Be Transformed

Do you like change? I don’t! Yet, change is a part of life, isn’t it? When I first came to know Jesus Christ, it was easy to recognize changes that I needed to make in my life. I was 35, married, 3 small children under 5 years old and I hadn’t had a drivers license in years because of multiple DUIs. I had suffered 3 dramatically negative experiences in my life in a 6-month time period and I started questioning “what is life really about? Was everyone else the problem or was I the problem”. God used those 3 negative experiences and put the right people in my path to help me realize I needed Jesus. I’m so grateful for God’s love and how He orchestrated things at that time, all just for me.

Coming to know Jesus Christ is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Immediate change occurred, everyone could see it, there was no doubt. There was a lot of skepticism, I don’t think anyone expected it to last, they just figured it was a phase I was going through. All my old friends stopped coming around and I wasn’t hanging out at their place. This traumatic change occurred because I was reading God‘s word and believed in it’s full and complete truth. I knew that I needed support in following God’s truth and if I started hanging out with my old friends again, I might’ve questioned reality as I had done my entire adult life.

Romans 12:2 is a scripture that I memorized easily when I was still new in my faith and has always been one of my favorites

Do not be conformed to this world,                                                                                but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,                                                      so that you will know what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.

Not conforming to this world meant that I needed to stay away from the bars and not hang out at my friend’s houses. This wasn’t easy, my children would ask, “hey dad, why doesn’t Smitty come by anymore”? Smitty was my closest friend and yet, he spread rumors and lies about me because of this new change I’d made in my life. It hurt me deeply when I heard what he had been saying. I started every day reading, believing and following God‘s word, the truth in my life and I ignored what the world was saying about me. Every morning I renewed my mind in God’s word, was continually being transformed and becoming strong against the temptation of conforming to this world.

The word transformed is translated from a word that means metamorphosis. Another one of my favorite scriptures is 2Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;                                              old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

This scripture is also referencing a transformation, a metamorphosis. The caterpillar metamorphosis is used in a youth ministry called Chrysalis which I was involved in for years. Once a caterpillar builds his cocoon around himself, his body completely liquefies, the old is gone and look, something new and beautiful appears. That’s what God does for those of us who come to know him.

It was easy at first to identify things I needed to change in my life. Drinking, smoking pot, looking at women the way that I did and profanity were the “big 4”. When I became stronger against those temptations, I felt this great feeling of accomplishment as I praised God for how he changed my life, transformed my heart. Then I realized, there was a whole other set of temptations I needed to overcome. My first thought was, “I’m never going to get this life with Christ right”. But I realized, a life in Christ was kind of like an onion. As I overcame the initial temptations I struggled with, God peeled the outer layer of the onion away and tossed it in the garbage. He was telling me that I was doing good and He revealed a new set of temptations to deal with, the next layer. This new set of issues was not because I wasn’t getting life right, it was because I was being transformed into Christ’s likeness and he was revealing more of His truth to me. He didn’t throw the whole list on me at one time completely overwhelming me, “baby steps” as my friend Noreen would say, progress not perfection as God‘s word teaches. I learned there is an endless number of layers, I’m always going to have something to work on as I work through my sanctification process.

As far as I have come in my walk with Jesus, it seems I have so far yet to go to be in his likeness. I heard someone say years ago that the closer you get to being like Jesus, the further you will realize you have to go. It seemed like a strange comment to me all those years ago, but now I understand.

I daily run into circumstances where I realize I need an attitude adjustment, typically this revolves around loving people, particularly those whom I don’t like. At first, I thought this was just a thick layer of the onion, but I’ve come to realize that loving others is in every single layer of the onion. I know I am persevering and at times making 3 baby steps forward and 2 giant steps backwards, but I am being transformed by God’s word to love others more. To consider them first above myself. I must pray every morning that God bless me with a heart of love for everyone, especially those I dislike or who I find irritable. This is by far my greatest challenge at transforming to Christ’s likeness. I’m grateful for God’s word and His Holy Spirit who helps me discern what God is saying to me, showing me where I need to beware of conforming to this world and how I need to be transformed by renewing my mind from the teachings of His word so I will know what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God which is, to love others.

Persecuted

As I read Acts 22 I thought about how all of the disciples during this time period suffered persecution but, the types of persecution Paul suffered were second worst only to what Jesus suffered. The extreme persecution Paul would face was revealed to Ananias when he questioned Jesus about restoring Paul’s sight. There are many parallels between Jesus’s and Paul’s sufferings. They both knew before going to Jerusalem that there was a high probability they would die. They were courageous and willing to do God’s will despite the consequences. Both had the entire city of Jerusalem in an uproar. The Jews conspired to have them both killed. Both were handed over to the Gentiles. They both faced hostile crowds calling for their death.

It’s easy to identify when we’ve been persecuted, other people dislike us, their paranoid or jealous. How quickly do I identify my wrongful persecution towards others because of my dislike of them, I’m jealous or critical of them? For the most part, my persecution is done in secret within my heart, sometimes I catch my attitude after it’s already started down that road and I have to ask myself if I really understand what the other person is saying, what their intent actually is. Sometimes if things don’t look the way I think it should look or sound the way I think it should sound, I’m against it and I think other people are wrong. It’s ok if I don’t agree with others as long as I don’t criticize them. I often have a different opinion than good friends and that’s actually a good thing if everyone can discuss their differences and simply agree to disagree. How many times do different opinions tear relationships apart? I have found that good conversations with people I disagree with can change attitudes about differences. I’ve actually changed my mind about my opinions after good conversations with people who have a different view than me and sometimes, they have changed their views. I  recognize that I’m not always right, ugh.

It’s easy in today’s world to get caught up reacting in worldly ways rather than responding in Godly ways. Today’s world has gone so over the top crazy. It’s acceptance of anything and everything that is against God’s ways and so completely condemning towards anyone who speaks God’s truth. It’s important as we profess truth that we do it out of a heart of love for others, not getting caught up in the hostility that today’s world thrives in.

Not everybody likes truth, they just want life to be whatever they want it to be no matter how right or wrong that is. They don’t understand the chaotic world we would live in if everyone lived with that kind of attitude, however, don’t we see our world and our country, turning more and more that way. The people on this road who speak out against God‘s truth are the ones that speak the loudest, and the world is conforming to their ways. If you speak God’s truth, you’re discriminatory, old fashioned, unloving, hateful, unaccepting of others and your persecuted for believing in God’s truth. It’s going to get worse.

I often hear Christians say that God loves them just the way they are, this is true, but God loves us too much to leave us that way. God will continue to show us His truth and enlighten us to the life He wants us to live, it’s important we are courageous and share that with others, especially those we love the most despite what’s popular. Often times, God’s truth isn’t popular, even in many churches. Be courageous for Christ despite the possible consequences.

Imitating Christ

In chapter 6 we learned that the explosion of Christ followers happened so fast that certain problems arose. The disciples through God‘s wisdom quickly identified that they should not have to deal with some of those problems as they were there to preach and pray with the people. So they needed to identify certain Christlike brothers who would be involved in ministries that needed special attention. I noted in my Bible that there may have been approximately 50,000 followers at this point in Jerusalem. So, the 12 disciples chose 7 men of good reputation, full of the spirit and wisdom and appointed them to these duties.

Have you ever had someone ask, if you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Evidently, these 7 men could easily have been convicted of being Christians and they couldn’t stop talking about it as Jennifer mentioned a couple days ago. Out of 50,000 people, these 7 stood out and were chosen for this task. That’s pretty amazing really. I am often chosen for things at church, but there’s only about 30 of us. Even though I’m 60, I’m one of the younger people in my congregation. I get chosen by default ha ha.

Stephen was full of grace and power and was performing great wonders and signs among the people. it’s important to note, he was performing the same types of wonders and signs that Jesus did. Jesus told his disciples that they would do greater things than He. The same expectation is for all of us. I quickly identify in my mind why I couldn’t or can’t do things, like Moses did when he was called to perform God’s greatness in Egypt. Remember all the excuses? How many times have I had that debate in my mind, and not just with spiritual matters but with personal circumstances as well as professional. I tend to have a limiting belief that I bow to.

We know how the Jewish leaders were jealous of Jesus which is why they had him killed. Can you imagine the jealousy that arose after seeing this huge number of people explode in Jerusalem after the death of the problem they thought they got rid of. And then to see someone like Stephen performing the same wonders and signs as Jesus made them furious to the point they wanted to falsely accuse him just as they had done with Jesus. I’ve been falsely accused by others just as I’m sure you have. Work, friends, family. Typically, these people can talk, they just can’t hear, won’t hear, will not listen to truth. They just want their way no matter what that is. The really crazy thing is, if everybody actually verbalized what it is they wanted, they usually say they want the same thing. Don’t you think the religious leaders of this passage wanted a strong and faithful walk with God, you know that’s what they would say. That’s what Stephen wanted, that’s why he was serving the ministry that he was chosen for, why he was able to perform the great wonders among them. But because it didn’t look the way some wanted it to look or wasn’t being done by the right people, jealousy distorted and blinded certain people to God‘s truth and lead them to follow Satan‘s distortion. There’s a lot of that going around in today’s world.

When asked by the high priest if the accusations of blasphemy were true, Stephen gave a bit of a history lesson, which means that before coming to know Christ he studied the books of Moses and knew what God’s word said. At the end of the sermon, he called his accusers “stiff necked people”, think he followed Jesus around? He stated their ancestors didn’t listen to the prophets and had them killed. This man Stephen, performed signs and wonders like Jesus, admonished his accusers just like Jesus and in the end, asked for his killers to not be charged with their sin just like Jesus did from the cross.

Acts 6&7 are basically the highlight reel for Stephen. Many of us like catching up on sports and we love to watch the highlights of the greatest moves. What we don’t see is that for every 20 seconds of great play there was hours of hard work, daily work. My daily routine with God gives me the confidence to know I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength (Phil 4:13) which helps me overcome my limiting beliefs. What great signs and wonders have you been doing for Christ? Don’t sale yourself short, your parting of the Red Sea in your life will look very different from Moses’ parting. Who are you excitedly telling about Jesus?!

Love like God

As I read John 12 this time my focus tuned into the father son relationship between Jesus and God. Jesus had the perfect relationship with His Father.

I did not have a good relationship with my dad. Growing up, it seemed I couldn’t do anything right yet, I often heard him praise my little brother who was “just like daddy”, I heard my dad say that many times about my brother to his friends. I never heard my dad say anything like that about me. I did what my dad told me out of fear, never really feeling any love from my dad and I can remember thinking when I was little that I hated him. Now at the age of 60 I know better, my dad always loved me deeply, he just doesn’t know how to express his love. He didn’t realize the favoritism that he showed my little brother hurt me deeply. I love my dad and forgive him for everything. But I’ve always wished for a closer relationship with him. My dad has always been very critical of me, and I’ve grown to be critical of him in my heart, it’s ingrained in me. This spilled out into how I perceive everything.

My whole life, I’ve never wanted to talk to my dad and still today when I’m in his presence I often feel fear deep within. Everybody wanted to talk to Jesus because they heard special words coming from this man teaching about a love greater than anything they ever thought possible. Jesus believed in God’s love for Him and imitated this love to the people around him.

I worked hard at having a different relationship with my children than I have with my dad. I have fun with my kids, and they are not afraid to be in my presence. They also don’t hesitate to tell me I’m wrong about something. I speak with a loving attitude, and I listen listen, love love. It’s important that I seek to understand rather than be understood with my family and everybody else. My dad never took the time to get to know me, it wasn’t important to him. My dad believes that as the child, it was my responsibility to know and obey him.

I’m thankful that my heavenly Father knows me, He does understand me. In return I take time to know Him and understand Him. He orchestrated people and circumstances in my life years ago that brought me to a place where I actually heard His voice. In verse 28 it says that a voice came from heaven and the crowd standing there heard it and many said it was thunder. How many times did God speak to me before I heard him? I’m so thankful God has opened the eyes of my heart so I may hear His voice. Thankful He brought light into my dark world.

When I read God‘s word I just want to read more, I love the wisdom that God is sharing with me through his written words and His ministry through Jesus. I know He is with me and cares about my well-being. God‘s love has helped me to not see my dad with a critical heart but a loving heart. Growing up all I ever wanted to do is please my dad and find favor in his eye and hear him say that he was proud of me or happy with me, some kind of acknowledgment that he even liked me. Even still today I desire that, and even though my dad doesn’t say those words I think I know they’re true.

If we listen, we hear God speaking loving encouraging words to us because: He loves us, is proud of us, wants to spend time with us, wants to listen to us, wants to understand us, wants to help us, wants to bless us, and His promises for our lives go on and on. Because I spend time with my Father in heaven I’m not the critical person I used to be, critical thoughts are not my default any longer. If a critical thought does pop into my mind, I pray. I cannot control the first thought that pops in my head, but my second thought is within my control, but I often need God’s help. I want to love like Jesus loves, like our Father God loves.

Servanthood

Luke 22 starts right before Passover with the chief priests and scribes wanting to have Jesus put to death, but they were afraid of doing it in front of the people. They needed an inside source to help them do it secretively at the right moment and Judas was there to provide the information they needed. Judas’ focus was obviously not on servanthood, but on what he could get out of each situation.

There was a very specific outline for the Passover dinner which had been practiced by the Israelites for centuries, Jesus changed it. Jesus had a very clear focus and heart of servanthood that was never shaken even to the point of a brutal beating and death.

Other Gospels discussed the controversy of the change, but Luke does not get into those details. The details he focuses on is that when Jesus professed someone was going to betray him, the disciples argued about who that person would be, V 23 and in V 24 they’re arguing who should be considered the greatest among them. Their focus didn’t seem to be on being servants. At that time society basically exalted the leader who would sit at the head of the table and not have to really do anything but enjoy himself. Jesus’ teaching was that if you want to be the leader, you are the number one servant, just as He had been.

Jesus’ teaching of how the first should be last was so important throughout his ministry and yet even the disciples continued to miss the importance of servanthood. Makes me wonder how often I truly miss being the servant in my life. Do I have a heart that truly wants to serve others, or am I just trying to get through each day providing what I need to help me “finish the day well”? If I get through the day, and haven’t served anyone, did I finish the day well? I do things every week for family, my Church, friends, clients and occasionally for people I really don’t even know. How many of these things would  truly be considered serving rather than fulfilling my obligations and just being helpful? I believe overall, I’m probably doing pretty good. I’m sure the disciples thought the same thing, and yet it seems like they were so far off. They might’ve manipulated themselves to think they were doing better than they really were, which fueled they’re petty arguments.

One of my main prayers every morning is that I don’t deceive myself, that God would enlighten me to the truth about myself, so I don’t hide my sin from me. So, I don’t hide my selfishness from me. The day races by so quickly each and every day. I have discovered it’s easy as I race through each day that maybe I lose my focus sometimes. I am continually praying throughout each and every day for God to help me keep my focus on Him which will help me recognize the opportunities of serving that I should not miss. I hope I not only see those opportunities but that I also be the servant God desires me to be in those moments when they arrive. I’m sure I’m also like the disciples were, completely missing what others may see as obvious.

Believe

As I started this chapter and read about the commissioning of the 12 it made me think of how I am commissioned each and every day to leave my house and profess the good news of Jesus Christ. Professing Jesus is the Messiah as Peter did, taking up my cross and not being ashamed of who Jesus is in my life, overcoming all the worldly desires and following Jesus wholeheartedly. I need to be observant and make sure I recognize the miracles Jesus performs in my life. To daily be thankful and appreciative of His sacrificial death which gives me eternal life. Recognize any pride I have in my life, not caring if I’m not recognized, that God be glorified for anything he does through me.

The mount of Transfiguration is an amazing story. Jesus only took Peter, James and John up the mountain to meet Moses and Elijah. They did not climb a short mountain, Matthew and Mark mention it’s a high mountain. I don’t know how high they climbed but the disciples were so exhausted when they got there that they fell into a deep sleep. When I have had mountaintop experiences, they usually are exhausting as I follow Jesus on whatever journey I’ve been on to get to that mountaintop, I usually feel like I could use a deep sleep. When the disciples wake up, they see Jesus speaking to two men, it’s amazing to me that they knew these two men were Moses and Elijah.

I’ve heard a lot of teachings over the years about what this meeting would’ve been like, often using sports analogies and words like strategy. The Bible only tells us that they were speaking of Jesus’ coming death. Maybe, Jesus needed someone to talk to to find the encouragement, endurance and strength he needed to follow His Father completely so that we could all have eternal salvation. Jesus was about to face a more challenging situation than anyone else has ever experienced. No one had a closer walk with God than Jesus did, but maybe even Jesus needed a couple of friends to talk to about going through the traumatic events He was about to go through. He had his closest 3 earthly friends Peter, James and John, but then He met with Moses and Elijah, were they possibly His 2 closest heavenly friends?

The next day when they came down the mountain Jesus was met by a man whose son was possessed by a demon and the disciples were not able to drive the demon out. After telling Jesus what the demon does, the father says, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us”. Jesus replied “if you can? Everything is possible to the one who believes”. Mark 9:24 tells us that immediately the father of the boy cried out “I do believe! Help my unbelief”. When I studied Mark years ago, I became enlightened that I was like the father. I fully believe in God‘s blessings for me in my life but, I was in desperate need of Gods help with my unbelief. This was a huge revelation for me at the time, I still today pray often for God to please help me with my unbelief. There’s no doubt in my mind I don’t deserve any of God’s blessings, but that’s not the way God works. He doesn’t look at me with a critical eye as I do with myself and others. He looks at me with a heart full of love for me. All I need to do is trust, obey and believe.

Signs

Mark 13 is a chapter of warnings, teachings, and great insight. Typically, I don’t like to think about the end of times or try to figure out what the tribulation means, let alone try to explain it to somebody else. So, I don’t. What I do is try to recognize the signs around me. Know what’s really going on, who people are, who I am.

I’m very careful about who I follow, what I follow, or just joining in with the crowd. When I first came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior one of the very first things I understood was that I need to be alert and know what God’s word says. Know who I am. This is an ever-growing process for me. My morning time with God is assessing how am I doing in my relationship with God, am I following Him, or doing what I want to do, or not doing what I know God wants me to do.

Mark 13 warns us to watch out! Warns us of false Messiah‘s and false prophets. What does a false Messiah or false prophet look like, talk like? Anyone who suggests God‘s word is outdated, not relevant or not true is projecting themselves as a false prophet. They are leading people astray, getting them to think that they can do whatever they want and not listen to God‘s word. When people follow these false prophets, they are in danger of not being ready when Jesus comes again.

Professing Christians today old and young are living out of wedlock, engaging in premarital sex, abusing alcohol, smoking marijuana, involved in same-sex relationships and the list goes on and on. People lead astray others saying that these actions and lifestyles are “OK” If you don’t do anything to hurt someone else, or, if no one knows. This is not what God teaches in his word which we know is as relevant today as it ever has been. It’s our plumbob to measure everything in life with. If it goes against what God says, it is driving us away from God. Church attendance alone does not make us a Christian.

Maybe you struggle with 1 or more of these or other sins yourself, does that mean your out? Watch out who you listen to, some may suggest you are out of heaven because you ____________. Sometimes I can’t believe what I’ve done to the point of getting on my knees and confessing to God, praying Psalm 51, the Psalm David wrote after being confronted by the prophet Nathan about his sin with Bathsheba then having her husband killed. David pours out his heart in repentance to God and is forgiven. YES!!! I am forgiven if I’m repentant, recognize that God’s word is sovereign, relevant today and should be followed.

I need to read the signs correctly.

In the mid 70s there was a popular song called signs, the chorus goes:

Sign, sign
Everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery
Breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that
Can’t you read the sign?

There are signs everywhere telling us we are wrong if we follow God’s word and are faithful to Him.

Blockin God’s truth,

Breakin minds from following God.

Telling us what to believe, what we can’t believe, what we can do and what we can’t do.

Do you see the signs?

Influence

Matt 26 

Who influences you? Does their influence come from God? Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed Jesus‘s body with an ointment worth a year‘s wages for an average worker. She obviously did not care what others thought, she just cared about worshiping God. That’s a strong influence to follow. John 12:4 tells us it was Judas who openly criticized Mary and influenced other disciples who also criticized her, suggesting the oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor. That sounds honorable, but as we know, Judas was a thief. He held the money purse of the donations given for Jesus‘s ministry. The proceeds of the oil would have given him more money to steal. He was able to deceive and influence the disciples in what seemed like a positive way but wasn’t.

One negative or positive attitude can influence many. Sometimes a negative attitude sounds positive or even noble. Which attitude do I influence others with? Who am I being influenced by? Knowing God‘s word/truth helps me to identify the true influence of others, does it honor God or their own selfish agenda?

Jesus predicts his betrayal and death to his disciples who don’t want to hear His truth. Jesus let them know that they will all abandon him, Peter immediately professes he will never leave Jesus even if he must die with Jesus. In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus says to Peter that he has prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail, he knew Peter would stumble and fall but Peter’s faith would not fail. When we stumble and fall, we must stay strong in our faith, get back up and encourage others around us to stay strong in their faith in all circumstances.

V41 Jesus says, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Jesus is praying for us as we read in Hebrews 7:25, He is aware of our humanness and knows we need His intercession.

Peter professed that he would never leave Jesus despite what the others may do, there was a tint of arrogance but also true sincerity. After hearing Peter‘s profession, the other disciples also said they would do the same. Peters’ faith influenced the other disciples in a way that would not honor what Jesus’s mission was, even though it seemed noble. Peter failed to stay awake in the garden and pray with Jesus. When Peter drew his sword to defend Jesus, he was showing great courage proving the sincerity in the words he spoke when he professed, he would even die with Jesus. Jesus admonished him for his actions and Peter ran away like the others. What were his feelings at this point?

Peter kept stumbling yet he continued getting up and staying strong in his faith. He was the only disciple who had the courage to follow the guards and Jesus. After denying that he knew Jesus 3 times, even cursing in his 3rd denial, Peter remembered Jesus‘s words and he went outside and wept bitterly. We see Peter in his humanness fail, fail, fail and yet we continue to see his true sincerity. His sincere faith continues to strengthen him  to get up and encourage others to stay strong in their faith as his influence helped build Christ’s church.

Unfortunately, fear dictates what I do or do not do in my life. Fear often keeps me from doing the things that I should. I pray every morning that God gives me sincere courage to do the things I am supposed to do today. I stumble often, I do not always get back up as quickly as I should. My faith is strong, but is it as strong as Peter’s?

Sometimes I feel like a baseball, I am knocked around, thrown in the dirt, the weight of others falls on me and occasionally I am hit out of play. But I continue to get back in the game because the game is not over yet. I am grateful God has placed Peters in my life who influence and encourage me, helping me find God’s strength. I am also thankful there are younger men who turn to me to find God’s strength. As badly as I need Peters in my life, it is my responsibility to be a Peter to others. Encouraging, strengthening, and sometimes admonishing other men to seek, know and follow God’s truth.

LIGHT or darkness

Matthew 12 starts out by Jesus confronting the Pharisees about the way they changed the meaning of God‘s word, spreading satan’s darkness. Couldn’t they see the darkness they were spreading?

The Pharisees accused the disciples of meeting their selfish desires of hunger and breaking the Sabbath. They go on to persecute Jesus for healing a man’s paralyzed hand on the Sabbath. The Pharisees lived in darkness, but Jesus clarified God’s word, pushed their darkness back and spread His truth, His light.

I cannot begin to imagine the exhaustion Jesus felt at times. He would often retreat to be by himself with God, however, how many times when Jesus tried to retreat to a quiet place, He was followed by the crowds not giving him a moments rest or quiet time with God.

When I first came to know Christ, my pastor encouraged me to spend time alone with God every day, even 15 minutes. At that time, I had 3 small children and there was always activity in my house. It seemed impossible for me to spend quiet time with God because the world crowded my time with good and negative things.

I realized that if I wanted to spend quiet time with God, I would have to get up early before anyone else. At first it was easy to get up before everyone and do a 15-minute devotion. But 15 minutes turned into 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes.

I’m thankful I started that discipline then and continue it today, I need to start my day with quiet time alone with God, however, the world tries to follow me. My mind is often bombarded with thoughts of problems, worries and desires I have. I often have to pray for God’s help to block those thoughts so I can worship Him which prepares me to live each day in His truth. It is my responsibility to push back the darkness and allow more of His light, His truth, His forgiveness and His love into this world.

satan’s darkness is not always as easy to identify as we might think, satan is a master deceiver and hides his evil incredibly well. Can you recognize the darkness in your life?

  • In the world
  • In government
  • In your workplace
  • In your schools
  • In your churches
  • In your home?

3 times in chapter 12 Jesus confronted the Pharisees of twisting God’s word to something dark and confining. God’s truth is light and liberating, yet darkness has filtered into our churches. Loving everyone and allowing them to worship at our church is very important to help everyone find God‘s light, we are all sinners.

However, darkness has plunged its way into our churches creating division. Matt 12:25 Jesus says, “every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction”. People are changing the meaning of God’s word and the darkness is now overwhelming God’s house of worship where we come together to push back the darkness.

My quiet time every morning studying God’s word is vital:

  • Read God’s word and be able to discern what is or is not God’s truth in the world.
  • Pray, ask for God’s help to go into the darkness and love, not condemn or criticize