A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label God's commandments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God's commandments. Show all posts

May 28, 2024

Love Like Jesus Loved!

I am constantly amazed as to how God connects the experiences throughout my day to teach me something that I desperately need to know. I'm sure many of you can relate when I say that the TV series The Chosen has opened up new spiritual principles that I either was never taught, or never sought. And I have experienced profound emotions as the Bible has opened up to me on a whole new level.

I feel as if I'm in a new season of diving deeper into my relationship with Jesus. So as I am rewatching this amazing series, I find that my spirit is awakening to Jesus's teachings in almost a revolutionary new way. To be precise, I was watching an episode in which Jesus's capacity to love is so evident. And the way in which He loved was  contrary to how our human spirits would respond. Furthermore, the people He was coming in contact with were not particularly lovable. They certainly were not loved by their community or the religious institutions of the day. And they didn't respond in any form of reciprocal love. But Jesus responded with patience, sharing the Father's love for the Lost and the Religious in equal measure. And He came to show us how to extend that love to others.

I daresay that those of us who identify as Believers are very familiar with God's commandments to love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). But it is Jesus's words in John 13:34 that has captivated [and challenged] my heart, mind, soul, and spirit .... "I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another". Wow! It is that last sentence that brought such new and profound conviction to my spirit! 

AS HE HAS LOVED ME, I AM TO LOVE OTHERS! Such a simple concept, right? But do we truly know what that looks like and understand the breadth and depth of His love? And how are we capable of imitating that in our humanness? To love others as He has loved us sounds like such a simple precept, but my friends, how many of us can actually accomplish it? During this last week, God aligned several experiences to highlight the importance of following this commandment from my Savior. The first was while watching the episode of The Chosen in which the woman with the bleeding issue forced her way through the crowds for the opportunity to simply touch the hem of Jesus, believing He could heal her. This has always been a touching testimony for me because I suffered so long with endometriosis and all the emotional and physical suffering that accompanies this disease. Like the woman in the Bible, doctors were unable to help me, and it often left me feeling disheartened and discouraged. 

I longed for that deliverance myself, and even experienced a vision in the night of being bowed down before Him [in Heaven] as He walked past me and I saw (in reality, in the spirit) the Hem of His robe, close enough that I could reach out and touch it. It was so powerful, that the adrenaline shocked me out of the vision and I sat straight up in bed! But it was the ability of the actor who plays Jesus to touch my spirit so that I finally recognized My Lord's genuine and compassionate love for ME! I saw the Lord's heart and the depth of His love in that scene for that woman, and understood, for the first time, that that is how Jesus loves me! As He bends down to her, Jesus calls her "My Daughter", at which time all the years of suffering I had experienced responded to the nuance of his voice and the compassion in his eyes so that I couldn't stop the tears. I have known, intellectually, that I am His Daughter, but I felt it in the depth of my being. And when the character Jesus tells her that her faith has healed her and He is so glad they found each other, I was overcome with the conviction that Jesus was glad we have found each other, too! The intensity of His love was like nothing I thought I would ever understand!

But here's where God doesn't leave me in the emotion of my deeper understanding. The next morning [after watching that episode] was our Home Church and we were studying Romans 14. In this chapter, Paul is talking about the situation that existed in the early Church between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians in regards to following the religious regulations of the Law; in this case, specifically the dietary laws. The Jewish Christians wanted to still follow the regulations regarding the eating of meat, while the Gentile Christians were set free from those obligations by the Coming of Jesus who gave them the freedom of their conscience to choose what they ate. The bottom line is that Paul was teaching them all not to criticize or judge one another in the matter of what they ate or drank. "Do not, for the sake of food, tear down the work of God [in a person's life]". The Kingdom of God is not based on what food we eat, but on "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." So, as Believers, instead of judging each other for our choices, we should be building each other up, which leads to our spiritual growth and mature relationships with God. If we are offending each other by our criticisms and judgments, then Paul says we are no longer walking in love toward our brothers and sisters in faith.

Which brings me right back to AS HE HAS LOVED US, WE ARE TO LOVE OTHERS! I quickly became convicted of how many times the Body of Christ engages in disagreements over theology and denominational doctrine and man-made religious rituals. I have been guilty of seeing the differences between Believers, instead of celebrating our mutual love of Christ. Yes, we see things differently regarding how we celebrate Communion, whether we celebrate the Feast Days or not, whether speaking in tongues is a prerequisite for being Baptized in the Holy Spirit. I have not been guilty of focusing on those things, but have still been guilty of noticing them. None of that matters to Christ or the Father! What matters is how well we are loving each other! As Paul says in Romans 14:4, "Who are we to judge the servant of another? Before his own master he stands approved or falls out of favor... Let everyone be fully convinced [assured, satisfied, convicted] in his own mind". Jesus is each Believer's Master and it is through their relationship with the Lord that they will stand or fall. We are responsible for ourselves, no one else. Our job is to love each person as Jesus loves them, encouraging them to grow in their relationship with Him so that they will be convicted in their hearts, minds and souls as to what He requires of them. That is what will expand the Kingdom of God across the world and defeat Satan's dark kingdom. 

Because in the end, as Paul points out in Romans 14:10, We will all stand before the judgment seat of God [who alone is judge]. We will give an accounting of how well we have represented Him, and what we have done for His Kingdom. How well have you shown what it is to love others? How well have you loved My people? It won't matter whether we are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Catholic. It won't matter what religious titles we held. And it sure won't matter what we accumulated in this world, or how well we succeeded by the world's standards. Did you show the Lord's unconditional compassion and mercy to others as He has exhibited to you? Did you share His Agape love -- the highest form of love, because it is given whether it is returned or not; it is the spiritual love of Christ to humanity.

So, I admit that I am far from walking in the love of Christ, but I see so clearly and deeply how selfless His love has been towards me. And I want to grow into that image and love others in the same way. I am convicted in my own heart and mind that others deserve what He has given me, and I will earnestly work towards their own personal recognition of just how much He loves them. We all know the foundational truth that God so loved us all that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. But I want everyone to experience that deeply personal and emotional moment of hearing Him call you "Daughter" or "Son", like I did. You will never be the same!

John 13:35       By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.


October 30, 2023

"Whoever Controls the Schools Controls the World"

Like the rest of the world, we here in America find ourselves in a state of worry, fear, and anxiety over a possible global war. It's centered in the land of Israel; the Promised Land, as confirmed by God in His covenant with Abraham. In my Biblical worldview, God chose Israel to reconcile the rest of the nations to Him -- He chose one nation out of many, so that many nations could be blessed. 

At this point in historical time, that doesn't appear to be happening, does it? And there are lots of reasons that is so; some of which I have articulated in recent posts. The truth of God's desired reconciliation with mankind seems to have gotten bound up in sectarian and religious hate, becoming much broader than the Israel/Palestinian debate. It threatens to draw the entire world into the conflict, and protests are arising across the globe. 

Indeed, we find our college universities smoldering with anger and hate as so-called "politically woke" students take to the campuses in opposition to U.S. policy in the Middle East. They demonstrate against what they see as social injustice, racial inequality, and genocide against the Palestinians. Yet they are unable to see the same argument for American Jewish students, who say they feel unsafe in their own country and find themselves told to barricade in campus libraries, while Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn are told to stay inside and avoid the area. But where did these ideas originate?

It seems to me, that a vocal [and dare I say less-than-compassionate] group of publicly-educated students have taken over social media and corporate news to declare that their viewpoint is the only one that matters. That brings me to a quote by Pastor Voddie Baucham, Jr., in a video from 2002, who says, "Don't be surprised when you send your kids off to Caesar, that they come back as Romans". Wow! What a profound statement!

This American pastor, author, and educator [who currently serves as Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia] released a video 20 years ago on YouTube, titled "The Children of Caesar". He proceeds to speak about what God intended regarding the education of our children. He notes that American Christians can become divided over which version of the Bible we should be reading; or which denomination God prefers ... but 90% of American parents will agree on the same method of educating their children ... the public school system, which has, sadly, become a state-controlled propaganda machine, often teaching our children anti-God and anti-American philosophies.

And here's the point Pastor Baucham made that struck the deepest ... of the 90% of Christian parents who chose this method of educating their children, "no one can point to the chapter and verse in the Bible that justifies it".  Today, in 2023, the Barna Group (an Evangelical polling group) reports that anywhere from 70-80% of high school students who enter college as professing Christians will leave with little or no faith. But why should we be surprised? Look at who the teachers are, and look at their worldview. How many have a Biblical worldview, versus a secular or radical worldview? 

If as vigilant Christian parents, we had been paying attention to what God says on this subject, we would be able to discern what Luke 6:40 says: "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher". We are certainly seeing that borne out today. It used to be only college graduates who portrayed their radical professors' points of view. Now, students in elementary school are being trained in the sexual and gender ideology of their teachers ... and we are seeing them become "like their teachers"!

I highly recommend that you take the time to listen to Pastor Voddie Baucham's presentation on "The Children of Caesar". He makes the very erudite statement that you can't separate education from discipleship and "whoever is teaching your children is discipling them". But here's what we've lost in this country ... Did you know that Christians in America initially fought against compulsory government education? Up until 1900, two-thirds of high school children were educated at home or in the Church. Why? Because Americans used to know that God has given us clear commands and principles for how He wants us to educate our children!

Consider Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ... And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. We are to be the teachers of our children! And when? All the time! Right now, government schooling involves 11 hours [of classroom time; to/from school time; and homework]. If you add in 8 hours for sleeping, 2 hours of eating/bathing, and at least 2 hours of social media, you're at 23 hours out of the day! Are we obeying Deuteronomy 6 from our God?

What about Romans 12:2 ... Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Our children's minds are not being renewed; they are not taught critical thinking -- they are being corrupted and programmed, unable to discern God's will because God has been removed from the education system.

Then there's 1 Timothy 6:20-21 ... Guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Again, we are to be the guardians of our children, NOT the State! Their education has been entrusted to us; we are to be their teachers, disciplers, and mentors. And what they are taught in the schools is certainly not God-based!

And, I'll leave you with Colossians 2:8 ... Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [basic principles] of the world, and not after Christ. When you remove God and His Truth from the education of your children, you create a vacuum, and something  will replace Him. In this case, parents have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by vain men who profess to know what's best for your children, and who convince you that you should leave their education up to "the professionals".

Well, we can see where that's led us! We've allowed a government-controlled curriculum to educate our children instead of who God gave that assignment to! Back in 2013, I wrote a post warning parents about the subterfuge that was the Common Core education initiative. I wrote: "Common Core is designed to push an education agenda that conforms to a Progressive ideology, and limits the individuality of our children's learning processes, but seeks to determine exactly what they are taught". I think the State has pretty much accomplished that goal; even moving from Progressive to Marxist ideology. 

Thankfully, we are beginning to see parents waking up to the reality that, as a country, we have relegated the education of our children to the government and teachers unions. And, therefore our government-controlled schools are incapable of training our children in those very things God commands. It is HIS principles that He wants US to train our children up in. Our kids were never meant to be given over to the power and influence of Caesar's educators. I pray it is not too late to transform and renew their minds to God's education system. I fear we're going to go through a difficult period of paying a heavy price for the re-education of our children away from godly principles. In recent years, participation in Home-schooling and Private Christian schools is on the increase, and with God's help, and our fervent prayers, we may yet save the futures of our nation's precious children. But the battle is on, and we have no time to waste! Get involved in educating your children!

Deuteronomy 4:6    Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’  

May 30, 2023

God's Calling Us To Decide: Commitment vs Compromise?

It seems that Thomas Paine's historical quote becomes more appropriate with each passing day. These are the times that try men's souls ... welike Christians of the past, are facing a critical turning point in our faith. The Enemy is challenging every proclaimed Believer to stand firm in our commitment to follow the Lord. Notice I'm not talking about commitment in other facets of our lives, such as to our spouse, our families, our job, or even to our church. I'm talking about the kind of commitment that puts Jesus above everything and everyone else in our lives -- and that includes ourselves. 

Jesus promised that we would have trials in this life, and I believe we are just at the beginning of what will become supernatural tests of our faith. After all, the Bible tells us this will happen, and I'm always amazed at believers who try to circumvent this truth with modern theology that somehow we can avoid the affliction/suffering if we just worship more or work for a revival. Mind you, both worship and revival are desirable outpourings of our faith, but in facing the consequences of our compromises in the last half century, God needs our commitment to start doing things His way ... to follow Him all the way, all the time. 

What exactly does committing one's life to God look like? Some common understandings for the word commitment are responsibility to, obligation to, duty, dedication, allegiance, faithfulness, and fidelity. But here's the tough truth: giving God the commitment that He desires and demands is costly. Our commitment to Him must replace and override our commitment and loyalty to anything else -- causes, jobs, or family. And that means those relationships and connections can come to an end. If we are presented with an either/or decision, we must choose to follow Jesus and leave all else behind. Can you honestly say you would do this? If not, then we do not qualify to be His disciples.

If we are to fulfill our purpose on this earth, it is imperative that we understand there are tough trials headed our way; our endurance will be tested. And Jesus didn't pull any punches when describing the cost of being His disciple: If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Jesus showed us what that looks like: selflessness, service, sacrifice, and total self-denial. We must be willing to sacrifice everything of this life for the privilege of following His example, even unto death. The question of our lives is Am I prepared to do this?

OR, in order to maintain the life I love, will I choose to make concessions and adjustments to His commands? I'm not saying that all compromise is bad or wrong. There are certain instances when God prefers we keep the peace and remain in harmony rather than cause undue strife and conflict. But when it comes to His holy and righteous commands, there can be no compromise. We have seen the consequences when Christians have relinquished their commitment to God [in favor of compromise] in the areas of abortion and marriage, for instance; and have turned a blind eye to child trafficking, child pornography, corruption in government, and immorality throughout our society. 

We may try to fool ourselves by saying, "I don't partake in any of those sinful activities", or if we do, we convince ourselves that God will forgive us because we still have Jesus. But that is not acceptable to our Holy God. It's okay to compromise on whether your Church uses wine or grape juice during Communion; or what charity you and your family decide to support. But when it comes to the Lordship and Authority of Christ in your life; or your moral convictions or rightly representing the Word of God, there can be no concessions or compromise -- no matter what it costs you! We must not only know and speak God's Biblical truth and commandments, we must walk them out and do them. A committed and real relationship with God demands that we obey Him in all things; that we look neither to the left nor the right -- compromise is never an option! 

I'm afraid, my fellow believers, that we have come to an apex in our country, in the world, and in our personal lives. If we take an honest look at our current state of affairs, it is quite evident that compromise has infiltrated our commitment. And the instability of our future reflects that. The impending trials we face are a result of our failure to give Christ sole authority over every decision made. We must return to true and uncompromising commitment to follow Christ, no matter the pain or cost. We must unerringly trust Him, fix our nature upon Him, and preserve His Holy principles and commandments. 

We cannot avoid the trials and, yes, tribulations that are coming -- Jesus, Himself, said we will experience them. But if we hold fast to our commitment to Him, He will help us through them. When we commit our whole life [heart, body, mind, soul and spirit] to Him, we receive His strength to endure and we will be empowered to serve Him in the midst of all things. So, will you agree with me to no longer suffer compromise in our areas of influence, but rather to commit to representing our Savior in all we do and say -- to surrender by trusting Him to be our sole authority in all matters and to be our moral compass in all our ways? "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments". That requires commitment, and there is no room for compromise. 

Psalm 119:9-16     How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me Your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of Your mouth. In the way of Your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.