So Nice; He Wrote it TWICE!

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The LORD said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the
first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on
the first tablets, which you broke.
Exodus 34:1

For centuries, we have known God’s Word to be true. It is an the God breathed, inspired Word, true is presentation, infallible in its documentation. Moreover, in our studies, we have know the book of John to verify an important truth, in Chapter 1. That being, that “In the beginning…..the Word was God.” Yep, we all know it to be true. The Word was not only “in”, but it was “with”, and it “was” God.

We have looked at this passage from many angles. Many have taken it so far as even to treat the Bible as the remaining physical presence of God, handling it with reverence and respect. We know this Word to be “alive”. It is a living body, that remains the same, but speaks to what has changed. The world changes, but it remains the same, while it speaks to the past, present, & future. It can do so because it was written in the past as a documentation of what was an is to come.

God is the Same, but the Word is Different?

Somehow, the Bible faces a present onslaught of readers and hearers, (I want to add “doer” out of habit of including these three together), who want the Bible to overgo a massive rewrite. I won’t bother to list the suggested edits and updates, but be it know that the Bible would need a full reworking, and would inevitably have a new list of cast and crew to fit the new narratives that are suggested by the pressing audience. It seems that this current group of readers and hearers believe they are the first group to be offended and or challenged by the standard that God has. Be it know today, we are not the first, nor will be the last to read the scripture and find something that bothers us or something we don’t believe in!

The God of 2021 is different than the God of 33 AD & 750 BC?

Having said that, there is that thought that God would have spoken differently if He was inspiring the books of the cannon in 2000. Some believe that Jesus would have a different speech if He was walking the earth and speaking to todays context. This is said, all while believing that “God is the same yesterday, today and forever” or “I am the Lord who changes not.

We confess that we believe God’s Word, but honestly, there are too many that don’t really believe. At best, they are inspired readers. While many of us read God’s Word, others believe they are reading the words of men who had a relationship with God. There is a huge difference between God’s Word and a Man’s Word that knew God. So the question becomes what do you believe? If you really believe that the Bible contains the Word of God, and that the Word was with God and was God, would you be in favor of changing it?

We have gone from a generation of people who were obsessed about making sure we had the most accurate translation to a generation who want a more acceptable translation. We want everything to feel good! Everything must be customized for fit. And sadly, God isn’t it. God doesn’t renew His mind, we are require to renew our minds. God doesn’t put away the old man. God has not been made new! God is! God is I AM! God is perfect. God is pure! God is holy! God is God!

Are the Pastors/Apostles/Bishops… of today
more honorable than the Original Apostles?

I love this passage above. I thought of it as I was talking to one of these Bible Re-Writers! As he was talking, I was thinking, who would be chosen to Re-Write God’s Word, and could they get God to write them a forward. I guess these people believe that the saints of 2021 are more honorable and trustworthy of the saints that sealed the cannon, or the Apostles that wrote the books? Can’t you hear the sarcasm?

REALLY PEOPLE!!!! We watch politicians, political parties and Christian pastors manipulate and massage the scriptures to cover their own sin. SLAVERY was justified endorsed by the Church!!!! SEGREGATION was endorsed by some of the same leaders you have in mind for this Bible rewrite. These are the same people that are crafting Sundays messages to fit the narrative of the party they belong too! These people should be trusted with a re-write? Can’t you hear the frustration?

Anyways, back to the passage! Moses breaks the commandments out of anger and frustration! He returns to God, after breaking the commandments, and God after moving them, has Moses cut two new tablets, on which He write the same words as before. Yep, The Word was so nice, He wrote it twice! The Words written by God are not casual. He was not making it up in the moment. He was not freestyling or jotting down notes to a more perfect work He would record later. His Words were well thought out. They reflect His intelligence and His wisdom. The reflect His love and His compassion. His Word is complete. It’s a full meal without sides and fixings! It stands alone, and needs no support documentation. It’s His Word, written on paper for all to see!

I know what you are thinking, “The people saw what was on the tablets and were in full agreement!” There was no grumbling or complaining. Oh, maybe you think they read the rules and thought, “This is perfect! It goes perfectly with our lifestyle!” God wrote laws that support our habits and fuel our desires. He supports our wicked and evil ways, and wants us to continue living as we were! Can’t you hear the sarcasm?

God’s Word Validates the Sinner
and Justifies their Sin to the World?

PEOPLE!!!! God’s Word was not written to support your habits and or validate your proclivities to the world. God documented His desires. He documented His Will. And destroying the tablet or template wont change what He intended! I’m sure some of you believe that Moses should have edited the tablets. After all, people where still breaking the law! Moses should have consulted the priest and altered God’s wishes so the people would seem feel and look more righteous according to what was written and presented. This makes perfect sense; right?

NO! Again, this wouldn’t make any sense! God’s Word has something for us all!!! We all read it and find out that we are not in complete alignment with His will. We all read it and realize that we have fallen short of the mark. We all read it and are convicted by what we read. And this is how it should remain!

We Must Change; Not the Word!

What should change is the way we judge and condemn each other. God’s Word was not left for us to be abusive to one another. He left it so we would understand Him, and know His love for us. We read that The Word was a Sword, and started cutting off ears and maiming limbs! This is the real shame. It’s not that the Word is outdated, or that it is cruel or filled with errors, but that it is entrusted to human hands that act ungodly and have used its to mislead and sway those who have not studied and learned how to hear and trust the spirit. It has spoken to the tingling ears of those who have a set agenda on what they want to hear from God, and thus the Word has been misused and misrepresented in so many ways that it is critiqued unfairly. We must continue to study and to uphold the standard. We also must resume our pursuit for the standard as opposed to lowering the standard on earth and fooling ourselves to believe it changes God’s standard in heaven.

Pastors/Prophets: Don’t be Moses!

Prophets and Pastors, we must be careful in this season! Jesus was questioned about divorce by the Pharisees, and stated, God hates divorce, but Moses allowed it in his frustration and amidst pressure from the people. For the people sake, thank God Jesus proclaimed that He would honor Moses’s decree, but He verbalizes God’s will and His displeasure for Moses’s actions. We do not know what that face to face with God was like, but we do know that Moses’ anger kept him from the promise. I fear that many will fold under the pressure to compromise and allow what God has not intended to be. When we look at the results of Moses’ declaration, it should encourage us to hold true to the standard of God’s Word. Not just to be pleasing to Him, but so that it might go well on earth with present and future generations. People will always want God’s Word to change! We must fear Him enough to keep it the same!

#PastorJDO3 #InternetPastor

Video: Bi-Monthly Watering

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This illustration was extracted from a message called “We need some good MC’s” from the series Chasing After God. #pastorjdo3 #jdo3podcast #sermon #firstmetchurch #plants #studytoshow #dailybread

If You’re Comfortable….

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I am blessed to have some great conversations with people. When you build and maintain successful relationship, it allows you to have more in-depth conversations about life and about faith.

This title was drawn from a conversation that I had with a friend of mine about sin. For this blog, we will talk about sin as sin, and not as isolated topics and categories. Jesus informs us that to break one is to break them all. God is not looking at sin through the same lens or from the same perspective. Though He identifies with us because of His time walking the earth and being in intimate relationship with us, he also see sin through a different experience. Though He faced temptation and bore our sins, He is distant from sin because He has not and did not partake in it. Thus, He validated in His time on earth that He is light and not darkness, and furthermore hates sin and finds displeasure in the activities that accompany it.

Yes, we know that God loves His creation. This is evident in His efforts to restore the relationship with mankind, but it is also validated by His desire to free us not just from the penalty of sin, but the bondage of sin. We are new creations, through the shedding of His Blood, His Death, His Resurrection, our Faith, and our Confession.

Now, back to the topic of this Blog. A very brief statement, but a powerful and needed one.

In dialogue about sin, it was expressed that the understanding that they had about God’s Word was that they were not sinning. Even presented a text or two, and presented an argument based upon culture changing and the need for us to adapt God’s Word to fit today’s age.

Of course, you guys know that I don’t feel the Word of God needs any edits or updates. God’s Word stand alone as truth, documented in a space and time. It gives us the teaching and guidance we need for day to day. Furthermore, false and abusive teachings from the Bible don’t warrant the Bible being changed either. We are all to study to show ourselves approved unto God, not to man.

Having summarized and said all this,
I declared in our conversation,
“If you’re comfortable standing before God,
I’m comfortable!”

Now, I continued my dialogue with him by saying, “I’m not comfortable!” Let me discuss my above statement. “If you’re comfortable standing before God as you currently are, then there is nothing to discuss. Each of us have to stand alone! We have a personal relationship with God, and also have a personal responsibility to read His Word and align with His teachings (Discipleship [currently a foreign concept] ).

For some reason, we think of Jesus as a Meme. We read God’s Word, and decide if we like it, or agree with it. Based on our personal likes and dislikes, we apply His teachings to our lives and promote them to others. Thus, when God’s Word addresses the sin in our lives, we simply swipe left.

PEOPLE!!!! YOU CAN NOT SWIPE LEFT
AND SWIPE RIGHT WITH GOD’s WORD!!!!

Either its all true, or its all a lie! But for some reason, we want to customize our Bibles. While you can monogram your Bible, pick our a personal case, even choose a version that you can understand, You can not edit and update it to make it fit what you agree with. I wonder if people accept employment from companies and then update the employee handbook? Give yourself some extra vacation days. Move the medical benefits from 90 days to immediately. How about change paid vacation from 1 year to day one! Change the sexual harassments policies and update the procedures to termination! Wait, maybe you should return your first check with update the beginning pay to fit your liking? Maybe you can restructure your department, and alter your bosses management style?

People, our faith is personal,
but it’s not customized!
I’m not sure why we are so confused on this!

Anyways, on judgement day we will all take the stand, but are not taking the stand together. Individually, we will be seen and judged by the Lord. And though some of us will be covered by the blood, we will still have to give an account for our actions. Honestly, as a child, and now as a parent, I understand both sides of this encounter.

As a child, I remember the emotions transferred by the look of my father. The look of disappointment was almost as challenging to handle as the words of correction and hand of chastisement. It was the understanding that I had been given every opportunity to succeed. The fact that I had been given every resource, and had been placed in the right position to choose right. It was the awareness that I had benefited from his grace and mercy, and had used up every ounce of compassion within him, bringing us to the moment which he wanted to avoid, and the moment that I deserved. Waiting for that judgement seemed forever. Receiving my reward seemed just, and yet I still attempted to talk myself out of the punishment that would ensue. The tears in his eyes, and the emotional quiver in his voice transcribed his response to my rebellious nature in love. The pain would be there for the moment, but the transcription of his expression would last a life time.

One day, you too will stand before the Father. You too desire to hear the words, “Servant, well done!” Honestly, most of us will hear the words, “Servant, what have you done?” Most of us wont be referred to as “Servant”. Our actions and behavior haven’t earned us the title we desire. We measure ourselves by our comrades who too are closer to the starting blocks than the finished line.

Again I say, as with any good argument, it must hold up in court. Though your peers might be impressed or even fooled by your logic, you too will stand before the creator of the law and have it both interpreted and enforced. So, “If you’re comfortable, then I’m comfortable!” We all have the right to make our own choices. We are all granted the opportunity to walk out our own soul salvation. And while the prince of the air continues to orchestrate a supportive and nurturing environment for you to carry out your rebellion, we must all be aware that his reign is but for a moment, and that our God will reign for eternity!

#PastorJDO3 #InternetPastor

It’s Not Personal!

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Last week, I had a beautiful conversation with 1 of my 5 girls. In dialogue she expressed her frustration with our God about His willingness to let people go to hell. What a great dialogue this was, and her thoughts, I assured her were not far from the very thoughts I had as a high school and in college.

She like I have a wide range of people that we love and care for, and at the time one of my closest friends was a 5% (Muslim). He was one of the most Unselfish, Principled, and Genuine People that I knew. He was communally aware and was willing to sacrifice his own resources and comfort for the greater good of others. Looking at him, I was sure that he might even be closer to the standard of righteousness than some of those I knew were blood bought and bible taught!

She asked the question,
“How can a loving God send people to hell?”
My response,
“It’s not personal!”

When God divides the sheep from the goat, many of us see act through our eyes. We feel this action with our emotions and our human response to rejection. Many of us think that God is going to take pleasure in sending those who rejected Him to hell, and I believe this is far from true. Honestly, “It’s not personal!”

Though vengeance belongs to God, He is not some petty insecure being that takes pleasure in the demise and destruction of those who are not in compliant or agreement.

I continued, “It’s more business than personal!”

By business, I mean God offers a covenant. He sets an agreement before mankind and then honors His Word. He displays His love for us by giving us free will. And this free will allows everyone to make a personal choice. The choice to receive and the choice to reject. God understood that this free will would result with some rejecting Him, yet He died upon the cross for all mankind, giving us all the opportunity to receive His love and eternal provision. He even respects our decision, though we know He chases us until the very end.

2 Peter 3:9 gives us a glimpse into the mind and heart of our God. It lets us know how long suffering He is. We learn that His desire is for everyone to come to know His love and to experience His love. He would that all would spend eternity with Him, and desires for none to be apart from Him both in time and in eternity. He delays His return giving ample opportunity for people to hear the Gospel, and continues to make presentation after presentation to those who have turned a deaf ear to His voice.

Though I would probably meet each non believer with an “I told you so!”, our God is not such. God is not going to enter singing Mike Jones, “Back then..Now I’m hot…” He does not and will not take any pride or pleasure in the pain and suffering that will be experienced by those who choose not to believe.

All in all, I told my daughter that salvation is as though we have all been entered into a raffle by a friend who purchased a ticket for us. We get notice that we have the winning number and that we can come claim our prize and never going to claim our winnings.

I honestly believe that our God will weep as He takes account. He will be grieved by the many who heard the gospel, and refused to accept it as true. He will be heartbroken by those who chose to believe there was no God after seeing the power and grandeur of His creation. I believe God not only makes the Gospel know through His disciples, but that God reveals Himself to us all. He displays His hand in our lives. He orchestrates event and dialogues to push and draw us to Him.

He does all this because He knows that the day is approaching when He will have to once again fulfill His Word. And on that day, He will fulfill His contract as He has fulfilled every other covenant He has extended. He will take pleasure in honoring His Word and fulfilling the promise He guaranteed to all that believe. In this, we will experience His joy. In this He will celebrate victory. In this He will enjoy the voices of those who love Him crying out Hallelujah.

#PastorJDO3 #InternetPastor

Only God Can Judge Me

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And she said, “No one Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I
condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.” John 8:11

This generation loves a saying coined and popularized in yester year. The declaration of “Only God Can Judge Me” has been used to conclude many discussions. People involved in heated arguments or long discussion that seem to have no end in sight or resolution in the future, have concluded with these words. Though this statement contains truth, I feel the need to tweak the statement for future reference and clarity.

Today, we find ourselves immersed in discussions about God’s Word. We live in a day where cultural norms have changed, and The Bible, which once sat comfortably in the fabric of the World now finds itself a constant agitate to what is considered the progression of man. Now, we are not foolish to believe any of the things discussed and debated are new, for there is nothing new under the sun, but what people feel they know has been changed and what is deemed socially acceptable has been updated.

Let me state again, If you have said, “Only God Can Judge Me!”, I want to stand in agreement with you. You are correct. Actually myself, and anyone reading this blog is no more than a “Jury”; worse, a “Jury of Peers!” We are not a hand selected Jury of experts that have been called together to make righteous decisions. We are more like a band of “Merry Men and Women” carrying out street justice behind a Righteous Law from a Righteous God. And yep, you guessed it; sometimes the Jury is wrong! We are wrong in our approach, and incorrect with our decisions.

This Jury of Peers is attempting to uphold a Righteous Law, despite our inability to carry out the law we have been given ourselves. We are law breakers making judgements about other law breakers. We are greatly flawed, and challenged to live according to the law and challenged with holding our fellow brother and sister accountable to the same laws. Sadly, as a Jury of imperfect peers, we are capable of corruption. We can be swayed and influenced. We can be lazy and uninformed. We can fall into mob mentality. We can make decisions based on self preservation. We can be influenced by gifts, promises and promotions. We can build and develop our esteem and self worth on the demise and destruction of others. This is all true. And I always declare this truth:

“None of us have a Heaven or Hell to Put anyone in!

Honestly, even if I had cast judgement upon you, and condemn you for your words and deeds, I don’t have a place to put you. I can make you an outcast for a moment, but our eternities are in the hands of another. He has the keys, and He gets to make the decision (getting ahead of myself).

In this Statement, I am in full agreement with the “Only God” and the “Judge Me”, but the Word “Can” I believe we should address. While “Can” is true, it’s not accurate. “Can” insinuates that there is the possibility that God will not judge. “Can” suggest that the power to judge is with God, but the upon “Judgement Day” interestingly enough referred to as “Judgement Day” God might make the decision not to carry out Judgement.

But God is Merciful and Loving…..

Now, I understand why so many come to this conclusion. Our God is a God that is filled with Mercy, Love and Grace. Our God is forgiving!!! And besides, Jesus was filled with compassion and chose not to condemn people while He walked among us. And you are absolutely right! But we must remember that God is also filled with wrath, and is just in all His ways and not just Righteous and Wise enough, but is the absolute power and authority that can bring about judgement. And yep, He has the keys. And a Heaven and Hell to place us in!

One of the issues I have had in dialogue with my friends is the belief that God is so filled with Love that He will not make the decision to send someone to Hell. This thought is drawn from passages like the 8th chapter of John which shows Jesus covering and speaking up for the woman that is caught in sin. You are right, He choose not to condemn her (keep in mind His mission was to save not to condemn). He tells others to look at themselves, and stop focusing on her.

Not Condemning The Woman Was not Supporting Her Behavior

He gives her another chance at life! But somehow, some confuse Jesus giving a second change with Him approving of her actions. Just because God releases you, does not mean He is supporting you. Just because you were not cast down and destroyed, does not mean that He is encouraging her to continue in her ways.

He gives her a parting shoutout. It’s the same one He gave me, and you (if you are willing to be honest). “Go and Sin No More”. This version says, “From Now on Sin NO More!” In other words, He believed that her actions were sinful. He knew what she had done was against the very law that He had established, yet He gave her another chance to live life differently.

Much like her, we have all been captured and released by Jesus! He releases us back into the world with the understanding that we have been captured by love and released with grace. From here on, she leaves and lives knowing that each day is God’s grace. The faced the stones and was covered by His compassion and love. Every moment from that point is a biproduct of His mercy and grace, and thus her actions from that point should reflect it.

He says, Go and sin no more!

In conclusion, I am not sure why we know God is the same today, yesterday and forever, and then demand of Him to change His Word. I am not sure why we believe that we can force God to adjust because of our displeasure of the law. He is the Judge. What the Jury, Defendant and Defense things of the law and His decision are non-factors in His carrying out the law. The fact remains that God honors His Word! He stands by it. For the most part, this works in our favor, and in other words it works against our will and our desires. He promised He would come; He came. He promised He will return, and He will return. He promised He would save and give life to the full, and He did. He promised that judgement would come, and it will.

#PastorJDO3 #InternetPastor

https://anchor.fm/pastorjdo3

False Prophets or Liars?

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In 2008, I opened an email from a group of religious leaders that I had been in service with. This email was marked, Beware of the Anti-Christ, The Mark of the Beast is soon to follow.

What happened in 2008? Glad you asked. Senator Barak Obama won the Democratic nomination. After his nomination, it was evident that this was not just an historic moment for the Democratic Party, but that the United States would soon have a President of African American decent.

Now, back to this email. This email was filled with quotes from Evangelical Christian Leader’s, as well as leadership from the group I was connected too, claiming that God had spoken to them and that scripture had revealed to them that one Barak Obama was the Anti-Christ.

They produced fabrication after fabrication (lies to be more accurate) to support their claims, stirring and spreading fear among their constituents and a few unstudied disconnected clergy. They claimed he would work through the United Nations and other country of color to bring the world to its knees. We would all be forced to worship Obama, and he would rape and pillage (affluent communities (White Communities) and future generations, making us all slaves to his global plan of world dominance. He was going to force everyone (the inferences was White America) to be marked with his sign or suffer his wrath. The claimed that his victory as President of the United States would be the beginning of the end of the world as we knew it.

It’s 2021, and we now know these people were clearly either lying, False Prophets or at best misguided new believer with no understanding of the scriptures that was influenced by a False Prophet or the barrage of lies that permeate the internet. Worse, its 2021, and these liars have not apologized for the fear caused by their lies and deception.

As opposed to confessing their wrong, they move the ball under another cup and challenge immature and foolish believes to guess again. And yes, they keep your $20 when you are wrong! I get it! It’s hard not to play when there are 20 people in the crowed bearing witness that the liar directing the show is telling the truth!!!! But I want to make you aware they those encouraging you to believe the lies are getting a cut of what is won at the table! I would take the time to document how many things have been labeled “the mark of the beast” over the last 20 years, but I simply don’t have the strength in my fingers to document each case.

What saddens me is the countless number of blood bought believers that are incoherent because of the fermented word of Politicians, Corrupted Preachers, Prophets and False Prophets! These deceptive people are eager to label what none of us clearly understand, and like modern media, want the credit of being the first to report or break the story, that they often take short cuts and eliminate the information that would discredit the truth they claim they represent and want people to have.

We have seen so many reduce the Bible to “Posts”, “Meme”, “Tweets” and “Quotes”; taking one verse out of its context and allowing it to stand alone. Worse, we have a growing number of people with itching ears who ingest sound bites as the message, settling for segments of the whole and gaining their nourishment from snacks and not a full course meal. This is why Paul states that was “must study”. And I add, not study to impress man, but to be approved by God. One day we will all have to stand before the King of Kings. and we will be forced to give an account for every Word that has come from our mouths. I am no judge for you, nor you for I, but I hope to warn and discourage all of those whether you are a False Prophet, Corrupted Preacher or just a Liar for the improper use of God’s Word to manipulate the people.

For those who read this and are sincere:

We have read childhood fables about the Boy that Cried Wolf. Though this is a story, we must understand that in principle this is true. If the church devalues the Word of God, or is muted to the Holy Spirit to such the extent that it lies and manipulates people as opposed to speaking truth and liberating people, then tingling ears are the least of our concern. There is a lost and dying world who is watching how the church treats the Word of God. There is a lost and dying world who hear us say, “And the Word was God”, and then see us use God to justify evil actions or over look unrighteous behavior (no that those are separate categories). The more we cry wolf, the more the unsaved world receives confirmation that we are fakes. The more we look like and speak like the adversary, the more the world has a base to question as to which spirit we are from. The more we demonstrate the qualities of wickedness, the more the world can turn a blind eye to its sinfulness, and close their ears to the truth of God which has yet to take root in the lives of those that claim to be changed.

Sadly, I know this time next year, there will be another “Mark of the Beast”. Most assuredly, there will be some other figure nominated as the Anti-Christ. So I guess it would be wise to start an office pool near you on the next candidates to wear this title. If you win, be sure to pay your tithes 🙂 (That was a joke of course).

#PastorJDO3

#InternetPastor

Hope is Risen!

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Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His
great mercy has caused us to be born
again to a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:3

Each Resurrection Season, we spend extra time considering the love and mercy expressed to us by our Lord. This expression was made by The Father, who in His great mercy allowed His only begotten Son to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

The people of God were in a dark place. Not just from persecution from a corrupt government, but were held captive by a religious system that had been corrupted by those who gained power and drifted away from God and profited from abusing God’s people. The hope they found in being the people of God had been buried in the rubble of their rebellious actions of the irreverent religious elite. Jesus saw the burden placed on His people, and despite disobedience of His laws, ignoring His Prophets, abusing His Prophets, and unappreciation of Him, He honored His Word to deliver a Messiah. The people carried the great burden of being favored by God, and now featured in a public display of disproval by their current conditions of hopeless and great despair.

Though rebellious, God demonstrates His unconditional love by providing the perfect sacrifice for us. This sacrifice would reconnect us to Him, removing the barriers that had been formed, and reestablishing the intimacy God and man once possessed. The Hope found in Christ reinvigorated all that were suffering, and revived those who were growing dim waiting for God to speak again. With each miracle! With each message! With each movement! They had restored hope that God still had them in mind and that He was compassionate about them, and connected to their circumstances. He had not abandoned them, but He has positioned them to listen, and created in them a hunger for God’s Word, and a new found desire to be obedient and to make sacrifices.

Though undeserved, the Lord showed man that He was still filled with Mercy and Grace. Though our actions deserved wrath and punishment, God broke the silence, and made a public declaration of His love and commitment to the people who bore His name. His death and sacrifice would further prove that He would let nothing separate us from His love and that He would do anything to keep us. It would once again be His unfailing love that would make this relationship work, and His commitment to covenant that would be our compass and roadmap to righteousness.

Because of this we can always find a reason to hope today. Through every trail and tribulation, gain and loss, restoration and repossession, we are assured that God’s hand is at work in all things. His willingness to experience suffering and death show the full extent of His commitment to being in covenant with us. He entry into the world, despite our wickedness, show the full coverage of His love. The power of the resurrection show the full volume of His power.

From the smoldering ashes of injustice and unrighteousness; Hope rises. A tomb that was sealed and bore the seal of the Governor Pilot was broken by the power of God hand. Man’s hand could not stop God’s sovereign work. God displayed Himself to be omnipotent in that power of death and power of the governing authorities were shown to be inferior to His divine nature and providence. It is this display that keep us looking towards the hills from where our help comes from. It’s never a matter of if, but more when He will come through. We don’t have to wonder can He, but we can wait for How will He. It is this that keeps us hopeful to this day. They waited for Him to speak. They waited for Him to fulfill His promise. They waited for Him to honor His covenant, and just when they were hopeless, Hope rose among them.

We don’t know the time, nor are we aware of the hour, but we remain hopeful because He is not a man that He should lie. He will return, and that same breeze of hope that came across the land will again bring peace in the midst of calamity and calm our many storms.

#PastorJDO3

From a Widow! From a Widow?

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“Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there.
I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”
1 Kings 17:9

Here we find our hero Elijah, fresh off a stint at the brook. He has spent his last days kneeling and cupping his hands to drink from a stream, while waiting on Ravens to deliver him meat and bread. Each day, he has had to depend on the Word of the Lord to provide sustenance for him. And while this might seem extremely cruel and challenging, Elijah was blessed in that the entire country was facing a drought caused by his very words. God has given him provision that would help him to endure the hardships the entire land was facing.

And while the Ravens remained obedient to the command of the Lord to provide food, the brooks assignment had come to an end. The brook was good to the last drop, and the absence of rain to replenish what had been taken left dry land and a wet pallet. Elijah knew it was time to move, and God confirmed this by speaking to him.

“Go at once to Zarephath…I have directed a widow there to supply you…” Now, normally we look at the Command of the Lord and the Provision to the Prophet, maybe even the Obedience of the Widow, but in this few moments, I want to look at the widow closer. It occurred to me that the Widow is a female. Out of this entire place, couldn’t the Lord have chosen someone else? Obviously there were some male land owners there. Some men with acres, shelter and access to a well. Surely, God could have sent Elijah back to His home where people would be willing to sacrifice for him. Why Zarephath? Why a woman? Why a Widow? Surely there must be an easier road!

In general, she is a Widow, who is dependent on the community to survive. Why would God send Elijah to someone who wasn’t self sufficient? She is on the original fixed income. She depends on the kindness of strangers, and the charity of the church to care for her needs. And to make matters both better and worse, she is supported by her family greater if she is without a seed to care for her. This Widow has a seed, but not one that is old enough wise enough to care for her.

It’s a son, but he has not grown, and she might have to perish by his side through a drought that Elijah had prophesied. The implication of the text is that Elijah did not speak a word from the Lord, but spoke a word that the Lord honored. Elijah would now have to eat from the hand of someone who was suffering greatly because of his word. He was going to experience, first hand, the struggling and pain he caused with his words, and would understand at a greater level the others.

This to me was painful to consider. It’s one thing to suffer at the stream alone. Waking each day and having the strength to stand by your word. Having the patience for God to change the heart of the one causing problems. It’s easier to accept the brook and the raven when you are eating from the suffering caused by your hands. Elijah would not journey to stand face to face with. Have you had to look in to the face or depend upon the generosity of one who was affected by your decision?

Elijah encounters a woman that is far blow the poverty line. Though she has shelter, her resources have been fully expended. She is not above begging or bartering, but finds herself challenged because of His prophesy. She and her son are on the verge of death, because Elijah spoke a word to one man, and was not thinking of the impact it would have on others, including himself. He would now ask this woman to meet his needs before meeting the needs of herself and her young child.

Elijah was at a point on the other side of pride. He had been prepared by and humbled at the brook, as well as learned to trust and depend on God while he waited each day for provision. Elijah didn’t control the time, pace or frequency, but he had control over his faith, his mouth and his personhood. Elijah learned to be patient, and look past the present circumstances to accepts God’s Word has come to past.

Again, Elijah believed that the rain would cease! He believed that the Ravens would provide. He would now trust that the Widow would provide.

How many of you have learned this same patience?
How many of you have learned to wait for his blessing?

I thought, some of us believe we are at the Widow, but the truth is we are at the Brook. The suffering and challenges we are experiencing are far from over. God is using this moment to build our faith. He is making us trust Him. He is causing us to be dependent on Him. He is showing us the beauty of being obedient to Him. Many of our lives are on hold because we have refuse to learn from the Raven and the Brook.

I kept thinking, “From A Widow!” While reading this. Other times I thought, “From a Widow?” I guess I’m still at the Brook in many cases. What about you? Are you amazed? questioning?

In this day, I wonder how many of us walk from Brook to Widow and show no signs of growth in faith? Honestly, the brook prepared Elijah for the Widow. Elijah was built up in faith, and ready to hear and respond to God’s instructions. Because of the Brook, I believe Elijah was able to walk to Zerepath and wait there in peace. I am believing we can experience mountains and valleys with faith, because our brook moments testify to our present suffering, and cast out any remaining doubts.

Let me be the first to congratulate you! I know you can do it! Not because you have the strength or the wisdom, but because you have the Lord on your side. We get caught up in the challenge of the source! We become so focused on the Raven, the Brook, and the Widow, that we forget that our faith and trust aren’t placed in them. Our faith is placed in the God that commands us to go, and commands them to flow. Our faith is placed in the God that instructs people to pour into our bosom, not in the person that is in possession of the resources God has allocated for us. We must continue walking hand in hand with our God. We must believe Him for the extraordinary, while trusting Him with the ordinary needs of our day. He can be trusted with both, and used both to build our faith; solidifying our trust in Him so that we grow closer to Him and have the confidence to testify to others about His goodness.

#PastorJDO3 #internetpastor

Worship; Just in Case…

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And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
Matthew 28:17

What a powerful moment this if for our Lord and for the disciples.  This passage, appropriately called the great commission, includes the instructions of our Lord to His disciples.  Having fulfilled the scriptures, Jesus begins making appearances, showing power over the grave and removing the victory from death, rendering it a runner up in the contest for finality.

Jesus appears to the 10, minus the 1 (Judas who took his own life), to give them instructions on how carry on in His physical absence.  They went to the mountain where he instructed them to gather.  I love this!   The heard the instructions from Christ, and their faith in what they heard, and whom they heard it from was enough to get them to the meeting place.   This is so awesome.  Their willingness to go is a testament to their faith.  Or I suppose it could also bear witness to their hope.   Maybe their faith was at work, but their hope was the driving force.  Maybe they wanted to believe so bad that Jesus had overcome the grave that they went to the meeting spot filled with hope?

Sometimes faith in the Word is all you have!

I wonder how many of us have this type of faith in the Word?   How many of us are this inspired by the testimony of another?  How many of us are this receptive and responsive to the Word of God?   Honestly, many times, it’s all we have.  We’ve looked for proof! Searched for signs! We have prayed.  We have gathered in rooms and comforted each other while we confess our fears.   But the Word!   The Word, peers through the darkness.  The Word, comes into our room.  The Word, speaks to our circumstance.  The Word, speaks to our doubts.   The Word, holds our hand while we walk aimlessly.  It shields us from the winds of resistance that extend from the discouragement of the adversary.   It was all they had, and is often all we have.

Faith Went Before them, and Doubt Walked with Them!

But the test also discusses something that we all have.  The Word says “they saw Him.  They worshiped Him, but some doubted.”  Isn’t it interesting that the bar for doubt wasn’t set with the 10, but with the 1?  In other words, Thomas was labeled the doubter because he wanted to see the nails and place his finger in the nail prints, but the reality is that there were others that were filled with doubt along side him.  Some weren’t bold enough to ask for proof or willing to verbalize what he felt, but Thomas did.   Now, this is nothing to brag about, but it is something that should be acknowledged.   We often make marker and labels by the outer margins, while the difference between the middle and borders are often closer than they appear. 

Generally, we love to pile on Thomas as being the one filled with doubt.   We love to isolate his requirements for faith, though I believe its worth noting that Jesus met Him, and allowed Him to remove all doubt!   If Jesus didn’t judge him, or condemn him?   If Jesus was willing to present Him will all He had at His disposal?  Why is it that we would feel insulted or anxious about sharing the full extend of our faith with others?  Why would we not be willing to research for others?   Why would we not be willing to meet others on their terms? neighborhood? 

The Church: Open House?

Jesus knew that some would need to inspect before they confess.   And so did many of you!  Some of you heard the Gospel in a pew, you heard it on a stream, you read it in a book, to found it on a meme, heard it in a song, saw it on a canvas, read it in a blog, and demanded more.  Some of you attended science fairs, watched TED talks, Streamed YouTube Videos, while others stood (using stood figuratively 🙂 ) on the boat like Deacon Dan and challenged God at the top of your voice.  Some of you knelt beside your bed, while others walked away from a crash site without a scratch.  Some of you had Grandma and Grandpa fast and pray through 3 decades, while others had hands laid on them nightly by a praying Fathers or Mother.  And some of you still refused to believe! 

Thomas was not alone in asking for a personal tour.  For most, we attend the church like our child’s school Open House.  We want the full tour, and are looking for a reason to doubt more than looking for proof to believe.  We walk among the body of Christ as a filthy rag with our white gloves pointing out all that is not up to the standard and refuse to find agreement due to small technicalities.  

Leave Thomas alone!!!! 

You and Thomas are more alike than you are different.  While Thomas request to see the prints, many of us sit in worship and behave like the 10.   The text informs us that those in the room, though gathered in faith or hope, had some doubts with them.  Yep; they worship Him, but they had doubts about Him!   

I feel like opening the doors of the church; “Is there one?”  How many of us have criticized Thomas, but have worshiped Him with the same doubts as the one who doesn’t believe or has been overcome with doubt.   Now, let us establish that true worship stems from a relationship with Christ, and thus worship should be faith based and driven, but we saw consistently in the disciples the regular presence of the seed of doubt in their midst. 

Sadly, I thought of the many people that gather on Sunday mornings to go through the motion without emotion.  We gathers with a “Worship; Just In Case” type of attitude.  This is when you are filled with doubt, but more grasping at straws that grabbing ahold of the Messiah.  Some of us confessed Christ from this perspective.   “I’m not sure this is true, but just in case it is…..”  How many I thought have a worship experience that is thwarted or hindered because we gather in doubt?  Would it be that Jesus would enter weekly worship services and request 1/3 or 2/4 of the people leave?   Nope!   But, He should!   

We should thank God today that He welcomes inspections.  Each week He is aware of both the 10 and the 1.  He is willing to meet us where we are.  He is willing to speak to where we are.  He is patient in waiting for us to change.  He keeps reaching out to us.   He keep presenting and representing to us until we believe.  We too must to the same for our brothers and sisters.

#PastorJDO3  #InternestPastor