Choose Peace on Earth

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“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people
with whom he is pleased.”
Luke 2:14

The 14th verse of Luke says in the 2nd chapter, “…peace among people with whom he is pleased.”  Peace from the Messiah is a progressive peace received by those who choose to follow Him.  Seeking righteousness and choosing love over hate is the fertile soil that allows us to breath and breed peace in our lives.Peace of Mind wooden sign with a beach on background

This is made possible by our commitment to make peace with the world.  We must choose not to live in conflict with one another and must show respect also to all of Gods’ creation.  Think it not odd that God was even concerned with how man treated the animals which he was to consume and the plants which gave him life.  He taught man to respect life by making him a farmer and also a creator himself through womb birth.

Jesus brings us life to the full not just through eternal life, but through the gift of His Word and Walk, which instruct an model for believers how to live among creation and not collapse.  We are now able to encounter people through the lens of Christ, which we inherit through His Holy Spirit anointing our eyes and ears with the balm of compassion.  It is our outlook on life, which now shaped by our faith in God, that should allow us to paz_mundialencounter each set of circumstances with the measure of faith given to us that we might obtain peace through believing which then shapes our choices.

This is best summed up by our Lord who stated that the Love of God as the greatest commandment, followed closely by Love Your NeighborHow is your relationship with both God and man?  Are we applying God’s Word to our lives in respect to interaction with His creation or are we extracting the portions that allow us to gain wealth and prominence?   If you are not in a right relationship with God and man, chances are, He is not pleased with you, and neither are you experiencing peace on earth.

 

#PastorJDO3

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Don’t be a Jezebel! (1 Kings 21:25)

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(There has never been anyone like Ahab, who was firmly
committed to doing evil before the Lord, urged on by his
wife Jezebel…) 1 Kings 21:25

There are many titles attached to Jezebel.  A woman noted for her seductive and manipulative ways.  She waived her fist in the face of God, talked trash to His prophets, lead a campaign against the Lord, encouraged idolatry and disgusted the Lord.  No better is the picture of the Lords long suffering and patience as seen with those who have hardened hearts against Him.  jezebelSending prophets and signs, He works to reach and transform the life of those who are darkened, yet some are just hardheaded.  Such is Jezebel.  No matter what she hears or sees, Jezebel will not change her ways, and invest her time in getting others to do likewise.

In the 20th chapter of 1st Kings, Jezebel finds herself encountering her husband Ahab who has been rejected by Naboth on the sale of his vineyard.  Ahab, downcast, has his head lifted by Jezebel, his wife who encourages him.  Yes, Jezebel supports her man.  She encourages him to go after what he desires.  She encourages him to take control of the circumstances, and to use his power to gain what he needs.  And yes, this is a problem!

An encouraging wife is normally thought to be a good thing, but in this case, Jezebel encourages her husband to abuse his power and to commit and offense against a child of God.  Jezebel takes the pen and paper and drafts up a letter and puts into action a plot to accuse Naboth of cursing God.  Worse, Ahab, realizing what Jezebel has done, becomes a partaker in the evil by taking possession of that which did not belong to him.

Her encouragement to Ahab was a stirrer, that stirred up Ahab to commit more and greater atrocities against the Lord.  She took a man who already found himself not in favor with the Lord, and moved him up the chart to enemy number one.  This is so key.  REALITY!  Your Spouse will be or is FLAWED and has a SIN NATURE!  So what will you cultivate.

So What are You Cultivating?

Jezebel Encouraged her man to abuse his power!  stirrer-2She drafted up a note and plan to kill an innocent man all for convenience.  In this, she modeled and encouraged him to set aside all principles and care for the people he led and the God he served, and to do what best fit him.

As we watch life play out before us, I wonder how many Jezebels there are?  Not speaking just of the nation or world, but of our local congregations.

I remembered speaking to a woman on a Saturday witnessing day  that said she was propositioned by her Pastor.  She recalled him approaching her upon graduating High School and asking her to go to a training to run a new program at the church.  Upon arriving, he checked them into the hotel.

First, she didn’t realize they would be the only two traveling.
Second, she didn’t think they would share the same room.
Third, even after contacting her parents, they spoke up for
the man of God and encouraged her to stay.

After dinner, The Pastor decided to have a special laying on hands ceremony, substituting the sacred oil with anointed lotion.  Replaced the Easter Palms for Rose Petals.  Replace the Altar for a Bed and was told she was the Sacrifice!  She refused, and thankfully, the Pastor returned her home.

But it doesn’t end!  It gets worse!  The following Sunday, the First Lady scolded the young lady for dressing in a manner that tempted her husband (who confessed what happened, but directed the blame to the young ladies night clothes).

She hasn’t returned to church since!

I am not sure if this story is even true, but I thought she was being very genuine.  Even if true, its important to note this isn’t everyone’s story, nor is it the norm.  But we would be foolish to pretend that there aren’t some cases of abuse.  And worse, some cases with spouses who support the Abuse of Power taking places in some of our local churches.

And no, I will not call this First Lady a Jezebel, not will I get on a soap box about a Mom and Dad that allowed their Daughter to travel alone with a man, but I will say that we must be clear about our roles and spouse and saints.

queen-jezebelAnd no, covering the man/woman of God does not mean us being modern day politician apologist.  We must cover the man/woman of God in prayer, supporting them as God works with them, not by lying and with deceit, but not being quick to judge and or exposing their flaws that they might be susceptible to future sin and or sudden destruction.  Covering the man/woman of God involves the support not only of prayer, but protecting their anointing and making sure they can stay before the Lord and serve the people unhindered.

And for that matter, touch not thine anointed does not mean we as clergy get a free pass to carry out foolishness, with the understanding that God is our judge or will carry out justice.  Or that there is no accountability for those who wear the cloth.  The word says that a claim against an Elder should only be received if it can be verified by two or three witnesses.  Then continues to say that no favoritism will be shown, and that they must be rebuked before all!  In other words, God’s has no favorites, and neither should we.  He will punish and judge us all, regardless of title, position or works!

Encouraging ungodly behavior and pursuits of Greed, Selfishness, Covetousness, Gluttony and the like are not the types of stirring that is needed among those chosen to support and serve the man/woman of God, rather those who continue pointing towards the path set for us all.  Don’t be a Jezebel!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

Integrity: 50 Shades of Grey

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This year, we have faced controversy after controversy.  Though our opinions may sway to one side or the other, there are somethings that are modern day variables, that used to be constants.  Our definitions and values of words and concepts, once stagnant, have been placed on a sliding scale that have clouded the judgment and confused participants.

One of the words that have been served to us, once as a stiff strong drink, is now a watered down beverage offered with the same power and potency as a half price drink served before 10 o’clock at a club with no cover charge; “Integrity.”

integrity

Recently, I was caught in a conversation that questioned the “Integrity” of the Republican Electoral College Member from Texas who decided he would not vote for President Elect Donald Trump.  Immediately, his Integrity was brought into question.   One Facebook poster stated, “this is why Donald Trump didn’t want the Mexican judge on his case.”  Others insisted that this was the shameful act of a man who lacked the integrity needed to perform his job.

In a country that has openly prided deemed Christianity (as though its the official beverage of our favorite sports franchise) as the religion of the United States, we find both the country and our faith struggling.   In the founding of the faith, we saw a line drawn between evil and good, darkness and light, flesh and spirit, crooked and straight, but now, we have suffered in a “Trickle Down Faith” build on truth, but saturated with compromise.  A few Super Apostles have leveraged the power of the gospel for earthly comforts, leaving those following either in pits or on the edge of a cliff holding to the harness of grandmothers faith and grandpas wisdom.

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This just in; there is Black and White!  There are no shades of Grey!  Of course there are you say (thinking of your coloring box), but we are not referring to a palette of colors, rather the palate of the tongues of men that speak lies while God desires and requires us to speak truth.   

 

Truth is not relative to audience, neither is integrity relative to goals.  The criticism of the Electoral College member was based on the fact that he could not bring himself to vote for a person he felt was not right for the elected position.  His own morals and ethics prevented him from making the vote, thus he chose to remove himself from the position rather than compromise.  Any one heard of Daniel (assuming most readers know the Biblical Stories)?  Was he too one that lacked Integrity?  He refused to eat the Kings meat and drink, and then refused to bow and kneel!  He was in a position of authority and influence in the Government, but he would not compromise what he knew to be true and or betray his God for position, promotion or prosperity.

Not to exalt this Electoral College member, but to highlight this moment in reference to what was witnessed in this last election.  We witnessed members who referred to a candidate as a pathological liar, a pervert, ignorant, clueless……(its a long list), swore they would not cast a vote for this candidate or support the candidate, and then do the opposite of what they stated (Both Major Parties I might add!!!!).  If these people are considered to be people of Integrity, then I am starting the hashtag “#SaintChrisSuprun.”  This man should be considered a patron saint in light of what we just witnessed up close and personal from both Parties!  50shadesofgrey

For everyone who grew tired of reading through a variety of fact checking websites after every speech or debate!  Show some integrity!  Stop choosing a Party of Kingdom!  Truth is not owned by a Media Outlet, nor is our Faith directed by who holds Presidential Office.  Integrity is not a byproduct of policy, it is a foundation of values that reveal the truth substance of the person who not only espouses but lives out its essence.

What I am asking?  Crack that spine for yourself!  Do your own studies.  Jesus came and made several stops to deal with the effects of “Trickle Down Faith!”  He stood toe to toe with those claiming to have integrity and to be representatives of truth, and debunked each one.  His time with them was like binge watching mythbustersMythbusters!

Just so you know, this will trim down your friends and followers, and will leave you with a number so small that it would be considered a residue.  But celebrate!  This is not residue, it is remnant!

The Kingdom of God needs more Disciples nor more Members!  Our congregations are in need of people who love God so much that they live their lives geared to please God and not man.  Our congregations need to be filled with people who see righteousness as a means to obtaining riches, and not obtains riches and then deems itself righteous.  We need people who understand the black and white of life, and who wont exist as a lukewarm Grey.  We must discipline ourselves not to be controlled by our vices, but to have our vices controlled by our commitment to our King!

#PastorJDO3