RSS

Tag Archives: God the Father

Peaceful Living

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. (Luke 6:27-30)

This is actually a very easy demand that Jesus gives us here. Just love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless when we’re cured, give to the beggar and the thief alike, all that good stuff. The only possible problem that we might have with doing this, is if we so happen to be a part of that pesky race known as, “humans.” Humans tend to have a problem with resisting their urge to hit back, curse back, and in general abuse their abusers.

We are really quite a cruel race, in reality. I mean compared to even animals, we’re insane: animals may fight on occasion, but mostly their whole World revolves around eating, drinking, and in simply living, or if they are so inclined, it revolves around living in a pack. They only real reason they kill, is so that they can live. You will never find an Adolf Hitler squirrel.

Japanese Squirrel. 日本語: ニホンリス

This squirrel doesn’t have to worry about suicide bombings going off in it’s neighborhood. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

But us? A fairly different story than the one of the above squirrel. But how can we stop? How can we actually obey what Jesus has called us to do?

Well, the only way we can obey what Jesus has told us to do, is by Jesus’ power. Through Jesus’ death for us, our old nature; our fighting, hit back, abusing the one who abuses us, nature, has died. We can now live peaceful lives, in Christ. He, and He alone, enables us to love those who hate us, to give to the one who would steal (and then report him to the police), and to pray for those who abuse us (followed by reporting them as well to the police. Just because we live in peace, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t obey the local and governmental authority, and turn in crooks.).

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The End Times

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. (Matthew 24:35-36)

There has been, and there still is, a large amount of speculation as to when Jesus will return. In fact, there’s been a wealth; a down right  overabundance of speculation on the subject. Some of the “theories” (though they aren’t true theories, but hypothesis’) don’t make much sense, but most are mathematical, and actually do make a certain amount of sense. The problem with these speculations, though, is that they are completely unBiblical. The above tells that no one, not even the mathematicians, knows the day or hour when Christ will return, and the World as we know it will end.

The simple reality of it, is that it doesn’t matter. None of it. When will Jesus return? I don’t know (and, in spite of innumerable claims, neither does anyone else). What I do know though, is that we should live every day of our lives, as though that was the day Jesus will be coming back. Which is something that we do, by living every moment, of every day, in light of the Gospel; remembering everything that He went through for us, and the freedom that we now have because of Him.

To put it simply: our focus shouldn’t be on when Jesus will return, it should be on Jesus.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Need of Conviction

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:7-11)

Jesus shows us three convictions that the Holy Spirit would give people: the conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: the conviction of sin, because they don’t believe in Jesus, and thus are still living in their sin. The conviction of righteousness, because Jesus, the righteousness of the World, without whom no one can be righteous, would be leaving. And finally, the conviction of judgment, because the Devil (who is the ruler of the Earth) would be judged. – Alright, pretty simple. Not too hard to understand. So here’s the question: why is it we seem to have forgotten about conviction?

To clarify: why is it the sermons we hear lack any conviction? Why is it we live nice, little, un-convicted lives? Why have our pastors become false prophets, who tell us only what we want to here? Why is our conscience being soothed with lies? Alright, this doesn’t happen everywhere, its true. But there can be no denying that the majority tends to lean towards the soothing, and the comforting, rather than the convicting.  Comfort or conviction, that is the question. The Holy Spirit or lies. Happy un-believers or convicted believers.

The Holy Spirit is in conviction, there’s no doubt about that. In fact, it’s His (the Holy Spirit’s) main goal to cause conviction in people (yes, He also had other goals, such as empowering people to do miraculous works, etc.). Unless the parent steps in, a tells the kid that something their doing is wrong (convicts them of their ‘sin’), the kid will likely continue to do whatever it is their not supposed to do. It’s not much different when it comes to Spiritual children and Spiritual adults. – Think of a child sticking its hand into fire. If it doesn’t feel the pain from being burned, it will continue sticking it’s hand in the flame. Conviction is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to prevent further damage.

So then, are we going to a comfort Church? Are we going to the Church of Comfort, or are we going to an actual Church; conviction and all?

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Asking

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)

Now obviously this doesn’t mean we can just ask Jesus for a Ferrari, and it’ll all of a sudden appear in our garage… Or does it? I mean, Jesus does say if we ask anything in His name, ‘He’ll do it’. So, does “anything” include sin? If we ask Jesus to give us some kind of sin, will He do it? Well of course not! The mere thought is preposterous, but it brings up an interesting question: what can we actually ask in Jesus’ name?

Yes, if we ask in His name, Jesus will do whatever it is we’re asking. But here’s the thing, in order to actually ask Jesus to do something, we first must actually be Christians. If we aren’t Christians, we can’t ask for anything, but salvation, in Jesus’ name. So, with that established, there’s one key quality of being a follower of Christ that I’d like to point out here: you cannot fully understand that Jesus has died for you; that He has given up His very life to save yours, and not love Him. This is important, because of the verse directly after the ones we just looked at:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

The commandments He’s talking of being the ones He talked about earlier in John: love one another, etc.. No where in their does He mention, “Get a Ferrari” (they didn’t have cars), or, “Get a mansion”. In fact, instead of that, He tells us not to love money… All that, to say if we’re truly Christians, we shouldn’t want to ask Jesus to give us a means to sin. In fact, we can’t even ask that “in Jesus’ name”, as it’s impossible to truly ask for sin in Jesus’ name. Much better, would be to ask Him to help us overcome in areas where we’re weak, or to help others overcome, etc..

Jesus has died for us! How then, while fully understanding that, can we ask Him to give us something we don’t actually need (i.e. food, shelter, clothes, and a means of transportation)?

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What Is and Isn’t Lawful For a Christian

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:12-13)

Really? All things are lawful for Christians? It seems Paul has just given us immunity from the law! – Well, yes, all Christians are allowed to do anything that they want… Unless the thing in question contradicts the rest of the Scripture.

Think of it this way: the ten commandments state both that we’re to obey our parents, and that we’re not supposed to murder. But what if our parents tell us to murder? Well, in that case, we shouldn’t obey them as it goes against the rest of Scripture. Same thing goes here: are we allowed to do anything and everything we want to? Absolutely! It’s just we want to do has to be in context with what the rest of Scripture says. In addition to this though, it’s also very important to realize that are bodies are not our own: but the Lord’s, and meant for Him. i.e. Would you “do evil” with the Lord’s property? Then don’t do so with your own body.

But now that we’ve experienced the warning not to do things contradictory to Scripture, we need to realize that, as Christians, our minds have been encased in God’s helmet of salvation, and our wants have been changed/are being changed to reflect the wants of our Heavenly father: God. Thus, though we still need to examine our motives for doing things, and the results those things will have, it isn’t something we have to spend much time worrying about… Now, before people start getting angry, let me explain: our minds and bodies are being conformed into the image of God. Because of that, our wants are changed. What we now want should no longer be what we used to want, but should be what God wants. Therefore, we do need to keep an eye (so to speak) on our thoughts and continue to bring every wrong thought captive to God, it isn’t something we need to have a heart attack over.

To summarize: our wants and desires are no longer what they once where, but are focused on Christ. Therefore, Christians are allowed to do whatever they want to, that is in accordance with Scripture. And, for the record, if you can’t find a verse in the entire Bible that tells you can’t steal, you’re aren’t looking hard enough; same goes for everything the law says (read Romans 13 to see what I mean).

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Wants and Desires

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Our Good and God’s Glory

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Fathers are to bring their children up in discipline. That’s a pretty clear, blatant statement. Nothing confusing about it. Just Paul stating another fact. The thing is that this also applies Spiritually. Fathers are to bring their children up Spiritually, yes, but the job of Spiritual discipline belongs entirely to our Heavenly Father, God. In fact, because the job of Spiritual discipline belongs to God, we don’t have to worry when any hardship comes our way. Let me explain:

Everything, good and bad, is sent by God… At least, by extension. He uses Satan as a tool. Take Job as an example. But that’s not the point. The point is that because every hardship comes from God, we don’t have to worry about any hardship. Everything, good or bad, is meant by God to build us up in some way; everything is meant to train us in righteousness and grow us in Christ. God disciplines, as compared to punishing. Here’s an example of the two; choose for yourself how they’re different:

Punishment: a father beating his kid angrily for something the kid did. This is neither constructive, helpful, or necessary, as I believe everyone would agree.

Discipline: something like a spanking. Done in love, and not injuring the person it’s directed towards. The goal is to make sure they know they did something wrong, not to hurt them. It’s to help them grow.

because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, 
   and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:6)

Christ took our punishment for us. He took the barrier that prevented us from becoming sons of God away; he tore the curtain from top to bottom. This is why we no longer have to be afraid of God except with a fear of His power. Not with a fear that He’ll use said power to vaporize us! Now any hardship we meet, we can be sure is a sign of God’s love for us rather than his hate. Jesus Himself makes this point in John 9:2-3 (i.e. That everything that happens to us is for our good and God’s glory):

2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:2-3)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Divided Mind

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

So the (please forgive me if you are one) “Eco-freaks” had it wrong? We shouldn’t love the world, because if we do God doesn’t love us?

What does John mean, “don’t love the world”?

He means exactly what he said. He isn’t referring to the world, as in, Planet Earth. He’s referring to everyone (and thing) that is, “of the world and not of God”. I’ll put it this way: we are of Heaven, everyone else is of the World up and until the point where they change their citizenship. But that isn’t really the point of the passage: John is warning them here of the world. He doesn’t say they can’t go to the movies/watch TV/shop at Wal-Mart, he just says they shouldn’t love the world.

While we’re on the subject, how is it even possible to simply, “not love the world.” Isn’t it a little like just telling yourself, “don’t sin.”? What does not loving the world even mean? How is possible not to love the world?

By ourselves, it isn’t; By Jesus’ power though, all things are possible. – As the pastor said yesterday: we are babies, unable to do anything for our-self. We need God to pick us up in order to go anywhere (Spiritually). – Not loving the world, does not mean not doing something, or not going somewhere. That’s legalism. Not loving the world however, does mean this: loving God. Loving the world takes a different shape for every one: someone may get drunk, someone may be ‘addicted to smoking’, etc.

John is warning us to not love the world, because if we do Jesus doesn’t live in us. This is because we cannot serve two masters, both Jesus and the world. Thus, loving the world becomes the equivalent of trying to kick Jesus out. Which, as you might have guessed, isn’t a good idea. In fact, it could even be considered a very bad idea.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. (Matthew 12:25)

If what we want is divided against itself, we will very quickly come crumbling down from whatever height we’ve set our-self up to: If we try to serve both the world and God. Well, they invented the phrase ‘dead-meat’ for a reason.

The point is this: there is a reason behind John telling us not to love the world or anything in it, that reason is his trying to keep us from giving up the race; trying to keep us from having our mind divided.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Delivered Through Love

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: