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Mother’s Day

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It is a day to honor all the women of the world. All people are created by our Creator God. He created a man and a woman and all of us have come from that original couple.

We are created in the image and likeness and glory of our Creator God.

The Greek text says that we are the icon kai doxa of God. An icon is a representation of something. A person is the representation of God. When we see a person we are looking at a representative of their Creator.

Doxa means glory. God created His creation for His glory. Glory is reflection. God’s creations reflect Him. When we see a person we are looking at the reflection of the Creator.

We are also in His likeness. We are body, soul, and spirit just as Creator God is Jesus, Father, and Holy Spirit. When we see a person we are looking at the whole person as the total creation of Creator God.

How amazing. How wonderful. How beyond language. We are living here on this earth as images of the Creator with other images of the Creator. How amazing that we can do that.

What a blessing that God has placed His masculine characteristics in men.

What a blessing that God has placed His feminine characteristics in women.

Only by knowing each other can we really know God.

Only by honoring each other can we become the image of God.

Honor all the Godly women you know.

Respect all the women you know and they will feel honored.

They will rise to their calling to be icons of their Creator God.

They will reflect the glory of their Creator of God.

From Integrity to What?

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Our move from integrity to loyalty – left us in epistemological limbo. In-other-words, we lost our way to find truth. That was our ‘original sin’ – it replaced the power of God with your own ability to fight and places you at the mercy of your own capacity to defeat the Devil.

The self-control of the Holy Spirit is so very different. Self-control is the fruit of the Holy Spirit; not the production of white-knuckle living. Tell the truth and live with love and beauty. Recognize, appreciate and enjoy the beauty of God’s human creation without allowing lust to destroy the glory of what God has made.

This move from integrity to loyalty allowed for virtue signaling. As long as the signals and symbols of virtue are present, virtue itself, can be totally absent. Virtue signals provide an ideal screen behind which to live to the flesh. Silence preserves this dangerous and deceptive process. The lives of many women and men of the earlier generations eschewed this process in favor of deep heart virtue before God, self, and neighbor.

Was everything perfect then? Of course not, but as an old man, I have seen the earlier generations and now observe the move to a lesser level of personal conviction and commitment. The common sense of a simple faith can be lost in the confusion of modern and postmodern thinking and living.

Virtue Signaling

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There is virtue and there is virtue signaling. Virtue signaling happens when someone expresses behavior or a statement that indicates great concern but their life does not actually represent the virtue that their words or behaviors indicate. The story of Judas and Jesus are a Biblical example.

John 12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.

 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.  3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

 4 Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.  7 But Jesus said,

Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.

Martha’s virtuous action was to serve her guests.

The guests were blessed.

Mary’s virtuous action was to worship Jesus.

Jesus accepted her worship.

Judas signaled the virtue of caring for the poor.

He did not care for the poor.

He wanted to look good.

He wanted to look virtuous.

He pretended to care when he did not really care.

He looked good.

His words signaled that he cared for the poor.

He did not care for the poor.

He wanted the money to be under his control.

He was a thief.

His pretentious care was self-serving.

He drew attention to himself by pretending to care.

He signaled virtue when he had none.

He appeared to be more holy than Jesus.

He cared more for the poor than Jesus cared.

Jesus accepted the worship.

Judas implied that Jesus was wrong.

Judas implied that Mary was wrong.

This is the art of virtue signaling.

This is the deception of virtue signaling.

It is impressive.

It is deceptive.

It is Satanic

It is sin.

Be careful in life. Our walk should match our talk. It is easy to signal virtue when our hearts are actually on self. It is easy to look good when we dress and act in certain ways even when our hearts and lives are far from holiness.

Politicians are masters of this behavior.

Preachers are susceptible to this behavior.

Pretenders can be very polished and persuasive in this behavior.

If their walk does not match their talk – beware.

By their fruits you shall know them.

By your fruits others shall know you.

God knows.

Be careful.

Do right.

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Be Not Anxious

Be not anxious – except and when…

Jesus made it very clear

Do not be anxious

Do not worry

Let not your heart be troubled

About your life

What you will eat

What you will drink

What you will wear

Your Father feeds the birds

His flowers are more beautiful than Solomon’s best clothing

Matthew 6:25-33

Do not be anxious

Except and unless

Someone in the body of Christ

Has a need

Then

Do be anxious

Do express care

Do focus your attention

Do care for the needs

Do reach out

Do invite in

Those who are in need

Those who could be helped by you

Those who could be blessed by you

Be anxious for them.

I Corinthians 7:25

Kevin Mark

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Happy Birthday in Heaven – 19 years old today.

Joy

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If place I choose

Or place I shun

My soul is satisfied with none.

But, when God’s will directs my way

‘Tis equal joy to go

Or stay.

Spiritual Capacity and Capability

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All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen… —2 Corinthians 1:20

Jesus’ parable of the talents recorded in Matthew 25:14-30  was a warning that it is possible for us to misjudge our capacities. This parable has nothing to do with natural gifts and abilities, but relates to the gift of the Holy Spirit as He was first given at Pentecost.

We must never measure our spiritual capacity on the basis of our education or our intellect; our capacity in spiritual things is measured on the basis of the promises of God. If we get less than God wants us to have, we will falsely accuse Him as the servant falsely accused his master when he said, “You expect more of me than you gave me the power to do. You demand too much of me, and I cannot stand true to you here where you have placed me.” When it is a question of God’s Almighty Spirit, never say, “I can’t.” Never allow the limitation of your own natural ability to enter into the matter. If we have received the Holy Spirit, God expects the work of the Holy Spirit to be exhibited in us.

The servant justified himself, while condemning his lord on every point, as if to say, “Your demand on me is way out of proportion to what you gave to me.” Have we been falsely accusing God by daring to worry after He has said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”? (Matthew 6:33). Worrying means exactly what this servant implied— “I know your intent is to leave me unprotected and vulnerable.” A person who is lazy in the natural realm is always critical, saying, “I haven’t had a decent chance,” and someone who is lazy in the spiritual realm is critical of God. Lazy people always strike out at others in an independent way.

Never forget that our capacity and capability in spiritual matters is measured by, and based on, the promises of God. Is God able to fulfill His promises? Our answer depends on whether or not we have received the Holy Spirit.

Oswald Chambers

Forgiveness

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Forgiveness – An Unprecedented Event

The story 

On September 6, 2018 a very tragic event occurred. A white women police officer returning home from a long day, entered the wrong apartment. She thought it was her apartment but it was not. The door was ajar and so she entered. She saw a black man and, thinking he was an intruder in her apartment, she shot him. He died.

On September 23, 2019 there was a trial for the white woman officer. The trial was presided over by a black woman judge. On October 1, 2019, the decision of the jury was to give the officer 10 years in prison.

On October 2, there was testimony on the trial. The brother of the dead man took the stand. His words and attitude represent the honesty and integrity needed for healing in all situations.

While riots were going on outside, His voice inside, was a needed presence in all of life’s situations. Following are some of his words.

He acknowledged the tragedy and the loss to his family.

He advised the police woman to go to God with any guilt in her life.

He said the answer to life is Christ.

He said:

You took a lot from us

God will forgive you

I forgive you

I will forgive you

I love you like anyone else

My brother died

I want the best for you

I do not even want you to go to jail

I want the best for you

That is what my brother would want

The best you can do

Is to give your life to Christ

I love you as a person

I do not wish anything bad for you

 

He then asked the judge – May I give her a hug please?

The judge hesitated

Again he said, please

The judge agreed

The hug was fervent, intense and passionate and pure and healing

The hug lasted for one minute

There were many tears

The judge wiped a tear from her eyes

 

There were riots outside the court house

There was forgiveness inside the court house

That forgiveness will outlast the ten year sentence

That forgiveness will be respite during painful moments for both families

 

The lesson

This is a picture of how God deals with us in life.

We go to Christ and He forgives

We forgive those who bring harm to us

We are safe in Christ’s embrace

The man died

The policewoman will serve time in prison

 

Forgiveness does not cancel all results of sin

Forgiveness does not remove all the pains of life

Forgiveness brings healing to hurting hearts

Forgiveness brings healing to wounded spirits

Forgiveness brings restoration to damaged relationships

Forgiveness breaks down the walls of separation

Forgiveness is the bridge to reconciliation

Forgiveness brings love to estrangement

Forgiveness offered

Forgiveness accepted

Forgiveness is God’s way

 

Can the Church learn a lesson from this?

Is the Church paying attention to this lesson?

If the Church would adopt the attitude and words of the black man who forgave a white policewoman who killed his brother, why can the Church of Christ not offer and give forgiveness to resolve matters among each other.

 

We are supposed to be the examples for the world around us to follow.

The example is here.

Will we accept it?

 

The Scripture

While we were enemies, Christ died for you. He forgives you.

Can you forgive those who despitefully use you?

Can you embrace in the face of exquisite pain in your heart?

Jesus became the sinless scapegoat for those who sin.

Are you willing to be a scapegoat for those who falsely accuse you?

Jesus gave His life for those who could give Him nothing.

Can you give life and time for those who cannot and will not bless you?

 

Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

I do not know anything about the personal lives of the persons involved in the above story. But, in the face of terrible, unthinkable tragedy, they could express forgiveness and willingness to embrace and forgive and accept forgiveness. That is the behavior needed for life. Today.

Injuries

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Two Types of injuries

There are two types of injury to humans.

1. Things done against us – presence of things harmful: – abuse of all kinds, violence, abandonment, seeing others harmed, etc. These are terrible experiences and attack our worth and value. They can set our thinking about our self in very negative tones.

2. Things not done for us – absence of things needed: neglect, rejection, not feeling loved, not wanted, not being corrected when we needed it, not challenged, not taught how to deal with life, etc. – these are worse. They have the capacity to reduce our self-perception to zero. We feel like we do not deserve any healthy attention and care. The primary lack is the lack of meaningful emotional availability with complete integrity.

We can be healed from both kinds of experiences and all persons have some experience with both. Healing comes from accepting that God is our Father and that He is in charge. We place our life in His care and we can experience the healing that He alone can bring. He is Father to the fatherless and husband to the widow.

Spiritual family is also of inestimable value. Spiritual fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers are the Spiritual family provided by the body of Christ here on this earth.

When we do not heal, we become very fragile. When we are not loved or do not feel loved, we turn inward for protection. We turn self-protective and self-sufficient and keep people away from us because we fear. That fear then controls us and makes us insulate our feelings from experiencing more and more pain.

Pain, however, does not go away so easily. We tend to turn to self in forms of addictions. That is self-harm and only continues the pain. Addictions promise but cannot deliver. This is actually a merged form of the two types of injuries.

When we do begin to experience healing, amazing things happen.  We begin to tell the truth to ourselves and to others. We tell the truth about God, ourselves and others. We think less about our self and more about other persons and their needs. We reach out and bring blessing to others. As we do that, the process of healing continues to grow.

Every life is valuable. That is the basic premise of life in the Spirit. God is the great healer and we are healing healers as we submit our selves to Him. May that be your experience today as you submit the healing of your injuries to His gracious purpose and care.

God’s Men

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God’s Men  

Seeing my mother cry broke my preschool little boy heart. I have carried that through life – in a good way. My heart goes out to girls and women who have needs. My heart goes out to men and boys who were raised in difficult  environments. I am willing to be involved and believe God wants to use my painful experience to be a blessing to others. It has been my purpose to guard and guide that blessing in ways that will direct hearts to Our Father Who is in Heaven. 

It is easy for the intentions of good men to be misunderstood. That is so sad because good and Godly men are one of God’s special gifts to His people. Sadly there are all too few good men who will bless and not harm. Good men will tell you the truth even when you may not want to hear it. They will love you in ways that will never harm you.

All that said, girls and women need to guard their heart all the while they open their heart. That is the world we are living in. Good men recognize that and allow that distance as needed to preserve personal identity and integrity. 

Most men cannot understand good men. They do not understand how men can live like Joseph in Egypt. So, they mistrust and accuse and many women do that also. 

Joseph was a man among men. He used his own pain to extend God’s grace. God used Joseph’s pain to preserve many lives. Joseph lived a life of absolute integrity. He knew how to require accountability. He knew how to prove his brothers. He knew how to weep and to grieve his losses. He was faithful. Joseph was misunderstood by his brothers.

Men can repent and be restored by the grace and power of God. Do not deny the pain and hurt. Focus it to find God’s will and His direction in your life. God can use the pain in your heart to make you a Joseph to your generation.