And the LORD said…

Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem, that you may be saved. 

How long will your wicked thoughts lodge within you?

Jeremiah 4:14


A message


Wounds of the wounded are never to heal.  They are spent days, mostly in anguish and lost in translation to their maker. 

You live your life as that of a harlot.  Spreading your legs for all men to view your nakedness.  To have their way with you at every turn.  

You drink strong wine and alcohol to numb the pain of your ways, hoping that the drug of choice will finally bring an end to your regret and sorrows.  

Yet, it does nothing but cause more sadness.  

Your actions are those of a harlot.  One who spends her days enticing the naive and feeble minded, attempting to find joy when there is none to obtain.  

Like a wailing Jackal in the wilderness who has lost her young, your desires are not fulfilled.  

I have set a Standard in the high places.  One on whom you can look and be fulfilled, but instead, you spend your wasted days looking to the fields which cannot fulfill; looking to the weeds which cannot produce fruit.  

Turn to the Lord, the God of Heaven, and He will give you the rest you seek, but your head will not turn, your eye will not move.  

Look to the One who’s mercy and love will never end, but your eye has found another lover and your heart has lost its way. 

You!  The harlot of your people.  You seek to raise children and offspring who will worship God, but in spite of all your work, you only raise up more harlots among your family.  

Your children are harlots of harlotry!  Cursed among the people and left to their own desires.  

They are far worse than you as they have no one to guide them for the blind guides which I have not sent, lead them down the wide road of destruction.  

Their mouth is filled with indecency.  They are not chaste.  They have not learned righteousness or how to be holy as I AM.  

They stretch out their hands to the wicked and beg for unrighteousness.  Their plea to those who can never bring justice is futile.  

The wickedness of their hearts is against Me, says the Lord of Heaven and Earth.  

How would you want me to answer you?  How would you desire that I set you free from this bondage?  

Have I not provided a way in which to release you?  Have I not been open and truthful about My plans and purposes?  

I gave you a key to freedom and what did you do?  How did you react?  

I provide a way of escape and what was your decision?

You blame Me for your faults and your lack of fair judgement, but am I not the one who is innocent in this matter?  Haven’t I answered you in the past and given you freedom?  

Yet, you rejected My free gift. You spit in My face. You mocked Me.  I set you free and you cursed Me.  

You did not want My abundance.  You did not want Me to be your savior.  

Because of your pride and arrogance, you looked to the stars to save you.  You looked to men, who cannot save, because they have muscles and pretty eyes, a flashy smile.  

Have I not told you that this life is not for the swift of foot, nor is it for the strong or self-willed?  Have I not informed you that horses and chariots will never save you in a time of battle?  

Many days have gone by and My patience is wearing thin with this obstinate people.  

I will not contend with you forever.

You have prostituted yourself to other gods which are not gods at all, and your children have followed in your footsteps.  They too have become harlots just as their parents before them, yet they are worse.

How should I deal with your disobedience?  Should I not judge you with righteous judgement?  

Should I, the Lord of all creation, not have the right to lift My hand against you for your disobedience?  

Tell Me.  

State your case that it may fall on My ears so I can hear your rationale.  

If I did not let My people, Israel, go free from their iniquity which they committed against Me, then why should I let you go free?  

The days are coming, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will judge the whole earth for its deeds.  The great and small will stand before the judgement seat of My calling and I will either be their end, or I will be their life.

Choose wisely, oh sheep.  

Make haste to wash yourselves in the pool of my radiance, for I can make you clean.  I can wash away every stain from your soul.  

Your name will be changed to a righteous name if you would only look to me and turn from your wickedness.  

I Am the Lord.  The Son of the Living God.  The One who is and who is to come.  

My name is Holy.  

Be holy, for I Am Holy!


A Dire Warning to Demoralcrats


When you look at the above picture, what do you see?  

A dirty kid?  

Filthy?  Sullen?  Stunned?  Dismayed?  Lost?  

When I look at the above picture I imagine the souls and emotional state of every person around the world, and I imagine they all must appear very much like that picture in the eyes of a compassionate God.

Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s was difficult enough, but now. . . I can’t imagine being a kid in this pathetic basackwards society and having to try and decipher the truth from all the lies being spread by pathetic people who wouldn’t know the truth if it were branded on their butt with a nail gun.

There was a time when tattoo parlors, body-piercing places and sex-toy shops were only found in the “rough” parts of town.  They were only found in the dark, dingy back-alleys of society where filth and disease were common place.  These establishments had a stigma that only criminals and pathetic classes of society were their clientele and if you frequented one of these places you were considered to be a delinquent, lawless, a miscreant.

Also, let us not forget that not that long ago the idea of men sleeping with men and women sleeping with women was also considered disgusting in the minds of humanity.  

To have one of these ‘relationships’ a person had to find a seedy establishment in the dark, dingy back-alley of society where those who were like-minded would frequent.  These establishments were also considered to be covered in filth and disease.  Only visited by those who dared to choose a life of disgust and demonic decay.

There was a time when illegal drug use was considered a horrible thing.  If someone wanted to buy or sell drugs they had to go into the dark, dingy, filthy parts of town to find an establishment where like-minded people would do it.  It wasn’t mainstream like it is today where state and local governments are making it legal to setup literal drug stores on every corner.

And while were at it, let’s mention Gambling.

This ‘money making’ scam has been brought to the lime-light every election since Warren G Harding.  It’s a criminal activity that was once committed in the dark, dingy, back rooms of seedy places like tattoo parlors, bars and brothels.  Filthy places where like-minded drunks, addicts and sexual perverts would hang out.

If you were to frequent one of these establishments you were considered lawless, a malefactor, a hoodlum.  

But today…

Today, these establishments are no longer constrained to the dingy, murky back-alleys.  These places are within a stone’s throw of every home and school.  Heck, it’s impossible to drive five miles from your home without seeing one of these establishments on a local street corner or their advertisements on a billboard hanging high in the air for all to see.  It’s common place for all of society to frequent these places without ever considering the consequences.

Furthermore, men sleeping with men and women sleeping with women, thumbing their noses at what is deemed to be righteous behavior…NOT in the sight of man, but God…and giving up their natural functions for what is unnatural.  Living unholy lives without care to how degrading their choice is to the human soul or the rest of humanity as a whole.

Matter of fact, the so-called acceptance of this kind of behavior by society…democrats especially…has led to girls being girls unless they decide at some point they want to be a boy, at that point of self-revelation they think they are ‘boys’ even though they don’t possess a penis or testicles and will never be able to produce sperm.

Of course, they are only a ‘boy’ in their own minds until they decide to change their minds and want to be girls again, in which case no one actually knows what they are so to make it “easier” society…democrats especially…decide to do away with gender pronouns that have existed since creation began…

Likewise, it’s the same with boys who suddenly think they are girls and decide to announce their new gender to the world which somehow instantly converts them to the female gender.

However, these newly proclaimed ‘girls’ are still boys because they have a penis and testicles which never allows them to have a menstrual cycle; and they never will have a menstrual cycle because they don’t have ovaries to produce an ovum every month, but they still want to be known as girls even though basic biology clearly states that they are boys . . .

Therefore, society…democrats especially…oblige, and trying to be what they deem to be “compassionate”, make the decision to do away with gender pronouns that have existed since creation began…

Sex shops, tattoo parlors, illegal drugs, bars and casinos…all with only one commonality . . . They are all choices that can be addictive to the human soul, and each one has been discussed in every town, every legislature, to be made ‘legal’ for various reasons.  Most of all…tax revenue.    

Quite pathetically, many cattle who read this won’t see the addictive commonality of all the things I’ve listed.  Instead, they’ll only read the negative connotations that I included with each of the above choices, and quite possibly, chastise me for labeling these things as being evil and degrading to the morality of society. 

This has been made prevalent in our society by the degrading passions that are put on parade by none other than the democratic party.  Of which I now refer to as, “Demoralcrats”. 

They believe that freedom is living in bondage to the very thing that is addictive.  To give in to the demonic is somehow liberating.  So…they create laws to make that which was once illegal…legal.  However, making legal what was once illegal is saying that what is evil should be good and what is good should be evil.

There is a stern, dire warning against such behavior that is found in the Bible.  A book that most demoralcrats misquote and misrepresent.

“Woe 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!”  (Isa. 5:20)

And that isn’t the only warning that passage contains…

“Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, Until there is no more room, So that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!” — (vs. 8)

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!  Their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine; But they do not pay attention to the deeds of the LordNor do they consider the work of His hands.” —  (vs. 11-12)

“Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood, And sin as if with cart ropes; Who say, “Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it; And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near And come to pass, that we may know it!”  — (vs. 18-19)

Also, each woe that is mentioned here comes with a promise of judgement from God for their disobedience to His laws.  And though you may believe that judgement isn’t a righteous act…God would disagree with you…   

“But the Lord of hosts will be exalted in judgment, and the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness.” — (vs. 16)

To not take heed to the dire warnings of a Holy and Righteous God is bringing folly upon not just your own head, but the heads of all your family. For God is not mocked, whatever a man sows he shall also reap.  If seeds to flesh, the corruption of the flesh; but if seeds to the Holy Spirit, eternal life.  

You don’t make the rules people.  God does.  He always has.  He always will.  

I’m only a messenger.  Appointed as a watchman by God to deliver a message of warning and hope to you and your family.  

That if you turn from your wicked ways and seek Him with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength and all your soul; and repent of your sins by confessing with a humble and contrite heart…God will hear you from Heaven and show compassion to you.  He will forgive you, and you will sow seeds to the Holy Spirit which profit you life everlasting.  For He is a God that delights in executing lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on the whole earth.  

Likewise, if you refuse to hear His words of hope and refuse to act upon them by repenting of your sins and turning away from them for good, you will suffer the punishment that is due you for acting out against a Holy God.  Your rebellion will be sowing seeds to the flesh which will reap a harvest of corruption and ultimately, death.  Separated from God for all eternity.  

No matter what you’ve done in life…no matter how many times you think God can’t or won’t forgive your past…believe me, He will.  But you have to come to Him, HIS way…not yours.  

Lay aside the flesh, and give your life to God by seeking His only begotten Son, Jesus.  Who died on a cross to save all of humanity of their sins.   

Ask the Father to reveal His Son to you…and when He does, don’t deny Him.  Trust in Him. Accept Him.  He’ll make your way straight. He’ll clean you up, dress you in festal robes and put His signet ring on your finger.  You will be His everlasting possession.  

A trophy of His Grace, His Power, His Love.  

So, if you’re gonna be a follower, choose to follow the One who can lead you to eternal life and stop following the ways of the demoralcrats.  Their pathetic way only leads to death, even though they make it appear that it leads to life.  Never forget that the devil disguises himself as an angel of light.  

Don’t be deceived. 



Things To Be Thankful For


Five years ago I was dating a woman who requested that we start a Thanksgiving tradition listing 100 things that we were thankful for and sharing our lists with one another on Thanksgiving day.  The list had to be 100 things and could contain anything we wanted but nothing could be repeated and some of the items on the list required a brief explanation for some reason or another.  

Quite honestly, for the life of me I cannot remember why we had to give an explanation for some of the items on our list, but as you’ll see from reading mine, I gave an explanation for a number of items so there was obviously a reason for it.   

Anyway, after rummaging through my hard drive cleaning up old files I happen to run across my list and thought I would share it with you.  Like I said, five years had passed and even though I have not forgotten spending that Thanksgiving with her in 2011, I had forgotten that I saved my list.

So, without further ado…

100 things I’m thankful for

1) God’s gift of salvation – because I no longer live in the bondage of sin and it shows God’s great love, grace and mercy to me for something I don’t deserve.  

2) Clean drinking water – it’s refreshing and there are places in this world that don’t have the benefit of a fresh, clean glass of water.

3) Toothpaste – because it provides fresh breath and keeps my teeth clean so I don’t lose my teeth.

4) My relationship with SJG – In just a few short weeks, with or without knowing it, she has shown me how to love another person unconditionally; without reservations and without fear.  She has brought a joy and happiness to my life that only God could have orchestrated.  I’m so thankful for her desire to pray and study God’s word with me and a desire to spend time with me and not be afraid to share her heart with me.  I’m so very thankful for how she challenges and encourages me.  I’m thankful for her heart and how she desires to see people change their lives and have a relationship with Jesus.  I’m thankful that she prays with me and for me.  I’m thankful that she desires to talk with me and spend time with me.  I’m thankful that she is honest, caring, loving, motivated, energetic, smart, funny and full of life.  I’m thankful for God leading S and I into each other’s lives at just the right moment.  It’s only because of Him that we have this opportunity to grow with one another, to love each other and to share our lives with one another in such a special way.  God really is a great and awesome God. 

5) For my new job and home in Another City!

6) My parents – their never ending prayers for their family and their love for us is so humbling. 

7) My nephews – each one has their own identity and I’ve learned a lot about patience and love through their relationships with me. 

8) Future Marriage to SJG

9) Hot Water Heaters

10) The Smell of Fresh-Cut Grass

11) Cherry scented Cigars

12) Rainbows – because it’s a reminder of the promise God made to Noah not to flood the whole Earth again. 

13) The Church – It’s wonderful to have a group of people to worship, pray and build relationships with in Christ.  To have a place where we can learn more about who God is and what He desires of us as followers of Him. 

14) Flushing Toilets

15) Every Holiday with my family.

16) My Car – it was an answer to prayer and little did I know that when I bought it, it would be my transport between Lincoln and Omaha to see a woman I am in love with.

17) Sunrises and Sunsets

18) Hair Dryers

19) My Old Barber – for 20+ years he was the best at his profession.  He had a great personality and was so willing to serve people. 

20) Facebook – it’s allowed me to connect with family and friends in other cities and who I haven’t seen in many years. 

21) Skype – I can use this online tool to talk with and see my family who live in another state.

22) Digital Video/Still Cameras

23) Fishing trips with my dad – It was “our” time, just me and my dad, and I cherished those moments with him.  He showed me how to bait a hook and take a fish off the line.  We had some good talks and even when we just sat on the bank in silence, I was aware that he was there with me and wanted to spend time with me.  Our time fishing together was important to me and I will always be thankful for those days/nights we had together.

24) My Grandmother’s jokes and laughter and her desire to have her family all gather in one place for the holidays.

25) The Ability to Walk/Run, taste and see and hear.

26) Freedoms to start a business, live where I want and speak freely in my country

27) Grocery stores

28) Washing Machines and clothes dryers along with Automatic Dishwashers

29) My many failures and successes that have led to my growth in life.  All the events have made me who I am today.

30) My childhood friends – We had a blast growing up!  They were such a big part of my life for so many years and we shared some really great experiences.  Riding bikes in the dirt trails, making forts, being my teammates in sports. Camping out in the backyard.  Staying up late and running around the neighborhood.  Having one another’s back in a pinch.  They were my BEST friends for so many years.  I learned a lot from our experiences. 

31) My grandfather taking me to get a fishing rod – My grandfather wasn’t the kind of man to call his grandkids and request time with them, so the day he called to ask me to go with him to get a new fishing rod meant the world to me.  We spent a couple hours together and he let me pick out anything I wanted.  I really cherish that time we spent together and I miss having him around.

32) My Sisters – We had fun growing up and knowing that they are just a phone call away to talk with brings a bit of comfort.

33) The Godly men who have taught me over the years of my life.

34) Warm blankets right out of the dryer.

35) MP3 players

36) Laughter

37) Naps – they refresh me for a few more hours.

38) Alarm Clocks

39) Treadmills

40) FM radio

41) Answered and Unanswered prayers – I’m thankful that God didn’t answer many of my prayers over the years for reasons only He knows. I know now that it was to either protect me or to help me to grow before I was ready for what I was asking for.  But I am thankful for the prayers He has answered. 

42) The safety that God provided moving my sister and her family to N.D. – The roads were icy and we were all running on very little sleep but God made a way for us. 

43) Food – I am thankful for food that nourishes and helps to provide strength and vitamins to our bodies.  I’m thankful that food is a way for people to gather and talk and get to know one another around a table. And I’m thankful because food can bring a smile to someone’s face.

44) Space Heaters

45) Scented candles

46) Toilet Paper – (for obvious reasons)

47) Paper Plates

48) Doctors and Nurses who are trained in their profession to help with healing wounds or performing operations, delivering children or caring for the sick.

49) Email

50) Fiber Tablets – Thankful for these because they are a great way to lose weight and keep it off naturally. 

51) My apartment – it has been a warm and safe place to live.

52) Comfortable shoes

53) The many friends that have encouraged me over the years to try new things like: country swing dancing, riding roller coasters, exotic foods, taking trips to new places.

54) Television Remotes

55) Airplanes

56) Soft pillows

57) Deodorant & Antiperspirant 

58) Park benches

59) Pumpkin Spice Smoothies from Scooters

60) My Bible – I’m thankful that the word of God to direct my steps, correct me when I’m wrong and helps me know how to live as Jesus instructed.  

61) Ice Cream – I’m thankful for comfort in a cup or cone!!

62) Holidays at my grandparents house as a kid.

63) Trips to the country or the lake anytime of year.

64) God’s provision in good and desperate times.

65) Hugs and Kisses while cuddling with S.

66) Wall Spackle

67) Online Shopping

68) Running on a hot summer afternoon

69) Really big Thunderstorms

70) Being able to pay for my college courses and books without having to take out loans.

71) Being able to get debt free

72) God’s protection from evil things

73) Learning to Snow Ski

74) Over coming my fear of heights to ride an extremely high roller coaster.

75) Taking a chance at playing the lead role in a church play

76) My high school music teacher who convinced me to try out for a jazz ensemble.

77) Hot Chocolate on a cold day.

78) Coaching a fourth-grade YMCA baseball team

79) People who are friendly and respect others.

80) Watching my nephew catch his first fish.

81) Being patriotic. 

82) Knowing my dad made it back safely from the Vietnam conflict.

83) Good Health.

84) The Seasons of Fall and Spring.

85) Canoeing down a long river with friends.

86) Mountains

87) Country Music

88) Maps and GPS

89) The kindness of strangers

90) Watching a funnel cloud form

91) Saturday morning Cartoons

92) Playing football in the park

93) Singing in a church choir

94) The peace and quiet that happens directly after a freshly fallen snow.

95) The summer family trips we would take to Mount Rushmore or Colorado in a car with no A/C.

96) A text from a close friend or family member.

97) The tiny hand of a new-born baby gripping my finger.

98) All the nights in the old neighborhood where all the kids would gather at the end of our driveway telling jokes and stories for hours.

99) Campfires

100)  Today.

You’re probably asking where her list might be?  

Unfortunately, her list is in a landfill somewhere because a week after we made these lists and shared them with one another, our relationship came to an abrupt end.  That’s when she requested I destroy hers because she . .  and I quote . . . “didn’t want that stuff floating around out there.”  



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


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

The Ugly Duckling – part 2

 the ugly duckling

– Part 2 – 

(warning, this is very long!)

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

I can honestly tell you that in the 30 some years I’ve read, studied and researched the bible, I’ve never understood that verse.

Quite honestly, I’ve never understood what ‘grace‘ really is. 

I guess I should clarify what I mean when I say that I “never understood what grace really is“… Truth is, I know what grace is because I’ve studied the topic and taught other people about God’s grace, and I can define it as “unmerited favor” or “something we get but don’t deserve“, but in all honesty and truthfulness I’ve never fully understood how God’s grace actually works.

In my previous post I mentioned that over three years ago I broke up with a woman and after the break up that woman called me names and rebuked my manhood.  Quite honestly, she gave me exactly what she thought I deserved.  She wasn’t kind in her words; matter of fact, she was downright vicious and I think if she could have, she would have beat me with a baseball bat, but thank goodness that didn’t happen.

Consequently, after her harsh words of rebuke and name calling I had to take a long, hard look at myself and my life.  While doing so, I realized that she was correct…I was the man she said I was, and that I had wounded her heart by not living up to the word I had professed to her.  I failed to love her; and for that, she was right in giving me the scalding of a lifetime.  In other words, I received a just payment for my lack of honesty with her.

She could have handled it with more tact and love, which is true, but I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Those reasons result in teachable moments in life that we either learn from and grow or fail to learn from and continue to suffer.  I ended up doing both.

After the break up and the subsequent scathing rebuke from my ex-girlfriend I mentioned that I fell into a tailspin of sorts and began to lash out at God. 

I blamed Him for every failure in my life.  I blamed Him for basically being an unloving God who didn’t know what was best for me.  I blamed Him for not giving me more confidence, more courage, more strength, more wisdom.  In the end I cursed Him.  I cursed Him because I wanted to die.  I acted very much like a toddler in a toy store wanting that stuffed animal that I was clinging to with a grip of death, but then threw a temper tantrum when my parent took it away from me and had to carry me out of the store kicking and screaming.

The point here is that I was acting in a very unlovable manner towards God and was truly worthy of death.  However, being the most patient, most loving God that He is, He didn’t just leave me in the midst of my tantrum and walk away, nor did He initiate a steady stream of discipline.   Instead, He just continued to love me. 

He loved me by providing me with money to pay my bills. He loved me by providing me with family and friends who reached out to me in my time of need.  He loved me by giving me a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food on my table and a pillow for my head. 

He loved me, when I screamed and yelled.  He loved me when I called Him names.  He loved me when I didn’t love Him back. 

He loved me when I was extremely unlovable.  

And that’s when I learned what God’s grace really is and how God’s grace really works, and I learned that I really had no reason to be mad at or blame God.

We don’t always like the lessons that we’re taught in life, especially the lessons that require us to feel pain and hurt, loss and shame; but those lessons are a gift and they need to be taught for all of us to grow into the men and women we’re meant to be.  Men and women who resemble the righteousness and holiness of a loving God. 

What I learned from my three-year lesson of pain and discomfort is that grace means being loved when you’re at your most ugly and unlovable.  When you don’t deserve to be loved. 

In other words grace is love and it’s summed up in one word in the commandment: Love your neighbor as you Love yourself.”

Before I continue let me say this,  Love is NOT sex and sex is NOT love. 

Sex really isn’t even a product of true, undefiled love.  How could it be?   After all, would you have sex with your parents?  Your kids?  Your grandparents?   NO!  – DEFINITELY NOT! and  – NO!  … and yet, you still love them. 

Love is greater than a physical act of getting your “nasty on” with someone you met online or at a bar.  Therefore, sex is NOT love and love is NOT sex.

However, what love is is an act of selflessness, kindness and humility.  It’s NOT holding a grudge, NOT taking revenge, NOT casting out, NOT laying down a sentence of condemnation. It’s accepting someone at their worst and never ridiculing them or placing blame.  It’s laying aside your pride and putting another persons needs above your own. Which really goes without saying, true love is correcting another person when you see that the path they are heading will lead to ruin, shame, heartache, pain and/or death. 

With that said, the truth is . . . no one really deserves to be loved.

That’s right.  You read that correctly.  

NO ONE really deserves to be loved.

Think about how many times you have talked poorly about your neighbor?  your co-worker?  One of your exes?  Your boss?  Your parents?  Your kids?  

Think about the people in Baltimore, Maryland or Ferguson, Missouri who were rioting?  Their actions don’t warrant or deserve love.  How about the radical Islamist groups?   What about Hitler? or Stalin?  Do any of them really deserve to be loved?

Now consider this… You are your neighbor’s neighbor.  How would they answer that same question about you?

Of course YOU think you deserve to be shown love, but don’t all those other people I just mentioned think the same about themselves? 

Don’t they all believe they deserve to be loved just like you do?

The truth is, you’re not deserving of love and neither am I or any of the people on this planet, but we’re shown love every day in ways we don’t recognize. 

And THAT was the lesson I’ve had to learn over the past three years because THAT was a lesson about God’s abundant Grace.  His unmerited favor.

Why did it take three years? . . .

Beats me! 

But God’s timing is perfect and He knew exactly how long He wanted the lesson to last.  This one happened to take three years for me to finally realize that what He was teaching me was that I got what I deserved when my ex-girlfriend ripped me a new one, and I got what I didn’t deserve when God showed me His love while I acted like an angry monkey trapped in a cage with hornets.

My point here is that none of us deserve love because in the eyes of every human around us, we’re considered unlovable, but since grace is love and love is grace, that means we get exactly what we don’t deserve from God every day, and He shows it through the generous act of daily providing for our needs.

We have grocery stores filled with food, cars we can drive, jobs we can go to, houses we can live in, clothes we can wear, friends and/or family we can talk with and spend time with, television and movies to watch, music that we can enjoy, rain and snow for moisture, a sun that warms us by day and moon and stars that we can look at with wonder and awe at night.

Every single day we get to see and experience God’s love for us, and it’s completely undeserving because we humans really are a pathetic bunch of evil if left to our own selves.

And that’s really how grace works.  Receiving something we don’t deserve in spite of who we are or what we’ve done or think.

God doesn’t have to love us.  Matter of fact, none of us are that beautiful or special to be loved by a perfect, holy, righteous God who has never sinned.

What we really deserve is death and to be cast out of God’s presence for all eternity, however, God isn’t like us evil humans who are seeking dirty revenge.  No, God doesn’t seek revenge the way we do.  God’s revenge is controlled, unmerited, undeserving love.    

Yet, because we’re so angry with our own failures and inability to achieve what we want, we blame God for not loving us.  All the while it’s our pride that prohibits us from realizing that the finger we point at God in blame, has three pointing directly back at us.  

And still, God sends us rain, puts food on our tables, clothes on our back, education for our minds and a path to freedom and eternal life that is so pathetically easy that many people still seek the difficult paths because they just can’t accept God’s simple way to salvation.  Jesus is the Son of God.  He came to His own because the Father sent Him.  Jesus died on a cross because the Father was willing to sacrifice His only Son that whoever believes by faith on Jesus will have everlasting life.   That’s as simple as it gets.

The lessons I learned these past three years were the most troublesome, most difficult, most challenging that I have ever experienced in my life, and yet…

I’m thankful for every moment of failure that led me to this point because I learned that I am loved even when I’m unlovable.

But I’ve also learned to Love, not only God…but my fellow man.   And I’ve learned that God’s Love never ceases and that nothing…not pain, not suffering, not the world, not discontent, not a human nor any angelic being can EVER separate me from the Love of God.  And that wisdom brings contentment and a very thankful heart.

Is the struggle over?  Nope!  And it won’t be until God decides to take me home so I can abide with Him and experience His rest, but through it all I’ll always remember that God loves this unlovable, ugly duckling and there’s nothing pathetic about that!

the ugly duckling1

~ Feel free to comment now. ~  Thanks for waiting.