The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘love’

They still say, “hate your enemy”. But I say to you…

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 19, 2014

The following post is much needed. I recently saw a “Christian minister”–someone who preaches “holiness” to others–calling for crusades. Here are his words: “Christians around the world are being slaughtered. Hopefully, this will be a wakeup call to the church, which has been largely neutralized by a pacifist mentality. Where have you gone Pope Urban II?” Then he posted the following pictures in support of his call for the church to “wake up” from its “pacifist mentality.”

Notice the American flag on the forehead of this Crusader? Do you really think Jesus is pleased by this?
religious 5 christian crusader

This is Joan of Arc, a woman who heard “voices” telling her to go to war.
religious 6 Joan of Arc

This depicts the siege of Acre 1291.
religious 7 crusades

When reminded of Jesus’ words in Scripture, and how Jesus and the apostles responded to violence, he answered with this:

“I expected that this post would bring the pacifists out of the woodwork. Wait a minute; they are the woodwork.”

In other words, those who refuse to kill others have no value to him. His words were meant as an insult to those who obey Christ’s teachings. He went on to say, “Many a faithful soldier has died on a (military) battlefield fighting for the cause of Christ.” No, sir, they have not. Those who fight for the cause of Christ do not war after the flesh. The Crusades were not led by the Spirit. They were and are no different than Islamic Jihad, and SHAME ON ANYONE WHO CALLS HIMSELF A SERVANT OF JESUS who is preaching this fear and violence! This so called “preacher of holiness” would do well to consider that there are two parts of this verse–

Pursue (1) peace with all people, and (2) holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. (Heb. 12:14)

Witnessing Encouragement

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” From Matt.5

Papal Crusades and Jihad are the same thing. They are the very same spirit of war and killing Dominionism.

I saw this quote today:
“They are killing our people in the name of Allah and telling people that anyone who kills a Christian will go straight to heaven: that is their message.”

Here is a link where this quote is stated: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/08/isis-persecution-iraqi-christians-genocide-asylum

In both the Crusades and Jihad…

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Self-pity Will Destroy You

Posted by israeliteindeed on March 8, 2014

This is not an easy word. I’d like to leave off the polemics and write smooth things sometimes, but there is too much at stake. If you are a self-centered, stuck-in-the-past professing Christian, this writing will feel more like a merciless death-blow to you than the warm hug of an understanding friend. I encourage you to read it anyway, since the freeing call of Jesus will always be, “Come and die with Me.” We might as well face it head-on.

I spent years in the prison of self-pity going round and round, wanting to be free, but unwilling to do the one thing that would secure my freedom: forget myself.

Nobody understood me, nobody felt the pain I felt, nobody had ever carried burdens like mine, nobody knew what it was like to be me. And after spending countless hours trying to make people feel as miserable as I felt, thinking that would somehow make me feel better, most refused to accept that burden. They would avoid me or humor me or (worst of all) tell me how great I was. This reinforced my love of self and my anger at everyone for not treating me and my pain as if we were supremely important.

Thankfulness? That was for people who had not suffered like I had. Scripture foretells the darkening of the heart that comes with unthankfulness (Rom. 1:21). If you want to develop futility in your thoughts, and embark on a never-ending downward spiral, just give in to unthankfulness.

Psychological humanism–which hasn’t truly helped anyone in the world–is infiltrating the Church. It offers self-centered people a million reasons why their misery isn’t their fault (their problems are generally blamed on someone in their past or on demons), tacking on a few token Scriptures to make it sound biblical. However the Savior–who knows the entire depth of depravity and sorrow this world is currently bearing–offers no warm and fuzzy justifications for self-pity.

He is never going to confirm your suspicion that you have suffered like no other. Instead, He will say to you, “Come and bear my yoke, and you will find rest.” Or “Come and die, and you will live.”

He is never going to allow you to be the center of your universe. He will demand to take your place at the center. If you refuse to give up that cherished position, He will refuse to free you from yourself, and you will remain a prisoner forever until your destructions have utterly ruined you. And they will. You won’t even leave behind a good name for yourself. You will be to everyone who knows you just another selfish person who never helped anyone else because you refused to see past your own private world, and this truth will make them heartsick.

Jesus will never tell you to affirm yourself. He will tell you to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him.

But Jesus, these people are already burdened. Their parents failed them, the schools failed them, their friends stabbed them in the back, their spouses weren’t there for them, they didn’t receive enough affection, their government was ungodly, their churches were full of hypocrites, and their kids don’t care. They don’t need another burden! Surely they don’t need a cross?!

And His answer is faithful and true because He is the faithful and true Witness–

Deny your SELF, take up your cross and follow Me.

Dear friend, I must tell you–you are miserable because you are selfish. You are angry at all these injustices because you consider yourself the most important being in the universe. I know that people hurt you. This world is filled with sinful people getting hurt and hurting others, blaming, refusing to take responsibility for their part, and thinking all would be well if only someone else changed.

But Jesus tells each soul that reaches for His help that death to self is the only answer. It doesn’t matter how righteous you think you behaved when everyone else was doing you wrong (we usually have skewed vision when judging such things), embracing the cross is the correct way out of your self-destruction. And it is self-destruction. If you are destroyed, you won’t be able to blame everyone else, because God offers the same way out to everyone without respect of persons.

If anyone deserves to walk in self-pity, it is God. He deserves the worship of every creature, yet they run from Him and worship the most worthless things in His stead. They sell themselves into slavery to harsh, unloving masters, and then they blame Him for their problems. We are not talking the betrayal of a handful of people against us–who have also been sinful, but a sweeping betrayal of the whole world against a perfect God.

His response to this day-after-day back-stabbing?

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

He thought through and put into action a plan to facilitate our freedom from bondage and reinstatement as His dear children. Then He sent messenger after messenger to show us He still wanted us, and to point out the way back. He shed His own blood to redeem us. He sent His Word to heal us. Have you noticed that He did not have a well-deserved pity-party? We would have all perished for sure if He was a selfish God.

And yet, although we have this precious example, and we can learn to love unselfishly because we were first loved unselfishly, most remain unchanged. The cross of Christ means to most professing Christians a nice idea, a ministry, a name for themselves, a way to cure their spouse or a means to increase their finances or earthly stability. Some go so far as to develop a scheme of doctrine they hold to, but that’s as far as they are willing to go. They don’t accept their guilt in view of a suffering God, and sorrow to repentance. They don’t want Him or His cross if it means they might have to suffer with Him. For such, a silver trinket worn around their neck is as much cross as they are willing to bear.

Why? Why is it some people stay stuck? They say they understand the gospel. They say they love Jesus. They say they want deliverance. But they are never delivered. They never emerge from the cocoon able to fly, but are perpetually struggling in the same old webbing year after year. When they see other believers overcoming, they become bitter and conclude that those believers must have had it easier.

I am convinced it is a matter of DYING. They refuse to die with Jesus. They refuse to turn their attention away from them SELVES and what they think they deserve. They refuse to obey the Living Word and take up their crosses (everyone has one) and follow Him. They refuse to forgive others. They refuse to stop being unthankful. Their thoughts become futile, and their foolish hearts are darkened, and they keep saying they want deliverance even as they reject it.

There is only one Way…that is Jesus…and He says you have to humble yourself, die to your self, and carry about with you an instrument of death for the rest of your earthly life. If you can really see the debt you owe God, forgiving others should naturally follow. If it hasn’t, plead with God for eye salve, beloved, lest your blindness destroy you.

Self-pity is sin. Don’t whitewash the truth. This is life or death. It desires to have you, but you must master it. And the only way to do so is through DEATH with Christ to all that you desire. You wound up in that pit of despair through your own lusts that you allowed to lead you (James 1:13-15) . The only way out is humble repentance and acknowledging YOUR wrongdoing, followed by crucifying YOUR flesh so that YOU can live from now on as a servant of God (even if others don’t). The sinful, self-pitying you is not a beautiful wounded thing, worthy to be held up as a trophy of longsuffering for all to admire. The sinful you is wretched and is causing untold harm to everyone around you. It must be crucified and put away from you as an abhorrent thing that you refuse to make provision for or justify. When it tries to resurrect, you promptly cast down imaginations and bring every thought into obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), choosing to be thankful in all circumstances.

It is only after death of self that new life can spring forth. This is the glorious power of the resurrection. This is the practical power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ when taken into good soil and mixed with faith. A self-centered person can voluntarily get on the cross and refuse to live that way any more, descend in total poverty and humility of spirit into a dark grave, and rise again Christ-and-others centered. Self-pity can turn to joy that abounds regardless of an imperfect past, present, or future. This unfathomable miracle is 100% possible through Christ! If your experience with Christ has not been like this, maybe you have not met Him on the cross. Maybe you have been hanging around the cross, but haven’t truly denied yourself and placed its agonizing cross-beams across your own shoulders. Maybe the self-emptying life Jesus led has just been a nice story, but you haven’t determined to follow Him or die trying.

The way up is down. But this way is not easy. It’s easier to point out what others have done than it is to acknowledge what you have been doing. It’s easier to blame than to examine oneself. It’s easier to care about yourself than it is to care about others. It’s easier to find people who will justify your sin than it is to keep doing what is right when no one seems to notice. The cross is hard and it can feel like a nightmare that just isn’t fair sometimes. But fairness would have landed all of us in hell without any chance of redemption. We needed mercy (not fairness), and God in His mercy has provided…THE CROSS.

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Feeding on Foolishness

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 18, 2011

The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. Prov. 15:14

It causes me great sorrow to see many young people, who claim to love God, feeding on foolishness. They watch movies that “aren’t so bad.” They listen to music that isn’t openly opposed to Christ; it just doesn’t lead the heart’s affections in His direction. They follow the exploits of athletes as if it all means something, memorizing stats instead of the Scriptures which are able to make men wise unto salvation. They play video games, sometimes vicariously living through fake people while their spiritual house falls into disrepair. Oh, the daring exploits they accomplish in their video games–while in reality, they do nothing at all for either Christ or neighbor!

We are what we eat. All of this feeding on foolishness makes one a fool, and gives one the mouth of a fool that can help no one.  But you have not so learned Christ!

Is there even one account of Jesus behaving in a flippant, self-entertaining way in any of the gospels? Never. He was always working, just as His Father was always working (John 5:17). Jesus was ministry-minded, not entertainment minded.  He knew and purposely kept before His face the reason He came–to set captives free. What does this mean to you–My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me?

I charge you, dear reader, to steward your time here on earth as one who will give an account.  The question is not, “Can I get away with this activity?” but “Will this activity increase the knowledge of God in me and on the earth?”

Now, I don’t believe for a moment that Jesus never smiled. But joy has little or nothing to do with entertainments; entertainments are inherently selfish and produce no true joy in the soul. If you want to be anointed with gladness above all your fellows, you must love righteousness and hate iniquity as Jesus did (Heb. 1:9).  Squandering the new life and resources God has given you is ungratefulness and sin; you must hate it enough to turn away from it.  True joy is found co-laboring with Jesus in the great work of salvation while we can, for the night is coming when no man can work (Jn. 9:4).

How can you say you love God with all your heart, when you spend so many hours pursuing vain things that God is far from?–If this describes you, your profession of love is vain. You feed on things that produce no life in you; you have allowed your appetite for truth to dwindle to the point that no fruit is being produced in your life–for unless you abide in the Vine, you cannot produce fruit. You are lukewarm in your affections for Jesus, and are in the gravest of dangers. Seeking out His Wisdom and/or serving somewhere in the Body of Christ is not as important as beating another level in a fake video game world! While you win virtual battles on a screen, the real spiritual battle rages all around you, but your ears grow dull to its sound, and your mind uncomprehending of its strategies. Your sword grows dull from disuse, and you don’t even know that you are losing your spiritual life and becoming useless to God and others. What a tragedy!

The heart of him that has understanding seeks KNOWLEDGE, and refuses to feed on foolishness.  You must choose between life and death.  With the banquet of good things the Lord willingly spreads before us, with all the wisdom that is to be found in Him, with all the souls on their way to perdition, with the rumblings of divine judgment even now on the horizon, with so few laborers in God’s harvest fields, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation and rush headlong after foolish things?  Had Noah stopped working on the ark to do something “fun” with his neighbors, he would not have been mocked for preaching righteousness, and he would not have had the ark ready at the appointed time.

Young person, rather than feeding on the foolishness that brings spiritual death to you and everyone around you, why not study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, (2 Tim. 2:15) so that you can break true bread for hungry souls? Why not seek for the wisdom of God like treasure, so that you have a storehouse for you and others to draw from in times of trouble?  Why not find something profitable to do for the kingdom of God?

God bless you.

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If We Do Not Give Up (Lessons from the Garden Part 1)

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 4, 2011

At the start of spring this year, I planted some heirloom vegetable seeds in trays which I kept by a warm window. I dutifully watered them and watched them grow. When they began to look spindly and sick, I started putting them outside in ever increasing intervals to be strengthened and hardened by the sun and wind.  My husband had plowed up a garden plot for me, and when the time seemed right, I dug rows and trenches with a shovel by hand.  I mulched the trenches carefully to inhibit weed growth and planted my seedlings, carefully adding some cow manure to each hole in which a seedling would begin its new life. Then I watered my new outdoor garden carefully, expectantly.

Within a week, there was clearly something wrong with the plants. I saw to my dismay that they had spots on them and were yellowing and sickly. What could have gone wrong? Immediately, great discouragement descended on my heart like a heavy cloud. God didn’t care about me, my good dreams, or my hard labor–so said a little voice that I quickly hushed, knowing the voice was lying.  Still, despite knowing God loved and cared for me, my garden was so disappointing after so much work, I ignored it for 2 days, thinking I might even abandon the project.

On the third day, I woke up with a new determination not to give up. There was still life out there; there were things I hadn’t done yet. I had some ideas I had to try.

As I went out into a very hot day and began working that garden, the joy of the Lord washed over me.

I almost wept as the Holy Spirit reminded me, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9) I felt His pleasure; He was pleased that I had not given up. He cared about me, and was using my garden to remind me of great spiritual truth.

Isaiah sang a song about his Beloved’s vineyard in Isa. 5–

My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

The Lord knows what it’s like to work hard and expect good grapes, yet see only the “wild grapes” of disobedience.  Thankfully, He does not give up easily. Though judgments would fall upon this vineyard that had not produced the fruits of righteousness, there was yet hope, and He would one day “see the travail of His soul, and…be satisfied,” for by His knowledge He would justify many and would bear the iniquities of those who would repent and believe (Isa. 53:11).  He would not simply turn His back on the human race, these sheep who insisted upon going astray. He would do everything possible to save them first.  Not only would He give His own life for them, but He would teach others to do the same–to labor hard, to suffer long, to feel the bitterness of disappointment, and to wait patiently in hope.

As we work as co-laborers in the harvest fields of the Lord, let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not–or if we do not give up.

I know that despair threatens to engulf us as wisdom cries from our bellies, and we see so many foolish people refusing to hear the word of the Lord. But we must not give up.

I know it sometimes seems hopeless, but love ALWAYS hopes, and is willing to suffer long–we must not give up.

As our Lord looked through the cross to “the joy set before Him,” so must we–“Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Heb. 12:3)

Today, my garden is thriving. It had a very troubled beginning, but now it is possibly the loveliest garden I’ve ever had. A friend reminded me that this describes God’s people–troubled beginnings that turn into lovely and fruitful gardens under His patient care.  How true!

God bless you!

Immature Roma tomatoes growing in my garden.

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Should a Christian Ever Hate?

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 27, 2009

Even though it is a fact that God is a God of love (1 John 4:16), the Bible also teaches that He hates some things. Similarly, although Christians are commanded to love God and others, there are some things Christians should hate. Take notice of the following Scriptures.

A righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame. Proverbs 13:5

Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. Exodus 18:21

I have hated those who regard useless idols; but I trust in the LORD. Psalms 31:6

These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19

For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Isaiah 61:8

Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate, says the LORD. Zechariah 8:17

“For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,” says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 2:16

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Romans 12:9

But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Revelation 2:6

Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. Revelation 2:16-17

These scriptures teach us that God hates: dishonest gain (including the prosperity “gospel” and message), idolatry, lying, haughty eyes, murder, wicked schemes, troublemaking among the brothers, stealing, iniquity, divorce, evil, certain deeds and certain doctrines!

And then there is the COMMAND, “Do not love”—

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

While feel good preachers teach their out of balance “love doctrine,” they deceive many with partial truth because they fail to teach the “hate doctrine” that the sheep also need to know about.

The righteous hate what is false. In other words, if you are truly a Christian trusting in Jesus for salvation, you MUST HATE some things, including sin, idols, the things of this world (that are in opposition to God), and any thing or teaching that is false.

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