Blogging is a time of sharing. I will be sharing with you stories from my own life that have the marks of the hand of God. Do you believe in angels? You just might after some of these encounters. Some are from everyday events, and some are about life changing times. May you be encouraged and blessed as you read these.
We do not earn rewards in the Kingdom of God, we prepare for the rewards of the Kingdom. The kinds of consequences or rewards will be based on how behaved. Here are examples found in the Scriptures.
Matt 24: – 45
The Servant who is found doing what he is supposed to be doing will be entrusted with many possessions.
The servant who becomes wicked, mistreats the servants, and not carry out his duties, thus betraying the Lord’s trust will be decimated. He will be assigned with the hypocrites where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. (torture?)
5 wise Virgins, 5 foolish Virgins
All were Virgins so the issue is not whether they were pure or not. The wise ladies prepared for the long haul. They prepared for relationship with the Lord. The foolish prepared only for the moment.
The reward for the Wise was to enter the banquet of relationship with the Bridegroom .
The reward for the Foolish was being cut off from relationship when the door closed
BE PREPARED FOR RELATIONSHIP NOT JUST ENTRANCE.
Parable of the Talents. A man entrusted property to servants in various quantities according to their abilities. There were no instructions on increasing it. They were to use their abilities to figure out what to do. If one multiplies the gift, more will be given. If not multiplied, it will be taken away and given to another who can multiply.
Those who do not use what they are given to multiply are given to the dominion of Satan.
THE GIFT IS FROM GOD BUT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU ARE GIVEN.
How you treat others will determine whether you are a sheep or goat. Sheep serve others with kindness. Goats do not serve others with kindness but ignore the needs of others. The inheritance for the sheep was prepared before the world began.
Goats are cursed into eternal fire (hell) with devil and his minions.
SERVE ME THROUGH OTHERS EVEN IF YOU DON’T SEE ME.
Jesus is talking about judgment. He is giving the parameters of judgment.
1. Are you doing your assignment with integrity? Don’t get lazy. Don’t believe the lie of the enemy that the Lord forgot about you and actually won’t come. Holiness and righteousness are essential. The reward is great if you stay faithful.
2. Opportunity will come to those who are ready to be in relationship with the Lord. When He comes, there will only be a window of opportunity to enter the banquet with Him. Prepare and be ready.
3. You will be judged according to whether you are using your gifts and abilities. The reward hinges on that. Don’t believe the lie that “the Lord does not expect much from you. Just do what is easy and convenient.”
Judged on how you use your opportunities. Have you taken your opportunities to serve others seriously? The reward is either heaven or hell.
4. Jesus didn’t die on the cross just so you can get your ticket into heaven. He died so that you can fulfill the destiny that God created you for. The destiny set for you is not only for you, but for the sake of the whole world. You may not feel important, but you are set to influence someone who is or needs your support. You may be the math teacher that inspires the next physicist, or the music teacher of the next opera diva. Don’t sell yourself short.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us what the laws are, what is expected, and what are the consequences good or bad. He is talking about judgment.
We know that Jesus prayed each day. One day his disciples asked him to teach them to pray. Jesus gave them a six point prayer, known as the Lord’s Prayer in its expanded version. Include “each day” in Luke’s short account.
Father, you are holy “each day.”
Your Kingdom come “each day.”
Give us “each day” our daily bread.
Forgive us “each day” our sins as
We forgive “each day” everyone who sins against us.
“Each day” do not allow us to fall into temptation.
Too often we get into a routine with the Lord’s prayer.
This version is for the day in which you are praying, not once for the week, month, or whenever.
Make a change and pray this concise prayer “each day.”
Luke 16:1-13 Parable of the shrewd manager
It is interesting to note that although the manager was dishonest in his dealing with his Master’s accounts, he was commended for his “shrewdness.” He was commended for his forward looking and planning for his future. He was NOT commended for his dishonesty.
Although God gives us our daily bread, I believe he expects us to look to the future and plan for the days ahead, not with fear but with wisdom. He tells us that if we can be trusted with little, we can be trusted with much. If we are caring about other people’s possession, then we can be trusted with possessions of our own.
If we do not budget our money wisely, making sure that the provision we receive are used properly, we should not expect God to pour more into our pockets. Consider these:
- Do you pay your bills on time?
- Do you choose your activities according to your budget? (night at the movies or TV with homemade popcorn?)
- What kinds of priorities do you keep as far as money is concerned?
- Do you think dinner at a 5 star restaurant is more important than paying your rent on time?
- Do you pay your rent late with lots of excuses attached when you could pay on time if your curbed your spending?
- Do you give expensive gifts that out of your range?
- Are you paying more in credit card interest than you are in immediate expenditures?
- Do you have a savings account for emergencies?
God is practical as well as spiritual. If you have been financially irresponsible at any time in the past—writing bad checks, lying about what you can afford, returning goods after you have used them, etc.—Repent and change your ways.
How do you take care of your car? Do you keep it clean?
- Are you careful in how you treat someone else’s car?
- How do you take care of things others lend you—telephone, CD’s, books, clothing? How do you take care of what you use in a restaurant, public bathrooms, hotels, parking lots, banks, etc?
- If you cannot be careful with what belongs to others, how can you be trusted with better things of your own.
- Don’t throw trash on the ground.
- Keep the restrooms clean.
- Don’t carve your initials in the wall.
If you treat property of others badly, repent today, and begin to be more respectful.
You get the idea
Your heavenly Father sees you and will reward you accordingly. Notice, he watches so he can know how to reward you not condemn you. Any condemnation comes from the Enemy or yourself. Use behavior that brings on rewards.
Jesus told the people that they were seeking him because they ate the bread in the feeding of the 5,000. They were seeking the benefits of the miracle. He wanted them to see him as the miracle.
In their dullness, they asked for a miracle so they could believe in him. The miracle would not be a proof. They were still one step away. Jesus said I would be able to do miracles but that would not make me the Messiah.
Jesus said He was the bread of Life. Eating his flesh would be the act of repenting. We would be exchanging our fleshly desires for godly desires.
Jesus said to drink his blood would be accepting forgiveness and forgiving others. When we drink his blood we are washed clean.
How often we hear the phrase about a relative, “He is my flesh and blood, I cannot reject him.” So it is with Jesus. If we eat his flesh and blood, we become his relative and he cannot reject us.
If you pray and request “stuff”, you may be disappointed.
If you ask for a miracle for yourself, you may be disappointed.
If you repent and forgive, you will not be disappointed because your forgiveness is secured on the cross.
What does Jesus do without fail?
Forgive repented sin and receive a contrite heart.
What could you do to show that you believe in Jesus?
Repent and leave the life of sin.
Do you ask questions to learn or do you ask questions to support your position of what you already believe? When people want to be proven correct, they ask questions in such a way as to pull the answer they want. Trial lawyers are skilled in this kind of information gathering to support their case.
The Sadducees did not believe in life after death. They did not believe there is a resurrection of the dead. They put before Jesus the hypothetical situation of the woman who married six brothers successively because of widowhood, and yet left no heirs. “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection of the dead?” Hoping Jesus would say that is a moot question because there is no resurrection of the dead, the Sadducees got a surprise answer. We will be as angels then. Marriage is an earthly institution that does not exist in the resurrected life.
The Pharisees were passionate about ethics and the correctness of traditional teaching. Their question to Jesus was “What is the greatest commandment?” Of course Jesus knew the answer. However, knowing the motives of their hearts, Jesus asked, ‘Whose son is the Messiah?” According to the scriptures, David’s line is the chosen one. “How can the Lord be David’s son and David’s Lord at the same time?” This was a head scratcher. Son of David is in the flesh, and David’s Lord is in the spirit.
The Zealots were fervent anti-Roman activist. Their question to Jesus was whether they should pay taxes to Caesar. If Jesus said “no”, their cause against Rome would be bolstered. However, Jesus told them to respect the civil government as well as the religious government according to what was required as they were not in conflict.
The Essenes were passionate on communal living and purity laws. They brought the woman caught in adultery before Jesus looking for judgment and hoping for permission to stone her to uphold their cause. Jesus confronted them with their own sin and only extended mercy to her.
Through all these encounters, we see Jesus was interested in 1) eternal life, 2) relationship with the God, 3) honoring authority, and 4) mercy.
When we ask questions, are we interested in the same things Jesus is? Or we want to bolster our own opinions?
When we stumble, we are in a precarious situation. Will we fall? Will we make it? Will we recover? Of course we would like life to go on smoothly. Peter tells us how we can take steps so we will never stumble.
Too often we immediately apply our faith to only love and wonder why we cannot stand firmly without stumbling. It seems there are characteristics we need to add to our faith and develop the ability to love God’s way.
Add Goodness. Goodness is moral excellence; virtue, kindly feeling, kindness, generosity, and excellence of quality. Whatever you do, do it in excellence—not perfection but of high standard.
Add Perseverance: Be steady in a course of action despite obstacles and discouragement.
Add Self Discipline: Take control and responsibility for your own behavior and steps to improve yourself in any area.
Add Godliness: Reflect the character of God.
All these things shore up love. If we have these things, then we will never stumble because we will be anchored in the character of Jesus as well as the love of Jesus.
What does it mean to be humble?
When I was a young girl, I thought being humble meant to hide my abilities and talents. To display them would be “showing off.” So, I hid what I could do–play piano, write, talk, sew, organize and sing. I put myself in a corner and acted shy.
As I grew older, people found out that I had many talents, so I thought being humble was to make them work to find out and then play “hard to get” rather than volunteer. This was dangerous because when I saw others doing a lesser job than I could do, I would judge them rather than step up to help. I was humbling myself in the sight of men.
By observing Jesus, I have discovered that being humble means being obedient to the Father and using the abilities He gives me when He wants me to. I’m sure Jesus could feed many people miraculously anytime, but he only did when the command was given to feed the 5,000. He told the people, “you follow me because you ate.” That fame or ability didn’t spur him on to quickly to do it again to make the crowd happy. When he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, he said he had the authority to call upon the heavenly host to fight for him, yet he did not because it was not the Father’s will. Such restraint.
Being humble means to submit yourself and all you can do at the Father’s time and request. If you are a musician, use your talent when called upon. Not every gig is yours. If you are a cook, cook for your Father’s glory, be it in a gourmet restaurant or feeding the homeless. If you are a teacher, instruct the ones He puts in front of you.
We are all needed to do our part. Our heavenly Father knows when and how. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Imagine a young intern who was told by the company executive to “follow me.” This young intern would shadow his boss and learn by watching how he operated in meetings, how he addressed others, and how he did business. The intern was then given such responsibilities as carrying the materials, watching over and distributing the reports. After a period of proven faithfulness as an intern, this person is made to be an assistant.
As the assistant, he now has more input and more independent responsibilities. He may be asked to write the report or contribute in the meetings in explaining the reports and strategies. He may be asked to set the appointments, prepare the meetings, and set the stage for the executive to be effective.
One day, the executive tells him to represent him at the meetings. He can speak on his behalf, and even make some decisions because the assistant has learned well the intentions and practices of his boss.
When Jesus told Andrew, Peter, Nathaniel, and Phillip to “follow me” it was literal. They could go where he went, listen to him teach, watch him do miracles, and observe him rebuke the Pharisees. They followed him around like a young interns. They soon learned his style, motives, and purposes. Even up to the crucifixion, they had questions as to how he operated because it was wonderful and mysterious at the same time.
Imagine the day after Jesus died, they became his assistants. This kind of “follow me” is different. It meant do things like you saw me do. They were told to meet him as a certain place and he would show up there. After breakfast on the beach He said to Peter “Feed my sheep.”
One day, as He ascends, He tells them “follow me” as they will be his representatives. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he makes it possible. They no longer physically follow him, nor they assist him, but are entrusted with his purpose and motives. They have power to act like him, speak like Him, and even do miracles like him.
We too go through these 3 stages of “follow me.”
- If you follow the written word and observe what Jesus is doing, you are in the internship stage.
- If you help, then you are in the assistant stage.
- If you are empowered to represent him, you will speak and act on his behalf
In what stage of “follow me” are you?
In all cases, the main ingredients are obedience and faithfulness in the Holy Spirit.
Victory is final and complete supremacy in a battle either over an opponent or obstacles. There are victories in elections, boxing matches, or even illness. One thing we know for sure is that there is contending before victory. Victory is not automatic nor are we to be passive and wait for it to “happen.” God promises us victory but that victory is assured only when we are in the will and timing of God in the earth realm.
There are three things to remember about God’s victory.
- God decides who, where, when, what and how. That is his sovereignty. It is too easy for us to try to dictate when the victory should happen. We can get discouraged, impatient, and even angry because it did not happen the way we envisioned it.
- He speaks, we obey, and the victory is assured. Wait until God speaks. Double guessing God is a sure way of delaying or waylaying your victory.
- We only enter into victory by obedience of faith. Jesus entered victory when he obediently went to the cross. Not all obedience takes us to the cross, but we sometimes offer God “alternatives” for achieving our victory. Obey.
What comes with Christ’s victory?
- Salvation gives us enlargement and deliverance from sin and death. Through repentance and forgiveness, sin no longer can entangle our lives.
- Righteousness brings personal quality & integrity that guarantees victory. It is possible to live in righteousness because the wages of sin are removed. Repentance and forgiveness makes us blameless therefore in right standing with God.
- Peace gives us enjoyment of total well-being—health, financial, mental, emotional, intellectual, etc . To be “at” peace, means to be in right standing and alignment with God. The circumstances may be in an upheaval but we can be still enjoy total well-being.
We are more than conquerors through Him…, we are HEIRS. Conquerors take over territory that was not theirs, subdue it, and fashion it to their own plan.
Something has to change for conquest to endure. Heirs take back what was rightfully theirs and restore the territory to the greatness that was originally meant to be in God’s plan. As warriors in Christ, we take back the earth that is the Lord’s and restore it to the glory of the Father. Take back your health, and restore it. Take back your family, and restore it. Take back your financial wealth, and restore it. Take back your mind, and restore it to the mind of Christ.
The command “do not” can save us lots of grief if we obey them. Common natural “do nots” are “Do not Touch. Do not open. Do not tell. Do not eat. Do not drink.”
The DO NOTs of Romans 12:16-21 also will save us lots of grief.
1. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. This warning is to keep you from exalting yourself as “pride goes before a fall”. The TV program “Undercover Boss” features the owner of a company entering his business as a lowly worker looking for a job opportunity. The employees do not know the disguise so their true thoughts of the company are revealed. Those who are too proud, find themselves face to face with their boss. Our heavenly Boss is testing us too. “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.”
2. Do what is right in the eyes of everyone. Everyone is watching you—Christians, non-Christians, atheists, the worldly, and even the insane. Do what is right by God’s standard which should be your standard.
3. Do not be conceited. A conceited person has excessive pride in his own value. He believes he is the only one who knows or can do the job. He believes he is the best and lets everybody know it. There is always someone better, richer, more talented, wiser, and smarter. It better to let others recognize you than you advertising yourself.
4. Do not repay evil for evil. As soon as you do evil, you come into agreement with it. As soon as you agree with it, you are an enemy of God. You cannot out do evil nor should you want to. God is big enough to take care of evil himself.
5. Do not take revenge. God can do a better job of bringing justice and executing his wrath. Let God be God.
6. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. This one is easier said than done, but not impossible. To be overcome means to lose your footing and stability. If you participate in evil, you are giving it power to overcome you. However, if you constantly practice good, good will become established in you and grow larger than life thus overcoming evil around you.
- Do live in harmony with one another. Living in harmony means to live in respect to others so that their contribution to your family, community, city, or country can bring inner calm together. Harmony is the combination of tones or contributions that complement one another.
2. Do live at peace. To live at peace means to live in peace with yourself and those around you. Jesus is the Prince of Peace not “Prince of compromise.” Jesus did not compromise with the Devil.. He defeated the devil and his works. We are to defeat the devil in our lives and stand in the presence of the Prince of Peace.
Examine yourself and live like a Romans 12 Christian.