He is Risen, Really?

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He is Risen, Really?

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6 (KJV)

These words “He is risen” have changed the course of history yet we miss or maybe don’t appreciate the present. We may get all caught up in the implications of these words. The miracle of resurrection is so amazing we are taken aback by the occurrence. So, do we miss the most essential reality of the event?  The most important fact of the event is that Christ is alive.

He was alive after the resurrection, and He has not died. He is alive today. We behave as if we serve a God of the past. We must come into this time, into today, and embrace the fact that God is alive. The Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are alive and active today. God has never suggested we deal with a God of the past.

The reason the church has lost ground in portions of the world is that we have preached a God of the past. The God of Abraham, Moses, and Jacob, a God of Peter Paul and James, a God of the Apostles. It is good to know where our faith comes from. What these people have to teach us is invaluable, but the truth is we need a God that is alive. We have failed to preach the God of Ruben, Jose, and Sam. We don’t preach the God of Sally, Jessica, Kim.  It is time for us to stop pointing our fingers at the TD Jakes, Brian Houston, Joel Osteen, Joyce Myers, as the go-to people of the gospel. They have been gifted by God to do what they do. But the gospel, the good news was not solely entrusted to them. As a matter of fact, they are not and never will be the front line of the advancement of the gospel. That responsibility is left to us, the Sally’s, Ruben’s Jose’s and Kim’s. The advancement of the gospels does not depend on the Ph.D.’s the seminary professors the degreed academics of our culture. It depends on our interaction with the living God.

Jesus is alive and to put it bluntly what has He done for you lately? You may correctly say Jesus is not your sugar daddy. He does not exist to give you, you’re the petty desires.  But he did say,  10 The thief cometh not but to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10: 10 Christ came to give us abundant life. To accomplish that He must be alive and active in your life.

What has he done for me lately, He has given me this revelation I am sharing with you.  Our God is alive and we His people must acknowledge and turn to Him if we want to see the Majesty of His will. There is nothing more important to this world at this time than a vibrantly living God. He can only be displayed when we His people testify to what He is doing today, now in our lives. The world needs a God that is alive active and loving, and He can only be seen in the lives of living breathing people. History is history, and as great as the history of the resurrection is, God wants us to share with the world a living God.  But that only comes through His people testifying to His work being done in our lives.

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God is Not Going to Roll Over and Play Dead

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God is Not Going to Roll Over and Play Dead

God is not going to roll over and play dead. Our society has all but declared war on Christendom. We have been slandered, threaten, shamed and forced into the four walls of our homes and churches. We have allowed the doctrine of separation of church and state to become the tool of suppression and oppression of our beliefs and our expression of them.  We have conceded our voice and position to those who thought it better for us to take a step back from society in the name of peace and tranquility. Because we were taught, it is better to live in peace with everyone. We were taught, convinced the quieting of our beliefs would make us more acceptable to society. We were convinced becoming non-confrontational would be in the best interest and image of Christianity. Is it because we may taken the verse that says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” Romans 12:18 to mean we are to suppress our beliefs? 

I want you to look at what Jesus had to say about peace. 

49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:49-53 Yes, we are to live in peace with everyone, if it is at all possible, but not at the cost of Christ. We are not to sacrifice Christ once again for the desire for peace. We are not to compromise the gospel for peace. We’re not to intellectually, rationalize, away the truth of the word of God for the approval and acceptance of humanity.  

Jesus himself said, 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. We have to come to grips with this. If you are a follower of Jesus you do not belong to this world you cannot live by the precepts of this society. You cannot abide by a doctrine that says you must be silent. You cannot abide by the doctrine of non-offensiveness for the purposes of peace. Please understand I am not advocating open resistance against a society of sin. I am saying if you are obedient to the word of God you will be offensive to those who oppose God.  If you are a follower of Jesus, you already are offensive. Just because you are numbered with the beloved, you are hated.  

God is not going to abide by the idea or doctrine of separation of church and state. He does not recognize or has He given the state the authority to silence Him. He does not acknowledge the sovereignty of any government to silence His word. We are the ones that must recognize His sovereignty about His word. We must go forward to the acknowledgment of His immutable word. Whether we like it or not God’s word will never be put under a bushel.  

God is not considering compromise, he is not acknowledging the intellectual rationalization of the secularist or theologian. All who corrupt the word of God regardless of where they come from are an offense to God.  We should not be concerned with offending humanity, we should be concerned with offending God.  

Through all the mistakes the purposeful distortion of the word of God and the open intentional assault on His people His plan is unaffected. His son will return there will be a judgment day, punishment will be meted out and justice will be upheld. Every anti-God sentiment, action, distortion and defiance will not change the plan. It will not inhibit the final destination of man. God is not going to say oh I made a mistake humanity is right I am wrong you can have it your way. He is not going to roll over and acquiesce to humanities morality or supremacy. 

35 Heaven and earth will pass awaybut my words will not pass away. Rev 21:35

God will not roll over, after the world and the heavens cease to exist God’s words will still prevail. 

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No Middle Ground

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No Middle Ground

14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15

 

So many of us live our lives in the middle ground. We want to be safe but not too safe. We want to be inconspicuous while being noticed. We want to be warm but a little cold. We want to be comfortable but always seeking comfort. We want to sin and be righteousness. We want to honor God and enjoy the pleasure of immorality. We want to define what is right and force God to accept it.

I as realist have always understood that we as a people live in this untenable and illogical lifestyle. Yet, I always hoped that we would come to our senses and return to God. I always believed that deep down inside everyone would come to the obvious truth of God. I recently realized I was wrong. Not everyone will choose God. Some having known God will knowingly reject Him. It is a concept the is unimaginable to me. I now understand people reject God not out of ignorance but out of choice, they believe they have a better way.

Joshua is asking a question that is as on time as any question being asked today. Whom will you serve? Will you serve the god of social justice, the god of female empowerment, the god of fiscal victory, the god of political right? Will you serve the god of nationalism, the god of science, the god of personal pleasure? The god of power? There are literally gods of all kinds asking us to serve them.

We are being inundated with so much information so fast we don’t have time to digest it.  Our lives are moving faster than ever, and we are being left behind. Only a few of us have the capacity to harness a small part of the information that is coming to us, and we turn those few into gods. Information is coming so fast we don’t have time to question it. We don’t have time to critically analyze it so we succumb to those that are gifted with charm or a strong will who can scream the loudest. The information the problems are coming so fast we can only run on a continual sprint to keep up. As a result, we have lost sight of God. He is but a blur just out of focus in our disintegrating society.

Though life is moving at a pace never before experienced the question Joshua is asking is still pertinent. Back in Joshua’s day and today the same situation exists there is no middle ground. God does not live in the middle ground. The middle ground we have created and have become comfortable with does not exist. God is asking you this day, today, choose this day who you will serve. This really is not a question it is a command of choice. God has only given you two choices. Choose Him an live or reject him and die. Please do not think you can negotiate with Him about your righteousness or your worthiness to be accepted that argument has been had and decided. It will not be revisited.

The middle ground does not exist it is not safe. It will lead to your destruction.  Choose this day who will serve; the choice is not optional.

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Destination

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Destination

14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:14 


One of the most famous inspiring verse in the entire Bible. Read in context this verse is about living through life’s adversity and challenges to achieve the ultimate goal of living eternally with Jesus. I am not going to address this aspect of this verses. I want to talk about “the heavenly prize.”   


I want to look at the goal, the heavenly prize. What is the heavenly prize? More than anything else it is a destination. It is not a mystical ideology or expression. It is not a metaphor for what our end result should look like. It is the end result. It is a real place it is a physical reality. It is something we will be able to touch, feel, smell and taste. Ok, so what? It is a place it has substance it has specific boundaries. It is something we can actually feel and interact with.  Again, so what? 


This verse is not just about the struggle it is more about the destination. Without the destination, we struggle in vain.  Without a clear result, why would you exert the effort? Our world right now is headed down an abyss of hopeless nothingness. Every move of society leads to where? No one is asking the question if we proceed on our present course what will it lead to.  Every path society is pursuing leads to an end of nothingness, and we are hopeless to stop it. The only path that offers hope is the path that leads to “the heavenly prize.”


I have to ask you do you have a destination for your life?  If not, why not? We are famous for hearing and saying you can do anything you want. But no you can’t. You can only do those things you define and have a destination. You have infinite choices, but you can only accomplish those things you can actually define. You are not going to become the leader in your industry or profession without somewhere along the line turning that dream into a destination.  

So you have a dream, so what? You’ve heard all of your life you must have a dream and you have one so what? Let me exclaim this as clearly as possible no one has ever accomplished a dream. You reach a destination. You do not accomplish a dream. I had a dream of becoming a professional baseball player, I never became one. Not because I didn’t have the tools, I did but because it was never a destination. It was a pie in the sky dream that had no, landing strip. It never moved from the dream stage to the destination stage. What would have happened had I made it a concrete destination?  


What makes the destination so important is that it defines the course. Your dreams do not define the course that is why you can never accomplish a dream.  The destination defines the course that turns the dream into reality.

“The heavenly prize” do you want it? You must make it a destination.  The destination will determine the course. Then the dream becomes a reality.

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A Good Steward

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A Good Steward

10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10

The sermons I’ve heard concerning stewardship have always involved the proper use of money.  It is almost as if that is the only thing that stewardship applies to, but look at context of this verse.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:7-11


In this context, a reference to money is not made. It says “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. We are to use the gifts God has furnished us with as good stewards that God may be glorified.  It says “as good stewards of God’s varied grace”. Gods varied grace, could this mean that the gifts we were given are varied?

You have to ask what gifts has God given me? What has God endowed you with and how are you a good steward of that gift? Are you a teacher, an administrator, a  leader,  How many varied gifts has God bestowed on you and are you being a good steward of what he has given you.

We invest a lot of time in our businesses in our professions in our passions but what about the gifts God has given you? What effort are you investing in your gifts?  The strange then about your gifts is that your good at them without very much effort. For instance, I have the gift of writing. I don’t possess good grammar or spelling skills, but yet it is almost effortless for me to sit and write. I’ve never had writer’s block I feel there are more subjects I can write about than I will ever have time to complete.  But the truth is I have never spent very much time honing that skill. Maybe it is because it is a gift and is easy for me that I have not invested the effort in becoming outstanding at it.  But that confession in itself exposes my lack of stewardship in that area of my life.  Here is the question, if I pay more attention, more time more effort into my writing what are the possible benefits to my life to my wife’s life to my children’s lives. What benefit would my writing it be to the lives of people I don’t know.

If you start to think about your gifts and you become good stewards of your gifts how much more alive would you be? The bible speaks of gifts with an “S” but if you are not a good steward of the obvious gifts Gods given you do you think God will give you another gift?

Stewardship is a wonderful thing not only in the financial realm but in every area of your life. A good steward of life will live an outstanding life. Because it will lead you to that place where you will be glorifying God with the fruits of your stewardship. And God will bestow on your life other gifts which will bring Him glory and you joy.

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Blessed is The Man

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Blessed is The Man

 

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalms 1:1

Proverbs 15:22 (ASV) Where there is no counsel, purposes are disappointed; But in the multitude of counselors they are established.

In Psalms one, one it says do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. In Proverbs, it says plan succeed with the input of counselors.  So which is it do we have counselors or do we go it alone?


The difference lies not in the use of counselors but in the use of Godly verses ungodly counsel. 

Psalms one is very simple don’t get advice from sinners. Whatever they have to say as good as it may be will not come with the favor of God it comes at best with the wisdom of man. And we know that the wisdom of man does not compare with the favor of God. 

Proverbs says, Where there is no counsel, purposes are disappointed. What he is saying is when you do it all on your own you are limiting yourself to what you can think. By yourself, you will lack the resources to accomplish that which you desire. There never has been anyone that has been able to accomplish anything without the help and counsel of others. If we think that we can do all on our own, we are fighting against the will and plan of God. 

But in the multitude of counselors, they are established. The purposes are established. Look at what is it saying if you accept, and seek out Godly counsel your plans will be established. The verse uses the word “multitude”  it means we are to use many counselors, but not at the same time. It means throughout our lives we must continually seek out wise counsel.  Why must it be continual because we need different counselors throughout our lives? Because as we change in the stages of life, we need people who have already been there to help us navigate that stage in life. And so also with our businesses, we need to constantly be looking out for people who can help us as well as people who we can help.  


Our primary desire when seeking out counsel should be a Godly source. We spend so much time in the secular world we sometimes end up “sitting in the seat of the scornful” without knowing it. We end up standing “in the way of sinners” before we realize where we are. We can get so caught up in the counsel of the wicked we begin to support and endorse their sin.  If we choose to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, we will eventually become the one giving ungodly counsel while thinking we are standing for God.  That is how evil has become good and good has become evil too many of us have decided to walk in the counsel of the wicked.  


To be true to ourselves and to reach the highest of our potential we need to find people who not only like us and support us. But we also need to find those people who will help us to reach the next level in life and business that God has established for us. God never intended for us to live in isolation. He never wanted us to work alone, we were made created for the community with a need to help and to be helped.  In our endeavors, we were created to walk hand in hand with our brothers and sisters. Sometimes together sometimes to give a hand up sometimes to take the hand up. 


We have the favor of God, but the favor of God is not something we can hoard it is something that must be shared. The favor of God flows through the child of God for the child of God and ultimately for the glory of God. Another of those inestimable values of God dispensed to those call by His name.

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In the Cool of the Day

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In the Cool of the Day

8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8


This is the most idyllic of verse in the entire Bible.  It creates for me a vision of walking along a cliff admiring the awesomeness of the open ocean with majestic mountains behind me and a comforting cooling breeze coming off the clear blue ocean water below.  That’s what I envision walking with God would be like. The beauty of both the ocean and the mountains.  You may envision it just like it is described in this verse but I prefer to envision it my way. Why? Because that is my understanding of what perfection would be. Walking with God at any time in any place would be the definition of perfection. 

The way it is written gives me the sense that this is not the first time they had walked with God. For me, it leaves me with the impression that they had done this various times before. Imagine walking with God. Talking to God as a man speaks to a man.  We all desire to be here; walking with God speaking with God spending time with God.  I know we have the Holy Spirit of God but to walk with God as Adam And Eve did. It is what we long for. 


It only happened before sin came into the world. This is the last instance in the entire Bible where man walks with God as we might walk with a friend. Though walking with God is only mentioned once it must have been Adams and Eve’s greatest regret losing that intimacy with their creator. Having known God face to face and then never seeing Him again what must that have been like?  


The entirety of the Bible is designed to take all of us back to that place where we can for the first time take a walk with God.  Its purpose is to restore us to a place of Holiness where we can walk with God in total Righteousness. As simplistic as it may sound God wants us all back in the garden. Back too a place where we can be with God cleaned of sin and restore to life in God. Getting back to the garden is such a simple thing to do.  

We but have to accept what God has already done for us. Accept the price He paid for us. Accepting the sacrifice of His son for our return to the garden to spend some one on one time with God.  I look forward to spending some time with my father. How about you? Do you long to spend some time with Him?

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Sent

Something to think about.

Sent

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.” 22 and when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:19-22


The key to these verses is “As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.” God sent Jesus to be the savior of the world He gave Jesus authority over all things. Jesus was sent to heal physically, spiritually and mentally.   He had the power to raise the dead He had the power to walk on water he could transport Himself at will.  He could teach, He could identify evil and deal with it. He was fearless,  He was all God. 


What it means for the believer to be sent is that we have been empowered in the same way Jesus was empowered. We have the same ability that Jesus did. We have been sent with the Holy Spirit to achieve all that God has set in our hearts to accomplish. We have unlimited power within in us. We have been told over and over again that Christ lives in us. Have we really tapped into the power of God within us? Do we really trust God with every facet of our lives? 

Are we willing to count on him for everything always? In your business are you turning over every area to Him? In your marriage have you trusted Him to lead your marriage to greater heights. Have we let go of the reins of control.  Have we opened up our lives to the possibilities of God? Do we look into the unknown future knowing that our all-knowing, omniscient God is waiting for us to unleash him in our lives?  


What did Jesus send us out with? He sent us out with His Holy Spirit to be with us every step of the way.  He sent us out into the world, but He did not send us out alone. He sent us with the power of God within. The same Spirit that hovered over the formless earth. The same spirit that took part in creation. The same Spirit that has spoken through the prophets. The Holy Spirit that is alive and vital in the lives of the believers.  

 

We have in us the power of the Spirit of God that is often untouched, underused, unnoticed. A power that is underutilized because we have been so attuned to the world that we turn to the Spirit of God as a last resort instead of a first choice.  We behave at times as if the secular world has something to offer. When it does not compare to the beautiful blessings of God. It is a mental shift we need to make. We need to see God as the owner of all things, we need to see God as the rich, good God that he is. We need to accept the reality that God wants to give you all of the blessings He has prepared for you.  And the only way to receive these blessings is to acknowledge Him in all the things we do. We must live a life of full expectation of God. In other words, we should believe and receive the blessings of God. We must be ready to accept what He has promised us with an expectation of His willingness and total capability of fulling his desired blessing for us.  

God is the God of abundance, not the miser God He never intended to give you just enough. He wants to give you all you can handle. But if you do not have a relationship an intimate relationship with Him how can He bless you. No stranger will continually bless you. If you are continually blessed by someone, that someone will quickly become a personal friend. 

God has sent you and me with the same power He sent Jesus. God has sent us to heal the sick mend the brokenhearted and to set the captives free. Only we the children of God have access to the Spirit of God, this the world has no idea, no access, no privilege, no favor. I implore you to remove everything in your life that is hindering the voice and spirit of God in your life and go out and change the world.

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The Power of a Mustard Seed

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The Power of a Mustard Seed

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:20 (KJV)

The size of a mustard seed. The sermons I have heard on this passage of scripture have always focused on our faith and the size of our faith. I would like to focus on the mustard seed.

A Mustard Seed

The mustard seed is small. I would like to bring a comparison between the mustard seed and the power it represents. Having read the bible, I do not remember another comparison of faith to a physical object.

Jesus said, “and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” He did not qualify that statement by saying or eluding to an increase of faith.  He was still referring to a ” faith as a grain of mustard seed.”  I am trying to illustrate the power of faith not the size of the mustard seed or the size of your faith. Jesus is saying if you have the smallest of faith you can do incredible things. The question, then is, do you have faith?

Look at the last part of Romans 12:3 Paul is speaking to Christians.

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3

Faith is not something that is acquired by action it is granted by God through grace.  In other words, if you are a child of God you possess the mustard seed. This is both exhilarating and daunting.  It is exhilarating, exciting and liberating to know that within me is faith to move mountains.  It is sobering to realize I have done so little with it.

You must understand faith is static it does not grow it does not increase it is not acquired. It can only be exercised.  By that I mean your faith does not increase, by applying your faith you begin to unleash its power.  The full potential of faith has always been in you the “ faith as a grain of mustard seed” was sufficient to “move mountains” sufficient to do the impossible. This Faith that was given to you was complete when you received it whether you know it or not. The exercise of faith does not bring you more faith it brings forth what has always existed within you.


The level of your faith has nothing to do with the power of the mustard seed. The power contained in the mustard seed is the power of God to change all things for His purposes through you. We have been given the right the authority and the responsibility to use the power of the mustard seed to fulfill His calling in our lives.

The mustard seed is not about faith it is about power. You already have faith will you exercise the power within your faith.

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What We Do Not See

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What We Do Not See

 

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

This verse is an apt description of how we see the kingdom of God. We read and study the Bible, we listen to the biblically educated and still there is no complete clear vision of the kingdom of God. We understand some of the basics precepts of the God kingdom.  But we were never given a clear description of what the kingdom of God is.

 

We are given directions for our lives, but we were never given every detail of our existence. We are created, but every aspect was not disclosed. The mechanism of life is not explained. We can make conclusions based on educated deductions, but there is no concrete explanation of how life came to be. Yes, we know God breathed life into us, but how that worked and works is a mystery.

 

It is amazing how we accept suppositions with the knowledge that we lack pertinent information. We make assumptions about God without knowing Him fully. Other than Jesus there is no one that knows God. We don’t know the rules of his existence if there are any. We cannot understand His limitless power because we can only thrive where power is defined. We can’t understand an ever existing being because we are finite. We can’t comprehend an ever-present God because we can only be in one place at a time. We can’t understand unconditional love because we express love conditionally. Our present reality confines and inhibits us from seeing the fullness of God.

 

In life, we are bound by our natural understanding. We make educated guesses about every area of life, but even the best theories lack the definitive conclusion of complete knowledge. In any discipline, the same stubborn reality exists. We don’t have all the answers. We may, in fact, have minuscule knowledge of our specialty. If we look historically at any discipline, this reality exists. In one hundred years our descendants will consider our vast wells of knowledge as ancient and misguided. We need to remember whatever our ancestors did was cutting edge in their time.

 

The one constant in life is our desire to be loved and love. God created us for this purpose to love and be loved. Throughout history, we have wanted more than anything else to be loved. Throughout all cultures, the desire to be loved has always been present. If you are loved, you are valued if you are not you are worthless. Love is at the root of all that is good the absence of love is at the root of all evil.

That is the central theme of the word of God. That is what makes it essential and viable at all times. It is the consistent call of the scriptures. God’s love is why we are here.  Love is the message of the word of God. It is the attraction the magnet that draws humanity to God. It is not complete knowledge. It is God’s love that drives humanity to Him. We all respond to God for our own selfish reasons, but we stay because of His love. Though we can only see the kingdom of God as through a dim mirror what comes across clearly is the love of God.  If you listen with your heart, you will hear, feel and know, God loves you.

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