Revealing Truth Today

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A Wounded Spirit

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Have you or someone you know been deeply wounded, spiritually-speaking? Did the wounding come about from a particular situation you encountered? Or was the wound inflicted by family, an acquaintance, a church member, or by someone that you thought you could trust? If so, you’re not alone.

Sustaining a physical wound on the body can be very painful, and sometimes, result in a physical death. But, to sustain a spiritual wound is far worse, according to scripture. Proverbs 18:14 states: “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” In other words, a physical infirmity or physical wound will not destroy our spirit which is of utmost eternal importance. Furthermore, our resilience of spirit will carry us through such an infirmity of body or various troubles which may be encountered in life. As the Pulpit Commentary so aptly states: “The body can, as it were, fall back upon the support of the spirit, when it is distressed and weakened…” The infirmities that we endure in life are unpleasant and undesirable, still, the strength of our spirit-man within can help us to endure such hardships. However, a wounded spirit is so severe that the writer of Proverbs wonders who could even bear such a thing!

Causes of a Wounded Spirit

There are many causes for a wounded spirit; most of which will be listed in this section. There are countless scenarios that could cause such a deep wound on the soul-level; but we will briefly cover the most common:

Slander: The Psalmist writes an entire song of the slandered in Psalm 109. In the Psalm, he mentions a few reasons why his heart is wounded within him. In his prayer/song to God, he mentions that the wicked and deceitful have spoken against him with a lying tongue. They have also spoken words of hatred toward him and have fought against him without a cause. Even though he tries to show them love, in exchange, they only become his enemies. Even though he tries to show them good, in exchange, they only reward him with evil. He is a reproach to them and when they look at him, they just shake their heads.

1jDoesn’t this particular account sound very much like what we would term as verbal “bullying”? Sure, it is on an intense level; nonetheless, it seems as though their constant bullying and slander began to take its toll on his inward man. He was poor, needy, and becoming weak from fasting; then to have all of his adversaries bully him without a cause – well, his heart became wounded.

Have you ever felt bullied or slandered? Have you been lied on? Have you been hated for no reason at all? Does it seem like the more good you do for certain people, the more they hate you? This is exactly how the Psalmist felt. It hurt him so deeply. Jesus was also treated this way but far, far beyond slanderous talk only. He was hated to the point of death. Scripture says that he was hated without a cause. In John 15:18, Jesus forewarns us, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” By this, we share in the fellowship of his sufferings. But take comfort… “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (2nd Cor. 1:5).

Persecution: “A faith that can be destroyed by suffering is not faith.” These were the words of a man that knew suffering, persecution, and torture. Richard Wurmbrand was a Godly soul-winner who was imprisoned by the Communists for his faith in Christ. He was in prison and tortured (physically, mentally, and spiritually) for a total of almost 14 years. Nonetheless, he was not destroyed and was not bitter toward his persecutors; in fact, he tried to win them to Christ!

Remember, we can endure persecution and even a wounded spirit without it destroying us. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” (2nd Cor. 4:8-9). You see, persecution is slightly different from slander alone in that persecution, oftentimes, also includes physical suffering inflicted by others. However, persecution needn’t be physical in order to cause us great pain.

But first, let’s clarify something. When we bring shame and punishment upon ourselves due to sin, well, we deserve to feel hurt when we are in the wrong. Such shame and hurt is definitely not considered “persecution” if we are being held responsible for wrong actions. Actually, to be held accountable for sin is right and just. But what about when we are serving God to the best of our ability and still endure being wounded, slandered, or persecuted? The Bible states that if we are Godly, we will be persecuted. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2nd Tim. 3:12). This may come as unwelcomed news to some; but we can take heart; for when we are persecuted, we know that we are living a good life that is pleasing to God.

1wSuch persecution may come in various forms and various degrees of severity. One common form of being wounded is enduring persecution at the hands of a family member, a Pastor, a church congregation, or a friend. The Revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill, put it like this: “All you have to do is get in a closer walk with God and you’ll find your enemies are in your own church.” Yes, this can happen – and it wounds. It shouldn’t be this way, but sadly, many find that it is.

Nonetheless, we must realize that it’s humans wounding us – and that humans are all capable of sinning. This does not excuse the deep wounds they inflict upon us, but it helps us to see that we serve God and not humans. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “God save you from a religion that depends upon other people!” When all else is stripped away, can we stand before Christ on our own two feet? Is it truly Christ that we follow? Or are we idolizing a pastor, a Christian book author, or some other figure in our lives? Remember, we serve God – not man. We can’t let the wounds inflicted by mere mankind cause us to hold a grudge against God. This is misdirected anger and it is a dangerous trick of Satan.

Being Lost: Another possible cause of a wounded spirit is living our lives without Christ. Sure, we may believe in him, but do we serve him? “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” James 2:19. It’s not enough to believe only; we must surrender our lives to the Lord.

When we live without knowing the weight of what Christ’s death on the cross means for us, we live shallow lives. Of course, many a sinner may eventually feel that their spirit is wounded – no, even worse – utterly lost and hopeless without God. In this sense, it is actually a righteous, healthy wound; for it drives us to Christ for salvation and to feel his healing administered to our tattered spirit.

Life without Christ may seem pleasurable for a season… but as Hebrews 11:25 teaches, the pleasures of sin are fleeting; there’s no true and lasting joy or stability living in such a way. This is precisely why millionaires who seem to have it all feel that they need drugs and alcohol to “numb the pain” within. This void in the spirit is why those who are “successful” by the world’s standards can so easily commit suicide. They feel hopeless and empty, and yes, their spirit feels wounded beyond repair due to the blows that sin has delivered. But fear not, Christ’s grace is greater than our sin!! (See Rom. 5:15).

Trauma: I would venture to say that many people feel spiritual implications after enduring immense trauma. We are made in the likeness of God (see Gen. 1:26) therefore, in essence, we are triune beings. Triune simply means that we are three parts making up one whole person. Our three parts are mind, body, and spirit; whereas God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (see Matt. 28:19). By this, we can see that the mind affects the body, the body affects the mind, the spirit affects the mind, etc. So, it stands to reason that when we are exceedingly sorrowful over a traumatic event, it may cause our spirit to feel downcast and/or wounded (see Ps. 42:5).

Trauma comes in many, many forms. We never know when/if trauma will strike. Of course, we always hope and pray that it doesn’t; but when/if it does, we have to heavily rely on our God and the strength he has placed into our spirit to pull us through. We must be diligent to seek God in order to keep the spirit within us strong at all times. In the good times, we cannot afford to forget about God or to leave him out of the equation. We must build ourselves up on the most holy faith (see Jude 1:20). We must guard our hearts/minds against that which would weaken our spirit (see Prov.4:23). This will help us survive should we have to endure an unforeseen trauma.

Even still, there are going to be times when we don’t feel strong. There are going to be times that we don’t even sense God’s presence. It may seem that he is a million miles away and that he doesn’t hear us. We may weep much, like the Prophet Jeremiah. We may despair of life, like the Apostle Paul. It may seem that our soul refuses to be comforted and that it is overwhelmed, like the Psalmist Asaph. We may even get so low that we wish that we were never born, like Job. Despite all of these very normal feelings that may occur in life, as long as we keep holding to God’s outstretched hand and keep trusting him; keep crying out to him – then we will not be defeated. We can’t give up – for who else do we have as mighty as God to set all things right in the end?

A Faithful Wound of a Friend: All of the causes of a wounded spirit (listed above) reference something that feels very negative to us; things that are hard to endure such as slander, persecution, being in sin, trauma, or being hated without a cause. Most of these wounds (such as slander and persecution) are inflicted upon us by those who would consider themselves our enemy. However, there is a wound which is a faithful wound of a friend. Let me explain…

You see, when someone finds themselves in such a miserable state of sin or in a state of feeling very lukewarm in their spirit, they have two choices: They can forfeit the eternal well-being of their soul and stay miserable (which, in this life, can lead to substance abuse, other harmful behaviors, or suicide). Or, they can surrender to God and cry out for mercy and forgiveness. In this latter case, God must sanctify them so that they don’t self-destruct and land up in Hell. By this, it oftentimes may feel like it’s God himself inflicting the wounds in order to purge them of their sin or something in their life that is not good in his sight. As Job 5:18 says, “For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” But what does this mean?

Again, let me reference the Pulpit Commentary which states it far better than I. It states:

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It is a good surgeon who successfully removes that which causes his patient great harm. Sure, the surgeon must cut and wound his patient during surgery – but it is for the purpose of health. Furthermore, he also bandages his patient and does what he can to help him/her heal. This is exactly what the scripture in Job 5:18 is referring to.

When we become as clay in the Potter’s hands (God’s hands), we may feel kneaded and stretched at times. But in the end, we trust that he is making us into a vessel fit for his use and for his glory… and that he is preparing us to spend all eternity with him. He is such a faithful friend to us and he is our Great Physician – the only one who can do a supernatural work to bring about healing to our spirit and eternal security.

Healing for the Bruised and Brokenhearted

Perhaps, the exact situation you are encountering was not specifically mentioned in the previous section. However, we can summarize all hurt and wounds of the spirit by likening them to bruised and broken heart. The Bible has much to say about those who feel bruised and broken. Take comfort in the scriptures listed below:

“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” ~Psalm 34:18

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” ~Psalm 51:17

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…” ~Luke 4:18

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” ~Isaiah 53:5

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.” ~Matthew 12:20

1jpBefore closing, let’s explore a bit further on the topic of healing from a wounded spirit. As I’ve already mentioned and want to proclaim, the most important thing we can do is to keep our relationship with God alive amidst the harsh blows that we encounter in life. We must see to it that we stay close to the Shepherd! Our eternity is at stake and we can’t turn back or give up!

As the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, once said: “The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace fire knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally.”

Mourn. It’s okay to take some time to mourn. There is no sin in tears. There is a time and a season for everything… “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecc. 3:4).

Pray. Ask God to restore your joy and to uphold you. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Ps. 55:12). Believe in his restorative power.

Ask Questions. In the event your spiritual wound was inflicted by something someone said about you in a slanderous way, ask yourself if what they said was, indeed, true; and if it was scriptural. If not – then don’t let a lie torment you any longer, dear Christian! I speak this from experience as one who has been the victim of slander and of falsehoods being spoken about me; as one who was hated without a cause.

Be Still. In Psalm 46:10, scripture beautifully states: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Don’t worry about getting revenge. Let God fight your battles and put them into his capable hands. Don’t reward evil for evil. I have had to learn this lesson over the years. Micah 7:8 says, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Be still and know that there will be justice – whether in this life or in the one to come (see Rom. 12:19). As Charles Spurgeon put it… “Every blow aimed against the godly will recoil on the persecutor; he who smites a believer drives a nail in his own coffin.”

Readjust Your Focus. Don’t stew over fears, injustices, or wounds sustained. That’s easier said than done, but try this: Try readjusting your focus. Philippians 4:8 teaches, “… whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Likewise, focus on eternity and the weight of the glory that is to come (see 2nd Cor. 4:17). I like to read the book of Revelation to infuse my spirit with hope of better things in my future. Also, it’s good to readjust our focus onto someone other than ourselves. Nazi Concentration Camp survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, learned the power of readjusting her focus. She once said:

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Psalms, Hymns & Songs. Ephesians 5:19 helps us along our journey by instructing us with wise words. It says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” There have been many Christians who have found peace in either singing praises to him or listening to praises. Something about making a joyful noise with the music and the voice (as referenced all throughout the book of Psalms and in Psalm 98:4) is very healing to the soul. Don’t focus on the melody, don’t focus on the singer… focus on God. Welcome his presence with your song, whether sung by you or another.

Remain Hopeful. I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy to hold out a lot of hope for things to be “peachy keen” in this life; but we have amazing hope for eternity, where our best days are ahead of us. Such hope can spill over and give us joy for the journey we are still on here. Much like the Prophet Isaiah wrote… one day, we (as Christians) will have beauty for ashes, gladness instead of mourning, and praise instead of a spirit of heaviness. It’s true! Hold on, wounded soldier… help is on the way!

I close with this thought… Leonard Ravenhill and his Assistant Pastor used to sit in the church office at the end of the day and talk about the Lord. Oftentimes, the Assistant would put his feet up on the desk, lean back in his chair, smile, and say, “Well Len, another day’s march nearer home.” Never forget the hope that lies ahead, beyond all the wounds and heartache of this life.

Sources:  revival-library.com   biblehub.com   sermonindex.net   polyvore.com   thehumbledhomemaker.com
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Comments?

comments

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a blessed 2018 so far. I have some blog posts planned for 2018 but would also like to hear from my readers in the comments section below this blog.

Is there a particular topic that you would like for me to post about in this upcoming year? Do you have questions about something in scripture that you’d like to ask? I’d love to hear your input – or if you don’t have any questions or topics you’d like for me to cover, I’d love it if you’d just stop by with a “hello”. 🙂

Please note that I may not cover every topic mentioned in the comments if I do not feel that it would be beneficial, proper, or that I could do the question justice. Please don’t be offended if I don’t use your topic suggestion OR if I don’t use it right away. As I stated, I already have some posts planned, but did want to open up the opportunity for my readers to comment. I am just your average 30-something housewife, so if I feel that a topic is beyond my scope of knowledge, I will refrain from giving out any information that is not 100% biblically-based. I hope you can understand, as I am very careful when dealing with the Word of God and yielding to proper authority.

Again, if you wish, I’d love to hear from you below in the comments section. I am so thankful for all of my readers and would like to extend a warm greeting for this upcoming new year.

God’s Blessings,

Maranda M.

Blog Author of Revealing Truth Today

Sources: polyvore.com
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FREE Nativity Graphics

Around this time of year, many of us reflect upon the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We are even more focused on the amazing gift of Jesus which God so graciously gave us. John 3:16-17 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world, through him, might be saved.” 

Below, I have a couple of Christmas graphics for you. I would like to share these royalty-free, non-watermarked images (for your personal use only) as we celebrate our Lord’s birth. You may take a screenshot of them and repost or e-mail to others… or you may right click and “Save Image As” depending upon the type of device you are using. Also, please consider reading the scripture list posted HERE.

Let’s spread the GOOD NEWS of our Savior!

RTT cmas nativity 2017

“Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.” ~Luke 2:14


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“…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseler, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” ~Isaiah 9:6


Sources: biblehub.com, polyvore.com, fotki.yandex.ru
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Soapbox Christianity

“…speaking the truth in love, we will, in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head. ~Ephesians 4:15

sbc1The truth… it can be a bitter pill to swallow or it can be sweet as honey. Sometimes, the truth hurts since it brings conviction of sin; nonetheless, in the end, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. But, how are we, as Christians, conveying the truth?  Are we doing so out of concern or are we doing so out of a sense of self-righteousness?

The delivery of our Christian message is very important. How are we delivering our message? What is our motive? Do we do so because we get a self-esteem boost out of “winning the argument” or do we instruct others and point out biblical truths in order to be helpful?

You may have heard the phrase of someone “getting on their soapbox”. What exactly does this mean? To put it concisely, the online dictionaries describe it as someone getting on a soapbox (box) in order to elevate themselves above others – as one would step up on a podium to speak. Once on the soapbox, the speaker conveys a message that he/she feels very passionate about. It’s a way the individual would express their feelings in a forceful manner.

The reason this blog entry is titled, “Soapbox Christianity” is because of the negative connotation that comes with someone being on a soapbox. Are we witnessing in such a manner? I wish to clarify that this is, in no way, directed towards pastors or those in leadership positions who stand before a crowd to speak. It is simply a slang way to draw our attention to the way in which we deliver the message of the Bible to others. Do we, in essence, get on a soapbox and show no mercy or compassion to the lost?

 

Life-Giving Truth

“Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need to return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God.” ~A.W. Tozer

In 2nd Corinthians 3:5-6, scripture states: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” In other words, the cold, hard truth (though it is truth) killeth withouth the spirit of our Lord bringing life into the words of truth and bringing hope for forgiveness of sin. This is why it is so important that when we try to guide a wandering soul, we must do so with the right motives and we must be fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. In reference to the aforementioned scripture, the Barnes’ Notes on the Bible so aptly states:

sbc2

Although there is forgiveness, there are also biblical standards which we must adhere to dogmatically. It is a fine balance.

“Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation, regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong. A false spirit of accommodation is sweeping the world as well as the Church, including those who claim the label of evangelical” (Quote by: Francis A. Schaeffer).

When we bring instruction to those in spiritual need, we must do so with the end result in sight – the hope that they will turn from their sin. The motive should never be for us to get a rush of pride or a boost in self-esteem for “being right” or feeling more righteous than others. Remember, we were all once lost. How can we boast? It was Christ that saved us and revealed truth to us… again I ask, how can we possibly have the audacity to boast or become prideful about our salvation, as to look down upon others?

 

When the Truth Hurts

“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” ~Galatians 4:16

sbc4Realistically, there are those instances when we speak biblical truths in love, yet, the person we are desiring to help still becomes offended. That does not mean that we didn’t try to speak the truth accurately or lovingly – sometimes, it just hurts for people to hear it. Even though the individual may lash out at us, it’s important to remain Christ-like. We must realize that Christ and his followers were/are often hated because we do speak truth. With tears in our eyes, still, we must speak hard truths with a heart of love.

For consider him that endured such hostility of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:3-4).

 

We Must Speak Up

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” ~John Calvin

Sometimes, we must speak loving words of truth which may feel unpleasant to the listener. Hebrews 12:11 echoes this thought… Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it.

Scripture instructs those in spiritual leadership thusly, “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to refute the opposition” Titus 1:9. Likewise, 2nd Timothy 4:2-5 states: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (Also see Titus 2:11-15 and 1st Thessalonians 5:14). Notice how the instruction is to “exhort”, but to do so with “longsuffering”. Again, we find the common theme of speaking the truth in love.

Proverbs 12:1 is very clear: “Whosoever loves instruction loves knowledge: but he that hates reproof is senseless.” Nonetheless, there will be those who hate us for speaking truth. Many of the early Believers were persecuted and killed for their beliefs in the Messiah. Even still, we find Christian persecution worldwide. However, we must remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:32… “Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” Will we speak up for Jesus? Or will be cowardly hide for fear of backlash? As Martin Luther King, Jr. so truthfully spoke… “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Are we willing to speak up for the sake of the Gospel?

When we boldly speak truth, it must be spoken with no hint of self-righteousness or haughtiness. Remember, that a haughty/prideful spirit goes before a fall (see Proverbs 16:18). There is a vast difference between being judgmental and honestly correcting someone out of love and concern (see link HERE for more on this). The entire intent of this blog, Revealing Truth Today, is to accomplish the Great Commission by speaking loving truths assertively. It is my prayer that this message has been conveyed adequately.

We must never confuse love and meekness for lack of zeal. A.W. Tozer once said, “Humble yourself and cease to care what men think. A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over.” Don’t defend yourself… defend the Gospel. Be assertive and keep your standards, yet remain tender-hearted and compassionate towards those in deep sin. Again, there is a fine balance.

Love does not tolerate sin – it warns of sin. “Tolerance is the virtue of those who don’t believe anything”, as G.K. Chesterton put it. We must not tolerate what God abominates. It’s called “tough love” for a reason. Even still, tough love from the Believer is due to a passion for truth and a love for the souls of others. This kind of love is pleasing to God. So when you witness, always remember to examine your motives and ask yourself, “Am I merely on my soapbox defending myself or wanting to appear superior in knowledge? or am I deeply concerned for a wayward soul?” And remember the words of wisdom in Proverbs 11:30… “he that winneth souls is wise.”

 

Sources: biblehub.com,urbandictionary.com, wikipedia.org, dictionary.cambridge.org
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Red, Yellow, Black, & White

When I was a little girl, we used to sing a song in church that I still remember to this day. The song was, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.

Jesus loves the little children

All the children of the world

Red and yellow, black and white

They are precious in His sight

Jesus loves the little children of the world

Red and YellowBlack and White...They are precious in God's sight!When I was in elementary school, I remember my very first true friend was a black girl. It didn’t matter to me, whatsoever, that she was black and I was white – all that mattered was our friendship. We used to play on the playground together, talk together and braid each other’s hair. She was so much fun to be around and made me look forward to going to school, just so I could see her.

At this young age, I didn’t know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, segregation, racism, or anything of the sort. I do, however, remember one specific day when we were outside on the playground. It was a very sunny day. I remember the sun shining down on us and I noticed how differently pigmented our skin tones were under the bright sunlight. It wasn’t a bad thing, just something very different about us. I recall in my little 1st grade mind thinking, “If anybody ever tries to make fun of her for her skin being different, I will defend her and tell them that it’s just a color – that it makes no difference in her ability to be a good friend.” I thought her skin was beautiful, but I was ready to defend her if anybody teased her for being a different color than the rest of the classmates.

God Loves Color

Red and YellowBlack and White...They are precious in God's sight!(1)You see, God loves a vast array of colors. Just look at the description of Heaven given in the book of Revelation (chapter 21), and how many different colors are mentioned! Or look at nature; look at the colorful Autumn leaves and all of the flowers in the Springtime! God also loves people of all colors; after all, He made them.

Outward color has no bearing on the inward soul. With so much racial tension escalating nowadays, we must remember that Jesus died for the whole world, not just a particular color of skin. Salvation is a free gift given to whosoever will come. Romans 10:13 states: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

In the book of James (chapter 2) the Bible teaches us not to be a “respecter of persons”. In other words, we shouldn’t treat the rich person with more favor than we do the poor person. This principle can also easily apply to race; we should never treat someone with disdain and hatred based upon skin color – that is a sin. Scripture says, “If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:8-9). Bear in mind, one of the fruits of the Spirit is love. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

We Need Each Other

Red and YellowBlack and White...They are precious in God's sight!(2)Just last month, I had a doctor’s appointment with my Cardiologist. After years and years of fighting health issues, one gets weary. I was weary that day… my body was weary, yes, but so was my spirit. It’s crushing to feel so unable to lead a “normal” active life at such a young age; to feel that your best days may have already passed you by. It hurts deeply to have ambitions and dreams, but to have no physical strength to sustain you.

People without chronic health issues can scarcely comprehend the immense weight of bearing such an ongoing, daily burden. Though they may show compassion and even act as selfless caregivers, in many cases, there’s nothing quite as eye-opening as being the one stuck in bed, or being the one in the wheelchair.  A chronically ill person oftentimes feels buried under the weight of it all. As we cast this burden upon the Lord, He is faithful to help us not fold under the weight of it. Nonetheless, we are trapped within our own bodies, as it were. Much like the song written by the late Dottie Rambo says, in part, “This house of flesh is but a prison; bars of bone hold my soul…”

So, the day of my appointment, I was weary on so many levels and felt like crying in despair. I was being sent directly from my appointment over to the heart hospital across the street for outpatient treatment. Being so weak in body, my husband pushed me in my wheelchair to the front desk as we got details about my outpatient treatment. There were a few chairs in a waiting area near the desk. As we were leaving, I noticed an elderly black lady sitting there. She had been waiting patiently behind me in line while seated. As my husband pushed me in my wheelchair toward the elevators, I smiled at her.

As we were leaving and headed toward the elevators, I hear her urgently saying, “Ma’am, Ma’am!!” We turned around quickly, thinking I might have dropped something on the floor as I was leaving. She paused. In a very matronly, heart-felt tone, she spoke words to me that I shall never forget. She said, “Don’t ever lose your smile…” with a glisten in her beautiful eyes, she continued, “because I needed that today.” Oh! I felt her words so deeply! At that moment, we connected on a soul-level. She was as an angel sent from God Himself to encourage me on that difficult day.

I muttered out a “thank you” before I became overcome with emotion. I choked back tears as I put my hand over my heart and nodded, grinning at her and whispering “thank you”. Because as much as she needed my smile that day, I needed to hear her wise, Heaven-sent words even more. For a person that has never been through trials and tribulations with their health, her words may have just been cute and sweet – but to me, they were life-giving! She felt that I was a blessing to her, but little did she know how much of a blessing she was to me and will continue to be for the rest of my life. I will remember that little black lady for years to come and I will always cherish her words of wisdom and encouragement.  I will always remember how God sent her to me at just the right time – at a time when my smile may have, otherwise, faded.

It made absolutely no difference to me that she had black skin, and it made no difference to her that I had white skin. We needed each other at that moment. We’d both had a difficult day. We both understood what it was like to suffer in our bodies. We were both weary and in need of encouragement.  God sent us to each other, I just know it!

Had I been racist, I may have never smiled at her. Had she been racist, she may have never spoke words to encourage me. But we were both “color blind”, as it were, and only saw another precious soul for whom Christ died. Her encouragement wasn’t just a nicety, it was what I absolutely needed on that day. We needed each other.

The Remedy for Racism

Red and YellowBlack and White...They are precious in God's sight!(3)In society, it seems that race relations are never at a place of enduring peace. Throughout history, there have been times of race riots and other times of apparent calm. Nonetheless, it seems that the racial peace is never long-lived or lasting. Why is this? For starters, many are not Christ-followers; therefore, they don’t live by the Biblical principles of love and peace.

Secondly, racial tension is vastly controlled in the public by human willpower; so the evil root of bitterness and hatred is never dealt with – it is merely “willed” away. But in times of tension, the willpower fails and the evil root of hatred and division springs back up. Scripture states it very clearly: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…” (Heb. 12:14-15).

As simple (yet profound) as it is – the obvious remedy for racism is yielding to God. He is the one who can change men’s hearts of stone, and their worldly viewpoints, as they yield to Him. He is the one who puts His love in our hearts. He is the One who can give us peace and enable us to forgive past hurts. He is the one that can lay the axe to the root of hatred as we yield to His perfect will.

Of course we know that the entire world will not yield to God; nonetheless, that shouldn’t stop us from doing what is within our power to behave in a Christ-honoring manner. Nothing should ever stop us from doing what is right and pleasing in God’s eyes. Maybe we can’t unite the whole world, but we can do something. We can show love. We can make every effort to be at peace with others, just as scripture instructs us. A vast forest fire begins with a tiny spark. And as the Bible teaches… “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Sources: Biblehub.com, Canva.com, Fotosearch.com
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The Hot Air Balloon

hotairballoonI was in the car casually looking out the window as we drove down the highway. Billboards, shopping centers, and road signs whizzed past my eyes as we drove. I noticed the sky was especially blue and pretty that day. As I got lost in thought while staring at the beautiful clouds, something caught my attention.

Over the distant mountain, I noticed something in the sky. I squinted my eyes but couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I locked my gaze on this mysterious object out of curiosity. As the object came closer, I could clearly see that it was a hot air balloon. It got closer and closer until I could tell that there were many people aboard its tiny basket. It was beautiful. It brought a smile to my face.

Then, to my absolute shock, the once peacefully coasting hot air balloon began to behave erratically. A plume of black smoke also confirmed to me that the fire mechanism which was used to keep the balloon afloat had, somehow, gone out. Since there was some air left in the balloon, the fall wasn’t immediate – nonetheless, it began plummeting at a decent rate of speed. I didn’t utter a word. I was in shock watching this scene unfold before my eyes. With my eyes wide open and my jaw dropped, I covered my mouth with my hand and sat there stunned.

My heart sank lower within me as I saw the passengers jumping out of the basket. All I could see were silhouettes against the bright, blue sky. Yet, I knew each vague silhouette represented a life, a soul. Each one has a story to tell, a unique journey, their own personality, talents and interests that make them who they are. Most of them have loved ones that care about them. Each falling silhouette is more than just a vague shadow – they mean the world to somebody. But now, just like that, they’re falling to their certain death.

I couldn’t bear to watch these precious souls falling! Just as I was about to look away and give up all hope, something amazing happened. All over the sky, I saw colorful, life-saving parachutes popping open! All of the passengers were prepared and equipped with parachutes! My hope which was almost gone burst open, much like the colorful parachutes. I knew everything was going to be okay. My bated breath suddenly transformed into a refreshing sigh of relief.

Later that day, the hot air balloon passengers were reunited with family members. Some of the more resilient passengers ran into their loved ones arms with a smile, as if they felt no trauma whatsoever. Other passengers, still reeling from the events that took place, reunited with family while tears were streaming down their eyes. Still others, others couldn’t even run into the arms of those they cared about – they had to walk with a slow, painful limp from the impact of their landing. Nonetheless, everyone was reunited – that’s all that really mattered.

Isn’t this account much like our life and our faith?

Just like the hot air balloon, we have times when we are coasting peacefully through life. The sky is bright and blue, bursting with happiness. Then, to our shock and dismay, life suddenly begins spiraling out of control. Our faith is shaken. Just like that, everything seems to be going wrong. The fire that kept our faith alive and our life afloat has seemingly gone out. It blindsides us. We didn’t see this coming – especially in light of how everything was so calm and peaceful moments ago.

Nonetheless, there is a small reserve of faith within us which keeps the fall from being immediate. Still, we find ourselves heading downward at a decent rate of speed. What can we do during times like these? Where can we turn when our hope and faith is plummeting? There seems to be no way out of this nightmare. The death of our faith is so real and so near that we can envision the devastation of the fall. We think it’s all over. We fear this is how it is going to end – in tragedy.

habIn this time of trouble when faith is shaken and hopes are shattered, God Almighty quickens his holy word to our remembrance. The powerful words in scripture speak of God as being a “very present help” in times of trouble; and that he “is able to keep you from falling.” The amazing hope contained in these promises causes our faith to burst open with a life-saving “parachute”, as it were.

Our God has made a way, just as the prophet Isaiah said he would. He has made a “path in the mighty waters… a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” He comforts with warm, truthful words, saying, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” By this amazing hope we’ve found in our Lord, we are persuaded… “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Just as the passengers of the hot air balloon were reunited with loved ones, God’s children will all be reunited in Glory. Whether walking unaided or limping, the reunions were just as sweet. ‘Twill be likewise in Glory. The main thing is, we made it… even if, proverbially, we had to limp in. We made it, and that’s all that really matters in the end. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Allow me to point out that Jacob, the Biblical patriarch, walked with a limp, due to his hip being injured during a time in his life when he wrestled with God (see Gen. 32). Although limping physically through life, he endured and was powerful. Likewise, even if we have to limp through trials of life, spiritually speaking, let’s remember that we can endure. All it takes is a mustard seed sized faith. Elbert Hubbard, American writer and philosopher, put it like this: “God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas – but for scars.”  As long as we keep getting up and moving toward our Lord, the enemy can’t keep us down.

In his song “We Fall Down”, songwriter, Kyle Matthews, writes: “The saints are just the sinners who fall down… and get up.” We will still be greeted in Glory with open arms and a smile, simply because we didn’t stay down when life plummeted out of control. Time there will heal the limp – but oh dear one, just make it through the gate!

Scripture encourages and admonishes us: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” We’re not in this fight alone, Christ intercedes to the Father God for us. And, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” In this life, we must have endurance. Hebrews 10:36 states: “For you have need of endurance, so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”  What victory awaits us beyond the heartaches of life! When we see the Lord, when we reunite with the saints, when pain is a thing of the past and disaster looms no more – we will be so grateful for our life-saving faith which was so mercifully given to us by our Savior. The skies will burst brightly with joy unspeakable!

 

Scripture References:
Psalm 46:1, Jude 1:24, Isaiah 43:16, 19, Isaiah 43:2, Romans 8:39, 1st Timothy 6:12, Romans 8:18, Romans 8:31
Sources:
biblehub.com, wikipedia.org, polyvore.com
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Are You Under a Curse?

Generational curses and curses in general – the mysterious phenomenon that is poorly understood yet widely accepted, even by well-meaning, New Covenant Christians. In this blog entry, we will be discussing the details surrounding this puzzling topic.

A Brief History Lesson

cp1In order for us to fully grasp the concept of curses, we must first have some understanding of what a curse is and how such curses originated. All of the answers to these questions can be found in scripture.

We first learn of curses in the Old Testament. Think of it like this – if a person robs a bank, there will be a negative result (“curse”) or a consequence to their bad behavior. Curses were designed to be a deterrent and punishment for bad behavior and to make the perpetrator aware of their misdeed. Adam and Eve only became cursed after they chose to sin. In the most basic terms, a curse was the result of sin and unrighteousness.

To an extent, we all (Christian or not) live under the inescapable “Adamic curse”, also known by some as the “curse of the fall – when Adam and Eve fell into sin and were, thereby, cursed. Ultimately, this is why we all will succumb to a bodily, physical death – whether we are righteous or unrighteous. Remember, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1st Cor. 15:22). Although our physical bodies die, Christ made a way of salvation for us to live again, spiritually, and to live for all eternity with Him, physically.

But let’s not confuse the Adamic “curse of the fall” with the “curse of the Law”. What is the Law? The Old Testament Law, also known as the “Mosaic Law” or the “Law of Moses” was decreed by God and given to Moses, then relayed to the people (see Deut. 28). It was given to make people conscious of sin (see Rom. 3:20). However, mere humans found that they could not keep each and every finite detail of the Mosaic Law perfectly all of the time. Although many strived to keep the Law, they soon discovered that they needed God to be merciful to them since disobeying any point of the Law resulted in punishment (see Gal. 3:10). If they didn’t keep God’s decrees, they would be overtaken by curses and even their offspring would come under great plagues (see Deut. 28:59). The children of murderers wouldn’t be put to death for the sins of their fathers (see 2nd Kings 14:6), but that didn’t mean there still weren’t plagues and hardships which would come upon them, as a result.

Of course, we now know that Christ kept the Law perfectly, in our place, since we were incapable and hopelessly lost, in our own strength. In layman’s terms, we can liken ourselves to an incapable 3-year-old child, desiring to donate blood to save his dying Mother’s life. However, the little child doesn’t have what it takes to save her life, even though the desire is there to do so. As the child despairs, in walks his big, strong, capable Father. He takes his 3-year-old child’s place and says, “Don’t worry son, I have what it takes – I will take your place and give my life’s blood to save Mommy so you don’t have to.” On a much greater scale, that is what Jesus did when He kept the Law for us, and also died for us. Although no sin was found in Him, He did the Will of the Father and took on our curse, our sin, and therefore, our punishment; the curse and punishment that should have been placed on us. Scripture says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal 3:13-14).

Do Curses Affect Christians?

“…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~Joshua 24:15

cp2Exodus 34:7 states the following: “[The Lord God] …keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

As you can see in the above-mentioned scripture (and many other Old Testament scriptures; Job 21:19, etc.), the teaching of generational curses was a somewhat accurate teaching for a certain time span for those living under the Old Covenant/Old Testament Mosaic Law (the curse of “The Law”). But even then, it was each individual’s choice whether or not they would serve the true and living God. The curse of the Law, however, would bring plagues to offspring.

Those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord, under the New Covenant, are no longer under the curse of the Law. Remember, scripture states: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…” (Gal. 3:13). The transference of bondage ended when He fulfilled the Law. This New Covenant freedom from curses was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:29-33 and Ezekiel 18:1-4. Please note in the following prophetic scriptures, the keyword, “Israel”… this is referring to those who were then/are now in covenant with God.

“In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:29-33).

“The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?’ As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:1-4).

Again, notice the Lord God said that the proverb concerning curses should no longer be used in Israel. His covenants were being made with Israel, bearing in mind that Israel represents those who are in covenant with God and who are under His Lordship (which was also given to us, as Gentiles, who believe). I guess it is easiest to think of it like this… in scripture, there is a physical nation of Israel AND a “spiritual Israel“. As Gentiles who have been redeemed through Christ and are under His Lordship, we are grafted into “spiritual Israel” (see Rom. 11: 16-36, Rom. 2:28-29, Rom. 3:22,29) and we are heirs of Abraham (see Gal. 3:29). Therefore, those of us who are Christians are redeemed from the curse of the Law and are no longer under ANY curse, generational or otherwise! Christ’s work on the cross was potent enough, so we needn’t feel that somehow we still have lingering curses which need to be “broken off of us” or “cast out of us” – this is unbiblical. Remember, Christ is enough.

Proverbs 26:2 teaches us that curses do not come to rest upon us if they are undeserved. “As the sparrow for flitting about, as the swallow for flying, so a curse undeserved shall not come.” While this is great news for us, as Christians – what about those who are not saved and still living in sin?

Do Curses Affect Sinners?

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” ~Romans 3:28

cp3As we see in Romans 3:28, a person is only justified by faith in Christ and needn’t keep the Mosaic Law in order to find justification and favor with God; thus being freed from the curse of the Law. For we know that the Law was not put into place to justify or to save souls; rather it was put into place to show mankind right from wrong and to show us how utterly lost and hopeless we are apart from Christ. “Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the Law. For the Law merely brings awareness of sin” (Rom. 3:20). By this, we find that no amount of good deeds, alone, can save us. Simply viewing oneself as being a “good person” isn’t enough. It takes one key ingredient to be justified… faith in Christ. The sinner does not have such faith in Christ and does not honor Him as Lord. From this, we can deduce that the sinner is not justified.

Likewise, John 8:36 states: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” But, the sinner has not accepted such freedom in Christ, the Son. By this, we can deduce that the sinner is still in bondage and still condemned.

Furthermore, Colossians 2:14 states: “[Christ], blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross…”

In Elliot’s Commentary for English Readers, this verse is further explained:

“The ‘handwriting’ is the bond, exacting payment or penalty in default… The Law is a bond, ‘Do this and thou shalt live.’ ‘The soul that sinneth it shall die.’ On failure to do our part it ‘stands against us.’ But God for Christ’s sake forgives our transgressions and cancels the bond… Our Lord ‘redeemed us from the curse of the Law,’ by His death, ‘being made a curse for us’ (Galatians 3:13). St. Paul boldly speaks of that curse as a penalty standing against us, and as nailed to the cross with Himself, so to be forever cancelled in the great declaration, ‘It is finished.'”

Again, we can deduce from this passage that since the sinner has not come under Christ’s Lordship nor accepted Christ’s death as his/her death, that he/she is still under the penalties and curses associated with sin; only now, his/her punishments are far more reaching than any curses which were brought by the Law.

As written by D. Clarkson, B.D., “Sin and the curse are inseparable. Wherever sin is, the curse will be…” He continues, “The least sin requires infinite satisfaction. Such an injury is the least sin, as nothing can compensate it, but that which is of infinite value… The least sin is now punished in hell with those torments that will last forever.” He adds, “See here an impossibility for a sinner to be justified by his observance of the Law, or according to the tenor of the first covenant. The Law requires, to justification, a righteousness exactly perfect; but the best righteousness of fallen man is as a rag. It is not only torn and ragged, but spotted and defiled.”

 God gives the sinner time to repent. As scripture says, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lam. 3:22). So many sinners seem to be living an easy life with riches, fame, and popularity. But remember the Psalm… “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:16-20).

You see, under the Old Covenant, most blessings and/or cursings were immediate, outward, and evident. However, things seemed to shift a bit under the New Covenant. It’s not that we are altogether barred from seeing good or bad happen in this life; however, most things (as it stands now) are being “laid up”. The wrath that will be poured upon the unrepentant sinner is being laid up for their eternal punishment (see Rom. 2:5). The blessings for the Christian, likewise, are being laid up for their eternal joy (see Matt. 6:19-21).

But what about so-called “generational curses”… are children punished for the sins of their parents nowadays? A concise yet truthful reply to this question was written by Christian blogger and ordained minister, Ken Murray, when he wrote: “I believe we will see from the scriptures that God does not punish children for their parents’ sins, except when the children perpetuate them and when the sins committed involve certain social and physical consequences.” God is a just and fair God – we are all given the individual choice of being blessed for all eternity or of being cursed for all eternity.

On Being Blessed

cp4I, for one, have no desire to be cursed in any shape, form, or fashion. Anybody with an ounce of sanity would agree that it is far more desirous to be blessed; nobody wants to be cursed. Set before us all is life and death, blessing and cursing; eternally free from sin, or eternally bound by sin. It’s quite easy to choose life – even if that life demands us to walk a narrow road or to be persecuted; what will that matter in eternity? Choose this day, today, whom you will serve, so that you can proclaim with scripture “…sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).

God’s blessings can be earthly, tangible, intangible, heavenly, and eternal. Some blessings are evident while others may not feel like blessings at all – as in Luke 6:22, Blessed are you when men shall hate you… on account of Jesus.” Nonetheless, we are told in the next verse to rejoice and leap for joy when we’re treated such a way. Why? Because, “… your reward is great in heaven.” A great reward in heaven to look forward to? Yes, that is a blessing, indeed!

If we are walking with the Lord, we are blessed! “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…” (Ps. 1:1). In this day and age, if we are genuine Christians, then we are blessed beyond measure. Our soul is eternally secure and we are in right standing with God… oh, what peace; what bliss we can now enjoy knowing this most comforting truth and having this blessed assurance!

Sources: biblehub.com, ucg.org, polyvore.com

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“Don’t Judge Your Spiritual Condition By Feelings” Sermon

For this month’s blog entry, I would highly encourage all of my readers to watch this video sermon by the late David Wilkerson. It is a timely and highly encouraging sermon for the Christian who feels that they are in a rut of boredom, repetition, or discouragement.

 

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The Christian Response to FEAR

Fear… the overwhelming feeling of impending doom that seems to take over one’s being. I must admit, I’ve had fear attack me on numerous occasions in my life. I’d think to myself, “Pull yourself together… where is your Christian faith?!” The horrible feeling of fear – I had to find out where it was coming from, and find a way to overcome it! But how?

In this blog entry, I will not be speaking from an ivory tower of victory whilst looking down upon others who still have fears. No – because I still grapple with this thing of fear myself, at times. Nonetheless, I do not want to diminish how far God has brought me. I cannot say that I’ve got this thing “whipped”; but I can say that God has brought me a long way from where I once was and I no longer feel ruled over by fear. Allow me some time to share what the Lord has showed me… it may help you, also.

 

Is It a Sin to Fear?

believeIt is human nature to fear. Some believe that it is a sin to fear. However, I am not personally convinced of that stance. Sure, negative fear brings torment and is unhealthy for us to bear; but oftentimes, we do not willfully choose to have fears. In fact, many who have a problem with fear wish that they didn’t.

Throughout scripture, we see examples of God’s children who had very real fears. When the Apostle Paul was in Macedonia, he said their flesh had no rest and that they had inward fears. Nonetheless, God comforted them by sending Titus (see 2nd Cor. 7). God can use various means to comfort us in our hard times.

The only type of fear which I see as sinful (according to the Bible) is the fear to stand up for God, and to fear what it might cost us (or what we might lose) in order to serve God. In other words, it is a sin to be cowardly and fearful where our faith is concerned, and it is sinful to value anything over God and to fear what we might lose in order to serve him. We must be willing to die for our faith if it comes down to it. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). In this scripture, we see the negative sense of fear (fearing persecution) and the positive sense of fear (fearing the Lord).

Furthermore, we find Revelation 21:8 states: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”  In this scripture, we find the original Greek meaning for the word, “fearful” defined as:

“Cowardly, timid, fearful. Deilós (an adjective derived from deidō, “fear-driven”) – properly, dreadful, describing a person who loses their ‘moral gumption (fortitude)’ that is needed to follow the Lord; (“Fearful of losses”) refers to an excessive fear (dread) of ‘losing,’ causing someone to be fainthearted (cowardly) – hence, to fall short in following Christ as Lord. /deilós is always used negatively in the NT and stands in contrast to the positive fear which can be expressed by /phóbos (‘fear,’ see Phil. 2:12). Christians who through cowardice give way under persecutions and apostatize. From deos (dread); timid, i.e. (by implication) faithless — fearful.”

So you see, there are different types of fear – some are positive/healthy (as in fearing/reverencing the Lord), some are negative/unhealthy, and others are overtly sinful. When Jesus is denied due to fear, it is sin. “But whosoever shall deny me [Jesus] before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33).

NOTE: In order to cut down on confusion – the remainder of this blog entry will be focusing on overcoming the negative/unhealthy sense of fear and not so much focusing on the positive or overtly sinful types of fears. I just wanted to mention such fears in the beginning to cover all types of fears that a person can have.

The Root of the Problem

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” ~Psalm 56:3

strengthI’ve never been a fan of “Band-Aid” methods – simply covering over the hurt and proverbial infected wound of problems while allowing the root of the issue to remain. Imagine having a fast-growing skin cancer on your face. Sure, you could put a bandage over it or even try to use cosmetics to conceal it – but the cancer is still there, causing problems, and it needs to be identified and removed in order for healing to take place. The same applies to fear. The root cause of fear must be identified in order to eradicate it so that healing can take place.

Firstly, we must identify where our fear is derived. Please note that there are some physical diseases and disorders which affect the central nervous system and cause one to feel nervous, uneasy, and sometimes panicked. This type of fear is more of a physical response rather than a mental or spiritual response. Nonetheless, God is well able to help us deal with any type of fear. But usually, most fears are from our mind or from our spirit. These latter types of fear can only thrive where there is lack of trust… remember that. I don’t say that in a scolding manner, but if we trust God whole-heartedly to care for us no matter what, then we can find a place of peace. That’s not to say that we still won’t have concerns or emotions – but we will rule the fear rather than the fear ruling us.

Secondly, we must identify what unhealthy fears do to us. Does it give us a good feeling to fear? Does it glorify God? Does it help us to become a better person? Does it keep our thoughts centered on Christ? Does it bring peace? No, usually fear is a bully and it will turn us into frightened little mice, scurrying for cover. This is no way to live! It robs our joy, our peace of mind, our contentment, our time, and our health. Christian Nazi Concentration Camp survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, once said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

Imagine fearing something dreadful for one-thousand days, yet, it never happens. This fear has, not only robbed one-thousand days, but it has robbed us of the strength we would need should we ever have to face such a horrible event. At the root, fear is often a thought that God will somehow fail us in our darkest hour or in our times of turbulence. This must be hurtful to our Master. And can we really change anything by fearing it or by having worrisome thoughts about it? (See Matt. 6:25-34). In fact, when we focus on such fears and dreadful things, we are basically living them out every day – even when they are not presently occurring. That’s not what we want; we must get a hold on this tormenting fear!

The Bible instructs us:Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” (2nd Cor. 10:5). If we did not have the ability to do so, God would never taunt us with such instructions as these. The Christian has a huge advantage over fear!

Lay the axe of God’s Word to the root of fear because it does not bring peace and does not glorify God. Plus, His Word instructs us to think on pleasant things – not dreadful ones. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil 4:8).

How To Fight Fear

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” ~Psalm 34:4

fnI have heard many Christian leaders give advice to use scripture to combat fear. While that is definitely true – I would like to take that a step further. You must meditate upon and believe the scriptures you tell yourself in the throes of fear, or it will just be words. You must be fully persuaded and convinced that, yes, fear does bring torment (just as God’s Word says). And yes, it’s true that God has not given me the spirit of fear (just as God’s Word says).

It takes great discipline to retrain your mind to go to God’s Word because your fears will try to bully you out of it. And when you first start using God’s Word to combat fear, this spirit of fear will laugh at you and make your scripture quotes seem feeble and unhelpful. But never mind, you just keep on facing fear with scripture and keep the faith. Over time, the scripture will become so solidified and powerful in your mind and heart that they will act as a prophylaxis, of sorts, against fear to repel it before it gets out of hand.

I would also recommend expounding upon the scriptures to yourself. Instead of just quoting the scripture alone (which is great), take it a step further and stir up your faith by expounding and meditating upon it. For example, you could say something like, “God’s Word, that cannot lie, says that God has not given me this spirit of fear. So this unhealthy fear which I am feeling is from an evil spirit attacking me, because it is not from God. I have authority over that spirit in Jesus’ name and by His blood. The Bible says that God wants me to have a sound mind. So, I’m not going to give into this fear because it is not from God.” Then, follow up with a prayer.

Again, you must use scripture to convince yourself that your fear is NOT from God. As a Christian, we should be quick to whole-heartedly reject anything that is not from God. It doesn’t matter the psychological label that it is given, it is tormenting you and it’s not from God! Remember, 1st John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” When we know that we are perfectly loved and cared for by God, it casts out fear and torment. Why? Because we know that no matter what happens, He is our rock and He will never leave us comfortless or floundering around with no help. Again, it goes back to how much we trust God. As his children, we have sure access to Him at all times.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:31-32).

Inspiring Thoughts

In conclusion, please see the additional quotes below in order to combat fear and to give you a clear, Christian perspective:

♦“Our lives are full of supposes. Suppose this should happen, or suppose that should happen; what could we do; how could we bear it? But, if we are living in the high tower of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives. We shall be quiet from the fear of evil, for no threatenings of evil can penetrate into the high tower of God. Even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, the psalmist could say, will fear no evil; and, if we are dwelling in God, we can say so too.” ~Hannah Whitall Smith

♦“I prayed to dispel my fear, until suddenly, and I do not know how the idea came to me, I began to pray for others. I prayed for everyone who came into my thoughts – people with whom I had traveled, those who had been in prison with me, my school friends of years ago. I do not know how long I continued my prayer, but this I do know – – my fear was gone! Interceding for others had released me!” ~Corrie Ten Boom (Nazi Concentration Camp survivor)

♦“Where is thy faith? Stand fast and with perseverance. Be long-suffering and strong. Consolation will come unto thee in its due season. Wait for Me; yea, wait; I will come and heal thee. It is temptation which vexeth thee, and a vain fear which terrifieth thee. What doth care about future events bring thee, save sorrow upon sorrow? ‘Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.’ It is vain and useless to be disturbed or lifted up about future things which perhaps will never come. But it is the nature of man to be deceived by fancies of this sort, and it is a sign of a mind which is still weak to be so easily drawn away at the suggestion of the enemy. For he careth not whether he deceive and beguile by true means or false; whether he throw thee down by the love of the present or fear of the future. Therefore let not thy heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~Thomas à Kempis (Author, 1380-1471)

♦“A Prayer Against Evil Thoughts” by: Thomas à Kempis

“O Lord my God, ‘be not Thou far from me, my God, haste Thee to help me,’ for many thoughts and great fears have risen up against me, afflicting my soul. How shall I pass through them unhurt? How shall I break through them? ‘I,’ saith He, ‘will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight.’ I will open the prison doors, and reveal to thee the secret places…

Do, Lord, as Thou sayest; and let all evil thoughts fly away before Thy face. This is my hope and my only comfort, to fly unto Thee in all tribulation, to hope in Thee, to call upon Thee from my heart and patiently wait for Thy loving kindness.”

Sources: biblehub.com, en.wikipedia.org, polyvore.com

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How Would You Treat an Angel?

angelbThe annoying door-to-door salesman, the fast food worker who made a mistake on your order, the telemarketer who calls in the middle of dinner, the elderly man who drives slowly and causes you to be late to work – how do we, as Christians, treat these people? Do we show patience, understanding, kindness, and a Christ-like attitude toward them? Or do we treat them with disdain, hatred, and anger?

Now, allow me to pose a hypothetical question – what if an angel was disguised as a clumsy fast food worker or as a slow, elderly man? Would that change the way that we, as Christians, treat them? Of course! We would be extra kind, patient, and apt to show hospitality while extending grace to such a one. Well, maybe this idea isn’t so far-fetched or hypothetical. You see, the Bible says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). In other words, the Berean Study Bible puts it like this, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

In Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, it states: “The Greek word for ‘angels’ – messengers – of itself would serve to remind these Christians that, though the strangers whom they welcomed were but men, they might be special messengers of God.”  So whether an angel in disguise (which appear as men) or a special messenger sent by God, it is clear that we are to show hospitality and Christian love to others – even strangers. Remember the scripture, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” (Matt. 7:12).

How Would You Treat Jesus?

In the first section of this blog, we discussed how we might behave differently if we were in the presence of an angel. But, let’s take that a step further – how would we treat Jesus if he were walking among us, yet hidden in a disguise? Wouldn’t it be utterly devastating to learn that we’d treated someone with disregard only to find out later that the person was really Jesus in disguise?! Again, this is not such a far-fetched idea, for the Holy Spirit lives within many. In Matthew 10:40, Jesus said, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” This concept is best explained in Matthew 25:34-46:

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

It Matters To God How We Treat Others

The point of this blog entry is to show the importance of how we treat others – even strangers. The Bible also teaches us not to show favoritism to the rich while despising the poor (see James 2:1-13); to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (see Mark 12:31); and to be a good “Samaritan” who has pity and mercy upon a helpless soul in need (see Luke 10:25-37). Likewise, we are to speak graciously with kind words – even to strangers (see Col. 4:5-6). If necessary, we are to bridle our tongues so that we do not speak out of our anger or haste. The Bible even goes so far as to say this: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).

The Bible is full of examples which teach us how to behave in a Godly manner and how to treat others. When we choose to offer hospitality, we are to do so without grumbling (1st Pet. 4:9). It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to have a genuinely kind heart. Kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control – these are some of the “fruits” that grow in our lives as we yield to the Holy Spirit (see Gal. 5:22).

As we know, it’s easy to love the loveable – but it is the unlovable who usually need to feel loved. We never know what such an unlovable person is going through. I’ve heard it said that hurt people often have masks. Hurt may be masked as anger, rebellion, or as having a bad attitude. Love will go a long way and that is what the hurting people need. Jesus showed his love by dying for such souls so that they could be saved and loved eternally. Loving the lost takes on many forms. Love is ultimately shown when we reveal truths to them and lead them to our loving God. We are taught in Matthew 5:43-48 to even love our enemies…

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

It’s equally important to God how we treat our family. For example, it’s important how husbands treat their wives. If they do not show honor, scripture says that their prayers could be hindered. “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1st Pet. 3:7). The Bible also instructs wives, children, and all of us how to behave in a Godly manner. If we should behave badly in a weak moment, we need to be humble enough to admit fault, ask for forgiveness, mourn our sin, and repent. It doesn’t always come natural, but as disciples of the Lord Jesus, let’s strive to put ourselves aside in order to live a life pleasing to him. Again, I will reiterate – it is very important to God how we treat others.

It isn’t always easy and there will be plenty of opportunities to become angry or to be tempted to treat others poorly; but the next time you’re tempted to give someone a “piece of your mind” or to show hatred, remember to ask yourself these questions – “What if this is a test and really just an angel in disguse? How would Jesus want me to behave toward strangers or enemies? What if my anger drives an unstable soul to harm themselves?” Reaffirm in your mind that it is very important to God how Christians treat others since we are his ambassadors. Let’s have a depth to us so that we shine with love and genuine, Christian kindness.

Sources: biblehub.com, youtube.com, polyvore.com
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