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Secrets and Snuggles

Secrets and Snuggles

Why should a strange man in a mall have more fun than you? Every year children literally line up in malls across the United States to snuggle into the laps of strange men with fake beards they are told will give them the secret desires of their hearts. Parents will say no to a horse or rocket ship…or a horse that rides a rocket ship…Friends may laugh. But there is no secret dream a child won’t tell the stranger they are told to call Santa Claus. And they have absolute faith he can do what he promises. Some secret wishes, we learn from those strangers as they go back to their jobs as sales clerks, are quite poignant. A wish for a job for Daddy or make mommy well from this sickness she needs new blood for every week.

Even as adults we long for a lap we can snuggle into and an ear we can pour our secrets into. And JESUS says we have it for the asking and the only thing keeping us from it is seeking attention from others instead of snuggling into secret conversations with the Father Who loves us.

That is the reason JESUS, GOD the Son, came as a man to earth. His arms were nailed to the Cross to enable us to reach out in prayer to our Heavenly Father and be heard as His child. His feet were nailed to the Cross so that we can stand in His footprints as a child of GOD bought by His Blood into relationship with GOD the Father again. He rose from the dead to prove we are forgiven for His sake and can rise into the Presence of the Father and have a secret snuggle with Him through the Holy Spirit snuggling us close to Him and interpreting our childish gurgles into the longings of our hearts He longs to hear.

Any parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt knows the joy of a child curled in their laps. And if they are blessed to be trusted by that tiny heart they may be told the ultimate secrets of their lives. Maybe their words can’t be understood in words but in a look or touch or laugh. Or maybe they can verbalize that you mustn’t tell but there are untold riches…a whole quarter…hidden under the couch cushion in the sock the dog was chewing on last night.

JESUS is calling us to this joy of prayer. Stop shouting to the world for their approval, He says. They can’t help you and their attention and approval are worthless. But if we come to His Cross and follow His footprints into eternity as a child of GOD we have the comfort of the Holy Spirit anywhere we are in life. And we can know the joy of a snuggle, not with a stranger, not with a frail human, even if a family member, but with our Heavenly Father. We can snuggle into Father GOD’s lap and whisper our secret longings and be comforted by His Presence through the Presence of the Holy Spirit because of what JESUS has done.

“”And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Horns and Hands

Horns and Hands

JESUS is giving examples of how we can be mature in living the changed Life He gives by following Him so we attract people to Him, not drive them away.

It doesn’t matter whether people were literally blowing horns in the street when giving to the poor in ancient Israel. Even today we immediately get the picture that calling attention to your giving makes it about you, not the one you’re supposedly helping. JESUS is a master of irony and that’s what He is using here to contrast the attention to ourselves being the reason we give.

Horns were only blown in Israel to tell the people change was underway. Either a holiday like New Year’s when all sorts of special preparations had to be made or preparation for war or a special announcement. Horns meant commitment to change.

But those giving to others but calling attention to themselves were hypocrites. They acted like they were going to change the lives of those they gave money to. But they weren’t. Their motivations hadn’t changed because their motivation was still themselves.

JESUS calls us to allow the Spirit of GOD, given when we give ourselves to JESUS, to change us. If we are willing, with GOD’s help, we will give out of love and the Father will return what we give in surprising ways.

Secrecy is part of the fun of most children’s games. And GOD is calling us to make almost a game of giving. How much can you give secretly? And how will GOD return it to you to allow you to keep giving in His Name?

We don’t give expecting the money back. We may never get it back and it may not be money that we give. It could be time or food or something else material. But GOD’s reward is that He always replenishes the ability to keep giving even if it’s love and support. We are not to donate to a ministry with the idea that GOD will bless us with more money but in the knowledge that nothing we do in love will go unnoticed by our Father. And it is pleasing Him, by the power of the Holy Spirit, because of what JESUS did to return us to the Father, that drives why we help others.

The left hand was considered to be the weaker hand and less dignified, even evil. Middle Eastern countries wipe themselves, after doing what all humans do in private, with their left hands and eat with their right. Perhaps if our less noble, left handed, nature knew what the right hand planned to do or give in righteousness it would try to prevent it.

Love suffers strategically. It counts the cost and gives sacrificially, knowing the effects of the loss but suffering it out of love for another.

I do not declare charities on taxes. Mostly because I prefer to give to individuals in need, not organizations. But even when I donate to tax deductible organizations I don’t declare it. Some say they do so they have more to donate but then they declare it again and they are repaid. They have their reward. I prefer to make a game of it, giving so my Father knows but no one (other than absolutely necessary) else knows. Then I wait to see what He will do, now or at Home.

Love is sensibly extravagant to those in real need. It suffers wisely. Then, having done so without fanfare (a word that originally meant blowing horns before events), or left-leaning selfishness or pride stopping it, Love waits and asks with a giggle “What will Daddy do? How will He restock the cupboard so we can play again?”

“”Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:2-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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One Wonderful Word: When

One Wonderful Word: When

Bible scholars will tell you, and I agree, that you should never build an entire message on one word in Scripture. This is the way of barterers of “breakthroughs” like TD Jakes, Joel Olsteen, and others who take words out of context and sell you entire DVD collections of their deadly misperceptions so you can try to get what you think you want in this world.

But in Matthew 6 there is a word, used properly and in context, that made all the difference in the world to the people listening to JESUS. And it should to you, too. That word is “when.”

Although JESUS preached in Hebrew and Aramaic we have the word in Greek in the New Testament because Greek is a language of nuance. Greek can convey meanings to the intent of the Holy Spirit we wouldn’t have if the New Testament were in Hebrew. That is why GOD saw to it that it would be carried in that language.

So when we read “when” in Matthew 6, as JESUS tells those who follow Him “when” you give, “when” you pray, it has the special meaning of intent. It is not the must that they are accustomed to being told about the “when” of the Law. It is the difference between the 10-year-old boy being told “when” his parents bring him to the store he must buy a birthday present for his sister and the “when” of the husband who, when he passes his wife’s favorite flowers at the grocery checkout, buys them for her “just because” he knows they will please her.

The Holy Spirit changes those who give themselves to JESUS to make them want to give to others out of love. It’s no longer an exterior pressure in order to manipulate GOD. It is the pressure from a heart full of love. Not scheduled, but certain to happen just because love acts that way. There will be prayer, calling to the Father not at required times, not from outward pressure or a desire to be seen, but whenever love compels us to talk to the One we love.

The wonderful word of “when” in Matthew 6 changes everything. Because JESUS is freeing those who were under the Law to pray and do good for others out of fear and working at being seen to now live out of love, instead. He says they…and we… will do now from a new nature what pleases GOD rather than acting unnaturally when they and we were lost. Because He is leading them…and us…Home.

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Christ and Contradictions

Christ of Contradictions

JESUS has been teaching on a mountainside for maybe an hour. And He already seems to be contradicting Himself. He started off telling those who follow Him not to hide the changes that will happen to them if they give their lives to Him. He says to let the changes the Holy Spirit will make in them when they believe He rescued them from death and Hell shine out! But now, maybe an hour later, He is giving example after example of why they shouldn’t seek attention. Why the change? Why contradict Himself?
But He isn’t. He is talking about two different things: action and motivation.

Think of a young girl just reaching sexual maturity and growing breasts. A healthy girl doesn’t try to strap down her breasts so others can’t see she is maturing. It is part of the changes that are going on within her that will eventually enable her to give life and sustain a baby human. Yet she doesn’t walk around topless to get attention for herself, either. Then she would be emotionally or mentally immature. There is a difference between becoming naturally mature in who we are becoming and being emotionally and mentally mature to live out those changes.

The same is true of Spiritual life. JESUS tells us that when we follow Him, we surrender all we have and are to Him because we realize He gives all He has and is to us by His death on the Cross to rescue us. And His rising from the dead shows we have been forgiven for what caused Him to take our place. His Holy Spirit comes into us and matures in us. We change in ways that help us to share the eternal Life He gives us to others. We are meant to mature in Him and attract others to Him to share what we experience and learn of Him with them so they can meet Him for themselves. We are not to hide these changes out of fear for suffering for belonging to Him.

But if we are trying to get attention intentionally, our motivation is wrong. It is a danger sign that we don’t really understand what JESUS did or that we are Spiritually, mentally or emotionally immature. We may not really be following JESUS at all but just fooling ourselves. We are a contradiction to what JESUS says we are to be.

When we fall in love we don’t show it by telling others how wonderful we are. If we are really, truly in love with someone else we can’t keep quiet about how wonderful they are and live to please them and those they love.

JESUS is not contradicting Himself. He is warning anyone calling themselves Christians to beware of contradicting themselves. If they really know how much He loves them they will be openly loving Him and others in His Name. But in ways that don’t show they doubt His love is enough and still seek attention for themselves. Love is not a self-portrait. Love looks like the loved One.

“When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:2-4‬ ‭ASV‬

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Docking Decisions

Docking Decisions

As JESUS is teaching those who want to know more about Him how to have a relationship with Him, He is speaking to fishermen who had followed Him literally straight off their boats. These disciples are among many folks from near and far who had heard about His miracles. And He uses words that had their origins as fishing terms. Being careful is from being cautious how you dock the boat. Doing or performing or practicing righteousness has its roots in unloading cargo from a ship onto the dock for delivery. So let’s read Matthew 6:1 in those terms.

In our translations it’s about being careful how we behave as Christians in front of others so GOD doesn’t zap us for being prideful. But if we read the background of the language and the context of the listeners into it, it becomes much deeper.

Imagine that you’re a fisherman hired to catch fish. You do a great job and have a load of fish but must be careful where you dock the ship. If you dock at the wrong place you won’t be where the person who hired you agreed to meet you. You’ve got to be careful about how you dock the boat so you don’t lose the catch or damage the boat. And you may still sell the fish to someone but it won’t be the greater reward you could have received which was more than you realized.

JESUS is fulfilling His earlier promise to Peter, Andrew, James and John the fishermen to make them fishermen for human hearts and minds. He has already explained that they will be changed from the inside out. Now He is saying that they don’t make themselves fishermen but as He makes them fishermen for hearts and minds naturally they must be careful how they dock their boats. They must be careful how they show the changes GOD is making in them. If they don’t act wisely they will ruin their opportunity to reach people. They will not have the blessings they were intended to have, more than they could have imagined, if they are perceived as no different from others or so different that they are no longer living as the changed children of GOD but as strangers to Him.

It’s all about pulling into port to bless others in the power of GOD the Holy Spirit, resulting from our belonging to JESUS, GOD the Son, to the Glory of GOD the Father. And His joy is our reward.

For the rest of Matthew 6, and until chapter 8, JESUS gives specific examples of how to maneuver in various tides of life to dock without damage to our relationship with GOD and others in His Name.

“Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:1‬ ‭ASV‬‬

#Decisionmaking #Ministry #Discipleship #Leadership

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Called to Contrasts: Maturity in Making a Differemce

Called to Contrasts: Maturity in Making a Difference

JESUS has been making the same point over and over again. He is calling people to follow Him and be changed. Not in some ethereal, playing harps on clouds ways. But in day to day changes that make changes in other lives to attract those people to JESUS to be changed.

Now JESUS is saying that those who follow Him must excel the requirements of the Law. But the strange part is that they won’t behave this way because they must but because they will have the desire. And, if they want to, they will be able to, through the power of GOD in them. The irony is that they aren’t required to, but they will as a byproduct of love for Him.

It’s easy for married people and parents to see. Because they know the principle of love in the overflow. That’s the lesson GOD created marriage and children to teach.

If you love your husband or wife and you know there is something that pleases them you don’t give them a picture of it for your anniversary. You give them what they find pleasure in. Lots of it.

If you have a child who loves a favorite cartoon character, your home soon becomes a home for cartoon characters in books and toys and cereal bowls and cups.

When you love JESUS you respect His creation. You don’t only avoid the wrong of adultery, you want to avoid lusting after women. You struggle with the flesh against it. You avoid the situations that cause it. You pray against it. And you increase healthy relationships He encourages you toward. You work to heal marriage instead of entertaining the idea of divorce or taking advantage of its victims.

And even if you don’t want to stop, you have the power to stop if you’re willing. And if you aren’t willing you have the power to struggle in prayer to be willing.

If you have given yourself to Christ, you have His Spirit in you to call you to contrast with the world. To call you to make a difference by His making you different to help others. You are called to have a supernaturally different life to make supernatural differences because you are a child of GOD.

You are meant to be mature, fully ripe, fully complete. Like an apple tree that bears beautiful, healthy apples. Not by will or intent so much as that’s what healthy apple trees do. Your Heavenly Father is perfectly complete and fully mature and His seed is in you, nourished by Him. And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

“Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

And if thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body be cast into hell.

And if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body go into hell.

It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, that every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.

Again, ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by the heaven, for it is the throne of God; nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, for thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one.

Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, Resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

And if any man would go to law with thee, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two.

Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the Gentiles the same? Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:27-48‬ ‭ASV‬‬

#Love #Marriage #Parenting #Relationships

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Mature in Making Amends

Mature in Making Amends

JESUS has been talking for quite a while. But He is only just getting started. He’s sitting on a mountain talking to those who are amazed at His words and are amazed that He seems like nobody and somebody at the same time. He speaks to them as if He is a rabbi, a teacher from GOD. Yet He acts like one of the common people. He SEES them. He is INTERESTED in them. And when He tells them to do something, they want to obey because He has the power of GOD, healing them. And something more. It feels like this stranger the rabbis would condemn for what He says and does KNOWS them. The secret them. And it feels like love.

JESUS has told them that if they follow Him it will change them from the inside out as much as they are willing to change. They will be as godly as they are willing to be but never as godly as they want to be, always craving to be more. And now He is going into examples of how to be mature as His followers, those who will see GOD.

Ask any infant in a car seat and if you could understand them they would tell you they are perfectly capable of driving the car thanks to the plastic steering wheel on their car seat, complete with the beep-beep red button horn. They think they are mature drivers.

Ask any five year old and they will tell you that they are perfectly able to drive a car because they have seen Mommy and Daddy do it. Complete with words they can only use when driving and finger gestures. And with no need of pedals which they can’t reach but can’t be too important because they can’t see them anyway. They think they are mature.

Ask any driver on the highway and even though the asses cut you off in traffic and go too slow in the wrong lane so that you have no choice but to gesture at them and shout at them and yet they think they are mature.

Look at yourself, a fine driver even though these asses on the highway insist on cursing at you and waving fingers at you even though you know you are mature.

JESUS says when you are a Christian and are going about your business loving GOD as a result of a new relationship with Him you should recognize that He fulfilled the Law for you in order for you to love others for Him. And that will take maturity. That’s when He goes “from preachin’ to meddlin’.”

If you are angry at someone it should stop you in your tracks. Most especially if it is a fellow Christian you know believes the Gospel.

You are condemning yourself again. You are forgetting what the sacrifice of Christ to forgive you cost Him. You are forgetting your equality as a sinner before GOD with whomever offended you. You are driving a wedge in the relationship that is meant to bring that person closer to Christ. You are immature.

If you let that anger build up so it takes action against the person you’re angry at it’s like proving your guilt of ingratitude for the sacrifice of Christ before the supreme court. You are proving you are very immature.

And if you become so prideful as to think a fellow Christian who believes the same Gospel as you is suddenly a worse sinner than you and degrade their belief in GOD because of something not Scriptural but personal, you had better re-evaluate whether you are a Christian yourself. The change as a result of really knowing JESUS through the Holy Spirit is not showing. Just the opposite. You are pushing fellow Christians to doubt because of you. Check if you are truly understanding what GOD the Son did for you.

The solution JESUS commands is immediate action. Make amends. As soon as you realize that someone, especially another Believer, is upset with you. Go and make peace with that person as much as is in your power. Even if you or they waved fingers or shouted words at each other on the way into the church parking lot. Making amends for Christ’s sake is a sign of a child of GOD growing into maturity.

“Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire. If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art with him in the way; lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:21-26‬ ‭ASV‬‬

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The Least and the Law

The Least and the Law

JESUS is so confusing sometimes. Considering He is called “the Word”, the ultimate expression of communication, in the Bible He can be hard to understand sometimes. Until He’s not.

JESUS is teaching on a mountainside and has explained the differences that will happen to those who truly are His. They will be changed by the Holy Spirit and will have the free will to show those changes to bring others to JESUS to find eternal Life. Or they can hide the changes to protect themselves and lose the joy of the purpose they were given to fulfill while on earth.

But then JESUS goes off on a tangent about Himself and the Law. What has that got to do with how we are changed by the Holy Spirit? What has JESUS and all those old laws got to do with us since He came to give us a NEW covenant (contract) with GOD? Even the Apostle Paul will tell us about how “We are not under Law but under Grace.” So what’s JESUS going on about? What has the “Old” Jewish Law got to do with us Christians? Everything. And that’s what JESUS is saying.

JESUS says when you are a true follower of His you will not only live like it, under the power of the Holy Spirit, but you will teach others what He teaches you. Maybe someone in a similar situation. Maybe in a Bible Study. But GOD will give you the opportunity to tell others what you have learned from Him. He is saying don’t make the mistake of thinking He came to cancel out the Law. That is saying it is obsolete. “That was then, this is now.” Do not pull a Gideons by thinking you only need the New Testament in your pocket and some comforting psalms and pithy proverbs. JESUS says He came to fulfill the Law. And that is very different.

One of the ironies in life is that it takes water to prime a water pump and get it to work. Say you are a gallon short of water to prime the pump but there is no water to be had. Nothing you can do can fill that gallon jug. And without it you can’t run the pump to get more water. You can cry into the jug, spit into the jug, but nothing you can do, even bodily fluids, can fill the jug on your own. You need an outside Source of water.

Only JESUS can fill the jug with the Living Water of the Holy Spirit available only through His death, burial and resurrection for you.
That jug is the Law. You can’t just abolish the Law because it is integral to understanding Who GOD is in His Holiness. JESUS says it describes Him. So to prime your Christian Life and produce His Love as a result of the Holy Spirit living the Life of JESUS through you, you must have the whole gallon of the Law fulfilled…which is only possible by JESUS. Moses said it is physically possible to fulfill the Law. But sin corrupts our heart to be unwilling. The Holy Spirit changes that through enough faith to trust JESUS to have fulfilled it for us.

JESUS says when we are Christians we will be changed because of the Holy Spirit but never to think we are divorced from the Law. And certainly never to teach that. We need to understand the Law to learn more about GOD and His Holiness. And that JESUS fulfilled the Law to empower our Christian Life for love of Him.

We will still be Christians if we refuse to stay linked by Christ’s Love to the fulfillment of the Law and to teach others to do the same. It is a matter of our will. But the quality of our lives and our ability to bless others in His Name will be diminished because of it.

The only way to be truly righteous (as we are meant to be in GOD) is in JESUS’s righteousness given as a gift. And that comes by His having fulfilled the Law for us as perfectly as we should be (in Him) with GOD.

“Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:17-20‬ ‭ASV‬‬

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Fight To Be Light

Fight to be Light

JESUS is still teaching on a mountainside (what will come to be known as the Sermon on the Mount) and is giving examples of how those who belong to Him should be demonstrating it in who they are (what we call the beatitudes) that He described earlier. Not by their own effort but as a natural result of relationship. It is what He will describe as fruit in later ministry.

Right now He is describing Christians as light. Those who know JESUS have the most wonderful relationship possible as children of GOD, the most wonderful future, eternal Life beyond death and joy, and the best reason in the world to live in a way that shows the world there is more to Life than we realize. All because JESUS died for us, rose from the dead for us, and (if our relationship with Him is healthy) shines through us. His Light and Life are supposed to be shining through us so others can find Him. That’s the point. And serving others adds to our joy.

Our love for JESUS is meant to be seen and noticed in spite of attracting the attention of those who oppose it. We are meant to bring others to Him and we can’t do that if we’re hidden under our own worries and fears. Only when we shine can others see us, those who need JESUS for themselves (everyone) and fellow Christians who need the strength of unity with other Believers.

This is where we realize that although the Light is from GOD, not from us, He allows us to control how much we allow to show. A week before His crucifixion, JESUS would shout out to the people in the streets of Jerusalem that they could have been rescued by Him but were unwilling. Though Salvation is a free gift we must be willing to accept it. Though the Light of having Christ in our hearts is given by GOD, not our efforts, we must be willing to allow Him to shine through.

We must make shining a matter of the will. Not to produce Light. We already have the Light of Christ if we are His. But we must be willing to keep ourselves in the condition where the Light of GOD can be seen in us. JESUS says “LET your light shine.” Showing the Light we are given as His child through believing Him for eternal Life is a matter of the will. The place we choose to shine (hopefully everywhere) is a matter of choice. We can rise above circumstances and opposition or hide in our own troubles. The choice is ours but the consequences are the difference between JESUS having suffered for you to shine for others and whether you respect His sacrifice enough to do it or not.

Christians are meant to be the beacons attracting others to JESUS by making His Presence be known through them in every situation and conversation. But they must be willing to fight for the sake of what it cost Him and what others will lose without their influence. Otherwise their opportunity to bring glory to the Father in gratitude for His eternal Love and Light and Life will be buried in ingratitude. And an opportunity to rejoice at being used by Him to bless others will be gone.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭ASV‬‬

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Slim Fast and Salvation

Slim Fast and Salvation

I hate Slim Fast. You’re supposed to drink it to replace a meal to help you lose weight. I hate it because it says it will taste like “Creamy Chocolate.”

Now I know a little about chocolate. I eat as much as possible to keep children from getting it and getting fat and cavities. You’re welcome. Sometimes I even take chocolate from children for their own good…the small ones who don’t bite too hard…but I digress…

The point is, Slim Fast has cocoa as the third ingredient. It is supposed to taste like creamy chocolate. but it tastes like the linoleum under the refrigerator. (Hey! Don’t judge me! I dropped a Hershey’s Kiss under there.)

JESUS understands. He is teaching to crowds on the side of a mountain and has just finished all of the qualities those who love Him will have. We call them “the beatitudes.” Because JESUS, GOD the Son, died to rescue us from death, we can be completely who we were created to be. He finishes the list by saying we will be hunted, hurt and maybe murdered for it because it will be obvious to those who hate Him (and therefore us when we act like Him).

Now JESUS mentions examples of how Christians with a healthy relationship with Him should be acting for others to see they are Christians. And the first is not to taste like Slim Fast.

If you are a Christian, you should taste like one. You are wearing the label of “Creamy Chocolate.” (Salt in the example JESUS gives.) You should be what gives flavor to this Life because you live in the zest of knowing GOD loves you so much He gave His Life to give you Himself forever. You should be noticeably different because you are a member of the Kingdom of Heaven. Healthy Christians are obvious because they show all of those qualities JESUS mentioned earlier of being repentant, humble, longing to serve others for Christ, merciful, having integrity. Not through their effort but as a natural by-product of being Christ’s. Salt doesn’t try to be salty. It’s just the quality of the combination of one part of sodium with one part of chloride. And you cannot be the flavor of Christ to attract others to Him without Him or without showing enough of Him to the world.

You as a Christian are the means to bring others to find JESUS. That is the reason your heart kept beating the following minute after asking Him to take over your heart and mind and Life. You are meant to attract attention, not to yourself, but to Him.

Salt also kills. If poured on the ground it will keep plants from growing which is why it is used on paths where people walk to keep grass from covering over the path. If others are not coming closer to JESUS because of you, you are making the road to Hell easier to walk.

Be the taste of Heaven JESUS gave His Life for you to be. Live your Life in Him. Live your Life with Him. Let others see, hear, and come to feast on His eternal Life for themselves.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭ASV‬‬

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