What is a Tree?

I love exploring nature with my toddler. He reminds me of how easily we forget to appreciate the simple things in life. The beauty of the mundane is lost as the years speed by, faster and faster it seems. I hope the grace of God will keep me in awe of Him. How terrible it would be for Jesus to become mundane.

Today, I was struck by something as my little boy inspected a tree. His new favorite phrase is, “wassat?” What’s that? Oh, that? That’s just a tree.

We walk over to the tree. He feels the tree bark and breaks off a piece of it. He looks at the bark closely, drops it, then pulls off another and does the same. He notices the big black ants crawling amid the cervices of the tree bark. He brushes his hands across the long-leaf pine needles. I break a few off and we smell the fresh piney scent together. We stood there for a few minutes taking in that tree.

“Wassat?”

Well, it’s just a tree. What is a tree?

Is a tree the bark that covers it or the pine needles that adorn it? Is it the tree sap? Is it the roots? Is it the branches? Is it endless possibilities of all that its wood could create? Is it paper, a table, or a chair? Is it firewood?

“Wassat?”

How much more difficult is it for us to grasp God than it is for my toddler to grasp a tree. What is a tree? Who is God? Are we much more than little toddlers, inspecting bits of Him at a time? In Jesus we see the image of God, but how much more is there to Jesus than we see?

Maybe to some, Jesus is the bark that covers the tree or the pine needles that adorn it. To some He is tree sap. To some He is roots and branches. To some He is paper, a table, or a chair. To some, He is firewood.

What if we as little brothers and sisters in Christ would take a step back, communicate, and revel in all that Jesus is?

We all see somewhat of Him. We all receive somewhat of Him as we are conformed to His image. Yet, how much do we miss out on as we focus on a few aspects of Him, argue over who He is, or in our foolishness assume that we have Him all figured out so we just simply say, “that’s a tree” but don’t take the time to really inspect Him in all His wonder?

“Wassat?”

Childlike wonder. That is what I never want to lose hold of, and the humility in knowing that we don’t really know in fullness. What is a tree? Who is Jesus? Who is God? Let’s keep searching with eager expectation and curiosity, with humility, and with awe. He is worthy to be awe-inspiring and unifying for all who are enthralled with His majesty that is so much greater than any tree.

Rest for our Soul?

Jesus says, “come to me all who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest to your soul.”

Jesus says that he is “meek and lowly in heart.”

Jesus says, “take my yoke upon you because my burden is easy and my yoke is light.”

I want to think more about these ideas. I get very tired.

I get up early because it makes my day go much better if I can get up before my children do and spend some time with the Lord in quiet, and even better if I get up early enough to write also. I also stay up late working most nights because I want my days to be spent caring for my kids. I sacrificed them on the alter of work for too many years. I have made a strong decision not to do this any longer, but I feel myself being sacrificed.

My body, my mind, my soul…little by little seems to be utterly spent. Pair this with my care of the Christian faith, the state of our nation, and personal problems in this life, and the burdens are oh so heavy. I get tired physically, mentally, and emotionally for a number of reasons. This world is exhausting.

To find rest. Real rest. That is an astounding thing, and I feel kind of silly because I don’t think I have really entered into His rest. Not like I could perhaps.

There are times when I feel like it is all just too much, then I look to Jesus, and I feel better. I feel rest in His sovereignty. I feel rest in His mercy. I feel rest in His faithfulness. Yet, the world always seems to squeeze the life out of me…and would do its best to squeeze He who is Life out of me also.

To find rest. Real rest–and abide therein. That is the sabbath, is it not? Do the churches by and large offer His rest? They don’t seem to. Not for me anyway.

Instead, I seem to find a yoke of accepting sinfulness. Some call evil good and good evil. Some admit defeat to sin as they neglect the power of the gospel and the kingdom for our present lives. Some try to reach the kingdom through legalism. Some set up their own kingdom.

Yoke upon heavy yoke, yes. Rest? Not so much.

I feel ostracized by most Christians. I feel looked down upon by most Christians. I feel judged as condemned by the Lord because of my poverty and the hardships of my life by some Christians.

I feel this pressure to “conform or else” by most Christians. Conform to what they think is righteous or good…which very often seems to oppose what Jesus really teaches. Many want to make me a white-washed tomb or a cup that’s outwardly clean, or a duplicate of themselves or their favorite minister.

But what about my soul? Is my soul cleansed? Is my soul at peace? Have I really found that?

I don’t want to accuse anyone or slander anyone—especially in the body of Christ. Maybe it’s me. Maybe something is wrong with me. However, I do not think I have found the rest of Jesus Christ among most believers.

Perhaps, as Jesus said, “broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that go in thereat, and straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.”

Have I really found it? Do I really give it?

I’ve spent several years writing about Christianity and my journey towards seeking more of Jesus, but for all of my work, I wonder, have I rested? Have I helped others rest?

Maybe Jesus brought me to this point of absolute exhaustion so that I could ask myself these questions. Where is His rest? How do I really enter in? Why does it seem like most of the Christian world fails to get me there? How can I help others find His rest too?

Do you have thoughts about this? If you feel like sharing, please feel free to leave a reply. I’d love to hear what you think. Have you found the rest that Jesus offers?  

Oversharing?

Do I overshare my own experiences? Do I talk about myself too much? Does this distract from Jesus? Maybe at times. Am I self-serving and vain in so doing? Maybe.

Until I started sharing my experiences through Christian article writing, I was a very reserved person. No one really knew me. My family did not really know me. I had no close and lasting friendships. People thought I was weird because I was so incredibly reclusive, quiet, and reserved. I did not respond to much. I never had much to say. I observed, and it seemed like when I would speak, people did not like what I had to say. So, why say anything?

I’m still that way, actually. Very few people get close. It’s a character flaw of mine, but one that I don’t know how to fix. I suppose I live a double life in a way. Online I feel free to expose things that I would not otherwise, to speak what I feel the Lord gives, and to share myself with others. I fear that if I were this way in my real life, I’d run everyone off. Very few want to live in the truth, and I think that is why I’ve spent most of my life silent.

I know that people might find reason to accuse me in my motives or in my faith because of the things I write. Even so, I will keep doing so for as long as the Lord allows.

Why?

One of the most terrible things in this life for me has been a feeling of loneliness. I’ve always felt like a “stranger on the earth.” My greatest sympathy is for those who are the same, so if my sharing can help one person feel less alone, then I will share. It’s freeing to share. It’s freeing to be real. It’s freeing to know that we are all flawed so there is no reason to pretend to be otherwise. Jesus says that the truth makes us free—and it does.

His truth makes us free. The Spirit of Truth makes us free. Living truthfully makes us free. I love the truth, and I love that He who is Truth placed that love in me.

The truth also exposes and kills…so I think that’s why so many hate it. Some of the truths I write are hard to hear, but I won’t hold back anything the Lord puts in me to say. Those who love truth will be comforted. As the scripturas say, “don’t my words do good to them that live uprightly?”

It is by the blood of Jesus that we can be counted as upright, but if we love the truth and seek Him, we will be made–by the grace of God–into the righteousness of Christ in some measure during our lives. We cannot lose sight of this.

I also don’t want to say the hard things the Lord gives without also sharing my faults. I think this provides a protection against hypocrisy or creating a false image of myself that seems better than I really am.

Making a fool of myself can also bring comfort to a few who feel alone, so I will gladly do it. In a world of Instagram, photoshop, social media, and all manner of temptation to being fraudulent, I think people find honesty refreshing. Or so I’ve been told by a few.

There are more things I want to share—and not because I just love to talk about myself—but because I feel like I must. Life is painful but sharing in that pain with others makes it more bearable. Is this a “misery loves company” mindset? I don’t think so. I think this is more of a mindset of fellowship, finding a place of truthfulness, and seeking Jesus so that we can let go of our pain and find relief.

This is what I most want to do. I love the teachings of Jesus and I love writing about them, but what I have most on my heart is sharing myself with my brethren and offering the real kind of safety, truthfulness, and accountability we so desperately need in this world.

We all want to feel safe. We all want a place. We look to the world for these things but Jesus is the real rest for our souls. I never want to distract from Jesus, but as much as He is in me, I will share of Him. We all have something of Him to share, and we can support one another as we look for more of Him together.

Sin on All Sides, Death in Front, and Peace Within

What do you do, as a God-fearing Christian, when you are faced with a seemingly impossible scenario? If you go to the left, to the right, or turn back, there is sin. So, all you can do is move forward knowing that the steps you are taking are going to be painful and the end of the road looks like death.

The temptation to turn to the left, to the right, or to turn back weighs heavily daily. Yet, God in His goodness has an iron grip as He gently nudges us along, soothing us, wiping our tears away, and letting us know that the end is not death, but life everlasting.

The painful steps make Him strong in us, killing things that do not live forever so that we can live forever. Yet, we know that many do not have to walk this road who are called by His name. Many walk easier paths and they too will live. Many say that Jesus will “put on you no other burden.” A God-filled life is one of ease and plenty, they say. God does not care much for your sin. You are forgiven. Maybe for some this is true. In His mercy Jesus said, “that which you have, hold fast till I come.”

Yet, it would seem that those He loves most will suffer most. We should be glad to join in the “fellowship of His suffering,” but as Jesus says, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” His Spirit can do wonderful things. He can strengthen us, and it is in our weakest times of much suffering that He is made strong in us.  

Jesus says that His burden is easy and His yoke is light. This is true. But the burdens of this world are heavy and being yoked to the wicked is a path of much pain. Especially when those who cause the most suffering are those of our own household—those who we should be able to trust in. Jesus is there.

We trust in Him alone because the hearts of self-serving and weak man will betray one another to death. They will take their ease and watch us wither. Are they blind? Do they not really know? Are their hearts so hard that they do not care? Is their fear and self-preservation their god? Lord knows.

How long do we have to endure it before He breaks the yokes that bind us?

Though we suffer in this world and the flesh feels the pain of impending death, our souls live in Him—and we know that we will be raised bodily when He returns.

Never let people make you feel ashamed because of your suffering. Never let them make you question where or who your God is. Remember who it is that says, “I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow.” Sorrow comes, but so does peace. “These things have I spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

Blessed are the Meek

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:5

As Christians, we are made joint heirs with Jesus Christ. He will return one day, and as He has promised, “He that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am sat down with my Father in His throne.”

It makes sense that meekness, or self-control, would be a key attribute of any who would inherit the earth with Jesus.

It takes self-control to lead properly. Otherwise, we would be as the petty kings before us who cry out “off with their head” at any offense.

Instead of being as one who would “call down fire from heaven on the earth in the site of man,” those who overcome keep Jesus in mind. We keep His immense patience and self-control in mind. We remember that He tells us to bless those who curse us, pray for those who use us, and know that all suffering we endure brings us blessing.

We will inherit the earth if we continue in His love, and that is indeed a kind of overcoming, especially as iniquity abounds as He has said.

I am astounded at the level of self-control Jesus demonstrated during His time on this earth.

He felt all things as we do, physically and emotionally. Yet, He was without sin.

Can you imagine what that would be like? Can you imagine how He suffered? He lived with the mind of God and the body of a man. As we grow in the things of His Spirit, we should be able to relate to some degree, and we should grow in gratitude for His patience with us and in so doing, we learn patience too.

He lived among us cruel, backstabbing, lying, self-serving, faithless, and foolish people. He endured ridicule and hatred. He was not regarded by His own who He loved, and He was eventually killed just for being Himself: for testifying to the truth, as the Father had sent Him to do.

The world could not take it. They could not take seeing God in a man, because their own sin became exposed. They could not take their authority being challenged. They could not take the idea that God was not pleased with them. They feared Rome, in who they trusted instead of God.

Yet, Jesus endured it. He who could have called down legions of angels to save Him, and they would have come if His kingdom had been of this world.

One day His kingdom will be in this world, and once again, the world will hate it. Perhaps at this time, legions of angels will indeed come down, and perhaps a few self-controlled Christians will be granted the ability to resist knowing that these are not angels of the Lord, but ministers of Satan. They will resist, but not with the swords of man and their petty kings or with lying signs and wonders of spirits of devils—but with the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God!

The meek will inherit this: those who know how to use the sword of God properly, or are willing to lay down their self-interests so they can learn how.

How many misuse the written word of God as a tool to harm people wrongfully? How many misuse the written word of God as a tool to further their ideas and agendas instead of furthering the Kingdom of God? How many misuse the written word of God to justify evil doing? How many use the written word of God to lead people into captivity and death?

How many neglects the blood shed by Jesus who Is the Word of God, either by neglecting mercy or by neglecting the call to righteousness that is given by grace through faith tangibly and in this present world?

I am thankful that any good thing we get, including self-control, fear of the Lord, and reverence for His word, comes from God. Though we fall short, we can seek His mercy and favor to overcome.

I am thankful that in the final days, those who He gives power will be faithful to it, and those who misused His word and defiled His name will be astounded, and Lord willing, motivated to repentance for how they misused the word of God and Jesus who is the Word of God.

I am thankful for the amazing example of self-control that Jesus showed. He calls Himself “meek and lowly” as one who gives “rest to our soul.”

Our soul gets tired, and the tiredness of the flesh pales in comparison to tiredness of the soul. Jesus knows. He comforts and He strengthens. He brings us into His rest—a rest that the world cannot know nor duplicate with vain keepings of the Sabbath that completely miss what His rest is really about.

I am thankful to know that we can call out to Jesus. I am thankful to know that our emotions are not sin. His agony on the cross shows us this. His declaration, “how long must I suffer you” also shows this. Yet, He endured.

He thanked the Father always. He trusted the Father always. He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God because He endured to the end, and through Him we can too.

Of a Truth

Of a Truth, it has been a long time since I poured out my heart to the wind.

Who will hear it?

Of a Truth, I am sick with sin, and who can help?

Who can pray for me so that God will hear? He who hears the prayers of the righteous and turns His eyes away from those who defile His Name.

Will I again visit my Pentecostal brethren, who make claim to be the true Bible-believing and Spirit led church—who I could not join because I would not bind myself to their laws?

Will I again visit my Baptist brethren, who sing songs, listen to preaching, then send us on our way as though our duty to the Lord is done—who I could not join because I would not bind myself to their laws?

Will I visit my Catholic brethren? Will the prayer of the Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness soothe my soul?

Will I go Online to hear a man or woman prophet so-called stand in the gap for me, whose prayers are tainted with spittle littered with the flesh of my brethren who they hate and accuse?

Do I accuse you? No, I do not accuse you. I simply want a place to go.

Of a Truth, there is none.

Do I call upon loved ones, who speak nice words to my face and slander me behind my back—who see my poverty in this world and in spirit as a reproach, as one who is rejected of God because in my integrity cannot bind myself with those who have forgotten the ways of the Lord?

Do I call upon loved ones who have their own lives to live, who I do not want to burden? Those who care are a great blessing to me. Lord see and repay. Let them too be blessed! Yet…

Of a Truth, even those I love most are bound. What can they do for me?

Of a Truth, many use your Name to make themselves rich in this life and in social status. Of a Truth, many think you will be their safety in troublous times, but of a Truth, heaven will be silent.

Yet, I hope in Your mercy. I know Your will is good for all who love You in heart and not in word only. Of a Truth, I am a sinner too. I need You too. I need help too…but who will help?

Of a Truth, my stomach has no energy to spare to digest food, because I am used up with no one to replenish. Of a Truth, my heart is weak, my body aches, and I am in awe that at such a young age I feel so old.

Of a Truth, my soul looks to the One who can save, and I am glad because I know that He draws nearer with each passing day!

Of a Truth, many are dried up and used up by this world. I know I am not am not the only one.

Of a Truth, I know that those who call us forsaken will be ashamed.

Of a Truth, He who is Truth will hear. He will come. He will strengthen. He will repay.

Of a Truth, He will show much mercy—He who said, “forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Why I Say That I Did Not Know What Spirit I Was Of

How can a minister of Jesus be filled with His Holy Spirit and also be overcome by evil spirits? Is this even possible? Isn’t it written that those with the Spirit of God never sin, because the seed of God is in them and they cannot sin?

I want to write about this because I said that I would, but I don’t think I have a very good understanding. Just my own experiences and thoughts. It seems that ministers should not be very sinful. Yet, I know that we learn in different ways and I know that we cannot pin down the purposes of God.

I have learned that scripture is useful in growing our understanding of the Lord, Jesus; however, the written word of God should not be used in such a legalistic and calloused sense as to keep us from the Living Word of God who is Jesus Christ.

Though He changes not, because He is God, He is a person. He was a man of mercy and He is a God of mercy. He is also wise in ways that go beyond our reasoning, and one thing we know is that the purpose of the creation by our Creator is to raise many sons.

Although the hearts of man are fashioned alike, we are distinct individuals also, so the Lord will do what He must do for each person so that we are properly formed for His purposes as sons and servants of His Kingdom. Because of His great and personalized care with each person, we cannot use the scriptures so woodenly regarding the judgment and mercy of God towards us who love Him.

Peter gives great examples of this. Jesus said that those who deny Him will be denied by Him to the Father. Peter denied Him three times, and Jesus forgave Him.

So, yes. The scriptures say that those who have the Spirit of God do not sin, but there is always going to be mercy and there is always going to be purposes the Lord is fulfilling that we do not readily see.

I cannot speak too much regarding other ministries, but I can write about myself. I knew that my first website, kinglingtruth.com, was a learning process. I felt as though this was more for myself as something that would sharpen my understanding and ability to communicate the things of God more effectively.

There is some good content. There are ideas that I should get back to that I have at times let slip. There are also mistakes. There are errors in understanding. As I have mentioned previously, there were times when I was not of the right spirit.

What does this mean? The Spirit of God will have certain effects that bring good and true things. His Spirit brings life-giving things. His Spirit also destroys, but in a constructive manner that is not man-pleasing, proud, arrogant, or rude. His Spirit is not impatient or fearful. His Spirit is not self-serving or self-preserving. His Spirit does not lie, create confusion, or minister questions that take our focus off of Him. His Spirit does not lead to disputing among believers, accusations, and slander. His Spirit does not bring us under bondage of law or legalistic faith. His Spirit considers the fullness of every situation, and with wisdom instructs each person personally.

Though at times I was in the right spirit, many times I was following something else. I was following myself or I was overly reliant on the people I looked up to. There were times when I doubted what the Lord was showing me because I relied too much on others, and when they would make jabs directed at me, I shriveled up and berated myself, not realizing that I was grieving the Spirit in the process.

There were times when I was overcome with fear. There were times when I was impatient and angry. There were times when I was self-serving. There were times when I judged the brethren too harshly. All of the things that the Spirit of God is not were in me—and how could that be? His Spirit was there also, but I did begin to doubt it. I wondered if I had deluded myself or maybe His Spirit left because I was too grievous to Him.

So, I quit the ministry. Things did not go well after that, so I came back. Yet, I did not feel like it was good enough to just go back to kindlingtruth. I had to start afresh, sort out the good from the bad, and do better. Or, at least attempt to. I will never claim perfection in life or in ministry. I know there are going to be weak spots. There might be times when I am still of the wrong spirit.

In any case, I don’t think any Christian instantly knows how to walk after the Sprit of God from the get-go. We have to learn how to, and Jesus will do the work in us necessary so that we can. It is also true that none but Jesus have the fullness of the Spirt of God. We can always seek more. The day we stop looking for Him is a sad day.

Even so, I do believe that as many as walk after the Spirit of God are the sons of God. We do not want to walk after the spirts of devils, but we might at times. We need mercy. We need guidance. We are all lost little sheep looking to our great Shepherd.

I will forever be skeptical of any minister who claims to be without sin, or at least without the capacity for sin. Maybe we get to a point in which we do not sin, but we are still not perfect. We have work to do. We have sufferings to endure. We have more of the Spirit to obtain. We have the resurrection or transfiguration to experience, and we are all at one time changed into the likeness of our Lord. How wonderful!

I don’t think anyone will attain perfection before the other. We are all raised at once at the coming of our Lord, Jesus. We are all on this journey together, so I am also highly skeptical of ministers who lord themselves over people. We should lead as we are given the ability, but often we are walking along side one another. Not in front or behind.

I do know that if the grace of God abounds towards us who have the Holy Spirit, we will be convicted of our sin. We will repent. We will overcome over time. So, in that way, those who are born of the Spirit of God cannot sin. I can sin. I would that I could not. I get overcome by things that are not of the Spirit of God, but I do recognize this more readily than I did before.

He can do this for us, and the more we seek Him and put Him first—which is a desire He graciously gives—the more we will grow in all things of His Life-giving Spirit. And in turn, we can be better servants of our brethren and of Him.

Considering Proverbs 10:17

He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

We are all very foolish by nature—especially in terms of our lack in the wisdom of God. However, so long as we are willing to be instructed, we can be corrected by Him. If we refuse His correction, then we will continue in error, instead choosing to follow the wisdom of man.

The pride of man thinks their own way is best. The pride of man does not regard God and the wisdom that is shown by and through the Son, Jesus Christ. Even among many who are called by His name—but I trust that He will correct us. He will cause us to be humbled so that we no longer refuse correction.

The correction of God brings life. The pride of foolish man only brings death.

We see many examples in this life of the pride and foolishness of man, and we see how their hardness of heart only leads to further disaster.

Failed policies by governments are a good example of this. They pass laws and create programs that hurt people, and instead of seeking the wisdom of God that could correct their mistake, they cover it up with more law or by shifting blame between political parties.

Law upon law, tax upon tax, blame upon blame, death upon death—but who regards the ways of the Lord? Will this not lead to their destruction along with all those who trust in them?

The ways of the Lord are hated, because His ways are against the proud who trust in their own way and in the foolish wisdom of man. The ways of the Lord are hated because He gives grace to the humble and raises up those who were despised. The ways of the Lord are hated because His ways reveal wickedness and condemns those who love it.

I’m sad to say that the foolishness of man is also seen in Christianity. I say this to provoke thought and repentance as needed for each individual, not to condemn. I have been all of these things in some measure. I need mercy too.

Instead of being corrected in doctrine, or at least agreeing to disagree on secondary and tertiary issues so that we can “be one” as the Father and the Son are one—as Jesus’s prayer to the Father hoped in John 17—we instead choose to follow our own way.

Instead of learning to seek the Spirit of the matters we disagree over, we continue to “strain out the gnat and swallow the camel.” We choose legalism over the liberty of His Spirit, and therewith we divide and condemn each other while thinking our denomination or favored teachings and teachers to be superior.

If someone disagrees with the teachings of our denomination, we cast them out of our church or ostracize them until they leave: and these are our brethren who trust in the Spirit, recognize their poverty of Spirit and want to grow.

These are our brethren who take the Word of God that was shed for us seriously enough to recognize that we disagree for a reason, and we should be more humble minded instead of drunk off of the wine of vipers who make us feel as though we have the truth when those “fake” Christians do not.

“Your brethren that hated you that cast you out for my name’s sake said, “let the Lord be glorified,” but He will appear to your joy and they shall be ashamed.”

How we reject the ways of the Lord, and instead of loving Him and loving our brethren as we should, we take delight in our pride and in many pastors and so-called prophets that destroy, divide, and conquer in the name of Jesus as they grow rich off of Him.

Jesus is not a business brand made to line the pockets of man! Jesus is not a social symbol to be used to make one feel better than other people! Jesus is not a loophole for a sinful life!

We create dependents on pastors and on churches that do so little to be faithful to His name and His teachings. We create failed systems that breed moral corruption and we fail to correct it. Is all of this not our pride an undoing?

Yet, we want to blame the governments. We want to blame unbelievers. Have we forgotten that judgement begins at the house of God? WE have things to answer for. WE have things that need to be corrected. WE will refuse it. WE will welcome Death before the end because of our stubbornness and pride.

Yet, who can know the limits of the mercy and patience of God!?

How wonderful it will be to see many return to Him when all we have vainly trusted in comes down before our eyes!

Yet, how terrible it will be when many see those who they have hated exalted by Him as leaders who we can look to, and instead of hearing correction He gives by those who He has appointed in leu of our manmade appointments, we again refuse because we are too proud. We would rather follow the Beast system and his Whore.

This will not be the fate of those who really love Him. Many will lose what they “seemed” to have as their hearts are tried by the fires of tribulation.

I’ve had my heart tried by this life, and I did not much like what I saw. I know that Jesus will reveal things to us, and I know that His mercy is incredibly vast for those who trust in Him. If we are willing to be corrected, willing to be a shame for His name, and willing to seek Him for His mercy even though we know that we do not deserve it, He will answer. I believe this for all who are called by His name and who love Him.

If the grace of God is for us, nothing can be against us. Least of all ourselves and the failings of man.

We should also consider that all failing–both within our nation and Christian nation–are what have made it possible for us to prosper in this life and in the knowledge Jesus.

Just as Paul the apostle told the gentiles not to boast against the root, because the root bears them, we should not boast against the failings of the nation or of the structural churches. Though many are cut off because of unbelief, they stood so that we could learn. So, as Paul the apostle wrote, “be not high minded, but fear.”

Jesus must be our God. He must be our God above our foolish allegiances with the destructive ways of man—including the ways within our churches—which are found in them all. Every. Single. One.

The way we do church in the United States is not acceptable anymore. We cannot continue to look to the authority of Man. WE are the temple of God. WE need to make sacrifices for His Name’s sake—beginning with sacrificing our foolishness and pride that refuses to be corrected.

He will raise up leaders, but not according to the wisdom of man and our failings. He will raise up those who have been tried and proven–by the grace of God–to be faithful to His word, not desiring of power, money or glory of man. In the end, the One who reigns is Jesus Himself and He will throw down all things that are exalted above Him.

Our national problems do in-fact reflect the state of Christian problems, and that is not some great wonder. The hearts of man are the same in all situations, especially situations that involve the authority of man. So, before we go around hating on our opposing political parties, unbelievers, or anyone at all, we need to look to our own.

We can also trust that all things are the grace of God towards us. He can show this to us, and He can show how all things—even our failings—are used for good. All things bring us closer to Him and His Kingdom. God has favored us, who are His true church, not made by the hands of man but by the Lord Himself!

I am also thankful that God deals with us as individuals. We are not blamed and punished for the sins of the whole, but there are sufficient individuals that what we will see seems to be a systemic rebuke. Trust in Him. Know that He sees each and every one of us, and He will do as He must for each and every one of us who love Him. He is true to His word!

I know that many disagree with my perspective, and that is okay. If I am shown to be a fool, I will gladly repent and use the lesson for good. I have no pride that gets in the way of making a fool of myself for the mistakes I make, and that is the grace of God.

Many hate that I would say that Jesus by His Spirit has shown me this, and that is okay too. We can agree to disagree because He is Lord, and He will show us all things according to His perfect grace towards us. We cannot disagree on loving each other as He loved us. We need to put that first, and in so doing, He is first.

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:3

Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. – Luke 6:21

There are a lot of things that we might mourn and cry over in this life, especially if we value good things like life and love, which seem to be declining in value in the eyes of many godless people.

As a Christian, I am thankful for the commandment of Jesus Christ: love your God and love your neighbor like yourself.

I like to apply the New Testament commandments and mindset of the teachings of Jesus to psalms like 119 that state, “I love thy commandments more than gold, yea, above fine gold,” and “my zeal has consumed me because my enemies have forgotten thy word. Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loves it.”

That psalm speaks volumes to the suffering of the servants of God—both as we deal with our own lack of love and as we deal with the lack of love of others. “I will follow in the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”

The more we see the good things of God in short supply, the more valuable they are and the more we should want to see the nature of Jesus grow in us. We feel our lack and desperate need, otherwise the world would overtake us. “They had almost consumed me on the earth, but I forsook not thy precepts. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness, so shall I keep the testimonies of thy mouth.”

In times of murderous men who do not value the things of God, His love is oh so precious—and extraordinarily comforting.

When I see or read things by Christians who encourage us to seek Jesus, remember love, and do our best to be at peace with everyone, my heart is lifted. When I see or read things by other Christians that remind me that Jesus will return, reward our faithfulness, and repay those who slay His servants, I am comforted.

It is good to know that while the wicked seem to prosper in their love of death, their time is short. It is also good to know that if it were not for the grace of God towards us, we would be no different.

How sad it is to have this life only.

If all the wicked get is this one life, let them have it all. They can “take what is theirs and go” as the parable of the talents teaches. A life spent in the earth only is all they get, but we have a greater inheritance.

We have everlasting life, and the suffering we endure at the hands of godless people is nothing compared to the joy we will experience in that kingdom—and can even now experience when our minds are set on Jesus Christ.

Despite our suffering, we can find happiness, peace, patience, and love for our enemies. The godless don’t have that. They are consumed by their hate, and it is sad.

So, while we mourn for ourselves and those who are robbed by the godless, we should mourn for those consumed by this world and its hate.

I know how it feels to be consumed by hate, and I am so thankful that as a Christian, I can confess this to Jesus, pour my complaints out to Him, and be strengthened so that I might overcome for His Name’s sake.

There is much comfort for us Christians. We are comforted when the Spirit corrects us and changes our attitude or brings us to some other form of truth in Jesus Christ. We are comforted with the amazing promises of salvation and a kingdom to come in which righteousness dwells.

How wonderful that kingdom will be! Can you imagine it? Jesus on the throne, visibly reigning with justice, judgment, and mercy forever…a land full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. How amazing that is!

This life is short, and though the suffering feels oh so long and hard to deal with, and though at times we do not feel the comfort we’d like to feel, don’t lose faith. Trust in Jesus and praise Him for all He as done and will do!

Once we are sufficiently strengthened according to the individual calling we have, He will settle our hearts on Him. I also need more strengthening and settling, but I know that He will do it!

Here is one of my favorite scripture songs, Psalm 119 by Paul Stringini. I want to include it here because it might be comforting for others as it is for me. You can find more free scripture songs here.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand.

*note* I later realized that I got my parable references crossed, so I want to apologize for that. I combined ideas from the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25) and the Parable of the Workers Wages (Matthew 20). The ideas do go together.

We all receive something from God, represented in one parable as a talent and in another as a day’s wage. For some, all they get is this life–their one talent or a day’s wage–and they are okay with that. They take that talent or wage and they bury it in the earth, and in so doing, many think they are first because they seem to come first in this world. But as Jesus says, “those who are last will be first, and those who are first will be last.”

There are other ways to look at these parables. Lord willing, we will get to all of them. ❤

Considering Proverbs 10:16

The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.

There are many forms of work in this life. We work to put a roof over our head. We work to put food on the table. We work to provide luxuries for ourselves and others. Maybe we work to advance our careers. Maybe we work to build up our homes and our lives in general.

These things are usually honorable, so long as we do not neglect what Jesus teaches us.

He says, “do not labor for food that perishes, but for food that brings everlasting life.”

He says, “Do no lay up for yourselves treasure in earth, where moths and rust corrupt and thieves break through and steal. Instead, lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven where moths and rust do not corrupt, and thieves do not break through and steal. Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.”

What does this mean?

How do we labor for bread of life? How do we lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven?

As Christians, we have things to care for. Most importantly, we have people to care for. We have our families, we have our brethren in the faith, we have unbelievers we live around an encounter. We should work to bring the Bread and Fountain of Life to everyone, to the best of our ability and according to the faith and grace given to us.

This is a great treasure. Just as Jesus brings life, we are given the task of brining life as our own lives testify of He who IS Life. In so doing, we are rewarded as “good and faithful” servants who properly “occupy” until our Lord returns.

This can feel futile sometimes.

In a world in which “iniquity abounds” and the wicked tend to sin instead of life, it can be hard to maintain a focus on the Kingdom of Heaven. We get bogged down by the world and our hearts go after it.

As the parable of the sower teaches, there are many things in this life that can steal the good things of His Kingdom from us.

Maybe unbelievers snatch the good things of God away from us before they take root. Maybe hard times come and we give into sin instead of trusting in God. Maybe we lose sight of Jesus at times when the cares of this life and worldly purists overshadow Him. Maybe the world tramples on us and our hearts become hardened.

If we get overly distracted by this world, we find ourselves also tending to things of wickedness instead of things of life. Maybe we had a kind of “fruit,” but exposure to the world and those who love sin ate up what we had and turned it into refuse.

However, as Christians who take the faith seriously, He will not allow us to fulfil the wrong side of His parables only.

There is going to be some measure of “good ground” in which His seed will develop deep and abiding roots and bring forth lasting fruits of the Spirit and treasures in His Kingdom that will not be taken from us.

This takes time. It takes time to grow deep roots. It takes time for a strong plant to form. It takes time for fruit to produce.

There are also differing types of plants. Some plants require much difficulty so they can grow into what they are meant to be. Sometimes we go through dry seasons. Sometimes we endure freezing temperatures and scorching heat. Sometimes we are made to grow within hard and rocky soil.

So, it may seem that we are seed on bad ground, but in reality, these hardships are making us into who we are as we learn an important truth: everything we have is the grace of God towards us.

Maybe we can bring forth some measure of fruit by own work, but I don’t think it will last. I know this from experience.

Although I appreciate the virtue it takes to strive against sin, our striving should always be in the form of seeking Jesus. It can be easy to forget this and before we know it, we see that we are fighting our battles alone, trusting in our own virtue to preserve us.

It won’t. We do not have the strength or the goodness enough within ourselves to maintain.

This world will get in. This world will corrupt. This world kills, steals, and destroys. Jesus brings life abundant.

We will be fruitful according to the measure of faith and grace given to us, so above all else seek the grace of God through the Son, Jesus Christ and the power of His Spirit that never dries up. He will do all things in us according to the perfect and pleasing will of the Father for us, so that God is glorified in us and by us.

Do our hearts seek the treasures of Life in the Kingdom of Everlasting Life by the power of He Who IS Life? Or, are our hearts looking to this world? I know that many Christians are caught up in the things of this world. I know how easy it can be, but I also know that the Lord will do anything He must in order to draw us nearer to Him.

This world will steal our worldly riches. They cannot have enough of these things because that is all they have. Let them have it.

“Blessed are those whose God is the Lord, Jesus Christ.” He cannot be stolen from us. HE is the GREATEST treasure!