Wednesday, November 26, 2014

83. A Sphere of Influence

A Sphere of Influence...

As I continue to read and watch the news and read posts posted on Facebook, I cannot help but see the lack of influence that the majority of us have on the thoughts, acts, and behaviors of others. Certain leaders and certain media outlets have been given a tremendous amount of influence over the minds of quite a few folk as the very same media outlets continue to portray the results of their influence peddling to the ones that support their views. Lies beget chaos and anger begets violence as the truth of a matter becomes as a vapor lifting higher and higher out of sight and out of reach.

What I see is not so much the impact of detrimental influence, but the resulting vacuum of righteous influence. Is it too late in our nation to be righteously influential before matters occur? I don't think so, for that is the reason why I continue to preach the Gospel.

But am I "influential"?

After all, is not the argument being argued at the moment one of "What is right?" and "What is the truth?"

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts."  (Proverbs 21:2, NKJV)

Righteousness, right thinking and Truth are only found in Jesus Christ and, as such, the majority of our laws were construed on the basis of a moral, ethical and Biblical construct.

It is today as it has been in the past, that we find leaderless leaders who do not know right from wrong, truth from error and a lack of conscience towards that which our nation was built upon and remains to be to this day. It is the building up of the SELF that I see in our local, state and national leaders whether it be in the religious or the political realms.

It is past time that those who know what is right and what is true to open their mouths and move their feet towards righteous thinking and righteous expression leading to influencing others to right thinking behaviors. It is past time, indeed.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

82. The Great Commandment

"And He said to him, ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’"               (Matthew 22:37-40, NKJV)

Jesus responded to the lawyer’s earlier question with Deuteronomy 6:5. Of all of the commandments that He could have regarded as the greatest, it was the commandment to love the Lord your God with all that you are. If you love the Lord your God with all that you are, then all that you are is His. All that you have is His, your heart, that is, your spirit that He has placed inside of you; your soul, that is, the natural personality and individual that you are; your mind encompasses your thoughts, beliefs, and possessions of ideals. Among all of this, there isn’t anything else to give Him for none of this is about things, but is about who and what we are internally.

If all that we are is His, then what is His is His, indeed. Jesus then says, the second is likened to it and that is to love your neighbor as yourself. If all that we are is His, then all the love we have is for Him. The loving of ourselves is for Him as well and that same love we give in honor to Him, we give to others, our neighbors. This is the deep love, a holy love that only comes in the spirit. In this, there is no separation. We are His and our love is His. When we love others, it will be with His love for what we are is His.

This is why there is absolutely no response from the lawyer or the Pharisees on this answer. Everything in the Law and the Prophets would hinge on this type of love, His Holy love, because all would be His. The Pharisees just didn’t think that way. Besides, they had too much to lose in loving that way; they stood to lose their prestige, power, and authority if they loved that way for they would no longer be in charge of all things religious and God would be getting all of the love and the glory and not themselves. How can a man love God and love his neighbor as himself; they simply could not grasp that concept, they were too full of pride and saw the commandments as ‘doing’ things and not ‘being loving’. That is the essential problem with religion.

When we enter into His grace, His grace enters into us. When we come to understand that there is nothing we can ever do to warrant His grace and love, we will stop all of the ‘doing’ things to earn His love and we will rest and relax in Him, rather than working for Him. When we are overwhelmed in His understanding of how greatly He loves, His love will fill us to overflow and flow from us to love our neighbor as we have loved Him, which is all that we are. The world will know us by our love, not by our intellect, our knowledge of scripture, or our building of our own kingdoms. The world will know His love by how we love them. That is the only way.