Focus People!

There is so much information out there in the world today. Every one of us carries endless information in our hands via our smartphones. Most of us have a Facebook or a Twitter or some sort of social media account. Those platforms are riddled with information. Some of the information is labeled, misinformation, and then some sort of fact-check is done on it with other information that is now misinformation and the original information is correct.

Have you been following the events in Ukraine? There is so much information coming out of there that it will have your head spinning. Many of the stories carried by the MSM have been false, for example, the Ghost of Kyiv was just a propaganda piece, as was the Snake Island heroes. Even the reasons for the invasion are sketchy at best. With all this misinformation and misdirection it is hard to know what to believe or even who to listen to for that matter.

There are a couple verses i am going to share here and all though they aren’t necessarily within full context they still hold some marit. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4 For good measure here is another, Paul writes to Timothy, “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) We live in an iformation age and anyone with a smartphone has their fingertips on endless knowledge. Yet, we find ourselves almost dumber for having them.

Just today i was on my tablet scrolling through Facebook when i received a text from my oldest son who happens to be in Ecuador at the moment. So of course i stopped what i was doing to see what he said. After replying i then began to scroll Facebook on my phone. A few minutes go by and i look up and i have the same post open on both my phone and tablet, at least i am consistent. But that isn’t the point, i just shook my head and said how dumb is this!?!?! i will answer it for you, it is very dumb!

i was immediatly drawn to the passage i read this morning in my personal devotional time . . . “Coffee with Yahshua.” Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brethern, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatevert things are of good repoet, if there is any virture and if there is anything praisworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the Elohim of peace will be with you.”

Be encouraged today, set your focus on the things above. Don’t fear what is happening in the world. Our Adonai is coming soon . . . look up! Meditate on His Word, seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else will fall into place as He has planned.

You are loved,

cj

Christian (part three)

Christian (part three)

The topic of Christianianity is a BIG one. There is no way around it actually in our society, as it is in nearly every facet of life. Today, we will focus on the politics of being a Christian. It is pushed by both major political parties, some would say, “exploited” for political gain, touching on the surface, our need to be compassionate. It’s a double-edged sword if you will because politics are ugly and yet i do believe we have a civic duty to participate in it. But we can not separate the two. i know the constitution makes a distinction of separation between Church and State. However, that separation is intended to protect the Church from the government not the government from the Church.

If you are a politically active Christian you must do so from a perspective of the values found in the passages of Scripture in which we hold so dear. To separate your beliefs in some attempt to appease a group of people is not within the guidelines of being Christian. Nor can we separate it out from our lives in any aspect. To do so would be a denial of our values, our faith, our Christ. So far in our previous two weeks of looking at this topic, we covered Romans 12:9-10 which state:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Our next verse, 11, states:

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”

Think of those in past times who basically risked everything in order to remain faithful to God. Namely, in this case, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, these guys put God above politics in everything they did that’s why they were hated by the others and set up. Even to the point of not denying their God for any reason even their very lives. We should be so bold! “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord!”

So, what are we to do when the climate is so split, compassion over what? When sizing up candidates does one issue rule over another? Where is grace or mercy when it comes to pass indiscretions? How about moral failings? Or the candidates stated belief versus their present actions? There is so much to consider how does one possibly vote at all? i for a very long time was registered, independent. i didn’t want the label of a political party, in fact, i still don’t but when we moved i somehow selected an affiliation and just haven’t gone to fix it. In my heart of hearts, i remain an objective independent voter. Who Votes his beliefs over politics, over issues, over a person. As a Christian, i take into consideration my own grace, mercy, love and the charge to love others, in making my decisions on casting a vote for someone or some issue.

May we take into account such things always and in everything that we do, not just politics, but also, work, friendships, relationships, even when we are alone.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13

You are loved,

cj

Jude (Part 1)

Jude (Part 1)

Let me start here: if you have not read Jude (an introduction), stop now and go read it . . . it will make more sense that way. However, as a reminder to those who did read it let me refresh your memory. Jude is one of four brothers of Jesus and at some point led the Church in Jerusalem. He came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection. This same Jude then pens this letter and it is powerful! As a call to repentance, as a reminder of judgment, and as a warning to stay alert as we contend for the faith.

He doesn’t waste time with small talk, antidotes, or gibber, he is very matter-of-fact. In the verses, we will look at this week, we will see his heart, and his understanding as the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church. Let’s look at verse 5, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Here is an interesting point, there are a couple manuscripts out there as well as a few versions of the Bible that use “Jesus” in place of “the Lord”. Could these early manuscripts be more accurate to Jude’s point? i think so. Jude had come to an understanding of who Jesus was and was not ashamed of it.

We love grace, i love grace. We preach grace, i preach grace, and it is glorious! However, we mustn’t lose sight of Jesus. Jesus, actively a part of the Old Testament, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, saves us by His cross. He leads us free from the chains of sin, out of bondage and into freedom. As the Israelites out of Egypt and still, subsequently (lit. the second time) He destroys those who did not believe. Folks, there is judgment. There is a hell and it has been preached since the formation of the Church. Do not be led astray. We must continue to contend for the faith in a world that would pervert the grace of God, even some in the Church.

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [f]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved[c] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[d] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV)

Pray with me for insight, for understanding, for fresh revelation into God’s Word. Let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts through these words written by Jude inspired by the Spirit. May we grow in wisdom and faith, as we seek to walk humbly with Jesus, contending for the faith. Until next week . . .

you are loved,

cj

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj

Un~intended Conversations

Un~intended Conversations

i recently had a conversation with someone who i believe is a non-believer (actually i have many of those conversations but i want to single this one out a bit). In reality it wasn’t so much a conversation as it was a chat. Regardless, it will do well in making my point.

i made a comment, that clearly was sarcasm to anyone who really knows me. This individual did not. They read it and found it to be offensive, and they replied in part, “why must i shove my holiday on everyone…” i attempted, it appears in vain, to help the individual understand where my comment was coming from…with clearly no resolution. This person, however did go to my Facebook page, which is open for all the world to see, and then proceeded to make accusations based on the fact i am:
1. a Christian,
2. post often with Christian content,
3. do not share their particular social outlook. (based on posted content)

i realized something that is true for all Christians, in these days in which we live. We will be judged by the conduct of others calling themselves “Christians”. We will not easily persuade others to look at us in another light, than that tainted by our present culture towards Christians. We are sadly lumped into only two categories, liberal christianity; and conservative christianity…both lowercase on purpose because neither truly reflects the heart and nature of Jesus.

Here is the point i want to make, a desperate plea from my heart to yours, love. Love God with your whole being, and love people as you love yourself. Pray, pray for those that persecute you, spitefully use you, speak all kinds of evil against you. Live this life, don’t just talk about it, don’t just read about it, don’t just pretend when only certain people are watching.

These passages that we have been covering in coffee with Jesus really have been hitting home especially in light of this recent chat.

Ephesians 4:1-4; 30-32
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

You should read the whole Chapter of Ephesians 4, the whole book actually but you should get the idea from these two excerpts. In conclusion let me remind us of what Peter wrote: 1 Peter 2:12

12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

You are Loved,

cj