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What Is Immigration?

Although by definition, the word immigrate means to remove into a country for the purpose of permanent residence, what is it? Let’s face it, people move from country to country, does that make them an immigrant? Are refugees “really” immigrants? Who determines if someone is an immigrant?

Just by the definitions the church and many others may have their understanding of immigration wrong. In the Middle East we see people fleeing areas because of persecution. On the southern border in America, we see people trying to enter America illegally.  Are these people immigrants?

A refugee is defined as a person who, in times of persecution or political commotion, flees to a foreign county for safety. But an immigrant is a person who removes them self from one country to a different country to establish permanent residence. When foreigners want to come to your country they are one of three types of people:
A Visitor
A Refugee or
An Immigrant
Under all three of these conditions, can the person bring their laws? Their rules into the new country? No. They must abide by the laws of the country or kingdom they enter. Sure people bring their cultures into their new country but they can not require their new country to treat them under the laws of the country they left.

Scripture identifies countries as thrones or dominions, nations and kingdoms. And God set things up with different thrones, dominions and countries. Colossians 1:16 KJV  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

America’s foundation was set up under the authority of God Almighty with Scripture being the cornerstone of our land. Culturally, America has been a beacon for freedom and liberty. People were welcome to come but those coming had to follow the laws and rules of the land which are set up under God and the scriptures. You would not go to Egypt and expect to follow American law. You would have Egyptian law. And Americans do not have the right to force Egypt to accept American laws, in Egypt.

Foreigners who come to America can not expect America to follow the laws from the land the foreigner came from. And herein lies the difference between a refugee and an immigrant. The refugee and immigrant must follow the law of the land they go to. But there is a distinction between the two. One, the refugee, is fleeing persecution and turmoil and they are looking out to preserve themselves. Where the immigrant, by defintion, makes a decision willingly to leave their country and go to another. Immigrants know they are leaving everything behind and starting a new life in a new land. Believers make a decision to give up their country for the kingdom of God.

People understand they can not just march in to the President’s office, or the King’s office, there are protocols that must be followed. So let’s compare what we see and know about refugees and immigrants to God’s word. We know God told Abraham to leave his country and God would lead him to a new land. Question: Was Abraham a refugee or immigrant? Abraham decided to do what God told him so he was an immigrant.

We saw how Esther had to follow protocol. King Ahasuerus reigned from India to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces according to Esther 1:1-5 KJV
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
[2] That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,”

Question: When a person decides to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, is that person a refugee or immigrant in God’s kingdom? Scripture calls us “children” of God. We become ambassadors for our King.

Unlike the world, when Jesus stood before Pilate he told Pilate, John 18:36 KJV  “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

Kings rule and reign from a throne. So where is God’s throne?   Acts 7:47-50 KJV  “But Solomon built him an house.
[48] Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
[49] Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
[50] Hath not my hand made all these things?”

Peter explains Jesus to Israel saying,

Acts 2:29-36 KJV  “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
[30] Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
[31] He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
[32] This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
[33] Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
[34] For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
[35] Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
[36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Just as you would not barge in to the President ‘s  or King’s office to see them, we can not barge into God’s “office”. Yes, we are told to
Hebrews 4:16 KJV  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

But when we come before God’s throne, God has protocols, like all kings or presidents. Remember when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray? Jesus said when you pray, pray like this, ” Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” then you ask for provisions or your request, then notice, ” for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory”?

The word hallowed means reverence. Most of the time people yell to God HELP.  But scripture tells us,  Psalm 100:1-5 KJV  “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord , all ye lands.
[2] Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
[3] Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
[4] Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
[5] For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

When a person gets saved our citizenship changes, just like an immigrant seeking citizenship in a new country. The protocols God has is show reverence and you enter his gates, not with a passport or papers, but with thanksgiving. You go into his court with praise. Be thankful to him and bless his name because he is good and merciful.
Until next time.

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Encouragement

Isaiah 54:1-17 KJV  “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord .
[2] Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
[3] For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
[4] Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
[5] For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
[6] For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
[7] For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
[8] In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.
[9] For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
[10] For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
[11] O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
[12] And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
[13] And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord ; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
[14] In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
[15] Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
[16] Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
[17] No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord , and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord .”

May I suggest printing out portions or verses from God’s word, frame it or just tape it up around your home and speak God’s word out loud. Let God’s word seat itself deeply in your heart and mind. Be encouraged in the Lord.

Until next time.

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Relationships – Are Conduits

Imagine this. Put yourself in these shoes and ask yourself, how would I have handled this or maybe this sounds like your life. Here goes.

You are living in an area and things dry up. A famine happens. So you pack up your wife and your two sons and you move to a new place. Things seem fine. Then the husband dies. I wonder how many people would get mad at God and quit on the Lord over this.

Now there is the wife and two sons. The two sons get married. There are no children born to these two sons. About 10 years later, the two sons die. Now you loose your spouse and your children, would you quit on God now?

By now you know who these people are, right? Imagine if Naomi would have just given up and quit. Believers face heartaches too. Imagine moving to a “better” area for a job or for promotions. Things seem to be going just fine for a few years. Then things start going wrong. Your circle of friends or family members start dying. Everything starts breaking down in your house. Someone runs into the back of your car and smashes in the rear end. What would you do?

Naomi said she went into Moab full. Another words, when you started out on your new move to a new location, you had everything. You were full. Your had your family, your things, your wealth and you had a plan.

But then, things changed. Over about five or ten years, your spouse dies. Family who came with you dies. Your children die or leave.  Everyone you left with, is gone. Then everything in your house starts breaking down over and over again. And then your church makes changes that you know you can not be a part of so now you have lost your family, lost your church, lost your friends and your house is eating away at your wealth. Or what wealth you have left. What would you do?

We read later that Naomi claimed God had dealt bitterly with her in Ruth 1:20-23. But we know God is love. Look at Job and everything he went through. Job lost his children, lost his wealth, lost his health.  What we might call hardships are often testings from God to see how we will respond or they are a way for God to move us into our destiny. But in spite of all the hardships she faced, Naomi ends up being the conduit for introducing two people. Naomi was the conduit for Ruth to meet Boaz.

I think Boaz was Naomi’s husband’s younger brother. Her brother in law. Just my guess. When Boaz was explaining to Ruth what needed to be done in Ruth 3:12 KJV “And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.”

That tells me, based on the Old Testament law of the kinsman and the order of the kinsman redeemer, Naomi’s husband that died, Elimelech had brothers and one was Boaz and one between Boaz and Elimelech. The order of kinsman redeemer would be the next oldest after Elimelech. That is who Boaz meant when he told Ruth, “there is a kinsman nearer than I”.

So Boaz approaches his older brother in Ruth 4 and tells him about a parcel of land to redeem. The brother was all for buying back the land from Naomi but when Boaz reminded him of the  kinsman redeemer meaning he had to pay Ruth for the land too and he needed to be the kinsman redeemer. That is like seeing a house and land you want and you will buy it. But because a widow lives there with a daughter in law, you have to buy it from the widow and pay the daughter in law for it too. This is explained in the Old Testament and it is how God set up helping widows and helping the family of the dead. The money was then used to provide for their needs.

The brother did not want to redeem it from Naomi and Ruth and he was concerned with his own inheritance. I am not going into the kinsman redeemer teaching here.
Ruth 4:3-6 KJV  “And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s:
[4] And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it , redeem it : but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it .
[5] Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.
[6] And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it .”

You could say once Naomi stopped looking at her “misfortune” and started looking at how she could help Ruth, good things happened for Naomi. I tend to look at it more like even when you go through difficulties, let God still use you, direct you and just trust the Lord has a plan. Don’t quit, even when it seems unbearable, don’t get angry with the Lord, don’t murmur and complain and don’t speak against the Lord. Trust the Lord to work all things out for good. Until next time.

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Relationships – Life Links

People have a day they are born and a day they die. For believers, we have a day we were born, a day we are born again aka saved, and a day we die.  As scripture tells us in Corinthians, when we get saved the old you dies and behold, all things become new.

One day I decided to examine my life. I wanted to map out my life and see how God has worked in my life so far and look at key links. I call the key links, Life Links. I would encourage you to map out your life and examine your Life Links. I took a piece of paper and laid it horizontal on my desk. At the left edge of the paper I wrote the year I was saved and to the edge on the right side I wrote today’s year, 2017.

As a believer, everything before I was saved died so it does not count. I start from my new life in Christ. Now I have the year I was saved to the left on my paper and today’s year on the right. Then draw a horizontal line connecting them.

There are times in our life when we make “destiny decisions”. These times happen maybe two or three times in a life time. These are decisions we make that alter our life. Usually, a time comes when we have an opportunity. The opportunity is specific to you and you have to make a decision if you want to take the opportunity or not. And once the time of the opportunity closes, the opportunity is never presented again. The opportunity closes.

As we get older we look back at our decisions. We look at certain times in our life when we were presented with an opportunity. Life does not give us a “re-do”. You only go through this life once. You can not go back and change your decisions. As they say, we all have regrets. But as a believer, we seek God for guidance, pray and seek counseling from our inner circle of people we trust.

We make certain decisions sometimes based on the current relationships we have. I call those relationships Life Links. But God created each and every one of us with a purpose. A destiny. And what if God wants to move you in to your destiny but you are making your decisions based on  current relationships?

You see, not all believers want a close relationship with God. Some just want to get saved and do their own thing. You get to choose the closeness of your relationship. It is your decision to get to know God well or not.

If God is trying to move you into your destiny, you have to be willing to go. And sometimes, we have to let go of Life Links. Those people who have been in your inner circle for years may not be invited to go on your journey. They may not be a part of your destiny. Look at scripture examples. God called Abraham out and away from his family, his land, and everything he knew. God called Moses and Samuel, David and Paul. If you look at your own life you can see people who use to be your friend, may not be your friend now. They may be out of your life completely.  Your circle of friends at 20 years old usually, are not in your circle of friends at 30 or 40 years old. They are on a different journey than you.

We can acquire information about something but information does not tell us if we should or should not do something. So how do we know? When we come to a destiny decision we have to understand we are at a fork in the road of our life and there is no going back. And the opportunity will never present itself again. And the decision we make will be life altering. To be life altering means they create Life Links.

Only the Holy Spirit knows the secrets of God for your life. Scripture puts it this way – Romans 8:26 KJV  “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

And the Holy Spirit knows what your tomorrow will be. The Holy Spirit guides us, teaches us and reveals to us things from God. Scripture tells us –
1 Corinthians 2:10-16 KJV. “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
[11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
[12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
[13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
[14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them , because they are spiritually discerned.
[15] But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
[16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

God the Holy Spirit reveals things to us. So when we come to a fork in the road of our life and need to make a destiny decision it is the Holy Spirit that knows God’s plans and by revelation and not information we make our decisions through prayer.

So on your paper you might draw a vertical line at the time or year you made a destiny decision. We know if we screw something up, God can work it out and straighten out our failures. Romans 8:28 KJV  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

When you mark your paper with your destiny decisions also note your Life Links. Another words, maybe the year you got married or the year your children were born or died. Maybe the year a parent died. See if you can see any patterns. Until next time.

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Relationships – Restoring Relationships

When people pray what is called the Lord’s prayer part of that prayer says “thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”. A fascinating study is to study the different kingdoms. But my focus today is helping people understand the reason Jesus was willing to go to the cross.

Remember, when the people asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus taught them to address their prayers to Our Father which art in heaven meaning, we address our prayers to our Heavenly Father. But Jesus also said, thy kingdom come and then Jesus prayed for provisions and other things. You can read the prayer Matthew 6:9-13.

Think about the kingdom. Jesus did not come to earth to stay on earth. Jesus even said, John 18:36 KJV  “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

Jesus came to earth to do something. He had to take care of a problem, an issue. The issue is sin. Why? Because God is holy. Remember when Adam sinned God told him he would die? Adam’s spirit man having a close relationship with God died. Adam died spiritually. That proves God made us to be alive spiritually. God’s intent was we have God the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit would be an inner light to us, an inner guide. God intended we be governed from heaven by sending the Holy Spirit from heaven to live inside us and the Holy Spirit would lead and guide us in all our decisions. The Holy Spirit is the government of God. When Adam sinned, the Holy Spirit could no longer live inside us. That is why we see the Holy Spirit would come and go in the Old Testament.

Jesus explains this governing of the Holy Spirit in John 16:13-14 KJV
  “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
[14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Jesus later, then said the kingdom was at hand. Jesus gave his life willingly on the cross to pay the penalty for all sin so the kingdom could come.   Luke 17:20-21 KJV  “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
[21] Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Another words, the Holy Spirit that lived in Jesus could not co-habitate in man because of sin. So the sin problem had to be taken care of. Scripture says Jesus took our sin and nailed it to his cross. Hebrews 10:9-19 KJV  “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .
[11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
[12] But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
[13] From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
[14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
[15] Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
[16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
[17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
[18] Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
[19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”

When Jesus hung on that cross about 2000 years ago, he paid the sin debt forever, for all eternity. Including your’s and my sin debt 2000 years later. Jesus nailed sin to his cross. Once you believe that in your heart not just your head, and you receive Jesus as your Redeemer and Saviour, you believe on Jesus’ finished work on the cross in your heart, and you confess that with your mouth, you are saved. Then the Holy Spirit can come and live inside you like he did with Adam before Adam sinned. Paul explains it this way, Ephesians 1:13-14 KJV
” In whom ye also trusted , after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
[14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Once you believe on you are quickened.
Ephesians 2:1-10 KJV  “And you hath he quickened , who were dead in trespasses and sins;
[2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
[3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
[5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
[6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
[7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
[9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.
[10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

It is all about restoring a relationship with God. It does not matter if Jew or Gentile, rich or poor or what ethnic background you have. It is about believing on who Jesus is and what he did on the cross and receiving him. Then the relationship with God can be restored.

So Jesus pays the sin debt and once we believe and receive him, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us. The previous tenant, sin, is evicted, thrown out. Yes, the flesh will want to sin but sin no longer reigns and rules inside, the Holy Spirit does.

Jesus came to earth to accomplish a purpose. To reconcile God and mankind. Jesus accomplished this by taking all sin and taking it upon himself nailing it to his cross. Once that was accomplished, the kingdom of God could come as Jesus explained in Luke 17:20, 21. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would come and go. But once Jesus took care of the sin problem, the Holy Spirit could come and live inside true believers bringing in the kingdom of God. Jesus explains in John 14:16-17 KJV. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
[17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

Once you believe and ask the Lord to save you, then what? That is where we will pick it up next time. We will look at how the kingdom of God works in us and through us. Until next time.

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Transport

We all come to a time, through this life,  when we have to make a decision about God. We hear things about God and question things about God and God makes himself known to mankind, mainly from his word. Every one of us have to make a decision. That is the most important decision mankind has to make.

Some people will not get saved or will not serve in ministry work because they are afraid what others will think or say. And some who make the decision to get saved look for God to transport them into some perfect life of bliss. And when things don’t go as one thought, they quit on God. They go back to their “old” ways. Jesus explained this in the parable of the sower in Luke 8:9-15.

Just as a child has to go on a journey to become a grown up, believers are on a journey to grow up in Christ. Those believers who quit on God are compared to children who are spoiled and rebellious and who do not want to listen to their parents guidance.

Once a person becomes a true believer they are set on a journey with God. They are called by scripture, a babe “in Christ”.  People pack all kinds of things when they take a journey, a trip. It is no different for the person who gets truly saved. I packed my Bible, a good dictionary, a concordance and a book that indexes scripture. I added some tablets of paper and pens. I soon discovered I could not find answers to some issues that came up in my life.

My family and friends were watching me. I didn’t understand how to make the right decisions if I couldn’t find a specific answer in scripture. An example is thoughts. I didn’t know why I was bombarded in my thoughts with wicked thoughts. And I didn’t know how to bring my thoughts captive as scripture teaches. I didn’t know why I would try to think on God’s things and what God told us to think on but these thoughts I would never consider would pop into my mind. I had read the verses telling me to bring my mind into subjection but I didn’t know how to do that.

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

And years later, there it was. The one word “captivity”. What does captive mean? Captivity is the state of being a prisoner, or of being in the power of an enemy by force. My heart and mind love and serve God but thoughts could hold me captive? Not only thoughts on Christ but the enemy could, through thoughts, make me a prisoner?

How do we handle negative thoughts? Thoughts of fear? Thoughts of sin? Thoughts of anger? Thoughts of rejection or loneliness or self hatred? Clearly thoughts can hold people captive. The way to rid ourselves from these thoughts is every time one of those thoughts come into your mind, is to cast it down just as 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us. Then do what Jesus did when the enemy put ungodly thoughts into Jesus’ mind in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus cast down the thought, rebuked the devil and quoted scriptute. So I thought I would give that a try. And IT WORKED!

Even if I didn’t know the specific scripture to use, I picked a scripture. I would cast down the thought, rebuke the devil by saying the Lord rebuke thee Satan, and then I would say, It is written and quote a scripture. 99% of the time the thought would leave. Every once and a while the thought would come back seconds later so I would repeat the same example Jesus gave us.

I’ll never forget the night I said to God, so we are living in a world where we are being attacked by things we can not see. And we are suppose to fight back with things we can not see (Ephesians 6, the armour of God). How do we win a battle we can’t see? As if you were standing next to me I heard, Do what Jesus did. So I started to ask myself, what did Jesus do? And God took me to Matthew 4 when Jesus was tempted by the devil.

Friends, what causes people to quit on God? Most of the time it is because God did not respond to a situation or matter the way someone “thought” God should respond. A lot of religions have their statues and their beads, all of which can do nothing. But believers have the living God who literally talks to us. We hear him.

It is one thing to read and study scripture and another to put scripture to work. There are a lot of believers in the world that have a lot of knowledge in the scriptures. They have a lot of head knowledge but their life is not much different than unbelievers. Why? I submit that many believers have not been taught or do not know that scripture is a living book. Hebrews 4:12 KJV  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Believers know they got saved from hearing God’s word and making a decision to act on what God told them, get saved. But when it comes to other areas in their life, for some reason, they do not act on what God’s word tells them. They just learn and learn more but never act. What good is head knowledge if you don’t use what you learn?

Can you imagine studying to be a musician all your life and never playing an instrument? Can you imagine studying to be a painter, or plumber, or builder or teacher and never doing what you studied? Can you imagine being a believer and not applying the teachings of scripture?

Scriptute teaches us once we become a true believer, we are a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Your friends and people cling to the old you. You can not move forward towards your God given destiny unless you understand you have to let go of the old you and let God mold and make you new. Why study the scriptures? Why share the gospel? Why pray and make sacrifices and why give to ministries? Believers labor to do the will of God. We labor to be Christ like. Galatians 4:19 KJV  “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”

Name one person from scripture who did not take a journey with God. One person God just transported once saved. How can you receive the things God has planned for you and your destiny if you will not take the journey with God? And if you decide to take the journey, you have to let the old go. The old you, the you your family and friends have known. The old you does not have the same destiny as the new you “in Christ”. Until next time.

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What Makes A Person?

How would you define a “person”? I am not looking at male and female as much as I am looking at man as mankind, made up of male and female. And people in general are made up of individual “persons”. So how would you define a person? What makes someone a person?

The dictionary defines a person as an individual human being consisting of a body and soul. A person must be alive to be called a person according to the dictionary. And to be alive, the “person” needs the breath of life, the spirit part of man. The dictionary also continues defining a person as one, as man.

God defines us as man Genesis 2:7 KJV
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

By definition then, is God a “person”? No. Jesus explains God this way – John 4:21-26 KJV  “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
[22] Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
[23] But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
[24] God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
[25] The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
[26] Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”

Okay, if God is Spirit, how do you explain Jesus? Jesus said God is “a” Spirit in John 4 but look at  Isaiah 11:1-2 KJV
” And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
[2] And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord ;”

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV
” Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is , there is liberty.”

And look at Revelation where John writes what he sees in “heaven” –
Revelation 1:4-20 KJV  “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
[5] And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
[6] And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
[7] Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
[8] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
[9] I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
[10] I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
[11] Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
[12] And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
[13] And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
[14] His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
[15] And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
[16] And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
[17] And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
[18] I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
[19] Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
[20] The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”

Again, it is John who explains to us, who God is. 1 John 5:7 KJV  “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

We know from the gospel of John, the Word is defined –   John 1:1-3 KJV  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
[2] The same was in the beginning with God.
[3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

Notice scripture calls the Word, God, not ( a ) God like some religious organizations teach, but the Word is God. So going back to our question, what is a person?

God tells us he created man in his image, Genesis 1:26 KJV  “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

Notice the word “us” and in “our” image? Who is the “us” and who is the “our”? And look at the word “image”. What does the word image mean? Again, the dictionary defines image as a representation or simlitude. A copy or likeness. So if we look at what John tells us, God is Spirit, God is the Word and God is the Holy Ghost, and these three make up God as one, it is not difficult to understand how man has a spirit, a soul, and a body.

But man is a “person” and God is not, so how do we explain this? Remember in Genesis scripture tells us God formed man from the dust of the ground? Another words, God gave man a body. Not any body, but a body that would resemble him in a body, his image. Plus, this body would be able to live on the earth God just created. This body was not for living in heaven, but this body was for living on earth. It is no surprise then that once man’s earthly body dies that God has prepared a body for man to live in heaven.

And God not only formed man from the dust of the earth but he also made the animals from the dust of the earth

Genesis 2:7-20 KJV  “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

[19] And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
[20] And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

It is no surprise then to understand every time God showed himself to man, he showed himself in a body. Even the burning bush Moses saw –  was God’s power and glory  not God physically in a body. But God did show himself to Moses in  Exodus 33:21-23 KJV  “And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
[22] And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
[23] And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”

God showed Moses, his back. God showing his back clearly means God was showing Moses himself in a body. This is the same body as Genesis 1:26, remember when we asked who us the “us” and who is “our”?

So going back to our question, what makes a person? If you take away a “person’s” mind, are they still a person? What if you take away a person’s body, are they still a person? If you remove someone’s spirit, are they still a person? What makes a person? Are dead people buried in graves people?

By definition, a person is a human being with a body, with a soul and with a spirit. Once a “person” dies in their earthly body, God gives them a new body. A body that can live in heaven or hell.

Colossians 3:4 KJV  “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

1 Corinthians 15:35-50 KJV  “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
[36] Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
[37] And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain :
[38] But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
[39] All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
[40] There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
[41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
[42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
[43] It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
[44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
[45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
[46] Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
[47] The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
[48] As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
[49] And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
[50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Until next time.

An artist did this picture and based on Psalm he drew King David sitting near a tree. Can you see in the drawing, God watching David? Do you see the beard at the bottom arrow? Eyebrows at the second arrow and dove at the top arrow?  Just an outstanding drawing by the artist.

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