The Basics – Romans 12:9-13 (ESV)

God is impressed by men and women who’s inside tells the tale of their true intentions for good.

“9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” – Romans 12:9-13

Paul can stir the spirit to action like no other. Like a great father, when he was unhappy you felt shame. But when he wanted to get you motivated, he always had the right thing to say.

Paul was also quite clear in his writings. In Romans 12:9-13, you can practically restate each of these into bullet points for a slide show on proper behavior for anyone wishing to be a good person.

But written as a whole, one after another, Paul strengthens each into a prescription for the Christian Way. It reminds the reader how these simple truths makes for all the character one would ever need to succeed in life, and especially, in a Christian manner.

It’s easy to be put off by much of the writings in the bible because it’s not easy reading, causing fatigue and confusion. This is why Paul wrote concise instructions for getting it right for those unwilling or incapable of grasping the more meaty concepts.

Read the verse out loud to yourself. It is so simple. Do nothing more than what is prescribed here and you are more Christian than most.

God is not impressed by grandiose shenanigans, like singing praise music everywhere or acting like a silly Jesus Freak in people’s faces. God is impressed by men and women who’s inside tells the tale of their true intentions for good.

Ask yourself:

  • “Is my love genuine?”
  • “Am I honorable?”
  • “Do I walk the walk?”

Genuine Christian living is simple. It is not complicated. Do the basics, whilst honoring God privately in all your actions. God will surly take notice and give thanks back to you.

I’m Obliged – Romans 1:14-15 (ESV)

Somewhere in all this murkiness is the truth.

“14 I am under obligation both to the Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome,” – Romans 1:14-15

Yes, I’m obliged. I have pledged my duty to spread the word of God and the teachings of Christ Jesus. I am now required to the best of my abilities to do so.

Many people have closed eyes and ears in our age. Many have decided that God is a fantasy and Jesus was merely a great man of his time.

Before I made my pledge to God, I too had many questions and much research to do to gain understanding of this “Business of God”. Is it all nonsense or is it real? After careful and continuing inquiry I concluded it was very real, but boy did it lack clarity. That led to a deep dive into the history of the church and it’s writings to discern where and why things got muddy.

Somewhere in all this murkiness is the truth.

We’re taught not to question God and Christ. Just believe. And from this we develop the all too human emotion of fear. Fear of God against our own thoughts, emotions, experiences, etc. But by nature and design we are inquiring animals. I too had this fear until I reasoned that God wanted me to ask Him questions. If I was asking Him, then surely I believed in Him. It wasn’t a challenge, just a desire to know more and be closer hence forth. And I was correct…

So, as I continue to expound my thoughts on God and Christ, let me say I do so with a sincere heart to clear the smoke that clouds The Way. My hope is to be a catalyst for your own personal journey, with me or without me.

I’m no leader, but maybe I’m a tiny lighthouse with a few answers for those seeking wisdom in a stormy world. Come inside, have a beer, a glass of wine, a cup of tea or a glass of water – or just have a seat and chat for awhile.

We have much to discuss…

Love Your Enemies? – Matthew 5:44 (ESV)

When Jesus said to “love your enemy”, what he was really saying was; if you are in a state of Gods love (the real kind), don’t filter who can receive it by withholding it at will.

“44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” – Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV)

“Love your enemies…”

What does that feel like to love those you despise?

I mentioned before how Jesus’ teachings require from us a re-wiring of our brains and our hearts. This may be the most difficult to understand and practice.

Imagine the time of Jesus when bloodshed was carried out in plain site and regularly. In today’s world we censor the level of violence broadcast by the news. Even in entertainment media, the violence we consume is tailored just enough to make the point. We’re sheltered for the most part from the real violence that consumes the world around us. It is left to our imaginations, if we choose to focus on it, to recreate what is reported, like starvation, war, rape, murder etc. But can you imagine what it would be like if it was surrounding you daily? That is what it was like for Jesus at his time with us on earth. Yet he called for us to “love our enemies”.

Surely the people of his age felt hopeless to stop the violence, but hopelessness, and maybe even acceptance, didn’t mean they stopped feeling the pain and rage caused by violence. These are powerful emotions for anyone, that linger indefinitely. Given the power of those emotions, how can one simply negate them to then foster and give it’s opposite, which is love. No easy task in any era.

A minuscule fraction of our fellow humans enjoy inflicting or witnessing harm on others, so this doesn’t apply to them. For the rest of us, how can we make sense of this foundational order from Jesus? It begins by understanding first that it’s God’s will and then to understand its benefit to anyone who practices this tenet.

To be in a state of love from the source our God is the goal of the ages. It was Jesus’ mission to enable this state of being in all humans. The enemy cannot function in this realm. His is the opposite, as we all know. Gods purest energy spreads across the entire universe. At the simplest level of existence, we must work to be in and a part of this energy that is called Universal (meaning everywhere) Love.

When Jesus gave us this tenet, he meant for us to give forth to all beings Gods Universal Love energy. It is meant to override earthly emotions caused by the negative effects of the enemies efforts. Love’s energy comes from God. Human emotions come from our individual brains.

When Jesus said to “love your enemy”, what he was really saying was; if you are in a state of Gods love (the real kind), don’t filter who can receive it by withholding it at will. Give this love freely to all beings on this earth, without measure and without a moment of hesitation. THAT is what it means to be a follower of Christ. Gods love is for ALL OF US. When you decide who can and who cannot receive Gods love, you are negating God and Christ.

This energy is designed to heal all wounds, no matter how great. Gods love is the finest and purest energy in the Universe. It can accomplish anything if harnessed properly. It can repair the damage to our bodies against illness. It can also repair the pain in our hearts. Likewise, this energy is not just for healing, but also creation.

Think of Gods energy in the simplest of ways. Take in as much as you can and allow it to flow through you as much as you can. Think of yourself as a waterfall. Love cascades over you from some distant source, pours down with force cleaning all in it’s path, and pools at the bottom to then be available to others by flowing away from you. Do not collect it only for a few. It was given to you freely and without measure. You must then pass it on the same way, to anyone, to everyone, even the enemy. Anyone can choose not to drink from this pool, but you make it available regardless.

Jesus was the living embodiment of this love. He never stopped the flow of Gods love energy through him. Like the waters of Niagara Falls, his was the most powerful the world has ever known.

To Serve or Not to Serve – Luke 22:27 (NRSV)

Jesus helped us to understand the “selfish benefit” of our “selfless acts”.

“27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” – Luke 22:27 (NRSV)

It is a natural component of our basic thinking that we structure the world in hierarchies, from worst to best. Seek out and hope for the best; look out for and avoid the worst. The instinct makes its way into our conscious brains, as well. We apply this filter to all areas of our lives and foster our personal judgments about others and ourselves to determine how we “rank”. We’re accustom to using this as part of our social navigation systems especially.

Jesus often prescribed ideas that require a re-wiring of our selves. It’s not in our nature to “serve others” as a rule. The laws of the natural world make us selfish in obvious ways, but mostly unconsciously do we “self-serve”. As Jesus often did, he uses himself as an example, living by and embodying the concepts he preached. Jesus’ first order for his own life was to serve all of mankind.

Jesus helped us to understand the “selfish benefit” of our “selfless acts”. The most important benefit of any of our actions and thoughts are to please God, which comes with infinite and abundant blessings. But on a more practical humanistic level we get the benefit of improved human-to-human interaction.

If it is our nature to seek the best for ourselves, then live to embody the rule “treat others as you wish to be treated”. Hence, if you serve those around you, you will also be the beneficiary of equal and more serving of others unto you. That’s a pretty good deal, indeed.

Practice this with sincerity, an open heart and with complete selflessness. It is the application of this that mostly pleases God above all else, perhaps even more than faith. Being good whilst ignorant of faith is better than being bad with knowledge of faith.

Good vs Evil: Knowing the Difference

The enemy abandoned long ago the look of the red suit and pitch fork, in favor of the guise in the likeness of the Son of God.

Where is the line that separates good and evil?

For sure it’s easy to distinguish the farthest ends and discern when something is inherently good, like Mother Terresa, or inherently evil, like Adolf Hitler. However, in the middle, close to that razor-sharp border, it’s all but impossible to figure out. Most of us are not equipped to make that distinction. Often, we’re choosing the wrong side and not knowing it, or worse than that, being completely convinced we’ve chosen correctly.

It’s on this battlefront that the spiritual war is being waged.

The enemy abandoned long ago the look of the red suit and pitch fork, in favor of the guise in the likeness of the Son of God. The enemy is smart – wear a suit, smile, kiss some babies and go to church to create an impression of piety. Jesus was smarter, and in the end of his mortal life on earth he won, for the sake of us all. However, since that time and continuing today, the enemy has worked tirelessly to stop the spread of His word, by perverting and subverting it for their own use.

Jesus warned us:

Mathew 24:23-28

23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightening comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

Where is the evil among us today, and if it’s hidden behind a façade of godliness, how are we to recognize and abolish it? As the saying goes, “the lines have blurred.” My belief is that it’s everywhere and inside each of us, like a dormant virus, waiting to be triggered.

We can flesh evil out by first accepting the basic principles of Christianity. Many of which have become basic behaviors taught outside of Christian faith, like “thou shalt not kill”. These will form a first layer of armor and act as a meter for moral judgement. Think of what would be possible if everyone adhered to these basic principles. Much of our confrontations would disappear.

It’s spiritual guerilla warfare out there and many of the enemy’s tactics are right under our nose but go undetected. His plan is not to lead you astray by doing the obvious.

Instead, the enemy sneaks into our churches and whispers things like, ‘don’t like them’ or ‘we are better than they are.’ The enemy appears on our TVs and on the internet, in celebrity guise, throwing the best parties in town. The enemy prepares the very food that we eat. If you eat bad food long enough, you’ll die an ugly death, possibly early. The enemy distracts you with entertainment on subjects that really shouldn’t be entertaining, like murder, to pollute our minds and desensitize our hearts.

For the enemy, it’s just so easy because we are so highly impressionable.

ARP - Mugs - Humans - Dont Wanna Be Saved - 48 x 48 - Final - Framed

What is disheartening is that once we’ve consumed and conformed to the enemy’s norms, we too often decide that we like it this way and shrug off the idea of being better in favor of the enemy’s goods and ideas. Being bad is easy, the enemy made it so, and most of the time it doesn’t seem bad at all. After some time, it feels neither good nor bad.

How strange it is that being good, for most, requires so much of our faculties. You think we would default to good, but we don’t.

Listing all the areas that lead us astray to the enemy’s camp, explaining detail after detail, is pointless. The enemy simply moves the focus to a new area and the cycle begins all over again. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

How can we guard against an ever-morphing enemy? Don’t change the enemy. Change the recipients.

Train yourself to “see”. Open your eyes and your heart. Guard yourself by simply taking notice of what you consume and how you behave. Practice a spiritual patience that with time, you will see the enemy coming miles away. Scrutinize what you do, from the simplest acts to the most complex. Think before you act.

Closing Prayer:

“Father, with Christ as my holy guide and impenetrable shield, I seek to attain spiritual patience and wisdom, through your loving energy. Let the Spirit that is Holy enter me, as you wish.”

ARTWORK:

“Satan meets with Jesus”, 2019 – Artist Robert Perez

“Mugs (Humans Don’t Wanna Be Saved)”, 2018 – Artist Robert Perez

Santa, You Win

December 25th has become two parallel occasions, with two hero’s vying for our attention, Jesus and the relatively new guy Santa.

Christmas Sermon – 2018

Opening Prayer:

Lord, I give my soul and mind to the pursuit of your eternal goodness.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.” Mathew, 1:18, ESV

Sermon:

When I was a little boy my favorite TV Christmas special was “The Little Drummer Boy”. Sure, I loved them all, but something struck me inside after watching that particular one. Even today, just hearing the song from that special stirs my spirit and humbles me to lower my head in reverence to Christ and to God.

Fast forward to today and I’m a cynical American consumer tainted by the unpleasantness of what Christmas has become and the increasing acceptance of the unfair treatment of people. This year, no same olé Christmas hubbub about “how we just need to get along”. Let us open our eyes WIDER, see where we are, where we can go, and frankly, call it like it is.

I’m the first person to wake up Christmas morning, ready to spoil my loved ones. And who doesn’t like getting stuff? I know I’m all for it. I’m as guilty as anyone in occupying my thoughts with Christmas paraphernalia, music, events and shopping. But then I remember Christ being born and I feel disengaged.

Both canonical gospels of Luke and Matthew describe the events for the birth of Jesus similarly, but do not state a precise day and time. The day we celebrate, December 25th, conformed over time. What that means is we made it up. We “choose” to celebrate on this day and we’re comfortable with it. With that said, the revelry and materialism versus a more serious celebration of Christ’s birth have been an earmark of debate for centuries.

So where are we today?

December 25th has become two parallel occasions, with two hero’s vying for our attention, Jesus and the relatively new guy Santa. Now I’m not going to go so far as to call Santa evil (the letters do spell Satan and he does wear red, just saying), but the red suit dude has taken up way too much space and attention “away” (that’s the key word here) from the real reason we celebrate “Christ’s Mass”.

Recently, I came across this article in the Flipboard app, titled “Innocent girl asks Santa to heal her cancer-stricken cousin, his response had dad bawling”. It’s a touching example of a child’s innocence, a compassionate man (the person playing Santa), and the family. He explains to her that Santa doesn’t have the power to heal, but he knows someone who can, and he prays with her to the only real power in the universe, God and Christ.

Is the hero of the story a guy in a Santa suit who prays and has strong faith?

The article never mentions who he prays to or gives rightful attention to the force in the universe that will actually make the girl heal. It only sites the “power of faith”. What does that mean? So faith, as an emotional state, is what we all need? No! God is what we need. Christ is what we need. Knowledge and acceptance of them is what we need.

If you pull the lens out far enough and assess the details, our culture invests all it’s energy into the wonderland of Santas world, instead of the all-powerful world of God. The movie “The Polar Express” has a final message, “Believe”, and this diversion is prevalent everywhere. Billions of dollars have been spent on marketing the concept of a man in a red suit that showers us with presents, spreads love all around, and makes all things better if we only “believe” in him. And he coincidentally does this on the same day that we celebrate Jesus’ birth. Hmm.

When I came to this new perspective it ate away at my brain and wouldn’t quit. I already confessed that I’m an American consumer who grew up with the promise of Christmas Day as the best day of the year. I will also confess, until I fully embraced my acceptance of Christ and my mission to God, I had not really put all that much attention on Jesus’ birthday. No church. No prayer. I paid it no mind.

Remember in “The Matrix” when Neo is pulled from the Matrix and place back into the real world? That’s what it’s like when you see God’s world as it is.

I sat down to write what I hoped would be a beautiful sermon on the birth of Christ. As I waited for the words to come, all I could focus on is what was wrong with Christmas, with myself and with our culture. Trying to form a more “upbeat” piece of writing felt phony. I now know who God is, have no doubt about His power and validity, and devoted my life to continually gaining Christ’s wisdom and sharing that with the world.

Did I have a “Christmas” that was both secular and spiritual? You bet I did! I already embrace and celebrate Christ everyday. God knows this.

Christmas should be a day for reflection on the birth of Jesus and it’s significance, and finally giving thanks to God. The rest is an extension of that joy, shared with others as a bonus of our culture – or, it’s nothing, no more than a diversion from that.

Can you have both, Jesus and Santa?

God’s Christmas present to us all was His Son, Jesus. I hope you embrace it and choose between these two, Jesus and Santa, correctly. (Santa, you’re winning…for now.)

Final Prayer:

Jesus, your love for us is never ending, even in our age of growing disillusionment and desertion. We celebrate your birth as the gift it was and still is and always will be. We thank you for our fortune, pray in earnest for the forgiveness of our errors, and trust wholly in your love. We humbly ask for the safety of those truly in need.

 

From Wikipedia:

Overview

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it. (Christmas, n.d.)

The earliest known Christmas celebration is recorded in a fourth-century manuscript compiled in Rome. (Christmas, n.d.)

Relation to concurrent celebrations

Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus’ birth, with certain elements having origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity. These elements, including the Yule log from Yule and gift giving from Saturnalia, became syncretized into Christmas over the centuries. The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has also continually evolved since the holiday’s inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival-like state in the Middle Ages, to a tamer family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century transformation. In fact, the celebration of Christmas was banned on more than one occasion within certain Protestant groups, such as the Puritans, due to concerns that it was too pagan or unbiblical. Jehovah’s Witnesses also reject the celebration of Christmas. (Christmas, n.d.)

Post-classical history

In the Early Middle Ages, Christmas Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in western Christianity focused on the visit of the magi. But the medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas became the “forty days of St. Martin” (which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours), now known as Advent. In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent. Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 – January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide or Twelve Holy Days. The prominence of Christmas Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in 800. King Edmund the Martyr was anointed on Christmas in 855 and King William I of England was crowned on Christmas Day 1066.

Modern history

Following the Protestant Reformation, many of the new denominations, including the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church, continued to celebrate Christmas. In 1629, the Anglican poet John Milton penned On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, a poem that has since been read by many during Christmastide. Donald Heinz, a professor at California State University, states that Martin Luther “inaugurated a period in which Germany would produce a unique culture of Christmas, much copied in North America.” Among the congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church, Christmas was celebrated as one of the principal evangelical feasts. However, in 17th century England, some groups such as the Puritans, strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the “trappings of popery” or the “rags of the Beast”. In contrast, the established Anglican Church “pressed for a more elaborate observance of feasts, penitential seasons, and saints’ days. (Christmas, n.d.)

Choice of December 25 date

In the 3rd century, the date of birth of Jesus was the subject of both great interest and great uncertainty. Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote: In other writing of this time, May 20, April 18 or 19, March 25, January 2, November 17, and November 20 are all suggested. Various factors contributed to the selection of December 25 as a date of celebration: it was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar; it was about nine months after March 25, the date of the vernal equinox and a date linked to the conception of Jesus. (Christmas, n.d.)

Etymology

“Christmas” is a shortened form of “Christ’s mass”. It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131. Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ (מָשִׁיחַ), “Messiah”, meaning “anointed”; and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist. (Christmas, n.d.)

Bibliography

Christmas. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 19, 2018, from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

Why believe?

To believe is to connect with God. Anything else is simply “thinking of God”.

By Pastor Robert Perez

Greetings

As a true believer of Jesus Christ and all wisdom attributed thereof, I greet all with the essential power of love from God. My eternal wish is to abolish misunderstanding and foster genuine knowledge of the living God to attain a certain and everlasting bond with Him, for myself and for all.

What if it’s all true?

Uncertainty is at the heart of all naysayers and those living falsely as Christians. This was so from the very beginning, without cessation, and will continue to the end of days. I too (although always pulled by Gods energy even when not paying mind to it) am a man of this world, educated by this world, and had open questions. I knew I could not fully be committed to God and Christ if I truly did not believe it to be real, that is based in reality how a modern man of this age accepts the definition of what it means to be called real.

My own journey began when the strength of the pull from Gods energy was too strong to ignore. Even in my state of unrest and uncertainty at that time, I gave in willingly, with a determination to discover the mystery of Christ that would lead me to God. Arrogance was surely a poison in me, and still is. But my diligence was focused on truth-seeking and assuaged the effects of my egotism.

I wholly believed that some force was calling me and concluded it was more than an emotional need crying out from my psyche. Signs existed, and logic proved that the force was from outside of me. Besides, from a young age I had a persistent adage knocking about in my head, “If God is real it changes everything.” It would supersede every aspect of life – e.g. my humanity and all information gained by my senses. I now had to find out…

What if it’s all false?

My determination was to answer the question for certain and accept the outcome. If God is a fiction the adage is altered, but equally profound and impactful. “If God does not exist it changes everything.”

The acceptance that there is no God destroys much of what we humans cling to. It would be liberating, in a sense. Liberating to live a life without a moral compass, abandoning all emphasis on spirituality and refocusing the questions of life. My thoughts and actions would be my own and life subject to the concepts of man only.

As a philosophical movement, would Christianity still benefit me? Maybe. Jesus, if not Christ but only a man, would always be, at the least, one of history’s most potent thinkers, besides being the greatest influencer of all time.

Why believe at all?

Hasn’t science, history and philosophy proven Christianity to be nonsense? Science takes aim squarely at what cannot be proven by rational logic, if not directly from empirical experimentation, and deems it to be fantasy derived from the fallible and impressionable minds of humans. This is a fair and sound process with obvious results in wonderous human achievements. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

But is that good enough?

The answer again lies in the outcome of the question everyone should ask, “Does God exist?”. To believe or not to believe impacts with great force.

Who has the answer?

The confusion surrounding the question of Gods existence is really caused by our own limitations for grasping the whole of it and then effectively communicating what we think to be our understanding of it.

Most information about God can be attributed to thinkers, writers and artists. For instance, our vision of God, angels and Jesus are artist renditions that got propagated into our culture by artists simply copying each other with no one breaking the traditions, like angels with wings and halos on saints. These are all from the minds of artists.

Equally suspect are the sources of training in the ways of Christ that come from our institutions and their leaders. These too are subject to the effects of the cultures they’re in (like the differences between Southern Baptist and Roman Catholic) and the particular interpretations of the individuals who spearhead these institutions.

Throughout the history of Christianity there have been great attempts to create the definitive understanding of God and Jesus. But the truth is it was and will always be subject to the influence of man – keep this, throw out that, suppress this, highlight that – and on and on.

So, what we’re left with is a necessity to trust that they’ve done the hard thinking for us and we can just take their word for it. The problem with that is the nagging inside our heads that simply can’t accept things just because we’re told to. It is especially true of the modern man and woman.

So, what exactly is “it”?

Pull away the layers of information from available sources, chiefly speaking the bible, and what emerges are some running themes that stay consistent throughout. God exists but is unknowable. God is good and in control, but selective.

The New Testament gives us understanding of this as taught by Jesus, and later spread throughout by his followers. Jesus distilled the essence of God into behavior conducive to “living with God” with two distinct and essential concepts at its core, faith and love.

Faith?

How can one believe in something that you have no understanding or direct experience of? This one is hard to grasp. I’ve spent countless time reshaping my thoughts on this. And then it clicked…

To believe is to connect with God. Anything else is simply “thinking of God”.

Hope is insufficient, because hope by its definition still has doubt in its DNA. Even “Faith in God” comes up short. Faith is really just intense hope.

But to believe is to simply know, and suddenly it all becomes so natural. You can feel the change happen. Gods energy, whatever that is, begins flowing in and out of you, just because you believe it to be so.

What I’m saying is, forget the words and the thoughts, and just go all in – “I believe”.

It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s available to us all. Jesus implored his disciples with the simplest of imperatives – believe for it is so. Once they did they transformed…and so can anyone.

The truly glorious part is that you don’t NEED understanding of God. You don’t need churches and books and images and any support material whatsoever.

Wherever you are at this time – stop – and believe. Connect and don’t unconnect, no matter what.

DO NOT let anything break your belief. That is the key to your divine connection.

Jesus simply knew God and never questioned it, even under torture. THAT is the difference.

Love?

Now it gets really beautiful.

So, you’re connected to God and feel this energy from Him. What is that? That is love.

Unfortunately, the word “love” is so wishy-washy. I’ve toiled over what the heck this is all about. I knew the feeling of Gods love. I knew I loved those around me. But then I also knew I had the opposite of those feelings too. How could I reconcile the feeling of love and its opposite – along with romantic love, etc. and the countless definitions of love – and they’re all using the same word!

What is Gods love that Jesus spoke of?

I thought about those I loved and those that I loathed. The ones I loved were easy to explain and account for. But how can I be a Pastor and not love everyone? This troubled me greatly. I knew my loathing was real and justified, but now I must love?

Jesus had the answer. Jesus loathed and loved at the same time.

But I was still confused. I intensely focused on someone I loathed and asked myself “how I could love them”? It struck me like lightning.

It’s not my love that I’m giving. Its Gods love that I’m giving, and I don’t have to like you to give it to you. I wept. I understood.

Jesus didn’t like those people for all their horrific behavior inflicted on themselves and those around them, and eventually inflicted of him. But he without hesitation gave them all of Gods love through himself freely. And despite his loathing of their behavior he manifested his own “love energy” and gave that too.

Love is Gods energy. Love IS God.

Why believe?

No amount of training exists to make you conclude that God exists. It’s a knowing that must be experienced. But you cannot experience without knowing. Therein lies the conundrum.

Instead of following your doubt, follow your hope. Hope is the road, but not the destination. Take the road until you have the conviction to say, “I believe”. God will be there all long.

Final Prayer

Father, I believe. I know you and you know me. I know that all who say, “I believe”, will feel your flow of love and all your glorious energies from the Spirit that is Holy, in the name of Christ Jesus who opened our sleeping minds.