Redemption Through God Unbiasedness

One undeniable fact of God is His fairness. The root of this truth first surfaced after Adam and Eve’s great fall from His grace. Once God finished handing them their consequences for disobedience, He provided a way out (Genesis 3:22). It’s here, where God’s unbiasedness gave birth to faith and redemption.

The ensuing story is my experience with the Lord’s impartial interaction with me.

On the negative side, agnosticism fueled my disbelief of God and I spread its poison to anyone with open ears. Many times I argued God’s none-existent using the evilness of the world to point out His dislike for humanity.

How could God exist in a world riddled with death, hatred, and cruelty to children?

This outlook on God showed my misunderstanding of faith. I couldn’t grasp the idea those kinds of human actions in the world are not acts of God but the results from wicked people doing evil deeds. In my mind, I used those realities as a way to reject God. I didn’t know faith is an example of the inner changes God provides to remove sin’s corruption.

During this period of life, my thoughts became influenced by alcohol and drugs. This sent me on the road of self-destruction causing severe problems.

In fact, addiction almost killed me. One time I wrecked the car. It happened driving home from a bar. I became intoxicated from several hours of hard drinking and this impaired my ability to think. My drunkenness caused me to veer off the side of the road and crashed into a metal utility pole.

Then the next thing I remember is waking up in the middle of the road in the opposite direction from the flow of traffic. Even though I walked away uninjured, this incident put me in the path of death. This wasn’t enough to stop me ruining my life. I continued driving drunk.

Besides the substance abuse, I lived in fierce resentment, self-centered fear, and other unrighteous behavior. Sin ran wild, causing emotional, mental and physical harms to many people. My life continued to get worse, and along the way, suicide raised its ugly head.

Then one day in the spring of 1985 God got my attention. Alcoholism reduced me to one hundred and ten pounds, looked as if I was walking death and ended back home at mom’s house. This devastated her, and those tears she cried showed the terror behind her eyes. Now she experienced up close a frightening example of the horrors of an unsaved soul. With the agony of defeat prevalent and nowhere else to turn I heard God’s calling.

God took my hand and taught me the real meaning of life. His light overpowered the darkness hanging over my head. And nothing mattered except God. Over the next fifteen years, the relationship between God and me blossomed. He gave me the keys to the meaningful and purposeful life anchored in His purpose.

Even though God took hold of me, He understood I wasn’t ready for His way of living. And in the summer of 2000, I chose to distant myself from God. It began with complacency. You know those times when I believe my spiritual life is well but fail to rely upon Him. Well, this lack of faith cost me His grace, and three years later I returned to the nightmare of addiction.

It wasn’t a wise decision returning to alcoholism. But because of my dead faith and failing to recognize my error God’s voice fell on deaf ears. Under those circumstances, the day I drank, alcoholism returned with a vengeance.

Over the next eight years nothing I tried to ease the unnecessary suffering caused by my disobedience worked. My ability to make sound decisions ceased to exist, and this drove me deeper into despair. In my darkest days, I remember sitting on the couch with no electricity or running water with a cooler full of beer getting drunk. Self-pity filled my heart driven by my refusal to turn back to God.

I tried geographic changes to no avail. Every time I moved the lurking notion of impending doom never left my mind. Other ways included changing friends, hangout places and isolating myself at home. Nothing overtook the reality of my choice to walk away from God. And from my actions to live willful the quality of life continued to get worse.

Alcohol became my worst enemy and every time I drank the blackouts from abusing it became severe. It wasn’t uncommon for me to awaken from a blackout with black eyes or broken ribs because others told me I became violent. They had to manhandle me to stop me from causing more physical damage to property. And this led to more destructive drinking to drown out the embarrassment.

Not sure what happened. One day in the summer of 2011 I asked God for help. And within a few weeks, God’s Living Spirit became visible. He embraced me with His grace. God showed me mercy, and Christ entered my heart. This remarkable and unbelievable spiritual awakening changed me forever.

I knew God answered my cry for help because He removed my obsession with alcohol. No longer was I consumed with constant thoughts of getting drunk. Those became non-existent and God replaced them with a peace of mind unlike any other I had every experience. And God freed me from the bondage of self and as the result of His intervention, my thoughts shifted from the alcohol to thinking on Him.

I am grateful the Lord gave me another chance. Today I keep my faith active. For example, once awaken the first thoughts of the day begin with glorifying God. Prayer is where it starts and throughout the day a conscious effort made to rely upon Christ. And every night a sincere thanking for His daily bread.

God didn’t give up on me nor will He for you. His unbiased treatment of me keeps me seeking Christ and I look forward spending time with Him. I cherish His Spirit. I hope your experience is one full of His love and filled with His presence!

What Lies Beneath the Parables?

Parables are priceless analogies of faith in action. Jesus used them to show examples of God’s truths through visualizing His word through a story. And what lies beneath the parables is an endless delivery of God’s wisdom.

In Matthew’s Gospel twenty parables come to the surface and overall thirty-nine appear in three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). With this in mind, we see they play a significant role in learning God’s truths.

Their simplicity is a point often overlooked. The Parables are full of incredible insight of God’s word, yet I have a tendency to over-think them and complicate the message. This is why placing my trust in Christ is crucial in understanding these fascinating scriptures. Because my limited knowledge isn’t enough to comprehend their profound meanings.

It may surprise you not everyone understood Christ’s parables (Matthew 13:10-15). Since God knows the hearts of humans (Luke 16:15) and at Jesus’ time on earth, many lived in dead faith; He decided to hide their meanings. And their refusal to accept God’s real word cost them the wisdom to understand God’s will.

In fact, the Apostles were the first men to gain the knowledge (Matthew 13:16-17) of their powerful lessons. Jesus knew His ascension into heaven was inevitable and used the Parables as a way of preparing them for life after His departure. Christ explained their secrets to help them spread His Gospel.

It’s in the Parables we find the spiritual actions needed to apply God’s truth in our daily lives. They cover a multitude of Christian behavior favorable in God’s eyes. For one thing, they teach us the value of faith, love, and humility. Each of them gives reverence to the way God intends for us to live in harmony with Him and the world.

For example, the Parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), shows Christ’s way of humility. Here we see how one’s impartial generosity stirs up an unacceptable reaction in receiving fairness. In this case, Christ’s message is humility. And humility is gratitude in disguise, but complaining is the result of a hardened heart.

Another more famous Parable is the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9). This leaves no doubt the faith needed for finding God’s saving grace (Ephesians 2:8). It is important to realize real faith and Christ great explanation (Matthew 13:18-23), points out God’s definition of eternal faith (Matthew 13:23).

And we must follow Jesus so we can build on the Lord’s unshakable foundation and secure our eternal lives.

One of the most compelling evidence of love is the Parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35). Behind the act of forgiving is unconditional love.

When we forgive others, our love radiates through a compassionate heart. It’s in our willingness to let go of our hurt feelings and show our offenders a loving spirit. This valuable lesson teaches us it’s pointless to hold onto bitterness. This great freedom transforms our lives into one working for Christ and living God’s will.

When I spend time on the Parables, I meditate on them. I breathe in their spiritual air refreshing my spirit and re-energizing my heart. And I ask myself what the action I need to take so I bring them into my life is.

We have discussed a few Parables. Now that we have a basic understanding of their purpose then it becomes easy to use them in helping us grow in the knowledge of Christ. We will never find God’s hidden wisdom until we take time and apply them to our faith.

What do you find lurking beneath the Parables?

Unleashing the Power of Prayer

One of the most common stumbling block in unleashing the power of prayer is avoiding alone time with God. It’s easy allowing the demands of family, careers and social events to override my prayer life.

When I become too busy for God, it opens the door for unnecessary troubles. I know this from experience because when I’m not active in embracing Christ, my problems become overwhelming and I take the wrong actions in finding a resolution.

But the moment I show God my undivided attention then He takes my life and eliminates my obstacles. This doesn’t mean it takes place right away. A point often overlooked is God uses a timetable, unlike mine. The emphasis is without Christ as my top priority my prayers stay unanswered.

The Lifeline of Prayer

Think of it this way. When a child’s conception happens, the umbilical cord is its lifeline. And without this essential physical bond between mother and child life doesn’t exist.

Likewise, the same holds true in prayer because failing to speak with the Lord cuts me off from the Light of Christ. And living in spiritual darkness is eternal death.

As we continue looking at the Gospel of Matthew Christ shows how confused the believers are in knowing God’s truths. One problem they experienced is understanding the way God wants a believer to pray.

With this in mind, Jesus delivered them the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).

Many of us approach prayer with good intentions but lose focus on the way God wants us to speak to Him. No one is perfect in their walk with the Lord (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In Matthew sixth chapter verses five through fifteen we find Christ’s exceptional lesson for praying. It’s not by accident Jesus first shared on preparing the proper mindset for rightful praying (Matthew 6:5-7).

Our Messiah pointed out two unfavorable approaches for praying and one worthy of receiving God’s grace.

Improper Prayer

Jesus started with a stern message on humility. It’s important to realize God disapproves prideful actions. Here Jesus tells us not to pray intending to show others (Matthew 6:5). And Christ warns us a prayer anchored in self-centeredness is unprofitable in God’s eyes.

Remember the Lord doesn’t find it amusing to live as a hypocrite.

The second key in Christ prayer lesson is avoiding repetitive words. Our Messiah identified prays with long and duplicate words are worthless to God.

Christ said this:

“And when you pray do not use vain repetitions as the heathens do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7)

No, the Lord prefers a simple and sincere language.

Christ’s Vision of Proper Praying

God is faithful to those who follow His commands and Christ reminds us this truth. Jesus left no doubt the greatest approach in praying is private. Nothing pleases God more than facing Him alone. Here Jesus promises if we do this then God will answer our prayer, and our reward becomes noticeable (Matthew 6:6).

Christ’s Prayer Command

Once I get Christ’s recipe for acceptable praying, then the wisdom behind the Lord’s Prayer is at my disposal. It’s in this prayer I find the three ingredients needed in unleashing the power of prayer.

The first action to take is glorifying God (Matthew 6:9). Christ made it known God responds to those who glorify Him. And when we obey our Messiah God steps in and protects from His enemy. Nothing draws us closer to our Creator than honoring His presence. And nothing matches God’s indisputable grace.

Selfless service to God (Matthew 6:10) is a key to finding the full might of prayer and brings us to Jesus’s second point in the Lord’s Prayer. Each of us understands the essence of serving God’s purpose brings us incredible spiritual balance in every circumstance of living. Nothing is more impactful or profound than working for God!

The last three verses of Christ’s lesson on proper praying is asking God for guidance (Matthew 6:11-13). In those scriptures, Jesus commands us to ask God for spiritual food (our daily bread), forgiveness of sin (others included), and removal from temptation and deliverance from evil. Each of those requests is straightforward petitions keeping us focused on fulfilling His will.

Now with Christ’s knowledge of praying and our willingness to apply it then we can unleash its full potential. Every one of us has bear witness to the miracle of prayer both in personal experience and observing others victory. Remember with God everything is possible!

Have you unleashed the power of prayer?

The Undeniable Key of Righteousness

In Christ’s sermon on the mountain (Matthew Chapters 5-7) He shows the conduct God expects a member of His kingdom to manifest to their neighbors. When we take an honest view of the Bible, our understanding of how God opposes mistreating others emerges. And Christ spoke on the key of righteousness.

Jesus held nothing back when speaking of God’s truth. In His homily, He set right every misinterpretation on anger (Matthew 5:21-26), adultery (Matthew 5:27-30), and marriage (Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:1-10).

Likewise, Christ illuminates the way to selflessness (Matthew 5:38-42), unconditional love (Matthew 5:43-48), and humility (Matthew 7:1-6).

It’s in this part of Christ’s teachings He lays out the Christian actions necessary in living a God-centered life. The first thing to remember is Jesus highlights love (Matthew 5:43-48) as God’s favorable interaction with those who cause us trouble. So finding spiritual love comes from reliance on Christ.

Righteousness is out of reach on willpower alone. We understand this truth when we revisit Adam and Eve’s great fall from God’s grace (Genesis 3: 1-19). The second they disobeyed God, sin sprouted and corrupted the human soul. Their penalty for disobedience cost them God’s affection, but the Lord loved them and provided them the key to a pure heart (Genesis 3:22).

 

 

Remember, Christ defeated sin (1 Peter 2:24) and without His intervention, in the way, I react to being mistreated is sinful. Think of it this way. When someone belittles me and I react in the same way, then sin controls my response. But the more I grow in Christ when those circumstances arise my ability to forgive increases. And when I fall short in love, then repentance is my way back to righteousness.

It’s important to realize the key to righteousness as set forth through Christ’s firm teaching is love and humility. Both a loving and humble existence lead to a life of glorifying and serving God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and helping others. God is pleased when we live a modest life and express His love to others.

For example, when Christ talked about murder, He made it known anger is its taproot. In, our generation the world reminds us the devastation anger causes in society. Nowadays, murder is a headline broadcast to the masses.

Jesus understood anger is dangerous and the way to stop it from infesting the heart is reconciling our indifferences and making amends for wrong doings (Matthew 5:24). Making right wrongdoing is an act of love and an example of humility.

Love coupled with humility removes resentment and brings serenity in angry circumstances. And when we show those around us God’s love our lives become rich in righteousness.

Another excellent illustration of pure at heart is understanding other’s sinful ways (Matthew 7:1-6). It’s easy to forget my sinful actions. At birth, sin is present (Romans 5:12). So passing judgment on others is senseless because God knows everyone falls short in living holy.

I am familiar with the unfruitfulness of pointing the finger at people’s shortcomings. Many times when I become self-righteous it’s an unpleasant experience. I never walk away from it feeling good. But the more willing I am to live in Christ the less I judge others. This revelation brings me peace and I can love people who cause me problems.

Our discussion on the key to righteousness comes to an end, and we touched on a few aspects to its reverence for God. Since righteousness doesn’t come easy then a more comprehensive understanding stems from building a personal relationship with Christ. And with Jesus as our guide finding a pure heart is God’s reward for adhering to His word.

Have you found the key to righteousness?