Seek first the Kingdom of God

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” It’s an interesting turn of phrases when we understand that the Kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Righteousness is a derivative: think of it as a verb or action word that can only be derived from the necessary quality of Holiness. Holiness is a state of being, a noun, and it means to be separate from the unclean. Hence, we are called to be holy: “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.”

An important distinction between the two is that any person can perform righteous acts – doing the right thing or being holy in behavior – but nobody can be made holy outside the new life imputed by God.

Seeking first the kingdom means that we seek those righteous behaviors, which consequently are followed first by peace, then joy.

But seeking “His righteousness” means to seek after that righteousness that can only be found in Jesus. Hence, we can seek “righteousness, peace, joy, and His righteousness” knowing that they are all distinct threads woven together making the tapestry of His kingdom.

Deception vs. Rebellion: You won’t get a Pass

If you’re like me, you grew up in circles where we learned that poor Eve, because of some inherent weakness, was deceived by the Serpent, but Adam, on the other hand, deserved the greater condemnation because he made a choice to rebel against God.  In this theology, Eve was judged because she did not fall back to, or rely upon, the truth she knew: that which God had previously spoken.  Hence, the words of the Serpent, “hath God said…”

In reality, deception – or the act of being deceived – is no better than choosing to be rebellious.  And relying upon what you know is just as dangerous. In rebellion, we know and understand both sides of the picture: we can see the lie masquerading as truth, but we choose to align ourselves with the lie.

We might argue in favor of the deceived, that the problem is that they don’t know they’re being deceived. How, then, can that be as bad as knowing the truth but choosing the lie?

This is what the Lord says: Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find a resting place for your souls.

But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
And I set watchmen over you, saying ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!

But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
(Jer. 6:16-17)

The problem of deception is that we choose to be deceived through our failure of action, and consequently, through our action of self-exaltation.

When deceived, we act out of a place where we have chosen not to test the spirits; instead, we rely upon our intellect and wisdom. But perhaps we might argue, “I’ve read the word of God, I know what to do!”  So, then, oh knower of the Bible, what shall you do with the fool?

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
(Prov. 26:4-5)

So then, the question becomes, “do we answer the fool according to his folly, or not?” Without spiritual discernment, it is impossible:

To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues …
(2 Cor. 12:10)

The Solution: Test the Spirits

To avoid deception, we must test the spirit of everything; it’s really that simple:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God
(1 John 4:1)

Therefore, deception is as wrong as rebellion because, like rebellion, deception uses self’s power over God’s mercies and grace.  In deception, we elevate our intellect and abilities to know good from bad, right from wrong, above and beyond God’s fresh revelation and wisdom.  This does not mean we ignore the word of God; it simply means we understand His ideas, but we take the time to double-check our actions.  We live and walk through life using His word, in conjunction with His spiritual discernment to judge and course-correct:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin.
(James 4:13-17)

That is why we will not be excused, just as Eve was not excused, from the sin of deception.



Spirtual Maturity

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:13-14)

If you’re like me, you may have learned something other than what is called “spiritual discernment” by the Bible.A doctrine that teaches spiritual discernment was given only to the first-century believers, or perhaps to those a bit later, for the purpose of discerning the writings inspired by God, as opposed to those things that were not inspired by God.Essentially, what these people are saying is that nobody today can pick up a Bible and discern that it is God-breathed, that the only way we know we have God’s word is through tradition.

But enough of that rabbit hole.  Let’s just cut to the chase:

Spiritual maturity is not related
how long you have been a Christian.  

Spiritual maturity is not related
to how much scripture you have learned for
the purpose of applying it to life at just the right time. 

Spiritual maturity is having your senses trained to
discern between good and evil.

The Days of Noah Today

And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 

It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building;  but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 

It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

 The days of Noah, and the activities people performed, don\’t have anything to do with the event Christians call the rapture. Rather, it has everything to do with the sudden destruction that comes upon them (Luke 17:26-37).

The point of the allegory is about these three things:

  1. The signs of the times and what they point towards (sudden destruction);
  2. The failure of people to recognize those signs; and
  3. A failure to prepare one\’s self into the position of protection.
    • e.g., blood on the doorposts and staying inside (Egypt & plagues);
    • Being in the Ark, not swimming in the flood;
    • Leaving Soddom towards safety; etc.
    • All of which happened during judgment, all of which are examples of God protecting His own during an outpouring of judgment.  

Of the 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom, all were eagerly waiting – they understood something about the signs presented – but only 5 were prepared.

Of the three slaves who received talents, only two were rewarded; the third was thrown into outer darkness where he wept bitterly (Luke 25:29) While the parables certainly have a message of warning for readiness towards eternal life, we must remember that the conversation started in Matthew 24 doesn\’t end until the last verse of Matthew 25, and there are dual meanings found in the parables of Matthew 25.

Looking Backwards, or Looking Forwards?

It is one thing to have a backward view of one\’s life, suggesting to oneself that you\’ve done your best, and you\’re ready to meet the Lord – just as you are.

It is quite another thing to think that perhaps the Lord returns only once, at the 7th trumpet sounding (as seen in Revelation), and now one must be prepared to live life, during the tribulation, in a level of faith and preparedness not experienced up to this point in one\’s life: testifying, ministering and relying upon God for food, shelter, and necessities while the Beast makes war with the Saints.

A Great Delusion

In the year 2020, we’ve watched practicing physicians lose their jobs (at worst) or be censored (at best) for discussing and reporting on their success in treating COVID-19 with innovative treatments.  In my opinion, the virus anti-remedy rhetoric was the cusp, the fringe of the arriving great delusion;

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

For the time {has} come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they {have accumulated} for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Soon, the 2020 election will occur.  Regardless of who wins, there is likely to be turmoil.  The cheaters will be attacked, or the racists will be cleansed.  In either case, it will look much the same.

Soon thereafter, the persecution will begin, when sound biblical doctrine will be outlawed, or in the least, punished.  Pastors will be censored from preaching about sin, the kind that so easily offends many people.

With those things in mind…

I would encourage you to re-think the words of Jesus.  In Matthew 24, where He outlines the end of the age, He is not talking about a secret rapture – “the coming of the Son of Man” – He is explaining an aspect of the great delusion.  That being, everyone one is marching forward with their lives, doing their own things, not perceiving the signs of the time in which they are living:

For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

While I would love to believe that the pre-tribulation rapture adherents are correct, I can find no indication that the rapture – secret or not – is ever referred to as “the end:”

But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved

It is time to find your courage.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.

Healing Emotional Wounds

Big Knife Outline Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Do you remember a time when you were hurt emotionally, very badly?  Does it continue to haunt and hurt today when you recall it from memory?

Can your spouse easily recount the times you’ve hurt them, with excruciating detail?

If you can answer in the affirmative to these questions (and honestly, who among us can’t) then you or your spouse most likely have emotional wounds.

We all carry emotional baggage or what I’m calling emotional wounds.

We have blindly accepted that emotional hurts make us who we are, or that there’s no real cure for them other than time, or perhaps we all just need to learn how to bear our burdens or let go of the past.

We have a Healer

We have a healer, and His name is Jesus. The process I’ve outlined below is essentially a conversation with God. It consists of the following major points:

  • Identification of an emotional wound;
  • If necessary, confession of sin surrounding that wound;
  • Confessing that you want the wound removed
    • This is a particularly important point.  You cannot be double-minded in this regard.
    • You either desired to be healed of a thing, or you want the pain it brings.  It\’s your choice.
  • Asking for the wound to be removed and healed.
  • Accepting the healing.
  • Identification of new emotional wounds
    • God created our psyche to wrap wounds in protective layers, like an onion.  You’ll find that after one emotional wound is healed, another may replace it.
    • You’ll know you’re finished when you are at peace with the incident that caused the wound.

The Emotional Healing Process

Speak these things aloud.

Recall that whenever Jesus performed healing, He spoke aloud against infirmity.  When God created the universe, He spoke it into existence.  I don’t know exactly why speaking these things helps, but it does.

Have faith in God.  Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him

Mark 11:22-23
  1. Identify a painful emotion associated with a particular event.
    •  If the emotion is sinful, ask God to forgive you and receive His forgiveness.  It is good to remind yourself of forgiveness principles, such as 1 John 1:9
    • Say that you believe His blood has taken away the penalty and consequences of your sin.
    •  If it is not sinful, go to the next step.
  2. Tell Jesus you want the emotion removed from your soul.
  3. Ask Jesus to heal the wound in your soul caused by the emotion.
  4. Tell Jesus you receive His healing.
    • If the emotion is there because you may have believed a lie about that situation, ask Jesus to show you the truth about the situation.
  5. An optional step is to ask Jesus to give you something positive to replace the negative emotion that He is removing.
    • If you ask Him to take away sadness, you might ask Him to give you joy.
    • If you ask Him to take away anger, you might ask Him to give you peace.
  6. Rest for a moment, ask for His presence to come and rest in Him.
  7. Recall the situation that caused the painful emotion.
    • If there is a new negative emotion, begin again at Step 1.

When I was very young, I was molested/assaulted by an older man.  After my memory of the event resurfaced, my emotional healing process progressed something like this:

  • Jesus, I feel anger towards that person.  I don’t want to feel this anger anymore.  Please take this anger from me, and heal the wound in my soul; I receive your healing.  Please give me peace in place of this anger.

Once I was done with this process, I paused for a moment and then recalled the event.  I observed that I then felt a different emotion and went through the process again.  After several iterations (I don’t remember how many, or the emotions other than anger), I was completely healed of assault against me.  It\’s now like a distant memory to me, as if it were something written about me, not something that happened to me.

My History into this Process 

I should also mention that before I learned this emotional healing process, I had thoroughly made use of Neil Anderson’s Victory Over Darkness and Bondage Breaker.  My opinion is that his books will help you immensely, but they don’t always result in helping you heal the resulting wounds.

Thereafter, I developed a process not as involved as above, which worked seeming well enough.  I then found Praying Medic’s work Emotional Healing in Three Easy Steps and have continued to use it ever since.

Fueling the Weapons of Darkness

If you hate President Trump, if you hate the Democrats or the Republicans, you are part of the problem.  

If you are afraid of the SARS-Cov-2 virus and you are not relying upon God to save you, your family, and others – then you are part of the problem.

Covenants Fulfilled: To Believe or Not to Believe

“The Osteen version of the prosperity gospel traces its roots back to the 19th-century spiritual movement known as New Thought or Higher Thought. As the Encyclopedia Britannica explains, New Thought advocates believed in the “immanence of God, the divine nature of man, the immediate availability of God’s power to man, the spiritual character of the universe, and the fact that sin, human disorders, and human disease are basically matters of incorrect thinking. Moreover, according to New Thought, man can live in oneness with God in love, truth, peace, health, and plenty.””

In actuality, the truth is somewhere in the middle. When Jesus said His purpose was to fulfill the law, He wasn\’t making reference to His perfection in keeping all of the laws (although He did).

He was referring to the Covenants of God – things that God does not break. The \”New Covenant\” is not so much as much \”new\” as it is a fresh, new thing being done in the context of existing covenants.

In other words, the fulfillment Jesus spoke of is better understood in the view of a husband and wife daily fulfilling their marriage covenant. That covenant is not broken until one of them dies, or there is a divorce, but outside of those two events, the marriage covenant is continually fulfilled and refreshed anew every day.

The entirety of Jesus\’s life, death, and resurrection are a fulfillment of all the Covenants the Lord has made with us because God keeps His word, He doesn\’t change His mind, and He doesn\’t break His promises or covenants: which means, they\’re still in effect.

So when you read Deuteronomy 28, remember that the blessings described are a Covenant still in effect today, fulfilled by Jesus. Your job is to understand how to position yourself within those blessings.

This not the prosperity gospel nor is is a form of the prosperity gospel, but it is a truth that many Christians refuse to position themselves within, opting rather for a form of legalism that includes paying for their sins through sickness and strife, continual condemnation of self and others, and self-flagellation – to name a few.

Deuteronomy 28

“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God: 

– “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the [c]country.
– “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
– “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
– “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
– “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

God Said Yes!!

I asked God to take away my addictions. God said Yes. Repent and turn away from your hurtful choices and lean upon Me, and trust that I will do it.

I asked God to heal my wife\’s migraines. God said Yes. Pray for her, bless her, and trust in my nature and the work of my Son, and I will remove them through you.
I asked God to grant me patience. God said Yes. Learn of Me and My ways, choose to grow in My nature, for I am Love and love is patient.
I asked God to give me happiness. God said Yes. Sadness and pain rob you of happiness; learn from me forgiveness, ask Me for healing, and take my yoke upon you and you will be freed from pain. You will find peace and happiness in Me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said Yes. I am the vine and you are the branch; you are already pruned because of the Word I have spoken into your heart. Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life, and God said Yes. I am a good father who provides gifts so that you may enjoy life and share wealth and happiness with others; I have provided every good thing given and every perfect gift you have ever received.

Judging the Sins of Others

I don’t know about you, but that right there (to the left) chaps my hide.

If you’re like me, you’ve seen and experienced your share of Christians judging the sins of others. It’s a spiritual badge a lot of us Christians wear.

From prostitution to abortion, violence, and molestation, Christians are among the first heap coals of condemnation upon the sinners\’ head. Some of them will even go as far as to say that if you\’re depressed, God is punishing you.

If Christian means follower of Christ, then it is utterly appropriate to ask the question, What Would Jesus Do? 

Perhaps we should look at the scriptures. Should we find that God has a different opinion and response to sin than what Christians are best known for, then perhaps we’ve been misled by our churches who have taught us these things? Maybe then, we should make a change.

Inward vs. Outward

In 2 Cor 5:12 (and elsewhere), we are reminded that it is the inner qualities that matter, not the outward appearances: 

that you will be able to answer those who boast about a person’s appearance rather than his inner qualities (2 Cor 5:121 Sam 16:7Prov 24:12Matt 23:25)

This assertion is followed with a view and understanding of Messiah, who at one time, was judged solely upon outward appearances:

So from now on, we do not look at anyone from a worldly viewpoint. Even if we once regarded the Messiah from a worldly viewpoint, we do so no longer. (2 Cor 5:16)

And finally, Paul wraps up the entire discourse (thus far in 2 Corinthians, ch. 5) with this idea:

And it is all from God, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation, which is that God in the Messiah was reconciling mankind to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (CJB)

The point then is this: if the work God performed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah is so complete and wonderfully done – so much so that even God does not count their sins against them – then who are we to condemn or even lightly judge anyone for their sins?  

Judging and condemning others for their sins is not our ministry.

Our ministry from God is a message of reconciliation.