What is God Searching for?

THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
PART 36
WHAT IS GOD SEARCHING FOR?

My wife Cheryl and I do not enjoy very many things on television but we do occasionally watch reality shows like “Mountain Men” and “Life below Zero”. As I was watching a recent episode, I was thinking about the specific path each one of these individuals has taken and all of the vision and hard work to make their dream happen. I am just using these few people as an example, but my question is this; whose vision are they living? When any of us comes up with an idea that we “want” to do – are we being inspired by God or did we just make an emotional decision simply based on seeing ourselves living that way? And on a broader scale, allow me to ask each of us – are we now living and following the path that God has called us to, or are we asking Him to bless our imagination? Mmmmm…
There are many things to consider when trying to understand what we are doing and where we are going. Allow me to ask a few more questions. Would you agree that most of us are confident and even proud to admit that we can hear from God in most of our decisions? Would you also concur that you are filled with God’s Holy Spirit and are sensitive to His voice? If this is true, then it can be noted that we are obedient to His commands, we have keen discernment and are walking in His “perfect” will. Right? What’s wrong? I thought we had established a firm foundation about our personal relationship with Christ. Oh, I see…walking in His Spirit is something you “desire” to do, but have not really mastered yet.
I think that most of us can relate (by experience) that being led by God and walking with Him is much more difficult than it seems. In the eyes of a child, the simplicity of believing and trusting is crucial to the development of love. All of the love that we soak into our heart from others is what builds and creates the image of how we think and react. The amount we learn about love is a direct influence on how we process all of the fruits and gifts related to love and ultimately how we give love to others. The highest priority in life is to allow our entire being to become saturated in God’s love so that we might become a vessel of honor for Him to pour His love through us. We cannot be led by God if we do not have the light of His love to illuminate our path.
There is a danger to becoming filled with knowledge of God’s Word without His wisdom to understand it. It would be better to know small amounts with His revelation – than to memorize large portions of scripture without comprehending what it means. Our Christian life is a process of development the same as anything else. The novice must grow into their relationship with Christ before they can lead the same as a six year old child is not ready to drive a car just because we hand them the keys. There must be experience to go along with knowledge because it is in the miracle of divine revelation we LEARN truth that empowers our faith. Knowing God personally is the only way anyone can live for Him or die for Him. There is a secret truth to meditating on God’s Word because He has designed our love relationship to be intimate and saturated with concentration. Prayer and worship are perfect examples of how we are given the opportunity to focus on God and the privilege to allow Him to “invade” our thoughts with His voice. When our will humbly submits to His authority it becomes possible to be intertwined and know the mind of God pertaining to a specific situation. However, anyone that has experienced this spiritual phenomenon can testify that it is not as easy as it sounds.
Have you ever believed in something very passionately only to find later that it did not happen? I am sure you were left with many questions and you searched your soul and God Himself for the answers. Of course there are several possible reasons that we fail to receive; sometimes it is our fault and other times God says no. On some occasions we do find answers after the fact that reveal how the Lord was actually working on our behalf by “saving” us from disaster. What we were so focused on many times (after all is said and done) is sometimes NOT what we thought it was. A good lesson to learn in life is that it’s possible to convince our mind and our emotions into believing a deception. Just because we “feel” a certain way (even very strongly) does not mean we are being led by God. Selah.
I was reminded by a good friend recently how that our life is similar to the mouse in the maze. God is looking down and from His divine perspective, He can observe the past, the present and the future all at the same time and in this “big picture” view, all of our twists and turns make perfect sense. However when we are only seeing the path we are on, it is more understandable how sometimes we can become confused. You see, each one of His children has a destiny (blueprint) that has been drawn by God. Sometimes we forget but when we were redeemed through the blood of Christ, we were “bought” with a price. Now, we no longer make our own decisions or lay out our own plans. He is the creator of the mouse (us) AND the maze (our destiny). In this light, He has a very specific path for our life and is constantly intervening to help keep us on HIS course. Every Christian has a mission to accomplish and one day will give an account of their life including all they did and should not have done and all they were going to do but never did.
When we are obedient to His voice by submitting our will to His voice, there is a very strong certainty that we will fulfill our calling. On the other hand, our freewill can interrupt and cause havoc within God’s “perfect” plan. Unlike the maze that the mouse follows, our path has no walls but rather an invisible line. We “choose” to follow God’s path – He does not force us to stay on His path. If we feel we have heard His voice and run off to Africa to do His work – He may allow it, but that does not necessarily mean He endorses it or will bless it. The reason why many fail is because they may have listened to their emotions instead of God – or they may have heard from God but did not wait for His perfect TIME. The story is told of a young man that wanted to be a missionary. He was a brand new Christian and was praying one day and He heard God say, “Go”. He immediately jumped up and headed to some third world country. He stayed for a couple of years and had such a terrible time that he came back home discouraged and defeated. In his prayer time he asked the Lord what happened and he finally listened long enough to hear God’s reply, “You did not wait to hear the rest of my instructions. I SAID, go sit down and learn of me – and in “due season” I will use you for my glory.”
How many times have we tried to make something happen? How many times have we completely missed God in our decisions? I believe in the Christians life there are two categories that we have the choice to abide in. One I call God’s “perfect” will and the other I call His “tolerant” will. Of course we want to stay in the perfect will column all the time but that would take “walking” in the Holy Spirit constantly. Hopefully in our spiritual development we will eventually come into that place. God’s tolerant will is where we find ourselves when we make crucial mistakes as a result of our disobedience. You see, when we sin by not listening to His voice, He is disappointed but is always ready to forgive us when we realize we have blown it. HOWEVER, listen carefully, this does not mean we do not endure the CONSEQUENCES of our trespass. For example, a Christian has the free-will to rob a bank and after it’s over they can sincerely ask forgiveness – but if they are captured they will still go to prison to pay the penalty of their crime.
It may be a surprise to know but Christians not only randomly make bad decisions but can actually be a habitual sinner. Of course God does intervene with discipline and chastisement to the extent that only He knows, but He is patient and filled with merciful love. Have you ever had an attraction that you knew was wrong but allowed your flesh to dictate your actions? God loves us more than anything but He hates sin – and because of His great love He “tolerates” our deeds. Sin in the believer’s life breaks the heart of God because it causes separation between Him and the one He adores. We rarely ever think about the way God feels toward us because our mind is so filled with the affairs of this world. We casually think He is working in heaven or busy trying to solve the problems of the universe. It may change our life if we really knew how strongly He wanted to rescue us from eternal disappointment. He gave His only precious Son to be tortured to death for those who would “abandon” their life for Him and we will never forsake our carnal will until we embrace the revelation of His righteousness and holiness. Selah.
Let’s think about His love a little more. Do you believe He is listening to every word you say? Do you really believe He knows every thought that crosses your mind? Is there any other reason He would pay that much attention to you than because He cares about you and is very interested in everything about you? Why do you think He is concerned enough to know how many hairs that are on your head? What would cause Him to mention in His Word how much He longs to spend time with you and shelter you under the shadow of His wings? It is simply because He loves you more than anything else! He creates all things and can have anything – but He longs for us to love Him. A covenant is a mutual exchange of trust and a love unto death. Everything God has is ours but everything we have must be given to him. What could He possibly want from us? Our hope, trust, energy, passion, zeal, our possessions, plans, visions, our dreams, gifts, talents, thoughts and deeds, but most of all He just wants someone to trust what He says. He is waiting for His children to grow stronger in faith that they might obey Him. Our will is the desire of our heart and that is what He is searching for. How have you done so far in your walk with Him? After all these years of learning how to live, are you finally ready to surrender your will and give Him all of your heart?

The Nail, The File and the Fire

THE SECRET PLACE
Jesus is not a place you go – but a person you know

PART 21

THE NAIL, THE FILE AND THE FIRE

There are many different interpretations that attempt to explain the mysteries of life concerning reason and destiny. Many of these scholarly opinions are available to the truth seekers like fruit on a tree, with as many arguments as there are flavors. Sadly, most of the population does not even care to search for the “deep” answers, leaving only a small band of “diggers” to examine and sift knowledge like those who pan for gold. It’s true; our views of God are confirmed with the artifacts and historical record of Biblical information, but however we arrange our concept of the Almighty, most of our convictions come from our faith. For example, predestination is one of the most difficult views concerning the meaning of life. Some like to believe “happy thoughts” that Jesus rescued all humans from eternal death and that we’ll all be one big family one day. Some people are convinced that only the chosen will go to heaven while everyone else will be lost. Yet others hold dear to the legalistic interpretation that believes life is like a math test and each person must score a certain grade to “earn” eternal life. Nevertheless, we must remember that whatever our views about the divine order of the universe – God is sovereign. This means that man cannot take credit for how wonderful he thinks he is. God is the creator, the sculptor, and the purifier and He alone decides what he will keep and how He will use it.

The carpenter wears a nail pouch and fills it with instruments (nails) that have the purpose of ‘assisting” with construction. The carpenter has the desire, vision, blueprints and materials for the project and will use the nails to help accomplish his plans. Since God is the carpenter and the project is His kingdom then we can see that some have been called to be nails. He chooses and uses the nails according to his good pleasure and the nails do not have any say in the matter. He uses them in different places, discarding those that cannot be used, bending them then pulling them out and so on. The point is that he uses them where and when he wants with some not being used at all. If the nails were NOT delivered to the site along with the lumber they would never have a purpose in all eternity without the builder empowering them to their destiny. When the structure is complete do the nails get any glory? Are they ever mentioned in the end as taking any credit with the builder? Does anyone ever say, it is the nails that are holding the vision and structure together? Each nail had a destiny but not all of them accomplished it. Many allowed their freewill to stop them from being used. Some wanted to be a kitchen knife, a fishhook or a police badge. Let it be said, after our life is over and we lay everything at His feet, our reward will be our obedience.

The one, who works with metal uses a file made of hard, sharpened steel. There are course files and fine files but all were made to grind away softer metal until the desired shape appears. This is an act of labor on the part of the skilled artisan, and excruciating agony to the sacrifice being grinded. If God is the sculptor and each of his children is an individual chunk of metal then we can see life through the perspective of His eyes and in a more humbling position, I might say. It is the creator that chooses his pieces of metal to shape and He knows exactly what he is trying to do and what the finished product will be. He grinds as much or as little as he wants on each piece as the metal cannot reject his ideas and has no power to resist his intervention. The metal is at the mercy of the one who holds the tools and is never recognized as playing a part in the creation process. This is another example of the fact that if God does not change you, you cannot change yourself. The lump of clay will sit on the table forever until the potter decides to create. Modern secular psychology teaches that we can shape ourselves without God but it is a humanist lie. We may paint and change our exterior but Jesus is the only power that can transform the spirit. This is the “image” of divine sovereignty.

The furnace is a place of destruction and yet at the same, a chamber that can bring “beauty for ashes.” Just as new plant life eventually emerges from the devastation of a raging forest fire; the heat of the furnace eliminates the old and enables the new to present itself better than before. God’s most awesome instrument of teaching and shaping his elect is the Refiners fire. It is the place of tears and humility, a journey of pain and suffering that produces spiritual purification and strength. The fires of God bring maturity to all three parts of man, the body, mind and spirit, as a complete metamorphosis of our being. Like a blacksmith God can heat the steel to a cherry red glow then pound it with a heavy hammer until it becomes a manifestation of his vision. On the other hand, he can melt the “precious” metal until it becomes liquid then scrape off the filth and corruption that has been imbedded deep within. It is in the understanding of fire and heat that one can see a glimpse of God’s intense love and how determined He is about his plans for us. His character and nature are filled with mercy but they work together with His white-hot Word of holiness and truth. His furnace is to bring us closer to him and should be considered an act of grace for the ones found worthy to serve him. The ore and raw materials are just rocks and mineral compounds that are useless in their present form waiting for the transformation process. People who think this life is only for their own pleasure and enjoyment will not be included in the next life with God. Steel must be tempered in order to be strong and durable, and this requires much more than a religious experience. Once again the metal has no control about going into the fire, how long to stay or any input as to why. Those who are selected to endure this trial of agony will never receive glory for shaping itself. Every knee will bow down to the Lord of the fiery furnace and the King of all creation. Those who are not selected in this life to be consumed and transformed will face an eternal fire of another kind in a smoldering dump of rejection and shame. This is the divine reality of divine sovereignty.

No one ever chose to be born but was created by God who holds the keys to life and death. Who is man, (in his fragile mortal shell with no supernatural power) to believe that he can make his own decisions? Is it not God (who is in total control) that “allows” us to draw each breath? God did not create life with such meticulous detail then just hand it all over to creatures that are carnally minded without consequences. If we could see what was going to happen we could prepare and thus change our dimension – but since we are limited in our ability to see beyond the present, it is unrealistic to determine that chunks of metal or lumps of clay could “navigate” the world in the right direction completely on our own.

Salvation is good news, but what most people are not taught is what it really means. Being redeemed with Jesus blood is the greatest gift that has ever been given and is the ultimate blessing of love and compassion in the universe. The “imposter version” presents an illusion of comfort and ease that causes many to become derailed with pride. Deeply knowing God is to perceive spiritual reality and discerning the difference between a life of comfort and luxury – and divine truth. This includes seeing ourselves the way God sees us and becoming a “living” sacrifice as we surrender our will on HIS alter. Amen.

THE WALK OF DISCIPLINE

THE WALK

PART 23

THE WALK OF DISCIPLINE

Summer is here and I realize that everyone is busy. It seems there is so much to do and we are hot and tired. Having so much to think about is exhausting and a time to beware of emotions that can create a negative attitude. To say the least, these feelings of “blah” can influence our spiritual lives. Now is not the time to allow our spiritual flame to die down or our edge to become dull. I believe this is a unique hour in the history of humanity and when I talk about being prepared, I am saying it is CRUCIAL to buy oil NOW so that we will not be like the unwise virgins. The remnant that made the conscious decision to be “FILLED” with the Holy Spirit was ready and was allowed entrance into the presence of Christ. Those who did not take the initiative to “walk” in God’s divine reality tried to “catch up” at the last minute but did not have time to develop an intimate relationship. Today is a window of time that we must guard our mind so that we will not be swept away with Satan’s flood of deception. The devil wants us to stop reading God’s Word and to stop spending meditation time alone with the Lord. The dark kingdom loves it when we spend our evenings watching television instead of praying and studying. Yes, we are being bombarded from all sides with sin and the aggressive violence of hatred for God but we must maintain our courage. How can we stand for God’s truth if we are weak, uninformed, lethargic, unprepared and afraid? To say the least, it is OUR TIME with God that will pay huge spiritual dividends. Today is the day to press in, to move forward and advance toward His light. We are to be maturing and growing stronger NOT going backward into discouragement. WE are to be the hands and feet for Jesus but how can we help His Kingdom if we are depressed and not interested? Let us remain focused and alert to His direction.

I know that we are not to live in condemnation and it is miserable to walk in the shadow of a guilty conscience. Please allow me to speak honestly about betrayal, compromise, denial and the personal pain of living a carnal existence of mediocrity. Many including myself have collected knowledge through the years and have learned at least something about right and wrong. Those who are interested in seeking spiritual truth love to “collect” more wisdom like some people hoard antiques but that is not necessarily accomplishing anything. The most effective vision would be to pray for the DESIRE of discipline so that “truth” can be “incorporated” into our character. When are we going to “live” our knowledge? There is the HUGE difference between being a walking seminary – and a live demonstration. Moreover, there are many who KNOW what everyone else should do but FAIL to walk what he or she understands. Selah. I know this is hard and not really exciting but sometimes we need to hear it. Let us go on. I know I stumble all the time, I make wrong decisions and I do not always reflect the character of Christ. I know right from wrong and I can perceive truth and even communicate it, but nevertheless I feel that I am failing to walk the walk. I realize I have high expectations of what I believe are God’s vision for me (and the body of Christ) to live but at the same time, I am NOT where I should be. I will not make excuses for my carnality but on top of my personal problems, I do feel the intensity of resistance from evil. Even the news is saturated with discouragement and seems to have every intention of draining the very life from us. It is true there are dark clouds of “concern” on the horizon with everything from the economy collapsing and the one world government to the mark of the beast. Am I worried? Of course I am! However, I also believe that if I will heed God’s warnings and embrace His wisdom that I will be given the opportunity to develop the discipline that I will need to be prepared. I feel the pressure from the enemy is being increased against anyone that desires to press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. The devil hates us and he hates it when we start talking about being disciplined in the Lord! It seems as though I am being attacked from every side – even in my sleep! Do you feel that way? I want to live for God and please Him but lately it has been like climbing a steep cliff. It is HARD to get it all together and feel enthused about your progress. Even my weight has become a serious issue because I do not like the way I look or the way I feel. I need a booster shot of discipline to stop eating all the wrong foods. A man of my age should realize that I cannot eat like I did when I was twenty years old. Nevertheless, the more I think about changing my life, the more I am tempted and with delicious, mouth-watering delicacies. I am convinced that no one will change anything until the agony of staying the same becomes greater than the painful cost of changing. We can complain and cry about our situations but until we become nauseated about the way we are – we will not incorporate the discipline that is needed to become victorious. Selah.
Are we bored with preaching and teaching? Those of us that have been involved with the religious environment for years believe that pretty much we have heard most everything about the bible. No matter what the subject we feel confident that we know about it and that most of what we hear now is just repetitions and cycles of previously heard commentaries. As we read and study about a particular genre, our brain has a tendency to evaluate what others say, which comes complete with our own set of personal opinions, criticisms, judgments and arguments. What does this have to do with discipline? There is a danger to developing numbness to the abundance of spiritual teaching. We go through our email messages and delete biblical insights that we say we do not have time to read. I have a large library of biblical treasures and I seldom even pull one from the shelf. I receive numerous magazines and newsletters but usually scan them at the most. I have sat in my office many times and nodded out reading about the glorious splendor of God’s love and provision. Why? Am I tired of hearing about the cross of Christ? Am I turned off with the subject of discipline because I am not interested in suffering? Has the world’s pleasures spoiled us so bad that we have become fat and lazy? Have we traded our swords and shields for the false security of materialism? If there was ever a time when the body of Christ needed to drink freely from the fountain of God’s mercy and be transformed into the image of Jesus it is NOW. Let us not yawn at spiritual truth but rather be excited and count it a privilege that we can still receive His Word without persecution. There may be coming a time in the near future where there will be a famine of God’s Word. The Lord is giving us His Word NOW to help prepare us and build our FAITH for the time of tribulation. Amen!

Sin should always be recognized and treated as the enemy of our soul and when “secret deals” are made between our flesh and the devil it is never in our best interest. I have noticed in my life and in human behavior in general, the cravings of the flesh dominate this world. Yes, humans are very emotional and have a “wiring” system that is controlled by carnal pleasure. Now brother, Christians have overcome the flesh and are not prone to being led with their flesh aren’t they? Well, I know what God desires from His children but sadly, I am convinced that most people who consider themselves religious have NO intention to discipline their mind and harness their carnality. This “deal” that I mentioned is the compromise of receiving a new “home” from Father God but decorating it completely in our own style. The home represents our new spirit, our new agreement or covenant that guarantees temporal blessings and eternal security. The “style” is moving in all of our OLD thoughts, ways, actions, attitudes, opinions, habits and merging them with our new promises. In this light, we become deceived into thinking that we can have the best of both worlds. Like a brand new ship where we are still the captain or inheriting a manufacturing plant and we are the CEO that decides what is produced, how much volume and at what cost. This is NOT the revelation of spiritual discipline and is NOT Christianity.

Discipline is a word that is commonly used whenever there is a need for REAL change. It is not a very likeable word unless you are very serious about accomplishing something important. It is a popular word like “love” or “prayer” but also a hated and avoided word because it always accompanies other words like sacrifice and pain. It is closely related to determination in that nothing usually happens unless there is a vision so strong that someone actually becomes “possessed” with seeing it through. Multitudes can draw blueprints, hold seminars, write books and even dream about accomplishing goals but it is nothing without discipline. No destiny will ever be realized, no destination will be reached with only talk and hope. Discipline must become the legs of our faith so that God can breathe His miracle power into our calling. Selah. Our flesh desires to not only do what WE want to do – but to accomplish it as painless and easy as we can. Again, this is NOT being led by God and is always out in “left field” when it comes to living in His Divine Reality.

“Father we cry out, Oh God for your mercy. We are struggling to stay steady in a world that is reeling and groaning under the weight of depravity and abominations. Give us the desire to want MORE of you. Please, blow on the embers of our heart that we might become a flame for your glory. Shake us and wake us from our slumber. Open the eyes of our heart that we might be able to KNOW you and your perfect will. Break our hearts and reveal to us our sin. Tear down our idols and anything that is keeping us from you. Please convict us when our love waxes cold and we judge others through the eyes of prejudice. Allow us to know the revelation of Jesus and the cross that we been called to carry. May we abandon our carnality and embrace the faith that moves mountains. I know that most of this will depend on how much we want you and I simply ask you this day to help enhance our awareness, sensitivity, holiness and discipline. In Jesus Name, amen.”

LEARNING HOW TO WALK II

THE WALK
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)

PART 5

LEARNING HOW TO WALK II

THE WALK OF HONESTY: “But that (seed which fell) on the good ground are they, which in an HONEST and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15) Have you ever heard the saying that a man is only as good as his word? It does make sense that if we cannot trust someone to tell the truth that maybe there is an even deeper problem of deception lurking within their character. As Christians in today’s world where everything is analyzed under the microscope of “intelligent fact finding” it is crucial that we not only tell the truth – but that we WALK it! Our word is our “witness” because every eye is watching and every ear is listening! Our life is on constant display as a “mission” that is based on producing the good news of the gospel. Those who commit to living in honesty, realize their actions ARE their testimony and will give Christ a reliable “golden” vessel to work through. If we talk it but choose NOT to WALK it out, then we are living in hypocrisy and in danger of chastisement. If we just “act” out our knowledge in front of others but “secretly” disobey what we know is true, we have betrayed our own conscience and are living in deception. Those who choose to play religious “games” are actually a stumbling block to the ones who desperately need to see that Jesus is real. No one is standing in line waiting to watch a sanctimonious parade.

The Lord is not just talking about stealing supplies from work or exaggerating on tax returns, He is talking about hiding behind an outward “facade” that is not genuinely who we are. This fraudulent lifestyle is preventing us from maintaining our intimacy with God and could be exactly what is holding back the powerful anointing that Father is waiting to pour into us so that we can accomplish His mission. Wearing a mask is NOT being HONEST whether it is with our spouse, our parents, our children, our family, our job, our church or even ourselves and especially with God! It is miserable to live a double life and to always be on guard with what we say in fear of exposing our true identity. Now wait a minute brother, what people don’t know about my privacy won’t hurt them, besides I do not like being transparent. Well, it is one thing to keep your thoughts to your self but many people tend to share their feelings about others to everyone except the person they are talking about. If we want to be truly honest we can wait until God tells us to deliver a message to someone and not confide with anyone else. The best policy is to NOT criticize others in secret because we hate it when people do this to us. Honesty is closely connected to DISCIPLINE which is directly linked to SPIRITUAL MATURITY. Selah. We must embrace a plan of action that begins with repentance to God, then we can ask Him for a brand new mind to WALK in His truth and finally on to being genuine with others under the influence of God’s grace and wisdom. No wonder anxiety is a modern day plague – because the conscience is filled with strife. The normal church is filled with those who think they are Bible scholars and will fight over their legalistic creeds but are actually spiritually blind in their understanding of what it means to know God! Many in today’s religious society look good and sound good but are hurting, wounded, confused and lost. Sadly, most are so stubborn about their doctrines and so busy arguing like a court appointed attorney, they ignore the awareness of WALKING in God’s presence. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is WITHIN the cup and of the platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like unto white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and sin.” (Mathew 23: 25-28) Be someone you would want to be friends with. Selah.

Premeditated sin is a severe type of dishonesty and causes a distance in our relationship with Father as He knows we are fraudulent, unfaithful, corrupt and two-faced. “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that says, I know Him and keeps not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.” (I John 2:3-4) When we make a mistake and slip-up in sin, it is still a serious offense toward God but if we repent and try not to do it again we can learn and continue the process of advancing in our sanctification. Sin is sin and all sin should make us sorrowful. Our new spirit and our new nature should grieve because we have turned against the One who died to set us free from sin. But when we intentionally sin, this means we take the time to plan it and meditate on it. We know all about it and are perfectly awake and aware of what we are doing. This type of sin is very serious and is in direct contrast to way we should be thinking and living. If we say we are sorry but commit the same sin over and over everyday, it would seem something is very wrong. Only the Lord knows how many times He will forgive but it appears the deciding factor would be the sincerity of our repentance and just how serious we are to STOP! The mercy of the Father endures forever but He is also not mocked. In John chapter 8, we see a young woman who was brought to Jesus. She is accused of committing adultery and in the Law of Moses this trespass was to a sin unto death. Jesus bends down and writes something in the dirt with his finger and makes the comment, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (Verse 7) Her accusers become convicted in their conscience, dropped their stones and walked away leaving only the woman and Jesus. He say’s in verse 10 and 11, “Woman, where are your accusers? Hath no man condemned you? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more.” He is not saying that we will all live perfect without ever making a mistake but if we are determined to live HONESTLY in our personal relationship with Him, it will include inviting Him to purge out our desires that are enmity against Him. Turning away from whatever we lust after is a 180 degree turn. The idea is that we are going full speed ahead in one direction and by the grace of God we turn around and go completely away from it in the opposite way!

We have been called to the highest responsibility in the universe – to be the mouth, hands and feet of Jesus which is a reflection of the Fathers image. If no one trusts us or believes that we are telling the truth then we do not have much left to offer anyone. Being rich, famous, educated or successful does not really say anything about how HONEST we are. Would you take advice from someone that does live what they say? Why not? Do you admire and respect those who blatantly live in sin? No, because we cannot trust DECEPTION. The lost world might be impressed with human achievements but God is more concerned about the spiritual “state of the heart”! “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us WALK honestly, as in the day; not in rioting (reveling, carousing) and drunkenness, not in chambering (rebellion against authority) and wantonness (morally unrestrained, debauchery), not in strife and envying. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:12-14) We have all seen what dishonesty looks like and it is always dark and hideous. I work for a large corporation and have seen things that would stagger the imagination. There are so many dirty deeds that are done “under the table” everyday that always make room for “exceptions” to the rules. Those that have traded their integrity for money, favor and authority are very dangerous and ruthless when it comes to playing social politics and can cause much damage because they do not care who it negatively affects. We as Christians are faced with having to function in a world where the majority is usually non-Christian and in this regard, operate without a conscience that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Without the presence of Jesus dwelling in the heart, there cannot be spiritual love, wisdom or the concern to live honestly. When carnal nature rules the conscience, there will be deception, dishonesty, backbiting, envy, strife, jealousy, hatred, and every other opposition to what is right, especially toward those who in the family of God. Birds of a feather flock together and the spirits of darkness and light do not agree on anything. What we need to remember is that we are not to battle in our flesh against our enemies but to work hard, do a good job, stay pure and take ALL our problems to Father in the secret place of prayer. Even when our trials are breaking our heart, making us angry and tempting us to be offended, we must stand firm in our faith that KNOWS God has a plan. Dishonesty is a branch on the liar tree and is always unfair, unjust, deceptive and hurtful. Our ACTIONS against this dark spirit is not what can make things right – but God through our REACTION will settle the issue His “perfect” way.

Honesty is one of our spiritual identifications! Let us be a peculiar people who are known for being reliable, trustworthy, credible, fair, wise, pure, respected, dependable, and who cannot be persuaded to compromise their integrity – no matter the pressure. “Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: In whose hands is MISCHEIF and their right hand is full of BRIBES. But as for me, I will walk in mine INTEGRITY: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.” (Psalm 26:9-11) If we have lived a Godly life and gained the respect from those who know us, we will not need to push our opinions or chase people with our bibles. They will come to us for advice and direction because they TRUST us and believe we will be HONEST in God. We can work around the clock but unless our character is built on the complete surrender to Christ, our labor is in vain. Selah.