Category Archives: Love

I Was Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

An erroneous view of love will always lead us to look in the wrong places; it will cheat us out of the best life we were created to experience. If we go looking to satisfy our love craving from our spouses, children, parents, jobs, or possessions, then we end up disappointed. If we think that love is about feelings, emotions, and infatuation, then we have drunk the wine of lies that causes us to stagger and stumble. Rather than guess at love, it is best to see what the Scripture says about it. Without a scriptural understanding of love, what we end up believing in and showing is not love but simply components of love. Let me explain.

If someone shows us the horns of an elephant, that does not demonstrate that we have seen an elephant, nor does it demonstrate that an elephant doesn’t exist somewhere. All it tells us is that an elephant previously existed. Similarly, just because we are being shown acts (or parts and parcels) of love does not mean we are being shown love, for those acts may have been done out of fear and self-seeking. For love to be shown, the heart behind the actions must be pure. Analogous to the missing elephant, it is impossible to show and give what we do not have. Therefore, it is impossible to show and give love if God is missing in our lives and if we are operating in fear. So how do we make sure that what we have and are experiencing is love? The first step is to define love accurately. Although love can be described in many ways, here is the complete definition of love

Love = God = Word = Jesus = Holy Spirit

Here are the scriptures that help us come up with the equation:

1) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
2) “And the Word became flesh (Jesus) and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
3) “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And aft er it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God’” (Acts 5:3–4).
4) “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8).

With regard to real love, this equation reveals that no human being can claim to love without having the presence of God in his or her life, a stumbling block for those that do not believe there is a God. It says that it is impossible to say that we have love in our lives without having Jesus in our lives, a stumbling block for the non-believer. In addition, it says we cannot claim to love God without loving his Word. We cannot say we are walking in love without walking in fellowship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Alas, any action we take that does not align itself with the Scripture is an act that is devoid of love. Any decision we make that is not inspired of the Holy Spirit does not fulfill the call to love.

Real love is not just satisfied that we “know about God” but requires that we “know God.”

 

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Three Questions You Should Ask Before Marriage

I had the privilege of witnessing a friend’s engagement atop the Sugarloaf Mountain. It was a cool and comfortable night. The spectacular city of Rio de Janeiro offered a breath-taking view.  The large statue of Christ was lit in its full glory. The night sky was in its full splendor as it wowed visitors with a wonderful lightning display in the sky.  For my friend, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

There was a healthy number of people with us on the mountain that night who witnessed his girlfriend’s excitement as she said ‘Yes’ to the man of her dreams.  After a longing look and loving embrace, the unbridled joy etched on the faces of the newly engaged couple was so undeniable evident that it could only be missed if perhaps aliens invaded the city!

We cheered, we laughed, and we sang.

When I returned to Baton Rouge, I was met with the grim reality of the experience of marriage for many. A casual friend I had not seen for a while walked up to me at the end of service with heavy tear-laden eyes. Hardly able to get the words out, he stuttered and whispered his way to telling me that he and his wife were getting a divorce after almost seven years of matrimony.

I could not help but think of the contrasting scene and news in the space of a few days. One, a happy beginning and the other, a sad end.

That roughly 50% of all marriages end in separation is a warning of how quickly dreams can turn into nightmares! Since no one starts with the intention of turning their dream into a nightmare, the divorce statistic is proof that something is amiss in marriages.  While the answer to the conundrum of failing marriages in not clear cut, there are some questions everyone about to enter into marriage should ask and answer honestly to see if they have a good shot at winning in the game of love.

Am I in love?

The word in love suggests that one can be out of love. And truly, many people say they have fallen out of love or are no longer in love with their partner.

The kind of love that one can fall in and out of is that which is based on feelings (emotions), sentiment, and fondness. In the Greek language, it is called phileo love. This kind of love is based on what your partner adds to you. While it may not necessarily be selfish, it has a tendency to be self-centered.

This kind of love is often dismissed in some circles because it can be fleeting, is many times based on circumstances, and is self-centered. But I will not do that here.  If you do not ask yourself if you are in love is to deny that you have needs and wants from a relationship. To avoid this question is to lie to yourself!

It is okay to ask if you have feelings for the person, if you are fond of the person you are with, and if you look at your partner with affection. Here is the crucial part: You must not stop at if but you must ask yourself why.

Why points to the heart of the matter. How you answer the why says a lot about your partner but says a lot more about you. It reveals whether you love yourself or are simply operating out of fear! No one is ever truly fond of a person who mistreats them unless they themselves have been disturbed by something in life or they have no way to escape. If you are fond of the person only for what they can do for you, then you have become selfish!

Fearfulness (lack of trust) and selfishness (unwillingness to compromise or yield) will always ruin a relationship.

When you ask yourself why, look at the content of your partner’s character! Look at who they are and what their life shows you. You can gather a lot of this information by listening to the person’s words, and looking at how they spend their time and their resources. This is because often repeated words, time, and resources always reflect priority and heart.

Having phileo love seldom guarantees the success of a marriage union. There is the need for agapeo love

Do I love My Partner?

The question, do I love my partner is different from am I in love with my partner. While one can fall in and out of phileo love, we either agapeo love or we do not. It is that simple! While phileo love is based on feelings, sentiment, and fondness, agapeo love is all about commitment and dedication and does not consider circumstances!

A rock solid agapeo love is needed to ride the waves of life and the roller-coaster of phileo love. Unfortunately, too many people spend their lives building and developing phileo love – through emotion charged compliments, flowers, gifts – and spend very little time developing agapeo love.  The reason commitment never seems to last these days is because the commitment is based on feelings, sentiment, and fondness (phileo love).

Agapeo love is based on who you are versus who the person is. It is about what you add to the person versus what the person adds to you. This kind of love which is unconditional is always willing to reconcile, forgive, and work at issues unto restoration.

It does not confuse weakness and wickedness in a person. Since it does not seek its own, it does not seek perfection. It recognizes the journey of love and is willing to suffer.

The question agapeo love asks is this: A person will disappoint and hurt me, so who I am willing to suffer for? Jesus (who had agapeo) love for humanity thought is worthwhile and worthy to suffer for humanity though we did not deserve it.

If you are not willing to go through hard times, willing to hurt, willing to suffer, willing to forgive, willing to lay down your life, then you do not love your partner. You only love what your partner can do for you (phileo)!

The question, do I love my partner can only be answered Yes if you truly have love for mankind in your heart.

How Do I See My Partner?

A different way of asking this question is who is my partner to me? Do you see your partner as friend, lover, leader (spiritual and otherwise), powerful, royal, helper, anchor, and asset? Or do you see them as timid, fearful, abdicator, scattered, and double-minded?

It is important to be honest with yourself as your answer will determine whether you can (1) respect your partner (2) whether you will follow your partner’s leadership (3) whether you will be comfortable in yielding.

Your answer will determine if your household with be peaceful, whether there will be secret resentment in your heart, if there will be insecurity in your relationship, and whether the union is more of a battle than it is a partnership.

In the bible, Peter saw Jesus as his Messiah – Lord and Savior – and so was able to stand in relationship and fellowship with him until the end. Judas on the other hand only saw Jesus as a potential king and so betrayed him and left him alone when Jesus would not do what Judas thought He should have done!

So, how do you see your partner?  

Conclusion

Jesus asked Peter the three questions above: Do you phileo love me (John 21:16)? Do you agapeo love me (John 21:17), who do you say I am (Mark 8:29). Being Jesus, he already knew the answers!  

Do you know the answer to these questions? If not, then you are wise to ask yourself about the one who is to become a rock in your life. Your answer may very well determine the future. Do you agree?

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Perfect Love Has No Fear (The Song)

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 – 1 John 4:18

Listen to ‘Perfect Love Has No Fear‘ below:

It should not shock you when I say that fear is just about the most tolerated sin. Yet the truth remains that there is no room for fear when we are living in love. Therefore, the presence of fear in our lives points directly to the absence of love.

Since God is love, this means that fear is what controls any area of our lives that we have not surrendered to God. It is in these areas that we experience defeat.

The end of living with fear is a doubt, paranoia, prejudice, classicism, racism, and protectionism and so forth. There is no trust where fear lives – only chaos, ruckus, and ballyhoo. To move away from God is to move towards a world of injustice, love, and immorality. To move away from love is to move away from life and into death.

But perfect love has no fear! We are not afraid to help our brothers and sisters no matter where they live. We are not afraid to give our sons and daughters to people that look different than we do. We are not afraid to stand for what is right.

Light-bulb moment: Love is the greatest motivator in achieving greatness.

It was love that drove Martin Luther King to spearhead the civil rights movement, not fear. It was love that drove Mother Teresa to give her life to helping the poor, not fear. It was love that spurred Nelson Mandela to spend over a decade in prison for his beloved country, not fear. It was love of mankind that spurred Jesus Christ to drink the cup of suffering on the cross. Fear would have stopped all these people, but they overcame fear with love.

Light-bulb moment: We do not defeat fear by fighting it. The way we defeat fear is by introducing love. Focus on love today, and the fear you feel will disappear.

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Why Can’t I Unlock the Power of God in My Life (Part II)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused Him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for a man looks at the outside appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:9

When God tells us that He looks at the heart and not our words or actions, He means it. This is because like Judas – who asked why the perfume poured on Jesus was not sold and the proceeds given to the poor – people’s mouth may show much love, but their hearts could very well be pursing their own gain (Ezekiel 33:31).

Simply put, the power of God is NOT released into our lives when our hearts are filled with self-seeking, envy, jealousy, greed, pride, sensuality and worldly passion. These things block the path through which the power is released.

Though we can fool man to think we are the sweetest and most incredible human beings through our actions and words, God cannot and will not be fooled. He is looking at the heart behind our words and action. If the intention is to portray something we are not, then we have made people pleasing and fear-based disguise our idols.

Instead of faking fruit, why not actually produce fruit? Instead of faking who we are, why not become the person we want to be by surrendering our all to God?

Why continue to see the power of God operate in other people’s life (perhaps through our prayers) but never experience the same power in our lives? If this is happening to you, please do not blame the devil for Jesus has already put the devil underfoot and has made available the power to defeat him through the Holy Spirit. If you are not experiencing the victorious power of God in your life, the only person you can blame is you! Instead of faking victory in your life or excusing away victory in your life, I beg you to please let go and let God rule over your heart.

Again, we should not be fooled that everything is alright with us because our prayers for others are being answered. God will always answer the prayer of faith which works through love (Galatians 5:6). See, our prayers for our loved ones can flow out of genuine love for them – such as the prayers for our mother and father. But what about our own requests; what are the heart motives behind what we are requesting for ourselves? The truth is that God does not care for double-sided heart intentions!

Unfortunately, many do not realize that God looks at the heart and not actions. They fling themselves into complete rule keeping without a heart change.  After many years of struggle, they eventually give up on God when they think they have done all they can do and nothing seems to be coming out of it but hurt. Because they will not blame God (out of fear of retribution), they start blaming everything else instead of blaming themselves – they do not blame themselves because in their heads they have kept all the rules and requirements. Wrong, and bad move! Those who never understand that God looks at the heart spend all the lives fighting instead of enjoying the abundant life Christ said He came to give us (John 10:10). This is truly sad!

The only solution is to take a deep look into their hearts, confess and surrender all bitterness,unforgiveness, and all other strongholds to God.

To conclude, the question of why God’s power is not released in our life is not of whether God loves us. It is a question of how much we love God. While God is merciful to us in His love, our ability to rule in life is dependent on who much we love Him. How much we love Him determines how much we walk in the fullness of the grace (power) of God.

In life, if we do not love God, then we truly do not love ourselves!

Food for Thought: I can continue to drive my life into the ditch or I can allow God to drive me to heaven. The choice is mine!

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Why Can’t I Unlock the Power of God in My Life? (Part I)

Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God – Luke 22:69

During His trial, Jesus tells the members of the Sanhedrin that He is going to be seated at the right hand of the power of God after His death (Luke 22:69). Note that Jesus does not say He is going to be seated at the right hand of God, but at the right hand of the power of God. This means that the power of God is released only through Jesus or that God only releases His power through Jesus who is seated at His right hand. In addition, this means that any power released outside of Christ is NOT of God but of a worldly and sinister nature.

Now, here is the process by which God’s power is released: When we call upon Jesus, He hears us and makes intercession on our behalf to the Father (Hebrews 7:25). The Father then decides whether to grant the petition of the one who calls on the name of Jesus based on whether it will glorify Him (John 14:13). Should the request be granted by God, Jesus then releases the power to fulfill the request through the Holy Spirit who resides within us (John 14:16-17). In the event the fulfillment of the request requires our action, Jesus speaks the instruction from God to the Holy Spirit who then instructs us (John 16:13).

Though we are worthy of getting the attention of God through the sacrifice and worthiness of Jesus,  John 14:13 reminds us that God will only grant those requests that glorify Him. Here is how the bible tells us we glorify the Father: If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples – John 15:7-8

So we see that it all starts with abiding in Jesus. Since Jesus is love, we can say that it all starts with abiding in love. When we abide in love (Jesus), then everything we ask will reflect the heart of love and will fulfill the requirement of love. In other words, God will only grant those requests that come from a heart of love and fulfill a loving purpose. Since the heart of God is the heart of love, we see that our heart and God’s heart align when we abide in Jesus. That’s why He grants those requests that flow out of love.

Now we see why Jesus tells us that all the law and prophets instructions are fulfilled in the commandment to love – to love God with all our being and to love one another (Matthew 22:37-40). Simply put, love is the secret to unlocking the power of God! This is why Jesus wants us to focus on love! He wants us to have victory in our lives so that we can share the booty of the victory with others.

So I ask you this: How is your love life? Do you really care for people or only care for people that can offer you something? Is your heart right or is it hardened?

In part II, we will see that we cannot buy God’s love through words and actions

Food for Thought: The only way to truly love yourself is to learn to love – by submitting your fears to God

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Prisoner of Love

 

I was a prisoner but You have set me free!

I was blind but You have opened my eyes to Your love and Your light

You have called me out of darkness and into Your marvelous light

So I will magnify Your name and do the mighty works to which You have called me; I shall not fear for You are with me and You are my help

I shall proclaim Your mighty name because You have empowered me beyond all measure to make You known and bring You glory

All the world will rejoice Your name and Your victory

No stone shall be left unturned!

You have called my name and given me a mantle to show Your love

I know You are my strength, so I know I will not fail

I live in You so Your victory through me and for me is assured

I love You Lord

You came down from Your palace to take my place as a Prisoner

You took me from my prison and made me sit in high places

I deserved death but you offered Yourself for me even though I despised You

I did not understand what you did and it is still difficult for me to understand

How can you love me so much?

Jesus, though you have removed me from my prison to Your Palace

I realize that I am just a prisoner of Your love

A love I can never escape!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? 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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord  – Romans 8:31-35; 37-39

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Is it ever okay NOT to honor my father and mother?

We are taught to honor our father and mother so that our days may be prolonged (Exodus 20:12). Before breathing a sigh of relief that this scripture is found in the Old Testament, Apostle Paul repeats this instruction in his letter to the church in Ephesus – teaching us that it is applicable to us today and reminding us that it is the first commandment with a promise.

But does this mean we have to acquiesce to every wish of our parents? Absolutely not! The bible tells us that we are to not to seek the honor that comes from man but to seek the honor that comes from God (John 5:41).

What does this mean? It means that we are never to honor the wishes of any man – including our parents – above honoring God. Why? This is because in being human, the wishes of our parents are at times driven by their fear, prejudice, selfishness, history, upbringing, culture, and life experiences.

In essence, the will and wishes of man is not always good for us and acceptable to God. Conversely, the will and wish of God for our lives is always good, acceptable and perfect (see Romans 12:2)

Lightbulb MomentIt is alright to honor the wishes of our parents only if what they want lines up with what God tells us to do as instructed by the Holy Spirit.

Put another way, our ultimate authority is God and not man – not matter how close the relationship! The perfect example of honoring God above man is that of Jesus. If Jesus had listened to his family, He would not have done the will of His father to do good and heal those who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). We know this because the bible tells us that His family wanted to whisk Him away from the crowd to which He was healing, setting free, and preaching. Why? They thought He was out of His mind (Mark 3:20)!

Have you wondered why Jesus’ teachings and wonderful miracles did not excite His family? It is because they were only thinking of themselves! See, Jesus was the first-born son of His household; therefore, the responsibility of caring for the family fell on Him after Joseph’s death. Being a skilled carpenter and not breaking a jot of the law, He provided for His family very well! How do we know Jesus was well off? We know for the God promised great things for those who kept his commandments and obeyed His voice (see Deuteronomy 28). Since God is not a liar, it is clear that He commanded blessings into everything to which Jesus put His hand –  including His storehouse (see Deuteronomy 28:8).

See, the family of Jesus had it good! By Jesus leaving it all behind to embark on this new ministry of His, He had not only seemingly shunned His responsibility as the patriarch of His family, but they were also worried that He was no longer going to be able to provide for them! They would no longer live the good life. They wondered to themselves: ‘Why is He leaving this goodness to go perambulate the wilderness – just walking from place to place? God has blessed Him and given Him a duty to take care of us. And why is He going against our traditions? What will people say? Why is He simply throwing all He has away? Surely, He has lost His mind’.

You see, His family were being selfish in thinking only about themselves without pausing to think of how wonderful Jesus’ ministry was for those He was setting free.

Thank goodness Jesus did not decide to honor His family above the word and voice of God. Can you imagine if He had said: ‘Well, I must honor my family and so stop what I am doing’? How horrible for the entire multitude to which He ministered; how horrible for all humanity! Though His family did not understand, He understood what He was doing, and that is all that mattered. As we know, His own brother did not believe in Him at the beginning but would later come to understand and believe.

This tells us that every decision made in Christ will sooner or later be understood by all who doubted us. Why? It is because wisdom (the instruction of God) is always justified by her children (its results). In obeying the voice of God, Jesus not only honored God but ultimately honored His family and all humanity by paying the price for our sins on the cross and honoring us with a way back to God.

Moreover, He made sure His mother was going to be well taken care off as well (John 19:26).

Lightbulb MomentThe only way to truly honor man with love is to honor God. Anything done outside of God is not love but fear in disguise.

Food for Thought: I am right for honoring my parents, but I am wrong for honoring them above God.

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So Who Killed Jesus Anyway?

At times it is hard not to chuckle when I hear people having a heated discussion about who killed Jesus. Some say it was Pilate that killed Him while others blame the Jews for killing Him. Further still, others blame Judas Iscariot – for he was the one that betrayed Jesus into the hands of the Sanhedrin. So which is it? Is it the Romans (Pilate/soldiers) or the Jews (Judas or the Sanhedrin)?

To address this question, we have to look at the purpose for which Christ came into the world and the reason he was called to this purpose by God. The bible tells us that the purpose for which Christ was born was to redeem mankind from spiritual death through his death on the cross. In other words, he was born for the express purpose of dying. Here is how the author of Hebrew puts it:

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devilHebrews 2:14

So it is clear that Jesus had to die! Now, a question that can be asked is when did Jesus have to die? Would he have lived longer if someone had not decided to kill Him? That answer is no! Here is why:

Prophet Daniel had already prophesied that 483 years (69 weeks) were going to pass between the time Cyrus was going to release the children of Israel to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and when the Messiah would die!

Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The streetshall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself – Daniel 9:25 – 26

Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years. Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week… – Genesis 29:27 -28

By the time Jesus started his ministry in his 30’s, he only had about 3 years before the 483 years would be up. Since Jesus came to fulfill prophesy and He mentioned that nothing written in the Old Testament books would pass away but be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18), we see that Jesus was determined and obligated to die 3 years after his ministry began.

Note: The 62 weeks or 434 years refers to the end of the period of the Old Testament until the death of Jesus. There were 400 years of silence between the Old Testament days and when angel Gabriel spoke to Mary about her pregnancy; another 9 months until Jesus was born; another 30 years until Jesus was released unto His ministry – the age when a Jew was old enough to be considered a priest. A simple addition (400 + 0.75 + 30) gives us about 431 years. Hence, Jesus’ ministry had to be 3 years long for him to fulfill the prophesy written in the book of Daniel.

So then who really killed Him? In a sense, no one did! He gave himself over willingly to the guards who came to arrest Him. He gave Himself over because his time was fast approaching. Before his time, no one could touch him even when they tried. If His time had not come, He could have easily escaped from their midst as He had done before (Luke 4:29 -30). We know He gave Himself over willingly because of the following passage of scripture:

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground – John 18:4-6

The key point is that ‘they drew back and fell to the ground’. If you read the entire event, you will find that he had to ask them again. See, the guards did not arrest Jesus but Jesus gave himself over to the guards. Why? It is because his time was at hand to fulfill the will of God.

When we examine why Jesus had to come die in the first place, we see that it was to become sin for us so that we would become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He had to come because we all fall short of the glory (Romans 3:23) and our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). In this sense, we all killed Him.

Food for Thought: Jesus killed himself because of his love for us because we gave him no choice in the matter.

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Can I Go To Heaven Without Jesus?

Mistake in math on chalkboard“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come – Matthew 12: 31 – 32

Many people have used this scripture to say that we cannot ‘complain’ to God. That if we complain, we are speaking against the Holy Spirit. When I hear this, I often question whether the person has ever forayed into the book of Psalm for it is awash with what can certainly be termed as complaining. Furthermore, not being able to speak our minds to a God who willingly killed Himself for us when we did not deserve it seems a little bit unreasonable. Trust me, God can handle our complaints. In fact, He is interested in hearing our hearts rather than our lip service. Our phony lip service just reveals that our heart is filled with fear-based deceit.

Speaking of hearts, the scripture tells us that man speaks out of the abundance of his heart (Matthew 12: 34). Therefore, whatever a man speaks reflects what is in his heart. If he speaks against the Holy Spirit, it is because his heart is against the Holy Spirit. If his heart is against the Holy Spirit, it is clear that he does not have the Holy Spirit within him. No man willingly receives something his heart is set against.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A receptive heart is central to receiving the Holy Spirit

Our marquee passage of scripture above reveals to us that the sin of rejecting the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Though God has made it possible to be saved in this life and the next through the reception of the Holy Spirit, the onus still lies on man to answer the calling of God unto salvation. While other sins will be forgiven, the sin of rejecting the Holy Spirit will lead to eternal separation from God. There simply is no forgiveness for that rejection.

Since the only way to receive the Holy Spirit onto salvation is to accept Jesus as God (Romans 10:9-10), it becomes clear that the unpardonable sin is also the rejection of Jesus. But what about speaking against Jesus the man? Well, the bible says we can be forgiven of this (Matthew 12:32). If you disagree with and speak against Jesus turning water into wine, you will be forgiven this sin. If you disagree with Jesus turning over the tables in the synagogue because you think all anger is bad, again you will be forgiven. But is you reject Jesus as your Lord and Savior, well this is a different story.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: The sins of rejection some of the things Jesus did as man out of ignorance will be forgiven, but the sin of rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior (God) will not.

See, the rejection of Jesus itself is sin because this rejection comes out of pride and stubbornness. How so? This is because the nature of God and the godhead is revealed throughout creation (Romans 1:20). Hence, no one on earth can claim lack of knowledge of God and the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is God, He will always lead us to Jesus. Why does the Holy Spirit lead us to Jesus? It is because only through Jesus can all of our sins be forgiven for He is the one that lived a spotless and sinless life. Without being spotless through forgiveness upon confession, the Holy Spirit would not have been able to make its home in us.

So, I beg you not to commit the sin of rejecting Jesus today. Trust God, this sin will not be forgiven.

Food for Thought: Rejecting Christ is tantamount to accepting death.

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5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part IV) – The Test

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)Having being equipped and prepared for the purpose to which we have been called, the final hurdle we all have to overcome prior to being chosen by God onto greatness is the test of our faithfulness and readiness. Even Jesus was not exempt from the readiness and faithfulness test. Indeed, the bible tells us that He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted (tested) by the devil (Matthew 4:1). It was not until after He passed that test in the wilderness that He was released onto His ministry. How do we know this? We know because the bible tells us that Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom for the first time only after departing to Galilee –  after His wilderness experience (Matthew 4:17).

Just in case you think the Test only applies to Jesus who was both man and God, I want to assure you that this applies to ordinary men. Elisha was an ordinary man who was put to the test before he became a prophet. After calling Elisha to walk with him for years, Elijah suddenly told Elisha to no longer follow Him. In essence, Elijah was telling Elisha that their journey together was done (2 Kings 2:2)! I can only imagine what Elisha was thinking at the time. I imagine it may have been the following:

‘I can’t believe this guy. After I have served him faithfully for years, now he is just dumping me…especially after I left my family and my livelihood behind’.

Elisha could have chosen to depart in rage, BUT he did not and so passed the test of faithfulness. Later, when the sons of the prophets for lack of better words said ‘dude, your master is about to leave you man, why don’t you just go home?’ Elisha did not despair or say in his heart: ‘these guys are like top notch Christians, I will listen to them’. No! Instead, Elisha told them to hush their mouths (see 2 Kings 2:3)! See, Elisha was ready to follow Elijah wherever he went and so continued following him. For this, Elisha was rewarded with the mantle of prophet and a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

What does all this tell us? It lets us know that a hefty reward is the end of our readiness to follow Jesus to wherever He leads us…even if it is towards the wilderness. It lets us know that a prize follows our dogged determination to stay faithful to Him no matter how great the temptation. Thus, we have to start taking a look at tests and temptation differently. Rather than wail and gnash our teeth at another attack from the devil, we ought to look at it as a last ditch attempt by a frantic enemy to keep us from the blessing that God wants to shower upon us. But here is the thing, the devil cannot stop us from greatness since we have been equipped with the Holy Spirit – the very power that conquered the grave and put the devil underfoot. Therefore, tests of the wilderness (where trials and tribulation abound) and of temptation should simply strengthen our resolve to push through by the grace (power) of God.

It is when we pass the readiness and faithfulness test that God says ‘okay, I can choose this one for his/her love for me does not flick on and off like a light switch’. You see, the bible tells us that many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). If we want to be chosen, we have to pass the test. In order to pass the test, we have to be equipped with the One who has never failed. In order not to fail at what we do, what we choose to do must be what God has called us to do!

Food for Thought: You have to pass the test in order to get the best

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Filed under Love, Purposeful Living, Victorious Living