Love in Action

I know most of you are familiar with this scripture, but we must not let our familiarity rob us of God’s transforming word. For my own necessity, I amplified each phrase in parenthesis. Consider the word and make it your own by modifying or fixing what I’ve suggested. Finally, it’s God’s love for us, in us, through us from Yeshua wherein our hope, salvation, and life comes, so focus on Him.

Love is patient, (waits to speak)
love is kind. (Says only nice)
It does not envy, (wants nothing)
it does not boast, (is quiet)
it is not proud. (Think of others)
It does not dishonor others, (holds critique)
it is not self-seeking, (waits)
it is not easily angered, (doesn’t take up offense)
it keeps no record of wrongs. (Forgets past)
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (Seeks good)
It always protects, (defends others)
always trusts, (accepts what comes)
always hopes, (expects good)
always perseveres. (Waits on God)
Love never fails. (Remembers, Hopes, Stands in Faith)
(1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).

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Life Infusion

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous…

From the Lord comes deliverance.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.

For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.

These are words of life. They speak of God’s nature, how close and caring He is toward His own. His goodness, love, and favor are renowned. In His word and person there are promises of blessing and specifically, that which is needed most. These words give heath, healing, and freedom to those who believe, receive and open their hearts to Him. Thank you, Lord God Almighty.

Psalm 1:6; 3:8; 4:8; 5:12; 9:9; 10:14; 11:4; 16:11; 19:8; 20:6; 22:24; 23:4; 24:10

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About Things

It’s not true about everyone, but most of us like to talk about things, rather than experience those same things. Before you formulate your objection to this suggestion, let me explain. There is nothing patently wrong with talking about things we’ve done, hope to do or are just find interesting. My granddaughter often surprises me, when I explain certain things to her and she replies with much more factual knowledge than I imagined possible. Its an example of talking about things, rather than sharing experiences, sharing who we are, hope to be, or the purposes which give our lives meaning.

Its the nature of talk, we don’t have to be responsible in the least superficial aspect. Even if we know what we are talking about, it is talk only. To share about the substantial matters that compel and confront us, we open ourselves to a high level of responsibility. This is the repugnant nature of politicians, they are skilled and practiced in commenting on things that appear to be very important, but do so without accepting any responsibility whatsoever. The apostle James lambaste irresponsible speech, “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6)

I thrive on substance and meaning. Early in life I learned the virtue and power of purpose. Until you experience and learn for yourself this may sound like all the other talk, but there is one person who is set apart, whose words have power, His name is Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name). Yes, we can chit chat about “religion” like politics, our taste in food, art, or the weather, but this person was dead and came back to life. In His name and message is the power of an indestructible life (Hebrews 7:16) These are weighty issues full of responsibility, because its about destiny. In this world physical things are most important while Spiritual matters are ignored, but in eternity the opposite is true, such that the physical will be completely forgotten. I have inadvertently scared people by sharing the gravity of destiny. “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)

Yesterday, I drove up to my house and saw my wife on the porch holding our 2 yr. old granddaughter. I thought how precious she’s is and all she means to our family. You and I are just as precious to God. Let the love of God wash over your soul and innermost being, receive the life He wants to give for it is not just talk.

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A Great Future

As beautiful and wondrous as the earth is, it will not endure forever, and that is very good news. Secular scientist have been suggesting for decades that the universe is infinite, in part, to support evolution theory which is based on random chance. On the other hand, scientist imagine an endless stream of global annihilation theories, such as, colliding with a comet or asteroid; global warming; overpopulation, and various pandemics. Most of these theories trace back to human causes, such that we are the cause of our own destruction. It is difficult to separate these doomsday theories from the political motives that perpetuate them.

However, the Big Bang theory has now been established, such that the universe had a beginning, albeit thirteen billion years ago. Part of the validating evidence is the continuing expansion of the universe. Therefore, earth had a beginning and consequently will have an end. We don’t know this from secular science, but we have an intuitive understanding and transcendent element in our makeup that affirms that the complexity, beauty, order, wonder and design of creation points to a creator. It is the supernatural creator who told us that the world would end annihilated by fire. Various persons were communicated this divine message and it was recorded in a supernatural book that endures today, the Bible. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” (2 Peter 3:10)

Ok, where is the good news? The earth is wearing out like a garment, its getting ragged and has some stains that just can’t be removed. This is sad, like autumn when the fruit dries up, the leaves fall off, the tree is barren, annuals die and the cold dark winter is upon us. The good news is that the removal of this earth will bring a new heaven and earth, substantially better than the earth we know – a paradise. “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13)

More good news is that we will need to do very little; no need to build space ships, no barren planet made habitable, no atmosphere or water created from nothing, it will all be made for us. That’s good news! “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4) It is far easier to believe the Bible than a theory based on sparse so called “facts” that change. Look within and consider the “you”, that never ages and remembers childhood like it was yesterday. Who made that spirit which resides within your body? Even if, the human body evolved from a single cell organism, it does not account for our innermost being awareness, transcendence, and the knowledge of good and evil that separates us from animals. Look deep within and you may find the fingerprint of God.

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Peace Maker

Where is the systematic racism that some rail against? I’m not talking about an individuals feelings that he or she is somehow a victim, such sentiment is not evidence of an established system. I’m not talking about statistics that can be twisted to support a premise that is only supposition. For example, demographic numbers of prisoners does not evidence a system unless evidence proves that innocent persons are found guilty in sufficient number, within a grouping together with complete consideration of total crimes committed, rather than prosecutions in a group, but such statistics do not exist.

This is not 1963, when masses of black voters were not permitted to vote; where an unjust system of “Separate but Equal” was anything but equal and discriminatory practices were enforced by law. These systems were removed by laws that guaranteed voters rights, equal access and equal opportunity. Moreover, Affirmative actions were put into place to assist with the implementation and reverse the impact of past practices. Fifty-six years later, the systems have been long removed and past practices forgotten. Integration is as complete as individuals are willing to choose for themselves, but yes, it is still a fallen world and people are far from perfect. In a free society the right to free association must be respected. If the State should select our friends it is tyrannical.

Most, if not all, of today’s unrest, falsely characterized as civil rights protests, is purely political with an evil demonic motive. Scripture observed it thousands of years ago. “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:14-17)

This is what the majority of American people want, but it is found by faith in God alone. Martin Luther King was a peace maker who practiced Christian values, and ideals and it was the means of his success, through God’s grace. In Yeshua, Messiah there are no distinctions that separate us into demographic groups with envy and selfish ambition producing disorder, evil, violence, riots, and government tyranny. Lord, Yeshua have mercy on us and turn our hearts back to you.

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Meeting Your Maker

Many men are proud and mighty in their fame, power, and influence, but a time comes to every one, where each one will be humbled to the greatest degree. That time is after years of self-will and perhaps a denial of the inevitable truth – we all die. That which kept us strong and alive will decline, normally through a gradual process of aging, then cease. Any number of maladies, diseases, accidents or sudden catastrophic failure can result in death. At that point, we are like a newborn, helpless, needy, and vulnerable, but our time on earth is finished, rather than just beginning. Not everyone is ready for death when it comes. Is it possible to prepare for death? How can the unknown be welcomed?

Death maybe the point of our greatest humiliation. In order to prepare for this ultimate humiliation, which is the removal of all we are have become and hoped to be, we must humble ouselves. When we humble ourselves in self sacrifice we can avoid forceful humiliation. The act of humiliation is the removal of our pride. The pride of life is the last sin to go. All men are reduced to nothing in death, their goods pass on to others and their time on earth is finished. We leave this earth just as we entered it, with nothing.

If the dead have not pursued a relationship with the eternal God, they we meet in the afterlife as strangers. It is a horrific thought to not know God and have Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) say, “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:23) Yeshua, is glorious to behold, in everything He has the supremacy. “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20) To stand before one so glorious and mighty in utter humiliation with nothing, nowhere to hide, no advocate, no excuse, totally exposed in truth is a horrifying vision to contemplate.

If you’re reading this it is not too late to find mercy and accept the free gift of eternal life in Yeshua Messiah. Read the gospel of John and pray Lord, Yeshua, I believe you and the Bible, that you are the son of God, that you gave your life on the cross as a ransom for my sin and that you rose from the dead ever living and interceding for your people. I want to turn away from the self-focused life I have lived and surrender to you. Help me, give me your Holy Spirit and your righteousness. Lead me in your ways and transform me into the person you have destined for me. I accept your love and all you want to give. I surrender my all to you Lord God Almighty.

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What Matters Most

Each of us has things going on family, work, finances, repairs, appointments, chores, hobby/sports, health/medical issues, people and God, in no particular order. What matters most among all these things and those not mentioned? Beyond that which we must do what really matters?

The Bible answers this question. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Yeshua said, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” …Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet was listening to what he said. (Luke 10:41-42, 39) Only one thing was necessary in Yeshua’s presence and Mary had chosen it. Yeshua said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) King David said, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4) Yeshua was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'” (Mark 12:28-30)

There it is, what matters most is to love God and others. Whatever else should be done in the shadow of this purpose. How can this be? “And if the Spirit of him 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 because of his Spirit who lives in you…The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:11,15,16)

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Reality Check

How often do you look up at the sky, clouds, moon or sunset? David did, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) There are times when I am weighed down with the cares of this life and world, then the sidewalk and ground is too often my view, really nothing is visible as my mind is preoccupied with troubles, difficulty or oppression.

The point is we all go through difficult times, experience hurt, depression or dejection, but there is hope and encouragement above us. God reigns supreme and Yeshua promises to never leave us. Even now, the baggage and residual hurt we may carry can be lifted. When Yeshua said He would never leave, it means He was there beside us when we were hurt. You may say, “Then why did He let it happen or Why didn’t He do something?” Is “why” the right question we should be asking? If you knew why, would it hurt any less? The question should be, “Will you set me free of the pain and hurt I feel?” The Bible contains the answer, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32,36) There are a variety of things, situations, circumstances, and events that can bind us, keeping us imprisoned and trapped. Scripture says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) The context here refers to being under the false believe that following religious laws, (even if we could), would make us righteous, but any false belief is bondage.

What does this have to do with abusive events? They are no longer abusing us, but the pain and hurt still remains and we are using a coping mechanism in an attempt to prevent it from happening again. Yeshua will take that hurt away, He was there and knows completely what we experienced. Moreover, the pain, injustice, betrayal, curses, hatred, abuse and torture He experienced on the Cross qualifies Him to be the one who can and will set us free. If we will ask and believe His promise, He will set us free. We may remember the incident, but the hurt will be gone and we can move forward with no baggage, unforgiveness, regret, shame, guilt or whatever binded us to the past. Moreover, He can stop our coping mechanism which is a barrier that shuts us off from others for fear they will hurt us again. Look up we have a deliverer, healer, and redeemer; his name is Yeshua Messiah.

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On The Hiking Trail

If you have never hiked in the forest, you may not be able to relate to what I’m talking about, but you still may find it interesting. First, I want to share an interesting fact that I discovered through my research on the trails – there are just about as many women on the hiking trails as men. Over decades of hiking I tallied the number of men and women we met on the trails, both overnight hiking trails and those for day hiking only. On the overnight trails there were usually a few more men, where as day use trails often had a few more women than men. It shocked me as the numbers began to establish this fact. Women and men both enjoy the forest, and though women are generally smaller and less muscular, they have what it takes to be excellent hikers.

A hike evokes many thoughts and emotions, like a good book that begins with interest, hope, intrigue, and a preview of the main characters. The trail head is a beginning that offers maps and excitement of beginning in full strength and anticipation, even if this is not your first hike on that trail. Getting into the forest awakens things that may have become dormant, like a fascination of the forest’s beauty and habitat, the majesty of the trees, streams, bluffs, overlooks, valleys and waterfalls. Then you begin to connect with the creation at whatever level you choose as you leave the human world behind. Hiking takes effort, often a lot of exertion and that maintained, requiring stamina.

After a while, perhaps the next day, if its an overnight hike, you reach a plateau in your combined thoughts, emotions, and physical output. That place, feeling and vision is what I wanted to share. When you enter into a unique environment like the forest which requires diligent physical exertion (albeit with ample rest breaks) and for a purpose that includes spiritual or mental renewal along with solitude, these combine to accomplish your purpose multiplied. At this point, the initial excitement, anticipation, and wonder has subsided, the connection with nature has been established, a rhythm has developed in your cadence and you are tired enough that your ego has been swallowed by solitude. The trail may seem monotonous, the trees all alike, the action of walking repetitive drudgery, and your mind may be empty as well, the senses have repeated themselves so much with the same sights, sounds, touch, tastes and smells; this is the time and place for a breakthrough. When all else is stilled, we become receptive and then we begin to receive that which we desired, but too deeply, to express in words. I know there are more chapters in these hiking adventures, such as great comrade, fellowship, overcoming obstacles, accomplishment, and plenty of good fun, but those moments of spiritual breakthrough are generally private and transforming, even if the the specifics are forgotten the impact remains.

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Spiritual Eyesight

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” U(Luke 2:29-32) This Supernatural prophetic proclamation was given by Simeon, an old man we know little about. His declaration was utterly glorious, poignant and succinct. Once I was given a supernatural impartation from the Holy Spirit and faced with a choice to keep it for myself or release it to others, which I did. This is the way of the Spirit, we exceed our natural ability and heavens view is opened to us. It may sound fantastic, but it is true, if one has faith to receive what God wants to give.

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)

The natural mind, which we all are born with, scoffs at the idea of most things spiritual/supernatural, even though stated in scripture, demonstrated and urged by the Lord, Yeshua. Rather than believe without complete understanding, (expressing faith), the nature mind questions, demands explanation, looks for alternatives to the clear meaning and/or rejects the word and Spirit outright. One of the biggest excuses is, “He doesn’t do today, what He did in Bible times.” Scripture says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) We don’t accept myths and the imaginations of men, because we hold firm to scripture in all matters. When Yeshua said, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it”, He was not exaggerating or speaking figuratively. Lord, help us to be filled with the Spirit, seeing and receiving everything you have prepared for us, including the mind of Christ.

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