letsloveothers

Love one another as Jesus has loved us.

The time of judges was a turbulent and chaotic era in Hebraic history. The Hebrews spiritual disobedience and rebellion— apostasy, kept them immersed in a vicious cycle of idolatry, sin and subjugation. 

Refusing to acknowledge God is not mocked. He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt, nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside. For whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh— his sinful capacity— his worldliness— his disgraceful impulses will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7

I believe we are living in such a time. 

A time when there are more cultural Christians than authentic disciples of Christ.  

Are you a disciple of Christ? How many of these statements describe you?

Committed to serving Jesus as Lord, Savior and the Son of God. 

“I, Jesus will open their spiritual eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of satan to God. That they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified, set apart, made holy by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18

Papa— God requires commitment, repentance from sins and love for fellow believers. Don’t be deceived. There are ALWAYS consequences for disobedience.

You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again. If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the Spirit He has placed within us should be faithful to Him. He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor. James 4:4-10

Your personal relationship with Papa, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, not outward appearances, is the focus of your life.

I am the Good Shepherd, and I know without any doubt those who are My own, and My own know Me and have a deep, personal relationship with Me. Even as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My very own life. Sacrificing it for the benefit of the sheep. John 10:14-15

The entire bible is the true, inspired word of God. It, not the culture defines truth.

The word of God is living and active and full of power. Making it operative, energizing and effective. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. Penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit— the completeness of a person and of both joints and marrow— the deepest parts of our nature, exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Being a disciple of Jesus requires radical sacrifice and a backbone.

If anyone wishes to follow Me as My disciple, he must deny himself— set aside selfish interests and take up his cross daily. Expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come and follow Me. Believing in Me. Conforming to My example in living, and if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me. 

For whoever wishes to save his life in this world will eventually lose it through death, but whoever loses his life in this world for My sake. He is the one who will save it from the consequences of sin and separation from God. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world— wealth, fame, success and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed here and now of Me and My words. The Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and the glory of the heavenly Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:23-26

If the world hates you, remember that it hated Me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.

Do you remember what I told you? “A slave is not greater than the master.” Since they persecuted Me, naturally they will persecute you. If they had listened to Me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of Me, for they have rejected the one who sent Me. 

They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.

Anyone who hates Me also hates My Father. If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did. Yet they still hate Me and My Father. This fulfills what is written in their ScripturesThey hated Me without cause.” John 15:18-25

Papa is drawing a line in the sand. Separating the “ME! ME! Christians” from His faithful remnant. A remnant He promises to put into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, “They are my people.” And they will say, “The Lord is my God.” Zechariah 13:9

I believe the COVID madness is part of this refining process. (Fall On Your Knees 3/19/20 and Love Story For Then Ages 4/01/20) Revealing idols and false paradigms that oppose Papa’s truth, righteousness and will for His children.

A refining that will increase in frequency and severity as the return of Christ nears. 

Why?

So we, like John witnessed in the book of Revelation, will gratefully shout. 

Then I heard something like the shout of a vast multitude, and like the boom of many pounding waves, and like the roar of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all reigns.

Let us rejoice and shout for joy! Let us give Him glory and honor. For the marriage of the Lamb has come at last, and His bride the redeemed has prepared Herself.’

She has been permitted to dress in fine linen, dazzling white and clean. For the fine linen signifies the righteous acts of the saints—the ethical conduct, personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character of believers. Revelation 19:6-8

AMEN!

So many Christians today are oblivious of the impending judgment that looms on the horizon. Decades of “ME! ME! CHRISTIANITY” has obliterated their vision of eternity. Blinding them to the signs of the end of this age. 

Woe, judgment is coming to those who drag along wickedness with cords of falsehood, and sin as if with cart ropes. Towing their own punishment. 

Who say, “Let Him move speedily. Let Him expedite His work, His promised vengeance so that we may see it. Let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel approach and come to pass so that we may know it!”

Woe, judgment is coming to those who call evil good and good evil. Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness. Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Woe, judgment is coming to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever and shrewd in their own sight!

Woe, judgment is coming to those who are heroes at drinking wine
and men of strength in mixing intoxicating drinks. Who justify the wicked and acquit the guilty for a bribe and take away the rights of those who are in the right! 
Isaiah 5:18-23

“ME! ME! CHRISTIANITY” fails to teach that life on this side of eternity is a tapestry of victories AND trials and tribulations. Synergistically demolishing strongholds, ungodly thought patterns.

Many Christians fear trials, or erroneously believe that once you‘ve made Jesus the Lord of your life your home free. 

Wrong!

As a young believer were you blindsided by any of the following? 

Your life didn’t get easier. 

Problems didn’t disappear. 

Your character wasn’t transformed instantaneously. 

Temptation continued to rear its ugly head. 

Yep, that’s the life of a disciple of Christ. 

Don’t think for a single moment you’ll survive this battle for your soul with a Pollyanna attitude. Sitting around the campfire, holding hands and singing Kumbaya only makes you an easier target for the devil. Yes, Papa will give you wings to fly above the circumstances of life, but you’’ll first have to take flying lessons from the master flight instructor, the Holy Spirit. He alone can teach you the skills that’ll keep you safe even amidst end time turbulence.

End time turbulence will increase in intensity and frequency as the return of Jesus nears. Turbulence that makes you question Papa’s goodness and faithfulness. Crying out as David did.

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer and by night, but I find no rest.

(Then David remembers.)

Yet You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In You our fathers trusted. They trusted, and You delivered them. To You they cried and were rescued. In You they trusted and were not put to shame.” Psalm 22:1-5

End time turbulence draws a line in the sand. Separating those who truly belong to Papa from the wannabes. I believe this separating is underway.

So, dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you. As if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.

If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer or a meddler,

 But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?

If a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? So those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:12-19

Jesus tells us, “There are two paths before you. You may take only one path. One doorway is narrow, and one door is wide. Go through the narrow door. For the wide door leads to a wide path, and the wide path is broad. The wide, broad path is easy, and the wide, broad, easy path has many, many people on it. But the wide, broad, easy, crowded path leads to death. 

 Now then that narrow door leads to a narrow road that in turn leads to life. It is hard to find that road. Not many people manage it.

Along the way, watch out for false prophets. They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath that quaint and innocent wool, they are hungry wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. You don’t find sweet, delicious grapes growing on thorny bushes, do you? You don’t find delectable figs growing in the midst of prickly thistles. 

People and their lives are like trees. Good trees bear beautiful, tasty fruit, but bad trees bear ugly, bitter fruit. A good tree cannot bear ugly, bitter fruit. Nor can a bad tree bear fruit that is beautiful and tasty.

What happens to the rotten trees? They are cut down. They are used for firewood.

When a prophet comes to you and preaches this or that. Look for his fruits. Sweet or sour? Rotten or ripe?

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. Simply calling Me ‘Lord’ will not be enough. Only those who do the will of My Father who is in heaven will join Me in heaven.

At the end of time, on that day of judgment, many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name? Did we not drive demons out of the possessed in Your name? Did we not perform miracles in Your name?’

But I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Now you must get away from Me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:13-23

End time turbulence compels you to make a choice. Choose wisely! 

Known or met Christians who are…

Lovers of self— narcissistic, self-focused

Lovers of money— impelled by greed

Boastful

Arrogant

Revilers

Disobedient to parents

Ungrateful

Unholy and profane 

Unloving— devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane

Irreconcilable 

Malicious gossips

Devoid of self-control— intemperate, immoral

Brutal

Haters of good

Traitors

Reckless

Conceited

Lovers of sensual pleasure rather than lovers of God

Holding to a form of outward godliness— religion. Although they have denied its power. For their conduct nullifies their claim of faith. 2 Timothy 3:2-5

Yes, the world is watching. Judging not only us, but also Jesus. 

As Christians we MUST heed these words of Jesus, “Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your saltiness be restored? Flavorless salt is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled on by others.

Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance. For how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop?

Who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light.

So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others. So that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-20

How can you be salt and light to a world that grows more evil each day?

Daring to confront those who mistakenly believe that we are living by the standards of the world, not by the Spirit’s wisdom and power. Although we live in the natural realm, we don’t wage a military campaign employing human weapons. Using manipulation to achieve our aims.

Instead, our spiritual weapons are energized with divine power to effectively dismantle the defenses behind which people hide. We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. Since we are armed with such dynamic weaponry. We stand ready to punish any trace of rebellion, as soon as you choose complete obedience. 2 Corinthians 10:2-6

Biblical literacy is paramount. You MUST study and meditate on the teachings and wisdom of Papa’s word. 

It’s fundamental for the nourishment of your soul, mind and body, especially in the time before Christ’s return. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction that challenges them with God’s truth. Wanting to have their ears tickled with something pleasing. They will accumulate for themselves many teachers one after another. Chosen to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold. And will turn their ears away from the truth. And will wander off into myths and man-made fictions. And will accept the unacceptable. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Today, more than ever, Christians are living in glass houses. ALL words and actions are under a microscope because many are looking for any reason to discredit and malign Jesus and His teachings.

Don’t be one of those Christians!

I’ve been walking faithfully with Jesus for two decades. Coming late to the party has been in many ways advantageous. Experiencing the disappointments and lies of this world. Left me yearning for more and determined to find it. 

I had learned that the American Dream was not all as advertised.

According to the American Dream I should have been fulfilled and happy.

Marriage.

Children.

College education.

Home ownership.

A profession that guaranteed financial and personal independence.

BUT

None of the above did anything to fill the emptiness in my soul that daily grew harder and harder to ignore. Nothing that is until I had an up close and personal encounter with Papa.

In June of 2000, my husband and I were visiting our oldest daughter in Houston, Texas. She shared with us how the church she was attending was changing her life. Begging us to go to church with her. Reluctantly I agreed.

As I walked through the doors love overwhelmed my heart. My heavenly Papa was there with arms opened wide for His prodigal child. Lovingly welcoming me home.

That day I had an unforgettable encounter with Papa. His presence captivated me. Touching the innermost parts of my being. Gently reassuring me I was safe and loved unconditionally.

Today my heart grieves for anyone who has never experienced the exquisite love that is Jesus.

Unquenchable love. Making a lifelong pursuit of Him irresistible.

Tender love. Healing the scars incurred on the battlefields in the war for my soul.

Empowering love. Gracing me to forgive those individuals who carved those scars on my soul, including me.

Encouraging love. Declaring my best days are yet to come.

Much has changed since that day. 

Personal relationships extinguished by death and betrayal.

Realigning temporal priorities so I can focus on building Papa’s Kingdom, not mine. 

Seeking Papa’s wisdom. Studying and mediating on His teachings, so I’m not easily shaken by trouble. Nor led astray by novel teachings or by the false doctrines of deceivers who teach clever lies. Ephesians 4:14

Embracing the challenges of taking up my cross daily. Dying to self. Progressively being transformed into His image from one degree of glory to even more glory. Which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Eternally, I will cherish that summer day when Papa lovingly whispered into my heart, “I will never under any circumstances desert you. Nor give you up. Nor leave you without support. Nor will I in any degree leave you helpless. Nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you, assuredly not!” Hebrews 13:5

As an immature believer, I questioned why studying the Old Testament was necessary. After all…

Aren’t we living under a better covenant? 

Shouldn’t the study of Jesus be our primary focus? 

What do the people of the Old Testament have to teach me that can’t be learned from the people in the New Testament?

Doesn’t this make the Old Testament obsolete?

Boy was I wrong!

The Old Testament (OT) compared to the New Testament (NT): 

39 to 27 books

929 to 269 chapters

23,145 to 7,957 verses

602,585 to 180,552 words

Granted. Some of the Old Testament no longer is applicable thanks to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

BUT

The whole council of God is beneficial for your personal and spiritual transformation. Something Paul emphasized to the elders of the church at Ephesus.

“I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault. For I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.

So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock— His Church. Purchased with His own blood. Over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.

I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave. Not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out!” Acts 20:25-31

One of the things I look forward to on the other side of eternity is meeting the men and women of the OT. Imperfect individuals memorialized by Papa. Men and women who experienced…

dysfunctional homes and relationships

unanswered prayers

unfulfilled dreams 

despair and hopelessness

Just like many today! 

Women and men who walked by faith even though the Holy Spirit did not live in them. Yes, He would rest upon them from time to time but never resided in them 24-7. 

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. 

The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors. Set them above the crowd.

By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word. What we see created by what we don’t see.

By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.

By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him. We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken he pleased God. 

It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists, and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.

By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God.

By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him. Lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same. Living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations. The City designed and built by God.

By faith barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time. She believed the One who made a promise would do what He said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins. There are now people numbering into the millions.

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance. Waved their greeting. Accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that— heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.

 By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him. This after he had already been told, “Your descendants shall come from Isaac.” Abraham figured that if God wanted to, He could raise the dead. In a sense, that’s what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar.

By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau.

By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn. Blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own— as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff.

By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel and made arrangements for his own burial

By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months after his birth. They saw the child’s beauty, and they braved the king’s decree.

By faith Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead. Anticipating the payoff. By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see and kept right on going. By an act of faith he kept the Passover Feast and sprinkled Passover blood on each house so that the destroyer of the firstborn wouldn’t touch them.

By an act of faith Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians tried it and drowned.

By faith the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell flat.

By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God.

 I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more— Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms. Made justice work. Took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires and sword thrusts. Turned disadvantage to advantage. Won battles. Routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who under torture refused to give in and go free. Preferring something better— resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned. Sawed in two. Murdered in cold blood. Stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless. The world didn’t deserve them! Making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world. Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us. That their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. Hebrews 11

This faith anticipated the eternal reign of Papa’s Kingdom. King Jesus restoring the earth to its original form— Eden. Papa’s children no longer enslaved by physical or spiritual death. Evil once and for all destroyed. 

Ignore the OT at your own peril! For Genesis to Malachi is a treasure trove of hope and wisdom. Preparing Christ’s Bride— His Church for His return and the end of this evil age. 

Be a voice crying out in the desert, “Clear a way for the Lord Make a straight highway in the wilderness for our God. Every valley will be raised. Every mountain and hill will be lowered. Steep places will be made level. Rough places will be made smooth.

Then the Lord’s glory will be revealed, and all people will see it together.

The Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5

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