Tag Archives: Righteousness

Lord Have Mercy!

In a world filled with bitterness and injustice, it’s no accident that after sharing the beatitude about those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus followed it up with the beatitude on mercy…

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.  (Matthew 5:6-7 NKJV)

In this world, where mothers and fathers mourn the lives of their children, murdered by men full of violence, we need mercy as well as justice.  In this world, where men, women and children are raped and tortured, we need both mercy and justice.  In this world, where governments lie, cheat and steal from their citizens, we need mercy to go hand in hand with justice.

What is mercy anyway?  For much of my life, I’ve confused mercy with forgiveness, but in this study, I was moved to seek out the biblical definition, as well as the world’s definition, and I was surprised to discover that mercy and forgiveness are two different things.  Don’t get me wrong, forgiveness is as essential to our walk with Christ as mercy is, but Jesus addresses that elsewhere.  So, for now, we are going to talk about mercy…

This is dictionary.com’s definition of mercy:

[mur-see]

noun, plural mer·cies for 4, 5.

  1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offenderan enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassionpity, or benevolence:  Have mercy on thpoor sinner.
  2. the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
  3. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty. 
  4. an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
  5. something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.

According to Strong’s Lexicon, this is the Greek word translated as mercy in this scripture, and its definition:

eleeō

[e-le-e’-ō]

verb

to be compassionate (by word or deed, specially, by divine grace):—have compassion (pity on), have (obtain, receive, shew) mercy (on).

Beloved reader, in this world that often shows little to no compassion for those who are hurt and afflicted, Jesus commands us to be merciful.  In this world of unrighteousness, we are to show mercy to our enemies, to our friends, to our family, to the poor and forgotten… Indeed, we are to show mercy to everyone we come in contact with.

Do you want to receive mercy?  Be merciful.  Show compassion on those who are less fortunate than you are.  Show compassion to those who are more fortunate than you.  Show compassion to all you come in contact with.

Think about it, even as He was suffering, hanging, naked and dying on the cross, Jesus looked down and saw those who had tortured and hung Him gambling over His clothing, and instead of calling on God to strike them dead (which justice surely demanded), He was moved with pity for them.  Can you imagine feeling pity for your tormentors, in the midst of your suffering?  Jesus did, and He cried out to His Father, not to condemn them, but to have mercy on them…

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)

Beloved, if Jesus, who was and is wholly righteous, could have mercy enough on those, who yet tortured Him, to forgive them, how can we do any less?  “But He is God,” you might say.  “It’s harder for me to forgive, because I’m not God.”  If you are truly a child of God, then His Spirit lives within you, and enables you to show mercy.

How much harder was it for Jesus, who knew no sin, to suffer at the hands of sinful man?  How much harder was it for Him to have mercy on me, knowing how many times I have let Him down in the past, present and future?  And yet, He continues to pour His mercies on us…

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.  (Psalm 103:11-18 NKJV)

Beloved, this walk with Christ is not an easy one.  We are tested and tried at every turn, just as Jesus said we would be.  And yet, by His grace, and in His strength, we can run this race, for He will give us the endurance to see it through.  It’s time for us to stop seeing everything through the eyes of the world, and start seeing things through the eyes of Christ.

Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?  Then you will be filled, as you show mercy to others.  And as you show mercy to others, rejoice!  For you are blessed, and you will receive that same mercy from the God of all mercy, and let’s not forget:

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”  (Lamentations 3:22-24 NKJV)

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Justice Will Be Served

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled. 

(Matthew 5:6 NKJV)

Do you hate the injustices of this world?  Do you long for the day when those who lie, cheat, steal, kill and destroy will be repaid for their evil?  Do you long for the day when those who have been victimized will be recompensed?

Unlike this world’s “Lady Justice,” God does not turn a blind eye on evil.  He has heard your cries for justice, and mine.  Though He seems slow to answer, He sees the evil that is in this world…

Just as He saw the more than six million Jews, who were killed in the holocaust, He sees every Christian, who has been and who will be persecuted, since Christ’s crucifixion, and unless they repent, the perpetrators will pay for their crimes.  Just as the blood of Abel cried out to Him, when his brother Cain murdered him, God has seen every murder and every crime victim since that time, and their blood, too, cries out to Him (Genesis 4:1-15 NKJV)

Beloved, in our hunger and thirst for righteousness, let us not give way to sin.  Though injustice seems to rule in this world for now, let us do as the Lord commands…

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

(Micah 6:8 NKJV)

We can’t change the behavior of others, but we, who hunger and thirst for righteousness must never allow our righteous indignation to turn into evil.  Let us walk humbly and justly, and let us be merciful, even to those who have shown us no mercy.  Let Christ be our example.  Do you remember what He said as He hung between two thieves on the cross, while soldiers gambled for His clothes?

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with Him.33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed Him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on His right and one on His left.  

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice.

(Luke 23:32-34 NLT)

If Jesus, in the midst of enduring every injustice, still found mercy to forgive those, who were yet sinning against Him, can we be excused for doing any less?  This walk of faith is not an easy one, and there is so much injustice all around us, yet we are called to live by a different standard than the rest of the world.  We are not called to be vigilantes.  Instead, we are commanded to wait on the Lord, and let Him take vengeance or show mercy, according to His will…

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

(Romans 12:14-21 NKJV)

Beloved, do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?  God knows.  Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.  There is coming a day, when God will judge the earth, and woe to those who have refused to repent for their sins against Him and against you and the rest of humanity.  Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice?  Then you are blessed, and Jesus made a promise to each of us who have that same hunger and thirst…

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

(Matthew 5:6 NKJV)

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

It’s Not a Black Thing or a White Thing – It’s a Jesus Thing

The following is a letter that I posted on Facebook this morning, and I believe it’s important enough to post here as well, for it is vital to the life of our church and nation:

Greetings to ALL My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

To each and every man, woman and child, who has surrendered themselves to God in Christ Jesus our Lord, out of a heart filled with love and gratitude to our Savior, who willingly paid the penalty of death for your sins and for mine, I greet you in the name of Jesus.  I’m writing this letter to you because my heart is filled with love and grief for the church, and for this beautiful nation that God has blessed us with.  I have always felt honored and blessed to live in this great nation, which was founded on the principles that…

… all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… (Declaration of Independence)


I believe with all my heart that this is true, not because the Declaration of Independence says so, but because the bible tells me so…

26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.  28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female.  For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.  (Galatians 3:26-29  NLT)

Beloved readers, do you understand what this means? It means that once you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you become a child of God and a joint heir with Jesus, Himself!  It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, a servant or a king, black or white or any other shade in between, you are a child of God, who loves each of His children equally.  It doesn’t matter whether you are very intelligent, or whether you have a learning disability, your Daddy (Abba/Father) loves you just as much as He loves His other children.  It doesn’t matter if your parents loved you more or less than your siblings, because God is your Father now, and He is just.  He loves you just as much as He loves me.  He loves you just as much as He loved King David, the Apostle Paul, Peter, James and John.  Do you understand?

If you understand this, you need to understand something else.  When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you become God’s child, you also gain some new siblings, who are also children of God.  Do you know what this means?  It means that you have brothers and sisters from every race and culture, and because they are your siblings, you have to love them, no matter what, because Daddy loves them, and if Daddy thinks they’re worthy of His love, don’t you think they’re worthy of yours too?

Now, I’ve told you that I’m writing this letter because my heart is filled with love and grief for the church, and for our wonderful nation, and I’ve established a very good case for why we should love ALL of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, so now, I’m going to take this love thing a step further, before I share my grief with you.  Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, not only are we supposed to love our brothers and sisters, but according to the bible, we’re supposed to love our enemies too…

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:43-48  NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16  NLT)

After reading these words of Jesus, it is very clear that God expects us to love each other AND our enemies. There is no wiggle room, no way to escape this.  And, beloved reader, please allow me to make this perfectly clear, for it is of the utmost importance that you understand.  Jesus isn’t saying, “Try to love your enemies.”  He isn’t saying, “Love good people.”  Jesus is COMMANDING us to LOVE our enemies.  Do you still need more evidence?

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  (John 15:9-13  NLT)

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matthew 6:14-15  NLT)

Do you want to be forgiven?  Then forgive ALL who hurt you.  Do you want to remain in God’s love?  Then love ALL mankind.

This brings me to the reason for my grief.  We are all aware of the deep rooted racial anger that exists in our country.  It is like a dark plague that is killing the church and this once great nation.  You may ask why I say it is killing the church, and I will tell you, but first, I will remind you of my love for each and every one of you, my beloved readers, friends and enemies.  Some may read what I am saying and take offense, and I can live with that. However, one of the things that truly grieves me is that some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord may take offense, and it is this very thing that is killing the church.

Let’s talk about what is going on in our country, not as black or white people, but as Jesus’ people, okay?  You see, when we became children of God, we took on HIS identity.  I am no longer defined by my race or ethnicity, and neither are you, brothers and sisters.  I am now called “Christian,” and when I interact with people of the world, I want them to see Christ in me, not the white in me.  Also, when I look at my brothers and sisters of different races, I don’t see the color or lack of color in them, I look to see the same Jesus, who lives in me, in them too.  When I see the Christ in you, my beloved brothers and sisters, how can I help but love you?

Not only that, but when I look at those who don’t know Christ, it isn’t their color that I care about, it’s their heart.  My heart is filled with love for those who don’t know Christ, because I know the One who could set them free from their anger and bitterness against people of different races.  I grew up in a racist household, and I know firsthand that racism breeds bitterness, and that terrible root of bitterness chokes the life out of every other relationship the bitter person has.

Church, the reason I’m grieving is because WE are supposed to be different from the world.  WE are the ones who are supposed to be setting the examples for the world, and yet, how many of us have found ourselves caught up in the anger that is all around us?  How many of us are part of the problem, instead of trying to be part of the solution?  What if God’s people united as ONE, just as Jesus prayed we would be, and what if we humbled ourselves and prayed, and turned from our wicked ways?  And what if we joined together, seeking God’s face, and asking Him to bring unity and love to our land?  I believe God would hear our cry and He would heal our land.  Do you know why?  Because the bible says so.

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV)

But sadly, something is preventing us from uniting and praying together, and do you know what that something is?  This may be offensive to you, but the words I write are written in love.  My heart’s desire is for God to heal our land, and in order for this to happen, we must humble ourselves, but PRIDE is preventing this from happening.  You see, there are some among us, who are proud of our race.

Now, I have to be honest with you, and if it offends you, I encourage you to study God’s word, and pray about it.  You see, there are some white people who are proud of their lack of pigment.  There are also some black people who are very proud of their dark pigment.  Now, here’s where I stand on the matter.  I’m white, but I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it.  I didn’t choose to be white.  In fact, I had nothing to do with it, because long before He laid the foundations of the earth, God had determined that I would be a white woman.  He’s the One who carefully formed me, and knitted me together in my mother’s womb, and for reasons that only He knows, He didn’t bless me with as much melanin as some of my darker brothers and sisters.  That’s okay.  I don’t feel slighted.  In fact, in the whole scheme of eternity, my lack of melanin, and someone else’s abundance of melanin is really unimportant.  After all, the current tent that I dwell in is only temporary, and at nearly fifty-four years old, it’s starting to break down.  In fact, one day in the not so distant future, it will finally wear out, and my spirit will leave this body.  At some point in time that only God knows, I will eventually receive an eternal body (my forever body), which will never wear out and die, so why should I care about the color of my current flesh?

Indeed, people of God, why should any of us care about our skin tone?  You don’t have to tell me the answer to my next question, but it is something you need to pray and talk to our Father about it.  Do you have white pride?  Do you have black pride?  Are you prideful of your race?  If so, you need to lay that pride aside and humble yourself and pray for forgiveness. You do know that Lucifer was cast down out of heaven, because he was proud of the body God had given him, right?  Do you think that God likes racial pride?  Think again.  If you want something to boast about, children of God, boast about this:

30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 1:30-31  NLT)

14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.  (Galatians 6:14-16  NLT)

Beloved children of God, it’s time for us to stop allowing our flesh to control our thoughts and our attitudes.  It’s time for us to stop taking sides in the current trouble our nation faces.  The fact is that there are good white cops, and there are bad white cops. There are good black cops, and there are bad black cops.  There are good black men, who have been the innocent victims of bad white cops, and vice versa.  However, there are also dangerous and criminal black men, who have attacked good white cops, and been shot in self-defense, and vice versa.  So, what can we, as children of the Most High God, do to bring peace and righteousness to our land???

We can start by repenting of any pride that we may be clinging to.  We can unite as One church in this battle for peace in our land – no more “white” churches or “black” churches.  Let us come together as One people, not to preach or shout or argue about why “I” am right and “You” are wrong. Instead, let us come together as the sons and daughters of God, and let us humble ourselves, as Jesus did…

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.


You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, 8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:1-11  NLT)

My beloved brothers and sisters, do you want to heal our land and bring about a true and lasting peace?  Or, do you want to hold on to your bitterness and anger? Do you want to prove that you are right, holding fast to your pride?  Or do you want to surrender it to Christ and join together with ALL of your brothers and sisters, humbling ourselves and praying?  Do you want people to see the black or white in you?  Or do you want them to see the Christ in you?  Are you willing to risk offending friends and family for the sake of the cross?  Or are you ashamed of this gospel of peace?

Shall we teach our children to respect law enforcement officers and pray God removes the bad ones?  Or should we teach them to rebel against the law? Shall we love our friends and hate our enemies? Or shall we love our enemies, with no regard to race, and bless them, as Jesus commanded?  The choice is yours.  Shall we choose a time to unite and come together to humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face?  Or will we hold on to our bitterness and malice towards another race, refusing to forgive?  The choice is yours.  If you want to meet and join together, please leave a comment, and we can figure out where and when to join together and cry out to Jesus for our children, our law enforcement officers and our land.

In closing, I’d like to share the priestly blessing with each one of you.  For not only are we children of God, but we are also a royal priesthood…

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” 

In the blessed name of Jesus, I remain,

Your Sister Cheryl

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

Truth or Lie: Reality Check – I’m Heartsick

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Do you ever feel heartsick for the church? I’m not talking about the various places that we visit on Sundays and sometimes through the week. I’m talking about the body of Christ, those people who claim to be children of God. Do you ever feel like picking her up and shaking her? Do you ever get angry and outraged at some of the foolish things she does, because you know that she’s playing with fire, and endangering her own life, as well as the lives of others? Do you ever feel like weeping and wailing and grieving and mourning for her?

I do. My heart weighs heavily on me, and I’m so deeply troubled and grieved for the people who comprise the church. You see, somewhere along the way, many of the men, women and children were taught a lie, and because that lie felt more comfortable than the truth, they bought it — hook, line and sinker. You see, in ministering about the goodness of God’s grace, many in the church have gotten the impression that it’s okay to sin, because God will forgive you if you confess your sins, and after all, He knows your heart. So what caused me to feel this heaviness today? 

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

I was on Facebook last night, and someone that I go to church with had posted a poster with a saying that was crude and it included the F-bomb. Now, I’m friends with a lot of people who do not know the Lord, and while I don’t like that type of language coming from anyone, it is not as offensive to me as when it comes from a Christian. But even this posting didn’t upset me as much as the fact that another Christian actually “Liked” this post. And the fact that another Christian “Liked” this post wasn’t nearly as upsetting to me as the fact that the other Christian who “Liked” this post is a pastor that I know and love. 

Brothers and sisters, I feel it necessary to remind you that when you are born again, you are no longer the same. You must understand that you are no longer enslaved by the sins that once  held you captive. You have been set free from those sins, by God’s grace and mercy, and therefore, you must stop catering to those sins. It’s time for a reality check.

What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!

~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT ~

Let me break this down for you, because it is vital that you understand, lest you be led astray and die in your sins. Before I became a Christian, I had a foul mouth. There used to be a saying, for those who cussed alot…

“You cuss like a sailor.”

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Before I became a Christian, I heard that statement frequently. In fact, I was quite proud of that, and the fact that I knew more dirty jokes than anyone else I knew. I loved smut. I read trashy novels, watched dirty movies, cussed when I was angry, cussed when I was happy, cussed for no reason at all. Really, when you do something all the time, you get to a point that you don’t even notice when you’re doing it.

But that changed when I repented and asked Christ to save me. You see, I was reborn, not of flesh this time, but of the spirit. 

3 Jesus replied, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.” 4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” 5 Jesus replied, “The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven.”

~ John 3:3-6 NLT ~

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When I was born of the Spirit, my life changed. I was no longer the woman I was before. I didn’t stop cussing and telling dirty jokes immediately. I didn’t stop smoking immediately, and I didn’t stop reading and watching smut right away. Nonetheless, I had changed. You see, before, I enjoyed those things, and was quite proud of my vices. Now, the first change I noticed was the shame that enveloped me when I cussed. Those things that I used to take pride in now grieved me. The things that I used to gleefully participate in, now disgusted me.

I tried to change my behavior, not so Christ would save me, because He already had. I wanted to change, because I loved Him and I was so grateful for what He had done for me, but the harder I tried, the more I failed, until, in utter despair, I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to change me, and He heard my cries and answered me. I can’t tell you the date I stopped cussing, but I can tell you that I did, because Jesus took the curses from my mouth and replaced them with blessings. 

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One night, when I was praying to Him, He spoke to me. I can’t remember what I was praying to Him for, but I remember His words to me, “Cheryl, you keep asking Me for things, but what are you willing to give to Me?” He asked.

My response was immediate, “Anything!”

“Are you willing to give Me your cigarettes?” He asked.

“I’ll give you anything but that,” I bartered. “Lord, I’ve tried to stop smoking before. You know I can’t.”

“I know you’ve tried before,” He responded, “but this time, if you’ll give it to Me, I will take the desire away from you.”

I agreed, and He took all desire to smoke away from me. I had smoked for twenty-four years, starting when I was twelve years old, but now, the smell of cigarette smoke sickened me — literally. To this day, I can smell when someone has been smoking, and the odor is nauseating to me.

Image Credit: http://browse.deviantart.com/art/ this-is-heaven-43721431

You see, I was a new person. The Cheryl that once loved sin, now hated it, because she was a new creation. The new Cheryl loved Jesus, and she wanted to please Him. Once, I belonged to the world, and I lived as the world does, but when I was born again, I no longer belonged to the world. 

1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. 3 For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory. 5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. 6 God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. 7 You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.

~ Colossians 3:1-10 NLT ~

I shared all of this with you, because if you have been born again, you should not be living the same life that you lived before your salvation. You should be different. Your life should be different. Your desires should be different.

Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires.

~ Psalm 37:4 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.pics22.com

I used to think that verse meant that God would give me a nice bank account, a new car, or a better job, and I used to pray for those things. But then, as I began to delight in the Lord, He changed my heart. No longer did I pray for the things I once prayed for… Do you remember why?

I’m a new person, and as I delighted in Him, He gave me new desires… As I delighted in Him, He gave me my heart’s desires… I now desired my husband and my children to know Him… I now longed to serve Him… I wanted to share His love with others… I wanted to love others as He loved me…

I had become someone new. What about you? When you were born again, did your life change? Or do you still laugh at the things you always laughed at? Does it grieve you when you sin? Or are you able to justify your sins?

My friends, if you are born again, and yet you haven’t changed, then it’s time for a reality check. If you’re still dropping the F-bomb, laughing at dirty jokes, posting things that should not be posted on Facebook, Twitter or your blog, or “Liking” any of those things, then perhaps you really weren’t born again, or perhaps you don’t really understand about grace…

14 Sin is no longer your master, for you are no longer subject to the law, which enslaves you to sin. Instead, you are free by God’s grace. 15 So since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does this mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval.

~ Romans 6:14-16 NLT ~

My beloved friends, please, examine yourselves and do a reality check. It is a lie to believe that you are born again if you haven’t changed. I don’t care if you carry the title of pastor, evangelist, prophet, elder, apostle, bishop or anything else, if you “Like” someone else’s sin, if you continue in sin, then sin is your master, not God. 

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

Brothers and sisters, I’m heartsick at how some have twisted God’s grace into an excuse to continue to live in sin. God is full of mercy and grace, but Jesus died for us, so that we might die to sin. That is God’s grace. Jesus did not die so that we could continue to dwell in sin. He died to set us free from sin.

So now, I ask each one of you to examine your own hearts. If after giving your life to Christ, you find that you are still living for yourself, it’s time for a reality check. 

26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume His enemies. 28 Anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to His people. 30 For we know the one who said, “I will take vengeance. I will repay those who deserve it.” He also said, “The Lord will judge His own people.” 31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

~ Hebrews 10:26-31 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://jennbowers.deviantart.com/art/ It-is-Finished-159107918

Beloved, it grieves me to write such harsh words, but I must. I urge you to seek the Lord with all your heart. Examine your hearts, and if you are guilty of trampling on the Son of God and treating the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy, repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Cry out to Jesus, and walk in obedience to His will. He is full of mercy and grace, and He will save those who are truly repentant. He knows that we are not capable of changing ourselves, and if you will delight yourself in Him, He will give you new desires… desires to please Him. He will set you free from the law of sin and death, if you will simply love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Hindsight

Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your very first post.
Daily Prompt: Hindsight

I’ve only been on WordPress since October, and my first post was about the Words of Jesus – Fulfilling All Righteousness. So, this is take 2, and the very first thing I noticed about my original post is that the Scripture reference is incorrect (typo). There is no Matthew 3:18 – the quote is actually from Matthew 3:15… Therefore, no matter what I write, it’s already improved.  🙂

But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. (Matthew 3:15 NKJV)

jesus
http://i562.photobucket.com/albums/ss66/BONEFIVESTAR1/jesus.jpg

Jesus allowed John to baptize Him in order to fulfill all righteousness. That’s just a small sentence, but they are first recorded words He spoke in the gospel of Matthew, which makes them very important. The whole gospel of Matthew points to Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy, and here, in this third chapter of Matthew, we see that He is not only the fulfillment of prophecy, but also the fulfillment of all righteousness.

Therefore, Christians need to ask themselves, “If Jesus said that baptism was necessary for Him to fulfill all righteousness, should we also be baptized?” 

What do fulfill and righteousness mean anyway? Dictionary.com defines fulfill this way:

  1. to carry out, or bring to realization, as a prophecy or promise.
  2. to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands.
  3. to satisfy (requirements, obligations, etc.): a book that fulfills a long-felt need.
  4. to bring to an end; finish or complete, as a period of time: He felt that life was over
    when one had fulfilled his threescore years and ten.
  5. to develop the full potential of (usually used reflexively): She realized that she could
    never fulfill herself in such work.

Dictionary.com also defines righteousness as the quality or state of being righteous, which is characterized by uprightness or morality.

So, if Jesus said it was necessary for Him to be baptized in order to fulfill (to satisfy the requirements) all righteousness, is it necessary for us to do so as well? According to what Jesus said, baptism is a necessity in order to fulfill all righteousness.

In fact, on the day of Pentecost, (after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and after He ascended into heaven) His followers received the gift of the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages (tongues), and when the people in the city of Jerusalem saw them, many of them believed in Jesus and asked what they should do. Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NLT) 

http://www.revivechurch.org/baptism-class
http://www.revivechurch.org/baptism-class

It’s obvious from both Jesus’ response and Peter’s response that baptism is necessary to fulfill righteousness. I like how the Complete Jewish Bible translates this verse,  Kefa (Peter) answered them, “Turn from sin, return to God, and each of you be immersed (baptized) on the authority of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) into forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)!” 

Do you see? When we turn to Jesus, we turn away from sin, and we turn to God. This is called repentance. And when we turn to Jesus, we must be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, or as the Complete Jewish Bible explains more clearly, we must be immersed on the authority of Jesus.

Dictionary.com gives us this definition for immerse:

  1. to plunge into or place under a liquid; dip; sink.
  2. to involve deeply; absorb: She is totally immersed in her law practice.
  3. to baptize by immersion.
  4. to embed; bury.

You’ll notice firstly, that immersion/baptism is not sprinkling, spraying or dripping. 🙂 It is to be plunged into or placed under a liquid… to involve deeply; absorb… to embed; bury. The apostle Paul explains the necessity of baptism more clearly in Romans 6.

You see, when we are baptized, we have turned away from sin, and our immersion into the water symbolizes the death and burial of our sinful nature. Then, as we arise from beneath the water (which symbolizes our grave), it symbolizes that just as Christ was resurrected from death, so we are resurrected into new life. Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new! (2 Corinthians 5:17 CJB) 

How awesome is that? By submitting myself to baptism, I am submitting to Christ’s authority in my life. I’m saying that the sin that used to enslave me is dead and buried, and now I’m a new creation. Hallelujah! I’m fresh and new! You see, I’m no longer controlled by sin, even when I mess up and sin, it’s lost its control over me, because those bonds of slavery have been loosed.

Now, I have a new Master. I’m now a slave of righteousness. I submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, and His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. You see, He tells me to cast all of my cares on Him, because He cares for me.

When sin was my master, it didn’t care about me. When I was a slave to sin, I suffered much pain, and many terrible consequences for my actions. Sin was a cruel master. Sin’s ultimate goal for my life was death and eternal damnation.

My new Master, Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness has given me so much more. You see, His ultimate goal for my life is an eternity spent with Him…

http://www.reliance-cc.org/whats-next/baptism/
http://www.reliance-cc.org/whats-next/baptism/

So, in conclusion, is it necessary for us to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness? Yes and no. 🙂 Jesus forgave the thief on the cross, and he certainly didn’t have a chance to be baptized before he died, yet Jesus said, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” 

So, while baptism is not a requirement, the more I study the scriptures, the more I see the necessity of baptism. Think of it this way, if you were invited to a feast at the King’s table, and you were told you could eat as much as you want of everything that was there, would you do it? Or would you say, “No thank you. I’ll just lick the crumbs off the floor.” I can’t answer for you, but I can tell you what my answer is. Hallelujah! I want it all!

Living it Out

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. (James 1:1-4 NASB).

the word of God
the word of God (Photo credit: jangkwee)

I love the Word of God, and I love preaching and teaching the Word of God… But the truth is, if I only preach and teach the Word, but do not live out what I am saying, then my words are pointless and meaningless. You see, my actions show what I really believe. I want to break this down so everyone can understand the importance of a life spent living out the Word of God.

I’m going to take the scripture above, and break it down, so that we can begin to come to an understanding of the life the Lord is calling us to live in this passage… In the first verse, James, the author of this letter, introduces himself and tells us to whom he is writing.

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. (James 1:1 NASB)

Most scholars believe that the James who wrote this letter was actually Jesus’ half-brother. Now, wouldn’t you think that James would want to let everybody know that he was Jesus’ brother? I have a half-sister, but when I introduce her to people, I introduce her as my sister. While we both have different fathers, I’ve never thought of her as anything less than 100% my sister. And knowing Jesus, I feel certain that He never treated James as anything less than His brother.

http://adryan.deviantart.com/art/Jesus-61098899

So, if James was the brother of Jesus, why didn’t he introduce himself that way? Here’s another interesting fact… Jude, author of another New Testament letter, introduced himself in this way also:

 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:1 NASB)

Now according to this, Jude was James’ brother, which would also make him Jesus’ brother as well, yet neither of these men made this claim. So the question that comes to mind is why didn’t James and Jude shout from the mountain tops that they were Jesus’ brothers?

Before I share my beliefs about this, I want to be up front with you. When I’m teaching, I want to be accurate and true to the Word of God. I don’t want to lead anyone astray, so when I share my opinion, I want you to know that this is just that – my opinion – and while I believe what I’m about to share, Scripture doesn’t specifically give us the reason why both brothers of Jesus saw fit to introduce themselves as His bond-servants, rather than His brothers.

http://www.turnbacktogod.com/jesus-christ-wallpaper-sized-images-pic-set-02/#jp-carousel-52

Having said that, I would like to share my theory with you. When I introduce my sister, I am introducing her as my equal. She is no greater or less than I am.

James and Jude, on the other hand, introduce themselves as bond-servants of Jesus Christ, and in doing this, they make it plain that they are not equals with Jesus. The Greek word for bond-servant is doulos, which means, a slave, bondman, man of servile condition, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests, a servant, attendant, one who gives himself up to another’s will… Wow. James and Jude were saying that they were slaves for Jesus, devoted to Him, that they had given themselves up to His will. Both called Him Jesus Christ, which means the anointed one, Messiah.

James even called Him the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek word used here for Lord is Kurios, which means, he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord, the possessor and disposer of a thing, the owner; one who has control of the person, the master, is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master… 

You see, in his introduction, James was stating that he was not his own – he belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he honored and revered. Brothers and sisters, we can learn a lot in just that short greeting. James was humbling himself. He was making it clear that he was writing this letter, and living his life in obedience to his Master.

I told you at the beginning of this study that our lives should reflect what we say we believe, so the question that each one of us should be asking at this point is who am I? The way I live reflects who I really am. Am I a servant of Christ? Or do I serve myself? Who is it that I spend most of my time trying to please? Brothers and sisters, our answer to this question will reveal who our Lord really is. Is Jesus my Lord? Or is someone else my Lord? Am I my own Lord?

Brothers and sisters, if the answer to the questions above is anything other than Jesus Christ, we need to repent. For the Lord says, You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3 NKJV) 

Bible study is worthless if we don’t apply it to our own lives. I know a lot of people who know scripture backward and forward, but their lives don’t reflect what they know in their head. You see, knowing the facts about something is not the same as knowing the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV) It’s not enough to know the facts about Him. If we want to be free, we must know Him! “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 NKJV)

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 NKJV).

Do you know of anyone who is spiritually fat or filled? We are constantly bombarded with stories and images of injustices and unrighteousness, and it seriously grieves me. Does anyone else feel that way?

Right here, in this country that I love, we see politicians standing up for the very things that grieve God… The Democrats stand in favor of abortion, which is the slaughter of the unborn child. People can call that baby an embryo or a fetus, but the fact is that by the sixth week of gestation, the unborn baby has all of his/her organs. In fact, from the very instant the baby is conceived, it is a separate life living within his/her mother’s womb. Scripture actually talks about the unborn child… In fact, the Lord spoke these words to Jeremiah, the prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:7 NKJV). 

If the Lord knew us before we were even placed in our mother’s womb, and he already had plans for our lives, how could any of us ever even consider killing an unborn baby? And yet, in our country from 1978-2008, over 50 million abortions were performed. That’s an average death rate of 4500-5000 abortions per year! This truly grieves the Lord… and it grieves me too. Is there anyone else who is grieved by this? Is there anyone who longs for… hungers and thirsts for righteousness? 

And when I think of what abortion has done to the lives of the many women who have been lied to… when I think of the many women who have lied to themselves and tried to convince themselves that the life growing inside of them is nothing more than a mass of tissue… when I think of the many women who have been traumatized because of their “Right to Choose” my heart breaks for the guilt and pain they still suffer today. And when I think of those who felt justified by their choice, I mourn for them too, because they have so clearly been deceived by the enemy of our souls… And YES, I hunger and thirst for righteousness… I long for that day when this evil will be outlawed!

Because I hunger and thirst for righteousness, I cannot bring myself to vote for anyone who is in favor of abortion… Because I hunger and thirst for righteousness, I cannot bring myself to vote for anyone who wants to change the marriage laws from one man and one woman to include homosexual marriage. God created man and woman for the purpose of procreation and the Lord commanded His people in Leviticus, “Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin” (Leviticus 18:22 NLT). 

And don’t think the Democrats are alone in their sins against God. Let’s look at the Republicans… Their hearts are for the wealthy and the truth is as they’ve shown time and time again, they have no heart for the poor… Let’s see what James tells us about this… My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others? For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor” — well, doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom He promised to those who love Him? And yet, you insult the poor man! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear? Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s royal command found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you pay special attention to the rich, you are committing a sin, for you are guilty of breaking that law (James 2:1-9 NLT). 

When I see this evil, my heart hungers and thirsts for righteousness! And if that isn’t enough, let’s look at the man who many Christians and Churches are endorsing for the Presidency… Mitt Romney – a wealthy Mormon high priest. Brothers and sisters, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church) is not a Christian organization. This religion was founded by a pedophile named Joseph Smith, and their Jesus is not our Jesus! They claim that their god came down to earth and had sexual intercourse with Mary and that their Jesus was conceived through this union. They also claim that their Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. They believe that the men of their religion will one day become gods, who will be married to many virgins… I don’t know what’s in it for the women of that religion. This cult has been leading millions to hell since its foundation, and yet many in the Church want to endorse Mitt Romney as President because they say he is the lesser of the two evils.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again!!! Evil is EVIL!!! Don’t you hunger and thirst for righteousness??? Change has to begin in you and me before there can be a change in our country. He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NKJV)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 NKJV).

The Lord is telling us, just as He told the Solomon and the Israelites, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV).

Brothers and sisters, when you watch the news on TV, are you grieved in your spirit? When you see your family and your neighbors struggling to make ends meet, is your heart burdened? When you see a homeless person, or a drug addict, or a  prostitute, do you feel like weeping for them? Do you long for better days? Do you yearn to see people living holy and uprightly? Do you long to see the Church present herself spotless and without blemish to the Lord? If you do, then you are truly blessed… “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 NKJV).

©  2012

Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Fulfilling All Righteousness

As I was reading the Word Sunday, the Lord put it on my heart to study the words of Jesus. I’ve thought of doing it before, but that was the day I began my study. The first words Jesus spoke in the first gospel, Matthew, were, “Permit it to be so for now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:18 NKJV)

Jesus’ words are important – every single one of them and it’s important for us to know what He said and to live by those words. His first act in starting His ministry was to be baptized by John. He did this in order to fulfill all righteousness. I believe He demonstrated this as an example for all of His followers.

You see, just as it was necessary for Jesus to be baptized and to fulfill all righteousness, so it is necessary for us to do the same. He fulfilled ALL righteousness. He left nothing undone, and as His followers, we are to do the same.
Lord, help me to fulfill all righteousness and to leave nothing undone. Give me the wisdom and the strength to follow Your example, in Jesus’ name. Amen

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers