DRAWING NEAR – PART 23 – 12/27/2015
LOST SHEEP CANNOT FIND THE SHEPHERD
After all the packages have been opened, the Christmas cards and decorations put away and the holiday meals become another wonderful memory of family and friends, we are amazed at how much we have been blessed. But the pleasures of having an abundance of material possessions actually has very little to do with our real blessings. Hopefully throughout the festivities that usually include lighted decorations, luscious treats and passed down traditions, we have paused to consider what we have really celebrated – the birth of our only hope to be saved from our sins. When we pray, we ask Jesus to forgive us and wash us clean with His holy blood – the ONLY substance that has the power to release mankind from the guilt and shame of iniquity. The reason why Jesus is the only way to heaven is because He is the only one that has the authority to forgive us. People all over the world have always bowed down to various religious figures and imaginations but not one of them had the power to give anyone the gift of eternal salvation. To declare that anyone other than God has the spiritual dominion to save a soul would be to blaspheme the Bible and downplay the significance of the greatest act of love the world has ever known. What other figure is recognized as creator of the universe, the sun and stars, and the endless galaxies? What other person was from the beginning, was not created and has no end? Who can declare they know everyone’s thoughts and will one day judge every person that has ever lived and have the authority to sentence them to eternal life or eternal death? Name someone that can create a human being, an animal, a living tree or can hold the earth in orbit at a perfect angle and keep it rotating at the perfect speed? What was once a crowded room of attention seekers, imposters, lovers of fame and the worship of men and women are now seen slipping out the back door because they are embarrassed and humiliated.
Some will say they searched high and low for the truth and finally found Jesus but is this how salvation works? No. Is the GREAT I AM that is filled with love and mercy playing hide and seek with all the people in the world? No. He is in plain sight and is NOT trying to resist us. He is visible all around us and if we will stop and listen we can hear His voice. It is our blindness that causes us to walk past Him and it is the dark condition of our heart that prevents us from seeking Him. We never went searching for Him – He drew us through the love of His gospel! The truth is that when we made the holy connection with Jesus it was because He was searching for US! He made a divine appointment for you and I to hear about His love and those living words penetrated our heart as the Holy Spirit brought conviction upon us. Our conscience became flooded with the guilt of realizing we were hopelessly lost and that we desperately needed a Savior. We did not “find” Him – He found us! He not only gave His life to rescue us, but was relentless until He finally captured our heart. We are the recipients of His divine GRACE (lest any person should boast) filled with His glory – and forever grateful.
IS THERE ANY ROOM IN YOUR INN?
The story of Mary and Joseph coming from Nazareth into Bethlehem, trying to find a place for her to deliver her baby (the Messiah) has been cherished and contemplated since the day it happened. The city was filled to over capacity during this time because the government was collecting taxes and of course everyone was looking for a “hotel.” Mary and Joseph were nonetheless entering into the city at a very hectic season and as Joseph continued to seek shelter for his wife, he finally realized there were no available rooms. He was told by one Innkeeper that since this was an emergency he could stay overnight in the stable out back with the animals. At least there would be straw and a roof over their head and sure enough this is where the Savior of the world was born. The King of all kings and the Lord of all Lords was brought forth in a dirty, drafty barn, wrapped in a blanket and laid in a feeding trough called a manger. You would think the creator of heaven and earth would have rolled out the red carpet as the second person of the Trinity was being manifested as the greatest miracle of mercy and love to a spiritually lost and dying civilization – but that was not the case. God’s attributes and principals are perfectly based on divine truth and this includes possessing great humility along with superior authority. As always, God’s ways and standards are holy and pure and His Word is our textbook on how to conduct our life – HIS WAY. With Jesus lowly entrance into the world, we see another example of how we should live humbly in our quest to become a reflection of His image. Even though we are also children of His royal family, we are to live in meekness which is strength under control and demonstrating this attitude of spiritual love is our utmost for His Highest. Power and pride when mixed together produce a poisonous recipe for destruction and we can always follow the trail of failure and disappointment back to the carnality of mankind’s arrogant heart. We all represent the Innkeeper and as God continues to knock on our door, many times we are still telling Him there is no room. We are also a symbolic type of Mary, the humble, willing vessel who submitted to the Holy Spirit and brought forth Jesus into her life as the light of the world.
IMMANUEL IS DIFFICULT TO COMPREHEND
The incarnation means “to become flesh” and when Christ was born of a virgin, God became a flesh and blood man for the purpose of living among His creation and then dying to rescue them from being eternally separated from the presence of the Almighty. Theologians have a fancy name for this merging together of deity and flesh called “hypostatic union.” The term hypostatic union is much easier than it sounds, but the concept is as profound as anything in theology. Both the Father and the Son are of the same “nature” with Jesus described as the exact imprint of God as we see this clearly in the first chapter of Hebrews. Hypostatic means personal and this union is the personal combination of Jesus’ two natures – one fully human and one fully divine. Fully human in that He feels and understands everything about us and completely divine that has the perfect wisdom to take care of any and every problem we will ever face. What the doctrine of the hypostatic union teaches is that these two natures are united in one person in the God-man. It is awe-inspiring—to know that Jesus’ two natures are perfectly united in his one person. Jesus is not divided – He is not two people – He is one person without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation. Because of this hypostatic, one-person union, Jesus Christ exhibits an unparalleled magnificence. No one person satisfies the complex longings of the human heart like the God-man. God has made the mind and conscience in such a way that it will never be eternally content with that which is only human. The conceptions of every other religious idol and god have never had an incarnation or a hypostatic union and will never satisfy the human soul like the ONE TRUE God who did! Amen! And beyond just gazing at the spectacular person of Jesus, there is also the amazing gospel-laced revelation that the reason Jesus became the God-man was for us. His fully human nature joined in personal union to his eternally divine nature is permanent proof that Jesus, in perfect harmony with his Father, is the Lamb that was slain and the Son of Man who is Omnipotent. God was glorious long before He became Yeshuah and demonstrated His love for us by living and dying for us while we were yet still sinners. He experienced our nature as a human and was thinking about us while hanging on the cross as our Savior. If we could ever come into an awareness that realizes “God lives in us” we would find ourselves being truly transformed into what God has in mind. “Immanuel” is a mystery and asking God to reveal this to us is how we receive enlightenment and revelation of His wisdom. Some may say this is actually beyond comprehension and others might never even consider trying but some will dedicate their life to it – and succeed. Does the God of the universe live inside of you? Do you have a desire to allow Him to do what He wants to do through you? Do we believe the God who has made everything enjoys being dormant within us? Hmmmm….
HE DID NOT COME TO BRING US SILVER AND GOLD
The Christmas song, “do you hear what I hear” has a line in it that says, “let us bring him silver and gold” and I believe that most people do not have a clue what this means. I was humming this song the other day just going through the house and realized I was singing the words, “HE WILL bring us silver and gold” and it dawned on me that I had somehow subconsciously twisted this important meaning around to bless me instead of me blessing Him. And then I wondered how many people have really forgotten or maybe have never known the true meaning of spiritual worship and praise unto the Almighty God of all creation. Yes, He has no problem blessing us but this is not why he came. I was teaching a Bible story the other day to a group of young handicapped adults and talking about the wise men bringing gifts to baby Jesus and I stopped and asked them, “what can we bring Jesus now” and a young girl immediately said – OUR LOVE! This was very precious and brought a tear to my eye and I thought – do we really understand this? Do I really believe that the item He wants more than anything is the very thing that I do not want to give to Him? Our “will” is mankind’s prized possession because it allows us to do whatever we want and the gifts the Magi laid at His crib represent this most valuable sacrifice. He does not need my gold – He wants me. Not just my works – He wants me to walk in faith and give Him all of my heart, strength and soul. He proved His love by abandoning His will…and is still waiting for wise men and women to bow before Him with the “gift” of submission. Amen.
DRAWING NEAR – PART 20 12/13/2015
STANDING AT THE EDGE OF ETERNITY
My wife and I went to the mall over the weekend, and of course the massive crowds were hustling and bustling like always. When the holiday season comes around, it brings a higher volume of consumers and there always seems to be more of a chaotic sense of anxiety and stress – which I try to avoid. I found myself drifting away in my thoughts as I watched the people and began to wonder how many know the Lord and how many are lost and on their way to an eternity without Him. We were strolling down the main walkways and there are many different little small businesses in the “medians” that try to offer you samples of certain products (which I find annoying) as they hope you will stop and purchase from them. We always just wave them off and keep walking and it dawned to me – this is how the world reacts to the gospel. Most everyone has the Word of God available to them at any time, with churches on every corner, television, radio, literature, and internet and so on…but they do NOT want Him just like we are not interested in the everyday things that we turn away from. The lost is being given the GRACE and mercy of God each moment because of His great love and He is trying to reach out to them and tell them what He has provided to save them from hell – but they walk away and wave Him off like He is peddling a trinket. Most people worship pleasure, money and possessions and if the offer does not have anything to do with materialism and self-gratification they are usually not interested. May the Lord help us! If we ever lose our burden for the lost – we have lost the purpose of our mission! Lukewarmness is measured with our level of love and concern for souls.
Our “first love” is our personal intimacy with Jesus (Revelation 2:4) and our second love is the burden and compassion for a lost and dying world (Matthew 22: 37-40). When a congregation becomes lifeless and empty, it is because the people have drifted far away from the fire of these two priorities. If any Christian and/or church spends more time focusing on itself than the needs of others, they have abandoned the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I have personally turned to the community with my ministry because I grew weary preaching to the choir. It seems the meaning of church loses its point if all that happens is a couple of people conducting a program and the rest of the people participate in a social gathering. For heaven’s sake – what about all of the people in the city that need Jesus? What about the sick and dying in the hospitals, the ones in jail and prison, single mothers that need help, the children, nursing homes, the physically and mentally handicapped, the poor and desperately needy? It seems the “normal” attitude is to be proudly content with attending a church service and yet NOT feeling an obligation or any type of spiritual responsibility until the next time they return. I want to say very candidly; this is a dark spiritual attitude. Now wait just a minute brother! Brother, we don’t have a minute to wait. Until we begin to address the problems of how twisted our religious ideas have become and be willing to admit what is happening, the religious masses will continue feeling a false sense of spiritual security and proceed with business as usual. Spiritual deception is from the dark side and as we have said many times before – Satan will do anything to keep God’s people from demonstrating their faith by their works. Attending a politically correct church service does NOT alarm the devil in any way. It is only when an individual receives the revelation of truth and begins to manifest God’s Word into ACTION that causes the kingdom of darkness to fear. As long as the church crowd is comfortable, satisfied and cozy and NOT realizing or fulfilling their spiritual accountability, then the enemy has nothing to worry about. The pastor should be busy trying to hear from God so that he can relay the message from heaven. Those who declare to be God’s warriors are called to do the “WORK” of the ministry because each individual remnant disciple is a complete representation of God’s Kingdom, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and commissioned with the callings, gifts, and anointing’s to be “in service” 24/7. Sadly, members want to be “served” as a patron and enjoy being the spectator – what a pitiful perspective.
If only the world wanted to know God, they would discover a Savior that is ready and willing to forgive them from their sin and adopt them into His family. If only they would stop for a moment and seriously consider this JESUS who came into the world to rescue them and give Himself as a LIFELINE for them to grab hold of in the midst of a dark and stormy sea. People are not as ignorant about gospel as one might think as many of them know the Lord is pursuing them and they realize down in their heart they are running away but they have given the reigns over to their will and allowed their human nature to have the power and authority to choose what to let go of and what to hold onto. We all walk along the edge of eternity everyday but at least those who are living IN CHRIST have the hope and confidence of eternal life. If only the lost would pause and consider they are only a breath, only a heart-beat away from eternal death. This is not a scare tactic or a depressing downer – it is one of the most powerful realities that is intended to keep us sober, alert and humble in the fear and reverence of our Maker. Within the inner chambers of every human conscience there is a courtroom where cases are debated each moment between the prosecutor and defense with an “elected” judge that goes through the motions of making critical decisions. Did you notice I said “every” person? The courtroom scenario is not just happening within the lost person on whether or not they are going to accept Jesus as their Savior – it is going on within the Christian about whether or not they are going to accept Him as their LORD. Selah. We talk about spiritual warfare like it is always the devil attacking us and making our life difficult but we will never face a more fierce and ruthless enemy than our own carnal will! It is easy to fall into the mindset that the poor lost world is refusing to allow the Messiah entrance into their life and rule as the King of their heart, when many in the church are doing the same thing. Hmmm…Being “saved” means more than being a church member.
As the New Year is quickly approaching, it is a good idea for us to focus on how we are living and the decisions we are planning. Nothing is more important than to be prepared for the return of Yeshuah Messiah! Are we awake and actively involved with what He is saying for us to do? Are we submitting to where He is leading us? If not – this is the sin of rebellion! If Jehovah Yahweh is convicting your heart about making drastic changes in the way you are living, I promise these choices will be argued in the courtroom of your conscience. Will there be enough evidence to prove that we are serious about following Him all the way? And if our will is allowed to win the verdict, are we prepared to face the Almighty and explain why we refused to do what He said? Telling God that I did NOT want to follow Him and yet expecting Him to be pleased with me is an eye opening definition of deception. I personally know individuals that have made these life changing decisions and are in the process of preparing for His return and they can testify there is sacrifice with obedience. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here I am; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Of course no one wants to suffer loss and this is one of the very reasons why the church has become a distorted and dysfunctional organization. When we speak of the “world” or something that is “worldly” we are saying this is a realm where fleshly emotions govern the mind and that follows a system that is led by the power of humanistic values. Being secular is usually regarded as someone that is not involved in religious ideals but rather operates in the environment of intellect and science. When we talk about people that have tried to abandon the carnal way of living and have become determined to be more “spiritual” we are referring to those who are striving to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. These are families that are home schooling, others are trying to be self-sustaining by coming off the power grid, moving out into the country and growing their own food and most importantly pulling away from the enticements and temptations of the default system. What has this cost? Many are being persecuted for their faith and have been called “crazy” even by their own families. They are commonly labeled as extreme fanatics that have lost all common sense and are now blinded by a serious mental illness. You see, there is a path well-traveled by the masses, a safe and secure view that most everyone takes. It is the easy road of comfort and convenience because it has no briars or thorns, ditches or obstacles. Very few desire to step into the forest with a machete and follow the still small voice of God into places they have never been and challenges they have never faced. This is the difference between an empty religious philosophy and becoming a remnant disciple of Jesus.
“Ye are children of LIGHT, and the children of the DAY: we are NOT of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us NOT sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day, be SOBER, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation” (I Thessalonians 5:4-8). We notice in the above passage that the ones who “choose” to live in the holy of holies are able to see much clearer and are recognized by the Lord as the children of the light. The reason why the masses consider us as crazy is because we are operating in a completely different mindset and spiritual identity. The bride is preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ and following HIS directions – while the lost world is living in a hypnotic trance and following Satan. This is why our Father is saying the difference should be like DAY and NIGHT! I believe a strong point here is to understand if there is NOT a noticeable separation between us and the world – something is seriously wrong. The danger is the way we see our life may be completely different from the way He sees us. Willingly submitting our life according to His perfect will – proves how much we truly love Him. All praise and glory to God forever!
DRAWING NEAR – PART 7
ZEALOUS OR PRESUMPTUOUS?
Self-examination can be painful. No, I’m not talking about physically; I’m referring to mentally and spiritually. I have studied enough human behavior to know that it is rare for any of us to judge ourselves as much as we judge others. Why? Because it is much easier to point our finger and become arrogant as we learn how to become an “expert” judge and jury observing life through distorted lenses. Selfishness is a part of our default nature and we develop this attribute naturally unless we choose to have our mind renewed and transformed by Jesus. It is so painless to have a thorough “opinion” of everyone without ever considering what people think about us. Are we really that naïve to PRESUME that everyone believes we are as great and wonderful as we think we are? Sadly, yes. I do not mean to burst your bubble but in fact many people just do not like us and it does not matter who we believe we are – everyone is NOT impressed! Now brother, what in the world would cause you to say such a thing? Well, it is nothing personal but rather just the way we humans are wired. I promise you, that as much as you talk about others behind their back and rip them to pieces, there are many others out there doing you the same way! Unfortunately, WE as a whole are not as caring, loving and concerned as we may seem on the outside and to be blunt most people “fake” who they appear to be. Have you ever imagined how you would like to know what REALLY goes on in people’s minds? Have you ever heard the old expression of how interesting it would be to be a “fly on the wall” during a particular private conversation? That is because hearing someone express their judgment about us or someone else reveals how they “really” feel. Do we sincerely want to know how people feel about us – and do we really want to tell others to their face how we really feel about them? Probably not. Why? Because the truth makes us very uncomfortable. We would rather smile and seem enthused rather than deal with it. Ahhhhh…the misery of being carnal.
I have for many years been singing, teaching and writing while believing that God was going to use my gifts and abilities for His Kingdom. There have been times (Praise God) that I have been encouraged and seen His power demonstrated in my life. However, there have also been times that felt like I was crawling through the Mohave Desert in the burning sun on my hands and knees. In these times I have felt rejection and the lack of respect which can (usually) lead to depression and attitudes of resentment. I do not have to tell you – this is NOT good. Feeling offended and unappreciated will punch a hole in our “joy tank” every time and leave us for the vultures. BUT my brothers and sisters, this is a snare trap from the enemy and an emotional “button” that Satan pushes in order to stop us from proceeding and accomplishing God’s will. In my particular case, I have wanted to know WHY things have not turned out the way I thought they would and have blamed others for my lack of success. This is wrong. No one can stop us from fulfilling God’s plan for our life IF we have our heart right with Him. I have been putting my faith in people instead of trusting God and this is probably why the Lord has kept the doors locked. He wants to bring my destiny to pass HIS way for HIS glory and not according to me being in control. I cannot beat the doors down, blow them open with dynamite or try to beg and persuade anyone to help me do anything! When God wants to provide a divine appointment, people will be scrambling trying to find a way to get in touch with me. He wants me to let go of the ministry and lay it at His feet. He wants all of us to give Him our calling so that He can manage it instead of us trying to direct it. When God decides in our life that we are READY to be used in whatever we are believing Him for – believe me it will happen in a heartbeat!
It is us being READY that will decide whether we fulfill our specific destiny or not. Before we were born, God drew a marvelous blueprint for our life. Yes, He looked ahead and saw all the problems we would encounter but this does not mean He was not there the entire time trying to help us stay on course. He has always known that the major hindrance to humans walking in His will is them NOT allowing their mind to be renewed. If we do not control our thoughts – our thoughts will control us! When we are born, our carnal human nature is our “build-in” default system that establishes the way we view life. This complex mechanism is on automatic pilot and we do not need any self-discipline in order to live an average, mediocre life. The human free-will has been given the opportunity by God to lead any individual if they so choose however, the longer this system is in control the more difficult it is for God to lead us. The deck is stacked against us when you consider that we are very emotional creatures and heavily influenced by our opinions and how we feel. Unless we intentionally tear down this default system by taking control of our mind, we will never be able to accomplish our divine destiny! We could call it the “purpose driven mind” and basically it is just becoming determined to be led by the Holy Spirit instead of our flesh! This is the greatest message that can be taught in Christian discipleship and yet is the most serious problems within the church. Learning Bible stories are great but they are only historical accounts of other people’s situations and the results are many times similar to our modern social media addiction. People today, sit around for hours and “monitor” the lives of others because they are “nosey” With no desire or intention of examining their own heart. The devil does not care how much knowledge we obtain as long as we do not consider allowing God to CHANGE the way we are.
There is nothing more agonizing than lying on our own psychoanalysis couch – but it can also be one of the most liberating and healing revelations if we desire for God to do a deep spiritual work within us. It is important that we be in the center of not only the therapy and diagnosis but to be willing to take action in how to overcome what is causing our failures. The old saying is very true that it is one thing to realize something and another thing entirely to do something about it. Sunday morning sermons are a perfect example of how a crowd of listeners might respond to a message by thinking that it was for all the ones that really need to let God change them. The lazy person knows they are lazy but do they care enough about changing that they will get up and not be that type of person anymore? The reason why the church world is in denial about their carnality is because they are still operating in the old system and perfectly satisfied to stay there. As we have said before, just because a person claims to have been saved does not mean they have allowed God to change their mentality. Their spirit has been transformed and they may have a new sensitive conscience to what is wrong but they still need to go through the basic training of learning how to yield and abandon their will. Thinking “on purpose” instead of following our feelings is the responsibility of a remnant disciple of Jesus. Without letting go of this most “valuable” asset of the human identity, the individual will never be a spiritual overcomer and will remain entrapped in an atmosphere of frustration and defeat. Humans will do anything – give money, volunteer to help, be moral and ethical, be a nice friendly person, support worthy causes or whatever but do not touch their precious WILL!
The word presumptuous fell into my conscience today and I believe that God is continuing to teach me another lesson about myself. When we are serious about asking Him to show us what is wrong within us and how to change us into His image – be ready for His instructions. The Lord is more than willing to bring change into our lives because this is His Master plan! I was sitting down in the middle of the day by myself quietly talking to God and trying to second guess God and what He is doing behind the scenes. Yes, I was feeling rejection but was actually trying to overlook that in order to see what else in my heart needs to be adjusted. I sat and thought how I often “presume” that things will turn out a certain way or that people will appreciate me and invite me to be a part of what they are doing. I finally rose from my couch of “meditation” and went to see what presumptuous means: “failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate. Adopting a particular attitude toward something. Behavior perceived as transgressing the boundaries of what is permitted or appropriate.” Other words associated with this: “brazen, overconfident, arrogant, bold, rude, audacious, forward, familiar, discourteous, disrespectful, insulting, cocky, know-it-all, egotistical, haughty, conceited, pushy, pompous, overbearing, brash, cheekiness, snooty.” Dear Jesus! I am ashamed to admit that my personality has these features. How deceived we can be while thinking we are one way – when in reality we are another. I have noticed that as I look close into the mirror that I am a rather “confident” person and always hesitatnt to call it what it really is – PRIDE! In the back of my mind, I have been “PRESUMING” that my aggressive attitude was being zealous which gave me the spiritual green light to proceed. However, it is crucial to have spiritual discernment so that we can know the difference. Amen. Zeal means to be: “fervent, passionate, devoted, committed, dedicated, enthusiastic, eager, vigorous, avid, energetic and intense.” These qualities are perfectly fine, in fact I believe that God’s people need all of this and more – BUT if we are unknowingly operating in the flesh and not by His Spirit then we are tearing down about as fast as He is trying to build. Being aggressive is not always being led by God the same as being gentle is not always being spiritually weak. Walking in God’s Spirit requires a life of fervent prayer because it is so easy to drift back and forth into our flesh.
I had mentioned recently how that pride has many tentacles and as we can see being presumptuous is a perfect example. Since God promises to resist the proud then we can safely say that presumptuous people do not advance very far in God’s Kingdom. It is no secret that we realize the church is filled with sinners and most of the time we are thinking about secret drinking problems, pornographic addictions or something obviously offensive, when actually, the real problem with the church is that its members are AVOIDING the Lord’s refining fire. They all want to sing and teach and be a part of every committee and board but want nothing to do with having their mind renewed. Now brother, we are not perfect and we all have problems and weaknesses that God understands. This true, He very well knows what is keeping us in “bondage!” It is come to the time that we must stop trying to paint a cow to look like a horse. The Lord is patient and longsuffering with us and loves to work “with” us and help us overcome our old nature but He will not allow us to live in sin “happily ever after.” Sin causes separation from God and there is no way that any of us will slip past His perfect judgment without severely paying the consequences of being disobedient. Paul asked the Galatian church, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion did not come from him that called you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:7-9). The writer is being very blunt by saying that at one time, you were doing well in the Lord. You seemed to be growing and maturing spiritually and mentally in the image and nature of Christ and doing so well, but now something has happened. He is making it public that something has come into your life and has built a blockage in your heart and is now preventing you from becoming what Jesus died for you to be! I remember when you used to pray that God would purify your heart and reveal the darkness and sin within your mind but now you seem to have returned to your carnality, coldness and rotten attitudes. You do not talk about the beauty of God’s presence like you used to and I do not sense the love and sensitivity of the Holy Spirit you once had.
There is nothing wrong with Paul’s observation; in fact we need more pastors that are not afraid or intimidated to challenge the people of God to let go of their sin. Paul is relaying, what has influenced and persuaded you to come out from under the shadow of the Almighty? Whatever it is, I tell you it NOT of God! In fact, I sense leaven has come in and now has corrupted your entire life. Maybe you have found a new irresistible temptation or just did not want to let go of something you have always struggled with. Maybe you have just stopped the refining fire process that God was trying to complete because you felt that you had advanced far enough and did not need any more “tweaking” from the Lord. Whatever it is, I am here to WARN you that God is offended and He is closing all opportunities in your life until you repent and allow Him to resume His work in you. Many times we think that we are pretty good and just like everyone else as we convince ourselves and justify our attitudes and personalities by saying that we are trying to do the best we can and everything will be alright. What we are really saying is that we believe that God is not upset with our sin and that it does not matter. Jesus died to save us from these sins and if we are not nauseous about them – we may have missed the meaning of salvation.