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Where Our Loyalty is, There We Will Find Our Evidence

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Where is your loyalty? I am sure we have all been in situations where this question required us to give an answer or made us wonder it about others. The answer to this question is more a geographic issue than we might think. Also arriving at this answer has plenty to do with our navigation skills. Loyalty is spiritual evidence, and it is about the substance that lies at the core of our being.

We humans have devised many forms of organized relationships such as marriage, friendships, business relationships, team sports, work, and small and large communities. On a global scale, we are members of nations or states, sovereign kingdoms, and multi-national corporations.  In addition, and just over the horizon more of us will enter relationships through user collectives of global telecommunications apps and other virtual products like Second Life and Bitcoin.

Every human enters this world via a family relationship. Some families are biological and others are social in nature. From there, the layers of relatedness such as gender, race and a host of genetic characteristics make us part of various social groups. Christians baptize themselves, some at birth others later in life as a sign to others of their membership as part of a spiritual community. Likewise, other people perform ceremonial acts to celebrate and signify their relationship to others and of their membership in one of the various spiritual communities of the world.

Developing a hierarchy of loyalties (ex. God, family, work and country) is a way to help navigate our many relationships. However, loyalties can still become confused. For example, we can be loyal to our relationship with our religious community and at the same time we can betray our relationship with God. We can also be loyal to a political or military objective of one group and betray our loyalty to other groups like our race, gender, family or humanity.

We each have also inherited the awareness of the many cultures connected to us. At every moment of every day, we knowingly make decisions that help one of our entangled relationships often at the betrayal of another interwoven relationship. However, as ambassadors of God our loyalty is really a manifestation of God’s loyalty. Therefore, when we experience breaches in trust they should not be personal to us because in every relationship we are representatives of God.

Luke 7:47 (NLT) “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

Luke 17:3-4 (NLT) So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

Forgiveness, grace and mercy are the tools God uses to restore relationships. The sole mission of Jesus was to help all humans understand that their relationship with God is whole and therefore, living in unity with God is available and possible. It is a bad religious point of view to see humanity today as separated from God. The purpose of the gospel or good news is that any person can live a life in unity with God. Therefore, as we re-present God, when betrayal happens, we have the opportunity to die to self and forgive like the One we represent.

It is my encouragement that we understand the source of our loyalty. Only God, is good, and if we are open and sensitive to His Presence within, He can live through us. It is God’s desire for the entirety of humanity to understand that His forgiveness, grace and mercy have already made every human relationship with Him whole. In all relationships that we are the party to, we should likewise have this same goal when we perceive betrayal of trust. And that goal is to love and make every relationship whole.

If we can let go of the false belief that we never betray others and that others only betray us, we have a chance at peace on earth. Our false beliefs result in unreal expectations, which put others under undue pressure to live up to our unreal expectations. Our loyalty is a manifestation of God’s love and loyalty every time we forgive and extend grace and mercy.

Jeremiah 3131-33 (NLT) “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord. 33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Therefore, our initial question remains standing. Where is your loyalty? Is our loyalty rooted in false beliefs? No! The true substance of our loyalty is embedded in love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. God gives these inherited traits to every human child. At the core of every relationship we are involved in, if we are actively aware, is the very Presence of God. It is there, where we shall find a treasure of evidence proving the existence of God.

Mark 10:2-9 (NLT) Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?” Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?” “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

Luke 12:33-34 (NIV) Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

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The Evidence of Entanglement

2012_04-15_900410_65609984 In this material world we humans are connected in very strange ways. Quantum physics is confirming many scripture verses that indicate that we truly are all a part of the human family and that we are our brothers and sisters keeper. In other words I am only free as my siblings. What we now understand from scripture and science is that our present generation can awake and choose to become empowered and set a course of freedom for our next generation.  It also means that the opposite is true and our generation can choose to pull the covers over our eyes and stay asleep thus handing down as tradition more bondage to our future generations.

 For me several questions quickly come to mind. The first, who is my brother or my sister? Secondly, can the choices of my life really free others or cause bondage to come remain them? The Old and New Testaments reveal how interrelated we humans really are. It also reveals just how powerful the individual is as well. If there is any reason to become a disciple of Jesus it is to learn how our lives can positively affect the lives of others.

 Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

 Romans 5:18-19  Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

 John 15:12-13 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

 Every human since the death and resurrection of Jesus has been empowered to use love, the greatest force on earth to bring about liberty to others. We humans are never more like God our heavenly Father as when we look into the chaos and darkness in our fellow human’s heart and speak light and life to that heart. But too often we grab the easy scriptures of war and try to destroy darkness instead of just turning on the light.

 Repentance and Forgiveness are the two edges on the sword of light. Liberty is simply a state of mind but its effect on our perception creates the very material world we live in. The mind of Jesus was at liberty from all material entanglements and scripture testifies that He overcame this material world.

 Today many humans remained separated from God in their thinking even though the work of Jesus as the Christ has been complete for over two thousand years. Romans 8:31-39 clearly illustrates that all obstacles between God and humans have been removed and that from God’s point of view we are all His children. But many religious interpretations still perceive human reality as separate from God and bound to this material world and only if we meet the requirements of organizational by-laws can we obtain liberty and become one with God.

 If forgiveness and repentance has the power to free us then why do so many remain entangled by an offence that has already been removed?

 Matthew 6:14-15(NIV) For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 Matthew 18:35(NIV) This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 2 Corinthians 2:5-10(NIV)  5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely.6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient.7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,

 Luke 17:1-4 (NLT) One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! 2 It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. 3 So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. 4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

 Luke 3:8-9 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

 My goal for this post is to overwhelmingly bring to the front of our consciousness that we have already been empowered to change the world. This is not a job for our Priest, Pastor or Spiritual Leaders this is our job as humans, and children of God. At some point in our existence of reality it will be made clear that each of us has no excuse. Remaining asleep or becoming awake will produce fruit or evidence that each of us will have to live with as we proceed on into eternity.

Therefore I want to encourage us all to take responsibility and show forth the evidence of repentance and forgiveness. We all must awake to the fact that we are entangled as humans and we are all members of the same human family. It is easy to remain asleep and hide behind the borders of our skin. But as the interpretation of scripture and the exploration of science continue to make truth more understandable, we must be willing change our perceptions and shed some old traditions.  

 God has given each human a gift through the life of Jesus.

 John 20:22-24 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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Is There Sufficient Evidence That We Are Living Justly?

10-12-2013_1034093_12351166Am I living justly? Most people would not incriminate themselves and would answer to the affirmative if this question was posed to them. We as Christians have this notion that if and when our life is called to be examined we would appear before our Father in heaven with Jesus as our advocate and Satan would play the role of accuser of the brethren. But who has imagined that they would be called as witnesses or to give testimony about the events and the people in their lives? What would the witnesses of our lives say if perjury before God is not an option?

 Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face

As Americans citizens we pledge to live as one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Scripture also states that justice is foundational to God’s Kingdom. Therefore I pose these questions to all of us. Is there sufficient evidence that we are living justly? This should immediately cause us to ask, what proof could I offer to substantiate that I do indeed live a just life?

Psalm 82:2-4 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 82 calls to all humans to live justly.  It also reveals that as children of God it is in the capacity of humans to be just to one another. As humans we are all members to various ethnic, cultural and religious groupings. But as humans we are all the same and aware that we are children of Adam and Eve. However also dawning on our consciousness is the understanding that we are also children of God. This makes us heirs to some remarkable human capabilities and living justly is one of them.

 Galatians 4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,

Our lives as members of the Kingdom of God (KoG) should be showing forth the evidence of justice because it is foundational to our Father’s Kingdom. In August of 2013 we Americans celebrated some transformational victories in the laws that made our culture more just for some of its citizens.  But the KoG is about the transformation of our hearts. So. after 50 years we can watch the constraints of laws being removed as we wonder about the conditions of the heart. Has the heart of the American citizen been transformed to where it does not need external laws or will it revert back to living unjust as it did prior the restraints put in place by laws?

Justice for others will always be a big test, a private test that each of us will continually take. As circumstances change will we do justly to one another or will we seek to fulfill the desire of our lust. Justice’s call requires that we constantly evaluate for every “neighbor” in our society and defend those who need help.  Each of us has this call and God’s design and perspective will be measure by which we are held to account.

 If I am unjust to someone because he or she is not a part of my religious, ethnic, social order then I am missing the point of Kingdom living. I want to encourage us all to remain aware of others around us and judge our attitudes, emotions, and feelings we have towards others. Then we must examine the use of our resources, our affiliations and the motives and outcomes of our votes for political and social issues.

This blog is about the evidence of our lives. Does it reflect the spiritual values of the King of our Kingdom? Or does it reflect the material values of the social order and traditions of our culture and religious associations? Is our field of “neighbors” expanding or are we still limited by the legal definition of American citizenship or the denominational lines of our Christian membership. Is justice applicable to all humans equally? Is God’s Kingdom open to all humans universally?

As Americans we believe that before the law all citizens are indivisible with liberty and that we all get equal justice. We also know however that this is a work in progress. But as members of God’s Kingdom do we attempt to live from His perfection or are we satisfied the imperfection of our social order? We are truly Disciples of Jesus and children of God therefore by faith I believe that our lives are capable and do show forth the evidence of our just living.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Luke 18: 1-8 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man,5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said.7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

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Evidence of a New Creature

There are several facts that the ministry of Jesus has established and therefore our lives present evidence to the world of His truth. One of those facts has to do with the identity of those who have been born of the Spirit. The born again experience is the beginning of a spiritual journey on the path to understanding our new identity. While we are on our way to a full understanding we are still able to present evidence that may also help others to start or continue on their path.

 Since Jesus is the Master copy of our identity it is a form of idol worship or pride to focus on any other person other that Jesus as a role model of our identity. Scripture does give us permission to imitate followers of Christ but in that we are still looking at how Christlikeness is being reflected in our brothers and sisters.  A lot of people are on the journey to becoming like their earthly spiritual leaders and lot of leaders begin to enjoy the flattery and enter into pride.

 Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

 Our earthly body, after the spiritual awakening of the new birth, begins to experience the effects of life in this material world and becomes sensitive to the Presence of God’s Holy Spirit living within. Our response and cooperation with this new life inside our body is evidence that we present to others. The strengthening of our health and the immunity from sickness and the ability to demonstrate divine healing in the lives of those we come into contact with are some of the first pieces of evidence we present along our spiritual journey. Current religious interpretation of biblical scripture would move our focus on a future time when we will receive this divine health in our new body and overlook the potential of this earthly body to experience what happens once the Holy Spirit takes up residence.

 Jesus presented some fantastic evidence of what our flesh and blood bodies can do when the Spirit of God tabernacles with us and our bodies become the house of God. We must not pass over the opportunities to present evidence of the Kingdom of God within by looking forward to a future and better day. Right now we Sons and Daughters of God must learn to use spiritual disciplines to deny the lust of our flesh so we can completely (spirit, soul, body) operate as we were designed by our creator.

 Romans 8:18-19 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

 Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

 The world is a jury of our peers and they desperately need evidence to understand that they also can know Jesus the Master and live a life that worships God so they can love their neighbors. God calls and sends us into the world to demonstrate what we see our Friend and Master do. However a lot of today’s Christian religious interpretation tends to encourage us to use the tactics of the Old Testament and build walls of protection.  From behind these walls we can pull others out of the world to safety so they can hide in fear of those without until Jesus returns so we are not left behind.

 Another interpretation of spiritual reality is that we have been adopted by God and we can walk in the authority of Jesus presenting evidence and causing many people to also become disciples of Jesus. Becoming born again and then hiding out in fear of the evil in the world makes a waste of our Master’s ministry. Not only does Holy Spirit bear witness (Romans 8:16) of this interpretation but creation itself is waiting for us to understand our identity so we can exercise that authority and also free it from the bondage of sin. This will only happen when we begin to live in this earthly body like the heirs of God’s offspring that we truly are.

 My friends I encourage you to consciously focus your attention on Jesus our Master and Lord that we may partake in His understanding of our relationship with our Father in heaven. If we do this we can imitate Jesus and effectively fulfill the calling and demonstrate what it means to be Christian. A lot of us will need to enter a process  to humble ourselves, repent and let go of our personal will so the great I AM can have reign in this body thus bringing about God’s will on earth.  

 Once we are free from the use of earthly strategies we can begin to live a more spiritual life. This new life with God’s Spirit, which also quickened the dead body of Jesus, does not only restore our body but He grants us powers that can only be described as super-natural so we can help other see truth. This is the evidence that this world needs in order to cause it to look or relook at what God our Father is offering.

 The only fear we should have is in a belief that says “God has left our temple, which is our body”. Biblical scripture clearly states that He will never leave or forsake us.

 So we present this evidence, even while on our spiritual journey of becoming transformed. The Spirit of God is willing to tabernacle (take up residence inside) with all men and women thus making each a true body of Christ. We are new creatures, God in man, man in God. This is the way Adam was created and lived before he experienced separation, and this is the way Jesus (the second Adam) has come and restored to us.

 We must receive and take up the call and allow God to present evidence through us to everyone we meet. Freely His Spirit was given to us and freely we must give His Spirit to others making them disciples to all nations. This demonstration of our love for our Father is our reasonable service of worship, and it is evidence that we have become new creatures and disciples of Jesus.

 Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

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