Saturday, March 5, 2011

Don’t Return to Vomit (Archived)

Father God, we come once again before your thrown of grace, in awe of your magnificent power and glory, with thanksgiving.  We are thankful to see another day Lord.  You woke us up with our organs functioning and our bones intact.  Your mercy can be seen in our daily living, for we sin continually yet you Love us just the same in not allowing a punishment that is well deserved to fall on us, so we are thankful Father.  I pray now Lord, that your message is received in love Father, and that it is considered Father for correction in your children’s lives.  I pray Lord that their hearts are in the right place to receive it, and their thoughts are purged of any unrighteousness.  We give you honor, glory, and the praise, and we respectfully pray this prayer in Jesus’ name.  Amen!

Before I begin, I apologize in advance for anything that may seem offensive to some.  I pray that you can see pass it and receive the intended message.  Amen?

Regurgitation is just another way of saying vomit.  When God designed our bodies, He created a system of defense to protect it.  One element of this system is regurgitation.  When we ingest something that the body deems foreign, it enables involuntary muscles to expel it from the body.  So any of you, which I am sure you all have at one time or another, had ever regurgitated, it was due to a foreign element that entered your stomach, and the body felt it was necessary to expel it.

This system is not exclusive to humans but to animals as well.  Take for instance a dog.  Dogs also ingest many things that are foreign and the result is for them to bring it back up.  What is strange is sometimes the dog will lick back up the vomit.  The bible says “As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.”  (Pr 26:11)  A dog’s nasal structure is designed in a way which heightens its sense of smell.  When a dog regurgitates, because of its limited mental capacity, compiled with greed, it smells part of the food that is in the vomit and wants to consume it again.  People are the same.  Not in the sense of wanting to consume their own vomit, but seem to want to return back to the thing that is harmful to them.  Take for instance women who seem to return back to the men who nearly beat them to death.  What about that man who seem to keep returning back to jail?  Or just the person who is just sick and tired of being sick and tired, only to do nothing about being sick and tired?

The metaphor that the writer of Proverbs was trying to express is that these people, regardless to how sensitive you think this topic is, are people who are acting like fools.  The writer is comparing their actions to dogs.  Dogs, after gaining ease by regurgitating that which upset their stomachs, will yet go and lick it up again.  This is so with people, who have been convinced that they need to change their lives, yet return to that very same thing that convinced them they needed to change, forgetting how sick it made them.   There is a saying, if you continue to do the same things you have always done, you will receive the same results.

We need to behave as the intelligent creatures God designed us to be.  We need to acknowledge the things that are not good for us, and metaphorically throw it up.  Once it is expelled, we are not to return back to it.  Partying all night and drinking hard, may result in a hangover in the morning.  I have never heard anyone say, I love the way a hangover feels.  Having slept with someone the night before, only to feel disgusted that it was done, means that you should not repeat those steps.  The list goes on and on.  What you can eat and not worry about it upsetting your stomach, is the word of God.  His Word, if you eat it, it will comfort your stomach and the taste in your mouth will be like honey in sweetness (Eze 3:3).  Give God’s Word a try, and see if it is truth I am sharing.  Amen!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Test All Things

Oh Heavenly and Gracious Father.  We come to you today with thanksgiving Lord.  We thank you Father for another day that you have made. We thank you for your forgiveness Lord. We thank you Lord for the little things that we take for granted.  Father we pray that you continue to strengthen us in our faith Lord. We pray that when we are faced with obstacle Father, that we continue to praise you Lord and thank you, because we know that you are right there with us Father.  You and only you are able to get us through it Father. Thank you Lord.  We pray that your light will continue to shine. Let it shine Father so those that are lost and in darkness will see the light Lord.  Help us Lord to lead your lost children to you Lord. We pray that this message will help those that are reading it to draw closer to you Lord.  Help them to change their ways Lord, and come to you.  Father we thank you, we lift you up, we glorify you Lord, in Jesus name.  Amen!
                                                                                         Prayer by: Judith Notice

A while back a friend of mine and I had a disagreement, and because of this disagreement, even though it is not what I prefer, it keeps us at odds now.   We were discussing one of my messages in which she disagreed on the delivery.  I respectfully told her that I speak “what thus saith the Lord” so in essence you are disagreeing with the word.  Apparently that did not sit well with her.  I am not sure if she fully understood what I was saying, but it eventually put us at a place where it is just better that communication ceases between us.  When someone says they speak “what thus saith the Lord”, it is normally from someone who is in the ministry.  They’ve received and accepted the calling on their life to the Lord’s ministry and have submitted themselves to the Holy Spirit’s campaign, which is to spread the Gospel to those who are lost.  So when I say, “I speak what thus saith the Lord”, I am speaking a message, pertaining to a topic rooted in God’s word.  Amen!  One of the challenges that she and I had, was she said I believe I am speaking what thus saith the Lord, and do not know, where I countered and said I know I am.  When someone says they believe, they are exercising their faith.  The bible states “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  (Heb 11:1)  Faith does not need evidence for it to be present, so therefore although I speak messages based on faith, I am confident of the source based on the evidence, the proof, which now translates to “I know.”  I know this because it is not all the time I receive a direction from the Lord when it comes to my messages.  At times I have to rely on older messages, because I just did not receive it. However, when I do receive it, the profound affect it has on the hearers’ ears is my evidence.  Again, I know I am speaking what thus saith the Lord.  I was called arrogant.  Amen, and my question to her, based on her statement, what standard did she use to contradict what I was saying?  What tests was performed to prove me one way or the other?  I am still waiting for the answer.
There are plenty of people who will not step foot in the church because they believe the pastor is faux.  This is understandable, because you do have false prophets out there.  However, you have those who hide behind that answer, and will tell others the same thing, but the real issue is they do not want their mess to be confronted, because eventually, that is exactly what the word of God will do.  It will put a virtual mirror before you so you can see how ugly you have become and give you a charge to fix yourself up.  But if many feel that pastors are fake,  all you have to do is prove it.  Before one buys a car, what do they do?  They test drive it first.  Why?  Because you want to make sure you are not buying a lemon?  If you are purchasing a cd off of the street, you will ask the person who is selling it to you, to come to your car so you can put it in your radio and navigate the tracks.  Why?  Because you want to make sure you are not buying a blank cd.  So if one’s stance is they are not stepping foot in this church or that church because the pastor is fake, it can easily be proven.   When Jesus’ spiritual authority was in question he stated “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.  "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.”  (Joh 7:17-18) Amen!
Theologian Adam Clarke could not be any clearer when he interpreted this verse.  Observe:
“I will give you a sure rule by which ye may judge of my doctrine: If you really wish to do the will of God, begin the practice of it; and take my doctrine, and apply it to all that you know God requires of man; and if you find one of my precepts contrary to the nature, perfections, and glory of God, or to the present or eternal welfare of men, then ye shall be at liberty to assert that my doctrine is human and erroneous, and God has not sent me. But if, on the contrary, ye find that the sum and substance of my preaching is, That men shall love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbor as themselves; and that this doctrine must bring glory to God in the highest, while it produces peace and good will among men; then acknowledge that God has visited you, and receive me as the Messiah promised to your fathers.”  It is that simple family.  That pastor will only be instructed to speak the things that line up with scripture and it will be beneficial to the hearer receiving salvation.  Plain and simple!  The problem is the “if”.  The scripture says If anyone wants to do His will….”  Part of God’s will, according to scripture is that all His children is saved, but the choice lie on us.  If you want to do His will, you will listen to that pastor and see if what he is saying is lining up with the word of God.  John 3:16 states “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  There is that choice.  If you believe, you will be saved.  If you believe the pastor is a fake, then prove it.  Otherwise, it is an unrighteous attempt to not hear the word of God, because you do not want the word to intrude on your mess. 
Is it arrogant of me or any other minister to say we “know” we speak what thus saith the Lord?  It all depends on the heart of the viewer.  Some say to us they wish they had that type of faith that would elevate them to that level.  I receive the latter.  Some may call it arrogance, I call it confidence.  We are instructed to test all things pertaining to us wanting to believe, and hold onto what is good. (1 Thes 5:21)  If you are not sure if I or other pastors are speaking what thus saith the Lord, hence the word, you have access to prove us wrong if so.  That access is the word of God, accessible for free in churches and online.  What are you waiting for?  Amen!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Was It Bound To Happen?

Oh heavenly Father, most gracious God, Father God we come before you once again boldly before the throne of Grace, but with a humbled heart first just to say thank you Lord. Father God I pray that all hearts and minds are clear to hear from what thus saith the Lord.  That the word of God may come into good ground.  Lord I pray for those who may be going through trials, to put all their trust in you. I pray for those who desire sound doctrine that you lead them to those who truly have a relationship with you Lord.  I pray for those who are in a prison in their mind Lord, for you said in your word, that you came to set the captive free!  I pray for the man of God who is bringing these on time messages, that he continue to stand on your word, neither moving to the left or to the right, but to stay steadfast in your presence. Let this word penetrate the very core of their hearts, and that it seize the mind and they begin to speak life into their situation. In Jesus name we pray.  Amen
                                                                                Prayer by: Pastor Chris Likely

I do not like funerals.  I mean who would?  A funeral indicates that someone who was loved or liked has died.  They call it home going services.  Forgive me, but at times I chuckle at the notion.  At one funeral I was a part of, a young man in the community was shot to death.  As I am looking in the pews, I see young men with shades on, and bling all over.  They had them in their ears, mouth, on their necks, wrists, and of course fingers.  As I am gazing and saying to myself, this man must have been an upright citizen (I said forgive me), I am able to over here a young lady saying that one of the baby mothers is in the back.  I then glanced to the front row and seen a woman who I believe to be his wife or girlfriend, although saddened, but more concerned about that woman in the back.  As the service began, and we were at the time of reflections, people were coming up sharing their recollection of him.  On how he was a good man, and how he loved life, and so forth and so forth.  It was very difficult to sit still, but nonetheless I endured.  It was now time for my former pastor to bring forth the message.  As he made it to the pulpit, his eyes met mine and I could see the discomfort.  I was pleased with his message.

There was another where the man who had passed had throat cancer.  He was up there in age, so it may be considered as expected.  He was known as a two-faced person.  He held an office in the church, and on many occasions that I have witnessed, he would speak praise to someone in their face, and cut them when their back was turned.  In both cases, family and friends would express their disappointment on how they died so soon.  How they were good people and they did not deserve this.  Was it bound to happen?

I thank God for being saved, and I pray earnestly for those who have yet to get it right.  However family, we inhabit a very evil and wicked world.  If we are not careful, we can get caught up in the world and we are now at the mercy of what the world will deliver.  God’s word states “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.”  (1Jo 2:15-16)  This is not a mystery family.  The world and God are at odds.  It is further proven in Romans 12:2 where it reads “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Conforming to the world is not the will of God.

So family, why is the world and God at odds?
Joh 12:31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
Joh 14:30 "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
1Jo 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.  The ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who works in the people of disobedience, and the wicked one,  speaks of one being; the devil.  That is why the world and God are at odds.

Now to the point I want to make.  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU READ FROM THIS POINT ON, VERY CAREFULLY!!!  There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.  And seven sons and three daughters were born to him.  Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.  And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.  So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. Why did Job do this?  For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.  And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."  Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?"  So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing?  "Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  "But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"  And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.  (Job1:1-12)

Fast forward now.  Job began to lose everything.  All that he had, he lost.  His servants were bringing bad news after bad news, then the news no parent wants to hear.  The bible states “While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,  "and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" (Job 1:18-19)

You can tell me how much you love God, but your heart will tell the real story.  Some of you know full well where you stand, and it is only because of the strength of someone sending daily petitions to God on your behalf, why you probably still standing.  When you engage in things you are not suppose to, consider maybe that someone is praying for you.  When you are out there getting that dough, and assisting in making people slave to that drug you are selling, consider that someone is praying for you.  When you are in the club every weekend and drinking and partying like there is no tomorrow, consider that someone is praying for you.  Was it fair what happened to Job?  It is irrelevant!  What is certain is you do not know when the devil is going to ask permission to test that person who is praying for you, and if it happens, where does that leave you?!!!!!!!!  Job’s kids ignored what their father did for them.  They squandered that blessing of protection, and when the cover was removed, boom, game over!  It was bound to happen!!!!!!!!

I am very slow to say at a funeral on how good a person was unless I can prove they lived according to scripture.  I am very slow to say how a person has died so young (not referring to infants or children) where I am not sure how they lived their life.  Many of you know me.  Many of you knew how I was, and by the grace of God, I was spared because people were praying for me, and I now can pray for myself.  If I’d continued to engage in my foolishness, it would have been inevitable, that I was going to have a short life.  As the scripture states “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;  For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.”  (Pr 3:1-2)  We tend to live our life as though it is a privilege for God to spare us.  We carry on with wicked deeds without a sense of accountability.  What we are not seeing is the devil and his hosts salivating at the chance to turn our lives upside down, and God hands on us, while His ears are opened to the righteous prayer of a loved one.  However if we continue with the foolishness, unchecked, it is bound to happen.  Amen!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

God Still Loves Us

Heavenly Father, we come to you today Lord to thank you for allowing us to see another one of your glorious days.  I am blessed this day because You are a forgiving and understanding God.  You have done so much for us Lord and You keep blessing us daily.  Forgive us this day Lord for anything that we have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to You .   Please keep us, our families, our friends, and everyone we come in contact with Lord, safe from all danger and harm.  Help us to start this day with a new attitude Lord, so we can clear our minds so that we can hear from You Lord.  Let us hear what You want us to do Lord, so we can be of use to do Your will Lord.  This we pray in Jesus name.   Amen!
                                                                                                                    Prayer by: Judith Notice

Sometime last year my son and daughter put on a wonderful display of disobedience and shame.  No, I am not crazy; patience my friends.  It was on a Saturday and I was watching them while my wife ran some errands.  I have a soft spot for them, so I usually let them have their way with a limited amount of intrusion on my part.  It was in the afternoon, and they were upstairs moving around and making noise.  It was tolerable only because I was interested in whatever I was watching.  Some time passed and I noticed I did not hear them.  I called out for them, but I did not get an answer.  All of the entrances and exits are downstairs and they have no access to the windows, so I knew they were in the house.  I figured they were playing hide and seek with me, but I just wanted assurance that they were ok.  I called out to them again, but still no answer.  I turned off the T.V. to make sure I can hear them, but still no answer.  Now I am beginning to get angry.  I began to navigate up the stairs and call out to them and still no answer.  So now I am saying to myself, they definitely will have some explaining to do.  I made it to their room, and there was no sight of them.  I turned around to exit, and I heard shuffling in their closet.  I opened their closet door and I seen my son only in his underwear, and my daughter did not have on her shirt.  I asked them why they are not dressed, but all I got was silence.  So I turned to get their belt and as I turned and stepped, the carpet was wet.  As I surveyed some more I seen my son’s clothes partially hanging off their hamper and I looked back in the closet, and I saw my daughter’s shirt carefully tucked in a corner.  Now I knew what happened.  So I looked back on them, and I asked them again but no answer.  My son, loves his younger sister and will protect her, so if I made attempts to punish her, he will intervene.  I looked to her and reached my hand to pull her to me, and he blurted it out.  They were playing with some toy they got in their happy meals that shoots water. 
They knew how I felt about playing in water, yet they still did it.  It was when they heard me calling them they realized their disobedience.  Even when they tried to cover the evidence, the guilt they felt of having to face me was too much so they hid.  They heard me calling them, and yet they still hid from me.  I was looking at them, and I could see the shame and fear on their faces.  I did not ask them why did they not answer when I called, nor did I ask them why did they hide.  I knew the answer.  I did punish them, but not in the manner they were expecting.  Why?  Because I love them.  Yes they disobeyed me, but they are my children, and I want them to learn from this.  I wanted them to know how it feels to be given a second chance.  Hallelujah!  Many of your spirits should be burning right now, because you know where I am getting at.  Amen!
God is faithful and His Love is demonstrated in His word.  The bible states “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isa 55:7-9)  My goodness!  This is why so many people choose not to go to church.  They feel they are not worthy.  They feel that they have done too many bad things and cannot seek the Lord.  They feel there is no hope for them.  Oh, how wrong they are.  God wants them to come back to Him.  Those thoughts they are having, are how they would think, but God said His thoughts are not based on their type of emotions.  God’s love is not contingent on anything.  Amen, God’s love is unconditional.  He is saying they may think there is no hope, but He will ensure hope.  Can you get with me on this family? God still loves you if you stole, He does not want you to steal again.  God still loves you if talked bad about someone without cause; He does not want you to do it again.  When that woman was brought before Jesus under the sin of adultery, after he put the Pharisees in their place, he told her to go and sin no more. 
It is never too late to turn your life over to God.  There is nothing you have done that would be so wicked that if you come before God and ask forgiveness, that He will turn you away.  Choose this day, because tomorrow is never promised.  Amen!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spirit of Stupidity

Heavenly Father, I present myself humbly before your throne of grace, ever so grateful for all that you have done and will continue to do.  I thank you for your grace and mercy.  I thank you Father for the assurance we have as long as we stand on your word.  I pray Father that all who reads this message will receive it in love, and make necessary adjustments in dealing with themselves or others.  I pray Father that you set an atmosphere for each person to read and meditate on your word without any hindrances, and I pray Father that they walk away a bit better than before.  We give you all honor and glory and we pray this prayer in your son Jesus’ name.  Amen

There are some people out there who just make some bad decisions.  They make bad decisions regarding their health.  They make bad decisions regarding their relationships.  They make bad decisions regarding their finances.  They make bad decisions regarding their conduct on the job.  They make bad decisions regarding how they raise their kids.  I mean come on.  How do I know this?  It is very simple.  The results of their decision making are evident.  Any concerned individual could not watch and not feel the urge to want to step in an offer some sound advice.  It is even worst when it is a close friend or relative.  The challenge that those of us face who want to help is that our hands are tied.  Our hands are tied because these individuals refuse to take heed to what we tell them.

It can be frustrating when people come to me for advice.  I listen attentively to what is being said.  I write down the pros and cons.  I ask questions to make sure that I understand their dilemma correctly.  I even apply an old financial approach, when I tried my hand at financial services.  I apply G.A.M.E.  I gather all information. I analyze the information I gathered thoroughly.  I make a plan that will best deal with the situation.  I then virtually execute and evaluate everything.  I present it to them, and they agree they will follow it only to do the exact opposite of what I suggested, and receive the same result or even worse than what they came to me with.  I then ask myself, why did they come to me in the first place?  There is that saying if you continue to do the same things over and over again, you will receive the same results.  Why do people feel that the bad decision they made, and the results of it, will be different on another day if they make the same decision?  My goodness.  It is like some of the users I assist.  They enter the wrong password about 4 times, and then wonder why they were locked out of their account.  At what point did they say, ok, something is wrong here?  It is very frustrating family, because anyone with a conscience would not enjoy seeing this.  The problem is unfortunate, but it is what it is.  They are stupid.

Now before you make the decision to boycott my site, let’s look at it from an exegetical view.  The bible states “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.” (Pr 12:1-NKJV)  The Hebrew word used is “ba`ar” which means brutish as animal who is only motivated by a goad, or simply stupid.  Anyone who truly wants to do better will receive instruction.  They would be eager to receive it.  They would long for it.  They would be grateful that someone seen something that they did not see.  Anyone who is corrected is made wiser in each correction.  However you have those, who seem to be a dissenter by nature.  There would be no substance behind it other than just wanting to dissent.  These are the ones who just refuse to be instructed or corrected.  Some will try and say “who are you to judge me on my decision making.”  In the name of Jesus I cast that down.  I do not even receive that.  Is it the truth?  Yes!  Can it help you?  Yes!  Then receive the instructions and shut your mouth! 

You see family, a lot of times it is a nasty, stubborn spirit that you are dealing with, and that spirit know that you are coming in the name of Jesus Christ, and you will make this person a better person.  Once this person becomes better, and see how your advice worked for them, their faith will increase and that spirit will have no choice but to vacate the premises, which it does not want.  The bible states “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none.” (Matt 12:43)  So that stubborn spirit is not trying to leave that host and will put up a fight.  So you will get that person who will refuse to hear instruction.  They refuse to apply correction on their life.  They continue in the same rut and mess because that spirit is satisfied, and now you have a person who exhibits that “I do not want to listen to your advice” attitude.

They are stupid, but they need help.  They need someone to pray for them.  They need someone who will stand firm and confront that negative spirit.  They may need to hear a testimony.  What they do not need is for us to say, “Well they will get what they deserve.”  No family.  This is not the way.  If it wasn’t for Jesus, we would have gotten what we deserved.  The next time we encounter a family member or friend, who we know just do not make the best choices, they may have a spirit on them that will send them to their death if we do not intervene.  Amen!

Monday, February 28, 2011

We Need to Forgive

Father God, I come before you now with my head bowed and my heart humbled Lord, to say thank you.  I thank you for life this morning.  I thank you for allowing me to wake up in my right mind.  I thank you for protecting my family and me while we slumbered, and I thank you for your son Jesus.  I pray this morning Father, that those who read this message that you have placed in my heart to share, will take heed and make it applicable.  I pray Father that you will remove any hindrances Father that will prohibit anyone from receiving it Father.  Lord I just pray that you have your way with us this morning.  And Father, I pray, if there is anything that was done that was not pleasing to you, I pray that you forgive us for it.  We honor you.  We give you praise.  And we send this prayer to you, in the name of your son Jesus Christ.  Amen.

If there is one thing that Christians find difficult in their walk, I believe is the act of forgiveness.  It is not a good feeling to be betrayed or hurt by someone.  We think, speak and act based on how we feel, and this can be altered if someone hurt us in any way.  The first feeling we feel is the affect from the hurt.  It can be anger, sadness, and in some cases helpless.  The very next feeling we feel is vengeance.  How can I get back at that person who hurt me?  We then find ways to justify it.  We say to ourselves, that we did not deserve it.  We quote the Law by saying “an eye for an eye.”  Some even go as far as saying “well the bible does say do onto others what you want others to do onto you.  So since this person hurt me, I guess he/she want to be hurt back.”  If you were to step out and look at each scenario, what are the chances of the cycle continuing?  This person hurt that person, and that person responds by hurting back.  The level of hurt will then increase.  It will soon turn into physical hurt, since majority of the time, the hurt we feel from someone are emotional.  Once it turns into physical, there is a level of rage present to where the person is not him or herself.  You know this, when the dust has settled, and the damage is evident, they say to themselves, “what have I done?”
Although it is difficult, it is very important that we practice forgiveness.  This is so important on many levels family.  The bible states “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Col 3:12-13) The latter part did not say that we should do.  It said that we must do.  This is a command given by our almighty God by way of Jesus’ act on the cross.  Sometimes we are crafty and may say “I forgive the person but I do not forget.”  Let’s take a look at those two “f” words. 
Forgive - to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.  to cease to feel resentment against.
Forget - to cease or fail to remember; be unable to recall.  to fail to think of; take no note of.
Have we heard the term “I forgive you, but I do not forget what you did?”  Have any of you said this before?  In looking at the definitions of “forgive” and “forget” does it make sense?  If we forgave, meaning we cease to feel resentment against that person, yet will not forget, meaning we will not fail to think of it, then how soon will the feeling of resentment return?  So did we truly forgive?
When Jesus taught us to pray, referring to the Lord ’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13), in verse 12 it states “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.”  The reason for this is found in verse 14 which reads “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”   If there would be any motivation for us to practice forgiveness, this verse should be it.  Where would we be if our God chose not to forgive us?  In the book of James it states “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only,” (Jas 1:22) we must then practice forgiveness.  We are instructed to be imitators of God (Eph 5:1).  One way to imitate God is in forgiveness.  The Psalmist stated “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Ps 103:12)  What is the distance between east and west?  That distance is the equivalent of how far God remembers our sins, which is an offense to Him.  He forgave us!  That is how we are to forgive those who hurt us.  We are to treat them as though they never did hurt us.  Finally, in the book of Matthew, the Apostle Peter asked Jesus a question.  Observe: 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. (Matt. 18:21-22) Let’s look at it mathematically, 70x7=490.  Now let’s look at it from a literal sense.  Jesus wants us to forgive each person who offends us 490 times.  It is not often the same person offends you throughout the year; however let’s say they did at least twice a year.  So this year is two, which means you have 488 more times to forgive them.  I am not sure how old each of you are, but let’s use my age, 37.  At the rate of twice a year, by the time you are 100 years old (God willing), you would have forgiven them 126 times.  Wait a minute, Jesus desires us to forgive each person 490 times.  Do you see the picture?
 Family, I know it is difficult.  That is why I say we need to practice.  We need to train ourselves for it.  When we practice something, it eventually becomes a habit. We need to make forgiveness a habit in our lives.  People know when they do things to hurt us.  When we show forgiveness, it can impact them greatly.  There is a possibility that shame will be felt by that party.  Conviction may even cause that person to come to you and say that they are sorry for what they have done.  You would now have gained a friend for life.  On the other hand, if we engage in hurting the people who hurt us, we now are practicing wickedness and add an unnecessary enemy to the list of those who are against our walk.  It isn’t worth it family.   Amen!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

That “In Spite Of” Faith

Gracious Father, I come before your magnificent power and glory, always in submission before your Holy Spirit, and grateful for all that you have done and will continue to do in my life.  I thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed; those seen and unseen.  I thank you for waking me up this morning, with my organs functioning and my bones intact.  I thank you for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a tongue to give you praise.  Now Father, in my thanks, I come also petitioning blessing on others.  I pray a blessing on all who will read this message.  I pray oh God that I be your vessel to speak what thus saith you into their hearts.  I pray of God that they will take your word and apply to their life, and also share it with others.  Father, if there is anything that we have done that has not been pleasing to you, we pray in the name of Jesus that you forgive us for it.  We give you all honor and glory in the precious name of your son Jesus.  Amen!

I believe there are different levels and different types of faith.  For example, the scripture states that we were all given a measure (level) of faith; (Rom 12:3) which I believe indicates a portion just enough for us to make the choice to believe or not to believe.  The scripture states that Stephen was full (level) of faith to the point he was able to do wonders and signs among the people.  (Acts 6:8)  His measure of faith as described as “full” allowed him to tap into the mysteries of God.  Then you have faith that are weak (type) as described in Romans 14:1, and strong (type) faith as described in Romans 4:20.  I believe I am on the right track here.  What do you think?  With that being said, I also believe there is that “in spite of” faith.  Of course it can be attributed to a faith that is strong, firm, or unwavering, but I like the ring to it.  She has that “in spite of” faith!  That man of God has that “in spite of” faith!  I like it don’t you? 

When I say a person have that “in spite of” faith, I am saying  that no matter what the circumstance, no matter the trial, no matter how things look, they will still remain faithful.  If they lost their job, no worries God will open a new opportunity.  If they are about to lose their home, it is ok, God will make a way.  They have that “in spite of” faith.  Take a look at another example of that type of faith.  When Jesus was captured, beaten, and sentenced to be crucified, there were two criminals with him.  The bible reads “There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death.  And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.  And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."  The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."  And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."  But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?"And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."  then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."  And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  (Lu 23:32-43)

What an awesome display of faith.  The criminal sees a man who is known as Jesus.  The criminal heard of this man healing the sick, making the blind see, dumb speak, and raising the dead.  This man has been saying he and the Father are one.  Now he is in the same predicament as the criminal.  He is battered, bruised and nailed to the cross just like him.  The rulers mocked this man.  The soldiers mocked this man.  Even the other criminal mocked him.  And in spite what he sees with his natural eye, what he have heard about this man is believable, and he does not care what his eye sees, his spirit tells him different.  He then says to this man “"Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

The bible does not indicate if the criminal saw firsthand the works of Jesus.  Nor does it indicate any prior history between the two of them.  However, this criminal’s display of faith has proven scripture to be true.  Faith indeed comes by hearing.  If we can display that same type of faith, in spite of the circumstances, in spite how things make look now, we too can partake of the wonderful blessings.  Jesus said to the criminal, “assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  That was for the criminal.  What will be for you?  Amen.