Tag Archives: Christianity

The Seven Deadly Sins – Greed

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.

   We are all aware of the Ten Commandments handed down to Moses by God on the mountain top. They are only a part of the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament) that all together make up 613 laws covering every aspect of life.

   We all also know how Jesus summed up all the Law and Commandments to just two Golden Rules. Love God and Love your neighbor as you love yourself. The seven deadly sins in their current form are not found in the Bible. However there are Biblical references that address each of them individually and we will look at each of them.

The seven deadly sins are also referred to as cardinal sins or capital sins and as such these names give the impression that there are degrees to sin. The idea that some are not so severe or problematic to the spiritual state of an individual in comparison to other sins. This, I believe, is a slippery slope and can lead people to believe that they are better then others simply by virtue of being considered less obviously sinful. Such as comparing a yourself  (and your easily overlooked short-comings) to someone whose sin is self evident and appalling.  Sin is sin and there is none that is greater or lesser than the other. Given the opportunity to repent and turn away from ones sins – no matter how great, how many or how shocking – all sins will be forgiven.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.   Colossians 3:5 NIV

   Greed which is idolatry!Really?! That’s how God sees it. Being greedy (Excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions – dictionary.com) is the same as worshipping an idol in God’s eyes. God warns us all more than once (repetition in the Word of God is meant to emphasize the importance of that point) that He is a jealous God and will not allow idolaters go unpunished.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, Deu. 5:8-9 NIV

   Greed can also be described as; longing, hunger, avarice, excess, selfishness, gluttony,  covetousness, indulgence, rapacity, voracity, eagerness, intemperance, craving, insatiableness. – dictionary.com

Of that list a few words stand out. such as selfishness, gluttony and covetousness. Covetousness is synonymous with Greed in that it causes you to disregard the blessings you have and concentrate on that which others have. This is one of the reasons I believe that social media can be a tool of the devil. The whole “look at me and what I have” life of instagram, tweeter, Facebook, etc. is a breeding ground for covetousness and greed. Lets keep in mind that in addition to the commandment previously mentioned God also demands that we not covet.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”  Deu. 5:21NIV

   Before I give the impression that I am holier-than-thou let me say that Greed, like many other sins and snares of the devil, are insidious in nature. We all want to do well, work hard and be rewarded for our efforts. We want to live in a nice home filled with nice things. We want to provide for those we love and make their lives better and more comfortable. Thats natural right? Right. Thats where the insidious nature of sin enters the picture. Have you ever heard the analogy of the frog in the pot of water? Well, it is used as an illustration of how slowly and inconspicuous sins eats away at us if we aren’t careful. It goes like this – If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water it will most certainly jump out. But, if you put a frog in a pot of room temperature water and place it over a very low flame he will stay in the pot as the water slowly reaches a boil and it’s too late for him to escape death.

The Apostle Paul calls on us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The Word of God calls us to guard our hearts for everything you do flows from it. The Sunday school song says “be careful little eyes what you see”!

Perhaps you remember how the angels of the Lord helped Lot and his wife and daughters escape the cities of Sodom and Gomorra before fire and brimstone destroyed them because of their wickedness. But do you recall how Lot and his family came to live in such sin?

As Abram (not yet Abraham) moved from his homeland to the land that God had promised him, he and his family along with his nephew, Lot began experiencing strife between their herdsman. Back then wealth was measured by livestock and land as well as gold and silver. Abram was blessed of God and likewise so was Lot. Their herds grew and so did the herders. Between their sheer numbers and the quarreling it was decided that something had to be done. Abram gave Lot the choice. Wherever Lot choose to live Abram would depart in the other direction. Lot saw the plains of Canaan and chose to live near Sodom. Lot looked towards Sodom. Moved near Sodom. Later he is living in the middle of Sodom. What he saw turned into words, words became actions, actions nearly led to destruction. This is not a new concept. Many scholars, politicians and famous people have spoken about how this scenario can lead to down fall. Gen. 13 

Watch Your Thoughts, They Become Words; Watch Your Words, They Become Actions

Be careful little eyes what you see!

It starts with what we see.

The eyes are the window to the soul.

Seeing leads to thinking.

Thoughts become words.

Words become actions.

It’s insidious.

It happens slowly

 

Greed, like all sins, are a trap set by the devil baited by our natural desires turned against us.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

* “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.    Matthew 12:31 NKJV

 

The Seven Deadly Sins – Pride

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.

   We are all aware of the Ten Commandments handed down to Moses by God on the mountain top. They are only a part of the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament) that all together making up 613 laws covering every aspect of life.

We all also know how Jesus summed up all the Law and Commandments to just two Golden Rules. Love God and Love your neighbor as you love yourself. The seven deadly sins in their current form are not found in the Bible. However there are Biblical references that address each of them individually and we will look at each of them.

The seven deadly sins are also referred to as cardinal sins or capital sins and as such these names give the impression that there are degrees to sin. The idea that some are not so severe or problematic to the spiritual state of an individual in comparison to other sins. This, I believe, is a slippery slope and can lead people to believe that they are better then others simply by virtue of being considered less obviously sinful. Such as comparing a person addicted to drug to someone who is a compulsive liar. Sin is sin and there is none that is greater or lesser than the other. Given the opportunity to repent and turn away from ones sins – no matter how great, how many or how shocking – all sins will be forgiven.*

Jesus told the story of the two men in the temple. One, a tax collector, who, in shame and guilt plead for mercy and the other man, a Pharisee, who stood listing his many religious accomplishment and duties completed. The man standing looked smugly down on the humbled man and thanked God that he was not like him. Jesus tells us that the humbled man was made right with God that day and not the self righteous man standing puffed up with pride. See Luke 18: 10-14

It is the sin of Pride, and what I will refer to as Pride’s Children, that we will look at in this post and leave the others for the future. The common understanding of these sins listed is that they are merely our natural passions taken to the excess. Taking pride in an accomplishment is not sinful in and of itself but when pride blinds one to the error of their ways it is sinful and dangerous. The Bible warns us that Pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18) and that God resists the Proud (James 4:6).

Pride, like most sins, is insidious. It’s subtle and slippery in it’s power to overtake it’s victims. We all wish to be acknowledged for doing well. When the accolades begin to pile up we can become proud. When pride has a hold we will see ourselves above others, pat ourselves on the back and be blind to our on faults no matter how blatant.

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[g] I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—  Rev. 3:14-17 NKJV

The Church in Laodicea believed themselves to be rich and in need of nothing. They had become complacent and lukewarm. If this isn’t a picture of pridefulness I don’t know what is. Jesus sees them as they are – naked, poor and blind. He encourages them to repent and reminds them that those whom He loves He chastens.

Pride comes with company or as I put it earlier, children. Pride comes with gossip. After all if you see yourself above others you clearly see their faults, so why not share your knowledge with others? This child can even be seen within the church. How many times have we been approached by someone who asks us to pray for someone only to take that as an opportunity to disclose all the juicy gossip that warrants our prayers. Simply asking for prayers on behalf of someone is enough since God knows what they are going threw.

Pride also comes with Disrespect, Disregard and Dismissiveness. That snobbish way that Pride can make one person loose all compassion or understanding for those around them. Others opinions, feelings, thoughts or accomplishments mean nothing to the prideful.

The last child of Pride is the narcissist spotlight. The “look at me” way in which pride causes its victims to behave whether brazenly or subtly. Pride boasts of plans without regard for consequence or risk. I believe that Satans fall was caused by Pride because of his boasting of his plans to overthrow God Almighty.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’             Isa 14: 12-14 NKJV

Pride was Satans downfall.

Pride will always be in opposition to God.

Pride will bring destruction.

God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”  James 4:6 & 1 Peter 5:5 KJV

“Finally” Performed by Gary Chapman at the Grand Ole Opry  (Pardon the video quality – It’s one of my favorites and I wanted to share.) Be Blessed A&B

* “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.    Matthew 12:31 NKJV

Grace and Mercy

Both grace and mercy are often spoken of in the Scriptures. So much so we perhaps we glance over them as we seek the point of the verse or passages we read.

But we should take a moment to reflect on these words and consider how they apply to us or more specifically our eternal salvation.

Grace

noun

dictionary.com

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  Eph. 2:8-9 NKJ

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  Gen. 6:8 NKJV

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.                                          John 1:17 NKJV

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood to be received by faith.                                                                                                   Romans 3:23-25a NIV

What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift (grace) but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.     Romans 4:3-5 NIV

Grace as we see defined and exemplified here can be summed up as unmerited favor or gift of God. It can not be earned so we should stop trying to work at being saved. If we were able to earn God’s favor then Jesus would not have had to die. The Law which was given to Moses was not a standard we were ever expected to achieve but rather a mirror with which we would see our desperate need of a savior. The inability to keep all 613 laws outlined by Moses does not mean that we are free just throw up our hands and give in to sin.

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?         Romans 6:14-16 NKJV

Likewise Paul tells us that even under grace we will see the consequences of our actions. Even though our salvation has been a gift of God by His grace we should work to be as good as we can within our own frail abilities or suffer the consequences.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Gal. 6:7-8 NKJV

So if grace is God’s unmerited or unearned gift or favor, what then is mercy? Isn’t it the same thing?

Mercy is, in a simple way of saying it, the other side of the same coin! Let’s look closer.

Mercy

noun

compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence:
Have mercy on the poor sinner.
the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing:
an adversary wholly without mercy.
the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
an act of kindness, compassion, or favor:
She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing:
It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.     Matthew 5:7 NKJV

Then many warned him (the blind man) to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”                                            Mark 10:48 NKJV

For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.  For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.                   Romans 11:30-32 NKJV

Mercy is simply translated from the greek word(s) “elehos” meaning compassion. In the verses above from Romans we see God’s mercy is mentioned in contrast to the disobedience of others. Mercy is God’s compassion.

Grace is God giving us that which we could never earn.

Mercy is God compassionately not giving us that which we deserve.

Whether we like it or not, we are born in sin and sin is in our nature. As such we deserve death – The wages of sin is death! Regardless of how proud you are of how good a person you think you are – you are a sinner. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Your only hope is to pray for mercy and receive the grace of God.

Mercy and Grace / Grace and Mercy

Two sides of the same coin and both given to us by God.

Without these two we are hopelessly lost and doomed to the darkness of Hell

If you haven’t already, I beg you, cry out to Jesus.

Beg for His mercy and receive His Grace!!

Be Blessed A&B

The Future is Here!!!

THE FUTURE IS HERE!!

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Rev 13:16-17 NKJV

This prophecy speaks of an authoritative entity creating a situation worldwide that will effect everyone’s ability to purchase or sell anything. The thought that a cashless electronic society would be necessary to implement this mark system has long been discussed. Speculation about an RFID chip embedded under the skin, much like those currently in use with pets, could contain the information necessary for transactions at point of sale spots. Today we have many ways of transferring funds or paying for everything from our mortgage, utility bills and even our morning cup of coffee without handling one single piece of cash. Wire transfers, direct deposits, auto pay and Zelle transfers could replace cash and checks. Many places of business already refuse cash payments for the ease of book keeping, avoiding human error related losses and in hopes of avoiding robbery. 

 

Financial Big Brother Is Coming, But Bitcoin Will Remain By Tomas Salles

Earlier this week, news broke that Alex Patelis, the chief economic adviser to the prime minister, is proposing to force the Greek population to spend 30% of their income using electronic payment methods. The measure aims to increase the country’s revenues by €700 million a year by preventing tax fraud.

The threads that would sew these two remnants of today are the CBDC or Central Bank Digital Currency. Learn the concept. 

Yesterday, Christine Lagarde, president of the ECB (European Central Bank), announced the creation of a working committee on the CBDC, intending to advance rapidly towards the launch of this instrument.

China plans to launch its CBDC at the beginning of 2020, Canada is already set to work on it, and every week a new initiative is made public.

What I extract from the three news items is that we are moving towards a society where governments will control the payments that everyone makes. Governments are preparing to implement 100% electronic payment systems, in a quest to eliminate tax evasion.

The CBDC is the specific instrument to impose a financial version of Big Brother will be imposed.

Posted on Yahoo Finace December 13, 2019, 1:10 PM EST

Did you hear that?

   Governments are preparing to implement 100% electronic payment systems, in a quest to eliminate tax evasion.

Eliminating cash would not only eliminate tax evasion but would very well eliminate illegal activities such as drug sales, gun sales, robbery (after all if you don’t have money in hand that’s one less thing a robber could target you for) etc. But it would obviously give the government (all governments – local, state and federal) total insight into what we earn and what we buy and where we do go. Privacy is the first victim of technology today. 

Now, I’m not saying that a cashless society is the mark of the beast but it is a technological advancement which the Antichrist can utilize or manipulate to influence people and control them. 

The prophecy clearly states that those who worship the beast will receive this mark and therefor be able to buy and sell. 

What about those that do not?!?

Rev 13:15 says it all – those that do not worship the beast will die. All true believers will have a life or death decision to make and it may be sooner than we think. 

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Recently I was in a tradesmen’s shop when I saw a plaque on the wall along with a picture of the company’s founder. 

He came from Europe and started working as a plumber. He established a business that 4 generations later still serves the public and employs many people. That’s a lasting legacy!

There are examples all around us of people who had a dream which became a legacy. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks. These people who have long since passed away still live on today because of the hopes and dreams that they had. That’s a lasting legacy! 

What kind of legacy will you have? What impact will the life you live make? What mark on this earth will you leave? 

Maybe you’re a politician or a statesman working to make society better for future generations. Maybe a doctor or scientist working on a wonder drug or cure a disease. Maybe you’re in education and shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation. 

Maybe you aren’t any of those things. Maybe you’re one of millions of average people who live each day the same way. Work at a job and go home to family to eat and fellowship before sleeping only to get up the next day and do it all again. Maybe you don’t think you will have a legacy or have an impact or leave a mark. 

What, if anything, does God care about the legacy we leave behind or the impact we have or the mark we leave? 

The Bible says that our works, actions, legacy here on earth will be weighed by God and tried by fire. Somethings we did will burn as if they were wood, hay or stubble. Others will survive like gold, silver precious gems. 1 Corinthians 3:13

What will burn and what will survive? What is the standard for this test? 

What is my life here made of? Wood or Gold? Hay or Silver? Stubble or Precious Gems? 

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church is addressing the divisions and clicks that they are experiencing. Some are pridefully saying that they are Paul’s followers and other Apollo’s followers. Paul is explaining that neither he nor Apollo are anything but it’s God who has saved them. He explains that he only planted seeds and Apollo or others watered but it was God that gave the increase (brought about the salvation).

Paul goes on to say that Jesus is the foundation on which he, Apollo and all other believers build on but we should be careful how we build because it will be judged and tried by fire. 

So, are you planting seeds, or watering seeds that others have planted? That is to say, are you building on the foundation Jesus laid? Sharing the good news of the Gospel? Showing the compassion and love of God to others? Willing to lay down your life (humble yourself and or put someone else’s needs before your own) to bring someone to Christ? 

Or, are you a believer who is only concerned with your salvation? Attending church but not planting seeds or watering? Content that you’re saved and let the rest of the world find their own way? Talking about your Sunday at church but not the Word of God? 

Paul goes on to tell us that if our works survive the fire we will receive a reward but if our work is burnt up we will suffer the loss but be saved. So, our personal salvation is not in jeopardy but our pride will be hurt.

What will your legacy be? Political? Societal? Scientific? or Immortal? Will you plant seeds and water seeds planted so that Jesus has the harvest?

Once we have been saved from Hell’s fire the only legacy that lasts will be those we saved as well.

Go, ye into all the world, and search the Gospel to every creature!!! Mark 16:15 KJV 

 

Be Blessed A&B

What Is God’s Will For Me?

What is God’s will for me?

A question that many believers ask at some time. Along with;

Why am I here? What is my calling? What should I do with my life?

Life is full of so many choices. Crossroads appear at ever turn. Schools, activities, friends, choices, choices, choices. What if we make the wrong choice? Go to the wrong school? Pick the wrong career? Move to the wrong town? Marry the wrong person? Oh My!!!!! I can be overwhelming! But does following God’s will really need to be so difficult? Do the choices really matter?

Break it down

Looking into The Word of God we see that God tells us what He desires for and from us.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. What this tells us that God loves us and sent His Son (Jesus) to us so that by believing in Him we can have everlasting life.  This means it is God’s will that we believe in Jesus and have everlasting life.

Likewise, 1 Timothy chapter Two, tells us that living “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior

And

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”

So I believe it can be said that God’s will for everyone is to be saved and live a quiet and peaceful life.

Ok, but what about all the choices that we face? What is God’s will for those decisions? Does he care about those choices we make and if so can we make wrong choices? I would say both yes and no in that if salvation is God’s will for everyone, then as long as these other choices do not distract or conflict with that prime directive then His Grace is sufficient.

Some believe that there is one perfect almost predestined plan that God has for our lives and that we should seek that out earnestly. Prayerfully seeking God’s direction before making any important decision is always a good thing to do but being anxious about a decision or regretful about a past decision because one believes they are outside the will of God is defeating.  Certainly, God wishes us to do well, be happy, live long and use our gifts to glorify Him.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth  3 John:1-2

God saw that it was not good for man (Adam) to be alone. God made Eve as a companion for Adam and it is safe to say that He wishes that single people find someone to be a companion to. He cares about our happiness but cautions about being unequally yoked (paired with someone that is not of the same faith). Some say that this scripture verse relates to marriage and business/career relations but we are in the world even though we are not of the world and as such we should shine a light especially on unbelieving co-workers and the world in general.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:4

Prosperity, health and happiness and our eternal salvation of our souls are a concern to God and the reason He sent Jesus to make a way for us all but that’s not all.

He wants us to tell others the good news! The Gospel of Jesus is The Good News!! Death has been defeated and the grave is not the end. We will all pass from this life to the next but our final destination is not a fateful unknown. We can choose our destination and as previously pointed out – John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. What this tells us that God loves us and sent His Son (Jesus) to us so that by believing in Him we can have everlasting life.  This means it is God’s will that we believe in Jesus and have everlasting life.

But if we must believe in order to have everlasting life then how can anyone believe that does not hear? This is why Jesus commands us to go, and share the Gospel. Matthew 28:19

In summation

God’s will for your life doesn’t concern itself with where you live, what car you drive, what school you attended, what career you follow or any of the temporary superficial things we as a society worry and tweet about.

God’s will for your life (everyone’s life) is that you believe in Jesus and receive everlasting life as a result of that belief. Additionally, having received this gift of God, share the Love of God and the Good news of Jesus Christ to a world full of people who will live an eternity in agony if they don’t.

If you surrender to His will all those other things will fall into place or be revealed as useless vanity and be forgotten.

Be blessed A&B

Importunity

Importunity – Im por What?

Im-por-tun-ity

Persistence, especially to the point of annoyance. Boldness.

And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his IMPORTUNITY he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. ( Luke 11:7-8 )

In this example we see that it’s late and people are sleeping. The neighbor has a visitor. He goes next door and asks for food to serve the visitor. He doesn’t just ask. He asks with persistence and boldness with a full sense of expectation. No doubts no hesitation. The Bible is riddled with examples of importunity. Moses at the Red Sea comes to mind. He trusted that beyond the insurmountable odds God would make a way. No doubt no hesitation. Likewise Abraham haggled with God over the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah like a friend would with a friend, an equal. No doubt no hesitation.  Peter dared against the obvious dangers of the tempest surrounding him and bid Jesus call him out onto the water. He stepped out and walked on the water towards Jesus. No doubt no hesitation. (Yes, he sank like a rock when he took his eyes off  Jesus but that’s another post

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. (Luke 18:1-5 )

In this example of persistence (importunity) Jesus uses an unjust Judge to show a comparison. The widows persistence wore down the judge and she received her justice. Yet, Jesus goes on to teach us that if this unjust judge gave in to the persistent widow won’t God (Who is just) answer those that cry out to Him? (Luke 18:6-8)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7:7)

Ask, Seek, Knock

Even the acronym for these three words spells ASK!

The Word of God tells us to come boldly into the throne of grace. We need nobody to speak for us (even though Jesus Himself is our Advocate, again lets save that for another post). The veil that separated the Holy of Holies in the Temple from the rest of God’s people was torn when Jesus died. There’s nothing and nobody stopping us from entering into the very presence of The Almighty. The boldness, that importunity, is the key. No doubt no hesitation.

Importunity

Im-por-What?

Impor-powermeant!! That’s what.

Religious-minded people may have told you that meekness and a poverty mentality is what God expects and rewards yet here are several examples of the obvious. Certainly God expects and deserves reverence. We are to Fear the Lord. That fear means reverence and respect in awe of His power. We are not expected to cower or tremble when we pray. Neither are we to pray a prayer of wishful thinking not being sure of the outcome because “God works in mysterious ways”! He does not work in mysterious ways. Jesus shared His plans, hopes and mission with His disciples.

There is one thing that this importunity indicates.

Relationship!

The neighbors knew each other. Probably very well considering the closeness of community back then. Likewise, I’m sure that the widow knew that judge and his reputation which is why she was unrelenting. When Jesus instructs us to be persistent by asking, seeking and knocking He is looking for a relationship. I heard a great sermon where the example of ask seek knock was likened to walking across a grassy place such as a short cut. The repetition of walking across that grassy path wears away the grass and leaves the bare earth that’s been beaten down lower that the surrounding turf.

Jesus clearly taught that if we abide(Live, dwell, accept or act in accordance with) in Him and His words abide in us (see the causative relationship?) then we can ask what we will and it shall be done. (John 15:7)

Beat a path to God

Practice IMPURTUNITY

He will hear you!

 

Be blessed, A&B 

 

 

How Time Flies….

How time flies!

As we approach October of 2019 I am shocked to be celebrating our 6th anniversary here at TSP Blog. What first started out as a photography sales website (a colossal mistake on my part but lesson learned) morphed into this blog where we had hoped to encourage the body of Christ and engage in dialogs about The Bible, Jesus, The Faith Walk and more.

As time has gone by there have been lapses of silence here but no lack of inspiration.

So, here we go! Autumn of 2019. Summer is over. Kids are back in school. The leaves are turning and pies are baking! I am committed to put down on paper (figuratively obviously) all these thoughts that bounce around in my head. Some of which have come from wonderful sermons I have heard and books that I have read or revelations that have come to me. As always I have not and will not attempt to act as an authority on these subjects. The Word of God thoroughly and seriously read is the ultimate authority. I simply seek to set the stage for discussion, shine a light on a subject or at the very least cause some self examination and reflection.

Subjects will include

  • Knowing God by His Names
  • Jesus Revealed by His Names
  • What must I do to be saved
  • Salvation? Who, How and Why?
  • Being a Christian – Christ’s example of how we ought to live
  • What is Faith?
  • God’s Will for you
  • Hell! It can’t be real!?
  • Getting Back to Basics – A Fundamentalist’s approach.

Just to name a few

This blog is intended to Encourage, Inspire and Challenge the body of Christ

All content published here represents our interpretation and beliefs. We take The Word of God at face value. We believe it to be the unadulterated and infallible voice of Almighty God to the World. Unchanging and able to cut into the heart of the reader, It is God’s sword.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ or you do not believe in or read The Bible, you will probably not enjoy the content found here but please understand that we do not wish to offend or attack the beliefs/ideals of others.

I would like to say that’s to those that followed our posts and would hope that others will stop by, read and speak up.

Be Blessed, A&B

 

It’s A New Day!!

Seize the Day Pana

Happy New Year!!!

    2018 is here and the New Year is in it’s second day. A new day in a new year with hope in our hearts as we head down the road! Why shouldn’t we be hopeful and optimistic? We serve a great God Whose Love watches over us each and every day.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lam 3:22-23 NIV

    Does this mean that we will live this year free from suffering or misfortune? Will we be isolated from the pain that life can sometimes bring with it? Obviously the answer is a resounding no. As long as we are in this world we will be subject to the effects this world has on its inhabitants. So, where is this “mercy” that this scripture speaks of? It’s in the power to stand the storms of life. The umbrella in the rain if you will. It’s in the knowledge that although we might be shaken we will not fall because God is on our side.

    Paul talked about the fragility of our lives as we carry the Light of God within us –

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;

perplexed, but not in despair; 

persecuted, but not abandoned;

struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV

    Paul knew too well how hard life can be especially for someone who works to spread The Good News to the world. In a rare moment he boasts of his credentials and lists his sufferings for the Gospels sake in 2 Corinthians chapter 11. He shares that before his conversion he had a zeal for the Lord and goes on to describe what he has endured for Christ.

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,  I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 2 Cor. 11: 23-28 NIV

    Yet, Paul suffered all this and if we look at  2 Corinthians chapter 4 verses 17 and 18 we see that he refers to all those sufferings as “light afflictions”!

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

    So, the mercy of God may not save us from the troubles of this world, it will sustain us and perfect within us a spirit of strength, hope and love if we look past the storm in faith.

Faith in Him Who bore our sins and promised –

I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Matthew 28:20 NIV

 

 

Ps – Before anyone thinks I am sitting on a high horse as I write this I will share that I dispise the pain of a paper cut! I hate drama and the troubles that can knock on my door. I pray for storms of life to pass quickly and can’t always see that the sun will shine again. But I try, by faith, to preserver and not ask “why me?” Because I know the answer to that question is – So, that I may bring glory to God as I learn from the experience.

Be Blessed in 2018 and thanks for stopping by. A&B

 

Spiritual but not religious

Panorama Z

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” 1 Tim. 4:1 NKV

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (The Day of The Lord) will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the. Son of perdition.” 2 Thess. 2:3 NKJV

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4 NKJV

I came across an article recently which discussed the findings of a survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey of some 2000 Americans performed in early 2017 found that 18 percent identified as “spiritual but not religious” and that their beliefs “transcends stereotypical religious identity.” The article sited several participants whose ideas about their traditional religious upbringings led them to find their own way of being in connection or feeling one with some “higher power.” Threw the use of yoga, arts, filling their apartment with plants, meditation and finding ways to have lifestyle choices accepted by “more progressive denominations” these “new faith” believers make peace with themselves in a world of traditional religious establishments.

Now, before I come across as some narrow minded self righteous fool let me give you some background. I was raised Catholic and went threw the sacraments. I was obedient to follow the traditions and rituals of the church as taught to me and in doing so felt empty and uninspired. I have also sinned. I have fallen away and done things “that I wouldn’t want printed on the front page of The New York Times” (as my Grandmother would say). I have denounced traditional religious sects and their empty rituals. At my worst I have raised a clinched fist skyward and declared in my folly that there is no God. I’m not proud of any of that but facts are facts and the Lord saw me threw it all. I ask that you keep all of this in mind as I discuss the article please.

If we look at this survey and the beliefs of its participants who are finding their own new way in the light of scripture we see that they are being deceived. It’s not their fault. Some organized religious groups fail to inspire it’s people. Some will compromise the basic principles of the Word of God in order to fill the seats or be politically correct.

Jesus was never politically correct or a supporter of the empty religious groups in His day. Even though the rituals and religious leaders were established by God Himself over the many years they leaders became proud and the reasons for the rituals blurred into history until they were just going threw the motions. Jesus called them out on their hypocrisy even when they tried to trap him. When the religious men brought the adulterous woman before Jesus they said that she was caught in the very act. Really?! So, these guys busted in on a man and woman (presumably one or both of them married) in the act of making love. In an attempt to test Jesus they dragged the woman before Him but the Law clearly states that BOTH the man and the woman are to be stoned to death for the sin of adultery. As we know Jesus didn’t fall for their trap and He did not condemn the woman. He showed mercy to the woman and simple told her to “go and sin no more.” See John 8:3-12 and Lev 20:10

Jesus turned over the tables at the Temple and criticized the establishment. He ate and kept company with the outcasts, sinners and tax collectors. Jesus did not look like, talk like or behave like the leaders of His time and that got Him both admired and despised. What He did do was affect people. In His short ministry He taught, healed, fed, and raised the dead. He fulfilled the scriptures concerning His birth, life, death and resurrection. He fulfilled the Law and in doing so made a way for all the world to be free from sin and hell. He will meet each and every one of us right where we are and share His love and bring new life. What He will NOT do is barge in on anyone to take them captives or seduce them with goosebumps and warm feelings.

The devil does that. The devil tempts and teases. He sees our pain and our longings and plays on our weaknesses. Jesus called him the Father of lies. The Deceiver. The Lion who seeks to devour.

It’s been said that the greatest accomplishment of the Devil is convincing people that he doesn’t exist. Even as I write this I know that many good churchgoing people will roll their eyes at the mention of the devil. After all isn’t he an imaginary foe created to be blamed for what is simply the behavior of bad people? Isn’t the dark side of our own human nature the real devil?

The answer is a firm “No!” Jesus was tempted by the devil. He spoke clearly of the devil. The Holy Spirit through the Apostles spoke of the devil many times.

Before I stray much farther from my point I will stop. Whether or not you believe in the Devil isn’t the point. The point is that there are deceiving spirits in the world. Always have been but the devil knows his time is short. The participants of the survey taken are looking for answers and fulfillment that they didn’t find within the walls of ritualistic stereotypical religion. They crave, everyone craves, the very real relationship with Jesus. They crave it because there’s a cross-shaped hole in everyone’s heart that only He can fill. It’s and old saying but true.

Lastly, the biggest take away from this post and that survey is that we don’t have time to be judgmental or self righteous. People need the Lord. People need to hear the good news. People need the Lord. Not religion. Not rituals. Not spirituality. People need a relationship with the Lord of all Creation and the Good News is Jesus stands at the door and knocks.

All of us who truly believe have an obligation to share the compassion and love of Christ with all the world. The rest is up to Him.

Be Blessed A&B

This is the link to the article I mentioned https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/11/10/16630178/study-spiritual-but-not-religious

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Give Thanks

In Your Home Is it Thanksgiving Day, Turkey Day or the just the day before Black Friday?

The start of the hectic holiday season or a day to reflect on just how fortunate we are and give Thanks to He Who gives us our daily bread? I am sure it means something different to all of us according to our particular traditions and upbringing. Some families at Thanksgiving will go around the table expressing what they are grateful for before dinner. Some of us will have the TV set to the Parade, a game or the dog show maybe we use the day to begin playing holiday music. There may be that special dish served at dinner that isn’t seen any other time of year. Perhaps the special china is lovingly unpacked for the occasion. Perhaps the special part of the day is that the whole family is gathered together in one place.

Thanksgiving Day has always been special to me for so many reasons. It represents the start of the Christmas season – which is a magical time of year. The holiday season is a time to express our love and appreciation for those close to us and to also smile at strangers everywhere. Something we might otherwise not do if not for the festive spirit in the air. For me, it is a time to consider where I was and where I am and how I got here. I am thankful for the life I have.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGSR1-nGsLI

Give Thanks – Don Moen You Tube

An attitude of gratitude. The expression “give thanks” is noted so many times in scripture and is encouraged by prophets, kings, apostles and is exemplified by Jesus Himself. It was the ungrateful and hard hearts of the elders in the wilderness that cost them their entrance into the Promised Land. Ingratitude paints a dark picture over the memory of days gone by and diminishes any hope for the future. No matter what our past or current circumstances there is a light of hope and reason to be grateful. As long as we are alive we can have hope for tomorrow because He lives and loves us and wants to see us safe, healthy, loved and secure.
This Thanksgiving Day we encourage you all to be of good cheer, be thankful and be hopeful because He loves you.  Be Blessed A&B 
PS – Parts of this post were reprinted from last years but that doesn’t change the sentiment behind the words. If anything, this years Thanksgiving post means more to us because of all of you who have visited with us and encouraged us. This year, as in previous years, we pray that everyone feels the love of God in Christ and can be grateful for the gift of new life. Al
PSS – Hope you like the new theme.
In every thing givethanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18KJV
 
 

 

Fitness trackers and Faith

We are a fitness tracker family. We set goals and track our steps (gotta get those 10,000 steps in!). We keep a record of our weight and our water and food intake. We compare and compete and congratulate each other. Being a construction worker, it’s not hard for me to reach some goals, such as steps and distance. But reaching other goals like weight lose or water intake can be harder. At the end of the day I can see where I am at and where I fell short. Every Midnight starts a new day of tracking and all of yesterdays successes and failures are a thing of the past. While I sleep a new clean slate is made and I wake to the possibilities of reaching or even surpassing my set goals.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion’s fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lam 3:22-23 KJV

The love and compassion of our Lord are new for us every morning. A clean slate awaits us with each wake up call.

Isn’t that just our life of Faith in Jesus? We are blessed to serve a God of “Now”! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here, yet. All we have is right now. We wake up with a clean slate. At any point in our day we can take an accounting and if needs be, start over. Start over or renew our efforts to reach our goals. These trackers can remind you to get up and walk every hour. They can show you the number of steps completed in relation to your goal so that you can take action to reach the goal.

Paul shared with us that with all that he had done and all that he had been threw he did not presume to have reached the goal but he continued to press on to the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-15 Paraphrase mine

“Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”…Phil. 3:13 KJV

Putting yesterday behind us and heading straight into the day ahead of us with the goal of pleasing our Lord

Just as we have physical step goals and weight loss goals and strength goals that we set for ourselves we have spiritual goals that we can aim for. Just as we may fall short of these physical goals we will fall short of the spiritual ones as well.

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23KJV The definition of the word “Sin” translates to “missing, or falling short of, the mark”

Fortunately we have a Lord Who is full of mercy “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9 KJV. Whose mercy is new every morning. Lam. 3:22-23 KJV

Every morning is a new opportunity to reach our goals so be encouraged and inspired

So get up and go!!