Pause for Poetry Godly Advice

Found another site that celebrates inspirational poetry! Join me in checking out this wonderful site! God Bless – Pastor Roland

Sandy Kirby Quandt

Welcome to Pause for Poetry, featuring a poem, Godly Advice, written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

Godly Advice

On days when things get hectic

And my head is spinning around,

Jesus takes me by the shoulders

And He gently sits me down.

He whispers, “Do not panic…

Relax and stop a while.

Fatigue causes tension

And robs you of your smile.

“Put everything in order,

Get your priorities straight…

Forget unneeded details,

On key things concentrate.

“Stop all of your rushing,

Tackle one thing at a time…

Slow down and take it easy,

As the ladder of life you climb.

“You don’t have to impress me,

It’s not how much you do,

It’s the way in which you do things…

Just keep My will in view.

“For whatever you accomplish

It’s not for you, but “Me.”

If you put Me first, you’ll triumph

And dwell with Me eternally.”


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Walking In Peace And Security – Intro

This is an excerpt from my Book, “Walking in Christ” and specifically the Chapter, “Walking In Peace and Security.” Over the next week or so, I will be posting the teaching as it deals with Psalm 23 and its significance and importance in a Christian’s life. The Book is available in PDF form by clicking the link, Walking In Christ, or the picture of the Book to the right of this article. It is free for anyone who wants to read it. Again, the download is free.

If you desire to experience the fullness of God’s unfathomable love as one of His children, a study of one of the greatest Psalms, Psalm 23, will help you to understand the depth of the Lord’s love in your life. It is not only an appreciation of the Father’s love that you will walk away with, but a new sense of peace and security. When you know, I mean really know, and not just intellectually, but as it is revealed by the Spirit to your spirit, that you are being held securely in His arms; nothing can or will ever again be able to cause you to stagger.

As Christian’s, we should always look to Christ Jesus as our supreme example. The apostles and disciples were great men who tried to pattern their lives after their Lord, Jesus Christ; we already know Jesus followed the example of the Father.

“Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” -John 5:19-

All scripture from beginning to end, Genesis through Revelation, points to and reveals the character of our Messiah, our Redeemer and our Good Shepherd.

“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.” -John 5:39-

We need to understand the Scriptures, but not so much to know ABOUT Jesus, but rather to get to KNOW Him, intimately. After all, history can tell us about Him and His life and the period in which He lived, but to search and meditate upon the Word is to commune with Him, for He IS the Word.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” -John 1:1-2, 14-

The world, which we live in today, knows of Him; ask anyone on the street if they know OF Jesus Christ, and most will tell you yes, but we are able to truly KNOW Him, and be better for it.


From the very beginning and all throughout scriptures we see prominent biblical figures cast in the roll of a shepherd. It is the most often mentioned occupation in the Bible, and it is evident that the shepherds had a very special place in God’s heart.

Shepherding was very important to the way of life in ancient times. A shepherd often traveled long distances looking for water and green pasture. A shepherd had to not only feed the flock, but to protect it from wild animals as well. A shepherd could learn many lessons just by watching his flock and observing how they acted and behaved. It was no wonder that the Lord likens His children to sheep. Some shepherds had mixed flocks; that is, goats and sheep together. An interesting fact is that while sheep could be led, goats usually had to be herded or driven.

It is not so very surprising then to note that so many examples in Scripture, and so many types and shadows of Jesus and His followers, are identified with shepherds and their flocks. You only have to read the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David to see the examples that God has so graciously set before us.

It is also no wonder that so many of the Old Testament prophets, even up to the time of Christ, used the illustration of a shepherd and his flock to get their messages across to the common people. Even their early history assumes that you understand the aspects of a shepherd’s trade.

We, therefore, should not be surprised in understanding how Israel looked to their religious leaders as shepherds; especially since so many of their great, heroic leaders came from leading flocks of sheep. Even their expectations of a promised Messiah was likened so much to that of a shepherd.

God, as our Father, has always wanted to have a relationship with His children. He created man expressly for that purpose, but man through his sinfulness has lost sight of that primary reason. Man is likened to the sheep that has been lost, and at the very least to the sheep that has strayed. I firmly believe that is why the Old Testament is so rich with illustrations portraying shepherding. The blessings that we derive from these lessons are predominantly due to the fact that they all point to Christ as the perfect example of the Good Shepherd.

The Old Testament writers and prophets lived in expectation of the Promised Christ, the Great and Good Shepherd. We have the ability to live forth their expectations, because the Great and Good Shepherd has arrived! His promised coming has become a reality to us! With His arrival, and His lifestyle example set before us as the perfect pattern of living, we have the ability to see into the heart of God and realize in a very real and intimate way the depth of His love for us, as His children.


A good portion of the Psalms was written by King David, himself risen from the occupation of a shepherd. In fact, when God instructed the Prophet Samuel to anoint a new King to replace Saul, David was even then tending his father’s sheep. The Lord told Samuel, He was seeking a man “after His own heart (Emphasis mine) 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22. This was the man whom the Holy Spirit inspired to write the Psalm of the Good Shepherd, Psalm 23. What better person is there to write about the characteristics of a good shepherd than a good shepherd himself?

Psalm 23

    1.  The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    2.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
    3.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.
    4.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
    5.  Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
    6. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

J.R. Littleproud, a Bible teacher and writer in the early 1900’s wrote a short outline on this great Psalm which to this day is hard to improve upon:

    1. The secret of a happy life: every need supplied.
      “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
    2. The secret of a happy death: every fear removed.
      “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for You are with me.”
    3. The secret of a happy eternity: every desire fulfilled.
      “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

*While researching all I could concerning Psalm 23, I came across a statement from an unknown source who states how the compound names of Jehovah in the Old Testament reflect the remaining contents of Psalm 23. Again, I am NOT the author of this, but couldn’t pass up adding this inciteful teaching!

  • “I shall not want” – Jehovah-Jireh, “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14)
  • “still waters”- Jehovah-Shalom, “the Lord our peace” (Judges 6:24)
  • “restores my soul” – Jehovah-Rophe, “the Lord who heals” (Exodus 15:26)
  • “paths of righteousness”- Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16)
  • “thou art with me” – Jehovah-Shammah, “the Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35)
  • “presence of my enemies” – Jehovah-Nissi, “the Lord our banner” (Exodus 17:15)
  • “anoint my head” – Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, “the Lord who sanctifies” (Leviticus 20:8)

*Not in the published Book, but in the original draft manuscript. — Pastor Roland Ledoux
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God Looks At The Heart

1 Samuel 16:7, But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

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Vessels or Vassals?

I posted this on another site three-and-a-half years ago and thought that I had also published it on this site. Evidently I didn’t and I wanted to repost it because of what is going on in many of our churches today and within the lives of those who claim to follow Jesus Christ. It is presented in its entirety and just as relevant now as a few years ago. —- Pastor Roland Ledoux

Now you may be wondering why in the world would I use a somewhat archaic term such as “vassals” in reference to this lesson, but I’ll give you the dictionary meaning. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the meaning is as follows:

vassals (plural noun)

1. a holder of land by feudal tenure on conditions of homage and allegiance.

synonyms: serf · dependent · servant · slave · subject · bondsman ·

a person or country in a subordinate position to another:

Example: “a much stronger nation can also turn a weaker one into a vassal state”

Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press

2 Corinthians 4:5-7, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Servanthood, paying allegiance to whom many of us call “our Heavenly Father,” sounds noble enough, doesn’t it? Isn’t that what God, Jehovah, our Creator desires of us after all?

Many people, Christians, live their lives according to this premise. They do what they think the Lord commands them to do. They give, they share, they attend church religiously, they help where asked, as servants, they are the epitome of what a Christian truly is. Sorry folks, don’t mean to shatter your image of what a Christian should be, but that is not it!

The difference between a vassal and a true servant of the Lord is those words that keep cropping up in my teaching, unconditional love, or in Biblical terms, AGAPE!! You see, a vassal is a servant under obligation. They give allegiance or homage to someone for something in return, and as you see in the definition used above, usually as a weaker subject under a stronger one.

Okay, you might be saying, “but our Lord IS the stronger in our relationship, and we are the weaker, it’s all over the Bible.” Again, true, but you’re missing an important part of being a vassal, obligation! Love doesn’t have to enter in at all. You’re not quite a slave, but you’re also not your own person, because you are doing something FOR something. In feudal times, is was allegiance for land. You didn’t have to love the “lord of the land” you just had to be there for him, you paid him a tax or a fee. Whether it be actual currency or crops, you gave a part of your work for the benefit of living on a parcel of land.

Obligation, unconditional love? Aren’t they the same though when we relate to the Lord? After all, we most often use the term, “Lord!” Doesn’t he DESERVE our unconditional love and shouldn’t we expect something in return, say, Heaven perhaps?? What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that how religion works anyway?

Wow! You bet it is!! RELIGION works exactly that way, Muslim, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and on and on and on. But religion is NOT being “spiritual.” It is NOT walking in the Spirit! Christianity was NEVER meant to be a religion; it was the Romans who called it a new religion, it was the Jewish Pharisees who termed it a new religion. It is and was always meant to be a changed lifestyle; a changed LIFE!!

Being obligated to someone does not equate to unconditional “agape” love! Unconditional means just that; NOT expecting anything in return. You can know that Heaven is involved, but even if it wasn’t, unconditional love says you would love anyway! You love someone for who they are, not for what you can get. A vassal will always expect something in return and a vassal’s lord will always expect to give something in return for that loyalty!

On the other hand, when you SURRENDER yourself, especially your will to another, you do just what that term defines; you give up. You give up yourself, self, YOUR life. You place your life, self, will into the hands of the other, without regard for anything in return. I have said this over and over and over and I will not stop, LOVE is an action; it is a verb. As a true Christian, we are not speaking of love as a noun, as a THING, as a feeling. Yes, the feeling could be there, and it will be, eventually, but it first takes the action and only after the action, is the thing, the feeling realized in truth and actuality!

A Christian’s walk, his life is based on the doing, the very act of loving and not the feeling. In the case of intercessory prayer, another action that I teach about, how can you rely on the feeling for someone you may never know or even meet face to face while on this earth? If I relied on my feeling alone for someone, they would never BE intercession. But LOVE, unconditionally given, expecting nothing in return, motivates me to action, to spend time in prayer for someone I may never meet until Heaven; and even then we might not meet them, but that is not the point of intercession. We intercede because we pray for the Lord’s creation because they ARE the Lord’s creation, therefore, our brothers and sisters in flesh if not in spirit! We pray for another’s well-being and we may never know how that prayer is answered. Notice I said how and not if that prayer is answered. Our Heavenly Father ALWAYS answers prayer and especially intercessory prayer!

A vassal, doesn’t do that. Because he doesn’t get anything in return for the time spent. Time spent is just that, it is spent, it can’t be regained, you don’t barter or negotiate with the Creator for more time (despite the Bibles evidence that it has been done, does not make it a doctrine or something to expect again!).

But you see, the Apostle Paul stated this in 2 Corinthians that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels,…” Notice that? Vessels, not vassals. We have a treasure in earthen vessels! First, a vessel is something totally different than what we have been discussing. A vessel is a container, something which can HOLD something that is put or poured into it. Second, a vessel has no control over what goes into it. It is an object, a tool, something to be used for a given purpose.

As a Christian, a person who has (supposedly) given up their lives, their selves, their will, they become empty vessels (we should be empty) that the Lord, our Redeemer can use for whatever purpose HIS will deems fit. To become an empty vessel DEMANDS an action of unconditional love! To give up your will, your life so that our Heavenly Father can use you for whatever purpose He sees fit, takes an action of love. It is not, nor could it be motivated by only a feeling. If you give yourself up for any other reason it is not unconditional and therefore not the kind of love that the Lord can use.

The Apostle Paul tells us why the Lord wants this kind of vessel, “that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” The excellency of the power? What power? You know if you are only the vessel it HAS to be God’s power for we have no power, excellent or not! “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

He desires to use us to show or demonstrate the LIGHT of knowledge, the Glory of His being and of His Son, Jesus Christ! It is the same light that He commanded to chase away the darkness in the world, in the universe! Genesis 1:3-4, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Now THAT is power!! AND He wants to use us a vessel, a container to demonstrate that power!! How AWESOME and amazing is that?!

But remember, only an empty vessel can be used. If you place yourself at the feet of the Lord and say, “here I am, use me” you better make sure that the vessel is usable. Empty means just that, nothing in it already or else you will be diluting the power and the demonstration of light and knowledge that our Lord wants others to see. The same principle is applied in the parable of hiding your light (His LIGHT) under a basket!

And here’s the kicker; only through the Blood of Jesus Christ, can allow us to present ourselves as vessels worthy of being used as the receptacle for the power of God! Only the Blood of the Redeemer can coat the insides of this vessel. It HAS to cover our heart, our mind, it has to renew our spirit so that we may be united as one with the Lord just as the Father and Son are one!

Now imagine this, imagine the light that would shine, if we ALL as empty vessels allow the Lord through the Blood of our Redeemer and the unity found in the Holy Spirit, that we could generate to a darkened world!! I’m not talking about some “kumbaya” moment, that lasts only that long; I’m talking about lives that magnify and shine the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” out to a dark and dying world!

Can you imagine? Can you see with your spiritual eyes, the kind of impact that would have all around us? Light shining out in unity instead of being closed off or covered by the four walls of a “brick and mortar” organization that was never meant to dampen the power and light of a God and Father who wishes that NONE in the world should perish. Also don’t forget what was stated before, if we are to be those vessels and if the power of that light was meant to shine forth from us, then we can’t have any filters, or masks on. That light has to shine forth not just to the world but to each of us who call one another brother and sister! That demands, transparency, warts and all! Spots and wrinkles if you want!

Jesus is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle and the only way to NOT have spots or wrinkles is if the Blood of Christ Jesus is washing away those blemishes. Have you noticed that when your clothes have a stain and you put it in the washer, that it takes time to get that stain out? You notice that your washer uses a cleaner AND agitation? Jesus’ Blood is our cleaner and the trials of the world is the agitation! We need one another, those who have already surrendered ourselves to Christ and His will to be in UNITY of the Holy Spirit and to recognize that each of us is in a state of cleaning. Some have been in the cleaning process for a while and some have just been put into the “washer.”

The key is to look at one another through the eyes of God, our Father. He sees each of us who have surrendered to the Blood of Jesus and empowered by His Spirit as already clean. The same way you expect your clothes to be clean as soon as you place them in the washer. You already see them clean. So it is with the Father! We each need to walk in that same light!

A vessel is a vessel because of yielding oneself voluntarily to be used for the purpose of God our Father. We do so because HE IS the Father and for no other reason, unconditionally. We encourage one another in the same light. We strengthen one another for that same purpose, without judgement, and in unity through the Spirit that empowers and quickens us. Only in that do we become a force in this darkened world for the Lord’s knowledge to shine forth. Let’s take off our masks, let’s be transparent for if we truly are the Lord’s, there are no secrets before Him? Let us love one another AND our neighbor as the Lord loves us all, unconditionally. Let the Holy Spirit of God deal with the consequences of those unselfish actions.

In closing, let US become the Church, the Body of Christ, the BRIDE of Christ that Jesus is coming back for!! Unconditional Love, it’s the theme of the whole Bible. It was the theme of Jesus when He walked this earth and it is STILL the theme of Christ who lives and breathes in each of our hearts. It’s that theme that allows us THROUGH Christ Jesus, the same intimate relationship with the Father, empowered by His Holy Spirit! It is why today, right now, we ARE called, as the Apostle John writes in his Epistles, children of God! Let’s be the earthen vessels that allows that light to shine out to others!!

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Number One Reason

Another Great post, but one that also explains the “lukewarmness” within the organized church today. True Christians; WAKE UP!!

Mario Murillo Ministries

It threatens the church more than drugs, pornography, Islamic terror, fake news or any impending world calamity.  Left unchecked, it can’t be overstated how much damage it will do.  Yet, as dangerous as it is—and this is the maddening part—it is utterly curable and preventable.  But, tragically, we may not have the heart or the stomach to solve this crisis.

So, who or what is the culprit?  It’s not a situation it is a person. A person we cater to in all our programs.  Let me ask you: Who is using up vital resources? Who is driving pastors into deadly compromise—or out of the ministry entirely?  Who is responsible for shutting down, derailing, and destroying the things that matter to the Christian faith?  The answer is painful…are you even sure you want to know?

The villain is a monster of our own making.  University professors may have invented the easily…

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Reverend Wright’s Prayer

Joe Wright is Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas.

Pastor Wright had been invited to serve as the House’s guest chaplain by Rep. Anthony Powell, a Wichita Republican who was also a member of Wright’s church. Accordingly, Pastor Wright composed a prayer, read it at the opening of the legislature on January 23, and departed, unaware of the ruckus he had created until his church secretary called him on his car phone to ask him what he had done.

Reportedly, one Democrat walked out in protest, three others gave speeches critical of Wright’s prayer, and another blasted Wright’s “message of intolerance.” House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer (also a Democrat) asserted that the prayer “reflects the extreme, radical views that continue to dominate the House Republican agenda since right-wing extremists seized control of the House Republican caucus last year.” Rep. Jim Long, a Democrat from Kansas City, said that Wright “made everyone mad.” But Rep. Powell, who had invited Wright in the first place, claimed that House Democrats were only trying to make political points with their criticism and affirmed that he supported the theme of the prayer.

Pastor Wright said afterwards: “I certainly did not mean to be offensive to individuals, but I don’t apologize for the truth.” His staff stopped counting the telephone calls that came from every state and many foreign countries after the first 6,500. Wright appeared on dozens of radio shows and was the subject of numerous TV and print news reports, and his prayer stirred up controversy all over again when it was read by the chaplain coordinator in the Nebraska legislature the following month. Wright later explained, “I thought I might get a call from an angry congressman or two, but I was talking to God, not them. The whole point was to say that we all have sins that we need to repent – all of us . . . The problem, I guess, is that you’re not supposed to get too specific when you’re talking about sin.”

When Reverend Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. Lord, we know Your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we’ve done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it moral pluralism.

We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism.

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.

We have abused power and called it political savvy.

We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our fore-fathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us oh God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will. I ask it in the name of Your Son, the Living Savior, Jesus Christ.


The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In six short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls, with only 47 of those calls responding negatively.

The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa, and Korea. Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, “The Rest of the Story,” and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

With the Lord’s help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called “one Nation under God.”

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow; Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead; Walk beside me, and just be my friend. –Albert Camus

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A Heavenly Pull

Matthew 19:14, But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Luke 18:29-30, So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

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Sin No More

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I John 3:7-9

1 John 3:7-9, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

Throughout his Epistle, the Apostle John continues in his writing to infer the differences between true disciples of Jesus Christ and the sect known as the Gnostics; mainly because their teaching was so prevalent during his time. Here again, John is making an inference, when he again warns the readers to “let no one deceive you.” The Gnostics were so prideful in their supposed knowledge of the spiritual and yet were extremely careless about their practical and personal lives. The beloved Apostle again uses the familial expression of endearment, “Little children,” to get their attention. This shows his extreme concern for the readers as well as the severity of his warning, “DO NOT BE DECEIVED!”

Again, the Apostle reiterates a point that he has made clear previously. There should be no confusion in the readers mind as to that point; a person who PRACTICES righteousness is righteous, just as Christ Jesus IS righteous. Again, going back to what we have taught in the past; Jesus does not have to become or practice righteousness for He already IS righteous. His nature is one of righteousness. The follower of Christ on the other hand has to PRACTICE at being righteous. Practice does not, nor will it ever denote that we have arrived, but rather as the Apostle Paul likes to state, “we pursue, we strive, we move forward to that which we wish to attain!” We don’t look backward at past mistakes, failures of for that matter successes, but rather are constantly looking forward towards the goal which we wish to attain! (Philippians 3:13-14).

John is telling us very pointedly that a man cannot be spiritual and continue on in a lifestyle of habitual sinning and yet on the other hand, we can only be spiritual and practice righteousness because Christ Jesus IS righteous already and He is our only true example. In this is a reference to that spiritual rebirth; we aren’t naturally born into spiritual righteousness, for our nature IS to sin, and to sin as a natural way of life. To be reborn, is to be “birthed” into the new spiritual nature, to become as the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

So it is that which John is reiterating; since we ARE in Christ now, we are no longer known according to the natural order of things, but rather have been reborn to become something of a totally new SPIRITUAL nature, one which is now ABLE to practice righteousness. Now I want to clarify something; even though man can be reborn as a child of God, man is NOT initially born as a child of the devil; there is no connection that way, but rather it is natural, human nature to sin. Children do not have to LEARN to sin; they have to be taught or discipled (disciplined) to be taught how to be “good.” This is where the world strays so far from the truth of human nature. You let a child go undisciplined and have his own way, he WILL grow to feel entitled and will do whatever to get his way. We see too much of this in society today. This is why the truth found in Proverbs is so important; “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6.

So John is showing the chasm that divides those who PRACTICE the unrighteousness of the devil and those who PRACTICE the righteousness of God. It is obvious, it is noticeable, and you cannot deny the different lifestyles; one is of sin, imitating the behavior of the devil, and one is of righteousness, walking in the light of the new creation in Christ a person has become. It is totally recognizable what branch of the family tree a person belongs! The devil has been sinning continuously and habitually from the very beginning. It is his nature, his characteristic behavioral pattern of living. Those who live accordingly do so in a very broad sense. Jesus Himself stated this as recorded in Matthew 7:13, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”

This is the very reason why Jesus came to earth in the flesh, why He was shown (manifested) to be Who He is, the Son of God, so that He would destroy or annul, put to no effect, the works of the devil. Think about this for a bit; Jesus could have destroyed the devil with a word; He has that power. Yet, He came to teach the truth, suffer, bleed and even die to destroy the WORKS of the devil, to make them to no effect! If the devil did not still tempt men to sin in this world, what would have been the reason for Christ Jesus’ mission to offer salvation and redemption as a CHOICE to mankind? God is NOT willing to take away man’s ability to choose God and to love Him for Who He is, mankind’s Heavenly Father and Creator. He still desires a people who will love Him for WHO He is and not for what He can give them. The temptations of the enemy gives man the choice to choose; what he wants selfishly and willfully, or what God wants unconditionally! The choice is and always has been ours. That is the ONLY way our Heavenly Father will know who loves Him for Himself as compared to what a person can get selfishly from Him.

So I want to put forth this thought; if our Lord Jesus Christ came to let us in on the truth of the Kingdom of God, and He came to suffer, bleed and die (and yes, to rise again), and He did that so that we might have a life, eternal life, more abundantly (John 10:10), than how much more incentive do we NEED to follow His example, empowered by the promised Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to leave a more holy and righteous life? After all, He is NOT asking us to do something within our own weaknesses, but rather is equipping us with His Spirit to be able to accomplish it; the Apostle Paul stated it best, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20.

So then, the dear Apostle goes on to say, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” WOW! Okay, it IS an awesome statement but the reason I say that is because WHOLE doctrines have been conceived on this thought alone! Taken literally, just as it is with no context, a person born of God doesn’t sin anymore and in fact they CANNOT sin because they have been reborn! I can now rest on the fact that as a child of God, I do NOT have the ability to sin anymore! A miracle, magic in fact, since now I am a NEW creation, a new creature. My human nature has been expunged, it is no longer in control of me, my actions, my senses, my thoughts, etc., etc.!

I’m telling you right up front, there is and has been a lot of controversy over this verse and yet, if you allow the Holy Spirit to open your heart, there is no need for that. You HAVE to take what John is writing in CONTEXT as you do with ALL of Scripture. The Scriptures do NOT contradict and yet, this would contradict the theme of his Epistle concerning the Advocate with the Father whom we DO have if we sin, etc. Again I say, emphatically, you cannot pick and choose what individual verses you want to fit your theories, no matter how spiritual they may seem. You MUST take the WHOLE counsel of God or take none of it!!

And while we’re at it, I’m sorry if this offends your tradition or even some of the great teachings of the past. No teacher of the Word is infallible, none, and that includes myself!! I want to ask something though; I want you who read this to consider something that just maybe you haven’t. In the Book of Daniel, this is written, Daniel 12:1-4, “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

This is speaking of the Last Days, the End Times and I want to point out that so often times we look at the 4th verse as speaking to technology and the advancement of sciences, but what about also, the advancement of the Word of God? We all know that as time has progressed, things that were hidden in the Word has been revealed by the Spirit. They have been there all along, but it is like the meaning has been “awakened” to modern man. Ever think that this is the reason why Peter spoke in his writings, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:19-21.

The prophecy, the prophetic word Peter is speaking of is not just the foretelling of future events, but of the knowledge of the Word of God! A New Testament prophet’s ministry is one of stating, “thus says the Word of God,” and not necessarily foretelling the future! It is revealing the truth of the Word, in ALL its depth and meaning and is not reliant upon personal belief nor tradition, but on what the Holy Spirit is revealing and that Word will NEVER contradict itself!

Anyway, with those thoughts in mind, Peter also wrote the following:

1 Peter 1:22-25, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”

With ALL the Scripture in mind and the context in which the Beloved Apostle is writing; what he is stating in verse 9, is that “whoever is spiritually reborn of God does not habitually sin or live a lifestyle of constant sinning!” Why is that? Because the new creature has the seed of the divine planted within his heart and is no longer of corruptible seed of Abraham or even Adam for that matter. The Adamic nature has been replaced with the Christ nature, an anointed divine, spiritual nature. It doesn’t however destroy the human nature, it is now up to us to use the gift we have been given, the indwelling of Christ’s Spirit, to lead us and guide us according to the Spirit’s will rather than the natural, selfish will of our human nature. We still have the ability to choose! Being reborn does NOT take away that ability, otherwise, why do you assume that Jesus Himself told us to deny ourselves daily and take up our cross to follow after Him? (See Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27).

We are now not under BONDAGE to sin with our corruptible nature though we still live in corruptible flesh, but rather we are FREE from the bondage and that means free to choose the path to walk, mainly, being led by the Spirit of God, or led by our willful nature. That is why we still need to walk IN the Spirit; it is a daily choice; crucify my will and the things I want to do in favor of the Will of Christ by His Holy Spirit. It is a daily choice and as I state earlier, Paul writes we don’t look back to yesterday, whether we failed OR succeeded, but rather we move forward day by day striving to attain the GOAL of perfection and holiness.

I want to give you a simple example and it is up to each of you to be honest concerning it. Do you who are True Christians, ever have a crude thought, or possibly have thought of revenge on something that has happened either in the world or locally? Another one; have any of you who are True born-again Christians ever told a “white lie” to protect someone’s feelings or concerning something inconsequential? All I’m going to say is, sin is sin, whether it is in thought, spoken or deed. ANY sin is abhorrent to God the Father and needs to be reconciled through our Advocate with the Father, Christ Jesus. We need to recognize it and confess it.

If we fall into temptation due to our weakness or even lack of faith, it is still sin and needs to be confessed. This does not mean that a True born-again Christian is habitually PRACTICING sinning. If you ARE, then you are not a Christian and not born-again, plain and simple. The Word of God does not lie, nor does it contradict itself. The keyword is practicing, continuing on in a willful lifestyle of selfishness in opposition to what pleases God. Because we DO have God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit within us, we CANNOT habitually sin for the Holy Spirit will not allow us to continue undisciplined. If we ARE His, He does chastise as a loving parent would a wayward child. The child is still the parents, but a loving parent will not let unruliness go without “discipling” the child in the right way or chastising and admonishing.

In closing consider what the writer of Hebrews admonishes us:

“You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:4-11.

Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 3 verse 10.

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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But, Why Lord?

When I was young, before being “saved,” or born-again, I was always asking questions of a “religious” nature. I expected those adults around me to know the answers, but more often than not, it was an answer like, “it just is, or you ask too many questions!” I have since learned that I can go to the Lord and if I’m willing to listen, He’s willing to speak. Oh yes, I may not ALWAYS understand but He DOES answer! One night recently, like so many other nights, sleep took a detour in coming. But, I usually use the time to let the Holy Spirit speak to me or I send up my prayers for others, most of the time a combination of both. That night was no different and the Holy Spirit spoke some things to me that allowed me to not just reminisce but to meditate on just how rich the LIVING WORD of God truly is!

Matthew 18:1-5, At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”

Anybody who is a parent, an aunt or uncle, or has spent any time at all around children can relate to what the Master is speaking of in the above Scriptures. But as teachers and preachers we have a tendency to teach in very narrow ways. We speak of the innocence of children and how we have to have that kind of innocence to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. We don’t usually meditate beyond that, but what is it that makes children so special?

I’ll give you a hint; it starts with “why, why, why, why, etc., etc.!” How many parents can attest to becoming exasperated with the constant questioning of a little tyke to something that to them is of the utmost importance.

The great cartoonist Charles Schulz was not just the creator of the Peanuts cartoon series but a Christian who loved to demonstrate his faith in the child-like characters of his cartoon series. I particularly love the animated series brought to television audiences all over the world. The world of Charlie Brown is a child’s world that characterizes the innocence AND curiosity of children of all ages! I love how the children had voices and the adults were characterized by a sound track of “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah” with audible musical tones!! So much for the wisdom of adults!!!

Mr. Schulz knew what it was our Redeemer was speaking of concerning the attributes of children! In their innocence you can find a simple wisdom, unswerving faith, true loyalty and an incessant curiosity, innocence is just what fuels all that!

When I was a young boy, I was raised in a church environment quite different from the one that I teach in today. But it was to be the foundation of the path that the Holy Spirit would lead me too, today. In that simpler time, I ALWAYS had questions and even though I was brought to church most every Sunday, it was my step-mom who used to answer (or at least attempt too, to her credit) the questions I constantly had about God, religion, why we’re here and so forth! Those questions carried me through my teen years, (I’m sure much to her consternation) until I visited a small local neighborhood church and found the source for answers to my questions.

Now, can you imagine your Heavenly Father, sitting attentively on His Magnificent throne and listening to all the constant questioning of why, why, why?? Now understand, one of His attributes is patience or forbearance, so HE doesn’t get exasperated with the constant questioning. Can you imagine the smile growing across His face with just some of the questions being asked??

The whole point I took this long to make is that the innocence that so many of us teach and preach on concerning little children is only the “fuel” that lends power to what truly makes us little children in our Heavenly Father’s eyes! The curiosity that causes us to ask questions concerning things of the Spirit is the beginning of our ability to LISTEN for the answers. You see, our Heavenly Father, unlike the adults in the Peanut cartoons, doesn’t just go, blah, blah, blah, but actually answers our questions with substance. The truth is, we have to have the willingness of little children to also HEAR the answers!

That curiosity in the spiritual hands of the Holy Spirit, in actuality can unlock the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven! Without that curiosity, we wouldn’t even be the least bit interested. That’s what happens, so sadly, to those that lose that child-like attitude of wondering why and how! You want to be able to do what the Bible says is possible and to “come boldly to the throne of grace,” Hebrews 4:16a, and what better way to approach our Heavenly Father then truly as His children!

In the heart of the Spirit, there is probably no better thing to be able to state to our Heavenly Father than, “I’m just wondering how/why/what” and then waiting expectantly for the answer! God Bless to ALL my brothers and sisters in the Lord who are not still afraid to ask questions of their Heavenly Father!!

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