Do Not Fear Those Who Judge Us Before The Appointed Time.

1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

If you ever been selected for jury duty, you would know that not just anyone gets selected for a trial.

In fact, many go through a selection process where the attorneys ask these potential jurors a few questions.

Basically, what they are looking for initially, are candidates who can think clear, remain unbiased about an issue and exhibit a form of maturity without any obvious signs of confusion.

They should also be living a life that remotely represents what they believe and is not easily offended.

People that are NOT swayed simply by emotions, or superficial factors like money and popularity.

So the main reason that I brought this topic up is because the Holy Spirit reminded me this morning of this simple wisdom.

He reminded me that if our natural Court systems DO NOT ALLOW these confused people to judge others, THEN WHY DO WE allow these same confused people judge us as if their opinions matter?

Sadly, it is those who are confused the most who judge others the most.

Because if they truly understood what was the issue, they would be led by compassion to NOT cast judgement, but to show mercy.

“Confused people are not fit to judge others in a court of law, let alone judge the body of Christ.” – MMA

1 Corinthians 2
“14The 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. 15The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,”

Brothers and sisters,

In the name of Jesus Christ, be freed from the fear of our external critics.

We have only one critic in Christ, Jesus and He is our judge, jury and advocate/attorney.

So let us remember that the evident signs of confused individuals are those who are quick to judge.

John 8 NIV

9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Freedom!

Your brother in our war against sin.

Amen.

Ray Evangelista

My Birthday Message

Thank you all,😀😍

When I was a kid, I rarely if it all envisioned what and where I would be at 46, lol

But if today was my last day on Earth, I would be so very thankful for all that God had allowed me to experience regardless of the labels of what the knowledge of good and evil has placed on everything.

I had said this before, but it remains my heart to this day, that even though I did not possess the maturity for all of my blessings, God still allowed me to be a husband, father, brother, son, friend, and most of all, the highest honor in being a servant to His Kingdom and His people.

I missed the reminders of maturity that God had placed so obviously in my life at 18, 21, and 33. Sadly, this world has found a way to celebrate these ages with just more immaturity! Go figure.

But that’s the definition of Satan’s deception and better late than never and that is my goal with what is left in my life.

Our maturity aka self discipline, not only benefits us, but ALL that rely on us for faith, hope and God’s love.

And remember Job, that in God’s time, it’s never too late.

Because what we double bogey or lose on the front 9, God always finds a way to restore it exponentially on the back “9”, (lil golf terminology). 😉

I hope and pray, that my life is a reminder of God’s love in this manner and that truly God makes all things new.

Thank you all again 490, for your faith, hope and love for God and each other.❤️

In the name of Jesus Christ, whom by the Father’s will that we must honor in all that we do in word or deed.

Amen.

Your brother in our war against sin.

Ray Evangelista

My 2019 Poem of Love.

We have all felt the hurt, the pain the betrayals. However I always find a way to make them out as mere fables.

Seek professional help and trust a stranger, share your darkest secrets with a psychological “re-arranger”.

But I prefer to trust a person’s spirit, not a certain look or credential, because who can be worthy of my trust? Who can measure up to my potential?

Maybe I am crazy, a freak that is mental, maybe it is okay to feel like a rental?

So I became numb, a devil without a cause, an emotional wreck full of junk parts in my garage.

Years of collecting and no where near curating, a Smithsonian of feelings in no particular order. A psychological disarray, a spiritual hoarder.

A self-diagnosis is what I have found, from a foundation of love which was on holy ground.

The antidote was love in any shape and or form and to gravitate there to allow me to mourn.

We all possess love, even though we feel rejected, because love is still love even though it’s misdirected.

So if I can offer you hope in this very moment, to always trust love as a sacrifice for our atonement.

The scriptures are true that we have loved darkness over light, but it’s still love that has drawn us not power or might.

So allow me to save you from paying for your cure, it’s a heart of love that we desire that must be willing to mature.

So if love guides our way or leads us astray, God is always love and He would not have it any other way.

Like children, a life lived without not even one label, a life lived blind to the knowledge of good or evil.

A life like a song which is beyond right or wrong, a life that is full of faith, hope and love is where we all belong.

The good and the evil, both can draw people to Christ, but why is it often the darkness that brings people to light?

Sadly the answers we search lie already in our heart, it’s just our inability to be still and reverend is what keeps us apart.

Received a quote from a friend, like how a dog waits for crumbs. . .

“We only dwell on the bad memories in life, because we lack the faith to create better ones.”

So what I give here remains without cost or fair price, because all debts have been paid through our Lord Jesus Christ.

– Ray Evangelista

A MUST READ for 2019: What We Should Expect From God’s Love this Year.

INTRODUCTION:

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?

18?
21?
33?

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.

The 9 Similarities Between 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.

The Apostle Paul was a very learned man and gravitated to a lot of very wealthy, intellectual, and well educated people. Apollos and the physician Luke to name a few.

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.

May we have learned from Esau, and desire NOT to give away our birthright for a mere bowl of bean soup!

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.

Ray Evangelista

My 2019 “Knew Years” Message.

First of all, thank you all for the votes for moving forward with a NEW YEARS DINNER @ Midtown.

I will get the deets out here in a bit.

Some of y’all know that my word for 2018 was MATURITY. Our culture recognizes numerals consistent with pushing maturity. (18, 21 and 33) and if you are Mike Gundy, 40 is when you should be a grown a$$ man. Lol

As another blessed year goes into the books, let us embrace the “New Year” with what we learned from the year we already knew aka, The Knew Year.

Now if we based our success of 2018 solely on what was external or simply on our circumstances, then sadly we will always feel defeated everytime.

Because we CANNOT beat Satan at his own game and schemes. We CANNOT out Psych the Curator of Psychology and we truly cannot counsel the devil away.

However, if we could be led by FAITH and be reverend with what God is doing to our HEARTS more than what He is doing with our LIVES, we would see a DIFFERENT story.

We would have seen a story of our REBIRTH. A story where God is creating a NEW heart with new paths with new people and with new ways of living.

What did we anticipate, think or picture what a REBIRTH was going to bring us?

I don’t know about y’all, but I am no woman, but giving birth and it’s whole pregnancy process looks miserable!

Sorry mom’s!

Our new story is a story of God molding us into MATURITY, simplicity, meekness, reverence and a drawing closer to God and the ones that truly love us with a genuine unconditional love.

We need MATURITY more than ever before in the history of this world simply because we have a lot more distractions.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but IT IS about God separating us from the things that we DID NOT have the MATURITY for because we did not possess the maturity to address them properly.

Because IF we had the maturity to address these issues, then we would have “fixed” it ourselves. Amen?

Surely we would not need to quarrel, or hire an attorney to settle these simple matters.

Now if you need a mediator other than God, then call it what it is and let us REPENT of our immaturities.

But just know without a doubt that it is IMMATURITY that we struggle with and not with others or with flesh and blood!

Apostle Paul speaks of this quite a bit. I personnally believe that the Apostle Paul personally struggled with maturity as evidence by his past, his blood line as a Benjamite and his frequent imprisonments.

And lastly by evidence of Phillipians 3:12 NLT

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

Notice the use of “perfection” which in Greek is “Tilos'” meaning maturity.

So by faith, our new road IS about God isolating us TEMPORARILY , so that we may remain with Him for a season so we may discipled in His ways in love and maturity.

I don’t know about you, but my definition of a surrender is raising a white flag. And when we say we surrender our lives to God, ALL NEGOTIATIONS ARE OFF.

Like in the Old Testament, there was a time for negotiations. But now, NEW LIFE calls for a FULL TRANSPARENT SURRENDER to God without terms or conditions.

Embrace the new year with a “Knew Year” heart. And embrace the coming New year with a RECEIVING heart and the desire to clean our cup from the inside first, then our outside will be made clean and this is the beginning of living a life that is God’s will.

In His most Holy name, Jesus Christ.

Your brother in our discipleship to Maturity,

Ray Evangelista.

Amen.

Here is the “rest” of Phillipians 3:12-21 NLT

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.13No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,d but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

15Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

17Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

Amen brother Paul, I will not forget and will carry on the desire of your heart and love for our God. Your suffering will not be in vain. I accept the task in Jesus’ name.

Introduction to The Promises of Malachi 3:10 vs. the Promises of Calvary.

Now if you cannot recall Malachi 3:10 by memory, then this note is most likely not for you. lol

However, if you recall Malachi 3:10 by memory, then you have had a desire in your heart to stay reminded of the Holy Tithe in your life.

Now as long as I can remember, the Holy Tithe has always came with a condition. At least with the churches that I have been associated with that is. Some place guilt trips, some say you are stealing from God and some will argue about the tiniest issues of whether it should come from the net income or the gross. lol.

A pastor once said that a church member asked if a certain attire was okay to wear to church and the Pastor’s gentle response is that if you question anything on whether it is appropriate or not, its probably not appropriate.

And to me, that goes with the heart of giving. Love is the fulfillment of the law. What is given out of love, does not need to be understood, just received and given with thanksgiving and compassion.

But for all of us who are “left brainers” that need to understand how it all suppose to work together for the good of them that “love” God, let me give you a biblical break down on what any giving, including the Tithe was suppose to produce.

So the big question is if the Old Testament laws still apply?

Yes, the only thing that changed post Calvary was that these laws moved from being written externally on scrolls and tablets of stone to that internally of human hearts. It changed from an era of “having to” to “wanting to” be obedient. Because obedience without love becomes Religion.

2 Corinthians 3:3

“Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.”

Proverbs 3:3

“Never let loving devotion or faithfulness leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Jeremiah 31:33

“But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD. I will put My law in their minds and inscribe it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

DEUTERONOMY 15:10

“You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.”

DEUTERONOMY 16:17

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you.”

1 CHRONICLES 29:9

“Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.”

MATTHEW 17:26

24After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” 25“Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” 26“From others,” Peter answered, “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

MATTHEW 6:3-4

“But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

2 CORINTHIANS 9:7

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

1 CORINTHIANS 16:2

‘On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”

2 Corinthians 3

The Glory of the New Covenant

1Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! 2The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in oura hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 3Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

4We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 6He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

7The old way,b with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

12Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

16But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

Summary:

So in summary, the promises of the Old testament including Tithing were great but the promises of Calvary were even greater.

Old Testament Laws and promises came with expectations. However post Calvary, God’s love became NON or un-conditional, because this is how “grace” is defined.

The sacrifice God made where He gave us His Son PAID all debts in FULL.

In fact, if there is any debt left outstanding, it is only the debt to love one another with this same un-conditional love.

If we address each others heart, then the works will eventually follow.

If obedience has not come, then don’t push for it more than we push for love. We wait on love because God is love.

Finally,

Tithing will NOT unlock more grace. However loving others will and by this same love, we had fulfilled and surpassed any expectations that God’s Laws were suppose to produce.

There is so much more I will post on this blessed topic, but felt that I needed to post what I have so far.

Remain blessed, your brother in our war against sin,

Ray Evangelista

Literal Symbolism.

There was a time when a Pastor would tell me in regards to scripture, “Don’t read into it”. Meaning that I should not venture off the literal meaning of scripture. However, what message are we sending as elders of the spiritual church of God?

What is “literal” is good, and it is not a matter of right or wrong, but of order.

We, mankind, have been deceived on what we classify of what is “literal” and “figurative” because it is all figurative.

Because what we deem as literal; words, letters, characters, and numbers are really just “symbols” of something true and what is true is that all of creation points to the Creator. When we lose this connection, we lose vital meaning and intimacy between our relationship between God and mankind.

“The Word of God must first be a love letter before it can become a rule book.”

These words are just a basic symbolic expression of what is real and in no way should be taken as truth alone.

The word coffee is not really coffee and the word apple, is not an actual apple.

For example, the word “faith” is not faith. The word “hope” is not hope and the word “love” does not even express a fraction of what love truly is.

In fact, scientifically, when we “see” the word love, it is our right brain that will interpret these characters to us and produce a conclusion by linking our personal experiences of love (good or bad) which creates our own personal definition of what “love” truly is.

So what does this all amount to?

Well, the “Word” became flesh for a reason. The “Word” or what was written had to become an actual being and an expression of flesh because we got the wrong interpretation of what was written in the scriptures.

So if this note will teach us anything, it would teach us that even what we perceive as literal in life and scripture, still has a very symbolic and deeper meaning if we can believe.

A life of literal meanings is what we are trying to escape in this world.

Now if we are still children, yes we need literal boundaries, but when do we push maturity? At what age?

And who around us will we allow intimately to push or encourage our maturity?

These are valid questions that the “church” are obligated to address and yet they do not. Because unless we are preaching about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, then we remain in a immature spiritual state and require discipline over having the power of self-discipline via the Holy Spirit.

Look around us, we are grown adults that are still fighting childhood demons of envy, lust, addiction, gluttony, and abuse.

Everything in our lives speak that we have a lack of self discipline.

I have been a poor steward of God’s blessings. It was never a question of God providing, but a question of my management.

“Our problem in this country is NOT our ability to make money, but our ability to manage it.”

Let us learn from great men like King David. Sadly, he was more mature as a young man intimate with God then as an adult separated from God with so many distractions. Apart from God we truly cannot do anything.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Maturity is about living by faith, by hope and most of all living by love. Maturity is about living beyond what is literal and what is “seen” or by what we perceive as good or evil. There is more to it than just “bad luck” or this is what we deserve.

Philippians 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Life is about many personal messages and experiences that God sends to us in one of three ways, aka the “Trinity”. And in this “Trinity” comes three intimate messengers of love with the latter being the most intimate;

First, the love of a Father, second, the love of a best Friend via His Son and finally, the love of a Husband to His Bride via the Holy Spirit.

All are in harmony to remind us that there is something greater than what is literal.

I have much more to write, but I trust that by faith, the true Counselor will guide you unto all truth and the mysteries of this blessed subject. May this serve simply as a “Theatrical trailer” to a greater full length feature film.

Now if you still remain a very literal person about scripture, I close with this scripture:

Acts 2:38

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

In the name of Jesus Christ, your brother in our war against sin.

Ray Evangelista