Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Love Must Be Our Motivation

I was guilty of something recently and I wasn't even aware of it. In one of my previous posts titled, "Is There Proof That God Is Real? It doesn't matter...", I forgot the number one reason why I started a blog to share what the Lord has shown me. It is my love for others and the hope that somehow they can be blessed by what I have learned.

How was I guilty? I got too caught up in the analytical side of the message I was giving. Instead of focusing more on my own experience to inspire others, I chose to put too much focus on how I felt others were wrong. I was more concerned about the facts and being right than having compassion for those I was criticizing.

How did I learn of my mistake? From a friend of mine who is an atheist. I was humbled and reminded that we all can learn from each other, no matter what our belief system is. For that I am grateful.

I like to fancy myself as somebody who is wise in spiritual matters. But none of that matters unless I have love for others and remain humble. I could be the wisest person on this planet; but that wisdom would be useless if I allowed the fire of God's love in my heart to flicker and die.

I love the wisdom of God. It can enlighten a person's soul and unlock the mysteries of everyday life. It can bring confidence to a person who lacks judgment and strength to someone who is weak. But love is the key that opens a person's heart to receive that wisdom. Unless we first show the love of Christ, the hearts of men and women will remain closed to the knowledge of God.

It is not impressive words that changes a person's life. Rather, it is the heartfelt honesty and passion in our testimony of Christ that transforms people. It is the beauty of God's love that tears down our defenses and melts our hearts, not the endless debating of God's laws or existence.

From this day forward, may I never again forget this truth. If you are reading this, please pray for me. I know the Lord has called me to share his love but it comes with great responsibility. I don't ever want to make the same mistake again. Thank you and God bless.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13)


Monday, March 20, 2017

God Does Not Want Slaves

God is love. He did not create us to dominate our every thought or action. He is a loving Father who wanted children to share his blessings with. But there is a higher power who looks to enslave us; who uses people for his own evil purpose, then discards them like trash: His name is Satan.

With that in mind, I'd like to share this scripture passage:

"The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.  He sighed deeply and said, '
Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.'” (Mark 8:11-12)

You know, Jesus could have brought fire down from heaven right at that moment. He could have shaken heaven and earth to prove He was the Son of God. What would the Pharisees have done? They would have bowed down in fear for their lives.

But here is the catch. God is not interested in scaring us into submission. He wants us to love Him for who He is, of our own free will. Jesus didn't need to bring fire down from heaven to attract God's true children. When His children see the love of God in Jesus, this is enough for them to believe. That's because we believe from a desire to know the pure and faithful love that can only be found in Christ.

Those who see the true love of Jesus and do not believe are rejecting who He is. They reject his message because it means they would have to admit their guilt and turn away from the sin they love more than God. I know because this was why I rejected the truth found in Jesus.

There will come a time when the Pharisees of today's world will get their wish. A higher power will one day arrive on earth and show miraculous signs and wonders. A False Prophet will come and deceive those who are blinded by the sin of this world:

"Then I saw a second beast (False Prophet), coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.  It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast (anti-Christ), whose fatal wound had been healed.  And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth." (Revelation 13:11-14)

The devil (through the anti-Christ and False Prophet) will one day force the world to worship him. During that time, everyone will either bow down as slaves or risk being killed.

When will that day come? No man knows exactly when. But when it does, will we be able to tell the difference between good and evil? Those who truly know Jesus know that He does not force us to do anything against our will. Anybody who would force us to be slaves for the sake of religious rules in the name of God is a liar.

(Scripture references: Mark 8:11-12, Revelation 13, Matthew 24:23-27)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Why Do We Need Physical "Proof" That God Is Real?

As a former atheist, I can relate to the arguments against the existence of God: "Who could be stupid enough to believe Noah built an ark that could hold two of every animal species?" Or, "How could any rational person believe Jesus walked on water and miraculously healed people?"

When the discussion is framed in that manner, it is easy to doubt and ridicule the Christian faith. However, these arguments are misleading and irrelevant. I will explain why.

First and foremost, can everyone agree that nobody REALLY knows what happened in our distant past? Some might say, "Science proves that God did not create man. It tells me that humans have evolved from apes and the creation of the universe was a random occurrence." Really? Have we become so arrogant as a human race to believe we can perfectly explain what happened thousands of years ago? We can't even guarantee a perfect weather forecast for a week from now...but we should regard a scientific theory about what happened millions of years ago as indisputable fact?

Maybe they are right...but maybe they aren't. You see, there is no way to prove exactly what happened thousands of years ago. I would not believe in evolution just because a scientist told me it was true, anymore than I would believe a Priest who tells me God is real, just because he said so. 

I believe God is real because I went straight to the source. If there was a real, invisible being who was watching me; someone so mighty and intelligent that he created the universe just by speaking it into existence, couldn't he prove himself to me if I asked him to? Seems reasonable to think he could, if he were real and my motives were sincere.

Setting that aside, let's tackle the real issue as to why many people do not believe in God. It is by choice. In the past, the reason I did not believe in God was to justify my lifestyle, since it conflicted with what I was taught about Christianity. I stopped believing because it conflicted with my emerging, sinful lifestyle. I loved pleasure more than doing what was right. For that reason, I hid from the truth and believed a lie to justify my actions.

Like I once did, many of us have also buried the truth so far inside our consciousness that we probably don't realize it anymore. It is our unwillingness to accept the truth and responsibility for our own actions that motivates us to believe lies. 

My journey to finding truth was about analyzing my inner thoughts and feelings in an attempt to learn who I was and why I did things. Once I was willing to be honest with myself and admit my heart was dishonest and selfish, this was the first step toward finding my proof for God's existence.

Learning about my sinful heart was only the first part of my self-education. The second part was I realized not only did I enjoy certain things that were bad, I could not consistently stop doing them. In essence I was a slave to certain urges in my life.

Perhaps you have come to this spiritual crossroads as I did many years ago. Once we reach this place, the question becomes, "What do we do about it?" It really boils down to how much we love the truth and what is good. Do we love it enough to face our fears, admit guilt and reach out to an invisible God for help? Or do we sweep this realization under the rug of our consciousness and pretend it doesn't exist?

All of us are divided by our different belief systems and cultures. But there is one thing that unifies us- All of us are imperfect and do things that are wrong. With or without God, none of us will ever achieve perfection.

Anybody who tries to live a truly honest life, free of hypocrisy and selfishness will find it to be impossible. If we are persistent, this journey will eventually lead us to God because in order to truly be good, we all need His help to change our hearts.

In regards to the existence of God, we should ask ourselves what type of "proof" we are looking for. Do we need God to come down and miraculously show himself to us in order to believe? Is it our physical eyes that need proof? Or should we be more concerned about what is inside our hearts?

Proof of God's existence can be found, but just as God is invisible, oftentimes He reveals Himself to our invisible spirit. Why do we insist on physical proof we can see, from a God who cannot be seen? If we really want to know if God is real, who cares if the evidence is physical or invisible? All that matters is the truth, no matter how we find it.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Exposing Our Invisible Enemy

Maybe you're like me. I struggle with procrastination. Sometimes it's difficult for me to focus on one thing. I have a hard time sticking to my original plan when bombarded by distractions.

For instance, I may have some work that needs to be done. But if it does not have to absolutely be done right now, I often give into the urge to put it off until later. This can result in disorganization and stress later on.

God has given me a tool to help overcome my propensity to procrastinate. When those thoughts or feelings begin to come, it is important that I expose them for what they really are.

So what are these thoughts exactly? They are spiritual attacks from Satan to cause problems in my life. If he can get me to avoid doing things in a timely manner, it can cause stress and have a negative effect on the quality of my work. This in turn can lead to further problems in my personal life. A person that is overcome by stress is more likely to neglect or lash out at their loved ones.

How do I know these thoughts are from the devil? God would never encourage me to procrastinate. He would never encourage a lifestyle that prioritizes unimportant things over important responsibilities . As the saying goes, "Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?"

Maybe you're like me. I am very competitive by nature. If the enemy can remain invisible, his temptations to slack off are more effective. But if, through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, I can identify those feelings of procrastination and laziness as demonic attacks, they become much easier to resist.

I do not like being pressured by anybody; nor will I accept being bullied by anyone. Once I recognize that I am being challenged by the enemy, my competitive juices start to boil. It becomes easier for me to find motivation and overcome temptation.

We mustn't allow sinful thoughts or temptations to define us. Because we have been redeemed by Jesus and are no longer slaves to sin, we can choose our own destiny. We can align our lifestyle to what God expects of us; a lifestyle that leads to joy, peace, strength, wealth, love, etc.

Let this be encouragement, not only for myself but to everyone reading, to stand up to the invisible bully that masquerades as our own thoughts. We have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and given his spirit; the same spirit that resisted every single temptation that Satan could hit him with.

Whatever your battles are, the source of victory is the same for all of us. That source is Jesus Christ. When our Lord lived on this earth, he was subjected to the same temptations you and I face now; yet he never sinned. Even in his weakest weakness on the cross, Jesus was still stronger than Satan.

With that in mind, let us draw upon the strength of Christ that lives inside us; to expose the invisible enemy that attacks us and send it back to hell where it came from, in Jesus' name!

(Scripture references: Ephesians 6:10-17, John 8:31-36)