Pages

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Is it REALLY Possible to Love God this much?

Exploring loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.



The Bible establishes the precept that we should have a better relationship with our heavenly Father than we do with our families.

Here are a few radical "Be The Few" type passages to ponder:

Luke 14:26–27 If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Matthew 10:37–38 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

I wrestle with these passages. Do you?

I examine myself often to see if I’m in the faith or where I am in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). I try to use tangible comparisons so I can get some type of a foothold on the spiritual precepts I discover in the bible. If I have a hard time with a concept, I try to distill it down to something small that I can manage. In this case, I was thinking about my relationship with the Lord and comparing that with the relationship with my family.

I know that there are many people today that have lousy relationships with their families. I am grateful to have had a family that was very close. It is rare these days, I know.

Think about when Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22). Abraham knew that if he loved God more than Isaac, then both he and Isaac would fare better in the long run. I grapple with the fact that God wanted to prove Abraham in that fashion.  Abraham was definitely being salted with fire.

Abraham’s test of love and faith shows us that our love for our family is to take a back seat to our love for God. This is not easy. Abraham set a model for us of radical obedience.

Jacob, another man of God, grieved so much over Joseph that he was going to go down to the grave heartbroken. He did this in spite of the promises that God gave him. Jacob’s love for his family appeared to be more than his love for God. God turned that around when He reunited Jacob with Joseph and saved his entire family alive. See Genesis 37 through 50 for the story.



Thinking about my dad here…

My dad and I were very close. He would do anything for me. He was a great dad!

It is hard for me to fathom having a better relationship with my heavenly Father than I did with my earthly father. Yet, the bible says this should be the case. I would assume a lot of people struggle with this precept.

Dad has been gone since 1999. Looking back, I can see how much Dad sowed into my life. He spent a lot of time with me. We would watch BlockBuster movies, play tennis, chess, and do the alphabet game for unending hours on our many road trips. Heck, it was fun even to clean the house when Dad was around! That’s nuts, right?

I fell short in my part of our relationship because I was selfish. As Dad got older, he would ask me to play tennis. I started telling him ‘no’. I was exerting my independence, but right now I wish I said ‘yes’ every time he asked me to play tennis. I was sowing selfishness and now I am reaping regret. This weighs heavy on my heart often.

Do I feel this type of regret when I let God down?

With my heavenly Father, I haven’t been able to reach out and hug Him with my physical arms. I haven’t been able to actually see the price that Jesus paid for me on the cross with my physical eyes. The love the bible talks about is something I have to find through spiritual searching.

Sure there are movies and there are the accounts in the Bible that depict what Jesus did for us. But I haven’t been able to hug God like I’ve been able to hug my dad with my physical arms. I can’t really play tennis with Jesus, or chess, although I could probably make a case for watching a movie with Him! LOL! There are points in the Passion of the Christ or some other movies I feel like God was giving me a ‘spiritual’ hug. Or in ‘God’s not Dead’ I feel like giving Jesus a High Five at times!

To put things in perspective. God has come through for me over and over again. Time and time again the Lord has met my needs according to His riches in glory. I’ve encountered God more than once and He has radically changed my life. He has done so many amazing things that I know that He loves me. All of this, however, is a component of faith.

Faith is substance, but it is an unseen substance (Heb 11:1). A substance of hope. Which is intangible.

There is the crux.

Faith makes us look mentally deranged to unbelievers. Let’s just come right out and say it. Having faith in an invisible God looks imbecilic to those that don’t know Him. The more faith we have and exert, the nuttier we look to the world!

With Dad, I didn’t need faith. I could just pick up the phone and call him. With Dad, I could reach out and hug him with my physical body. Dad was tangible. Real like banging on the keys of this computer as I type.

With the Lord, I have to approach my relationship with him spiritually by faith. And somehow that faith is to lead me to where I love an invisible God more than a visible parent. This love means that God is to be at the reins of my heart and not my family.

Revelation 2:23 …. all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: ….
There’s that part of the Bible where it says that the fathers will turn in the children and families will be divided over Jesus so much so that they betray each other even to death! (Matthew 10:20,21). It floors me every time I read those passages. It is hard for me to fathom family members betraying one another over Jesus. But it happens.

Jesus also says that our love for Him has to make our love for our fathers and mothers seem like hate (Luke 14:26 see above) in comparison. This is a hard passage to swallow in light of honoring our parents is part of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:12). But that is how I am dealing with that scripture for now.

In exploring this dilemma, I know that my desire for God has to be stronger than my desire to see my family again. A lot of people say they will be excited to see their family when they get to heaven. I will be too. However, our affections should be set upon God more than our families.

Here is a doozy #BeTheFew type passage for this discourse:

Matthew 8:21–22 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Think about that! Jesus wants us to follow Him so much that even burying our parents has to take a back seat to following Jesus.

I guess it boils down to this.  If I had to choose between Jesus or my dad, I would choose Jesus. And you know what? Dad would want me to. Because he knows Jesus is Lord. No matter what. Dad knows that it is best if we ALL put God first!

This may be why we don’t read of Isaac struggling or complaining when Abraham was going to sacrifice him (Gen 22). They both knew to put God first. God was first in Abraham’s family. The FATHER of faith. He is our example.

Where are you in your love for God? Do you struggle with this?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

John 3:16 The Rest of the Story

We all know John 3:16, but did you know this backstory?

John 3:14-15 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

Jesus compares himself to the serpent from the book of Numbers 21:4-9.  If the children of Israel sinned, they would get bitten by serpents and have to look upon the serpent to get healed.

Numbers 21:4-9  And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.  5  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.  6  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.  7  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.  8  And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.  9  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Later, the children of Israel began to burn incense to the serpent. King Hezekiah destroyed the serpent because it had become idolatry.

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

Looking through this lens of the fiery serpent in the wilderness We next need to examine the word 'so' that we find in John 3:16.

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.

When we think of the word 'so' in John 316 we may be tempted to think  'in vast quantity' or 'in large amounts'. But the actual underlying Greek word for 'so' means something completely different. 

G3779 οὕτω houtō hoo'-to
Or, before a vowel, οὕτως houtōs hoo'-toce.
From G3778; in this way (referring to what precedes or follows): - after that, after (in) this manner, as, even (so), for all that, like (-wise), no more, on this fashion (-wise), so (in like manner), thus, what.

When we say 'God so loved the world'  the bible means 'in like manner'. When the world is experiencing tribulation because of their sin, they need to look unto Jesus and rely upon Him for salvation. 

Now you know, the rest of the story. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Is #Jesus welcome?



Is #Jesus welcome at the dinner table?

Is Jesus welcome in my living room?

Is my conversation with friends Holy Spirit Inspired?

Do the TV programs I watch offend God?

What are we feeding our children (in terms of leisure, pleasure and comfort)?

Are we teaching our children that JESUS is Lord by our actions?

Does the music I listen to glorify Jesus?

Are the websites I visit building me up in Christ?

Do the books I read draw me CLOSER to Jesus? .. or drive me away from Him?

John 15:4-5 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Let's be honest.  How many hours of our day are consumed communing with and having conversation about Jesus?   How is Jesus Lord and Master of our lives if He isn't even part of our routine?

Colossians 2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him
Colossians 3:1-3 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Thanks be to GOD that it isn't about what WE do .. it's ONLY about what HE IS!  Jesus is MORE than enough for us!  Love on Jesus today!  Share HIS love today with those you meet.  Spend some time communing with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is a friend that "sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24).

Ephesians 3:17-19 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Be Blessed...

#BeTheFew

#TeamJesus

Friday, July 24, 2015

Are you willing to be forsaken?


Has it happened to you yet?
  • That look
  • That whisper
  • That turning away
  • Peculiar silence and avoidance
If you truly love ‪#‎Jesus‬ ... it will happen. It must happen.

Here is the hard truth, we are called to stick out, not to fit in. We go against the grain of our culture, because we are not OF this world .. this is not our home.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light

If you are sold out to Jesus .. your life is OFFENSIVE to the enemy. Your smile, your laughter, your humility, your joy ALL will elicit very ugly responses in those who are resisting the work of God in their lives. These people may not even seem 'sinful' on the surface, but this reaction is unmistakable... they resist because evil in their hearts is provoked by the light.

Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Are we willing to be forsaken for the Gospel?

That is the question of the day.

What are you willing to endure for the Gospel of Jesus? It's easy to say we're sold out .. it is easy to say we'll do ANYTHING to stand up for Jesus ... but when the day comes that we have to choose between our LIFE and our LORD, what will we choose? If they come for our kids, our pets, our homes, our jobs, our money ... are we still going to STAND UP for Jesus?

Matthew 19:27-30 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Be Blessed...

‪#‎BeTheFew‬

‪#‎TeamJesus‬

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Be Still ... Let God be God!



Back up ...

Take a deep breath ...

It's ALL about ‪#‎Jesus‬.

I sometimes find myself in the middle of a discussion with someone and something in my spirit is not right. I am seeing or hearing negativity in the conversation. As I am trying to share truth or insight about Scripture or Holy Spirit or something that the Lord is working on in my personal walk .. I suddenly feel confronted with negativity from the person I am addressing.  This general resistance seems to be about any conversation regarding the PERSON of Jesus .. and the PERSONAL experience of being a child of God.  Sometimes these people are unteachable or inconsolable... The Holy Spirit has REALLY been dealing with me very specifically about these types of encounters...

God's prescription? ...

1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Just STOP, breathe, pray, listen for direction...

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

When people are resistant to conversations about the PERSON of Jesus .. that could be because they are NOT CLOSE to Jesus. They may have been sold out to Jesus at some point in time (or maybe they have never really had a relationship with Him!) .. when you begin to speak about your love for the Lord, they begin to squirm. This is called conviction.

John 16:8 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO WHEN A PERSON IS BEING CONVICTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TO INTERFERE.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Drop the carnal arguments. You can stop trying to convince ... You don't have to give people a recipe or routine to follow. You may need to ask ONE simple question ...

>>> DO YOU LOVE JESUS? <<<

Back up and let the Holy Spirit do His job!

1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

Jesus told us that HE would draw all men unto himself. Our job is to point people to JESUS. Whatever error people may have in their doctrine.. God is big enough to handle it. TRUST GOD!!

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Be Blessed...

‪#‎BeTheFew‬

‪#‎TeamJesus‬

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Father, forgive them!



I see images, comments, videos and articles about ...

JUSTICE, RIGHTS, FAIRNESS, EQUALITY, REVENGE, etc...

These are posts from Christians explaining how they are being abused and mistreated .. or someone they know is being treated unfairly by people in power, or people in their workplace or even people in their 'church' or even by 'society' at large. They are talking about their RIGHTS and the need for JUSTICE ... saying "We Want REVENGE" and "Give us what WE DESERVE."

I want to point out something, that some may not have considered.

We do NOT WANT JUSTICE ... we want MERCY.

We were destined to DIE in our sins, but God had MERCY on us and saved us from the fires of hell (Romans 6:23) . We didn't earn salvation, but He gave it to us anyway!!

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

WE HAVE NO RIGHTS if we belong to Jesus. We are DEAD and our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We are HIS. Everything we OWN and everything we ARE belongs to ‪#‎Jesus‬

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

IT WAS NOT FAIRNESS or EQUALITY or REVENGE that put Jesus on that cross. He went to the cross because he LOVED US ENOUGH TO DIE for us!

Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

I exhort you, if you are feeling angry, frustrated, abused ... if you want to take REVENGE on your oppressors ... I PLEAD WITH YOU, allow the Holy Spirit to root out the seeds of bitterness that have been planted in you.

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

You are being manipulated for evil .. every time you watch one of those videos or share it, or read those 'angry' posts or bring up these things in conversation you are being used by the enemy to plant more seeds of dissension and strife. The answer is #JESUS and it is ONLY JESUS!! You CAN NOT FIX what is wrong with evil men by complaining about it ... go to GOD, pray for those who persecute you and FORGIVE THEM.

Matthew 5:43-45  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

The measure of forgiveness YOU USE towards others is the measure you receive in return from your heavenly father.

Matthew 18:21-35 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

Be Blessed...

‪#‎BeTheFew‬

‪#‎TeamJesus‬

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Get closer to #Jesus!


I see a lot of posts on Facebook from people I love and respect exhorting us to DO GOOD WORKS .. and they are telling the TRUTH!

.. but let me give a little piece of advice to those who are reading these posts and feeling a bit hopeless and helpless...

GET CLOSER TO ‪#‎JESUS‬! That is your solution! When you stick close to Jesus.. when you meditate on Him, listen to the Holy Spirit, love Him, read the Word, praise and worship Him... you will soon discover you have NO DESIRE to do anything that will interrupt that divine connection! You will find PEACE in your heart! .. You will find JOY unspeakable!! You will find yourself DOING GOOD WORKS because it is flowing out of Holy Spirit ANOINTING (and it is ZERO burden when HE is carrying the whole load!)

"James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..."

TURN OFF THE TV!! ‪‬

TURN OFF THE MUSIC!!

TUNE INTO THE HOLY SPIRIT!!

When you finally give EVERYTHING you own and EVERYTHING you are to Jesus ... you will be RICHER THAN EVER BEFORE!!

Ephesians 3:14-21 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Be Blessed!!

‪#‎BeTheFew‬

‪#‎TeamJesus‬