Genesis 16:3-14 ESV So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.
And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.
And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!”
But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.
And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”
The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”
The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”
And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
When we truly meet the living God of creation, we meet ourselves. He shows us who we have been who will can be and who will become. He shows us though we may think we are alone in our journey he has always been there before we knew him. He shows us that he hears our struggles. He shows us even when others choose to see the worst of who we are he shows us who we can be. He shows us when there seems to be no justice for us he is working to give it equally to all of us though we may not always deserve it. He shows us if we choose his ways he gives freelly and calls us not servants but friends.
John 15:15 ESV No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Malachi 2:17 ESV You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
Malachi 3:2-3 ESV But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.
Malachi 3:5 ESV “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.
It has been almost a week since the elections in America. I take a look at all of the social media, the news. A lot of people are happy, many are angry. Some look on towards the next four years with hope, some with fear. I suppose it is a very good thing to step back from all things political, to take a breath and as a firm believer in Christ say all things are within Gods hands. If your faith is in Christ then you should know that God himself has no respect for a mans stature. He cares not for his wealth, nor his political association. No respect for his denomination. If you indeed do well God will bless you. If you call on his name and repent of your sins he will forgive you. If you forgive he will forgive. Does God always bless us in worldly blessings? absolutely not. One of the things God will do is bless us according to his will, and curse those who do wrong according to his will. It is for us to accept that he is control. He alone allows man good and bad to prosper.
Romans 13:9-10 ESV For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Obviously we live in trying times. I personally never have attached myself to the Trump train, day one in announcing his candidacy I was not in favour of him. his attitude, his corrupt ways of dealing. The lack of any respect for people. Yet for all of this he was elected to office. Apparently he was indeed part of Gods plan. Christians embraced him as their man to bring forth Gods plan to bless his people, bring justice and yet for all that he said or did that was not good or right they ignored those things though contrary to biblical righteousness. Indeed I know God has used those who were not good people in the bible for his plan but those who where Gods people never coddled them nor ignored their sins. God never allowed Nebuchadnezzar to believe it was under his own steam. This is where I do think Christians have indeed fallen short with Trump. Also the ugliness much of his supporters have not been called out for what it is. Wicked arrogance, hatred. I would be remiss to say the democratic party was perfect in their words and actions toward him though I would say God holds those who proclaim his name more accountable then those who don’t believe. Consider the Pharisees and Sadduccees. A two party system of Jesus times that Jesus had no few words with and more so with the more religious Pharisees than the not so much Sadduccees. I say all this because my hope is not in either political party nor should it be. No party has laid its life down for me. No blood of any politician redeems my soul. There is only one Holy Spirit that has been faithful to complete Yahweh’s work that has been promised to been done within me. I know that my reward awaits me in His kingdom. Obviously we live in times that we can look to whatever media(um) that supports our own bias, we hold. I honestly don’t think that it really matters at this point. What we need to do is seek Jesus, love our neighbors, stop getting ensnared into endless debates, seek fair dealings with those we disagree, bless those who hate you, stop hanging salvation on a political party stance, and humble ourselves as Jesus humbled himself to become the very thing he hated, sin, so that you could believe in him and have salvation from sin and eternal life with him.
Ecclesiastes 1:18 ESV For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
One of the first things family and friends will say during interviews after a tragic act of violence or suicide is that they cannot believe what that person has done. They say that was not the actions of the person they had known. In fact they did not actually know that person. There are many reasons for this, whether the person hid their real self or the people around saw the signs and didn’t take the time to see the real person right there next to them in pain or living with anger. Another reason being that people are caught up in their own lives being too busy or distracted to notice what was happening right before them. In many ways we don’t really know the person next us this rings true for our relationship with God.
Many times I have heard or read comments objecting to some attribute of God someone has attributed to God. “That is not the God I know!” “That’s not how God is” “my God is loving and would not do that” “my God only rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked”. All of this can be boiled down to a philosophical view or understanding of God that one believes. Indeed everyone I have met has a philosophy on which they have lived their lives. A philosophy on which they see the world. A philosophy on which they connect with others. It is important to note that people have a positive and negative connotation towards even the word philosophy. To me it seems useless to know a word without context, to use a word with a bad Definition, so lets look at the definition of philosophy.
Now with the understanding that philosophy is a word the means love of wisdom we can extrapolate better reasoning that there are two kinds of people, those who seek wisdom and those who follow wisdom. Further more there are those who seek worldly wisdom and wisdom that comes from our creator. There are those are fine with the simpler things and those who were created with a need to search for deeper wisdom. I would define the difference between the two as this, the philosopher who seeks wisdom as Solomon, and the practitioners of the philosophers philosophy.
There are indeed problems with whichever category a person may land on. It gets tricky when you seek wisdom. It pleased God when Solomon ask for wisdom. Therefore we can say the pursuit of wisdom can not be inherently bad. In fact when we humble ourselves and say I lack the wisdom and seek God he liberally gives us such wisdom. However we do see that wisdom is like a drug. Sometimes seeking wisdom tastes sweeter than digesting the wisdom God provides. Therefore we can conclude that gluttony for wisdom is as dangerous as any other drug that man can ingest.
I disclose all of this with a grain of salt. When seeking wisdom we have two sources for which there is good and true knowledge and wisdom, the word of God itself and those who consult knowledge and wisdom of the bible through the lens of the Holy Spirit which discerns between good and bad philosophy. Notice there also that discernment is not judgment. We all digest good and bad philosophy daily whether we mean to or not and for good reason we are told not to be a judge of people because God indeed forgives our own ignorance as we forgive our brothers and sisters ignorance. To know God and his ways we must be true philosophers (seekers of true wisdom and knowledge) of his word. To know God we must have a whole truth found in the whole bible. His righteousness, his grace, the reason for his wrath, what and who he hates, what and who he loves. What and why he calls sin.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The Saints were worried for their brothers and sister dying before Jesus Christ came back. Obviously this passage does not say the word rapture, but sets up the pretense which that word maintains. Those who have passed will be risen first. This sets up the disagreement that the rapture and the day of the Lord are two different things.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 ESV For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:4 ESV But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
The day of the Lord (not the rapture) will come like a thief in the night for those who do not believe. Those who are awaiting the day of the Lord will know absolutely how close it is when it comes. No they won’t won’t know the day or hour. But they will know by the season. They will know by the events going on. Now the events of the tribulation will be so pressing and that there will be no date calculated on the calendar.
2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 ESV not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.  Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
Now the day of the Lord will not come until after the anti christ stops the sacrifices happening in the new temple built. He will seat himself on the throne in the temple. He will reveal himself completely.
Daniel 9:27 ESV And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
The Thessalonians were troubled thinking that the day of the Lord had past and missed him. This seems to be in line with much of the thinking today that we who believe today will miss the tribulation but consider this verse of those who are in heaven awaiting the day of the Lord for judgement to come to those who have murdered the Saints.
Revelation 6:9-11 ESV When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.  They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”  Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
So the complete number of the martyrs for christ must be accounted for before the day of the Lord that comes like a thief to be gathered together at the end of the tribulation.
Revelation 16:14-16 KJVS For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.  Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.  And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Now I understand the preferred theology that pre tribulation gives. No one likes the idea of suffering or being murdered for their faith. Yet Jesus told us this would happen. We would be murdered for his name. He said that we would have to endure to show our faith be true. To those who would say we are not ment to endure God’s wrath which will be poured out on the earth, that is true. Just as much as God’s wrath was not poured out on the children of Israel in Egypt. The enslavement of Israel in Egypt is the same as our bondage in this world. Instead of pharoh being the man trying everything possible to keep us enslaved to sin it is Satan who will be fighting to stop us from leaving sin behind. His time will be short.
Revelation 16:2 ESV So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
So you see that even in time of judgement and trial God remains faithful to those who have not sided with the anti christ. Those who remain faithful will be preserved just as he preserved the Israelites in Egypt. Just as Job was rewarded when Satan was allowed to test his faith he had much like our faith in America, Jobs faith had never been tested like when Satan truly tested it nor has our faith in America been tested like it will be in the tribulation. We will be rewarded for our faithfulness when the hedge is removed. Be strong keep the full armor of faith. Because it will sound better to curse God and die than to endure these trials. But as so this cup falls perhaps to our generation like it did to Jesus. Is it not written that it must come to pass?
Matthew 25:1-13 ESV “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,  but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.  As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.  But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’  Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’  And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’  But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
In closing argument. When the day of the lord comes, the doors to the kingdom will be shut. Therefore there will be no more grace for those who do not believe. There will be no more chance for redemption. There will not be any more time to repent and the gates to heaven will be shut. When the trial of humanity, the greatest trying of faith, we will be tested. For those who mock their hearts will be hardened. Their minds deceived, their bodies given to the lusts of their flesh. Those who are on the fence will have a choice. Thus the tribulation will be the last chance for salvation before the day of the lord. If we are to be taken before the tribulation then praise the Lord, however Lot was taken from Sodom and Gomorrah as the city was destroyed, so too will be the day of the Lord. Today is the day to prepare with enough oil to make it to the day of the lord whether you get there in life or death. The message is two fold for if you die without faith or go into these times with dead faith the time to buy more oil is gone from you.
Borrowing from C.S. Lewis the importance of definition. Being a gentleman used to mean something different than a man’s character. A status of a man was his preferred definition. As such the definition of a Christian should be also a matter of status as we represent each other and our saviour regardless of if we are good representative of our faith or not. Truth be told as much as blood binds brothers and sisters together regardless of if we acknowledge our blood relatives so to does the blood of Jesus. It is better to acknowledge that we are in fact brothers and sisters than to deny it. As family has disagreements but still a hope of reconciliation. If we were are indeed not family then there is no hope to be one together on this earth nor in heaven afterward. Indeed some if not many do take the Lord’s name in vein not in speech but actions toward their spiritual family and those who may or may not become fellow siblings in faith based on how we represent each other.
Revelation 22:10-11 ESV And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.  Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
As I set here the world turns, and as I still have breath, ask the Lord Yahweh to cleans me of all that has jaded me. We see all things coming to a close as we enter perhaps the final act of human history. Chaos reigns supreme as those who have no hope hide in fear while clutching to futility and those who have a hope clouded by sins abounding in these times. Written on the wall are the sins of our fathers yet we still have been doomed to repeat history. We have the promise that if we try to save ourselves that we will lose our lives but if we lose our lives for Jesus Christ sake we will find true eternal life.
Why do I start at the end? Because the end is the beginning! If one thing I know, God completely laid out the first coming, and his entire message within his word and no one saw it coming. No one was aware. They were awaiting a worldly leader, a messiah to establish a literal kingdom. The religious leadership was in complete darkness to the fact that Jesus came to establish a kingdom that was spiritual. A kingdom that never could be overthrown. It was alluded to throughout the Torah and by the prophets. As we enter I ask myself if we too are missing the point of his first coming, the subsequent prophecies and the book of revelation. You see people love to find work around uncomfortable truths. We try to find answers to problems that we don’t need answers to. We live in fear everyday like what will we wear, what will we eat, where will I lay my head? We have an an answer. The great I am will provide. We seek to help him by actively getting in his way like Abraham. Who acted faithfully, yet caused problems to this day with one unknowingly adulterous act of conceiving a child with a second wife. Indeed a blessing to Abrahams seed from Hagar became a curse of tension and fighting over bloodline of faith. Indeed a butterfly effect by one sin. We should be very careful when we set out to do God’s will on our terms. We have grace but every sin causes death and suffering! No wonder God hates sin so much. We ask how he stand to allow such calamity in the world. The truth is we make bad choices and blame him for them. Proverbs 19:3 ESV When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.
So again to our times we see man’s folly in full fruition. Indeed we try to legislate morality to no avail. Sin still tears through our land liberal and conservative alike. Doing as we please without concern. Look to the left, those looking to be left alone in their sin, look to the right looking for freedom to life, liberty and the right to happiness by whatever gain necessary standing on the near waisted earth and the backs of his fellow man asking am I my brothers keeper? All the same as Cain stood in arrogance before his creator while his brothers blood ran cold. We cry over our freedoms to worship yet what have we done with such freedoms? Indeed the church stands before God as filthy as Israel, yet looks down on those who mock as if we did not have an example of holiness and did not ignore it for personal gain and self righteousness. I myself included.
Over and over again Jesus warned us himself and through his prophets and his apostles. Did we listen? Some. Not nearly enough.
To this generation living perhaps within 100 seconds to midnight Jesus told his church….
….. ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.  Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. Revelation 3:1-4
Revelation 2:20-23 ESV But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.  I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.  Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,  and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
Revelation 2:5-7 ESV Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.  Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
One of the repeating themes in the bible is perseverance, continued steadfastness and trying of faith. I have heard the pre tribulation rapture theology all of my life and I try to balance my views through scriptures. I have come to the conclusion that I just don’t know. The left behind books, thief in the night movies, made it sound like there would be chaos thereafter because of how many Christians are taken but the way Jesus calls us to live I just don’t see it. Also the foreshadowing of how God gave Job to be tested makes me wonder about Christians living as though they will be excused from the hardship of Satan be set free to do as he will. I do know that when Israel enters into the agreement with the anti christ he will be allowed to make war with the Saints.
Revelation 13:7 ESV Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,
Many will die for their faith. In these last days brothers and sisters, remember Jesus words to endure as sin will continue to abound. It is our love that we must not allow to wax cold. Because our enemy will be in our own house. And we are to continue to love our enemy.
Matthew 24:12-13 KJVS And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Matthew 5:44 KJVS But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 10:34-36 ESV “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
Brothers and sisters if we do find ourselves in the tribulation or the beginnings of the tribulation do not lose faith. Hold strong and endure. Never lose faith till the end. Christ comes like a thief in the night and indeed we don’t know the day and hour. We don’t know how it will unfold. Look up for your redemption.
Some have preached good works until there is barely a decent person left in the congregation, while others have preached free grace and dying love in such a way that sinners have become saints,and saints have been as boughs loaded down with fruit to the praise and glory of God. Having seen the harvest which comes from what we have planted, we are not going to change it at the commands of this whimsical age.
Charles H Spurgeon The Greatest Fight
Good morning. Indeed it is a good morning. The Lord has not returned yet and we still have breath to speak on his word, his holy good news, his love and long suffering. The gospel that has indeed changed the coarse of history. We have a great feeling in these days that we face times that there is a hopelessness in reasoning. Long lost is the art of conversation. We have so downgraded conversations for quick quips, short stinging rebukes, empty memes without respect. Certainly the wise have done away with real wisdom for foolish pursuit of strange and new truths. The ignorant choose to willfully remain without insight to things they have no understanding, instead looking for leaders to dictate their every thought on every matter. In essence both have exchanged truth for a more comfortable lie at worst or at best omitting that which is uncomfortable.
In seeming juxtaposition Paul preached unwavering faith to his flock, while James taught vehemently the importance of works. Admittedly throughout history we see that people are as much same yesterday today and tomorrow as our saviour is. While the gospel is this, your faith has made you whole. Not your thoughts. Not your works. Not the uttering of a prayers like a pre prepared magical incantation or hidden cheat code to the universe. Your faith makes you whole. This free grace is the utmost powerful gift that builds up believers to move mountains. This free grace gives unlimited growth to change the coarse of countries, conflicts, wars. This pure faith is what gives power to the good works that James spoke of. If our works are not backed by faith what else are they? Greed? Fear? Insurance?
You can no more have faith or good works without love. One of the Most bastardized words to pass our lips. If we speak of love without faith in a fallen world then we come to a broken meaning. There are many different ways of love and in Greek they had separate words to quickly tell of what love you are speaking of. In a society devoid of true love we have often exchanged brotherly, parental or common admiration for repetition, idolatry and empty works. We exchange the communion of similar interest for sensuality. This leads to isolation as people don’t know what love is. This leads to jealousy, which leads to resentment, anger, hate, broken families, broken children, ,divorce, murder. Diseases from promiscuity. The emptiness of unfulfilled relationships leading to shame, self loathing, depression, suicide. Often we talk on what is a sin but leave out why it is a sin. Not only where we miss the mark but why we have a mark to hit.
It is not good to be alone. It is not good for man to be alone…. We see in the beginning the God himself did not want to be alone. He took a completely void nothing and turned it into everything. Great artistry. Perfect balance. Perfect harmony. Then he did something perfectly wonderful he created man in his own image. We immediately see an image as in what we can see. Physical. We live in a physical state of being. However this I full heartedly believe not to be true. His image is spiritual. It is eternal. It is not of our understanding. His being is only described best as light. Light also is not what we see only as illumination. If you retract it you get all colors. If you harness it from the sun you get power, electricity. If you were organic as the plant kingdom it would be food for your needs in photosynthesis. When we he created us he wanted a spiritual relationship. When he created male and female, he wanted us to have a spiritual relationship. When he multiplied us he wanted us all to have a spiritual relationship. When we try to substitute one aspect of our spiritual relationship with another we suffer. Love is the spiritual bonding of our spirit to one another. Every aspect of love is important. Admiration, brotherly, sisterly, parental, comforting, sensuality. But as with all things they need to be within their perfect balance. To each pure relationship we have, the healthier we are spiritually. Each impure relationship causes your soul harm. Every denied relationship because of fear is like cancer to our spirit. Our faith will heal our spirit, and allow us our spirit to work in balance and harmony like cogs. Cogs of spiritual war, repaired by faith, held together by love, harmonious working together. Every one having our own place in the Kingdom of god which is spiritual.
For those of us steadfast in our grace received by by faith, we need to return to the basics of our common faith, which is Jesus Christ. We disagree on many things however, no matter what ethnicity, political party, status in our faith and journey towards our promise, if we stand on a strong foundation of faith and true love, the kind only the holy spirit give we will win the race.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.
Proverbs 5:15-16 ESV Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.  Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets?
Understanding Gods relationship with his people essential to understanding salvation. Many are called but few are chosen. Who are the chosen? Who are the called? The children of Israel are his chosen people, called to live different lives than the rest of the world. They were called to keep his laws, follow his commandments, and in all of their dealings be righteous. Obviously they refused to be his people but they were still chosen to bring the messiah and salvation.
Who are the called and chosen today? Like the Jews are today, Christians have embraced the name the world gave them. Quickly the followers of Jesus spread the gospel and unbelievers took notice of how different the followers “of the way” of salvation were. They labeled believers little Christ or Christians. But quickly those who converted from all walks of life happily found themselves out in the proverbial desert making idols and whoring around like the Israelites waiting on Moses to bring the commandments. Understanding that we are slaves either to sin or righteousness is at the core of this point I would make. Christians all are the called to live as Christ lived and most of us aren’t or have not done a good job of it. Those who read their bible for themselves and choose to believe it with pure faith and surrender to God’s will immediately become called, and that faith immediately removes the chains of sin. Those whose faith has brought freedom and forgiveness from sin are called to repent of their sins. This is what people leave out when urging others to buy into an eternal life insurance policy with a sinners prayer.
Who are the chosen? Abraham was called to follow the Lord. He was chosen because of the faith he showed not by being perfect but perfectly following because of his faith. He unknowingly committed adultery with his wife’s servant. But God corrected him and he had faith to follow his correction. God asked him to sacrifice his son and he had faith in resurrection though being ignorant of gods plan of salvation. Yahovah Yirah. God is my provider. No we are not perfect as Abraham was not perfect. To be chosen, we must have hearts and minds to be willing to accept discipline.
Whether we are living in sin. Whether we are conservative with our sin or liberal with them, sin is sin. That which sets us apart is knowledge or denial of the truth. We will be judged as we have been judged. Whether we sinned ignorantly, or willingly after the call.
and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”
Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4:30 esv
Nebuchadnezzar; a man given much power begins to believe that power has come forth from his own works. Babylon has historically been responsible for modern commerce system. With much agriculture in abundance but lacking other necessities they created a trade system and a monetary value system to protect gold used in trade from theft on trade routes and the banking abilities to hold and lend money with interest.
….Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God
Jesus, Matthew 19:24 esv
Why is it so hard for those with much wealth to enter heaven? Many are called and few are chosen. There are two kinds of people who are rich. Those who gain wealth by honest hard work and those who exploit the hard work of others. Those who work; mistakenly believe that they have received their wealth by their labor. However from the scriptures, we see that all wealth is allowed by God himself. There is no boast in wealth or poverty before the Lord. He can give and he can take away. Therefore all things are directly or indirectly a gift from God himself.
that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.  And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules.  Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.”….
 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,
Daniel 4:25 – 27, 31
Now our actions with what we have both rewards and consequences. For Daniel was faithful to God, even though God himself having given him into the hands of Babylon. Daniel faithfully served God; while respectfully serving Nebuchadnezzar. This is a hard concept for people because we look to object to anything we do not agree with. In fact, we become rude towards those we disagree with. We become entitled and obstinate. Nebuchadnezzar; because of his wealth, he became arrogant. He believed himself to be the creator of his own good fortune. This God could not allow therefore he humbled him by taking his kingdom. He did allow it for a long time but being slow to anger does not mean consent.
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble
Something that has been on my mind is the lack of understanding of how slavery came to be. It is easy to point to slavery that used to be practiced in America and absolutely it was completely born in sin as slavery was a byproduct of sin to begin with. Yet for today’s purpose, I would like to not look at it solely from an American perspective but from an older perspective.
I would like to say that from the the bible the first man was sold into slavery by his disobedience to his creator. In the beginning God created man in his image, and I don’t know what today would look like had Adam not sinned. I know there would be no death. There would be no hard labor from the moment we are born; learning how to labor until eventually working until we die. Essentially God created labor to be slavery for men. For women because Eve was deceived, she was taken into slavery to her husband. He didn’t do this as an absolute because he wanted this to be the way it is, but as an example of how Adam sold himself into servitude to sin. After which he had no ability to separate himself from this bondage.
To understand slavery itself, the bible talks of how even as slaves we receive wages for our services. People still have to eat, drink, be clothed. Anyone who knows anything about morale, knows a happy servant is a more productive servant. More often than not though, humanity itself being fallen, abused ownership of human beings all the same as anything else. We see how man has abused the companion he gave us, women. In the beginning we were to be equals completing each other. Under sin man abused his purpose with women, until the rejection of this system of marriage as a contract to each other, as man made it a single sided contract. Man took ownership over his fellow man and abused it to the point of rejection of this system of ownership. I would argue that we are still slaves to corporations and endless capitalism. We can no more quit without fear of how we will feed ourselves or fear of homelessness altogether. Even socialist know that programs designed to benefit the society must be sustainable by labor and some form of capital gain. Wealth and greed still enslave us today. Some are better at fair practices than others but we still see the way greed causes the hard working not to pay off. Truth be told the middle class which is ever so shrinking are materially rich both in the eyes of the less fortunate and eyes of God. Humans have no ability to regulate fairness within any system and it is better to be honest with this truth.
Regardless we are still creatures of slavery as we are born into sin. Though we are free to marry as we please, we counterfeit the contract that God, not men, laid out for men and women. Which isn’t true or binding when not approached within the definition laid out by God. Which is why there are so many open relationships in the LGBT community. It is just not a tangible contract with any spiritual meaning. It is not binding spiritually therefore their is not as much attachment. Why do we see jealousy between man and woman relationships that aren’t in marriage? Because this contract is not merely fleshly but spiritual. We are spiritual beings trapped in flesh, creating spiritual contracts that we don’t know that we are creating to each other. This said, we must understand that this slavery to freshly desires is of equal condemnation in the eyes of God. It doesn’t matter whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, if you defy the way God has created us to be we are in fact acknowledging that we are slaves to sin and must obey our master to do such sinful desires. This is why when the world says that we are born either straight or gay, it is truth. Not that we can use this truth before God as an excuse. For truth condemns us. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can purchase us back from chains to sin, which Satan himself holds.
This is another point I would like to point out. A few weeks ago I read an article on a woman who joined a Satanist church that “doesn’t worship or do the will of Satan”. Yet if we know who gave Eve the temptation to sell herself and her husband into slavery, we can truly understand that he is the slave owner who controls our desires, and his will is everything from true mediocrity to active outright rebellion toward God. All of which is opposite of God’s will but that which is good in the world within the non believer is only because of the way light moves those with not so hardened hearts to do better. Yet the more we reject God’s gift the harder we become and the easier it is to do Satan’s will. That said God being Satan’s creator, and the true writer of the law, has the true authority to purchase us from the bondage of sin which Satan holds over us. True pure faith we receive this purchase. Therefore we have no boast over those who practices sins we perceive as worse, or whether they are truly worse in the eyes of God himself they equally condemned us to everlasting separation.
With this knowledge that we are not truly free; that we are to be slaves to God’s will, not to sin. Denying our own desires that are still ingrained within our minds. We can love those who are still imprisoned to sin within themselves. Our freedom in Christ allows us to be angry and not sin. It allows us to enjoy creation and the pleasures thereof such as food, drink and sexual desires with out sin. For some of us though its is easier to be taken out of Egypt than Egypt to be taken out of God’s people. As Egypt was another image of slavery to the flesh. Some still have scars that prevent us from enjoying freedom from sin as much as others. This is why we must both be mindful of those who still suffer, who give up more freedom to maintain service to God’s will, and not become bitter to those who can better enjoy the freedom he gives others. It is not always the action that is the sin but the way we go about it that is sinful. This is why we are warned not to be judges of people. We condemn ourselves in such judgment and create a division on top of a divide already in place. But instead we are to love and guide each other. Sometimes that means speaking truth, all of the time prayer. Sometimes it mean walking away not in disgust but love. Not slamming the door on the way out but parting gracefully the door wide open to one another as believers. Also with as much grace for those who don’t believe, as Christ died for you and them with hopes to allow his blood to purchase our souls back from damnation all the same.
I hope your Saturday has been as blessed as mine. I do not boast anything as knowledge, peace, grace and all gifts from God are given not based on my righteousness. It is based on faith, not that I have been faithful but because he is faithful. On this as we believed in him so that he could give us our measure of faith, we can move with love. On these two things he grants us our salvation, on these two things alone he can show through us himself not ourselves. Not that we loved him first, but that we received his love and can love him with all of our hearts, and love ourselves not for what we have been but what he is molding us into. Then we can love our neighbors as we love ourselves because of the possibility that our new light may remove the years of hardness built upon by sins by us and done to us. God can forgive and heal any sin committed by us and to us. All we have to do is believe and repent, obey and let go. He will do the work.