The Declaration of Love

Today is Independence Day – July 4th. A day to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. And a time to remember, reflect and appreciate the liberties and freedoms our nation’s forefathers have granted us. America – the land of the free and the home of the brave.

But, instead of just declaring today a day of ‘Independence’, how about rephrasing this day and include another declaration – The Declaration of Love.

Why? Let’s see.

It could be said that freedom is not the panacea or the ‘quick fix’ to answer life’s dilemmas. To justify that claim, the following words were written by a man sitting in a prison cell awaiting imminent execution:

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. Ephesians 3:19, 5:1-2

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Colossians 1:3-4, 3:19

I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,

Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; Philemon 1:4-5, 9

Was freedom resident in Paul’s jail cell when he penned these words? Definitely not. Was love present here in this jailhouse? Oh, yes most definitely.

Freedom is not the issue here. Love is.

The Root of the Problem – Love

The problems of life, the turmoil of life, the conflicts of life and the calamities of life are rooted and intertwined by a single, common thread – a love problem. It is all about love and a love problem.

At the root, the core of the problems we face in the world is that most of us have or had a warped, distorted, and flawed perception of the true meaning of love. The entertainment and music industry projects and promotes a flawed concept of what true love is. This love projected by the world is fleshly, sensual and cheap. Why? Because flesh sells. And true love cannot be bought nor merchandised.

True love, real love can only be found at its source. And God is that source through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the source. Jesus is our interface between the heaven and the earth. Jesus is the manifestation of God in flesh, love in bodily form:

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. I John 4:8

It is interesting to note that this great God, this God who ‘is love‘ never knew what it was like to ‘be loved‘. Until now.

We love him, because he first loved us. I John 4:19

For it takes knowing true love to truly love.

There is a startling discovery to be made into this endeavor, this quest to find true love. It can be found:

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:15-16

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Proverbs 8:17

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:13-14

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17

Jesus’ death on the cross was God’s ‘Declaration of Love’ to all of humankind.

Love.

I declare today, and by God’s grace, every day onward to love the Lord God with all of my being and my neighbor as myself:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

The Declaration of Love – Happy July 4th 2017

The Cure

pill 1O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Corinthians 15:55-57

Imagine a pill. Not just an ordinary pill, but a totally free pill that can perform wonders. Specifically, twenty-four hours after taking this pill any type of cancer will be cured one-hundred percent of the time, every time – guaranteed.

As sure as water makes you wet or as the sun makes you warm you will be emphatically, instantaneously and unequivocally healed after ingesting this pill.

How wonderful would that be? In twenty-four hours any gnawing pain or bodily discomfort – gone. In twenty-four hours any mass, swelling tissue or surface skin abnormality – gone. In twenty-four hours any internal organ dysfunction – gone. It is that powerful of a pill.

But there are some caveats surrounding this pill. The administration of this pill is carefully regulated due to its precise chemical composition, high production costs, potent healing power and the immense potential for fraud and monetary abuse (i.e., the black market).

Therefore, this pill can only be administered by one and only one authorized distributor and its team of highly qualified individuals each with impeccable integrity. Additionally, because of its unique healing power there are no generic equivalents for this pill. It is a one of a kind pill with no substitute or cheap imitation.

Another Pill

There is another “pill” that shares similar properties to the one mentioned. But this cure is for a more fearful word than the “C” word. And that is for the dreaded “D” word – Death.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is “the pill” (if you will) for the emphatic, instantaneous and unequivocal cure over death.

Yes, that is right. How often we do not see things in the light of eternity, the most essential element of our existence. That space known as forever. The place beyond the grave where the voice of time is rendered speechless. And where the well-worn timepiece tracking humanity’s earthbound busyness gently folds her hands.

It has been said that eternity can be likened to the following analogy. Imagine a metal sphere the size of the earth. Each year a bird flies by and brushes its wing ever so lightly against this enormous ball of metal. When this ball is reduced to nothing by the friction of the bird’s wing, eternity …..has….. just….. begun!

Wow! In light of this thought, to somehow miss heaven and not escape the curse of eternal death is sobering. We have got to make heaven no matter what it takes.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is our escape route. Jesus is our hope, our salvation, our healer, our deliverer, our Saviour, our Light, our Friend, our Father and our Everything!

Now, going back to the description of the miracle pill notice some similarities between the earthly and the heavenly:

Jesus is the cure, but we have to choose him:

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46 

The gospel is free to all who would embrace it:

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32

Jesus is only effective when allowed on “the inside”:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:4-5

God paid an extremely high price to defeat the “D” word – Eternal Death:

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. II Corinthians 5:21

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians  2:7-8

Jesus Christ is the only cure and remedy for death:

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:17

There is only one formula for Salvation:

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Act 2:37-38

There is only one source of Salvation (no generics or cheap imitations allowed!):

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46

 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:9

The Gospel Is Not Immune to the Black Market:

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:28-30

The church is the “distributor” of the message for the cure of death – the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13

Jesus is the cure for death. And Jesus is not a pill. Jesus is a Person, a Prince, a Protector and a Provider. Embrace him every day, allow him on the inside and our victory over death is assured.

May God richly bless.

(Note: Any advertisements or web links that may be listed below this blog entry are not in any way endorsed or promulgated by the blog writer.)

The Heaven and The Earth – Christ or Carbon? Part II

majesticThe animal and plant kingdoms immediately come to mind in discussions centering on which kingdoms rule the earth. These are the two most visible and dominant.

Science has not mutually agreed on the exact number of kingdoms that do exist. The numbers vary depending on the scientific model one aspires to.  However, there is a foundational baseline within the scientific community that there are a minimum of six kingdoms that rule the earth – plants, animals, protists, fungi, archaebacteria and eubacteria.

Carbon Rules the Six Kingdoms

The six kingdoms mentioned above share a common bond, they all exist because of one earthly element, the element carbon. Carbon exists in every organic compound. Life as we know it cannot exist without its presence. Carbon atomic bonds stitch together the chemical skeletons of every protein, lipid, DNA/RNA structure and carbohydrate that are essential to life. Carbon is the basis of life in these six earthly kingdoms.

Moreover, these six kingdoms operate according to the finite laws of nature – laws whose purpose is to facilitate growth, sustain survival through reproduction, and ultimately, culminate in physical death.

These laws are “Carbon-based” – Carbon is finite, elemental, earthy and by itself – lifeless.

The food webs (“who eats who”) governing these six earthly kingdoms are regressive in that they are biased towards one finite objective – the survival of self at the expense of lower life forms. For example, a rabbit eats a plant, a snake eats the rabbit and a hawk eats the snake – I think you get the picture!

The Seventh Kingdom

However, there is another kingdom on earth that operates on an entirely more noble and grandeur plane. This kingdom’s purposes have infinite objectives and are orchestrated from the heavenly sphere. Its purposes are to preserve and enrich human life. It does this not at the expense of life forms lower than itself, but through the practice of sacrificing self to empower others like itself. This kingdom is also built upon a power on earth that supersedes all others – the power of the love of God.

And this kingdom built on the power of love could be manifested in its fullness only one way – true love expressed by the offering of a total and complete living sacrifice of one who is perfect and sinless (Jesus Christthe perfect sacrifice) for the sake of others (the “like kind”) who are everything but perfect and sinless to the extent that they may become perfect (Mat. 5:48) and sinless (the empowerment). This is what true love is all about.

For God so loved (God’s love) the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (sacrifice), that whosoever (all humanity) believeth in him (God in humanity / flesh) should not perish, but have everlasting life (empowerment).  John3:16

And this is what the seventh kingdom is all about. I think this is going somewhere.

The Seventh Kingdom is ……  The Kingdom of God

This seventh kingdom that rules upon the earth is not commonly talked about or even taught in our educational systems today. This kingdom is predominately shunned and mocked by mainstream media and is increasingly marginalized by our judicial systems.

However, the kingdom of God is the most advanced of all the kingdoms reigning on earth. It is the highest life form on earth because its growth and purposes are orchestrated moment-by-moment, day-by-day by an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient Creator.

A kingdom is defined by the nature of its king. Jesus Christ, not carbon, rules this seventh kingdom. Christ is eternal, carbon is finite. Christ lives, carbon is lifeless. Christ has all power, carbon has miniscule power.

Jesus Christ Rules The Seventh Kingdom

The highest kingdom, God’s kingdom, operates according to the Word and Spirit of God and are based on the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. These spiritual laws operate at the highest level because they transcend the linear laws of finite nature and are eternal in scope. God’s kingdom transcends the curse of death and offers rays of hope, love  and truth to all of humanity.

This kingdom also promotes growth, but with a different objective – the perfection of a body of believers unto the nature of Jesus Christ who is the express image of God himself (Heb 1:3).  God’s kingdom is in place for the maturation of an eternal body – the body of Christ, which is His Church he is coming back for:

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1Cor 12:12-13

It is this body of Christ that the God of all creation marvels at and has His full attention. Why? Because this living body on earth is an extension of God Himself. It is both a natural body and a spiritual body, alive through the spirit of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:11).

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Eph 1:10-11

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power Col 2:9-10

The spirit of Jesus Christ is what bonds this body together.  The grace, mercy and love of Jesus is sufficient for members of the body to work together, grow together and to be the true worshipers of God:

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:15-16 

The highest eternal laws of God are “Christ-based” – Christ is eternal.

Only that which is rooted and founded on the God-man, Jesus Christ, will endure time and have significance in eternity. Carbon life forms perish and through the passage of time will cease to exist. God’s laws are progressive in that they are biased towards an eternal objective through divine omniscience:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Did you read that? Not an uncertain end, a hopeless end or a “dead end”, but an expected end.

Jesus has come to restore humanity back to God’s original plan. The first man Adam failed. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, has come to make all things new and bridge the gulf between humanity that is sinful and spiritually bankrupt to a new life that has hope, peace and purpose.

Only Christ Infuses Life

In our unregenerated, sinful state we are nothing more than jars of carbon in the sight of God. Why? Because the word of God says so:

Like the plant kingdom …

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Psalm 37:1-2

And the animal kingdom …

But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. Psalm 37:20 

It is only through the regeneration of the life of Jesus Christ in us that we escape sin’s dominion over our carnal-based (carbon-based?) nature and live. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

The first Adam offers no hope, the last Adam offers eternal life. Jn 3:16
The first Adam is dead, the last Adam lives for evermore. Jn 4:14
The first Adam is natural, the last Adam is spiritual. I Cor 15:-46
The first Adam is earthy, the last Adam is heavenly. I Cor 15:-47-48
The first Adam is earthbound, the last Adam is heaven bound. I Cor 15:49

The first Adam was carbon-centered, the last Adam is Christ-centered.

Are We Looking Forward or Looking Backward?

Is it not strange that most attention today is directed toward where we have come from (the past) and not where we are going (the future)? Is the human condition so pitifully disoriented that it has lost all sense of destiny and eternal consciousness?

May the God of heaven help us to look up and desire to peer into the things eternal which will never pass away:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. Revelation 21:4-5

So, which is the better choice – Christ or Carbon?

When God Prefers Darkness Over Light

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea,the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.  Psalms 139:11-12

It may seem paradoxical that the God of glory, the true Light of the world, would prefer darkness over light. One might also  think that darkness is the antithesis of God’s nature. We always perceive and equate the Holy with light, brilliance, and illumination; never obscure, shadowy, or undefined.

The role darkness plays in creation is an interesting subject. Could it be that there is a time and rightful place in God’s master plan when darkness is the preferred medium and approach? Let’s look at some examples and see.

Physical Growth

The most spectacular and wondrous process on earth occurs in total darkness; the growth of human life:

As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child:  even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. (Eccl. 11:5)

From conception to birth, the handiwork of life emerging within a mother’s womb is unseen and cloaked in obscurity. God chose a realm devoid of light to fashion life created in His likeness.

Spiritual Growth

As with natural growth, spiritual growth also has its beginnings in the unseen domain of darkness. As the Apostle Paul writes in the Book of Galatians:

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you  (4:19)

Literally, the growth, development and maturity of Christ-likeness in a believer occurs over time unseen, invisible, and perhaps even unacknowledged to the believer themselves. How is this? Through the personal growth of God’s word in one’s life.

As one obeys and understands God’s word (or God’s will) the word slowly, but reassuringly, weaves itself into the fabric of the human soul (i.e., mind, will and emotions) to direct one’s thoughts, actions and behaviors that are pleasing and acceptable to God himself. Jesus chose two different natural processes to explain this growth process; all occurring in total darkness.

Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew,
and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Luke 13:18-21)

In both examples given to us by Jesus, the source of growth (the seed and leaven) work undercover, and in secret, naked to ‘human’ eyesight. Such is the growth of God’s kingdom on earth, in darkness.

Divine Revelation

Most often revelation given to mankind from God is done in darkness also:

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. (Matthew 10:27)

What Jesus is saying here is that during your time of devotions, in the darkened confines of your prayer closet, that will be the time when you will hear from me and the time when you receive my direction. And to add to this, share that direction and revelation revealed in the dark with others in the ‘light’ of public display.

Additionally, it is sometimes only during times of trials, difficulties and the so-called ‘dark’ times in life that we truly get a firm grasp and understanding of how deep God’s mercy, grace, and compassion can reach. Recall the journey leading to the safe harbor of hope is precipitated from a starting block located in a very dark place:

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  (Romans 5:3-4)

The Darkness of Sin

Jesus came not to call the righteousness, but sinners to repentance. He came to ‘seek and to save that which is lost’. Jesus came to rescue the lost bound in the darkness of sin.

To do that, God had to leave the splendors of heaven’s light and majesty and visit a sinful and dark world. The Holy and sinless One chose darkness over light. God enrobed Himself in the veil of human flesh to redeem and offer hope to a world living in brokenness and despair.

And Jesus will always prefer darkness over artificial light. The Scribes, Pharisees and the religious hierarchy of Jesus’ day were nothing but artificial light. Jesus could not work with the man-made light of pretense, ritual, predictability, and self-glorified egotism that was and is called ‘religion’.

But give the true One some ‘darkness‘ to work with; an adulterous woman, a lady entangled in abusive relationships, lepers, the blind, a wealthy, cultured lady with a messed up home life, a corpse lying in a tomb for four days, a lady with an incurable  blood disorder, a daemon-whipped mad man, a corrupt tax collector, a foul-mouthed, arrogant fisherman, AND SEE WHAT THE MASTER CAN DO WITH THIS LOT. Yes, the King of Glory can take what is pitiful in the eyes of society and turn them into His pearls!

He who knew no sin, became sin for us! No one but a merciful and loving God would do such a thing. And why? So that we might become like him and partake of all His blessings and goodness:

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
(Luke 12:32)

What a mighty God we serve, angels bow before Him, heaven and earth adore Him, what a mighty God we serve!