Jun 24


In case you didn’t know…

Presidential elections begin 18 months or more before the actual date. It doesn’t matter who controls the White House, there is no shortage of individuals throwing their hat into the ring. The media helps to create the drama. They love a good horse race! Long before the Iowa caucuses, news outlets compile lists and bios for all presidential hopefuls.

#Pray 2020 is bathing the entire presidential process with the Spirit and direction of God. We ask Him for peace, order and fairness.

We’re on the brink of chaos!

It’s 2019. A very large group of people have not gotten over the election of Donald Trump. On college campuses, students protest with screams and cries, NOT MY PRESIDENT! Where does free speech end and political discord and chaos begin? Three years into a presidency and these groups continue their cry.

In the past, the two political parties would put aside their differences and come together. Unfortunately, that did not happen in this cycle. Since getting elected, Democrats have schemed for ways to discredit and indict President Trump. So far, nothing substantial has been uncovered. Don’t get me wrong–if Trump has done something criminal, he should be prosecuted. So far, all I’ve seen is speculation and a waste of money and time. Resources like air time are limited. Many valuable news stories don’t get air time because we are focused on railroading the president. #Pray2020

Freedom of Speech and Thought

The First Amendment is what makes America so remarkable! We don’t have to approve of the way others believe or speak but we need to let them have their opinions. If we don’t, we become North Korea or Communist China. In those countries, people who disagree with the State get sent to “re-education camps” AKA prison. I believe all people have the right to voice their opinion, even if I disagree with what they say! However, groups do not have the right to cause physical harm to others. Many of the college protests at Berkeley have resulted in vandalism. This crosses the line. #Pray2020

Popular vs. Electoral College

On this issue, I have to side with the electoral college. Do we want large cities like New York, Miami and LA will choose every president? Citizens living in Montana or Oklahoma will not bother to cast a vote because it won’t matter. However, I do believe the winner-take-all for the state’s electoral casting could be updated. Again, dissenting voices are silenced with this system. #Pray2020


Nobody likes a cheater. Nobody likes a sore loser either. If people suspect cheating, the legitimacy of the results comes to question. Remember the hanging chad controversy of the 1990’s? If not, the state of Florida had to recount thousands of votes. This was back when we used a stylus to punch out our choice. In the process of the recount, some of the punches got damaged and it was unclear who people voted for. #Pray2020

Project Veritas just came out with video from Google. It looks like the search engine is trying to shape the outcome of the election by manipulating the results of searches online.

Who is allowed to vote?

  • Dead people? Rumors have been circulating for years how thousands of deceased individuals cast ballots.
  • Convicted felons? Once someone completes his/her probation, should voting rights be restored?
  • Illegal immigrants? The debate rages on as to who should be allowed to vote. Recently, Congress approved voting rights for illegal immigrants.
  • Citizens without photo IDs? I have to show my ID to buy cold medicine or board a plane. Is it really too much to ask? #Pray2020
Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood

It’s spiritual warfare

Unfortunately, many of us (myself included) separate politics from spirituality. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6). The real puppet master is Satan! The only way to defeat him is through the Word of God and with prayer. That is why we need to start the #Pray2020. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are at stake! The new religion is humanism and the savior is government.

The silencing the voices of people of faith is in the “air”. This is why we need to pray for this upcoming election. This is why we need to encourage each other to pray for our country with #Pray2020. People on both sides of the political aisle both want peace and unity. We need to be specific in our prayers. Encourage others to act in fair ways and report those who do otherwise. Only if voters feel the election is fair and ethical can we abide by the final vote count. Prayers need to be lifted for our leaders to act in ways that are moral and ethical. The very existence of our country is at stake. Pray for our nation and pray often #Pray2020.

Apr 19

3 Reasons to Study Revelation NOW

The time is NOW to study Revelation

Like the spare room cluttered with stuff, needing to be organized, Revelation is this room. We shut the door and promise to deal with it later. Revelation is easy to find and we know the topic is about the end of days, but still we avoid it. Some people avoid it because it seems scary while others can’t be bothered deciphering the symbolism, disasters, seals, bowls and weird creatures.

To me, the book gives the aura of mystery and symbolism that many theologians and authors have twisted it into something complicated, making it too hard to fully understand. That is, until I stumbled on a Bible teacher who has a passion for the Word like none I’ve seen before.

The ministry is called Thru the Bible and is founded by the late pastor Dr. J. Vernon McGee. His radio ministry desires to share the Word of God with the nations. In a 5-year plan, you can listen to Dr. McGee discuss every chapter of the Bible. The people at Thru the Bible have taken his radio messages and transcribed them into books. For some reason, these transcripts helped me learn better than the spoken word. Maybe it’s because I could see and better understand his teachings and then go over it again and again. Regardless, his teachings give me confidence and a better understanding of Revelation. Dr. McGee knows the Bible! While I learned a tremendous amount from his teachings on Jeremiah, Genesis and Matthew, I was blown away when I studied Revelation. Here’s why…

Dr. McGee states that Revelation is the EASIEST and most ORGANIZED book of the Bible?!

I have never heard anyone state this before. He says the apostle John is very clear in the text. Where John is recalling what he is seeing we are to take him literally and when John wants us to look at things symbolically, he uses the word “like” or “as”. And unlike the book of Jeremiah, Revelation is in chronological order.

The Church is raptured before the Tribulation

Here is another aspect that blew my mind…you know the debate of when the church will be raptured, is it before of after the Tribulation? With Dr. McGee, there is no debate. The church is mentioned up to chapter 3 and then no more until the end. Why? We are gone, taken to heaven. John does not explicitly say it but this lines up with God’s character. God never pours out His wrath on His bride. Sure, we get punished for bad behavior, but not like this. Look at Noah or even the Babylonian captivity recounted in Jeremiah and played out in Daniel. That “captivity” was God’s protection (Jeremiah 24). Those who stayed behind were destroyed. After Revelation 3, the only “church” left is the apostate church. Apostate is a fancy word that means turned away, particularly from one’s faith. Many of our friends and family will be left behind because they do not have a relationship with Jesus! You cannot be Christian merely by association or by doing good and godly things. We know this yet many people we think are saved are not.

WARNING: We need to know our ENTIRE Bible before we study Revelation.

Dr. McGee warns not to study Revelation unless you have a good working knowledge of the other 65 books. Revelation is the culmination of everything and often refers to passages found elsewhere in the Bible. I agree with this warning but add a little more. It is also helpful to know a little about Jewish religious feasts. Jews celebrate 7 times throughout the year: 4 in spring and 3 in fall. These are mandatory times of remembrance and celebration. When the Temple was around, they were required to travel to Jerusalem for the adherence 3 times a year. Those feasts with travel include Passover, Weeks, and Tabernacles.

What’s the Jesus connection?

Christ’s death, burial and resurrection coincide with Passover, Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits respectively. The Holy Spirit comes on the Feast of Weeks. The Rapture, Great White Throne of Judgement and Eternity line up with the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Tabernacles respectively.

The events of Revelation are not something a young believer would understand or appreciate. Many of us are guilty of focusing on only the New Testament and especially the “red letter” passages of the Gospels. Christ’s story is woven through the entire work of the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. Authors like Nancy Guthrie have done a good job of teaching this. My ladies’ group has done several of her studies. The ladies are always surprised to see Jesus in the “white spaces” of the Old Testament. Throughout the Bible we see shadowing and word pictures of what is to be fulfilled in Christ. Jesus constantly refers to Old Testament passages. They lose their significance if we don’t study those parts of our Bible too.

The end of God’s story concludes with Christ the victor. Both death and Satan defeated. Many of our friends and loved ones are also condemned and separated from God for all of eternity.

Reasons to study Revelation NOW:

1) Events appear to be lining up.

No one can deny we have the technology to carry out the events seen in Revelation. China is working on prohibiting buying or selling if you do not have a certain social score. Some European countries are beta testing implantable microchips for employees. Facebook recently purchased a government ID tracking software. Plus, there is no denying the push for one world government and currencies. Can anybody say Bitcoin?

Within a generation, white Europeans will be outnumbered by Muslim Europeans.White Europeans are in a negative population growth while Muslim women have many children each. The Middle East and Europe are destined to become one in the very near future.

In the US, the darkness and degradation are at new lows. Have you seen the Fred Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? If we see a man with Fred Roger’s mannerisms, soft spoken, love for children, kind and gentle soul, we would question his intentions, wouldn’t we? Fred Rogers was a devout follower of Christ who lived out his ministry in the secular realm, sharing love and acceptance to all children. Any other man desiring to be around young children must have an ulterior motive, right? He’s a sick perv. Nope. In the 1960s and 1970s, there wasn’t as great deal of a sexual perversion like it is now.

It is now legal to kill babies at any time during gestation, including once it is delivered. Sex with children will be just as commonplace as homosexual relations. People are born this way after all. Don’t believe me? There are a subculture of men who openly admit to only admiring these youngsters. Have you ever heard of NAMBLA (National Man Boy Love Association)? I remember back in college in the early 1990s joking about this group. A gay friend followed them and would tell us they were known for having Will Wheaton sightings. At the time, Will Wheaton was a child actor on Star Trek Next Generation. Apparently, NAMBLA members put Wheaton on their hot list. Disgusting. Like a frog in a pot that slowly begins to boil, we forget how far we have fallen in our depravity until we turn around and remember what our culture used to be like. Right now in the state of New York, it’s a greater crime to be racist than to kill your unborn child in a fit of rage. God have mercy on our souls.

2) The message is imperative.

Do you “cheat” and read the end of the novel to see how it all works out? It can be relaxing knowing that the characters will be OK even though they are going through turmoil at the time. The same is true for us. Since I studied Revelation, I feel more at ease about the craziness of this life, because I know Who wins!

Stop reading the Bible and the stories about Jesus as if they were fiction. Spend some time on them, letting it sink in, this is truth! I remember over 12 years ago when I had this a-ha moment. It was when I first began studying the Jewish feasts, I began to realize God was real. Might sound stupid or silly but I can recall saying it over and over again…God is real, God is real. At the time, I had been a Christian for 10 years. I felt guilty of seeing Jesus as a story book character instead of God, King, and ruler of the universe!

Understanding Revelation makes me pray for other’s salvation. This should be our number 1 priority. Eternity without God is unbearable. Story lines like NBC’s the Good Place serve only to deceive us into thinking we all go heaven. Those outside of Christ’s righteousness will be cast into oppressive darkness and finally the lake of fire. This is the same lake of fire that is reserved for the Antichrist and Satan.

Dr. McGee says people want to be judged by God. They want to see if their good outweighs their bad. Unfortunately, God demands perfection if we come on our own merit. Since none of us have that to offer, the punishment is very clear: eternal separation. Eternal, forever. Oppressive darkness in a place that is real, not made up.

3) Helps us focus on what is important.

After studying Revelation, I can’t help but daydream about eternity. The small and insignificant things of this world don’t stack up. I care less and less about status, stuff, accolades, etc. None of it matters. It’s all fleeting, temporary and nothing compares to the riches that await me in eternity!

A side effect of studying Revelation is increased prayer for lost loved ones. How often are you concerned with the salvation of others? We will enjoy the bounty of never-ending peace and joy. Those who do not have a relationship with God will be judged and then cast out for ALL ETERNITY to a place of oppressive darkness, pain and torture. WAKE UP! This is real. Heaven is real; Hell is real!! TV shows like the Good Place, Touched By an Angel, and Ghost Whisperer all lead you to believe that we all go to some magical place of light when we die. It’s not true.

God is loving but His grace and mercy have a shelf life, a time limit. I’ve been drawn to Isaiah 55:6-7: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his ways and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and he will find mercy, and to our God for He will freely pardon.” The mercy of our God does not last forever. The fullness of time will come, and He will seek justice and unleash His wrath on all mankind. We like to think of God as loving but forget He is also holy. His holiness cannot be near our unrighteousness–it’s why we need to be covered with the blood of Jesus. For us,  there is no judgement, only reward. But for those who choose to stand on their own merit, they will be judged at the end of days.

This parallels the Jewish feast known as the Day of Atonement. Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Dr. McGee writes something peculiar to me. He says man wants to be judged by God. We want to stand before God and have our good and bad placed on scales to determine our entrance into paradise. What most people fail to realize is that God has an impossible standard. His acceptance is based on perfection. If we miss the mark, even by a little, we cannot enter His presence.

Hell is a real place. Make no mistake of it. Many people as well as many learned Bible teachers have claimed hell to be either a place outside the gates of Jerusalem where trash was burned or simply made up. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 assures us that everlasting punishment is real.

Revelation goes into great detail to assure us that hell is where the Antichrist, false prophet, and eventually Satan will be cast. God created hell for them, not for us. Unfortunately, man sinned and lost his ability to be in relationship with God. Our Savior is a gentleman and does not force Himself on anyone. We either choose it or not. Islam, the religion of Satan, is not like that. In Muslim countries, 90%+ follow the faith. The very name, Islam, means submission. There is no freedom, no choice, only submission.

Here’s the bottom line…I know it can be difficult to believe the fantastic events of Revelation. Rest assured, they will all come to pass just as John foretold. Here’s why. God has a 100% track record on predicting the future. Recall the numerous prophesies regarding the birth and death of Jesus? They all came true! God is a God or order. The death, burial and resurrection align with Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and the Feast of Weeks. I highly encourage you to study the fall feasts. The next one is the Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah.

Don’t be afraid

Remember God has not given us a spirit of fear! Perfect love casts out fear! Before you start worrying about the what if’s of the future, remember how God has provided and protected you in the past. For me, it was Snowpocalypse here in Atlanta. The entire town went to work and then decided to leave early because of a bad snow storm. Roads were jammed like never before. It took commuters 5-12 hours to get home. Some never made it. Cars were left on the roadsides, abandoned everywhere! I was downtown at the time. Took me 5 hours to drive to my sister-in-law’s place. It’s a drive that should take 20 minutes. My biggest fears: running out of gas, no food or water, having to go to the bathroom and being stuck in traffic. God took care of EVERYTHING! Found a bathroom downtown at the only convenience store in all of downtown. Not only did I not have to wait, there was toilet paper! Had a stash of snacks and water in the car and safely made it to a gas station despite skidding out a couple of times. I narrowly made it to the drug store to get saline for my contacts. The store closed shortly after I arrived. For 2 days, I was a refugee with my sister-in-law. God provided food, safety and shelter for me. Whenever I start to worry about the impending destruction, I remember this story.

Find comfort in words from God found in Psalm 91. It’s said every evening by Jews in their bedtime prayers.

Dec 10

When faith isn’t enough

Have faith in your faith. Just believe. Do you feel God? Feel the Spirit. There is MORE to faith than these trite sayings…

Faith is the foundation of modern Christianity. It can seem shaky because we teach faith based on platitudes of goodness, love and on the testimony of men and women 2,000 years removed. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). What? I have a hard time getting my mind around this verse on faith.

Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to God must believe that He is (exists) and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Faith is essential to the Christian walk. But, how do we have faith in someone we can’t see? I completely trust in the absolute authority of the Word of God. However, these verses on faith are difficult for me to understand and put into practice.

Say “NO” to emotional faith

Walking with a faith based on emotions and we are vulnerable to the least difficulty of life.

If I don’t feel God, is He there? Does He hear my prayers? The answer is YES. Even when we don’t feel God, He is there and will answer our prayers. He hasn’t left us. In the bad times, the sadness, the struggle, the depression, He is there.

This, again, sounds trite– it sounds like encouragement with false hope. But, this one is TRUE. We believe what God says because He doesn’t lie. It is not in His nature to lie. Jews daily remind themselves of God’s faithfulness. Several times a day they recite prayers to remind themselves of how God rescued them from slavery in Egypt. They recall the miracle allowing them to escape across a body of water on dry ground! We need to make remembrance a priority in our spiritual lives. God has done amazing things for His people and is able to make a way for us too. Truth is our foundation–absolute truth that does not shift or waiver. If we base our faith on truth instead of feelings, we will be rock solid!

Christ the solid rock

Base your faith on Christ, the solid rock. The Bible (and pastors) tell us He is truth, incapable of lying. His promises never fail us. If we build our lives on anything other than Jesus, we will be dissatisfied. Neither fame nor fortune, relationships nor things will ever be able to fill the void. Buried deep within the center of our being, we long for purpose and meaning. Put your faith, hope and trust in man (or woman) and you will be let down 100% of the time.

How do you fill this void? Become like King David. He loved God’s word; he loved God’s law. Study the Bible by yourself and especially with others. Talk about the passages. Understand how it all fits together. I highly recommend studying the Bible itself and not doing a teacher’s 10-week study. Dig into the Bible and use commentaries. My weekly group did this with the book of Jeremiah. This is a complicated book but very worthwhile to study! One of the members made a timeline to help us understand the history of kings. Some people used Wiersbe. I used J. Vernon McGee. We went chapter by chapter and taught each other. At the end of the study, I received an unexpected surprise… When you understand the book of Jeremiah, it helps you understand several other books of the Old Testament! I’m talking about books you might not otherwise read like 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Daniel, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. All of these books feed off of the story in Jeremiah.

Nuggets I received from the book of Jeremiah:

  • Jeremiah was considered successful in the eyes of God yet he had ZERO converts. Nobody listened to him.
  • The remnant taken to Babylon (the people in the story of Daniel) were the ones who were faithful to God. This capture was God’s provision and later blessing. This remnant later formed the group to go back and rebuild the Temple.

The secret to faith: a relationship with Jesus

I don’t have faith in my faith nor hope in my hope; I have faith in the Trinity, Father, Son, Spirit. Christians are not weak people walking through life leaning on the crutch of Jesus. We can have evidence, proof, legs to stand on our faith! Where do we get this proof? Judaism.

When you study Judaism you will see meaning and significance to the life, death and resurrection of our Savior. When you study the Temple and the sacrifices you will understand why Jesus was called the Lamb of God and the significance of events that took place in the Temple at the time of His death. The stories of the Old Testament, the rituals, the feasts all point to the saving work of Jesus Christ.


Do you think Jesus died on some random day? Do you think the Jews or the Romans killed Him? NO! He laid down His life at precisely the right time.

Jesus died during the feast of Passover. It’s a holiday of travel–all males were required to go to Jerusalem to sacrifice a lamb at the Temple. These lambs were not just any lamb, they were perfect male lambs, killed in their prime, born in Bethlehem. This is also why Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem.

The very hour that Jesus died on the cross was exactly the same hour the lambs were sacrificed in the Temple. When Jesus finally passed away, the Bible says the giant curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom. A curtain over 12 feet tall and so heavy and large it took 100 men to carry it tore on its own!

Even more incredible was the fact that merely entering this inner sanctum was strictly prohibited. The Holy of Holies was the special place that could be entered only once a year and only after the priest was cleansed completely. If he didn’t cleanse himself to God’s specifications, death was imminent. The Holy of Holies was where the Spirit of God dwelt. Jesus died on the cross and got rid of the need for the blood of an animal to cleanse us from our sins. Instead of dwelling in a building, Jesus’ Spirit will live in us if we ask Him.

Why did Jesus stay buried?

A better question is why did Jesus rise from the dead on Sunday morning? The Sunday after Passover is a feast known as Firstfruits. Jesus is shouting to the world the promise of eternal life! Therefore, instead of focusing on Jesus being in the grave and where was He, focus on why He waited and what it means. Bodily rising from the dead, Jesus promises the same for us one day. The first of everything belongs to God: animals, crops, first born male, etc.

When we put our faith in the all-powerful, holy, truthful person of Jesus Christ, we can stand rock solid! Today is the day to begin a relationship with the God of the universe. Everything and everyone in this life will let you down. They cannot fill the emptiness inside no matter how hard you try. Only a relationship with Jesus can fill the empty space. Seek Him while He is found, call on Him while He is near…


Jun 01

How to Live as a Christian in 6 Easy Steps

live as a ChristianIf you ask the typical believer how to live as a Christian, you might get a perplexed look and a jumbled response. Are we taught how to live out our faith in a simple and methodical manner or have we made it too complicated? We are inundated with so many books, sermons, advice–it makes my head spin too! Learning how to live as a Christian in 6 easy steps sounds like an impossible task or some kind of gimmick. And why 6 steps? Why not 7 or 10? Believe it or not, these 6 steps are ancient, having been practiced for centuries. I’ll be honest with you, this list is not labeled how to live as a Christian but it might as well be!

Many of our churches and sermons are focused on getting people saved; we forget to help these new believers grow. I need step-by-step directions. What does it look like to live as a Christian once I become one?

Before I get into the list of how to live as a Christian in 6 easy steps, I want to tell you what this is NOT:

  • Magic. This new life takes work, study, dedication– changing old habits and ways of thinking.
  • Easy. While the steps are easy, doing them perfectly is not. We battle against an enemy who wants you to fail at every turn.
  • Popular. Remember the Purpose Driven Life or the Prayer of Jabez? At one point in time, everyone was doing those studies. This is not one of those studies or paths or lifestyles. While it might not be well-known, it is biblical. Like I said, this list has been practiced by the Hebrew people for centuries. We need to stop trying to re-invent the wheel!

This list is not mine and it’s not new–it’s very old, thousands of years, in fact. It comes from the Jews and can be found in the Jewish book of prayer known as the Siddur. Part of living within the Covenant of God includes following 613 Commandments.  Many of them deal with issues like cleanliness, family life, food, holidays, etc. Here is an excerpt from Orthodox Union on the subject:

“Mitzvos (good works) are generally classified into two categories, time-bound and not time-bound. Time-bound mitzvos can only be fulfilled at certain times, such as eating matzah on Pesach or shaking a lulav on Succos. Even most mitzvos that are not time-bound cannot be fulfilled all the time. For example, one cannot fulfill the mitzvah of mezuzah if one doesn’t have a door. There are, however, six mitzvos that Jews are instructed to fulfill at all times and in all places. Riding the bus? You can fulfill six mitzvos. Laid up in bed with a bad cold? You can do these. These are called the six Mitzvos Temidios or ‘Constant Mitzvos.’”

These 6 are the cornerstone of daily living, to be observed at all times of the day. By observing these commandments, one will be in a closer relationship to God–and I agree! Just because we live under the New Covenant doesn’t mean we need to throw off every Jewish teaching. In fact, some of these commandments embrace Christ without even knowing it!

The 6 Constant Mitzvos (moral deed performed with religious duty)

Yes, God gave the Hebrews 613 Commandments to observe but thankfully only 6 to perform at all times. Before you discount these commandments, know that none of them are undone by what Jesus did on the cross. Judaism has a lot to teach us if we are willing to open our minds and accept their ways. We will see that we serve the same God–the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Why study the 6 constant mitzvos? The commentary in my Siddur, the Jewish book of prayer says our reward is boundless! Stop and think about this for a moment–boundless reward. Tapping into the True Vine at all times gives us boundless rewards. If we perform these 6 constantly, the reward is boundless. 

  1. Faith in God
  2. Don’t believe in other gods
  3. God’s oneness
  4. Love God
  5. Fear God
  6. Don’t stray after your heart and eyes

Faith in God. I am the Lord your God who has taken you out of Egypt. 

This concept is tied to the exodus from Egypt. Stop and think about the miracle that is the exodus of the Old Testament. Over 1 million people left slavery of Egypt and traveled a long distance to what is now Israel. But even before the exodus were the 10 signs, the plagues cast onto the Egyptian people and especially pharaoh. God didn’t need to do all of those incredible signs and wonders. He chose to do them to show the world His power and to provide us a shadow of the sacrifice and covering that was to come in Jesus, the Lamb of God. Several times a day, Jews commemorate this event in remembrance. For the Jew, it is the center of their faith, the miracles of the exodus, the deliverance from slavery.

This event shows that God has total and complete control of the world and universe. This first mitzvos shows that it is the obligation of every Jew, and I say every Christian, to believe in the God who brought about these miracles. Recall the story of Joseph and how God sent him ahead to Egypt. Through God’s favor and wisdom, Joseph collected food in the years of plenty so that the Hebrew people would have plenty to eat during the famine.Jacob and his family entered Egypt as a group of about 70. Four hundred years later they emerged as a nation of over a million! It solidifies the story of God calling out His nation, establishing them and delivering them into their promised land.

Don’t believe or worship other gods. You shall not have other gods in my presence. 

Sounds easy for most of us since bowing to a statue of Hindu god or Buddha seems silly. But when you get down to the meat of this mitzvos, we will see how guilty we all have been. Anything we put above God is worshiping it: our children, significant other, our wants, money, stuff, prestige, etc.  Putting anything or any one above God is worshiping them. Our God is jealous and wants no others before Him! If we ever thought that God would delegate His role to an angel or some other entity, then we are breaking this mitzvos. This includes worship of saints or the Virgin Mary. God, alone, is to be worshiped.

God is ONE.

This concept is extremely important in the Jewish faith. It’s in the first part of the Shema, 

the daily pledge of devotion said twice a day, every day. Because God is our healer, deliverer, merciful, etc. it is easy to see Him as many when in reality it is all coming from one source. For us as Christians, we worship a tri-une God: Father, Son Holy Spirit.

Thousands of years before Jesus, the concept of the oneness of God was paramount. This oneness is so significant, it’s a message of utmost importance to God yet overlooked by the Christian church. I just told you earlier in this paragraph that Jews announce the oneness of God several times a day, every day. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE!” It’s such a significant concept that Muslim’s have a similar saying about their god, proclaiming his oneness. Islam is Satan mimicking the one true God. For both faiths, this oneness principle is key.  Muslims consider Christians to be polytheistic, worshiping more than one god. This could not be farther from the truth. I hope you are beginning to see the importance of this oneness characteristic of God. If it’s important to Him, it should be important to us. From the beginning of time, the Lord God has been telling us that though He appears as many, it all is part of the same God, the 3 in one.

Loving God. You shall love the Lord your God. 

The Shema says we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Trust, adoration, praise, worship, giving, thankfulness, etc., are all ways we can express this love to Him. I like to think of it this way, loving God is our part. When we are faithful to do our part, God will be faithful to do His part: taking care of everything else in our lives. It’s a level of gratitude that says every good thing comes from the gracious hand of a loving Father, and we need to let Him know how grateful we are. The patriarch Jacob did just that in Genesis 46:29. His favorite son, Joseph was thought to be dead. It was 22 years later when the two were reunited.” As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father[h] and wept for a long time.” We think Jacob was hugging his son and weeping over him. If you study the original text, you’ll see that there is much more to this reunion than we think.

AND WEPT ON HIS NECK A GOOD WHILE — The phrase ויבך עוד signifies weeping copiously. So, too, עוד has the same meaning in (Job 34:23) “For He doth not place upon a man עוד” — which means something more than is proper: God does not place on him accusations additional to his sins (the sins he has really committed) Here, also, he wept greatly and continuously — more than is usual. Jacob, however, did not fall upon Joseph’s neck nor did he kiss him. Our Rabbis say: the reason was that he was reciting the Shema (renewing his allegiance to God immediately on settling in a new land).

This is a commentary from the sage, Rashi. For centuries, Jews recite the Shema over and over again–in times of joy and in times of sorrow. It is central to the faith–loving God with all we have. Whether in the good or in the bad, this principle of loving God transcends our joy and our sorrows. He is with us and is worthy of our love and devotion no matter what. This fourth mitzvos reminds us to love God at all times.

Fearing GodYou shall fear the Lord your God. 

Is this the trembling kind of fear or is it respect and awe? In my opinion, it should be a little of both. We live in an era where disrespecting authority is encouraged. Children don’t need to obey parents or teachers and adults are constantly pushing the limits of what’s deemed right and wrong. We forget the sheer awesomeness of God and what He is capable of doing. We do not tremble at His majesty and the power He wields over the very elements of this world. Fearing God is what guards us from sinning. God knows, God sees all that we do, whether in public or in secret. A better way to phrase this is to be in awe of God. We need to realize that our actions have consequences, both physical and spiritual. At the end of days, there will be a judgement of all the things we have done. Thankfully our eternal destination is not determined by our deeds done here on earth. But, our reward in heaven will be based off of what we did. Is your life centered around yourself or others? Are you a person of high moral character even if no one is watching?

Do not stray after your heart and eyes.

Who doesn’t love expensive things are lavish lifestyles? This used to be a real struggle for me. I would envy everyone around me who had newer and fancier everything. I would feel badly about myself and begin to covet. Little by little, the Lord has revealed to me that those things will never satisfy the inner longings of my soul like He does. They are like a mirage you might see while wandering in the desert. When you get to one area you realize there is something better just on the horizon. Stuff will never satisfy. You will never be rich enough, thin enough, successful enough, popular enough. You will always yearn for more and it will never satisfy. Look at Hollywood, stars who seem to have it all yet commit suicide. Jesus tells us that if our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out, our hand, cut it off. He is a jealous God who will not have us worshiping any other. Sounds like what we learned in the 2nd mitzvot.

There they are, how to live as a Christian in 6 easy steps.

Feb 26

3 Reasons NOT to Pray

prayHave you prayed today? Why? Is it because you ought to or because you want to? Is it because you WANT something? What if it were true there are 3 reasons not to pray–legitimate ones? Remember that the Christian life is all about FREEDOM! The old covenant was all about rules and regulations, 613 to be exact. Following those rules was how people showed love and devotion to God. We should still follow some of those rules like the familiar ones in the 10 Commandments because they keep us safe and give blessings. Thankfully we don’t have to follow rules like milk and meat don’t touch. Many of us would be heartbroken to think that eating a cheeseburger could hamper our Christian walk! But what are these 3 reasons not to pray?

  1. God knows what we need before we ask. Matthew 6:8 Are you kidding me? Jesus made this statement in the section about the Lord’s Prayer. You might have missed that phrase in verse 8. Jesus was setting up the model of how we ought to pray. So why would He make a statement like the one in verse 8 and then show us how to pray?
    1. Prayer expresses our trust in Him. While we don’t need to pray, we get to pray. When we cry out to God, we are showing we trust Him with our lives and not merely saying it. We are showing we genuinely trust God, His wisdom, His plan, His sovereignty over our lives.
    2. Fellowship with God. Can you believe the God of the universe wants to be your friend? Prayer is the vehicle by which we can have this friendship with Him. But prayer needs to be more that just a quick sentence or two in the morning or before a meal, it should be an ongoing dialogue throughout the day. He’s always with us. Don’t shut Him out!
    3. He allows us to be involved in eternally significant activities. Wow! Have you ever stopped to think about that? I’m thinking about when we pray for someone struggling whether physically or spiritually. We are fighting for that person’s very soul! Doing battle in the heavenlies! Have you ever read This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti? He does an excellent job at portraying what happens in the spiritual realm when Christians pray. It’s like our prayers empower the angels to fight for good! This is what our prayers do–push back the enemy!!
  2. Get out of Jail free. Is this the way you see prayer? A cry when nothing else works but then you turn away again when life settles down. In the book of Revelation, we are warned about being this type of follower of Christ. They are called lukewarm followers, not hot and not cold. In Revelation 3:16 it says Jesus will vomit those types of believers out. Ouch! Verse 17 shows these lukewarm followers are wealthy, in need of nothing physically. Sounds like most Americans doesn’t it? But Jesus’ response in verse 17 is to say, “hey, you think you have it all but in reality you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.” Jesus is looking at us spiritually. At the end of days, all will be burned. Only that which withstands the fire will be proven worthy and will last. Revelation 3:18-21  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
  3. Study and not prayer is the highest form of worship. When we pray we speak to God. When we study God speaks to us. This is one of my favorite quotes from the book Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler. In my own prayer life, I’ve stopped by endless cries. The Holy Spirit has convicted my heart that when I constantly pray about a particular unpleasant situation in my life, it is like being in a conversation with someone who has diarrhea of the mouth! Point 1 says God knows what I need before I utter the prayer. Every once in awhile I gently offer it up in prayer but I don’t harp on it like I used to.
    1. The Bible is God speaking to us. Isn’t that what we really want to know? What does Jesus say about a particular situation. So many times the answer we seek is for God to take the hurt and difficulty away.
    2. Read this excerpt from Hebrews 12…In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

      “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
          and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
      because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
          and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

      Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it

Focus on this promise of righteousness and peace that come from being trained by hardship. Jesus, Himself, endured hardship and allowed Himself to be trained by it. If our Lord and Savior did it then so can we. As we push through the pain, lean into the Word, let it become a part of you.

So, if I’ve convinced you there are 3 reasons not to pray, what now? Should we all stop praying? No. But I do believe we need to change how we pray.

I’ve been studying different aspect of Judaism for years now. In the past year, I discovered a book of prayer, one that Jews have used for centuries. It’s called a Siddur, the Jewish book of prayer. In it are all of the prayers Jewish people recite for all types of festivals, blessings, and prayers for all of Jewish life. As I’ve studied the book there are a few things I’ve noticed.

Jewish prayer is about praise and not supplication. In my opinion, 99% of the prayers they utter are in praise and remembrance to God. Only 1% is requests. Now I may be exaggerating a little but the difference is staggering. Jews have been praying in this manner for THOUSANDS OF YEARS. Jesus would have prayed like this. They knew the principle in point 1 that God knows what we need before we ask it. They know that prayer allows us to enter into fellowship with God and shows we trust Him and His plans for us. Prayer i.e. praise–Jehovah Nissi the Lord is my banner. Moses named the altar this after the Amalekites were defeated in Exodus 17. When we praise God, His presence goes before us to fight our battles.


As I read through the Siddur, I’m struck with how much praise they give for every minute detail of their lives. Here’s little tidbit you probably didn’t know. We all know we should say a short prayer of gratitude before we eat a meal. Well, Jews pray before and after a meal! They have a complete and utter desire to praise God in all aspects of their lives, so much so, it is their goal to praise God at least 100 times a day!! If we all spent that much time getting in our praises, there wouldn’t be any time left to send up those whiny prayers for deliverance. God knows what we need before we ask, Matthew 6:8.

Forgive me for calling yours and my typical prayers whinny. It’s harsh, I know, but true unfortunately. When you get to the heart of our typical prayers, we pray because we WORRY. My prayers for deliverance, to make the hurt stop, for salvation for loved ones, for provision, are all wrapped up in worry.

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Oct 02

Jesus is our Firstfruits

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man,the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

What in the world is  “firstfruits” and why does it matter? First of all, it should matter to all of us. NO OTHER DAY (EXCEPT PASSOVER) IS MENTIONED AS MANY TIMES IN THE BIBLE. This celebration of the harvest was important, no essential, to the existence of the entire Jewish nation.

 When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 26:1-4

19 Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God. Exodus 23:19

Under the new covenant of modern Christianity, we are nothttps://i.pinimg.com/originals/02/34/8e/02348edc246f5e7a53f1d4f70d593dd4.jpg expected to bring the first of our harvest before the altar of the Lord. But, understanding what this act of giving our firstfruits, gives a deeper understanding to the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

The choice of the day

In the spring, Jews celebrate several feasts, times of celebration and remembrance. The first one we are all familiar with– Passover. Passover is feast that requires all people to travel to Jerusalem to commemorate God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. It is celebrated in conjunction with lots of animal sacrifices including the slaughter of perfect lambs that were raised in Bethlehem. Hence the reason one needed to be near the Temple. This is a one day celebration followed by a seven day celebration known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is a time when one does not eat any bread made with yeast. The yeast is a picture of sin in the Bible and it is a remembrance of the Passover story of the bread made in haste with no time to rise. The Feast of Firstfuits is a day that is mandated to be celebrated the day after the Sabbath after Passover. So  if Passover is celebrated on a Wednesday night, the Sabbath is Saturday, and Sunday is Firstfruits. It all gets a little more confusing when you remember that Jewish days actually begin at sunset.

How they celebrated

As people would grow their crops (typically barley), a small amount called an omer, approximately 2.2 liters, was set aside as their firstfruit offering. Men would consider the crops, looking for the best part and tie off a section to use as this offering so as not to damage it. Then on the day of the feast, it alone would be harvested and brought to the priests in the Temple. The priest would wave it before the altar, up and down, and left to right. A small amount of the grain would be thrown into the fire and the rest used to feed the Levites. No produce was eaten until this offering had been given.

Significance for us in Christ

In 1 Corinthians 15 (see above), Paul makes a statement about Jesus being the firstfruit for those who have fallen asleep (died). What does that mean? Well, first we need to look at the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Do you remember which day it was? Yes, it was a Sunday morning. I was raised Southern Baptist and they take pride in celebrating Jesus on that day of the week because that is when Jesus rose from the dead. The hidden message behind why Jesus rose on that day lies in the fact that it coincided with the celebration of the Feast of Firstfuits. See, Jesus died on Passover, at the exact time the lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple. He remained in the grave for those couple of days to wait for the Feast of Firstfruits and then rise! He is the firstfruit, a promise for us of what is to come– life beyond the grave!

15 The first offspring of every womb, both human and animal, that is offered to the Lord is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals. 16 When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. Numbers 18:15-16

But it gets better because there is more to this connection between Jesus and firstfruits. In the Old Testament, Mosaic Law commanded that every firstborn as well as the first of the crops (grain, oil, wine, etc.), belonged to Him. Yes, the firstborn of every Israelite family belonged to God. But, there was a way to ransom this child back. It was a ceremony known as Pidyon Haben, Redemption of the Son. It was possible to redeem the firstborn son out of full-time service to God by paying 5 pieces of silver to the priest. If you recall, it was during this Redemption of the Son ceremony that Jesus was first hailed as Messiah. Read this passage from Luke 2.

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Pidyon Haben, an act that is probably new to most of you, has such deep meaning.

Numbers 3:13 says, ” for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.”

If you recall, the only way to redeem those first born was…through faith in the covering of the lamb’s blood that was placed on their doorposts. We are all firstborn, all sinners under the curse of Adam, in need of redemption. Redemption can only be found through faith in the sacrifice of our Passover Lamb, Jesus, the firstfruits of eternal life.


The Feasts of the Lord by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal

A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays by Robin Scarlata and Linda Pierce

Aug 24

The Book of Jeremiah

Where has this book been all my life? Seriously. I have been a serious follower of Jesus for a LONG TIME and have never studied this book. Sure, there’s a couple of passages that are underlined, you know…I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to give you a hope and a future. But why have I never studied the book of Jeremiah until now?!

As I’ve gone through my Christian walk, I’ve leaned heavily on my pastors, teachers and mentors. They share which books are good to study. I remember being encouraged to read a Proverb a day. Who doesn’t love the book of Psalms. Then of course, I’ve studied every book of the New Testament–some several times. I’m a sucker for a great story which is why I’ve read through them all in Genesis, Esther, Ruth, Job, and Jonah. But why has no one ever encouraged me to read the book of Jeremiah?

The Old Testament is confusing at times.

First there’s the names, ugh the names. I only know a handful of people who can ever pronounce them. I asked one of these people and she said she makes it up and says it with confidence. She fooled me! Then it’s the story. I like a story I can follow from beginning to end. What kid doesn’t know the story of Noah? Heck, what non-believer doesn’t know the story of Noah? The biggest stumbling block for me and the Old Testament has been the culture/Jewish religion. So much is implied between the lines. We westerners are not the intended audience which is why so much is left out. For years, I have struggled with understanding those gaps. Today, I feel much more confident but realize there is more out there to learn.

So what if I told you that studying one book could help you better understand 5 other Old Testament books? Would the study of this book be worth the effort? That, my friend, is what the study of the book of Jeremiah gives you! And what are these book? They are Lamentations, Daniel, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. ALL of these books, the story, the plot, the characters, have their foundations in the book of Jeremiah.

Here’s a teaser…

Most of us are familiar with the story of Daniel. The story opens with the tragedy of the best and brightest of Israel being carried off to Babylon against their will. What is left out is that this capture was a result of years of misbehavior on the part of the Jews. Nobody worshiped God anymore. The hills were filled shrines to other gods. Over and over, Jeremiah begged the people to stop the worship of these false gods! As a result, God’s wrath was poured out over His people in the form of Nebuchadnezzar’s army overtaking Jerusalem and carrying away its people.

Read Jeremiah 24

After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord.One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.

Then the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

“Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.”

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

“‘But like the bad figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,’ says the Lord, ‘so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.’”

It was the Lord’s provision of BLESSING and PROTECTION that they were taken to Babylon. Chew on that for awhile.

Jun 05

What is God’s Plan For Your Life?

this way

Ever wish God’s path for our lives was this easy to find?

What is God’s plan for your life? This is the question millions of people ask themselves. It’s the reason why Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life was a bestseller. Before you can ask what God purpose is for you, I think we need to ask ourselves who God is, His character, His goals.

Do you see God an some all-loving, all-seeing, Santa Claus type character in the sky? Ask and you shall receive… While God is love, He is also a lot more than that. God is holy and perfection is His standard.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Pick up a book or listen to a sermon from any number of famous preachers and you’ll hear this verse taken to the extreme. Many preach the gospel of ease, comfort and pleasure as being God’ goal for our lives. God wants you to have that dream job, dream house, and make lots of money. He wants us to be free from heartache, disappointment and disease. Are you still waiting for your breakthrough? Do you think that if you just keep that positive attitude, God’ going to shower His blessings upon you?

The truth is that God’s goal for your life is not happiness but holiness.   Consider Hebrews 12:7-11. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

We are only true sons and daughters of God when we go through the difficult times because it is during those struggles that we learn how to depend more fully on God. It is when we learn to cling to His word, run to His strong tower, and submit our will to His. My favorite part is the end where it promises a “harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Beware of ANYONE who tickles your ears with fancy words of emotional goodness, puffing you up with false inspiration and hopes of an easy life. Stay clear of emotional hype and sermons with pithy sayings. Instead, surround yourself with humble children of God who you can enter into conversation with, bouncing your concerns and struggles off of. Learn how to become One Body Strong.

Apr 11

Are You Green With Jealousy?

It's more than just the 2013 Color of the Year

It’s more than just the 2013 Color of the Year

Everywhere I look, retailers are telling me emerald green is the color of the year. Pantone, this global heavyweight entity who determines this title of color of the year. According to their own website, Pantone “is the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries.” Their reach is in every consumer line from home and paint, to electronics and fashion. As the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, Pantone LLC sets the standard that all other industries follow. Wow!

On their official Emerald page, Pantone associates emerald with words like energize, heritage, and radiance and of course it can be related to the Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz, which is about the Emerald City. But to me, emerald reminds me of nature, sickness, jewelry, money, and greed (not necessarily related.) So how did the phrase “green with jealousy” come about? According to a question/answer board, this is how the color green got associated with jealousy:

“In the ancient Greek theory of medicine, which long governed medical treatment, it was believed that an imbalance of certain “humors” produced one’s physical symptoms.  Jealousy was considered to result in an excess of bile, which would give a pale-greenish cast to the skin.  This idea remained popular for centuries, though it underwent some transformations. It famously appears in ‘Othello,’ when Iago refers to jealousy as a ‘green-eyed’ monster.”

But with emerald, being the color of 2013 and forever linked to jealousy, it will be in our faces more than ever for the next few months. While this color’s hype will only last for 12 months, the spirit of jealousy lasts much longer. How do we combat it? First, let me start off by saying I don’t think of you or anyone who struggles with feeling of jealousy as being weak or unspiritual. It’s what you do with those feelings that says whether you are mature or not.

As I stare at my emerald-colored toenails, it’s apparent I want to fit in as badly as the next person. I have been “green with jealousy” on numerous occasions. From women who are thinner, smarter, more accomplished, wealthier, etc., there’s no end to what can make us jealous of someone else. There’s a spirit that strives to keep us discontent with every aspect of our lives, always wanting something more. The Bible warns about it in the 10 Commandments when it tells us not to covet what others have. When we covet, we feel immediately feel badly about ourselves and what God has given us. This leads to low self-esteem.

How do you break the cycle of jealousy? Be aware of it. Pick it apart. Find out why you’re jealous. Is there something you could do in your own life, some short-coming you need to work on? For me, it has been career. God has never allowed me to work a full-time job outside the home, despite my efforts. Time after time, I’ve hit a brick wall. This has been extremely frustrating to me because I am a go-getter who had great plans for my own life. On top of that, our family could  have used a large second income. So as I drove my rickety care through my nice neighborhood lined with beautiful homes, I found someone to be jealous of. She was Ivy League educated, top in her profession, and a successful entrepreneur. Week after week, something would remind me of her, stirring those feelings of jealousy.

When I finally met this woman, I was in awe of her. I never told her how much I admired her directly, but I never missed an opportunity to be where she was, hoping some of her greatness would rub off.

As time went on, God convicted me of my jealousy, showing me that people who have it all together in one aspect of their lives, are falling apart in other areas. As soon as I believed this truth, jealousy’s hold on me was broken. As I later learned, this woman was no exception. Today, she is divorced and no longer is a successful part of this community (although she may be profiting from it elsewhere.) I just heard that her only son committed suicide awhile back. What good is success if you have no one to share it with?

If you struggle with envy or jealousy, remember that everyone has difficulties or struggles in their lives. Nobody has it all! Pray that God will allow you to see others the way He sees them.

This is another reason why small groups are a critical part of spiritual growth. It’s when you get to know others around you that these facades break down and you see how messed up we all are. Learn to be content like Paul. Learn to become One Body Strong!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-13

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Realize. Repent. Redirect.