Tag: Jesus

Jesus Is The Reason For WHICH Season?


Jesus is the reason for WHICH season?

You’re probably aware of the two words which have the potential of creating Facebook wars, lawsuits, disgruntled shoppers, and nasty comments from a whole assortment of people who don’t necessarily agree with your brand of religion. Or mine.

Yep, those are the ones.

“Merry Christmas!”

Another phrase that can light someone’s fuse is, “Jesus is the reason for the season”. Am I right?

Though I understand completely what a person means when they say those words, I wonder how much of it is really true. Do you?

When you hear that phrase, what do you think of? Don’t you associate it with what you already believe?

If you believe God sent His one and only Son to this dark and rebellious world, to live as the last Adam, face the evil one on his own turf, and ultimately become God’s once and for all sacrifice for ALL of mankind, then you associate Christmas with Jesus the Savior. 

But what if the season doesn’t include any of that Jesus stuff? What if the Christmas season means something entirely different? You know, it does to many, many people.

Even many who live in your hometown.

But what else could Christmas even remotely mean? After all, didn’t Jesus plan the first Christmas party? Didn’t they have a tree, bedecked with tinsel, colored lights, and an angel mounted on its top standing near the manger?

If He’s the reason for the season, surely He would have done that first Christmas up big! At least, that’s what you and I would have done if we’d been in charge.

So, what do others think about Christmas? 

Many associate Christmas with parties, gift giving, mistletoe, family get togethers, more parties, spiked eggnog, vacation, snow, Santa Claus, elves, even more parties, new movie releases, along with maybe a few childhood memories.

And when those people hear “Jesus is the reason for the season”, they can only scratch their unbelieving head and say, “Really? He’s the reason for spiked eggnog and childhood memories?”

And we who believe in Jesus as Savior wonder why the rest of the world doesn’t get it.

Maybe we should reevaluate our view of Christmas. Maybe it would be beneficial if we actually removed Christ from Christmas.

 

Maybe Xmas is a better way to describe the season.

 

The Christmas Season doesn’t need Jesus. It’s doing just fine. And Jesus doesn’t need the Christmas Season; His message will hold its own without being watered down with all the extra hype we love to throw in with it.

No, I am not anti gift giving, anti parties, anti anything associated with the Christmas Season (except the spiked eggnog). But it seems to me the Season is becoming more important than the One the Season is SUPPOSED to be about. It’s like, it’s hard to find Jesus amongst the stuff.

So I ask you, as I’ve asked myself, “Jesus is the reason for WHICH season?”

The commercialized, worldwide sales extravaganza or something different?

Possibly He’s the reason for the Easter season. You know, the eggs, bunnies, ham dinners, and new clothes. Hey, don’t get mad at me for not mentioning the Resurrection. That’s not what a lot of people celebrate during the Easter Season.

Maybe He’s the reason for the flu season. After all, it is wintertime.

Or maybe it has something to do with THIS season: the Season of Reckoning.

The season when God begins to judge this world by how they’ve TREATED His Son. He has promised there would come a day when the world would be judged by Jesus, so I don’t have any doubt that Jesus is the reason for THAT season.

Check it out:

“on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:16 ESV)

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom…” (2 Timothy 4:1 ESV)

“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” (James 5:9 ESV)

“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV)
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” (Revelation 20:11-12 ESV)

Folks, I’m inclined to believe Jesus is the reason for the season that’s coming faster than we’d like to think, more than the one people celebrate today. And unfortunately for many, too many, it’s not a season of celebration.

I’m not going rain on anyone’s Christmas parade, or throw rotten eggs at their Easter basket. I’ll still wish you and everyone else a Merry Christmas and Happy Easter. I’m not a total jerk, you know.

But I believe it’s time to begin focusing on a season Jesus is DEFINITELY involved with. A season of rejoicing for some, sure. But for many, unless they get a clearer understanding of that first Christmas, it will be a season of grief and woe.

A Controversial Message 

It’s that time again. 

Time to get out my spiritual Kitchen Aid, plug it in, throw in a few ideas and stir things up.

After all, it’s the nature of the gospel of Christ.

The basic, undiluted message of Jesus is controversial. There’s no better way to describe it.

Controversial – relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument; likely to produce controversy.

Yep, that describes the gospel perfectly.

How else would you describe it? I mean, would YOU use words like these?

Peace, Serenity, Calm, Love, Life, Grace, Abundance, Beauty, Family of God, or Heavenly?

Would YOU use those words, or would THESE words paint a truer picture of the gospel message?

Death, Hatred, Ugliness, Depravity, Loneliness, Brokenness, Violence, or Hell?

Remember Jesus’ words, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 NLT)

Do those words sound anything less than controversial?

Jesus didn’t come to bring mankind the best thing since sliced bread.

He didn’t come to give us another option for our retirement plan, you know, kind of like a spiritual IRA.

God the Father didn’t demand such a violent death from His only Son just so you and I could sing “Joy to the World” or “Silent Night”.

No!

The reason for the gospel was our utter deprivation, completely at odds with the Holy God, Creator of the heavens and earth. We were DEAD in our sins.

Jesus didn’t come to earth because we were so welcoming. Sure, as long as our belly was full of fish and bread we loved the Lord! But when it looked as though our lives were to be threatened by the people in charge, “Crucify Him” is what came screaming from our lips!

We didn’t need a president or even a governor. We couldn’t have made it if we were simply sent a nanny; someone to feed us, help us not feel lonely, and remind us to brush our teeth.

No! We needed a Savior! Someone Who would come into our mean, nasty, ugly world and make it possible, supernaturally possible, to be changed into a brand new person!

Not cleaned up, dusted off, or remodeled.

Brand new!

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

That’s why it took a controversial message to shake us, awaken us to the possibilities of something FAR GREATER than anything imaginable up to that point.

Paul said, “For I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation…” Romans 1:16.

“I’m not ashamed… to say I belong to Jesus. The old guy died, NEEDED to die and never be resurrected because he was vile, wicked, EVIL without God.”

“I’m not ashamed… to live according to the Word of God, even though IT IS NOT THE POPULAR THING TO DO!”

“I’m not ashamed… to embrace controversial messages that go against the grain of a world system that feels it has an axe to grind with God.”

“I’m not ashamed… though persecution is part of taking a stand for the One Who died and rose again so I could have life.”

“I’m not ashamed…to say Merry Christmas, even  if Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. It’s an opportunity to point people to the controversial message; the gospel.”

The gospel is the power of God, resulting in salvation and all the other nice things we like to think about.

But FIRST, the gospel must be embraced. In other words, we must believe and receive the controversial message.

There’s no other way to do it. For Jesus said, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

Controversial? Yes! Worth the price?

You bet!

God Hates Cancer

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It’s as though a light suddenly turned on inside my spirit, illuminating my understanding and igniting my faith.

As I said a silent prayer for someone we know who just recently was diagnosed with cancer (for the second time), deep in my heart I heard the Spirit of God say, “God hates cancer!”

I have believed in divine healing for a long time, but at times have let my faith subside. Personal pain can sometimes override my faith; at least it has in the past.

But God hates cancer! In fact, He hates sickness and disease! He hates it with a passion.

Sickness and disease of any kind are results of the fall of Adam and Eve. God created them perfectly. They were created to live forever. It wasn’t until they disobeyed God, and obeyed the evil one, that sickness and disease entered the human race.

But God has demonstrated His will concerning healing and health because He has NEVER turned anyone aside without healing them; if they approached Him with believing faith.

Look throughout the New Testament. Time after time Jesus says, “As you have believed, be made whole.” “According to your faith…”

God hates cancer. There are several reasons why I believe it:

1. Its author is Satan. Notice what Jesus said: “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:16 NKJV)

I’m not saying a person is fighting a demon every time cancer is diagnosed, but ultimately cancer originated in the bowels of hell. It wasn’t part of God’s original plan, you won’t find it in Heaven, and it can be destroyed by faith in God.

“All things are possible to those who believe.” (Mark 9:23)

2. Jesus paid the complete cost of Adam’s treason; spirit, soul, and body.

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” (Isaiah 53:4-5 AMP)

And in case you’re wondering if that Old Testament passage applies, notice how Matthew uses the same verse in his gospel.

“So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.'” (Matthew 8:15-17 NKJV)

Even the Apostle Peter agrees:

“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 NKJV)

3. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

“…The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].” (1 John 3:8 AMP)

“how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38 NKJV)

Not once did Jesus tell someone, “I’m so sorry; you just have to keep that cancer so God can teach you something.”

4. Cancer destroys life. God is the God of life!

“Our God is the God of salvation; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.” (Psalm 68:20 NKJV)

5. Cancer mocks God’s power. But God is able, and willing, to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)

6. Cancer declares God can’t, or won’t, forgive sins.

Notice: “When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God .” (Luke 5:20-25 NKJV)

Why would Jesus say something like that? Maybe because of what the Holy Spirit inspired David to write in Psalm 103.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction…” (Psalm 103:2-4 NKJV)

Healing and forgiveness require power from the same source – God. His power saves and heals.

James said somewhat the same thing.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:14-16 NKJV)

7. Jesus told us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.” Healing and health abound in Heaven.

God hates cancer because it reminds Him of His adversary, the devil. God isn’t using the devil to teach His kids something. A house divided will fall.

Do YOU hate cancer? I’m sure you do.

But you and I hating it isn’t the same as having faith in the Living God Who has demonstrated His power over it.

He demonstrated His power over anything and everything hell could possibly use against us when He raised Jesus from the grave.

God hates cancer! He has a word for it; a word that demolishes it to its very root.

Jesus!

Damned Prisoners 

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Have you ever been inside a maximum security prison? I have.

Years ago I visited a young man from our home town. After driving about three hours to his place of incarceration, I was able to spend about 45 minutes with him.

At least he was able to have visitors.

Just being inside those cold, stone walls and hearing the iron bars slam shut was enough to convince me that crime doesn’t pay.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve had my turn at living as though rules didn’t matter; “to Hell with the consequences”, I was going to do what I wanted.

And I spent time in the juvenile court system to prove it.

Jails and prisons. Places to house those who need rehabilitation. Or, sadly, for the ones who are beyond help. 

Either way, lawless people shouldn’t be allowed to have the freedom to terrorize those living within the law.

Jails and prisons are, in a way, quite similar to a place called Hell. The primary difference being that Hell is NOT a place where any rehab takes place.

Hell is for damned prisoners. 

It’s a place where people go who have refused to live within the universally righteous laws of Almighty God.

It was never intended for mankind.

But ever since Adam and Eve regrettably turned aside from God’s commands, rebellion and lawlessness have been in the heart of every single person.

And, because life is eternal, meaning man’s spirit lives on after his earth suit has been buried six feet under, the rebellious and lawless must not be allowed to terrorize or defile Heaven’s eternal citizens.

 

Where eternity’s damned prisoners, those who’ve refused rehabilitation, refused to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, must forever remain.

 

Without visitors.

There is some good news in all of this. Since Hell wasn’t created for you and I, we don’t have to go there.

We can be rehabilitated without going to jail. We can change our eternal destination by receiving, by faith, the work Jesus did for us through His death, burial, and resurrection. And as a result, receive a brand new nature.

He went to Hell for us. For our rebellion; our lawlessness.

“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ESV)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV)

Jesus gave His life for people like us; you and I, damned prisoners.

But thanks be to God, he whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Damned no more. Prisoners to rebellion and lawlessness no longer.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12 ESV)

“…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)

Isn’t it nice to know you have a choice?

Hey, who in their right mind would want to be a damned prisoner anyway?

Uncle Sam Weeps

 

 

Uncle Sam

watch video of song – Uncle Sam Weeps

UNCLE SAM WEEPS by Jan L. Grace

In this land of the free and the home of the brave, Kneels an old ragged man with his banner to wave

And he weeps,

Holding those Colors, the red white and blue, With hands rough and worn by the pain he’s been through,

How he weeps,

With tears in his eyes, and an ache in his chest, Remembering the day when his land was so blessed

Yes, he weeps.

 

His sons and his daughters had futures so bright, When all could discern ‘tween the wrong and the right

Hear him weep,

Each child was embraced by a mother and dad, The unborn were safe from the doctors gone bad

How he weeps,

Uncle Sam weeps for the fatherless child, The widow, the orphan, and a nation gone wild,

Yes He weeps.

 

Uncle Sam weeps for the fatherless child, The widow, the orphan, and a nation gone wild,

Yes He weeps.

 

There are battles abroad, and hatred within, All due to the color of a man’s skin,

Hear him weep,

“God Bless this nation”, we’ll sing before games, Then vote to remove the mere hint of God’s name

How he weeps,

Wrong is now right, and hope’s turned to fear, This progress has come o’er the past 50 years

Yes he weeps

 

Our nation’s soldiers, our best of the best, Face an enemy greater than all of the rest,

And he weeps,

Engaged in a war, not for land, fame, or greed, But because of an ancient, terrorist’s creed,

How he weeps,

With a lump in his throat, and pain in his heart, He watches his nation be torn apart,

Yes he weeps

 

Uncle Sam weeps for the fatherless child, The widow, the orphan, and a nation gone wild,

Yes He weeps.

The DC Elite and Supreme Court Nine, Turn opinions to law, as his God they malign,

How he weeps.

Uncle Sam weeps for the fatherless child, The widow, the orphan, and a nation gone wild,

Yes He weeps.

 

Uncle Sam bows at the foot of the cross, Lifting hands toward heaven, may all not be lost,

And he weeps

by Jan L. Grace

copyright 2015

 

 

The Closet

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It seems like the world is all geared up for house cleaning. Do you know what I mean?

When I was a teenager, my little brother, who is nine years younger, had a messy closet. From time to time I had the chore of “helping” him clean it out.

You wouldn’t believe the things we’d find in the closet.

Toys, socks, books, more toys, and lots of miscellaneous articles of clothing.

By the time “we” were finished, the closet would be nice and neat, but the bedroom would be a wreck.

Kind of like today.

The closet is getting cleared out, but now the junk is everywhere.

Quite frankly, I think it would have been just fine for the closet to stay messy.

But that’s not how people are.

We like to think we know best about everything. We’re happy with our choices, especially if we can get everyone to agree with us.

So instead of peeking into our closet full of questionable and messy things, we take the closet door off its hinges so everyone can see what we’ve allowed to grow in the dark room.

Only now, and unlike my chore of years ago, rather than properly disposing of the junk and odd socks, people expect everyone else to applaud the mess they’ve made.

They parade their closet junk in front of everyone, just daring someone to tell them it’s wrong.

They want people to affirm their closet lifestyle as the norm.

But you know what? I’m not going to affirm the closet stuff as good, or normal, or the way God made them.

Why? Because it isn’t the norm.

It’s only the mess from the closet.

That First Morning

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I’m gonna miss my friend Ross. I’m going to think about him every time I see a garbage truck, or someone playing a guitar left handed, or pull in my fishing line with a big, ol’ catfish hooked on the end.

I’m going to miss his exuberance for Jesus, and his love for kids.

He was so proud of his family; his wife, kids, siblings, folks.

I will miss his texts, “Busy? Got a minute to talk?” And then we’d knock down 60 minutes talking about the things of God.

This morning Ross went to Heaven.

Every time a friend passes from earth to glory, I wonder what that first morning is like. Actually, I dream about it.

You might even say I fantasize about Heaven.

And why not? The Apostle Paul wrote, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” (Philippians 1:23 ESV) 

Notice he said, “FAR BETTER”.

That first morning will be worth all the pain, suffering, and misunderstandings endured as we followed Christ in this life.

Again, Paul wrote, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)

So what is that first morning like?

Well, I believe it’s kind of like that first morning in the Garden of Eden. The dawn of creation. Where everything was just as God created it to be.

Good and VERY good.

Where Adam and Eve walked with God, without shame or embarrassment; and BEFORE the serpent manipulated his way into power.

Yes, it’s kind of like that first garden, only much better.

Better? Wasn’t everything perfect in the garden?

Apparently not. Could have been, however…

But that first morning in Heaven will be MUCH better than Eden could EVER have been. 

How?

Well, first of all, there’s no need for the sun (or moon); the Glory of God shining through the Son is its light.

Second, there’s no devil or tempter.

Third, sorrow and mourning are wiped away.

Fourth, we’ll have a grand reunion with our sainted loved ones.

But the main reason I believe Eden can’t compare with Heaven, yes, that first morning in Heaven, is the love relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Sure, Adam and Eve were forgiven in the Garden of Eden. But they had to leave. Those of us who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior have experienced the new birth, the witness of the Spirit, and the freedom that comes from knowing the love of God.

On this side of eternity, our hearts yearn, even ache, to forever be with the Lover of our soul. That’s something Adam and Eve couldn’t experience.

They never knew the power of the Resurrection. They were forgiven and clothed by God, yet could not partake of His divine nature as described by Peter in 2 Peter 1:2-4:

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:2 – 1:4 ESV)

That first morning in Heaven will be an unfolding of everything Jesus is to us, for us, and with us. 

And that first morning with last for all eternity; for the manifold wisdom and glory of God will never grow old, never run out.

I miss my buddy Ross. He’s the most recent friend to have completed his journey through this life.

So while I’m still here, kicking around my world, trying to let others know of my Savior’s love, my friend has just begun a brand new adventure; the final, forever adventure.

I can hardly wait. 

Here’s a nice, happy tune called “First Morning in Heaven” by Chris Christian. Enjoy.

http://youtu.be/S4jy3a_i8TU 

Prosperity Gospel

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You know what? I am really getting tired of preachers who hypocritically blast the “prosperity gospel”.

Prosperity gospel? That’s what they like to call it.

It’s true, there are definitely people who live for the buck. They treat the word of God like it’s their good luck charm. But that’s nothing new. Paul even had to confront that kind of thinking in his day.

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:3-10 ESV)

I said, “hypocritically” didn’t I? These preachers preach against the prosperity gospel (largely due, I suspect, to green eyed envy), and yet bawl and squall because their congregation isn’t giving like they should!

What should they expect? They should be excited because God’s Word is working right before their very eyes.

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 ESV)

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 ESV)

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV)

Here’s the truth about the prosperity gospel: God IS for you, NOT against you. He’s not against you having money and resources; He’s only against them having YOU. God tells us to give to whoever asks. That can’t be done unless we’ve discovered the law of giving and receiving (or seedtime and harvest). And it WON’T be done unless we trust Him with all our heart AND our stuff.

Did you read what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:8? Here it is again: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV)

All sufficiency, in all things. Does that sound like He wants us to just barely eke out an existence? Hardly.

He’s rich to all who call upon Him. In other words, He has more than enough to go around. He’s generous by nature; and we should be, as well.

Let’s drop the dollar signs when we think of prosperity. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation; for our spirit, soul, and body. When we receive God’s word and begin to act on it, our whole being prospers.

“And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 AMP)

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers.” (3 John 1:2 AMP)

God has never promised to make you or myself a millionaire. But He has given us everything that pertains to LIFE and GODLINESS. Every book of the Bible is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. And it’s a testimony for us.

There isn’t enough room in this post to share everything about God’s truths in regards to finances, etc. I have written a couple of eBooks on the subject, though. See them here:

http://tinyurl.com/pjbqjeo

I will soon have a paperback book published combining both “Breaking the Spirit of Poverty” and “Generosity” into one. It is titled “Breaking the Spirit of Poverty with the Spirit of Generosity”.

Please. If you need to address error, then do it biblically. Don’t act as though prosperity is of the devil. You know you really don’t believe it.

Coveting and selfishness IS from the deceiver. Prosperity is NOT.

Let The Change Begin

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“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” (1 John 3:2 NLT)

A future hope? You bet!

But so much more.

It’s the promise of change; from an unregenerate, selfish human being into a brand new, born again Christ follower. A partaker of God’s nature, an imitator of Jesus’ ways, and one who is growing to look exactly like Christ.

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4 NLT)

But what did John mean, “We shall see him as he really is”?

How do we REALLY get to know another person? It doesn’t take much effort to know someone casually. But knowing them intimately, even to the point of imitating their speech and manners; well, that calls for a lot of personal study and communion.

We may not be able to explain to anyone, including ourselves, just what God is doing in our life. And we may not comprehend the length, breadth, height, or depth of what Jesus is transforming us into. But we can know at least one thing for sure; he is transforming us into the very image of the Father. For “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”

Yes, we’re going to really be dressed up one of these days, when we take off this old earth suit, and put on our new, heavenly suit.

But let’s allow the change to begin now! Let’s spend our lives looking at Jesus. Following him through the gospels, watching him work, hearing him teach, and experiencing the power of his Spirit as he draws us into each and every story.

This is how we begin to “see him as he is.” It’s how to “share his divine nature”, and be formed into his image.

It’s not a promise for an elite chosen few; no, it’s a promise for all who will look “unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

It is Heaven for sure!

So let the change begin.

The Gambler

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He calmly walked into the room; just a slight hint of swagger recognizable. Dressed in casual fit jeans, scuffed Tony Lama’s, and a denim shirt one size larger than needed, he was dressed for the role right down to his dark shades and Chicago Bears ball cap.

Gambler.

The game didn’t matter; not as long as he could feel the adrenaline surging through his pronounced veins. Cards, dice, horses, sports; it was all the same to him. He was a gambler.

Sure, people had tried to reform him. Plenty of times. But they just couldn’t understand; he didn’t gamble because he enjoyed it any more than he enjoyed breathing. No, he gambled because that’s what gamblers do. And that’s what he was.

A gambler.

In the past he had tried to tally his winnings and losses. Maybe that could shake something loose, causing him to possibly change. But he never could remember all those figures. I mean, how does a person begin to remember how many breaths they’ve taken in a lifetime? It’s just something they do.

It’s what he does.

Because of who he is.

Gambler.

As he stood inside the large, shadowless room, something struck him as odd. Every other game room, poker parlor, and smoke-filled casino he’d frequented in the past had contributed to his gambling urge; stoking his inner fire, feeding his untamed desire to risk it all. There was nothing he wouldn’t sacrifice for the opportunity to win big. And he didn’t really need to win each time; not if he could keep running the risk, playing the odds, feeling the rush.

The gambler’s rush.

Yes, this room was different. It didn’t stir the urge or settle him down. Actually, it unnerved him; maybe even scared him a bit. He’d met a man earlier that day, a man who seemed to appear out of nowhere, who invited him to a high stakes game. The man gave him the address, and after reminding the gambler to bring everything he had, turned and walked away. Intrigued by the sudden appearance and the strange invitation, he decided to check it out.

Peering through his dark glasses, he scanned the room for any familiar faces. What? Where is everyone? Where are all the other gamblers? Am I early? No, right on time, he thought as he glanced at his wristwatch.

Just then, appearing as suddenly as he had earlier, he saw the man who had issued the invitation.

“I see you found the place.”

“Yes, but where is the game? Where are all the other gamblers?”

“You’ll find this game is different. Tonight’s game is for you only. Did you bring everything?”

“Oh sure. Do you take checks?”

“Sorry. Money isn’t what’s being gambled tonight. You’re not risking your finances, your car, or your home. Not this evening.”

The gambler tried to keep his composure, but even wearing his dark shades, one could see his poker face morph into a pale, nervous, twitch. He was definitely spooked.

“Who are you?”, he asked the man.

“Never mind that, right now anyway. Are you ready to gamble?”

“I, uh, I guess so.”

“Alright. I’m going to ask you a question. Answer correctly and you win. What are you willing to wager?”

“You already told me I can’t use money. What can I use?” The gambler couldn’t believe how nervous he was feeling.

“Only one thing. Your life. All or nothing.”

“But…”

“Silence! Don’t you realize what’s happened to you? You actually died earlier today, without warning, without any fanfare. The game you thought you were playing is over. No second chance. No borrowing from the bank. You’re flat busted, dead broke.”

The gambler’s glasses were off, lying on the floor. He just stared at the man, wanting to speak, but no words came out.

The man continued, “You have gambled away the most precious thing you own; your life. I sent people to you at various times in your life, trying to get your focus away from winning things, people, or money. I’ve spoken to you as you were sleeping, while you were driving, and yes, during some of your high stakes games. I’ve tried to get you to understand my love for you. I love you so much, but you treated my message as a game.

“I asked you the question over and over, ‘What will you do with the One called Jesus? What will you do with the gospel?’ You gambled, played the odds as you saw them. And you lost.”

As the man finished speaking, the gambler was turned by an invisible hand. No longer was the room flooded with light. It had become dark and dank, yet heat and flames were beginning to rise through the door he had walked through not long before.

He gambled because that was who he was. Only now, he was no longer a gambler.

He was a loser.

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