Rejection

Rejection

John 12:47-50 (MSG) “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.”

What a different world would we live in if people did not fear rejection? Rejection is the feeling of being refused. Rejection can be delivered from either party. What in the world is Christ saying in this passage? I don’t understand. “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him.” To the organized religion called church that is a preposterous notion. To hear the Word and not do it most certainly must bear a consequence. Not in the face of grace, it can’t. To allow condemnation of any kind is to reject the idea that His Grace is enough to overcome every weakness. God will never reject the repentant heart that makes its way through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Rejection is not a Kingdom principle but an earthly choice made by mankind to choose something else.

Jesus came to save us. He came to heal us, restore us and revive us again as sons and daughters of God. His Purpose was not to judge the world yet it is the heavy mantle of many to not only judge each other but themselves. There is a difference between judgment and accountability. One is terminal the other can be life giving. Throughout my lifetime, the Lord has placed many in my life who hold me accountable to the Word of God. I have also faced many judges and harsh critics. The purpose behind the pain is the determining factor. Was the point of the lesson to tear down or build up? Jesus came to build a Kingdom but in doing so He had to tear some things down and rebuild them.

John 2:18-22 (MSG)  But the Jews were upset. They asked, “What credentials can you present to justify this?” Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.” They were indignant: “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

The Jews were more than upset – they became downright irate when Jesus said that He could rebuild the Temple it took 46 years to build in three days. Thank you Jesus! That’s exactly what He did. On the Cross, the Jews recounted his words completely ignorant that He was doing just that. He was tearing down religion to make way for a relationship. A love covenant with mankind that could never be destroyed or threatened again. No more condemnation but overflowing grace that could strip down every stronghold and overcome every obstacle between the Father and His Beloved Children. Now God’s Love pursues us. There is no longer rejection but open relationship if we allow it.

So if there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ and no judgment in Him, what about sin? Accountability to the Word of God and reconciliation to Jesus Christ are fulfilled in repentance. Turning from our way to pursue Him. Religion is a change of habit. Repentance is a change of heart. One leads to a good life and a successful church. The other leads to eternal life in the Father’s House. I wonder today if the rejection felt by many is not rejection but a call of repentance. A gentle urging by the Son to come back to the Father and experience His Love. If we experience punishment – it is not of the Father. To experience permission comes when we give up our way to encounter the fullness of the Word and freedom it delivers.

Matthew 7:1-5 (MSG) “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

After eating with a friend, have they ever told you that you have something in your teeth? Or maybe just gestured it as not to gain attention? How do you feel in that moment? A little embarrassed. Quickly trying to dislodge the speck, leaf or pepper from your pearly whites? You may ask them, “Did I get it?” Did you get mad at them for pointing it out? Of course not! You didn’t want to go around for the rest of the day smiling and conversing with your meal on full display. How much more embarrassing would that have been?

God has placed people in each other’s lives in the Body of Christ to act as iron sharpening iron. We have many acquaintances in life but then there is that one friend the Lord sends to be our accountability partner. If you do not know who that is, then look for them. The point of our partnerships in life is beneficial. The enemy works night and day to destroy godly relationships especially the sharp and pointed ones that enable us to discover God’s Purpose and encourage us to follow His Plan. Relationship is essential for it is the currency of the Kingdom and its greatest commodity. If we do not learn to hold each other accountable, it will become judgment in our life. Those who celebrate us but never convict us to be more of who Christ created us to be will one day become our critic because the relationship is not based on the Love of God but man’s preferences. The fine line between critical people and committed people rests in their convictions. Do they serve a Savior who always accepts and loves regardless of our willingness to follow Him? Or do we have conditional love that doesn’t believe in the God of all grace? Without true repentance there is only religion. We must learn to love and learn together in the Body of Christ without judgment or condemnation but unconditional love and amazing grace.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (MSG) It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

Am I really being rejected, condemned or judged? In most cases, yes. It is human nature. The dangerous game of comparison that feeds our pride to keep it alive. However, it is of vital importance in our spiritual life to evaluate those relationships that are rough around the edges to see if God is actually but an ironclad friend to be an accountability partner. Even the caring friend who points out the debris in our smile offers a slight sting at the revelation that our salad is on display for all to see causes a bristled reaction. It is only human nature, but in the end it produces a change. You work to right the problem and so it is with God. The commitment of our Lord at work in us with the help of the Holy Spirit is to engage in a deeper and more intimate relationship with God and then each other. When we feel rejected, we seek isolation. Remove ourselves from the haters, if you will. But maybe they aren’t haters at all but the true lovers of our soul? Food for thought and learning for life straight from the Word. Lord, show me the people who I have rejected that You have placed in my life with purpose. Examine my heart and illuminate any dark seat of judgment my pride has established. Point me in the way of everlasting life to build your Kingdom one person at a time in Jesus Name! Amen!

Proverbs 27:17 (MSG) You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.

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My Friend

My Friend

John 14:25-27 (NLT)

I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

In this world of many influences, there are many opinions about how to live, where to shop and what to do to be successful in life. Even the church is with many doctrines, covenants and beliefs, so much so it can be overwhelming. We want to live for the Lord and do what His Word says. However, in our humanity, it can be confusing. Everyone has an opinion and there are hundreds if not thousands of translations of God’s Word. Those who desire to follow Jesus Christ can be led in different directions and it is only natural to wonder am I on the right track. The Lord knew what was coming so He didn’t abandon us when He left this world but sent us a friend.

The Holy Spirit is our advocate. He is the one who was given to us to speak on God’s Behalf. He tells us what the Lord favors and what He detests. The Holy Spirit is our support who urges us in the right direction and recommends God’s Way over our own. Every man and woman who accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and makes Him the Lord of their life is offered the Holy Spirit. He is an automatic benefit of our connection to Christ and absolutely essential to weed through the world’s opinions, false doctrines and get to the Truth of the matter. What does God want from us? The Holy Spirit can tell us. Which way did Jesus go? Just ask, His Spirit. He knows the way. Perhaps you are a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a living, breathing Spirit within you. How is it possible? Friend, I have no idea how God makes miracles happen or the impossible possible but I know without a doubt that my friend, the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential to our success in becoming Children of God. He is our Peace of Mind, who gives us the Mind of Christ just as we have been promised. The Lord couldn’t bear to leave us alone to struggle in this life, so He gave us a friend.

John 16:13-14 (NLT)

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’”

 

The Holy Spirit tells us everything we need to know from the Lord to live a godly or god-like life. Every nugget of truth that we receive can be run by Him first. He is the one who can evaluate the things we are told for validity and truth. He knows the Word better than any man or woman ever will and will confirm it in our very being. We need the Holy Spirit to know the Truth from a lie. The Holy Spirit is the One who accompanies us past what we can do by faith into what the Lord wants to do in us and through us. We cannot know God’s Truth completely until we become more than acquainted with the Holy Spirit but dependent on Him as our closest friend and ally in life. He has the qualities of Jesus and is who the Lord was referring to when He said He would never leave us or forsake us.

I Corinthians 1:21-22 (NLT)

It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

 

The Holy Spirit is the One who labels us and identifies us as Children of God. He has commissioned us to stand firm with Jesus Christ and equipped us to do so by giving us His Spirit. His Spirit is the first installment of the power that guarantees everything God promised us. We need the Spirit to cultivate our relationship with the Lord from the inside out.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

 

When Jesus met the woman at the well in John 4, He spoke of a day when true worshippers would worship God in spirit and truth. The Holy Spirit is the spirit that He was speaking of. We have been given the Truth in God’s Word. Jesus came to the earth as God’s Word wrapped in flesh to live among us. He showed us how to live and then died so we could live. When He died, the Lord released His Spirit to come and live inside of us as our advocate, helper and friend. Our sinful nature keeps us from cultivating the fruit of God but the Spirit helps us in our weakness to do just that. We can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and, yes, even self-control when we have an ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit. God is a triune God. He is one in three which boggles the human mind. He is God. He is Jesus. He is the Holy Spirit. All three parts make up one person. Without one, you do not have all of Him.

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

This world has many concepts and cultures even the modern day church. The Bible warns that in the end times there will be many false prophets who do not share the Truth of God’s Word but their spin on the Truth which makes it an invalid lie. We need God’s Help in discerning the right way to live and to remain in close connection with Him. This is the reason God gave us His Spirit. When we hear something or read something that we don’t understand, simply praying about it can lead us to the Truth by God’s Spirit. He is the One who explains God’s Truth and shares God’s Secrets with us. He will show us the right way to go but we must have a trusting relationship like the one shared with Jesus or our closest friend. If we are wary of the Spirit of God or ignore Him, He is of no use to us. Without God’s Assistance, the process by which faith is acquired is impossible. Humans cannot produce spiritual life – it is the Holy Spirit’s work that makes the difference. We must learn to develop an active relationship with the Spirit just as we have with God and Jesus Christ. The three work as one. Righteous living is impossible without God’s Assistance. Jesus gave us the Gift we needed to cultivate confident hope that never leads us to disappointment. He is our Friend. He is the Holy Spirit. Consider yourself introduced now get to know each other?

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Terms and Conditions – A Devotion

Terms and Conditions

Isaiah 40:28-31(NLT)
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

This life is temporary. It will soon pass. Time will end for everyone as we enter eternity and face final judgment. Life is momentary comprised of seconds that turn to minutes becoming hours marked by days categorized as years submitted to a marker one day that define the parameters of our natural life. I recently read a quote that defined life as the “dash between two dates.” I believe this is the most pivotal and powerful time that we have. Before our birth, God recorded every moment of our life to perfection. The way we lived our life is evaluated after the final day determining forever. The size and scope of the dash between two days seemed infinite when living but so brief when it is over. It is God’s Plan for each and every person ever created to live forever. He has a place reserved in Eternity and it is up to each and every person whether to accept this privileged position or choose to make this all that there is with no future or forever. You have the right to choose. Choose wisely. This should be an informed choice because your life is on the line. Without knowledge and wisdom, you have no idea what you are getting yourself into and this can often lead to confusion and chaos. God’s Plan for your life is everlasting. It goes beyond the handful of years on this earth focused on Eternity. His Promises are eternal. Each one purposed to catapult you from here into forever with Him. Though they may accomplish momentary relief and temporary comfort here on the earth, each blessing of God produced from His Favor is created for endless endurance. The Lord is the everlasting God. He does not ever grow weak or weary even when we do. His Understanding is endless so He knows us better than we know ourselves. The Lord will not withhold any of His Power from His People. He will strengthen them in weakness and carry them along. Endurance is required for the duration. But this is no ordinary race! It is a race to the finish hoping to find our faith intact and our confident hope revealed in the everlasting God!

Genesis 17:1-7 (NLT)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

What does the Blessing of Abraham have to do with me, you may wonder? Why does His Covenant with God have any bearing on my life? After all, Jesus paid the price for my sin. I am covered by grace that allows me to live in freedom, right? Of course! But what we do with our freedom ties back into the covenant God made with Abraham. Gentiles became grafted into the Kingdom of God by the Spirit of Adoption that flows through the Blood of Jesus Christ. This is very important and vital to our success as believers who desire to live forever. (Romans 11:17) As joint heirs with Jesus Christ, you have accepted the Blessing of Abraham offered by living in covenant with God. It is by grace that we are saved. (Ephesians 2:8) God saved us so that we could live a holy life and inherit His Blessing which is the Blessing of Abraham for His (God’s) People. (Ephesians 2:8) I won a prize through a sweepstakes. It was a very nice reward and completely free. However, there were some things that I was required to do to claim it. There was some paperwork that needed to be submitted. I had to agree to accept the prize. When they mailed it, I had to sign for it verifying with personal identification that I was the winner. The prize was absolutely free but there were still some provisions as the sweepstakes had some terms and conditions that I had to agree to and carry out. I won the prize. I claimed it. I have it. Salvation is complete through the grace of Jesus Christ. You can do nothing to earn it because it is absolutely free. However, by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, there are terms and conditions associated with the Covenant made in that moment. To have all that the Lord has promised and do all that He says, we must obey His Word and living accordingly.

The Lord invited Abram to serve Him faithfully and live a blameless life. Now I am quite certain that the man, Abram, was well aware of his faults and shortcomings but accepted God’s Offer. By doing so, God promised to make a covenant with Abram. God gave Abram a new name – Abraham confirmed his new identity as Child of the Living God. I will make you extremely fruitful. Abraham would be the father of many nations through his rich heritage. God promises to prosper his people from the inside out. Power and authority is evident as they will be kings among them. The covenant is everlasting going from generation to generation. “I will always be your God.” But here is where most people miss out on God’s Plan and Purpose for their life – “Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility.” (Genesis 17:9)

Psalm 145:8-13(NLT)
The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. All of your works will thank you, LORD, and your faithful followers will praise you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign. For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The LORD always keeps his promises; He is gracious in all he does.

God is always good! Let me repeat, God is always good! When bad things happen or problems come our way, God is still good to us! His Kingdom is everlasting! He does not change. He does not lie. (Numbers 23:19-20) When God entered into covenant it was forever. When Jesus died on the cross and grafted us in to His Kingdom, this covenant became ours forever, too. (Romans 11:17) The rain falls on the just and unjust because God is always good. (Matthew 5:45) Every good and perfect gift is from the Father as a result of His Love for all mankind even those who choose to live outside of covenant with Him. (James 1:17) It is important to evaluate our life and determine if we are living in covenant with the Lord. Just because things are going okay or we find our day to day life acceptable, agreeable or at the very least endurable does not mean that we are living in true covenant with the Lord. He loves us so much that God will bless us in our mess just to further demonstrate His Great Love for us. You may not be going through anything because the Lord in His Infinite Wisdom knows that your lack of faith and life of unbelief would cause you to be totally consumed in the fire of testing. Though you may have dodged a bullet in life, you will die when it comes to judgment if you leave this world out of covenant with your Heavenly Father. Terms of the Covenant require that “you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-6) God is not forcing you to live in agreement with Him. It is the choice that you made when you asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior. It is two-fold. Jesus is your Lord. You gave Him the authority, power and control over your life in the admission that He is your Lord. You accepted Him as such. He has become the Leader of your life so you have agreed to follow His Way. That’s what the word “Lord” means. You accepted Him as your Savior by grace. You asked Him to save, rescue and deliver you from sin and the consequences of disobedience choosing a life of submission and sinlessness that obviously choose obedience. The choice is between life and death. It is to decide whether you are to be blessed or cursed. To enter covenant with the Lord is the choice that is made. After that, it is our responsibility to obey the terms and conditions of the covenant. It is our “continual responsibility” to do this. We agreed to it when we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (Romans 5:10-11) Like Abraham, we must remain Friends of God. (James 2:23)

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

The enemy of our soul wants us to believe that our Covenant with God through the Blood of Jesus Christ allows us to live in “freedom” as the world perceives it to be. He whispers that we can live however we choose because “His Grace is sufficient” for me. Well, the devil is a liar. He is a robber and thief who revels in separating God’s Children from their Father and separating us from the Lord’s Prosperity designated for our life. Just because things are going good does not necessarily mean that God’s Full Potential is being released in your life. But of course the enemy has a lie for that one two when he reminds us of our sin and to be thankful that we things are not any worse. Daily living in the dash between life and death, innocent people and even believers are being stripped of what belongs to them by accepting these lies, compromises and substitutions offered by satan in an attempt to keep you from the benefits of living in a covenant relationship with God. God is always good! We are the ones who are not. “The earth mourns and dries up and the crops waste away and wither. Even the greatest people on earth waste away. The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire and only a few are left alive.” (Isaiah 24:4-6) God has designated you to be a recipient of His Goodness, Mercy and Grace today. He is offering you a covenant relationship. Jesus Christ will be your Savior just for the asking but in doing so you accept that He is Lord of your life as well. This impacts faith and belief which requires trust and obedience as our continual responsibility. This is never forced upon us but we accepted it by choosing life over death and blessing over cursing. We made the choice to follow Jesus and partner with Him for life. Now it is up to us not to violate the terms and conditions of our covenant with the Lord! Each moment surrendered to the Lord asking Him to examine our heart and remove anything that is offensive so we may remain true to our partnership and promise to live in covenant with Him and be a true friend of God. It is our privilege to be tested to grow in our faith, trust and confident so that our life will be everlasting. We desire eternity so we do not live for today! God will show you the pathway to the everlasting if you ask Him to. But you will not reach Eternity until you follow His Way! To live in covenant with God requires that we know the terms and conditions of our partnership with God through Jesus Christ and live that way! The Good News is that His Covenant is everlasting and will not pass away when the earth does! Those who are Friends of God will live forever with Him!

Hebrews 12:23-27 (NLT)
You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.

Unfollow – A Devotion

UnfollowPsalm 1:1-3 (NLT)

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

 

“Unfollow” and “unfriend” are two new words not found in the Webster’s Dictionary but clearly a part of the social media craze. Twitter and Facebook are social networking sites with both positive and negative attributes. Like anything in this world, one must weigh the pros and cons making a decision as to what they will do with such media. My kids introduced me to such technology many years ago which I hesitantly agreed to allow them to join if I was added, too. Pardon me while I jump on a soapbox for a few moments. It is totally irresponsible as a parent to allow your preteen or teenage children access to social networking without some form of parental control and monitoring. It is our obligation as responsible and attentive parents to read what they post, see who they are “following” or “friending” and do something when deemed inappropriate. It is your right as a parent to limit their privacy when it comes to such things and thoroughly inspect their tweets, profiles and blogs. It is not an invasion of privacy but a commitment to love, protect and teach them. When they have a job to support themselves, a lease/mortgage for housing in their name, become self-sufficient enough to financially support their life outside of your home hopefully maturing along the way then and only then have they earned the right to privacy. Trust like respect is earned through wisdom. True story: My daughter grew up and went to school with a co-workers child. On a weekend the co-worker and spouse were away on business, their children had a huge party and bonfire on their property. There was alcohol and minors which is a lethal mix and in fact, law enforcement was called twice. I learned this on Facebook when my daughter was checking her page. She begged me not to tell. As a parent, I was thrust into a very uncomfortable position as I knew I had to share this information with the other party but did not want to put my child in a bad position. When I did share it and told them where I found out such information, I asked them if they ever considered looking at it. They emphatically said, “No, because they didn’t think that they wanted to know.” God is not like earthly dads, He makes it a point to know all your business and love you unconditionally anyway! I am now stepping down from the soapbox…

 

It is important who we follow in life. It is equally important who we “unfollow” in certain social circles. With increased availability to peer into the lives of others, there are certain times when it hinders our walk with Jesus Christ and a choice must be made. I have been in this position many times before and must decide to “unfollow” or “unfriend” the ones who compromise my walk with the Lord. You must do the same thing to not risk being pulled off course. Today as we discover the importance of who we follow, take time to consider those people on your social networking accounts and if they benefit and support you following Jesus. If not, it may be time to do some housecleaning. It is time to decide if we want God’s Best or not and live like it. Your mind is very important as well as your attitude. Things that draw you into your past including the emotions of it are no good. People who constantly cause negative and adverse responses should be eliminated from your viewing capability as they take your eyes off Jesus. The unperceived danger of social media is a silent killer of faith and righteousness as it is seemingly harmless. Just as seasons in our life change, so will our connections in this world as we seek to follow the Lord and grow in righteousness, faithfulness and holiness.

Proverbs 16:16-18 (NLT)

How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver!The path of the virtuous leads away from evil; whoever follows that path is safe.Pride goes before destruction,
and haughtiness before a fall.

 

Entertainment should follow the same guidelines in life. You should not allow things labeled “fiction” to be considered safe and acceptable because it is not real. You can watch anything you want to watch on television and fill your mind as you choose, that does not make it beneficial. Wisdom and good judgment go along way as we train our heart and mind to seek the Lord. The path of the righteous (virtuous) leads away from evil in all things, therefore if you would not do it then do not entertain your mind watching someone else do it. If the Lord did not give you fear, then do not pay to be scared. What you watch feeds your mind and emotions creating a desire for evil. Whoever chooses to step out in righteousness is safe. To think that you are above lust for anything is a prideful response and sin will surely find you. To be virtuous is to be morally excellent. There is no gray area here and no such thing as a little white lie or pardonable sin. There is but good and evil. Every choice that you make either leads you closer to Christ or pulls you away. Every detail of your life is considered so maybe we should start considering the very same thing.

 

Ecclesiastes 7:27-29 (NLT)

“This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle.Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman! But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”

 

Pride comes before the fall. Just ask Solomon, son of David, who asked God for wisdom and in His Favor it was granted. Wisdom alone was not enough to save Solomon from following the wrong path in life. God blessed Solomon and gave him this instruction. “The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’” (I Kings 9:3-5) You would think with the wisdom of God this would be no problem for the King. But in just two short chapters, the truth is revealed. “In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been.Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech,the detestable god of the Ammonites. In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.” (I Kings 11:4-6) Probably the most important and relevant words for the church today that should serve as a warning are these: “he refused to follow the Lord completely…” Are you following the Lord “completely” or do you have a long friend list that is weighing you down?

 

Mark 8:34-35 (NLT)

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

 

To follow Jesus Christ means leaving some things behind and not returning to them. It is the definition of repentance. Lot’s wife was instructed not to look back at her old life as they fled Sodom and Gomorrah, but she did and was turned to a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26) What good is salt that’s lost its flavor maybe? (Matthew 5:13) If you secretly crave and desire your past and begin looking back eventually you will turn back.

 

Mark 10:28-30 (NLT)

Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.”

 

Peter was bold enough to tell the Lord exactly what He was thinking, but people often choose to “creep” back into their past other ways. If you have left someone or something in your past that does not belong in your future, quit trying to see what they are up to, who they are with, and what they are doing. This is nothing more than a vain attempt to fill the void left by them rather than allowing the Lord to restore your life from the inside out. You will continue to desire the past until you return to it. If certain people are telling you to look back, they might need to go too. The Highway to Holiness and Narrow Road of Righteousness are traveled by few for this very reason. Not many are willing to give up their past to have God’s Best! What about you? Can you unfollow those who are not God’s Best? Jesus gives us a choice of direction. He will not force you to choose good over evil. The Lord will not make you take His Best, but instead simply offers it to those who are His People. Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped. Instead, you must break down their pagan altars, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles. You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.” (Exodus 34:12-14)

 

Mark 13:13 (NLT)

And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

 

If everyone likes you and you fit right in with the world, then there may be a problem with your walk with Christ. Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because you are my followers.” Lost people will not always embrace you and the churches sudden need to appease everyone and high tolerance for sin is appalling to the Blood of Jesus Christ which is for the omission of sin. Now grace is nothing more than an excuse to sin in the church which is clearly not the case. Our need to do right and be right with the Lord should supersede our need to be accepted and affirmed by this world. The watered down Gospel is not what Jesus died for. Sin is sin. It has to go. Righteousness did not go out of style but in fact is the lifestyle God has chosen for His People. If you are the life of the party, watch out. Light and darkness do not mesh. Good and evil are not friends. You will turn some people off in your walk with Jesus Christ. “I’m looking for my brothers,” Joseph replied. “Do you know where they are pasturing their sheep?”“Yes,” the man told him. “They have moved on from here, but I heard them say, ‘Let’s go on to Dothan.’” So Joseph followed his brothers to Dothan and found them there. When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him.” (Genesis 37:16-18) Just ask Joseph about so-called “brotherly love”. His brothers loathed him and when he followed them, they put him in bondage to slavery only because they were afraid to kill him. All Joseph did was share with them the dreams that God had given them. It wasn’t his fault that their father favored him. Yet, still Joseph found his heart broken on the dirty floor of a pit until the slave traders came and the pit was exchanged for the shackles of slavery. It is up to you to live in the freedom Jesus Christ has given you even when that place seems a bit lonely. Do the Will of God even if you must do it all alone?

 

Luke 9:59-62 (NLT)

He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead!Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

 

Are you willing to follow Jesus? What is holding you back today? Who must you “unfollow” to stay close to the Lord? Who must you “unfriend” to align your heart and life in partnership with God? Are there things getting in the way? (Luke 18:22) Maybe there are some people that you are concerned about? (Luke 22:56-57) It happens to everyone. Don’t give up. Press in to have the Heavenly Prize that God is calling us to! (Philippians 3:14) Jesus made a way for us to follow Him and escape sin’s dominion in our life. (Isaiah 53:5-6) We are free to follow the Lord. Jesus will be the Light that leads you out of darkness. (John 8:12) Choose to stay in the well-lit path of holiness and righteousness by His Grace. He is our example. (John 13:15) We know the Lord through His Word (Galatians 5:7-8) so that we will know His Voice. (John 10:27) The Holy Spirit lives in us empowering us to live as God intended and Christ instructed enabling us to live a “good” and “godly” life. (Galatians 5:25) This is not a religion so do not be led astray. (I Corinthians 3:4-5) But through a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ live the life that He saved you for and God called you to! Your soul will prosper and so will your life as you unfollow the world and unfriend the adversary in your life to follow Jesus!

 

Colossians 2:6-12 (NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powersof this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

Paper Airplanes – A Devotion

Genesis 6:17-22 (NLT)

“Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.” So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

 

Raising boys, paper airplanes were once a common occurrence in our home. Just about any piece of paper could be flown through the air landing in the most precarious places, only to quickly produce another one and send it flying. If it didn’t work or wouldn’t soar, the paper would be crumbled up and stuffed in the nearest garbage, in a drawer or under the bed. Little boys have a need to build which is probably why the Lego Corporation is a multi-billion dollar corporation with its own stores and amusement park. Could it be a need to find purpose that motivates such behavior early on as they grown, develop and mature into men who will build lives with such ambition? The only problem with the paper airplanes of the young is that they will not take you anywhere and serve no real purpose. They simply foster young imaginations to think of the possibilities. How far will it go? How high will it fly? What if I could ride on it? All these thoughts fill tiny minds and explode into amazing possibilities. If these imagines remain in the beginning or planning stages with no real execution, they are nothing but the random entertainment of a child. However, when we take hope and stock it with faith while taking our hands, hearts and minds building and contemplating our dreams into useful vessels suddenly possibility explodes into purpose and we have more than novelty but true potential.

 

But Noah found favor with the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). One could stop right there and build their entire existence around such a concept. Oh, how the heart of every believer should cry out for such an honor to find favor with God. The favor of the Lord will take you far beyond your ability and knowledge into a place that grace and mercy prepared. The only method of arrival is faith and trust in the Lord unyielding. Favor is a state of being approved and held in high regard. It is excessive kindness and unfair partiality. It is essentially a ticket to the front of the line in life from the Creator of all we know and everything we could never imagine who knows every twist and turn providing everything we need to get through and more than enough for us and those we encounter. No one can truly comprehend how much God loves us and favors His People. A glimpse can be found by those who look deep into the details of life past the circumstances into forever. But finding favor with God is not done by salvation, it is by righteousness. When we take the amazing love of God and apply it to our everyday life, it is only then we begin to experience His Favor as our life aligns with His Plan. When God takes priority in our life, believers begin to experience His Favor. It is reserved for those who are serious about their love affair with God. The unifying statement connected with favor is obedience! “So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him” (Genesis 6:22).

 

God gave detailed instructions how to build the ark and what to do once the clouds came. The people at that time had never experienced rain and to be honest, I do not believe Noah really fully understood how God was going to flood the earth but He knew that the Lord would do as He said. So Noah began to build. The ark was tremendous. Without the convenience of modern day power tools and a crew to help, it is safe to assume that building the ark took a very long time. Yet Noah did it anyway. There were scoffers who probably taunted God’s man as he worked and labored on something to them that was useless. However, Noah did not cut corners but continued in his quest of obedience. When the rain came, it all paid off. He and his family were safe inside of Noah’s faith as his purpose was fulfilled. I am thankful for Noah’s obedience. It made a way for my existence. His righteousness benefited many through survival. His persistence paid off when testing came. His obedience opened the door to God’s Promise. But what would have happened if Noah cut corners and half-heartedly trusted God? Imagine the consequences if Noah had not followed God’s Instructions building a faulty vessel only delaying the inevitable in the midst of the flood. What if he delayed obedience and was unable to complete the ark? What good was favor then? Faith must be coupled with obedience in order to discover potential and execute purpose. Anything less will not take you to your promise. God’s Promises are for the righteous and faithful not to be confused with the perfect.

 

James 2:21-23 (NLT)

Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”He was even called the friend of God.

 

Abraham was willing to pay the ultimate price for his faith in God. God called Abraham His friend. Do you desire to be friends with God? Friendship is about commitment and loyalty. Abraham took God’s Promise to an altar and by faith was willing to give God everything just to remain faithful. Friends, I don’t know if I could do it. I have pictured myself walking up that mountain with my sons running around exploring while asking exhaustive questions. The heaviness in Abraham’s heart must have been unrelenting. When it came time to bound my child’s hands, did tears fall from Abraham’s eyes unto the rope as he began to prepare the sacrifice? Oh how those tears of mourning turned to sobs of joy when he heard the ram in the thicket. Abraham’s faith and actions worked together. An example to generations and generations of exactly how faith turns potential into purpose and purpose gives way to God’s Promise. How is your faith? Is it partnered with obedience today? If not, you are simply trying to board paper airplanes that will never take you to your destination.

 

Romans 4:13-16 (NLT)

Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.

 

It took Abraham some time to understand the importance of faith. He was born into religion but established a relationship with God. A religion does not make us righteous. Its purpose is to foster a love for God until our heart takes over the task. An expression of worship not to be confused with a life of worship, service to God is not necessarily obedience. Obedience is a partner of faith that allows us to trust God in the midst of the fiercest storm and know that no matter what the outcome His Favor will be with us. Today, I am walking up the hill of faith once more. I could not travel this path if God’s Favor and His Peace did not surround me. My son is with me playing in the fields along the way. His purpose is only beginning to unfold. However, my heart sings as we travel. “Who is like the Lord? Nobody!” As I enter the vehicle of faith, it is powered by obedience. It is with confidence that I say, “No paper airplanes!” We will make it to the finish not because of anything we know or see but because God loves us! Faith and trust met us at the foot of this hill and will take us to the other side. You have found favor with God! What will you do with it?

 

Psalm 34:1-3 (NLT)

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.