I Said No!

Around the time my daughter was turning four, I purchased her a few kid appropriate books to begin to teach her about her body and the rights she had over it. Sad that we have to begin with our children so young, but children are very impressionable, quick to trust and easy to manipulate and intimidate — devices used by those who prey upon the innocent. One book in particular I just loved the cover and the title, “I Said No.”   Often in our parenting, we sometimes fail to empower our children.  What does it mean to empower?  Webster defines it as making (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in directing their life and claiming their rights.  I remember how I was as a child, depending on who told me something, some things came in one ear and out the other just because of who said it.  That person had either established themselves as being a nag, unreliable in their information or just plain untrustworthy.  Now that my daughter is older, I’ve taught her that while there are many sources for information, the best reliable source for wisdom is God and that He speaks to every aspect of our lives.  So, I had her revisit the children’s books I purchased years ago and then showed her what God’s Word said about who has right to her body. She knows that her body is the temple of God and according to Leviticus 18 she read for herself what God’s standard is and how specific He can get.  No one touches the sister of their mother or their father whether she was born in the house or born elsewhere.  So, from my teaching, to purchasing her books and finally showing her God’s Word, she understands that these are not my thoughts and ideas, but they are God’s!  God has a lot to say about children, especially His.I said No

Whatever your spiritual foundation may have been as a child, as an adult you are now responsible for gauging the veracity of what you were taught.  Do you really know if your foundation is sure?  I visited a church a few months back pastored by someone from my teenage years.  At one point during the service, the pastor began reprimanding some adults from the pulpit for being tardy to service and said if they didn’t want their positions, God would remove them and give it to someone else.  Now in the process of this Sunday morning chastising, the pastor then went on to say that also during that week the death angel appeared to her and she shared it with her husband and began to pray over the congregation as it wasn’t revealed who it was for.  Then, one of the ministers on the front row jumped in and said, “I saw it too” and the pastor said, see there, God is speaking and you better listen up!  (They were using scripture, incorrectly, that speaks out of the mouth of two to three witnesses shall a thing be established).  I’m shocked that this stuff is still being used effectively.  After leaving that church, the responsibility was now upon me as a parent to correct for my child what she heard.  The only thing that would have been sadder than me not correcting it was me not knowing that it needed to be.  God said His people are destroyed not because they lack faith, but because they lack knowledge.  There is no death angel and one of the scriptures that’s usually being referred to in the Bible stems from the Exodus passover passage of the blood being placed on the doorposts.  Now, what is key here is, no death angel is spoken of.  The Lord Himself is the one doing the striking and not of His children, but of the Egyptians, their oppressors.   The key to salvation then is the same as it is today, the blood!  God saw the blood and passed over their homes and today if we’ve accepted Christ’s sacrifice, God sees us justified by the blood!  The Bible supports the idea that God can use angels to carry out His judgments, including death. But this is a far cry from a special “angel of death” whose only task is to take life. Many charismatic and/or pentecostal churches are fronts for cults, occultic and witchcraft activity.  Check your foundation.  If the foundation is unsettled, so is everything else supported by it.  Hebrews 1:1-4 says, Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” Look to Jesus, the Word. Each individual is responsible for his own soul’s salvation. I have been empowered by the Word of God to know what is true and when anything is contrary to Truth, don’t think against it, you speak against it.  We are commanded to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.  I AM a part of His Body, I have the right to say NO!

Love Really Is the Answer!

The Great Commandment Matthew 22:34-40
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

While these commandments should be our goal each day, it’s generally around the holidays that many of us focus on giving and receiving and turn our attention toward acts of love. Defining love has been the subject of many conversations, books and songs. Universally, we all say we agree that God is Love. However, what we don’t universally agree on is who God is. If we lack agreement on the first commandment, how do we effectively do the latter commandment of loving our neighbors as ourselves?

Absence of meaning and purpose in a life is a cause for most of the pain in one’s life OR the pain we inflict upon the lives of others. Therefore, how we relate towards others is a direct reflection of how we relate to ourselves. If I’m not loving towards myself, I’ll find it hard to be loving towards anyone else. If I can’t extend myself grace and forgiveness, I’ll find it difficult extending grace and forgiveness to others. God set the standard by showing us that anything we want, we have to first be IT ourselves. Why do we love God? Because while we were yet His enemies, He demonstrated His love for us … I John 4:19 says we love Him because He first loved us. When you have a society of individuals who have exacted their own standards for right living believing “I can do as I please, when I please,” we are destined to have chaos and pain. Philippians 3 says the god of these people is their own belly and their minds are set on earthly things. So they have fashioned a god of their own creation, to their own liking and will thus love you according to their own standards and not God’s. Forgiveness is the highest form of love; Love your enemies. If we only love those who love us, what reward do we get? If we profess that we are the sons of the Most High God and God is love, by loving our enemies we are in essence a reflection of God’s heart, HIS LOVE, for them. In this season of giving, give yourself the gift of love and forgive those who have offended you. Love really is the answer!