Government Shut down

First and foremost, I feel the need to state the obvious. No matter who is in charge of our government, or what they do, Jesus is king. That being said, did you know that our government follows a distinct pattern that was standout in the midst of monarchys. The predominate style of government was a monarchy, but the Jews only king was God and then Moses had a system of judges who incrementally oversaw increasingly large numbers. These judges according to Exodus 18, were to men that were seen as wise and Godly men, they were not only responsible for upholding the law, but they were held to a higher and stricter standard. Rightly so, those who are to make and enforce the laws must also be subject to them. If they are not, they are setting up a ruling class of people who are above the law. God viewed His people as created equals with Him as their ruler. We are a Republic with Democratic tendencies, because all men are created equal.

More and more this seems to be what is going on in this country, that we are two classes. A ruling class of wealthy men who have their own agendas. Agendas that likely have nothing to do with what is best for our nation. Now, I am sure that it will not take much guessing for any of you to figure out where I stand on Affordable Healthcare Act, but that said if it is going to be the law, it needs to apply accross the board to everyone.

The problems that this nation is facing are so much bigger than just this act. We seem to have almost forgotten about the need to raise our debt ceiling again. This is also a huge problem. We have failed to cut costs and if we continue to fund, um everything, we will default. Funding Obamacare is just the tip of the iceburg. We need a huge scale back of our government. We are headed for disaster and I just don’t see how we get back.

Last year, when I got sick I was unable to work. I had to incur debt to pay for healthcare and related things. Shortly after, I was forced out of my full time job. During the last few months, I have had to cut my spending. Getting rid of things that were good and beneficial. What I need now is to increase my income. I could for a breif period of time use more debt to get through this, but that can’t continue. I can already feel the weight of lower income and higher debt. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if this pattern of borrowing to pay debt had been going on for years! Yet, that is how our government operates. It’s scary.

Now, I am not sure if shutting down the government is the best way to address these issues. I think that even the powers that be have forgotten what the fight is about, they just want to win. Meanwhile, the people suffer while the ruling class fight like petulant children.

We need to be on our knees praying for our leadership, clearly, they are in need of wisdom. Imagine if every Christian got on their knees and prayed for wisdom for our leaders. What if each one of us prayed for the revival of this land and begged God to forgive our national iniquities? Before we can have national holiness, we must first have personal holiness. We must work on having our own lives in accordance with God’s will and pray for personal revival and then let that fire spread through out our home towns, permeate our nation, so that we can have corporate holiness that the world will see, that will be so compelling that they can’t help, but to be part of it.

Just Dance

A while back, I had the opportunity to take some dance lessons. I loved it! I had danced through my youth, but had never done any partner dances, this was something completely new for me. I learned something about myself during those lessons, I was not a good follower. It took A LOT of effort on my part to silence my own mind and become aware enough of my partner to do what he was leading and not what I felt worked with music.

For me, my walk with the Lord has become a dance, remembering to take time to stop, settle my mind, and really LISTEN to what God is saying. I need Him minute by minute, I need to be aware of His presence. Not because I am anxious that I may do the wrong thing, but because I don’t want to miss anything that HE might want. This year, I have committed to reading the Bible through at least twice. One of the things that you can’t help but to notice is that you can’t predict the stories! Think about it, twice God tells the people of Israel to just move forward and the water will move. Jesus did too many miracles to count, I have no reason to believe that God who has been a personal and miraculous God since the days of creation would not be personal and miraculous with me.

Just as God once told Abraham, the Iraelites, Jonah, and so many others, he has told me where to go. Sounds easy right? When you get a command from God you follow it. Sometimes, the reality is that it is not easy. God will do His part, I believe this, but He is waiting for me to do mine and show that I will have faith in him no matter what. I don’t want to lose sight of Him and end up like Jonah and end up in the belly of a whale or more likely, like the Israelites stuck in the wilderness for forty years.

Thus, I lean in closer, focus all of faculties on Him and wait for the Spirit to move me. God does not need me to accomplish his plan, but by grace he chooses to use me. When I will put myself in His hands. What about you? Can He have this dance today?

And it was Good

Key word here would be was. At the time that God created everything, He declared that it was good. Webster’s dictionary has several definitions of the word good, but I like the one that says conforming to a standard. God’s standard is clearly set forth through out the Bible as being Holy, set apart, perfect. We all know that the world is a fallen place. That each one of us is a sinner by nature and by choice. God is a holy and perfect God, but He is also a God of mercy. Adam and Eve enjoyed an amazing opportunity to commune with the Lord. After the fall, this was no longer an option.

During the old testament times the average person was not allowed into the Holy area of the temple, nor were they allowed to eat holy food of priests, or even to touch certain implements. The sacrifices that were made to God were enough to keep the wrath of God at bay, this is such a beautiful foreshadow of the restoration that we can now know. These offerings were offered by those who has sinned unknowingly. This is a clear statement that having good intentions is insufficient, that being sinful did not require willfully disobeying God. Simply put, we are sinners by nature and just trying to be good is not enough.

Under the new covenant, because Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice we have become the temple of God.
He can make our hearts good, if he will let Him. He can give us the mind of God, but we must first be willing to lay down our lives and be sanctified. We must be holy as he holy. There certain things the as Christians we simply ought not be doing.

1 Corinthians 2:14-17 14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

As I again read through the old testament one thing is increasingly clear – God does not play games with individuals and nations who know what is right and rebel against Him. God is in control of everything and he has destroyed nations whose hearts were against him. Reading the scripture below, the question of whether or not America has reached this point? The Attitudes of America toward God is very disheartening. We were once a nation of people who put our trust in Him and we have become a nation where His name can barely be mentioned. WE must pray. Pray for our leaders. Pray for our people. Pray for our churches. Then we must serve, each person that calls themselves a child of God needs to commit to living fully for Him. As Israel wandered away and returned begging forgiveness we can as well. We have by spiritual adoption become the descendants of Abraham.

Leviticus 1824-30 24 ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its [a]punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. 26 But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you 27 (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); 28 so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. 29 For whoever does any of these abominations, [b]those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the Lord your God.’”

Taught of Him

In the wake of countless disasters, the most recent of course in Oklahoma, I can’t help but to wonder how many of those people suffered ultimate disaster without ever having heard the gospel of Christ. Christianity has universality, by this I mean that those who will believe without regard to who they are, there is no one the wrong age, gender, ethnicity and so on. The people that God will call come from all areas of the world, they speak all languages, and they are of all ages. The people called by God come from all backgrounds, they have committed all manner of sins. There is no sin too great to prevent you from coming to God. He will clean you up and change you no matter what. The price of being able to be called sons of God was the life of Jesus, a cost far too high for the finite minds of imperfect people to decide that a person will not respond to the gospel of Jesus. We should be following the great commission and telling every man, women, and child about the grace that can be found in Jesus. That though we were once blind, we can see, that all can be forgiven and we can know God personally. In our sin we can’t, but in HIS grace we can.

John 3:15 – 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.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.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

Our part is to share the gospel. God’s part is to awaken the souls of dead men and to teach them the real meaning and purpose of life.

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself

John 6:44-47 “No one can come to Me unless * the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day” It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.

In both of these instances, the word draw is original Greek word meaning to drag. This is not an act that the individual has any real part in. The are dragged to God, by God. It is His spirit that teaches us, not ours that learns. This is the case so that no man can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

This point of view of course always begs the question, Why would God choose one man over another man, (or women, or child). To that, I have no answer. I just know that my redeemer lives. I am humbled that he has chosen me and pray for those who do not know him yet. God is God, in His infinite wisdom he is far more qualified than I to make these decisions. If God could be fully understood in my finite mind, would he be God?

This is why, I will draw near to Him and share the gospel to a world that is lost and dying. I will remember that Hell is also universal, we all deserve it and many will find this their home after they pass on from this life. I will be His light to all who will be around me and trust that God will do the rest.

Understanding who God is

When we are seeking to reflect the light of God, we must understand who he is. As God, He is first and foremost master and creator of everything. He is the king of kings, who chooses to be our friend. When Jesus became flesh, it was because we had sinned and separated ourselves from a perfect and just God. He came that he might pay the price for sin – death. He came as one of us to become our kinsmen redeemer, a Jewish tradition that allowed a family member to pay the debt of slavery that a man had sold himself into and sold ourselves we have. We have chosen sin, and Romans 6:23 is clear that the wages for sin is death.

His death provided for us a righteousness that we could not have on our own. This righteousness gives us entry into the thrown room of God. The greatest gift of the gospel, the “good news” is that we can have God himself. Relate to him, know him in a way that as slaves to sin we have no right to. This is important, because Jesus did not suffer and die to give us this gift so that we can go on living in our sin. God accepts us how we are, we can come to him “just as I am”, but he loves us too much to leave us that way. We should respect him too much to want to stay that way. We must honor him as God almighty who gave us an amazing gift that we could never earn, the gift of himself! Ever had a friend who clearly loved you for what you had to offer? As people, we don’t want friends like that. Why would God want us to come to him only for what He can do for us?

Would you draw near to God today and have him for him? Because of the gift of Christ we can!

Why are we here?

This is a question that most people ask at least once in there lives. Some may mean this in a tangible and physical way, while others mean it in a more metaphorical and spiritual way. I know that I have asked this question in both senses on multiple occasions. Currently, I have suffered an extended illness, surgery, and drawn out, tedious recovery. Through out the process I have clung to my God and asked Him to show me what I should take from this and at every point God has not disappointed. He is God and where I am in life does not change that. His plan is always for my good. Jer. 29:11 `For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, `plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope

This; however, is not the level that I want to look at the question of why we are here. When it comes to the question of the origin of all that is, I choose to believe that we were created by a loving and personal God for a reason, but when I look around at the society that we live in I struggle with why. Well, as I have prayed, studied, and meditated on God’s word here is what I have come up with. I hope that my humble ideas bring anyone who reads this the great joy that it does me.

Before “in the beginning” there was God. The holy trinity was perfect in joy and lacked nothing, but as many can attest the more you share your joy the more it multiplies. God decided to create a race of beings that he could share, and therefor multiply, his great joy. Once he created us, he proclaimed that all that existed was very good. Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with one another and with God. That is until Satan descended upon us with his evil plot to destroy that joy. He planted seeds of doubt in us about our great God and brought us down into our fallen nature.

God’s original plan for us was to know him personally, vibrantly, supernaturally, and joyfully. The good news of the gospel is that we can! Jesus came to give us life to the full and our greatest fulfillment of the desire of God is that we are truly alive in Him. Your greatest joy grows exponentially when it is shared with those we love. Gods great joy which needed no cause as he IS joy, grows as it is shared. Being so incredibly joyful in and of himself he chose to create us to grow that joy. Satan tries to steal it. Watch the news, he has been successful. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but we can choose life, love, and happiness through our lord. As St. Irenaeus said, “the glory of God is man fully alive”. Being fully spiritually alive gives God great glory and it is that light within us that is the light of the world that Jesus called us to be.

As we move into a new year why don’t we commit to being fully alive in Him? I know that is my goal.

Reflecting Him in our attitudes toward others

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  Declaration of independence

In this great country, our forefathers realized an amazing truth, that we are all created equal. They viewed this truth to be “self evident”, or simply stated, inherently true.  This statement offers many implications, including that we were created, not evolved on accident. The Bible tells us that we were created in the image of God. This is why understanding who He is will assist us in better understanding who we should be. This is where my title name comes from, to reflect Him means that we are to be a reflection of Him; this is what we were created to be. Now, when you look in the mirror your reflection is not you, it is only an image of you, how clear the image is will be is  highly dependant on the quality of a mirror you are looking into.  When God looks into you how much of himself does He see?

God is dignified.  This fact is evidenced in a few places in scripture.  First and foremost, He has told us both in the old and new testament that we are to love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds, that we are not to have other Gods before Him, and Jesus told us to sell all that we have to come follow Him.  This means that God wants all that we are; He will not lower His standards to come and beg us to accept the amazing gift he has given us. I say this not to diminish God’s incredible love for us, but to prevent us from diminishing who He is.  Also, we need to understand this fact in our own lives.  God is dignified, and we need to be as well.  Too many people will lower their standards to fit in with people who would ask them to compromise who they are and what they believe.

This would mean that understanding the dignity that God has and reflects in us has a twofold implication. First, that we must be wise about who our closest relationships are with, never allow someone close to you who asks you to compromise your morals; however,  we must remember that all men are created in God’s image and treat all mankind with respect and dignity. The basis for this dignity is inherent in being equally created in the image of God. As far as the people not within the guidelines of the church, they can not be judged by us in the same way.  We can not hold them to our standards.  This can be difficult, because first we can not compromise; however, we can not expect people of the world to have the same standards.  When they practice the use of foul language, sexual immorality, and the like we can not expect any different, but we can stand in contrast in that environment and be the light God called us to be. Jesus Himself said that a physician is needed for those who are sick, not those who are well. While our closest relationships are reserved for those who are like minded and born again of the spirit we can not pull ourselves out of the world. How can we shine our light to a world we do not participate in.

These are the cases where we need to love them where they are, we are not to judge them as we are no better except by the grace of God. Romans 3;23 tells us that we ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This sin which as both by choice and through being born in the line of Adam creates equality for us that shows where the terrible things that we as mankind are capable of come from. This means, that both the greatness and wickedness in man can be explained by our creation and fall. 2 Cor 4:4 tells us that the God of this world, the devil, has blinded the minds of those who do not believe.  They are captives. They do not see, because they can not see and when we treat them with the love of God and respect while we pray for them, God can open their eyes.  We are the workers but God gives harvest.  The price the Jesus paid on the cross is far too high, for us to have any say in who is welcome to the cross. We need to love world, not condemn them.

What else can we expect that sinners will sin?  Despite the fact that I am born of the spirit, I too will fall short of His glory, but if you see me behaving in an unholy manner, you should call me out on it, if you are my brother or sister in Christ.  We are called in 1 cor. 5 to separate from those who call themselves born again who commit atrocities, but we admonish them in love and not in judgment with the goal being that the relationship between them and Christ be restored. Having the discernment to know what to say when is no easy task. We must remain in the spirit and view all of our relationships prayerfully.

The bottom line is this: We are all equal; we are all deserving of love and respect. Pray for those around you and give them space to grow into what God would have them be. Be poor in spirit knowing that what is in you is of the Lord and with out his great grace each one of us would be lost and captives to the lies of our enemy.