My English teacher used to say, "Life is hard, then you die." She wasn't much of an optimist, but she was right. Life is hard. Then we die. We're taught to fear death from childhood, but the day of my death will be the greatest moment of my life....the beginning of an unfathomable eternity in paradise with the creator of the universe.
Until then, however, life will be hard. It's a guarantee for the follower of Christ. The difficulty in life isn't because of Jesus however. It's because of three things....our flesh, the fallen world and our adversary, Satan. What can we do? Resist the enemy and submit to God. Go to Jesus and let Him renew your strength. Endure to the end. Run the race to win. Fight the good fight.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30
There is nothing in this world or of this world that matters, except accomplishing your part in God's rescue mission, which is saving the world from sin. This doesn't mean that nothing else matters, but rather, that everything must be done for Jesus while abiding in Jesus. Even the mundane must be done for Jesus, so that we may maintain a faithful testimony and witness for Christ. In this regard, even the menial tasks of life carry the weight of eternity. Therefore, may everything we do be enabled by the Holy Spirit and for the glory of God.
"Only one life, twil soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." - CT Stud
"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." - Paul
How to vote correctly?
Living in a democracy affords the American people the right and privilege of voting to elect our officials. As a Christian, I personally feel that I am obligated to vote. If you are anything like me, you may find it difficult to choose the "right" candidate for any office, especially president. It can be a laborious task, especially when there are so many issues that appear to be of such importance to the health and future of our country. So, how do we vote correctly?
First, we need to remember what made America such a great country in the past. We don't need to reflect upon the symptoms of being a great country (freedom, good economy, lack of crime, high employment, etc.), but the root of why America has been the country it has. To correctly do this one must go back to the beginnings our our nation.
Our nation was founded by Christians. Argue this as you may, but the fact remains. 52 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were outspoken Christians. 29 of them had seminary degrees. Our country was founded by people who honored God, trusted Him and followed His word. Why, at the core, has our nation been so blessed? America, "One nation under God", honored the one, true and living God (the God of the Bible) and He blessed our nation. Simple.
In order to remain a blessed nation we must elect officials who will lead our nation in God's ways. So, how do we do that? There are 3 issues that are openly debated that I believe are central to God. As far as I am concerned, anyone who doesn't stand behind these 3 issues from a Biblical position can do no good for our country and will continue to lead us down a path of destruction. I have listed these issues below.
Agree. Disagree. Take it as you will. Honoring and obeying God is the answer to everything. It's all that matters. I pray that this will help you navigate through the voting process for our next president and any other elected officials.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil." - Ecclesiastes 12
1. Israel - We must stand behind and support Israel at all cost.
"I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you..." - Genesis 12:3
2. Pro Life - We must stop the murder of innocent children.
"Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man." - Genesis 9:6
3. Biblical Marriage - We must define and uphold the family structure as God designed and declares it.
"He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?" - Matthew 19
Once again, there are many other issues, many of which are very important to me and to God. But, lets not miss the point. Our nation must get back on the side of God. We must turn back to Him. That's all that matters.
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31
What amazes Jesus?
“Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.” - Mark 6:1-2
By the time of Jesus earthly ministry Judaism had grown to be extremely corrupt. It was far from what God desired His relationship with the nation of Israel to be. Judaism was full of legalism, greed, pride, hypocrisy and all types of evil. In spite of the many problems, Jesus still attended Jewish feasts and, as we see here, weekly synagogue gatherings. Modern translation: Jesus went to church.
During Jesus earthly ministry He was God incarnate. He is the Son of God and God the Son, perfectly sinless and completely holy. I find it interesting that Jesus went to church. There are many Christians today who choose not to participate in cooperate church gatherings and even speak negatively concerning the “institutional church”. Some say it is full of hypocrites, liars and politics. In many cases this is true, but this type of talk should not be so. Is not Jesus our model? He didn’t reject the church, but gave Himself up for her. He assimilated into church activities, bettered and blessed the church. Even though He is perfect and Judaism was anything but, Jesus took part in the corporate gatherings of the Jewish people. Christians should do the same. After all, WWJD? Go to church.
In Mark chapter 6, Jesus has returned to His hometown of Nazareth and is teaching on the Sabbath. This crowd has known Jesus since He was a born. They knew the 7 pound, 6 ounce baby Jesus. They knew Jesus the little boy. They knew the teenage Jesus. They knew Jesus as a carpenter in his twenties, but the Jesus of this account is a different story. Now, He’s a Rabbi with disciples. He’s walking in the unwavering power of the Holy Spirit. Crowds follow Him and word of His miraculous signs has traveled throughout the region. In fact, He had just raised a little girl from the dead only 25 miles away. He speaks like no one else, with authority, wisdom and power!
Initially, Jesus’ hometown crowd was amazed by Him and received His words gladly. But then, doubt began to creep in. “How could Jesus be our long awaited messiah? After all, we’ve known Him our entire lives.” They even began to discrediting Him by saying, “Is this not the carpenter”, insinuating Jesus didn’t know the things of God since He didn’t go to seminary. They continued hurling insults by saying, “Is this not the Son of Mary?” The Jews would never identify a man by his mother, even if his father were dead. This was used to further indicate the belief that Jesus was born in fornication and that Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father. Well, they at least they were half right.
After the strong rejection of Jesus He simply said, “A prophet receives no honor in his hometown, among his family and among his friends.” This was certainly true in the case of Jesus and His hometown crowd. They were so acquainted with their perception of Jesus that they were unable to receive Him as the long awaited messiah and in His true identity. In this case, familiarity certainly breeds contempt.
Verse 5 goes on to say that He could do no mighty work there, except a few miracles. Those in Nazareth were so familiar with Jesus and had such a limited understanding of Him that they hindered His work among them. I often fear the same is true for many in the body of Christ. We grow so acquainted with Jesus, the Gospel, the work and word of God that we put Him in a box and hinder His work among us. We limit what God desires to do because we put Him in a man made, limited box. We often build denominations and doctrines, while at the same time pushing the word and will of God to the side. We are so often led by our traditions, our rituals and our own limited expectations, instead of simply being led by the Spirit and Word of God. God will never fit in man’s box, but will always fit perfectly in His book.
In verse 6 we read that Jesus marveled because of their unbelief. He marveled at the unbelief of the Jews from His hometown. Those who should have believed in Him the most doubted Him and rejected Him so harshly. We only see Jesus marveling twice in the gospels, here and in Luke 7. In the Luke 7 account we see a gentile, Roman centurion with great faith in Jesus. Luke 7:9 says, “When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’” Jesus marveled from great faith and from great disbelief. Does He marvel when He looks at your life today? If so, why does He marvel? Does He marvel because of your great faith or lack thereof? Walk by faith! Trust God! May Jesus marvel as you trust in Him.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” - Hebrews 11:6
Feeling beat up?
Last night at Reality we studied Mark 5:21-43. In contrast to the people of Gadara who wanted Jesus to leave (verse 17), we saw the multitudes "thronging" Jesus. They were hungry and they were hopeful. During our study we met two of these people and learned much of their life.
First we met Jairus, whose 12 year old daughter was near the point of death. He was one of the synagogue rulers and highly respected among the people and the religious leaders. We aren't given the specific illness his daughter suffered from, nor do we know how long she had been sick. One thing is for certain....she had been sick long enough; Long enough to bring Jairus to Jesus. He risked much by coming to Jesus, as we all do. It was a costly decision, as it is for all of us to come to Jesus. It was costly, but it was worth it. At the end of our study, in the midst of her funeral and much weeping and whaling, we saw Jairus' daughter get up, walk around and begin eating. According to Jesus she was just sleeping! How's that for some perspective.
We also met a woman who had suffered from a nonstop menstrual cycle for the last 12 years, leaving her ceremonially unclean, isolated and ashamed. This condition ruled her life and left her quite hopeless. After all, she had seen many doctors and spent her entire life savings only for her condition to worsen. After hearing about Jesus, however, she became hopeful yet again, believing that by touching Jesus she too would be healed. In an act of desperation, risking ridicule and rebuking, she touched his garment and was healed immediately!
Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” - Mark 5:34
What kind of faith changed this woman's life forever? Jesus lays it out for us in this verse. First, her faith was personal. Jesus identified her faith as "your faith". This faith wasn't her pastor's faith, her parents faith or the faith of her best friend. It was her faith. Our faith must first be personal.
Secondly, her faith was practical. Her faith resulted in action. In spite of the many potential consequences of going to Jesus in her condition, she still went. Our faith must be practical and an active reality in our life. It must never merely reside in the depths of our minds, lying dormant and collecting dust. As James wrote, "Faith without works is dead." Our faith must be personal and it must be practical.
Lastly, this woman's faith was powerful. She left Jesus, not just healed of a physical illness, but at peace with God. The phrase "go in peace" would be better translated "go into peace" and indicates, in the original Greek, a peace much deeper than that of the physical. By placing her faith in Jesus, she was now at peace with God and thus, had the peace of God. That's what I call powerful!
In this study we saw two people, desperate and at the end of their rope. Every possible resource had been exhausted, yet they were each left without hope or help....until they came to Jesus. You see, it's only over when Jesus says it is. I don't know the "fat lady" and I've never heard her sing. Regardless, Jesus is the final say. So, whether you're in a relational struggle, financial struggle, emotional struggle, physical struggle, whatever....go to Jesus and give it to Him. As a follower of Christ you may get knocked down, but you are never knocked out!
"For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity." - Proverbs 24:16
“You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience." - Pope Francis
With this statement Pope Francis has earned the acclaim of atheists, agnostics and others from around the world. For many, this statement has freely offered salvation to anyone, even if they don't believe in God. Not surprisingly, the public opinion of the Pope has increased dramatically over his issuance of this "get out of hell pass". Regardless of the Pope's public appeal, I can't help but feel sorry for anyone who would believe this theological farce.
His own statement is self contradictory. He is speaking of two different groups of people, the atheist and the Christian. Anyone going to God with a sincere and contrite heart is a Christian because the only way to go to God is through Jesus. Yes, God's mercy has no limits for the Christian because Jesus blood was shed and He paid the fine for their sin.
In this statement, however, Pope Francis cleverly and cowardly masked his statement behind a facade of of truth. He uses truth to bait the hearer and win their ear, then to further force feed them theological sewage. "The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience." Excuse me Frank, did you forget about the Gospel? Did you forget about Jesus? What about the cross? Contrary to his man made opinion, those who do not believe in God will obey their conscience straight to eternal judgement. There is a very clear end to the mercy of God and you'll find it precisely located at faith in Jesus Christ.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." - John 3:16
Atheists, agnostics, cultists, hindus, muslims, scientologists, humans of all types, the only way to eternal life is by the substitutionary atonement of your sins accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. It's really simple. Now, you have a choice. Do you believe Frank or God? I know where I stand. My advice for Frank? I leave him with a verse from the Bible, which I encourage him to start reading. "Woe to you when all men speak well of you." - Jesus
Is Jesus the only way to heaven?
We began Mark chapter 5 in our "According to Mark" series Sunday night at Reality. While preparing for this study I was reminded of an Oprah Winfrey statement a few years ago. She said that there are "many paths to God" and insisted that "there can't possibly be just one way".
The mistake Oprah has made is common. She doesn't understand reality. The reality is this....Sin separates us from fellowship with God and all have sinned. Therefore, the fine for sin, which is death, must be paid for before we can be in fellowship with God. This fine was paid by Jesus and we are pardoned for our crimes by believing and receiving. It's simple. The fine must be paid for and no else paid it (nor could they). No one even claims to have paid it. As John the Baptizer once said, "Jesus is the lamb of God (the sacrifice) that takes away the sins of the world."
Oprah supported her argument, however, by addressing those who may never hear about Jesus and asked, "Will they not get to heaven?" As logical as this question may be, she has limited God to man's logic, resources and effort. What is my response to her?....Anyone who is willing to be saved, will be saved. The salvation of no individual will be limited to the abilities of man to reach them with the gospel message. If mankind fails to deliver such message, as we often do, God will be faithful to do it Himself. He will reveal Himself to whomever has a humble, willing heart, willing to place their faith in Christ Jesus. No one will go to hell because man failed to reach them with the saving message of the cross.
In Mark 5 we saw this type of scenario played out perfectly. Jesus made the seven mile trip across the Sea of Galilee to reach the "man of the tombs". This demonically possessed man was a sad example of Satan's hatred for mankind. He lived alone in a cemetery and spent all of his time mutilating his body and crying out in agony. The people tried to imprison him, but he just broke the chains. No doubt, Satan didn't want him in relationship with others. He wanted him alone and afraid for the torturing of his soul. Everyone one in town feared, despised and pitied this man. To the people of this town he wasn't even considered human, but in verse 2 we read, "Immediately Jesus met a man....".
He was an animal in the eyes of the people, but to Jesus he was a man. Jesus didn't see him for who he was, but for who he could become. Jesus hoped for the best and believe the best about this man. What grace! What love!
Only minutes after arriving Jesus healed the man and set him free from years of bondage, loneliness and misery. Surprisingly however, due to the fact that Jesus ministry was unprofitable for people, the townsfolk insisted that he leave. Unwilling to force Himself on anyone, Jesus boarded the boat and crossed back over, commanding the healed man to share with his friends and family what great things the Lord had done for him. And that was it.
Jesus made a 14 mile boat trip to reach one man. Certainly many others were saved through the testimony of this man, but Jesus was willing to do whatever it took to reach the "man of the tombs" and change his life forever. That's simply who Jesus is. He's the "Good Shepherd", willing to leave 99 sheep in the safety of the flock in order to reach the one that has gotten away. Indeed, He will do whatever it takes to save the lost.
So Oprah, back to your question. What about the man in the rainforest? What about the man in the antarctic? What about the girl raised in a Buddhist family? What about the boy raised in Syria. What about the atheist in New York? What about the teenager in Honduras? What about someone who never hears about Jesus?....
Jesus is all powerful, all knowing, all loving and omnipresent. Anyone willing to be saved, will be saved.
Why do we freak out?
"Let us cross over to the other side of the sea." - Jesus (Mark 4:35)
After a long day of ministering to the crowds, teaching and explaining parables, Jesus makes a simple statement with profound implications. In the next few verses we find Jesus, His disciples and "other little boats" heading across the sea and into a great windstorm. As the waves crash and the wind blows the disciple's boat begins to fill with water and they begin to cry out in fear. "Teacher, don't you even care that we are perishing?" It would appear not, since Jesus lay in the stern asleep on a pillow.
Of course Jesus cared, but the severity of their circumstances had perverted their perspective. He certainly cared about their wellbeing, however, He cared even more about developing His disciples and further revealing Himself to them. This storm was not a storm of correction, but a storm of instruction. This was a test. After waking Jesus, He rebuked the wind and waves and there was a great calm. "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?," Jesus asked His disciples. And these are fair questions. After all, Jesus already told them where they were going...."to the other side of the sea". Why were they so afraid? They forgot that Jesus is in control, not the storm.
Maybe you're in a storm today and are wondering if Jesus even cares. You may feel like the end is near and all hope is lost. Don't forget that He is in control! Don't let your circumstances pervert your perspective. Jesus cares! He proved that on the cross. Place your faith in Him and pass the test! Fact is, I'll see you on the other side.
I need a heart transplant.
In Mark 4:1-20, we find what is often called the "Parable of the Sower". In reality, this parable is about different soils, not sowers, which represent 4 different heart conditions and 4 different responses to hearing the word of God. Each of us can relate, to some degree, to each of these conditions.
In this parable we are given the hard heart, the shallow heart and the divided heart. Each of these heart conditions left the hearer unfruitful, ineffective and unproductive. God's word couldn't penetrate the hard heart and the enemy took it away. The shallow heart just didn't have enough foundation in the word to remain and was destroyed in time of persecution, hardship and temptation. Lastly, the divided heart was too concerned with things of this world to be of any use eternally.
The only heart condition that ultimately produced lasting fruit was the soft heart. This heart allowed God's word to penetrate, mediating on it day and night. This heart was grounded in the word and had an unshakable foundation in times of persecution, hardship and temptation. This heart was free from the many distractions that so often strangle the growth of God's word. This heart was soft, grounded and undivided.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and is desperately wicked." Every man and woman are born with a hard, shallow and divided heart. We each need a new heart, but every effort to change my heart proves futile and ends in discouragement. I can't change my heart. I can't fix my heart. It deceives me and leads me in paths of wickedness every single time. I need a heart transplant.
Thankfully, Jesus came for this very purpose. He came to give us new hearts. Ezekiel 36:26 says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." Jesus is willing and able to give you a new heart, but you must give Him your old one first. How do we do that?
1. Meditation - study His word.
2. Communication - pray continually.
3. Sanctification - make the decision to obey Him.
Get a new heart today!
A self proclaiming atheist posted a picutre on Facebook and addressed it to his "religious friends". The picture was of a cat, whcih I have no probelm with, but the caption was a different story. The caption said, "So, you think that religion should be taught in schools? Would that be ALL relgions?....OR JUST YOURS?" Apparently he expects me (one of his religious friends) to sit back and allow him to completely misrepresent the situation. I think not.
For starters, religion is taught in schools. Religion is being unashamedly and boldly taught by nearly every public school teacher in America. What religion?, you ask. The religion of atheism. This religion is being rammed down the throats of our public school students by hopeless, lost, agenda driven, atheist professors. They have made it their life's purpose to teach the children of America that there is no purpose to anything. How ironic. The powers that be even force theistic teachers to preach "there is no God!" although there is absolutely no evidence for such an absurd statement. You simply can't prove that God doesn't exist, nor should any sane / rational / logical / coherent person have the desire to do so.
Teaching our kids that dinosaurs existed millions of years ago and the universe is 13 trillion years old is stupid enough already. At least you've got some evidence that has been grossly misinterpreted and butchered, so much so that any scientist worth his weight in salt would laugh....or vomit....but at least you've got misinterpreted evidence. So, you dig up a dinosaur bone that carbon dating tells you is millions of years old (allegedly). Never mind the fact that, due to it's half life, carbon dating can't actually date beyond 100,000 years anyway, and dinosaur bones have been discovered with red blood cells and soft tissue (which can't survive longer than 8 to 10,000 years), and volcanic rock from Mount St. Helens was carbon dated at millions of years old (although it's only decades old), and carbon 14 has been found in diamonds (reportedly billions of years old).....never mind all of that evidence. Let's just burry our heads in the sand, shall we?
So, you dug up some bones, misinterpreted the evidence and now you want to insist that the universe is trillions of years old? Let's not forget that the reason you have to do this. You have to do this because your theory can't possibly be supported scientifically (observed, repeated, measured). So, in order to dodge any logical rebuttal to a 150 year old theory you have to keep adding more time to convolute the nonsense. "A fish can turn into a human! Just give it time!" Good one.
If someone wants to teach this nonsense to my kids....go for it. They will easily pick your uneducated, un-supported, foolish propaganda apart. But, now they want to teach my kids that there is no God? That's a different story. There is no evidence to support atheism. You think there is? Prove it. You would be able to if there were evidence, but you can't. Any logical person knows that a creator exist for the mere fact that there is a creation, but atheist refuse to use logic and reason due to their stiff-necked, rebellion against God. Rather than accept reality they willfully suppress truth. Atheist have a sadly pathetic argument.
So, Mr. Atheist, please don't tell me that religion isn't being taught in schools because your religion is. But, that's ok. You can't fool us with lies. We don't just believe in God. We know Him....and that's a big difference. I used to believe in Santa Clause, but I never knew him. You don't actually know anything. You think there's no God but no rational person would claim to know everything or to have searched the entire universe to find God. Would you?
You think. I know. One day soon you will know too. May God have mercy on your soul.
"At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." - God
Does Infinite Energy exist?
In last night’s study “Lessons in Infinite Energy” we studied John 6:1-21. After feeding the multitudes Jesus went on a mountain to pray and made His disciples get into a boat and head across the Sea of Galilee. Due to a great storm, after 9 hours of straining, striving and rowing these experienced fishermen had only made it half way across the lake. That’s 3 and a half miles in 9 hours. In their own effort and determination they were traveling at less than a half a mile per hour!
We have no record of these men praying or calling out to God for help, although each of them had their own basket of bread to remind them of Jesus faithfulness and power from the day before. How often we forget who our deliverer is and who’s really in control!
At the midpoint of the disciple’s journey Jesus came down on the lake and passed by the boat. At first the disciples though He was a ghost, but after identifying Himself they willfully let Him in the boat. Immediately the disciples boat crashed into the shore! Jesus and His disciples traveled 3 and a half miles instantly! In their own efforts they were getting nowhere, but when they allowed Jesus to take over they found complete success and arrived safely on the other side of the sea….immediately!
How could Jesus and His disciples travel 3 and a half miles instantly? Well, to make the trip in 43 seconds, the boat would have had to travel 317 miles per hour (the current water speed record). They blew that record out of the water! Ha. Traveling the speed of sound this trip would have taken a whopping 16.6 seconds, yet we know they were traveling at a rate much faster than this. How fast were they going?
Well, this 3 and a half mile trip would have taken 1 / 53 thousandth of a second if they were traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second or 670 million miles per hour). It is conceivable that they were traveling at least that fast or faster. Is that even possible though? Yes, it is. The theory of relativity does not forbid the existence of particles that travel faster than light, but for a particle that has mass (in this case; a boat and a bunch of men) to accelerate to the speed of light it requires something that most scientist believe doesn’t exist. What does it take to travel at the speed of light or even faster?….infinite energy!
Jesus has infinite energy. In fact, I would suggest that Jesus is infinite energy. Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by Him (Jesus) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” How much energy does it require to move a boat full of fishermen 3 and a half miles instantly? Infinite. How much energy does it take to create the universe and everything in it by speaking it into existence? Infinite. How much energy does it take to hold that universe together? Infinite.
Jesus is infinite energy.
Now consider what it takes to hold infinite energy and power to the cross of Calvary. No Roman guard could hold Him there. No nail could hold Him there....No Roman official and no plea of the people. There’s only one thing that could hold Him to the cross….Infinite Love.
“I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8
The vast majority of people in the world today are clueless when it comes to love. To most, love is simply a feeling. It's an affection that we throw around with no real thought to its' true meaning. We love our kids. We love our spouses. We love lattes at Starbucks.
I am reminded of the new supreme court ruling concerning same sex marriages and the facade of love it masquerades behind. This hoax hides behind the question, "Shouldn't everyone be able to love?" Then, in a genuine desire for the betterment of mankind, salvation for all people and the advancement of truth, I am led to proclaim the word of the One who created marriage, owns marriage and defines marriage. Marriage is only the union between a man and a woman. (Genesis 2:24)
By simply quoting God's decree and sharing absolute truth, I am now labeled a "hater" by many, when in truth, my purest motivation in sharing the word of God is love. There is an obvious and gross disconnect concerning the definition of love. Somewhere, somehow, the English language has failed to clearly communicate the most important subject conceived in the mind of man....Love.
In God's omniscience, He certainly was aware of this shortcoming to the English language. Therefore, He chose to use the Greek language to write the new testament of the Bible. It is much more descriptive and gives far greater explanation to the subject of love. In this language there are three primary words translated "love" in the English language....eros, phileo, and agape.
"Eros" is a physical, sensual and sexual love. This is where we get the word erotic. This love is conditional and basically says, "I love you if...." This type of love depends upon a physical and often sexual act of the parties involved.
"Phileo" is a strongly motivated, friendship based love. This word is a root of the word Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Indeed, phileo is more noble than the love of eros, yet it is still conditional. This love basically says, "I love you because...." This love is still based upon an expectation placed upon the recipient of this love.
Lastly, "Agape" is an unconditional, selfless and sacrificial love. This love says, "I love you anyway...." It doesn't depend upon anything, except the character and nature of the giver. There is only one way, however, to adequately define this type of love. We can only define agape by looking to the one, true and living God of the Bible. Why? Because He is love. He is agape. Love is not God, but God is love.
Our only hope of understanding this type of love is by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Indeed, Jesus is God, inhabiting flesh. He is the Son of God and God the Son. As He told Philip, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." As we look to Jesus we are given a fully complete definition of agape. Let's examine the facts.
Jesus was a perfect combination of grace and truth (John 1:14, 17). Although He was patient and kind, He never sacrificed truth for any reason. He also consistently and perfectly pointed to the sins of those He encountered, only to exhort them to repent (John 4:16-18, 8:11). He also willfully gave of Himself to be the final sacrifice, so that mankind might be saved (John 3:17, 1 John 4:10). In one of His last discourses Jesus commands His followers to make disciples (followers of Christ), giving them the authority to do so by following His model (Matthew 28:18-20).
What's the conclusion?
Agape is the highest and most noble love there is. Agape is perfect in every way. Agape always acts in the eternal benefit of others, regardless of the self sacrifice required. Agape always acknowledges sin, yet patiently exhorts, encourages and teaches repentance. Agape is only possible through God because He is the only source of agape. Without agape, we are useless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). We are commanded and empowered to agape everyone (John 13:34).
I am compelled by the love of God to love everyone, including the LGBT community. I cannot love anyone and willfully allow them to continue in sin, but must teach, preach and exhort them to repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation. I must never condone sin, but patiently teach God's ways, for correction not condemnation. Although I will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12), I must selflessly and sacrificially love everyone.
Everybody has opinions and we have heard far too many in the last 48 hours. I don't need an opinion. I don't give an opinion. I only bring a message from God. Man's word means nothing. God's word is all that matters.
Consider my source of information....the Bible. 66 books written by God who used over 40 men as pen's to dictate His word to us. It was written in 3 different languages on 3 different continents and over a 1,500 year span of time. Most of the men who "wrote" the Bible never met. Although the Bible covers a multitude of very diverse and easily provable subjects, such as, history, geology, biology, anthropology, archaeology, astronomy and more, it has never been proven wrong in any area. In fact scientific progress continues to prove it perfect and way ahead of the scientific community. Also, from Genesis to Revelation it continues to point people to Jesus Christ as the savior of the world....Oh, and it's never been updated or changed.
So, my source of information is perfect, inerrant, infallible, timeless and living...God's word. What's your source? Where do you get your information. How reliable is it? How often is it updated? Enough said.
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? - 1 Corinthians 1:20
Marriage belongs to God. He created it. He defines it. He ordained it. He gave it to us. He upholds it. He blesses it.
Anything that deviates from what God calls marriage simply isn't marriage, no matter how bad anyone wants it to be. Call it what you want....a union, a partnership, whatever. Call it marriage and you've deceived yourself and have made yourself to be a fool. God says what marriage is, not us.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
And He (Jesus) answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Is marriage really the issue though? No, not really. The issue is a matter of trust. Where have you placed your trust? The founding fathers of our country put their trust in God and because of that God has blessed the United States of America greatly.
Today, however, a rapid shift has taken place. Our nation, at large, no longer trust in the God of the Bible and have turned away from Him. If we don't turn back to Him, The United Stares of America will be no more. I sure am glad this isn't my home.
Science depends upon God.
Science, by definition, is repeatable, observable and measurable. Science requires testing, which requires order and uniformity in order to ensure that said testing is reliable and can be depended upon. Such an environment is only possible if our universe is upheld and guided by an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God, who governs all things in a consistent, orderly fashion. This type of environment is an impossibility in our universe if said universe is the result of accidental, evolutionary chaos. Quite simply, science is only possible in light of the God of the Bible. Science depends upon God. After all, God created science and He sustains science. Creation is His, therefore science is His.
One day, God (the giver and sustainer of order and uniformity) will put an end to everything we know concerning the world of science. The entire universe will come to an abrupt end, making way for a new universe uncorrupted by sin and death. In a nuclear blast, some 150 billion light years in diameter, this natural, temporal existence will come to a very rapid end and those who trust in the shed blood of Jesus will be ushered into a new kingdom full of righteousness, life and love. There will be no pain, no tears and no death. We will worship God for eternity and He will continually and eternally reveal more of Himself to us through the exceeding riches of His grace and kindness. What an incredible day that will be.
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." - 2 Peter 3:10-13
Satan hates the homosexual community.
Did you know that? Satan hates the homosexual community. He desires their present destruction and their eternal damnation. He hates them so much that he is "swaying" the whole world to endorse and encourage this lifestyle. Due to this, homosexuality is being accepted, encouraged and applauded on nearly every secular front now. I think this is easy to see in the cultural climate of our day.
In addition to this, Satan is increasing the pressure upon the church to turn from standing upon the word of God and begin endorsing and openly accepting this, as well as other, unBiblical lifestyles. Satan wants the church to forget about the homosexual community. He wants to church to stop sharing truth and allow them to be disconnected from God in a place of eternal sorrow, anger and loneliness. I can't just allow that to happen. I love people, whether gay or straight, too much.
We live in a culture of "false love". People often define love according to their beliefs and limited understanding. Indeed, this misunderstanding of love is a crisis of incredible magnitude and eternal proportions. Today, many believe loving others requires accepting their lifestyle, regardless of the consequences and eternal implications it may bring. This IS NOT love. We must look to the character and nature of God to correctly define love. After all, He is love. Bottom line: love always does what is best for others, regardless of the cost or sacrifice involved.
If you are a Christian, Jesus said that your are the "light of the world" and the "salt of the earth". Light must shine brightly for all to see and salt must be salty to do any good. We must stand upon the truth of God's word, in word and in deed. We can't shrink back for any reason. The homosexual community is equal....equally created in the image of God and equally loved by God. Don't allow them to be forgotten. Share truth in love. For some plant, some water, but the Lord adds the increase.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
John 3:16-17: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Ok, so here's my take on the fight Saturday night.
First, on the fight itself....
No doubt, this was a boring fight to anyone who doesn't love the "sweet science" and admire the technical ability of a fine tuned pugilist and world class technician. For 12 rounds Floyd did, as he said, "What he had to do." Apparently he felt as if he had to do as little as possible to win in the easiest way imaginable....and that he did. He got an early lead and held Manny at bay for the remainder of the fight, while taking less punishment in 12 rounds than your average round of sparring at any local gym (while earning $200 million).
In spite of his 48-0 record, Floyd's performance left him looking, ironically enough, beatable. This is true with nearly all of his fights and why boxing fans continue to say that there is someone who can beat him....De LaHoya, Hatton, Pacquiao, etc. Very few people were amazed at anything, but Floyd's speed, defense and Manny's lack of punch count. Most would say that Manny should have done more, but fail to understand the dilemma. Every time Manny tried to attack he was quickly countered, held or limited to hitting the protective "shell" of the best defensive fighter on the planet. The more he tried to press the fight and throw punches, the more he was countered and the tireder he got. Fighting Floyd is like trying to get somewhere on a treadmill thats going 25 miles per hour. From the beginning of the fight Manny was trying to catch up, but the harder he tried the further behind he fell. This process made him frustrated and anxious which did nothing but snowball his problems.
Is Floyd beatable? Yes. The biggest problem with beating Floyd is that it requires time to provide a learning curve for his blinding speed. How much time do you need? In my experience about 25 to 50 rounds. In that time it is possible to compensate for his speed and begin making adjustments that will counter what he does so well. Trust me. It can be done, but you don't need to fight harder, you need to fight smarter. And, you need to be incredibly fast as well (which Manny is).
Without writing a novel about how to beat Floyd, I'll just say this. What Floyd Mayweather did Saturday night was simply amazing. He limited the best offensive fighter in the sport to an average of 6 landed punches per round. Yes, 6. There is no one else on the planet that can do that. You may not be impressed with Floyd Mayweather's offense, but he is, without a question, the best defensive fighter in the world. His style may not be very impressive to the average eye, but one thing it is, is smart. Nobody likes to get hit and Floyd has mastered the art of not doing that.
Second, on the outcome....
The outcome didn't surprise me a bit. In fact, my prediction in my last blog was right on. So, why didn't God intervene and give Manny the victory Saturday night? Honestly, I couldn't have been certain until I saw the post fight interview. Although the possibilities of "why" are endless, one purpose in Manny's loss is certain and clear. God is working in Manny to grow and mature him.
Why do I say that and what does the post fight interview have to do with it? Manny's interview was full of disappointment, frustration and disbelief. The victory was simply too important to Manny. In fact, his interview led me to believe that it was more important than the glory God received from the fight. How should Manny (or any of us) respond to disappointment and trails? "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." We should respond to trials (or boxing defeats) with joy, knowing that God will work them for our good to grow us and mature us.
God's priority isn't giving Manny what he wants and "blessing" him, but emptying him of himself, that he would be filled with the Holy Sprit and conformed to the image of Christ. This is God's will for all of us. I would give my right arm for the platform Manny had Saturday night to glorify God. No one cares when you thank Jesus in victory, but it speaks volumes to the world when you praise Him in defeat. God is glorified when we die to the things of this world, murder the flesh and put our eyes on Jesus and our hope in Heaven.
The outcome of Saturdays fight can do great things in the life of Manny Pacquiao....things of much greater importance than money, fame, titles or accomplishment. His loss can further humble him, teach him to deny himself and make him more dependent on the Lord than every before. And, that's a good place to be. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." We are blessed when we know our poverty apart from Christ. We are blessed when we know, not that we need Jesus, but that we can't live without Him. On Saturday night that reality became a little bit clearer to Manny Pacquiao.
In contrast to the workings of God in Manny Pacquiao's life, Floyd Mayweather continued blazing down a path of destruction full of pride, wealth and worldliness. God has been tugging on Floyd's heart for a long time (some of which I personally witnessed), but He will never force Himself on anyone. God is love and simply will not impose Himself on others. I pray that Floyd will someday see that he is a sinner, an enemy of God....disconnected from God by a gulf of sin. Jesus, however, has paid his penalty and offers salvation to those who would simply believe and receive. Sadly, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom. But, with God all things are possible.
The highest paying and most anticipated fight in boxing history is coming up this Saturday. It will be the first boxing match I've watched since I received the call to leave the sport of boxing for a life of ministry some 8 years ago (see Jonah). I've had a lot of people asking me to make predictions concerning the outcome of this fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and I thought this prediction would require some explanation.
First, why does what I think matter? I guess it doesn't really, but I would suggest that I have insight into this fight that many would not. Why do I say that? For starters, lets go back to 2004. After 16 straight wins as a pro boxer, my first loss and a 3 year retirement, I came back into the sport in January of that year. Only months later, after defeating undefeated Oscar Diaz (17-0) and getting the attention of many in the sport, I received a call from Floyd Mayweather's management team. He was getting ready to fight another southpaw, Demarcus Corley, and wanted to hire me as a sparring partner for the fight. Knowing Floyd was one of the best fighters in the history of boxing and how much I could learn from this experience, I took the offer.
I wasn’t “ring ready”, but knew I couldn’t turn down this great opportunity. I showed up to Floyd’s gym in Las Vegas to an assortment of other guys there for the same purpose, human punching bags for Floyd to beat up. Within an hour or so after landing at the Las Vegas International Airport I was in the ring with one of the best fighters in the game. What ensued was nothing short of cinematic. Fighting one the best boxers ever is difficult enough. Add to that some ring rust and lack of conditioning. Add to that a ring surrounded by men yelling demoralizing and discouraging hate. Add to that the frustration of Floyd’s in ring trash talk. Oh, and did I mention he is one of the best fighters in the history of the sport? What ensued was one of the most difficult times of boxing I have ever experienced. Fighting 7 and 8 minutes rounds with less than 30 seconds rest didn’t help much either.
This type of fighting environment does well to weed out the warriors from the rest and in a couple weeks I found myself to be the only sparring partner left. Everyone else had been beaten up and sent home. Honestly, I’ve never seen as much blood in the ring as I did during the beating Floyd gave the other guys. Over the course of the rest of the training camp the sparring between Floyd and I became increasingly heated, as I adapted to his unmatched speed, amazing technical ability and incredible conditioning. During this time I had some opportunity to minister to Floyd, much of which consisted of our time in the ring. While he was talking trash I would simply respond by quoting scripture. During a very difficult training camp of unmatched testing, I depended upon strength from my God and found Him to be completely faithful, giving me everything I needed to complete the camp well and give Floyd the sparring he needed to be his best.
The time came to head home, as did our time to get paid for our services. On the last day of training we met with Floyd and CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe, to receive our payment. Ellerbe proceeded to pull a roll of hundred dollar bills out (the size of a softball) and count out our payment. After laying out our payment he continued to lay down hundreds and ultimately doubled what their team owed. Then Floyd said, “Ebo, you’ve been a blessing. I really appreciate you being here.” We weren’t best friends by any means, but I had earned his respect for sure. After his victory over Corley, Floyd thanked God on several occasions, possibly a sign of spiritual fruit from my time with him.
After 4 more victories in the ring, I found myself back in Vegas exactly one year later. This time I was preparing to fight Juan Diaz for the undisputed, lightweight world championship. For our training camp we co-rented a private gym with another fighter who was training to fight Erik Morales for the super featherweight world championship. This other fighter was none other than Manny Pacquiao. During our time of training we had some time to discuss a possible fight between me and Manny and ultimately made the verbal agreement that, after we both won, we would fight each other.
On March 19, 2005 my team and I went to Manny’s fight at the MGM, hoping to see him win a great victory to further establish our fight together. As we made our way to our seats that night I ran into Floyd. He knew I was fighting Juan in April and encouraged me that I would be the champ soon. He was kind, respectful and encouraging….probably not what most would expect, but a sign to me that the seeds I planted a year earlier were part of a much bigger work God was orchestrating in his life. You see, God loves Floyd Mayweather and God wants a relationship with him. I am certain that my time with Floyd was more for him than I, and that God sent me as a messenger and witness, seeking to rescue Floyd from sin and death.
Long story short, Manny lost that night and my hopes of our fight were put on hold. I certainly had bigger fish to fry at the time as my fight with Juan “The Baby Bull” Diaz quickly approached. Roughly two weeks before my fight, Floyd predicted that I would destroy Juan Diaz and only a week later Juan backed out of our fight, claiming an injury. The rest is history, as they say.
So, back to the point. Who wins Saturday night? Let me just say, there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye. It’s not just a boxing match, just as the account of Job wasn’t just a guy having some hard times or falling on bad luck. God is working in this, as He is working in everything for His purposes and His glory. Nothing and no one will escape the sovereign hand of God. We are all part of a great, cosmic rescue mission, that is ultimately fought in the spirit realm. What happens here in this world is simply the physical manifestation of that greater, eternal, spiritual reality.
Spiritual things aside, here’s how I have it. Manny has a shot to win…an that’s it. A shot. He’s got good power for his size and if he catches Floyd he could hurt him and end it. There’s only one big problem. Floyd has the best defense in the game. You can’t hurt someone when you can’t hit them. Simple. I’m not sure how Floyd would respond to getting hit hard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it happen to be honest. Nonetheless, 19 out of 20 times Floyd wins. He is, quite simply, the best fighter in the game….maybe of all time. In the 100 or so rounds I spent with Floyd he proved to me that he is the fastest and one of the smartest fighters in boxing. Not only is he fast and smart, but no one is better conditioned. He has also mastered a fighting style that is seemingly impossible to beat. He is highly efficient and fundamentally the best there is. Not to mention, he has the perfect genetic makeup, as well as, a heritage and pedigree of world championship boxing at his disposal since he was a toddler. That makes for an unbeatable combination.
But, as I pointed out, you simply cannot push the spiritual aspects of this fight aside. God is in this. Not only is God in it, He rules over it. He has complete control over the outcome of this fight, as well as, every other aspect that it involves. So what do I think God will do? Since Manny is apparently a fruit bearing Christian, do I believe God will give him the victory? Not necessarily. You see, God knows everything….everything that has happened and everything that will happen, given any set number of circumstances and variables concerning every human being alive or dead. Because of this only God can correctly and righteously align the outcome of the events of this fight to His perfect, permissible and circumstantial will. He is God. I am not. And not that He even has to align them to His will because the outcome simply is….aligned. You can be certain, God has known the outcome of this fight forever and every possible result from it.
Here’s what I do know concerning the outcome. The outcome of this fight will work together for the good of whomever loves the Lord and are called according to His purposes. If Floyd loves the Lord and is called according to His purposes, the outcome will work for his good, win or lose. The same goes for Manny. As I look back through my career I see the sovereign hand of God orchestrating my entire life, as a screenplay would unfold on the stage of a great theatre. Every loss and every victory perfectly placed to draw me nearer to Him. In addition, timing is so crucial to the will and workings of God. Everything happens according to God’s perfect timing. God humbles and He exalts, and He does it when He sees fit.
With all of that said, not to belabor the point, I will make two predictions….neither of which may be right. Prediction number one…Floyd wins (probably by decision). This is my first guess. Why? It appears that Manny is allowing God to work more fully in his life and is more yielded to the work of God than Floyd. With that said, there is nothing like difficulty and struggle to humbles us, break us and draw us nearer to the Lord. For the man who is surrendered to the Lord, God desires to work in him much more than work through him. God’s priority is the inward work in the man. I have no doubt that a loss would do great things in Manny to strengthen his spiritual walk with the Lord. Why would God let Floyd win? Maybe Floyd isn’t God’s man. It’s his choice. God isn’t concerned with Floyd getting money and fame (obviously). It’s all perishing and God gives satan the authority to distribute things of the temporal world as the Lord sees fit. A win would, no doubt, lead Floyd further down a road of destruction, but if that is the path he has chosen (which it appears to be) God will allow that.
Prediction number two….Manny wins (probably by KO). This is my second guess. Why? Because maybe it’s Manny’s time to be exalted. Maybe Manny has been faithful in the lean times and will now be faithful in the times of great abundance. Maybe God wants to bless Manny and maybe God wants to humble Floyd. Maybe God sees a heart in Floyd that is near the point of surrender. Maybe Floyd needs a loss to come to the Lord. Who knows? God does.
What would I like to see happen? The only safe desire is desiring the will of God because everything else assumes that I know something He doesn’t. God’s will is perfect, which makes me very excited to see what happens Saturday night. Either way, I pray that both men will live with surrendered hearts to the Lord and immediately start their tax deductible tithes and offerings to Reality Ministries. Ha. Just kidding. Enjoy the show.
Today could be a very tough day for me. There's a battle raging relentlessly and waring for my soul. It's the battle between my will and God's will. Ten years ago today I was scheduled to fight Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz for the undisputed, lightweight world boxing championship at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Since I was a very little boy I dreamed of being a world champ and my dreams were coming true. My will was being fulfilled. On this day 10 years ago I would achieve everything I had prepared for and dreamed of for over two decades.
One week before the fight and after training for months, however, something happened that would change the course of my life and boxing career drastically. Juan, claiming an injury that was later reported a hoax, declined to fight. Why? Maybe it was because of the beating I gave him 6 years earlier at his gym in Houston. Maybe it was because of my confidence in interviews. Or, maybe it was because Floyd Mayweather said I was going to beat him on worldwide television. Maybe all of that had something to do with it, but that's not why.
Juan Diaz back out of our fight because God willed it. Why would God will that? Only He truly knows, but the list of potential reasons is long. Maybe God knew that seven figure paydays and worldwide fame would ruin me. Maybe God knew that boxing success would eventually draw me away from Him. Maybe God had something much more eternal in mind when He led me from boxing into a life of pastoral ministry. Maybe all of the above.
The bottom line is this: I must lay down my will and surrender to His. Jesus said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." I must die to self. I must die to the things I want and trust that God's will is perfect for me. Even Jesus surrendered His will to His fathers' will before the crucifixion. “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
So, on this day, April 23, 2015....10 years after I almost had my will, I rest in His. Instead of laboring for titles, wealth and fame, I labor for the eternal. I put my hope and my trust in that which is not of this world. I put my hope in Jesus and store up treasure that rust and moth cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal. I can rest knowing that I am in His perfect will and, quite honestly, there's no better place to be.
This quote was sent to me by an atheist this morning:
"If a faithful account was rendered of man's ideas upon Divinity, he would be obliged to acknowledge, that for the most part the word "gods" has been used to express the concealed, remote, unknown causes of the effects he witnessed; that he applies this term when the spring of the natural, the source of known causes, ceases to be visible: as soon as he loses the thread of these causes, or as soon as his mind can no longer follow the chain, he solves the difficulty, terminates his research, by ascribing it to his gods... When, therefore, he ascribes to his gods the production of some phenomenon... does he, in fact, do any thing more than substitute for the darkness of his own mind, a sound to which he has been accustomed to listen with reverential awe?" - Baron de Holbach
Baron de Holbach is a sad example of a life wasted. He willfully missed his reason to exist. He was wealthy, prideful and is dead....buried in a church, ironic as that may be. The life he lived, though utterly depressing, was the best of his eternal existence. Unless at some point he came to know Jesus, he now resides in a place called Hades, where everyone who has not placed their faith in the Son of the one, true, living and loving God are. He will spend his eternity with Satan, where he will be weeping and / or gnashing his teeth eternally, most likely the latter; angry that he did not yield to the voice of God while he had the chance. Instead, he foolishly resisted God and suppressed truth, as many do today. He refused to receive the atonement for his sins, the only means by which he could be united with his creator, the creator of the universe, the perfect, holy and righteous I Am. All the sins of Baron's life could have been washed away by Jesus blood and he could have entered into eternal paradise and received eternal reward that rust and moth cannot destroy, but he refused. Truly, wealth and pride send so many to damnation, poverty and humility are as priceless jewels.
The basic principle of his argument here is mute, at least concerning my perspective. I don't attribute things I don't understand to God. That would be foolish and naive. I simply take God at His word and, consequently, have the answers to every question you could think to ask. Where did life come from? Why do I exist? How old is the universe? Why do people die?, etc. I dare challenge anyone to conspire a question that a concrete and definitive answer for cannot be found in the Word of God. Also, I would never allow a mere man to shape or influence my belief or lack of in God or the supernatural realm. What man has the ability to do so? What man is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent? None obviously. I must seek God in that which is His....His word and His creation, specific revelation and general revelation. I can look into each, with a genuine heart, and there He is. There He stands knocking, waiting to come in and fellowship with me. Oh, and lets not forget the Holy Spirit, which relentlessly tugs on the hearts of man till their heart grows so hard they hear no more.
I will leave you with a quote from someone far greater than Baron de Holbach. This quote comes from the greatest king Israel has ever known. He was the most powerful man in the world. He was a great military leader, song writer and theologian. And, lest I forget, he attributed these words to God.
"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" - King David
What's my net worth?
Recently, I've been interested in looking up certain celebrities net worth. For whatever reason, I find it intriguing. One net worth that shocked me was Bill Gates. At an astounding 81 billion dollars, he could give every attendee of Super Bowl XLVIII more than 1 million dollars! While sitting with my girls recently I made mention of the net worth of several stars, to the response of my 10 year old, "Daddy, what's your net worth?" I lol'd and responded, "Not much."
In fact, all things considered, I'm worth about 250K....in the negative. Financially speaking, I'm worth much more dead than alive. I may have rubbed shoulders with celebrities, traded blows with Floyd Mayweather, nearly cashed my own seven figure checks, and fought on HBO, Showtime and ESPN, but today I live a humble life serving God, teaching His word and ministering to His people. According to our American culture, I am by no means rich.
Tonight I started thinking, as I often do. What is my net worth really? Does my investment portfolio (or lack thereof), 401K or salary have anything to do with my net worth? Well, in God's economy no, it doesn't. Truthfully, in God's economy and simply in Reality, it doesn't matter. Why not?, you may ask.
Our wealth, in this temporal, physical realm, is limited to an average of about 80 years, give or take. Whether you're the next Bill Gates or a college student barely making ends meet, you won't take anything from this life into the next. As it's been said, "You've never seen a hearse towing a U-Haul trailer." We simply can't take anything from this world when we breath our last breath.
The physical realm is temporary, but each of us are eternal, spiritual beings. We will each live (in fellowship with God or not) forever. So, what does that have to do with the calculation of our net worth? Well, to determine your net worth, I argue that your eternity future, beyond your first 80 or so years, must be taken into account. If we fail to account for our eternal net worth, we may as well calculate Bill Gate's fortune from when he existed inside his mother's womb. Why? Because 80 years is literally nothing in the scope of eternity.
You see, right now, Christ followers all over the world are investing, from "within the womb" (so to speak), into their eternal account. You may even be one of them! To the untrained eye many of these Christians may appear to be poor, but the fact is, they are not laboring for something that rust and moths can destroy or thieves can break in and steal. They are laboring for the eternal.
So, what does eternal wealth look like? Without going into the infinite value of certain intangibles, such as, love, peace, hope, faith, etc., I'll just say this. We have no way of imagining what God has in store for those who love Him. It is beyond our comprehension and, according to the Apostle Paul, unable to be articulated.
This may give some perspective, however. Genesis 1 records God creating the heavens and the earth in six literal days by speaking them into existence. He created everything we can see without breaking a sweat, yet He's been preparing a place for us for over 2,000 years! That's roughly 122,000 times longer than the creation of our universe and everything in it. By performing some simple math, we can see that heaven is going to be incredible and unimaginable. Also, since the discovery of gold, it has been our primary medium for measuring wealth and establishing finance. Now valued at almost 1,300$ per ounce, one gold bar is worth roughly 500,000$. No doubt, anyone of us would hold on to a gold bar for dear life, yet God melts them down and paves roads in heaven with them. Rocks, dirt, asphalt, gold....it's all the same to God.
Those who store up treasure in this life, will one day be very disappointed in their investment. One day all will know that our net worth in this life doesn't mean anything. I may not be rich yet, but infinite, eternal reward awaits me, my family and my friends. Even though my dad doesn't need it, He has all of the money. It's all His and He gives me what He chooses according to His perfect, sovereign will. Until I die, I'm just storing up treasure, using my gifts and doing my part. After all, its just a rescue mission.
So, what's my net worth?
Ebo Elder is a farmer of the logos, Bible teacher and eternal investor. His net worth is immeasurable.
Happy New Year!
Well guys, today we begin a brand new year....2015. The past year has been a landmark year for Reality Ministries, me and my family. In 2014 I taught 67 Bible studies, spoke 10 times in different public middle schools, high schools and colleges, guest taught at 13 different churches in Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California, and led 3 separate outreaches in coffee shops around Knoxville, Tennessee. It has been a great year of plowing soil, planting seed and watering the crop.
Personally, I start 2015 with a renewed sense of purpose and vigor to fulfill my calling and that of Reality Ministries as a whole. This year will be a busy year of discipling students, teaching the Bible, evangelizing, writing books, producing videos and more. First and foremost, however, I am reminded not to become a "Martha", distracted with the business of life and the endless things to do. I must keep the main thing the main thing.
In Luke 10 we read: Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." - Luke 10:38-42
It is so easy to get distracted with the things we do, all of which may or may not be necessary, good and of the Lord. We live in a world full of distractions and, after all, that is a great deal of the enemies plotting in our lives. He seeks to either deter us from Jesus, distract us from Jesus or disillusion us as to His true identity. As we see here in Luke 10, simple fellowship, friendship and communion with the Lord is what He truly desires. He wants relationship with us! It is often when we emphasize the "doing" for the Lord, we miss "being" with the Lord.
In Matthew 7:21-23 we see a group of churched people performing miracles, using Spiritual gifts and even casting out demons. In spite of their miraculous, spiritual activity, they do not enter into Heaven and are cast out into darkness because they did not know Jesus. Jesus declares unto them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"
So, this year, in the midst of multitudes of New Years resolutions, places to go, people to see and things to do, let's remember the one thing that is needed, that which Mary chose....spending time with Jesus. That's really all that matters because everything else will follow accordingly when you are close to Him. I wish you guys a great, God filled year! Blessings!!