THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE IS….

Spiritual Blog - Love v Fear

1 John 4:18-19 – “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.”  NKJV

Many times I’ve been told that the opposite of LOVE is HATE but the more I study the Bible the more convinced that it is FEAR not HATE that is love’s opposite.  When I review passages such as 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” I become more convinced of this possibility.

Hate is an ‘emotional response’ to a stimulus whereas love is far more than an ‘emotional response’ although emotion may be a part of it.  Love is a ‘condition of heart’ whereas hate is a ‘reaction’.  Hate is a byproduct and love is a product.  Fear is that antithesis of LOVE because it completely turns the heart away from God who is Love.  It causes a paralysis of faith and according to John a person that is made perfect in love does not fear or one who fears is not made perfect in love.  He tells us that there is no fear in love whereas in hate that can exist in a heart of love although it will ultimately taint it whereas fear will destroy it.  Paul tells Timothy that there is a ‘Spirit of Fear’ which is opposite of the ‘Spirit of Power, Love, and Soundness of Mind.’

We are repeatedly warned about hatred but there is a heavy emphasis on dispelling fear even more than hate.  I believe that if we dispel fear we will give love a place to grow and as love grows hate cannot find fertile ground in which to grow.  If we allow fear to dominate it will drive out love and open the door for hatred, bitterness, strife, envy, and every evil thing. It is the impossibility of a heart to live in fear and love at the same time that conditions my belief on this matter.  I am not talking about what the Bible speaks of as ‘reverential fear of God’ but of TORMENT that challenges the very existence of God, Good, and Biblical Reality.  Fear imprisons like almost nothing else known to mankind.

I do not question the powerfulness and vileness of hate but I know firsthand and have observed the completely dominating power of fear!  Hebrews 2 advises us that the ‘fear of death’ places lives in perpetual bondage whereas the love of God causes to look at death as mere sleep in the Lord.  One brings peace the other torment.

If you are a ‘fearful’ person then I urge you to call to God and allow the Holy Spirit to shed the Love of God abroad in your heart so that ‘fear’ is completely banished.  Allow the Holy Spirit to give you the “Spirit of Love, Peace, Power, and Soundness of Mind.”  Allow God to enable you to LIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY!

            May God bless you as you go through your day!

 

REASONABLE SERVICE???

Spiritual Blog - Living Sacrifices

Romans 12:1-2 – “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” NASU

             The New American Standard Updated Version renders this ‘spiritual service of worship’.  The KJV and NKJV – – ‘reasonable service.’  I believe both are correct in the translation of the verbiage and applicable.

The idea presented by the apostle Paul is that we PRESENT to God our bodies or these temples of clay that house our spirits as LIVING and HOLY sacrifices of service.  We are also instructed to reject CONFORMATION with the world and receive TRANSFORMATION by ‘renewing of our minds’ and thereby prove or demonstrate the WILL OF GOD for our lives in our present world.

If we are to fulfill what we call THE GREAT COMMISSION, and we are!  If we to take the Gospel message to the world and we are!  If we as living stones in the Body of Christ are to be ‘fitly framed’ into a Spiritual House for God’ service and purposes, and we are!  THEN,  it is imperative that we seek to experience Paul’s instructions as practical and daily realities in our lives.  We are told in Scripture that ‘we are not our own but have been bought with a price’ thus identifying that we belong to God and His purpose, will, and desire is to be paramount in our lives.

When we present these temples of clay to the Lord we are to be mindful that defiling these temples is not an acceptable option.  We are to be mindful that while, as Paul declared, bodily exercise profits little he did not say it profited nothing and seeking to be fit and healthy should be a reasonable objective physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  We need to be whole to be the best we can be for the Kingdom of God.

I am not a ‘fitness freak’ so don’t think that this is my focus but I have learned after years of neglect and lack of discipline that when I discipline my physical body I am better able to walk in spiritual discipline.  I have made a lifestyle choice that includes a desire and effort to walk in health.  Yes, I still battle sickness from time to time but my desire and effort are to present God with the best temple of clay I can give Him and expect Him to develop in me the best spiritual man that can be viewed from this temple.  I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.  I have not arrived but see the goal and I am looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.  I want what the angels declared in the field to the shepherds the night of Jesus’ birth – – “Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men.”

            May God be with you as you go through your day!

THINK ABOUT WHAT WE BELIEVE….

Spiritual Blog - Words of God

John 17:17 – “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” NASU

Psalm 119:160 – “The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.”  NASU

A number of years ago I had a dear child of God declare to me, “Jesus said it, I believe it, and that makes it so.”  I did not challenge the individual at that time but have thought about that statement many times through the years.  Is something TRUE because Jesus said it and/or because we believe it?  I would contend that a word is not TRUE because God says it but that God says it because it is TRUE!  I would qualify that by saying, God would NEVER say it if it were not true!  I am not trying to split hairs but I would also contend that just because we believe something has little to do with its veracity.  Many people have and do believe things that are quite wrong so that statement of this person may give us comfort but it is erroneous in its beginning and therefore would end up in an erroneous destination.

The Bible tells us to be people capable of giving ‘reason’ for the Hope that is within us and to be able to do so with calmness, reason, and do so grounded in truth.  Jesus’ declaration to the Father that YOUR WORD IS TRUTH is a basis and foundation for us.  Paul instructed Timothy to ‘rightly handle the Word of Truth’ in his ministry and life.  When we conclude that God’s Word is TRUTH then we have a foundation that is unshakable to build our lives and faith upon.  It is not just because something is in the Bible that we depend on but we depend on the truth that it is in the Bible because it is TRUTH that we anchor our hope and faith upon.

I have complete confidence in God and His Word and believe that God only speaks what is TRUE.  I realize that some will say that I’m splitting hairs here and maybe so but in dealing with unbelievers, atheist, and agnostics my approach has had more impact on them than the declaration that I was told years ago.  When I approach it from the point of fact that God only speaks what is RIGHT and TRUE there has been a greater openness to my argument than when I simply declare IT IS IN THE BIBLE.  If a person does not believe the Bible, to begin with, that declaration has little value but when you begin to present your argument using factual, scientific reason that what God has said is TRUE and then rise to the point that God only speaks what IS TRUE there is more ground to reason with them.

In fact, when I came to this way of thinking my faith grew stronger and my confidence in God became more pronounced.  I have found that it has helped in some incredibly difficult time and times when everything around me was designed and directed at shipwrecking my confidence in God.  The foundational conviction that God ONLY SPEAKS WHAT IS TRUE has provided me a foundational rock that the events of life could not shake.

Maybe this helps you and if it does wonderful.  I only ask that you consider this point of view as you face the many events of life and as you reach out to those who do not believe.  May God be with you as you go through your day!

THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS…..

Spiritual Blog - Day After

Hebrews 13:15-16 – “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  NASU

Each year on Christmas Day it has been my heart’s desire and practice to set aside some time to reflect on God’s Gift to mankind and His goodness to me and my family during the course of the year.  I’ve had numerous ask me to participate in a specific time to pause all festivities and engage in a time of Thanksgiving and Praise to the Lord on this special day.  All that is good and worthy of involvement and consideration yet I have one more thing to suggest.

On this day, the Day after Christmas called ‘Boxing Day’ in many parts of the world and celebrated in various forms many include giving to the poor and needy.  I would suggest that after you have opened all your presents, enjoyed the festivities with family and/or friends that you take a moment to evaluate your own blessings and determine to share something with those less fortunate.  I hope that you have already done this prior to Christmas Day but if you have not then I would encourage you to give consideration to an endeavor that the Bible makes clear is pleasing to God and something that He routinely blesses – – Giving to the Needy. 

Maybe you received something that you simply do not need and rather than return or exchange it for something for yourself consider taking it or the refund for it and doing something for those who did not have the wherewithal to celebrate this day with gifts for their children or family.  Maybe they need food, clothing, or shelter and your contribution regardless of how small would make a meaningful difference in their lives today.  Maybe you simply do not know of anyone in that condition or situation but I would suggest that your church does some of the local charities that are worthy and honorable do or maybe friends, family, or neighbors do.  Ask and you just might be surprised how near to your physical local the needy are.

I am not trying to shame you into doing something but simply suggest that you count your blessings and then consider the possibility of giving a blessing to someone who is not as fortunate or blessed as you today.  I believe that it will prove to be an excellent catalyst into the coming year and propel you to even greater heights in your spiritual journey and may even be a significant factor in your financial development in the coming year.

Jesus said that we would have the poor with us always so we are not going to stamp out poverty and need but we can be aware of it and minister to it when it is revealed to us and within our ability to do so.

            May God bless you and provide you with a joyous and happy New Year!

THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS…..

Spiritual Blog - Day After

Hebrews 13:15-16 – “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  NASU

             Each year on Christmas Day it has been my heart’s desire and practice to set aside some time to reflect on God’s Gift to mankind and His goodness to me and my family during the course of the year.  I’ve had numerous ask me to participate in a specific time to pause all festivities and engage in a time of Thanksgiving and Praise to the Lord on this special day.  All that is good and worthy of involvement and consideration yet I have one more thing to suggest.

On this day, the Day after Christmas called ‘Boxing Day’ in many parts of the world and celebrated in various forms, many include giving to the poor and needy.  I would suggest that after you have opened all your presents, enjoyed the festivities with family and/or friends that you take a moment to evaluate your own blessings and determine to share something with those less fortunate.  I hope that you have already done this prior to Christmas Day but if you have not then I would encourage you to give consideration to an endeavor that the Bible makes clear is pleasing to God and something that He routinely blesses – – Giving to the Needy. 

Maybe you received something that you simply do not need and rather than return or exchange it for something for yourself consider taking it or the refund for it and doing something for those who did not have the wherewithal to celebrate this day with gifts for their children or family.  Maybe they need food, clothing, or shelter and your contribution regardless of how small would make a meaningful difference in their lives today.  Maybe you simply do not know of anyone in that condition or situation but I would suggest that your church does and some of the local charities that are worthy and honorable do or maybe friends, family, or neighbors do.  Ask and you just might be surprised how near to your physical local the needy are.

I am not trying to shame you into doing something but simply suggesting that you count your blessings and then consider the possibility of giving a blessing to someone who is not as fortunate or blessed as you today.  I believe that it will prove to be an excellent catalyst into the coming year and propel you to even greater heights in your spiritual journey and may even be a significant factor in your financial development in the coming year.

Jesus said that we would have the poor with us always so we are not going to stamp out poverty and need but we can be aware of it and minister to it when it is revealed to us and within our ability to do so.

            May God bless you and provide you with a joyous and happy New Year!

Twilight and Midnight Christmas

Spiritual Blog - Poem

When we are young and life is like a flowering tree

We think only of the moment, what’s in it for me.

Christmas is a time of anticipation,

Youthful joy and expectation.

What will we get?  What can we do?

It’s all about me and little about you.

Then in our teens, those rebellious years

We bring to our parents both joy and tears.

Christmas is a time of anticipation

Youthful joy and expectation.

Why can’t I go off with my friends and see

What this world can offer me?

Then as young adults with children of our own

We now are parents and the worries to us belong.

Christmas is a time of our children’s anticipation

Waiting to see if we fulfilled their expectation.

If you fail, this will you hear, “But I wanted the latest and hottest fad

I didn’t get it now I am mad.”

Then come the twilight tears

You are alone to face all your fears.

Children and grandchildren now grown, with families of their own

It’s Christmas and you are alone.

Forgotten it seems with no one to share

Life’s little joys for no one to care.

Remember this in your Christmas of Twilight

As you turn inward and are filled with the darkness of night.

It’s not the specific day that makes is so dear

It’s not even the time of the year.

It’s that your family has set one day aside

To join you and celebrate there by your side.

 

©  Roy Beaird 1999

 

 

As you celebrate Christmas Day I urge you to remember the reason for the season and rejoice in the Gift of God to mankind in the Birth of Jesus Christ.  I urge you to remember His life and His sacrificial death on the Cross for you and me.  I urge you to remember His resurrection, ascension to the Throne of God, and His promise to return.   Remember Jesus…. Remember Christ this Christmas and allow the Joy of the Lord to flood your heart much as the Shepherds on the night of the Angelic Proclamation while they were tending flocks in the field.

God bless you and may you have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a splendidly HAPPY NEW YEAR!

MERRY CHRISTMAS in the Year of our Lord 2017…

SPIRITUAL BLOG - Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  In today’s politically correct world of supposed tolerance, it has been deemed inappropriate by many to say, “Merry Christmas”.  That greeting has been replaced with “Happy Holidays” but I resist that demand, although I am perfectly comfortable with wishing you a Happy Holiday I am not focused on man but God in my greeting.  When I refer to Christmas I am not viewing it through the natural eye but in a spiritual connotation.

What is Christmas?  It is not simply a date on the calendar.  It is not simply a time of giving and receiving gifts.  It is not simply a time of festivities, parties, and celebrations.  It is more, much more!  Some, even myself, have suggested that Christmas is an expression of the Greatest Gift ever given, but I have amended my view on that a bit to become more inclusive of all that God has done!  The birth of Jesus the Lamb of God, the Sacrifice for Sin, the Savior of man was the beginning of a process and series of events that would lead to the Door of Salvation being opened for whosoever will.  Not one of the steps in the process can be eliminated and the Full Salvation for mankind culminated in the Ascension of Jesus to the Right Hand of the Throne of God and will be completed when He returns for His bride.  He was born, lived a sinless life, died a ransom for many, rose from the dead, and is now ascended to heaven.  His birth, life, and death were parts for the Gift and each a reason for celebration, thanksgiving, and praise.

I’ve had people tell me “Christmas is for kids” and that is a wonderful thought as far as it goes, but is Christmas really for kids?  If we make it so, we transform the event and reason for celebration from focusing on the Christ Child, the Savior of the World, born in Bethlehem that eventful night and make it about personal gratification and satisfaction.  I love watching children open presents and see the smiles on their faces, and their eyes dance with glee.  It is heartwarming but is that what we should be teaching the children about the meaning of this day?  No, I am not trying to be a Grinch and ban Christmas or the exchange of presents and gifts.  No, I am not trying to place a damper on the excitement and joy of anyone regarding this day.  I only ask, Is, that what Christmas is all about?  Is that truly the focus we should have on this day?

The Gift of Life that the Holy Spirit birthed in my heart when I repented of my sins and received Jesus as my savior still causes my heart to overflow with Joy!  I know what it is like to spend Christmas away from family and loved ones and be in a war-torn country thousands of miles from my home.  I know what it is to be among other men, comrades in arms, and watch their faces as they think of home and family.  I know what it is to feel alone in the midst of a crowd of people in a far-away land.  I was not a Christian while serving in Vietnam.  I believed in God, but I had never received Jesus as my Savior and therefore my aloneness was magnified because of that emptiness in my heart.  When I received Jesus, after coming home, Christmas took on a completely new meaning to me and I see it as not being about me, my children, grandchildren, Christmas pageants, cantatas, or anything of the sort.  IT IS ABOUT CHRIST and GOD’S PLAN FOR SALVATION!

In our present politically correct world where there is a concerted effort to force us to accept beliefs foreign to our convictions and adopt practices that violate our core beliefs, Christmas can be a difficult time.  I have experienced and watched many different reactions to “Merry Christmas” greetings.  Some warm the heart and others bring a cloud of darkness.  Jesus spoke, in Matthew 25 of the Day of Judgment when the small and great would stand before God.  He spoke of those who would be sent away into outer darkness and, yet they would protest, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and not take care of you?”  God’s response will be, “Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”  Among the greatest moments of my life have been the times that I or with others provided food, clothing, comfort, or gifts to those needy and destitute.  That sense of joy was amplified when done during the Christmas season.

Sadly, I’ve watched some become benevolent at Christmas not out of genuine love but because it was an ointment on their conscience.  In their minds, this act of benevolence excused their lack of caring and concern the rest of the time.  That is not Christmas!  Christmas is Giving and Receiving but not in the traditional sense of exchanging material things.  It is about RECEIVING God’s Son as our Personal Savior and as Peter and John at the Gate Beautiful with the lame man, “What I have I give.”  You have freely received Jesus, therefore freely share Him with others.  Everything you have comes from God’s hand, therefore, what you have is not yours so look at others through the eyes of our Savior.

Christmas is about JESUS!  What Love, that the Father would allow His Son to come to earth, dwell among a people (humanity) that would reject him and were at enmity toward him.  What Love, that the Lord, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the Son of God, would be willing to be born into such a lowly position and endure such hardship then suffer and die for those that openly vowed to be His enemies.  Christmas is LOVE!  Christmas is HOPE!  Christmas is LIFE!

Today, as you celebrate Christmas, I pray that you enjoy your festivities and treasure the wonderful memories from the moment but PLEASE take a little time and reflect in your heart and with your loved ones THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS!  It is a birthday celebration and what birthday party do you go to where everyone there exchanges gifts but no gift is given to the one celebrating a birthday?

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE and I pray that God will grant you a joyous and prosperous New Year!