He heard the roar of the crowd from a distance, as the young donkey He rode, slowly trudged toward Jerusalem. He was a Man on a mission, and He was determined to accomplish that which He had been sent to do. Nothing or no one would stop Him. He would do just what He and His Father had planned to do before the foundation of the earth was laid. Indeed, for the joy that was set before Him, He would do what was necessary, enduring the pain, though He despised the shame of the cross.
Sitting astride the donkey colt, He quietly watched the throng of humanity, many dancing and shouting, and spreading their capes and coats on the ground before Him. Others cut palm branches off the trees and laid them on the ground, so that it appeared to be a predominately green carpet (much like today’s red carpet is used for special events and for special people to walk upon), inlaid with the colorful garments the people had laid down for the King of kings to ride upon.
As He observed the mass of humanity singing praises and dancing before Him, Jesus didn’t just see a crowd, He noticed each individual. He took note of the woman, whom He had healed from the issue of blood, rejoicing in His presence, and smiled gently at her. He saw Bartimaeus, nevermore to be known as Blind Bartimaeus, since Messiah had healed him, wildly waving his palm branch when Jesus came near. He then laid it down in front of Jesus, and prostrated himself to His Savior and Healer, in worship. Jesus grinned at his enthusiastic worship, filled with love for each and every one of His people, as they cried out to Him with fervor, shouting:
“Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”
He knew that some genuinely thought that He was Messiah, but their faith was weak, and though they celebrated Him that day, they would revile Him in just a few days hence, and He felt a pang of pain in His chest. There were others who were roaring and rejoicing with the crowd that day, and caught up in the excitement of it all, but they never knew Him. Just a few days later, He knew that they too, would be caught up in the hysteria of another crowd, and then, they would no longer shout,“Hosanna (Save Now!) to the Son of David (the giant slayer)! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”On that day, these same people would shout,“Crucify Him! We will take responsibility for His death – we and our children!”Again, though the crowd rejoiced, Jesus’ heart was heavy. Though they had no way of knowing, He knew what was before Him, and how the journey, begun on this day, would end.
“Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”
“Rabbi (Teacher).“He heard the angry voices of the Pharisees, vying for His attention, and He fixed His saddened gaze on them.“Rabbi, rebuke Your followers for saying things like that!”He looked at each one of them, then, taking note of their self-righteous indignation, as they stood there piously, looking at Him and His followers with barely veiled contempt. His heart was especially heavy, as He gazed at these men, who saw, and yet didn’t see. Perhaps their situation was the most dire, for they acted so religious, but they rejected the power that could make them godly.
Sighing, Jesus replied to their angry demand,“I tell you, if they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”Then, as the little donkey on which He rode, drew closer to Jerusalem, the pain in His heart was too much to contain, and He wept. As he sat upon the little donkey, and stopped to look upon Jerusalem, God’s holy city, He spoke these words, though no one responded…
42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes.43 Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side.44 They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.”
As I have read and reread the accounts of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, I’ve often wondered how He felt that day. He knew who He was and why He was there. He knew that by the end of the week, He would be tortured and hung on the cross to die a painful death. He knew that while the crowd was rejoicing, there were many, who wanted Him dead, perhaps, even some of those who rejoiced that day. What a great love He had (and has) for us, that He was willing to endure the pain and the shame of the cross, so that we might live!
I pray that you will be blessed and take the time to meditate on all that Christ did, and still continues to do for each one of us, as we remember His life, death and resurrection this week. God bless you!
He had never felt so dejected, so all alone before. Though he cried out to God over and over, He was silent. He was a strong and fearless man, as long as he was hearing the voice of God, and as long as His Spirit rested on him, but from the time of his arrest, YHWH remained silent, leaving him with nothing but time…
Time to reflect on his life and wonder, “Could it be that I misunderstood? Is it possible that I got it all wrong? El De’ot (God of Knowledge), please give me wisdom! Reveal the truth to me!” he cried in anguish, thinking back on his ministry.
He had heard of his destiny from the time he suckled on his mother’s breasts, as both parents shared the miraculous events leading up to his birth. His father, Zechariah, a priest of the Almighty, who served in the Temple, told John about his visit from Gabriel, one of YHWH Tzevaot’s (God of Hosts’) angelic warriors. It was Gabriel who informed Zechariah that he and his wife, Elizabeth, had found favor with YHWH, and that Elizabeth would give birth to a son, whom Zechariah was to name John. Gabriel also told his abba (father) that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth, and that he would bring joy to many.
“Adonai,” John whispered in the silent darkness of the dungeon, “from the time of my birth, I never so much as took a sip of wine or allowed any other alcoholic drink to pass my lips, according to the command Your angel, Gabriel gave to my Abba. I lived in the wilderness, and I cried out to the people, according to Your word:
“‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near…’(Matthew 3:2 NLT)
“And Adonai, I was fearless and bold, knowing I was doing what You had called me to do. When the Pharisees and Saducees came to watch me baptizing many in Your name, I cried out to them in righteous anger:
“You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath?Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be His slave and carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with His winnowing fork. Then He will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into His barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.(Matthew 3:7b-12 NLT)
“And El Shaddai, I was so certain, when I saw Jesus that day and baptized Him, that He was the long awaited One, but now, in this foul and wretched dungeon, I haven’t heard You speak to me, and my heart is heavy. Could I have been wrong? O YHWH! Speak to me, please!” Yet, though he cried out, there was no comfort to be found in that dreadful dungeon, where the only certainty seemed to be his impending death.
The nights were the worst, for it was then that the darkness was thickest, and it was then that the tormenting doubts were at their worst. During the days, there was a thin shaft of light that came through a small window, high above him. John tried to keep track of each new day, by that small bit of light, but as his strength ebbed, with little nourishment, and only a cup of water in the morning and at night, he lost all track of time.
One day, he heard the voices of his disciples, calling down to him from the small window above. Though he couldn’t see them, he rejoiced to hear their voices, picturing each one in his mind. His eyes filled with tears, as his disciples reported the many things that Messiah was doing. It had been so long since he had heard a report from Adonai, and as he listened to their report, John stood up and called two of his disciples by name, telling them, “Go to Jesus for me, and ask Him:
His disciples departed quickly, to do their prophet’s bidding, while John sank to the prison floor, and closed his eyes. Exhaustion overwhelmed him, and within minutes, he was asleep. It was dark, when he awakened. His throat was dry and parched, as though all of his saliva had been blown away in a desert sand storm. Disoriented, he shook his head, trying to see in the vast darkness, but there was only black all around him. He was unable to even see himself, let alone his surroundings.
“John!” he heard a familiar voice calling his name in the darkness, somewhere above him. “Are you in there John?” the voice of his disciple called, as John suddenly realized where he was and who was calling out to him.
“Yes!” he tried to shout, but his dry and raspy voice sounded more like the croak of a frog, than the shout of a prophet of God. “Did you find Him? What news do you bring? What did he say?” Closing his eyes, tears welled up in them once again, and John breathed a soft prayer to El Elyon (Most High God), “Please, El Roi (God who sees me), let this be the answer to my prayers.”
“We found the Rabbi (Teacher), John,” they spoke in unison, hoping John would find comfort in their message.
“Did you ask Him if He is Messiah or if we should look for someone else?”
“We did, John and Jesus told us to:
‘Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who are not offended because of Me.’ (Matthew 11:4-6, Luke 7:22-23 NLT)
“That’s all He said, John, nothing else. Is there anything else we can do for you?”
“No,” John said. “You’ve done enough. Thank you. Go quickly now, before someone discovers you here.” His disciples quickly departed, promising to come back to visit him again, as soon as they could.
Tears rolled freely down John’s cheeks, mingling with the mucous from his nose and falling to the dirt floor of the dungeon, as John whispered to himself,“The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. God blesses those who are not offended because of Me.“
John repeated the words again, smiling through the tears, “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. God blesses those who are not offended because of Me.“
Rejoicing, John began to repeat the words of the prophet Isaiah, that his father, Zechariah had taught him so many years ago, when he was just a boy…
5 “And when He comes, He will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. 6 The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. 7 The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived. 8 And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there. 9 Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it. 10 Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness. (Isaiah 35:5-10 NLT)
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon Me, for the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”(Isaiah 61:1 NLT)
Again, John repeated the message Jesus had given Him, laughing aloud as joy welled up within him, “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. God blesses those who are not offended because of Me.
“El Chaiyai (God of my life), thank You. This poor man cried, and You heard me and saved me out of all my troubles. You sent Your word out to me, and it produced the fruits of joy and peace, accomplishing exactly what You meant it to accomplish, and it has prospered me.
“Thank You for Your lovingkindness in the midst of my weakness. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. God blesses those who are not offended because of Me. Adonai, I am not offended because of Messiah. I can now die in peace, because You have spoken to me in the depths of darkness and misery.”
I love this story of John the Baptist, because it shows his humanity. John was a strong and powerful man of God. Even Jesus, Messiah, the Son of the Living God, respected John. In fact, after John’s disciples departed to deliver Jesus’ message to him, Jesus said this about John:
“What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind?25 Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people who wear beautiful clothes and live in luxury are found in palaces.26 Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet.27 John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say,
‘Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You, and he will prepare Your way before You.’
28 I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!” (Luke 7:24-28 NLT)
Do you want to know one of the reasons I love this story about John the Baptist? It is because Jesus honored John by telling this to everyone afterJohn had asked if He was truly the Messiah. Jesus wasn’t angry when John, in a time of weakness, doubted.
Think about it, John’s father, Zechariah doubted Gabriel’s prophecy of John’s birth to him and his wife, and because of his doubt, Zechariah was made mute, until after John’s birth. I’m certain that his father must have shared this with his son, on more than one occasion, as he grew up, and now, John was imprisoned, and faced with his own doubts. In light of Gabriel’s response to his father’s question,“How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”(Luke 1:18 NLT)I wonder if John feared Jesus’ response to his question,“Are You the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”(Matthew 11:3, Luke 7:19 NLT)
It’s obvious that there is a difference in the questions that were asked. Zechariah’s doubt stemmed from the fact that he simply didn’t believe what Gabriel had told him. John’s doubt was different. He was at a low point in his life (Can you relate?), imprisoned and alone, no longer able to minister as he had been called to do, and in his weakness, he became uncertain. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe. He had lost everything, and that’s when he started to question.
Have you ever been there? I have. When I was no longer able to continue ministering in prison, because of my back problems, I had questions. If I could no longer work and no longer minister in prison, was my life over? Was I a disappointment to God? Had I imagined that I was called by God to minister? Like John, I struggled with these questions. And I cried out to God for comfort and reassurance, and for awhile, all I heard was silence.
There’s another reason why I love this story so much. The reason why this story blesses me is because of the way that Jesus answered John’s question:
4 Jesus told them,“Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—5 the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.6 And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of Me. (Matthew 11:4-6, Luke 7:22-23 NLT)
Jesus could have simply replied, “Yes,” but I don’t think that would have assuaged John’s doubts. You see, John needed a word from God. He needed to hear the word from the Word. From the time he was in his mother’s womb, he had been filled with the Holy Spirit, and after his birth, I’m certain that Zechariah and Elizabeth shared God’s word with him, in preparation for the ministry he had been called to. Therefore, the only thing that could mend John’s broken heart and renew his hope, was the word of God. Knowing this, Jesus answered him by quoting Isaiah’s prophecy about Messiah’s coming.
It is the same way with me, and all who seek the truth. When I need the truth, I find it in God’s word. When I am anxious or fearful, I find peace in the word of God. When I am uncertain or unsure of what my next step should be, I find my answer in God’s holy word. For peace, joy, certainty and truth can only be found in the Word of God.
After having to give up my job and my prison ministry, I was crushed, because I thought God would no longer be able to use me if I was stuck at home. And then, I heard a message from the Lord, instructing me to begin writing again, something that I hadn’t had time to do for many years.
2 Then the Lord said to me, “Write My answer plainly on tablets,so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.”(Habakkuk 2:2 NLT)
I was excited to do what He had called me to do, and then this thought came to me, “I should start a blog.” Now perhaps that doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary to you, but at the time that thought came to me, I had no idea what a blog was. I had heard the word before, but no one had ever explained it to me, and I was never interested enough to know what it was, until the Lord placed it in my spirit to start a blog. Therefore, in October, 2012, I started a blog, and this has become my ministry.
Beloved reader, are you in a dark place right now? Do you have questions and uncertainties? If so, I encourage you to pray and seek your answers in God’s word. It is easier now, than ever before, to search for the answers you need from God’s word. You have only to use your favorite search engine online, and enter “Scriptures about _________.” You fill in the blank.
Also, you can read scriptures from just about any bible version you want at the sites listed below. There are many other sites as well, but the top three are ones that I use most frequently.
If you are looking for answers like John the Baptist was, or like I do, I encourage you to seek those answers in the word of God.
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.(Hebrews 4:12 NLT)
3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life.4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
I absolutely refuse to watch TBN and many of the other “Christian” television stations. Does this shock you? At first, I thought there was something wrong with me, because many other believers love televangelists like Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, Joyce Meyer and so many others. Therefore, something has to be wrong with me, right?
However, as I searched the scriptures and compared the gospel preached by these people, to the Gospel of Christ, I discovered that they were preaching a false gospel. Not only that, but in addition to deceiving many good men and women who are seeking the truth, these false teachers and false prophets also fleece their followers.
5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
These men and women make the proud and boastful claim that they need your money in order to save a lost and dying world. However, when Jesus walked this earth as a man, He touched the hearts of a lost and dying world, without pilfering anyone for money. Furthermore, when the apostles went to Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the world, they did so without begging for money. Indeed, the gospel was shared by many of them, as they fled from persecution. Not only that, the Apostle Paul, who traveled through many countries, sharing the gospel to a lost and dying world, was careful not to be a financial burden on the people that he served…
17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust.18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.
12 When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you.13 The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!
14 Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children.15 I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.
9 Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.
You see, Paul wasn’t interested in how much money he could get out of believers; he wanted to win their hearts. Paul truly sought to save a lost and dying world. Today’s televangelists, evangelists, teachers and various other ministries could learn from his example. For though many of these ministries claim they want to seek and save the lost, their lifestyles paint a different picture.
Let’s look at Creflo Dollar, whose website, on Friday, March 13. 2015, announced a new project entitled, Project G650.
According to this video, the ministry’s current jet is over 30 years old and is now out of service. Therefore, they now need a new one, which will cost $65 million dollars. Really??? He and his ministry team aren’t able to fly commercial flights, like the rest of us???
In doing research on Dollar’s life and ministry, I discovered that his church began in the Kathleen Mitchell Elementary School cafeteria in 1986, to a congregation of eight. In the years following that, his ministry began to grow, and eventually moved to a chapel. Around this time, Creflo Dollar began preaching on the radio, and he began having four services on Sundays. The church continued to grow, from the tithes, offerings and donations they received from parishoners and people around the world, and World Changers Church International (WCCI) eventually built moved into the World Dome, a sanctuary that seats 8500 people, located in College Park, GA. This $18 million dollar church was built from the donations of many men and women, with no bank financing. WCCI also has a church in New York as well.
The ministry isn’t all that has prospered since its humble beginning; Creflo and wife, Taffi Dollar have also prospered. Though he has refused to disclose his salary for many years, it is estimated that Mr. and Mrs. Dollar’s net worth is $27 million dollars, much of which has come from the tithes and donations of many men and women like you and me.
When giving to a ministry, I want to be a good steward. I want to know that my offerings are going to help the needy, widows and orphans, as well as the disabled. I want to know that the money is being used wisely, according to God’s will, and not the will of a greedy man. I would be very angry to think that I have given money to bring the gospel of Christ to those who have never heard Jesus’ name, and to help those who in need of food, money and shelter, according to God’s will, only to find it has been used to line the pastors’ pockets.
2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.
Pardon me, but I have to ask, how much of the money that is donated to the ministry, for the salvation of souls and to help those in need, is actually going to the needy? Dollar and his wife not only have a net worth of $27 million dollars, as I stated earlier, but he also owns two Rolls Royces, a $1 million dollar home in Atlanta, and a $2.5 million dollar home in Manhattan.
With all of this wealth, I find it very brazen for Dollar to ask 200,000 members to donate $300 so that he can get a new jet! After all, his wealth has come from the donations of many people who have a net worth of little or nothing, because he preaches a false prosperity message and claims that if his congregants will give at least ten percent of their income, they too will prosper. Frankly, with his wealth, Dollar can either purchase his own jet, or he can do as the rest of us do, and fly the friendly skies on a commercial airline!
Beloved reader, true ministry begins with you and me, not with some preacher, who is more interested in what you can give him, instead of how he can help you. Do you want to reach a lost and dying world with the gospel? Then share the Good News with your neighbors, your coworkers, and the people you see on a day to day basis. Pray for them. Love them. Talk to them about Jesus, not about your church. This is how souls are won, not by sending your hard earned money to a charlatan who preaches a false gospel.
Finally, since I have shared my concerns about Creflo Dollar and his ministries and net worth, I would be remiss if I did not address one other scandal that was in the news in 2012. On June 8, 2012, Creflo Dollar was arrested for Simple Battery Family Violence and Cruelty to Children for allegedly throwing his fifteen year old daughter on the ground, choking her, punching her and hitting her with a shoe. The girl’s nineteen year old sister witnessed the alleged assault and told the same story her sister did, when questioned. Below is his daughter’s 911 call.
Dollar told a different story, stating that he and his daughter were arguing over a party that he said she couldn’t attend because of her bad grades. He stated that after entering the kitchen and asking why she was upset, his daughter was disrespectful to him, and he tried to restrain her. After restraining her, he said that she began hitting him, and he wrestled her to the floor and spanked her. Below is a copy of the actual police report for Creflo Dollar’s arrest:
On the Sunday following his arrest, Creflo Dollar spoke to his congregation, and listeners all over the world, about his arrest. Below is the video of his address.
Now, here is the issue I have with Mr. Dollar’s address… Firstly, I want to address the congregation’s response, when Dollar entered the pulpit. I was greatly disturbed by the standing ovation and the cheers and whistles that arose in support of him. With absolutely no evidence of his guilt or innocence, the congregation loudly cheered this man, who had been accused of abusing his daughter. The congregation gave no thought for the troubled teen. Now, please understand, when I refer to Dollar’s fifteen year old daughter as a troubled teen, I am in no way implying her guilt or innocence in telling the truth. Either way, this was a traumatic event, and anyone would be troubled by what allegedly happened. On the other hand, if she did indeed lie, as Dollar’s statements implied, she would still be considered troubled, for contriving a lie. In their loud cheers for her father, who was potentially her abuser, the congregation made it clear that she and her feelings were unimportant.
Secondly, I want to address the following statement by Creflo Dollar, by sharing his own words from this address… “I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”That statement, sounds as though it comes from a benevolent and loving father, doesn’t it? However, in keeping it in context with this very same address to his congregation, and all, throughout the world, who view this statement, I have to ask, who, then, if not his daughters, is he faulting? Certainly not himself!
“As everyone knows, raising children in our culture of disrespect, is a challenge and a responsibility for all of us who are parents.”
Isn’t this just another way of saying that his daughter was disrespectful, and in so doing, isn’t he putting the fault on her, something he said he would “never do”?
“The truth is, she was not choked. She was not punched. There were not any scratches on her neck, but the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema. Anything else is an exaggeration and sensationalism.”
It was his daughter who called 911 and also reported to the deputy that she had been choked and punched. Therefore, isn’t this just another way of saying his daughter exaggerated and resorted to sensationalism (another way for calling her a liar)? Again, wasn’t this something he said he would “never do”?
“I mean, I can’t imagine. If I punched my kid, (emphasizes by punching open palm) I would hurt her. If I choked my kid, you would see visible signs on her neck. But to come and take a picture of a mark that’s been there for ten years, and not have enough intelligence to at least ask the parent what it is, is appalling.”
Let’s remember that Creflo Dollar had been accused, by his fifteen year old daughter of choking and attacking her. Don’t you think the officer asked the girl what the mark was from? Why would he ask the alleged perpetrator of a crime how she got the mark? How likely would he be to tell the truth? I wonder, how likely was he telling the truth in this statement? Also, let’s not forget that her nineteen year old sister corroborated her statement.
“Again, I would never approach one of my children to inflict bodily harm. I love my children enough to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices.”
Again, he is implying that his daughters are lying about what happened. I do believe that he was trying to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices, but I also believe that it is entirely possible he lost his self-control in the heat of the moment, and threw his daughter to the floor, choking, hitting, and punching her.
“I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”
His entire statement has one goal… to deflect the blame off himself, by placing the blame onto his daughter.
“I want to say this very emphatically: I should have never been arrested. Never! And when the facts of this come out, you will be appalled.”
Again, though he doesn’t actually say the words, his statement implies that his daughter lied about his assault on her.
“You’ve got to understand something. It’s not as much against me as it is against this message of grace. The devil knows in order to discredit the message, you have to first of all discredit the messenger…”
Here, Dollar implied that his daughter was used by the devil.
“… I want to close and I’ll have nothing else to say about this. I want to close in the book of Psalms, chapter thirty-five, and it’ll describe to you, what is going on. Verse eleven, Psalms thirty-five…
11 Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. 12 They repay me evil for good. I am sick with despair. 13 Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. 14 I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother. 15 But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly. 16 They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me.
17 How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! 18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. I will praise you before all the people. 19 Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat. Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow. 20 They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business. 21 They shout, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we saw him do it!”
22 O Lord, you know all about this. Do not stay silent. Do not abandon me now, O Lord. 23 Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord. 24 Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice. Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles. 25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted! Now we will eat him alive!”
26 May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced. May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor. 27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense. Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!” 28 Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long. (Psalm 35:11-28 NLT)
Creflo Dollar continued, as though this next passage was a part of Psalm 35, but it wasn’t….
10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. 11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again. (Psalm 36:10-12 NLT)
Now, as you read the scripture above, imagine that you are Dollar’s fifteen and nineteen year old daughters, who signed a witness statement against him. Certainly the pastor’s word, this “man of God” carries more weight than a disrespectful fifteen year old and her nineteen year old sister, who are both indirectly referred to as “malicious witnesses” accusing him of crimes he knows nothing about. After all, he has always taken care of them, even when they were sick, and he’s fasted and prayed for them, and look how they have repaid evil for his good. See how gleefully they have joined together attacking him? Because of their behavior, they have caused people he doesn’t even know to slander him…
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a pastor preach a message against you personally, but I have. I pray this has never happened to you, because there is nothing more painful than to have the word of God aimed as a weapon of destruction against you. It doesn’t matter whether you are truly in the wrong or not. It is painful to be exposed, and know that there are others who are listening to the sermon, who also know that the pastor is using you as an example. God’s word is not intended to be taken out of context to condemn or destroy someone else. As you read the scripture in the way Mr. Dollar presents it, he is the victim of a terrible injustice.
Finally, after praying for God’s intervention, just as David prayed against those who treated him injustly, Dollar curses his attackers (in this case, his fifteen year old and nineteen year old daughters, who called the police and signed the report against him) asking God to humiliate and disgrace them, and cover them with shame and dishonor. Regardless of who was speaking the truth, or who was lying, how do you think Dollar’s daughters felt as they listened to their father’s speech that morning? Do you think they were drawn to God? Or did they feel shamed and humiliated by Him?
The assault charges against Mr. Dollar were eventually dropped in January, 2013, in exchange for him attending a pre-trial intervention program, which included him attending an anger management program. In addition, Dollar had to pay $1,072 dollars in fees and court costs.
There are many reasons to be wary of this man’s teachings. His sermons usually revolve around a prosperity message with money and personal wealth as the focus. It’s the kind of message that people want to hear; the kind of message that makes them happy, but is it true?
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
This is why I strongly urge you, beloved reader, to seek God’s face. Study His word for yourselves. When someone preaches or writes a post (including me), read the scriptures to see if what this person is preaching or teaching lines up with what God says. Then, if it doesn’t, find someone who speaks truth, while you continue to study God’s word.
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.
15 Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
Finally, beloved reader, pay attention to the way leaders conduct themselves, when preaching, and when they’re not in front of a group. What does he/she like to talk about most frequently? If the person talks mostly about money, that’s because this is what is most important in his/her heart. How does he/she treat his/her followers? Does this person like to serve, or does he/she expect to be served? For a true leader will lovingly and joyfully serve his/her followers, expecting nothing in return.
18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him].
43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.
The scriptures above are the qualifications of a true leader, given to us by the King of all other kings, and the Lord of every lord. If the minister you have been following does not meet these qualifications, prayerfully seek one who does. This person should be willing to give to his/her followers, not to take. In light of this, where does Creflo Dollar fall in the spectrum? You decide.
16 There are six things the Lord hates —no, seven things He detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
Is it me, or does it seem that lying has reached epic proportions? Think about it… Politicians (including the President), whom we vote into office, lie so much and so often, that we’ve come to expect it from them. Indeed, it has become the norm, and most people are seldom even shocked or angered when a politician is caught in a lie. And what about lawyers, who are supposed to be teachers and keepers of the law? Most are quick to lie, especially if it means winning their case. And what do we do, when we discover that someone has told yet another lie? Many just make jokes about it…
18 Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon 19 is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.
Many people were outraged, when Stars and Stripespublished the truth, as reported by U.S. soldiers, who were actually involved in the incident, Williams claimed to have been a part of, and according to them, his helicopter was an hour behind the ones that were shot at. After being caught in his lie, Brian offered the following apology…
9 But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
I’m troubled by the fact that Williams didn’t apologize for lying or misleading the public. He merely apologized for making a mistake. Below is the definition for the noun, mistakeaccording to dictionary.com…
An error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment, caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
A misunderstanding or misconception.
A mistake is unintentional, but he deliberately lied, and not just once either, though his apology seemed to imply that. The truth is that he has told this repeatedly over the years, on NBC’s Nightly News, in books, in print, and also in the above interview with David Letterman. With each telling of the story, it has evolved over the years, and Williams’ personal involvement in the shooting has grown from zero to hero, His apology seems very insincere too, because he never accepts responsibility for lying. Instead, after being caught in his lie, Mr. Williams confessed that he “made a mistake in recalling the events of twelve years ago…”
Now, as you might imagine, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had something to say about Mr. Williams’ lie, near the end of one of his segments. Unfortunately, O’Reilly’s statement makes it sound as though ‘t Williams’ lie wasn’t a problem, but the fact that he got caught in his lie…
“He knows what he did was wrong, a lot of people exaggerate their life experience, and he did and he got caught.”
Of course, Bill O’Reilly has also been called out on several occasions recently, by former coworkers at CBS, who say that his claim of having been in the “war zone” during the Falklands war between the United Kingdom and Argentina in the 1980’s, is false. In fact, NO American journalists ever reached the war zone in the Falkland Islands and other territories in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, during the conflict. The difference between Mr. O’Reilly and Brian Williams, is that O’Reilly chose to attack those who called him out for lying, admitting to no wrong doing.
1 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”
Within just a few days of the aforementioned scandals, we learned about yet another scandal, this time from one of the members of the President’s cabinet. While on CBS Evening News, recently, when a homeless veteran told V.A. Secretary, Robert McDonald, that he had been in the Special Services unit of the armed forces, McDonald replied, “Special forces? What years? I was in special forces.” Sadly, that turned out to be a lie…
McDonald’s lie was discovered and reported within days of Brian Williams’ scandal, and like Williams, Mr. McDonald publicly apologized… Furthermore, just as Brian Williams’ apology seemed insincere to me, Robert McDonald’s apology also seemed phony. For, just as Williams did not confess and apologize for lying, neither did McDonald, who claimed he had “incorrectly stated that I had been in Special Forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.” According to this apology, McDonald was just trying to connect with the homeless man and while doing so, he misstated his military history. Really??? Give me a break!
In the midst of all these lies, the media is having a hey day, as they gather around the liars like vultures, ready to feast on the road kill. Meanwhile, the military and its veterans are outraged over the lies, and rightly so. The general public is also incensed over the lies, and I have to admit, I was too. Then, I started thinking…
How many of us have lied and justified or excused ourselves for doing so?
“It’s just a little white lie…”
“I only told a small fib…”
“I exaggerated about what happened…”
Have you ever lied to your spouse or your parents about how much money you’ve spent on something or where you’ve been? Have you lied to your boss about why you really called out? Did you ever tell someone to say you weren’t home, so you wouldn’t have to talk to the person at the door, or answer the phone?
Have you tried to justify your lie, because you wouldn’t need to lie if that person didn’t always over-react to situations? Or perhaps you’ve excused yourself, because one little lie never hurt anyone… Maybe you’ve even told yourself it doesn’t really matter, because no one will ever find out about it anyway…
17 For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.
Many of us become completely outraged, when someone lies to us. It also makes many of us furious, when someone like Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly or Robert McDonald lies. After all, someone in their position should be credible, right?
As a child, I lied constantly. It’s true that I was abused as a child, and many times I lied for survival, but that doesn’t justify it or excuse it. In fact, the more I lied, the easier it got, and the lies grew. I lied so much, that I was often able to convince even myself that a lie was true. I lied to survive, and I lied about things that didn’t even matter. You see, when you tell one lie, you become enslaved to it, because one lie leads to another, then another, and so on.
I wish I could tell you that when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, one summer, somewhere between the ages of eleven and fourteen, I stopped lying, but that wouldn’t be true. I will say that I tried really hard to stop lying, because I knew it was sinful, but lying was a stronghold in my life, and the harder I tried to stop lying, the harder it was to quit.
During my teenage years, I fell away from the Lord. I still believed in Him, but I was also filled with doubts about Him. You see, someone, who habitually lies, usually has a deceiving spirit within him/her, and not only does that spirit lead him/her to be deceptive; it also succeeds in deceiving the deceiver. So, basically, I was a liar who found it easier to believe lies rather than the truth…
I was around fifteen years old, when I stopped walking with the Lord, and for the next ten years, I chose to go my own way. I am so grateful that during the time I walked away from God, He never left me. When I lied, He continued to convict me of my sin. When I cussed and told dirty jokes, He was still there, reminding me that my behavior was sinful. When I was twenty-five years old, my son was three, and my daughter was a little over one, and I decided it was time to take my children to Sunday School, because they needed Jesus. I didn’t realize that I needed Jesus just as much or more than they did, but God knew. He also knew that before my children could know Him, I needed to know Him.
I hadn’t been bringing the children to Sunday School for very long, when I was asked to start teaching Sunday School. Now, in order to teach Sunday School, you have to prepare for it, and the way to prepare for it is to pray and read and study the bible. As I began to study the bible more and more, I realized how much I needed Jesus back into my life. Meanwhile, though I struggled to stop, I continued to lie, and since I’d rededicated my life to Christ, I was racked with guilt.
I hated lying by now, but I just couldn’t stop it, because I lived in fear. Looking back over my life, I understand that the biggest stronghold in my life, which led me to lie, was fear. When I was younger, I lied because I was afraid of losing my parents’ love, as they beat me and cursed me. As an adult, I lied because I was afraid of losing my husband’s love.
I remember fasting one Saturday, and going to church to be alone with the Lord, praying and preparing for my Sunday School class. As I was praying, the Lord pressed me to tell my husband about a secret I’d been keeping from him, but I was afraid he would leave me, so, I refused. I lived in such fear of losing his love, that I didn’t tell him, when some of our bills increased beyond what we were able to pay. Though he never abused me, I’d grown up in an abusive household, and I was terrified of losing him and being forced to live with my parents again. The Lord kept leading me to tell my husband about this, but I was afraid to trust Him, so I continued to refuse.
Then, a few days later, after a medical procedure, which left my husband feeling very sick, he began to talk about how much he loved me, and what a great wife I was. I told him to stop saying that, because I wasn’t a great wife. I told him I wasn’t even a good wife, but he just looked at me with love in his eyes and said I was a wonderful wife, and he loved me very much. Guilt and shame overwhelmed me, and I confessed everything to my husband, just as God had commanded me to do. After confessing my deception to my him, my husband looked at me through his eyes of love and told me not to worry. Together, we would take care of things.
After that day, I was no longer bound by fear and deception. Does that mean that I haven’t failed since then? No, I’ve lied since then, but I’m quick to confess and repent of my sins, and here’s the funny thing. I don’t lie now, because that sin no longer binds me. God set me free from fear that day, and I’m no longer afraid to tell the truth.
32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What about you, beloved reader? Before you get angry with those who lie and try to deceive us, have you examined your own heart? Are you free from deception? If so, praise God, and instead of being angry at people like Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly or Robert McDonald, pray for them, and ask God to set them free from their fear of the truth, in Jesus name!
If you still continue to lie to people, especially those you love, ask God to deliver you from fear and deception, in Jesus’ name.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Please note ~ the following post deals with sexually explicit material that may be offensive to some, or may trigger others. However, my intent is not to offend or hurt, but to cast some light on a dark subject…
When the book came out, I was still working, and I remember many of my coworkers going on and on about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and how good it was. Most would tell me how great it was, and then say, “But you shouldn’t read it, Cheryl. You wouldn’t like it.” Most of my coworkers knew that I was a minister of the gospel, and that I wouldn’t enjoy this kind of book. Most of my coworkers knew me well, yet I worked for a retirement facility, that employed more than two hundred people, so there were others, who were only casual acquaintances.
I remember this one woman who worked the evening shift. She usually came on duty just as I was preparing to leave for the day. One evening, before I left for the day, she stopped by the office, where I was working, to see if I knew where our boss was. After telling her, she turned to leave, so she could finish administering medications to the residents she was caring for, but suddenly, she spun back around, facing my office mate and me again, as she asked, “Do you read?”
“Well,” I jested, “we’re not illiterate.”
Laughing at my comment, the woman gushed, “Then you just have to read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s so good. It’s a love story with a little ‘soft porn.'”
After hearing so many people rave about this book, I was curious to know what the big deal was, and why so many people were talking about it. Therefore, I went online, and looked to see what it was about. Needless to say, I was shocked. After reading an overview of the book, I wondered how so many good people call this book good? Though it’s been touted as a “love story,” nothing could be further from the truth.
I really never thought too much about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” after that, until the movie was released, on Valentine’s Day, and yet again, people were boasting about this “must see” movie event, which raked in more money at the box office than any other movie has ever done. Numerous people, from all over, flocked to see this “romantic film.” Really??? Give me a break! I’ve remained quiet about the subject until now, but enough is enough, and if I don’t share what’s on my heart about this, I just might explode.
Therefore, let’s just call a spade a spade. While I haven’t read this book or seen the movie (nor do I intend to), I still know enough about it to comment on it. This serial (“Fifty Shades of Grey” is the first installment in a “Fifty Shades” trilogy.) is neither a love story, nor a romance. Hence, in order for us to determine if “Fifty Shades of Grey” is truly a love story or not, we must first know what love really is. To discover what love is, let’s look at the best definition of love that has been revealed to man…
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Now, let us look at “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in light of this definition… As we examine the relationship between the two main characters, Chrisian and Ana, it becomes obvious almost immediately, that there is no patience or kindness between the two. As Christian treats Ana as his personal sex slave, there is not romantic or loving about their relationship. It is both cruel and hurtful. These two characters are involved in an unhealthy relationship, instead of a healthy and loving one, where both people treat one another with respect and dignity. This is an abusive relationship where Christian domineers Ana.
I must say that I am really surprised that more Christians have not spoken out against this novel/movie, and I’m also surprised that most women’s rights groups seem to be uncharacteristically silent on the subject. Such an unhealthy relationship should be denounced for implying that women actually enjoy being tied up, beaten, and verbally, sexually and physically abused.
4 … Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude…
Love is not jealous… The main character, Christian, is jealous of other men who are a part of Ana’s life. Now, I’ll grant you that there are some women who think it would be nice if their boyfriend or husband was jealous of other men in their lives, but that’s because they’ve never actually experienced the jealousy of a lover.
Jealousy is ugly. Those who are jealous are mistrustful and resentful. Because resentment can quickly grow into hatred, it also often leads to violence. Many times, when a man is jealous of another man who is involved in the life of a woman he cares about, that jealous rage will be taken out on the woman that he supposedly cares about. Does this sound like love to you?
Love is not boastful. Someone who truly loves someone else will not flaunt his/her advantages to the one that he/she loves. The one who truly loves will not ever want to make his/her beloved feel as though he/she is unworthy.
Likewise, the one who truly loves, will not allow his/her pride to enter his/her relationship. The partner who truly loves, will be willing to humble him/herself to the other person. The one who loves will be willing to submit to the wishes of his/her beloved, just as the beloved will also be willing to do. True love is a partnership, in which both parties are willing to give 100% to their relationship. If only one party is willing to do so, then there is no relationship, for a relationship requires two people.
Love is not rude. Love would not even suggest that one partner submit to being tied up, whipped, gagged or sexually abused. Love understands that these actions constitute rape, which is a violent act committed against someone. Rape is not fun or sexy. It is extremely damaging and harmful to the victim, long after the act has occurred. Indeed, most people say that rape is not a sex act, but an act of violence. Violence is not love.
5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
Love does not demand its own way. Women, girls, men and boys, hear me now. Love does not demand its own way. If someone truly loves you, he/she will not demand or insist that you participate or allow him/her to sexually abuse or exploit you. If this person truly loves you, he/she will accept it when you say, “No.” If the person you loves demands that you participate in sexually deviant acts, (any sexual act that is not condoned in the bible), even after you’ve said, “No,” then he/she does not love you.
If the person who claims to love you becomes angry or violent because you have told him/her, “No,” they are not treating you with love. If the person begins to list all of the times you’ve failed to do what he/she wanted you to do, this person is not acting in love. Instead, he/she is acting selfishly, which is the polar opposite of love.
6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
If the person who claims to love you takes pleasure in hurting you, (physically, sexually or emotionally), he/she is rejoicing about an injustice that has been done to you. This is NOT love. It is not fun. This is cruel and harmful to you. If the person you are in a relationship with does not rejoice in the truth of these words that I’ve written, then he/she does not truly love you.
Now, I’d like to share a few words with those of you who read the book and/or went to the movie, 50 Shades of Grey… How would you feel if your daughter, your sister or perhaps, even your mother was involved in this type of relationship? Would you talk to her about it? Would you worry for her safety? Would you worry about her emotional stability?
Or would you find it tantalizing? Would you think it was exciting and sexy? Would you encourage her to go ahead and do it, if she asked for your advice? Would you want her to tell you all about it for your pleasure?
If you would find it disturbing for your beloved daughter, sister, or mother to be involved in this type of relationship, then why would you take pleasure in a book or movie that celebrates this type of behavior? Suppose your daughter, sister or mother, knowing that you had read and enjoyed this book, shared that she was involved in a relationship like this? How would it make you feel? How could you argue against your loved one taking part in this?
Suppose your son, brother or father was involved in this type of relationship. Would you feel proud of him? Would you trust your daughter to be alone with him?
Maybe you’ve read what I’ve written here, and you think I’ve carried it to far. I don’t think so. This needs to be discussed. We need to examine our hearts, for none of us should take pleasure in these things. If this is something you wouldn’t want your loved ones to be involved in, then ask yourself why you’re involving yourself in it. For when you purchase books such as these or go to see this movie, you’re condoning it, and welcoming it into your own life.
Perhaps you’re angry at what I’m sharing. I can live with that. For the fact is, that there are young women, wives and girls who are involved in sick relationships like this, and they would give anything to get out of it, yet they are trapped. And then there are those who will copy what the movie or the book showed, and they will end up raping and hurting other women, and feel perfectly justified in doing so. After all, the movie implies that women like to be treated this way, and every man and woman who bought the book, or a movie ticket also signified this was okay. How would you like it if your spouse or boyfriend treated you like Christian treated Ana? By taking pleasure in this book and/or the movie with him, haven’t you sent that message to him???
Do you think I’m exaggerating the dangers of this movie? If so, I urge you to read this newspaper article taken from the Chicago Tribune on February 24, 2015, by clicking the link below:
Finally, I urge you, therefore, my beloved readers, to do something that many, especially those within the Christian community, are often reluctant to do. Talk with your children, both male and female, and let them know how much God values their lives. Let them know that they are worth too much to devalue themselves as someone’s sex slave or whipping boy/girl. Make sure they know how much God loves them, and how much you love them, and let them know that they will always have a safe place to come to, if they do get involved in an abusive relationship.
And if you, my beloved reader, have taken pleasure in this perverted story, you are not so far away from God’s mercy and grace that you cannot be forgiven. You have only to repent and confess your sins to Him.
9 But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Forgive me for the delay in this study on Ephesians. Unfortunately, I’ve been under the weather for awhile. However, I’m feeling better now, and I’m anxious to get back to this study.
As you may remember, we’ve been studying Ephesians 1:5, as we discover what it is to be an adopted child of God. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper into this study, and discover what it is to be a Child of the Promise. The Apostle Paul wrote these mournful words in his letter to the Romans, as he explained that to be a child of God, you must first be a child of the promise…
2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them.4 They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed His glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them His law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping Him and receiving His wonderful promises.5 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ Himself was an Israelite as far as His human nature is concerned. And He is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.
6 Well then, has God failed to fulfill His promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people!7 Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too.8 This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God.Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children.
As we read Paul’s heartfelt statement regarding his Israeli brothers and sisters, we discover that being born a Jew does not ensure they are children of God…
30 What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God.And it was by faith that this took place.31 But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.32 Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in Him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.33 God warned them of this in the Scriptures when He said,
“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”
Hallelujah! This is too important to miss. Not all Jews are children of God, because they are not children of the promise. In fact, Jesus informed the Pharisees that though they were Jews, and descendants of Abraham, they were not children of God…
38 “I am telling you what I saw when I was with My Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”
39 “Our father is Abraham!” they declared.
“No,” Jesus replied,“for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.40 Instead, you are trying to kill Me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing.41 No, you are imitating your real father.”
They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God Himself is our true Father.”
42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on My own, but He sent Me.43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear Me!44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies…”
Though His words were harsh, they were true. Instead of telling people what they wanted to hear, Jesus always spoke the truth. For though the Pharisees were descendants of Abraham, they were not children of God. They were children of the devil, who also rejects and hates the truth. This is true of all men, not just the Pharisees. If you are not a child of God, (a child of the promise), then you are a child of the devil.
Therefore, we need to know, (not just in our minds, but more importantly, we need to know within our hearts) what a child of the promise is. Let’s see what the word of God tells us about children of the promise…
30 What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God.And it was by faith that this took place.31 But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.32 Why not? instead of bytrusting in Him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.33 God warned them of this in the Scriptures when He said,
“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble,But anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”
According to this passage, children of the promise are those who have faith in Christ. Children of the promise know that we cannot get right with God by keeping the law. Children of the promise understand that apart from Christ, we’re not capable of keeping the law on our own. Therefore, a child of the promise must trust in Christ to make us right with God…
21 Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? 22 The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons,one from his slave wifeand one from his freeborn wife.23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise.But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of His promise.
24 These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants.The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them.25 And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia,because she and her children live in slavery to the law.26 But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. 27 As Isaiah said,
“Rejoice, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into a joyful shout, you who have never been in labor! For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband!”
28 And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac.29 But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just asIshmael, the child born by human effort,persecutedIsaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.
30 But what do the Scriptures say about that?“Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritancewiththe free woman’s son.”31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are notchildren of the slave woman;we are children of the free woman.
5 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
This scripture from Paul’s letter to the Galatians gives us a beautiful contrast between the children of the promise, and those who are not the children of the promise…
Children of the Slave Wife
Children of the Promise
Born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise…
God’s own fulfillment of His promise…
Live in slavery to the law…
Free from the law…
Like Ishmael, the child born by human effort…
Like Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit…
Persecute the children of the promise…
Persecuted by those who are enslaved…
Will not share the inheritance of the children of the promise…
Will receive the inheritance...
Tied up in slavery to sin and the law…
Free from slavery to sin and the law…
As you can see, the children of the promise, who are the children of God, are those who have faith in God, and also trust in Christ Jesus. Therefore, the question each of us must ask ourselves is, Am I a child of the promise? Or am I a slave to the law, as I continue to try to obtain God’s promise by trying to keep the law without trusting in Christ?
Father, in Jesus’ name, I pray that those who read and participate in this study would be children of the promise. I pray that You would draw each person to You, so that they could taste and see how good You are.
For those who lack faith, Lord, please give them the faith they need to believe that Jesus is the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. For those whose faith is weak, I pray that You would strengthen it, and for those who already have strong faith in You, Father, please make their faith in You even stronger, in Jesus’ name.
Lord, make each one of us Your children of the promise. Help us to grow each day in our faith, so that we may bring glory and honor to Your name. Amen.
Yesterday, people from all over the world celebrated Valentine’s Day, the day of love, which begs the question, “What is love, anyway?”
Love is something that most human beings long for and seek for most of their lives. I truly believe that within every man, woman and child, there is a place within our hearts that needs to love and to be loved. There’s a place within us that longs to know and to be fully known, and yet despite our obvious flaws, still be loved completely…
Almost my entire life has bee spent seeking the love and approval of others… family… friends… strangers… and even enemies! Rejection from family, the ones who are supposed to love you no matter what, left me feeling alone and unworthy of love. All too often, I would prayerfully and tearfully ask God what was wrong with me. Why was I so unlovable?
Because of the pain I felt from the rejection of those family members, I was blind to those who truly did love me, just as I am. I was blessed with a husband and children who love me very deeply, and yet, I spent most of my life waiting for them to see the “real me”, which would cause them to reject me too.
As a child, I had to fight to win my parents’ love and approval, and unfortunately, all too often, I failed in my plight. As a result of this, I grew up feeling unloved. For I always did something terrible, which caused them to withhold their love from me.
Knowing how my family felt about me, I was certain that the God of heaven and earth, who knows all and sees all, could never love me. He has seen the best in me, and the worst in me. He knows every bad thing I’ve ever done and ever thought of doing. He also knows every bad thing that I will someday do, and so I was convinced that He couldn’t love me, until I began to hear His voice…
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
I had always felt ugly and defective, both inside and out. As a child, I had buck teeth and a curved spine, which caused me to have to wear a back brace for 23 hours a day. And yet now, the Lord was telling me that He had knit me together in my mother’s womb, and He had made me fearfully and wonderfully in His image. Even so, I still doubted that God could really love me. After all, I had grown up believing that I was unlovable, so how could He love me?
Long ago the Lord said to (Cheryl) Israel: “I have loved you, My (daughter) people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.”
I was amazed. How could the Lord of all Creation, the King of Glory possibly love me? And yet He not only loved me; He also drew me to Himself. What an amazing God and what an amazing love!
I accepted the great gift of His love, and yet, there was still the little girl within me that wondered, “If God had really loved me and chosen me from the foundations of the world, why had I always felt so unloved? Why had I always felt so alone? What was wrong with me?”
You see, I wasn’t questioning God’s goodness. I was questioning my own worth. I was certain there was something terribly wrong with me, something ugly and unlovable. Then, one night, as I was driving with my daughter, who was pregnant with her first child, while we were discussing baby names and their meanings, the Lord spoke to my heart…
Glancing at my daughter, as I drove, I suddenly said, “Do you know what Cheryl means?”
“No,” she responded, “what does it mean?”
“It means ‘Beloved,'” I replied.
“Yes, My child. Your name is Beloved, because you are My beloved. I loved you and chose you before the foundations of the earth were laid, and it is I who named you. For you are My beloved, and I have always loved you.”
Suddenly, everything made sense. I am lovable, because God loves me. I am worthy of love, because God has made me worthy, and if God has that kind of love for me, isn’t it possible that He loves you as well?
Now, my outlook has changed. After all, if God could love me so much, that He would sacrifice His one and only Son in exchange for my life, then how could I not love people, even my enemies, just as He did? Because He loves me so much, I can’t help but share His love with others.
So, what is this love that God has for us, and that He commands us to share with others? Paul, an apostle of Christ, and a great man of God, gives us a wonderful image of what love is, in 1 Corinthians 13…
13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.