What does it mean to be successful in the eyes of the Lord? First of all the way the world views success is not the same as that of the Lord. It is not so much that we are successful but that we are overcomers. To understand what this means “one must not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing on the mind.” Roman’s 12:2 “Jesus is the vine and those of us who abide in Him are the branches – apart from the Lord we can do nothing.” John 15:5 Again it is not about being a success but rather overcoming the world. At the second coming of Jesus the “Heavens will be opened and He will appear on a white horse and His name will be, “Faithful and True”” Revelation 19:11 Not only is He faithful and true he is also the, “Author and Finisher” of our faith” Hebrews 12:2. It is because of faith that we, “Work out our salvation with fear and trembling for it is God Who works in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13. “It is by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony that we are overcomers.” Revelation 12:11 First one must believe what Jesus accomplished on the cross and understand that because it is finished we have everything we need to be overcomers. However, “It is not by works of righteousness which we have done but it is according to His mercy that we are saved.” Titus 3:5 Otherwise it is as Isaiah proclaimed in Chapter 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags.” “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12 So to those who are perishing the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross does not make any sense. “The preaching of the Cross is foolishness.” 1st Corinthians 1:25 Therefore, “They are apart from God. Many of them believing they are successful. Maybe even living the so called, “American Dream.” What really matters are that “our treasures are stored up in Heaven and not in earth” Matthew 6:19 “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 1st Timothy 6:7 As I previously referenced, “Jesus is faithful. He so overcame the world.” Once again it is not about being successful but rather being an overcomer. We may not have brought anything into this world nor will we take anything out but far more awaits His children than we could possibly ever imagine. “To him who overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and set down with My Father in His throne.” Revelation 3:21 We are “Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” Roman’s 8:17 To overcome we must have faith in the Cross and the sacrifice Jesus made and believe it is finished in order for Him to be able to work through us. “For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” 1st John 5:4 The book of Hebrews chapter 11:8-40 gives perfect examples of Patriarchs who have gone before us doing what appears to be foolishness to the world. I have to admit in the flesh that Noah building an ark when it had never flooded seems quite absurd. However it was a bold faith that saved he and his family and helped them overcome. So in the end we must not allow our feelings or so called intellect lead and guide us. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We must “Not walk after the flesh but the Spirit.” Roman’s 8:1 “Walk by faith and not by sight.” 2nd Corinthians 5:7
Are you free in Jesus Christ? If so, how do you know you are? I am basing my question on John 8:32, “And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” Jesus said in verse 31 of the same chapter, “If you continue in My Word, then you are my disciples indeed.” John 17:17 says, “Santify them through thy Truth: thy Word is Truth.” John 1:14 tells us, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we behold His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of Grace and Truth. Through this verse we see that the Truth is the Word and also that Jesus is the Word. Revelation 19:11 refers to Jesus as, “Faithful and True.” If we know the Truth then we shall also believe upon the words of 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “I declare unto you the Gospel which I Preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand. But which also you are saved, if he keep in memory what I Preached unto you, which also you, unless he have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” We will believe the Word became flesh, was crucified, buried and rose again in three days. The Word of God tells us in Hebrews 4:12 “The Word of God is Living and Powerful.” And we know as previously stated how Jesus is alive because He rose again on the third day. Knowing our faith has come by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) Then we shall also known we have been quickened and made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5) and (Romans 6:5-11) planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection. In Him we also live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28) Knowing this, that our old man is Crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that the henceforth we should not serve sin. For he who is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin: but in that He lives, He lives unto God. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. We will know what Jesus meant when He said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed! (John 8:36)
I know this long but I ask that you take the time to read as it some day may apply to you! As you can tell by this lengthy post there has been a lot on my mind. God is good all the time even when we are totally oblivious to circumstances unseen.
Several weeks ago I had a regular Dr visit. The Dr told me that at age 50 I was due for a colon cancer screening. I was given the option of taking a home self test or a colonoscopy. I chose the home self test (not in any particular order) #1 because it is less invasive #2 I believed I was healthy enough to pass it and move on with my life like nothing ever happened. #3 I have no one in the area where I live who would be able to take me #4 I did not want to put anyone out #5 I have really bad anxiety some times just going to the Dr for a regular checkup. In my mind each of those in their own right are a very good reason to do things the easy way! The Dr told warned me that if the cologard test came back positive that insurance would not pay for the colonoscopy. However, I was confident that I would pass it and there would not be any need for further tests.
I sent my home test off expecting to hear nothing back. One day after working all weekend I woke up after maybe a couple of hours sleep and saw that I had an email revealing my results. I looked at the email and read, “Positive.” After looking at it several times in utter disbelief I started shaking due to a panic attack. I immediately called a friend and ask if I could come over with no explanation. I drove a little over 1 1/2 hours to her house with little sleep and terrible anxiety. After talking to my friend and staying the night I drove back the next day. I got back to as normal every day living as possible but I was wishing I had stayed an extra day at my friends house because anxiety kept trying to creep in.
Cancer has always been a fear of mine having had both parents pass away due to cancer as well as a brother. Preregistering at the same hospital where I received the bad news about my mom started bringing back a flood of bad memories. I know my mom probably broke down several times after receiving her devastating news but never once did she do so around me. I have always hoped that I would be as strong as she was in the face of death as well as a few rare others I have known. I also thought about those of you I know on Facebook who have or are dealing with cancer as I always do but even more so than previously. If you have or did have cancer and have talked about it on Facebook then I am referring to you as well as others who have passed on.
After receiving my results I kept thinking about how dumb I was for not just doing the free colonoscopy!! Telling everyone how stupid I was and how all of my so called reasons for not following through with the actual colonoscopy backfired. Especially when it hit me that this new bout with anxiety along with those bouts in the past have ended up costing me enough money to be able to purchase a new car! Because not only do I have the stress of having to go through all I was avoiding in the first place now I also have a huge medical bill in the process!
So I got on Facebook and asked if anyone knew of a good gastroenterologist in the Palestine area. Dr Wilkinson was the name with the most referrals. I was not looking for signs from the Lord that everything would be alright. However, to my surprise Dr Wilkinson is a Christian. On the day I preregistered for the hospital the receptionist was also a Christian. But go back to even last year when my regular medical Dr was out and the Lord provided a Christian dr who prayed for me before I left due to my anxiety was so bad during my appointment. I have made that my regular DR.
I was concerned that on the day of my colonoscopy my anxiety would be going through the roof. I warned the Dr that I have terrible anxiety that leads to panic attacks. He said, “He was glad I told him and that they would put something in the I.V. If they had to. I went more than 36 hours only having the prep for the colonoscopy and 2 cups of chicken broth and before it was over it ended up being around 40 hours! I got hungry but not enough to really get worked up about. The day before after my fast began I went out with friends while they ate pizza in front of me and it did not phase me! That is the Lord! All those times at work that I turned down food since changing my eating habits paid off!
The time spent at the hospital was around 4 hours. The only time I really came close to freaking out was due to waiting sooo long but more so when they started putting the oxygen mask on me and all the other gadgets. However, I never needed any anxiety medicine! That too was also the Lord!
When the procedure was over and it was all said and done I was told that I was fine. The Dr said they found 1 very large polyup that in 1 1/2 years would have been cancer and that in 3 years I would have been dead. The Dr said Word for word, “I dodged a real bullet!” I have the pictures to prove it! As dumb as I thought I was for doing the home test instead of the colonoscopy it would have been much worse had the home test not existed. In that case I would not have done anything at all so even in my ignorance the Lords hand was upon me!
I can’t help but wonder if I had not changed my eating habits that were probably feeding the poylup and helping it to grow how much worse it might have been. If I had not started going to the gym 8 months ago how much more would it have grown? How much closer to having cancer would I have been? I began changing my diet at the beginning of last year and by December 27 I drastically improved it! My eating habits as well as weight loss may have also played a role in saving my life!
I am saying all of these things because I am urging anyone who reads this to just bite the bullet. Please do not let fear talk you out of doing the colonoscopy instead of the home test when the time comes. I know the home test helped save my life but it cost me more money in the long run. It also caused me a lot of undue misery. My anxiety has really cost me a lot of money and it has also been hard to hold on to my job. 3 things that put someone at risk for colon cancer is reaching 50 years old, diet and not exercising regularly. I urge each of you to take my humble advice! You can slow down the age process but you can make changes!
I have always felt that the Lord has more for me than what I have seen. It took 44 years of a dream to sing on TV to come true but it did. Even earlier on the very morning of my colonoscopy 779,000 people heard my song, Mama’s Grace on the radio. My fabulous 50s started out well with being on TV, Radio, releasing a couple of new songs, being #1 at the gym for the Top 10, Member of the Month for May, and a few other highlights as well! Awesome stuff that I hope to never take for granted!
However, just a few weeks ago as I often do I struggled more than ever with why do I even exist? What is the point? Who would even miss me if I was gone? Yet, I know the Lord’s hand was upon me this week and I take that as a sign He is not finished with me yet! I hope and pray that as I recall this testimony it gives me a whole new perspective in many areas of my life! I hope you will see the Lords hand it as well in a way that inspires and encourages you to not give up and to overcome your fears when it comes to health or any other circumstance that arises. Not doing anything may just end up causing more fear!
Now I most likely will have to have a procedure done on my hand as I found a cyst or something in it a few weeks ago. It is getting hard to open bottles and I notice it when I do other things as well. After this previous experience I am hoping I have a newfound faith that has grown me up more spiritually! I am going that I can and will flex my faith muscles more boldly!
I have revised this article in part to add a backdrop of my past history before accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and to also include more revelation upon what I have already shared. I hope it brings encouragement and hope to those who find themselves facing the same struggles. I have often heard that those who do not have an earthly father or do not have a healthy relationship with their earthy father are also far more likely to have issues with their Heavenly Father. I have questioned this for many years due to the fact that my relationship with my earthly father was not near as adequate as it should have been. I am still not quite sure how to connect many of the dots as of yet because it has already taken most of my lifetime to get to a point to where I am willing to face and explore a past that I had been trying to bury as far back into my sub-conscience as possible. As I come to terms that some of my anxiety is a direct result of an unhealthy relationship with my father I also know there are other root causes as well. A few have already been mentioned in this book.
With that said; I believe my lack of trust in my Heavenly Father stems from the years of not trusting in my earthly father who in much of my recollection seemed to think of himself as more a god over all of his domain rather than the loving and compassionate father a family needs. If I were to compare him to a character in the scriptures the first one that comes to mind would be that of a Pharisee. Looking for the worst in others and not ever really looking in the mirror to see where they might be lacking.
In this day and age there are far more illegitimate children than their were back when I was growing up. True father figures nowadays are found fewer and further between the realm of what the Lord intended. However, no matter what the day and age it’s not really normal for a child of 5 or 6 years old to cry and beg her mom to divorce her dad. Yet, I remember it as though it were yesterday as my mom stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes. I had no idea where I had heard the word divorce from yet I know it was not from my mom as she never spoke a bad word of my dad in my presence. However, it really went without saying. It took her 3 or 4 years to finally get up the nerve to pack up the station wagon to the max and when she picked me up early from school that day I walked out to the car immediately asking, “what was going on?!?!” Very calmly she simply said, “I am leaving your dad.” I could not help but smile and as we approached a payphone where she made a call to him at work to tell him she had left. I think this may have been the first time I ever danced. I remember a smile that I know had to have been from ear to ear. Not that it happened but I can only imagine someone asking me why I was smiling so big and my response being more of an exclaiming with excitement and relief, “My mom is leaving my dad!” Yet that did not happen and once again I repeat, “not normal!” I am quite sure that day was my first taste of what it was like to “feel” free. However, I was not as free as I would have thought as there would still be more to come. Just a side note as to what the true definition of freedom really is. 2nd Corinthians 3:17, ” Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” John 8:36, ” So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We may experience relief from no longer being in unbearable circumstances but as we navigate through life unbearable circumstances by which we feel there is no escape are bound to creep in one way or another and attempt to steel whatever peace and joy we have attempted to muster up whether it be in our natural state or by the Spirit of the Lord.
There is no reason to go into all of the details of how dysfunctional the family life was but there is no doubt this caused me to have a lot of anger , rage and hate at an early age which lingered years into my adulthood. After my mom left my dad it did not occur to me that I would have to go and stay during the summer, every other holiday etc. The only reason I looked forward to the visits was because it was the town I had grown up and played ball in since I was 5, my best friend was there and some family as well. Fortunately I also played ball in the town where I lived with my mom. As I got older my dad started threatening that once I turned 12 he was going to attempt to gain full custody of me. I was not a Christian at the time. I really knew nothing about the Lord except for little songs such as, “Jesus Loves Me.” Yet I really prayed for the first time and I meant business. It was a short prayer which basically was verbatim, “Lord, please let my dad die before I turn 12.” Little did I know my dad had lung cancer at the time. He went into the hospital shortly after I turned 12 and never came out. The day my dad passed away I was outside playing basketball in the driveway with some neighborhood kids. My mom called me in the house to tell me something. She told me my dad had died that morning while I was at school. I remember the exact day only because it was the same day and pretty much same time of morning that the hostages were freed from Iran. After I came back outside my friends asked what my mom wanted, “I said with no emotion whatsoever as though I was just making small talk, “My dad passed away” and then I continued shooting baskets. It never occurred to me until later on in life what they must have been thinking. I don’t recall them saying anything in response to it but I can picture them now probably looking at each other as I carried on my business as usual.
The only tears I cried were when my best friend met me half way between our houses to hug and say, “Goodbye.” I could hardly see Him through the tears as I walked his direction because somehow I knew I would more than likely never see or hear from him again. At the funeral I was sitting next to my sister in law who was in tears. I was looking at her and sitting there wondering what all the tears were for? Could it be she was blind to the man my dad was or did she see a life that was possibly doomed to Hell as I did. To outsiders my dad put on a good front but to the immediate family within the household his true colors was unbearable verbal abuse heaped full of loads of condemnation. Although my sister in law did not live in the household I do believe she along with most other family members saw him for who he really was. However, I believe I saw his downfalls at a much deeper level than possibly anyone. Because once my mom left it was just He and I on his custody awarded visits. It was at this point his inability at being a good father escalated even further out of control. With that being said I have no idea what a normal father and daughter relationship is supposed to look like. I know women who had wonderful relationships with their father and it left them heartbroken. However, I did not have a relationship as such and I do not respond like most people would because I was never programmed to be able to relate. Therefore, I have become desensitized to their pain.
Now as I am well into adulthood and am seeing my earthly father more clearly through the eyes of a Heavenly Father I know that Satan is the ultimate enemy. He came to steel, kill and destroy. One of his agendas is to destroy the family and who better to do it through them the father who is to be the head of the household? I see my father as someone who was miserable and in such a state made everyone else just as miserable as he was. I know there had to be a root cause. Whatever root cause Satan planted in him is only known by my Heavenly Father. It caused chains of all types of bondage to keep me bound in the freedom I so desperately longed for while under the same roof of a tyrant. Yet, my Heavenly Father came to destroy the works of the devil which is sin that goes back to the garden when man fell. He came to break all the curses which began that day by setting the captives free so they may not be entangled again in the yolk of bondage. Therefore, with a His working in and though us to will and to do of his good pleasure we have the freedom to not only be entangled in the bondages we face but in the bondage of others as well. I think of the woman who was caught in the act of adulatory and the Scribes and Pharisees were all ready to stone her. (John 8) Jesus said, “Let he who has no sin among you cast the first stone.” They were in bondage yet Jesus delivered her from that. I guess she could have stayed in bondage after the fact but she chose not to because she finally saw herself in light of the truth.
The other issue at hand is how I struggle with not feeling as though the Lord has forgiven me for past sins. I will not get into specifics as that territory stretches as far as the east is from the west. Although I am not quite sure how to put it all into words at this time I also have no doubt that my issues with not trusting in the Lords forgiveness also stems from my relationship with my earthly father. Perhaps for the most part because it seems I could never do anything right which just came to me as I started typing this paragraph as well as the next line you are about to read. My dad pretty much came out and said one day that “I was not as smart as my 3 brothers.” I never once remember my father telling me, “I love you” although it never occurred to me until later on in life. However, he did buy me pretty much anything and everything I wanted which I think was pretty much a show as his way of proving who the better parent was. I will admit I took full advantage of this and used him for the purpose of what I wanted every chance I got. So when parents say today, “Oh, my child does not realize how they are treating whoever the person in question may be” I can’t help but remember my childhood and remember quite clearly knowing how I nonchalantly worked things out for my good. I was quite clever at seeing through how my dad operated in regard to competing with my mom when it came to attempting to buy me with material goods.
So I write this article because I believe the Lord gave it to me to be encouraged as well as encourage others as I come to the divine revelation that He is far more capable of meeting my needs and to make up for what my earthly father did not provide. It is based on scriptural facts and as you have already read personal experiences as well. These knew revelations of truth have began to help give me great encouragement towards a healing process to produce a hope to fully understand and know that the Lord is my redeemer. He forgives me whether anyone else chooses to forgive me of past shortcomings or not. He sanctifies me. He is the rock of my salvation. He is my Abba Father. Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by who we cry out, Abba Father.”” Psalm 68:5, “A Father of the fatherless.” May what you have already read bless you beyond measure as well as what you are about to read by giving you the insight the Lord desires for you.
To the saints of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Do you want to know how much your Savior loves you? How much you have been forgiven?
You may be struggling with “feelings” of doubt about how such a great and awesome God has possibly forgiven you of your past sins. I am not just talking about sins from since you have become a believer but since before you became one as well. These “feelings” may be causing you to be stagnant in the rivers of His mercy and overflowing grace. Believe what the word says and choose faith today. One of the verses that stands out to me the most in this regard is Romans 8:1, “There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” Cling tightly to Such promises as this even if your faith is just that of a mustard seed.
In Mark Chapter 9 a boy had been in need of healing since childhood. Jesus said to the Father of the boy, “If you can believe, all things are possible to Him Who believes.” The father of the child said, “Lord, I believe help my unbelief,” Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and it came out of the boy and entered him no more!” How is this ultimately possible? It is through the blood of Jesus as so vividly described in Isaiah 53:4-5, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” This must be combined with faith and not by feelings. It can’t be by signs and wonders as described in John 4:48 which says, “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will be no means believe.” If we are given all the signs we desire then there is no basis for faith. And we mustn’t forget Psalm 103:12 which encourages believers to know, “As far as the east is from the west, So far He removed our transgressions from us.”
It seems that quite often in previous months most of my questions go back to Adam and Eve. They actually had the Lord Whom created the Heavens and the earth and the garden itself right there with them. They fell and Romans 3:23 just confirms the fall as it states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” They had to suffer the consequences yet he pursued them just the same. Though we Who are in Christ can shout, “Hallelujah” as 1st Peter 1 19-20 states, ” But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, Who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” And in return we are instructed to respond in such a manner in 2nd Peter 3:14, “Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless, and consider that long suffering of our Lord is salvation.” That means we have no excuse to live by the lusts of the flesh as described in 1st John 2:16-17, “For all that is in the world – the lusts of the flesh, the lusts 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.” Otherwise, “How much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:29 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2nd Corinthians 3:18 In other words we can’t have a relationship with Christ and then go out and live as we please. We must allow Him to work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians) or we are trampling on the blood that Jesus shed on the cross for the remissions of our sins. Therefore it is imperative to have a “Godly sorry that leads to repentance and leaves no regret.” 2nd Corinthians 7:10. As you will read in the following paragraphs scripture backs up that the Lord is forgiving of those who seek such a narrow way.
Ponder upon Matthew 18:12 which says, ““What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?” Jesus is speaking to believers here. Remember Romans 3:23 as to how, “We all fall short of the glory of God.” However, Philippians 2:13 states, “It is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasures.” In the flesh you can do nothing on your own to please the Lord. By walking in the flesh you will naturally fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Allow the Holy Spirit in which you received upon believing to dwell in you richly. Believe you have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and made white as snow. Titus 3:4-7 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace, we should be heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Think about Paul who was once known as Saul in Acts Chapter 8 and how he set out to wreak havoc upon the church by going into every house and dragging off men and women to be thrown into prison. He even gave his seal of approval for the stoning death of Stephen. Yet little did he know (Acts 9) that he would be converted on the Damascus road. He was not the least bit interested in seeking a Savior. In fact he was still breathing out threats and murder to the Lord’s disciples when the Lord touched Him! In Acts 9:4 the Lord asked, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Personally in my own experience I was searching for more but I had know idea what it was until I came to the divine revelation that I needed a Savior. Saul on the other hand was in complete and total rebellion. Don’t get me wrong. I was living in rebellion as well. I still fight against the Lord because I get selfish and I want things my own way. Ephesians 2:1-3, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
It was in the year of 1990 at the age of 20 during the Persian Gulf War which was immediately followed by Desert Storm that I first began my journey in search of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have always been one who has anticipated World War 3 presenting itself right before my eyes and those wars did not help my feelings any. A few seeds as well had recently been planted to steer me in the direction towards the path in which I would choose to follow. I made my first attempts at trying to write songs at the age of 6 although no one was aware of it but me, myself and I. I’m sure had I attempted to make any debuts with any of my unpublished material at that time they would have not made sense to anyone especially when they did not even make any sense to me! It was at 15 when I had began writing poems that things began to fall more into place. Eventually the poems gots longer and songwriting eventually became my main focus. In my late teens I had began making attempts at writing Christian songs. However, I had no idea what it meant to be a Christian. I was somewhat like the Ethiopian In Acts 8:26-38. I had began reading scripture yet I had no idea as to what I was reading. I just knew it was very important. Then not long after that someone began witnessing to me and the light steadily began to overcome the darkness and I asked to be baptized. Although I did not understand what I was reading before as an unbeliever the scales had fallen off my eyes and I now have the hope of 1st John 2:27 which says, “But the anointing which you have received in Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. Now life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are just a glimpse of the numerous benefits I reap through such a divine deliverance. The life is a life that is found in Christ because 2nd Corinthians tells me, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Liberty as proclaimed in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Happiness: Proverbs 16:20, “And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”
After Sauls’ conversion his name was changed to Paul. He later wrote these scriptures as examples of the point in which I am hoping to make clear. Ephesians 2:4-9, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 3:14-21 “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
I can’t help but think that when Paul wrote those verses along with many others that he reflected upon the life in which he had once known and was eternally grateful for the man he was becoming in Christ Jesus because little did he know that some day he would be joyously be walking out his salvation by faith while in fear and much trembling. For walking in a healthy fear of the Lord is the only way to be able to shun and run away from evil.
Many people think that because God is love that we should not fear Him. But to those who think such, I say to you, as a child having an earthly Father. When you did something that you knew would not be pleasing to him did you not become afraid of the consequences in which you might face? Hopefully you had a good earthly Father and you know that it was because he loved you and only wanted what was in your best interest. It is all the more with the Lord of Whom created the Heavens and the earth.
For how little did Saul know of the divine revelation he was about to receive when what seemed to appear out of nowhere was the presence of the great God Almighty Himself. If we only choose to see it in the natural then it is totally beyond belief that this same man would be blessed beyond measure in being able to describe his vision of paradise and how he had been caught up by the Lord into the third heaven. Fortunately for us the Lord does not have tunnel vision as He saw in Saul a mighty warrior who was bold and zealous and how much more so once he was to become enlightened with the truth? The Lords pursuit of His children is so beyond comprehension yet defined in 2nd Timothy 1:8-9 as such, “for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” It is timeless!
The Lord touched Saul even while still dead in his trespasses. Now to those of you Who already believe, don’t put the the Lord and all of His divine attributes in a box where they have no room to work in your life as he did in the life of Paul. “For it is in Him that we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28 Fix your eyes upon Jesus and trust in a great big God to do great big things in your life as you yield to Him. Allow His presence to dwell in you so that others will see the same love of a Holy Father while in your presence.
So I ask once again, “Do you know how much your Savior loves you?” In my pondering and my quest for answers I have wonderful news to those of us who are in Christ. Romans 8:28-29, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” 1st Peter 2:9, ” But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Now in return we are to, “Let our light shine, that the world may see our good works and glorify our Father Who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and the joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:16
I have seen first hand the Lord graciously fulfill the promise of Psalm 68:6, “God sets the solitary in families.” My best friend and her extended family on her and her husbands side have taken me in for over 20 solid years. He has also given me 5 people in my life who confirm things to me that the Lord wants to get through my thick skull. They speak words of life and encouragement to me that have helped revive and breathe life into my soul.
Your Father in heaven loves you. He sent His one and only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in a Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Embrace it! Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2nd Peter 3:9
Did you know that you could be shipwrecked and your footsteps still be ordered of the Lord? Paul mentions in 2nd Corinthians 11:25 how he had been shipwrecked not once but three times. Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord.” Paul knew Colossians 1:17 and how, “Christ is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” So if he put the Lord first then everything would fall into place to the glory of the Lord. This knowledge sent him on a tumultuous obstacle course of unforeseen dangers.
However it was through living out such a bold and unwavering faith that Paul was given the great honor of being instructed by the Lord with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to write 13 books of the New Testamant. Paul was obviously highly favored which tells me he was a good man. Yet not only was he shipwrecked the scripture also tells us in that same passage how he had been beaten three times with rods, stoned once, in perils with robbers, his own countrymen, in hunger and thirst and so on.
You see Paul was able to write so many books because he had lived it. For he says in Romans 5:1-5 where he speaks of how we are justified by faith. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint us, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.” He also recognized and acknowledged in Romans 8:34-35, “It is Christ Who died, and furthermore is also risen, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Verse 37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” As Jesus declared while upon the cross in John 19:30, “It is finished!”
I wonder what Paul did while he was shipwrecked and I can’t help but think about when he and Silas were in jail and how they sang praises to the Lord and the prison doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. Who in their right mind sings praises to the Lord while in jail?!?! Someone who is free in Christ!!! And because they were free the evidence poured out in the natural realm as the keeper of the prison saw these things and was amazed!! The keeper fell down before Paul and Silas with fear and trembling asking them what he must do to be saved. You see, in the natural the keeper appeared to be free when in reality he was the one in bondage. I can’t help but think that while Paul was shipwrecked he prayed, gave thanks and glory to God and may have even worshipped Him in song.
Then I think about the songs the Lord has blessed me with and so I sing in hopes that every step along the narrow way that He is delivering me from things such as anxiety, fear of man, loneliness and so on. It is my hope that He all the more uses the songs I sing to set multitudes of captives free as they receive the hope and encouragement such as I have and continue to. As I sing I pray that the world sees the shackles of despair falling from my flesh such as in the manner of the keeper of the prison seeing the prison doors open and the chains loosened.
Once again; Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” All things hold together even when it seems they may be falling apart. Paul was shipwrecked but he was being changed from glory to glory. 2nd Corinthians 3:7-18 Job lost an entire family yet he was blessed more in the end than the beginning. Job 42:12-17
In Matthew 3:17 as soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God, descending like a dove and resting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased!!!” Yet later on down the line the Lord allowed Jesus to be beaten beyond recognition and left hanging on a cross to die. The One Who was without sin among all men of Whom had ever walked upon the face of the earth. How can this be so? It does not seem fair!!
Mark 13:13 says, “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved!” By enduring to the end we become a living testimony as to the glory of the Lord in Who He is and how He proves himself to be faithful. When our steps are ordered by the Lord then He can become the Author and Finisher or our Faith. All the pain and suffering of this life are temporary yet in Revelation 21 we are told the Lord makes all things new. There will be no more tears, no more sorrow and no more death. We can believe this because the tomb is empty! Death was defeated at the cross!
When a mother has a healthy delivery the baby comes out completely oblivious to how it left the womb and ended up in its mothers arms. Those Who are children of the Lord Who created the Heavens and the earth will pass from death to life and it will be far more glorious than when those who appeared out of the womb without complications to elated parents. We will be with the Father and with Jesus Who is preparing a place for us at this time. Just as a parent gets the babies room ready upon anticipation of its arrival.
The Father pursues us just by causing the sun to set upon us and by waking us up each day. We are to seek Him while He may be found. The only wise choice is to accept the sacrifice of His one and Only begotten Son and be washed in the blood of the Lamb that we also shall become righteous. The moment someone accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior they have taken their first step!
Jennifer Sides 11/9/06
Do you remember when I called you? Oh, how I fondly remember the day that you and I along with the others went to the mountain. I prayed throughout the night and after daylight settled in I gathered you together to Myself and chose twelve of you to be My disciples. That was just at the beginning of our lifelong relationship. Although; ironically; the end of our lives has left us in two totally different realms.
I know what you are contemplating and the eternal destiny you have chosen as your own. As I hang here about to be crucified and you hang there in the balance of your fate; I wish it were not to late to ask My Father in heaven to forgive you as I am now asking him to forgive the others who put Me here. You see, I loved you. I would have died for you had you only followed Me home to the place I will be preparing.
Do you remember how soon after I chose you we all walked down the mountain together and met the multitudes who were sick and tormented with unclean spirits? My Father performed many miracles through Me that day. You saw them with your very own eyes. He even allowed Me to give you His power from on high to perform many miracles as well and all the more greater. You walked with Me for many days afterwards participating in the midst of My Fathers’ plan. You were given special privileges beyond your own recognition. You were entrusted to play a part in the most incredible journey of all time. Oh, how I longed for your heart to be made pure and holy. You played the part well but you never totally surrendered to the call.
I gave a message that day as I began speaking of the beatitudes. Do you remember how I looked at you and the other disciples just before I began? My eyes were filled with such compassion as I began to prepare your hearts for a new life. It saddens Me to know that the woes I pronounced were what you chose to become. Woe to you Judas for you were the one who became rich and received no consolation! There was a way of escape! You could have become poor so that you would have inherited the kingdom of heaven! Don’t you remember me saying that? I said those very words to each and every one of you who were on that mountain! Oh, how I hope they realize what you did not. I hope they understand it deep inside their souls that many are called, but few are chosen. You see, he who endures till the end shall be saved. If only you had repented and turned from your evil ways!
The very heart of my message came next. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. You used Me, Judas. You used Me to become something that you now realize you could not be. You were wise in your own eyes only to become a fool. You partook of My affections for you and the love that I freely give. You stayed around until you thought you did not need Me anymore. I wish you would have realized that I am all you ever really needed. I am more than enough! You became a partaker of the Holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God among the thorns and in doing so you fell away and it became impossible for you to be renewed again by repentance being that My Father gave you over to a depraved mind.
You walked along side of the disciples and Myself daily in what could have been sweet fellowship. We had so many things to rejoice over like the time the multitude of five thousand were fed with only five loaves of bread and two fish. They were even full from such a wonderful feast with plenty of food left over! You even saw a little girl who was brought back to life. Boy, were her parents ever so grateful! You saw a man blind from birth receive his sight but you refused to see and understand with the spiritual insight that I so desperately wanted you to receive. Yet, this man believed and received Me immediately.
I even remember (although I was asleep at first) how you were afraid for your life when we were in the boat and the storm came. Though now; for some reason you have chosen to take that life you were so afraid for. Yes, had you not chosen this way out you would still be on the road that leads to destruction. You were committing spiritual suicide from the darkness that was in your heart. I feared for you and longed for you to seek My Fathers’ will. In the midst of so many miracles you allowed your cares for this world to be the god of your desires.
One thing I really find heart wrenching is that you deceived yourself because you were hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. You felt you had no need for fellowship with me or the brethren and therefore you departed from the one true living God with an evil heart of unbelief. I wish you had received our encouragement and prayers. You were so caught up with the cares of this world and what it has to offer. Judas, you can’t take those things with you when you go. I know you know that now. There will be many riches in the kingdom of heaven. There is even a mansion I invited you to share with Me and I would have gladly welcomed you with the open arms I had for you down here on earth.
You said you believed in Me and you even traveled many a journey along side of Myself and the disciples. Did you not know that even the demons believe and tremble? Think of all the precious moments you spent with the other disciples getting to know them yet they never really knew you. It pains Me to say that My Father never knew you as well. We even allowed you to handle the money box in your own privacy and you stole from it whenever you felt the need. That money was for the poor. What is even more troublesome is that your soul was poorer than those who had no material possessions.
You were a counterfeit parading around as a false witness on My behalf. You were a blind guide imitating the Pharisees while being full of extortion and self-indulgence. Many unbelievers choose people who behave as you have to be one of their many excuses for why they deny the faith and want no part of Me. You could have become a stumbling block to My little ones but fortunately I can say that your false testimony has not harmed them. They were so busy examining their own hearts and wondering about their own loyalty to Me. You know how Peter is. He can be so weak at times; like the day when he got out of the boat and was walking over to Me on the water. He could have drowned when he took his eyes off of Me. Yet, he still had enough faith to call out to Me to save Him. Many people who are walking in the dark such as you were will claim to know Me in the days that lie ahead. They will cause My little ones to stumble and fall away like a leaf blowing off a tree in the wind never to return.
The very last time that you saw Me before that kiss of betrayal supper had just ended and it was right before The Feast of Passover. By that time you had already allowed Satan to overtake your soul. You walked out as John was leaning on my bosom. I did not wash your feet because you had no part of Me. You were only concerned about being clean on the outside. How could you have not seen the love that I have for such a lost and dying world? After all; they are who I am here for now. They are who I will rise again for in three days. They are who I will come back for with the angels when My Father sends Me.
Instead of greeting Me with a holy kiss you used what My Father made for good and broke My greatest commandment. You not only betrayed Me but you betrayed the disciples with whom you spent so much valuable time breaking bread with. They loved you as well. They prayed for you and would have laid down their lives for you just as I am now laying My life down for all of those who choose to follow Me. Matthias will pick up where you left off in the ministry. When I call someone to do the Fathers’ will I always make a way for it to come to pass. I will always raise up another willing vessel to be used for My glory.
Judas, I have to be going. There are others here who wish to betray Me. They are mocking Me now. They are saying and doing horrible things. Though it is not with a kiss it hurts just the same. I sure hope that My Father forgives them before it is to late. At one time the world did not have your bad example to use as a guide on how not to live. I know there will be some who will heed that warning. Unfortunately; there will be many more just like you. There are a few of My followers here. It is so good to know that they love Me enough to come and witness what is taking place. I can already picture some of their faces when they see Me standing before them in a few days. Especially when Thomas sees My scars! He will have no doubt that I am alive!
With all of My life’s blood,
To the reader: Do you remember when you were called? Do you remember that moment of truth where you made the most important decision with your heart for your soul? Since then do you find that you have been betraying Jesus? If you are betraying him or someone else (even if it is an enemy) the bottom line is that you are betraying the very one you say you are living for. Not only are we supposed to live for him we are supposed to die for him if it ever really comes down to it. Jesus said, if you love me you will keep my commandments. The first being to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength. The second being to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said, no greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends. That is what he did for you.
Are you walking in His truth? This is how you can know and shall assure your heart before Him. If your heart does not condemn you, you can have confidence towards God. And whatever you ask you receive from Him, because you keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. He who does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk as he walked.
Are you worshiping Him? I do not mean with music. I mean with your lifestyle. You can worship Him all day with music but if you are not worshiping Him in the way that you live you are not worshiping. It is all just lip service. Romans 1:24-25 says, “Therefore God gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshiped the creature rather than the Creator.” Now it says here that the creature (who is Satan) can be worshiped. I do not literally and personally ever see me singing to Satan. What it is describing here is how they worship by the way they are living their lives. How do you live yours?
Are you glorifying God? Isaiah 43:7 says, “that those who have been called have been called for the glory of God.” 1st Corinthians 10:31 says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Now if you choose to follow Jesus – Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Those good works would be by faith in Jesus Christ. They will be because you believe that He died on the cross for your sins and that His shed blood was payment in full for those sins. Once you have confessed them and repented He forgets them as far as the east is from the west. If you remember them it is because Satan is trying to make you feel condemned and wants you to remember your past. Just remind him of his future in the bottomless pit.
Do not be so caught up with the cares of this world that you let them choke the life out of you. Friendship with the world is enmity with God! Do you want to be a true friend of God and fulfill the calling He has for your life? This is what a friend is and it was modeled for us by Abraham in Genesis 22:1-19. This example was also verified as well in James 2:14-24. Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourself; do what it says! Do not get caught up in the Judas mode and be turned away at the throne of judgment because the Lord told you he never knew you. You started the race well. Now is the time to endure till the end and finish it! Let God write your story by being the author and finisher of your faith.
Are you lukewarm? Do you think that you are in need of nothing? Do you not realize that without God Almighty as Lord of your life you are nothing and do nothing on your own? He is where your very breath comes from. The one Who is the great landscaper of the entire universe! Without Him to make you whole you are the very thing that he hopes you will be in the beatitudes which is blessed for seeing the spiritual condition you are in. 1st Corinthians 10:12 warns us about being careful not to think we stand firm because we could easily fall!
If you are in any of these categories He has not had you read this far for no reason. He is calling you to make a choice. The time is now to come as you are. It is because you see the condition of your heart and soul in desperate need of a major lifesaving, soul saving operation. There may not be a tomorrow. If you feel Him drawing you near. He wants you to ask Him into your heart and forgive you of your sins. He wants to forgive you of all the things you have done that do not glorify Him.
Now that you have asked Him to be Lord of your life He wants you to live every moment of your life to glorify and worship Him. That means to live your life giving Him praise in all circumstances and telling others about what he has done in your life. Revelation 12:11 says,”And they overcame Him by the blood of the Lamb (being Jesus) and the word of their testimony.” (which is telling and living by example the new life that He has created in you) You are now a disciple and what a disciple does is go out and tell every one they can about Jesus. By doing so you are snatching sinners out of the fire that you have just been snatched out of.
After Jesus had risen He appeared before the 11 disciples and took them to Galilee up into the mountain which He had appointed for them. He spoke to them saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” AMEN
Then in Acts 2:4 as the disciples began to witness about Jesus the church began to grow in number with 3,000 more disciples added the first day. This has been recorded as one of the many examples for how we are to live as we follow Christ. In that day and age so far on average every 1 out of 12 disciples fell away. That would mean that possibly 251 disciples fell away never to repent and turn from their ways. If you are a disciple; which category do you fit in?
Now a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. Just remember that the Lord works in you and through you to will and to do of His good pleasure. You have to trust the Lord and ask Him for guidance as He leads you on this new journey.
As you walk this walk of faith remember to daily examine yourself as we are instructed to do in 1st Corinthians 13:5-6. Remember to study the scriptures to make you wise so that you can receive salvation through faith as we are instructed to do in 2nd Timothy 3:15.
May you have peace through a clear conscience as you seek first the Lord and His will with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength!
As many of you know I posted all of my concerns very openly about Obama during his Presidency. Now we have Trump in office. This most recent election as in elections past I have felt that the choices were pretty slim pickings. I prefer Trump over Obama but in my humble opinion I hate the thought that this country can’t do any better. I do not think we have had a decent President since Reagan and can we please pretend that Jimmy Carter was never in the lineup? However, it is inevitable that whoever holds the position is going to fail and will never please everyone. So whatever our issue is with any President as long as they are President we must suck it up. That does not mean we can’t have an opinion and unfortunately when there are opinions there are vain arguments and much disrespect. I just hope that whatever my opinion in the future I can avoid arguments and be respectful.
However, as I so stated in the opening paragraph and hope to illustrate all the more clearly is that whoever is in office will fail and will never please everyone all the time. With that said, I refer to 1 Samuel Chapters 8 & 9. The Lord was the King over Israel yet He was rejected by the people. The Israelites instead decided to choose a man (Samuel) over God. Why? How on earth could this be? After all, it was the Lord through Moses in Exodus 14 Who had parted the Red Sea and rescued the Israelites from the Egyptians. They had tasted and seen that the Lord was good first hand. Yet man is fallen and has been since the day Adam was sent out of the garden. If the Lord Who is perfect is not good enough then no one will satisfy. We fail ourselves and yet we expect others to uphold our standards. When we do not get what we want from the Lord we step outside of His will and take what we want despite the consequences and then whine later because of them. So here we are today and we see history repeating itself as we say, “God Bless America.”
If you want to see the grace of the Lord in full swing among leaders then there is no greater leader to my knowledge to refer to than King David. In 2nd Samuel 11 he committed adultery and murder. Ironically in Acts 13:22 it is said that the Lord declared David a man after His own heart. How could it be since he had failed so miserably? I would have to say from my own experience and reading the accounts of David that he learned from his mistakes and was cultivating the Godly sorrow described in 2nd Corinthians 7:10 that brings about repentance. I on the other hand keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again and stay in a pit of despair. David was such a fallen man yet He wrote the Psalms which I refer to on much occasion for either comfort or in hopes to be inspired to write a song. The testimony of his life and his contributions in the scriptures are a result of the Lord working in and through Him to will and to do of His good pleasure as a declaration to reveal the glory of the Lord.
We are very fortunate that we do not have Presidents in office until the day they die or are ran out of office while there is rioting in the streets. And there are many people who are still alive today who saw the affects of Hitler and his Nazi regime. The genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews among millions of others whom were deemed (sub-humans) or socially undesirable plagued Germany under the leadership of Hitler’s and the Nazi regime. Hitler was doing only what was right in His own eyes. However, pride comes before the fall and ironically enough in the end he feared being captured just as he had captured countless people. As he was being hunted down by the Soviet Red Army he committed suicide. And I personally for one feel very fortunate to not have been born in North Korea where there is a raving lunatic who just can’t seem to shake the thought process of starting World War 3 if given the opportunity.
Paul (although not a leader) who was once known as Saul before his conversion on the road to Damascus was at one time what I would consider a Hitler type figure. In Acts 7 & 8 I Saul was consenting to the stoning death of Stephen and was wreaking havoc upon the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. However unlike Hitler, Paul came to a knowledge of the truth. Paul was chosen in Acts Chapter 9. Now I do not know the spirituality of Hitler other than his hatred for the Jews but Romans 1:20 states that, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. professing to be wise, they became fools.” In Acts 17 Paul arrived to minister to the brethren in Berea. The Bereans were very skeptical because they knew of his past as Saul and not only that they were wise. Wise enough to search the scriptures to see if what Paul preached was truth because they knew man was fallen and that there are wolves in sheep clothing. Another mind blowing illustration of the Lords grace at work is the story I just referred to. The Lord did not stop there as He through the Hold Spirit gave Paul 13 New Testament books to encourage and inspire the saints throughout the ages.
Although here in the land of the free and the home of the brave we still have the right to “Freedom of Speech” but be prepared to pay the price by being openly attacked in one way or another as the odds are at an all time high. Always in season and out of season know what you believe and why you believe it and be prepared to back it up. You may have to pay the consequences as many so called friendships and separations of families fall apart while the love of the world is waxing cold in the hands of an enemy who breeds division. Yet fortunately as I reside in this country known as a great superpower I am comforted to know we are not one of the 52 countries that declare the Bible as illegal. I don’t have to watch my back to make sure I am not being followed in route to meet my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ underground in order to worship the Lord together.
The most powerful illustration in scripture of fallen leaders can be found in Luke chapter 23 when Jesus was sent to the Roman Ruler Pontious Pilate. A multitude of people brought Jesus to him with false accusations in hopes that He would be executed. As I mentioned and desire to make clear is that Pontious Pilate was a ruler. He failed miserably as a leader because he passed the buck to Herod who was responsible for Galilee. Herod treated Jesus with cruelty by mocking Him along with the multitude and then placed a robe on Him which symbolized the mocking. Now, here we have yet another ruler who has failed miserable. Jesus was the Only One Who was without sin yet He was treated as though He had committed horrible crimes. So much so that also in Luke Chapter 23 the people chose a murderer the be freed over Jesus. Now I realize that it was prophesied that those events would happen but Pontious Pilate and Herod both made choices that neither one of them had to. If it had not been them it would have been others.
Here’s the thing……although rulers come and go and no matter how good or bad their acceptance rating is society as a whole which equally includes any leader will continue its vicious cycle until the Lord returns. Even though the Israelites rejected the Lord as King in 1 Samuel 8 & 9 and had Jesus crucified in Luke 23 there is hope! The Lord is on the throne. With every fallen leader in scripture the bad turned into good and the truth prevailed! The greatest triumph was when Jesus arose on the third day! Now as we wait Jesus prepares a place for us until the Lord returns from the clouds to set His foot on the Mount of Olives and everyone will see. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and the people who have placed their hope and trust in Him will be satisfied. Revelation Chapter 21 All things will be made new! There will be no more tears, no more pain nor death! And we shall see a land like no other!
In Genesis Chapter 6 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of his heart was only evil continually. He was grieved in His heart. He was going to destroy all that He had made but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. If the Lord were to consider destroying the earth today due to the evilness that abounds Who would He find favor with? Would He choose you? Would He choose Obama or Trump? As John 8:7 says, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” If man were perfect in and of himself then there would be no need for the Lord. Do not put your hope in man! Trust in the Lord and you will not be disappointed even when you have evil rulers. There are stories in the Bible (It is not fiction!) of cruel leaders but those who were of the Lord submitted to their authority and what seemed to be doom was only temporary and became beautiful testimonies of the Lords faithfulness ! Not to mention we are instructed to submit to governing authorities in Romans Chapter 13 unless of course it goes against scripture. For example, in Daniel Chapter 3 King Nebuchadnezzar set up an image of himself made of gold and sent words for all in the province of Babylon to come and worship the image. However, Shadrach, Meshach and Aded-Nego would not worship the false god because they worshipped the One and Only true God. Nebuchadnezzar ordered they be cast into an exceedingly hot fiery furnace. Yet instead of being burnt to a crisp the servants the Most High God were not affected the fire had no power over their bodies nor was a hair on their head was singed, and neither were their garments affected as the King saw a fourth man in the fire. The Lord had sent an angel in their midst in a form that was like the Son of God. It is in the next Chapter King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the Lord and gave Him praise.
Here is a final thought. Instead of focusing so much on the leaders of our country maybe our focus and energy should be spent in discerning their character as they can be all the more tainted and toxic. For the most past we know what we are getting with leaders of countries. In my humble opinion spiritual leaders have a far greater standard to uphold and are more likely to be discrete in their fallen nature. We must be discerning at all cost. Encourage our spiritual leaders when they fall as we are to also do among the brethren. However, when the error of his ways go without regard to live as Christ seek the nearest exit. We must allow the armor of the Lord to exercise its benefits in all fullness of glory as we live out this faith with fear and much trembling.