I wish I can say I was a “best-selling” Christian book author, however, that title somehow does not accurately represent what being a “Christian” is all about.
I truly don’t believe that God would endorse anything that we “SOLD” that was given to us freely. Jesus wasn’t angered much, but there was an account of Jesus really making a scene at the Temple, specifically because they were “buying and selling”. What was suppose to be a house of prayer in uniting God with the believer, man had turned it into a market-place where it pushed the believer further away from God. Simply, we found a way to take what was free, and turned it into solely a money making entity.
Now, I am not against making money, but simply on what Christian churches emphasize the most. Put it this way, when Christians know Malachi 3:10 more than they know what Acts 2:38 is, then we have our priorities out of order and this is where we failed as elders of the Church. Give the people what they came for freely, and that is the free gift of the Holy Spirit.
What is a greater promise?
The promises of Malachi 3:10 or the Promises of Calvary via receiving the Holy Spirit?
Isaiah 55 CEV
“1 If you are thirsty, come and drink water! If you don’t have any money, come, eat what you want! Drink wine and milk without paying a cent. 2 Why waste your money on what really isn’t food? Why work hard for something that doesn’t satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will enjoy the very best foods. 3 Pay close attention! Come to me and live. I will promise you the eternal love and loyalty that I promised David.”
This is why the Apostle Paul, who was the specific messenger to us Gentiles, didn’t allow people to rob him of this boast to preach the gospel freely and to solely rely on the people’s love to give cheerfully vs. traditional means of “buying and selling” or with a heart of exchange.
1 Corinthians 9 NIV
“13Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
15But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.”
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the psychological and legalistic reasons why we must “buy and sell” things, or why we all should have “skin in the game,” or why people need to place fifty cents in a shopping cart to return it, but let us call it what it is, and may we simply desire to end or quit playing these immature psychological games of deception in the church, to push maturity, and to live by what is pure and true.
The simple truth is that God paid all sacrifices IN FULL by offering his only Son on Calvary for us. And ALL DEBTS were paid in full, all healing, marriage issues, addiction, illness, diseases, cancers are PAST TENSE.
“By His stripes we WERE healed”.
Romans 13:8 NIV
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
If we do anything outside of love, then the Cross be emptied of its power.
There is nothing that me or you can give as a sacrifice to God or to anyone in our lives that was not already made complete in Christ Jesus our Lord via Calvary.
Hosea 6:6 NLT
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”
Once again, outside of the church, those tactics are expected, however among the elders of the church, we should be able to see the need to mature past these “guilt trips” that organized religion resort to to achieve an outcome.
Now if you are a child, then maybe it’s age appropriate measures, but when do we grow up?
When do we push maturity?
Because I am 46 years old now and I’m long over due to move past the mythological stories of Santa Claus and the Easter bunny.
It’s the same parallel of how the Greek God’s were to Christianity, it’s time for us to see clearly how faith in those mythical characters were just a stepping stone to pave the way for our faith in Jesus Christ who is the author and maturer of our faith.
The very core values of Greek wisdom via Aristotle Socrates, and Plato predated Jesus Christ by about 1500 years?
And via Apostle Paul and the gospel of Jesus Christ, this core Greek belief system is now called Greek MYTHOLOGY?
Why is that?
1 Corinthians 13:9-10 NIV
“9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”
In fact, Hinduism is the oldest of all beliefs, which predates even Greek beliefs, but if you studied Hinduism, there are a striking resemblance of Greek and Hindu beliefs.
Now in defense of the Gospel, God sent the Apostle Paul to Greece and the disciple Thomas to India. Not that Thomas was any less of a believer, but a matter of order and at that time, Greece was and became the very fabric of infrastructure contributing the design of what a democracy is, to the power of unity via the Olympics.
So it was likewise that God send someone who possessed the very qualifications or credentials that this Greek audience had faith in.
This is why I believe the Apostle Paul was so important to further the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is a God of order and the priority to be led by truth is always aimed at our leaders.
The leaders of our homes, communities and churches. Now a change can start from the ground level, but let us learn from Jesus Christ.
Let us learn that a healthy change starts from the top-down vs from the bottom-up which is often mistaken as mutiny, anarchy or a rebellion.
Once again, neither way is right or wrong, but there is an order.
And I believe that through the Apostle Paul, God had an obligation to minister to the leaders of this world more intimately than ever before.
Isn’t God awesome? He done found a way to preach to the wise and learned so that no one is without excuse.
So The Apostle Paul literally took the HIGH road and The Disciple Thomas took the LOW road. Once again, not a competition, nor it is about right or wrong but of order. You send soldiers to all regions to defend the gospel.
Here is the rest of the 1 Corinthians 13, it was too good for me to leave it out.
“8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
So now, hopefully I have your attention, so let us move forward to what God placed in my heart today.
So you may have heard me say before that “love” has no expectations, however allow me to clarify this, because what we do out of love does come with a healthy expectation.
Now this healthy expectation however does come with an order and biblically it’s often referred to as a “reward” from God.
And this “reward” or expectation for our good works should always be placed on God before any expectations on people or creation.
This is how placing God or the Kingdom of God first in our lives looks like. For when we seek Him first, then the “rest” will follow.
We are “selling” ourselves short of the full measure of God’s blessings if we simply look first to superficial validation alone either from God, family, friends and people.
Because God’s reward is far greater than the euphoria that ten thousand “likes” or “followers” can ever provide or the temporary hunger satisfaction of one hot meal.
It’s so far more greater than all the luxuries in this world can offer that Jesus even turned it all down when Satan offered it to Him.
God’s reward is simply the peace and confidence it provides in our hearts to live with ourselves and with others despite our failures and constant struggles interpreting the knowledge of good and evil.
It’s aka “forgiveness” for ourselves and then for others. It’s being able to look back and to finally say, “it is well with my soul my Lord.”
You see, what defines a “blessing” is anything that reminds us of God’s unfailing love and that draws us closer to God vs. pushes us away or further from Him.
We often say that our jobs, marriages and children are blessings from God, but I don’t know about you, but all these things were keeping me away from God and his Church than drawing me closer!
So how can we have the confidence to say that these are all blessings when it is keeping us distant from He that blesses us? How can we receive the healings and deny the healer? Receive the gifts, but never know the giver of these gifts, and lastly be well versed on His scriptures, but never know the author?
Ironically, true blessings are often disguised as “good” and “evil”. This is why it was NOT God’s will for us to even try to interpret or “eat’ of this tree in Eden.
Isaiah 45:7 KJV
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
We didn’t have the maturity that God possessed to look upon these “good and evil” things and for it not to sway us into anxiety, depression, and anger.
We were suppose to live like children, child like faith.
Children run around with no shame or guilt, they don’t worry about their next meal or the logistics of things, they just live and live life abundantly. A mature parent teaches their children this order of living by our faith in God first before dipping into the knowledge of good and evil.
Knowledge will always complement FAITH, but FAITH will never complement knowledge.
This is why we need the Holy Spirit in us. This is why I lead an Acts 2:38 ministry. An Acts 2:38 Ministry is simply making sure the believer understands what God requires of us to be one with Him.
It is not enough to have God merely above us or with us, or simply around us. Don’t be content with an external relationship with God. This is why the disciples all failed, this is why Jesus died on the cross. So that WE may have what He had. He was the first born of many brothers and sisters, He was the prototype to desire the most INTIMATE relationship of the TRINITY and that is the symbol of a marriage between a husband and his wife as Christ loved the Church.
Its more intimate than a Father’s love, more intimate than that love of a friend in Jesus as He was called Emmanuel meaning “God with us”. It is about “God being in us”, a marriage between our body, soul and Spirit is what constitutes a rebirth. Not just simply an Altar call, although that is where it begins, it surely does not end there.
God’s Spirit in us makes us ONE with God and it gives us the mind and heart of Christ to have the maturity to now look optimistically on the knowledge of good and evil and to finally be at rest or peace with life. A rebirth cannot be defined any other way.
1 Corinthians 2 NIV
“14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.“
God’s WILL was this order, to live by FAITH in God first and then the “knowledge of good and evil” complemented our Faith in God.
No special theological training needed, or works, or dues that needed to be paid, it’s a simple diagnosis and a simple treatment plan. So simple that uneducated shepherds and fisherman understood it. So simple that Jesus not being a sinner was obedient to a sinner’s baptism conducted by John the baptist which specifically was a baptism of repentance.
Once again, no special trained or educated or certified professionals or counselors, NOT by might nor by power but by God’s Spirit alone!
He is “THE” COUNSELOR and He alone is the GREATEST PHYSICIAN. He will diagnose and heal your body, soul and spirits.
Romans 8 28 NLT
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
So do we love God?
And if your answer is “yes” like me,
Then what are we worried about then?
Now can you find healing through those professionals?
Sure, that is the only downfall of grace, that many will find there healing but will never find there healer. Once again, never a matter of right or wrong, but of order. You may want to save your soul before you desire to save your life.
Mark 8:36 NLT
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
And if you ever get the blessing to learn this early in life, you will notice that ALL these professionals and experts in “healing” literally preach the gospel. Satan just found a way to re-badge and re-label God’s precepts and teachings, and has found a way to SELL YOU what God has already given to us freely.
If Satan found a way to sell us bottled water, he can find a way to sell you anything that was already free.
We should desire in life a measure of maturity for every measure of blessing and with every adversity that God had entrusted unto us. Yes, you heard me correct, God had trusted us with all the adversity that we experienced.
Now sadly, I have failed the majority of these tests, but this is what love is. It is about facing your fears and not avoiding them.
Its about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and not going around it. It is about God consistently giving you the same questions that you missed earlier on the test, but rewording it, throwing it back at you again, and to see if you answer it the same or differently. To see if you are genuinely founded on His Word or if you are just simply guessing.
It’s the measure of wisdom and peace that He gives us for past, present and future circumstances.
To fully grasp the order or God’s will on what creation can offer and what it cannot.
To appreciate the gifts but to also desire greater gifts.
To simply quit looking at superficial validation on things solely and to aim higher.
God’s reward is best described as what Peter said about baptism.
1 Peter 3:21 NIV
“and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”
It cleans the cup from the inside. It provides an atmosphere around others that is unmatched by any man-made philosophy, Creed or belief.
It’s the drawing power of the Cross.
It’s the product of God’s love. And once we feel this love in us, then now we possess the maturity to truly appreciate creation and it’s superficial validations whether it is from one or one hundred thousand.
And those that truly love us with God’s same love, will encourage us, because they too recognize the order and power of validation from God and through His people.
We are in debt, this country is in debt, this world is in debt because we are trying to give what we DO NOT HAVE.
Because of Calvary, there is NO MORE DEBTS remain outstanding other than the DEBT to love one another and we cannot love others in the capacity that God wants us to love them if we are NOT in UNION with His Spirit.
This year, may we be reminded continually that He is our Shepherd, and that He is what we fix our eyes on and that WE LACK NOTHING. Because through Him I see His blessed assurance everywhere.
Desire to repent and to be baptized everyone of you specifically in name of Jesus Christ and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. I cannot emphasize this formula any stronger.
Prior to the Passover, Moses gave his people specific instructions on what preparations they must observe so that the Spirit of death would pass over their home. It was simple instructions with simple ingredients commonly found in everyones lives. Make the connection people, we cannot offer God anything more or less. Jesus gave the keys of the Kingdom of God to Peter alone and said He would bind on heaven what Peter bound on earth. Peter made it clear that the way, truth and the life was via baptism in the name of Jesus Christ as our only way to remit our sins and to unite the believer with God’s Holy Spirit.
“The Word of God has to first be a love letter to us before it can be a book of rules and regulations. Obedience without love becomes religion.” – MMA
Your brother in our war against sin.