Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What spiritually drives you?

Fear of God?


Fear of man?

What drives you, spiritually? AND how can you tell? How do you truthfully know?

I got to thinking about Peter and Yehoshua (aka Jesus, son of God). You know, Peter was one of the twelve disciples who loved Jesus. He followed Jesus faithfully everywhere Jesus went. He wanted to be right there in everything -- near to Jesus. YET, Jesus KNEW that Peter was going to deny him three times. He KNEW Peter would turn his back on him in his most darkest hour. He KNEW that while he was being grilled, judged, accused, abused, condemned by the hypocrites that Peter was going to de-friend him. Peter was going to turn his back and act like he never, ever knew Jesus in his entire life. He was going to shun Jesus when Jesus needed a friend...some comfort, some encouragement, some faith...the most. Yet Peter was professing with his lips, "Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death." (Luke 22:34) Even the other disciples agreed with Peter they'd do the same. (Matthew 26:35)

All Jesus had in that time period, truely, was the Almighty El (aka God, Father)... Creator of the heavens and the earth... his Father in heaven. For his friends in the earth fell asleep on him when he asked them to watch with him, to vigilantly remain awake and aide him in standing against the spiritual darkness that was pursuing him ...for he went off to pray for help. But they didn't stand watch. They didn't pray. They weren't awake and alert. He was alone. Later, his friends of earth all scattered and turned away in fear of man for ever having known the Christ Jesus while he patiently bore his accusers' words and judgments.

Who would lay a charge to Jesus? Yet they thought to do so -- his accusers, that is.

But it is God who justifies. (Romans 8:33)

God may justify the righteous, but that does not mean the accusers cannot bound the righteous as justified as they may be. A man's own heart will prove his standing before God. (1 John 3:20,21)

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain my own ways before him." (Job 13:15)

Where was Peter in all of this? He had his own story. Peter wanted to be near Jesus, he couldn't stop following him even when he was blatantly denying him. He couldn't resist being close to Jesus even though he was professing with his mouth that he never knew Jesus.

This reminds me of Nicodemus -- another man, a Pharisee, a rule of the Jews -- who came to meet with Jesus by night to ask him "How can a man be born again?" Why did he meet with Jesus by night? Was it so the cover of darkness would prevent other Pharisees from seeing him meet with this man who claimed God as his Father which the Pharisees considered blasphemy?

Peter messed up. But Jesus KNEW Peter was going to mess up. And this wasn't just a know... small mess up. Peter was there when Jesus told the twelve that "whosover denies me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:33).

Jesus KNEW Peter was going to turn his back on him when his accusers would have him bound up.

But Jesus never thrusted him out of the group. He never told Peter to leave, knowing this. He never told Peter, "I'm done with you." Nor did he imply any dis-fellowship with Peter. He never put Peter away from him.

Jesus never told the other ten disciples to stop talking to Peter. The eleventh disciple had gone off to go betray Jesus for money. He never told the other ten disciples, in private... or with discretion, that something wasn't right with Peter so... they would all be better off just focusing on their relationship with just him (Jesus). There was never any discussion between Jesus and another disciple about Peter's fault. covereth all sins.(Proverbs 10:12)He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates very friends (Proverbs 17:9)

NOR was there every a discussion between Jesus and another disciple about JUDAS' fault. And doesn't it seem to us that Judas' fault was much more worse than Peter's?? On the one hand, Judas betrayed Jesus by showing the accusers where Jesus was hanging out so that they could apprehend him. On the other hand, Peter betrayed Jesus by making excuses to others -- who had seen him hanging out with Jesus in the past -- as to why he didn't associate with Jesus now.

Can we say the same about ourselves? Do we have enough of Jesus in us that we can look at our brothers and sisters in Christ, knowing their faults -- past, present, future -- and continue to love them with agape? what about brotherly love?

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:1,2)

Who can teach this kind of love? ...this agape love?
Can a man teach something that only God possesses??


God is love, and only he can teach love. Whether it is agape, phileo, or thelo -- only God can teach what love truly is ... and is not. (John 6:45; 1 Thessalonians 4:9)

We have built into our beings the ability to love because we are fashioned in His image. However, we misappropriate love because we never take the time to know Love Himself. We love for the wrong reasons.

And herein is my challenge: The more I am loving God -- learning His commandments and applying them to my life -- the more I am loving people. Everyday, I am in such wonder of the marvels of God... how He has thought of every detail... how He has made every provision... how He has created, designed, orchestrated all things in heaven and earth (all creation) to manifest His handiwork, to declare His glory, to profess the works of His hands... I cannot help but be moved to please such a thoughtful, thorough, and marvelous Creator. He has given so much to me, as undeserving as I am... and taken such notice of me, as unworthy as I have felt... and so my heart wells up with love for Him. I want to please Him. That is my heart's desire. And the more I want to please Him, the more I am seeing things through His eyes and knowing His heart on matters. And this is where people come in -- He has made provision for all of mankind to be blessed and to enter into covenant with Him. Freely He has given to me, freely I must give to others. Lord knows how I have struggled with people -- the encounters with rudeness, self-centeredness, lack of courtesy and respect, undesirable attitudes and behaviors -- and I know I'm not the only one! We've all encountered such things. Yet we'd all like to think we are (or were) not this way, but we've all manifested these things as well. Yet, the more I aim to please God through obedience to His word -- living it, applying it to my life -- the more I see people in a new light. The more I love people. And this is not like me because I dont usually "love" people. I have chosen who I will like... who I will talk to... who I will become acquainted with further... and who I will keep a distance from.

The challenge I am encountering is that I want to love people because I know why Father instructs me to do so. Who am I to pick and choose who to love?? My brother laid his life down for all men so that all would know the love of God because this is how much God loved the world ... He gave His one and only born son (all men were dead because of sin, but one man died in their place so they could all live)... that whoever would believe in him (that he is truly the son of God, that he fulfilled all the prophecies that were spoken of him in the old testament, that he truly died for us so that we could be free from sin)... would not be destroyed... but by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. (John 3:16)

The life is in the blood. It is the blood that was spilled when five sacrifical animals' pieces were arranged for God to make covenant with Abraham. It is the blood that sealed God's people when the angel passed through Egypt killing the first born. It is the blood that atoned God's people when they committed a trespass. There is power in the blood.

But these sacrifices were temporary, they were not everlasting. A more perfect sacrifice was necessary to atone God's people once and for all. That's where Jesus took up his cross and laid down his life -- for no greater love does a man have than the demonstration of laying down his life for his friends.

Even when his friends scatter. Turn their backs on him. Deny ever having known him. Shun him. Lie to make excuses why they are not friends with him.

What drives a man to do that? Fear of God? or Fear of man?

Has this happened to you? Do you think you deserved it? What do you think God thinks?

And more importantly,

How did you respond?

Did you respond like this:
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant.
It isn't rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs.
It isn't happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
Love never comes to an end. (1 Cor 13:4-8)

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them which love you, do you deserve a reward? don't the publicans (collectors of public revenue) do the same thing? And if you only salute your brethren, what is it you are doing more than others? don't the publicans do the same thing? Be ye therefore perfect (complete, not wanting, in order), even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:44-48)

Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold onto that which is good. (Romans 12:9) God's Word version

OR did you respond like this:

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. BUT he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:10-13)

I CHOOSE LOVE. And I will show it. In His time according to His way.

For as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me. (Matthew 25:40)

And though I may be misunderstood, misjudged, and accused, I will continue to stand on His words for they are truth and spirit... and it is God who justifies.

I choose the fear of God over the fear of man. Perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18) {paraphrase: the end result of love is that it strikes down unhealthy terror, alarm, fright.}

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. (Psalm 118:8,9)

Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8,10)

AND ONLY GOD (aka YHWH, EL) CAN TEACH THIS LOVE. Spend time with Him alone... in the "wilderness" if you must... get away from the influence of people - religious folk, brothers/sisters in Christ, family - and bring along your bible and a tender heart for the Father. Take a vacation with just you and Him so that you can get to know Him. Share with Him your heart in a reverent, humble manner...repent of sins, have a willing heart to do what He would have you do, be open and transparent before Him, exalt Him and declare His mighty works for there is none like Him... and be willing to change.

More scripture references on love:
John 13:34,35; John 14:15,21,23; John 15:9,10,12,13,17,19; John 17:26; Romans 5:5,8; Romans 8:28,35,39; Romans 12:9,10; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Cor 8:3; 1 Cor 16:22; 2 Cor 12:15; Galatians 5:6,13,14,22; Ephesians 1:4; Eph 3:17-19; Eph 4:2,15...2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 10:24; Heb 13:1; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Pet 3:8; 1 John 2:5,15; 1 Jhn 3:1,11,14,16-18,23; 1 Jhn 4:7-12,16-21; 1 Jhn 5:2,3; 2 Jhn 1:6; Jude 1:21

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