My Days With Jesus
It has been more than a year since I was banished from my small village. Just before my sixteenth birthday, as I was working in the field. Two strangers defiled me, and even though I resisted, in the eyes of my village I was no longer fit to live. They first thought to stone me, but my grandfather, who was a village elder, convinced them to banish me instead. I wandered in the wilderness for three days, when I found myself on a cliff over looking a river. Being tired, and hungry, and not knowing how I would be able to survive, I thought of jumping off the cliff to the rocks below. Then I noticed a group of people camped on the bank of the river below me. The group was comprised of mostly men, but there were also several women there. No one seemed to notice me with the exception of one man, who was looking right at me, from below. I looked back toward the rocks below me, trying to summon the courage to jump, when I heard footsteps behind me. When I turned to see, there was a man emerging from the bushes. He had dark shoulder length hair and a beard. He was dressed in a modest robe, much like that of a laborer who might work in the field. As he approached, he began to speak. Fear not Sarah, he said, for I have heard your sobbing, and I know the aching that you have in your heart. I replied to him, sir, how is it that you know my name ?, and why is it that you presume to know my situation ?. The Holy Father in heaven he said, has instructed me to offer to you peace and comfort. For if you will but believe in my message, you shall have everlasting life in heaven. Does God speak to you ? I said. Then he replied, Did God speak to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob ?. I say unto you that God speaks to everyone who will listen. My name is Jesus. Come follow me, and you will see that my doctrine is true. So I followed Jesus.
As we traveled from place to place, Jesus would draw great crowds of people. When Jesus was questioned by the temple priest. He spoke as one who was educated, and he seemed to have an extensive knowledge of The Torah, and Mosaic Law. Yet when he spoke to the crowds of people. He would speak in a way, which everyone who was there could understand. He would tell stories, that he called parables. These stories were compared to things that the common person could relate to. Everywhere that we went, Jesus would cast out evil spirits from those whom were possessed, just by commanding the evil spirit to leave. Jesus had the power to heal the sick. I’ve seen him make the blind to see, and make the deaf to hear, and he would make the lame to walk. Jesus seemed to be able to heal all that believed in him. I once seen a man that had been dead four days, be raised from the dead, because Jesus commanded it to be so. Not long ago Jesus had been speaking for three days to a crowd of several thousand people. Jesus wanted to continue our journey, but though to feed the hungry crowd before he sent them away. When he asked what we had to give them, he was brought two baskets. One basket had a couple of small fish, and the other had a couple loaves of bread. Jesus prayed over the two baskets, and then he asked that the food be given to the people. It was like the baskets had no bottom. It was an endless supply of bread and fish. Every one of the thousands of people ate until they were full, and everyone believed in Jesus.
Jesus would say that God was his father. He would tell us that his father had sent him, to offer everlasting life to all that would believe. We were told what we must do to enter his kingdom. Love God with al of your heart, and mind. To love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And it was explained to us, how everyone is our neighbor. Jesus would tell us, that for God to forgive us for the wrongs that we do. We must first forgive our neighbors for the wrongs that they do to us. Jesus told us that all we had to do to gain entry into God’s Kingdom was to believe in what he says and obey what he had taught us. Jesus said that God had given him the authority to do great miracles, so that we would have proof that he is the son of God as foretold by the scriptures. The Temple Priest, even though they had seen Jesus perform miracles, did not believe that he was the messiah. The priest would often ask Jesus questions concerning the law. They would do this in an attempt to give them reason to stone him for breaking the law.
As the time of Passover drew near Jesus announced that we would go to The Holy city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.The feast of the Passover is always a joyous time for those who are a Jew. Every Jew knows the story, of God sending Moses, to lead his people out of bondage from Egypt. How the final plague of Egypt, would be the death, of every first born in Egypt, both man and beast. Moses, being armed with instructions from God, gathered the Jewish Elders together to speak with them. Moses told the Jewish Elders. The great I Am, has told me that a horrible plague will fall upon all the lands of Egypt. The first born of man and beast, will die this night, so that pharaoh will know, that the Lord our God, has power over all things. Moses then told the elders, to have every Jewish house sacrifice a young lamb. The blood from the sacrificed lamb was to be used to paint both sides, and the top of the entrance way of their house. The rest of the sacrificed lamb was to be fire roasted and eaten that night. God instructed the angel of death, to Passover every house that had the entrance way painted with the blood of the sacrificed lamb. Thus neither a single Jew nor any of their beasts would taste death due to the Passover. God gave further instruction, that every year from that night forward; a great feast should be held, to remind all Jews of what God had done for them.
As we came near the city, Jesus sent for a donkey’s colt for him to ride into the city on. I was later told that this was a prophecy from the scriptures. The road into the city was lined with thousands of people who had come to see Jesus. They were all cheering and yelling Hosanna as Jesus road past them. Along the way I met an old friend from my village named Mary. She told me that Pilate’s wife had hired her to work in Pilate’s house as a servant. And if I so desired, that Pilate’s wife would hire me also to be a servant in Pilate’s house. Pilate’s servants were well paid, and under the protection of Pilate. This would be a good opportunity for me. Mary told me to come to Pilate’s house after the Passover feast and ask for her, and she would take me to see Pilate’s wife. I did not want to leave Jesus, so I said I would think about it.
When we had entered the city Jesus headed for the temple. I was asked to go with some others, to prepare the place where we would eat the Passover dinner. We were camped outside the city, but a supporter of Jesus had offered an upper room in his house, as a place for Jesus and his disciples to have Passover dinner. When the feast began I was busy with preparing and serving food. I could only hear some of what was being said. I heard Jesus giving instructions as to what they should do when he was gone. He was speaking to all but Judas, for Jesus had told Judas to go and do what he must do. I did not know what that was. Then Jesus asked me for some bread and wine. I set in front of him a loaf of bread, and as I was pouring wine into his cup, he said to me. I hear your thoughts and I know what is in your heart. Go now he said, and see your friend Mary. Take the job that she has offered to you. The time has come that I must leave all of you, and where I go, none of you can come, at this time. As long as you believe in me I will always be with you.
I went to Pilate’s house, and Mary took me to see Pilate’s wife. I was hired and sent to work in the kitchen. It took seven days for the news to reach me, that Jesus had been crucified. I went at once to the place where we had been camped, but there was no one there. So I went to the upper room where I had last seen Jesus. Peter and the other disciples were there. I was told how the night that I had left. Judas had betrayed them, and led the temple guard to Jesus, so they could arrest him. I was told that Jesus had been crucified and lay in the tomb for three days. And on the third day was resurrected from the dead, and had appeared to the disciples. Jesus had told the disciples that by dying, he had taken away the sins of everyone. And that they should spread the word, that anyone that believes in him shall be given everlasting life in heaven. So for the rest of my days on earth. I gave praise to God who is the father, and to his son Jesus who is the Christ.
It was a cold stormy night. More than two feet of snow had already fallen with no end in sight. Many homes in the area were without power which meant for many, no heat to battle the freezing cold. Those people that had warm places to go, had already gone to stay with friends and family. Those who had no place to go, were guided to the local church by the lighted cross on top of the steeple, which being the only light in the area on such a dark night, could be seen clearly as a beacon of hope, by everyone in the neighborhood that was left in the dark with no heat. By the grace of God the church was the only building in the neighborhood that had not lost power due to the storm. Several of the church members had come to the church. Some had left the warmth of their homes to help. Some were there because they had no power themselves. The congregation was divided on many issues, and a disagreement soon arose. A small group of people led by Lou Cypher , argued that the church was not big enough to accommodate so many people, and that the church supporters should be allowed in first. While another group led by Will O. Fiam, argued that we should help all that are in need. This disagreement was settled when the pastor said that the church was God’s house and would be open to everyone, and all that come seeking shelter would be welcome inside. The pastor then asked if the members who owned four wheel drive vehicles, would drive around the neighborhood and pick up the people that were trying to make their way to the church and bring them to the church. Will was the first to volunteer, and Lou also volunteered. The volunteers would drop off people at the church and go out again. After dropping off a group of people, Lou headed out again followed by Will. A few blocks from the church, Lou lost control of his SUV and crashed into a tree. Will had seen it happen and rushed to Lou’s SUV to help. A gas leak had started a fire under the SUV, and just as Will opened the door, the SUV exploded, killing both Will and Lou. In an instant both Will and Lou were in heaven, and standing before Jesus for judgment. Jesus was sitting on a great throne of gold holding in his hands the book of life. Seated on his left were the twelve sons of Jacob. Seated on his right were the twelve apostles. There were millions of people all around them all dressed in pure white robes. Then Jesus spoke. Lou Cypher he said, your name is written in the book of life. I see all that you have done during your time on earth, and I see that your sins are many. Do you have anything that you would like to say before I pass judgment? Lou replied, Lord I have given a lot of money to the church. I have heard the message from the pastor almost every Sunday. I have served as a church elder on several church boards. I have participated in church functions to help the needy. I have prayed to God in your name. And many years ago I accepted you as my savior and asked you to forgive my sins. Jesus replied, You have given money to the church, but only what you considered extra money. You have heard the message every week, but often choose to ignore it. You served as a church leader. Where you imposed your opinions and will, with no regard as to what I would do. Often you have prevented those whom I have sent, from doing the good works that I called upon them to do. You participated in church functions to help the needy when it was convenient for you, and rarely did you anything for the needy outside of the church. You have prayed to my father. Mostly in the presence of others, so that they would see and hear you pray. When you were alone, your prayers were often for those things that would benefit only you. You have accepted me, and asked for forgiveness. So to you I fulfill my promise and you are welcomed into my kingdom. However your placement as to how close to me you will be, is based on the number of treasurers that you have stored up during your time on earth. Your treasures are few, so your abode shall be far from me, near the outer edge of my kingdom. Your eyes will not gaze upon me forever. Jesus then spoke to Will O. Fiam . Jesus said Will your name is written in the book of life. I see all that you have done during your time on earth, and I see that your sins are many. Do you have anything that you would like to say before I pass judgment? Then Will fell to his knees with his face to the ground, and said. My dearest most high lord, have mercy on your servant, for I am a sinner. Jesus said to Will, I see that you donated to the church. And many times you did without those things that you wanted, so that you could donate more. Not only did you hear the message at church, you helped all that would listen, to understand its meaning. You were given good works to do through the church by me. And although you were often persecuted by the church elders, you were always persistent. When you were able, you helped the needy through church functions and often you helped the needy outside of the church. You have prayed to my father often. Mostly when you were alone, your prayers were often for those things that would benefit others. You have accepted me as your savior, and asked for forgiveness. So to you I fulfill my promise and you are welcomed into my kingdom. However your placement as to how close to me you will be, is based on the number of treasurers that you stored up during your time on earth. Your treasures are also great, so your abode shall be near to me. Not with in my inner circle, but near enough so that your eyes shall gaze upon me forever. Although this is a fictional story, there are two facts that will always be true.
1) Everything on the earth that is living will one day die.
2) Forgiveness for your sins does not exclude you from judgment.
What would it have been like, to walk the world with Jesus.
To hear what Jesus said, and to see him raise the dead.
To have been there on the mountain, when he feed the multitude.
Would I have stood beside him, when Jesus was accused.
What would it have been like, to walk the world with Jesus.
Would I have seen it as a sign, when he turned the water in to wine.
To see him cure the lepers, and to make the blind to see.
Would he have cast out evil spirits, right in front of me.
What would it have been like, to walk the world with Jesus.
Would I have believed that he would rise, as I watched him as he died.
Would I have lost my faith in Jesus, when he was nailed to that tree.
And would the risen Lord have come unto me, just so I’d believe.
What would it have been like, to walk the world with Jesus.
All that I can say, is that I’ll know for sure someday.
I know that Jesus is my savior, and that he always spoke the truth.
He gave his life for world salvation, he gave his life for me and you.
What would it have been like, to walk the world with Jesus.
God’s Plan – God’s Will – Free will
What is God’s Plan ? No earthly soul, will ever know all the details of God’s plan for the future of the earth, or that of the human race in itself. The Holy Word of God tells us of the things to come. But not even the sum of all biblical scholars, from the creation of Adam until now, are able to provide details of the future events, except those that are revealed to us all through God’s Holy Word. I do not claim to have any more knowledge of God’s Plan, than any other earthly soul. I instead offer my personal perspective, as to what is meant by God’s Plan and also as to what is meant by the Will of God, and what is meant by free will. Although all three have different meanings, all three work together. What is God’s Plan?. The best way to explain What is meant by God’s Plan, is to compare it to the writing of a book. Any author, before they start writing will create an outline of what they intend to write about, from the beginning to the end, in their mind they know exactly what is going to take place throughout the whole story. Before the existence of creation, the complete story of all existence from beginning to end was authored by God. Every detail of all that has existed or will exist is already known to God. Everything that you have done, or said, or even thought, happened with the pre-knowledge of God. Most people find difficulty accepting the idea that everything that happens both good, and bad, was because God planed it to happen, way back before time began. If you win the lottery, it is because God planed it. If you get a paper cut it is because God planed it. The statement “ God is all knowing” is true because, like the writer of a book, he wrote the story. It is God’s Plan.
Now let us add free will into the story. This often confuses people. You are free to make choices concerning all aspects of your life. But God knows what choices that you will make before you make them. This does not mean that God is the one making decisions for you. Every living person on the earth, both young and old, is given the freedom, by God, to choose their own path to follow throughout their entire lives. God knows, what is in the hearts and minds, of every soul that has, and will ever exist. Therefore, God, knowing every detail of all future events, already knows what decisions you will make. Don’t blame God because you made a bad decision, because you alone are responsible, for every decision that you make.
The Will of God, or God’s Will. There is no clear way to explain God’s Will. As I mentioned earlier, God’s Plan, free will, and God’s will, all work together. Anyone who has even a little knowledge of the Bible, can see that God at times, imposes his will in order to complete his plan. There are many things that happen, that we all know, are the Will of God. Since no living person can know all of the details of God’s Plan, except those that are revealed to us through scripture, we cannot explain the reason that God does, the things he does. When a loved one dies, we all feel saddened by the loss of that person, because they are no longer with us on the earth. Often I hear such statements as, “Why did God do this “ or “ If there was a God my child would still be alive “ . The only answer I can give, is to trust in God. For those who keep the faith, all will be revealed in time. Though you may have to wait until you leave this world to get the answers that you seek. I will give one more example of God’s Will imposed. Although there are many, and most people just refuse to accept that it is God’s Will. World leaders are put in or removed from power as God sees fit. The Bible reveals to us again, and again many times, that God does this for reasons that we may never know, but if you claim to be a Christian, you should trust in God’s decisions without the need to know why. God’s Will can also be voluntary. Love thy neighbor, feed the hungry, forgive those who do harm to you, are just some examples of voluntary God’s will. Once again, I refer you to the Bible, where these, and many other things are commanded of us by God. Because of free will you are given the choice to obey or to rebel against the voluntary commandments of God. God wants everyone, both believers and non-believers, to be a reflection of his image. We must accept God’s will without question. We must exercise our free will and follow his commandments. And we must trust that God has a plan, that is for our benefit, because God loves us all.
While listening to “Thru The Bible”, Dr. Vernon Mcgee once used the term Cosmetic Christian. The Webster’s Dictionary defines the word cosmetic as: “Any external application intended to beautify and improve the complexion.”
Which basically means to put on a covering, in order to deceive others as to what the true condition of a person actually is. For our purposes, we will be speaking of the condition of one’s soul. Apostasy, gossip, hate, greed, self-will, pride, these are just a few of the antichristian events that are most prominently seen in our churches. Though this occurs worldwide, I put my focus on the church. Any Christian Church is a gathering of people that are professing to be Christians. The Webster’s Dictionary defines the word Christian as:, “ one who professes belief in the TEACHINGS of Jesus Christ” . Most church members, if asked what makes them a Christian. Will reply with “, I believe that Jesus is the son of God, and that he died for the sins of the world”. Some may include the very important, but often omitted phrase “, and was resurrected “. Few if any, will include, that they abide in his teachings. Being saved and being a Christian are Two different things. You are saved by God’s Grace when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You are a Christian by learning and obeying the teachings of Jesus. 1 John 3: 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. John 13: 34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Due to every human having a sin nature, there is not even one of us that is able to fully abide in the teachings of Jesus. There are however things that can be brought into the light to every Christian, that will help to bring unity to a congregation. First of all, the gossip has to stop. There can be no unity in a church, where gossip runs ramped. James 4:11-12 “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” If you have an issue with someone in the congregation, talk to that person about the issue. If that does not resolve the problem, go to your pastor. The pastor will decide what action if any needs to be taken. Keep in mind that the problem may lie within you, and you may be the one that must make changes to resolve the issue. If you wish harm upon another you are NOT following the teachings of Jesus. 1 John 4:20-21 “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”. Members of your congregation, murders, child killers, rapist, terrorist, are all God’s creations. God wants us all to go to heaven. As long as a person’s heart beats, no matter what they have done, they are by the Grace of God, given the opportunity to be saved if they so choose. If you call yourself a Christian but make a statement that you wish someone would die, or the most famous statement, I hope they burn in hell. Then you openly deny the teachings of Jesus, and you are a Cosmetic Christian. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, he asked God to forgive the vary people that put him there. Your salvation is guaranteed, but rewards must be earned. Matthew 6: 19-21 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. When your time comes to sit on the Bema Seat of Christ, you will be held accountable for what you did, or did not do with your time on earth. The way to store up treasures in heaven, is to humble yourself, and to obey the teachings of Jesus. Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. This verse speaks of people that occasionally do for others, but want everyone to know what they did, when they do. These are the same Cosmetic Christians that often have the resources to help others, but are too greedy to give their time, or money just because Jesus says that it is right to do so. Luke 21: 1-4And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all.4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. Here is one of the best examples of a Cosmetic Christian I have ever heard. “Church service should not last more than one hour, because we have other things to do”. If you feel that 1 hour a week out of 168 hours, 52 hours a year out of 8736 hours, is all that you can spare to worship God, who is the reason that you have, all that you do. This is the God that sent his son to the cross, so that you, would have the opportunity to live forever, for free in his house. And all that he ask in return, is for you to love one another, and obey his words, given to you thru his son Jesus, who is the Christ. Then you are a Cosmetic Christian. Matthew 7:24 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. If the only time you open your bible is at Sunday Church Service. Then you are a Cosmetic Christian. Deuteronomy 17: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them. I am sure that many who read this, will think that they are guiltless. But I say that we are all guilty of being Cosmetic Christians, for at times we are all guilty of turning a blind eye to God’s will. Since I study the Bible every day, I am more guilty than most of you. John 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
What is Truth ?
Galatians 1 “6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed”. So that I may never be accused, I make this statement. With the exception of the King James Bible quotes, anything that I write, is based on my own thoughts, and opinions, and should in no way be considered the word of God.
1 John 2:15 “ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. “ Every person living on the earth today, at least in some ways, are of the world. Of the world means to reference our thoughts, and activities, based on, and limited to, what we as humans know, or assume to be correct. For anyone living today, to claim that as a human, by following the commandments of God, that they are not of the world, is a person, who’s pride has already condemned them as one of the greatest sinners. Since the beginning of time, there has only been one person born of a woman, that was not of the world, and his name was Jesus The Christ. However, thru the mercy of Jesus, and by understanding and submitting ourselves to his authority, and teachings. Thru him and him only, can we be called not of the world, for by ourselves alone, we are nothing. I would like to address some truths that must be considered if you want to be called in the world, but not of the world. The first is in Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul “. God is the reason for everything that you are or have. Every thought you have, every move that you make, every heartbeat, and every breath that you take, only exist because God has given it to you. Above all else, you must understand that your entire existence. All of your being, is because God wanted you to be. Unless you acknowledge that God is the reason for your life, and wants you to live forever when your human existence ends, then you are nothing more than a walking, talking, mound of dust waiting to return to the earth from which you came.
The teachings of Jesus are often misunderstood, or even twisted in to what some people want to be true, even though they are not. Let us start with what Jesus called the greatest commandments. “Love God with all of your heart, all of your mind, and all of your soul “. This statement is very difficult to understand for many people. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus often spoke of putting God above all else. Matthew 10:37 ‘He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. Being a husband and a father, this passage was extremely hard to comprehend. It was not until I was able to grasp the true purposes of man’s existence, that I was able to understand the meaning of the above passage. The purpose of man is to glorify God. God does not need us. Nothing that we do on earth will ever cause God to be more sovereign or magnificent than he has always been, and will always be. In order to be able to have a better understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven, you must first learn to put aside your human pride and conceit. We are all taught that when we get to heaven, we will see our family and friends that have gone before us. I believe that to be true, but I also believe, that when we are in heaven, our true purpose, which is to worship, and glorify God, will entirely consume every thought that we have. Even though we may be aware that our friends, and family are there, our thoughts will not be of them, but rather on the glorification of God. What I am talking about here is the Kingdom of Heaven, not the millennial kingdom. These are two entirely different places, and should not be integrated. During the millennial kingdom we will marry, and have children, and live human lives, much as we do now.
The second great commandment “love your neighbor as yourself”, revolves around how you treat the rest of the human race. Every other human in the world is your neighbor. The sacrifice that Jesus made, was not for a select few people. His sacrifice was for everyone on the earth, past, present, and future. Matthew 5:44 “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”. The ultimate goal for every Christian should to be as much like Jesus as they are possibly able. Everyone is offended by someone, or to word it a different way, everyone has a negative opinion about either someone, or about what someone does. Although the list may be potentially endless, I will list a few persons, or actions, that could be considered offensive. A person’s race, a person’s gender, a person’s religious convictions, transgender, homosexual, people whom do not understand the language that you speak, Muslim radicals, Christian radicals, warlords, thieves, murders, rapist, child abusers, animal abusers, liars, devil worshipers, people whom have jobs that you don’t agree with, and Hippocrates. With respect to this short list, I am sure that everyone reading this is offended by at least one of the things that I have listed. The bible does not say that you should approve of anyone, or anything that you may consider offensive to God. The bible does say, not to associate with certain people whose actions may be offensive to God. So, this being said, what does love thy neighbor really mean? It means that no matter who a person is, or what they do, as Christians you should pray for them, that they may repent, and turn to God, in hope that their eternal soul might be saved from eternal condemnation. To be not of the world is to be more like Jesus. If you are to be more like Jesus, one of your constant desires, should be that every living soul, before they die, would repent, and accept the greatest gift that God ever gave, which is the eternal salvation of their soul. I must add this section for those whom will say that Jesus condemned the religious leaders of his time. John 9:41 Jesus said unto them, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth”. Jesus did say that the religious leaders would be condemned for their inequities, not for what they were doing, but for their refusal to believe the truth, and to repent. I can think of no way to emphasize this enough. The sins that you commit will never condemn you. Your refusal to confess your sins to God, and ask for forgiveness, is the only thing that can ever condemn you.
To quote Paul I am the chiefest of sinners. Each and every day I am guilty of anger, judgement of others, gossip, lust, road rage, and many more sins. I recognize that I commit sins, and I confess them to God as they happen, and ask to be forgiven. That is how I can claim to be not of this world. There has only been one person that was truly not of this world, and that is Jesus The Christ. I will never be Jesus, but I can live my life, constantly studying his word, and with his guidance, endeavor to be as close to him as is humanly possible.
Everything that occurs is because God has either allowed it to happen, or God made it happen. God does things for a purpose. God may do something to teach you, or God may do something to teach someone else. God does good things and God does things that we may call bad. God may do something to you, to teach something to you, or God may do something to you to teach someone else something. That of course works the other way too. God may do something to someone else to teach something to you. Now the question becomes, are you able to recognize what is being taught, and who it is being taught to. The only way that you will ever be able to understand why anything happens, is to recognize that God controls everything. There is no such thing as chance. God has absolute control over everyone, everything, every thought, every action, and every reaction, and you have the free will, to acknowledge that everything that happens is the plan that God has put into action, or you have the free will to believe, that God is not really in control. Let me provide an example. If I die, my family and friends feeling the loss, my say why did he have to die. That is because they are not able to see what God’s plan may be. I am an organ donor. Let us say that my death saves the lives of four other people, one of those four people, years later, may end up being the person that finds a cure for cancer. That cure for cancer saves the lives of millions of people. My family and friends may never know, that because of my death, millions of lives were saved, but God knew what the result would be. Or It may have just been my time to die. The point is that whatever the reason, it was God’s plan that it happened, and as a Christian, that thought, should be what you believe when you think that something bad has happened. Trust in God’ plan, because whether you are ever able to see why, or not. You should always trust that God had a purpose. Be in the world, not of the world.
Colossians 3 ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering. 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye”. These scriptures are the guide that we should all strive to live by. To be of the world, but not in the world, you must control your personal worldly thoughts. Everyone has at least one person that they don’t like, and the result most of the time is, that you express your opinions to others, or gossip. I want all of you to consider, what it is about this person, that you don’t like. Now there three questions that you should ask yourself, are the things that you don’t like, your personal worldly opinions, or are the things that you don’t like, because they are offensive to God. In either case, based on what the bible says, that as a Christian, you should forgive, and put aside your worldly opinions, and if you are able to do that, you would never gossip. Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh”. The next time that someone is spreading gossip, thing hard on what fills your heart before you speak.
Do not hinder those that are trying to do good things. Romans 14 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way”. If a person from your church comes to you with an idea to do a good work, you should as a group, discuss whether it can be accomplished. Often, the first response that I hear is, who is going to pay for it. I say, that the proper response should be, are we able to solicit the funds to make it happen. I for sure know that not every idea can be accomplished, but I believe that every effort should be made to do so, for any idea that would help others, instead of just saying we cannot afford it, and dropping the subject. When I stand before God, I want him to know, that I made every effort, without regard to the physical, or monetary cost, to do every good work that I could do, and as Christians, every one of you should have the same frame of thought.
The gift of salvation is freely offered to us all, for our believing on Jesus The Christ, and by our obedience, to what he taught us. Matthew 7: 24-27 “24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock, 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand, 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it”. The apostle Paul stressed that salvation is thru faith alone, and that is true. Not a single soul will ever be saved by doing good works. What most people do not understand is that, if you are truly saved, the good works that Jesus taught us to do, will be a continuous side effect of being truly saved. Just saying that you believe in Jesus, will not make you saved. 1 John 2 “3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected, hereby know we, that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked”. Reverend Vernon J. McGee once said, that the day after the rapture, that there will be many churches holding services, where not a single member is missing. For those who truly believe, your actions, and how you think about, and treat others, will show how great your faith really is. Luke 13 “23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Matthew 7 “14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”. My friends you must understand. Just because you attend church, and throw a few dollars in the collection plate, or even help with the occasional church fund raiser, that does not mean that you will ever see the kingdom of heaven. James 2 “4 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” Christianity is not a belief, it is a way of life. Every minute of every day, your thoughts should be consumed, with the urge to help everyone that you are able, according to the resources that are available to you. You must always have good thoughts toward others, and pray for those who are lost, and for those who do evil, that they may repent, and turn to God, so that their eternal soul should be saved.
Pick and choose Christians. Most of the time these are the people that want to be acknowledged for what they do. I am sure your church has several of these type Christians, if you choose to see them. They stand around, and in general conversation, seem to mention things like, how much they give each week in the offering plate, or that they gave a dollar to the homeless man on the corner, or how much food that they donated for the baskets that the church gives to the needy, and let us not forget that they spent two or three whole hours on Saturday, helping to box up the food for the needy. Matthew 6 “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly”. Without a doubt some people will see the things that you do for others, but you should humble yourself before the Lord. Look not for glory among your peers, whatever you do should be because of your love of Jesus, and your desire to be more like him. I don’t want to deceive anyone, so you should know that there many church members that only believe what they can see. When you start being secretive as to how much you give, there will be some people that will gossip about you. Do not engage in a discussion to defend yourself, instead be more like Christ. Tell them a bible truth, not many people who call themselves a Christian can argue with that. Tell them, that the bible teaches us that we should be humble before the lord. Then ask them, why is it then, that you seem to spend so much time, ensuring that everyone in the congregation, knowns every time that you give to the church, and don’t wait for a reply, just walk away. If they are a Christian, then the Holy Spirit dwells with in them, and the Holy Spirit will convict them for their actions. Another type of pick and choose Christians, are those who learn a few popular bible verses, so that they can seem to have a knowledge of the scriptures. Most of the time, these type of Christians, have no knowledge of what the verses really mean, or their context. Books of the bible have been around for thousands of years, in one form or another. Although none of its authors are alive today, to question what the true meaning of any verse really means. Thousands upon thousands of historians, and theologians, have spent life time’s studying the scriptures. Based on the collective findings of these scholars, we are able to have a fair conclusion, as to the true meanings of every bible verse. A pick and choose Christian would rather give the appearance of biblical knowledge, than to take the time to actually study the bible, and learn the truth. If you believe that a verse has been misrepresented, and you wish to set it right, you had better be sure that you have the correct information yourself. Anyone that has a fair knowledge, and understanding of the bible, will be careful to word their reply, so that no one should be embarrassed, or be made to feel that they learn nothing by attending church services. Do not be a stumbling block to anyone’s path to God. My reply to this situation usually begins with, “let me offer to you, a different interpretation of that verse”. They may disagree with you, but most of the time, they will not be offended. And do not let it become an argument over who is right, and who is wrong. Simply say that they may be right, and that you were just offering your opinion, and that does not mean that your opinion is right. Always keep in mind what the ultimate goal of a Christian is. To be more like Christ. Jesus did not argue with anyone. Jesus quoted scripture, and stated facts. You have the free will to choose to believe whatever you so choose. Matthew 22:14 “14 For many are called, but few are chosen”.
God’s Plan, Free Will, and Predestination. This is often misunderstood, and is often difficult to explain in such a way that most people are able to comprehend the differences. What is God’s plan? Before the beginning of creation, you were a part of God’s plan. God knows everything, past, present, and future. Every thought that you have, or will have. Everything that you have done, or will do. Everything that has happened to you, or will happen to you, good and bad. And every decision that you have made, or will make, have all been known to God, long before you ever came in to existence. Don’t let yourself be confused by that. Free will allows you to make every decision, regarding all that happens to you, thru out your whole life. Just because God knows in advance what you will do, does not mean, that the decision is not yours to make. Let me provide a good example. You have a pot of boiling water on the stove. You know in advance, that you are not going to put your hand in that boiling water. Just because you know what you are going to do, does not mean that you are not free, to put your hand in that boiling water, if you choose to do so. Predestination is where you have no choice at all. The best example is death. Everything on the earth that is living will someday die. You may say that you don’t want to die, but it is predestined that it will happen. God knows already, the exact time, place, and manor of your death. Everything in god’s plan has a purpose including your death.
Prayer and worship. Worship is whatever you do to glorify God. Worship does not mean going to church for an hour once a week. If you are truly a Christian, then you have given your life to God. Every minute of your life should be spent worshiping God. When you are at home or at work, your thoughts should still involve God. Every action, and decision of every minute, you should be thinking, would God approve of this. You, as a Christian, should have a relationship with God, as that of a bond slave. A bond slave was a person who was paid to be a slave. Even though they were a free person, they were provided for, and were treated well, and they received payment for their service. Which means that you should treat God as your master, not because you must, but because you want to. God will provide for your needs and your payment will be everlasting life in his kingdom. If you have a constant desire to do things that are pleasing to God, then those around you will see it, and know that you are a Christian. Saying that you are a Christian means nothing to God. Showing that you are a Christian, thru your life style, glorifies God, and that is worship. Prayer is the only way to communicate with God. You must communicate with God, in order that you can have a personal relationship with God. Thru learning, and understanding, the word of God, and thru prayer, you will form a personal relationship with God, and you will come to know God, and God will know you. Mathew 25: “31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 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. 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in. 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 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. 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink. 43 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. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Even though God knows all things, it is your prayer life, and your obedience to his word, that glorify God. Your prayers should be between you and God. You can pray in a crowded room and nobody around you would even know. Don’t just pray when you need something, treat God as if he is your best friend. Tell him what is happening in your life. And when you sin, tell him about it, and ask for his forgiveness, and pray that he would help you to be stronger, and thank him for all that he does for you.
Patience and persecution. God does not live in a lamp, to be rubbed when you are in need to grant your every wish. God works on his schedule not yours. Some prayers are answered right away, and some may take years to be answered. Some prayers may be answered in such a way, that you don’t even realize that it is being done. God will most of the time, use those people, and resources, that are already existing to answer your prayers. Here is an example, you may ask for good health, but you may have to endure several years of medical treatments, before you are in good health. Some prayers will never be answered. Not everyone can win the lottery, nobody lives forever, and the Beatles will never get back together. God will provide for the needs of his children, in his own time, and in a manner that completes whatever his plan for you is. Do not focus on material things, for your human life is short. Instead focus on your eternal life, for that will last forever. Persecution is part of being a Christian. Although there will be strangers that will persecute you, the most persecution will come from those are closest to you. Your family, and your friends, who are nonbelievers will hurt you the most, because they tell you that they love you, but won’t support you. There will plenty of people who call themselves Christians, that will judge you, and say things that will hurt you. This is because they have refused to learn, understand, and obey the word of God. In John 15 Jesus said, 18 If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also”. All of this you must endure. You can freely offer the truth, but you are not able to force people to believe it. Do not let persecution from anyone, detour you from your path to everlasting life. Every soul will one day have to stand before God, and be held in judgement, and at that time God will punish those who are guilty of persecuting you, and reward those who have kept his commandments. Keep the commandments of Jesus. Do not hate those that persecute you. Mathew 5: “43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. 44 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. 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven”.
Sinners. We are all sinners. Except for Jesus who is the Christ, everyone born of a woman, is born with a sin nature. Don’t think for even a minute, that God does not love you because you are a sinner. Every great bible character was a sinner. Adam openly disobeyed God. Noah was a drunkard. Abraham, and Sara did not trust in God. Jacob was a liar, and a con man. Joseph questioned God’s plan for him. Moses often argued with God. King Sol disobeyed God. David was an adulterer, and a murderer. Solomon worshiped idols. Jonah refused God’s command. Paul persecuted Jews. Peter denied even knowing Jesus. These are just a few examples. Even though you are a sinner, each one of us are part of God’s plan. And God will use you to glorify his name. You just have to pay attention, and see the task that God has given to you. God’s task for you may be to preach to the multitudes, and lead thousands of souls to Jesus. God’s task for you may simply be to live your life as a Christian, so that you may be an example to others. Mathew 25: “14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed. 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. God does not expect for all of us to do many great deeds. God expects each one of us to use the specific abilities that he has given to us, to accomplish those things that we are intended to do. If you see an opportunity to do a good deed in God’s name, then do it. And you will be called a good, and faithful servant. If you choose to ignore those opportunities, and do nothing, then you have little value as a servant of God. It is good to give what you are able, but don’t let your giving exceed your abilities. Which basically means, don’t use your rent money to help the needy, because then you will become the needy. But if you have enough money to go to the bar two or three times a week, then you have enough money to help someone that is just trying to survive.
There are so many subjects to cover, that it seems I could go on forever. But for now, I will leave you with this statement. It is True, that with God, all things are possible. But that does not mean that God will give you everything that you could possibly want.
Bond Slave to Jesus The Christ
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