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​ God’s salvation

God’s salvation
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have read the book of Romans.
Every time I read a study guide, hear a sermon, or receive a devotional I learn something new.
I see a new perspective.
I am opened up to The spirit speaking in a way I didn’t hear before.
A few weeks ago I received this devotional essay in an email. I was moved and read it and I knew from the depths of my heart that I needed to share this.
Romans 8:14New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
The author writes that in their previous posts they have discussed how God’s wonderful salvation for us. I know in my own personal posts I have done justly the same. The author continues that in his writings they includes both our redemption and salvation from eternal perdition.
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul unveils the salvation of God in full.
With the help of some notes in the New Testament Recovery Version, let’s gain an even broader, deeper view of God’s salvation.
Here is the text from the blog/email.:
Romans and God’s salvation
In Romans 1:1-4 Paul tells the believers in Rome that he has been “separated unto the gospel of God.” The Recovery Version note on Son of God in verse 4 gives a brief summary of God’s full salvation shown in Romans, which begins,
“This book tells us that God’s full salvation is to make sinners (3:23), even His enemies (5:10), the sons of God (8:14).”
The rest of the note is rich with important truth and well worth reading,
but in this post we’ll get into three big points from this first
sentence: sinners, enemies, and sons of God.
Sinners—Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
All have sinned. In unsparing detail, Paul makes it clear in the first
three chapters of Romans that we all are sinners. He leaves us no escape
from the light exposing fallen humanity’s real condition. Our words,
behavior, deeds, and thoughts are infected with the poison of sin.
No matter who we are or what our culture or background is, no one can
stand sinless before God. Whether we’re moral or immoral, ignorant of
God or religious keepers of law, the Bible clearly states that there is none righteous before God, not even one.
Even our good deeds are included in this verse, since having sinned is paired with falling short of the glory of God. A note on glory in this verse helps us see what this means:
“God’s glory is God expressed.
Whenever God is expressed, His glory is seen. Man was made by God in
His image that man might express Him for His glory. But man has sinned
and has contradicted the holiness and righteousness of God. Instead of
expressing God, man expresses sin and his sinful self. Hence, man falls
short of God’s glory. This falling short of God’s glory and expression is sin.
Sinners are not only under the requirements of God’s holiness and
righteousness but also under the demand of God’s glory. All have
offended God’s holy being and have broken God’s righteous law, and all
are short of God’s glory. Therefore, all are under God’s condemnation.”
God created man in His own image so we could have His life and express Him.
But man fell, and fallen mankind can’t express God. Yes, we have sinned
by our evil actions that violate God’s holiness and righteousness. But
we have also sinned by our good actions done without God as their
source. Thus they cannot express God. Falling short of His glory, His
expression, we’re unable to fulfill the purpose God created us for. In
every way we’re ungodly and under God’s condemnation.
Enemies—Romans 5:10
“For if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled.”
As fallen sinners, we’re not only under God’s condemnation; we’re even enemies of God.
An enemy isn’t just someone you have a little disagreement with. An
enemy is someone who’s actively hostile to you, opposed to you, and
whose whole attitude is against you. That’s how we are as enemies of
God—in utter discord with God, with no inner peace. This is a big
problem for us and for God, but the note on reconciled in this verse explains what Christ did to solve it:
“Propitiation and forgiveness of sins are adequate for a sinner but not for an enemy. An enemy needs reconciliation, which includes propitiation and forgiveness but goes further, even to resolving the conflict between two parties. Our being reconciled to God is based on Christ’s redemption and was accomplished through God’s justification (3:24; 2 Cor. 5:18-19). Reconciliation is the result of being justified out of faith.”
What a state we were in before we believed in Christ! But thank God, Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for us, dying as the spotless Lamb of God
to satisfy God’s righteous demands. Because of what Christ did—not
because of anything we’ve done—the righteous, holy, and glorious God can
forgive us and spare us from eternal judgment, and we can be reconciled
to God!
Such a truly magnificent salvation isn’t aimless. Our God is a purposeful God, and His salvation is part of His eternal purpose—to
be one with man and expressed in man, as He originally intended. For
this, God is making sinners, even His enemies, His sons.
Sons of God—Romans 8:14
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Incredibly, God doesn’t stop with us simply not being His enemies anymore. He wants to make us, those who were His enemies, His sons.
The New Testament refers to believers in an interesting progression: as
God’s children, His sons, and His heirs. The verse above speaks
specifically of sons of God, not children. What’s the difference? And why does God want us to be sons? Let’s look at the note on sons of God.
“The central thought of the book of Romans is that God’s salvation makes
sinners His sons, who have His life and nature so that they can express
Him, that they may become members of Christ to constitute the Body of
Christ for His expression. Hence, sonship is stressed in this chapter (vv. 15, 23). Sons here indicates a more advanced stage of growth in the divine life than does children in v. 16, yet not as advanced as heirs in v. 17. Children refers to the initial stage of sonship, the stage of regeneration in the human spirit. Sons are the children of God who are in the stage of the transformation of their souls.
They not only have been regenerated in their spirit and are growing in
the divine life, but they also are living and walking by being led by
the Spirit. Heirs are the sons of God who, through the transfiguration
of their body in the stage of glorification, will be fully matured in
every part of their being. Hence, they will be qualified as the legal
heirs to claim the divine inheritance (vv. 17, 23).”
John 1:12-13 tells us that we who have believed in the Lord Jesus have become children of God. This happened when we were reborn with the divine life of God in our spirit, the deepest part of our being. We can boldly say that we’re children of God.
That was our beginning, our divine birth as God’s children. But children
need to grow. A little baby certainly has the life of his parents and is
a joy to them, but he doesn’t yet express them much. As he eats and
drinks and breathes, he grows, and a trait of his father, or his
mother’s smile, begins to appear. He grows from a little child into a
son, expressing more of the life he received from his parents.
We received God’s life in our spirit, but our soul—our mind, emotion, and will—is how we express ourselves.
In His full salvation, God wants to spread as life into each part of our
soul so our thoughts, feelings, and choices are one with Him and
express Him.
How does this happen? Just as a child needs to eat, drink, and breathe in order to grow and change physically, we need to eat God’s Word, drink the Spirit, and breathe the Lord in prayer in order to grow and change spiritually. This is our growth and transformation
in the divine life, through which we go from being children of God to
being sons of God. The more we grow and are transformed, the more we can
express God as His sons.
If we continue to grow, we will become heirs of God. An heir is a fully
mature son. When the Lord returns, we’ll experience
transfiguration—God’s life spreading beyond our soul into our body—and
will be matured heirs of God, saturated with the divine life in every part of our being, wholly expressing God.
Becoming sons of God today.
God’s full salvation isn’t just for the future; it’s for us today. Seeing
that God wants to make us His sons, expressing Him in every part of our
being, makes us aware of our need to grow in His life now, today, and
every day.
Where are we in our growth? If we’ve believed in Christ as our Savior, then
we’re certainly children of God, reborn in our spirit. But are we daily
becoming sons of God in our soul? How much of the divine life has spread
into our thoughts, our feelings, our decisions? How much has our soul
been transformed into the image of Christ?
We have to admit, none of us expresses God fully quite yet. But eventually, as we choose to spend time with the Lord in our daily lives,
He will transform us—who were once sinners and God’s enemies—into the
many sons of God who will express Him together as the one Body of Christ
for eternity.
Praise God, He’s making sinners, even His enemies, the sons of God!
All verses and quoted footnotes in this post are from the Holy Bible
Recovery Version, published by Living Stream Ministry. Bibles for
America gives away free copies of the New Testament Recovery Version.
You can order yours here.
The post Sinners, Enemies, and Sons of God in Romans appeared first on Bibles for America Weekly Blog.
Links, resources, more infomration was provided in the text so the due authors could get credit for their work.
I want to add, God’s salvation is not just for the future as the author mentioned, it is for us, now, today, this second, this instant you could be saved.
Romans 10:13
“Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This is you. You can be saved.
If you are feeling lost, feel that anchor weighing you down, feel that you want to be saved and let go of that anchor, no longer be lost, I have a simple prayer that I would love for your to recite if you are willing able and trusting to do so in order for you to be saved.
Take a moment, say this prayer out loud right now:
“Heavenly Father, I want to be a part of your family. You said in Your Word that if I
acknowledge that You raised Jesus from the dead, and that I accept Him
as my Lord and Savior, I would be saved. So God, I now say that I
believe You raised Jesus from the dead and that He is alive and well. I
accept Him now as my personal Lord and Savior. I accept my salvation
from sin right now.
I am now saved. Jesus is my Lord. Jesus is my Savior. Thank you, Father
God, for forgiving me, saving me, and giving me eternal life with You.
Amen!”
Just like that…you are saved.
Please find a congregation within your area with a strong bible study and fellowship services.
You are going to shine bright.
They will help you grow.
They will help you build a relationship with God.
They will guide you to where you need to grow.
Father God I thank you for this word, for this blog, the opportunity to share this with others who may be in need. Lord you have asked us to spread your words to the four corners of the earth. Using this platform I have every intention to do so. I thank you for the lives I may have touched, For their blessing is also my blessing. Guide these individuals dear lord so that they can find the home church they need to continue their journey and walk with you. In the name of the father, son and holy spirit. Amen.

Knowing when to pick your battles.

"It is an honour for a man to cease from strife…"

(Proverbs 20:3, KJV)

Knowing when to pick your battles.

It takes a bigger person to stand down. I was going to confront someone after something I witnessed. My child was playing with another child. I don't know precisely what happened between the two children because I couldn't see them from where I was. My 2 year old went to strike a 4 year old. Now, I know for a fact this 4 year old has loose hands, the same 4 year old recently hit a 7 year old. I also know for a fact my 3 year old when annoyed is very loose with his hands as well.

Needless to say I didn't witness that specific encounter, I did hear when an adult (not the parent of the 4 year old) spoke to my 2 year old and told him "hey we don't hit, play nice". My two year old walked away as did the 4 year old. Now the mother of the 4 year old at first said, it's ok, he's only a baby, then her friend who didn't realize I was watching said "nah man, if she gets hit she needs to hit back", this woman's mother who was the one whom initially spoke to my son said, he's only a baby, we just got to teach him from now that we don't hit our friends. The 4 year olds mother agreed. The 24 year old then said again, nah man she needs to toughen up, if she don't learn now to hit back and defend herself regardless who it is, she will get walked all over. Then the mother of the 4 year old said, yes I should tell her hit him back, they all started to laugh after that.

I was going to approach them about that whole conversation but felt it wasn't the place to start a fight (we were in church). I was more annoyed at the response. Granted my two year old is a baby, granted he is in the Hitting phase, granted I am working on this which i am not too proud he is in this phase.

As I called my two year old over to me, i reprimanded him. The elder mom stated he wasn't wrong, he's only a baby, I responded no, they both need to learn to keep their hands to themselves. The 24 year old walked on by, I personally have felt she has something against me and you know what, I'm not loosing sleep over your animosity. I've never done anything to you, so whatever beef you got, either address it or cut the crap, I'm too old for this nonsense, but that doesn't mean take it out on my kids either. Mind you we are in church, how dare you disrespect the lords house in such a fashion….

So I say nothing, not because I felt in the wrong, because this person is the explode type when addressing any situation and I just had a blessing with the sermon about prosperity that I didn't want to loose my blessing….

I wanted to keep the peace.

When the mother of the 4 year old passed by I said, look if my kid hit your kid i am sorry.

I don't think she knows that I saw and heard not only what she said but I was watching her body language as well. She responded to me, "he's only a baby, it's ok."

We kept it moving. As I said I didn't see the kids interaction, but I apologized just in case.

I simply saw the adults reaction to whatever happened.

I am not one of those parents that gets defensive if you reprimand my child. If they need to be put in place by telling them hey, we don't do this or that, I'm cool with that. I am not cool with co signing on violence and bullying.

What bothered me more was the response.
Hit him back so what he's a baby.
Insert pretend to hit someone action.

I was livid that this was the conversation and response after a sermon about wishing prosperity for all. After a sermon on love for all. After a sermon on success for all. After a testimony about a financial blessing for the church after random acts of kindness gave testimony of whom we are as Christian's. That acts of kindness moved someone not in the faith to bless the church monetarily.

I was perplexed at the fact that all this went in one ear and out the other.

I could've said something.

I chose not to start a war, not to start conflict I chose to let it go.

I am not going to lie, it bothered me, still does. Yet some battles are worth not fighting. Instead I will ask to lecture about bullying. I will ask to preach against bullying. I will ask to preach about turning the other cheek. When to know to defend oneself, how to pick your battles wisely.

The Mother of the 4 year old father I guess in the moment under peer pressure:… the 24 year old is known for her temper. I would rather just keep peace.

The bigger prize and picture that day was me not loosing my blessing. I wasn't going to lose out on something amazing from God for anyone. My two year old in his terrible twos is something I constantly pray over and work on with him. I know it's not going to end today, nor tomorrow, but know with time this phase will be over.
I also know that I will not stand for bullying regardless of where it comes from. There is a way to address this subject I just have to find it and ask the Pastor if we can take that route.

Yes I am hurt, yes I am offended, yes I am upset. Writing here has let me release what I am feeling. I have already forgiven the party involved. I've already asked for forgiveness for my sons alleged transgressions day of. Yes this is a lesson in itself.

We must always learn and be cautious of the battles we choose to face. We should always be weary and think is it worth it? Was I also in the wrong? What can we do to make similar situations not happen again. Will we be endangering ourselves in saying anything?

I trusted in the voice from within that said let it go. Don't waste your time. I'm glad I listened. Though today I write about it. Not out of bitterness or resentment but out of learning and understanding: today I write about it because as parents, Christian or non Christians alike we face these challenges in public settings, when kids go to school etc. we face the possibility of will my child be bullied and how will I handle that, we all face that struggle that I don't want to be the mother of a bully either. The scenario that I displayed that took place with my two year old, the four year old and the comments of a 24 year old woman whom does not have any kids of her own, is a scenario that plays out daily.

Mother takes child to a park.
Child plays with another child.
Child 1 & 2 have a sort of disagreement;
Child 2 wants to play with a you, refused to let child 1 play. Parent of child 1 says no grab your toy, snatch it from them, child 1 listens, child 2 stays shook, child 2 goes on and plays with something else: the now powerful and victorious child 1 wants that too, parent of child 1 encourages child 1 to push child 2, hit child 2 of need be to get what they want.
Parents observing observe the type of parent said parent is, many do not get involved. Encouraging bullying is not the solution. Encouraging bullying is not the answer, encouraging bullying needs to stop, whether in a secular setting or non secular setting. The world is ugly as it is already, if your not going to be apart of the solution, you my fears are apart of the problem.

Advice is welcomed in the comments, shared experiences is welcomed as well.

Before I end this post I want to finish with a prayer, father God we come before you and thank you for your good graces. Thank you for guiding us, for loving us, for speaking to us and discerning which battles are worth fighting for. Thank you for your hand in victory in my life, thank you for the wisdom and courage needed to walk away from certain circumstances. Thank you for allowing me to rule out possibilities that may arise based on personality traits that can escalate any given situation. You have guided and prepared me in such away, and it's because of that we were victorious and I didn't loose out on your blessings. I pray for anyone dealing with the burdens of not knowing which battles they must take up. May they seek your guidance and support to make the correct choices. As I begin my research for better equipping folks locally I ask for your guidance, may this be approved by you, may this be guided by you and may you get all the glory in the steps to come. Amen

Change

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24

I am wondering dear lord is It me? Am I the problem? Am I too defensive? Am I unknowingly offensive? Am I anxious and nervous for nothing?
I trust you lord, but is my trust in you reflected in my words, actions, reactions and ways?

Dear lord forgive me if I have offended others. Forgive me if I have overreacted. Forgive me for being over emotional.

Sometimes we are quick to blame others without looking at the man or woman in the mirror. We are quick to blame others without seeing the bigger picture.

We need to think, rationalize not jump the gun. We need to take it easy. (Actually to quote one of my professors "Cojelo con el take it easy okay mama".)

Proverbs 16:32 ESV /m
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

We can all heed this advice. Myself, you, even our President. We all have had moments of reacting…. and over reacting.

I'm wondering the cycle of behavior patterns if that's something one can truly change. I can lift my hands and ask you dear lord for guidance. Not everyone understands the power in reaching out to you can do.

I spent 14 years with my husband, 9 of those years married. I uprooted myself to be with him. Moved to his side of time which is about a half hour to forty five minute drive to my everything, my life line, my family, at the time my friends. Some of my anger which comes up during arguments is the notion of being uprooted.

Building a relationship with my husband I lost many. I always put him first. Yet I still tried my best to be there for my family, friends and loved over time, distances grew and I've had to make a choice. My house hold or yours?

How much sacrifice I have to make for those whom don't appreciate my efforts. How much more sacrifice do I need to make for those whom don't acknowledge what I've done in their lives. Why sacrifice for people whom don't even look for you?

Tensions buildup, external and internal reasons for them. Quick to explode, quick to snap, quick to anger.

Why though? Over the trivial things that we keep thinking of. Right now I'm only briefly mentioning things that bother me from time to time, but we all go through experiences like this. We bottle things up that bother us up and snap.

Think about this: for many years I've said I uprooted myself from my family and friends for you, dear husband…. for you. I've stopped going out, stopped seeing people since you had me move with you. Deflecting to the real problem. Deflecting from the truth. Deflecting from admitting I had a choice.

I chose not to go out when invited, because of my own fears and insecurities based off where I live. I never wanted to be caught walking out late alone.

I chose not to travel sometimes because my commute is longer using mass transit (before we had a car). Blaming my husband for my own inability to accept what was really going on.

God had pulled me away from toxic people. God was even pulling me away from toxic relatives…. you know the ones that milk you until you have no milk left. You know the toxic friends….the ones that want you to binge drink with them until you all pass out.

Toxic relationships.
Relationships which did not honor gods will.

My husband was a pawn, by God to get me away from what distracted me from my reality. My husband was used by God to reopen my eyes and get me back on my feet. I was also a pawn used by God to get my husband to accept him as his lord and savior and serve him dutifully.

My lord has taught me time and time again how one can change. How one can be used for his greatness. How we need to open up and look at the bigger picture.

My dear lord thank you father for another day to write, worship, praise your name and analyze the great deeds you've done in my life. Without you lord I am nothing. You are the god of my fathers, the god of Abraham, the god our father, the king of all kings dear lord. I love you with all my might and my being. I thank you for the lessons of life you present me. I pray for forgiveness if I have offended anyone. I ask you for forgiveness dear lord for I am human and have sinned. I ask for forgiveness and redemption in your holy name. Amen

Measure of faith

"…God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."

(Romans 12:3, NKJV)

In this chapter Paul gives clear instructions to the romans. He asked them to sacrifice their bodies as living sacrifices in verse 1. In verse 2 he instructs us not to conform to this world, instead he asks that we be transformed by our renewal of our minds so that when we are tested we can be able to discern what is gods will and what is not.

In verse 3 he tells us to not think that we are better than the next but to use sober judgement and each if us to be faithful with the amount of faith given to us by God. Our faith and how much faith we have is passed down to us by God himself.
He continues on in the rest of this chapter teaching us how we are to function, treat one another, to love one another, be compassionate , rejoice and even behave towards one another and others alike.

You have the ability to Believe because god had given us that ability. He had given us the ability to help one another, to love one another, to pray for one another to be one with one another. If you believe in God, in his word, in his ministry you can be successful in your walk and overcome obstacles.

We were given the tools and resources in this bible and more specifically in his chapter. The important thing to remember is God had given us the ability to do what we want to do. Our faith in him can allow us to do so. Our faith in him can allow us to grown spiritually, succeed secularly and help our fellow brothers and sisters in their walk.

This chapter speaks of unity for we are one church. To pray for one another as you would pray for oneself. To pray for those whom hurt and offend you in the same manner you would pray for a loved one. Our faith is given to us.

The lord knows some need more faith than others. He provided according to each and everyone of our needs. All he asks in return is that we walk a clean walk, we follow the laws of the Bible and love one another.

Father we thank you for loving us. I thank you for providing just enough for me to live the life you want me to live. Thank you for your mandates for remind me that I need to show love to those whom don't show me love. I need to pray for those whom may not like me. I need to remember always that we are all your children and apart of your body. I thank you for your words of truth, for your words sort me free. I thank you for my eyes for they slow me to see. I thank you for being in each and every select of my life. For providing just enough of what I need. Amen

Arise

"Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you."

(Isaiah 60:1, NKJV)

The Glory of the Lord has risen within you. The glory of the lord gives us the strength to rise and shine the light the lords has given us.

We all have gifts/ talents that were given to us by his good grace. These gifts and talents were given to us for us to grow and use in his glory. They are provided to us so that we can rise up from our circumstance in the flesh. They were given to us so that we can shine in his holy light. It is when we put god first in all of our endeavors, it is when we properly glorify his name, it is when we give him due praise for our success and talents that we can shine like beacons of light in his name.

We shall and can rise up. We shall and can shine bright and let his glory manifest among us. His glory is already with us. All we have to do is wake up, look for it, rise up and we shall shine and be of blessings. We don't have to look far. We don't have to travel the world to find ourselves, we have to search within. We need to look in the depths of our soul, the depths of our hearts. We need to see from within to see what God wants from all of us.

Did you know that the word “glory” in the original language indicates that God’s favor, blessing and splendor is on you in a heavy way.

He has filled us with so much of his glory that it weighs us, its there, in searching for it you shouldn't have to search far, it's there.

Please know that your time is now. It is time to shine bright. It's time to rise. Let that sink in. Let this marinate in your spirit. His glory is with you. It's time to ride and shine because of his glory.

Thank you father for your glory. Thank you for letting your glorify marinate and manifest within me. Thank you for allowing me to rise, so that I may shine. Lord I know I shine because your glory is within me, you placed it there. Many may not realize this my lord. Many may not realize that your glory is with them. I pray for them dear lord, I pray for them dear lord that they may see your glory within them so they too can rise and shine. Amen.

Zanqueo quiero conorcerle… Zacchaeus I want to get to know you

Luke 19:1-5New International Version (NIV)
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-figtree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Zanqueo quiero conorcerle… Zacchaeus I want to get to know you.

This was a sermon that my pastor gave and even hours later it kept resonating. I needed this sermon. I think if your read my post a few days ago about an encounter and once you read this, you will understand why I feel this resonated deeply inside me.

God I am listening!
I'm going to paraphrase the sermon.
In The sermon the pastor described Zacchaeus procession. He was the chief tax collector, hated by all because of what he did. Yet when Jesus arrived, he had a drive, a need, a wang to see Jesus. Zacchaeus was short in stature, no matter how hard he tried, the crowds were so big they kept preventing him from seeing.

I tried moving along with the current of the crowds, but was still unable to see.
He saw a sycamore tree, so Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree so he could be able to see Jesus, despite his lack of height, despite being held back by the crowds, beside being hated due to his profession.

He wanted to see Jesus…. with his ambition, drive, and faith…. he saw Jesus. He saw Jesus….. and Jesus saw him too.

Don't let what others think, what others say, what others do deter you from getting to where you need to get spiritually. Do not let their actions, their words, their expressions deter you back. Do not let their actions, their words, their expressions hold you back spiritually.

Now back to the sycamore tree. It was explained to us that in those times the fruit of the sycamore was used to feed the pigs, pigs were deemed and unclean by the Jews, since the pigs were deemed uncleaned so was the fruit and the tree which provided Nutrition to these animals.

God qualifies the unqualified.

The sycamore tree was used to help Zacchaeus both became qualified and significant to God for an important lesson in our faith.

I also wanted to learn more about this tree, here is what I learned: links and references will be found at the very end of this post.

Sycamore Symbolism:
1a-"In Catholicism, the sycamore tree symbolizes the place in a person’s life where he has a clear vision of Jesus. "
2a-"In mythology, the sycamore tree was thought to be the embodiment of three goddesses: Isis, Nut and Hathor, who was called Lady of the Sycamore. In a traditional and attributive sense, the sycamore tree is considered the tree of protection and favors."

In this section where I have quoted from an article I found where we see how in Catholicism the tree symbolizes a place in a persons life where he has clear vision of Jesus, the author also shows the mythology of the mythology of the tree

Sycamore Tree
1b-"The sycamore tree that Zacchaeus climbed into was the Ficus sycamorus, also called the sycamore fig.  Some scholars argue that the Ficus sycamorus was the original fig tree in the Garden of Eden, not the Ficus carica. "

2b-"In Israel, sycamore trees grow where underground water is shallow and is most prominent in the southern Israel because of construction and rapid development.     Under very favorable conditions, the sycamore tree may produce up to six crops per year."

Symbolism: Regeneration    
3b-"In Israel, the sycamore tree symbolized regeneration.  Regeneration refers to someone who is spiritually reborn.  (Like zacchaeus)Zacchaeus had a spiritual rebirth thorough his discussion with Jesus in his home.  Levi, known as Matthew, was one of Christ’s original 12 apostles.  Like Zaccheaus, Levi was a tax collector (Mark 2:14).  When Christ called, Levi left his tax collector’s booth and followed Christ.  Possibly Zacchaeus knew Levi and wondered why his colleague who could become very rich collecting taxes would give it up for Christ.  After spending several hours with Christ, Zacchaeus no longer wondered because he too had a regenerated heart. Zacchaeus’ new heart did not cause him to follow Christ as did Levi’s.  Instead, Zacchaeus’ regenerated heart caused him to make restitution and change his life where he lived in Jericho."

What we see in these three points from the author is that the genome of the sycamore tree, we see why and how it was able to grow in Jerusalem and we see its symbolizing regeneration, renewal and rebirth. How this tree became qualified for a pivotal moment in someone's life. How this tree was pivotal in ones salvation.

Focus on the Lord, not "the crowd."
1c-"Faith is not a vicarious experience. While others can help to bring us to Jesus, He calls our name and we must personally respond. Not just once, but every day, every moment. Faith is a door into an ongoing, intimate dynamic relationship with a living, loving God who, in Jesus Christ, has come to seek and save the lost. Jesus reminds us "You did not choose me but I chose you…" (John 15:16) Zacheus climbed that tree in order to see the Lord, not to be seen by Jesus. He did not care what the crowd thought of a grown man climbing a tree! He went after the encounter with Jesus Christ with a childlike simplicity and a reckless abandon. Do we?"
2c-"The "crowd's" in our lives rarely lead us to God. Remember the exchange with Simon Peter recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter sixteen? Jesus asks the disciples "Who do men say I am". They told him what the "crowds" said about Him. "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah…." Jesus then spoke personally to Simon and asked "…but you, who do you, say I am." Peter replied "You are the Christ".

3c-"Desire to see Jesus more than anything or anyone else
The story of Zacheus invites us to ask ourselves if we are serious about fully and truthfully living out our Christian vocation. Do we really want to see Jesus or are we comfortable with keeping Him at a distance? Do we compartmentalize our lives, living a separation between faith and life that keeps religious things in a "religious compartment", treating faith like a hat that we put on and take off depending upon the environment that we find ourselves in?"

4c-"The Christian vocation is a call to ongoing conversion by giving ourselves away to the One who poured Himself out for us…and being transformed in the process. It is about giving our whole lives over to the Lord who takes up His residence within us and then continues His mission through us. "

5c-"We are also called to love differently, because we love "in" Jesus Christ. We are invited to "be" differently, because we are different now, at the deepest level. Jesus Christ continues His life and mission on this earth through His Body, His Church, of which we are members."

6c-"Choose to live in the Sycamore tree
The Sycamore tree created a clear line of vision for Zacheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! Imagine the thrill. For us, the Sycamore tree is a symbol of that place in our own lives which enables us to have a clear vision of Jesus. Zacheus did not hesitate. With the same lack of caution which he had demonstrated in climbing the tree, he came down to stand in the presence of God Incarnate. There he heard the call that would forever change his life."
7c"Where is Jesus passing through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him. How about in our workplace? How about in our relationships? How about in our families? Are we running out to meet Him? Or, are we afraid? Are we wondering "if we see Him, what will He ask of us?" The invitation of this story is to climb that Sycamore Tree; to find the place that will make it possible for us to see Jesus, unimpeded, so as to hear Him call our name. He still comes to seek and to save what is lost. He still comes to the homes of all who open their hearts wide to his presence and are willing to live lives bathed in the light of His refining fire."

8c- "When we see Jesus on the Jericho Road of our own lives we are invited to exercise our faith, to choose Him and change. He does not do the changing in the relationship. He is the same "yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).Prayer is not, in the first instance, about getting God to do what we want. It is about entering into an intimate communion with Him and in Him, and then abiding (St. John 15). In that relationship, we invite Him to change us and we learn to surrender all to Him in love. ……. Zacheus teaches us about life in a Sycamore Tree. "

In this section we see 8 points 1- focusing on faith and it the crowds around you. 2 the crowds won't always lead you where you need to go 3 ones faith and determination, 4 ones vocation as christians, 5 we are called to love, 6 we are asked to live in the sycamore tree 7 we are asked to question where we see ourselves with Jesus and our relationship and 8 we are taught and reminded Jesus is the same.

I loved this added research on the sycamore tree and how it relates to us and our faith. I can't wait until the second part of this sermon.

Father God I thank you for this sermon and this research that came from it. You know my heart and you know how this sermon moved me. God I hear you. I will not listen to the crowds nor will I let them deter me from you. My relationship with you matters more than what others say. I will climb that sycamore tree, I will look for you with all my might so that our relationship can grow. Amen.

Notes 1a &2a came from:
http://peopleof.oureverydaylife.com/sycamore-tree-symbolize-6810.html

Notes1b-3b came from:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/godasagardener.com/2013/10/13/climbing-a-sycamore-tree/amp/
But for further reading on
Bible plants along with their symbolism. Check out : 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/

Notes 1c-8c came from: http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=34384

Marital advice … an open letter to my cousin

This is an open letter to my cousin whom is having a destination wedding.
I was unable to go due to timing. My sister just had a baby, as mentioned in prior posts she's a special needs. She is doing well, but I would've felt better being able to be there for her, with her during this new transition in her life.

Juny I don't say it often but I love you…. my first brother, my twin. For many years my other half. I want to congratulate you on your upcoming nuptials. May this day go smooth, may you and your bride be blessed beyond belief, may God our father anoint this union while you say your vows. I pray for your health, years of happiness, longevity, wisdom, strength, endurance, may your love and passion for one another always remain.

Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
I pray that you both weather the storm, for there will be good days and there will be bad days, but trust in God, keep faith in God, keep hope in God to ride out the storms to come. Both of you Remember always marriage isn't a one way street, two people, joined together to become one, it's a 50/50. There may be times one or the other have to meet at the half way point. Always stay united.

Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Love one another with all your night, remind each other often day it, display it, always keep an open Chanel of communication.
Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her."
But tell your bride that I said to love you just the same, love your husband the way Christ loves his church.

Remember to always be supportive of one another. Be each other's rocks. Be each other's support system.
Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

As I mentioned before you will have storms (later vs sooner). Always love each other even in the storm. Always talk it out, never go to bed angry at one another, as I said earlier always communicate.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

Nothing breaks my heart more than not being able to go to witness this big day for you. Nothing breaks my heart more than not being with my family during this time. I will be there in spirit covering you with blessings. I will be fasting and praying for you and your wife. May god bless you always.
I love you June.

Father God I ask that you cover this union in prayers. May they heed the advices of marriages others provide. May they always put you first my lord, may they always love and honor one another. Lord I ask you to bless them, protect them, let the Holy Spirit manifest in them so that he can guide their every step. I rebuke negativity and Harm in the name of Jesus. May their union be of a blessing, of love and success in their celebrations. In the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit Amen.

#YOLO

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and
rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth
nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19 – 21 ESV
Many of us are constantly working long hours, trying to save money, trying to buy that big house, fancy car, updated I phone etc.
For what though?
#YOLO.
You Only Live Once.
All of the materialistic items….they are going to rot away.
They are going to be useless.
We can’t take them with us.
We love our trinkets, our chachkis’ our money…but that’s not going with us.
We will have greater joys, greater things to look forward to when we join our rightful place.
When we arrive the new Jerusalem, everything will be pristine, shiny, new. We will not need anything we are striving to get here. The streets will be as pure as gold, the waters as clear as diamonds. Gems and rainbows, what a sight it will be. At least that what John wrote when god allowed him a preview of what the new Jerusalem will look like.
We will not need the i Phones or the galaxies, we will not need the laptops and tablets, the game consoles or tvs, we will not need the benz nor the jaguar of our dreams. We will only need salvation. We will only need to believe in Christ and live a just life. We will not win a golden ticket. We will not be able to buy our way or bribe our way in.
Yes it is good to live a good and comfortable life while we are here in earth, but when we are gone, none of that will matter.
Work hard on your relationship with Christ and growing spiritually vs gaining materialistic things. Work hard on studying the scriptures vs studying music lyrics and sports. Know your creator, love your creator, live for your creator.
All the riches, all the material items, none of them are joining you in he afterlife. Do not waste away your life on materialistic satisfaction when the true reward is in the after life. I am not saying have fun, what I am saying is do not let these materialistic things preoccupy your life. They should not be what you are solely working hard for.
Yes we are to live out our lives, in the best way we can, while also strengthening our relationship with Christ so that when our time comes, we can join him. I will gladly claim my treasure in heaven.
Father I thank you for another day, for another opportunity to praise you, for another opportunities to spread your word. Father I thank you for my blessings you have alloyed me here on earth, I know these are temporary for where I’m going I can’t take them with me. Father as I live out the years you have allotted for me I want to live it out growing with you. I want to live it out doing your deeds. I will live it out knowing that nothing here on earth will compare to what’s awaiting us when we join you. For that, for your sacrifice, for your love and mercy I thank you. Amen.

Prayer warriors needed to fight the good fight 

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
(1 Timothy 6:12)

We have all been placed here for a specific reason. We all have a specific role to play and a specific fight we need to fight for our creator. Each one of us has a story. Some are simple, some are hard, some are very complex.  
What we all have in common is no matter what our stories are, no matter what struggles we face, we all have the same fight. Yours may be more specific than mine, mine may be more specific than the person sitting next to me on this train, but we all have the same fight.
Our fight is a spiritual fight.

It’s is a fight for our faith.

It’s a fight for acceptance.

It is a fight for hope.

It is a fight for our eternal salvation.
Regardless of our backgrounds. Regardless of our hardships, the fight of faith is one in the same.  
We were chosen to be Gods people.

We were chosen to be his prayer warriors.

We were chosen to spread his word.

We were chosen to defend him against the enemy.
Fighting the enemy could be tiresome.

He comes from Many angles.

He uses different pathways to deter not only your blessing but your faith in God.

He attacks us using our loved ones.

He attacks us using our colleagues:

He attacks us using random strangers.

He attacks us with illness.

He attacks us with stress.

He attacks us with uncertainty.

He attacks us by filling us with doubt.
Our faith is what can help us with this battle. We all have a pivotal role in this celestial fight for our eternity. Are you willing and able to pick up your arms (spiritual) and fight the good fight?

Are you going to continue to fast, continue to pray, continue to praise even during the hardship?  
Job lost it all, was tested, over came his circumstance and in the end was blessed.

As parents, nothing hurts us more than seeing our children in anguish, pain and torment. As I am writing this, I have an uncle who’s son (my cousin) is in a hospital because he was found unresponsive in his room. Several exams were done to see where the problem lies. My aunt and my uncle are desperate in need of prayers. 
We will fight this food fight with you for your son. We will take up our coats of arms, we will hold our shields, we will gather our swords and we will fight this good fight with you.
My grandmother told my uncle, ” he was chosen by God to do his work and that everything he is going through is the battle that he will face against the devil.”

God chose his son for his specific battle. He God will lift him up from this circumstance.
My young cousin maybe unresponsive right now. But I know deep down he is fighting. This poor young child…. whom has been through a lot in his life, please feel our prayers, please feel our thoughts, please feel our words, listen to the voice of God. Follow his lead little one, he will direct you, he will guide you, he will help you in this fight.  
I am praying for you little champ. 

You will come or victorious in Jesus name. 

The lord will guide your doctors to reveal the nature to your current mysterious circumstances. God has he answers and in time will provide. While we wait I will pray. While we wait I ask for prayers. While you fight, we will fight with you. 
Father God I ask you to cover your hands over my cousin and bring forth healing. I ask you to wake him from this nightmare. I am asking for healing and liberation in your name for this child. May he be liberated from the demons holding him down. I ask for strength for my aunt, uncle and family as they face this battle of the unknown. I ask for guidance, patience while awaiting diagnostics, I ask again for healing. I ask that anyone reading this can unite with my family in prayers. May the Holy Spirit move so that we can provide strength and liberation for my family. Lord your will, will be done. Amen.

 

 

 

Hope

“hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (Hebrews 6:19, NLT).
What is hope?

As defined by Webster dictionary, hope is:
Definition of hope

hoped; hoping

* intransitive verb

* 1
:  to cherish a desire with anticipation :  to want something to happen or be true hopesfor a promotion hoping for the best I hope so.

* 2
archaic :  trust

* transitive verb

* 1
:  to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment I hope she remembers. hopesto be invited

* 2
:  to expect with confidence :  trust Your mother is doing well, I hope.

hoper noun

hope against hope

* :  to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hope

We have personal carnal and spiritual desires in our lives. These desires and aspirations give us the hope we need, sometimes to carry on.

We all depend on hope.

We hope for a better future.

We hope our elected officials can take care of their constituents.

We hope, as children, our parents will take care of us.

We hope, as children, we will get that cool toy we saw.

We hope, as parents, that we are doing a good job parenting.

We hope we are setting an example for our kids.

We hope God will protect and guide us.
We hope, despite our flaws, that god will continue to love and protect us.

As parents we try our best.

Parenting is not easy. 

It’s not easy being a working mom.

It’s not easy juggling work and educating your kids.

It’s not always easy setting your temper aside.

We can hope we are doing the best we can.

We can hope that every effort we make for our families can lead to a better future for them.

With hope, we need faith.

With faith, we need to trust.

With hope, we too need to do our part.
Our hope gives us something to look forward to. Our hope can build our faith, our hope can build our trust. 
Paul writes that hope is our anchor, it is an anchor for our soul. With hope all things are possible to move forward and move closer with God.
When we loose our hope, all is lost.

Desiring God has a sermon written by John Piper. In his sermon he mentions our struggle with hope. He says “Hoping in God does not come naturally for sinners like us. We must preach it to ourselves, and preach diligently and forcefully, or we will give way to a downcast and disquieted spirit.”

He mentions the need to preach to our selves, the Bible helps us with that. Hope in God- psalms 42:5.

He used psalms 42 for its example of struggle.
The author stated “I love the way the psalmists wrestle and fight and struggle to maintain their hope in God. This is normal Christian experience while we are still just saved sinners. And we better own up to it, or else we may grow sluggish and negligent in our fight for hope. And that is very dangerous, as our text plainly teaches.”
Psalms 42:5 says “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God!”
Just like I started with Webster definition of hope, the author mentions we are to not only know websters definition but the Bible’s. He breaks it down in to three parts

1- ” Hope is the desire for something good in the future. The children might say, “I hope daddy gets home early tonight so we can play kickball after supper before his meeting.” In other words they desire for him to get home early so that they can experience this good thing, namely, playing together after supper.”

2. “Hope is the good thing in the future that we are desiring. We say, “Our hope is that Jim will arrive safely.” In other words, Jim’s safe arrival is the object of our hope.”

3. “Hope is the reason why our hope might indeed come to pass. We say, “A good tailwind is our only hope of arriving on time.” In other words, the tailwind is the reason we may in fact achieve the future good that we desire. It’s our only hope.”

He summarized it as follows:

So hope is used in three senses:

1. a desire for something good in the future,

2. the thing in the future that we desire, and

3. the basis or reason for thinking that our desire may indeed be fulfilled.
Then he goes on to mention “The Distinctive Biblical Meaning of Hope”

“Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future; it expects it to happen. And it not only expects it to happen; it is confident that it will happen. There is a moral certainty that the good we expect and desire will be done.”

“When the word says, “Hope in God!” it does not mean, “Cross your fingers.” It means, to use the words of William Carey, ‘Expect great things from God.”

http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/what-is-hope

God teaches us the biblical definition of hope. As I mentioned earlier that:

 With hope, we need faith.

With faith, we need to trust.

With hope, we too need to do our part.
The scriptures teaches that here in Hebrew 6.

Paul shows us the relationship between faith and hope.

He also shows us this in Romans 4:22, discussing Abraham faith.

In romans 6:18 Paul shows how faith and hope go hand in hand “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations.

Our God is a god of Hope and faith. We can hope for things, but we need to also have faith that God will make it happen, that God will provide, that God will work it out. We need to trust him. Our hope is our Anchor!
Father God, I thank you for another day, another opportunity another moment to take in your greatness. Father I live with not only hope that i will be with you in heaven but have faith that i wil lget there. I trust in you my lord. I trust in you my lord. I ask that you continue to guide me so that I may not steer in the wrong direction regardless what obtstacles are thrown at me. As in pslams 42:5 says, we will hope in God, no matter what. Abraham’s hope in you lead to his faith and trust in you, Paul’s faith in you is intertwined with his hope in you. he says our hope is our anchor. May our anchor remain firm so that we could never loose the faith and hope we have with you. Amen.