Reminder of God’s Grace Revealed through His Compassion and Love

 

“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem, “Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.  As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths.  No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you.  Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born.

“When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’  Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’  

I made you numerous like plants of the field.  Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare.

“Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness.  I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord God.  

“Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil.  I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk.  

I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck.  I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.  Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth.

You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.  Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord God.”

Ezekiel 16: 1-14

 

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Spurning God

 

And the LORD said…

“How long will this people spurn Me?

And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?”

Numbers 14:11

Increasing Doubt with a Lack of Faith and Hope

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8 – NASB

I’ve become a little hard pressed to believe that God will ever answer my prayers the way I would hope.  

I’m not saying I don’t pray or that I’ve lost my belief in God.  I do pray, and I do believe in God, but what I’m saying is that God has put so many stipulations on prayer that I’m not sure that God will answer my requests the way I hope because when I pray, I don’t meet the stipulations that He set for when we pray. 

Here are some of the stipulations that I’m talking about…

  1. Pray and Agree with any two or more people (Matthew 18:19)
  2. Pray without ceasing (I Thes. 5:17)
  3. Ask in the Name of Jesus (John 14:13)
  4. Ask in faith and don’t doubt (James 1:6)
  5. Believe you already have what you ask for before you even ask (Mark 11:24)
  6. Ask in the Father’s will (I John 5:14-15)
  7. Believe that God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)
  8. Be devoted to prayer with an attitude of thankfulness (Col. 4:2)
  9. Pray as Jesus taught His disciples (Matt 6:9-13)
  10. Always give thanks to the Father through Jesus (Col. 3:17)
  11. Don’t be like the hypocrites who pray out in the open (Matt 6:5)
  12. Go into your inner room, close your door, pray in secret to the Father who is in secret  (Matt 6:6)

I didn’t list those in any particular order, just listed off at random as they came to mind, but they are stipulations God has placed on how we make requests to Him and whether or not those requests will be answered. 

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that God will never answer prayers…Far from it.  He does answer prayers, but what I am saying is that I don’t know if He’ll ever answer mine because I’ve failed to meet the stipulations He’s set for my prayers to be answered.  

More importantly, I doubt that God will answer me because of a sincere lack of faith and thankfulness based on past experiences and past requests that never got answered over the years.  

(Yeah… yeah… yeah…’don’t live in the past’…blah, blah, blah… Preaching to the choir, people!) 

But seriously, I always thought and believed that my past prayers were made in faith, in the name of Jesus, with others who were like-minded, with an attitude of thanksgiving in my heart and a hope that God would answer in the affirmative; consequently, God saw fit to have me sit back and watch while He gave what I requested for myself to other people.  Therefore, my prayers didn’t get answered as I had hoped. 

Am I admitting my selfishness and pride here?  I suppose I am.  Which leads to one more reason that God didn’t answer my prayers the way I had hoped.  After all, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6). 

Was I deserving of those things I requested?  — Maybe.  Maybe not. — I won’t know the answer until I come face to face with God, and even then He probably won’t tell me because at that point…it won’t matter.  

However, that hasn’t stopped me from developing excuses and rationalizations as to ‘why’ God won’t or hasn’t answered my prayers the way I had hoped. 

Excuses such as: “Maybe I wasn’t ready to receive the gift…”, “Maybe it was because of sin…”, “Maybe I didn’t deserve something that wonderful…”, “Maybe I’m not worthy…”, “Maybe God’s got something better…” , “Maybe my motives are incorrect…”, “Maybe there isn’t anything better…” or “Maybe all of the above…??”  

All of these excuses have set in motion a downward spiral of introspection which has ultimately led to self-judging, self-loathing and self-condemnation.  All of which have slowly encased my heart in a shell of petrified callousness and led me to a sincere distrust of whether or not the almighty will ever answer my prayers in the manner of which I hope. 

Truth be told… I have a broken heart.

Ironically, even though my prayers haven’t been answered the way I hoped, I still pray and make requests to God all the time.  

I’m constantly pouring out my feelings and desires to Him while requesting things with a sincere belief in the power of Jesus Christ that God will answer me; however, when I pray, the doubt remains that God will never grant my request in the manner in which I hope.  

Therefore, thankfulness is a distant memory, and any faith that might have assisted in my prayers being answered is lacking a solid foundation.  

Please know that I do believe that God exists . . . I do . . . but quite frankly I’m not confident He really does reward all those who seek Him.

I know I’m not alone.  There are many in this world who have the same doubts about their prayers ever being answered or whether God will ever bless them again.  

Heck, even the prophets in the old testament were given over to wonder if God was hearing them or if they would ever be answered.  Some even felt deceived by God.

Look at the words of Job (13:24-28):

“Why do You hide Your face and consider me Your enemy?  Will You cause a driven leaf to tremble?  Or will You pursue the dry chaff?

“For You write bitter things against me and make me to inherit the iniquities of my youth.  You put my feet in the stocks and watch all my paths; You set a limit for the soles of my feet, while I am decaying like a rotten thing, like a garment that is moth-eaten.”

And then Jeremiah, a prophet of God’s very own choosing, writes:

“Why has my pain been perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?  Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable?” (Jeremiah 15:18)

O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed.  I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.  For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, because for me the word of the Lord has resulted In reproach and derision all day long.”  (Jeremiah 20:7-8)

Both prophets went through a period of time where they struggled to believe that God was listening to their requests or that He would answer their requests the way they hoped. 

Jeremiah and Job were dedicated servants of God and they humbly performed every task that God asked of them, yet there was a time in their lives they both struggled with doubt and thought that God had pulled the proverbial rug out from under their feet.

Interestingly, both of these men provide a great example of how doubting God can lead to anguish and self-depreciation.  The struggles both men had with doubt cause each of them to curse the day he was born (read Job 3 & Jeremiah 20:14-18).

My point here is that every human being, even those who were specifically appointed by the LORD Jesus and God the Father, can and will doubt that God will answer their prayers they way they were hoping.

As for my situation, I began having doubts that my prayers to the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth have never gone further than the ceiling of my home after decades of the same failures.  And…If by some strange miracle the words I directed towards God did reach Heaven’s doorstep, I fear those words never made it past His threshold!

From a very young age I’ve attempted to live a life that follows the narrow path.  I found the words of God, and I ate them; and they became for me a joy and delight of my heart.  I believed that I was called by God’s holy name and His eternal word into an eternal hope of salvation through the LORD Jesus Christ.  Therefore, I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers, nor did I show or feel elation or jubilation as the result of any success I may have experienced.  

I’ve tried to rejoice with others in their successes.  I’ve tried to mourn and encourage those in their failures and losses.  And yet…because of God’s hand upon me, I sit alone.  Filled with the contempt, anger and annoyance provoked by what I perceive as unfair treatment from others in this world.

I’ve asked God why my perpetual pain never ends.  Why the internal wound is incurable, refusing to be healed. 

I wonder and ask God if He has deceived me by providing hope to promises that would never come to pass, but He remains silent on the matter.

Yet…once again…like a trained animal who knows and fears his master, I bow my head…I bend my knee…I lay myself prostrate before the throne of the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth, and I open my mouth once more to make a simple request of God with hope that He might hear me and answer me with blessings of good things.

I wait longingly and patiently for His reply.  Hoping that the answer will finally melt my hardened, callous heart and sorrow would be replaced with joy and gladness.

I don’t know if any of you can understand just how agonizing the thirst for God to answer my prayer really is.  

In all honesty I long for God to dip His finger in water and just touch the tip of my tongue to quench the thirst my desires bring.  To give me a sign that He hears me.  That He accepts me and that my requests are a fragrant aroma, not filled with putrefaction which cause Him to turn His face away and reject me.  

To let me know that He delights in me, and my heartfelt requests aren’t falling on deaf ears.

But I’m reminded of the words of Job…

“But the falling mountain crumbles away, and the rock moves from its place.

Water wears away stones, its torrents wash away the dust of the earth; so You destroy man’s hope. 

You forever overpower him and he departs.

You change his appearance and send him away.  

His sons achieve honor, but he does not know it; or they become insignificant, but he does not perceive it.  

But his body pains him, and he mourns only for himself.”  (Job 14:18-22)

That quote is one of the best explanations of how man’s hope can erode over time by the many tribulations that engulf us.  Tribulations that can change our focus and cause our thoughts, our attentions and our prayers to become more self-centered and less altruistic. 

In those difficult moments we take our sights off the finish line and the rewards to come.  We lose sight of the truth.  We stop running the race.  We forget who God is. 

We forget His mercies never fail. 

We forget He’s never stopped loving us. 

We forget that God’s best is not the same as what we perceive as the best for ourselves. 

We forget that He’s never walked away from us. 

We forget how to be thankful in all things. 

We forget how to be content.

It’s pathetic that after all that I still don’t know if God will ever delight in me enough to answer my prayers the way I hope He will.  

I guess I’ll pray about it.

 

Persecution

christian-persecution

Every morning I happen to read numerous headlines of media bias and pathetic rhetoric that assists me in starting my day with the understanding that the world has fallen off the deep end into a very shallow grave.  

This morning was no different.

Except that I happened upon the above image and became intrigued at the headline. . . or . . .  byline. . . or . . . line of text under the picture. . . or . . .whatever it’s called.   

Anywhoo! . . . my intrigue wasn’t that the line of text mentions the persecution of Christians or that said persecution of Christians is growing across the globe.  

You would think that would be something I would be interested in reading about since I am a follower of the LORD Jesus, but no. . . that wasn’t what intrigued me.  

Instead, it was the first two words that are written in all caps.  

What’s so “startling” about the report that persecution of Christians is growing across the globe?  

Christians will be persecuted for following the LORD Jesus because Jesus told His disciples that they would be persecuted because Jesus was persecuted first, and no one is above their master.  Therefore, since Jesus is the master and was persecuted by those in the world who didn’t believe in Him or trust Him while He was here, those who are true followers of Him will be persecuted as well.

Why? 

Because we are an example of the Light that shines in the darkness and exposes the deeds of humanity for what they are.  Evil.  And Humanity hates the light for that very reason.  

So, because the world hates the Light because it exposes their deeds as evil, the world wants to snuff out the light so they don’t have to be held accountable and feel remorse, sorrow, guilt or shame for their actions and words.

AND…as more and more people turn their lives over to the LORD Jesus and turn away from the life of lawlessness and sin that enslaved them, we should not be startled that a growing number of people are being persecuted for being Christians.

Of course, this also proves that the bible is accurate, yet again, because it foretold of how Christians would be persecuted for the sake of Jesus.

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12

“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.” – 2 Cor 4:6-12

“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

– John 15:20

 

Therefore, I’m not startled about the growing persecution of Christians around the world.  I’m actually praising God for it.

No More Night…

 

I remember singing this song many years ago and just as it was then, it’s still one of my favorites.  

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

🙂    

Title: No More Night

Sung by: Christian Edition

Published on Jan 5, 2014 — Christian Edition singing No More Night at the 3ABN Studio.
If you’d like to purchase music from Christian Edition, please visit their website at http://www.ChristianEdition.com

 

Identity Crisis – It’s Just Human Nature…

As I was reading through some of my older posts from years gone by, I happened to stumble across one that I felt compelled to post.  This was written and posted on my old blog (Suckmywake/Written For Our Instruction) back on August 27th, 2014.  I must caution you, it is quite long, but well worth the read.   Some of you may enjoy it, some of you may not, either way…here it is.   

Identity Crisis – It’s Just Human Nature (part 3)

“Accepting yourself for who you are is not easy when the whole world seems to be telling you that who you are is not okay.” – Insanitybytes22

Caterpillar_2

Alice In Wonderland is an entertaining story about a little girl who ends up in a weird world filled with crazy characters and endless mazes. There’s the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Cheshire Cat and of course, my favorite character of all – The Mad Hatter. However, there is one character in the story that always makes me nervous and in my humble opinion is the creepiest character in the whole story of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. That character is known to us as The Caterpillar.

I’ll spare you the details of the scene and instead jump right into the topic at hand where Alice meets The Caterpillar and they begin their exchange of dialogue that appears to be rather ominous and yet perplexing all the same. At the tip of the conversation The Caterpillar, in a rather haunting tone, asks Alice a simple yet profound question, “Who — Are — You?”

Strangely enough, Alice ponders this question and in a shy, yet perplexing reply states, “I — I, hardly know…” To which she elaborates by following up with a quizzical and profound statement that she “…knew who she was when she woke up that morning but has changed several times since then.”

The Caterpillar, in all his solipsism, can’t bring himself to understand why Alice wouldn’t know who she was or why she would reply in such strange fashion and therefore seeks clarification for her answer; but without hesitation Alice offers up a profound statement in regards to her being self-unaware, “…for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.”

In that simple exchange there is deep meaning behind the words of both characters. They both have a need to know who Alice is, but in the end neither The Caterpillar nor Alice ever come to any conclusions or provide any answers to the underlying question being asked. A question that many of us ask ourselves every day and struggle to find an answer for. That question is this: What is your identity?

The whole of humanity has struggled to find an identity since the fall of mankind into a sinful state, furthermore, identity (or the lack thereof) is a difficult thing to grasp for most humans. It’s a relative obscurity at best and trying to find an identity has led many people into an eternal abyss that few have ever been able to escape.

Believe it or not, before the world collapsed into a sinful decay, God was the perfect identity of all humanity. He was (and still is) their purpose for living. Their reason for breathing. Their provider, protection and safety. Their best friend. Yet, when humanity sinned, they were separated from the identity that God provided them, the identity of holiness, perfection and righteousness. Which, rather unhappily I might add, is the exact identity humankind has been searching for since their fall into sin.  

Throughout history humans have sought to find an identity through fleshly desires such as drugs, alcohol, sex, careers, education, families, money, cars, homes, public figures, professional athletes, religion, social groups, selfish labels, ideologies, and many others we don’t have time to mention. 

Quite sadly, none of those things will ever give humans a true identity. Therefore, history has revealed how mankind has attempted to emulate something or someone they were never supposed to be…material, worldly possessions that eventually led to decay of the mind, soul and body.

Sorrowfully, each century passes with the deaths of so many who failed to realize that who they are, as well as who they want to be, can never be found in the things of this world; and that no human or worldly good can provide the true identity that each of us lost because of the fall from freedom with God into bondage apart from God.

Consequently, our feeble, little human minds try to tell us that our identity is who we are at a specific moment in time, or who we wish to be in the future, who we think we are now or who others perceive us to be at any particular moment.  In actuality, the underlying truth behind what our identity is can only be found in the nature, conduct and manners of who or what each of us attempts to emulate.

There’s no better example of this than in the history of Jesus with His disciples. Twelve chosen men. Chosen by God, by Jesus, for the specific task of spreading the message of truth to the rest of the world.

These men, each with individual traits and strengths, had identities in worldly things. Fishermen, tax collectors, carpenters, tent makers, bakers, soldiers, husbands, fathers or sailors. Whatever their identity, it made no difference to Jesus…He called them; and as each was obedient to their calling, each received a new identity. They were no longer labeled by their career choices or their earthly family structures.  Instead, it was by a new name, a new foundation. A name given to them by God Himself. They became children of God, disciples of Jesus. Heirs to a heavenly kingdom. They became Christians.  The first true followers of Jesus.

Being a follower of Jesus was not popular back in early days of the church. It meant you gave up all your property, your status in society. You were put out of the Synagogues, ridiculed, persecuted, jailed, tortured, banished from your family and in many cases put to death.

You lost everything because of your faith in Jesus as the savior of the world, as the messiah, as the Son of the living God. And those who obediently followed the calling of Jesus learned rather quickly that following and professing Jesus as savior, Lord and King was no picnic.

Each person who heard the message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, of how He obeyed God the Father even unto death and that the Love of God towards the whole world was so great that He would send and sacrifice His only Son to be the perfect atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, all the while reconciling the world back unto Himself through Christ while He hung on that cross, also heard that they could have a new identity in God through Jesus if they would only believe on Jesus as the savior and redeemer of their souls; and when they believed in Jesus, they no longer had a worldly identity but a Godly identity.

One of the best messages on this very issue is recorded in John 3:1-21. The dialogue between Jesus and a Pharisee named, Nicodemus.

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”” – John 3:2

Interesting that Nicodemus uses the pronoun “we” and not “I” in his statement about knowing where Jesus was from, and it makes me wonder if he came to Jesus on behalf of the Pharisees or if he came representing another group.

I know that there are many biblical scholars who believe that Nicodemus was a believer in Jesus very early on, but I’m not so sure.  And it’s widely taught in churches all over the world that Nicodemus came by night only to avoid any who might see him and eventually turn him into the high priest and get him kicked out of the synagogue; but in my opinion, there really isn’t enough information to support or refute this and after reading and studying this passage and seeing how the Pharisee’s really didn’t believe in Jesus as being from God, I find it hard to discern that Nicodemus came to be a believer this early in the ministry of Jesus.

Also, I’d like to add that in John 3:12 Jesus says to Nicodemus, “…you do not accept our testimony.”  Which leads me to believe that Nicodemus had his doubts about Jesus and was trying to ascertain and cull as much information from Jesus as he could to find out if Jesus really, truly was from God or just another nobody trying to be somebody. 

Never forget, Jesus knew the hearts and motives of men, so more than likely He knew the motives of Nicodemus that evening and wasn’t fooled by his secret encounter.

So, in all honesty there are more questions raised than answered here.  To bad the answers aren’t as easy to come by as the questions.  All we know from the text is that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night and wanted to talk with him, if we try to presume anything else it will only get us in trouble, so looking at the response that he received from Jesus we find out that it probably wasn’t exactly what he was expecting, but Jesus did answer some questions that were never asked…like this:

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3

That’s an odd response to the initial statement from Nicodemus.  I mean, Nicodemus didn’t ask any questions to warrant this response from Jesus; all he said was, “we know you must be from God because no one can teach the way you do or perform the miracles you do unless they come from God.”  So why did Jesus respond this way?

Well, it’s because Jesus knew the true motives of Nicodemus; therefore, Jesus didn’t mince words or waste any time getting to the heart of the matter.  He got straight to the point.  And we can see from the reply of Nicodemus that Jesus wasn’t off base at all:

“How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” – John 3:4

This is a great response, but notice that he doesn’t try to change the subject and he doesn’t seem to be taken back by the statement of Jesus. 

Nicodemus didn’t come for some minor chit-chat with Jesus, he came to get answers and Jesus was aware of this, after all Nicodemus was a ruler of Israel and a Pharisee who knew the Law and the scriptures.  He, along with many others before him, had been waiting for the Messiah based on what he knew from the Torah and the prophets. Jesus understood this and wasn’t afraid to challenge Nicodemus’ way of thinking, of which, Jesus gives him an even greater response to his questions:

5) “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7) Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8) The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:5-8

These words are quite puzzling for many who read them, just as they might have been to Nicodemus when he first heard them, but if you read them slowly and ask God to give you clear vision as to what Jesus is conveying here, you can see that Jesus is telling Nicodemus that to enter the kingdom of God a person needs to have a much greater identity than a human identity.

To be candid, to get into the kingdom of God, humans need a Godly identity or they cannot enter His kingdom at all.

Consider verses 5 & 6, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

To paraphrase: “Nicodemus, if you are born into a life filled with fleshly lusts and desires your identity is worldly, corrupt, sinful and your desires are for the things that please yourself; but if you are born into a life filled with the desires of the Holy Spirit, you have an identity in God and live for and desire the things that please God.”

You can’t have it both ways.  It’s got to be one or the other, identity in the flesh or identity in God…take your pick. 

Humanity and the World want to have it both ways, but Jesus is clear, you can’t.  And if you choose identity in God, you MUST be born again.  There’s no negotiating.  No leveraging.  No deals.  God’s way or it doesn’t work.  The ways of flesh don’t agree with the ways of God.

Looking a little deeper into verse five the original Greek text for the word “water” is: “Hudor” (pronounced: hoo’-dore). Meaning exactly as it’s translated: “Water”.  But another meaning is this: “of water as the primary element, out of and through which the world that was before the deluge, arose and was compacted.”

The Greek word for “Spirit” (capital ‘S’) is: “Pneuma” (pronounced: pnyoo’-mah) and means: “The spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ or the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son.”

And the Greek word for “born” is: Gennao (pronounced: ghen-nah’-o) and it is translated correctly with the word “born”.  But there’s also a Jewish sense of the word which gives us a better understanding of what Jesus is conveying in the text: “of one who brings others over to his way of life, to convert someone.”  Isn’t that exactly what God the Father is doing through Jesus?  Of course it is!

Confused?  That’s understandable, but let’s put it all together…

Jesus is telling Nicodemus that “Unless one is born (converted to God’s way of life) of water (the primary element that the world was created from) and the Spirit (spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God) he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”  Therefore, no human can ever enter God’s kingdom unless they are a new person, completely clean, inside and out, spiritually, mentally and physically!!  As well as being of God’s kindred offspring or His nature: Righteous, Set apart (sanctified), Holy (perfect/sinless), undefiled (clean/not in bondage).  This is only completed through the work of God the Father through Jesus on the cross.

So to put it simple terms: Having a new identity in God requires a death to your old self, the old life, the sinful ways of the world. 

It’s a complete turning away from the old you and looking at the new you.  You can’t live in smut, sin, disgust, lawlessness, hate, bitterness and self-loathing anymore if you identify with God the Father and Jesus His Son. 

No more sexual sins, drunkenness, getting high, lying, greed, theft, murder, strife, ridicule or complaining.  No more living for your own pleasures that feed your flesh.  It means that you are outwardly cleansed by water and inwardly cleansed by the Holy Spirit.  In other words…you’re renewed.  Free to start fresh.  Free of the bondage of Sin.  Free from judgment for all your wrong doings.  Free from guilt and shame.  You’re…as Jesus puts it….born again.

Knowing this makes verses 7 and 8 all that clearer. “The wind blows where it wishes…” basically Jesus is stating that you can’t control, tame or catch the wind.  It comes and goes and no one really knows where it came from or where it’s going.  So it is with people who are born of the Spirit.  They are free to come and go and no one understands where they came from or where they are going because they are led by God. 

The world doesn’t understand people who are like this and they try to tame them or silence them because the world hates the Light that they bring into the world from God.  But it’s impossible to tame them because God is working through them and no one can tame God.

However, this DOES NOT mean that people born of the Spirit are free to continue living in sin.  Far be it!  

Once a person has been born again and turned from the old life, they are a new creation in Jesus Christ and they are no longer in bondage to sin. They should live a life free from sin, never condoning it or approving of it, but instead leading people to reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ and freedom from sinful behavior and disobedient actions, words and thoughts.

But even after hearing these words, Nicodemus can’t understand what he’s just heard and replies in like manner by stating: “How can these things be?” – John 3:9

After researching it and looking at the three original Greek words of John 3:9 I don’t think this is the proper translation of the original Greek text. 

You have to remember that Nicodemus is a Pharisee.  A Ruler of Israel.  A religious ruler.  He knows the Law of God (Torah) that was given to them through Moses.  He studies it every day.  It’s his identity, and he’s not afraid to research it and use it at his disposal to make sure that people are living for God and that includes Jesus. But now here’s Jesus, the Son of God, telling Nicodemus something that he can’t research and can’t refute using the Mosaic Law.  All he can do is sit there in bewilderment listening to Jesus tell him exactly why God sent Him, what God’s purpose is and has been since the beginning of time and how all these years of living under rules, ordinances and commands through the following of the Law of Moses won’t get him or anyone else into God’s kingdom. 

Hearing the words that Jesus spoke to him I imagine that Nicodemus was puzzled and a bit frustrated.  His thoughts must have been searching the scriptures for anything that would challenge Jesus’ words, but the only response he has is a three word question: “Pos Dunamai Houtos?”  — Roughly translated: “How, or in what way, is there a law for this?”

Which then gives a clearer picture of why Jesus responded with: 

“Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?” – John 3:10

I can just imagine Jesus and Nicodemus sitting back in their chairs.  Jesus with a look of quiet confidence and Nicodemus with his head back and his hands covering his face in bewilderment and exasperation.  These words from Jesus had to be a slap in the face to Nicodemus.  Not a slap of offense, but rather an attention getter that made Nicodemus begin to reconsider everything he’d been taught all these years.  

After all, he’s a ruler of Israel.  A teacher of the Law of God.  He studies the Law and the prophets inside and out.  And here’s Jesus, putting him on the spot.  I can’t imagine how Nicodemus felt at that very minute, but from this point forward Nicodemus doesn’t have anymore to say.  He’s rendered speechless.  So, Jesus continues…

“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” – John 3:10-12

These words had to cut to the heart of who or what or where Nicodemus found his identity. As a Pharisee, Nicodemus thought he was righteous, clean, set apart from the fleshly sinners of his day, and he wasn’t alone. All of the Pharisees thought the same thing, but what they didn’t realize was that God didn’t see them the same way and Jesus made it clear that no amount of work, self-righteousness or pious activity on their part could ever get them into God’s kingdom. Nicodemus had to change. He needed a new Identity and to achieve this new identity he and everyone else in the world would have to look to Jesus.

13) “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
14) “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
15) so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
16) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17) For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” – John 3:13-17

In these verses Jesus answers every question that we have ever wanted to know about God and Jesus.

First, by telling Nicodemus exactly Where He came from (verse 13).
Second, by telling Nicodemus How God will save the world through Jesus (verse 14-15), And lastly, by telling Nicodemus Who God the Father is and Why God is doing this (verse 16-17).

In relating this information Jesus gives Nicodemus a clear picture of the Love of God and His eternal plan of redemption and saving grace. And Jesus continues by saying:

18) “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19) This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20) For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21) But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” – John 3:18-21

In verse eighteen the Greek word for “judged” is: “Krino” (pronounced: kree’-no) and it has various definitions but the same meaning:

– to be judged, i.e. summoned to trial that one’s case may be examined and judgment passed upon it.
– to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong.
– to preside over with the power of giving judicial decisions.

In verse 19 the word “judgment” is the Greek word: “Krisis” which is translated correctly as “judgment”.  But there’s a couple other meanings as well that give us a much harder implication.

1) A separating, sundering or separation from
2) Sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment, condemnation and punishment.

These people who don’t believe in the name of Jesus, who refuse to look at Jesus by faith and turn from their wicked, sinful ways have been given their “sentence of condemnation.” 

They are separated from having a relationship with Jesus and God the Father because they loved the darkness rather than the light and therefore they are left in their evil deeds.

Understand this…These people were not rejected by Jesus or God the Father. Instead, these people refused the Light that came into the world, and they would rather live in the deeds of darkness refusing God’s love, God’s free gift, God’s eternal plan of salvation.

God NEVER rejects anyone.

All who come to Him by faith in Jesus will not be cast out! That’s a promise.  God’s promise, and for this reason, they who refused the Light of life, refused to believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, refused their new identity will never be allowed to enter God’s kingdom.  All because they were afraid that their deeds would be exposed as evil and they loved the deeds of darkness rather than the Light.

Conversely, in verse 21 we see that “…he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Jesus makes it clear to Nicodemus that identity is either in the love of the flesh (darkness) or the love of God (light), and humans have the right to decide which they would prefer, but if they choose darkness they will remain in darkness forever, forbidden from entering God’s kingdom.  If they choose the Light (Jesus), they must be born again and in so doing they will be cleansed from all unrighteousness both inwardly through the Holy Spirit and outwardly through water baptism, which will give them a new identity in God the Father with Jesus being the key to their salvation.

So, it’s pretty clear what Jesus is saying when He talks about those who have been judged and those who aren’t.  If you believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the perfect sacrifice for your sins, you’ll be free from judgment of your sins…why?  Because Jesus took the punishment that was meant for you by dying in your place.

However, if you decide not to look to Jesus and believe that He can’t save you from your sinful state, then you’ve been judged already.  “And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their deeds were evil.” 

“For the wages of sin is death…” – Romans 6:23a.  If you sin, you die.  Death is the wage for sinning.  And since ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) everyone who sins will receive a fair and equal wage as long as they remain separated from Jesus.  Because of that separation they will die in their sins and be separated from God the Father for all eternity. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  They can be free from the judgment and wrath of God. “…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23b.

Christ died for us…both you and me.  Once we look to Him and believe on Him, His light will shine on us and expose our deeds as having been evil.  He will wash you and clothe you with new festival robes and even put new sandals on your feet to give you a new identity in God the Father.  A perfect distinctiveness.  Separate from the deeds of evil.  Free from the bondage of sin.  A new life

So where are you today? Have you refused to come to the Light for fear that your deeds will be exposed? Or have you by faith looked upon Jesus and confessed your sins to God the Father seeking to be reconciled with Him through the death of His Son on the cross, and by faith believed in your heart that God the Father rose Jesus from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven?

I must warn you.

If you’ve chosen the path of darkness, your identity is of the world and you will forever be separated from God if you die in your sins.  I urge you to reconsider and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and by faith confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Son of God and Lord of all creation.  Also, believe in your heart that God the Father raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.  (Romans 10:9)

You don’t have to remain in darkness forever…you can be free from your bondage of sin. I urge you to seek God, come into the Light of Jesus and let Him cleanse you of your filthy wretched state. God is a God of love and He cares for you. He will help you if you just come to Him by faith.

I urge you…no…I’m begging you, Please…be reconciled back to God, you have the wrong identity without Him.

“Give me your heart my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways.” — Proverbs 23:26

Under My Skin

 

Bahhh!   Okay, one more!   Someone got under my skin, and I need to vent before I punch the wall!  

For those of you who don’t believe in God or the fact that a supreme being could actually create the world and everything in and around it, I’d like for you to take a second and look at your hand.  

Just look at it. 

Look at the front, back, and sides of it.  

Now, if you can, wiggle your fingers…

Okay now consider this…After billions and billions of years of evolving THAT’S the best you can do?  

I mean, seriously…why didn’t your species evolve more fingers?  Wouldn’t six or seven fingers help you hold on to things better?   How about longer, skinnier ones, or shorter stubbier ones for that matter?   

And What about your arms?  Why only two?  Why didn’t you evolve five or seven or eight arms over the course of billions of years?   I mean, humanity has to carry things and wouldn’t  more arms help with that?  

And what about your heart.  Why in the hell didn’t you evolve a heart that would never stop beating?   Or Blood cells that wouldn’t clot?   Or a brain that would never fail?  Or hair that wouldn’t fall out or grow in places it really shouldn’t grow?  

Better yet, why haven’t humans over the course of billions and billions of years of evolution figured out a way to never form addictions, get sick and . . . parish the thought . . . die?   

I’ll tell you why…

BECAUSE EVOLUTION NEVER HAPPENED you pathetic waste of bovine flesh!!!!  

Truth is, God created humans with two arms.  Two legs.  One heart.  One mind.  It’s been that way since the beginning of humanity and it’s not going to change!  

Also, because of sin entering into the world humans and animals get sick…we get addicted to things and we can never change the course of humanity. . .eventually all humans and animals will die.  

Don’t believe me?   

Just stop by your local hospital, retirement home, morgue or cemetery and you’re sure to run into someone sick, dying, dead or decomposing.   The reason…because if you sin…you die. And that’s God’s justice.   

 

Humans sin = Humans die.   That’s the punishment for disobedience.  I don’t care how much you hate it.  I don’t care how much you don’t like it.  I don’t care how much you don’t agree with it.  I don’t care how much you want to argue it.  It’s the cold, hard truth (no pun intended).

Evolution is just a way for some pathetic metronome to spout off their idiotic belief that humans actually have some control over their own existence, which is a lie.  

They choose to believe in a bunch of gases that always existed, mind you, in a place that was void of wind but somehow, managed to swirl around in a very large, open space and then when they all gathered in the right spot at JUST the right moment, the gases were able to explode when there was absolutely ZERO light or heat to trigger said combustion and then after the giant explosion, somehow were able to start rotating in a swirling motion. . . again, void of wind . . . and then miraculously formed the planets and moons and stars and all life as we know it.     

THAT, my dear cattle, is the biggest fairy tale that was ever told and people have bought into it thinking that it’s easier to believe than trusting and believing in a Spiritual, all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful God who created the world, all the planets, stars and moons as well as all life in six days.  

I’m not saying the big bang never happened…because it did…but it happened because God said these four words that caused it to happen:  “Let”  “There”  “Be”  “Light”.   Without those words and without God, nothing would have ever come into existence.

Bovine who believe humans evolved over billions and billions of years and can’t grasp the idea that God is real and created the World in six days are pathetic fools.