal of man. This fearful controlling self-promotion and protection is the root cause of man's ill-treatment of others. It explains why most people (especially young adults) refuse to learn from the mistakes of those who have done it poorly, wrong, or bad, before them.
Driving while intoxicated, smoking cigarettes, drug abuse, junk-food diet, are examples of this concept. Denial is the blunt end of it, defiance is the sharp edge. Denial says, "It won't affect me poorly." Defiance says, "I will because I can." And of course all of this is the result of deception. Those who act this way do not know, even if they maliciously engage in ungodly or harmful behavior, that they are deceived. The need to protect self is this strong.
The real crazy part of all this is that those of us who are victims of the control, manipulation, abuse, denial, and deception, of the defiant, react to it by becoming like them. And the whole rotten mess is thus perpetuated. So, is there a solution to this madness? Yes, thank God, there is.
Knowing and trusting God is the way of healing. Life-changing-behavior -modifying, power is only available in a relationship with God. The man or woman who is truly born again is given a choice to submit to the authority of God. Indeed, safety from the flames of Hell is available through one’s acceptance of the message of the cross. But life altering, behavior modifying, is a different matter all together.
John the apostle tells us our faith is the tool by which we can, "overcome the world." He means to encourage believers to think, act, and react to the world of ungodliness (sin) as man would BEFORE he was victimized by sin. Overcoming means to rise above the affect, to no longer surrender to the influence, to be different. To react well to ill-treatment from others. But isn't this what Jesus had in mind in the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes? It is a daunting task to be sure. And thus it is one that can only be accomplished through true transformation. Which brings me to my point.
Your family may indeed be a mess. But transformation is the goal of the cross. Salvation is simply the doorway into the Holy of Holies. Being protected from the fire of Hell is great. Thank you, Jesus! But to receive all the benefit He has provided for us we must enter into the holy of holies frequently. We must sit with Him quietly there, and stay there as long as possible on each visit. There is no other way. There is no better method. There is no greater Teacher.
Paul tells us that those who have been born again "have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ." That is a much different concept than "being saved."
My friends, we who call ourselves Christians, can we honestly declare that we know Him? I know we know about Him, the bookshelves are crammed full of testimonies, churches are full of preachers, schools filled with teachers. Radio, television, film, CDs, DVDs, laptops, notepads, cell phones, conferences, seminars, why we even have cruise ships filled with happy Christian vacationers. Knowledge of Him is everywhere! The whole earth is filled with His Glory.
But have you gone into the Holy of Holies today? Did you sit with Him yet today? Have you made a conscious effort to sit and listen to Him? For this is truly the highest and best, the simplest, the least expensive, most rewarding, the most direct and effective means of shrugging off the bad habits of the world in which you were raised and in which you now reside. Have you ever considered how culturally biased your view of God is?
Do you know Him, our great, loving and fearsome Father, from direct personal experience? If yes, then you are on the way to being "in the world" but no longer "of it." I encourage you to take time, remember you can't make time, but you can take time today to enter in. Leave man's clattering clamoring world of denial, deception, and defiance, insecurity and fear, for a moment, and hour or two. Jesus said, "the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." He did not mean the flesh was powerless, no it is very powerful, the evidence is all around you. The flesh uses its power to resist the invitation of His Spirit. Will you come, just as you are, today.
Your family indeed may be a mess, like it always has been, but the important question is, are you still like them?
Do I Really Know God?
Dear Fam and Friends
Jesus, praying after His last meal with His pals, made this remark; “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” My dear friends, do you know God? Do you? Don’t answer too quickly. Do you know me, Mike Green? Do you?
Some of you reading this email have been reading my emails for many years. Others of you have been reading these brief encouraging words for only a short time. Do you know me? By what I write? Can you know me, or God, for that matter, by reading what either of us thinks, or what we have written?
Do you know when or where I was born? How ‘bout Jesus? Do you know when or where He was born? I know you celebrate His birthday in December. But do you realize He was not born in December? You know where He lived, anyone who has made the long arduous trip to Israel knows that. But do you know when He died? Are you sure it was on Friday? Do you know when He was raised from the dead? Was it on Sunday? You do know His name is not Jesus, but Yeshua.
All of this begs the question, “Do I know God?” Jesus scolded the religious leaders of His day because they taught men to observe man’s religious traditions instead of teaching them to know and obey God’s truth. Is it man’s traditions that you believe and debate, or is it God’s truth?
Those among the Bible characters who encountered God found out He was more than who they expected Him to be. He was more than they could imagine. Think of Adam, Eve, Cain, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Isaiah. Think of the mount of transfiguration. Have you seen Him draped in eternal perfect flawless glorious light, speaking with two dead men, Moses and Elijah? Saul of Tarsus?
Imagine Him walking on the surface of Lake Galilee, calming the storm, calling Lazarus forth from the grave. Can we even begin to imagine such amazing encounters? I think not. Yet we claim to “know God.” Do we really know God? Or like our religious forefathers have we become satisfied by some tiny bits of information about God, crumbs from the table so to speak? We who spend hours each day listening to entertainers, debating the latest twits, instagrams, and FB posts, but have only minutes for communing with God. We who are proud of our knowledge of an athlete or politician, a diet program, or whatever.
Dear ones can you imagine a world where there is no sickness? No seriously, without sickness there is no need of the medical profession. Imagine a world where there is no violence, no lying, cheating. Thus there is no need of attorneys. No need of a federal or local government! What? Are you kidding me? No. I am not kidding.
Can you imagine a world where we no longer require cars to convey people, trucks to haul goods, trains to cross continents, ships to cross oceans?
Do not be deceived dear ones, God and His world is nothing like you imagine. Speaking to me many years ago about knowing Him here, now, before my physical death, He said to me, “You can have as much of Me as you want. But you will never have more that that.” And I was prompted to begin an intense disciplined study of Him through my study of His word and through increased time in personal prayer and meditation. (Both of which I continue today.) And yet several years later as I was moaning about my lack of progress into knowing Him intimately, He remarked, “You are so easily satisfied with so little.” And I find even now, years after His second statement, I still am too concerned with the temporary violent ugly issues of earth life. All of which rob me of time with Him.
My friends the first question all men must ask might be “What must I do to be saved?” But the more important question is, “What must I do to know God and Jesus Christ whom He sent?”
This world system is coming to a close, sooner or later, with either your death, or with the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven. None of us knows which will occur first. Either one could happen today. Are you ready to meet the One True God? Are you? Do you know Him as He desires you to know Him? Or are you trusting a religious construct which in the end will prove to have been the vain imagination of deceived men?
He is here with us, Immanuel. He is here for us, our Teacher. He is everything we need, all the time, our Eternal Father. And He desires that we know Him as intimately as our Savior did, as our Lord does today. Will you come away from the noisy worthless clamor, will you come in and sit with Him, and get to know Him, the One True God? Will you?
with our love,
Mike and Michele
Bless God Ministries
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Life in the kingdom